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Does anyone have any beginner recommendations about software, IT, and certificates that may help me ?

I am currently a college student looking to work with a few friends to create Indie games, flash games, etc. I want to learn about some websites, programs, that will help me teach myself coding and creating games on my own. #technology #software #it #developer


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Ian’s Answer

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Though Michael is correct in that games are more difficult than other forms of programming, I think they are also much more rewarding and can also usually be compartmentalized. It's harder to psych yourself up and power through the difficult challenges that arise with building software when you aren't bought into the vision of your end product.


I would totally agree that starting with a language like Java is the right one to get into programming. But my top advice would be to download the free version of Unity3D and start working through some of the simpler tutorials like roll-a-ball. Though you'll need some semblance of programming knowledge, Unity takes a lot of the tough stuff out of the equation by supplying you with built in cameras, physics, and user input. It can take less than 5 minutes to add an object into a scene that responds to your input (mouse, keyboard, controller, etc) and has a camera follow it around. That's where I started and then you let your imagination go from there!


If programming becomes too much of a barrier as well, there are many scripting tools out there that bridge the gap between game design and engineering. For example check out the Kismet language within the Unreal Engine and Playmaker within Unity.


In my opinion, certifications, IT programs, etc aren't necessary when you are getting started. There are more than enough solid game dev tutorials out there in things like Flash, Unity, or even Unreal.


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Michael’s Answer

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If you've never written any programs before, starting with games can seem like the right way to go, but games are relatively hard compared to other forms of programming. (For example, they require real-time event handling, some mathematically finesse in terms of building up 2D/3D environments, etc.) There are a lot of pre-built libraries for building games in iOS but they generally assume you have a basic working knowledge of how to put a program together and use a library within it.


To really get your feet wet from being totally out of the pool, I'd recommend starting with a non-iOS-based programming language, as my experience is that iOS development generally assumes a lot of working knowledge about computers and programs already. My bias is to learn a language like Java first (http://www.learnjavaonline.org/), in order to understand how programs are basically put together and run from a command line perspective.


If you're determined to jump straightaway into iOS, there are a ton of resources out there. Google around for iPhone app development courses. They'll usually show you how to get the development tools installed and get a working (very basic) app up on your phone relatively quickly.


Good luck!


ADDENDUM: You asked about certifications? There's nothing really that I'm aware of for iOS development that would be of any use. The only certification in the IT world that anyone really pays attention to is the CISSP, and even that isn't any guarantee of a job or future advancement. Learning things and building things is what I personally look for on a resume when thinking about whether or not to consider a candidate for a position. Certifications, to me, mean you passed a test at some point.


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Jennifer’s Answer

Northeastern University has a program specifically focused on game development & the university also has a number of listservs, some of which are available to the public for free subscription. http://listserv.neu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?HOME


In addition, there were at least two groups that came out of Hacking Pediatrics that specifically included a gaming component, one was app-based and the other related to a kinect that might be worth contacting.


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Matt’s Answer

Here are few resources that teach general computer programming and other important programming concepts:


www.codecademy.com
www.edx.org
www.coursera.org
http://www.raywenderlich.com


And for general game development information, including tutorials, try www.gamasutra.com


I agree that certifications, in general, are not required. A certification shows that you are able to complete something. But the specific knowledge gained through certification is rarely relevant for very long.


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