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Troy Walker

i made a critical error, life has no try catch?

14 posts in this topic

so, here i am about two months into my career re-development and i think i may have been focusing to much on what appears to be a dieing (or already dead) technology effort...

I have been so focused on learning C# and Visual Studio, even going to the windows 8 dev camp to try to get a "leg up" on things (i skipped the hackers day, cause well.. i honestly couldn't code something near useful). I finished reading a complete reference on C#, put in dozens of hours of training videos, and read the "XNA game studio 4.0" book published by Tom Miller and Dean Johnson (foreward by Shawn Hargreaves).. eventhough the information contained within I could not possible apply in any practicle sense, i actually understood the concepts presented... I felt pretty confident that I had planned and was executing the right steps.

But, after connecting the dots related to the lack of information (apparently for sometime now) to DirectX, C#, XNA, and Windows 8... my heart sank as the light went off in my head.

"There is none, and there will not be any."

I even asked a question about this at the dev camp... with no real response other than "keep an eye on the blogs". (not sure now if that was a hopeful directive or kind redirection)

I completely have failed to understand the history and state of all things XNA.

I am about 5 or 6 years behind the curve on this one? talk about a slow learner huh?

I feel stupid.
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my first post sorry, i suppose this should have been posted in the beginners area.


ya, you're right.. the knowledge can translate. I guess this is a good lesson.
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[source lang="csharp"]try {
LearnC#();
LearnXNA();
} catch (XNAIsOutdatedException) {
SpendSomeTimeLovingUnity3D();
}[/source]

Seriously tough, don't be so bummed out. First, a solid understanding of programming is unbelievably useful. Second the biggest requirement i see on job boards these days is Unity3D experience. Actually, 2 of my last 3 jobs made the shift from console games (N3DS) to iOS games with Unity3D. The job market is full of those opportunities. Aaaaand, all the studios i know about that are using unity are using C#, not javascript. So, maybe you didn't make such a mistake.

On a personal note i'm a complete ass and don't believe anyone to be a real programmer unless they have an intimate understanding of hardware. But again, i'm an ass.
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Even if there's no new release of XNA on windows 8, legacy windows applications will still be supported, we're still good for a few years. And there is no waste in learning, only in ignorance.
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[quote name='uglybdavis' timestamp='1348007582' post='4981457']
[source lang="csharp"]try {
     LearnC#();
     LearnXNA();
} catch (XNAIsOutdatedException) {
     SpendSomeTimeLovingUnity3D();
}[/source]

[/quote]

(that was pretty damn funny)thanks for the feedback all...  i'm going to keep at it, and agree FLeBlanc.. fundamental are important.it was just one of those /facepalm moments that i've often found myself in.. and as normal, regarding myself.
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Welcome to the industry, where everything changes every couple of years. It's just the way things are. You will always be learning a dying technology, because there's always something better that'll replace it in a year or so.

Luckily, it's generally pretty easy to transfer the knowledge you have to whatever new technology you work with, so as long as you stay up to date and continuously transfer your knowledge to your current working state in this eternal cycle, life will go on, and "every little thing gonna all right."

So no, you haven't wasted your time, even if C# were dead (which it's not; it's still a very active language).
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Two months invested in something which is [b]possibly[/b] going to be discontinued at some point in the future is hardly something to be concerned about. From two perspectives:

1) Two months in the grand scheme of things isn't very much time. After two months of intense study you're still barely scratching the surface.
2) In computer science every new thing is built on something old. Language syntax and API's may become obsolete, but the core concepts of programming and the skills associated with them don't. API knowledge isn't the mark of a good programmer, anyone can use google.

A related anecdote: 15 years ago the only programming languages I knew were C and QuickBASIC. I started a new job using visual basic. After 3 years I moved to a new job where the language of choice was Delphi. And then more recently I took up C#. I don't consider anything I learnt in any of the previous languages a wasted effort, even though arguably C, BASIC, Visual Basic and Delphi are "dead" - in terms of new project uptake. I'm a far better (and more adaptable) programmer now for having taken the journey through all those languages than if I've stuck with just one thing for 15 years.
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You're not alone regarding XNA's future, but its just an API, like the other posters said, do not equate that to the C# language. No one has mentioned [b]SharpDX[/b], but right now that seems to be the best choice for writing C# Win8 apps that take advantage of the new metro/windows store app style, directx 11.1, etc.
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[quote name='tswalk' timestamp='1348005358' post='4981440']
I am about 5 or 6 years behind the curve on this one? talk about a slow learner huh?
[/quote]
Better to learn slow and understand, than skipping from language to language not going deep in any.

Honestly, about 6 months ago I had a "[i]Oh man, what am I doing sticking with C++?! I'm missing out on everything, I should be learning C#![/i]" moment. Then I shrugged, and remembered that if I know C++ (or any language) well enough, and go deep in it, then picking up a new language can happen almost overnight ([size=2]mild exaggeration to underline point[/size]). Case in point: I just learned PHP in 45 days and most of that time was spent using it, not learning it - Learning PHP wasn't even my goal. 90% of programming is knowledge common between all languages. 5% is syntax. 5% is language-specific features. ([size=2]Warning: percentages made up and guessed at[/size])

You spent 5 - 6 years learning how to program. It just so happened that the language you used was C#, which will remain useful to you for at least another 5 years even as you learn more languages on the side. It just so happens that the language I use is C++, will remain useful to me for at least another 5 years even as I learn more languages on the side. What's the problem, exactly? You spent 5 years gaining alot of knowledge that will remain relevant and valuable for most of the rest of your life, and a little knowledge that has a 5 or more year expiration date. Sounds like a good deal to me.

"[i]Oh man, I feel like such an idiot! I just spent 5 years learning Latin, and then found out that nobody speaks it anymore! What a waste![/i]" - Learning one additional language makes it much easier to learn a third, and a fourth, and so on.

Do you think other programming languages don't use memory, variables, functions, if(), while(), and other bunches of tidbits that you learned? Learning your first programming language is alot harder than learning your second or third. More importantly, do you not realize how the entire way your brain functions and processes information has changed since you learned programming?

Your intelligence has grown from being forced to stretch your mind in new ways. "[i]Oh man, I feel like such an idiot! I just spent 5 years gaining pure intelligence! What a waste![/i]" [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/wink.png[/img] Edited by Servant of the Lord
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My personal approach in learning new tech/programming languages is applying the knowledge you have to problems/tasks you care about, rather than reading through crap loads of text/tutorials, as I find I don't overcome legitimate problems on my own and I then have no need to remember how to fix them.

I think, certainly from a programming/development point of view, actually [b]DOING [/b]is going to go a longer way than just beating around the bush about it.

As far as the future of C# is concerned, XNA is still a great platform, firstly to express/learn/experiment, but to also to [b]just get stuff out there[/b]. You are in a good position to start off in bit of Unity too...

Worst case scenario, you don't go into games specifically (and earn more / work less hours in some cases ;) )

Encapsulating Yoda, [b]just do[/b], [b]enjoy[/b] what you [b]do[/b], be [b]passionate[/b] about it and show it off!

Hope that helps :)
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[quote name='Phaser' timestamp='1348140924' post='4981990']
...
Hope that helps [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]
[/quote]

it does, all the feedback just reassures me that i'm not alone and to keep working on it...

to put things in perspective, the last academic programming i did was with assembly, fortran, and pascal... (ya, that long ago), but professionally over the past 10 years, mostly web and scripting (html, xml, asp, and wsh). so, its' been a bit of challenge to "think" OOP, cause my foundation was so strong in procedural.

i'm getting through it though, and the practice will come.
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There are two things that matter:

1) Spending time actually building things (reading articles, forums, going to seminars, etc. are can be a complete waste of time if you never spend time building things. It's a subtle "analysis paralysis" trap that one can fall into).

2) Learn the underlying concepts and techniques which are generalized and transferable to any platform.

Prefereably, you'd get #2 from #1.

I've recently started making the transition from C# and XNA into Unity3D. It's seeming to be significantly easier for me. I already know what a Vector3 is and how it relates to vector mathematics. I already know how transformation matricies work on objects in 3D space. The foundation of knowledge I built in C#/XNA transfers very easily into Unity3D scripting. So, if you spent a lot of time building stuff in C# and XNA, and learned the underlying concepts, you haven't wasted your time.

To play the salesman for a bit: Why switch from C#/XNA to Unity3D? Simple: C#/XNA has limited platform support whereas Unity3D can deploy for multiple platforms without porting code (it could almost make me scream for joy). Now, all we have to worry about is multiple language support. Using Unity3D is like using a layer of abstraction between your game logic and targetted platforms. As the platforms change in the future (and assuming that Unity3D is remains updated and relevant in the future), your game becomes somewhat future proof as the shifting sands of platform API's change. Ultimately, this translates to a wider market audience which means selling more units which means making more money.
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