Where to start?

I’d like to touch down on programming. I’ll be keeping it light. I’d like to program a couple of diseases. I’m doing this as my proactive way to gear up for medical microbiology next semester. However, I’ve never actually programmed. I’ve broken and unbroken enough computers and I feel I’d be above average at learning.
So, does anyone know a good early starting point to understanding this endeavor? And does anyone one have any particular disease requests?

If you want to learn programming and you don’t mind not immediately doing things with cataclysm I highly suggest learning another language first. C++ is not exactly the easiest language to learn and understand, and learning another one first will allow you to get the basics down without needing to worry about a lot of the more trivial things. If you decide to go that route I suggest starting with Learn Python the Hard Way, which steps you into it fairly well IMO (and they even have another free follow-up book for C, which is the base of the C++ that Cata uses).

If you really feel that you need to start with doing things to Cata it’s a lot harder to learn, but still possible. First go to http://www.wiki.cataclysmdda.com/index.php?title=How_to_compile and follow the instructions for setting up the compiler of your choice there. Then find a place in the code where you want to change/add something (in your case it would be the disease.cpp and disease.h files). Once you find that pick something that looks interesting and start to try to figure out how it does what it does and why. If you ever run into something that you don’t know what it does, look it up through google or on http://www.cplusplus.com/. Once you figure out the basic of how it works, you can slowly start adding your own things and making your own stuff.

Of the two I’d highly suggest doing the first method though, it’s much easier than trying to learn C++ right off the bat.

I learned C# by typing unity scripts. You can switch languages pretty easily once you have the basics. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qstJlkyNeZk&index=16&list=UUR_3ge9-CEhA6USXMuthwDw

That’s the guy I used to learn, and that’s where I recommend you start.

Learn any language with cpp-like syntax: java, c-sharp, php, action script, etc. You can start with c++ but there are many hard to understand things for newbie, like pointers, pointer to pointer, pointers to pointer of pointer, memory leaks, type conversion, etc. I started with pascal and move down to java, then c++. I recommend java for begin, because it has no fun with pointers, they have c++ like syntax, full object-oriented, and strongly typed. All this does not give much to relax and teaches writing at all bad code.