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rubsnick

Should I just quit now? I'm 3 years in....

22 posts in this topic

Here is my situation, I'm at my third year second semester, (two more semesters to go) my GPA 3.64 and I'm in computer science major. I'm currently taking OpenGL and Java.... and I can't program anything. I tried working in my spare time here with a group.... and bam I failed, I haven't been able to make a program for a long while. I always get the most strangest errors. I follow the rules books and everythign else and it just crashes and burns. Won't compile give me the strangest compile errors and overall nothing I do has been good for the past year. I'm currently trying to do some shitty java homework and I've been at it for 6 hours.... and I've done nothing..... Working for 6 hours and I got nothing to show for it. What a joke of a programmer. I've been really down on myself and I just don't see how I can even compete with some of you people. I just think I should cut my losses and just go work at best buy and focus on my photography.... honestly seems to be the easiest way out. I just need some advice, encouragement anything whatsoever. I just feel like a huge failure right now and no matter how long I study or do work the java api is a joke in regards to how I should implement thign and overall... nothing I do ever works.... I'm probably the most pathethic programmer on the face of this net.... Try my hardest and nothing works.... six freaking ours later.
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The best advice I ever received:

"Do what you have fun doing, doing anything else and your cheating yourself out of happiness"

edit: I was not trying to convince you stop programming, to clarify maybe you need to find a way of programming that fits you better. Or program something that interests you more.
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But why would you quit on something you really want to do? You're a Computer Science major, obviously you have a vested interest in programming, and considering you're posting this on this site, game design. You're a junior learning to do what you want to do with a strong GPA. The only thing you can do is practice practice practice practice and then when you're sick of practicing keep practicing. A lot of people here are professionals or near professional; you're still just a student. Keep working and you'll get it.

See if you can trace what's causing your errors. Take everything a step at a time. Straight studying isn't necessarily going to help you be a better programmer, in fact it could make you worse. But practicing will do wonders. Computer Science is really all about application and problem solving. You find the challenge and you find a way to complete it, almost like playing a game. And the more you code random applications the better you'll get at it. Don't lose sight of your goals and don't lose hope, I'm sure you're doing much better than you're giving yourself credit for!
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I always seem to be in the exact same spot every time I try out something new. For my current project I've set out to use Java instead of C++ like I did on the previous 3. I don't complain. In fact, I'm quite happy I've done so: it eliminated a whole lot of problems I faced with C++ and overall cut the bloating of my code almost in half. When I was implementing a file parser I damn near ripped half of my hair out and almost sliced my wrist before it was any how functional. Any how functional, because it's functionality is very, very limited. Then pathfinding, which I'm working on at the moment is in the process of ripping the other half of my hair out.

All in all, don't worry. I find that every time I program it's like a puzzle, where the solution is almost never clear and you'll probably change you mind about how you want to go about it multiple times. It seems like it happens to everyone. In fact, I would refuse to program if it was any different because then programming would just be boring. If anything, always try to enjoy your challenges. I wouldn't sweat it if you're not a good programmer. Everything comes with time, and the more errors you see, the more errors you know.

EDIT: Obviously, it's also important to realize that if you just don't like programming then there is not much you can do for it.
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First, why did you choose Computer Science? Do you like programming computers? Can you see yourself programming computers for a living and enjoying it? Many people enjoy creating software for a living, but I doubt a majority of the population could handle it.

If you don't like the field then be happy that you learned the lesson early. Figure out a topic you enjoy and change majors. There is no shame in changing majors. Google says about 80% of all college students have changed majors at least once. If the field is not for you then you only harm yourself by sticking with it.

If you do like programming computers and are passionate about it and can see it for your career, then use your debugging skills on yourself to figure out why you can't program right now. Have you picked an actual solution to the problem? Do you have enough information about your problem that you can explain it to a human? Have you broken it down into small pieces that you can implement? If you need help discuss it with a teacher you trust.
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What they both said....

Only you can decide if you want to continue - it's your life after all.

Programming is easy and it's also very hard. With more experience it get's easier with lots of "doh ! that's why it doesn't work moments". Seriously, one minute something looks like it's never going to work....and then you realise that it's just a stupid typo or something. You learn from these and get better one step at a time.

I'm self taught and have been programming for 25+ years in the Games Industry....I love it/hate it for different reasons.

I so agree with this though as previously posted....

"Do what you have fun doing, doing anything else and your cheating yourself out of happiness"

We all have only one life....

All the best and I hope you make the decision YOU are happy with.
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Thanks for the advice... thing is I've wanted to Make video games since I was 3. That's been my dream. I tried learning on my own how to use C++ but never got far. Started in Computer Engineering in college since I like computers and already had a repair degree from my vocational high school. So far I've loved programming, I love finding out why things don't work. Or making something awesome. Overall I've been the top of my class almost always but lately.... I've been in a funk. I can't seem to program like I said before. I know that I love programming but... I don't know how long till I can keep going with this.... This stress... I don't understand thigns no matter how hard I try it's like calculus all over again and not the good part of it.... I really do want to continue and make my own indy game company... but I just don't see how I can do it... I don't have the skill to do it. It's so damn far away..... I have so much to learn and I feel like I don't have the capacity to do it... I feel like I won't find a job or support my family with this, I feel like I'm nothing special in the programming world.
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How long has it been since you have fully completed a project?
I was having some similar feelings awhile back, I sat back 100% completed some fairly simple projects it made me feel alot better.

The frustration from the constant learning / applying.... sometimes it really nice to just sit back and complete something.

Even if its just a pong clone =p
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[quote name='yewbie' timestamp='1300746421' post='4788839']
How long has it been since you have fully completed a project?
I was having some similar feelings awhile back, I sat back 100% completed some fairly simple projects it made me feel alot better.

The frustration from the constant learning / applying.... sometimes it really nice to just sit back and complete something.

Even if its just a pong clone =p
[/quote]

Define "project".... last thing I did was some stupid text reader in assembler language about 6 months back.
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[quote name='rubsnick' timestamp='1300746515' post='4788840']
Define "project".... last thing I did was some stupid text reader in assembler language about 6 months back.
[/quote]

When was the last time you worked on something game related?, You might have more fun programming a simple game than doing real world applications for your class =p
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[quote name='yewbie' timestamp='1300746658' post='4788842']
[quote name='rubsnick' timestamp='1300746515' post='4788840']
Define "project".... last thing I did was some stupid text reader in assembler language about 6 months back.
[/quote]

When was the last time you worked on something game related?, You might have more fun programming a simple game than doing real world applications for your class =p
[/quote]

... I've never programmed anything gaming related.... hence my frustrations... the other day I got pong to work in freeglut (just the graphics) But nothing works. Just draws the 2 bars and a ball.... closest I've ever gotten to a game.
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I generally feel like I get the most out of the things I fail horribly at multiple times. We've all been stuck and frustrated, but I daresay only a fraction of people understand the sheer joy one experiences after figuring out a bug six hours in :D .

Quitting at something you enjoy doing because it is challenging is, in my opinion, a very poor decision.
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[quote name='rubsnick']
What a joke of a programmer. I've been really down on myself and I just don't see how I can even compete with some of you people. I just think I should cut my losses and just go work at best buy and focus on my photography.... honestly seems to be the easiest way out. I just need some advice, encouragement anything whatsoever. I just feel like a huge failure right now
lately.... I've been in a funk. I can't seem to program like I said before. I know that I love programming but... I don't know how long till I can keep going with this.... This stress... I don't understand thigns no matter how hard ... I don't have the skill to do it. It's so damn far away..... I have so much to learn and I feel like I don't have the capacity to do it... I feel like I won't find a job or support my family with this, I feel like I'm nothing special in the programming world.
[/quote]
Dude. Your university has counselors. Go see them. Avail yourself of the good things your university has in place for your benefit!
And talk to your professors, too. Especially the teacher of the course you're having so much difficulty with. He can help you zero in on your problem areas and work through them. He's not just there trying to flunk you. Quite the opposite.
BTW, this probably belongs in Breaking In, so I'll move it there.
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[quote name='rubsnick' timestamp='1300746820' post='4788844']I've never programmed anything gaming related.... hence my frustrations... the other day I got pong to work in freeglut (just the graphics) But nothing works. Just draws the 2 bars and a ball.... closest I've ever gotten to a game.[/quote]
I can't speak from personal experience, but I have heard that some of the programming techniques you learn from a straight computer science approach don't mesh well with game design. edit: (take that line with a grain of salt!)
I would hate to semiquote a kevin bacon movie, but it sounds to me like you have the BCD and you don't have the A of game programming.

the quote from hollowman: "Genius is the ability to go from A to D without having to go through B and C." Sebastian can do that, but for me, I gotta have the B and C.
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[quote name='yewbie' timestamp='1300748001' post='4788855']
[quote name='rubsnick' timestamp='1300746820' post='4788844']I've never programmed anything gaming related.... hence my frustrations... the other day I got pong to work in freeglut (just the graphics) But nothing works. Just draws the 2 bars and a ball.... closest I've ever gotten to a game.[/quote]
I can't speak from personal experience, but I have heard that some of the programming techniques you learn from a straight computer science approach don't mesh well with game design.
I would hate to semiquote a kevin bacon movie, but it sounds to me like you have the BCD and you don't have the A of game programming.

the quote from hollowman: "Genius is the ability to go from A to D without having to go through B and C." Sebastian can do that, but for me, I gotta have the B and C.
[/quote]

I appreaciate the post... but I don't fully understand it.... with game programming my main problem is the graphics. I have no idea how to do the things taht need to be done. I know the desing but don't know how to do it.
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[quote name='rubsnick' timestamp='1300748116' post='4788856']
I appreaciate the post... but I don't fully understand it.... with game programming my main problem is the graphics. I have no idea how to do the things taht need to be done. I know the desing but don't know how to do it.
[/quote]

Well ask away there are plenty of people here to help you, do you need information on getting your game loop setup?, how to draw your screen? the generic flow of a game?
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[quote name='rubsnick' timestamp='1300748116' post='4788856']
[quote name='yewbie' timestamp='1300748001' post='4788855']
[quote name='rubsnick' timestamp='1300746820' post='4788844']I've never programmed anything gaming related.... hence my frustrations... the other day I got pong to work in freeglut (just the graphics) But nothing works. Just draws the 2 bars and a ball.... closest I've ever gotten to a game.[/quote]
I can't speak from personal experience, but I have heard that some of the programming techniques you learn from a straight computer science approach don't mesh well with game design.
I would hate to semiquote a kevin bacon movie, but it sounds to me like you have the BCD and you don't have the A of game programming.

the quote from hollowman: "Genius is the ability to go from A to D without having to go through B and C." Sebastian can do that, but for me, I gotta have the B and C.
[/quote]

I appreaciate the post... but I don't fully understand it.... with game programming my main problem is the graphics. I have no idea how to do the things taht need to be done. I know the desing but don't know how to do it.
[/quote]

I've always liked this quote by (Well not confirmed he said it, but likely anyway) Thomas Edison, when someone asked Thomas about failing to create a lightbulb a 1000 times:
"I have not failed a 1000 times. I have successfully discovered 1000 ways to [b]not[/b] make a light bulb"


Essentially this is the quote that keeps me going when I hit another brick wall in my learning process. For me the quote's like this:
"I have not failed a 1000 times. I have successfully discovered 1000 ways to [b]not[/b] make a video game"

If Game Development is what you're passionate about, remember that quote, always pick yourself back up, and re-do it until you find the right way. If you've tried every way not to do it, there's only one way left!
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[quote name='rubsnick' timestamp='1300745660' post='4788833']
Thanks for the advice... thing is I've wanted to Make video games since I was 3. That's been my dream.
[/quote]
Making games is very different from playing them.

Age 3 is awfully young to be deciding your adult career path.

Programming games requires a passion for making software. Games are just software. The work environment is a little different from other industries like banking or health care systems programming, but the principles of software engineering are unchanged. If you can't find work in the game industry you may need to fall back to regular business programming, so if you hate it you may be in trouble. It is also a stressful job.

Imagine what may happen if you finally get your dream programming job, and you discover that it is just a job. You will have difficult stressful deadlines, problems that you struggle with, and days that you really hate working. If you are passionate about programming and what you do then you can work through those bad days. If you aren't passionate about programming itself then you will be miserable.

While programming might be your future, make sure you've honestly evaluated your passions now that you're an adult.
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I would strongly recommend not to give up! You haven't got long left and you can still come out with a useful and worthy degree out of it. Throwing that and your past work away would not make much sense.

The feelings you have are not uncommon in degrees, and spending massive ammounts of time on certain study tasks and not seeming to make much progress is also not uncommon. If something is easy, its not an interesting achievement.

I literally poured blood, sweat and tears into my Physics degree, and it was worth everything I put into it, though in hind sight I should have put even more into it (I was lazy and having fun most of the time, resorting to extremely intense periods of activity to get the required study done).

Keep at it, ask for help from friends and tutors, and get over that hill! You can do it :)
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I would like to tell everyone here thanks for the encouragement! Honestly I was in a slump but after I took a break and started programming with a clear head and what not. I was able to complete it in a cool 2 hours. XD I realized all my mistakes and my God it's pathetic. And I should be coming back here with my Pong code to learn collision detection. I once again thank everyone that helped me out here. ^^ Oh and yes I know what the work entails... and I find it exhilarating. I've just been on a personal and professional slump. I guess i'm not super human after all. XD
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[quote name='yewbie' timestamp='1300748473' post='4788859']
[quote name='rubsnick' timestamp='1300748116' post='4788856']
I appreaciate the post... but I don't fully understand it.... with game programming my main problem is the graphics. I have no idea how to do the things taht need to be done. I know the desing but don't know how to do it.
[/quote]

Well ask away there are plenty of people here to help you, do you need information on getting your game loop setup?, how to draw your screen? the generic flow of a game?
[/quote]

Ah I forgot to replay to you... actually my main problem currently is finding out how animations work with freeglut and how I should change it around to make it work with my objects.

Here is the topic I made I haven't been working on it since school work comes first.
http://www.gamedev.net/topic/597879-best-keyboard-function-and-animation-for-pong-in-opengl/page__p__4787087#entry4787087
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[quote name='rubsnick' timestamp='1300910344' post='4789629']
I would like to tell everyone here thanks for the encouragement! Honestly I was in a slump but after I took a break and started programming with a clear head and what not. I was able to complete it in a cool 2 hours. XD I realized all my mistakes and my God it's pathetic. And I should be coming back here with my Pong code to learn collision detection. I once again thank everyone that helped me out here. ^^ Oh and yes I know what the work entails... and I find it exhilarating. I've just been on a personal and professional slump. I guess i'm not super human after all. XD
[/quote]

If something takes you more than twice as long as you expect for reasons you cannot explain, it's probably a good idea to step back and return to it later if you aren't on a huge deadline. A lot of times you'll miss obvious things just because you think you know what's happening in the code because you've been looking at it for hours, when in reality it's all obviously wrong. When you come back to it after taking a nap or something it will usually take you a short time to fix it.

Also those problems are great times to have made friends in your major. It's pretty useful to have another set of eyeballs to say "X is supposed to be in all caps" or "it's == not =." Other students sometimes are great teachers because they come from a similar perspective. They've had to translate the knowledge into their own terms more recently, so they have outlooks that might make it easier for you to understand.

Often it only takes that nudge to get you over the speed bump and you'll be able to understand everything a lot better afterward. It can come from taking a break and getting a running start at the problem or from friends and teachers helping you over it.

You'd also be surprised where you can find inspiration. I remember I had been struggling to find a way to do an algorithm for a few days, and I figured it out at the bakery I was working at at the time because of the way I loaded a rack of buns one night.
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[quote name='rubsnick']
actually my main problem currently is finding out how animations work with freeglut...
And I should be coming back here with my Pong code to learn collision detection.[/quote]
Please use the appropriate forum when asking those followup questions.
Collision detection might be a For Beginners question (or it might be a Programming question).
Your animation question might be a Visual Arts question (or it might be a Programming question).
The topic on this forum right here is Breaking In, college, job applications, stuff like that.
And if you get depressed thoughts again, please -- get help. Your school has resources for that.
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