Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
Asheh

Programmers becoming better, or just the hardware?

This topic is 4958 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

If you compare games from the early consoles, and even some early PC games the graphics (mainly) are alot lower than they are today. Now obviously the hardware has improved immensely BUT have the programmers who are creating the games actually improved? IE, do you think if we had the hardware for doom 3, 5 to 10 years ago, would it have still been possible?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
Yes, of course. Programmers do not become better and better. They follow (or anticipate) the technology. But there has always been good programmers around. The best example is Knuth.
Now, there is also another phenomenon. When a hardware is released, you can't expect the programmer to already know everything about this hardware. There is always something new to find, and of course, the discover of a new trick may allow big improvements in the overall game quality.

Yours,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
BUT have the programmers who are creating the games actually improved?
we've had to. Anyone who wants to make a commercially successful title usually has to bow to the latest-and-greatest technologies (good graphics are required to sell units as far as some publishers are concerned). These technologies are obviously more complex and require more time/effort to master.

The next generation consoles (as well as the PC in some respects) are heading towards multi-programming environments, which is not an easy form of programming to master. Expect this sort of evolution (revolution) to raise the entry bar a notch.

Quote:
do you think if we had the hardware for doom 3, 5 to 10 years ago, would it have still been possible?
to be picky, of course it would be possible, but seriously - I reckon it'd still have been done. Maybe the industry as a whole wouldn't of been as good, but you'd still have the "gods" who were capable of such complex graphics.



I will maintain the view for a long time, that a good games programmer is often a lot lot more technically proficient than other general programmers. I know there are exceptions to the rule, but the game developers at my university are in a different league compared to some of the people who're only interested in making financial applications using databases and .Net [grin]. My colleagues here at work, some of which have been programming for longer than I've been alive, are obviously very talented though - but I put that more down to experience than outright "born to program" skill.

Jack

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[flaming]

Quote:
Original post by jollyjeffers
< snip >
I will maintain the view for a long time, that a good games programmer is often a lot lot more technically proficient than other general programmers. I know there are exceptions to the rule, ... < snip >
Jack


Please... Do not say that ever again. There are "general" programmers around the world that did marvellous things. I am a "general" programmer (I confess I'd describe me as a programmer, not a "general" programmer), and I believe my talent/knowledge is as good as some other "game" programmers.

The recent move to learn game dev in university is more a tactical concern than an educational one. I am able to make games - I worked for a game dev studio some years ago - but will these guy be able to develop embedded mips OS core?

And I beleive that if we had the same hardware 10 years ago, we'll have done doom 3.

Yours,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Emmanuel Deloget
Quote:
Original post by jollyjeffers
< snip >
I will maintain the view for a long time, that a good games programmer is often a lot lot more technically proficient than other general programmers. I know there are exceptions to the rule, ... < snip >
Jack


Please... Do not say that ever again. There are "general" programmers around the world that did marvellous things. I am a "general" programmer (I confess I'd describe me as a programmer, not a "general" programmer), and I believe my talent/knowledge is as good as some other "game" programmers.

The recent move to learn game dev in university is more a tactical concern than an educational one. I am able to make games - I worked for a game dev studio some years ago - but will these guy be able to develop embedded mips OS core?


I agree. I've seen many people state that games programmers are for some reason the best programmers around because games involve several fields (e.g. graphics, sound, AI). There are hundreds of software projects that take considerable skill from developers, such as operating systems and safety critical systems, that are orders of magnitude more difficult to program than a typical computer game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A game can only do as much as the hardware allows. Doom 3's graphics would be infeasible 5 years ago. The programmers didn't got better: they just applied their skills to newer, better hardware.

Actually, I think hardware is getting better faster than many programmers out there. I see many games with outrageous hardware requirements that don't look that much better than games from 2 or 3 years ago. The plenty of RAM and CPU speed has made many people wasteful.

And please, a game is not only made by programmers. Do you think John Carmak ever touched one of Doom3's models or textures? Hardware got better and as well did the tools like 3D modelers and 2D editing tools. Doing UV unwrapping and animating a character nowadays is easier than it was years ago. And with lotsa RAM you get to do things faster in Photoshop, since you can use more layers and keep more files oepend at the same time without the computer dying at you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
M3d10n: I second that.
If it#s about the programming skills, then I don't think programmers have improved at all. you just plain couldn't have more than 16 colors with an EGA adapter. It was a pure hardware limitation. And the gfx did never make the game even though publishers still wish they do...
To me, skill is about getting the most out of the available hardware and that hasn't changed much during the last decade. It's quite natural that programmers get better at using existing hardware over time (e.g. compare the first PS1 games to the ones that came out a few years later). It's just that - as someone already pointed out - programmers lack the time to fully use current PC hardware because it progresses way too fast and the PC is no uniform platform when it comes to hardware.
Another thing to be considered are budget and staff size. 15 years ago games didn't have multi-million dollar budgets and staff sizes of dozens of (fulltime) people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't think programmers in general improve over the years. I mean, the games 15 years ago are much worse technically than today, but if you think the limitations (CPU,memory) the programmers had those days, you'll admire them for what the did.

But I have to agree with the person that said that usually game programmers are more talented than application programmers(not people that design OS, that's a different league IMO), although I do both, with game programming as a hobby for the moment. That doesn't mean that an application programmer can't be as good or even better, but in my opinion the average game programmer is better than the average application programmer. He has to deal with many fields, be very creative on how to use the resources and most importantly he has always to "adapt" to new technologies that keep coming at much faster pace than the world of application programming.

Quote:

I am able to make games - I worked for a game dev studio some years ago - but will these guy be able to develop embedded mips OS core?


IMO, yes. A good game programmer(==someone that also knows how things work in low-level), with enough study and work, can do pretty much anything. Besides, one doesn't start with game programming, a good game programmer is also a good general programmer. I'm not so sure a good general programmer's transition to game programming will be this easy. Sure, he will be able to make games, but how good will they be(technically, design is another issue)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I will not argue more about this subject. I think some of you are unfair in their vision of what programming is about. To be short: in the average, game programmers are not better than other programmers. In my experience, they even may be less organized and more hacky than "general" programmers. Remember that only 6 years ago, most game programmers were learning programming as hobbyist. Can you decently say their knowledge is superior to a BSc? BSc and PhD are still rare in the industry - mostly because of their cost.

Quote:
Original post by mikeman
< snip >
But I have to agree with the person that said that usually game programmers are more talented than application programmers(not people that design OS, that's a different league IMO), although I do both, with game programming as a hobby for the moment. That doesn't mean that an application programmer can't be as good or even better, but in my opinion the average game programmer is better than the average application programmer. He has to deal with many fields, be very creative on how to use the resources and most importantly he has always to "adapt" to new technologies that keep coming at much faster pace than the world of application programming.


Gosh. Grin. No.

Me and my cowokers and a lot of people in the software industry need to adapt to new tech just as game programmers do. Even if you are not aware of these technologies, it is still true.

Game programming is not where you find the most people. Statically speaking, it cannot be where you find the most creative and most clever people. Hell! Who will say that The Gimp is not a clever piece of code? And the GTK+ library? And gnumeric? And KDevelop? And ACDsee? And Oracle? Who is able to say that there is no complexity in the ASP code of gamedev.net? Do you really think that a banking application (which need some near real-time network xfer) is easy to do? Do you think that a budget control application need less security than an anti-cheat system for a net-based game?

Quote:

IMO, yes. A good game programmer(==someone that also knows how things work in low-level), with enough study and work, can do pretty much anything. Besides, one doesn't start with game programming, a good game programmer is also a good general programmer.

See my point in my introduction. While this tends to be less true, most game programmers are ancient hobbyist. Most of them didn't learn more about what computer science really is. So (no offense intended, of course - I have much respect to every programmer in this world (in fact, I have much respect to anyone who lives on this planet)) basically, a good game programmer may not be a good general programmer.
Quote:

I'm not so sure a good general programmer's transition to game programming will be this easy. Sure, he will be able to make games, but how good will they be(technically, design is another issue)?


No, design is not another issue. Design is code. The rest is micro-optimization and believe me, everybody can learn how to micro-optimize. The application we do deals with rather large images - and we need to handle them fastly. Most application needs to do things fast, not only games. You don't want to wait 10min to have the result of 1+1 in Excel, do you?

Good programming requires a well crafted brain, and most programmers have well crafted brains.

Yours,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In regard to many of the other programs besides games, such programs have little to no room for error. Bugs and programming oversights that would be fixed nonchalantly by a simple patch for video games could spell certain doom to certain other programs. Remember what happened to NASA's space probe? Similar bugs occur all the time in games, yet when it occured in that program, millions of dollars ended up being wasted.

Of course, the sheer amount of processes a game programmer has to work with should be taken into consideration as well. There are few projects besides games and specific simulations that require the programmers to have a proficient understanding of physics, artificial intelligence, and accurate sound modeling (and really, what are these 'simulations' but realistic games, so to speak :P )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!