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  1. #1
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    Getting started in Programming?? Advice for a friend

    Hey all,

    A friend of mine is about to graduate with a CS degree this spring. He plans on going back to school and becoming a math teacher.. but he insists that if he could get a job working on video games or in movies, that he would love to do that more than anything.

    So what I am wondering is do any of you know any programmers that you work with, and how did they get started.. what sort of things do employers look for ? I know that for video games that mod experience or making a game would probably be the best.. but what about films?

    From what I understand there is an aspect to special FX work where they have people who develop software/plugins, write scripts, etc. to fit their needs? Are these more like the TD's or do they actually have separate programmers? How would you get into something like that?

    My friend is not looking to become an artist or have much artistic say in the matter. He is only interested in creating the tools so that artists can make what they need happen.

    Any resources, links, or advice would be cool. If there is any site that is similar to a "CA for programmers" that would be awesome.
    Cave House Studios - creative animation and video
    What the Sketchbook


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  3. #2
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    There are numerous sites for people to learn programming in general, but the best one for game programming would be www.gamedev.net as it has the largest community of game programmers on the net and limitless patience towards newbies...

    But what I recommend in order to learn programming might be like what I went through.. Look at turbo pascal, get dosbox so that you can run the programs. Its old but its the best in the world to teach you the basic concepts such as code libraries and syntax. It is a very good started programming language. After that I went into Assembly but that is obsolete now so unless he wants to learn the hard core basics on how the processor operates on code and insane optimizations he might want to skip that since its benefit is minimal. Next he shouls learn c++, pick um "Sams : Teach yourself c++ in 21 days" and study in closely. When he gets very good using classes, inheritance, polymorphism, multitasking and many of the more advanced concepts then he can move on to learn how to add grafical support in the form of Direct 3D (by getting the DirectX SDK's (Software development Kits) and read all he can about it or OpenGL which is simpler but in risk of becoming obsolete when Windows Vista is released.

    If he just wants to learn 2D programming or just application programming then he might want to learn the C# .NET language (which is basically c++ with addons).

    The thing to remember is that Programming us just another artform when used correctly. It takes time, patience and dedication learning that. And the guys working in the games industry have devoted the better part of theyr lives to learning programming. Another minor thing to remember is that it helps learning the basics by heart but just the concepts of the more advanced things. It is ok to rely on reference texts and manuals. As long as you know how to use them correctly.

    Hope that helps.

  4. #3
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    Trying to break into the programming side in video game/film world is just as hard as trying to break into the art side. You need experience first.

    If you go check out those video game company's job listing, one of the requirement is that they want programmers that had worked on published game before. So instead of trying to jump into that field right away, it doesn't hurt to start working as a regular programmer for other companies, and accumulate your knowledge along the way.

    There are a lot of indy game makers looking for programmers, if your friend is willing, he can always try to work in one of those. Problem is most of those indy game maker doesn't last very long and they don't offer payments.

    It's usually a better way out to start interning in one of those game companies while you are still in college. Get the connection established, then it's easier to break into that field.

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