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Strange Loop

Member Since 18 Mar 2011
Offline Last Active Nov 23 2011 09:46 PM

Topics I've Started

Where does one get started out these days?

23 November 2011 - 02:24 AM

This seems like a question that is very commonly asked, but unfortunately the answer is always in flux from day to day and person to person (due to changing technology and the diversity of goals and backgrounds). Hence, I make my own thread asking for advice about where to start when it comes to game programming. Some info.

-Previous programming experience: none. Like a modern driver who can't even change his own oil, I am an avid gamer who doesn't know anything about how games are programmed or even much about how my computer works.The only knowledge I have about programming is what I learned from GEB, which is very theoretical and not all that practical.

-Goal: eventually work up to programming my own mod for a Source game.* Intermediate goals: a Flash game?

-Time commitment: during school I have time for like an hour of work on this hobby every weeknight and maybe 4-5 hours per day on weekends. Come winter break I will have 10+ hours free per day, though I doubt I would want to spend all that time on programming. In other words, I have a substantial amount of time available to improve this skill, should I find it enjoyable once I get started.

So with that in mind, what would you guys recommend? If my ultimate goal is to program a Source mod, which languages should I start with, and can you point me to a good tutorial (preferable available for free online) that would be great as well.

* I love to play all the really clever hl2 mods like Trouble in Terrorist Town and Zombie Panic and stuff. This seems like the best way to implement my original gameplay ideas without assembling a team for an original game. Intermediate goals

Typing skills practice

30 May 2011 - 08:04 PM

For some reason, I've found that there's a dearth of free typing practice programs on the internet. I am not even a programmer, so I don't need to train the numbers all that well or anything. I'm just looking for a realistic and straightforward typing practice site or program.

I'm down to earth about this: I know that the only way to improve this skill is patient daily practice over the course of weeks, there is no quick fix or anything. Does anyone know of a good, free site about this? I'm not really sure what I want. It could possibly be just information or it could be an actual interactive program. Thanks for any advice.

When does rational thinking fail?

26 March 2011 - 02:35 AM

Here's an old paradox where the rationalist might not have the upper hand ;) . What do you guys think? Of course there's a good chance you've read this one before...if so share your thoughts.

An alien comes from many stars away and explains to you that he has the power to predict how you'll make decisions. You are convinced based upon seeing him correctly predict other humans' decisions that he can do this. You're not absolutely 100% sure, but you are 99.99% sure, as sure as we can be of anything in this life.

With this in mind, the alien sets up the following experiment: he gives you two sealed boxes, called A and B. Inside A is $100, and that is a sure thing. Inside of B is either nothing or $1,000,000. The alien says that you are free to take either just box B or to take both boxes. The catch is that he has already made his prediction about which choice you'll make. If he predicted that you'll only take B then he generously stuffed it with the one million (he tells you this). If he predicted that you'll take both boxes then he put nothing in B. After leaving the boxes, the alien departs in his spaceship never to return, leaving you to ponder this decision. Do you take both of the boxes? Or only box B?

This riddle is terribly interesting to me because it is one of the few scenarios where rigidly rational decisions making leads to a less optimal outcome than more "stupid" decision making. But isn't that a contradiction in terms? To me, this paradox illustrates the limits of rationality, or maybe that we just think about rationality in the wrong way. to choose to take either just B or to take A and B.

Need a good Diablo clone

18 March 2011 - 08:32 PM

This seems like as good a forum to post this on as any;
I desperately need a good Diablo clone to play. I'm waiting for Diablo 3 obviously, but that's a long way off. Torchlight 2 is probably slightly nearer in release date, but still not out now.

Games that fit the bill in the past:

-Diablo II (obviously). Not old enough to have played Diablo 1, and it is too dated for my tastes now.
-Titan Quest. This was actually better at doing the diablo formula than Diablo II was, in my opinion. The sheer number of paths available in terms of character abilities and stuff was amazing. Was lacking in visual customization.
-Dragon Age to some degree. DA:O is much too tactical and story oriented to be considered a Diablo clone, but it had the elements I like (such as lotsa loot and ability variety). Not going to be playing DA2 from the sounds of the reviews.
-Fate/Torchlight. These are basically the same game, except that Torchlight has more content. They lacked multiplayer, and just had less content overall compared to Titan Quest and Diablo II though.
-Mount and Blade. Even less a Diablo clone than DA:O, but I think I fell in love with this game for similar reasons to the others. Particularly with an complete-overhaul mod installed, creating and "leveling up" your personal army was very fun in this game, and there was some cool loot to try and find.

Here's some qualities I've found I like about the Diablo-genre:
-Many opportunities to min/max my characters, with many layers of complexity to peel away when it comes to designing your ideal character. This was a poblem with Torchlight, as there wasn't much depth. It was what was RIGHT with Titan Quest. The idea of choosing two classes per character in Titan Quest really added to the value of that game.
-Plenty of loot. Yah, I'm shallow. Not gonna apologize it. I'm sure I'm part of the problem when it comes to lack of innovation in this genre, but I can't help it if I like collecting lots of items and get addicted to farming for better and better items.
-Visual customization. This goes hand in hand with the loot thing. I appreciate in a game the ability to make the character look your own.
-Not too hard. I like the idea that the worst that happens is that I have to chug more potions than normal and start hurting for money. Again, I know it may be shallow but I don't really want setbacks in my game. Challenge, on the other hand. I know this is cryptic, but let's hear what you think.

Note: these aren't the only types of games I like, it's just what I'm asking for help on right now.