Game Programming for Beginners

iDevGames Jan 10, 2013

Where to go from here

Once you’ve picked and learned a programming language using the tools of your choice, you can begin to build your game. We covered a lot of information here, but there’s far more that we didn’t cover. Game programming is a huge topic, as evidenced the by the hundreds of books available on the subject!

To learn more about how to make game itself (getting graphics on the screen, handling player movement, updaing the game world, etc), there are four main paths you can take. They are:

  1. Experiment on your own
  2. Look at open source games as examples
  3. Read web tutorials and forums
  4. Read game programming books

Which is the best path? Mixing and matching all four. Books are a wonderful way to get walked through every single step of programming a game. There are dozens of books for new game programmers with dozens of approaches. Go to your local book store, and sit down and just read through a few books and pick one you like.

One thing that is important to note though, is that even though there are dozens of books, there probably isn’t the perfect book written for you. Although the Mac has exploded in popularity in recent years, the amount of game programming books written specifically for Mac OS X is slim. Fortunate for some however, the incredible success of the iPhone has led to numerous iOS game programming books. Either way, don’t be too afraid to buy a book that isn’t written specifically for the Mac. The structure of and the processes the game goes through are the same no matter what platform it is written for, so it’s still possible to learn from one. As long as you have a familiarity with the programming language being used in the book and can understand the concepts, you can apply what you read to your own code on the Mac.

Another great way to learn is to look at the code of existing games. When you first open up the code, you’ll be completely lost. Guaranteed. But keep at it, and within an hour you’ll start to make sense of things. Guaranteed. Often times, you’ll have a problem which you’re not quite sure of a solution for. Seeing the code from a game can either reveal a solution to you, or trigger a thought which leads you to solve your own problem. At the very least you’ll see another approach to creating a game that will give you ideas for the future which is immensely useful.

As always, when you’re ever stuck on a problem, doing an internet search for tutorials, forum posts, and examples on the topic is a great resource. The iDevGames forums are active and friendly, so don’t be afraid to ask a question when you hit a wall.

So now that you have enough information to create games, go experiment! Try something new! Go nuts! Once you get over the hurdle of creating your first game, you’ll start to learn faster and faster. Soon you’ll only be limited by your own imagination.

With that, happy coding and don’t forget to let us see/test your work!

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