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id Nut

My ordeal...

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I''ve been attempting game development for about four years now. It was my dream to make games when I was 13 and I''ve been discouraged countless amounts of times that usually takes 6 months to recover from and attempt again. Hell, this bout of sunshine now still probably isn''t the beginning of Summer for me. I keep receiving these little boosts of motivation to make games but then the doubting part of me returns a negative look at things saying that maybe the industry isn''t for me. No matter how hard I try to ignore that voice, I always submit to it, delaying any progression for another 6 months. I took two years of C/C++ and now, have completely forgot most of what isn''t in my ongoing collective notebook, "Game Developing Notes". At the end of my Summer of 2002 community college C/C++ course, I gave up on programming and conceded defeat (ironically, I passed with a B average). I believed that I had too much emotion that would be neglected in the effort of programming; only the technical can go into computers, no emotion despite sweat and blood is in the code. What I mean is that I am an extremely emotional person that enjoys putting feeling into his work. In programming it seems I can''t do that but there is an urge within me that wants to push all that aside and get very technical. I''ve attempted then crashed and burned due to my very little patience in learning and understanding the process of coding. I''ve been strongly inspired and motivated by the most talented group of people in the world, id software. John Carmack and John Romero are the main inspirations growing from their badass tone and attitude toward the industry that is unique and inimitable. Their description of programming makes anyone wish they were in their shoes and as involved as them, making little games, coding all night, etc. Sure those times are mostly over but it makes me eager to walk in footsteps similar to their''s. Ever since I was 13 it was my dream to make games and now at 17, nothing has really come true. Sure I can make a level in Quake III and know how to operate the console well but these are extremely novice skills that most anyone could pick up. I know nothing unique or special that would separate me from the newbs of the industry. That part of me is taking over again and the inspiration that lived through this confession is now going into hibernation again from the grueling and merciless negativity of my inner pessimism. It''s likely that programming isn''t my trade but I''ve tried everything else while accompanied by that damned negative voice. I can no longer draw worth a damn, can''t control my writing skills, level designing skills are squat, sound abilities aren''t worthy of anything special, my attempts at animation and modeling are pathetic also. My main interest is entertainment. I am dedicated, no, obsessed with entertaining but I have no single way to portray it. I know what I like and I know what I don''t but what job in the real world is like that? The bottom line is I''m screwed. I doubt everything I do before I do it and lack any rock-solid motivation from the futility I see in life. My grades this last past year have spoiled any chance of a decent university or school (no f''ing way would I go to my community college for college, not because of the reputation but out of pure hatred of the school) and I just feel I''m going to be a goldbricker the rest of my life. Someone who had a lot of potential that doubted himself so much to keep it forever potential. Thanks for reading and reply with any helpful advice. -------------------------- Tried to save myself but myself keeps slipping away.

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Okay. I know how you feel. I am twelve, and have been discouraged several times. However, programming is very hard and requires dedication. For example, I''m on vacation, and am on a computer at 1:30 AM. Programming can get emotional and difficult, but learning to cope with it is part of programming. For example, when I first started out, I was trying to work on the "Hello World!" message. Little did I know I needed to declare the namespace std, but I didn''t give up. Instead, I went through the tutorial without typing in any more code. As with emotion, I know how you feel. A number of emotions go through a programmer''s head. These include pride in work, anger towards other people and computers, and frustration. Frustration is the most common that I have seen. The truth is, if you have trouble with it, programming is not for you. Mark Mencher in his book Get in the Game! Careers in the Games Industry states that if you can''t stick with your work and you instead give up easily, programming is not for you. This is true, but you still have several hopes. Maybe, you can use the online community and bounce back. Even better, try something easier. HTML is a very simple language to learn, and you can start using it right away. That is how I started, and it heped me get the programming concept. Or, try scripting. Several languages exist that are very easy. Python is one of the easiest languages, and is very powerful. This helps a lot. Also, some syntax is somewhat related to C++, so it helps more than you think. Simply put, programming is all about dedication and controlling emotions. If you want to try again, e-mail me with any questions you might have. Chances are, I can answer.

Scott Simontis
Engineer in Training
Have a nice day!

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Welcome to the bottom pal. I too have been there many times (although not as deep as you I''m afraid). I don''t really have any good advice other than to change your attitude. If you keep saying that you suck at this and suck at that then pretty soon you start believing it even though it might not be true. In fact, I think you already do believe it. I have a life motto that I say to myself when things just aren''t going right. I''m writing my second programming book right now and I''ve had to say it many many times. I just want to quit and admit defeat but I won''t. Here''s what I say/think:

"In life, there is no can or cannot. There is will and will not. If you want something bad enough, you WILL do it."

Basically, there is nothing you cannot do. There is just a lot of things you won''t do because you don''t believe in yourself. Find that passion and just go for it. You''re gonna hit rocks along the way but just keep going.

Right now I know that my math skills stink big time. Sure I went through 4 quarters of calculus and other boring classes but I just scraped by. I really don''t remember much. Is that preventing me from learning 3D graphics right now? Heck no. I just picked up LaMothe''s new book and it has revitalized me. Luckily, when it comes to programming, I don''t have to search for the passion, its just there.

I don''t really think I helped you much. Just hang in there and find your niche. Heck, you''re only 17. I''m 30 and it wasn''t all twinkies and lollipops on the road to where I''m at now.

Good luck,
Mark Schmidt

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The problem I see is that you may have too high of expectations for yourself and probably no attainable goals to get a solid metric of where you are. You''ve mentioned Carmack/Romero and their attitudes and skills ( and probably ''documented'' lifestyles ) as your impetus to throwing yourself through the ringer of coding and the various facets that involve game development. These guys are legends in their own right, but each persons path is different. What you see is the end result of their years and years of work and ''luck''.

School doesn''t mean shit, period. Nearly anyone can cruise through your average CS regiment and come out wide-eyed and clueless. Just like people can go through physical education regiments and come out not being able to exercise properly. I wouldn''t put any great worry into your academic history directly correlating into how you''ll do things in the real world.

The only thing that will be your salvation is your desire and resolve. You have to have the working desire to learn all the relevant materials that will allow you to participate in game development on a professional level ( citing Carmack and Romero, I assume you want to do this professionally ) and you have to have the resolve to not get down on yourself when you''re forging your path to enlightenment.

Also, allow yourself room to breathe. You can get burnt out on this shit if you dedicate every waking hour to it. As a result, your work can suffer and you can run into roadblocks. Get out and do other things, make sure you''re taking care of your body ( exercise, eating right ), etc.

The fundamentals of many things doesn''t allow for much emotion or creativity. However, they are the building blocks that build the skills to allow you to be more creative without doing things completely off-base.

When you learn the fundamentals of basketball, for instance. You''re not learning to no-look pass, reverse dunk, same-handed dribble between your legs, etc. You are learning the fundamentals that will allow you to play the game and developing the basic skills that will facilitate the more advanced aspects of each part of the game. Of course everyone wants to jump to the creative and ''sexy'' aspects of the game.. being able to 360-dunk on a fast break and being the next LeBron James. Without the fundamentals, all the natural athleticism in the world isn''t going to save you in most cases.

People learn things differently. Some people take longer than others to put their head around certain concepts for various reasons. You have to figure out what works for you. You can''t compare yourself to John Carmack or Michael Jordan in most cases, because you''re setting unrealistic expectations. You can try to travel the same general road as those people, but like I said.. everyone has a different path.

Pick yourself up and start doing things differently. If you''re obsessed with being a rock star, 360 dunks and the like.. maybe you don''t really like game development ( or basketball ).. but rather the biproduct of where relentless work pays off and the notoriety from such things.

At the ripe age of 17, I think you have plenty of time to figure everything out if you want to.


.zfod

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All it takes is Time and Patience.

Yes, You are sick and tired of hearing it but...

Your Trials and Tribulations will reward you later...

If it was easy to defeat would you love it even more or less than if you struggled?

This is why people play difficult games and you will later make difficult games for the public. This will be difficult to make too! HA!

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Appreciate the replies, they all make a lot of sense and are good advice but I''m still at square one where I don''t know which way to go. I love gaming, and I love making games, even the little text games I made in C two years ago and I can imagine making a 2D world would just be exciting as hell. And yes, as you can tell, I''ve been reading Masters of Doom a lot.

So, I don''t know what to do. My two goals have been to make a mod for Quake III or make a 2D scroller or overhead game before I graduate high school. I set that goal in 9th grade and now I''m going into 12th and nothing has happended so far. Something I''ve failed to mention is that I have only one programming friend around here that is actually semi-serious about coding. Before 10th grade, I had about five who said they would try and make a game company with me. Well, that didn''t happen but luckily my one old friend showed me this site before he kicked programming two years ago.

At this point, what do I do? There are so many options that I just don''t know what to do. I mean, I can''t believe there are 12-year-old game programmers and I can''t even display an image in C. Anything is, if there are so many people now that can do everything a thousand times better than I''ll ever be able to, why even try to get into the gaming industry? It seems completely futile to learn it all and never be able to find a job because the positions are all full by the elite programmers and such. That''s another question I''ve been pondering.

--------------------------
Tried to save myself but myself keeps slipping away.

Nothing''s essential.

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quote:
Original post by id Nut
only the technical can go into computers, no emotion despite sweat and blood is in the code.


BOLLOCKS!

i''ll say it again

BOLLOCKS!

I find coding to be just as emotional as painting or writing. There''s an inherent beauty in the way systems come together and operate, the elegance of powerful solutions to problems. It''s much deeper than ''artistically tabbed code.'' If you''ve seen the Honda advert you might know what I mean.

But even if that beauty doesn''t appeal to you, you can put emotion into the content of your programs.

Ever written a "Hello world!" program? I haven''t. I haven''t, because it''s boring. I wrote an "I AM A GOLDEN GOD!!!!!" program, instead, when I was learning C. In the process, I learnt more about the nature of the code, about what the strings and statements actually did.

That''s how I learnt to program back in the first place - taking games from a book, typing them into my BBC Micro.. but then, changing numbers here and there, to see the effect on the game''s behaviour.

So, that''s my advice. Don''t do the ''traditional'' learning excersises - look at them, and say to yourself, "how could I make this cooler?" Then do that.

Superpig
- saving pigs from untimely fates, and when he''s not doing that, runs The Binary Refinery.
Enginuity1 | Enginuity2 | Enginuity3

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Guest Anonymous Poster
You''re only 17 and you''re acting as if your life has ended. No one accomplishes their dream by that age unless they were born a genius.

I do not see how your life is ruined. You go to a community college if you can''t get into a university, then transfer when you are able to. Unless you do just that you''ll never get into the gaming industry, gaming companies want degrees. If you have some ego and think you''re to good for community college then, well, you need a reality check. Not everything goes according to plan, that''s life.

You have two choices...
1) Wake up to reality and go to school, and maybe with some hard work you''ll become a game programmer. If not, life is such, but at least you''ll have an education and degree so you can find another decent job.
2) Head off to Burger King and work 65 hours a week just so you can scrap enough money together to live off of. Without a decent education and degree this is where you''ll be working.

I''m 22 and am still going to a community college. One day I''d like to be a game programmer as well. If things go well this year I may try and transfer over to DigiPen. If I don''t make it, oh well, that''s life and it wasn''t ment to be. But I''ll know that I tried, and in the end that''s all that matters. At the very least I''ll have received a good education and will be able to fall back on a few various jobs, such as software developer or maybe even Q&A at a game company if need be.

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superpig is right. Coding is emotional. You gotta love your game to achieve anything, and then it''ll be fun and rewarding. So I think you should find an idea you really love and you really want to see in action.
Perhaps it would help if you don''t do it alone. Think something up with a friend or multiple friends. He/they doesn''t even have to be a coder, but can be an artist, or write the story, or whatever. I''m currently working on a cool (but huge) project with a friend, and although it''s never going to be finished, it''s fun and very inspiring.
Before, I, too, could never get the motivation to program something interesting.


My Wonderful Web Site (C++ SDL OpenGL Game Programming)

I am a signature virus. Please add me to your signature so that I may multiply.

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Damn dude...i only really read ur post id nut...but it sounds like ur really broken up about not bein able to make games...im goin into my sophomore year...and im in my first year of community colledge (compscience 110) and anyways...wut i think u should do is use the internet as much as u can...like i am (ive asked probably 50 completely noob questions today...and i actually got a few good answers) the rest were discouraging...just stick with it...im gonna try and do the same...use the ppl around u to help too...websites, this community as i already said...im sure u know a few ppl who program as i do...use wut u got and go with it
btw. u sound kinda artsy (thats not supposed to be an insult at all) i mean...u seem to be a good writer...expressive and all....there are otehr ways to break into this area...3d modeling??? im too lazy to get a link...but alias|wavefron has a free version of maya...i got it..made half a glock...half an mp5...lol...as u can see...im not very focused..but anyways...maybe ull like htat more...
and yes..thats my two cents

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I have been where you are a couple of times, probably not quite as bad, but I've been there. I've wanted to make games as long as I can remember. Towards the end of the summer before 9th grade (1999), I decided that I was going to learn to program. So I got a book on C and started learning. I was really confused at first. Over the first year I put aside learning to program and would pick it back up when I was ready again.

One of the funniest things is that a few months after I read the book on C I bought "Windows Game Programming For Dummies" and thought I'd magically be able to make games. I did learn some things when I read that book though, I just didn't have enough experience to make a game. I also refused to use the included 2d game engine to make a game because I felt that was "cheating." By the next year I had created a simple windows program or two and started my website. I remember almost totally giving up on programming the one night when I was trying to fix a problem when I was writing my first program, but I figured it out. I continued to make small programs.

At some point after that I made a spaghetti coded pong game, but it pretty much worked. Then I continued with smaller programs.

Anyway, I will shorten things up here a bit...
From the time I started programming until now, I have probably made at least 3 unsuccessful attempts at making the game that I wanted to make when I started. Each time I tried to make the game I would get to a new milestone that I hadn't gotten to before (actually getting a bmp on the screen, collisions that sorta worked, etc.). Now here I am in the middle of my 4th or so attempt at making that same game, and I've been working on it since December. I've not worked on it for weeks at a time during this period, but I keep coming back to it. Even when I am not directly working on it I tend to think about it in the back of my mind. My goal was to have the game done by now, but it was unrealistic because it is impractical for me to expect myself to be able to work on the game non-stop, every free second I have. This time through I am confident that the game will be finished eventually though be cause I have been able to continue coming back to it.

So I think the most important thing is to be able to come back to code that you have been working on. In order to be able to do this you need to have decent code organization, and you need to not be afraid to re-write things and tackle bugs that arise.

I find it useful to always work on the project in small pieces too. Set a goal to get a small piece of the program done, and do it. If you look at the whole big picture it can be overwhelming.

A kinda interesting fact is that I am still using the same space ship graphic that I made back in 9th grade for the player's ship in my game; so not things that you create for one attempt at something can become useful again in a later attempt.

Well that was a long rambling about me, hopefully it was somewhat useful or interesting to someone.

[edited by - compumatrix on July 6, 2003 5:44:07 PM]

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quote:
Original post by Ademan
Damn dude...i only really read ur post id nut...but it sounds like ur really broken up about not bein able to make games...im goin into my sophomore year...and im in my first year of community colledge (compscience 110) and anyways...wut i think u should do is use the internet as much as u can...like i am (ive asked probably 50 completely noob questions today...and i actually got a few good answers) the rest were discouraging...just stick with it...im gonna try and do the same...use the ppl around u to help too...websites, this community as i already said...im sure u know a few ppl who program as i do...use wut u got and go with it
btw. u sound kinda artsy (thats not supposed to be an insult at all) i mean...u seem to be a good writer...expressive and all....there are otehr ways to break into this area...3d modeling??? im too lazy to get a link...but alias|wavefron has a free version of maya...i got it..made half a glock...half an mp5...lol...as u can see...im not very focused..but anyways...maybe ull like htat more...
and yes..thats my two cents


About the 3D modeling, I''ve tried Maya a few times and I even have a book on it, Maya 4. I''ve played with the PLE but never really gave it a lot of time for some reason. Hell, I was supposed to go to a preview of Maya 5 at my local theatre but couldn''t get a ride. That''s pretty funny you made those guns though.

Compumatrix, how old are you now? 18, 19?

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So, at this point, what the hell do I do? I am a shitty programmer so that is out, what else is there I can do? I don''t know how to model, I''m not a musician, but I am an artist but I don''t know how to put things on the computer. Basically right now I feel like shit because I can''t do anything and I feel like no one would want me for a game designer. Hell, I''ve read that there isn''t even a job called game designer. I just want to become part of a team and show people what I''ve got. I''m a fun person to work with if I''m excited about the product. I''d love to be able to do SOMETHING for a game but it seems it''s all programming.

I used to be an artist until I convinced myself that I suck. At this point I''ve found out what I truly suck at: programming. So now I''m going to give drawing another shot. What jobs are there that are good for drawing? How can I incorporate a computer in with my drawing? Is art a job that is needed in game development?Throw me a freakin'' bone here, I can''t program, model, or do music but I''m sure I can create textures, characters, and even stories if I knew how!

Please help me out here. Give me links to software that does modeling, links that show how to import drawn art from pencil and paper to computers for editing and what-not, help me out.

--------------------------
Tried to save myself but myself keeps slipping away.

Nothing''s essential.

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Rule 1: don''t give up

I''ve been going at it for ~4 years now and I''m in pretty much the same place you are. Don''t let not being that great at art discourage you. I have yet to see a programmer who is also good at art. Sure most can do simple image cropping and come up with semi-decent test work, but nothing needed for the final product.

Choose one path and stick with it. I would buy a book specifically designed on making games: not to learn how to set up DirectX/OpenGL/whatever for the 80th time, but simply to learn how to structure the program.

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Maybe you should try to focus on one single thing like programming, have some patience and learn how to do it...It sounds like you tried doing everything at the same time and if that''s what you did I doubt you''ll learn much that way. I dunno about the art cause IMO you need some skill for that stuff...I suck at it anyways . Something that''s not going to help you is feeling like shit and not doing shit...So try sticking with something for a change, for example programming you can always keep learning new things and learning new skills (I think this even applies for experienced programmers) it''s just a matter of time and patience...

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I''ve been there. Rock bottom and badly. I could read API docs on OGL and DX all day long and understand it all. However, the "How to put it all together" was missing. I would start up a new project, maybe wrap DX initialization in some functions and get it working good. Then sit there blankly not knowing what do with the pointers to the video buffers. I would have been completely happy if i made a app in fullscreen mode with just a bitmap i could move around with the arrow keys. But I couldnt even do that. Getting more discouraged day by day. I started thinking i was just to dumb After sitting at computer trying to make something for months I gave up. Dropped out of CSI out of depression and spite for myself for taking a dead end. I avoided my parents because I thought i was a failure and didnt want to see them, also avoided my closer friends for the same reasons.

I continued working at a shitty job. Made some friends there.
Had them over for dinner one night. One of the guys I cooked for parents are chefs in Chicago. He called his parents and told them how it was the best food he ever had in his life.
They called me up and offered me a job at there place without ever meeting me in person. And for a lot of money too, which I won''t say because you won''t believe it
That call came compelety out of the blue, I did''nt know his parents were chefs or that he called them or anything.

Taking that job was the hardest thing I''ve ever done for several reasons. Chi town was a long way away and I had no conncetions there and little money. I guess im not so independant because i was REALLY scared of moving somewhere with no insurances. What if I wasnt good enough and they have to let me go right away? How would I live before the first paycheck? And tons of other bad thoughts. But the most painful irk would to say yes to the job, which I thought would finally nail the coffin closed of what I really wanted to do since i can remember, a game programmer.

Seeing little future in other directions, I forced my self to cram all self doubts and fears away and I took the job. Said things like "oh well, cooking is my other love" to myself. I think shrinks call that displacement or sour grapes (its true cooking is another love mine as deep as making computer games is, but i never wanted it to be my career).

Anyway, i took the job and everything went smooth as ice. The job, the moving, my lodgings. I couldnt even imagine it going any smoother looking back. I kept programming as hobby. In the recent year i started making games (crappy ones, but they were playable games). After FINALLY cracking the "How to put it all together problem" in a lightbulb momment. I''ve made some really simple games in fullscreen mode. And them some fairly simple puzzle games. I started a new project of the game i envisioned a long time ago recently, maybe it will lead to a demo someday and lead to a job, but im not worried about that. Just as long as finally get "my game". I just turned 24 a few months ago, its not to late. Anything can happen as i found out.

P.s superpig your engunity series is really nice. Im going to be rewritting my code now. I hope you do a series of building a simple game on top of it when your done. Seeing how to put it all together would be nice. I wish I would have found such a tutotrial a long time ago. I could then add to it, improve it, change it slightly, add new sounds, graphics, make it cooler etc until i worked with it enough to understand it as a whole entity. Then i could have made a completly different game on top of the eningine im sure.
Coding wrappers for BMPs, smart pointers, etc didnt lead to a executable and somewhere between coding thoose I got lost on how to put it together =\

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Last summer i got an Associates degree in IT/Computer Programming and have yet to find a job. But I program everyday because it''s my passion. I guess my point is it would be nice to have that great job but I''m happy to be able to do what I love even if I''m not getting paid for it(I''m still actively looking for a programming job) . Appreciate it and enjoy it, do it for the love of it and you will excel. I know that sounds cheesy but that''s the way I approach it. If you want to learn a lot try joining a project over at sourceforge www.sf.net. I learned quite a bit from some of those projects. Just my opinion.

paully

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Try joining a team, it''s worked for me. It keeps you motivated and makes development much more interesting.

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If you want I can send you the code for my abandoned game. It didn''t get unmanagable or anything, I just got bored of doing it (coding all of the levels by hand didn''t look too appealing either). I doubt it''s a good example of programming, and there are hardly any comments anywhere, but it might help you get started.

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