Advice for Newbie Coders

A Summarizing Prophet of Hugi

Since Quin was busy with exams at school, he could not write the Newbie Coders Diary for this issue. So he asked me to summarize the little discussion we had in the Hugi mailinglist instead. Here it goes:

It started with a piece of feedback by Eclipse, which I published in HugiNews 30. He writes: "I must say that Hugi is the best diskmag ever created!! I love it mostly because there is a big Coders corner in every issue. But I have some problems at understanding some articles. It would be very cool if there were a Newbie Coders corner. There should be articles for beginners, for example: How to write your own 3DEngine, code some bitmap effects... Most texts for beginners are totaly useless, because they are talking about 'how to set mode 13h' or how to do a Zoomer or another simple efect. They are out of date!!! We need tutorials up to date and written in simple language, so that everyone can understand them!!!"

My comment on this was: "I have already received several requests of this kind, and I also remember having written an article on this matter for Hugi, which was published some time ago. There is a real lack of consistent courses aimed at beginning democoders. In the past one could recommend the Asphixia tutorial series. But by now it is hopelessly outdated: it deals with Turbo Pascal, Mode 13h, palette effects etc. Today, the requirements to code a demo have changed dramatically: You need to master different programming languages, platforms, techniques and effects as back in 1995. At least a course that explained at least what people new to democoding should learn in what order and from what sources would be very important."

Quin then posted some tips he had got as reactions to his Newbie Coders Diary to help Eclipse and all other newcomers who need starting guidelines. "OK, I'm the guy who wrote that Newbie Coders Diary article in the latest Hugi issue. Here some good tips for newbie coders:

- Find the "demomaking" tutorial at, an excellent and up-to-date tutorial ranging from basic 2D to glorious 3D. All stuff needed to do it is freeware, and can be downloaded from the Internet.

- Gaffer's OpenPTC is a great graphical library for starting coders, it's very easy to use and fairly powerful.

- contains lots, lots and lots of up-to-date articles about coding. Check it out, thoroughly. Note the Portal Series, which describes in detail how to build a 3D engine, the fountain of knowledge and the article archive.

- A fantastic book for all (ALL) the maths is Computer Graphics: Principles and Practise). You need to be somewhat mathematical literate, but any science-orientated person should be able to learn it. You can find some reviews and ISBN at It's an expensive book (it cost me about 55 euros!), but it's worth every single cent.

- Ask questions in the IRC Channel #coders, most people there are very helpful.

- Try asking questions on the newsgroup

Feel free to contact me if you have questions."

Finally Ritz wrote: "I don't think it would be a good idea to ask any sensible question on csipd... the only thing that will happen is that a) you get flamed or b) the people answering you get flamed. If you really need information on graphics, try or (the first is more about programming, and the second is more mathematical oriented)."

Adok/Hugi - 23 Apr 2000