I want to bring myself into the 21st century, in the programming arena. I have a few concepts for video games and request your advice. I am self-taught with no formal computer language training. I've spent the last few years programming in Basic, Fortan, and use SqlPlus to extract and analyze data from large databases.
I've searched a lot on the web and there are obviously a lot of products to choose from and many strategies.
At the moment, I was thinking about purchasing DarkBasic Professional to get started learning terminology and get some of my concepts down and then purchasing C++ along with associated compilers, finding other individuals to partner with and create final versions of my video games.
I am looking for your comments and recommendations for how I should get started and the software I should purchase.
I'd like to recommend trying Code::Blocks IDE with mingw compiler, because its free. Its also very lean.
I've tried learning with MS visual studio express 20xx but I've learned that they're very large and slow to load(on older machines). Sometimes requiring the latest .Net framework. You also have to get used to the bloated compile files that it generates. the benefit is that you can use MSDN to look up most of your error codes, but some of the errors are cryptic.
As far as developing professional games, I cant comment because I haven't done any professional game development.
I recommend using Microsoft Visual C++ because it's ideal for finding errors, for instance when you double click on the description it brings you to the line where the error is. It's also ideal because it has various helpful tools like the properties window, the word finder which is really helpful when you're trying to get at a certain place in your code and also it colours in certain types of code (i.e. a comment is green).
There is a free version which is called Visual C++ Express Edition and a paid version which is just called Visual C++, this just offers more tools and features.
The best way to learn how to program in C++ (I stand by to defend my opinion) is with a simple text editor (by all means, one with helpful indenting and colouring for C++ editing) and a command-line driven compiler/linker chain.
A great, great many people get a big fancy IDE and after six months they've learned how to write C++ but how it actually works is a complete mystery, leading to them turning up here asking things like "what's a linker error" and "I included a header file, why doesn't the library work now?"
I agree, only when you've done over a year of C++ programming should you consider buying software, I was just making people aware of the fact that there is a free and paid version. Although professionals don't recommend it using TextEdit or or Notepad isn't a bad idea either if you're doing simple programs, whatever suits you.
Dont commit to buying anything. You'll be closing your mind on things that narrow your field of view with your fancy-schmancy editor. Simple is the best, and frugal is the way to go.
Free utilities that do syntax highlighting are good for everyone. On command line i'm kind of opinionated on. You will learn the language, dont get me wrong on that, but you'll also get burned out on learning quirks of your compiler. and then thats when it gets hard to see if you're failing on the compiler or failing on the language itself.
I'd say, start slow with the most basic HelloWorld program and learn how to compile a few programs with multiple source files first. then move onwards to developing with an IDE that handles that grunt work for you so you can really focus on the language.
you'll also get burned out on learning quirks of your compiler.
Whilst it is true that you will have to learn how to use your compiler, learning to type
(hey look! We've already learned it just now!) where <compilerName> is simply the name of the executable compiler, is so simple and carries so little baggage that by comparison any IDE looks like a ridiculously complex intricacy.