Beginners' tips

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This month we've got a more unusual, and yet extremely helpful interview. I have asked the participants to the contest to send in their best beginners' tip, and this is what we've got.


Q - what is your single best tip for all the beginners to game creation out there?


Ali Yüklet: It's always the same! Start small. At first read the online tutorial - it's really easy! Then try to use your knowledge to move a model. Then try to rotate it. After that that let the camera follow him. Then add gravity and so on. But never forget to read the AUM's !! They are the best tutorial you can find! They inspired me a lot! And never forget to look into the manual. Everything is described there. And if you don't find an answer, ask the community. As I said, start really small.



Darkinferno: I hear a lot of Gamestudio designers that say start small and don't start your dream project, do small demos and so on, however if you plan to create the next counter strike, learning to code a pacman game wont help too much. Personally I say, BREAK your dream game down into smaller elements. If it's a shooter, create a small game where you're shooting apples or whatever, create a small game where you run around a terrain collecting stars, create a lot of these demos that are all BASIC elements of your game, then when you think you're confident to start your project, you'll be surprised of the amount of reusable code you may have or how easy it is to rewrite it. Sure, I may not have released my own game yet, but I've made several demos and prototypes, my Megaman and Golden eye contest entries that both took prizes, I was able to prototype my dream FPS and I'm now working on a very ambitious TPS that is way pass the concept stage and because of all of these little prototypes, I now have a small team, I'm still reusing code I made years ago when doing these small breakdowns.


Another HUGE problem for indie developers is motivation, we think of something, start, then we see something cool and lose interest. If you want to prevent this, whenever you see something great, don't say you want to make something like it, instead say: "how can I implement something similar into my CURRENT project?", this way, you actually gain more interest in finishing what you started.



Michael Smith: Game design is like building a house. You need a good foundation, so learn your tools and expand your knowledge of game design.  Then, once your foundation is finished, build your game on top of it using those tools and the things you learned.



Painkiller:I think a lot people want to make a super AAA or MMOG game without knowing what is a game engine. My advice is calm down, take a look at how the engine works, do the tutorials.  And after that, start making a simple game where you try to put in practice what you have learned. As you develop your simple game, you will learn and discover new things which improve your skills, and then you can make a bit more complex games. You have to learn from step to step, not wanting to make it all in the first day. You have to be patient, you will see your progress and maybe one day you will be able to make that nice game you had planned some time ago.



Realspawn: Start small by trying stuff out. Donít expect to create a #1 hit game right away. Study example demos from forum users and when you do ask a question in the forum, donít write: HELP HELP I NEED SOME CODE. Show what you have done so far,  so people can point you in the right direction. Donít be lazy; if you want to create something good you have to work for it. Learning how to move a character in a level is one step and every step brings you closer to that one great game you have in mind. And lost but not least: never give up! (there are plenty of people out there willing to help you out).



Robert Jäger: Try out whatever you wish or comes to your mind. It might be too complex, too difficult, too time consuming, and most likely it will play and feel bad. Scrap it and restart. Work with ugly graphics and placeholders. Feel free to have messy and buggy code... as long as it helps you to learn to work with the engine, how to build levels and models, how to write proper code. But, always think before posting or showcasing anything on the forums. If you think you're ready to reveal your project, think about it again. Look at it again, and if you think it still looks ugly - improve it before showcasing it. Don't show your stuff, unless you really have something to show off. People will tear all your hopes down and discourage you to continue working on developing games. Everyone started small and had the same problems, but the clever guys waited with announcements until they became better and had more to show than their very first steps.



Spike: The best answer I can give to beginners is to stay small, stay focused and learn your tools. If you do that, you can finish a game. Just don't give up!



Tino Vogel: My tip for programming beginners? They should start with a small project by abandoning the templates and using more the lite-c manual. I learned myself the most things with it and I'm still using it when I have problems with my code.



Wolfgang "BoH_Havoc" Reichardt: As a start, try to be as good as possible in ONE discipline, may that be programming, modeling, texturing, shaders, audio, etc. Nobody out there is a master in EVERY aspect of creating a game, so try to master "just" one skill at first. Do however have a side glance at the other topics of game development as well, so you are able to communicate with other developers. There's nothing more frustrating than an artist and a programmer not understanding each other as both lack the technical terminology of the other one.


Once you think you have gained enough skill, join a team which needs your talent or try to get an internship at a gamedev company. You'll soon notice, that you know nothing at all, but that joining the team / company really helps you a lot in mastering your talent as there is constant need and feedback for it. You'll also learn a lot of new technical terminology and get to know the work of the other team members, which helps improving your secondary skills.


The hard thing about game development is, that you have to be good (AND efficient AND up-to-date) in at least 1-2 fields, but also need a basic knowledge of every other aspect of game development. Additionally if you want to become a game-designer (and not "just" a coder, artist, sound engineer, etc), you need a good understanding of pretty much everything (Science, Biology, Writing, Books, Movies, Games, you name it) to be able to create plausible and interesting worlds a player wants to immerse in. Well, good luck.


Thank you a lot, guys! Your answers are greatly appreciated.