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# Getting myself to program

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I generally spend a lot of time on the computer. A LOT. Probably 5 or 6 hours on free days. But I''m not being productive anymore. I used to code a lot, and learn, and make games and stuff, but now all I do on the computer is surf the web, troll GDNet, or play games (MoH:AA:S, UT2k3, and AoM are my poisons...). How can I get back to programming. I''ve got all the tools, tons of books, but I just can''t get myself to program. Are there any ways where I can be 90% productive on the computer instead of 3% productive? I just want to learn more and program more and stop feel like I''m not doing anything. I don''t know if I''ve hit a wall or something because I''m only 13. I know all of Cs syntax, about 95% of C++ syntax, and how to progam both of them pretty well. I absolutely suck at design however. I have Code Complete, but I haven''t gotten too far into it yet. Whenever I read it I want to code, but by the time I get past the boot-up, that turns urge turns off. Any ways I can get myself to program? Thanks!

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hey - used to have same problem.

The cure-all solution: JUST DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

lol.

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That''s the only real answer, just do it. There are a couple articles about motivation located here:
http://www.dexterity.com/articles/?PHPSESSID=e2bcc078370b71d70e8e412f8af01970

A good tip I think is in one of those articles is... just tell yourself you''re going to write one function, or section of code.. and go from there.. if you do more great, if not, well not so great but you''ve got that function done.

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Start a project. Something you are really excited about, encompassing all that you''ve learnt. That''s what motivates me.

[ vangelis ]

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Hey, you''re only thirteen. You probably need to take a step back and decide if you really like programming or if its something you do just because you''re good at it.

Maybe you need to take a brake for a while.

I have a bit of a problem that when I have games on my computer, I can''t get anything done, if I have a good game going. So I tend to limit myself to 1 game on my computer at a time. If I install a new one then I uninstall the old one. This way although you want to finish the game you can only play a game for so long before you get tired or bored of it and start to look for other things to keep your interest, like programming.

I know that if I want to make games, I can''t play them.

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quote:
Original post by tuxx
A LOT. Probably 5 or 6 hours on free days.

thats what you call A LOT? maybe you should just add another 6 hours...

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13? Shouldn''t you be smoking behind the bike-shed or throwing eggs at peoples windows?

You could do what I wish I had done. Stick in at "Art and Design" at school and that way, eventually, you''d be able to make your own content for your games.

Programming can start to suck when all you do is display box primitives or apply primary colour texture maps etc.

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I''m 14, and I have much the same problem. I desided to switch to linux so I could program without restarting my computer every hour or so, but somthing went horrably wrong, and my computer couldn''t be used any more (not for a while at least). To pass the time I borrowed a console from a freind... and zelda has become my bain. I don''t enjoy playingit, because I want to write games, and I can''t write games because I can''t stop fiddling on a console. It a viciouse cycle... y''know? I started programjming so I oculd write an MMORPG one day (I am one of the many), but my heart isn''t in it anymore. Perhaps I should be telling this to a siciatrist ( don''t bother to correct my spelling ).

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Is not that what all of us do. Start something really good, get bored and find somthing else to do. Is that not the typical pattern of computer programmers? Start on super robot 5000 and then watch star trek and then listen to heavy metal (to give the false impression of a tough guy and not some trekkie nerd), Play UT, Work on super robot 5000 etc etc etc

Anyway playing games is important so that we know whats good and bad. But you''re right, you can spend too much time surfing the net and playing games, when you should be looking for a job, like I should be right now!

Job, in this country, who the fuck am I kidding!

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I usually do a lot of coding for about two months or so, and then do something else for a while. The thing is to have something interesting to code. You can''t just code (so the above suggestion of getting a project is a good one). As for the games, there''s only one solution - uninstall and destroy. I wasted the fall playing Heroes III. One night in front of the computer, at about 01.30, I suddenly realised that it had gone too far. I wasn''t playing because it was fun, I was just playing - it consumed all of my time and I was mostly none the happier anyways. So I uninstalled the game and broke the CD. It felt gooood lemme tell you.

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I think your biggest problem is the fact that you play MoHAA Spearhead

Play the original, it''s so much better!

I don''t find games caused problems for me. It''s the fact that I spend more time talking about and reading about programming than actually doing it.

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From someone who is slightly older....

I would suggest at your age you get out a bit and keep variation in your life. Of all the game programmers I know the best sit in doors all day coding and can make some awesome things, but they have no communication skills, and they are becoming more and more important with the industry the way it is today.

I would however try and make a game. Look at your skill level (honestly) and think about what you could make in a month or so and code that.

I find if I have my Visual C++ link on the background and my other links harder to find it is enough to get me heading in the right direction .

Doolwind

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life.
Matthew 6:27

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Programming is all about passion. If you don''t absolutely love doing it, you need to seriously look at what you do enjoy, and do that instead. At your age, having fun is your #1 concern. You shouldn''t be panicking about career, job skills, industry experience, etc. For the next 3 or 4 years, focus on enjoying your childhood. Once its over, you''ll spend most of your life wishing you could go back, believe me.

Even when it comes time to handcuff yourself to The Man and get that evil, nasty day job, be sure to get one you love to do.

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I've been programming up little demos with collision detection, but it takes forever for me to add enough to make it look like something playable. Either I'm proving I can perform collision detection, or showing that I can polish something up to make it look like a game. But I never plan it all from the beginning, it just kind of becomes what is it at the end because I decided to improve on it in some way, just to one-up what I did before or one-up who I think might have quit by that point.

Not a very productive way to be.

I don't know if that means I don't like programming games anymore.

While I was driving the other day I thought about what it would be like to have a player controlled object moving around on platforms. Which would first of all require the algebra behind moving the player on floors and bumping into walls, jumping and landing on platforms. Then of course coding the player such that their base movement equals the movement of what they are standing on (which could be a platform moving up and down, back and forth, or even turning, possibilities of taking damage from being crushed, damage taken based on force and velocity, etc). So I thought, hmm, interesting challenge. After the algebra is done for collision detection, everything else should be a piece of cake (yeah, right - anyone even give up on AI because it turned out to be more than you thought and you saved it for last?). I have yet to find out, but I will do it first in 2D. At least then I won't murder myself on 3D algebra and shape collisions, and I can familiarize myself with the concepts.

Make a plan.
Work on it.

If when you start, you think to yourself, "Why am I doing this?", and you start doing something else, you might want to think about a different hobby. Which can be hard if you don't know what else you want to do. No point wasting yourself doing something just to be doing something if you don't enjoy it.

[edited by - Waverider on May 27, 2003 10:57:44 AM]

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quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
Hey, you''re only thirteen. You probably need to take a step back and decide if you really like programming or if its something you do just because you''re good at it.

Maybe you need to take a brake for a while.

hmm, i totally diasagree, at that age u eat the insides of a computer for breakfast. but i would suggest you start experimenting with some easy to get results programming language like some basic dialect.

someone suggest some?

i think real basic on the mac would be worth a shot, but havent really looked at it so far.

on the amiga i always used AMOS, but i guess the amiga is dead, no?

daniel

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I''m 38. Believe me, Tuxx, you have the rest of your life to program, but the only chance you have to be 13 and go have fun is right now.

If you''re not in the mood to code now, go do something else for a while. When you feel inspired, come back to it. You''ve got the time.

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Another incentive to get your motivation back, that I haven't seen mentioned here yet, is cash. Yes, moolah. Think about applying your programming skills and interests to developing some shareware. It's easy to submit your app to search engines like google and download sites like tucows. The more the better, and it's easy to get thousands of people to download your app.

Say you charge $10 registration fee. And say 10,000 (a modest number) people download your app, and 0.5% (1 out of every 200 people) actually send in the registration fee (really good shareware can get much higher percentages). That means 50 people are each sending you$10, for a total of \$500!

Now, to bump your motivation up even further, think what would happen if you wrote a really good app (higher percentage of people paying), and you hit the sites like tucows hard and got 1,000,000 total downloads. And then think what would happen if you had 5 or 10 apps, instead of just one. Do the math, and you'll be coding like crazy, I promise.

And even if you don't make a fortune for whatever reason, you still got your motivation, and actually finished some projects.

[edited by - BriTeg on May 27, 2003 5:56:40 PM]

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About the whole thing where I should go have fun, I think I have at least a little bit of fun. During school about half of my time is spent goofing off (although I get good grades). Everyday after school when walking home I hang out with a very close group of friends for about 45 minutes to an hour and just cause trouble. The good (and sometimes bad) part about that is that not one of them is really a computer geek. The closest only plays a lot of Counter-Strike. Most of them are skaters. I think this summer I''ll take up skateboarding (if it''s possible with my uncoordinated self), not because I think it''s cool or anything, but so I can hang out with my friends even more. Also they do it a lot so it must be pretty fun.

About the technical side of things, I will die before I try to really use BASIC. I''ve used it before, and I don''t like it. By the way, I''ve been programming in C/C++ for about two years so I''m more fluent at that than at BASIC. I''m thinking about starting a 2D SDL project (hell, I have all summer for the NeHe contest). Maybe I should do Tetris. PacMan also sounds fun. Yeah, start simple. Then I''ll move onto a bigger game, maybe a simple 2D RPG (Tolkien, anyone?).

As for throwing away stuff I don''t need, I think I should uninstall my games, and more importantly, disconnect my DSL (gasp!). Maybe I should block GDNet too...

Thanks a lot for all the replies!

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DSL is the #1 productivity killer I could be coding but i''m sitting reading about some 13-yearolds woes.... oh well

have fun do what you want, if that''s coding then so be it I''ve been coding since i was 7.. didn''t start with C++ until 14 though.. i''m almost 20 now and consider myself a good coder..

coding for fun is great but coding under hard pressure from your boss/your school/whatever isn''t fun. remember that. and becoming really good takes time. and even when you''re really good, you still can''t whip up an RPG in an afternoon

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The whole joy of being 13 is that you don''t have to be productive. If you don''t want to program, i''d say go shoot some hoops. Play some football. Roller blade, skate, etc. If you do become some kind of programmer as a career, you''ll have to be productive to get paid. Then, you''ll wish you didn''t spend so much time behind a computer screen when you had the option to do other things. Programming can be fun. If it isn''t, don''t burn yourself out. Turn off your computer and unplug your TV for a couple of days.