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Discussion I want to learn on my own

Discussion in 'Scripting' started by Derek9132, Mar 26, 2023.

  1. Derek9132


    Mar 26, 2023
    I've just gotten into coding movement and animations into unity and I've been watching youtube videos as guides. However, I find myself relying on them too much, sometimes even to the point of mindlessly copying whatever the video is doing. I do not feel like I'm learning anything, and all the confusing vocabulary and different functions and data types are very discouraging. Being a 2nd year computer science major, I have some experience programming in python and have gotten good grades in the computer science classes I have taken, but it is certainly nothing like this. If I am having to look up a tutorial on every tiny little thing, I don't think my project has a very bright future. What I want to do is to look a new problem and figure it out on my own with minimal help, or at the very least know where to start looking. In my computer science classes, I sometimes draw out the data structure or program I am working with to visualize it. I don't think that will work here, though. Does anyone have any tips? Should I explore the unity API? Should I just keep going and learn along the way? Should I make a few small practice games first? Any help would make my day.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2023
  2. Ryiah


    Oct 11, 2012
    I went with this approach. I determined the minimum necessary tasks for creating simple games, learned how to accomplish them (mostly through YouTube but if I did it now I'd just ask ChatGPT), experimented with them, and then set about creating pong and similar games.

    Like you I came to the engine with existing programming knowledge though you don't mention experience which I already had working with multiple languages that were ideal for games as far back as 1995. Unless you've already picked it up you might want to consider taking a quick break to learn C#.

    Here's the free C# Yellow Book which covers the basics which is most of what you need for Unity.

    Eventually you won't have to look up tutorials on every tiny little thing but you'll never reach the point where you will memorize everything either. I'm constantly checking the reference manuals, talking to ChatGPT, and searching with Google.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2023
    Bunny83 likes this.
  3. chemicalcrux


    Mar 16, 2017
    You will probably need a few more years of experience before you can just smash your face into a problem until things start working.

    Earlier on, you'll be spending a lot more time directly following tutorials. It's natural: you don't have a broad enough base of knowledge to intuit your way through new situations.

    I have about...eleven or twelve years of experience, in total, and I feel like I really started getting good just a few years ago!
  4. adamgolden


    Jun 17, 2019
    I started with tutorial projects myself (a simple asteroid shooter game being one of the first). Like you, I felt I wasn't learning all that much and just copying things.. so the approach I took: After following along and seeing it works, do it again from scratch without looking up anything or looking at the tutorial, including the code. If you have to look things up, that's fine, but you haven't learned it yet - start over until you you're able to do it by heart. Make sure you understand each thing you're doing (search for more info about it, ask questions, etc.), so by the time you can, you're able to implement anything similar without issue. Also, don't be discouraged, it will take years to get intimately familiar with everything this engine is capable of, the language and to discover countless tips/tricks/optimizations. Not that you can't create all sorts of fun stuff and release a few things along the way :D.. and finally, it might help to consider your main project right now is just learning each thing you'll need to learn in order to create what you have in mind.

    You could jump right in to developing your dream game(s) immediately, but in particular if they're complex, you will likely end up working around bugs and roadblocks incessantly, having to re-engineer numerous approaches you've taken before it's done and working well, and that may actually take longer than if you just take a deep breath right now, leisurely enjoy tinkering and exploring what's possible and discovering the best ways to do related things beforehand.
  5. Chubzdoomer


    Sep 27, 2014
    You may have better luck with courses than plain old video tutorials. The great thing about courses is that most of them include challenges/exercises at regular intervals, which encourages you to get hands-on and put your knowledge to the test as opposed to blindly copying someone else's code from start to finish.

    Unity has some free courses you can check out:

    There are also some amazing paid courses over on Udemy:
  6. All_American


    Oct 14, 2011
    I use white boards to visualize what I’m doing. It helps.

    instead of mind numbing tutorials with crappy music….I just thought of things I wanted to learn snd just created sand boxes and went to town. Then when I needed help, I either searched for a solution to see if anything helped and worked….or asked on here.

    Don’t give up. Soon you will rely less and less on videos or tutorials.
  7. spiney199


    Feb 11, 2021
    I think doing the Unity Learn junior programming course is a good place to start (which is where I started). A lot more structured than tutorials and gives you a long term commitment that steadily ups the complexity as you go on, almost forcing you to improve as you go.

    I also took it upon myself to do something 'extra' on top of the lessons, which kinda forced me to do a bit of research/problem solving.

    And that's what game dev is really, just a wrong long of problems you need to find solutions to, or find the right tool to solve. The important part is to really solidify that part of your brain that can recognise the 'problem' in its abstract form (and know how to break it down into smaller problems), and either know of a solution, or know how to find a solution to said set of problems.

    I think too many new learners don't understand that something like... make a gun shoot in an FPS isn't 'one thing', it's a whole gamut of small technical challenges that come together into a whole. If you break it down, and tackle it one thing at a time, it becomes a lot less challenging.
  8. QuinnWinters


    Dec 31, 2013
    I like to compare it to learning how to play a music instrument. Even once you have some basics down, you're still not going to be able to just jump in and play a full song off the top of your head. It takes time and practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, and more practice.

    When I started in Unity I'd already had college programming courses and nearly 20 years of coding experience in many languages, and it still took me years before I could accomplish much without having to constantly look up how to do something. After several years I turned it into a game - how long can I go without having to look something up. Looking up how to do things is ongoing even once you've got the basics down; you just have to do it much less often as you gain experience. As Spiney mentioned above, making a game is a lot of little things combined to make bigger things. Once you've got the basics of the little things down you can use them as building blocks to make very complex games.

    My suggestion is to be patient and don't give up no matter how daunting it seems. Try to keep your projects simple at first. Learn how to do all the little things required to make it work. The unity documentation generally has the answer, and if it doesn't, either these forums or google does. The more you practice, the more you'll be able to do without having to rely on tutorials or looking up how to do stuff.
  9. FrankvHoof


    Nov 3, 2014
    Studied game development in university.
    Here's the projects we got in the first 6 months (this assumes 0 programming knowledge):

    - Pong (Teaches basic sprite positioning & game mechanics)
    - Tetris (For all that good array knowledge)
    - Cowboy Henk, a simple 2D platformer (2D Physics, animation & lighting, basic state machines).
    - Self-chosen project, based on an existing game, but with a new feature (chose to recreate GTA 1/2 with added LAN-support).

    tl;dr : Just start developing small stuff. Experience matters most.
    Bunny83 likes this.
  10. Kurt-Dekker


    Mar 16, 2013
    Yes!! No game is too small... seriously. I've been making games for over 40 years and I still love putting together a micro-game, a little demo, anything interactive that takes user input, reacts to it, and judges the outcome.

    Also, make and remake. Try make flappy birds. When you're done, make a blank project and remake it. Challenge yourself to do it in half the time it took you the first time. Then do it again. Again try to cut the time down.

    Look at it this way:

    Imphenzia: How Did I Learn To Make Games:

  11. chemicalcrux


    Mar 16, 2017
    Doing game jams (whether actually participating in one or just doing it yourself) is great. You're making something small, without the baggage of prior work or the fear of making something too hard to work on in the future.

    They're what got me really interested in game development again!
    Kurt-Dekker likes this.