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Thread: First Game Project?

  1. #1
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    First Game Project?

    I've recently started taking computer courses in college and I'm being taught some C++ this semester. I've made a few console applications which are mostly used to solve business problems such as net pay, taxes, revenue, et cetera. Simple stuff so far.

    Does anyone have any ideas for on where I could start if I was interested in creating a simple game in C++? When I say simple I'm talking along the lines of pong. I'd prefer to make a 2D graphical one, although I'm not sure how feasible that would be. I've read about SDL but I'm not sure how beginner friendly that is.

    Any suggestions would be welcome.
    AMD FX-9590 4.7Ghz, 256GB SSD, 2TB 7200RPM, nVidia 970 GTX, 16GB DDR3

  2. #2
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    Re: First Game Project?

    If I were you, I would get to writing something like Sudoku for a console first. If you can get the computer to solve a Sudoky puzzle on it's own, you'll probably be about half way to where you would need to be to write something like Pong. SDL is a great library if you can figure out how to use it, but ANYTHING graphical requires a lot of time and effort to figure out.

    Other game suggestions: Asteroids, Skeet, lunar lander. Look up all the old classics. They are very useful for learning the ropes.

    Just so you know, game writing is a bit above beginning C++. Object-Oriented programming is the way to go, so until you get past the procedural stuff, I would suggest you focus completely on console games.

  3. #3
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    Re: First Game Project?

    SDL is relatively beginner friendly. If you're learning C++, you're already dealing with more complexity then what most people are used to so SDL won't be much of a problem on top of that.

    Couple of things to watch out for:

    There's no easy way to quickly draw solid primitives, circles, sqares etc. (Direct access to screen pixels and easy drawing of sprites and images mean that this shouldn't be a problem)

    No easy way to rotate sprites, that'll require learning a bit of OpenGL.

    SDL will require a bit of work on your behalf if you want your game to support multiple resolutions (as opposed to OpenGL where you can set things to strech and scale with the window)

    Overall, I think SDL is the right choice for you right now. Over time, I think you may want to move onto OpenGL (which of course can be used for 2D), but for now SDL seems the right option, it's straighforward and will handle your needs.

    EDIT: Completely forgot about SFML which you could use instead of SDL. It's newer, seems promising, but I haven't used it enough to compare with SDL so I can't say whether it's better.
    Last edited by Sofox; September 27th, 2011 at 01:45 PM.

  4. #4
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    Re: First Game Project?

    You may want to take a look at http://lazyfoo.net/SDL_tutorials/index.php for tutorials on game creation in C++ and SDL.

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    Re: First Game Project?

    If you're only familiar with writing text-based applications, you may want to start with ncurses, as opposed to SDL. For a simple exercise, try writing a terminal-based minesweeper clone, nothing complicated, just initialise an array of cells, randomly seed mines onto them, use arrow keys for moving around the field, space to open a cell, another key to flag it.

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    Re: First Game Project?

    Check the Allegro game lib (there are various allegro packages in the repos).

  7. #7
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    Re: First Game Project?

    Thanks for the suggestions guys. I'll have to try SDL in a couple months when I'm a little more skilled in programming. Maybe I'll play tinker with it for now.

    Besides Sudoku and Minesweeper does anyone have any other ideas for console games I could make? Perhaps I should make a few console games before I attempt even a simple graphical game, then.
    Last edited by Carpentr; September 27th, 2011 at 09:44 PM.
    AMD FX-9590 4.7Ghz, 256GB SSD, 2TB 7200RPM, nVidia 970 GTX, 16GB DDR3

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  9. #9
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    Re: First Game Project?

    I recently made a "video poker" game in Python. Something like that may be fun.

  10. #10
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    Re: First Game Project?

    Quote Originally Posted by Carpentr View Post
    Thanks for the suggestions guys. I'll have to try SDL in a couple months when I'm a little more skilled in programming. Maybe I'll play tinker with it for now.
    Take my advice from a programmer of a few years: Never assume that programming skill works like a RPG levelling system where you can only use a certain "skill" when you have enough "experience". In real life, you can pretty much attempt anything from the get go no matter what your level of experience is. In fact it's usually a good idea that you do that because not only do you learn something in the process, but you also learn early on which areas you need to focus on to improve.
    The truth is, that doing a game in your spare time could complement your education. You try and experiment in your spare time, and you can ask your college lecturer questions that arise from your work. Sometimes you may spend time working on a game subsystem only to learn of a much better way of doing it, but that's going to happen constantly throughout your entire programming career so there's no point getting worried about it.

    Other game ideas:
    Lights Out (popular, look it up if you don't know what it is)
    Connect 4
    Snake (timing based)
    Go
    Tic tac toe (straightforward)
    Multigenre 3d FPS/Driving MMORPG with realistic economy system and comprehensive skilltree (hmmmm, might want to leave that one for a bit)

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