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Can anyone be a good programmer?

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Hi, I've been wanting to develop games for a while, not proffesionally but as a hobby, and have been putting the idea off because I don't think I would make a good programmer. I've learned a lot of beginner stuff with c++, and havn't had any trouble, but was wandering if it was worth it to keep going? I don't think in terms of mathmatical equations, I'm a very abstract thinker which makes me a good artist and musician. In programming, it's very straigh forward and precise... I actually do enjoy programming from what I have learned, but do you think it's possible for anyone to be a good game programmer if they simply want to be and are willing to work hard enough at it? Just thought I would get some feedback before I forked over $200 for visual c++.

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"Good" is a very subjective - and relative - term. If you genuinely are willing to work hard, then of course you can develop some very impressive skills. Everyone has a huge amount of potential; some people simply need more time to reach it, and some people have a combination of time, drive, and certain thought patterns that give them a higher "limit" on what they can practically acheive. What you get out of it depends entirely on what you put into it.


I'd say in general that thinking abstractly is not a bad thing at all. A lot of people have a misconception that programming is mathematics, because they both use some funky symbols and magic words to talk about things. In reality, programming has little at all to do with writing code; the real skill of programming lies in the design, the consideration of problems at concepts at a high, abstract level. If you're referring to "abstract thinking" in the usual sense, you've got a good head start on the thought processes you'll need for programming.


All that's left is actually investing the time and effort - and that's up to you [smile]

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Dear friend,

I have always believed that if you really want something you will end up achieving it. Specially, since you are willing to work hard, you will get there faster.

However, if you see that it does not work for you, you can hire someone to program the game for you. Art and music is what you will work on, so it is still your game you will be working on.

Programming is just a part of game development, art is a very important part of it as well.

Best of luck to whatever path you choose.

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While I would like to say that anybody who puts in the effort can become a good programmer, empirical evidence from my time in undergrad suggests otherwise. Fortunately, you can try programming without forking over money. Microsoft has released Visual C++ .NET 2005 Express Edition for free for download on their website, so you might want to try that out. Or while you're at try a different language like C# which tends to be easier than C++.

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One more thing, Visual C++ 2005 Express is currently available -for free- from the Microsoft website. Limited time only ;)

/edit: waaay too late

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If you like thinking abstract, and 'just' want to do some hobby programming, you might want to reconsider your choice of language. C++ has it merits, but compared to other languages requires a lot of experience and carefull coding to avoid making obscure mistakes.

I don't want to start a war or anything, but you might want to try out something like python for quick and abstract coding. Lessons learned there can then be brought back to C++ if you want more speed.

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You may not be giving yourself enough credit. I'm a programmer and have a very technical thought process (whatever that means) - yet I'm also a musician, and used to be an artist (I lost that skill a few years ago though - inexplicably really).
I don't know what level musician you are, but in music theory and subjects of that caliber you do a lot with math. Sure it might not be matrices and quaternions - but if you're a great musician it means you have a great grasp of how the math you need is used in music.
I do have trouble with the creativity side of music - but as long as I stick with it (and with the occassional nudge from the otehr members of my bands) I usually get through hard parts and do fine.

So, given that you say the c++ you have done thus far has been no great challenge, and given you're great with the maths involved with music, I'd say you don't have any reason yet to doubt your chances with programming.

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The abstract thinking really is the heart of programming. I found that three years ago when I first took a computer science course at my highschool. The first thing we did was this pseudo code activity where we discussed the instructions needed to tell a guy to get out of bed at night and get a drink of water, then get back up into bed.

You can really tell how good of a programmer you'll be by how you approach this. Its really about looking at a problem as a bunch of smaller ones, then breaking them down further and so on and so on.

Some people might say, "get out of bed, take one step at a time to walk down the stairs, grab the glass, pour in some water... etc."

The programmer would think of each thing seperately, for example, after he gets out of bed and is standing, what does he do? Well he has to walk towards the door presumably. How does he do that? Well he has to find the door and orient himself... how? Well scan the room for the door... how? angle the head at soandso angle and scan towards the side until you find the door. How do you know its the door? well you see if the object is.... well you get the point right?

and then the good programmer would take it further will error checking so to speak. What if its dark? What if thers some obstruction between him and the door? what if there is no door? etc...

:)

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Ive been programming for 9 years, professionaly for at least 4 (C/C++ has always been my primary language).

Im the same as you, an abstract thinker. When I was younger i was in the TAG (talented and gifted) program in the school system for exception creativity and something known as abstract reasoning. The career outlook tests you took placed me as an artist or a musician, and the occupation least fitting would have been, ironicaly, a programmer. This is all based on the false assumption that mathamatics is the foundation of programming. My mathamatics skill is sufficiant at best (average marks in calculus). Programming, as mentioned in previous posts, is like 70% about the design and architecture. You need to know the language fluently, but math is not required much in programming, other then reasonable understandings of algebra. On the other hand, a games programmer dealing with physics, geometric, cryptography, and compression alogorithms will probably need a great deal more as far as mathamatics goes.

So by all means , learn programming, you are actualy more fit then you probably realize. On the other hand, you will probably have some problems with the physics aspects. In team based efforts, often the math wiz (not the programming wiz) is the one in charge of those portions.

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