How much programming experience did you have when you started game development?

rgails profile image Ryan Gails ・1 min read

In starting my journey into game development, I've realized that being a developer for a living may be giving me a leg up. I'm not unfamiliar with the concepts of programming that I imagine some beginners might struggle with.

This got me wondering:
How much programming experience did you have when you started game development?

If you had none, was that a big hurdle for you to overcome? If you had some, did you think to yourself "this part is easy" when you came across programming concepts?


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I think.... The same as any discipline, really.

Game development can be complicated, but it's all contextual and you learn the context as you go. A lot of folks got into game dev as their first kind of programming when they were kids.


My second semester of college we had a group project were we made a small game in C++, but I really got into it the summer right after when I started learning Unity and experimenting. So luckily the previous programming knowledge helped quite a bit.


I was a developer for 15 years before I started seriously digging into game development. I think my progression in gamedev has been accelerated a lot by that fact too. Simply knowing how to breakdown a feature into code is very helpful. That being said, sometimes I get ahead of myself and assume the only way to solve problems is with code, when in fact the game engine has an easier way to solve it.

A recent example of this was when I was attempting to make my asteroids pass through each other but collide with a space ship. I found myself writing some pretty complex code to handle this only to find out Godot has a feature called "Collision Layers" that does this very thing.

By default everything exists on layer 1 and collides with things on layer 1, but you can support pass through by simply changing the "mask" layer to be something different. In my case I have my asteroids existing on layer 1 but colliding with layer 2. This allows asteroids to pass through each other and my ship to collide with asteroids.



Interesting you say that! I've experienced that with new languages and frameworks before. Write a bunch of stuff because I think I know what I'm doing and it turns out there's something out there!


When I first started I tried in college with a few classes of Computer Science. I didn't know anything and picked up a book and just tried to do things.

Over time I've learned more about programming than game design, but I think that just helps me have a deeper understanding and appreciation of how to accomplish things using a game engine. I do think sometimes it is a hurdle, since as @rcarlson mentioned that the engine makes things easier sometimes so it's easy to overlook.

On the flip side, when I was learning XNA I was able to write my own level loader that rendered from a text file, so that was cool to see.

My biggest challenge is when it come to art assets. I have a "unique" style that always ends up abstract and not recognizable. 😆 However, there are so many resources now to help make things easier.