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Game Development Road Map

In September 2015 I decided I wanted to make a video game. Having no experience with game development, let alone no experience with programming of any kind, I sensed quite a daunting journey ahead of me. So I took to the internet.

After attempting several search queries with varying results–how to learn video games, learn to code 3d games, game programming for beginners, and on and on–I realized that a starting point wasn’t going to be as easy to find as I would have thought. Most of my searches resulted in information that was either 1) more advanced than beginner (what the hell is a “declaration” or a “namespace” I asked myself) or 2) a thin sales pitch that I feared didn’t care if I was truly a beginner or not. I simply could not find a reliable “start here, then go here, then go here” type document; I wanted a classroom syllabus. Well, not wanting to pay for such a class, I decided to go out on my own to forge my own road map. This road map/syllabus is what you see here.

Below I’ve compiled resources that I’ve ACTUALLY USED (capitalized to not understate the importance of personally vetting all resources). This list will evolve and grow as I absorb more material. Check back often. Remember, this is just a list of resources (with some minor context). If you are interested in my full journey with more commentary in audio form listen to The Deaf Duck Podcast. The podcast maps my week-to-week journey, while the resources below should be more organized. If you have any comments or suggestions, contact me.

Phase One (began September 2015) – Learning the basics of C#

Initially, I skipped trying to learn about C#. Instead I dove right into Unity (a 3D game making engine). After a few lectures in the course I was taking I decided to take a step back to learn some fundemental C# before I continued. While I don’t believe this C# knowledge is imperative to learning Unity, my learning style is such that I want to know as much as possible about everything before moving on.

 

C# Fundamentals for Absolute Beginners by Bob Tabor [VIDEO SERIES]
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A perfect series for absolute beginners (the title isn’t just clever). The instructor, Bob Tabor, speaks slowly and articulately, but never in a condescending way. Also, he is sure to point out concepts that are important to acknowledge, but aren’t important to fully comprehend at the beginner’s stage. I appreciate this, as it allows me to compartmentalize knowledge and focus on what truly constitutes “beginner level.” The course also stays true to its beginner namesake. Many resources attempt to be a full C# course, covering everything from beginner through intermediate to advanced. C# Fundamentals for Absolute Beginners stays firmly at the beginner level, so those with no prior C# (or any computer programming language) knowledge will never feel left behind. Likewise, if you are an intermediate user, you can safely avoid this series.View my certificate of completion

 

(resources that were promising but ultimately weren’t valuable–but are still possibly of use–will be listed here)

Phase Two – Learning the basics of Unity

(forthcoming)

Software

Microsoft Visual Studio (free) – This is used for the actual writing and programming of C#.

Unity 3D (free) – This is used for the actual writing and programming of games.

Gist.github.com (free) – Sometimes you may want to share your code with a friend. This site allows you to do so without loosing the all-important formatting.

Additional Recommended Resources

Harmony in Good Game Design via The Game Theorist [VIDEO]
This video uses examples to illustrate how game mechanics must support in-game logic.

Current Resources

This is a list of resources that I am currently using, but have either not yet used enough to recommend or not yet used enough to allocate to a proper phase above.

The C# Programming Yellow Book by Rob Miles [BOOK]
Initial thoughts: Very readable and meant for beginners.

Game Programming Patterns by Robert Bystrom [WEBSITE/EBOOK]
Initial thoughts: The book seems to be about the importance of organizing code. I anticipate this resource will

Kahn Academy – Algorithms [WEBSITE]
Initial thoughts: none

Mastering 2D Games in Unity: Build 6 Fully Featured Games [VIDEO SERIES]
Initial thoughts: none

Game Physics – Extend Unity 3D’s Physics Engine in C# Code [VIDEO SERIES]
Initial thoughts: none

Learn 3D Modeling – The Blender Creator Course [VIDEO SERIES]
Initial thoughts: none

Learn to Code by Making Games – The Complete Unity Developer Course [VIDEO SERIES]
Initial thoughts: well paced

C# for Dummies [BOOK]
Initial thoughts: none

The C# Programming Language [BOOK]
Initial thoughts: none

Head First C# [BOOK]
Initial thoughts: the use of training exercises is great (and surprisingly absent from many other resources, which instead have the user simply copy code verbatim)

Unity for Absolute Beginners [BOOK]
Initial thoughts: none

Introduction to Game Design, Prototyping, and Development [BOOK/WEBSITE]
Initial thoughts: none

Sams Teach Yourself: Unity Game Development in 24 Hours (2nd edition) by Ben Tristem & Mike Geig [BOOK]
Initial thoughts: none

Computerphile [VIDEO SERIES]
Initial thoughts: none

YouTube Channel

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