Like seriously, just do it. Get it over with already.
Many people, game developers and plebs alike, have a habit of instantly dismissing the idea of even trying to learn how to code. They feel it will be too difficult, too complex, or too hard for their little non-genius pea brains to ever fully understand, let alone master.
Whether you are a game designer, quest writer, modeler, or even a concept artist, being able to not only say that you know just a little bit about coding for video games is a huge plus in the games industry. It makes you more of an asset to studios, making it easier for them to select you for a job. It allows you to have a fuller understanding of both the possibilities and the limitations of whatever kind of game it is you’re trying to make. It permits you a window not only into the artistic side of game development, but the mythical technical side as well.
As hard as it may seem on the surface, coding is indeed a difficult skill to learn, but if you’re anything like me, it’s not nearly as hard as you probably think it is. Many among us think you need to be a math genius to code. They think that you need to know the ins and outs of every processor, every logic gate, every single, small, consecutive bit of a computer’s near-endless streams of binary, AND have a PhD in computer science, linear algebra, calculus, anddddd maybe one in theoretical physics… just for good measure of course.
…But what if I were to tell you that everything we think we know about coding…
This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. Take the blue pill, and the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe about coding and game development. Take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you just how deep this glorious, gaming rabbit hole goes.
So, you’ve taken the red pill. Marvelous. Paul Elam will be pleased.
First off, being able to look at computers and coding from a broader point of view helps, and this is where knowledge of computer science can really come into play. However, let the rumors that you need to be a math genius be washed away! Let all theoretical physicists with their theoretical degrees be cast aside! Using this post found on Data US, we can accurately determine what skills your average computer programmer does and doesn’t need to succeed.
Hard math does indeed still play a role, but as one will find, skills like Reading Comprehension, Critical Thinking, Writing, and quite ironically, Programming, hold more sway in the realms of coding than math ever could.
So what will be our great takeaway from all this after we’re through? Well, it helps to be a problem-solver, not a mathematician.
You see my friends, coding is actually quite simple. You just need to first learn about 7-8 different robot languages equal to or greater in complexity to conventional human languages like Spanish, Chinese, or Arabic, use those robot languages to seamlessly knit strings of extensive elements from your 7-8 different robot languages together to sew the threads of a much larger, much more advanced electronic system stretching thousands of characters across your choice of a strange thing called a compiler or your poor, poor Notepad files, finally test them again and again for errors, always trying to go back and fix these errors with the full knowledge that every repair creates a new error no matter what it is that say or do, and finally, use Google for everything whenever you’re confused because all of this is too hard.
In the words of many of the programmers and coders I know, it’s like a cute little puzzle. Easy, right? Well, just in case it wasn’t, I am going to PROVE to you that it is. I will be using my amateur coding knowledge to show you, in the simplest possible way, how all of this really works behind the scenes. (And yes, I got pics fam)
DISCLAIMER: I am but a humble gaming journalist. Please, if you think I am getting a big head, remember I openly admit to the fact that I know nothing of programming. Please don’t hurt my precious feelings in the comments below );
HOW TO CODE IN HTML
Ladies, gentlemen, let’s do this shit.
1) Our Elements and our Robot Language
To start, we will be coding in HTML (durr hurr). HTML, our robot language, stands for HyperText Markup Language. All that HTML is used for is to mark up text on a screen, usually for a webpage.
An element is something that you type to tell the computer what you want it to do. The <h1> element is used to show text in size 1 heading format, whereas the <p> element is used to show text in the paragraph format.
(You edit your code in Notepad or a special program called a compiler, credits to w3schools.com for letting me use theirs. This is what it looks like inside.)
(This is what it looks like on the other end.)
Both of these elements have beginning brackets (<h1>, <p>) and closing brackets (</h1>, </p>) to signify when the text of a particular element should start and end. If we flipped the <h1> and <p> elements, our input and output would look like this:
I know, very difficult to understand, isn’t it? While you did get to see the output in its entirety, parts of the input were hidden to you.
(full input, as seen in the code editor)
<!DOCTYPE html> = Something we type at the beginning of every HTML document so the computer knows that all the text below is to be read in HTML.
<html> = All the text in between these brackets are a part of the HTML code.
<body> = All the text that goes in the main body of your webpage.
I know, it gets harder by the minute. Just wait, it gets worse.
2) More Elements
Now we will introduce just a few more elements. We will also introduce an attribute, which is like an add-on for a larger element.
<img> = for image links. Unlike many elements, <img> does not have an ending bracket.
(src stands for source link/ file of the image)
<b> = used to make text bold.
Now, let those precious morsels of information ooze into your braincase for a moment. Let them absorb before moving onto the next step.
3) Building a Basic Website
So, to get the fullest understanding of all our tools, we are going to be coding a generic 1990s-lookin’ website centered around bears.
Here is all the information we need to code in:
(the background of the webpage should be pink)
Today’s Top 3 Bears (header)
Hello, internet. Here at Bears.com, we have worked especially hard to bring you today’s daily top-tier specimens.
#3: The Black Bear
https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-4617713b2614c4f9eaa7b222ec270b01-c (image link)
The American black bear (Ursus americanus) is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent’s smallest and most widely distributed bear species. … American black bears often mark trees using their teeth and claws as a form of communication with other bears, a behavior common to many species of bears.
#2: The Brown Bear
https://beartrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Bear-Den-photo.jpg (image link)
The brown bear (Ursus arctos) is a bear that is found across much of northern Eurasia and North America. It is one of the largest living terrestrial members of the order Carnivora, rivaled in size only by its closest relative, the polar bear (Ursus maritimus), which is much less variable in size and slightly larger on average.
#1: The Grizzly Bear
https://cbsnews3.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2018/04/28/c6cb470f-edb2-4329-a6ad-af3ad788c2d6/thumbnail/620×350/33556a377976d139b012d206c4908170/istock-695736858.jpg (image link)
The grizzly bear is a large population of the brown bear inhabiting North America. Scientists generally do not use the name grizzly bear but call it the North American brown bear.
All information taken from Wikipedia.
Now, like a puzzle, we are going to put all our pieces together using all the information displayed above.
4) Putting the Puzzle Together
First thing’s first, we pull up our code editor and put in all the basic stuff that we need for every HTML document like <!DOCTYPE html>, <html>, and <body>.
First, we place our header, “Today’s Top 3 Bears”, and the introductory sentence, “Hello internet. Here at Bears.com, we have worked especially hard to bring you today’s daily top-tier specimens.” down into the code. We nestle into the <body> element because it is a part of the main body of text of our webpage.
Next, we add in our first small header, “#3: The Black Bear” and it’s accompanying image link, “https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-4617713b2614c4f9eaa7b222ec270b01-c”, and text, “The American black bear (Ursus americanus) is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent’s smallest and most widely distributed bear species. … American black bears often mark trees using their teeth and claws as a form of communication with other bears, a behavior common to many species of bears.” We will also make sure to bold the necessary words.
Then we do that same thing again two mores times with the other types of bears.
So then, it seems like we’re all done. Good job all around, eh?
But wait!! We needed a pink background! We don’t know how to get it, so where could we go to figure that out?
But of course. Google, you are my only true friend on this Earth.
And so, my search brought me to this Wikihow link.
Now, to apply the changes…
Perfect. Ready for the net of ’97.
So, now that we have gone through everything in that little tutorial, what’s our great takeaway? Well, coding init of itself is something the large majority of people overthink. It’s true that many programmers need to be able to code in 4-5 different languages, but seeing to how they can all those languages can be very similar, things get significantly easier after you learn your first, then move onto your second and third.
Keep in mind, this was all in HTML. That’s not even technically a programming language, but a markup language. Things obviously do get MUCH more complex with the number of variables at play, and you’re VERY far from being a web developer, let alone a game developer.
However, the basics are all still the same. Fit the pieces together, use Google, and be a problem-solver.
Some handy resources:
w3resource.com = additional tutorials and exercises to expand upon what you’ve learned on w3schools.com.
How to Code in C# = youtube video playlist dedicated to beginners who wish to learn one of game development’s most useful languages: C#
C++ Programming Tutorials = another youtube playlist explaining how to code in C++, another useful language in game development.
I choose to learn more about coding, choose to accept that you’ll make mistakes. If you’ll notice in my walkthrough, I failed to put my image links in quotations like I was supposed to. I also didn’t write my <head> elements out right off the bat with everything else before going to work.
Now you have a taste of what it’s like. You know how it can help you.
So fucking get it over with already. Learn. How. To code.
Liked this article? Check out our many other articles on Indie Development: https://enomview.com/category/indie-development/
Oh, and here’s a careful reminder from mini-Shia to remind you to just do it.