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Anyone here a self-taught graphics programmer?

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When I as 13 I enjoyed BBC Basic and 6502 Assembly

By 16 I lost interest in video games

I had short Wipeout phase and a Doom phase


When I was 35 I discovered GTA San Andreas

I was between jobs / countries so I played this game in my friend's flat for 8 hours a day

when my friend came back from work we went out on the town

good times


That got me interested in 3D for the first time


I ended up in a small village in the UK with nothing but an old laptop

And after writing Space Invaders, Pac Man, Asteroids etc. I figured out on a piece of paper

how perspective works and wrote my first 3D "engine" in VB6 that could render lines with perspective


Later I discovered opengl.dll and my first fixed function triangle appeared on screen


I realised there was something "wrong" with Matrix math related to rotations, but with no

real maths education I didn't know how to express it ... all the oranges in the house ended up

with arrows scrawled in black marker ... it was 3 years until I discovered Quaternions, how I love them!


I learnt DirectX properly by creating an industrial application using CSharp + Managed DirectX running on Windows Embedded

it was a mission critical 247 application ... so I had no choice but to get it right ...

That has run on PCs without a reboot now for 4 years ... must have the memory leaks under control.


When XNA came out I got heavily into 3D and entered a game into Dream Build Play

but I fell in love with HLSL and Graphics programming and I have filled up my brain up reading everything I can.


What I love the most is thinking in 3D and trying to find solutions to hard but interesting problems without researching

and then comparing my "invention" to what everyone else is doing ...


Make a living in industrial software and working on a game which I will self-publish and promote

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The feeling when confusion turns to clarity is addictive

Crafting a complex "machine" that works

to me it feels like I am building a locomotive - so many wheels and levers and cogs turning at high speed

And the rush when you overcome the multiple layers of bugs and bugs in debuggers and design flaws and flawed documentation and get it to work anyway

Software development feels like xmas morning every day


Couldn't express more precise. Thank you =)

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I have to say that former education in my case played very little.

I am regularly ( sp ?? ) ignored by companies even if i have a degree in engeneering electrhonics and have been coding program for 20+ years.

The shift in the industry is totally Unity driven, i'd say that someone with a fair amount of Unity and c# experience might get a better job than someone with a degree , i regreted wasting time and money on my education, sad but true.

*End of the rant*

My story began with c64 , assembler and basic , then pascal , c/c++ , java , c#, i started coding software renderes at around 20 , and i got my first textured polygon few months after i started seriously into 3d math and algorithm, i switched a lot of computers , from c64 , amiga , 486 , pentium(s). Then i stalled with the 3d boards for a while, after a couple of years ai bought a new pc with an nvidia and started coding with opengl, basically until now, i have written various engines in this timeframe.

My opinion on this topic is that university education is that it was usefull for understanding math and physics , but for coding , the most important thing is to write software , no way , formal education can give help in case of data structure, but you can learn a lot from books around the internet ase well.


In the future , formal education will be less and less important to accomplish the job, take into consideration that for a Unity developer advanced math or physics are nto required, and the industry is rapidly adopting this engine as a standard.

Edited by TheItalianJob71

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I started off with self-teaching, but it's a very limited environment and relies heavily on putting trust in other people whose credibility is up for debate.  Books, talks, lectures, and interviews from reputed professionals (Google Talks, Bjarne Stroustrup, Herb Sutter, etc.) were the most helpful.  Online tutorials and developer blogs were often sketchy, taught deprecated or outright incorrect material, and left out important details.  Self-teaching also makes it harder to gain team experience or learn to debug someone else's code or figure out what's actually done in the industry.  Eventually I went to university for game development, and it taught me me far more than I could have picked up on my own, and corrected the flaws in half of what I had learned.  Also, I wanted to do graphics programming for a living and couldn't find an employer who didn't throw out resumes that lacked a proper education, so there's that.

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