Lost on where to begin

Hey all,

It's been a long time since I studied C++ (going on 16 years or so) and so I've been looking over some books and refreshing my memory on the code, but there's something I want to do and I don't really know where to begin with it. When I was learning the code, we didn't study any way to bring graphics into the code but the program I'd like to create now will heavily involve this. I've printed out the tutorial from this site and I've been going over it so I'm hoping to find at least some of my answers in there but I thought I would ask a few here and get some input on where to go.

First let me talk about the type of program I'm trying to design. I'm hoping that anyone reading this is familiar with Star Trek (at least to some degree). What I want to do is create a bridge console simulator program that links multiple computers together allowing each console to influence the others as they would on the shows and movies. For example, if the engineering console shuts down the warp core, the helm console can't go to warp.

The ultimate goal is to be able to use this program with a touch screen so that the person using the simulator isn't pointing and clicking with a mouse or pressing a button on a keyboard to accomplish a task but actually using a console designed to look like something out of Star Trek.

I already know that, at my current level with C++, this is going to be next to impossible but I have a lot of spare time on my hands and I will be using it to study the language, slowly building the program over time.

What I'm looking for is help in finding resources to allow me to learn how to program this simulator. Books, websites, tutorial guides, et cetera would be greatly appreciated.

Sorry if this seemed dragged out but I wanted to make sure I included enough information.

I would start, writing the program without graphics. It sounds like that might be a major task, it probably would be for me.
You might even link your virtual computers together over a network later, so each computer, is a real computer.

You probably want to use visual c, so google "microsoft 2010 express" which should be a free download. I wouldn't use it to write the basic code, but since your going to use it or something else later you may as well start learning about it.

You might also google codeblocks.

Another thing you might do is have each "virtual computer" run itself, meaning helm would be one program, communications another. They would have to talk to each other. You could do this though files, that one writes to and the other reads from.

I would start small, figure out how you want it to work and write one little part at a time until you have a working prototype. You can google most anything that you want to learn, and while it sometimes takes a while to find exactly what you need, the resource limit is many many times what you would find in a single book.
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The graphics, believe it or not, would be the simple part. You just have to teach yourself to do the graphics. It's the logic that's the trick (and the fun). This sounds like a fun project, basically like that game (the name escapes me) I've seen on Youtube which is pretty much this.

Like samueladams said, work on the logic in just a text interface at first. I'd go a step further though and have a main computer, and no user has direct access but must access it through each "system." It relays all communication and takes in commands, decides which commands have precedent and then updates accordingly. This way you don't have the chance of two systems trying to make changes simultaneously that could override each other.

Start very simple and build up in complexity. And definitely refresh yourself on c++ socket programming because once you are satisfied with the logic, you'll want to implement networking into it so that you can actually have it work multiplayer. Good luck and anytime you get stuck please be sure to throw up a post because this project interests me greatly.
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