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Developer's Log: Building a WebGL Game

· Web Dev Zone

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There's no shortage of WebGL tutorials out there.

But sometimes tutorials can feel like [SUBJECT]101: a teacher tossing off oversimplified half-truths designed to make the beginner get a basic feel for something very complex. (Like Newtonian physics. (Okay, that wasn't fair.))

The trouble is, this approach relates teacher and student to subject-matter in very different ways. The teacher knows where all this basic stuff is going, and knows exactly how to get there; the student has a vague idea of the destination, but every step to get there is totally unknown. ("I want to make a game! But I don't know how!" The CO2 exhaled over the set of all utterances of these words has probably saved several forests by now.)

But if programming is more like art (etymologically too) than like data-absorption, and if art is best learned in a studio, by watching masters paint -- then perhaps programming is best learned that way too. Watch someone program, and you'll learn to program.

Cooler: watch someone make a game, and you'll learn to make a game.

Brandon Jones is making a game in WebGL, and he wants you to watch.

He doesn't want you to 'learn', exactly. (Nobody likes to 'learn', though everybody likes to learn. Historical joke, but true: 'school' means 'leisure' in Greek.)

As Brandon says of his ongoing 'Building the Game' series:

I'll also be writing blog posts and putting up demos as I hit various milestones. The posts won't be tutorials, nor will they be simple progress updates but probably something in-between. I'm more interested in talking about the high level decisions that go into the process and how my experience with the previous demo's that I've done influences the choices I make for my own game.

Now, I'm not a professional game developer. I can't promise that everything I do will be a "best practice" or completely optimal. I'll probably re-invent a few wheels along the way, and it's very likely that from time to time I'll have to admit that one choice or another didn't work out so well and code will be scrapped and redone. It's basically a grand experiment on my part, but that's what makes it fun.

So walk with Brandon as he realizes his WebGL game development dreams. Glance at the code here, but to me the best part of Brandon's work is the full narrative of the development process, each decision considered and justified lucidly.

So far the series has four parts plus intro (0,1,2,3,4), but new posts come quite often (every few days, at most). Stay tuned.

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