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Bonafide Newb in need of assistance


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#1 JayNori   Members   -  Reputation: 130

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 10:53 PM

Good evening, I am, as my title indicates, a newb. I'm barely getting my feet wet with programming, looked up a couple articles and read through a few forums to get the gist of most of this and so far I'm proud to say that I've learned a few new things. Now my question is, what basic or even common terminology should I know? I understand that this isn't really much of a sophisticated question but I want to at least be able to understand the lingo a bit more lol. Thank you all in advance.



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#2 EricsonWillians   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 11:20 PM

First of all, It's necessary to point out that programming languages often share same programming paradigms. Therefore, I advise you to have a grasp of what they are and explore the internet for them a bit before start playing with any programming language. For example, programming languages have:

Syntax.
Semantics.
Variables.
Scopes.
Functions.
Operators.
Expressions.
Etc.. (These are just a few "paradigms").

You should learn a bit as well that there are "two different programming worlds" (The Imperative Programming World and The Functional Programming World), each world with their own languages (You're probably going to work with the first one (C, C++, Java, etc), but it's healthy to know that there is another one (Haskell, Lisp, Miranda, etc).). It's also healthy to take a good look at the general history of the computer.

Considering that you're on gamedev, I would also recommend study things like the history of ID software.

If you understand what a variable is in C, you're likely to understand faster what a variable is in Java. I personally would recommend you to study C and Python at the same time. A low-level programming language ( C ) and a high-level programming language (Python (Built over C)). I would suggest you to take a look of what an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is.

C because most imperative programming languages are influenced or directly built with it (C++, PHP, Python, Java, Javascript, etc).
Python because it's easier to understand programming principles when you're beginning. 

Summary:

Don't try to learn only "how to program", instead, learn the whole background of programming (The learning-process shall be much, much easier and natural).


Edited by EricsonWillians, 04 March 2014 - 11:27 PM.

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#3 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 19018

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 12:05 AM

Syntax.
Semantics.
Variables.
Scopes.
Functions.
Operators.
Expressions.
Etc.. (These are just a few "paradigms").

 

Those are not paradigms, although it is a good list of concepts to be familiar with.  I would suggest however that many of these concepts are best understood through practical experience rather than simply reading about them.

 

 

You should learn a bit as well that there are "two different programming worlds" (The Imperative Programming World and The Functional Programming World)

 

Those are paradigms, but they're not the only two -- the first link you included to the wikipedia page of programming paradigms provides a brief overview and some examples.



#4 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 19018

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 12:27 AM

Both programming and games involve a lot of technical jargon, acronyms and abbreviations; terms that make it easier to quickly and effectively communicate concepts between experienced developers, but which can unfortunately be difficult or impossible for outsiders to understand.

 

 

Most of these are best understood in context and with the proper practical experience; you could go out and read about what a variable (and anything else you're interested in) is, and you might even get a basic understanding, but you'll probably understand it more easily and in more detail when you're actually learning to program and you need to use a variable.

 

It's also hard to produce a list of common terms for you.  There are such an overwhelmingly large number of them that it would probably be confusing if we just present you with a huge list, and because there are many approaches to learning and people do things differently it's hard to judge which concepts you'll need first.

 

 

My suggestion would be that you choose a programming language, find yourself some learning material, and just jump in, looking up any terms or asking questions as you go -- you'll have a hold on the basic jargon in no time, and after a few months of getting your feet wet will have a much better foundation to ask more precise and targeted questions about the topics that will actually be of use and interest to you.

 

 

Given I've suggested choosing a language and jumping in, I'll offer a few pieces of jargon related to that to help you when researching your options -- if you do a quick search you'll find plenty of topics and articles about choosing a language:

 

  • A programming language is a language used to instruct the computer.  Languages are generally designed to be human readable, and can be compiled or interpreted -- it's not always one or the other, but it's best to learn the finer details of that later on -- so that the computer can understand them.
  • A compiled language is translated in advance into a form the computer is able to directly understand.
  • An interpreted language is translated "on the fly" when you run it.
  • You usually use an IDE, or Integrated Development Environment when programming.  This often includes several tools, such as a syntax highlighting text editor, compiler or interpreter, and debugger amongst others.  I'll let you research those components on your own if you wish, but again some of them may be easier to understand once you're actually using them.
  • An engine, library, or framework is a collection of pre-written code to help you do complicated things more easily, and so you don't have to re-write the same boring boiler-plate code as thousands of other developers.  Although an engine is often considered to be a more fully-featured package than a library or framework, these terms are often used fairly interchangeably, and everyone will have their own subtly different definitions of the differences.  A related concept is an API, or application programming interface, which is also pre-written code usually to talk to specific hardware or systems (such as a graphics card).

 

Hope that helps to get you started! smile.png



#5 Squared'D   Members   -  Reputation: 2252

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 01:04 AM

The two post above have a lot of good starter terms. As mentioned by jbadams, terms without context won't help you much. The internet is good, but if you choose a language and get a good book on the subject, that will help you out a lot. Books will have a lot of sample code and exercises for you to try and should be layed out in a way that will teach you all the important jargon. If you hear "function" and then can imagine code for a function, I think that will help you more than a definition.

There are free compilers and interpreters on the internet, and your local library can be a good source for programming books.

As you're just starting in coding, I hope you stick with it. It can be challenging at first, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be able to do many good things and find that it's very rewarding.

Learn all about my current projects and watch some of the game development videos that I've made.

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