Hello everyone! How’s your game coming along? This week was all about game programming. But before diving in, we have some advice for you. Let’s start!
Past incubee’s takeaways – some advice
We started the session with a look on the incubator’s overall experience. Everyone’s project is starting to take form, and it’s a great time to think about your goals for this program. Here are some advice:
- “Progress not perfection” — Marie Forleo
Learn from every mistake. That’s progress.
- Keep a curious mind. This is an 8-week adventure. If there weren’t challenges, it wouldn’t feel so rewarding by the end.
- Have fun! This is an opportunity to make something for yourself, exactly how you want it.
- Be comfortable reaching out to mentors. I even went a step further to ask a mentor if we could meet one on one outside of Saturdays and they were kind enough to say yes. (That’s totally up to the mentors to decide, but keep in mind this is how they participate in this program.)
- Share your work in progress on Slack. I hardly got to see what any of my group members were making and I think it would have motivated me even more had we shared their process, experience and awkward stages.
- My main goal was not to make the most beautiful art, but to make a playable game based on my idea. I viewed this as an experiment, a creative challenge to see how many obstacles I could overcome. For your incubator, identify what’s important for you and set your own goals.
Introduction to programming
During every incubator, many participants are scared by programming. But that’s also when projects start coming alive! Trust yourself and jump in, programming is within reach to anyone that puts in the effort. All you need is some logic like we all use every day and an acces to Google! No, for real, even professional programmers use Google to script.
What is programming?
Let’s start with the basics: what is programming? Simply put, programming is the creation of instructions we give to a computer so it executes tasks, in our case, a video game. It is very similar to writing a recipe for cooking or baking, but the instructions are given to a computer instead of a person. The computer will follow the steps exactly, so you have to be very precise. Look at the following video to see what we mean.
STATEMENTS AND FUNCTIONS
Much like in spoken languages, programming languages use statements, or complete ideas that express an action. For example, “I want tea.” or “It is raining.” We could change the words to alter the meaning, for example “I want a unicorn.” But we couldn’t say “I want raining.” That’s because there exists a series of rules that govern the language, or a syntax. Programming works the same way. Here’s a short video that will help you get started.
Check out the rest of their video series on Computer Science for a breakdown of the rules that govern programming logic.
Conditional statements are some of the most important in any programming language. Being able to set conditional blocks of code is a fundamental principle. Conditions determine:
- When and where actions are executed
- Who or what if affected by actions
- At what rate actions happen
“Loops in programming are ways of repeating actions.” The following video goes through three kinds of loops: FOR loops, WHILE loops and DO-WHILE loops. Note that, although the vidéo was made for the engine Unity, you can use loops and their logic with the engine of your choice.
We also met Anna, participant in the Pixelles Game Incubator 6 and game programmer. She gave us a great overview of game programming logic to help us get started. (Slides in French only)
Programming workshop in Unity
We also had a programming workshop in Unity with Audrey Paiement so you get become more familiar with the engin all while building a small platformer. You can do the workshop at your own pace with the video. (In French only)
Additional material (2020)
Engine workshop: Unity (2020)
Last year, we’ve been very lucky to have two great engine workshops. The first one with Julia Perdigueiro on Unity.
Engine workshop: Construct (2020)
Our second workshop covered the engine Construct with Eleanor Jacques-Morel.
- Choose the engine you want to use to make your game.
- Integrate at least one testable feature in your project.
Next week, we’ll talk about art.
See you then and have fun making your game!