I might have failed to mention this before, but I am actually very active on an online Java programming forum: Java-Gaming.org. You can find me there as ‘ra4king’. There just recently, someone posted in the General Discussions section asking questions to more experienced programmers. I believe my responses have been good enough to also post here as they give more insight into who I am.
-Why did you want to start programming? (What was your motivation?)
I’ve always been fascinated by video games since I was little, playing on the Dreamcast
When I got an Xbox 360 for Christmas ~6 years ago, I was blown away by the graphics and became more determined to learn about programming.
Then I got my very first computer: a laptop, the next Christmas. As I tinkered and tweaked with errors sometimes exploding in my face, my technical knowledge grew at a very rapid rate. When I started with actual programming is best related to the next question…
-Why did you choose to begin with the language you begun with? And if applicable, why are you using the language you are using now?
Well for the first year that I had my laptop, I wandered around not knowing where to start. I was always at the local bookstore reading programming books, feeling ever more hopelessly lost. Then just my luck, I failed to discover the programming class offered at my high school! Luckily, I had a friend who signed up for it and he told me what language they started with and shared with me some code: Java.
And so I decided that I shall start with Java: I bought a Java book at the bookstore, and began coding using the Windows Notepad and the command prompt. I never began using an IDE until a whole year later!
I have since learned other languages along the way but I still stick with Java because of its ease of use and attractiveness (and kickass IDEs! ;D)
-How long ago did you get started? And where are you at now?
I started teaching myself 3.5 years ago. I now fully know the language and am very experienced with OOP and code design. I don’t have many games to show for my experience, though, as I am more focused on learning now than actually making games. This website has a few games I made a long time ago, one of which (JDoodle Jump) got hugely popular and I was forced to remove it by the original creators of the game. This game helped me the most with game design, as it allowed me to gain experience in entity management and code design/layout. It also spawned a relatively fully featured Java2D library with a networking, UI, and entity systems that I think are awesome. I’ve used it for all my LudumDare games too. It can be found here.
-What learning methods did you employ personally to help you develop your skills in programming?
Notepad+Command prompt for learning *all* of Java’s syntax. I never had any editor help, which also helped me develop a strict set of formatting rules for myself so the code doesn’t get messy
IDE’s are for experienced coders who want to see results *fast*. As a beginner, you are in no rush to see results: you just want to learn.
-What advice could you give to other programmers who might be feeling a little lost in what direction to take?
I believe I wrote an article in the wiki section of the Java-Gaming.org forum: How do I start Java Game Development?
-Is there anything you believe should be a “Rite of Passage” for programmers (such as the need to create hello world, or a snake program, etc etc)
There are no definite “Rite of Passage” programs, although I do strongly recommend recreating classic simple games such as Snake and Space Invaders.