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Video Game Development

0 to GameDev in the wrong lane

This post is inspired by another gem found on compsci.ca forums. Although that, perhaps, might have been a good troll posting, judging by the user’s other activity on the forums, I’m inclined to think that he’s just new.

what programs do i need to becoming a game programmer. i was on youtube on other day. people said use visual studio.

YouTube is not known as the place for intelligent comments, let alone technical discussion on teaching oneself enough of Computer Science and Programming (and Math, and Physics, and…) basics to start building video games.

The YouTube type of a response though is often about a particular programming language, or some pro level tool, that someone in the industry is using. That’s great if one is looking to build a commercial game, along with a studio full of developers. Otherwise this is akin to going for your first drivers license exam with a Formula-1 car.

Wheel Steering for Formula 1 by <a href='http://www.flickr.com/photos/gen2kk/14449107/' title='Flickr'>GR Digital Kid</a>

Wheel Steering for Formula 1 by GR Digital Kid

Have you seen the steering wheels for professional race cars?

They are ridiculously complicated.

Programming languages and tools work in a similar manner — it’s a trade-off between power and ease-of-use. Some languages manage to offer both to a reasonably decent degree. Others sacrifice developer’s sanity for potential for a little faster performance. Though unless one is putting together a pro level video game, the potential for manual memory management optimizations and hardware specific accelerations don’t even come into play. If one is just starting out with video game development, and foolishly picks up C/C++ — they pick up all of the complexities and costs of those technologies, but none of the benefits (benefits over other programming languages).

Besides, even the absurdly well optimized compiler will not save the poor performance of beginner code littered with quadratic (or worse!) functions.

Don’t needlessly over-complicate problems that are already complicated.

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Discussion

  1. Posted by Alfred Thompson | September 29, 2008, 12:39 pm

    Creating computer games is a complex problem that does not lend itself to simple answers. If you want to start on the web you can start with something very basic like popfly.com. If you think you are really ready for a console game (most people are wrong about that) the easiest way to start is with XNA which uses Visual Studio/C#. But one really needs more information to make specific recommendations.

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  2. Posted by EverybodyGeek | November 10, 2008, 5:17 am

    There is a whole lot more involved when creating computer games. Flash games, 2D games, 3D games, etc. it all makes a very big difference.
    Whether you need DirectX or OpenGL or both. Are you going to use an existing game engine or write your own, etc.
    There is no answer to the question: what programs do I need to become a game developer.

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  3. Posted by ScottBlogs | December 18, 2008, 2:49 pm

    I graduated with a Diploma of Technology in Computer Systems. The program was not what I thought it would be, but I plugged through and graduated anyways.

    Perhaps I should have researched it a little more over at YouTube. (Oh wait… YouTube didn’t exist at the time)

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