Chicago Indie Game Developer Meeting

Yesterday I went to the monthly Chicago Indie Game Developer meeting. Basically we discuss what we’re doing regarding game development and make goals for the next meeting.

Part of me was disappointed since I didn’t really accomplish my goals. I wanted to have a command line Tic-Tac-Toe game ready, primarily since it would simultaneously improve my coding skill and provide me with a completed game, no matter how simple. The game compiles cleanly, which is good, but it is causing strange errors. I firmly believe it is “strange” only because I must not understand the code thoroughly, but what I find weird is that I have a string, say “First: throwing exception”. Why would the program output “rst: throwing exception” and “rowing exception”, and even weirder, why would it do so when I don’t catch an exception?! I’ll figure it out. In any case, there is some logic error that prevents me from saying that I completed the game. On the other hand, it still counts as experience, and I believe that I learned at least a little bit from the project so far. Just not as much as I wanted to.

Also, I was supposed to look up tools I could use for game development. Primarily I was being urged to look into BlitzMax since it is supposed to ease development and also be portable to multiple operating systems. It’s currently available for the only platform I don’t own. gcc on the other hand isn’t limited, and I’m already getting quite familiar with it.

Still, I pressed on. I have to be able to use some tools, and I realized that this was my fundamental problem with how I was going about learning. Java programmers don’t program in Java. They use the Java API. And yet, here I was trying to learn how to use C++ by building up the basic components. So I finally googled and found found a few C++ game APIs, all in various stages of development. GameBlade looks promising, as does Kyra. The latter apparently works on Gnu/Linux, Win32, Mac OSX, and BSD.

My goals for next month include giving myself more time to practice coding and learning how to use one of the game APIs I found. I need to make those goals less abstract by specifying numbers such as how many hours per week I’ll practice or how many small demos or techniques I want to try to master. Still, at least I know what direction I need to go in if I want to accomplish something. B-)

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