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How did you become a decent programmer? Your life's story.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ethanbf3, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. Ethanbf3

    Ethanbf3

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    What it says on the tin. How did you learn to because a decent-advanced programmer?
    I want you lifes story of how you got there.

    Did you go to University?
    Pay someone of to teach you?
    A mentor Taught you?
    You learned purely from the internet? (God knows how...)
    You were born with it? (A natural)

    How did you get there?

    Your lives story! :D
     
  2. Steve-Tack

    Steve-Tack

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    Initially taught myself BASIC programming on a Sinclair ZX-81. That was a *bit* before the internet, hehe. Then taught myself Commodore 64 BASIC and assembler. Learned Apple II BASIC and even some Pascal from high school classes. After that got a BS in computer science. Got a couple of jobs, and learned tons of stuff on the job, including .NET/C#, though work has all been doing boring business applications.

    I've never done game development professionally (well *technically* I did set a few thousand copies of a game once, but not at the "make a living" level), but games, graphics, and AI were always what kept my interest up. Been having about as much fun as humanly possibly with Unity and C# as a hobby.

    With the amount of resources available, anybody with an interest can teach themselves programming. It's insane what kind of awesome materials are out there.
     
  3. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Fun topic!

    I began in 1981 circa - with the spectrum. I didn't have any manuals or anything and I was quite young - but I worked out how to print text... how to loop back again, all by trial and error. It was then I realised the pattern of repeatedly printing text moved - I had taught myself scrolling! So the next few days were filled with experiments how it get a better looking scroll effect with more detail using ascii text printing!

    Since that time, I went on, fuelled with curiosity. I rarely had access to money or any form of instruction book, nothing like the internet existed either, and where I lived - nobody was interested in computer programming. I guess that's where I first learned that the best teacher you really have is your own drive, your own insatiable curiosity. With trial and error, all things are possible.

    I moved onto the 16 bits - the Amiga was my pride and joy, and I learned devpac, then blitz - did some wonderful things with that, including (again with just trial and error) learning how to give hardware sprites a different position based on Y thanks to manipulating the copper. I could also give it a different palette too! But I learned that by watching shadow of the beast - upstairs, on the far right of the open level, a torch sprite is animating, but the very tip of it is a different palette. I knew then such a thing was possible, and immediately set out to see if I could reproduce it.

    It was around this time my art skills began to grow at a rapid pace. I'd always been good on paper, but dpaint opened up a whole new world for me, and pretty much every night I was coding or painting.

    When I finally got my first PC years later - had to skip the 2/3/486 due to lack of money (but used a friends) - I got the 200mhz pentium! and boy what a revelation that was! I soon set out to teach myself the wonders of C, various basics and other languages - any I could find really. And from that time to present day I have made it my job :)

    I am a good artist though, and hope to dig out some more of my work beyond what you've seen in the games and apps we've done (I usually contribute some art!) soon.

    Looking forward to seeing other people's journeys here too.
     
  4. goat

    goat

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    I learned programming after flunking out of my Electrical Engineering major - I couldn't afford the sparse matrix math calculators everyone else had and I always would get a sign wrong somewhere in the math. So after promising to get on the honor role the next semester to the Dean of the Arts Sciences college I switched my major to Computer Science, then with access to computers that I didn't have before I could make 'A's in those EE Logic Circuits and such classes I was failing before.
     
  5. Kavorka

    Kavorka

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    Cool, I started on zx81 and spectrum too. Programming have been on and off for me. Did a period of C on microprocessors, a ton of calculations in matlab and now C# in Unity. Learning C# from the msdn reference, internet searches and by pouring time into it. My strength is that I know the maths, physics and engineering. I believe those things are limiting as many people as inability to code.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
  6. goat

    goat

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    I have wonderful math reference books. They are underrated - too much time is wasted on Google searches.
     
  7. lockbox

    lockbox

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    Started programming on a PDP-11 back in 1978. I learned by reading a Basic language manual that two of my instructors wrote and literally stapled together. Dissecting a Star Trek game is how I learned to program.

    Then I got a Apple IIe in the summer of 1983 and read this amazing book on Applesoft Basic that taught me how to write professional business apps. This taught me how to be a decent programmer.

    When I entered the computer science program in college, everything came easy to me. I found out I'm a natural. I can think in code like it's my first language.

    ... and I program with these two things always in the back of my mind:

    1. If someone else on the planet can program something, I should be able to figure out how to program it too.

    2. Never give up. This really helps with #1 - lol
     
  8. The-Spaniard

    The-Spaniard

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    I taught myself and learnt from the internet, but in quite an odd fashion: I first learnt by modding TES Oblivion when I was about 15. Telling stories was always my motivation, and scripting allowed me to make much more involved and interesting stories. The first script I wrote, where I cracked the understanding of logic flow was a secret door hidden inside a cupboard, that you could only open if the owner of the house was asleep, and if you'd pressed a hidden button. Seeing the program I'd written effect the world so directly was a really powerful feeling, and I got hooked. Whilst I was modding Oblivion, I wrote some pretty cool code: a quicksand simulation, dynamic lighting effects for caves and "glowing" creatures, a survival/injury system, where a player could injure different body parts with different effects. I started to really enjoy the process of programming - it certainly is a new way of thinking and looking at problems, that I effects how I see the world every day. Script in Oblivion was really limited, even with the amazing Script Extender, which introduced me to concepts like arrays and strings, and you'd always have to create really convoluted solutions to game engine bugs.

    When Skyrim was announced, I thought I'd bite the bullet and start making my own games instead, as the mod I was working on was a huge project, with a lot still to do. Eventually I came upon Unity, and the ease and power of programming compared to programming Oblivion was exhilarating. I've been using Unity for 3-ish years now, during which I've been working on my main game project, but doing lots of little side projects too and a game jam, and I feel like quite a competent programmer now. Having never been taught programming before, or used it outside of Oblivion and Unity, I was a bit nervous when I recently had a programming course in C and Python as part of my PhD - it turned out that I had learnt how to program pretty well - I finished all the exercises (and the extensions - stuff like edge detection and protein sequence alignment) and written hangman by the time everyone else had worked out how to print hello world! Right now I'm working on an editor extension for unity aiming to make procedural geometry defined by bezier surfaces and curves - an example of programming prompting me to get better and stay in practice with my maths.
     
  9. tiggus

    tiggus

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    Let's see, I think at this point I can join the semi-old-farts club:

    - First learned basic by typing in basic programs on Commodore 64 from backs of magazines(including the all important program to verify you typed it in right)
    - Then I jumped into Sparc assembly (dad worked at Sun so we had a sparc at home)
    - Next came Pascal which I learned at highschool
    - Then came C which I learned from K&R book, also when I became heavy unix geek and pretty much read every man page under the sun (pre web)
    - Next up was lisp/scheme, that was short lived but fun, from little lisper book
    - Perl cropped up and I became early adopter and still use to this day, oreilly book was my main doc there to get started
    - Thought I wanted to become a developer and became sun certified java developer for jdk 1.1 - business projects turned me off of that because they were so boring
    - Dabbled with javascript and jquery to try to make fun websites, got bored. Plenty of web resources for this nowadays to learn
    - C# started a year or so ago part time for unity, it is pretty fun. Learned it from some safari online books and Unity
    - Python is probably my next serious language for work, not sure what my main resource will be yet
     
  10. Nossgrr

    Nossgrr

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    For me it was purely experience based, the more projects I did, the better I got.. Two decades now.

    A growing trend I've noticed is the reliance on frameworks and things that happen automagically behind the scenes, at my day job in the corporate world I was brought in to fix projects that got out of control.. These days developers dont really care how things work or perform in the background, it's all about 'it just works'.. Well after sinking in millions of dollars(10+ mil) on the last project, the managers and directors are finally starting to listen.. It IS important to understand how it works, resources are not infinite, throwing more hardware at it is not a solution.. Plan ahead.. Once you're 80% in the project, you might be too far ahead to make big design changes. I think this applies pretty much everywhere, game or corporate app.

    A bit off track, bottom line is, the more you code the better you'll get.. It's as simple as that.. School is good for a foundation and all but nothing will get learning more than working on project(s).
     
  11. XGundam05

    XGundam05

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    At around 10-12 (1998-2000), I saw a "Make your own games!" book in the schoolastic book order flyer. I couldn't afford it, but I saw it used this "BASIC" thing, so I did a search on my dad's computer and came up with QBasic.

    From there, I messed around with learning straight from the documentation, then found the DarkDread RPG tutorials, the ever-famous "So You Wanna Be A Pixel Artist" tutorials and various other things on different QBasic boards. I remember making printouts and saving things to a "massive" 1.44 MB 3.5" floppy. I think I still have the DarkDread RPG tutorial printouts somewhere, still a great read if you can find them. Then went and dug up a TRS-80 color computer and messed with it for a while (the cassette tape storage was quite a novel idea for me at the time).

    Eventually went to college for EE, and wound up switching to CEG after I found that a) I despise dealing with Electromagnetism, b) loved C, and c) loved hardware and logic design.

    From there, got a job with a company doing stuff in C#, and as games had always been my hobby, eventually discovered Unity after XNA was abandoned by MS.
     
  12. Rogerino

    Rogerino

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    Do you think being changed how you perceived your dreams?
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
  13. CarterG81

    CarterG81

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    I began with game tutorials in Java, one in Python, completed some in Unity and XNA, and studied a C++ book.

    Then I read this book, but used it alongside SDL and SFML instead of DirectX. Just figuring out what code to keep, and what code to trash, and how to do the code in SDL/SFML, was enough to teach me a lot.

    Book
    Isometric Game Programming with Direct X 7.0

    I completed this book. It didn't teach me how to program, but did give me a lot of experience coding.

    And a whole lot of tutorials, browsing books, and reading online. A huge help from Game From Scratch .com

    Game from Scratch C++
    Game Dev



    However, what really taught me?

    Very, very, VERY few things actually taught me, actually helped me. I'd say that out of 99.99% of the things I read online, and the people who blabber on about programming...only 0.01% actually knew what they were talking about and were able to say it in a way that actually made sense.

    It was only when I began to realize 99% of "programmers" are idiots, and to find the 1% to listen to, that I began to learn rapidly, learn easily, and learn enough to do anything I want.

    Learning to program was mostly about learning who to ignore, and who to actually listen to. Once you find the right people, the right websites, the right tutorials, the right users, it all falls into place very quickly. It just takes a long time (and some ppl never get there) because of the insane amount of noise which exists online. Stray from places like StackExchange where pseudo-professionals snuff out the knowledgeable low reputation users by shouting nonsense coated in high rep users patting each other on the back to give the appearance of accuracy, and try to find websites like GameFromScratch where ACTUAL intelligent people blog. The former will say idiotic things like "Vectors are the only good game container. Linked Lists, Arrays, and Maps are evil." or confuse newbies in their demand for them to adhere to pointless syntax styles. The latter will actually inform you of things you can use.

    The worst part is that a newbie has no idea who is intelligent, and who is an idiot. They don't know what is noise, and what is knowledge. Only someone who already knows how to program, can spot the differences between a poser and a legitimate professional. Unfortunately, those users don't need to learn what they already know.

    Just as with anything, it's a mix of luck and rational thinking. Luck determines whether or not those first few people you listen to, are giving awful advice or good advice. Many will send you down rabbit holes which you end up discovering were never required in the first place. Posers will say things like "This library is superior." or "I'd choose this one over that one." The intelligent people are the ones who say things like "It doesn't really matter. It's all game dev." When newbies ask for performance, idiots make claims that "This way is significantly better on performance." while the intelligent ones simply reply, "It doesn't matter, because either way it will be done in milliseconds, and won't have visible effects on performance."


    Edit: Just to clarify, the 99% of idiots are mostly people who "help" others a lot on websites like StackExchange or are fanboys of one library over another on forums. The intelligent people are usually the ones who are making the tutorials, making videos on how to do stuff, writing books, or answering questions quickly without needless blabber on websites like StackExchange. They tend to have a "Whatever works, is good enough." attitude. Avoid enormous reputation users, but read closely to people with around 300-4000 reputation on that website. Usually those who don't care for reputation are those who care more that people learn what is correct, rather than trying to answer every question regardless of their qualifications. (Few people are qualified to answer all questions regarding all topics, but many users will do so despite knowing very little about the topic they're answering. For them, it's about gaining rep, not helping people. Low rep responses that seem high quality, are more likely to be from people who actually know what they're talking about based on experience in the topic. They don't use google or copy/paste like high rep users, but instead speak from personal experience in that topic.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
  14. Prodev101

    Prodev101

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    Started when I was 8 in 1982 when I was given a second hand Matel Aquarius, there were no games for it so I wrote my own in basic.. Then I swapped all my lego for a zx81 and learnt z80 assembly on it. Then onto spectrum where I mostly played games for hours at a time.. I then got a atari st and started demo coding.

    I was 16 and had just left school, at a carrier day I overheard a conversation about a games company who needed a programmer, I jumped into the conversation, went for the interview and got the job.

    The job was hacking snes and genesis games to make the codes for the Game Genie device, while doing this I showed the bosses some games I'd written and improved there in house atari st engine!!

    I was kept on and wrote some budget games for Codemasters the company was bought out by Iguana and I was asked to write the game gear versions of nba jam and nba jam te.

    The conversation were good so acclaim asked me to convert nba jam to the brand new Playstation 1 (I was now 18 ).

    I did this and worked on a few other title when I was asked to work for reflections (destruction derby) I was there a year when I and group of friends setup The Pitbull Syndicate. At pitbull we wrote test drive 4.5.6 over drive and la rush..

    Pitbull was then sold to Midway games for many million of dollars , we were paid in shares and 2 years later Midway went bust talking all the money with it..

    I stopped games for a few years but in 2009 I was pulled back into the industry and I now work freelance from home on a range of titles.

    My last big game was Pro Foosball for ps3 which was a finalist for arcade game of the year 2013 :)


    So all good fun really,
     
  15. landon912

    landon912

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    My brief story of game development started in 2008 when I started to program in python. I made some simple console printouts incuding the infamous "Hello World" and remember calling all my friends and telling them about it. Nobody was really interested in it much but I kept on chugging alone. I begun using Pygame, which is basically LWJGL for python. I left my short adventure with python with a program that made pixels random colors.

    I was a dreamer and wanted to make games; I searched around and found Unity. I begun learning UnityScript from the unity documentation and the internet. In 2010, I joined a small overseas start-up group to make games, I was lucky to find such a fine group of gentlemen and worked with them over the next three years making cool tech demos to increase our skills. (CoreDev Games if anyone cares) I convinced the team to switch to c# and we quickl picked it up; I consider it to be a great choice. We gained more and more skills over those three years and then decided to part ways as a team in 2013 to pursue other interests. These guys are stil great friends today.

    After parting ways I started to become interested in lower-level areas of programming, starting a plugin for Unity(I'm still slowly working on it) and then recently begun working on a custom game engine in Java. Soon I switched the engine to C++ to regain some features that Java locked down, plus coming from c#, I despised the Java programming conventions.

    To answer your questions in short:

    I learned only from the internet and James', the other programmer in CoreDev. Nobody is born a natural a programming, you just have to keep working; learning from experiences and whatever teaches you the best. Experiment.
     
  16. Setmaster

    Setmaster

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    Nice story, are all your friends still indie? Was this made by your group?
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
  17. Dantas

    Dantas

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    Aren't you Kirk from churchland, we studied in the same class, nice too see a familiar face here.
     
  18. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    I started with comodore64 and Basic, then moved to C and C++ back to school. One of my first game libraries was Allegro (a 2D library which still exist today). My first 3D library was DarkGDK++. I started creating my first game engine with (which I habandonned later when I adopted Unity!). After school I worked on the aerospatial market for a while using ms.net framework (mostly VB.net and C#.net, the main reason I adopted Unity) along side my very basic and incompletted 2D/3D games and engine. I was trained as a analyst but always loved to create games so I jumped from the software industry to game industry when I got a call from Ubisoft. After a while being working on big studios I left them to create my own company (Psychoz Interactive). We've shiped 2 games and various client works. Our latest project (which is almost finished) just reached gold state and we can't wait to release it! :)
    Oh yeah, Unity all the way! :rolleyes:
     
  19. landon912

    landon912

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    Yep. What class would this be in? I'll see if I can figure out who you are.

    Yes this was our project. One of us went into the professional industry, some to school, and most still indie and kicking.
     
  20. goat

    goat

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    Seeing as you're an American you're an old fart at the age of 26, in some places you're the father of a teenage child by 26 but it's OK to be old. Better than the alternative or trying to be a hipster (at any age).
     
  21. Ocid

    Ocid

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    - Started on the Amiga when I was 8 or 9 after picking up a magazine with Amiga-E on it. Amiga broke 6 months later lol.
    - Got a PC when I was 12 and went to high school. Messed about with HTML and some other language I don''t remember the name off.
    - Turned 16 got more interested in going out and getting wrecked.
    - 18-21 Picked up Visual Basic and did stuff with it at the weekends when not working. Couldn't do anything during the week. Left the house at 7:30am got back at 11pm.
    - Got ill as F*** .Bed bound for 3 1/2 years. Did nothing.
    - 24 picked up C++ for 6 months hated it, switched to C# and used that almost every day since then. XNA, Unity, OpenTK.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
  22. Setmaster

    Setmaster

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    What did you hate about C++ ?
     
  23. CarterG81

    CarterG81

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    Everything.

    I know this isn't directed toward me, but lol.

    C++ is showing its age, no matter what C++ fanboys will have you believe.

    The future is progress, C++ is old.
     
  24. Cameron860

    Cameron860

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    I wrote a program that generated random characters until it compiled error free, it's already written every program I'll ever need.
     
  25. Iron-Warrior

    Iron-Warrior

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    Started at about 12 by learning ActionScript 2.0 so that I could make games in Flash. Dropped it for a couple years until I noticed Unity due to all the attention it was getting when it first went free (2.6 I think?) and mainly used JavaScript. Still a fairly awful programmer, I eventually transfered into a Computer Science degree because Business and Design just weren't doing it for me. Programming in Java and C++ helped somewhat...but after doing an 8 month internship where I got to program nearly every day, I really refined my skills. Homework assignments can't compete with having to solve real problems. Building games is a ton more fun once you're able to iterate really fast!

    Agreed. I used to find C++ alright, but after using C# everything feels absurdly antiquated.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2014
  26. npsf3000

    npsf3000

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    -1

    StackOverflow (part of the StackExchange Network) has some truly phenomenally good resources on there.

    For example, Eric Lippert is very active and he's one of the guys who wrote the C# compiler and designed the language. Jon Skeet is a google employee who's also active on there, and he literally wrote the goto book on C#.

    My opinion - don't trust those who diss the work and contribution of others based on petty bias.
     
  27. c-Row

    c-Row

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    Let's see...

    I started typing off BASIC listings from a German magazine (64er) on my C64 at the age of... I don't know. 11 maybe? At least I remember it still being interesting at secondary school, so it can't have been too early in my life. I learned the basic (ha!) statements and tried to play around with sprites and SID tunes, though I never delved into assembler so my efforts were rather crude and fruitless at the end of the day.

    Amiga Basic was my second foray into programming but compared to the early days of my C64 it felt clumsy and not really up to the task, though in reality I just didn't know anything else but Basic. However, along came AMOS Professional and reignited my interest in game programming. That was the first time I started to love a dedicated dev environment that offered ready-to-use functions to use all the bits and pieces you could put together outside like pictures, sprites and MOD music. And there was some actual printed documentation!

    Once my Amiga died it was time to switch over to an IBM PC, and that's were the long drought started. C++ was relatively easy to get a hang of but again it was a bare-boned approach with no great tools available for the aspiring games developer whatsoever, and Java was... well, Java. It was rather late when I found out about Blitz and Dark Basic, but I never really gave them a try despite checking out their homepages every now and then. I did try Torque 2D but the lack of good documentation put me off.

    In the meantime, I started getting into "serious" programming at the office where I wrote a small script in Visual Basic which read information from a .csv file, converted it and pasted it back into an Access database. Not too impressive maybe, but it was a great stepping stone for me personally, and once my applications got larger and more elegant it allowed me to move from tech support to full-time programming.

    What's missing? Ah yes, Unity of course. During my short dabbling with Torque I also heard about Unity of course, and after the disappointment that was the former I started looking into the latter - and that was when everything came together! Like with AMOS before, here I was with a full-fledged environment which had a low entry point (UnityScript) but allowed for fast results in very little time. And again, books!

    These days it's not so much a problem of not being able to get what I have in my mind on screen, but maintaining focus and not losing interest after the prototype. Guess I really need somebody to collaborate with so we can keep each other motivated. :)


    InfiniteMonkeys.exe? :D
     
  28. pokobros

    pokobros

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    Well I started maybe 2 years ago. I am 13 years old and I do think I am a "decent" programmer. So I always have been fascinated with technology and I wanted to know how to make apps. So I went on this website called Buzztouch and made a iOS quiz app called Do You Know Your USA?. This was a great learning experience and I was surprisingly able to get it on the app store. Then I made my second app called Do You Know Your Countries? also with Buzztouch. With this app I added iAds so I had to a little bit of programming on my part. Then my final app with Buzztouch was released called Do You Know Your Baseball? and that had iAds and Game Center. With each app, I wanted to learn more and do more with the programming part of it. By then, I had read 3-4 books on Objective-C and how to make iOS apps. Then I picked up a book about Cocos2d and over my summer break I ended up making a game called Flit-The Great Escape. This was a great experience for me because everything in the app was done by me. I did the graphics, coding, and music. This strengthened my coding skills and exposed me to making games for the iPhone. So, when I heard about Sprite Kit I was eager to try it out and read the tutorials on Ray Wenderlich about it and started updating Do You Know Your USA? with it to make it more fun. I was able to finish it, but the update has not come out yet because of an Invalid Binary Invalid Signature error I have been getting. (http://stackoverflow.com/questions/21420041/app-submission-invalid-binary-invalid-signature) This has been going on for a while and Apple has not helped me at all, but this added to the learning experience and shaped me to be more of a decent programmer (maybe half-decent). Then I moved on to Unity because I liked making games. I read a book on C# programming in Unity and took the Javascript course in Codecademy and I am working on my first game with Unity using Javascript. I am still learning a lot along the way with Javascript (as you can see by the number of post I have on the forums:D). So, that is my story about becoming a decent programmer. I want to learn Java and the Android side of making games and would also like to get into web development. So, with the wealth of resources online I think learning on your own is the way to go ;). Now, I started a blog http://pkbprogrammer.weebly.com and I want to help other people like me become better programmers.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2014
  29. Ocid

    Ocid

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    Maybe hate was a little strong after all I did spend 6 months with it. I'm honestly not quite sure what it is about C++. There's just something about using it that I find makes it less enjoyable than the likes of C#/Python or whatever that language was that I can't remember the name of.
     
  30. CarterG81

    CarterG81

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    In an effort to prevent a derail, this is my one and only reply to your attempt to derail this thread by starting an argument. I would send it to private messages, but I believe newbies should hear this, as you seemed to misinterpret what I said.

    If you had any measure of intelligence, you would have read that I did not say no one on the website is any good. I also did not say StackOverflow, I said StackExchange. The entire network is more than just Eric Lippert or StackOverflow.

    I merely pointed out that the good people are more likely to have reputation in the range of 300-4000, due to the simple fact most high rep users answer questions on *everything* (hence their high reputation) despite how they know very little about *everything*. There are entire social constructs to the website which actually diminishes its ability to help newbies. Professionals are also very likely to be working, rather than posting. Hence their lower reputation number.

    Just because there are a few good people at StackExchange, doesn't mean that many people there aren't idiots.
    StackExchange has some good resources, but it also is one of the biggest places for useless noise on the internet. Useless noise does nothing more than lead newbies astray and confuse people because pseudo-professionals are spouting nothing more than opinions on syntax or incorrect opinionated garbage.

    Of course, who am I kidding? This is a useless post. You are probably only replying in defense of SE because you belong to the site and cling to your beloved rep. But please, by all means don't trust me, or anyone who points out the flaws of a website. I gain absolutely nothing from you trusting me, and lose absolutely nothing from people thinking I'm wrong. You are the only person losing out by having your opinion to 'not trust those who diss others'.

    If the contribution is good, it is obviously not dissed. When people contribute for the sake of contribution, for self-promotion, or out of sheer boredom? I will diss it until the cows come home.
    There is nothing more detestable in the field of education than self-promoting arrogant douche-bags who lead would-be students astray with opinionated garbage.

    If you want to become a decent programmer quickly: Stick to intelligent blogs, high rated books authors, quality tutorials written by real programmers, and practice practice practice using those resources.
    Ignore resources which are shrouded in endless opinionated noise. More books, less forums. More tutorials/blogs, less Q&A.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2014
  31. CarterG81

    CarterG81

    Joined:
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    Could it be the fact that C++ is so low level, you have to pretty much write classes for EVERYTHING?
    Now, this includes using third party libraries like SDL or SFML.

    You want to read input? That'll cost 1 days work.
    Want to have movement? That'll cost 1 days work.
    Want to blit to screen using C++ game rendering library? That'll cost 1 days work.
    Want to read or write to Windows OS?
    Want to blit to screen without that glitch? That'll cost 1 days work.
    You want to handle assets a certain way using that library which is suppose to handle this for you? That'll cost more days work than it would take to reinvent that library.


    How about C# and its libraries?

    You can do many things in one line of code.
    Even that which is still complex, is much simpler and requires much less work.


    I know those are not real examples, but this was the case for me.
    When it came to rewriting my engine from C++ to C#, it was phenomenal.
    I turned entire classes into one line of code. Scrapped tons of classes entirely.

    Even when I worked with C++, I sometimes used C# to make tools for my game, because C++ and other libraries would take me days to do what C# did in one line of code without any libraries.

    Unity makes things even simpler, and still retains the wonderfulness of C#.



    Hate is a strong word. We may not hate C++, but it is certainly worthy of that word anyway just because it is so old.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2014
  32. npsf3000

    npsf3000

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    @CarterG81 while I do appreciate you efforts to provide good information, you appear to be focusing far too much on 'the people' and 'the system' rather than the results. For example, in that above post you insult me and my intentions at least a good four times... while completely maintaining that you dislike 'opinionated' resources.

    Truth of the matter is that the stackexchange network is full of great and useful information. There have been numerous times where I've encountered a issue that had previously been solved of SE, saving me many hours of work. There are numerous examples of problems being found and solved on SE that did *not* exist in any other context that I'm aware of.

    So no, I'm not 'derailing the thread', SE is one of the most valuable resources I've had in taking my programming abilities from novice to advanced.

    For example can you tell me the answer to these questions? Is the ?? operator threadsafe? Why does .net not handle StackOverflows Gracefully? Is it possible to prevent synchronous continuations on a Task? Why does multithreading on a dual core improve my performance 5x? Why is processing a sorted array much faster than an unsorted array? Why is processing a sorted array slower than an unsorted array?
     
  33. BrUnO-XaVIeR

    BrUnO-XaVIeR

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    Did I :confused:
     
  34. CarterG81

    CarterG81

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    There is a large difference between researching age-old questions answered many years in the past, and asking new questions on the website, or a newbie looking to receive answers to their questions.

    StackExchange has changed significantly since it was founded. What was once a robust and helpful community, eventually devolved into a site full of trolls and endless noise.

    It entirely depends on which type of answer you are seeking. If you are seeking something that is readily found in google, answered by a single answer- you may find it a useful resource.
    However if you are looking for an answer that is more open-ended, which many of the StackExchange websites encourage merely by topic, the noise is astronomically high to the point of harming people rather than helping them. Yes, SE philosophy discourages open-ended discussion and broad questions. Yet some of the sites have topics which cannot live without such things. Blame whichever idiot founded the philosophy, or the other idiot who thought they could combine it with certain topics which by very definition break said philosophy.

    I would strongly encourage you to rethink your approach on StackExchange, as it has grown far beyond StackOverflow. I will also admit that StackOverflow is far more mature, matter-of-fact, accurate, and significantly less noisy than other StackExchange websites. There is less opinionated noise in much of StackOverflow, simply for the fact one cannot bend the laws of math physics to their whim. Although some users certainly try, thinking their high reputation is capable of bending reality. You will also not find as good answers nor as accurate solutions on their alternative sites, such as GameDev.

    In the end, my statement about high reputation users still stands quite accurate. The reputation system alone is extremely flawed, catering towards people who provide quantity over quality. A buddy-buddy community rewarding system only encourages this quantity, and multiplies the confusing effect of useless opinions or inaccurate noise. High reputation users being granted almost moderator powers only leads to abuse, just as giving any human power leads to abuse of said power. I have seen some amazing questions asked on GameDev SE, only for them to be shut down because it was the opinion of a few buddies who didn't like the topic. The answers to these questions were also phenominal, but as a resource they may not be readily found in search engines simply for the fact the high rep users do not want them to be. This is only proven by the admittance of legitimate moderators who are constantly repealing the biased actions of these users, along with their statements that the system is flawed. Many of these moderators become complacent very quickly, as the work to undo the damage some powerful users cause, is more than they are willing to contribute to. Let's be realistic, moderators are people too. Of course, recently many of the bad users actually became moderators, as is typical in an public election. I actually know one personally, who I secretly detest, due to the fact they are only moderator after spoofing hundreds of votes through loopholes in the site's security. These moderators fight other moderators, in what is a good v. bad struggle which results in the good becoming more apathetic. Of course, it is easier to destroy than to commit to the time consuming task of repealing what may or may not be a fair judgment.

    Awhile ago, I was actually a high reputation user who helped to fix the system a few times, even resulting in positive change to the site. Yet in the end it was pointless due to the flaws at the center of the SE philosophy. Where you give power to humans, you will ruin what you have as corruption is as certain as death.

    And do not think my insult towards your intelligence was given lightly. It is almost predictable that you would be a fanboy of StackExchange, given your reputation and post history. I would not be surprised if you had a hefty sum of reputation on the site, and were personally offended because of it. I am sorry to say, you fit very well in personality with many of the users who help to degrade the website. If I knew you were still around, I would have saw your post coming a mile away.


    edit:
    I'd also like to add a brief response to paying attention to this part.

    If a newbie finds SE answers using google, it is a great resource. This however doesn't require someone to 'stray' from the site. If the answer is on the site through google, it is obviously a good thing.

    The only thing to stray from IS the people, the system, the community. This was my advice, which is why it focuses AROUND those things. Straying from sites like SE for single-answer questions which are archived on Overflow is not part of my advice. One cannot stray from facts, but they certainly should stray from opinions. Especially opinions on what is inevitably just math.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
  35. npsf3000

    npsf3000

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    No problem, I'm not offended. After all, it'd only take a google search for someone to realize that you're entirely wrong and that I do not have a 'hefty sum of reputation' on SE/SO.
     
  36. Ocid

    Ocid

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    I don't think its that either. That didn't really bother me. Even though I had used it for ages on the weekend and was fine with it when I came back to coding I tried Visual Basic for a week before moving onto C++ and didn't like that either.

    Maybe it was just the time I picked up C++ and went back to VB that resulted in me not liking them. Might give them both a quick go this weekend and see if my opinion is the same.
     
  37. techmage

    techmage

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    took a bunch of lsd and the aliens downloaded it into my brain
     
  38. goat

    goat

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    Hmmm, I did an ls -ltr and am still waiting...
     
  39. Thomas-Pasieka

    Thomas-Pasieka

    Moderator

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    Friendly reminder to some folks there to please not derail this thread. Take it into PM's or open a new thread. Thanks.
     
  40. goat

    goat

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    True... so to be truthful...in college I actually did my programming assignments without referring to examples in text or on the 'net' as it was know then. Example assignment: write a program to draw the Yin and Yang. Sounded easy till I realized I had to induct the solution to the needed resolution - it's not as easy as drawing by sight.

    So a one time I really was actually a good programmer that I wouldn't make such a claim today. I wouldn't have found any examples on the 'net' I don't think because gopher was the only thing available. So many late, late evenings and Fridays till midnight and later programming. Why Fridays? Because that's when all the business and teaching majors would go to bars and actually leave a few terminals on the Prime mainframe available.
     
  41. drewradley

    drewradley

    Joined:
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    You can tell I'm educated, I studied at the Sorbonne. Doctorate in mathematics, I could have been a don. I can program a computer, choose the perfect time. If you've got the inclination, I have got the crime.

    are the lyrics to hit song the year I started to program computer in BASIC.

    ;)
     
  42. Heu

    Heu

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Posts:
    349
    I'm nowhere near being an advance programmer, nor a decent one. My life story isn't complete yet, and since I ain't old like the rest of you, I'll just tell you my story where it lies.

    As a young child, I was probably the most dumbest kid ever... Ate dirt, ran into walls, rode cardboard down the stairs. I was a big hassle until my dad introduced me into video games. That moment I never ate dirt again.

    Age 11-12, I played this awesome game, Roblox! You could make your own level and stuff! This is when I first explored some kind of code. LUA! Pretty damn amazed at what I could do with this. I would enjoy making my own levels in Roblox. Soon as I grew older I moved on to GameMaker, and then I wanted to get serious, I want this to be a possible future for me. I found Unity and stuck with it and now today I'm working and learning, and creating S***ty games, but eh. Workin'
     
  43. eskimojoe

    eskimojoe

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    Almost 11 years ago, the first award we've won is the best business application award 2003 hosted by SIAA and CNet.
    http://zpay.com/peopleschoicebestbusinessapp.htm


    http://zpay.com/history.htm


    To be a good developer, is to be honest with yourself and others. Computers don't lie. You code it to do something, it reflects back what you did. If you write good code, you eventually write a good app, or good game.

    Code well, do not close your mind towards new ideas. Learn from your mistakes. Observe what others did wrong, too and learn from them. Challenge false ideas and assumptions. Computers do not lie. 1+1 does not equal 3 when you enter the formula for the computer to parse and provide an answer.
     
  44. Yukichu

    Yukichu

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    Apr 2, 2013
    Posts:
    419
    My dad was a drug dealer, but we didn't live like kings. I didn't own a computer, I couldn't afford it. My dad could, but if he didn't like something, it was nonexistent. For example, I wasn't allowed to listen to music as a child, or play/watch sports except for "professional" wrestling.

    • 16-17: Had a programmable calculator, TI-81 or something. I actually wrote a bunch of programs and pseudo-games for it, using its very simple language. Very neat. Just liked playing around with it.
    • 18: I left for college, and (1993-ish) I was introduced to IRC. I finally could touch a computer for something besides playing Oregon Trail in two colors. Neat, talking to people over the internet. I made a web page. It was pathetic, but like no one had a web page in 1993 so I felt all cool and special. I took a FORTRAN course and was like... uhh... WTF is this. My final project didn't even work right (recreate nuclear fallout movement from chernobyl... with giant blocky sweet graphics.) Our final exam involved having to write some huge program by hand... like pencil and paper. I somehow got an A. If this was computer science, it wasn't for me.
    • 19: I was introduced to a MUD. Moosehead SLED, I love you still. I made a better web page. This was the science of computers I liked. Text based RPGs and putting up sweet pictures of Wolverine and linking Clive Barker stories.
    • 21: I bought my first computer, Packard Bell P133 from Sears. Who knew Sears even sold computers? It was awesome and broke all the time. I often had to run it upside-down and open due to the serial mouse I bought and the modem I bought creating IRQ conflicts. To use the modem, unplug the mouse. To use the mouse, unplug the modem. Nice. I didn't care, I could play my beloved text based RPG. Never went to class, dropped out of school. Who cares, psychology was interesting but not a career.
    • 22: Friend and I started our own MUD. I did menial tasks for him to "learn" how to program, such as adding some empty string to a struct in 394 different places. If I messed up and missed a comma, I spent hours trying to find where it missing. Awesome +1. I did the most thankless work and was happy to do it.
    • 23: Self-taught myself C from picking apart MUD ROM2.4b code. I knew how to write programs, functions, whatever... but I had no idea why it worked that way. It was like... I knew how to take apart and put together a puzzle, but did not know what the picture it made looked like. Self-taught ASP, C++, some other things in similar way. Didn't realize programming books or libraries existed.
    • 25: Mid-life crisis. Stopped cutting up cows, digging graves, and mowing lawns for a living while I ran a MUD in my free time. Went to school for computer stuff and was amazed as to why all the things I was doing actually worked how they did. I finally understood what a pointer was, and what that funky ampersand was doing, etc. Gobbled up knowledge and felt really stupid for not actually learning this properly in the first place.
    • 28: My massive experience debugging / troubleshooting / pulling apart puzzle-rific code landed me a job. Lovely.
    Still learning a lot. Very late to the game. I feel sad when everyone is like, "my C64 this, my apple that, my tandy this, etc." I was just a poor kid with lots of interest and no ability to even play around with one. You'd think having a drug dealer for a father would result in lots of bling, toys, cars, etc. Not always the case.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
  45. Adrianis

    Adrianis

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2013
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    Good thread.

    I started about 3 years ago - I was employed at a software company doing office admin stuff, really menial work, super low pay. This was following a long period of unemployment, I was in a bad place and pretty convinced that I sucked at everything - dropped out of school after failing a year, no qualifications etc. I got the office admin job through family connections. At this point programming to me was a magical art of wizardry, and although I had played games my whole life, the creation of them was the top tier of that unknowable magical wizardry, so far out of reach it never occured to me that actual people made them.

    At some point our boss decided she wanted to be able to tell our clients that every employee was 'qualified' in some way. So they demanded that they pay for me to take some courses - I didn't have any career plans, so I just thought 'Well, computing then. Oh theres a bit of programming there, thatll be interesting'. So i did that bit of Javascript, and realised that not only was programming something I could do, but I got into it really, really quickly and loved it.

    So I started playing around with game engines pretty much immediately - starting with Adventure Game Studio. I took some more courses, short dedicated programming courses in C first of all. Started modding Amnesia The Dark Descent as that had a simple C-like scripting language a great editor. Somewhere around here I changed role within my company to doing software support, good experience for any programmer to have to feel the sharp end of the mistakes they make, bad design choices rushed implementation. These weren't my mistakes, but prepped me for the kind of thing that end users *really* hate.

    Did a course in C# about a year ago, started on a UDK project with some friends I made through the Amnesia modding scene. That didn't go far but was an insanely powerful push out of my comfort zone, and convinced me that I was sorta good at programming gameplay that my complete lack of knowledge of Math was no barrier thanks to modern engines. So with C# being my favourite language the last project collapsed I naturally gravitated toward Unity on my own - started prototyping gameplay I had always thought would be neat and that I hadn't seen before.

    At my dayjob I changed role again into the testing team, working closely with making friends with the developers. From that point, I was talking regularly with one of the developers talking through my personal programming work with him during smoking breaks at work, and showing them the stuff I was making. That lead to my moving into proper software development within a few months (I wasn't very good at testing...), and again a huge push out of my comfort zone. I already had decent debugging problem solving skills, but going from talking through issues with users to tracking bugs through 500,000+ lines of VB6 code was a huge shift.

    Luckily our company started to support the idea of using internally developed tools for improving teams workflow, so having experience on the support desk I got to write my own application to deal with call logging - that taught me all about program database design, user lead specifications database integration. It also allowed to me to continue practicing C#, from the VB6 VB.Net that our other applications were using, being able to switch naturally between these languages on a day-to-day basis, as well as the different environments (modern VS for VB.Net, VS for VB6, C# with Unity, C# with .Net etc), is very useful experience

    So for me I guess its been simultaneous progression of courses, self-learning professional experience. I would say I'm a competent programmer, approaching decent. Once I figured out programming was a thing I could do, and therefore that gameplay programming was a thing I could do, there was no longer an option in my mind for anything else. My social life has suffered *significantly* as a result, but it's increasingly paying off so. You make your bed... etc :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2014
  46. CarterG81

    CarterG81

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    I would only be wrong if I stated you did indeed have a hefty sum of reputation on SE.
    Unfortunately, you did not comprehend correctly. I merely stated that I would not be surprised if you did. This communicates that it is my opinion you are similar to many people (at least in posting style or attitude) at SE. Just because you could readily belong with many of them, does not mean you actually do. "I wouldn't be surprised if..." is different from "You definitely do!"



    On-topic, my favorite post here is this one:

    lmao, nice one techmage!
     
  47. CarterG81

    CarterG81

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    Jul 25, 2013
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    That is awesome.

    Although our stories are very different, the age at which we began our first steps into programming and the age at which we ended (or should I say, truly began?) our journey are nearly identical.

    My first real programming experience was a class I took around 16 years of age. It was a Visual Basic programming class. I liked it.
    Around 24 years of age, I learned a bit about programming while helping a programmer on his tile based, browser based MMO.
    It wasn't until 26+ that I began to truly understand what was going on when I programmed.
    At 28, I was able to program anything I wanted.


    What is odd, is that it doesn't really matter how late to the game you get in at.
    I never even started actually learning to program until 26+, and anything before 24 was just petty non-sense, with absolutely nothing after that class at 16 until 24.

    Then I write programs which people compliment as working great, am able to write code that people don't facepalm when they review, and my first "game" I ever released was applauded on these forums by many at the time as "significant better than anyone else's first attempt at a game."
    The high praises when I was only an amateur, helped me to realize that it doesn't matter I haven't been doing it all my life. Although I still stress to any young person to start as young as possible. I can only imagine how talented we'd be if we started programming hardcore at age 12 and onwards, never stopping to learn and ending up with 16 years of experience by the age of 28, where our stories end (or truly begin). But I guess it doesn't matter, because we're able to do great with little time. Although it's still so true for me as well, "Still learning a lot. Very late to the game."

    I think that makes us lucky. I mean, there are A LOT of people who talk like that. They started programming with a C64, or over 20-30 years ago. And what have they accomplished? Usually next to nothing, or weird stuff. I mean, with games anyway. I'm sure many code menial jobs for non-game software which is of course very important in our world.

    I think those late to the game have an edge though, because they have the benefit of all the enthusiasm and youth you get when just starting out. Always a good thing to have. I can only imagine how burned out I'd be if I started programming for a commodore 64, and still never made any real games of my own as of 2014.

    At least now being new, I can say I did something when I release my first real game. Instead of programming for decades with no dreams fulfilled.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2014
  48. CarterG81

    CarterG81

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    I really like your answer.

    "Computers don't lie."

    I actually love that about computers.

    I love the fact that if there is a mistake, it is either my mistake or the library/engine I use.

    I love the rational thought that goes into programming. Living in such an irrational world where people jump to such insane assumptions about nearly everything...where people are mostly irrational in nearly everything they perceive....where irrational thought overwhelms any sound reasoning... I love programming.

    People can try their best to tell others they are wrong in arguments online, in flame wars on forums, in blogs on popular websites. But go ahead and try to tell my code it is wrong. That's awesome, because you can't. If it's wrong, it is wrong. If it's right, it is right. There is no bending reality using cognitive bias to force software to believe 2+2 = 5 or 1 * 1 = 500. You have to be right.


    Most people online say things like, "If there is a bug or error in your software, it is most likely your fault."
    However, I have found this to hinder me greatly. I've used XNA, SFML, and Unity Asset Store scripts (among many other engines and libraries). Those I just listed, have all had flaws and faults that were not of my own creation. I would spend hours taking the internet's advice and thinking "It is obviously not these experienced professionals. I am a newb. It is me. What am I doing wrong?" Only to eventually give up out of frustration, post on the forum, and have the developer tell me they're sorry or having veterans of the framework (like XNA) tell me it's a known issue with no real solution besides a hacky workaround.

    Obviously in better made engines like Unity, the flaws don't really exist for me. If I have a problem with Unity, it's because Unity doesn't support the feature because I'm trying to do something it isn't built for. That isn't a flaw, that's an error for me attempting to do something with something it wasnt made for. The XNA bug I'm referring to was an actual flaw in XNA. I've had to rewrite some functions in SFML (or avoid them entirely) just to fix the problem. I don't remember ever having any problems with SDL though. SFML.net required a lot of work on my part to improve to work better with my code.

    But I'm weird. I try to do things in a very unorthodox way. Often it is contrary to the way frameworks or libraries want me to do things, and the feature that is usually 'broken' is always a feature that is barely even supported in the framework (exclusion of XNA, which was just a hideous problem which I thought was absolute insanity to never fix). That is why with Unity, I take a different approach. I ask Unity first, "How do you want me to do it?" before beginning work. I've learned the hard way to do things the way engines and frameworks want you to do things. Otherwise, they just get in the way even if you try to implement them in your own way.

    Well, I take it back. Unity does have a few problems that have been around since its initial release. They show no signs of fixing, and are mostly dealing with 2D. So I cut them slack and don't blame them, although IMO Unity 5 should fix these issues. Especially the problem so many have here where lines appear between their tiles despite their math being correct. It kindof bothers me that in Unity, sometimes you have to bend the laws of reality, like have imperfect, irrational math just to fix rendering issues. Bleh. But at least Unity doesn't have all that many bugs and seems to be well built and supported. I could never say the same thing for anything made by Microsoft.
     
  49. goat

    goat

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    Really? Don't feel bad, I didn't even touch a computer until it was a required class from my major. I didn't want to mess with computers, I thought of them as nothing more the extremely expensive word processors and calculators.

    You experience, it does shows you how dumb it is to do drugs or deal drugs then because my mom was a widow with 7 children we lived better than that. Drug dealers that avoid drug addiction typical do quite well - but I hope those days are coming to an end. Just had a neighbor evicted for dealing drugs. Bye! Of course as a child myself, the idea of wanting to stay inside messing with computers or video games or TV was preposterous so such things wasn't even a desire.

    My mom made $1.01 (after several raises) an hour as a waitress. I think waiters waitresses might actually make $2 or $3 an hour nowadays in the US. Yes, the US government allows such a wage if you are a waiter or waitress. Your family is supposed to survive on 8% tips of the $2 breakfast special and if you dare try to claim on your taxes you didn't make 8% of your food sales in tips the IRS will hit you for the 8% with absolutely no evidence of you having made 8% and tack on those outrageous penalties to boot, all while the US Congress creates a convoluted tax code so they and they cronies can hide their abuse of the US mint.

    Of course the typical welfare recipient gets much more than a typical waitress or waiter but it's not a big deal - the deficit isn't from welfare - it's from DoD / DHS and abuses by big business and politicians. Abuse? Exaggeration you say? You ever hear of Leland Yee? Such people are far too common in government worldwide. Now the official granting of excessively rich contracts to DoD / DHS aren't too far fetched from that man's activities to a world already armed to the teeth, even if those activities are 'technically legal'. Mr Yee simply exposed an attitude of our typical representative that we aren't privy to because those contracts get rewarded behind closed doors. Most government representatives go into lobbying or consults business after their terms finish and are rewarded by those firms for enacting laws and contracts that enable these firms to rob the US Federal Reserve.

    and yadayadayada
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2014
  50. goat

    goat

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    Computers don't lie - well then the Intel Pentium's famous floating point wasn't a lie, but Intel management's response for a while was. I worked on a Prime that gave odd results due to precision but the eventual loss of precision wasn't a lie - it was a limitation of design.

    When one says 'computers don't lie' the typical expectation of the average person is that 'computers are always right' or 'computers can always be trusted' and we all know that is obviously wrong and those that have dealt with data entry errors or algorithm inaccuracies or even hardware design flaws know that better than anyone. The recall of the Chevrolet Cruze is a very recent example that computers aren't always right.

    Trusting a computer because it's incapable of human behavior is dangerous!

    Besides, who wants a relationship with their computer?
     
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