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BrassMonkee7381

inspirational programming stories please

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being at my age it is very hard to find information that is clear and that you don''t need to have graduated high school to understand. i know with all my heart this is want i want to do, but after looking at programming magazines and only understanding enough of the code to make me even more depressed it is hard to go on. seeing wonderful gazillion polygon models and then coming home to see my 300 polygon piece of crap is more than i can bear. YOU WOULD THINK THERE WOULD BE ONE GOOD TUTORIAL THAT WOULD EXPLAIN HOW TO ANIMATE A FRICKIN'' MS3D MODEL!! so, if you have any, please post an experience in programming where things turned out all right to give me the slightest sense of hope and will to keep going on.

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[inspirational story]
There was a kid who lost his legs in a freakish accident involving a pencil sharpener and a garbage truck. He then programmed himself a new set of legs.
[/inspirational story]

Seriously; if you set your goals at reproducing professional games right off the bat or professional level art/gfx then you will fail. Start off simple. Tetris was very inspirational to me once upon a time.

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Ok.

What gave you the idea that it would be a piece of cake? You sound as though you're expecting this to be easy when you're probably within the 12-15 age range (judging from your "graduated high school" bit). You also sound as though you actually expect to run a wonderful gazillion polygon model, this, without a full high school education.

Modeling is hard. There are tons of things you'll be ripping your hair out over, even when you understand everything there is to understand (arbitrairily). If you've never done anything major before and are just getting started in 3D, forget about making a Doom III clone. You WILL NEVER SUCCEED at your current level, and WILL NEVER GET ANYWHERE NEAR THERE until YEARS of experience. This sounds harsh, but it's the truth.

Stick with your "300 polygon piece of crap" for now, but for the love of god, do NOT try to stay there. Take BABY STEPS. Move on to a "400 polygon crappy model", then a "500 polygon model", then an "ok 650 polygon model", then a "good 800 polygon model", then a "nice 1000 polygon model", and then a "great 800 polygon model" (hey, if you can do better with less, then that's quite an improvement no?) But to go from "300 polygon piece of crap" to "great 800 polygon model" in one step?

Start at the bottom and work your way to the top. Handhold by handhold. There's no magic elevator here.

Edit: Ah yes, inspirational story.

HELLO WORLD

The above is my first program, nearly 8 years ago.



And this is my current project, having only recently taken to OpenGL a few days ago. (I write 2D games because of a strong distaste for 3D but I figured I'd use the hardware acceleration for my own :D ) So, y'know... basically, 3 days to pick up OpenGL (having no prior experience with 3D APIs) and write a basic engine.

The moral of this story? You will succeed. But... step by step, when the time is right.

[edited by - RuneLancer on May 9, 2004 8:59:51 PM]

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<old-timer>
Kids. I remember when animating a square at low resolution was a success. The first time I had an 8-cell sprite, user-controlled via the gamepad, and responding to both directional input and buttons, I was ecstatic. I was also 16.
</old-timer>

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quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
<old-timer>
Kids. I remember when animating a square at low resolution was a success. The first time I had an 8-cell sprite, user-controlled via the gamepad, and responding to both directional input and buttons, I was ecstatic. I was also 16.
</old-timer>


I can associate.

My first experience with sprites was on an ATARI ][c, in the ugly 40x25 16-color mode. Yep, 40x25. My main character, Blue Square, would wander around a maze of White Squares picking up Yellow Square treasures and fighting Red Square monsters to reach the big bad Pink Square at the end.

It was so cool, but so buggy!! No collision detection meant I could just walk right off the screen... and monumentally crash the system.

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quote:
Original post by RuneLancer
My first experience with sprites was on an ATARI ][c, in the ugly 40x25 16-color mode. Yep, 40x25. My main character, Blue Square, would wander around a maze of White Squares picking up Yellow Square treasures and fighting Red Square monsters to reach the big bad Pink Square at the end.
Old school! That was like when I did character-mode stuff, inspired by Castle (that was tha name of the binary and the primitive ASCII-art title), where the here was a trust ''@'' symbol!

quote:
It was so cool, but so buggy!! No collision detection meant I could just walk right off the screen... and monumentally crash the system.
I implemented wrap at the top and bottom, so if there was no collision detection at least I wouldn''t overwrite high memory (can you say "bye bye"?)

IVTs, chained interrupts... Rewriting the entire keyboard driver so you could use it as a 101-button gamepad supporting simultaneous keypresses - in theory. The actual design and construction of keyboards (some three-channel thing) prevented you from detecting certain keys in combination.

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My current proudest moment took 4 days, plenty of A4 paper in plastic sheets, an assembler and many many reboots of my Atari STe (before i got a harddrive) BUT I managed to get a 50Khz mod replayer working in STOS, it probably sounds sad but i''ve still not managed to equal the joy i had of getting the thing inited, playing and then stopping WITHOUT crashing the system out... god, those were the days, i need that kinda dedication back again.. was 8 years ago as well..

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If you''re in highschool, I suggest finding a good game programming book. For example, "Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus" is an awesome book that explains things in an understandable way and taught me a lot, and more importantly, it comes with working examples and an easy to use library.

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Well, rather than talk about the good old days, I''ll mention that when I started programming I din''t really make anything. I just fiddle around with QBasic for several years before I got my act together and actually made more than some text and some input. It''s hard at first but you have to actually START somewhere, and then you can move foreward. If you put the effort in and get things done, you will improve.

tj963

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quote:
Original post by tj963
Well, rather than talk about the good old days, I''ll mention that when I started programming I din''t really make anything. I just fiddle around with QBasic for several years before I got my act together and actually made more than some text and some input. It''s hard at first but you have to actually START somewhere, and then you can move foreward. If you put the effort in and get things done, you will improve.

After leaving the Atari 800XL and the Apple ][c (sniffle; I felt like a kid saying buh-bye to mommy and daddy and leaving to live on his own in an appartment), I moved to a Mac runnning System 7.5.5 (Centris 610; back then, 150 megs was a lot, and we had a top of the line 28.8 modem. ) and a 486 that run Windows 3.1 and, eventually, Windows 95.

I worked with a host of basic-variants on the Mac (Chipmunk basic was my first, and eventually I ended up migrating to METAL, a QBasic for Mac but better) as well as a few scripting languages (including NIH, which was like pascal but oriented towards image processing). In a move I''m half-proud, half-ashamed of, I learned 56k assembler and cracked a shareware game via ResEdit and by directly editing the CODE resource. Yep, in hex. Which makes me even more proud of the overall acheivement. I was 13-14 at the time. I''ve long-since changed my opinion on cracking games and other assorted forms of piracy, but it WAS a pretty thrilling move at the time. We eventually got a PPC but it quickly grew into disuse after we packed it away to renovate. Now the screen seems dead and sadly, we haven''t used it since. I still have all of my very first programs on a zip in my coat pocket, though.

On the 486, I worked almost entirely with QBasic. I''d write graphic demos (fractals and landscapes were my forte; hence why I''ve made my first project in opengl a landscape engine) and some VERY oldschool games (think Rogue/Angband). I eventually learned C--, a C clone that was, as far as I can remember, virtually identical to the C we know nowadays. With it, I made a few cool graphic demos that were faster than QBasic could acheive. It eventually grew into disuse though. After a while, the HD on the 486 died. RIP...

That was five years ago.

I then got my current PC, a PIII 550 which went through a lot of things. Including a dead power supply that nearly took the PC with it (in fact, the new ones nearly did because of a defect...), a few upgrades, a dead processor fan that went unnoticed a whole year (seriously; I''d get some lock ups or a bluescreen with a series of unrecoverable pagefaults every day or two, but otherwise it ran fine). I spent a few weeks coding in QBasic, and when I had managed to get enough money, I bought MSVS6. Then I moved on to VB, made a few games with it, learned the Win32 API, made a few more games with it, and then got into computer science at college, where I learned some basic C.

Now, I''m the type to really push ahead when I have a chance to do so and when I feel I can succeed. And, well, the GDI just wasn''t enough for me anymore and I wanted to sound all l33t and professional by making C/C++ games. Five years of programming experience and not a lick of the "real" stuff yet; it can and does take time. But the road that led me from Applesoft basic to DirectDraw was worth it. I then moved on to SDL a few months ago (since it was more powerful and easier to use), and now OpenGL (since I feel l33t bragging about it to my collegues it''s time to move on and use full hardware acceleration instead of letting a software renderer take care of my 2D games).

I''m curious how many of us started by a variant of some sort of basic... I still fire up QBasic every once in a while when i feel nostalgic.

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