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Silicon Viking

Tutorials

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Depends on what you mean by "reading a tutorial". Tutorials are great as a learning tool. However, if your method of "reading a tutorial" is cutting and copying code into your game, you're not learning anything at all.

You should use tutorials to inform you of how code / processes go together and then do it yourself.

A lot of people find a tutorial, copy it into their code, find another tutorial and then eventually can't copy it into their code because they don't actually understand how any of it works. And therefore do not understand how to modify their code such that the new tutorial's features can be incorporated.

-me

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Buy a book. There are plenty of good C++ books; I like "C++ Primer Plus". Ever since I inherited my father's now-ancient copy of "C Primer Plus", I've been a fan of Prata et al. It's clearly written, with just enough humor to make you smile rather than cringe.

I've also heard good things about the How To Think Like a Computer Scientist series, if you absolutely can't afford a real book. But there's something about having a paper version that gives you a different perspective. Reading on a computer screen is no fun.

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I bet there are people who write tutorials and don't even understand what they write. I've experienced this a lot with Photoshop though. :)

I guess it depends on tutorial and your experience. If a tutorial is written by an experienced programmer/designer and it explains things on deep level and it has been aknowledged by other developers, I guess there is no harm in reading one, if you plan on learning and not just copy-pasteing.

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Tutorials generally demonstrate to you how to do one specific thing. They do *not* give you the necessary knowledge to be able to do much other than that one specific thing. If you already have a decent base knowledge on the subject, a tutorial can be OK. It can demonstrate how to use certain features or hold your hand through a particularly tough piece. But if you are still just trying to learn general information, you may find that tutorials do as much harm as they help. You'll be able to do some very specific things, but you will not truly understand them. Nor will you be able to do anything else. You will not learn C++. You will not learn how to make the game you want. You will learn how to make a clone of the game that they make. That's about it.

Get a book. Don't expect to find one about rogue-likes. That's OK. You need to know how to walk before you run; learn C++ before learning how to make a rogue-like. Maybe after you've already read a C++ book and have attempted to make your own rogue-like you could read that tutorial. Until then, be wary because tutorials will not give you the background information, nor will they explain how the things they teach you work. They will only teach you how to use them for this specific action.

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Well... There are a few problems with tutorials, at least many tutorials, not the least of which is that many people use the process of teaching somebody about something as a means for themselves to learn something ["I want to learn A, so I'll write about A, which will force me to learn it"]. This yields quite an array of terrible tutorials that are expressive of only minimal competency [if that] with regard to the subject they cover, and often times outright false information. Those who don't fall in that pit, often present code that, while correct, is lacking explanation, and thus results in just being copied into the readers' project.

The absolutely worst part about many tutorials is that they require quite a bit of familiarity with a given subject to realize just how bad or how wrong the tutorial is. This results in people who might be otherwise perfectly capable of being proficient in a given skill having their first step into that subject being full of bad habits, poor practices, and misconceptions. A *good* tutorial would be helpful, but unfortunately there is no real editorial process that helps to filter out the garbage [and almost all of it is garbage].

What might be relevant reading with regard to the subject is this thread, which was made recently in the lounge that is about the value [or harm] associated with tutorials as a means of learning a subject. It's not the most authoritative look at the topic of tutorials, but it'll give you a overview of what others think, along with some of the tell-tale signs of a bad tutorial [as seen by those commenting in the thread].

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