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Your Journey as a Programmer

Discussion in 'Community Chat' started by SnotWaffle Studios, Oct 25, 2018.

  1. SnotWaffle Studios

    SnotWaffle Studios Member

    Jun 21, 2016
    Hi guys & gals!

    I'd like to open up a discussion on your journey as a programmer. Here are some questions to start off with. Pick whichever you'd like.

    • Did you have any experience or education prior to using GameMaker: Studio or GameMaker Studio 2?
    • Are you self-taught?
    • Did you go to school for Computer Science or Game Design?
    • Did you go because you wanted to make games?
    • Do you make games for a living, a hobby, or both?
    • Do you make non-game software in with GameMaker?
    • How has GameMaker influenced your career path?

    As for myself, I started using GameMaker when I was 10 or 11 (around when GM5 was out) and stuck with it on and off throughout my life. I was self-taught for many years. I went to UNLV to get a Music Composition degree but switched after 2 years to Computer Science. I'm now one semester away from having my degree. Many of the things I have been taught in school have come a lot easier because of my background in GameMaker. On the other side, my education has helped me become a better programmer in GameMaker. Making games is a hobby for me, but I have made some money from doing contract work (some educational games for a website). It just feels good to solve problems and create something in the process.

    I want to hear your stories!
    Thank you!
  2. JackTurbo

    JackTurbo Member

    Oct 19, 2016
    Interesting topic.

    I trained as a graphic designer originally, ended up teaching myself web design along the way with the help of operas curriculum on the topic. This was mainly because of how laughable webdesign modules are on graphic design courses here in the UK.

    Worked as a digital designer (basically a combination of graphic designer responsibilities and front end dev stuff) fo a number of years.

    This point I had strong html, css and ok JavaScript knowledge.

    Started game dev-ing as a hobby a couple of years ago and fell into gms almost immediately.
    Self taught using a few different resources with occasional additional guidance from some software dev friends and (more recently) a huge amount help from Nystrom's "Game Programming Patterns" book.

    Did some game jams along the way, which were super helpful. Global gam jame was probably the most helpful as it's done in person so I got to meet a bunch of local devs.

    Currently about halfway through developing my first commercial project: A Day In Valhalla.
  3. Cloaked Games

    Cloaked Games Member

    Jul 4, 2016
    Nice topic, let's keep this going.

    I started game development in 7th grade with Gamemaker 8.1 on my school computers. My middle school was fortunate enough to have a game programming class, which I took in 8th grade the year after. I started because I loved playing games, and I found that making games was really satisfying because I could apply problem solving and my skills (like math) to something that actually produced something cool. Eventually I got my own laptop at home and GMS1 and made a lot of games, mostly inspired by Legend of Zelda, Secret of Mana, or Minecraft.

    I had always used the GMC as a resource for learning, but a few years ago I actually made an account because I realized that someone had asked a question I actually knew the answer to. (Here's the thread: https://forum.yoyogames.com/index.php?threads/minimap.1442/#post-12006). That's when I got properly involved in the community and actually started game development. I joined some jams shortly after, I think I've done 4-5 by now I can't remember. Those are always really fun and good practice (looking forward to the next one). I also started working on longer form projects, like Valley of Charon (A survival game), which was sadly cancelled as the project got beyond my scope to maintain. My current project is The Last Librarian which I've worked on for many many hours over the past year. I attempted a Kickstarter a few months ago for that project, which sadly failed, but I'm still developing it and will have it released by the end of next year.

    Currently I am attending university to get a degree in computer science. I'm still in my first quarter. I've been self-taught all the way to literally a few weeks ago, so taking programming classes finally is quite awesome. My long term plan is to get at least two large projects on my portfolio (The Last Librarian and at least one other) and I'll have a research project of some kind related to game design/the game industry (A project like that required for the program I'm enrolled in, may as well be related to game design). I want to become a game designer or developer as a career, but just a programmer would be fine too so I have a solid backup plan. In a few years I'll update and tell ya'll how that went.
  4. The-any-Key

    The-any-Key Member

    Feb 2, 2017
    Started to code basic on a vic64 when I was around 10 years old. I got hooked. Created some small programs that i saved on 5.25 discs and casset tape. I continue to code through the years and jumped language to language ex: quick basic, html, java, java-script, lingo, asp, Pascal, Delphi, assembler, c++ (dos), php, vb5... and finally game maker 1.4.

    Mostly self-taught but got some stuff from high-school. I went a computer-elecronics for 3 years.

    I never had the "artistic gene". When I try imagine an image, everything just goes black. So I rely on artists and image packs when I develop games.

    I have a part time job and the rest I work with others on projects for per hour work or on commission. But the plan is to only work with coding.

    When I first created a multiplayer game (a TI-83 calculator tic-tac-toe game using a data cable between 2 devices). I found that it was super fun. Worked with multiplayer for many years and loved the challanges and the "4D thinking".

    Prepping for a 3D game and gathering equipment like mocap and hiring artists and designers and hopefully create a nice little multiplayer game.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
  5. Siolfor the Jackal

    Siolfor the Jackal Member

    Jun 21, 2016
    I actually got Game Maker 5 off a friend in High School. I had always been interested in games ever since getting my Sega Master System as a kid. By primary school I was already pretty fascinated with games and how they worked. I had a few hand-me-down computers back then, but it wasn't until I got my old 486 that I found QBASIC and eventually figured out how to make simple number guessing games.
    I already knew I wanted to make games by this point but it wasn't until I got my first copy of GM that I even thought ot may be possible. A friend and I would stumble through trying to make whatever we could with absolutely no idea what we were doing(We didn't have the internet to help us out...)
    I've been in and out of coding classes since then but I eventually began to realise I don't really like coding when it's not for a game. I have also dabbled a little in art and animation over the years, and later into high school I got into guitar and creating music. So I like creating all aspects of the game, a bit of a jack of all trades.
    I gave up on GM for a few years and came back around GM 8.1 and started making so much more headway, gave up again for a little while until I got a free copy of GM Studio Pro, and that reignited the spark for me. The last couple of years have been my most motivated, especially since the GMC reboot and participating in all the new jams here.

    Also, Aaron is a pretty good name in my opinion.
  6. Mert

    Mert Member

    Jul 20, 2016
    Had a great time working with Ultimate3D in U3D forums.
    Love 'ya Dr.Best

    (2008 :()
    immortalx likes this.
  7. Pfap

    Pfap Member

    Apr 30, 2017
    Oh gosh, I am a failed mechanical engineer (what does failed even mean). Anyways, they wouldn't let me around tractor parts, but games... what's the worst he can do?

    I honestly just stumbled into it. My younger brother downloaded Gamemaker and I just kind of jumped in on a project, because it was something to do. I never really had any serious ambitions in the world of computers or programming and it kind of scares me to get attached to the idea of making games for living. Like, as soon as I decide I want something it will run as far away from me as possible...

    So, my current journey in programming is currently at the "if it works cool"... Otherwise, I guess there are always decent jobs working under engineers and handling problems on factory floors, but that is kind of a negative view. Simply because it seems as there is no shortage of programming jobs, even if not game related.

    I have worked on farms and feel there is a lot of unfulfilled potential in the programming sector when it comes to agriculture. And the game market is wild, who knows what people will download or give there time to.
    immortalx and SnotWaffle Studios like this.
  8. Binary Orange Studios

    Binary Orange Studios Member

    Mar 26, 2018
    Neat idea for a topic!

    Did you have any experience or education prior to using GameMaker: Studio or GameMaker Studio 2?
    Yes, I have been programming since I was 15 (12 years ago!), using DarkBASIC, though I never got too far with it. I've experimented with so many engines over the years and always came back to Game Maker. In fact I just bought GMS 2 today! Previously, I had bought GMS 1 back in 2013, and used it fairly heavily but never released anything with it.

    Are you self-taught?
    Yes, I have watched many YouTube tutorials and also found some classes on udemy (general programming and such), as well as read the documentation.

    Did you go to school for Computer Science or Game Design?
    I, in fact, did not go to college, but if I had I definitely would have enrolled in every programming course I could have, as well as any game design course. I have been fascinated with developing my own games for at least 12 years.

    Did you go because you wanted to make games?

    See above!

    Do you make games for a living, a hobby, or both?
    Currently as a hobby, though I do wish to sell games in the nearish future to supplement my income, and perhaps even be my sole income eventually!

    Do you make non-game software in with GameMaker?
    Nope, nor have I made any applications in any other engine/language. I did once try to code my own GUI library inside of DarkBASIC but it was a nightmare, quickly gave up on it due to how silly that language was!

    How has GameMaker influenced your career path?

    It hasn't influenced my current career, I would argue my current career has influenced my desire to make games again as I eventually want out of it and to pursue my dreams of being a game developer.
    immortalx and SnotWaffle Studios like this.
  9. Rob

    Rob Member

    Jul 12, 2016
    I did 2 years of Pascal in college about.... 21-22 years ago? I tried to make my own games but I wasn't very good. I managed to make a text-based adventure with the usual N/S/E/W directions and some monsters to fight along the way. I also made a few sprites for a Chaos clone but didn't get very far with the programming (selecting different creatures and making them move wasn't working lol).

    Since then I was pretty aimless in life, worked in soul-draining jobs that I put everything I had into but got next to nothing out (because they were brainless jobs). I discovered GameMaker about 3 - 3 1/2 years ago and I haven't looked back since then.

    I just enjoy making stuff and being productive. Thinking over problems and solving them. I used to make cardboard games when I was a kid because there were games I wanted to play but I didn't own them. Games like Space Hulk and Hero Quest. I also used to spend hours writing my own RPG pen + paper games that nobody ever played lol...

    If I'd of been the same person then than I am now I would have really tried to get into some kind of career making games when I was younger. I know I've always wanted to make games but I haven't always had the willpower to look into it. I used to drain myself at work, come home and not want to think about anything.

    I'm trying to make money from GameMaker and I've been lucky enough to land a few small jobs, but I'm nowhere near making a living doing it... yet!

    I've wondered about using GameMaker for something other than games but I don't think I'd find it as much fun. I just love diving into projects and building the systems. When the game starts to come to life and the AI starts moving around and doing what it's supposed to it always makes me happy ;)
  10. PretzelBrosStudios

    PretzelBrosStudios Member

    Mar 26, 2017
    I started programming when I was about 8 or 9 years old with QBasic in DOS. Back in the 80s. I taught myself by looking at the examples in the help files. It was extremely difficult because I didn't even speak a single word of English. There was no Internet or other resources at that time. I made small adventure games and demos. I was catapulted into a whole new world when I found out that you could also use inline assembler. Especially Mode 13h.

    I remember buying my first Borland C++ compiler when I was about 14. There was a tiny computer shop near my school and it took all of my money. At that time I thought I had to use C++ because all good games were made in it. But it was a nightmare! Coming from a BASIC background and going OOP was completely overwhelming.

    And then came life. Suddenly I got here and there. I had nothing to do with programming or computers anymore. But I still had the dream to release my own game one day. Until I started developing again about 5 or 6 years ago. I created my own game engine with C++ and SDL. However, I quickly realized that an engine doesn't make a game and that I had very limited resources. So I looked around for alternatives. Since then I've been using Gamemaker and I'm actually pretty satisfied.

    However, working on my game is exhausting because I can only work late at night and early in the morning. The rest of the day is reserved for my everyday job. But somehow I have to do it.
    SnotWaffle Studios, Rob and immortalx like this.
  11. immortalx

    immortalx Member

    Sep 6, 2018
    I started programming in Sinclair basic on my first computer, a ZX Spectrum +2.
    I cannot describe the magic of knowing the manual inside-out, no internet, no YouTube tutorials, just some monthly magazines with type-in programmes and while tons of books existed, there were very difficult to get a hold of. I'd give an arm and a leg just to get that feeling back for a brief moment. Seriously.
    I then realized I needed to learn assembly if I were to write anything remotely serious. And learn I did. I managed to grab a book about the Spectrum machine language and followed along. To this day I still can't believe I actually managed to do it. Nowadays everything looks complicated and hard to me. I don't know, it must have been the age.
    I then got my first Amiga, but for some reason didn't do anything useful apart from messing with AMOS basic.
    I recall loosing interest in programming, something which I deeply regret.
    I was late to transition to the PC world, mainly due to my stubbornness and fanboy-ism to the Amiga platform. Thus I lost many a chapter from the then new computer revolution and anything related (including programming) with it.
    When I finally got my first PC, I discovered Visual Basic which despite all the bad-mouthing it got, was actually the best thing for a hobbyist. I wrote my first programme in the form of a mod tool for the Tomb Raider game.
    From then on, I messed with various game engines and programming languages on and off, but nothing too serious. My interest greatly revived when my then early-teen son started showing interest in programming. He is now a second year CSD student in uni and I'm actively watching the "programming world" just because of the priceless quality of sharing the same interest with my own boy and, in some sense, living my own dream of being a programmer without ever trying to be one.
  12. Rob

    Rob Member

    Jul 12, 2016
    Haha you reminded me of when I was a kid and me and my dad decided to type in some code that was in one of the spectrum game magazines.
    It took us hours. He would read out the lines and I would type it.
    Once we were done we excitedly loaded up the game... it was so bad haha. We played it for all of 10 seconds before we gave up and never played it again.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
  13. ShubhamBansod

    ShubhamBansod Member

    Jun 20, 2016

    Hello! :) Here is my answers :)

    • Did you have any experience or education prior to using GameMaker: Studio or GameMaker Studio 2?
    I have started Game Making with GM 8 when It was newly released, I was in 8th standard so I didn't had any programming knowledge that time, I had knowledge of HTML anAutoRunun maker 12! Done LOGO in B/w computer (I don't know if you guys know that program, an arrow with the command to move arrow, rotate etc)
    • Are you self-taught?
    Yes, Completely In and Out, No Youtube, no Books, all based on experience and reading other peoples problem, understanding and implementing the things from the discussion in the respective topic! (gmc.yoyogames.com was my knowledge base)
    • Did you go to school for Computer Science or Game Design?
    After 4-5 Years of game Development!, I have done Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering LOLOLO, Currently, I'm doing a 3 months C++, Java, testing J2EE course to have a backup but I'm totally focused in game development field!
    • Did you go because you wanted to make games?
    Yes but also no! Basically, when I was a kid I started to play Video games before I started Speaking! I usually play Contra and Super Mario, After that, I played a lot of games, but then I thought let's try to make my own game! And the journey started from playing to making, So I think Playing games influenced me!
    • Do you make games for a living, a hobby, or both?
    I'm a Freelance Game developer! It's part-time work! I do it for my expenses and not to depend on my parents and do the things I wanted to do! But I do create my own games also!
    • Do you make non-game software in with GameMaker?
    Currently not made any game! But I Have started to work in Unity Cuz in future I want to work on VR/AR and 3d games!
    • How has GameMaker influenced your career path?
    After My Graduation In M.E, I prepare for an exam for M.E based Job! But after that, I took a big step and change my career path from M.E to Software Development then I think better to go into the game industry! So yes Game maker has changed my Life totally and I'm proud that I have invested my time and money on this software which in return gave me a name, fame, money but most imp Self Satisfaction and clarity in life what I have to achieve and do which most of the people don't have!
    Thanks for reading :)
    SnotWaffle Studios likes this.
  14. Silvervale

    Silvervale Member

    Aug 28, 2017
    In 7th grade my parents bought me "How to program BASIC." Using that as my basis I moved into LibertyBASIC, programming my own game engine and first games, using the manual as my guide. I didn't have internet until I was almost done with high school, so I had no idea what was out there and was just making tools and scripts the way that seemed logical (As LibertyBASIC was more of UI focused language). I remember searching for "a game maker" when I got internet, (because I didn't know people called them "game engines"), and I was so excited because Game Maker was exactly what I was looking for. GameMaker brought me out of the "dark ages," but eventually I wanted to make 3D games, so i left for other engines for 6 years or so. I learned a lot while I was away, but came back last year to good old GameMaker.

    Making games and programming has always just been a hobby of mine. I got my degree in mechanical engineering, as design and the manufacturing process is my main passion, but programming knowledge has come in handy along the way. It actually came into play getting me my current job, as I occasionally program some PLCs, VFDs, and do some automation. I also made some small utility apps to help in my specific field work, and presently I'm overseeing the development of proprietary software for my employer.

    It's all fun. Eventually, I would like to make some money with my games. I just need to gather up enough courage to ask for that $0.99.
    SnotWaffle Studios likes this.
  15. Elodman

    Elodman Member

    Mar 10, 2017

    - Are you self-taught?
    No, IT Engineering studies forced me, in the beginning. Nowadays no enforcement is needed - at least for GMS.

    - Did you go because you wanted to make games?
    In the 90-ies, hmm yes I wanted to, but had not much hope, as then (Watcom) C with embedded low-level asm code ruled. Not what a typical college degree is suitable for.

    - Do you make games for a living, a hobby, or both?
    Hobby. How much percentage can earn a living from it, 5?

    - Do you make non-game software in with GameMaker?
    No. Will be happy if my creations can be called games by others.

    - How has GameMaker influenced your career path?
    Not in any way yet, only my leisure time spending.

    Once upon a time owned my first magical atmosphere establishing computer, a Commodore-116. Coding in BASIC didn't catch my attention, perhaps due to lack of good books or insufficient cognitive brain - & disciplined ass cells, so anyone could call me by right: Player 1.
    Soon watched a Sinclair 48 at a friend with envy, as it had so kewl GFX, liked it sometimes better then that of my 2nd machine, a C-64 II. That was followed by an Amiga 500, but still no programming I committed, as had been charmed by ready-made Demos & games too much in spare time.

    Then as being forced to study IT came the standard languages from Pascal & C to Visual Basic, Delphi, Clipper, DBase, SQL, CA-Visual Objects and assembly x86. Wrote a Pascal to C translator proggy at the end.

    In working time I had been quite unlucky to find one of the most 'misanthrope', perverse language of all: RPG. (Yeah, that is not only a genre so gentle to many folks, but rather the Rocket Propelled Grenade hitting my IT career & ever Homo Ludens soul right in bull's eye.) If anyone wanted to create a game on AS400, hitting F5 (the Screen Refresh button) would have been necessary at 30-60 FPS...

    Then, after some unnecessary details for this thread, rose interest again in me for Python, and 1-2 other tools before finding my way to this current platform we all worship or somehow being addicted to...
    SnotWaffle Studios likes this.
  16. Glyph

    Glyph Member

    SnotWaffle Studios likes this.
  17. Lukan

    Lukan Gay Wizard Freak

    Jun 20, 2016
    SnotWaffle Studios and Rob like this.

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