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I think my school missed some steps...


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#1 Orange Claymore   Members   -  Reputation: 105

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 02:24 PM

Hey everyone!  Long time lurker, first time poster here, and wondering if anyone could offer help or point me in the right direction.

 

Right now, I'm in a computer simulation and gaming program in college.  The program I am in lets students choose between design, programming, and art emphases.  I have chosen to do a dual emphasis in both design and programming.  I'm in my second semester.

 

Here's the thing - I'm in my second semester right now.  First semester, we started working with basic programming concepts and mild OO programming using C# (I have some background in C++ as well).  We never moved beyond programming anything outside of DOS, with no graphics or event style programming.  This semester, however, I have a class that has immediately thrown us into working with Unity.  Day 1 we were divided into teams, were put to work on the Lerpz tutorial on Unity's website, and were told we had to have a game up and running by the end of the semester.  

 

Following the tutorial is easy enough, but I'm totally lost on how one goes from basic C# programming, to scripts, to Unity.  I feel that there were some steps missed here (and I'm taking the path through the program as it's planned out).  To be honest, I'm a little worried as to how my team is going to get a full game up and running by the end of the class, no matter how basic.

 

I'm trying to fill the gaps in my knowledge, but I'm having a rough time of it with work and all of my other classes.  If anyone could shed some light on this, I'd greatly appreciate it.



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#2 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 22779

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 02:35 PM

Right now your best option is to go talk to your instructor.

 

Explain that you don't understand the jump between the first semester's classes and the second semesters classes.

 

If you are confused, it is likely that other students are also confused and the teacher just doesn't realize it.

 

 

Talk to the instructor.  You're paying him, he works for you.


Check out my book, Game Development with Unity, aimed at beginners who want to build fun games fast.

Also check out my personal website at bryanwagstaff.com, where I write about assorted stuff.


#3 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10163

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 03:44 PM

Right now your best option is to go talk to your instructor.

 

Exactly what I was going to suggest.


-- Tom Sloper
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Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#4 Michael Tanczos   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 5454

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 09:41 PM

In most university settings the university pays the instructor and the student pays the university, but the idea that you pay the instructor's salary really is unimportant unless the school is ridiculously small.   College professors tend to be insulated from caring about that.   Truthfully, seeing the prof is good to try and get an idea of why the course sequence exists as it does.. but it probably won't help you in the course.

 

I'm a high school teacher and we start with C# using console applications pretty much exclusively just to get a lot of the various programming concepts down.  With college level courses though there isn't always a continuity to how they are presented.. even if a course pathway exists.   In your case I'm sure the idea is to stretch your ability to adapt to something different.   This is about working your ass off to overcome obstacles.   The most important thing you can pick up from this process is to never be intimidated when presented with a new technology, because that will happen for the rest of your life.

 

My advice would be this.. you have an idea of how to program so you can now pick up a scripting language and run with it.   Experiment with what you are doing as much as possible and encourage your teammates to do so as well.  Stop worrying about what you missed in between.. you didn't miss anything.  You are going to fill that gap with hard work, and being able to do that is what you are going to get out of the course.


Edited by Michael Tanczos, 28 January 2013 - 09:47 PM.


#5 Orange Claymore   Members   -  Reputation: 105

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 03:19 AM

I appreciate the responses.  There is definitely a part of me that was wondering if this was more of a trial by fire sort of deal; after all, the vast majority of what I've learned about computers has been piece-meal and trial and error on my part.  I guess I just thought it would be more straight forward in an academic setting.

 

Oh well, I'll talk to my instructor on Wednesday to see if there's any advice he can offer.  Thanks again.



#6 Yourself   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1193

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 03:43 AM

Well actually that isn't that uncommon to be thrown into the deep..
As a fellow game programming student(last year), it happened to me too a couple of times and I do not think it is the wrong thing to do.

During the first year, we were given alink to download Ogre and had to make a game in about 10 days (spread over 10 weeks).
Later, we were given PSP devkits, a good luck and 6 weeks to make a (2D) game.
So having to use Unity (off witch you can find a ton off info), isn’t that bad..

It is hard and the first weeks, youstruggle but with enough motivation, you can make produce good output.
I recommend you follow tutorials, inspect samples and just try out stuff. Having a project on the side were I could mess around in, often helped me out.


One day I asked an instructor why things were done like this and he made me realize that once you find a job, nobody is going to help you with the new engine/console/... .
Either you get it to work, or you find a new job.


Edited by Yourself, 29 January 2013 - 03:44 AM.


#7 HAM   Members   -  Reputation: 176

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 06:09 AM

I would echo peoples comments about 'this is how you learn.'

 

It's not uncommon in an academic setting to stay within the bounds of console apps, DOS prompts, and web scripting.  Academia typically focuses on theory and not application.  And command line apps are sufficient to teach theory.  Its only when you get into specialty courses, like game programming, that you would need to start dealing with application.

 

So yeah you are probably in a 'trial by fire' situation.  There are actually a few studies, about computer science courses and students, that show that you really can't teach programming.  You can teach analysis, data structures, algorithms, but not programming. The mind set and the skills to solve problems analytically, you will have developed before you ever stepped into a programming class, or you'll never have them.

 

Your number one skill as a programmer is problem solving.  Honestly the title 'programmer' should just be replaced with 'Problem Solver.'  It has nothing to do with computers. It just so happens computers are great tools for solving problems and more importantly create tons of problems.  The key problem you will have to solve over and over for yourself is how to get up and running when you don't have the knowledge or skills.

 

The trial by fire is constant and continuous.  As a programmer you will more than likely always be working in an area that you have no experience in, until you do, then you move on to another area you have no experience in.

 

You are right to be worried about getting something finished. Making games is hard.  But not too worried.  This will be your normal operating mode.  There is always too much to do and you always know too little.  If that isn't the case then you probably aren't pushing yourself.

 

Have fun.



#8 LordRhys   Members   -  Reputation: 367

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:54 AM

One thing I can mention here is that in your first semester you learned c# in what you called a DOS environment, as was mentioned earlier this is actuially a Console environment, and now your using C# in a Unity Engine environment. The reason for the progression is because the Unity SCene editor environment takes care of everything that is GUI based, the scripts you will need to write that will controll what happens in your game is exactlythe same as writing those Comsole based programlets you did in the first semester except now you will need to take the C# coding a bit farther in what your controlling and how you do it. If you have spare time check out some Unity Vids on Youtube specifically for the scripting ones.



#9 Khatharr   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3040

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 08:11 AM

One day I asked an instructor why things were done like this and he made me realize that once you find a job, nobody is going to help you with the new engine/console/... .
Either you get it to work, or you find a new job.[/font]

Aye.

@OP - I also enrolled in GSP at the start of January (I figured I'm already up to my eyeballs in debt so I may as well bite the bullet and get a degree) and I noticed that they don't like to hand you anything on a silver platter. They DO however, give you all the resources you need in order to succeed. (I'm assuming we're talking about the same school since I haven't seen the GSP course mentioned by name at any other schools.) Talk to your instructor, talk to your success coach (seriously, I would not be surprised if you secretly get merits for talking to your success coach), use the student resources.

There's a reason they told you about all this during orientation. There's a reason these people were handing out business cards like crazy. They WANT you to ask questions and network and learn how to pro-actively participate in the community. If you feel overwhelmed start talking to people. You don't have to complain (don't complain), just grab someone and say, "I'm out of my depth. Who do I talk to in order to make this work?"

That's the most valuable job skill you can ever learn. When you're really out there and doing things there's no blank-faced 'them' that you're working for (unless you're talking about payroll). It's you. It works because you made it work or it fails because you didn't. If you can master that principal and force yourself to learn how to deal with people and situations and manufacture success then you've got what it takes.

Edited by Khatharr, 29 January 2013 - 08:14 AM.

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#10 BCullis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1813

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 02:05 PM

The reason for the progression is because the Unity Scene editor environment takes care of everything that is GUI based, the scripts you will need to write that will control what happens in your game is exactly the same as writing those Console based programlets you did in the first semester except now you will need to take the C# coding a bit farther in what your controlling and how you do it.

QFE

 

The core programming concepts are still the same: you're manipulating data with OOP concepts and C# syntax.  What you're missing is how Unity connects those script files to the objects said scripts intend to define and control.  I think if you pick that up, you'll realize that the previous course prepped you pretty well for the C# coding portion of the Unity project.


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