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Tru
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21 Apr 2018, 8:54 am

Anyone have any good recommendations for books on C# and/or Unity for visually thinking aspies who already know a bunch about computers and 3D modelling, but no programming at all?

Backstory:
I'm a 33-year old gamer, I'm really interested in games, and I've always wanted to be creative in the field.
I used to build Half-Life levels in my spare time in middle school, and then I studied game design in college, which was mostly 3D modelling and animation for UE2.5 in 3Ds Max. That ended in 2009. After college I moved back home because of a family emergency, and got a job as a digital projectionist. Which is a nice job, in that I can use my brain for something that it's good at, it's computer-based and very visually oriented, and as a special bonus it's very lighthouse-keepery and not very social at all. But it's not at all creative and it's a real shame that I spent many years on an education that then fizzled out completely, in a field that I care about and am interested in.
Recently someone started up a little cuddly-mobile-game company in town (cuddly and mobile; not my thing, but whatever), and I asked if I could work with them, which they tentatively agreed to. But what they need is apparently someone who knows C# and Unity, because that's what game design kids these days are into.
I've never had any education or training in programming at all, only some HTML and basic scripting in Flash, and last time I looked at Unity (in 2007) I didn't like it, because you couldn't do a single thing in that engine without a degree in object-oriented programming, and it's very frustrating to a visual thinker like me to have to explain to a computer in words what is very obvious inside my brain as pictures, if that makes sense. I do know (or used to know) a lot about 3D modelling and level editing for games, but that was 3D Studio Max for UnReal Engine 2.5, and kids these days use Blender for Unity, so I have to relearn a lot of that.

And because it's relevant, I'm depressed and really don't have a lot of energy for sitting at my computer and watching tutorials and tinkering and "just googling things".
I find that most tutorials are either too[i] basic ("Here's a computer, it uses 1s and 0s!") or [i]not basic enough ("C# is easy, it's basically just C++, you know that from year 1 Computer Science already right!?") or it's just not relevant ("Let's build some databases for your website!") and they all do this intensely frustrating thing of trying to get me excited about making a computer pop up a window that says "hello world", which is just demeaning.

I'm thinking that a printed book might help, because I can read it from start to finish, with a bookmark and everything, I can read it at work and while trying to fall asleep, and I won't be distracted at my computer with everything else.
I have exhausted myself finding books that might match my needs (if any exist) and the first two that have stood out are:
Unity in Action: Multiplatform Game Development in C# (which might apparently assume you already know C, so that's bad)
Learning C# by Developing Games with Unity 3D (which seems to fit well, but is definitely from 2014, so that's bad)
I assume there are many many more, but I just don't know exactly what to look for since I don't know any programming, and I don't know what reviews I can trust since I have asperger syndrome and my brain thinks very differently from most people that might review such books.

I don't know yet what I'll be doing at this company, if it actually does get off the ground, but I assume it will be a 3D modelled cutesy 2D puzzle platformer for phones/tablets.
I would really have preferred to work more with photo-realistic modelling or motion capture or tinkering with photogrammetry or weird technical experiments in that design space, but I haven't been doing any of that in 9 years of having lotsa spare time (and depression), so apparently I won't be doing that ever anyway.
Since I don't know what the C# work is, but might need something to work on just to learn, the one obvious programming experiment that I could consider doing in the meantime would be to write a "reverse deinterlacing filter" for videos that people have messed up by incorrectly applying deinterlacing filters, but that's apparently not a C# job (C++ or Assembly?).
Probably not relevant for cutesy puzzle platformers though, but might be good for exercise.
Not that I would know, since I don't know any programming.


In case it's relevant, and to sum up:

Prior skills, all from before 2009 and not maintained at all:

Game engines:
UnRealEngine 2.5 (UT2K4) level editing
GoldSrc (Half-Life) level editing
Some tinkering in Source (pre-Orange Box)

3D:
3D modelling in 3D Studio Max 8/9/2008, mix of organic and mechanical modelling
3D animating in 3Ds Max (rigged human characters mostly, also mechanical)
Rigging/skinning in 3Ds Max ("not that kind of skinning", which is apparently an animator in-joke)
Unwrapping/skinning in 3Ds Max (not that kind of skinning, which is still an in-joke, and also unwrapping textures might be some of the most fun I've had in Max and everyone else hates it so much)
Motion capture (where a horrible 200-hour-wasting mistake was made, so I wasn't good at it)
Tinkering with Maya and Motion Builder (I tried to fix the horrible MoCap mistake, did not succeed)

"Programming":
Some HTML
Some CSS
Some ActionScript (back when people cared about Flash)

Other stuff:
Photoshop (I can't draw, but I understand image work technically)
Photography (I took a lot of reference photos for modelling and textures, no artistic skill whatsoever)

Skills I have maintained since 2009:
VirtualDub (I can filter me some videos like a Motherf***er)
Technical video editing for movie theaters; working with color spaces and frame rates, making DCPs, figuring out why video is yellow when it shouldn't be (50% setting the scaler to the correct SMPTE/RGB setting, 50% wiggling the cable), and cursing Apple and what they do to MPEG-4 files.



kicker
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21 Apr 2018, 4:42 pm

This may help:

https://www.onlineprogrammingbooks.com/

It's a free collection of full books in pdf form that are printable if you prefer on a variety of programming languages, frameworks, security, databases (you'll need to learn databases to save game data) etc. It has a pretty up to date list as well as older titles.



Zachwashere
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21 Apr 2018, 5:08 pm

Kicker's suggestion "hits the nail on the head." there are some very good resources there.

I think in much the same way you describe, and they way I started out a little over a decade ago, was simply by watching Youtube tutorials on the basics and them modifying the code I learned from them and adding to it just to see what worked. I guess that method worked for me because one of my special interests is parser and lexer development(creating programming and scripting languages), and I'd like to think I'm fairly decent at it.


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The_Face_of_Boo
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27 Apr 2018, 7:22 am

I made 3 Android games (C#) with Unity: https://play.google.com/store/apps/deve ... m.+K&hl=en

My advice is: it's a very time-consuming hobby with very low chance to succeed or to make any money out of it, so in my opinion just treat it as that: as hobby.

This video was very relevant to me:



Tru
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03 May 2018, 5:48 pm

Sorry for the late reply, I've been intermittently busy/exhausted lately.

Kicker:
Thank you for the suggeestion.
I looked over the site, and the books I saw tended to either be irrelevant (a lot of business and web development stuff, and I'm going after games) or out of date. The most recent game-specific C# book was from 2014, and that's not very good.
The real bottleneck for me isn't that I can't afford books or that I don't have enough to choose from, it's that I don't have enough time, not enough energy, and there's just too many to choose from and I can't tell if any of them could work for me, because I'm completely new to programming. If there was a "Learn C# For Someone What Knows 3D Studio Max 9 Real Good (2018 edition)" I'd have bought it immediately, but if it's on there I'm not finding it.
But again, thank you for the suggestion, I don't mean to sound ungrateful.

Zachwashere:
I don't think that will work for me, I get very frustrated dealing with video tutorials for "the basics", they either move too slowly or too fast for me, or they assume to much or too little of what I already know, stuff like that. I'd much rather start at the other end, reading a text book that I can bookmark and take notes from and get a sense of the big picture, and then maybe get the little details from tutorials later, as I work on more specific problems.

The_Face_of_Boo:
Oh yes, I've already lost money (Student loans!) and time (4 years at college!) and I didn't succeed (Part-time movie theater job!) so I know all about that.
But the real intent now is not to succeed at some new job, I'm even offering to work for free actually, as a hobby. I just really want to make sure that I tried to make sure that my town doesn't have *two* failed game designers who studied abroad and were good at it and then ended up with a boring non-creative municipal job.
Coincidentally, the fresh-outta-college company founder in question actually just got a big municipal non-game animation contract for an educational app, but I still want to try and be useful. It might happen, I know animatin'.
As for making games for the sake of making games, I would want to do a lot of experimental fun things with photogrammetry and physics simulations and stuff, but after nine years of it laying completely dormant after I graduated, it ain't happenin', and I think the best chance I have would be to work for someone else.



kicker
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03 May 2018, 7:16 pm

Tru wrote:
Sorry for the late reply, I've been intermittently busy/exhausted lately.

Kicker:
Thank you for the suggeestion.
I looked over the site, and the books I saw tended to either be irrelevant (a lot of business and web development stuff, and I'm going after games) or out of date. The most recent game-specific C# book was from 2014, and that's not very good.
The real bottleneck for me isn't that I can't afford books or that I don't have enough to choose from, it's that I don't have enough time, not enough energy, and there's just too many to choose from and I can't tell if any of them could work for me, because I'm completely new to programming. If there was a "Learn C# For Someone What Knows 3D Studio Max 9 Real Good (2018 edition)" I'd have bought it immediately, but if it's on there I'm not finding it.
But again, thank you for the suggestion, I don't mean to sound ungrateful.

Zachwashere:
I don't think that will work for me, I get very frustrated dealing with video tutorials for "the basics", they either move too slowly or too fast for me, or they assume to much or too little of what I already know, stuff like that. I'd much rather start at the other end, reading a text book that I can bookmark and take notes from and get a sense of the big picture, and then maybe get the little details from tutorials later, as I work on more specific problems.

The_Face_of_Boo:
Oh yes, I've already lost money (Student loans!) and time (4 years at college!) and I didn't succeed (Part-time movie theater job!) so I know all about that.
But the real intent now is not to succeed at some new job, I'm even offering to work for free actually, as a hobby. I just really want to make sure that I tried to make sure that my town doesn't have *two* failed game designers who studied abroad and were good at it and then ended up with a boring non-creative municipal job.
Coincidentally, the fresh-outta-college company founder in question actually just got a big municipal non-game animation contract for an educational app, but I still want to try and be useful. It might happen, I know animatin'.
As for making games for the sake of making games, I would want to do a lot of experimental fun things with photogrammetry and physics simulations and stuff, but after nine years of it laying completely dormant after I graduated, it ain't happenin', and I think the best chance I have would be to work for someone else.


No need to apologize I got the impression from your original post that it wasn’t going to be as simple as pointing you to a resource.

If I may offer another suggestion, one that I hope you’re willing to hear out. You know yourself best and with that you should follow your own reasonable expectations and passion(s). You’ll be happier and more successful if you do. Something to ponder I hope. If you have questions feel free to ask them or if you need to tell me to bugger off that’s cool to.