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Unsure I can fully carry on with this workshop


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#21 Daerax   Members   -  Reputation: 1207

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 03:41 AM

Thank you for your response JWalsh, I feared I was being too obtrusive. I do not think the workshop should end, I think it is a good thing and it would be a shame considering how much work you have already put into it. The only problem with the workshop is that it relies on people's free time.

All hidden participating students should cease lurking and interact, creating a community will make it easier to post and keep the project going.

As you note this project is very large and demanding to run, especially for one with multiple higher priority responsibilities. This is why I suggested tutor groups but I forgot that it might be asking too much on the tutors. I feel though that in the long run it will prove to be more positive on the tutors as it will reduce chance of disillusionment by a) being in a group/team makes it less impersonal b) each group will have its own evolution and repeat tiring questions are less likely to be encountered and c) splitting the thing up makes it more managable. The tutor groups would alleviate you.

The tutors need not answer all questions, those who feel they understand may answer as well, leaving only loose ends or misconceptions to be shored up by the tutors. Alleviating their effort as well.

Regardless, I hope the project succeeds since there is no better way to learn than through interactive discussion. The viewpoints and points for confusion, if everyone is willing to give even just a little will cover so much more than any book, article or set of tutorials, no matter how good. Asking for too much would be to then have discussions be consolidated and edited into a learning material.

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#22 TheTroll   Members   -  Reputation: 882

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 03:55 AM

[opinion]
Well I am going to add my two cents. First of all I want to thank JWalsh for holding the workshop, I have no doubt it is a bunch of work, and he is doing a great job.

Next I feel the language specification is the right way to go. Yes it is not an easy read at times, but unlike books or tutorials you are not getting the author's slant on what is important, you are getting the whole language.

Now comes the un-pc part of my post. It is not JWalsh's or any of the tutor's responsibility to hold people's hands in learning this. If someone is having trouble with a section, then either hit the web and find a second or third resource or ask us to find one for you or ask us to help you through the questions. I find it funny that most of the people that have complained about using the spec for the workshop have never asked a question. Yeah it is not fun admitting you don't know something but are you here to learn or stroke your own ego?

Next we can not find a learning resource that will fit all people. What is a good recourse for me is a terrible one for someone else. We all learn in different ways. So each student needs to find the resources that will help them learn. The spec is a framework to make sure you are learning what you need to learn, it is not the only way to learn it.

So if you want to learn C# it is going to take work, we can not hold your hands to make you learn it. All we can do is help you along the processes.

If you read the OP's later post you will see that once we answer the question, the OP jumped back into reading the spec.

I think the workshop is a great idea, now we just need people to come forward and ask questions and work on finding resources that will help them learn the information.

theTroll

P.S. I have not seen a question go unanswered for more then an hour yet. So if people would just ask questions about what they don't understand they wouldn't be having these problems.

I want to reiterate that the people complaining about using the spec for the most part are not asking questions.
[/opinion]

#23 JimDaniel   Members   -  Reputation: 136

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 03:59 AM

Quote:
Original post by JWalsh
Sounds like people want to end the workshop?

Please don't!

Like you said in a previous post, the value of this workshop is the tremendous resource of being able at at any time to come here and ask questions from programmers who have years of experience, for FREE! If these guys can't understand the incalculable value of that compared to merely reading an beginner's text, then I don't know what to say.

I'm a beginner myself and I haven't had much trouble understanding the specification. And if I do, I have many resources to go for help:

1. Workshop forum
2. Quick Google search
3. C# express edition search/help

I think these guys need to buck up. Take some initiative, stop whining, and spend a little effort. Don't expect things to be spoon-fed to you...honestly, what kind of programmers do you think you'll be with that attitude?

EDIT: I suspect there will be a lot more forum activity once the exercises come and show us just how much we need to know...right now people reading the specification might think they grasp something just from reading. For example, I'm pretty sure I know what a delegate is and does, but as far as being able to actually implement one, I'm sure I would have trouble.

[Edited by - JimDaniel on July 17, 2007 10:59:18 AM]

#24 shawnre   Members   -  Reputation: 266

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 04:18 AM

No way do we end it. I am pretty much a total beginner programmer. I have 2 semesters of VB.NET 2003 from college under my belt, and that's about it. I did go through the C++ Workshop (after it was over). Granted I went through that workshop, but, I did it so quick and on my own, that alot of the material didnt stick at all. The C# language is what I wanted to learn, but, I figured it would not hurt to attempt the C++ workshop at the time (aside from the money for the book). This workshop we are using a free text, yes, hard to read. But not hard to pop onto the forums and ask questions to clarify what I read if I don't get it. I have already asked a few questions, that for most of those in the know probably seemed pretty retarded to ask. But, that's the point, I asked them anyhow. Those who answer questions seem to realize that some of us are beginners, and up to this point have not been condescending (sp?) in their responses. They have explained in clearer terms, and lots of times with short code examples (which for me definitely helps). I guess what I am saying is, for us beginners, remember this:

"The only dumb question is the question not asked."

Not sure who said that, but, it's the truth.

*Edit* - BTW, I am still only on Chapter 3 and its questions. I too like others am going back and forth reading and re-reading sections to understand it. Like jwalsh said, at the end of the day, it is up to "us" (each individual) to do the reading, questions, and exercises(where are they?). I figure I may fall a little behind because of this, but, nothing I can do about it.

#25 Twisol   Members   -  Reputation: 468

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 04:23 AM

Quote:
Original post by JimDaniel
I think these guys need to buck up. Take some initiative, stop whining, and spend a little effort. Don't expect things to be spoon-fed to you...honestly, what kind of programmers do you think you'll be with that attitude?


I have to agree with Jim here, if you're stumped it's very easy to come here and ask the other participants, or just do a Google search.

Quote:
Original post by Daerax
All hidden participating students should cease lurking and interact [...]


This snippet right here prodded me into posting this. >_>

#26 CKolding   Members   -  Reputation: 128

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 04:26 AM

I wholeheartedly agree with JimDaniel. Though the specification might not be the single best reference in terms of being an easy read, I still believe that it should be possible to run this workshop through as a big success while using the specification.

When I encounter something I don't understand, I google it, and usually I have gotten an explanation that I can understand 2 minutes later, so I really don't see the specification as a problem. After all there is a multitude of free ebooks and other references that people can consult when in doubt
(I have used this list of freely available ebooks: www.programmingebooks.tk)

The workshop so far, I believe has been a big success and I for one am very thankful to you for doing this. I think a lot of people would be disappointed if this workshop was called off - out of more than 400 students/tutors there has only been one thread where people were complaining. I don't think you should interpret this as if we, the students, are lost, but I can only speak for myself.

Of course a forumbased 3 month workshop consisting of people with completely different backgrounds and levels of motivation and knowledge is bound to run into difficulties Yet I still believe that this is the single best way to learn C#, as long as the students are motivated.

#27 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4692

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 04:44 AM

Quote:
Original post by JWalsh
Sounds like people want to end the workshop?


NO.

#28 Daerax   Members   -  Reputation: 1207

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 04:56 AM

Quote:
Original post by TheTroll
[opinion]
Well I am going to add my two cents. First of all I want to thank JWalsh for holding the workshop, I have no doubt it is a bunch of work, and he is doing a great job.

Next I feel the language specification is the right way to go. Yes it is not an easy read at times, but unlike books or tutorials you are not getting the author's slant on what is important, you are getting the whole language.


Surprisingly the author's slant is not a bad thing. As you learn more this will eventually be corrected for and replaced by yours. When approaching the material as a novice, you approach it with a fairly empty schema (beyond whatever stereotypes you have for its encompassing topic). Information that gives no direction though better from an objective point of view is more likely to be forgotten since it will not fall under any available set of schemata. Generally what the authors do is provide a framework that will allow for the modification and building of said schemata. Reference material tend to not be good for this while introductory books are, those "oversimplifications" and analogies are necessary. The analogies allow for a smoother process of understanding by calling upon well established and developed sets of schema to aid in relating to the topics and placing the information in context.

Quote:
Now comes the un-pc part of my post. It is not JWalsh's or any of the tutor's responsibility to hold people's hands in learning this. If someone is having trouble with a section, then either hit the web and find a second or third resource or ask us to find one for you or ask us to help you through the questions. I find it funny that most of the people that have complained about using the spec for the workshop have never asked a question. Yeah it is not fun admitting you don't know something but are you here to learn or stroke your own ego?

Learning is not an easy thing and neither is asking questions. As i noted, phrasing questions is often quite difficult when a proper understanding of the topic in question is not had, let alone finding an appropriate search term. Multiple questions will need to be asked by the individual and patiently answered to clear the original confusion. Guidance does not mean hand holding but rather consistent answering of continually asked questions over time. It also involves setting up the individual to be able to operate more and more independently (by say you as a tutor sharing your hard earned searching techniques and viewpoints which led to epiphanies) . Eventually the interactions could get more interesting if people began to reach 'autonomity'. I only suggested groups because i feel it reduces tutor erosion by granting focus and personality. And encourages novice posting by providing intimacy. But perhaps I am out of line.

Now, it is not impossible to learn from a specification and google alone but it is unpleasant, will allow for stronger misconceptions to take hold and take longer to do. The beauty of the workshop is that if everyone participates and cooperates then there will be no quicker way outside of a school with a strong program to learn C#.

I am also not suggesting quiting the use of the specification only that it should be supplemented with vouched for material so that everyone is close to the same page when clarifying for themselves and would not be plagued with doubts that what they are using is good enough.

#29 TheTroll   Members   -  Reputation: 882

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 05:09 AM

Quote:
Original post by Daerax

Surprisingly the author's slant is not a bad thing. As you learn more this will eventually be corrected for and replaced by yours. When approaching the material as a novice, you approach it with a fairly empty schema (beyond whatever stereotypes you have for its encompassing topic). Information that gives no direction though better from an objective point of view is more likely to be forgotten since it will not fall under any available set of schemata. Generally what the authors do is provide a framework that will allow for the modification and building of said schemata. Reference material tend to not be good for this while introductory books are, those "oversimplifications" and analogies are necessary. The analogies allow for a smoother process of understanding by calling upon well established and developed sets of schema to aid in relating to the topics and placing the information in context.
...
>I am also not suggesting quiting the use of the specification only that it should be formally supplemented so that everyone is close to the same page when clarifying for themselves.


The reason we have tutors is to give the context and analogies for the specification. But unless people ask we can't know what they are having trouble with.

As for a formal supplement, which one do we choose? The problem is that no single supplement would be right for everyone. I doubt we could find a supplement that would be "right" for more then 30% of the people. We all learn in slightly different ways. What is a good supplement for me would be terrible for others. What you think might be good could very well not work for others. That is why the process needs to be interactive. Someone asks a question, the tutors answer it. If that helps the person we move on, if that still didn't help then person asks again, so we find another way to explain it. Rinse and repeat.

I would have loved having people around to answer my questions when I was learning C#.

theTroll



#30 DarkTimes   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 05:15 AM

I would be very sad to see the workshop end, it is a very good idea. C# is a very fun language to learn, and it has all the possibilities of being a hugely rewarding experience for both students and tutors. It might need a little tweaking here and there, but please don't throw it away. :)

#31 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4692

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 05:22 AM

Quote:
Original post by TheTroll
That is the reason that there are tutors, so if you come across some techno-babble in the reading then you can ask us and we will try to explain it in "English".

Yes some of the wording they use is a little over the top but from what I have seen as technical documents go this is a great read.

So just feel free to ask questions, that is why it is a workshop. If you notice I try to answer any questions as quickly as I can so that people can keep going on with their learning. Yeah some times that is a bit of a pain to keep on top of it, but it is the only way to help keep people from going crazy over some of the wording used in the specification.

As for using a language specification for learning, yeah it is tough, but it is FREE. That is a pretty important part. Also I have learned that no matter what book you get, you get the author's take on what is important. They always seem to leave out stuff that I think it would have been really nice to know. Following the language spec means that you will get it all, even if it is a bit hard to read at times.

As for this; 'Within all source files of a program, namespace-member-declarations within namespace-declarations that have the same fully qualified namespace name are members of a single combined declaration space.'

What it is saying is that in a project in which you have one namespace, even if it is spread across multiple files that they are all in the same group.

Let me show you what I mean.

*** Source Snippet Removed ***

In the example above you can see that we have two classes in different files, but in the same namespace. You can call the other class without having to qualify the namespace because they exist in the same namespace. Now where this become really useful is when you are creating a large project and have multiple .dlls all in the same namespace. You can call classes in the other other .dlls (you have to include the .dll reference in the project) without having to do anything but just call the class, no namespace reference is needed.

Hope that clears that up.

theTroll


Thank you so much for explaining that. I read that last night and it mentally drained so much last night that I literally fell asleep 5 minutes afterwards.

#32 JWalsh   Moderators   -  Reputation: 463

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 05:27 AM

I am not ending the C# Workshop.

I will be providing multiple alternate resources, with a description identifying useful parts, and what the target audience of the resource is. These will be provided in the additional resource section of each week, and I will likely add them to the introduction thread as well.

Everyone learns differently, which is why a workshop of 400+ people is difficult to balance. But as long as everyone is patient, and participates to the best of their ability - asking questions when they are confused - voicing their concerns, etc...we'll finish the 12 weeks, and when we're done hopefully everyone gained knowledge well enough they feel this free workshop was worth their time. [lol]

Cheers!
Jeromy Walsh
Sr. Tools & Engine Programmer | Software Engineer
Microsoft Windows Phone Team
Chronicles of Elyria (An In-development MMORPG)
GameDevelopedia.com - Blog & Tutorials
GDNet Mentoring: XNA Workshop | C# Workshop | C++ Workshop
"The question is not how far, the question is do you possess the constitution, the depth of faith, to go as far as is needed?" - Il Duche, Boondock Saints

#33 TheTroll   Members   -  Reputation: 882

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 05:32 AM

Quote:
Original post by JWalsh
I am not ending the C# Workshop.

I will be providing multiple alternate resources, with a description identifying useful parts, and what the target audience of the resource is. These will be provided in the additional resource section of each week, and I will likely add them to the introduction thread as well.

Everyone learns differently, which is why a workshop of 400+ people is difficult to balance. But as long as everyone is patient, and participates to the best of their ability - asking questions when they are confused - voicing their concerns, etc...we'll finish the 12 weeks, and when we're done hopefully everyone gained knowledge well enough they feel this free workshop was worth their time. [lol]

Cheers!


Beside you have theTroll answering your questions, what more could you ever want? :)

theTroll



#34 Daerax   Members   -  Reputation: 1207

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 05:39 AM

Quote:
Original post by TheTroll
The reason we have tutors is to give the context and analogies for the specification. But unless people ask we can't know what they are having trouble with.

As for a formal supplement, which one do we choose? The problem is that no single supplement would be right for everyone. I doubt we could find a supplement that would be "right" for more then 30% of the people. We all learn in slightly different ways. What is a good supplement for me would be terrible for others. What you think might be good could very well not work for others. That is why the process needs to be interactive. Someone asks a question, the tutors answer it. If that helps the person we move on, if that still didn't help then person asks again, so we find another way to explain it. Rinse and repeat.

I would have loved having people around to answer my questions when I was learning C#.

theTroll


You do not need to listen to me but that method will lead to failure because it will be asking too much on the tutors and students alike. Because of the density of information of the specification the students will move quite slowly, only those with extra time will benefit and they are more likely to build more misconceptions because they are having create many different types of (necessarily) malformed schemata at once. Terse lifeless information is unlikely to be retained without already having a large framework for the subject. There is a reason why rhymes are used to teach young 'uns. Stop thinking like a seasoned practitioner and place yourself in the shoes of the novice.

It will be difficult to phrase questions and the chance of feeling overwhelmed will be higher as progress will seem slower and information will be too much. I would never teach abstract algebra from a book by Serge Lange or any maths at all from one by Nicolas Bourbaki. Using the specification solely is akin to that, I feel.

Even for you tutors, you will be continually reiterating already available material and it will wear at you. And if everyone started participating you will only be able to give a small number of questions sufficient detailed answers. What of tired days when you come from a hard day of work? Find a consensus on a small number of book(s) or article(s) that you feel are good and do well at explaining concepts. I assure you that anything is better for the beginner than a specification. This is only my suggestion though.

TheTroll, read my previous posts to see points that address some of the issues you brought up in your post, including that on supplements - my first post.
--

It would also be nice if more tutors volunteered. JWalsh, jpetrie, TheTroll and Washu are only six persons.

#35 TheTroll   Members   -  Reputation: 882

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 05:52 AM

Quote:
Original post by Daerax
You do not need to listen to me but that method will lead to failure because it will be asking too much on the tutors and students alike. Because of the density of information of the specification the students will move quite slowly, only those with extra time will benefit and they are more likely to build more misconceptions because they are having create many different types of (necessarily) malformed schemata at once. Terse lifeless information is unlikely to be retained without already having a large framework for the subject. There is a reason why rhymes are used to teach young 'uns. Stop thinking like a seasoned practitioner and place yourself in the shoes of the novice.

It will be difficult to phrase questions and the chance of feeling overwhelmed will be higher as progress will seem slower and information will be too much. I would never teach abstract algebra from a book by Serge Lange or any maths at all from one by Nicolas Bourbaki. Using the specification solely is akin to that, I feel.

Even for you tutors, you will be continually reiterating already available material and it will wear at you. And if everyone started participating you will only be able to give a small number of questions sufficient detailed answers. What of tired days when you come from a hard day of work? Find a consensus on a small number of book(s) or article(s) that you feel are good and do well at explaining concepts. I assure you that anything is better for the beginner than a specification. This is only my suggestion though.

TheTroll, read my previous posts to see points that address some of the issues you brought up in your post, including that on supplements - my first post.
--

It would also be nice if more tutors volunteered. JWalsh, jpetrie, TheTroll and Washu are only six persons.


Let me explain why I say what I do, it is not just because I think it sounds good, but it comes from experience.

I spent 7 years in college, not because I was dumb but because I was poor. I didn't want to have 50,000 in student loans so I worked as a tutor to pay for college. I had worked as a tutor in High School also so I have a lot of experience doing this exact thing.

There have many many times I was a tutor for programming classes, I would have 2-5 students for a single class. As first I tried having group sections with exercises and information for the general group. I learned pretty quickly that that didn't work well. I would spend more time with the group then I did when I worked with them individually. Every person's learning is unique to them. I had to tailor information for each person in the way that they learned. Some code not look at code until they had the theory down or they would never understand it. Some needed to see the code to understand the theory. So we would work one on one and toss it back and forth until they understood it.

That is what the workshop is designed to do. Individual help for people trying to learn it.

Yes there are only a few tutors, but if you notice that we have been very responsive to answer questions. I can't speak for the other tutors but my responsiveness with be the same on week 12 as it is today.

Each student needs to find supplemental information that fits their way of learning. We can help them to do that, but we can not know what will work for each person.

Remember the specification is a guide for learning, it is not the sum of learning.

theTroll



#36 BrasiLokau   Members   -  Reputation: 211

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 01:55 PM

I think if some of you feel like the C# specification seems a little too complicated to understand, why not google for finding better resources?
You can just look up, whats week's topic? variables? ok google for C# + variables, read some support material and then ask questions in the forum...
Also you should take a look at C# specification(even if its just to say 'what the hell is the guy who wrote this saying?'), because its the most complete and reliable resource for learning C#, also you will definetly absorb some information from it.

So my advise is to read the C# specification and then look for some support materials.

Here are some good links directly from my bookmark :P

http://www.csharphelp.com/
http://www.csharp-home.com/
http://www.devx.com/microsoftISV/Article/10902
http://en.csharp-online.net/
http://www.functionx.com/
http://www.vijaymukhi.com/

#37 Vod   Members   -  Reputation: 184

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 01:57 PM

Just wanted to chime in and say how much I'm enjoying this workshop. It's damn hard to understand a lot of the specification but I generally find that by the time I've actually figured out exactly which bits I cant grasp (as opposed to the bits I know I will be able to grasp once I've actually translated the text in my own words) and then figured out how to actually phrase a question for this forum I've usually worked out the answer for myself (or found it elsewhere on the net).

It's been a fair while since I last studied anything formally and I suppose I've got into the habit of googling for answers and generally being self-sufficient in this respect. I will, however, try to take more of an active part in the forum side of the workshop as I realise that the things I struggle with here are likely to be things my fellow beginner students may also struggle with.

I think what I like most about this workshop is that it is like having the best of both worlds: on the one hand it is like doing night school in that we are following a formal structured course and I am not going it alone, and on the other hand, it is like doing a correspondence course in that I can do the work when it suits me and at odd times of the day or night. The best part though is that I know I can get help on something pretty much at the drop of a hat and not have to wait until the next class.

I take my hat off to you JWalsh, TheTroll, and the rest of the tutors -your time management skills must be highly tuned indeed to find the time to fit all of this into your real lives...

#38 Strewth   Members   -  Reputation: 146

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 02:17 PM

Im finding the structure of the workshop really good too. I've learnt alot of new stuff about C# already in these first 2 weeks. Keep up the good work everyone.

The specification supplemented with questions and answers on here has been perfect for me.

#39 Ezbez   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1164

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 04:27 AM

From the point of view of someone who already has a background in programming, this has been a very educational process already. I've certainly learned many nuances of the C# language that I wouldn't have ever touched had I been learning this on my own (aka: from an online tutorial). This workshop has been extremely rewarding to me, and I expect it to get even more so. Let me tell you tutors, your work is appreciated.

P.S. I'd really love to start working on the exercises. Nothing shows me better what I don't know than the compiler screaming bloody murder at me. I think that those should be considered a priority, perhaps delaying the workshop further for them would be justified, if necessary. If you only have some done, post those while you're working on later ones.

#40 JWalsh   Moderators   -  Reputation: 463

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 04:32 AM

That wont be necessary. They'll be posted within in the next few hours.

Cheers!
Jeromy Walsh
Sr. Tools & Engine Programmer | Software Engineer
Microsoft Windows Phone Team
Chronicles of Elyria (An In-development MMORPG)
GameDevelopedia.com - Blog & Tutorials
GDNet Mentoring: XNA Workshop | C# Workshop | C++ Workshop
"The question is not how far, the question is do you possess the constitution, the depth of faith, to go as far as is needed?" - Il Duche, Boondock Saints




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