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sanstereo

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About sanstereo

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  1. sanstereo

    Serious games job vs regular ol' C# job

    @Frob - "What do you want out of life?" To make a horror game as relevant and disturbing, yet as complex as Lars von Trier's Antichrist. ;) "The economy is bad, so having two job offers in hand is an excellent thing." Couldn't agree more, I feel very grateful. "It is time for you to do some soul searching." Hehehehe. To say the least. Thanks for the advice, checking out the book now. @UKdeveloper - Okay, there's so much here to reply to I'll just make a blanket. :) Basically, the SW Engineering job is in a low COL area where they have state tax and there's nothing to do. One indie theater, one Indian buffet and really no other attractions. In the area with the higher cost of living they have no state tax so I'd be slightly better off from paycheck to paycheck. The only difference is about $200 in rent and I could plan for the rest, given I want to plan that hard. Other than that they seem to balance out from my approximations and weighing benefits, etc. I agree with your sentiment about the games industry as I tried out for a few positions before I took my last job and nearly shot milk out of my nose (I wasn't even drinking milk at the time) when they said the salary they had in mind. My thinking is, being bored all day will not inspire me to earn a raise, if anything I'll just coast along. In something I feel my expertise is in, ie design & scripting and high level class development, I may not be making a game, but it will be along those lines ie art & content pipeline, working with a 3D engine and in two scripting languages, visual and audio design and implementation. In the end, it'll be a good bit closer to what I really want to do over all. @LockePick - Good points all around. Torque isn't that big of a challenge as I've owned and used it since 2003. Yes, I've since moved on to UnrealEd 3, but I have a good bit of experience already, hence their offer. As far as not wanting to work at night, all I do is work. ;) It's all I've ever done. I work on development, design, games, music, I never take a break so this won't be anything new. If anything I'd be afraid that working on serious games all day would make me not want to work on my game and that C# might inspire me to do something else more fitting. I'm still leaning towards the serious games position, but at the end of the day I might just want to make "my games" and not work for a shit studio and, in that case, the C# position would be fitting as it nets more money--even if only a few hundred bucks more a month--and wouldn't "burn me out" on game development by doing it all day before I come home. I live in Austin and the garbage that comes out of this place for top studios is appalling. A f**king crime, to be honest. The chances that someone wants to make complex, Team Silent/Gaspar Noe inspired horror games is really kind of silly. I might have to just make enough cash to hire content creators and string the thing together episodically in my own time on a licensed engine. That whole idea is for another time though. Thanks guys. Keep the suggestions coming.
  2. Okay, to start; I have a degree in CS/Math and began college to eventually get into game design/development professionally. I've decided that I want to do more game design and scripting and disregard my current path of lower level programming. Out of school I worked for a year using C++ with Visual Studio and AS3 with FlashDevelop & Flash CS4. My second contract was for Summer 2009 building a small rendering engine and test apps in a proprietary language for cloud computing, so no practical real-world application there other than theoretical, really. I've now done my share of both back end, low level implementation and high level, class design and scripting. I now have two offices that both want me for my next position and I'm torn. I've got until Monday to decide. One is in serious games and uses AS3 & Torque, which I'd script in both, and is in an area that has a somewhat steep cost of living. The other is in an area with unbelievably low cost of living, but is working primarily in C#/SQL WinForms for an insurance company. The salaries are exactly the same. On one hand, I think I'd be able to get some experience in interactive media, but not an out-and-out shipped title. Would that be pertinent to getting a job at a real studio later? On the other hand I could rake in the dough at the boring button-down-type job and work on my own stuff in the meantime and get together some nice maps and levels. Anybody got an opinion?
  3. sanstereo

    Games Programming Major

    I'm on the other side of the fence; I just graduated last week for my B.S. in CS with a math minor. In my coursework I went through Cal I-III, linear algebra and linear programming, stats, discrete studies, physics I & II with calculus (not to mention the other dozens of OpenGL, algorithm, data structure and programming language classes I had to take). From my experience I wasted my time with about 6 of those classes because all I learned that I've actually applied to graphics programming, so far, is matrix manipulation and a lot of trig functions. You'll need to know the dot product for measuring angles bewteen vectors and the cross product is for normal vectors, etc. It's all simpler than you think and once you learn how something like the transformation pipeline works you'll realize that it's actually setup so the math is simplified. Not by much, but it isn't as hard as it could've been. Graphics may not be your strength and you should try your hand at gameplay or tools or simply scripting sections of a game, etc. At lot of people assume that GAME programming means GRAPHICS programming and it's honestly a bit short-sighted. There's a lot of things to do to build a game and you'll probably find you're qualified for at least one of them without killing yourself over your inability to find math exciting. I haven't met more than five people that do. One of them was the head professor of the CS department. Don't beat yourself up too much, but learn the damned math because "computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes". It's about math. Also try not to read ANYTHING by Knuth or you'll just feel dumb. I once attempted to read volume one of the Art of Computer Programming. If thats the art, I don't wanna see the science.
  4. sanstereo

    C++, XNA, OpenGL, DirectX...

    I'm one of the biggest advocates of C# and XNA on the planet. It's free, easy, fast and portable to the Xbox360 via network deployment. Brilliant design it's just a shame that they don't allow you to use C++ as well. You can't write nearly as intricate graphics with all managed code. XNA does use DirectX, but it's not nearly as challenging in terms of setup and really getting started; it's all done for you. You're a senior in Computer Science (like me!) so you should have enough under belt to do a project in C++--unless your school did 101 & 102 in Java or Ada or something--which would give you enough knowledge to work in C# without a hitch. There' a few many differences, but oerall it feels the same and is a really awesome platform. Well, not to mention free. And with Xbox 360 deployment you can use completely inferior hardware to code on and deploy and test it on the 360 hardware, which is faster than most everyone's PC as of late. In a few months more books and tutorials will surface and by that time you should be well into it. I've said it a million times, but have you considered Torque?
  5. sanstereo

    PS3 (going down???)

    Just to throw in a bit of opinion, I have both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 and I don't play my PS3 at all. It really isn't just the lack of games, it's that the games for it thus far have been limited to racing games and about two exclusive action games. The games that are out that are also available for the 360 are inferior in several ways or merely the same on the PS3. For the $600 I paid for it I believe it should do some lapdancing or something. I went ahead and got Call of Duty 3 from Blockbuster for both systems and the difference wasn't THAT large, but it was in the 360's favor considerably. I can't give full reviews or anything, but I remember specifically a lot of frame rate issues on the PS3 and eventually just started playing the 360 version for the rest of the time. Also, with XNA you can use your 360's hardware directly from your computer--if you develop games. I've been deploying stuff to try on my 360 for months. Meanwhile the PS3 is a giant, dusty paperweight. Another thing I remember is I bought my 360 on January 1st 2006 and my PS3 on January 1st 2007. With the 360 there was a huge line. There was simply a giant stack of PS3's and nobody around the morning I bought it. There's just generally bad omens all over with this thing plus it's got a crappy architecture that's far harder to program for. I can't see it being more than a third place option at this point.
  6. sanstereo

    Which Programming Language To Use?

    Well, I suppose my recommendation falls on the original posts demand; to make a 2D game. If you want to become a programmer then by all means find a language that will allow you access to future advancement and C++ is the best of the low and high level worlds. If you want to develop games and don't really care about programming outside of that realm then you're going to get really bored really fast and probably never want to get involved considering the amount of extra work. A lot of people like to tout C++ as the holy grail because it's an industry standard. I think this attitude is strange and preventative. I've done projects in both C++ and C# and trying to program anything in C++, especially a 2D game, is just nuts when there's C# as a viable alternative. Just to open a window with the Win32 API takes a good amount of code. This isn't mentioning interface construction, memory management, even getting input or converting textures takes far more work. With XNA and C# you just have to create a project and start working on your game. Also the syntax of C# and C++ are identical in almost everything except setup and a few things here and there like passing by reference, setting inheritence, etc. Besides, new programmers shouldn't start with such a cubersome language; why do think all the schools are switching over to Java for 101 and 102? It's easier and is less problematic and easier to explain. Plus it let's the user see cooler results faster. This is just my opinion, but C++ is a really boring language to learn, but necessary for being an employable programmer. It is NOT, however, necessary for doing something as simple as making a 2D game.
  7. sanstereo

    Which Programming Language To Use?

    Unfortunately, there are currently no books available that I'm aware of. If there were I would buy them myself. XNA is a Microsoft tool and there are tons of tutorials and lots of documentation on MSDN or other MS related sites. C++ with some API like OpenGL or DirectX truly would have the fastest speed, if you already know the language. If you don't, it could take months and months of good programming practice to even get started making something in that capacity. XNA and C#, or simply using managed code, is the fastest way to get started and do something realistic and if you do use XNA and C# you have the opportunity to port it to the Xbox 360 console with minumal effort. A nice plus, but don't expect the greatest graphics around; you won't be making Gears of War with managed C#. It's considerably slower than using C++, but far faster development which means it's actually possible to finish by yourself. You could even use VB.net to do it, but at that point C# would be just as easy to master and would give you a little more speed. I reccomend looking into Torque or Torque game builder. http://www.garagegames.com
  8. sanstereo

    What IDE do you use

    Visual Studio 2005 Academic Version Cost of admission: student id and $49.99 . . . I feel guilty, as if I'm supposed to be using the GCC or DevC++ as it seems to be the elitist programmer's choice. Honestly, I used DevC++ during my early days doing C++ and tried an evaluation of Borland, but from Visual C++ 6 to .Net 2003 to this new one, the Microsoft IDE is simply my favorite.
  9. sanstereo

    C++ Workshop - Introduction

    C++ Primer Plus I suggest this book as the course manual. It helped me the most out of a gazillion C++ books when I was wee programmer. How far into C++ is the program going?
  10. sanstereo

    win32 basic apps

    "and what do i do to make sure its just pure win32 app (no .net)?" Digidude hit the nail on the head; make an empty project and simply #include "windows.h". Then get to business Mr. or ms.
  11. sanstereo

    C# or C++

    I would say C# as well. What's your beef with Visual C# express? It's a pretty decent environment for C# for FREE. You could do a lot worse. It's a breeze to make good looking apps with little effort, not to mention a minimal hit in speed. That's not to say you can get sloppy, but you'll feel more productive rather than merely using the command line. If you start feeling the itch to go speedier than that you can move to C++ and the Windows API later. Both are going to be a challenge to learn, but, as someone mentioned above, the syntax is a bit more evident in C#. Plus C# is currently used in a lot of different fields for hobbyists. Not that C++ isn't, but there seems to be more resources for tutorials and little apps like the WebMatrix to make things easier. Another vote for C#.
  12. I sort of agree with cwhite on the theory part. Don't be fooled; the CS program I'm in DOES take a lot of time for Turing machines and Push Down Automata and ethics and two's compliment and blah, blah, blah. If you don't like that stuff you might want to go with SE. It is NOT, however, a waste of time to learn ANY of these things. Software Engineering misses out on a lot of math and, despite what's been said, a lot of actual programming in other specialized languages and with these said algorithms and theories. Developing software, which is a job just as easily obtained with either degree, is not simply programming or "Code & Fix", so saying you'll miss out on programming time is sort of silly. You won't do any more programming in SE than you will in CS. In fact the theories are just as plentiful and just as God-awfully boring mixed with nearly the exact same programming classes. Our university has all the students mixed in together. A programming class is a programming class is a . . . There's no SE programming or CS programming, they're just requirements for your degree and each has a certain type and number of programming classes involved. This, of course, is contingent on my understanding of our CS vs SE programs. I'm in the U.S. The good news for me is in CS we HAVE to take CS, SE and tons of math, so either way you learn a bit of everything. CS is really math driven; it's basically a mathematics degree with a computer as your big calculator, plus mathematics is usually your minor. SE only goes up to Calculus I, but I guess you could always take more if you were so inclined.
  13. sanstereo

    What to expect in CS at University?

    I'm not sure about fun, but it sure gets interesting watching all the people who like to play World of Warcraft, but have no interest in how it was built, walk out the doors of our classes every semester. Right now, I've built about 89% of my Software Engineering senior capstone project and the other two members of my "team" have done the technical writing and have talked at most of our meetings about how awesome Oblivion is going to be or is. Basically, I'd really appreciate an article that sends a subliminal message to make all these idiots go to Full Sail.
  14. sanstereo

    What makes a good programmer

    As PaulCesar said, know how to properly use resources. Most of the best, most efficient algorithms are there for you to use. Don't suffer through reinventing the wheel when you can grab a manual or book and utilize an already proven formula quickly. Then you can spend more time doing what you love and finding ways to cut your code down and, by doing that, you'll code more and be more productive thus making you a better programmer. Basically, there's really no wrong answer for this question, but the best thing to do is simply program a lot.
  15. You're talking about two seperate operations, which would be less efficient. It would have to run through the complete list first to sort & then again to search. If it was O(n logn) + O(n) or even O(logn) + O(1) it'd still be less effiecient, but the only way you'll get that kind of performance (O(1)) is from something like hashing anyway. Plus, if it's a tree, if you sort it first it'll simply become a linked list and that's adverse to the goal here. Most of the searching algorithms I've seen around the net cater to text searches: SFS, Boyer-Moore, Knuth-Morris-Pratt, etc . . . It'd be best to get some cheap books on Amazon.com that have multiple examples of algorithms. Your best friend in this field (programming, development) is physical, paper text and, luckily, this subject is popular and has aged quite well so you can find a lot of good books cheap. That was the best lesson learned from a degree in computer science. EDIT: Trap beat me to it. Got my reply . . .
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