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New and Not Sure Where to Start

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So hello, I hope this is alright!

 

I've always been a fan of SIM games and have played or dabbled in what feels like all of them. And with summer and college out, I'm finally able to play more.

And like many of others, I've always dreamed of maybe my own pet sim. I'm planning on using Code Academy to learn how to code since I cannot draw, and writing is... well... useful, but not as much coding or drawing. I think. Haha.

 

Anyway, hello! I'm up for getting active on here!

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Hey welcome. Have you mapped out your game in writing yet? Putting down a lot of details so that is can be taken and programmed directly is really helpful. 

As for programming have to decided what youll be learning? 

Javascript is a must for the front end, but you can use node to use it on the backend too. Its good if you want to do more live type responses, I havent used it myself but thats its strength. Otherwise you can use a different backend language like PHP or Ruby.

I personally use php and love it. It can have a bad reputation from its beginnings but it has a lot of great improvements since then. There are a lot of bad or outdated tutorials out there though, so youll want to watch that. Make sure they are newer. Most of the time you would want newer resources anyway, just php being so old its more of a problem as there are more old ones around. I dont have as much personal experience with ruby, but its probably a fine choice too.

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Thank you so much for the great tips!

For the game, I'm holding out on that. I want to learn coding and other stuff first, and just dream about it and take little notes for the time being. Decide what features to keep and get rid of, and how to make it stand out from other games. And play around with it a bit before I totally decide if I want to have a game. Haha.

And thank you for the tips on languages. There's so many to choose from! On Code Academy, I'm doing HTML and Python right now because I just didn't know where to start. I'll definitely do Javascript next.

Gosh... there's so much to learn. :happy: Thank you!

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Python is another option for the backend, didn't mention it since it isn't as common and I was on my phone and I really don't have experience using it as a web language either so can't really advise. :)

There is a lot to choose from. Good luck in your learning. I thought khan academies javascript courses were pretty decent, well my husband went through some of them so far not all but they seemed pretty good. Not sure how code academy is.

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Hello! 

I think the most important thing to ask yourself is What do you want to do? 

You seem to be uncertain of your skillset. There are a lot of roles you can take on as the owner of your own site or even a contributior to another site. A manager/content creator in particular can wear many hats. One exercise I found that helps when it comes to narrowing down what you might be passionate about is the following: 

Grab a piece of paper and make three columns - 

  1. What I Like to Do 
  2. What I Can Do
  3. What I Can't Do 

Your goals should be to make Column 3 as small as possible by adding things to Columns 1 and 2. 

Once you have 3-5 things in Columns 1 and 2 it's time to get your feet wet. 

You say you're learning HTML so I'm guessing you're starting completely from scratch as a coder. I'd recommend grabbing some hosting so you can start to play around. I learn a lot faster when I'm building things I'll actually use. If you're not sure where to start with that and don't want to pay for a private server (I don't think that's necessary for a beginner) try Neocities. You can't have a Database but you shouldn't need one to practice HTML/CSS/JavaScript. 

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Firstly, do not underestimate the skill of writing when building a game! I feel it is a little too undervalued in these kinds of games in general, and to find creative ways to work it in can really make your game shine. Second, having no programming experience is actually a good thing for you. It means that you're more open to instruction, and haven't got any old or bad habits when it comes to older languages or versions of languages.

All of the resources previously mentioned are good, but I feel there are a few more available now that make the instruction a little more engaging while still interactive.

Udacity is more well-known for its paid courses, but a  good number of the courses that are utilized in their paid certifications are also free courses that you can take. The video instruction with the quizzes and provided source are great, and an even better form of interactive learning than codecademy (IMO). You can browse their catalog and narrow it down to free courses, level (basic, intermediate, advanced), and topic. Don't expect to find courses on PHP here, it's more focused on more modern technologies that drive the mobile web - you'll find plenty of courses on Python, Javascript, HTML5, and responsive design with CSS. Their paid courses are also decent, but keep an eye out for scholarships offered by Google or other partners. These are often competitive and you'll have to work for it, but you can learn a lot from the first part of the competitive portion even if you don't make it through.

Udemy has a lot of good courses, but most of them are paid. You can find the free ones by going to their website and searching "free" in the bar - you might want to narrow your search terms, however, since they offer courses on practically everything. The biggest caveat here is that you really need to look into the ratings of the courses and their instructors. The courses are created by individuals, so the "quality control" ends up being the users that purchase their content. If you are going to buy a course, don't even pay more than about $10 (they have frequent sales) and often have coupon codes to receive specific courses for free (they offered this one for free last month). Keep in mind that they have a 30-day satisfaction guarantee; If you don't like the course, the instructor, or realize that the price wasn't worth it to you, you're not locked into it.

(I know I can sound like a commercial, but rest assured that I am in no way affiliated with these websites. I have studied at both of them - and more - and this is just reflecting my impressions.)

Edited by volka
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Oh wow. Thank you for all the amazing advice, everyone! ^.^

For now, I'm still going through the Code Academy things since they're totally free, and I figure that's the best way to learn if I really like it. But I did sign up on Neocities, and I'm looking at Udemy and Udacity. So far from what I've seen, they both look really good.

And I've started throwing down some ideas for a game, but... again, that's probably years away at this point. XD

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I second python! Though I made a pet imaging program first in python and then learned how to recreate it online. I used Flask (it's a python web framework system), but now I'm converting it to Django (another python framework). So I'm using python for the back end and html as well as css for the front end. I'm having a lot of fun learning. Good luck!

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Don’t feel like it’s a bad thing that a game is possibly years away at this point! I would encourage you to keep a document outlining your game mechanics and continue to visit it, add onto it, and adapt it. Most people choose to observe and adapt game mechanics with actual players, but a game can be well designed (and arguably even should be) before the first bit of coding starts. If you’re just learning to code, I would suggest that even more - continue designing the game while working on unrelated projects to hone your programming skills. That way, when your game is finally realized you’re less likely to want to abandon the project and decide it needs a recode because of everything you learned while you were stumbling through the project.

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