Absolute beginner

This is a discussion on Absolute beginner within the C# Programming forums, part of the General Programming Boards category; Hey all, only just registered so that I could get some tips and useful information off people! My dilemma is ...

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    Absolute beginner

    Hey all, only just registered so that I could get some tips and useful information off people!

    My dilemma is that I'm going to be starting a degree in computer games technology in september which ive been told includes C# programming, only problem is that I have NO prior experience with any type of programming at all.

    I have downloaded Microsoft Visual C# 2008 (As this is what the course uses) and ive also downloaded the XNA program which the course uses too.

    I was recommended to learn some basic programming before the course begins as this will give me an advantage, plus there will be other students who will already have some experience within programming.

    So, can anyone give me some really good advice please?


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    Registered User valaris's Avatar
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    I doubt the degree will be focused around C# if its truly trying to prepare you for a career in the game industry. It sounds like making games is what you want to do, so get a lot of good books and then practice on your own time making small games and applications.

    Learn C++. Learn a good deal about OpenGL and/or DirectX. Download a good 3d engine and noodle around. Irrlicht Engine - A free open source 3d engine is cool.

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    Ive just re-read the email I have, its says that in the first year I will be learning C# and XNA.

    So im guessing that in the later years will be when I learn C++

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    What school are you doing this degree at?

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    from what I hear C# with microsoft's XNA is the best way for a noob to start making games with real programming but you can easily infer that its not what is used in the real world ... I think microsoft created XNA for their xbox live community indie games.

    I think you have to make a decision here, i would practice both languages (they are very distinct though)

    (Now thinking of it, an intermediate C++ user would have no trouble picking up C# or java and be up and coding in no time, at least thats how it was for me)
    Last edited by rodrigorules; 05-11-2010 at 09:53 AM.

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    and the hat of wrongness Salem's Avatar
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    So what are the course pre-requisites?

    If the course states "no prior knowledge of programming is assumed", then relax.
    If it says "familiar with at least one other high level language" then you might have a problem.

    Some schools prefer the raw newbies (before they pick up a bunch of bad habits).

    I mean, if you're going to be taught C#, then there's no point burning your last free summer for the next 20 years busting a gut learning C#.
    If you dance barefoot on the broken glass of undefined behaviour, you've got to expect the occasional cut.
    If at first you don't succeed, try writing your phone number on the exam paper.
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    Im doing the degree at Birmingham University. And when I went to the open day (Id already had my place accepted by this time) I was told it would be extremely advantagous for me to learn some of the basic programming.

    Plus, id rather learn some very basic C# programming so my mind is at ease a little, as I was strongly recommended to do so.

    On the other hand, they did say that it is all taught from the beginning, but as ive said, there will be other new students that will be writing lines of coding off the top of their heads straight away.

    The head of the course recommended this book:
    C# and Game Programming: A Beginner's Guide: Amazon.co.uk: Salvatore A. Buono: Books

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    and the hat of wrongness Salem's Avatar
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    I take it you're referring to this
    Birmingham City University : Computer Games Technology - BSc (Hons)

    It makes no mention of what previous programming experience you have (or that it is in c#)


    > I was told it would be extremely advantagous for me to learn some of the basic programming.
    I wonder if they told that to everyone, to cut down their workload.

    Arriving fresh at college ready for the challenge ahead would be better than fretting all summer over exactly how much c# you know (compared to others unknown), and arriving mentally worn out.

    Sure, it's something to mess about with on a rainy day or two, just to get familiar with the IDE (how to create a project etc), but I wouldn't go overboard on it.
    If you dance barefoot on the broken glass of undefined behaviour, you've got to expect the occasional cut.
    If at first you don't succeed, try writing your phone number on the exam paper.
    I support http://www.ukip.org/ as the first necessary step to a free Europe.

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    Slime Dragoon_42's Avatar
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    This page will come in handy:
    Cheat Sheet : All Cheat Sheets in one page

    Learn to love MSDN as well:
    The C# Language

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    Thanks for the replies. And yes that is the course I'm doing.

    In fact, the person who spoke to me about learning some basic programming was actually one of the heads and had a quiet word with me after a presentation as I had some questions about needing any previous knowledge about programming. I don't think it was the type of thing they do say to everyone to be honest. He seemed quite genuine and was honest about what he would expect.

    Anyway, I'm going to decide over the next week which books I'm going to order and go from there doing a little bit at a time up to the start of the course. I will probably just do some "on a rainy day or two" as you have said Salem.

    Thanks again

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    It is always an advantage to know stuff before you take a course, if only so you dont get stuck on the small details. For instance my uni sent out a small compendium of math exercises during the summer before the first semester. It was in no way necessary to do anything with it but they recommended it just to brush up on the math skills.

    If you know any programming prior to taking a programming course it is an advantage, but you should remember to keep an open mind. Id say, mess around and get to know the basic syntax, maybe do a tutorial or two before if you feel like it but you shouldnt feel pressured about it. You wont be alone in not knowing anything about programming when you arrive.

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    You could easily buy a C# book and work through it...e.g., O'Reilly's Head First book on C#, or one of the Apress books. Why not? It's not like you're going to fill up your brain and have no room for course material ;-)

    If you know zilch about programming, then perhaps the Wrox Beginning C# book would be good. They tend to start with concepts and console and then introduce forms programming later.

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