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Visual coding (does it make you look stupid?)


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#1 Fromfame   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 05:22 PM

Hey, so I'm everything but a coder and for years I couldn't find a dedicated coder so I decided to invest my time and money on learning a visual code tool called playmaker in the unity4 engine.

I'm around 3 months into it and 5 into the game I'm working on with my team and I'm the only person that makes logic and actions happen in game, am I considered a coder? Because as much as I love visual coding it cripples real code, am I allowed to put myself as "game designer & coder" at the end credits?

People on my team recommend getting a real coder, I'm making good progress on the code for the game and they see that and tend to be impressed although should I stop what I'm doing and get a real coder? Is it a waste of time? I think I can do this, at least for this game.

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#2 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 19070

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 05:36 PM

If you're able to express the logic required for your game and you're able to do so without un-due difficulty then there's no real reason you should need to switch or bring someone else on to your team.

Yes, you can call yourself the project's programmer; programming is about expressing logic, solving problems and obtaining correct results whilst meeting requirements, all of which you're still doing with a visual editor. It's not really about typing and memorizing what can to some people seem like arcane syntax.

Ultimately, as long as it doesn't impact the final product players simply do not care how a game was made. :-)

#3 Fromfame   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 05:53 PM

Thanks for that man! You've motivated an arty to becoming slightly more mathy haha

#4 AllEightUp   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4241

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 06:01 PM

There is nothing inherently wrong with visual coding and as jb says, it "is" real programming.  To give you an idea, most of the logic in a little game called The Sims was in Edith which was a custom block based visual language.  OK, I think they used it a bit too much when printing out the scripts took up an entire wall with boxes about half an inch tall, but that's how much of the logic for the objects, sims and scripted events in the later expansions was all done.  It really was a pretty horrible little language also, so if you have something which works nicely, I see no reason not to keep using it. :)



#5 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 19070

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 06:02 PM

This is actually point #2 in a post I made a while ago called "4 reasons you aren't a successful indie developer", and I think it's something that holds a lot of people back.  There's absolutely no reason you should feel that using a visual editor would make you look stupid, and it's a real shame that some people react in that way.  In my post I mention a couple of good quality games made with editors such as Game Maker that are being sold via Steam and similar distribution channels, and whilst these aren't PlayMaker titles they might help show any doubting team-mates that a visual editor can be perfectly capable.

 

 

It is true that using a visual editor imposes some limitations on what you're able to achieve, and in some cases or for certain people it might result in a slower work-flow -- but it also comes with advantages and can be a lot faster for certain tasks, and unlike older versions of these sort of editors, modern solutions are starting to become very capable -- they're a hell of a lot less limiting than they were even a couple of years ago.

 

 

 

One other point worth mentioning however is that if you're becoming comfortable with problem solving and correctly expressing your logic using a visual editor you may actually find it easier than previous attempts if you do decide to pick up a normal programming language at some point.  You would have to work through all of that arcane syntax, and there would be a greater chance of errors in your code, but you would almost certainly start to recognise that certain bits of code logically match up to constructs from your visual editor.  So, if you ever find that you are becoming limited by your visual editor it may well be worth giving coding another go -- you just might find it more approachable than it has been previously!

 

For now however it sounds like you're making fine progress with PlayMaker and don't have any immediate need to move on. smile.png



#6 Fromfame   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 06:08 PM

The sims? No way! That lifted my head up, i love the guys at Hutong for making Playmaker, it's the 2nd visual scripting tool ive used and works perfectly fine by far yay!

#7 Fromfame   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 06:12 PM

Also thanks for posting that post of yours a while ago, came in handy. Maybe one day I will, for now playmaker!




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