how does one learn to develop?

General discussion about LÖVE, Lua, game development, puns, and unicorns.
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jasper.davis
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how does one learn to develop?

Post by jasper.davis » Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:28 pm

I've taken several classes on programming and have even made some small games using Javascript. but when I look at even the simpler-seeming games I am blown away by their complexity and beauty, code-wise. I sit down for a day and try to learn what is going on in there and by the end I still only have a small inkling, an idea, of what happens in there. I want to know the devs' stories on how they got to where they are and how they learned to become how they are now as developers.

jjmafiae
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Re: how does one learn to develop?

Post by jjmafiae » Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:35 pm

Keep on coding and reading about programming and you will get there.

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murks
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Re: how does one learn to develop?

Post by murks » Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:38 pm

I just started myself and finished the first project. We were two people and we worked for about a month (but we did other things too ;)).
The result is a nice little game that I'll probably release here soon.
We are two very different developers. I try to plan ahead and write decent code. I tend to overplan and overoptimize beforehand. My colleage had never used Lua before and had a working prototype of the game while I was still trying to decide which GUI libray to use for the menu. On the other hand he already rewrote the collision checking code once, now it's a quarter of the original size and still one huge piece of spaghetty code. We're both bloody beginners but we managed to write a nice and fun game during the course of a month. We learned a lot, had fun and we each have plans for our own little games.
So my advice is: come up with a small idea and just try to do it. Remember that you'll also need a menu, graphics, sounds etc. for a somewhat complete game, so keep it simple.
Just to give you some perspective, our game is a basically simple top-down scrolling shooter, and it took us a month.

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lalorobot
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Re: how does one learn to develop?

Post by lalorobot » Mon Jun 30, 2014 6:58 pm

WiBit.net, Wikibooks, Löve's wiki and forums and the internet (just google love2d tutorials).
It wasn't all that easy for me to start I got confused and frustrated more than once but you just have to keep trying, I recommend watching WiBit's first and third courses since both of them are free and helped me a lot especially the Intro to OOP one after that you might want to check out the Lua Programming wikibook (link above), the wiki is also extremely useful, it has links to tutorials and every single one of LÖVE's features are documented.

In short:
Watch this and this then read this after that go through some tutorials links:
http://gamedevelopment.tutsplus.com/art ... medev-4331
http://www.headchant.com/2010/11/27/lov ... -must-die/
http://www.explodingrabbit.com/forum/en ... al-01.669/

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OttoRobba
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Re: how does one learn to develop?

Post by OttoRobba » Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:14 pm

The fact that you mind is blown when you look at the work of others is great - it is a sign that you understand enough to know the hard work and beauty of the craft. If you know that making a 2 minute stop-motion animation is hard work, watching Wallace and Gromit will dazzle you.

My path as a developer is weird - mind you, I'm not an expert, I'd say I might be finally approaching an intermediate level of knowledge and skill.
I've worked as an Illustrator and as a Designer on comic books, books and websites. I've spent most of my life studying art, design and literature (but never coding). I would make games when I was 12 but gave up when I couldn't find university courses in Brazil to keep learning. Silly me as there were science computing classes but I'm glad I took a different path.

After living 3 months in the USA last year, studying yet more art, I felt like that was not the right decision. I decided to go back to my roots and tackle the beast of programming so that I could become a developer - I'll make games, even if it is by myself. I tried to get collaborations going but people would not commit, so I'm going at it alone. It is scary, it is hard but damn it, it is wonderful.

What has worked for me, so far, is doing simple, minimal things. Specially things that others have already implemented. I do my implementation and then look at their work - maybe they used cleaner functions, maybe they used a really clever iterator or maybe they just wrote things in such a straightforward manner that even a newbie could understand it.

After that, I tend to refactor my own with what I learn from them - and I do my best to try different things. I'm currently porting my entire game into MoonScript, not out of spite (I love Lua) but rather because I feel like I can read it better and using it allows me to write even cleaner code.

Also, never pigeonhole yourself. I find Ruby interesting so I'll learn it a bit now and then, watching videos and whatnot. I also draw, paint, write, go out with my friends, play board games... everything you do goes to build the kind of developer you are.
And never, ever, think something you learn will be pointless. I've learned so much from literature classes that applies to the game craft that it is not even funny - and graphic design taught me how to manage my projects and my time better than I could have hoped.

If you love it, keep doing it - even when you hate it.

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baconhawka7x
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Re: how does one learn to develop?

Post by baconhawka7x » Wed Jul 02, 2014 10:01 am

Let me start by saying that it's good you're looking at source code and are interested in that stuff, but don't obsess over comparing your code to others. If you're looking at a multi-file project, someone else's code is almost always going to be difficult to comprehend.

I started getting into development by making minecraft texture packs, which helped me understand the basic fundamentals of how games work. From there I started making some basic mods but not really much actual programming (I basically just copied basic techniques from tutorials on youtube). All under the name "Sock Munkee Development," with help from my friend (who is now my cousin), Derek. After a few months of research and luck, I found Love.

My advice for learning programming is the classic Fail Faster saying. Just make smaller games, all with at least one major mechanic you have no idea how to program, then learn how to program that and you will have learned a ton.

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shatterblast
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Re: how does one learn to develop?

Post by shatterblast » Sat Jul 05, 2014 5:24 pm

From what coding I do know, I have found taking basic courses from school to be extremely helpful. One area of coding is similar in another area of coding in a different language. Also, I like scripting since it seems easier than a core language like C++ or Java.

Taking classes gives the opportunity to receive feedback and do basic examples that can expand your discipline and knowledge. Personally, long distance learning also seems easier than visitting a physical class, but that's just personal preference.

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