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Anddos

do you look at retail game files to gain experience?

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I keep finding my self looking at files on retail games and trying to understand parts even tho there is no code, i mean like looking at shader files and model files ,does anyone else think this is a good way to learn?

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Hi

I think it is both, a good way and a bad way :P

Firs one has to begin with basics. And after You get more experienced it is good idea to peek what talented game developers made.
But in general, reading someone elses highly optimized code is quite a challange.


Regards,
Misery

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You certainly can learn things that way, but it isn't an ideal way to learn, and especially as a beginner your time may be better spent writing your own code or reading books/articles/whatever.

The problems with examining files from commercial games are that...
  1. There is little or no context. You're looking at the final product, but you have no explanation of why the solution you're looking at was chosen. You can't tell if there are alternatives without further study, and you then won't know the reason the method in question was chosen rather than one of those alternatives.
  2. The developers who created the file(s) you're looking at have time and budget constraints, and may have been forced to cut corners, and you may not be able to tell where. Perhaps the files you're looking at are horribly inefficient but were used because there was no time to create an alternative.
  3. Different projects have different requirements, and what works for one may not be useful for another.


I don't think it hurts to look at how the professionals do things -- and in the case of articles or papers with an actual explanation that's absolutely a good way to pick up some tips -- examining the files that make up the games you've bought will probably be of limited use though, so while you can certainly have a look if you're curious I think you should take what you see with a grain of salt, and be sure to keep up with other methods of learning.

Hope that helps! cool.gif

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Yeah it can be somewhat useful to get an idea of how people organise their data, and if you can find things like shader source-code, that's of course going to be interesting ;)

However, one thing that makes this kind-of harmful as an educational experience is that the retail/shipping version of a game often has it's data structured in an entirely different format to the in-development version.In these cases, from just looking at the end product, you can't tell anything about their work-flow or their data organisation, and you might "learn" things about their development practices that are actually false.

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