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Realistic Encouragement vs Trolling Tear-down


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#1 Lance42   Members   -  Reputation: 339

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 01:49 PM

I've lurked here for a long time, and have been a Senior Programmer/Systems analyst for 15 years. Occasionally I see a beginning game programmer, full of dreams and desires end up having those dreams crushed by those who would have them believe they are naive, too inexperienced, and stupid for not being able to see it. While I appreciate those who are trying to educate about the realities of the gaming industry, and encourage as they do it, I think it is taken too far by a select few. These few use their knowledge to appear superior to their peers, and really have little motive for "helping" beyond that. My message is not for them. (It wouldn't do any good if it was.)

My message is for the downtrodden who now feel their GameDev dream is out of reach, who are frustrated and considering giving up, and who might be feeling that perhaps the mean-hearted claims of those mentioned above are correct. Don't give up. Yes, there are realities and requirements that you must satisfy before you're ready to get a job at that big game company, or to start your own game studio, or whatever your dream is, but if you want it badly enough, then you wont let the nay-sayers tell you what you can and can't do. Did you know the Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he "lacked imagination and had no good ideas"? Most of us laugh at the idea right now. He didn't let that newspaper editor tell him what he was capable of, and neither should you. Go out, do your research, learn about the industry, learn your trade, grab your dream by the horns and make it yours. Be realistic, but don't let anybody tell you you can't make it. You're better than that, and you owe it to yourself to make the most of what you want. I did once, and now I'm doing it again. So can you.

Lance...

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#2 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 14256

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 02:25 PM

In the For Beginners forum in particular, we take a pretty hard stance on people being excessively negative towards these exact people.

To that end, if you see something that you feel is abusive or overly harsh towards a beginner, please feel free to report it to a moderator using the Report link under the post in question.


We take our community friendliness very seriously, so don't hesitate to bring it to our attention where there are people who are not being nice.

#3 Cham   Members   -  Reputation: 188

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 02:48 PM

Thank you for your encouragement Lance42, I'm a new designer and I've been in the discouraged category for a long time. This brought me some new insight, thank you.

#4 Jaap85   Members   -  Reputation: 241

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 03:21 PM

also a beginner here and although i personally never felt discouraged by the forum members, this post definitely motivates me :)

#5 thedevsykes   Members   -  Reputation: 336

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 07:15 PM

A great message lance, thanks.
'Knowledge isn't key, but understanding...'

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#6 iMalc   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2258

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 07:57 PM

Call be devil's advocate here, but I would advise against trying to divide people into those who are helpful and those who go over the top in providing a reality check, or whatever it is people do. It's all shades of grey, finding the middle ground between going overboard with a reality check vs leading someone on to the point they have been convinced that their own idea is a great idea, only to eventually fall flat on their face when it just cant work in practice. Yes its possible to be too encouraging, though you're right that this is less of a problem.

Also, consider that a lot of people who are generally very helpful, or at least sometimes quite helpful do have bad days where their tolerance has run out, and sometimes lose patience with those who do not allow themselves to be helped easily.

People have vastly differing personality types. Some people very much like strong criticism, and would see encouragement as not useful, while others just want some moral support and don't want to hear what they're done wrong. It is sometimes hard to know how to respond in the ideal manner.

And finally, I must say that the overall quality of posting on this forums superseeds any I've seen on other programming forums.

That all said, thanks for that valuable post and it is something that the more people read the better.

Edited by iMalc, 18 August 2012 - 07:58 PM.

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#7 jefferytitan   Members   -  Reputation: 1642

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 09:34 PM

It is a balancing act. I think realistically you don't want people thinking that they will create the "bestest game evar" on their first shot, which is like saying that sport X looks pretty cool, you'd like to take a shot at the Olympics in it next year. Having said that, everybody starts somewhere, even the ID or Crysis teams. I think it's a fine aspiration to either investigate a new technology because it's fun and exciting (while understanding that there's a lot more to games than a technology), or to rescope your ambitions to something you can make right now, and finish it unlike many of the people out there.

But yes, guide people, guide. Don't shut the beginners down on their first post. By all means point out that what they want to do is harder than they expect, but let that be a challenge. Or point out all the games that flourished on that something that set them apart rather than excellence in every field.

#8 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 17220

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:02 PM

Very well said Lance -- and as ApochPiQ says, we do try to keep things more civil in the For Beginners forum. In our other technical forums we tend to value correctness over a feel-good type of post, but even then there's no need to tear most people down. You should absolutely report any post that you think might cross a line for moderator attention.

Some people need -- or might even want -- a good reality check, so it can sometimes be difficult to judge the situation.

#9 Toothpix   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 810

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 09:05 AM

I think we should all be encouraging, because being encouraging is what we DIDN'T encounter as beginners (at least on the internet), and we should try to stop the hostile "elitist" attitude toward beginners, because everyone is a beginner compared to the next bigger fish.

Edited by MrJoshL, 20 August 2012 - 04:45 PM.

C dominates the world of linear procedural computing, which won't advance. The future lies in MASSIVE parallelism.


#10 Eastfist   Members   -  Reputation: 159

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 11:03 AM

Very encouraging post, OP. However, I think there's still a misconception that newbs pursue game development to become paid professionals. If we changed the original post just slightly to encompass all pursuits, then it'll be wicked awesome. To any and all, make a game because you want to, because you can. It doesn't matter if it sells or anyone plays it. Just do it because you are driven to. If games are to become a true art medium (Roger Ebert may be correct about the state of it), everyone needs to be free to create them, and it needs to be as simple as picking up a stick and drawing something in the sand. Then, who's to say, what possibilities ANYONE can come up with?
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#11 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 14256

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 11:37 AM

The thing is that some people work hard programming certain things, and on teams nonetheless, and then some inexperienced self-confident idiot just says that he is going to make something better than that over the weekend. Obviously he has no experience, but it is almost fun to just mess around with him and make him feel overwhelmed by sarcasm.


That's exactly the kind of behavior we don't want.

#12 Toothpix   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 810

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 01:20 PM

Remember - Friendship Is MAGIC!

Edited by MrJoshL, 20 August 2012 - 04:46 PM.

C dominates the world of linear procedural computing, which won't advance. The future lies in MASSIVE parallelism.


#13 jefferytitan   Members   -  Reputation: 1642

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 01:23 PM

@ApochPiQ: Agreed. Everybody has moments of overconfidence at times. Heck, back at university I thought I'd proved P != NP and I was going to be famous. Turns out my lecturer was having a slow day and hadn't seen the gaping hole in my proof. Such is life. Just explain, set them straight. No need to ham it up or smother them in sarcasm. If someone continues off into delusion-land after being set straight... well, that's a matter of personal opinion. There's always that 0.001% chance that they're actually a genius and they're right.

#14 Goran Milovanovic   Members   -  Reputation: 1103

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 01:24 PM

If you know next to nothing about programming, and you want to make an MMORPG, I would encourage you to learn the basics of programming.

+---------------------------------------------------------------------+

| Need a programmer?        ->   http://www.nilunder.com/protoblend   |

| Want to become one?       ->   http://www.nilunder.com/tutoring     |
| Game Dev video tutorials  ->   http://www.youtube.com/goranmilovano |
+---------------------------------------------------------------------+

#15 jefferytitan   Members   -  Reputation: 1642

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 01:36 PM

@MrJoshL: I both agree and disagree about the art thing. Can you make an interactive work of art using computers? I would say definitely yes. Did adding movement to pictures stop it being art? No. Did adding sound stop it being art? No. Why would adding interactivity stop it being art? Having said that, is the common conception of a game an obstacle to being art? Perhaps. Competitiveness (even against the environment or yourself) tends to destroy the contemplative mood that art is normally viewed in. Interactivity also increases the audience's role and decreases the author's role. Even in a very serious dramatic game, people can choose to act like douches. Regarding the modern art movement, I went to the Guggenheim some years back. Big disappointment to me. I can't say that the art made no statement or had no value, but it was just ridiculously inaccessible. In my view if the general population has almost no chance of understanding what a piece of art means, it's incomplete. The missing part is the placard that explains why they did what they did, what their background was, etc. Maybe not 100%. Art doesn't need to be explained to death. But realistically a white box on top of a bigger white box, or a canvas covered in blowflies... is missing so much context that nobody could hope to understand it who didn't already know the artist or their influences.

#16 Toothpix   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 810

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 01:50 PM

We need to always be helpful, but keep in mind that sometimes people genuinely aren't interested enough.

Edited by MrJoshL, 20 August 2012 - 04:47 PM.

C dominates the world of linear procedural computing, which won't advance. The future lies in MASSIVE parallelism.


#17 dimitri.adamou   Members   -  Reputation: 329

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 02:49 PM

MrJoshL, some simple advice - Stop generalising.

#18 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 14256

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 03:01 PM

Let's keep further replies in this thread on-topic. If you feel compelled to debate the merits of games vis-a-vis art, please do so in a separate thread.

#19 Telastyn   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3718

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 04:39 PM

Yes, there are realities and requirements that you must satisfy before you're ready to get a job at that big game company, or to start your own game studio, or whatever your dream is, but if you want it badly enough, then you wont let the nay-sayers tell you what you can and can't do


Look, I agree that toying with beginners is evil, wrong, etc.

Hell, I tend to sit a little closer to the "harsh hand of reality" side of advice than is optimal.

All that said, I tire quickly of the "you can do anything with the right work ethic!" advice that this quote seems to entail and is somewhat common on the forums. This implies that the beginner who's off trying to write World of Warcraft x100 in hand rolled assembly is failing because they're not trying hard enough. This is (to be generous) not helpful to the beginner.

The fact of the matter is that a large number of people can't do it. Worse, a good number of people can't ever do it. I can't be a pro football player. It's no slight on me that I'm not in the top fraction of a percentile of athletic ability. Certainly the criteria to work on a AAA game title are less strict, but the same sort of things apply. There are tons more wildly passionate candidates than there are positions. Passion and persistence alone will never be enough.

The sooner that beginners realize this, the sooner they can see if this path is really the best use of their talents, and if it is then the sooner they can start working on developing the necessary skills.

Edited by Telastyn, 19 August 2012 - 04:40 PM.


#20 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4680

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 10:21 AM

I don't think it's wrong to ask two questions:
  • What's the most complicated program you've ever written?
  • What framework are you going to use?

If they can't answer either one adequately, then it's time for THE TALKTM.

Edited by Alpha_ProgDes, 20 August 2012 - 10:22 AM.

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