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Benjamin Loisch

What experience do you have in terms of programming?

13 posts in this topic

I've learned some C++, I've learned some SDL, and am now understanding DirectX 11. But I know I can't possible learn it ALL.....

When I think of the pro's, the experienced, the people who use their incredible skills of math and programming to make video games, I sometimes wonder, just how did they make it there? And knowing how they've made it there, just how good are they? These questions I hope will give me an idea to just how smart I should get in order to become a more sucsessull programmer in the future! So hbu? How much do you know? :D

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I've worked in the industry for about 7 years now. I started out as a generalist doing everything from UI work to databases, to tools, to rendering to gameplay, and now I'm specializing in animation.

You don't need to specialize. Being a really good generalist can be beneficial as well, it really comes down to what you want to do.

The real key, as ApochPiQ stated is to never stop learning. You don't need to be an expert when you start your career, but you need to have an ambition to work towards it. And once you are an expert, you need to work even harder to keep advancing the field.

I probably was roughly as knowledgeable as you when I got hired (although it's hard to make that statement based on only one post). There are lots of entry level positions that don't require years of experience.
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As already stated by cardinal and ApochPiQ the key to software development is that it as a constant learning excersise.

also people tell you that to be the best game programmer you need to know C++ inside out and have a firm grasp of Maths an d Physics.  Whilst these may help it doesn't make you the best games programmer.  What makes a good games developer is having the art of "Getting Things Done".
When working in the games industry you will come across some of the most aweful hackery and botched coding possible but, the thing to remmember is whoever wrote that code got the job done (probably after two weeks of no sleep during crunch).

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When I think of the pro's, the experienced, the people who use their incredible skills of math and programming to make video games, I sometimes wonder, just how did they make it there? And knowing how they've made it there, just how good are they?

Most good programmers/software engineers I know are good in what they do, because they are very experienced in what they do. Which means, they have been doing it over and over again for a very long time, most of them can be considered professional programmers for at least 10 years. Also most of them started out at a young age with coding and did a lot of hobby-projects to constantly learn new things. But no matter how good they are, none of them started out without making bad mistakes and producing ugly software in their early years.

How good they are?

  • They get complex software of high quality done and shipped in time on a regular basis.
  • They can come up with good solutions in reasonable time for even the quirkiest problem.
  • They hunt down bugs with fearsome accuracy and speed before breakfast, more often they spot said bugs before they take their toll.
  • They write articles and books to teach other people on regular basis

I think I could go on quite a while on how good some of the guys are smile.png

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My 2 cents:

 

The best way to learn is from mistakes. Only geniuses learn from the mistakes of others. I am not a genius, so I had to do it the hard way. To really appreciate a design pattern, you need to have tried to implement it the wrong way first. To a smaller degree, you won't learn about mistakes from books, you will only find the correct answers. That is why it is hard to become an expert without actually do it yourself.

 

Spend some time on this type of forum, ask questions and answer questions. You can learn surprisingly much when you are writing an answer and do some double check with other references. And you learn even more when someone else points to errors in your answers (falling into the category of learning from mistakes). The like/dislike button provides a powerful impact on the learning behavior.

 

I have a son studying games development at university college. They do most of the studying designing small projects, under supervision. I think that can be a very efficient way of learning.

Edited by larspensjo
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I can effectively use at least 4 languages the other 4 I know I am mediocre with because I am rusty on the standard libraries. Some sort of topic specialization helps. Also don't be afraid to go way beyond what you know. An example is micro controllers. It is something I always wanted to learn and now I am doing it. I have learned so much in small amounts of time spent and I am just scratching the surface. It feels awesome to learn something new.
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You have to have passion about a subject to become an expert in it, and advance beyond even that point..
I have programmed for 15 years, yet i'm not generally a good programmer. There's so much I don't know,
but I know a decent amount about GPU and game programming, and quite abit about procedural world generation and the maths behind it.
Especially signal theory.. To me, it's a matter of passion.
There's a reason I'm only a 'good' progammer (I get by,) but I can creatively and intuitively create procedural worlds smile.png
It's just a matter of tunnel vision..
Do what you like to do, and don't spend any time wishing you knew more about everything. In many cases when I'm making game engines, I end up looking at other peoples solutions just to get past a point I'm not really interested in spending time learning.
I'd like to meet the guy who knew every little detail of his field. smile.png
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This is something I've wondering myself OP. But I think of it as "Well, I see all the new stuff I learned this year, extrapolate it by 10 more years, yeah, I can see how someone could know that much stuff".

 

There wont be a moment when you say "I know it all now, no more reading for me!". No one actually does that, doctors learn more, lawyers learn more, musicians learn more, engineers learn more and, not surprisingly, programmers also always learn more.

 

Not only programming is a steep hill, but a hill that never ends! :D 

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I have been a programmer since 1978, going the "long way" (all the way from Fortran/Cobol). Learning new languages as they come, creating some of my own. But the main interest has always been games programming. In the later part of 2010 I thought, why not do a MMORPG, to make some use of the experience I have? Boy, I was in for a very rough ride! It turned out that MMOPRGs need competence in just about every computer science:

 

C++11, Google Go (a new language for the server programming), NoSQL, client/server, web design (+session management, dynamic page generation, css), web server (did it myself), TCP/IP, real time systems, multi threading, Linux server management, MinGW, OpenGL (+lighting theories),  Blender+animations, Gimp, a load of design patterns I didn't know existed (after first doing it the wrong way), UI design (using themes), safe login using encryption, git, subversion, apt-get, dpkg, Boost, Doxygen, GitHub, etc.

 

I knew some of this already, but maybe half of the complete effort was OpenGL, of which I knew nothing when I started.

 

Will I make money from this game? Probably not.

 

Was it worth the effort? Absolutely, I haven't had this much fun in many years. It is fun to learn.

Edited by larspensjo
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From 2000 to 2007, I used C and C++. By teaching myself and some additional help from evening classes and Computeach.   Some 2D games and even some 3D demos.

 

2007 to 2012, got a Uni Degree with some additional qualifications.  In that time I switched to Java and focused on software development.  Bit of Visual Basic, which I enjoyed and the experience made me nearly switch to that langauge.  Felt like writing a game in it as it seemed to be good at rapid prototyping, but decided that I should apply the module's principles to Java instead, which had the lion share of my education and propably has better prospects for job hunting. It would be nice to know other peoples thoughts about VB in regards to gaming, although I would expect them to be lukewarm...

 

After thirteen years, I do feel a bit gutted I still haven't got a job in programming, but the personal jouney, so far, has been worth it.  At the very least I can now program with confidence and have several qualifications to my name.  I'm looking towards a programming job in Cambridge, England, but we'll see how that goes...

 

My advice to those starting out; don't be in such a rush to learn everything in one go. Take one thing at a time, and if you feel you lack knowledge which is preventing you from progressing - don't delay, learn it today! ^_^  or just give it a shot. Whatever.

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After thirteen years, I do feel a bit gutted I still haven't got a job in programming, but the personal jouney, so far, has been worth it. At the very least I can now program with confidence and have several qualifications to my name. I'm looking towards a programming job in Cambridge, England

 

If you are a Java programmer who is into games in Cambridge then Jagex is the first company that springs to mind.   Alternatively move to london and work in a bank. 

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After thirteen years, I do feel a bit gutted I still haven't got a job in programming, but the personal jouney, so far, has been worth it. At the very least I can now program with confidence and have several qualifications to my name. I'm looking towards a programming job in Cambridge, England

 

If you are a Java programmer who is into games in Cambridge then Jagex is the first company that springs to mind.   Alternatively move to london and work in a bank. 

Aye, they are on my list.  Tried for a position there years ago as a junior 3D modeller.  decent people as they at least gave me a test to perform(create five 3D models) as I didn't have a demo reel at the time.  Obviously didn't get it, but it was still nice of them.

 

Still, once I finish my current project - a java game - I'm going to give them another try as a junior programmer. I've always felt that qualifications alone, even relevant ones, aren't enough when determining one's actual skill level...not sure what others think...but...oh well. ^_^

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