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I'm reading C++ Primer Plus 5th Edition. I'm over at Chapter 8 exercises, which is more than half of the book to go but I was wondering what would be the "next step" after I'm through with the book?

I want to use SDL/OpenGL and whatever cross-platform open source api's and libs there are available for other components of game development.

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4 Answers

Quite simply you should put what you've learned to the test and start making a simple game.

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So no more books? –  user5560 Feb 19 '11 at 6:26
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I wouldn't say that, but at some point you have to just jump head first in to the code. More reading is always a good idea, there are lots of books recommended on this site, all you need to do is a little searching. –  Kyle C Feb 19 '11 at 6:32
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@Bob: Books are good for learning. Practice is good for integrating your learnings. –  Will Marcouiller Feb 19 '11 at 7:17
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@Bob- I would definitely start coding. I'm in the same predicament as you, and really, theory only gets you so far. You should start creating a game, and then start looking back and see if you can apply the theory you learned from the book to make the game/game engine broader, more flexible, etc. Besides, theory is boring unless you apply it. –  DMan Feb 19 '11 at 17:59
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Books are often not the best of resources when it comes to learning programming. Especially in a language as complex as C++. If this is your first language I strongly suggest starting out with another language such as Java or C#/XNA which are both easy to learn and give you a good understanding of whats involved in building a game. Simply diving into SDL/OpenGL and expecting to build a game without having much understanding of how things work is a big mistake, one that many people make which results in them disliking programming.

The book should only be used as a reference. You need to personally think of problems which you can solve and then solve them. Then begin writing more complex programs such as, for example Battleships in a console environment. The more programming you do the better you get. Furthermore, books don't teach you how to design your code, you get that from experience. Designing a good structure for your program is a difficult task but the more your practice the better you will get.

Just as a side note. 3D programming is a lot more complicated than 2D programming (I'm assuming you want to build 3D games). Try building console games first then go to 2D. Once you learn more only then you will have the skills to attempt 3D and graphics programming.

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Mucking around in a console environment is the best way to start programming C++ IMO. –  Nick Bedford Feb 23 '11 at 21:40
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Go build something, anything and then after two hours of trying to get it to compile go back and read the book again.

You will now understand why x was called before y and what the purpose was.

This will allow you to use the knowledge from the book instead of just copying the code.

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As a side note, I would highly recommend using SFML instead of SDL. Since you've been hitting on C++ books, how SFML is organized will make a lot more sense that SDL. SFML is very object oriented.

Although SDL has been around longer and has a CRAP LOAD of existing resources and tutorials, SFML is worth the investment. I've worked with both, and I can tell you SFML is just nicer. An added bonus is that 2D rendering is hardware accelerated in SFML. So it's faster too.

End of shameless SFML propaganda.

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