how do i learn to develop a game?

I have a teenage son interested in learning how to create his own computer game. He has very little programming experience, but is bright and motivated. We have a Pentium750 at home. Where can he go to learn how? Does he need any special hardware/software? Are there any easy to use tools to get him started?

Thanks for your help.


Comments

  • : I have a teenage son interested in learning how to create his own computer game. He has very little programming experience, but is bright and motivated. We have a Pentium750 at home. Where can he go to learn how? Does he need any special hardware/software? Are there any easy to use tools to get him started?

    Okay first, your kid needs to learn how to program before he can start making games. The good news is that you can learn how to program while learning how to program a game.

    I'd suggest you download the free 32-bit C/C++ compiler DJGPP (www.delorie.com/djgpp/) and the excellent game programming library Allegro (http://www.talula.demon.co.uk/allegro/).

    Allegro is an *extremely* easy but powerful game programming library to learn. The best way to learn is to open up the examples and modify the code while learning how the code functions. I'd also suggest your son buy a C/C++ programming book to learn from because it will help him understand the code.

    You son needs to learn these simple rules:

    #1) Computer Game making is not about programming. It is about game *design*. The programming is the easy part. In order to make a game you need to *plan out* the entire game from start to finish, documenting *every single aspect* of the game, from menus, to combat, to how many frame are used for walking around. Start by writing the basic game structure:

    Game Credits - Title Screen - Game Options:

    - New Game
    - Load Game

    New Game - Game Intro - Game Itself - Game Initializing:

    - Load graphics
    - Load Sounds
    - Load Maps

    Game Initialization - Game Loop:

    - Play Music
    - Draw Background
    - Draw Sprites
    - Place User Sprite at Edge of Map
    - Get User Input
    - Interpret User Input
    - Etc.

    Now you've got that, and it is pretty basic. Now go back and describe each again, list how you are going to accomplish it, where all the files are, and why you need it. Then do it again for those subsections until you can't do it anymore.

    This also includes writing *how* you are going to do it, as in algorithms, etc.

    Boom, you have your game, it is merely a matter of translating it to code, and that's easy because it is practically copying.

    Programming: 70% planning, 10% coding, 20% debugging/testing.

    #2) You're not going to make the next DOOM. Face it, you're not, and your first game is going to S UCK. But don't get discouraged. idSoftware started out with simple games like Commander Keen if I remember right. Major game programmers have *years* of experience and learned on their own. Plus they are PAID which helps.

    #3) Buddy up. A surefire way to fail is to take the "me against the world" stance. Nothing is worse than a one-man project. But make sure you define some coding STANDARDS, or have one person write the code after it is planned.

    #4) Stick to the plan. Even if you think up some wild new feature, add it to the END of the list and finish what you have already planned. If you keep adding features you'll never finish, and your code will become more entropic.

    Anyone else have tips?

    -Xotor-


  • I have a few to add.

    DJGPP - allegro are good.

    First of all you need to decide the programming language.
    (I would prefer c/c++) but lot of prefer other languages.

    Well Most of it Xotor has already explained. To add to it :-

    He should have good mathematics knowledge(at least up to trignometry). Good programmers don't hate maths.

    Secondly a lot of physics should also be looked into. Like the speed of sound is slower than the speed of light -etc. As you will see games play sound before really showing you anything.

    Again I give preference to maths - coz a lot of maths is involved in game programming.
    And don't worry about the first game - all of us screwed up in our first attempt.

    :

    : I have a teenage son interested in learning how to create his own computer game. He has very little programming experience, but is bright and motivated. We have a Pentium750 at home. Where can he go to learn how? Does he need any special hardware/software? Are there any easy to use tools to get him started?
    :
    : Okay first, your kid needs to learn how to program before he can start making games. The good news is that you can learn how to program while learning how to program a game.
    :
    : I'd suggest you download the free 32-bit C/C++ compiler DJGPP (www.delorie.com/djgpp/) and the excellent game programming library Allegro (http://www.talula.demon.co.uk/allegro/).
    :
    : Allegro is an *extremely* easy but powerful game programming library to learn. The best way to learn is to open up the examples and modify the code while learning how the code functions. I'd also suggest your son buy a C/C++ programming book to learn from because it will help him understand the code.
    :
    : You son needs to learn these simple rules:
    :
    : #1) Computer Game making is not about programming. It is about game *design*. The programming is the easy part. In order to make a game you need to *plan out* the entire game from start to finish, documenting *every single aspect* of the game, from menus, to combat, to how many frame are used for walking around. Start by writing the basic game structure:
    :
    : Game Credits - Title Screen - Game Options:
    :
    : - New Game
    : - Load Game
    :
    : New Game - Game Intro - Game Itself - Game Initializing:
    :
    : - Load graphics
    : - Load Sounds
    : - Load Maps
    :
    : Game Initialization - Game Loop:
    :
    : - Play Music
    : - Draw Background
    : - Draw Sprites
    : - Place User Sprite at Edge of Map
    : - Get User Input
    : - Interpret User Input
    : - Etc.
    :
    : Now you've got that, and it is pretty basic. Now go back and describe each again, list how you are going to accomplish it, where all the files are, and why you need it. Then do it again for those subsections until you can't do it anymore.
    :
    : This also includes writing *how* you are going to do it, as in algorithms, etc.
    :
    : Boom, you have your game, it is merely a matter of translating it to code, and that's easy because it is practically copying.
    :
    : Programming: 70% planning, 10% coding, 20% debugging/testing.
    :
    : #2) You're not going to make the next DOOM. Face it, you're not, and your first game is going to S UCK. But don't get discouraged. idSoftware started out with simple games like Commander Keen if I remember right. Major game programmers have *years* of experience and learned on their own. Plus they are PAID which helps.
    :
    : #3) Buddy up. A surefire way to fail is to take the "me against the world" stance. Nothing is worse than a one-man project. But make sure you define some coding STANDARDS, or have one person write the code after it is planned.
    :
    : #4) Stick to the plan. Even if you think up some wild new feature, add it to the END of the list and finish what you have already planned. If you keep adding features you'll never finish, and your code will become more entropic.
    :
    : Anyone else have tips?
    :
    : -Xotor-
    :



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