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1  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-01-30 13:14:19
Plenty of stuff in any of those jobs that doesn't require brute force... anyway, digressing.

Anecdote time. My nephews (3 boys) are all of course completely mesmerised by Minecraft. I've tried to see if I can get any of them interested in programming ("Wouldn't you like to figure out how do make your own game?"). Not even a blip of interest from the younger two; the eldest one (16 now) tried for a few weeks and got bored. Same deal with my neighbour's two boys. Absolutely no interest in learning how to do it. I actually asked that very question - "Aren't you even interested?" and the answer that came back immediately was a simple, "Nope." Not even a glimmer.

Strangely my 6yr old daughter is super keen since I showed her Turtle Academy (as a direct result of reading this very thread). Which is awesome. It's now her go-to activity to get out of bed time and of course I find it kinda hard to refuse her...

Cas Smiley
2  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-01-30 10:56:57
Again it's easy to forget when you're in IT that most people are really not very bright at all. I mean, seriously not bright. It's hard to frame this in a politically correct way, but if you're using a computer now in a desk job, it's because you were already in the upper half of the IQ curve.

I'm not in IT. And honestly, your anecdotal reasoning is precisely what we don't need to be using as the basis for educational policy. I get that you're being "edgy" here with the jaded cynicism, but it's not exactly a constructive outlook, now is it?
I'm probably being too abrasive, but this isn't anecdotal. Half the kids at school just aren't that bright and they just don't even really need to be. You probably don't hang out with (m)any of them any more because they're out there doing stuff that doesn't need people to be all that sharp, while you're surrounded by clever people. I am aware that this sounds elitist but hopefully I can temper that by saying that many of the people I know are far, far cleverer than me, and the ones who are considerably so don't bother engaging me in social circles either. We are all stratified by our ability into socioeconomic levels.

As for why there aren't many women programming... beats me. It's seriously not as if they are actively or even passively discouraged. They just seem to harbour no interest in it on a general level, much like their remarkable lack of interest in joining the army, or their remarkable lack of interest in becoming surgeons (don't ask me why). The opportunity is there, and it is equal, and it's shoved under everyone's noses the same, at least in the UK here these days thankfully. So given that the opportunity is now the same - for all colours and creeds too in the UK - the lack of representation is most likely genuinely down to indifference.

Cas Smiley
3  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-01-30 08:24:14
It is. But I think a big part of the reason why this happens is because we steer young girls away from "technical" areas to begin with, and when it comes to racial disparities, we have a tendency to treat early struggles with learning (faced disproportionately by minorities because they are, on average, poorer and less advantaged than white children) as a statement about a person's "aptitude." This gets back to the point I made before about how computer programming is miscategorized at the institutional level. It's believed that you have to be some sort of genius, an overachiever experiencing wild success in regular Math classes, in order to even qualify as ready to learn programming. And honestly, that's just not the case. If we tore down this conception of the practice, and did a little work to demystify it, it would go a long way toward drawing a more diverse set of people to programming (not to mention other technical fields).
Fortunately where I came from all the white kids were poor too, and I was one of them (heh, still am). What struck me throughout my entire school education is that about half of my peers were barely able to hold a conversation, or read and write. Again it's easy to forget when you're in IT that most people are really not very bright at all. I mean, seriously not bright. It's hard to frame this in a politically correct way, but if you're using a computer now in a desk job, it's because you were already in the upper half of the IQ curve. I know it's not really all about intelligence and that nurture, teaching and opportunity are the other foundations of academic success but as teachers all well know, half of the kids they teach are never going to amount to more than a hill of beans no matter what they try. They can be great teachers, and the curriculum can drop a golden nugget of opportunity, but when half the kids can barely write, spell, or add up by the time they're 12... eeergh.

Cas Smiley
4  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-01-30 00:37:51
But even if we do assume that we have "enough programmers", we also **don't** have enough female programmers, or minority programmers, or programmers from lower-income families.
Hmm I think where you come from might possibly be very different to where I come from...
...and I hate to trot out this old joke but, "Fire service crews, road diggers and coal miners all seem to have the right number of women working in those professions" (dons flameproof pants)

Cas Smiley
5  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-01-30 00:35:16
Plenty of good ones about. More than plenty.

I agree that whatever is being taught today in schools wrt. computers is largely a total waste of time, effort and money ("how to use Word!"). I think that the whole of school education is teaching kids the logic and problem solving abilities that you allude to, though. By the time you get to university you're more or less on your own and coping, if they got their jobs right.

Cas Smiley
6  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-01-29 23:57:57
I should like to add here that cooking is a reasonably essential life skill, along with the 3 Rs. Programming is irrelevant to 99% of the population. It's easy to think that just because you're a programmer and you're in a hi-tech industry and surrounded by all sorts of people using computers all day long in desk jobs that computing is an essential skill for everybody. But you really have to get this in perpective. 80% of the workforce don't sit at desks and use computers at all. They stack shelves, dig holes, plough fields, flip burgers, shoot cows, make sausages, bake bread... the vast majority of professions and work do not involve going near a computer. It would be an absolutely heinous waste of taxpayers' money to fund extensive computing programs for schoolkids when it'll be utterly irrelevant for 80% of them. (I could say the same about one or two other subjects at school heh  Roll Eyes )

Yes! Them! Remember all those other kids you went to school with for all those years and then never saw again? Guess what? They all went off and got jobs that don't involve sitting at a desk. Maybe 6 kids in your class of 30 got a desk job. I'm fairly certain I'm the only professional programmer in my entire year at school (about 200 kids).

Cas Smiley
7  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-01-29 14:13:57
There aren't that many ways to get into the medical profession either and I don't see people jumping up and down to teach primary school kids the basics of surgery.

C'mon... programming is a very, very specialist skill. Fewer than one in thirty people will ever have any use for it, if that. Probably a lot less. There's no point in wasting the valuable (and very short) time kids have in education on something literally as f**king useless as programming.

Cas Smiley
8  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Are Game Publishers worth it? on: 2015-01-28 21:46:13
Seriously, don't bother looking for a publisher yet. Sell it yourself. If it makes a million, you'll be glad of not having a publisher. If it just breaks even, you've done extraordinarily well and maybe a publisher might be able to make you some more money, maybe not. If it doesn't even break even, it's probably a dead loss and a publisher won't want it anyway.

Cas Smiley
9  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Are Game Publishers worth it? on: 2015-01-28 21:17:28
Release it on your own. If that fails, try a publisher.

Cas Smiley
10  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: Access violation with glDrawArrays on: 2015-01-28 18:28:15
My sprite engine uses two large VBOs - vertex data and index data. The sprite engine can also render arbitrary bits of geometry interleaves with the sprites, which use the same VBOs as the rest of the sprites but not necessarily the same vertex layout. Occasionally I render other bits and bobs like special effects, and these use their own little VBOs.

Also each screen I have has its own separate and distinct sprite engine. And because of a quirk in my UI code, currently viewports ("scrollpanes") have their own sprite engine too for the contents.

Cas Smiley
11  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: Access violation with glDrawArrays on: 2015-01-28 14:38:06
The map operation is relatively slow, and what's more, it causes a total GPU stall. The correct way to do things is probably to map one large buffer.

Cas Smiley
12  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-01-28 14:36:15
Elementary schools in the UK have enough trouble just teaching kids to read, write, and do sums.

Cas Smiley
13  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: Access violation with glDrawArrays on: 2015-01-28 10:13:43
Digression... it was a shame they didn't really seem to grok how people were using VAOs in real life. IMHO the basic principle behind it - "set up a vertex format once and reuse it" - is broken by 2 things:
1. No way to specify an arbitrary byte offset to all attributes with a separate API call eg. glVertexAttribOffset(long offset) which would not be part of the state of VAOs
2. The inclusion of GL_ELEMENT_ARRAY_BUFFER in the state of a VAO. Wtf?

Cas Smiley
14  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: Access violation with glDrawArrays on: 2015-01-28 09:37:27
I've just been experimenting with VAO and it turns out they're a massive pain in the arse for almost no gain whatsoever. What I've discovered is that you should essentially create and bind one VAO right at app init, and leave it well alone. Then everything just works as it did before.

Cas Smiley
15  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-01-27 15:27:22
Logo ftw. Plus, it's a Lisplike, which makes it automatically awesome Smiley

Cas Smiley
16  Games Center / Featured Games / Re: [Slick2d] Retro-Pixel Castles > Now on Steam! < on: 2015-01-27 09:51:17
yet
Postpone it for as long as possible. We talked out it before, but let me reiterate:
 - DNS is unreliable
 - TCP connections are unreliable
 - antivirus software will lock/delete/corrupt your new files (between checking the digest and loading resources from them)
 - spiffy SSDs are notorious for being... full.

Writing a launcher / auto-updater that has workarounds for all this madness, and has a proper UI, is a lot of work.
You'd typically want a two stage launcher, as you want to auto-update your launcher - as there will be bugs.

TL;DR: Let Steam do the heavy lifting for you, until rolling your own is worth the time spent on it.
... and if I could just chime in here on mine & Riven's experience doing this... it will never be worth the time spent on it, sadly. Which is a shame because it was nice.

Cas Smiley
17  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-01-26 23:20:35
I did used to really enjoy programming, but you know... after 35 years of doing something the novelty has long since worn off.

Cas Smiley
18  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-01-26 14:53:15
I have no idea what goes on in schools these days in the UK tbh (though I've got 2 kids, 6 and 4). We were given Logo to play with at around age... hmm 9 or so in the classroom, but by then I had already written my own Logo interpreter (!). Most of the other kids didn't even have a clue what to do with Logo. Or why. I suppose some people are just interested in such things and some aren't... just like I've got no interest in learning to do electronics seriously.

I have a feeling that any kids that express any kind of remote interest in programming will do so, no matter what gets in their way (and there is in truth very little in the way).

Cas Smiley
19  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-01-26 14:19:37
Well, why aren't we teaching everyone plumbing, electronics, engine tuning, and astrophysics too, then?

What could the difference be between reading, writing, and 'rithmetic, and those other things, I wonder?

Cas Smiley
20  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Most graphically polished (HD)3D games developed in Java? on: 2015-01-26 12:15:13
Somehow this thread seems to have drifted from the gist of the OP's titular question.

We might assume that by "graphically polished (HD) 3D" that he is referring to precisely that level of shininess present in the latest AAA blockbuster titles. And we might also assume that he does understand that the language is not relevant to the level of polish but that is not the question he asks. It is: what are the shiniest AAA games made in Java?

The answer is not Minecraft, which for all its style and consistency, looks like old poo and runs on ancient hardware.

Cas Smiley
21  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: What I did today on: 2015-01-23 01:37:01
Converted all the SPGL2 code to run entirely on modern OpenGL3.3+ with no backward compatibility. Seems we now have to basically reimplement half the OpenGL APIs in our own code, bah.

Cas Smiley
22  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Posting in wrong thread on: 2015-01-22 19:40:26
I'm sure this issue has cropped up before, very very rarely, in the past, but I can't remember when I last saw it.

Cas Smiley
23  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: If OS==linux && isInstalled(Steam) --> ABORT! ABORT! on: 2015-01-17 15:25:38
rm = "delete files"
-r = "recursively"
-f = "force without prompting"

rm -rf "" = "remove current working directory, recursively, forcibly, without asking"

Cas Smiley
24  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: What I did today on: 2015-01-16 17:11:07
And there he was, wondering why it wasn't working.

Cas Smiley
25  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Most graphically polished (HD)3D games developed in Java? on: 2015-01-16 15:49:27
Unity being based on C# means it very much is a real programming language though...

Cas Smiley
26  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Article: The Rise and Fall of the Lone Game Developer on: 2015-01-15 22:47:32
On the subject of programming on smart phones, I found a basic interpreter for android. You can just download it and start coding without any hassle. Well, that is, besides the fact that trying to type code on a phone is a major hassle!
Well... quite. It's just not the same thing.

Gimme an ARM device with a keyboard that plugs into the telly and boots into BASIC.

Cas Smiley
27  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Article: The Rise and Fall of the Lone Game Developer on: 2015-01-15 14:48:38
What we don't hear about is the other 999 games that barely made a bean. The ratio is better or worse in some markets, but the basic principle is the same: we hear all the time about the successes. Try and tell someone about a failure and... well, that's not so interesting (and thus the cycle of failure continues).

This was exactly my problem with Indie Game the Movie. At the end I was like "okay but what about the 1000 other people whose games failed?"
IGtM was a giant circlejerk. But we digress.

Cas Smiley
28  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Article: The Rise and Fall of the Lone Game Developer on: 2015-01-15 14:48:08
I really, really don't think it's easier to get into programming at all. You don't just turn it on and there it is, ready to do stuff. Indeed Apple's iOS stuff is very cleverly locked down to make it as irritating as possible to start programming it (which is one reason I haven't). Doing anything on Linux usually involves hair loss. I haven't a clue where to even begin at doing "modern" web development.

What we need is something that more or less fills the hole left by the C64 and Spectrum. Then truly anyone might be interested in learning to code without distractions. I can't see most 10 year olds having the patience to sit down and learn for a week from a website just to get Hello World.

Cas Smiley
29  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Article: The Rise and Fall of the Lone Game Developer on: 2015-01-15 14:38:25
While I'm on the subject... wrt luck:

Having been in the industry now for about 10 years I can safely and disastrously inform you that luck has an enormous bearing on your chances of success, but it is also only a factor alongside all sorts of other factors such as platform reach, game polish, built-in viral design, blah blah etc.

You do need to put in an enormous amount of effort. However you will find people who put in next to bugger-all effort making 100x more money than yourself. You will spend much soul-searching time in the small hours wondering why this is so and why you aren't lucky. The reasons are complex but essentially what we see as luck is a manifestation of survivorship bias and it works because we are legion.

There are so many games developers releasing games. Most of us don't have much of an idea what is going to happen when we release a game - whether it will be successful, whether it targets a niche, whether that niche is hungry for your game, whatever. That information is largely unavailable to developers and that's why you usually see people making the same sorts of games over and over again - because it at least removes a few of the question marks over what does and doesn't sell. You'll still get hundreds and hundreds of unique outliers though, and from this pool you will usually find the extraordinary successes so often bandied about when people try and draw some meaningful (but ultimately flawed) conclusion about a game versus its sales figures.

The games that are unexpectedly catapaulted to the success levels they so clearly enjoy had no expectations. Not a one of them was an idea behind which a developer was smugly sitting and thinking to himself, "This is gonna make me a millionaire." Success is almost always a total surprise. It works because there are so many of us! We hear about quite a few successes because that's what we want to hear about.

What we don't hear about is the other 999 games that barely made a bean. The ratio is better or worse in some markets, but the basic principle is the same: we hear all the time about the successes. Try and tell someone about a failure and... well, that's not so interesting (and thus the cycle of failure continues).

Cas Smiley
30  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Article: The Rise and Fall of the Lone Game Developer on: 2015-01-15 14:28:28
...and FWIW I spent four hours last night just attempting to render a quad.

Cas Smiley
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