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Jiggle156

Practical Programming Tasks

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I was thinking recently, whilst I have a relatively good theoretical knowledge of C++ and other languages, I don't have anything concrete to show for it. Yeah, I've done all the typical console applications whilst learning to program etc. - and a few of the abstract mathematical ones from places like Project Euler - but nothing "real world."

I have made half assed attempts at tetris and other games, but have then stopped doing them to get on with school work etc. - and not gone back to them.

So I was wondering, if anyone could provide me with some practical, real world programming tasks - perhaps directly from the workplace, or maybe just a link to something, because I haven't been able to find anything of the sort online. I feel this would be really helpful to me, and perhaps to other programmers in a similar situation.

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You should definitely go back and finish that Tetris clone. Make it as polished as possible. Learning how to finish projects is really important.

As to "real world" code, I'm not sure what that means. Different jobs will require different types of programming, and you'll probably need to learn in the job. In the mean time, do what you like. If you like making games, do that. In my teens and early 20s I liked board games, so I programmed a lot of that. But if you like 3D graphics you can write a renderer. Or perhaps you want to write a compiler, or a program that recognizes voice commands. Just pick whatever projects interest you and work on them trying to do as good a job as possible.

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In my experience, a good programmer spends 90% of their time learning, 5% problem solving, and 5% actually writing code.

As you're posting on GameDev I'm going to assume that your primary focus is in game development. Nothing is going to serve you as well as iterative experience. Try making Pong. It's a simple enough game that it should only take you a day or two, but you will face various challenges. Once you get the basic stuff down, go fancy with it. Add music, sound effects, particles, etc.

A few points of (painfully) gained wisdom:

  • To paraphrase, "Always program like a homicidal maniac is going to have to deal with your code"
  • Type-safety is EXTREMELY important
  • Some type of memory management needs to be used, even if it's just smart pointers
  • Don't spend much (if any) time optimizing as you write, just get things working first
  • Don't over-complicate things, a good architecture is one that is both structurally sound and easy to use
  • Buy a whiteboard or some paper and USE THEM
  • Talk through rough problems you're having with someone, the act of talking it through helps
  • If you're stuck on a problem for too long, move on and come back to it later
  • Globals and singletons are bad, but convolution is worse. Used sparingly, they won't kill you.
  • Get used to making programmer art.


    I'm sure there's more but.. that's the gist of it. Best of luck, you've got a long and winding journey ahead of you!



    [color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, verdana, tahoma, sans-serif]

    I have made half assed attempts at tetris and other games, but have then stopped doing them to get on with school work etc. - and not gone back to them.

    [/font]

    [color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, verdana, tahoma, sans-serif]

    So I was wondering, if anyone could provide me with some practical, real world programming tasks - perhaps directly from the workplace, or maybe just a link to something, because I haven't been able to find anything of the sort online. I feel this would be really helpful to me, and perhaps to other programmers in a similar situation.

    [/font]

    [/quote]


    Sorry, this was edited after my reply.

    Definitely finish your games. The ability to "stick with it" is extremely important in game development.
    It's also great to be able to show off, these are the practical real world applications you are talking about.

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As already stated, in the real world you do have to finish your projects properly so that is something to work on. However you probably already have some need for some "practical" programs that you just haven't realized yet that you can probably do. To put it a bit vaguely to maybe get you thinking:

  • Most likely you'll want to do some sort of tile editor at some point.
  • You'll probably also wish you had something that'd help you manage your projects a little better.
  • Inevitably there's that one file or group of files that's being a pain in some way that you want to do something with but you don't have an existing tool for.
  • Eventually you'll probably want to obscure data files for your projects in some way.

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