Any IT folks out there want to help me direct my son. He's very much into computers hardware and wants more software exposure. What programming languages are most games writen in? Are there any good tutorials out there to get a bright young man started? Thanks and sorry for taking up the band width.
Most games are written in C and Assembly. Some newer game programmers are using C++ to take advantage of OOP, but you need to be careful that you don't eat up a bunch of resources when you go that route. If he's new to game programming I would recommend that he try something like 3D Game Studio or Dark Basic to see what it's like. Later, he can switch to C/C++ and a Game SDK like Torque, Dark Game SDK ot 3D Game Studio SDK.
I can't think of a better way to get started. It's easy and FREE! I learned it from a book: 'Python programming for the absolute beginner' by Michael Dawson Great book in english.(I'm writing this because your name seems very dutch and if you are so is your son and it would be a lot harder for him to learn it in a foreign language). With that book he can write his own games after he has finished it. After that something like C or Assembly.
It depends on what platform the games are to be played... If it's for mobile phones etc, then JAva seems to be the way to go, at least judging by the job ads here in the UK. Other than that, everything is writen in C or C++ and uses various SDK's to do the actual leg work.
If he wants to write console games, then you cna get dev kits for things like the Playstation that mewan you can develop and test on PCs. Just check with the manufacturers.
I'm not in IT, but wanted to start an intro vocational type programming class at the high school. Of course, the most popular "vocational" activity was game programming. I then canvassed several CS classes at the Univ I attend and asked those guys your exact question and what they would have liked to have been exposed to in high school.
Most said the C family; C/C++. Games require speed and hardware interaction. There is a plethora of free C programming languages and development systems out there. A mature C programming system exists within the GNU/Linux OS.
The next most popular recommendation was Assembly Language for the Intel and compatible processors. Again, speed and hardware control.
Both the above require fairly motivated students with a better than average understanding of hardware and system operation, as compared, say, to a Java programmer more interested in software only. They will spend a lot of time generating fairly simplistic (boring) results. In contrast, Java or another GUI oriented system let's them generate some fairly complex and interactive programs much more rapidly.
They also said that game programming was very competitive and if the students wanted an actual job, to go with Java, etc, and learn the concepts of OOP.
I won't go into details, as the other responses have done an excellent job of doing so. I will just echo their opinions. Have your son dive into the C/C++ languages. They are relatively easy to learn; and provide a good "launch pad" (Hey!...An On-Topic reference!) to learn other languages.
Also, if you have a spare PC (an old one is *ideal*), or some free hard-drive space...have him install a Linux system. These can be picked up for pennies (or as a cost-free download); and most of the major distributions come equipped with the compilers needed to delve into these languages. It is the ideal way to enter the world of programming, with minimal-to-no monetary expense.
I agree with the general assessments given here, but more importantly you may want to ask the question if it's really something he SHOULD do. Back in the 80's, everyone was being told to go into Hazardous Waste work -- then SuperFund dried up. In the 90's, computer programming/design was the big thing, with high wages and a great future
-- then the software got outsourced to India, and the hardware to China. These days, I hear that biotech is the 'big field', but it seems obvious to me that rising healthcare costs are going to cause that to crash into a wall soon. The cover of one of the industry magazines I get just made the suggestion that the best career move for a hardware engineer these days is to learn Chinese (they weren't joking).
It's sad and unfortunate that this is true, but it IS true. There will be a need for the hands-on guys in IT departments to keep things working for the foreseeable future, but actual software and hardware development is being taken overseas more and more.
Yes, there will be some jobs available -- but the 'bright future' doesn't seem to be there, anymore. I know absolute top-notch engineers who've been out of work (at least in their field) for two-three years or more, because of outsourcing. Those who are still in the industry have had to cut their salary DRAMATICALLY.
One of the main reasons that Cisco Systems started the worldwide network of Academies was to "grow their own" IT professionals. There is just not enough skilled people and at the present growth rate of IT the gap gets wider. Tom
The analysis I've heard about goes something like this. During the tech bubble there was a great surge in IT studies at colleges. After the bubble it seems that these course and majors are greatly under-attended. So jump ahead 20 years and I'd think there'd be an upcoming shortage on locally grown IT. I may be wrong I suppose, but I think we might me ready for a renewal in demand. Finally, are US companies really pleased with the timing and quality and management headaches involved in these outsourced projects todate?