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Taulin

2600, DOS, and yes, game programming

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I too was sad to see the moderator close the DOS threads. I feel choosing a platform (and OS) is an important step in the software lifecycle. I think the arguments and naration that 2600 has given about DOS being good for games (keeping the mod happy) is quite funny really. Sure, I have never used a scope on a chip and all of that because I never really cared. However, I was there before doing all of the ''DOS stuff'' back in the days of Yor also. I may have missed his point, but 2600 seems to be one of those people who think if you have not actually toiled the soil with your hands, you have no right to use that new spiffy tractor. Yep, I know assembly (some companies here in Japan still like to use it still), did 13h, and know how to ride the old hardware pretty good. Times have changed now, and the hardware must be ridden a little differently to get the same performance. Just because someone starting today has DirectX and does not have to worry about the ''gory details'' anymore does not make them any less of a programmer or designer. Personally, I am envyous they don''t have to waste their time programming to just to be able to handle something like the memory layout differences of VGA and SVGA. There is still A LOT to be learned in DirectX terms alone. Just look at all of these threads from people comparing and finding techniques! Re-use is a Good thing, really.

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I couldn't disagree more

I first started programming before most people on these forums were born. Remember the Acorn Electron? I was one of the first people to own one, in the mid 1980's. I was programming in assembly within a year (or less) of owning one. The relevance here, is that in the user guide, I was taught about binary arithmetic, registers, the stack, the CPU before anything else. It seems today that most kids haven't got a clue as to how they work. There's a good analogy here ... many people can drive - but you can't deny that it's better to understand what goes on under the bonnet. It's makes you more understanding. If you understand cars, you're not gonna scream the engine when it's cold. It's about time that people were taught about how computers work, then let them loose with such beasts as C/C++. It will only make those people better programmers.

I write software for a living, as does a mate of mine. We often talk about optomisations that would go over many peoples heads. I really don't mean to sound like I want to put people off programming because I don't. But for the sake of a fews days research, they would be much better off. Let's face it - how many people actually know about such simple things as signed numbers, two's complement, etc? Not many i'd guess.

For those of you that fall into the catagory above, please take some time to learn the basics. You will not be disappointed, I promise.

As for the DOS thing ... what year are we in now? 2002? Why harp on about 30 year old technology? I don't whinge about betamax's being better than VHS - just accept that change is the way forward in the long run. And please don't tell us about DOS being more powerful - there were never any optomised drivers for DOS. When comparing CPU time within a DOS vs Windows (or Linux/Mac/Unix) environment, Windows (etc) will always win in this day and age.

Just my thoughts

Edited by - Shag on February 4, 2002 9:28:34 PM

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Oh no! I was not trying to say basic computer science and math education was not necessary! Knowledge needed for optimizations and advanced arithmatic are still needed today as much as they were before. If someone mistakes DirectX replacing the need to understand binary math or knowing advanced data structures, that is their own fault, and will soon learn it in order to make anything worth while, or have low quality software.

It just seems that some people try to imply if they were not using punch cards, there is no way for them to grasp these fundamental concepts. A good CS course at college (or even a book) still teaches all of the basics. If the new game degrees do not, then someone should be shot.

I think people today are still learning the important stuff. Sure, a major amount of people will not touch assembly today, but it is not a bad thing! I sure don''t miss it, and avoid any contracts or jobs that have it in the job description.

On DOS: I too would love a internet broadcast of the funeral of DOS.

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With regard to assembly - I must admit that I''m getting lazy nowadays! I will revert to it when I absolutley have to - But only as an optomising excercise.

But back to the main topic. Too many people jump straight into the likes of C++ without any understanding of basic programming skills. These are essential. Your profile says you are a lead programmer - so you know what I mean. I''ve had the dubious pleasure of working with some real idiots over the years, who thought they were programming gurus, when in fact they didn''t know what they were talking about. One thing I have learned - talk is fine - but seeing practical results is very rare!

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Once again I whole heartedly agree with getting the basic education. I only wish a good education cured all cases
of ''programmer big head'' many people have. But the same thing
goes for many professions.

But, I must ask why you think a programmer starting with C++ is a bad start? With modern languages holding an OO theme, I do not see why someone would need to bother with C (for example). Sure, printf is all fine and good, but I think it is great people are introduced to classes at the get-go. Your thoughts?

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I''m probably the wrong person to ask that question! I''m not a great fan of OOP in gaming, but when I have my professional hat on, I use OOP all the time.

But my feelings are that people should start with an easier language, like VB or Delphi. This will teach them basic programming algo''s without the overhead of learning the Win32 API etc. This encourages people to learn. The trouble with C++ etc is that people get bored with the basics and want to jump straight into more complex things. At least VB for example is a very immediate language, where you can test functions in the immediate window without going through the whole compilation process each time.

Don''t get me wrong though - if someone is prepared to sit down and learn C++ properly, then it''s probably the best way to start programming. But they will need patience and dedication.

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Please remember, there are other compilers except for VC++.
I learned C and C++ using TurbeC++ and RHide. I agree that
learning the win32 lib. from the start is WAY too much.

VC''s IDE does intimidate though.

Do not worry, your opinion of C++ is just as valid as anyone else''s. Colleges still disagree, and as far as people go, everyone has a different argument. I was just wondering what thoughts on the subject you might have.

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So very close to closing this thread..

Generally, when another moderator closes a topic they don''t intend for it to be opened again in a new post. However, there doesn''t seem to be anything wrong with this post as of yet, so I''ll let it go for now.. just don''t do it again .

----------------------------------
FaceHat Software -- Wear the hat.

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quote:
Original post by Taulin
But, I must ask why you think a programmer starting with C++ is a bad start? With modern languages holding an OO theme, I do not see why someone would need to bother with C (for example).



Because the basics should be learned first. OOP is a very abstract concept, and can probably learned right away by a newcomer to programming, but it may make it more difficult and time consuming to actually figure out the basics and how they affect programs on the whole.

At least with C and assembly language, you can gain a pretty good understanding of how the compiler does things and how computers in general work. That might not be so obvious in C++ if you spend a lot of effort on OOP, because much of the underlying architecture your programs will be running on are not "object oriented."

A lot of programmers scoff at assembly language nowadays, but just about all of the really skilled ones actually do know it and have worked with it in their past. So, while they say "I''m glad I don''t have to work with assembly language anymore", they still have the experience, whether they think it helps them or not.

I''m not a programmer by profession, I''m just a hobbyist right now, but I''m in touch with a lot of programmers, professional or not, and all of them know assembly language, whether they still like it or not. For what it''s worth, none of the programmers I know who lack assembly knowledge are competent by my standards. Maybe they''ll get along fine in the work place, but I''m not letting them get anywhere near my projects.

quote:

Sure, printf is all fine and good, but I think it is great people are introduced to classes at the get-go. Your thoughts?


OOP is often over-rated. Even though I have little need for it, I know it''s invaluable to many applications and is becoming more and more useful in areas where you can get by without it. But, it is not the solution to everybody''s problems, and just because it''s OOP doesn''t mean it''s good. If you don''t need OOP, don''t use it!

Learn the basics first if you really want to do cool stuff. If you only have a passive interest in programming, maybe the uttermost basics aren''t necessary, but otherwise, if you love computers, are bright, and truely want to get into this stuff, spend some time at a lower level than C++. Who cares if DOS is dead? It''s an incredible learning tool.

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