I recently decided to embark on a journey that will hopefully let me create something truly remarkable at some point – learning how to program/code! It’s still in the early stages though, as I haven’t even picked a language yet, but ya gotta start somewhere, right? Welcome to another edition of the Weekly Indie Update!
Some would likely call me insane for starting another big project like that, while also maintaining this very website and writing over on Gaming Momentum, and maybe they’re right. Not that it matters though – I’ve got all the time in the world! My reason for wanting to try it is simple, and likely why a lot of people have also taken up programming: over the years I’ve seen, written about and played countless games, so I figured, why not take a shot at creating one myself? That said, I’m not entirely sure how far I can take this on my own since my artistic skills are pretty much nonexistent, but right now the important thing is learning the tools of the trade, rather than drawing doodles. I’ll draw my way across that bridge when I get to it.
I’ve messed around with various programming languages in the past, but just like the two languages, it’s ancient history – remember Pascal or BASIC? Yeah, didn’t think so, and I doubt either would get me far today anyway. They sure were fun back then though… back before the likes of GameMaker, RPGMaker, Unreal Engine and Unity made it easy (or easier, at least) to create video games. Not that I have the slightest against any of them, mind you, as I’d like to think that (almost) any game engine can be used for something good and I’ve seen examples of both garbage and great titles created with each of those.
But that’s not the path I’m taking, at least not for the time being. That may change once I get past the current stage of learning how to make magic happen, however, which is ‘learning how to think like a programmer’. You’d be surprised how hard it is to ‘think in code’, no matter how great an understanding of the English language one might have. I’d like to think my writing skills, in general, can be considered to be at least above average, maybe even good, but that definitely doesn’t mean picking up a programming language is easy as pie (mmm pie..) – not even close.
So how did I decide to begin this adventure? With HTML and CSS, actually! Now, I’m aware that this may sound somewhat obscure, but believe me – there is actual logic behind this choice. HTML and CSS obviously have very little to do with actual programming, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely useless in relation to it. Not only are they relatively easy to learn, but in my experience, they’re also a valuable starting point for a completely green programmer. The good thing about kicking things off with something easy like these two, even if you’ll likely move onto something entirely different afterwards, is that it’ll help you determine if this is actually something you want to do – without risking hitting a brick wall, due to having started out with a more complex language (like C#).
Am I the only one who sees it that way? Heck if I know, but what I do know, is that if there’s an easy way to take that first step, why should it be ignored? It’s pretty much guaranteed that I’ll be moving on from HTML/CSS sooner rather than later, but that doesn’t mean I’d consider it to have been a waste of my time. Through the two, I’ve learned how to organize snippets of code so it’ll be easier to troubleshoot if need be and perhaps more importantly, it’s made me realize that this is something I want to do. Don’t expect me to design websites though! My brain’s overflowing with video game ideas and it’s time to turn them into something more.
Normally this would be where I line up a few new Kickstarter projects that I’ve taken a fancy to over the past week, but I’ve decided to go back to writing individual articles on them instead, starting next week.
Oh, and have you heard that Linux and Mac users can now enjoy Stealth Bastard Deluxe? And in case you missed any of my writings in the week gone by, I went a bit point ‘n click crazy with the freeware adventure THE BUM, a review of The Last Door: Chapter 1, and the catnapping tale called A Cat’s Night 2. For the platforming crowd, I’ve got impressions of the Flightless browser demo and a brief glance at the Jack the Reaper demo. What more could you possibly ask for?