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Topic # 204613 9-Oct-2016 15:52
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Okay so I've decided to try to learn a programming language.


I've had a bit of experience with Javascript.


Construct and RPG Maker both use it and they are supposed to be really easy to learn.


Some people have also suggested Phaser.js and Canvas.


I'm interested in working through books, getting a tutor and going through training videos as well.


I have some big plans, but I'm already an (amateur) producer and writer of games, so I'm not sure I need to spend the time learning to code.


I'm also learning Liberty BASIC for prototyping because it's probably the simplest language I know of, and it will take less time for me to conquer it, so I can use it while I'm still struggling with javascript.




Does anyone have a better idea of what I'm getting myself into?


Has already done this and can tell me if it's worth the extra brain power and time?


Does anyone have any tips about staying focused when my brain explodes/staying motivated?


I'd love to do a game jam (maybe chicago-sanfran train jam one day) and being able to code would allow me to do that.


I live in Wellington but love to travel.


The other reason I was going to learn to code is that I currently need a day job to support my creative aspirations - I'm totally fine with working for cheap and contacting professionals and local businesses to do probono work until I have a strong portfolio and can start charging people a reasonable fee. I'm a freelance writing mentor as well, so coding doesn't have to bring in big bucks.


Coding would be the perfect day job for me - allowing me to travel and work remotely, maintain a mobile office, live just about anywhere.

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  Reply # 1648245 9-Oct-2016 22:29
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I have no idea what you are getting yourself into : ).

Learning tends to be more fun in combination with something you want to achieve.

Most of the freelance JavaScript work will be webcoding (I'm guessing). The things you will do with gaming are different in focus. There will be a lot in common, but the focus will be really different.

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  Reply # 1648254 9-Oct-2016 23:21
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w3schools, codecademy and this Free online textbook are what I suggest, I don't think javascript would really be any harder than liberty


I find a good way to learn is just trying to make something, set yourself a goal and figure out how to do it.


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  Reply # 1648289 10-Oct-2016 08:21
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Be Careful. A lot of these javascript libraries come and go, some stand the test of time others don't.


What do you want to do? Do you want to make games? Do you want to make websites or applications? Yes javascript can be used for both. 


What basic programming experience do you have? Want to have? 



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  Reply # 1648480 10-Oct-2016 12:39
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I want to make games, but I also want to use javascript to work for other people - software/app/game programming.






As a kid I developed games in BASIC using a BBC Micro emulator on my family's Acorn Archimedes computer.


I built a website for a school using dreamweaver + a bit of javascript about a year ago, and updated the website regularly.


Since then I have put in about 90hrs learning C# (didn't work out), C++ (didn't work out), Python (I enjoyed it and wrote a few programs) and Javascript (enjoyed it want to work more with it.)

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  Reply # 1648499 10-Oct-2016 13:00
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Its great that you have tried your hand at different things.


As long as you understand basic programming concepts. e.g.
Sequences ( greater than, less than numbers & incrementing) 


Selection (switches/if's)


Repetition (loops, recursion etc)


& Functions/inheritance/polymorphisim etc. 


You can move on to more advanced techniques. Async programming like you do in javascript, multi threaded applications and more advanced processes like mutex's interupting processes, singletons, IO Factories etc. the list goes on and on... 


Javascript is cool.. but its not a language I would pick for all tasks. Javascript is most definitely worth learning if you plan to do web work, regardless of what server side language you use (php/python/ ...). If you want to make web based games it will probably be quite good as well. I personally wouldn't write games in Node.js ... Id prefer to use an engine of some sort, probably based on C++.

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  Reply # 1648502 10-Oct-2016 13:05
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TheWinterDragon: As a kid I developed games in BASIC using a BBC Micro emulator on my family's Acorn Archimedes computer.


If you're anything like me then you haven't kept any of your code, but just in case you have: If you're bored one day you might want to try running your games on a Raspberry Pi. You can get a Pi version of the Archimedes' OS and take it for a spin.

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  Reply # 1648504 10-Oct-2016 13:07
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My main project is a browser-based game a simulation of high school hustling - entrepreneurial skills in high school some illegal some not, like GTA1 and Bully in theme, looking more like Limbo meets Dofus, and Phantasy Star meets Sonic meets NZ art photography buildings and environment, but playing like The Sims or Hell's Kitchen DS. It will have RPG elements.




And I'm producing a larger project - a prototype for a small Multiplayer online game (I'm writing some adventures 5 per character for 7 player-controlled characters) - basically you have to finish the five adventures where you may meet the other characters, before you can build your kingdom and protect it from other players and NPCs - there will be dead characters who leave behind homes and backpacks and a graveyard for characters you've built that died, which I would like to finish coding myself.


And get my mate to finish the art.

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  Reply # 1648507 10-Oct-2016 13:10
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If you're anything like me then you haven't kept any of your code, but just in case you have: If you're bored one day you might want to try running your games on a Raspberry Pi. You can get a Pi version of the Archimedes' OS and take it for a spin.





Wow that's cool, no I haven't kept any of my code, but I still remember how to code in BASIC.




So I'm thinking of building prototypes in BASIC and Liberty BASIC.


Then using Construct and maybe RPGMaker to build a beta prototype.


And finish it in Javascript.


Or something like that.




If I build something in BASIC is there any way to export/share it?

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  Reply # 1649153 11-Oct-2016 13:30
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When you say you want to write games, what sort of games? AAA+ titles, mobile games, browser based? What? 


Yes, if you learn to use it properly (which is far, far harder than just learning to use it) JavaScript will help you with building websites, to keep you going, but it's not a tool you'd use for writing games as such. With the exception of doing something like a WebGL based thing, perhaps using a Babylon.js or similar framework, you're not going to get very far in game coding if you're using pure JavaScript. Traditionally, games would be written in C or C++, with a potential dose of assembler on top. These days, you're going to probably want to look into a Unity or perhaps the Unreal Engine. With Unity, you *can* use a variant of Javascript (I'm not sure exactly how closely the skill would translate between JS and "UnityScript" as I'm a C# person) or you can use C#. With Unreal you need C++ if you're coding (you apparently don't have to code at all if you use their "visual scripting" tool). 


Unity and Unreal are very much state of the art as far as hobbyist game engines go, and are both used in professional shops too. For that reason I'd recommend you look at both of these options also. 





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  Reply # 1649172 11-Oct-2016 13:53
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thanks that's very helpful.


I'm looking at learning Unity 2d first then 3d later.


I have some books on C# but I'm thinking of using unity first, as pure C# feels like a pretty steep learning curve.


the kinds of games I want to make are indie video games.


I want to make tabletop as well, so I'm keen to build some digital ccgs and rpgs as prototypes for tabletop games.


The games I want to build are usually pretty ambitious with high expectations/standards.


some advice I got was to build a feature I like for the game and get it working, then build another feature then iterate on top of that until the game is where I want it.


I don't really like AAA titles (with the exception of the sims 1 and possibly Close Combat.)


But I would like to get to the point where I have a couple of thousand downloads/subscribers.


My long term dream is to win an indie award and get featured in a indie game: the movie 2 type movie (for purely financial PR reasons).




My biggest design influences would be: Limbo, Super Meat Boy, Braid, Close Combat, The sims 1, Hell's Kitchen DS, Wall E DS, Hacker Evolution: Untold,


Crimsonland, Dofus, 8bitmmo, atomic pongling, neverhood, Lisa, Else Heartbreak (), Sportsfriends, Marble Madness, Clop, Passage and Gain Ground.


But with more of a personal stamp on it and I'd like to also write adventure games - loved Discworld 2 but would like to create something like a story-driven Syphon Filter type game.


My favourite game genres to make would be sims/strategy/hybrids and adventure or rpg.




I would like to make games for steam and indie marketplace for current consoles - eventually also on disc would be ideal.




I think I would classify my vision for my game creation as graphically simple, retro-influenced, innovative mechanics and sometimes story-driven.

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  Reply # 1651261 14-Oct-2016 19:21
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My 20 favourite games of all time are:


1. Magic: the Gathering Online


2. Land of Illusion: Starring Mickey Mouse (sms)


3. The Sims 1: Deluxe Edition


4. Close Combat 1


5. Mortal Kombat 2


6. Discworld 2


7. Earthworm Jim


8. Limbo


9. Super Meat Boy


10. Gain Ground


11. Gynoug


12. Marble Madness


13. Hacker Evolution - Untold


14. Syphon Filter 1


15. Lemmings


16. Jurassic Park


17. Robocop Vs the Terminator


18. Another World


19. Osmos


20. Ecco the Dolphin

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  Reply # 1744683 20-Mar-2017 17:57
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I've moved away from Javascript since I posted this thread.


At the moment I've spent a few months on and off learning python.


It's slow to get to actually making games so I'm also learning unreal engine for 3d and construct for 2d.


and for robot sims I'm keen to learn gazebo sim (unfortunately there aren't any books on it)


I'm also learning InDesign because I plan to self-publish a magazine with some friends.


Oh and I'm keen to learn machinima for animated short movies based on some of my short stories, but I could only find a very few resources for it.


I think I know that C++ is underneath unreal engine 4, but I've heard that you can do quite a bit without having to learn c++.


If it comes to that I think c++ will be easier to learn once I'm relatively fluent in python (say 3yrs).


I'm no longer looking for work in programming as I freelance as a writer now.


My interest in programming is purely to build software I want to build - mostly indie games and open source software, some ambitious, some not so much. And I'm aware it may take 10-20yrs to actually finish all the products i have in my head. I'm in for the long haul.

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