Sign in to follow this  
ZachMeyer

Just "Knowing" how to do things?

Recommended Posts

ZachMeyer    124
One question that has really bothered me as I try to get into game development (have been for almost a year and a half now, I am an experienced C# programmer, nearly 3, going on 4 years) is this one simple question: How does someone just KNOW how to do things? It seems that even with all the knowledge I have racked up, trivial small games I have created, XNA experience I have mustered, I am still boggled when someone comes to the forums going: "Today I created a new ______ loader that takes the texels from the pixels to the shader output information that is part of the theory of generating random pixels using bleeargh's hypothesis of rendering texellation" (this is an extreme exaggeration that makes no sense, but it shows what I am getting at). How does someone just know how to do things? I appears that even with all this experience I have racked up, I still constantly need tutorials to tell me how to do things. How does one get on the path of game development where one can just learn how DO things without having a tutorial or book explain it to them step by step. Thanks, if you answer this, you will answer the meaning to life for me. -Zach Meyer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Colin Jeanne    1114
That person had tutorials on texels, pixels, shaders, and has read up on bleeargh's hypothesis of rendering texellation and possibly experience in using all of the above at least in part. They just went and put it together. You have this capability as well, you just need the proper background (it actually sounds like you have a good background so you probably dont notice when you are "just doing" things because they seem so normal to you).

What was it? Genius is knowing how to hide your sources? [smile]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EnigmaticCoder    296
I am far from being a master programmer, but I have done some things on my own that I am proud of figuring out. I'm the type of person who like to do things for themselves without a lot of outside assistance. More recently, however, I've started to put value in learning from others. It's a fine balance, actually. If I haven't struggled with something for a long time, I enjoy figuring out the problem by myself. I don't know if I'll ever reach the stage where I'll be able to program everything without learning certain techniques from others, but it is no longer a priority for me. Just remember, however, that outside help is not always available, so you might be forced to figure some things out for yourself. On the other hand, be sure to keep your options open, and you might come to the same realization as me -- learning from others is a perfectly reasonable choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hodgman    51336
I'm sure there's people who are similarly amazed when you come to the forums going:

"Today I created a new _____ game using XNA..."
Quote:
How does one get on the path of game development where one can just learn how DO things without having a tutorial or book explain it to them step by step.
Read enough books and tutorials ;)

Even these people that amaze you with their experience still buy new books each year and read new research papers in order to find new ideas, techniques and algorithms. A good programmer never stops learning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jack9    102
Knowing how to do things is not always doing them the best way or even right (insomuch that it will not achieve what you think you are aiming for). I know how to do many things from experience, some things from attempts to tackle specific problems in the past (and many problems are similar, they just don't seem so at first glance). I've taken it upon myself to study and listen and to TRY things that seem related to what I am interested in to broaden my understanding of how others have solved problems.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ildave1    561
It's experience.

Unless your some sort of prodigy, nobody just "knows" how things work without experimenting and reading information in books or on the internet.

Taking it one step at a time and piecing together the puzzle at every step. A lot of people, specifically newbies in software development, dive right into a game and completely become diluted in problems that they didn't think about before they started.

Just break everything down and take it one step.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Drigovas    509
This is why Dungeons and Dragons has 'wisdom' AND 'intelligence'...
Quote:
Original post by ZachMeyer
How does one get on the path of game development where one can just learn how DO things without having a tutorial or book explain it to them step by step.

Thanks, if you answer this, you will answer the meaning to life for me.
-Zach Meyer
Ctrl+C...Ctrl+V... is all that is required to solve a problem with the solution sitting right in front of you, as is frequently the case with copying solutions out of books or tutorials. You're learning the theory [hopefully], but you aren't learning how to solve problems, you are observing a specific solution to a specific problem that somebody else has already solved. The point of this is that such is the exact weakness in 'learning' from most tutorials and most books. You are more observing a problem being solved rather than learning how to solve problems. The people who just seem to *know* how to do things don't actually likely know how to do everything, but are instead willing to take what they do know, and use it to confront anything that gets thrown at them. They've learned how to solve problems.

I'm not saying that observing problems being solved is a bad thing. It is a very good thing. It is how you put more weapons into your arsenal which which to confront future problems. But you need to learn how to solve a problem, rather than just apply a solution to a problem, and this is a slow and painful process, and is a lot harder [and a lot more useful] than learning how to apply a specific solution.

You do it by picking a problem, and solving it without following something that tells you how to solve it. Even if you just solve part of it. It is very important to learn how to apply what you know to things you haven't seen before. Pick a problem that you don't have a tutorial for, and solve it best you can using what you have already learned from other sources. You won't likely find an optimal solution. You won't even likely find a very good solution on your first attempt, but you'll know where you fell short, and you'll know what you need to do better. Furthermore, you will have developed a skill far more valuable than knowledge about a specific problem. You would have developed your skills in confronting an arbitrary problem, and analyzing it in a productive way. It's a skill that must be worked on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this