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People expect more from hobby game programmers (me) than they should

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I sometimes have the idea that people expect someone who sais he can write code in a certain programming language and use a graphics library like SDL to write a game in a matter of minutes. They don't seem to grasp what kind of work it takes to make even a simple game or library. For example, I was playing Advance Wars 2 with my little brother and my father (yeah :) i got him so far that he wanted to play, he had great fun) when my mother asked if I wrote that game. I wish. I know I can't expect my mother to know how much work such a game would be, but still it does not feel comfortable: it seems like she expects me to be able to do that, while I am not even near. I know it is not her fault, she couldn't know, but still. Or take this one, a better example. I am writing a small codebase for a very simple game, which I will then give to another person who comes with the contents. But while I am writing and building a networking subsystem (message-of-the-day, it is a verry small client/server game), a font engine, a tile engine, and building my library (ManagedGL) so it has all features I need, and occasionally show the progress - like a message of the day server program and receiver or a prototype of the map editor, one of the others build a very simple website with some design tool, and tells me (with other words), that he did something and that I am actually doing nothing at all. It feels so depressing when you write 100s of lines of code (at 3000 now) and someone thinks he has done just as much by making 3 'tiles' in paint by filling 3 64x64 files with solid yellow, blue, or gray. Do they really think that programming is a matter of dragging and dropping two buttons in a form and 'say' that a message should be sent from one pc to another? Don't they know how much work it is to make such a thing? Don't you ever have that feeling?

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Quote:
Original post by Sijmen
Don't you ever have that feeling?


No.I mean,how can a person bring you down,when you know that you're better than him?If they think that designing forms in Word is programming,too bad for them.Why should I feel bad?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:

It feels so depressing when you write 100s of lines of code (at 3000 now) and someone thinks he has done just as much by making 3 'tiles' in paint by filling 3 64x64 files with solid yellow, blue, or gray.


Hehe, pwned.

:)

No, I don't ever feel like that because I don't have anyone to talk about it to. What true geek actually knows people in RL that will talk about something of interest, face-to-face?

Your path of choice is, by nature, a lonely one; and will continue to be for a long, long time...

May one day you'll get lucky at your Uni or maybe even a job, but I've managed to go 3 years at my Uni and barely meet anyone who knows or cares about anything beyond what they're "learning" in class.

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Yeah,
sometimes I get such comments too from people not in the know. lol many many things in a program happen behind the scenes that people don't know about. You can write a whole engine with a huge codebase and let it display a black window because you don't have any content yet and people won't believe the amount of work that you have done.

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Here's a thread that ended up discussing some of the work involved in creating games. The gap between the big guns of gaming and hobby programmers is so huge now that a lot of people end up laughing at our 'feeble' creations, wondering why we can't do better. It's a shame, but I've now begun to accept that it's part of the 'job'. Let's face it, most of us are in this for personal learning and fun; I mean you have to enjoy programming to do it, right?

It's nice if other people will play our games and enjoy them, but to be fair most of them have their expectations set too high. I really do long for the good old days of the bedroom coder, but they're long gone. Never feel worthless in comparision to the competition, because when it comes down to it, you're playing on a different field to them now.

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Original post by Anonymous Poster
What true geek actually knows people in RL that will talk about something of interest, face-to-face?

Your path of choice is, by nature, a lonely one; and will continue to be for a long, long time...


That is so true, and so depressing at the same time...

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I don't think programmers are geeks. At least, I know I'm not. In real life, I don't even WANT to be talking about programming. I rather go sport or play guitar/sing whatever. I think spending so much time behind my computer is enough, don't want to THINK about it when I'm not.

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Original post by Pipo DeClown
I don't think programmers are geeks. At least, I know I'm not. In real life, I don't even WANT to be talking about programming. I rather go sport or play guitar/sing whatever. I think spending so much time behind my computer is enough, don't want to THINK about it when I'm not.

I agree except for the fact that a few of my friends ard I are designing a game right now so aat school all I do is talk about pregramming.

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One thing that I found really funny was that when people know that your into programming, they start asking "How do you fix...." questions, and how do you convert .wma to .mp3, etc, etc.

I don't know how to fix your computer, I just know how to program!

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hehe. I have a simple trick for stopping people who think like you describe.

Basically, when they ask if I can make professional looking things, I say yes. Then I go into a long monologe describing various graphics effects, the theory behind them, how to implement them, etc. Generally, the person in their head goes, "Holy shit that's crazy!" and they realize how complex and difficult it can be.

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Original post by evolutional
The gap between the big guns of gaming and hobby programmers is so huge now that a lot of people end up laughing at our 'feeble' creations, wondering why we can't do better.


Yes, but we can concentrate on the thing that matters most: gameplay!
And we can LAUGH in the face of deadlines while adding that last little gameplay feature the users requested ;)

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I've never gotten the response you describe. I've always gotten one of two reactions to me showing off my stuff:

A) OMG I really don't care at all go away.

B) That's really cool can I do it no okay then you're the best.

Both of which are fine with me. Granted, I only show off things that are visually impressive (ie, night scene grass simulation + cool lighting effects + particle systems all-in-one) and not stuff like Networking apps.


But don't worry! Whenever you worry about being a hobbiest go here.



Good. Now read, except replace every 'communist' with 'hobbiest' and 'bourgeois' with 'gaming industry... bourgeois'. You'll feel better eventually, or become insane and do something like found microsoft.

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I had kind of a similar experience once. I was taking my first graphics class at the same time as a low-level architecture class. In graphics, we did a fairly simple rotating 3d chair (which the prof provided most of the code for). For the architecture course, we were working on basic i/o using assembly. After days and days of work, I got the MIPS simulator to output "I know what I'm doing" three times. I was really freaking happy. After a few minutes of fooling around (glut and the prof had done all the hard stuff for us), I got the chair rotating and everything.

I showed both to a non-programmer guy I knew. When he saw the MIPS stuff, he said "So what? Give me notepad and I can do that!". That killed me. When he saw the chair, he was amazed that I could do something that cool. I had hardly done anything for it, though.

I guess there are two points to that story. First, the non-programmers just don't understand how much work goes into even something simple. Second, it's all about the eye-candy for those people.

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This reminds me of when I was telling a friend (who is an avid gamer) what I was working on my current game. I was telling him that I was working on the code which filters out all of the verticies which do not end up on the screen so that the computer wouldnt have to process them. He simply could not understand how it would even take code to figure out what doesnt end up on the screen. 'It just doesnt get drawn'. I think that they have been all of the verticies per second, etc, and figure that to make a game, you make models and thell them to go. Its all about the models and how one game has better models/physics/ai than the others.

I guess I think of it so that I feel good knowing that no one but the 'elite' (us here) can even comprhend how hard what we actually do is.

Dwiel

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Original post by C-Junkie
I solve this problem by never telling anyone what I can do with computers.

Gets rid of those anooying "OH CAN YOU FIX MY" people too.


This is what is referred to in the UK as the "You're a musician, come here and help me shift this piano" approach.

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Original post by Ainokea
Quote:
Original post by Pipo DeClown
I don't think programmers are geeks. At least, I know I'm not. In real life, I don't even WANT to be talking about programming. I rather go sport or play guitar/sing whatever. I think spending so much time behind my computer is enough, don't want to THINK about it when I'm not.


The problem is not talking about programming with your programmer friends. The problem is when you cannot talk about anything else or do anything that isn't related to it.

And this applies to everything, not only to programming.

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Original post by owl
The problem is not talking about programming with your programmer friends. The problem is when you cannot talk about anything else or do anything that isn't related to it.

And this applies to everything, not only to programming.


Words of true wisdom.

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I once had the awful experience of writing 100's of lines for a section of a program, to discover later on that a lot of people simply didn't see the button that led to that section.

Also I had a lot of trouble designing an options dialog so you can customize everything, to discover later on that almost nobody used the damn dialog. (actually the only people that I know used the dialog were the ones that I told them that it existed)

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lol i know what ya mean man..... I would be playing a N64 emulator or gunbound or something... And my mom would ask me if it was my game... Then i show her my game (been working on for year and it not close to finish). People dont understand how it takes alot of work and thought to make a game. Specail people who complain about release dates and stuff.

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It feels so depressing when you write 100s of lines of code (at 3000 now) and someone thinks he has done just as much by making 3 'tiles' in paint by filling 3 64x64 files with solid yellow, blue, or gray.

In a situation like this, when somebody makes a comment like that, I put on my lecturer hat and begin a long, one-sided conversation on exactly what constructing a game entails. I will make it as far ranging and as detailed as I can, exhaustively covering all aspects of the process, from level organization to the higher level mathematics involved in collision detection, folding in esoteric bits of knowledge from every conceivable game-related programming field. At some point, their eyes will glaze over and, in some cases, they may even pass out. Throw in a detailed explanation of the mechanics of real-time level of detail management, Fourier transforms, or the intricacies of client behavior prediction in a network model to smooth out lag and latency, and your average Joe HTML User can be silenced, sometimes even pwned.

Just make sure you back up all your bullshit with actual knowledge, or you may end up looking like an idiot. You could also adopt a condescending attitude and back it with patronizing arrogance. Of course, most people will also think you're an asshole if you do it this way. I just try to make it as boring and complicated-sounding as I can so that, if they still don't respect what I do, they'll at least keep their ignorant comments to themselves for fear of getting another lecture.

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Fortunately, most of my friends seem impressed by the not-professional-looking stuff that I make. But the again, most of them are CS students themselves :)

What really makes me think about the topic is when people on the internet post something like "Dude, $game SUCKS." --- even if the game does "suck", that's months of work for a whole team of developers that this particular snot-nosed teenager declares worthless in one simple word.

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This did actually happen to me once. I was at school and decided to try programming on my palm using the tools I downloaded previously. I had no API reference except for the "header" that came with the tools, so when I finally got it to output some text onto the screen I was psyched. When I showed it to some friends let's just say they seemed less than amazed ;)

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