Getting Started In Games
Question submitted by (19 October 1999)

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  I am an experienced Cold Fusion SQL WebDeveloper that has always been interested in making his own games and would like to know the best way to get started making games. I want to develop a 3d tetris clone. I have been going through a crash course on C++ and DirectX 7 on my own. I am using Visual C++ 5.0 w/ MFC. I just downloaded the DirectX 7 SDK. But I am still not sure as to what direction I am headed. Could you please steer me in the correct direction? Are there some books, web sites, etc that you recommend? I am a quick learner. I just want to make sure that I am not wasting my time with what I am currently doing. Any help that you could give would be most appreciated.  

  I had a hard time answering this one, since I didn't know which direction you wanted me to take it. Then I realized, it just sounds like you're letting yourself get consumed in the complexities of the task. You simply need to make a decision or two.

You state that you're using Visual C++ with MFC. Okay, one decision down. Next step, pick the 3D API of YOUR choice. I can't answer that for you, and I won't get into a debate on which API is better -- there are plenty of web sites out there that do this already. I would recommend visiting a few of these and deciding for yourself. But don't forget about the plethora of free 3rd party APIs. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are wrappers for other popular APIs, so you might have better luck with one of those.

There are a billion options out there. If you want to learn one of the primary APIs (i.e. DirectX, OpenGL or Glide) then I can at least say that DirectX is the hardest to learn. I've never met anybody that would argue this point and if anybody wants to, I'll be glad to beat up on them for a while. :)

From there, the path should be clear, grasshopper. Learn your API, pick the pebble from its hand and go to town coding your game.

Response provided by Paul Nettle

This article was originally an entry in flipCode's Fountain of Knowledge, an open Question and Answer column that no longer exists.


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