Navigation: Introduction to Programming

Tutorial 1 - Introduction to Programming


Who are these tutorials for?

The tutorials on this website are for anyone with an interest in programming with a view to creating games. They are for anyone with a basic knowledge of how to use a computer, navigating to folders, running programs and also for advanced programmers interested in 3d graphics. If you are a complete beginner at programming then I will try to step you through the processes needed to become an advanced programmer or at least a capable hobbyist.

Overview

Programming is a method of writing code to communicate with a computer and make it do things. I have been programming for some years now and I find being able to write simple code to be very satisfying. I am a hobbyist programmer and I am mainly interested in creating computer games with the knowledge of programming I have. If you want to create characters that interact with a game world and that you can control, you will probably need some understand of mathematics. In my tutorials I will try to cover the best parts of programming and mathematics that will let you create a game of your own.

What you need

  • A basic understanding of using Windows
  • A compiler.
  • A programming language.
A Compiler

You need something called a compiler to create an application, that is a program that turns code you've written in a programming language into machine code, byte code or something that an interpreter understands. Machine code is what a computer understands basically, and byte code is what an interpreter understands. An interpreter is a program that recognises byte code or compiled code that isn't directly unterstood by a machine and communicates with a machine to perform tasks you have defined in a programming language.

This may sound complicated but the good thing is you don't actually have to understand the finer details of a compiler to actually use one.

How do I get a compiler?

A compiler is often integrated into a development environment such as Visual Studio, Game Maker, or a Web Browser.

You can download any of these for free by browsing the internet and start coding straight away.

What compiler should I use?

You have to decide what programming language you want to use and what your game requires, is it a 3d game? does it need to run in a web browser? for example, and then you can decide what compiler you will need.

If you want your game to run in a web browser for example then a Javascript compiler(Normally integrated into every web browser) or Action Script(For flash games) might be a good choice.

I will cover in Tutorial 2 how to set up a project that will use a compiler to create a standalone exe application that will run on Windows.

A Programming Language

A programming language is a language like English or French is a language. The difference is that a programming language is how you communicate with a computer and not so much how you communicate with humans. Typically you type the code of a programming language into a text editor on a computer and then your compiler or translation software turns this into machine code or creates the actual application you have written in that language.

There are hundreds of programming languages, C++, Java, GML, Python, Action Script, Perl, Php, the list goes on.
C++ is probably the most powerful of these in terms of what you can do with graphics and how fast your application will run on a users device or machine.

In the tutorials found on this website I will be covering C++ and Java mainly because I find these offer the most versitility in what you can do compared to other languages.

There is a wealth of information on the internet describing these languages but I would like to teach you everything you need to know about them to create cool 3D games all in one place.
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