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What do programmers want/What motivates programmers?

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Hello programmers,

I'm a game designer. I am passionate about designing great gameplay, and bringing together art and technology to form my game design into a great experience.
I've learned myself to program, because it empowers me as a designer, and so that I know the problems that programmers face better.
Now I do have a pretty good picture of what kinds of problems programmers face, but I realised that I really don't quite understand something, that might be even more important than what challenges programmers face, namely what it is about programming that gets programmers excited.
So what is it that programmers really want when making a game? What keeps them going, what makes them enthusiastic?
I'm genuinely trying to understand my fellow game developer a bit better.

Thank you.

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Ever since my first set of lincon logs, I love to create things. Sometimes i think people with ADD would make great programmers, designers. As the the urge to constantly come up with something new, is a great thing. Though being able to finish something is also important.

The biggest excitement... or what ever you want to call it... for me, is after I've spent 24 hours working on something, I apply my assets, and run the app. The moment i see something I've created, working. It just puts a huge grin on my face. Like I've just conquered the world... even the golden triangle gets me going. Now I'm starting to sound perverted so I'll stop there.

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One draw for me is that I've always loved the idea of magic. The image of mages devoting their mental energies toward learning the rules of magic and bending energy to their will with arcane incantations always thrilled me. Most importantly, I love the idea of being able to use raw willpower to affect the world if you know enough. Programming is the closest the real world has to magic. I use a magical language to control electricity in useful ways: communicating over great distances, extracting information from data and creating worlds that are ruled by my personally crafted laws.

In terms of game programming, what could be more motivating than knowing that you can be the God of your own world if you put in the effort to create it. Seeing your world behave how you intended is a fantastic feeling; the feeling of seeing your world behave in untended ways that you like is transcendent. Programming shortens the gap between your mind and the outside world, even dry math concepts can turned into fascinating displays and interesting behaviors.

Programming motivates me because I see my programs literally as my thoughts given power.

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So what is it that programmers really want when making a game?


Money.


What keeps them going, what makes them enthusiastic?
[/quote]

(in my opinion, etc etc etc)

Depends on the person. Generally, I've seen 3 groups.

Some programmers like accomplishment. Some programmers like the process of puzzling through problems. Some programmers like the feel of creating cool/shiny things.

They're different facets of the same process, and different programmers have different priorities about which aspect tickles their fancy the most. For you the designer, you need to realize that communication needs to be different with each.

For the creative programmers, talking about what things will look like, or how they should feel or behave is key. They need to feel ownership for things.

For problem solvers, they need to know what they need to solve; why it's a problem, and what constraints are on the solutions they provide.

For accomplishers, they need to know what needs done and how to measure when they're successful, without impediment or you changing the rules on them.

In general, programmers want to know clearly what needs to be done. They want to be free to get that done however they like, with few impediments, and they don't want any screwing around with the finished product because you changed your mind, or wanted something different from what you asked for.

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Not really sure if I get all that "excited" about programming but I still occasionally get completely immersed in my work and loose track of anything else.

When programming for myself, what motivates me is seeing my vision made real. To see the parts come together to create a greater whole. To crack the mystery of how to make it work. Unfortunately sometimes once that mystery is solved I get bored and want to do something else.

When programming for others (in my non-game day job) there's a sense of pride in creating customer satisfaction. That is, having the sense that you're genuinely appreciated for what you've gotten done can you going pretty good.

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I started as a game designer but as a kid I knew that no one would make my games for me, so I taught myself how to program.

I ended up enjoying programming at least as much as designing. Here are the key reasons why for me:

#1: From my first day alive I was into creating things. I thought I would be a constructor. I played with wooden blocks, Linkin Logs, and LEGO® Technique™.
But programming was without bounds. I was not limited by the number of logs or LEGO®’s I had. I could make anything I wanted.
The ultimate outlet for my natural desire to create.

#2: I always wondered how Super Mario World worked anyway. I push a button, Mario jumps. It knows what to do and how to draw it. Why? How does it know to stop Mario when he thumps a block from underneath and to give him a coin?
I just couldn’t live in the dark. I would never be satisfied making up all these designs for others to implement, always wondering how they were making it all work.
Many programmers have a natural tendency to understand how things work from the inside out. *

#3: In the end, I have made something come alive, starting from the most basic building blocks. Everything it does is due to the decisions I made followed by my implementation of those decisions.
When the end product is a fun game filled with inner systems working harmoniously with each other, well, you probably can’t experience that type of pride unless you are a programmer.

#4: To a smaller degree, there is the satisfaction of simply solving challenges/problems.

#5: And another perk is being in full control over your PC. Being able to program makes life so easy. I have made all kinds of programs to do tedious work for me, and some to solve the Stanford AI class problems, etc.


* Except here in Japan, where most programmers I have met are nothing more than drones lacking social skills and motivation, probably going into programming as a sign of some underlying mental illness.
They have no hobbies and no purpose in life, just going into the office early in the morning and staying until nearly midnight, going home only to shower and sleep for 6 hours just to repeat it all again, every day, until they die or retire.
At least the ones I have met.



You should also know that game programmers are also divided. There are those who like to make games and those who like to make engines, and some who love both equally (myself included).
Those who like making games are not interested in the underlying technology as much as the satisfaction the end product provides. They are motivated similarly to designers, in that both of them view the end result as their own, and both like to sit and watch others playing “their” game. If you really don’t understand programmers, your best bet is to relate to this type.

The engine type enjoys the more technical aspect. If you can’t relate to this, you can’t relate. Even many programmers can’t (the kind who likes to make games).


L. Spiro

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I like coding xD, i'm just starting but i feel something when you run your programs , and when i code it i feel something good about it, even better than when i appear in videos of games(like dota) or when i do some imba move in a game and all the people call LUCK and you know that you are good and they are just jelous.

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I think Telastyn did a pretty good job of summing up the general motivations for most programmers, and you can see in the responses that everyone else is giving that you're generally able to categorise them into one or more of the groups outlined in his post. For me, it's mostly about encountering and solving interesting problems, coupled with a bit of seeing the cool things I can create.

I also sometimes program simply because I need the money -- these are generally run-of-the-mill jobs without any particularly interesting problems to solve, and which don't take and overly burdensome amount of time. The programmers Telastyn calls "accomplishers" above may gain some satisfaction from these sort of jobs -- if they can produce something that meets the specified requirements and makes the client happy then they will be satisfied with the work.

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I think Telastyn did a pretty good job of summing up the general motivations for most programmers, and you can see in the responses that everyone else is giving that you're generally able to categorise them into one or more of the groups outlined in his post. For me, it's mostly about encountering and solving interesting problems, coupled with a bit of seeing the cool things I can create.

I also sometimes program simply because I need the money -- these are generally run-of-the-mill jobs without any particularly interesting problems to solve, and which don't take and overly burdensome amount of time. The programmers Telastyn calls "accomplishers" above may gain some satisfaction from these sort of jobs -- if they can produce something that meets the specified requirements and makes the client happy then they will be satisfied with the work.


where can i get that kinda of jobs.

You are really right. You are the problem solver
I'm the creative

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