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Seems like I can't do anything without tutorials

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#1 legitninja   Members   -  Reputation: 142

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 11:13 PM

Hello fellow game developers,

 

I made a post here about 8-9 months ago asking for advice on where to start and you guys were a great help.

 

I started using Unity after I had a thorough grasp on the fundamentals and syntax of C#. I haven't made any fully fledged games, however I have made small projects like a coin collection game, simple pathfinding A.I. (that moves between 3 points and loops continously), a top down space game where you shoot asteroids for points. To name a few, these were merely small projects that I felt like doing to get a grasp of game coding and the Unity engine.

 

So here I am 9 months later and it seems that whenever I try to do something, the first thing I go look for is a tutorial. I know it maybe nothing be it's a be demotivating. It seems like I'm just too afraid/ not confident enough to try to do things on my own. I know I have the potential to but it just feels like I need to look at a tutorial for everything.

 

When I finish the tutorial, I retain some of the information, but when I try to recreate it on my own I find it difficult.

 

Maybe this is nothing, and it's probably what everyone went through/ is going through. I really don't know what to do or what to think.

 

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

 


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#2 Andy Gainey   Members   -  Reputation: 1844

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 11:22 PM

Try a game jam.  They're exhilarating, painful, full of learning experiences, and don't give you enough time to allow yourself to worry about confidence or doing it right or any of those other thoughts that always feel reasonable at the time, but somehow block any forward progress.

 

ComboHub.net is a nice site for keeping track of what jams are when.



"We should have a great fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what they are, the signs of our ideas only, and not for things themselves." - John Locke

#3 nesseggman   Members   -  Reputation: 319

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 11:30 PM

You won't memorize the entire method of how to do something on just one walkthrough with a tutorial anyway, so it's normal to have forgotten stuff.

 

Instead of immediately jumping for a tutorial, try at least coming up with an idea on your own. Programming isn't so much typing code and memorizing languages and engines as it is problem solving and creating solutions. The language and engine are just tools that assist you with that. But the actual solutions you come up with in your head are the real 'program' :)

 

It may seem intimidating, but it's good to fail. You can't get better without failing first. Just try to come up with the idea, and then use the Unity manuals and documentation to try to find a way to do it. Until you get really used to Unity and have a lot of experience with it, you might not really know where to look, so it will be really hard at first.

 

If you think you've found something that works, go ahead and put it in your project! If you can't come up with a solution, or you think yours is really messy and probably shouldn't go into your game, try looking up a tutorial. Also, think of tutorials more like examples rather than actual lessons on how to do things. What you should be taking from them is the general concepts. You can apply them to all kinds of situations!

 

And, don't feel bad that you have to look something up. Even the most experienced programmers still look up stuff in the documentation for languages and engines. The more you do it, the more you'll memorize, but no one expects you to memorize every sing keyword and function and monobehavior and etc. It's normal to have to look it up. So if your problem is that you don't remember the exact thing you're supposed to type, that's completely normal and not even a beginners' thing. A lot of people keep a reference list of the stuff they need to remember the most. Especially when you jump between languages with pretty different syntax, it's nice to know stuff like... how a for loop works or something. So just have a little notebook with the most common stuff like that, or whatever.

 

And you will need tons and tons of practice before you just come up with solutions with ease. In the beginning, you're going to have to think about it a lot, and will probably come up with plenty of crummy solutions along the way. It's totally fine!!

 

I guess what I'm saying is don't feel bad or feel like you're failing. You're right on track and you're doing exactly how you should. The best way to grow is to challenge yourself, so instead of immediately falling to a tutorial, try your own solution first, then go to the tutorial. This is normal! Even pro devs talk about their solutions with each other to get new ideas (that kind of thing is why forums like this exist!) so it's normally to learn from other people, whether it's a tutorial or whatever.



#4 legitninja   Members   -  Reputation: 142

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 11:40 PM

Try a game jam.  They're exhilarating, painful, full of learning experiences, and don't give you enough time to allow yourself to worry about confidence or doing it right or any of those other thoughts that always feel reasonable at the time, but somehow block any forward progress.

 

ComboHub.net is a nice site for keeping track of what jams are when.

 

Ah, so it's more about getting a game done even if it's a buggy mess and not that good. I may try one.

 

 

You won't memorize the entire method of how to do something on just one walkthrough with a tutorial anyway, so it's normal to have forgotten stuff.

 

Instead of immediately jumping for a tutorial, try at least coming up with an idea on your own. Programming isn't so much typing code and memorizing languages and engines as it is problem solving and creating solutions. The language and engine are just tools that assist you with that. But the actual solutions you come up with in your head are the real 'program' smile.png

 

It may seem intimidating, but it's good to fail. You can't get better without failing first. Just try to come up with the idea, and then use the Unity manuals and documentation to try to find a way to do it. Until you get really used to Unity and have a lot of experience with it, you might not really know where to look, so it will be really hard at first.

 

If you think you've found something that works, go ahead and put it in your project! If you can't come up with a solution, or you think yours is really messy and probably shouldn't go into your game, try looking up a tutorial. Also, think of tutorials more like examples rather than actual lessons on how to do things. What you should be taking from them is the general concepts. You can apply them to all kinds of situations!

 

And, don't feel bad that you have to look something up. Even the most experienced programmers still look up stuff in the documentation for languages and engines. The more you do it, the more you'll memorize, but no one expects you to memorize every sing keyword and function and monobehavior and etc. It's normal to have to look it up. So if your problem is that you don't remember the exact thing you're supposed to type, that's completely normal and not even a beginners' thing. A lot of people keep a reference list of the stuff they need to remember the most. Especially when you jump between languages with pretty different syntax, it's nice to know stuff like... how a for loop works or something. So just have a little notebook with the most common stuff like that, or whatever.

 

And you will need tons and tons of practice before you just come up with solutions with ease. In the beginning, you're going to have to think about it a lot, and will probably come up with plenty of crummy solutions along the way. It's totally fine!!

 

I guess what I'm saying is don't feel bad or feel like you're failing. You're right on track and you're doing exactly how you should. The best way to grow is to challenge yourself, so instead of immediately falling to a tutorial, try your own solution first, then go to the tutorial. This is normal! Even pro devs talk about their solutions with each other to get new ideas (that kind of thing is why forums like this exist!) so it's normally to learn from other people, whether it's a tutorial or whatever.

 

 

Thanks for that, it really boosted my confidence and motivation levels. It's not to know that everyone goes through it and I'm not obligated to memorize and know how to do everything. I may actually keep a notebook laying around (Heck, I already have one full of game ideas, designs, mechanics, and stories hahaha)

 

Right now, my main focus is making a 2d puzzle platformer with my friend. It's something we're both very passionate about and we want to do things that I'm not to sure how to do (Since I'm the programmer and he's the artist) this is the first game for both of us and we plan on putting it on Kongregate, we're learning things about game design and keeping the scope small and manageable.

 

Man, was it good to know that even the pros deal with not remembering things, so I'm not alone it seems. That gives me a lot of hope :) Thank you both for the suggestions and advice.


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#5 Aardvajk   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5269

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 03:54 AM

I don't bother storing anything much in my head. There is too much information. I've been using things like Win32, DX and Qt for many years now, but I'm still constantly running to the docs or to sample code. There's nothing wrong with this. The skill to develop isn't memorizing APIs, its being able to quickly find out the answers to questions as you need to.

 

Understanding the concepts behind algorithms and being able to translate a real-world requirement into the relevant programming concepts is not something that requires a huge amount of stored information in your head either.

 

So don't feel bad. API docs and sample code are far better tools than human memory (mine at least) for this kind of thing.



#6 Vortez   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2688

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 07:54 AM

Posted Today, 05:54 AM

I don't bother storing anything much in my head. There is too much information. I've been using things like Win32, DX and Qt for many years now, but I'm still constantly running to the docs or to sample code. There's nothing wrong with this. The skill to develop isn't memorizing APIs, its being able to quickly find out the answers to questions as you need to.



Understanding the concepts behind algorithms and being able to translate a real-world requirement into the relevant programming concepts is not something that requires a huge amount of stored information in your head either.



So don't feel bad. API docs and sample code are far better tools than human memory (mine at least) for this kind of thing.

 

I Agree with this, learning a language is good, learning apis, no so much. Docs here there for that reason.


Edited by Vortez, 31 May 2014 - 07:55 AM.


#7 legitninja   Members   -  Reputation: 142

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 09:01 AM

Thanks guys, this is really insightful and helpful information.


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#8 Andy Gainey   Members   -  Reputation: 1844

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 11:46 AM

Somewhat in line with my game jam suggestion, Rami Ismail of Vlambeer recommends in this blog post to make a "Game a Week:  Getting Experienced at Failure".  I haven't gone anywhere near that far myself, doing only about 3 or 4 jams a year, but maybe I'm missing out on a great learning experience due to my distraction with trying to be productive on a bigger project.



"We should have a great fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what they are, the signs of our ideas only, and not for things themselves." - John Locke

#9 legitninja   Members   -  Reputation: 142

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 07:42 PM

Somewhat in line with my game jam suggestion, Rami Ismail of Vlambeer recommends in this blog post to make a "Game a Week:  Getting Experienced at Failure".  I haven't gone anywhere near that far myself, doing only about 3 or 4 jams a year, but maybe I'm missing out on a great learning experience due to my distraction with trying to be productive on a bigger project.

 

 

Thanks, I'll give that a read.


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#10 fafase   Members   -  Reputation: 351

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 01:15 AM

Going through a tutorial, well, yes but all the way you read or listen and you tell yourself, "Ok, I don't fully get it but I will when I need it" and then you forget.

 

Instead of being passive, receiving the information from the tutorials, become active and learn to find the appropriate tutorial and make it your own.

 

Try to start with for instance an Angry Bird game. If you keep it basic, this is not so hard and full of good little challenges.

 

First you need the platform and you choose computer for safety. 

 

Then you need to design the level, the starting shooting point, a few boxes.

 

Then you deal with the input, reading about vector, getting the starting and end point of the mouse drag and bam your ball...no your ball does not do much. You need some physics and you read about AddForce to kick your ball. You now need to clamp your forces using the Mathf class.

 

You then learn about collision and finally since you feel you have learnt a lot, you are now able to create an explosion, or change the amount of force each projectile is applying.

 

FInally, you want to make it nice so you add some environment and learn about parallax background.

 

Now not only you made a game but the amount of search got around the net, you probably found some good pages that you bookmarked for later, you got your way around the unity docs and the unity answers forum, and you feel ready for next game.



#11 Buster2000   Members   -  Reputation: 1443

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 05:54 AM

There is nothing wrong with following a tutorial before you implement something (as long as you don't just copy and paste the code from the tutorial).  The best way to approach any programming problem before you start hacking code together is to research the problem first.  This may involve reading a book a journal, an online tutorial or planning it out on paper first.

 

Its only after repeating something many times that you store it as useful knowledge.  So unless you are rewriting your A* every day  although you can remember the gist of it such as the open closed list you may need to refresh yourself by following a tutorial before you remember the whole thing.



#12 legitninja   Members   -  Reputation: 142

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 07:51 PM

Going through a tutorial, well, yes but all the way you read or listen and you tell yourself, "Ok, I don't fully get it but I will when I need it" and then you forget.

 

Instead of being passive, receiving the information from the tutorials, become active and learn to find the appropriate tutorial and make it your own.

 

Try to start with for instance an Angry Bird game. If you keep it basic, this is not so hard and full of good little challenges.

 

First you need the platform and you choose computer for safety. 

 

Then you need to design the level, the starting shooting point, a few boxes.

 

Then you deal with the input, reading about vector, getting the starting and end point of the mouse drag and bam your ball...no your ball does not do much. You need some physics and you read about AddForce to kick your ball. You now need to clamp your forces using the Mathf class.

 

You then learn about collision and finally since you feel you have learnt a lot, you are now able to create an explosion, or change the amount of force each projectile is applying.

 

FInally, you want to make it nice so you add some environment and learn about parallax background.

 

Now not only you made a game but the amount of search got around the net, you probably found some good pages that you bookmarked for later, you got your way around the unity docs and the unity answers forum, and you feel ready for next game.

 

Thanks, I'll try to do that or make something that's basic enough but will help me find my way around Unity and coding in it.

 

There is nothing wrong with following a tutorial before you implement something (as long as you don't just copy and paste the code from the tutorial).  The best way to approach any programming problem before you start hacking code together is to research the problem first.  This may involve reading a book a journal, an online tutorial or planning it out on paper first.

 

Its only after repeating something many times that you store it as useful knowledge.  So unless you are rewriting your A* every day  although you can remember the gist of it such as the open closed list you may need to refresh yourself by following a tutorial before you remember the whole thing.

 

 

Thank you for the tips, I appreciate it


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#13 6 Eyed Studio   Members   -  Reputation: 132

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 03:31 PM

Great topic. And I totally understand where you are coming from, legininja.

 

I come from a designer background, so learning coding has always felt like a means to an end. I worked at studios where there was a clear distinction between those who Build Games (engineers) and those who Design games (uh, designers!).

 

Now that I'm solo, there was never a question that I would have to step up my programming skills. I don't know what I would do without tutorials! As others have mentioned, you'll do great by picking a simple, established game genre and just start building towards that. All those tutorials you've done are just free code snippets waiting for you to grab and re-purpose for your game! The more you do a certain function, the more you'll remember by heart. But until then...

 

Copy & paste! There's no shame in copy-pasting especially when implementing something you've never done before. You'll also cut down on typos that will haunt you as bugs later. My scripting teacher once said: copying and pasting is what separates the professional from the amateur.



#14 legitninja   Members   -  Reputation: 142

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 08:38 PM

Great topic. And I totally understand where you are coming from, legininja.

 

I come from a designer background, so learning coding has always felt like a means to an end. I worked at studios where there was a clear distinction between those who Build Games (engineers) and those who Design games (uh, designers!).

 

Now that I'm solo, there was never a question that I would have to step up my programming skills. I don't know what I would do without tutorials! As others have mentioned, you'll do great by picking a simple, established game genre and just start building towards that. All those tutorials you've done are just free code snippets waiting for you to grab and re-purpose for your game! The more you do a certain function, the more you'll remember by heart. But until then...

 

Copy & paste! There's no shame in copy-pasting especially when implementing something you've never done before. You'll also cut down on typos that will haunt you as bugs later. My scripting teacher once said: copying and pasting is what separates the professional from the amateur.

 

 

Thank you for being understanding. I was watching a video where game industry professionals/ established people in the gaming industry (Triple A commercial devs and indie alike, even though personally I don't like the term "indie' as we're all game developers just making games at varying quality.) 

 

In that video Notch made the suggestion of getting code off the internet and playing around with the code and then creating a game, not your biggest game, but something manageable and that you can actually finish.

 

Thanks again for being understanding, I'll take your words to heart.


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