When you were first starting out in game development, how often did you follow tutorials?

Discussion in 'Game Design, Development And Publishing' started by Exabella, Dec 31, 2018.

  1. Exabella

    Exabella Member

    Dec 25, 2018
    Like for example:
    1. How to do melee combat
    2. How to move in 8 directions
    3. How to make in game camera
    That kind of thing. I have a lot of trouble figuring this stuff out alone so I seem to always gravitate towards relying on tutorials. Which I know isn't a good thing. Does everyone struggle with that kind of stuff starting out? I hate copying and pasting other people's code. I failed the last few times I tried to learn game development so I'm trying to change things up to avoid that. But I get so frustrated trying to figure some of this stuff out myself, and usually come out empty handed. Then I see one of these people go through it like it was nothing. Guess I could use some advice. I just spent like 10 hours trying to figure out movement and collision boxes. Makes me feel pretty inept. Not to mention I did little to no actual programming. Suffice to say I am pretty frustrated atm. I started out doing amazing but my motivation has been slowly declining. And along with that my productivity.
  2. FrostyCat

    FrostyCat Member

    Jun 26, 2016
    Maybe you just have the wrong attitude towards tutorials, one of reliance instead of real learning. Follow my guidelines on how to use tutorials effectively.

    It's quite apparent that you are just speeding through and putting NO effort into deriving reusable techniques. For example, if you know how to move in 8 directions, you should not struggle with a game camera. It's the exact same kind of code updating coordinate variables every step, this time with the coordinates of a camera instead of the coordinates of a player.

    Also, if you can't see where things go and move, you should invest in a portable whiteboard. Plan placements and execution flows there before committing to code. There is no point in trying if your 2D geometry isn't up to scratch or when you rely entirely on F5 to tell you whether an idea makes sense.
    Cpaz likes this.
  3. Exabella

    Exabella Member

    Dec 25, 2018

    So, using the camera as an example, how would you go about finding out what functions to use? Would you defer to the documentation? I'm going to try and apply the concepts. But I'm thinking about this is my head and I have little idea where I would even begin without the appropriate functions.

    Your absolutely right I'm wayyyyy too reliant on tutorials. I learned more about movement in the 30 minutes I spent programming it myself then I spent in like 5 hours watching/copying tutorials...
  4. CameronScottCreations

    CameronScottCreations Member

    Dec 1, 2018
    I wouldn't worry about not being fluent yet. It doesn't happen overnight. If it did then everyone would be successful and there wouldn't be any real value in mastery. Think about other things that involve mastery such as learning languages, kung fu, a musical instrument, the list goes on.

    As far as tutorials, I would use them but also find other avenues as well. When I say other avenues I mean also (study documentation, do it yourself, experiment, written tutorials as opposed to video, these forums, etc) or even just lying in bed and thinking about how things work and/or how you can do something.

    I myself mainly got good by working on my own projects and emersing myself in documentation. Even then, it takes time.

    Find the study style that works best for you. Think about on subjects you've become knowledgeable in the past and ask yourself what was your method of learning there.

    I personally do watch some tutorials but often find myself bored by the presentation format and pacing and don't really retain much that way.

    If you are struggling with a concept and becoming dispirited then work on a different aspect you find more inspiring or take a break. You can always circle back to what you are struggling with unless you have a deadline.

    Also, learn good debug and message feedback techniques (for example the show_debug_message function) and demystify the mystery of what's going on.

    Lose yourself in your work, don't be so hard on yourself, remember to have fun and before you know it you will be fluent like those people in the videos.
  5. Toque

    Toque Member

    May 25, 2017
    Everybody is different. I love tutorials. I would be dead in the water without them. The first month learning was frustrating as heck. I wanted to quit many times. Loads of self doubt. Feeling incompetent. But It slowly gets easier......... I wanted to quit GM so much one day I bought it.

    Tutorials help give you the concept. Programming it yourself a couple times and it actually sticks.
    Hang in there. Have fun in your victories. Even if they are small.
  6. FrostyCat

    FrostyCat Member

    Jun 26, 2016
    I would have started with the Manual's index to figure out what the terminology refers to. Typing "cameras" in the Index tab brings up this page. That page contains all the terminology and links to related function descriptions, which you would need with or without a tutorial.

    In actual practice, chances are the search query wouldn't be as obvious, and you would need to subdivide the task into smaller parts with more obvious ties to specific GM functionality or elements that recur in other contexts. That's where the discipline to resist the urge for a one-stop solution is important.
  7. bumpercarstudios

    bumpercarstudios Member

    Dec 18, 2018
    Tutorials helped us a great deal in understanding Game Maker's language and layout when we first started. After 6 months or so, we began to get some momentum and were able to branch away from following tutorials step by step. If there's something I'm struggling with, I'll often refer to a resource like these forums, reddit and youtube, to try and circumvent and issue I'm having, while still using my own code.
    Toque likes this.
  8. NazGhuL

    NazGhuL NazTaiL

    Jun 20, 2016
    I watched/Read tutorial for about 1 years. It helped me understand the 'logic' behind programming. I remember printing an inventory tutorial and read it again and again trying to understand how the hell a for loop works. (A nice brain workout!)
    When the part of your brain that manages logic is up and running, you don't need to follow tutorial anymore. You can do/write a single block of code in a hundreds of way. As long as it works. Using a bunch of if statements instead of switch is an example.
    When I hit a wall, and spent a couple of hours on it, I post on the programming section. (50% of the time, I erase my post because I solve it while I write it).
    I something, still watch tutorial, more because I don't have any friends around who creates games and some of those tutorials are inspiring. More the part where they talk about the concept.
    A great example is this tutorial by FriendlyCosmonaut:

    I liked the concept behind this event system. I watched thinking: "he! I wanna try that". (Will do it my way though)

    (edit) I meant: That's good you hate that. It's a bad habit.

    Take it step by step. A click the clown game first. Then add thing. Don't create a game but experiment small mechanics.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  9. Guitarmike

    Guitarmike Member

    Jun 30, 2018
    This is excellent advice. There is no "right" way to learn. Don't give in to other people's perceptions of the value and usefulness of tutorials or any other learning resource. Experiment and find the approach that works right for you. It's frustrating because it's learning.

    Having said that, I would advise you to make frequent use of the F1 key in the Gamemaker editor. It's a quick and easy way to see why a command isn't doing what you thought it should do, etc.

    Copying and pasting - and then probably modifying - other people's code is fine. The "and then probably modifying" part is where the learning happens. As others have said, it takes time, but it will come eventually.

    Good luck!
    Toque likes this.
  10. mkyprice

    mkyprice Member

    Jul 26, 2017
    I still watch tutorials all the time. I think however, the best thing you can do if you don't understand something in one is to not move on until you do. Read the documentation, search google, rewatch, whatever it takes. One more thing I think people need to understand is that the people making the tutorials (generally) spend hours researching and prototyping before they record them. It only seems effortless because they already put in the effort. Just keep going!
  11. Rob

    Rob Member

    Jul 12, 2016
    I started out with tutorials and then tried to build on them. I eventually learned to use the manual and work out the error codes :p I discovered that once I'd done that, my reliance on tutorials had pretty much vanished (although they are still useful to me in order to explain a concept I haven't mastered myself yet).

    I find that a lot of answers to questions that I had/have (and newer gamemakers seem to have) can be found in the manual, so the sooner you get to grips with it the better.

    Ohh and when you get an error about a variable that's not recognised, please check for typos as that's a common problem.
  12. sitebender

    sitebender Member

    Sep 13, 2016
    I followed them until I realized they were wrong or incorrect. Then I dug through the manual and more importantly google, because its easier to search the manual via google.
  13. Niels

    Niels Member

    Jun 22, 2016
    I think I followed about 2-3 tutorials before I started to make my own projects. I still use the manual on daily basis
  14. RangerX

    RangerX Member

    Jun 20, 2016
    What really opened my brain up is when I had this first coding class during my level design program at school. They started by the base, what's a programming language, understanding what is it to "talk" to a machine. It makes you understand what is what. What is a variable, a function, a loop, etc. When you know the blocks you work with, you can build pretty much anything. After that class I was actively learning GML knowing each element was what. The manual and this forum alone gave me the fuel I need to make my game (still in the making 'cause its a big ass project for nothing lol)
  15. GarlicGuy

    GarlicGuy Member

    May 18, 2018
    I learned by downloading complete engines and tweaking things to do exactly what I wanted them to. (Do they even make engines anymore? I swear they had one for everything from complete RPG engines with text system, to complete platformer engines)

    Local variables are your friend by the way. They make almost everything clear.
  16. Sam04

    Sam04 Member

    Nov 26, 2018
    I also gotta agree on this one. I can tell you education/learning is complex and there is no definitive answer for everyone.

    About my own experience, I did learnt from tutorials but not in the usual way. When I started, I never thought consciously about learning to make games, I was instead thinking of taking to fruition all my crazy game ideas. This difference is important because when I started using GM (about 12 year ago, by the way, the S was ommited on purpose) I was focused in completing specific goals. I wasn't thinking "I need to learn to code", but instead was thinking "I need to make this sprite move".

    So I downloaded and messed around with a lot of examples and tutorials. I'm the kind of person that enjoys puzzles, so my process consisted in finding an example or tutorial that had the feature I wanted to use, I downloaded it, then I read them until I found the piece of code that made what I wanted to do. But I didn't copied it. I agree with you that I don't want to rely on it either. What I did is that I studied it as if it was a puzzle. I didn't leave until I fully understood the code I needed. Fully understanding means that I truly understood why every line of code was necesary to make what I needed, how everything affected everything, and most importantly, if I fully understood it, then I would be able to do it from my own head without looking at the source material.

    The puzzle-solving process required to read a lot, I had to read other sources/examples/tutorials to understand many things, I had to actively change things and run the game to see what changed to understad what everything did, I had to open entirely new projects just to test how certain functions worked, I googled a lot of queries that looked like this one: "gamemaker function to do..." to find functions to do simple tasks I required (that's how I learnt the point_direction function even existed), and a lot more.

    Don't give up. Try to study others work, not just copy pasting to code or blindly following instructions but actually study how things work. Remember, learning comes from actual intention. If you need help or get stuck you can always get help here. You can try getting a teacher or a mentor, the programming subforum here advertises a cool mentoring discord channel. You can also learn about how to learn better (metalearning and metacognition are not made up words, try cheking them up). But most importantly. Make sure to stay motivated. Subscribe yourself to the getmotivated reddit or get an app or something but always have a cheerful actitude.

    Best of lucks.
  17. Smiechu

    Smiechu Member

    Jul 14, 2017
    To be honest I followed only the first build in GMS2 tutorial. Rest comes from the manual. But yeah, I had some basic background how generally coding works. You need this basic "understanding" how things really work to get somewhere.

    Coding a thing is not a problem, finding and developing a right concept how something should work - this is something.
  18. rytan451

    rytan451 Member

    Jun 21, 2016
    I remember when I first started out.

    I used Gamemaker 8, and I loved the drag and drop system. I programmed some stuff, messed around with a few numbers here and there, and tried to predict how things would change. It was at this point that I used tutorials most. Using the tutorials and demos that came with GameMaker 8.1, and later GameMaker: Studio, I would read through the code, attempting to understand, modify, and predict how it would work.

    Eventually, my programming reached something I would now call rudimentary, and I started experimenting with GML.

    In retrospect, I had already been using GML for a long time. I had found the random function and used it in Set Variable blocks. I had found the choose function and used it in Set Variable blocks. I had learned about and applied scope. The big jump was when I learnt how to correspond each block with code, and found that I preferred typing to searching through the numerous tabs to find the correct block. I had started to use the manual to fully know what each line of code could do. I learnt about if statements and functions.

    At that point, I hadn't even considered that there would be tutorials on the internet.

    Then my ability in programming plateaued. I wasn't getting any better, but neither was I getting any worse. It was around this time I started reading huge portions of the GMC, which has since been replaced with the new forum on which I am posting. I read tracts through the Programming Q&A, and read larger tracts through the Advanced GML Discussion.

    It took a while before I became able to understand what everyone there was talking about. But when I did, my programming ability started to grow again.

    It was around this time I started using Data Structures, Surfaces, and 3D sound.

    Then my ability in programming started to plateau again. My code was long, and eventually I was no longer able to understand my train of thought. Not only that, I was starting to get more and more ideas about things to do in Gamemaker (like finding a shortest path, with different speeds in different areas, and not attached to a grid). What materials I got were either not enough to help, or too much to understand.

    What brought me out of that was when I started a class on Programming Methodology. Much of it was reviewing, but I found gaps in my understanding. Even now, years later, I still am learning from problems given in that class.

    After Programming Methodology, I learnt about Data Structures and Algorithms, and found that Gamemaker Studio 2 (which by then I had purchased) was hugely limited in what data structures it provided. Then, I learnt about Software Engineering (which, as it turns out, is less about programming and more about alternately programming less and documenting more), and Design and Analysis of Algorithms.

    In short, I went through three phases of learning:
    1. Predicting behavior based off code modifications in completed projects
    2. Reading and understanding code on the GMC, and understanding the manual
    3. Learning about Data Structures and Algorithms
  19. Cowlord

    Cowlord Member

    Jun 29, 2017
    Tutorials can be a helpful start if you're struggling on a problem or new to GMS and GML, but after understanding the GMS2 workflow, how I've learned the most is from just trying to figure it out - constantly referencing the documentation front to back so I'm familiar with every GMS2 function and how it can be used, along with researching every tool and built-in features available in GMS along with learning not only every possible event you can use, but knowing in what order and under what circumstances these events are executed.
  20. Sean Catherine

    Sean Catherine Member

    Nov 10, 2017
    I came to this with zero programming experience... I too have had those 8 or 10-hour days of trying to make something mechanical happen. It will get easier for sure.
    HayManMarc likes this.
  21. Sn3akyP1xel

    Sn3akyP1xel Member

    Mar 13, 2018
    I sometimes used tutorials, but the best way to learn is to have a go until it clicks! Just keep trying stuff out, your problem solving brain will thank you for it in the long run.

    I cant even begin to guess how many times i tried to find a solution to a problem online when the web was young, only just to bite the bullet and start coding. And then maybe months later found out how it should actually be done, which was either better or worse than my own attempt.
    I think this is something quite special about early coding, no internet, just books or manuals. I'm a big fan of creative coding, so many ways to reach a result. :banana:
    HayManMarc likes this.
  22. EvanSki

    EvanSki Dedicated link provider

    Apr 17, 2018
  23. The Sorcerer

    The Sorcerer Member

    Jan 3, 2019
    Pretty rarely TBH. I am more of a 'read the docs and try stuff out' kind of learner.

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