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BigLos24

Important question regarding my education...

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So I just started taking a Java programming class at my college, and I gotta say that I really dont like it. This is a problem, because Software Engineering was supposed to be my major. My question is... If I dont like it now, is there a chance that I will maybe in the future? Also, since I want to get into Game Programming, will it be more enjoyable once I get further into it? I guess all I need is some encouragement. Thanks for the help.

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programming is programming. the task to which you are applying your programming can certainly effect your enjoyment. My hunch is that you just started and it's confusing and so mostly you're dealing with confusion rather than with problem solving. I'd definitely stick with it through this first class and see if it grows on you. Programming definitely gets more interesting after you learn the basics.

Game Programming is basically math and problem solving. The language is just a means to express the math and logic. If you don't like math and logic and physics, game programming is going to be tough because it's not much more than taht. You just happen to be using math, logic and physics to make aliens shoot people in the face.

changing a major also isn't a big deal. But just stick with it for now and see where it goes.

-me

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Software Engineering is software engineering. Things aren't going to magically become different or more satisfying when that variable refers to the Gold some player has rather than the Widgets FooSoft owns.

Anyways, why don't you like it? It'll be hard to offer advice or properly evaluate your situation without some more reasoning.

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Well I just started doing it and I gotta say its kinda boring. Right now Im not exactly doing anything that will get me excited. DOS Outputs and JOptionPanes arent exactly fun I guess. My class is an Introduction to Java, so I know for sure I wont exactly be programming any games in there. There is a class called Game and Graphics Programming that I am hoping to take one day though. I guess the things Im doing now just arent rewarding enough.

On the other hand, I do love math, physics and things of that nature.

Basically what Im looking for is someone to tell me that once I actually start getting into actually programming games and/or graphics that It'll all be worth it.

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Eh, not really. The output isn't the reward, solving the problem is. Sure, some of the introductory problems might not be a problem at all... Still, games and graphics aren't going to make matrix manipulation or the work involved any less tedious.

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programming:

40% of your time working out the algorithm
10% of your time writing the code
49% of your time in the debugger trying to figure out why the hell it's not working
1% of the time appreciating the results.

as you get more experience the percentage of time in the debugger decreases.

yes in game programming there's extra fun doing some creative work and collaborating on game design, and that certainly is really cool. but problem solving and debugging composes almost the entirety of your day. i.e. 99% of your day in game programming is no different than if you were working at oracle on their next database app. in my experience you just end up using more math; which for me is why it's more fun and why i left web programming for game programming.

like i said, the first few weeks of programming can be extremely dry so stick with it for at least a year and see if you start to like it more.

-me

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Quote:
Original post by BigLos24
On the other hand, I do love math, physics and things of that nature.

Basically what Im looking for is someone to tell me that once I actually start getting into actually programming games and/or graphics that It'll all be worth it.


Yeah, I started as a CSci major, but I just don't enjoy programming in itself. I switched to physics which I actually enjoyed and kept programming as a hobby and as a tool I'd use for physics. I'm currently doing grad work in computational modelling in materials science/engineering. That is, I'm using programming as a tool to apply physics to Mat. Sci. problems.

My suggestion is, if you don't like your programming courses, switch majors to something you enjoy and start programming games as a hobby. As you program games you'll naturally learn more about programming. However, it won't be as dull as your programming courses because you're not learning to program just for the sake of learning to program, you're learning to program as a tool to do something you enjoy. It makes a big difference.

Your software engineering courses will teach you two important things:
1) How to engineer software
2) How to work as part of a team
You'll learn (1) as you program games, but, unless you do that with a team, you'll have to pick up (2) somewhere else (but, of course, it needn't be programming related).

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A general rule of thumb: programming is building. If you like building things, you'll probably like programming. If you like problem solving, you most definitely like programming. If you like neither, you probably won't like programming and it's unlikely to change. My advice to you is this: do what you like. If you don't like programming, don't do it! If you want to program just so you can make games, look into other jobs that you might like involving games, e.g. being a story writer, artist, etc.

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maybe a good thing to do is just browse the Game Programming/AI/Graphics forums and read through the threads. are the threads interesting to you? They're a pretty good reflection of the day to day work involved in game programming.

-me

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Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
The output isn't the reward, solving the problem is.


Perfectly stated.

Another thing to keep in mind is that we tend to be more interested in things that we find uses for. You probably won't find much use for many of the generic problems you're solving in a general programming class, so you'll inevitably become somewhat bored. But, the prospect of "making computers do what I tell them to", should keep your attention at very least. Maybe programming "DOS Outputs and JOptionPanes" in Java isn't really your thing, but programming shouldn't be regarded as a necessary evil... you've gotta love it, or learn to love it.

Afterall, game programmers are just programmers first and foremost... who really like videogames.

- Andrew

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