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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default I wanna learn how to make video games!

    Title pretty much says it all. I want to at some point in my life make a video game all by myself or as a team member. I just obviously need the resources to teach me. I'm not opposed to finding classes or a personal tutor, but what resources are there I can use on my own? Can anyone recommend any books, sites, videos, or other pieces of educational media on the subject of programming? I already have one book that uses C++. Is that still the best programming language? Is C++ good for making basic 2D platformers? Because this at this point that's all I'm interested in.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    Different languages are best for different things. A platformer isn't going to be pushing things, and provided you have realistic expectations isn't too unreasonable.
    C/C++ cause you to worry about lots of things, for little benefit (here). The only plus of using C/C++ is to say you did it.

    There are 'languages' that make platformers very easy. We had one when kids. Scratch (I didn't realise it was Smalltalk based) is similar, it almost certainly has a direct walkthrough. The problem there is that it is almost too easy, in some senses you are designing levels.

    JavaScript (in a web page) might be worth considering. Simple graphics will be fairly easy, your friends can likely run it (annoyingly, closely accessing local pictures is made difficult, and there are I.E./Chrome/Firefox differences), and it's hard for it to do bad stuff. It will be limited.

    Beyond that you are spoiled for choice, getting to the point where you have graphics is getting harder.

    [ETA No surprise The base logic is going to be the same logic regardless of what you use.
    Last edited by jayem; 2019-03-17 at 01:24 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    C++ is a nightmare in itself. C is describes by its authors as "a small language, which is served by a small book". C++ takes that small language and adds the kitchen sink, often including too many features that do too many things behind your back that will trip you up unless you are expecting them. It is certainly a powerful language (acting as both high and low level), but don't expect to master it quickly.

    Fortunately, the only real use for C++ in game design is typically creating the engine. Most games are "written" in lau, and python will typically work as well (it is far easier to find free/cheap python information, and it is a reasonably popular language and a great language to start in). Basically find a good engine/platform/whatever and expect to write the rest in lau/python/whatever (assuming you need to code at all).

    Every few months Humble Bundle sells a bundle of "computer game design" books, you might want to check that.

    I'd recommend starting with Extra Credits "making your first game" series, but can't say I've made such a game (at least since the 8 bit era).
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z06QR-tz1_o

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    What language to use really comes down to how deeply you want to make "your own" game. To use a baking analogy, here are some different levels of "baking your own cake":
    • Buy a boxed cake mix and the rest of the listed ingredients. Follow directions and bake cake.
    • Follow a cake recipe exactly, buying those ingredients at the grocery store. Follow directions and bake cake.
    • Design your own cake recipe, buy the ingredients at the grocery store. Bake cake.
    • Design your own cake recipe. Purchase and raise chickens for eggs. Purchase and milk a cow. Plant, harvest, and grind your own wheat. Learn metalworking so you can make your own cake pans. (And so on.)


    You need to decide the equivalent of where in this spectrum you fall in terms of making your own game, which will dictate what kind of programming language or game engine to use. C or C++ would be good choices as you get closer to the "I want a certain special kind of wheat, which I will grow myself because it is not sold commercially" end of things. (Personally, I'd probably be tempted to use them more at the "Design your own recipe" level, because I've written a lot of C code over the decades and it's something I'm pretty familiar with, so once I needed something more complicated than a premade game engine could give me I'd be likely to leap all the way to C, but that says more about my own tendencies than it does about what's a good idea.)

    If this is a hobby project, trying to identify which parts of making a game are the parts you wanted to understand better might be a good way to start as far as figuring out which tools to use. If you have some specific mechanic you want to have in your game, see which engines would support it. If you're mostly interested in level design, that's very different than if you want to do something that uses very different "rules" for movement and object interaction than most games do. Also, for a hobby project, there's no reason why you can't go lower-level and make things "harder" on yourself than they really need to be if that's interesting to you - just make sure you're choosing to grow your own flour because you want to!
    Last edited by Algeh; 2019-03-17 at 01:40 PM.

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    Griffon

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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    Basically, don't.

    These days, games are huge businesses that use a lot of people for a year or a few, then dump the people once the game is sold, there have been a couple of mass firings at games studios in the last year or so.

    There was a time when everybody learned to program, back in the days of MHz computers and MBytes of ram, now it's multiple CPU cores, at GHz speeds with GBytes of ram, and there's just too much, it's too complex, nobody knows all of what's going on in anything but the most trivial of programs. They said there were a million lines of code in Windows ten or fifteen years ago, it hasn't shrunk, and if you think anyone understands all of it in detail, you're wrong.

    There is on my opinion probably a living in computers, and in gaming and there's likely to be one for as long as people have jobs IMHO, but the chances are it won't be fun. Consider the art side as another option, it's getting more photo-realistic as time goes on, but there may be a living there too.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    tl;dr: get a free game making engine here, and tutorials here (the Godot ones)

    Crikey. These responses.

    Ive used a couple programs to make games. I see you mentioned 2d platformers. It just so happens the program I used the most is very well suited to make 2d platformers. Its called GameMaker: Studio. The free version can do pretty much the paid version can except publish to like the App Store for iOS or the PSN. Whats better, there are a bunch of great tutorials out there.

    Ill try to hop on my computer and provide some links.

    EDIT: After doing some searching, turns out my info is dated. There was a free version (surely it still exists, but it isn't supported by the company anymore). I watched a bunch of tutorials by this guy whose handle is HeartBeast. A great e-teacher. Does free (and paid) courses, teaches how to code and do art. Here are his videos. It looks like he's been using Godot 3 rather than GameMaker as of late. It's 100% free and has great support (whereas GameMaker, while having great support and a ton of resources, can get pricey).

    Also... I might suggest searching various game making engines. In particular, looking at the showcases (here's Godot's, and here's GameMaker's (which includes Undertale and Hyper Light Drifter)).

    EDIT EDIT: Also, your thread would probably get more attention if it were in Gaming (Other).
    Last edited by danzibr; 2019-03-17 at 03:01 PM.
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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    Quote Originally Posted by danzibr View Post
    tl;dr: get a free game making engine here, and tutorials here (the Godot ones)

    Crikey. These responses.
    The problem was that the question included at least one really wrong assumption ("do I need to learn C++"). Godot seems to be built for C#, which is unlikely to have the same issues as C++. First you have to learn you are only going to be coding 1% of the game (the bits that make one game different from another game, instead of something like a web browser or something) and that you won't need to be doing any of the speed critical stuff.

    You probably don't even need to write *any* code, but I'm sure having that ability increases the number of possible games you can create.

    And I stand by my Extra Credits link.

    Quote Originally Posted by Algeh View Post
    What language to use really comes down to how deeply you want to make "your own" game. To use a baking analogy, here are some different levels of "baking your own cake":
    • Buy a boxed cake mix and the rest of the listed ingredients. Follow directions and bake cake.
    • Follow a cake recipe exactly, buying those ingredients at the grocery store. Follow directions and bake cake.
    • Design your own cake recipe, buy the ingredients at the grocery store. Bake cake.
    • Design your own cake recipe. Purchase and raise chickens for eggs. Purchase and milk a cow. Plant, harvest, and grind your own wheat. Learn metalworking so you can make your own cake pans. (And so on.)
    "To make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the Universe" - Carl Sagan

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    Basically, don't.
    ...
    There is on my opinion probably a living in computers, and in gaming and there's likely to be one for as long as people have jobs IMHO, but the chances are it won't be fun. Consider the art side as another option, it's getting more photo-realistic as time goes on, but there may be a living there too.
    That's probably a bit extreme. I think you are basically right as in terms of as a career, but quite a few popular games are also simple.

    With one of the extremely high level applications you could easily create a pretty little platformer, or a thing too close to puzzle-bobble to share.
    With a normal language you could do something that was even more yours, at the cost of time/quality. Unless you can think of a real gimmick, you and your family will be the only people who care about it, but they are all the people that matter [so be a bit realistic and do it for fun].
    Last edited by jayem; 2019-03-17 at 05:41 PM.

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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    There is on my opinion probably a living in computers, and in gaming and there's likely to be one for as long as people have jobs IMHO, but the chances are it won't be fun.
    Quick question: where in the OP did he say he wanted to do this as a career? He said he wanted to do it once, which sounds more like a hobby than anything else--and hobbyist games are totally still a thing. Just look at things like Tales of Maj'Eyal or Dwarf Fortress, both entire games made over years primarily by one person.

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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Quick question: where in the OP did he say he wanted to do this as a career? He said he wanted to do it once, which sounds more like a hobby than anything else--and hobbyist games are totally still a thing. Just look at things like Tales of Maj'Eyal or Dwarf Fortress, both entire games made over years primarily by one person.
    Or Hollow Knight, made by like five people (2 designers, 1 programmer, 1 composer, probaby a few more I'm forgetting), or Return of the Obra Dinn, which was made by Lucas Pope and a few dozen voice actors.

    Thing is, just because the big games are made by big teams doesn't mean that the occasional crazy dedicated person can't make something that's better than 95% of those big games basically alone.

    Of course, there's a middle ground too. People can make perfectly serviceable Indy games alone, you just have to be clear that it is going to be a huge effort and like with any craft, your first few examples are going to be terrible.
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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    I've considered the same a few times and given up... But don't get discouraged by my laziness! It's just as has been discussed, the question of what kind of game is critical. Using what amounts to an editor for an existing game / language made exclusively to make games is very easy, writing a game in C++ is more than a marathon. It's up to you how you go about it.
    Also, while I don't want to crush your dreams if you aim to make a career from it, this could be difficult. But as a hobby or training or just to practice programming this sounds like a great idea!

    I almost wish I had the patience to try again, too, but I know myself well enough by now.
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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    I've written several game engines in python. There's tutorials en masse out there. And I'd say go for it, it's highly rewarding, even if you don't finish the thing. That being said:

    1. Do you want to learn Programming or do you want to make a game? If Programming is what you're after, see 2., else, see 5.
    2. Do you want to do low- or high-level stuff? If low, see 3, if high, see 4.
    3. Use C++. Prepare to get into the nitty gritty. That nets you the most understanding of how programs work, but it's the most frustrating of the options.
    4. Use Python. It takes care of most of the low-level stuff like memory management et al, and its syntax is quite beginner friendly. Also, there's libraries for almost everything. Won't net you a deep understanding of programming, though.
    5. Do you want to go low- or high level? If low, see 6. else, 7.
    6. Use Unity or Unreal. They give you a lot of options and take care of a lot of stuff for you, but are pretty involved and let you go relatively deep.
    7. Use something like RPG Maker or whatever its equivalent would be for Platformers. Can't really help more with that, sadly, but others have/will chime in.

    The main problem I had with coding the things myself is that sooner or later you're not writing a game engine anymore (that part is relatively easy), but writing a level editor, importers for files done by other people or something like that to create content for your game. That's something Unity/Unreal et al will take care of for you, but again then you're removed from the nitty gritty.

    Either way, do it. Like I said earlier, I found it highly rewarding.

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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Quick question: where in the OP did he say he wanted to do this as a career? He said he wanted to do it once, which sounds more like a hobby than anything else--and hobbyist games are totally still a thing. Just look at things like Tales of Maj'Eyal or Dwarf Fortress, both entire games made over years primarily by one person.
    Dwarf Fortress may have been a hobby game, but has the developer got a career outside Dwarf Fortress and software development? I suspect Dwarf Fortress is actually popular enough to make a living from, for now at least, but I would suspect the guy or gal is now stuck in software development as a career.

    The other game I don't remember having heard of, it may be good, I don't hear a lot about games anyway.
    Last edited by halfeye; 2019-03-18 at 10:12 AM.
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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    You can find tons of great games made by individuals or very small teams.

    Since I was young, I wanted to make a game. Just for funsies. Well, a couple years ago I watched some tutorials, got a program, made a game! 1 complete game, 1 partial game, basics of a third game. All were great learning experiences (and got way better).

    At some point I plan to go back to it. Id say just kick out a few simple things, experiment, learn, have fun, get something to talk about with your friends.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    As a DM, I deal with character death by cheering and giving a fist pump, or maybe a V-for-victory sign. I would also pat myself on the back, but I can't really reach around like that.
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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    Dwarf Fortress may have been a hobby game, but has the developer got a career outside Dwarf Fortress and software development? I suspect Dwarf Fortress is actually popular enough to make a living from, for now at least, but I would suspect the guy or gal is now stuck in software development as a career.

    The other game I don't remember having heard of, it may be good, I don't hear a lot about games anyway.
    Tarn Adams (the DF guy) has a PhD in mathematics from Stanford and works in game development, yeah.
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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Tarn Adams (the DF guy) has a PhD in mathematics from Stanford and works in game development, yeah.
    Is that a yes or a no to "has a career outside games?" Nice work if you can get it either way.
    Last edited by halfeye; 2019-03-18 at 01:09 PM.
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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    Quote Originally Posted by jayem View Post
    Different languages are best for different things. A platformer isn't going to be pushing things, and provided you have realistic expectations isn't too unreasonable.
    C/C++ cause you to worry about lots of things, for little benefit (here). The only plus of using C/C++ is to say you did it.

    JavaScript (in a web page) might be worth considering.

    [ETA No surprise The base logic is going to be the same logic regardless of what you use.
    Quote Originally Posted by wumpus View Post
    C++ is a nightmare in itself.

    Every few months Humble Bundle sells a bundle of "computer game design" books, you might want to check that.

    I'd recommend starting with Extra Credits "making your first game" series, but can't say I've made such a game (at least since the 8 bit era).
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z06QR-tz1_o
    Thanks for the link guys. Bit of a disappointment about C++. I sadly have a book specifically designed around making games in C++. Might do a bit of research into Java script though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Algeh View Post
    • Design your own cake recipe, buy the ingredients at the grocery store. Bake cake.
    • Design your own cake recipe. Purchase and raise chickens for eggs. Purchase and milk a cow. Plant, harvest, and grind your own wheat. Learn metalworking so you can make your own cake pans. (And so on.)
    I think a combination of these two if that makes any sense. I would like to know the basics and fundamentals and not just use some drag and drop program.

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Quick question: where in the OP did he say he wanted to do this as a career? He said he wanted to do it once, which sounds more like a hobby than anything else--and hobbyist games are totally still a thing. Just look at things like Tales of Maj'Eyal or Dwarf Fortress, both entire games made over years primarily by one person.
    You hit the proverbial nail on the head. This is just more of a bucket list thing for me. Even if it takes me decades to make just a Super Mario clone it's still something I want to do. At this point profit is not a concern.
    Last edited by Magic_Hat; 2019-03-18 at 04:13 PM.

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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    Is that a yes or a no to "has a career outside games?" Nice work if you can get it either way.
    Well, his career is game development, is what I meant. And probably was long before he started DF.
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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    A long time ago I taught a summer camp for programming.
    Where they used the Python library PyGame.

    It was a pretty good way to learning some programming skills.
    While quickly making a game.
    Last edited by sleepy hedgehog; 2019-03-19 at 11:51 AM.

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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    hii,
    thank you for sharing such a useful information with us.i am also learning how to make a video games

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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    Quote Originally Posted by sleepy hedgehog View Post
    A long time ago I taught a summer camp for programming.
    Where they used the Python library PyGame.

    It was a pretty good way to learning some programming skills.
    While quickly making a game.
    I agree. PyGame (and Python) are a pretty good way to start.

    It doesn't matter which language you learn first. Learn one is the first step in learning to program. And by the time you start learning your 3rd language, they all begin to look the same.
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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    Quote Originally Posted by shawnhcorey View Post
    It doesn't matter which language you learn first. Learn one is the first step in learning to program. And by the time you start learning your 3rd language, they all begin to look the same.
    See my fear is I'm not gonna be able to retain all this knowledge. Wouldn't it just be easier to learn the one that's most used or most easy to conquer? Let me be analogous: I want to take a trip to Mexico so I want to learn Spanish, but I can only find French classes, but someone tells me to take the French class because that'll make learning Spanish easier.

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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    Quote Originally Posted by Magic_Hat View Post
    See my fear is I'm not gonna be able to retain all this knowledge. Wouldn't it just be easier to learn the one that's most used or most easy to conquer? Let me be analogous: I want to take a trip to Mexico so I want to learn Spanish, but I can only find French classes, but someone tells me to take the French class because that'll make learning Spanish easier.
    And by the time you learn enough so that a game company will hire you, the most popular language (for game writing) will likely have changed. Writing games is not just about one language. There's also the physics engine they use. Learning one of those is more important than learning a language. That's why I recommended PyGame. It also serves as a good introduction to game development.

    A physics engine you can download and play with is Algodoo. It is only 2D but there are plenty of videos of it in games.

    If you want to be a game develop, games first, language second. No company is going to hire you unless you first write games on your own. Start with some of the classic arcades, like Frogger and Pac-Man. Write some side-scrollers. Try your hand at 3D games. Companies aren't going to think you are serious until you have your own versions of games.

    Another resource is Extra Credits. Every Wednesday, they have a new video on the industry. You can pick up a lot of insight from them.
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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    Quote Originally Posted by Magic_Hat View Post
    See my fear is I'm not gonna be able to retain all this knowledge. Wouldn't it just be easier to learn the one that's most used or most easy to conquer? Let me be analogous: I want to take a trip to Mexico so I want to learn Spanish, but I can only find French classes, but someone tells me to take the French class because that'll make learning Spanish easier.
    This isn't really all that true for computer languages. Some are certainly easier than others, and the syntax can vary a reasonable amount, but at the end of the day the most important thing you learn is a certain mode of extremely precise logical thinking. This turns out to be pretty portable across languages.

    For instance, I took a couple comp sci classes in college, which started in Python and at some point switched to Java. Switching was obviously work because they're substantially different languages in a lot of ways, but the vast majority of what we'd learned about how to think about programs ported directly over.
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    Quote Originally Posted by shawnhcorey View Post
    And by the time you learn enough so that a game company will hire you

    No company is going to hire you unless you first write games on your own
    I mentioned this in an earlier post, and I'll mention it again: I'm not concerned with finding a job programming. This is just a hobby.
    Last edited by Magic_Hat; 2019-03-20 at 06:20 PM.

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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    Quote Originally Posted by Magic_Hat View Post
    I mentioned this in an earlier post, and I'll mention it again: I'm not concerned with finding a job programming. This is just a hobby.
    Perhaps but sometimes, the job finds you.
    How do you keep a fool busy? Turn upside down for answer.
    ˙ɹǝʍsuɐ ɹoɟ uʍop ǝpısdn uɹnʇ ʎsnq ןooɟ ɐ dǝǝʞ noʎ op ʍoɥ

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    Quote Originally Posted by Magic_Hat View Post
    I mentioned this in an earlier post, and I'll mention it again: I'm not concerned with finding a job programming. This is just a hobby.
    My thought about this would be that it's a hobby it's difficult to do well without letting it take over more or less completely. If you don't want to get involved to that degree, I advise steering well clear.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    Another thing to consider doing is contributing to one of the existing open-source games out there. The big advantage is that you can actually see some impact on a real, fully-functioning game without spending forever-and-five-days getting the game to that state. Also, you can do as much or as little as you want.

    The disadvantage, of course, is that they are large, complex code bases which may be intimidating for a new coder who doesn't understand advanced language features.

    Unfortunately, the two I know the most about -- nethack and Battle for Wesnoth seem to be in a pretty "we're feature complete and mostly just looking for bug fixes / polish" mode, which isn't as satisfying. Still, there are lots of other open-source games out there; some of them should be in earlier stages of development.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    So just to be clear - my book on how to program in C++ will still be a useful asset?

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    shawnhcorey's Avatar

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    Default Re: I wanna learn how to make video games!

    Quote Originally Posted by Magic_Hat View Post
    So just to be clear - my book on how to program in C++ will still be a useful asset?
    Yes, C++ is still a popular language (for some strange reason).
    How do you keep a fool busy? Turn upside down for answer.
    ˙ɹǝʍsuɐ ɹoɟ uʍop ǝpısdn uɹnʇ ʎsnq ןooɟ ɐ dǝǝʞ noʎ op ʍoɥ

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