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C++ Workshop - Feedback

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Given that it has been three weeks since we've started this workshop, I feel it is time to gather some feedback. Unsurprisingly, in spite of an initial wave of enthusiasm, the participation numbers seem to be down. If you have given up participation in this workshop, we are particularly interested in hearing why. Though hearing words of praise is always pleasant, it is very important to know if we are doing anything wrong. Is the workshop helpful? Are we going too fast? Too slow? Do you find your questions fully answered? Are the answers detailed enough? Are the answers too complex - particularly when dealing with topics that won't be studied until later? Have you encountered problems with the book that the tutors haven't corrected? Is there anything you think we should do to improve this forum?

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I haven't had any problems recently, other than it seems to be too slow. I realise that things will change as the subject matter gets more detailed so it's necessary to set a realistic pace that can be maintained throughout the book.

The responses are very detailed - sometimes apparantly too detailed - but I'm storing them away for future reference. I'd rather that than a bland comment something like "that's the way it is, learn it parrot fashion and all will become clear in due course".

One of the weekly quizzes seemed to stray into future parts of the book so I've not attempted it yet as I don't want to confuse myself.

Finally, I have come across a couple of typos in Chapter 5 so I'll post about them in that thread. As a matter of interest, it strikes me that the authors and publishers have many free proof readers here. Is there a formal mechanism whereby the amendments can be fed back to them?

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I agree on the fact that the workshop is going a bit slow at the moment. Up until day 7 are things I allready know. But this is good for those who don't have previous experience. I'm looking forward to the later chapters though, I went through them quickly and saw that I'll be learning A LOT. So Please don't let my comments on the workshop being slow discourage you! It will be plenty fast during later chapters. You're doing a great job and it's nice to have really in depth answers to simple questions. This way you can learn something even if you thought you knew everything covered in the book.

Plus: I think the forum activity is not an excellent way to measure how many people are participating. When quizzes have been answered or when questions have been asked before you had a change to do so, there is no point in reposting them... Maybe those that are folowing along quietly should speak up here, just to encourage our tutors :)

anyways, that's just my opinion...

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I've said it before and I'll say it again. Putting this forum at the bottom of the forums listing is a bad idea. People just tend to forget about this. Eeek! I found out that there is a sticky post in the For Beginners forum that leads to this forum.. Is this enough publicity?

But as posted above, the pace is good but the information is too easy currently. I think the later chapters will bring more attention, that is, if this workshop is brought to attention as a whole, first.

[Edited by - Pipo DeClown on June 27, 2006 6:05:25 AM]

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Original post by Pipo DeClown
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Putting this forum at the bottom of the forums listing is a bad idea. People just tend to forget about this.

But as posted above, the pace is good but the information is too easy currently. I think the later chapters will bring more attention, that is, if this workshop is brought to attention as a whole, first.

To add to that, it should be right under For Beginners.

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All,

I'd like to thank everyone for their feedback. It is unfortunate that the C++ Workshop cannot be placed somewhere it will be more easily recognized. With that aside - myself, Fruny, and others have noticed that the number of viewings each week and the number of responses seems to be declining.

We would really appreciate any feedback you might be able to provide that would help us be more helpful to you. We've heard a few people suggest that we're moving too slowly, but its difficult to tell if that's because you're the few who are understanding the information, and the remaining are just uncomfortable voicing, or if everyone is truly in agreement about the pace and depth of the information being provided.

I'd like to encourage more people to speak up, for good or for ill, with their thoughts about the forum.

Keep in mind that positive feedback is greatly appreciated as well, as myself and the other tutors very much enjoy hearing about your positive experience. Its why we do what we do.

Cheers!

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Hey all,

I just wanted to say that I think this is a great idea, and a really good opportunity for people who want to learn the language out of self interest! I was interested in learning C++ at some point but couldn't find any suitable courses here down under (well that didn't cost the world anyway) and because my university is java mad, i wasn't going to get an opportunity through them either so this was a super find!

I haven't got the book yet (being a student the cashflow is a bit tight for hobby assosciated investments!) but i've saved up my pennies and it should be here in the next couple of weeks (fingers crossed). I figured because I have a fairly solid grip on programming in java, and the OO paradigm, that looking at the first few chapters I will basically just be learning syntax, so hopefully it won't take me too long to catch up to where the workshop is.

Lastly I think what you guys are doing should be commended and think that this course is the ideal way for the hobbyist (or even more advanced) programmer to sink their teeth into C++ if they don't know the language. I'm guessing that it takes quite a bit of commitment from the tutors to organise such a long running and well supported workshop so would just like to say thanks in advance for the effort all the tutors are putting into this.

- TKDCobra

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Hey guys,

First, again I want to thank Mr. Walsh, Fruny and everyone for what has (for me) been a great experience so far!

I can also agree to the fact that things are kinda slow at the moment. BUT, I've sorta been ok with that knowing that what is to come (the things that confused me in college...) is going to be more in depth, and I may need that week to re-read the chapter, ask more questions, etc. I don't know when that time will come...it may NEVER come! I know so far I've come across things that have had me saying to myself, "Wow, this seems so much easier to understand now that I'm older!" so maybe it'll be smooth sailing for me throughout the course. I hope...

I have all the faith in the world that you guys will make the correct decision on this. If you choose to pick up the pace a bit, I will absolutely do everything I can to keep up. I don't think I'd find it discouraging.

Now, where's that chapter 5 quiz?:)

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Now, where's that chapter 5 quiz?:)


I'm looking forward to the "official" answers to the quiz for chapter 3!

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If it's ok I'd like to join. I know I'm behind about 4-5 chapters but I'm willing to play catchup. I just recieved my book in the mail today so I'm ready to start!

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I am satisfied with the pace of the program so far, I will appreciate the full week when we get to some of the later chapters. So far we are covering introductory material that I believe many of the people who frequent GameDev.net have been able to get through. When we get to pointers and such I think there will be a growing interest. This has been great so far, and it is a real confidence boost knowing that there are professionals able to answer questions. The book is a great value at $22 and was a good choice. I know that JWalsh and Fruny have put a lot of work into this and I want to make sure that they know this is being appreciated.

Something I would like to see, and this may be down the road, is how some of the things covered in these chapters is applicable to game design. Some real world examples or even a design related story relating to some part of the material could be inspiring. Also, at what point we should be trying to tackle a Tetris clone or tic-tac-toe. A weekly programming challenge, such as developing a small program that would use what we have learned in the current and previous chapters, may be fun and a good learning exercise.

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Original post by Gambler
Something I would like to see, and this may be down the road, is how some of the things covered in these chapters is applicable to game design. Some real world examples or even a design related story relating to some part of the material could be inspiring. Also, at what point we should be trying to tackle a Tetris clone or tic-tac-toe. A weekly programming challenge, such as developing a small program that would use what we have learned in the current and previous chapters, may be fun and a good learning exercise.


I second everything you said. I have already read the book (before the workshop started... grr!), and I know that I read the first 4 chapters in around 1-2 days. That could be any of 3 things: 1. Those chapters were very small. 2. I already knew that portion of C++. 3. They were easy topics.

However I do know that the last week was a killer, and I had particular problems with the end-of-week summaries (not so much the first week, mainly 2 and 3).

But, for the difficult topics, maybe a link to an article or two that are related to the content (e.g. OO information, polymorphism, pointers, OO design) would be extremely helpful.

And information about what kind of programs could be made to test the knowledge, and game programming specific concepts would be exellent to know, even now after I've finished the book.

Good work getting it organised!

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I agree that a 'weekly challenge' problem would be good for people who are finding they are getting ahead of themselves. Looking at the quizzes thus far, they appear to be the sort of thing you can answer if you've studied diligently at your book, but they aren't testing people's ability to put things into practice. Of course, there are the example programs people have to write, and understandably these will become much more difficult over time -- but for the people who want to really do well with C++, it'd be cool if there were some 'hardcore' problems :)

~Shiny

NOTE: my thoughts aren't wholly valid as I'm not participating in the course (as a student...), though I'm enjoying seeing how other people come to grips with things and the issues that arise through such a system of tutoring.

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Original post by Fruny
Is the workshop helpful? Are we going too fast? Too slow?
Do you find your questions fully answered? Are the answers detailed enough?
Are the answers too complex - particularly when dealing with topics that won't be studied until later?
Have you encountered problems with the book that the tutors haven't corrected?

Is there anything you think we should do to improve this forum?


The workshop is a great idea. Learning programming or any other science is easier to do with a teacher, other students and a schedule. I wanted to get in programming for at least two years. The farthest I had gone was input/output/if statements in Python. This workshop motivates me and I think its safe to say I will finish the book and go beyond, something I might have not done on my own ( at least until i start my degree ). One chapter per weeks seems good to me. You cant really go any slower. If you are learning faster well you can read more than one chapters per week... I had a bit more time this week so I was able to finish chapter 5 and I am now halfway throught chapter 6. Lets say I finish chapter 8 2 weeks before the workshop gets there, well it will be an opportunity to review my learnings and consolidate it when you get there. I read a lot of english but I do not write that often so as a plus, I get to train my english skills :) ( Obviously, its not my first language ).

When I ask a question I dont think its humanly possible to answer faster and to be more detailled ;) . Thought I must say I usually skip the [advanced] [/advanced] brackets. ( see Oluseyi advanced post on chapter 5, sorry but you lost me after the first sentence ).

Thanks to Gamedev.net, jwalsh, all the tutors and the people who kindly answers my questions on the forums :)

[Edited by - Myotis on July 1, 2006 3:05:16 PM]

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This is an excellent forum and I'm glad it exists. I'm using this forum but I'm working at my own pace. As for the decline in viewings and posts, remember this is SUMMERTIME!! Guys are just coming off of school and finals, people are taking time off the job. There are a lot more activites outdoors than in the fall/winter.

It's not that people aren't interrested but the above factors are significant reasons for the seeming decline. Still there are those like me who will appreciate there is a forum like this that we can go to a week, a month or two from now to get expert help on learning c++. Keep up the good work!

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I wish I had this forum 6 years ago when I used the 2nd edition of this book to learn C++ in summer school...

jwalsh I think you chose an excellent book. Its the only book I recommend to my friends who have never programmed, and I have plenty of different ones in my collection.

I just wish I would have seen this forum sooner... I only noticed it because I accidently scrolled to the bottom of the Forums list. I think there should be a sticky in the general programming section for this...

Im going to see if I can find the programming problems I was given in summer school when I learned from this book. If I find them Ill pass them on here so others following this book can give them a wack in addition to the ones jwalsh and the forum admins are supplying...

Good luck to all of you following this book and Ill make plans to start lurking around here and put in my 2 cents here and there to help out!

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I could not afford the book.

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First, I think this Workshop is a brilliant idea. A huge thanks to J. Walsh and all the tutors (and all the others who are posting).

I have been reading these threads, as well as the 2nd edition of the book that's online, from the beginning. Before the Workshop began I wasn't sure whether or not it was for me, as I already had some amount of programming experience (mainly from Python and Java).

After the first weeks I've decided to jump in to be an active participant. My reason for this is the quality and depth of the replies given by the tutors. What little I know of programming I've learned myself by reading couple of beginner's books (and doing Python with Alex Martelli's Python in a Nutshell by my side) and I'm convinced that having some sort of guidance or tutoring will help me to fulfil especially the theoretical gaps I'm sure to have.

So I'll be following the course with the outdated online version of the book, and my Finnish C++ book which appears to be up to date (based on the usage of header files, and the fact it claims to follow the ANSI standard). It also appears to be deeper than the actual course book, so I think I can ask some clarifications later when the Workshop reaches certain topics.

Then some actual feedback and suggestions:

It would be great to have some larger exercises during the Workshop, or at least a final project after the whole book is done - a sort of a final exam for us to get our "degree" :)

Regarding the critique that the course is moving too slow; I know it's quite difficult to come up with good exercises but I believe that trying to give few (or even one) trickier exercise each week would help to keep up the interest of those who think the pace is too slow.

Perhaps some of the advanced but important topics could be given a thread of their own, so that they'd be easier to find after few more weeks, or at least an in depth FAQ could be made out of some of the explanations provided.

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I'd agree with the idea of a FAQ section. For instance, I've been building a glossary, explaining such as Interface, Implementation, Scope, Block, the format of various declarations and definitions etc.

I'm sure there are loads of common questions that go through folks' minds. I know it would be a big task to collate them and respond to them but I wonder if one of the tutors might be willing to take on the responsibility of having them e-mailed to them? I'd suggest that topics would be such that they could be answered in a few sentences at most, otherwise the questions and responses might warrant a place in the appropriate weekly section.

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Thanks for your feedback guys! Keep 'em coming.

As for the FAQ, I'm afraid I just don’t know what the frequent questions are. [wink] Its difficult to take an entire programming language and then diagnose the most frequent questions. But I agree there should be one in place. I'll chat with Fruny and see about getting that put online. (I still don’t have moderator privileges)

As for larger projects, that's been the plan all along. In fact, the first such project will be announced next week. The project will be active for a month, with its own thread, so people can post questions and answers regarding the project. After which, a new project will be posted roughly every month with a final project at the end of the workshop. I will be chatting with Fruny and the other tutors very soon about the scope of these projects.

As for more frequent exercises, I will try and do my best. It's just time consuming to read the chapters along with you all, create quizzes, and follow your questions and answers. Doesn’t leave much time to be creative. =) But I'll see what I can do. And hopefully another tutor can step up and create some exercises.

Thanks again for your feedback. Myself, Fruny, and the tutors DO read them and take them seriously. So keep 'em coming!

Cheers!

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You guys are doing a great job at the moment. I’m waiting for the more advanced chapters on pointers/templates before I start contributing more; however I am still reading the threads. Doing java before a lot of this stuff makes it pretty straightforward, but it will be helpful when pointers/templates/thread programming comes up. I also think there should be maybe a bigger project every so often, where we can post the code up and get comments from the experts. Im also using Dietel and Dietel: How to Program C++ since I had it lying around. I realise this is very hard to keep it at a level that is understandable for all, due to previous programming experience in other languages.

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Looking at the numbers of C++ related questions asked every week in the beginners forum, one gets a bit puzzled over the lame interest so far.

But, as have been mentioned, this most probably is due to most people that find Gamedev.net have already learned the basic stuff covered in the first week. So had I when found this nice place some years ago.

However I strongly belive that the interest and questions asked will increase from week 2 and onwards when more diffucult and painful subjects are covered.
So don't take this lack of interest too negative, you're all doing a great job with this Workshop.

Suggestions..

I know that you're planning for a monthly project, which is great. From my own experience of creating several games, I know that there are really no better way to truly understand and get the pieces to fall in place than developing a bigger project.

Therefore it would also be of great benefit for those people following this workshop if there were a weekly smaller project covering that weeks material. And even better, those projects focused on making game related programs.

I realize that might be out of the scope for this workshop and your time, but maybe those with lots of ideas could post you them for evaluation and go from there.

[edit]

Examples, in increased difficulty could be:

* Make a simple game menu.
* Make a text name bounce around the screen.
* Control a text around the screen with cursor keys.
* A lottery producer.
* Make a simple guess game.
* Make a simple game like space invader with only one enemy going from left to right shooting at a cursor controlled ship.

etc.

[/edit]

Well, anyway good luck and keep this Workshop running. [smile]

[Edited by - DayZero on July 12, 2006 4:50:32 PM]

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Would not the popularity of this increase if it did not require participants buy a certain book?

Maybe next time (It will just start over when it finishes, right?) you can figure out how to do it without the book.

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The workshop is very helpfull for me. I'm already an experienced Java developer and I don't have a lot of problems understanding the C++ syntax, but sometimes I don't see how things can or should be applied in real world applications. The tutors are doing a great job of giving me real world examples.

For me the course is also a little bit slow, but since I have my work and sports too, this tempo allows me to keep up easiliy and review stuff when needed. I'm sure we'll get to more difficult chapters soon and I would like to have time to read and understand those. So I hope we can stick at one chapter per week.

Other than that I would like to say: Keep up the good work!

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I like to follow this workshop, but I did find that is going a little bit slow, like other people have been posting. I also agree with them though that the speed that it is going at will be needed as the topics get more complex. One thing I was wondering was, when was the new programming project for the month going to show. I saw that jwalsh said that he was going to post it next week, but that was on July 7. So is there going to be this project, or will it just show up for next month?

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