An Elysian Tail

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Re: An Elysian Tail

Postby Coda » Thu Sep 03, 2009 9:02 pm

Don't get pissed. Life's too short.

*laugh* Don't I know it. But it's still frustrating -- for the moment before I just give up on whatever product it is and vow never to give them any money or support.

Ease of the task is irrelevant when one doesn't have the drive.

Except the tools that make it easy to do things cross-platform also make it easy to do it in general. That's the power of a good API -- and the good business sense to make use of tools that you don't have to reinvent.

It's not hard to learn to program, yet we're in HIGH demand.

It's easy to learn how to program. The demand comes in finding good DEVELOPERS. There's a difference. :P I went to school with plenty of people who could write code but shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a professional development job. ;)

I'm being honest about it, at least; I've used linux before, so i'm not totally a M$ drone. For a while, I actually considered (at a friend's insistence) attempting to tap the aforementioned linux gamer market (getting a little ahead of myself considering I haven't even tapped the Windows gamer market), but I came to the conclusion that the only reason I mucked around with linux in the first place is because it was the "cool" thing to do.
... which says something about the people I associated with (j/k). Fortunately, I made peace with my inner geek and removed the linux partition.

The Linux gamer market really isn't all that big. The ones who are REALLY in love with their gaming (more than they are in love with Linux) just dual-boot. I'm more talking about the Mac market, where you've got people who have spent good money on a reliable piece of machinery only to be told that they're too snobby to run "real" software.

It's simple: Making someone do something that they have absolutely no interest in doing will almost always result in piss-poor work. Unless you throw obscene amounts of money at them, or tie their well-being to the completion of the hated project, it's best to let people do what they enjoy. And, until this stops being a self-funded venture, I'mma do what I enjoy... and the rest of the world be damned (for now).

"Self-funded" to me says two things: (1) Target the largest possible market to increase possible revenue, and (2) Use the tools that don't cost you anything but allow you to produce high-quality work. When the tools that satisfy #2 are completely free and accomplish #1 by design, this synergy tells me that it's ultimately foolish NOT to do it.

So, in closing, don't get pissed, get coding. :)

This sounds like a challenge. ;) Did you see my Bagatelle game in the other thread? I wrote that in a couple hours (not counting polishing on the details after the functionality was fully implemented) and it runs natively on pretty much any desktop platform you want to throw at me. (Admittedly it doesn't have working sound in Linux yet but that's just ten minutes of work I haven't done yet because my Linux box is still packed up from my move.) In fact I'm currently working on putting together an API-compatible library to make a Wii build for it.
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Re: An Elysian Tail

Postby Relee » Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:42 pm

Coda wrote:
neoTatewaki wrote:It's not hard to learn to program, yet we're in HIGH demand.

It's easy to learn how to program. The demand comes in finding good DEVELOPERS. There's a difference. :P I went to school with plenty of people who could write code but shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a professional development job. ;)



A friend of mine and I were talking, and I was saying how I was lacking confidence as a programmer. He commented that most programmers can't even understand linked lists and binary trees, to which I replied "Well, someone who doesn't understand things like that can't really call themselves a programmer." and my friend laughed, and laughed, and laughed, and laughed.
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Re: An Elysian Tail

Postby Coda » Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:44 am

See? Deep down, every GOOD programmer knows it to be true. *laugh*
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Re: An Elysian Tail

Postby draque » Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:56 am

Relee wrote:
Coda wrote:A friend of mine and I were talking, and I was saying how I was lacking confidence as a programmer. He commented that most programmers can't even understand linked lists and binary trees, to which I replied "Well, someone who doesn't understand things like that can't really call themselves a programmer." and my friend laughed, and laughed, and laughed, and laughed.


Maybe I've just been lucky in my career so far, but with a very few exceptions, any programmer I've known to be that inept has been fired very quickly. Of the serious professional jobs I've held, two have been with smaller companies, where firing someone was (and is) very awkward, but it's blatantly apparent when people are unwilling or unable to do their work, and one very large company that used standard metrics to measure work output, and toasted anyone who fell below them for too many consecutive months.
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Re: An Elysian Tail

Postby Coda » Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:24 am

draque wrote:Maybe I've just been lucky in my career so far, but with a very few exceptions, any programmer I've known to be that inept has been fired very quickly. Of the serious professional jobs I've held, two have been with smaller companies, where firing someone was (and is) very awkward, but it's blatantly apparent when people are unwilling or unable to do their work, and one very large company that used standard metrics to measure work output, and toasted anyone who fell below them for too many consecutive months.


The incompetent ones are easy to spot.

The ones to worry about are the ones that WANT to do the work but simply haven't (or can't) internalized the engineering discipline. These people tend to appear overqualified on their resumes, with a variety of certifications and proficiency in every buzzword, but the truth is they've simply taken a stock set of courses and know how to churn out cookie-cutter code. They'll survive in web development (I'd imagine more web developers than not actually fall into this category) and might be able to handle business software, but throw a real problem at them -- one that doesn't have a clear-cut solution basically handed to them that just needs turned into code -- and if they produce something that works at all it'll be a nightmare for anyone else to maintain.

Edit: And the fact that their resumes have so many flashy certifications and buzzwords on it makes me look like the inferior choice, by resumes alone. I don't know Java (and would prefer to avoid it). I don't know Flash (yet). I'm not MCSE-certified, A+-certified, or anything, because I haven't put down the money to take the test. I only have a bachelor's degree. All of these certifications and classes and master's degrees are just... well, compensating for something. Compare me to one of those, though, and tell me which one is more likely to invent something novel. The people with the innate ability to succeed realize that college and classes are a waste of time and jump right in. If you haven't figured it out after four years, more classes isn't going to magically make you an engineer.
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Re: An Elysian Tail

Postby draque » Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:41 am

Coda wrote:
draque wrote:The ones to worry about are the ones that WANT to do the work but simply haven't (or can't) internalized the engineering discipline. These people tend to appear overqualified on their resumes, with a variety of certifications and proficiency in every buzzword, but the truth is they've simply taken a stock set of courses and know how to churn out cookie-cutter code. They'll survive in web development (I'd imagine more web developers than not actually fall into this category) and might be able to handle business software, but throw a real problem at them -- one that doesn't have a clear-cut solution basically handed to them that just needs turned into code -- and if they produce something that works at all it'll be a nightmare for anyone else to maintain.

Edit: And the fact that their resumes have so many flashy certifications and buzzwords on it makes me look like the inferior choice, by resumes alone. I don't know Java (and would prefer to avoid it). I don't know Flash (yet). I'm not MCSE-certified, A+-certified, or anything, because I haven't put down the money to take the test. I only have a bachelor's degree. All of these certifications and classes and master's degrees are just... well, compensating for something. Compare me to one of those, though, and tell me which one is more likely to invent something novel. The people with the innate ability to succeed realize that college and classes are a waste of time and jump right in. If you haven't figured it out after four years, more classes isn't going to magically make you an engineer.


I suppose there are just certain sets of expectations that anyone has... For example, you say that you don't know how to program in Java. I see "extensive C++ experience" on your resume, but no mention of Java. I say to myself "Here's someone who will program in Java within a week of my telling him to." After working in the world of consultation though, I suppose I take certain things for granted. If I'm thrown into a new environment were I need to learn some new language or syntax, I have a limited amount of time to get my footing and create code that is functional, maintainable and easy enough to read through that one of my coworkers (or an in house employee) can pick up my work from where I left off should something prevent me from finishing it. Add to that the fact that at least half of consultation groups out there make their money from one shot clients (meaning that they don't care if the client is left with a bad taste in their mouth, they already got paid) rather than forming longer term relationships with them, and it you can see why it's so important for the unwilling/inept to get taken out of the picture pretty quickly where I work.
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Re: An Elysian Tail

Postby Coda » Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:53 am

You looked up my resume? XD

And yes, I could learn Java in a week or so if I wanted to, since I studied the basics in college. I picked up Python pretty quickly when work forced me to maintain some code by another developer. (And now I love Python.)

I think the best way to illustrate what kind of terrible perversions of computer science can crop up in professional settings would simply be to link you here: The Daily WTF.
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Re: An Elysian Tail

Postby draque » Fri Sep 04, 2009 2:02 pm

Coda wrote:You looked up my resume? XD


I was just speaking hypothetically, but the temptation to just let you think that I'm able to link arbitrary online accounts to real people that easily was pretty significant... |:3

And yes, I could learn Java in a week or so if I wanted to, since I studied the basics in college. I picked up Python pretty quickly when work forced me to maintain some code by another developer. (And now I love Python.)


Any developer who's worth their beans can go from one language to another without too much trouble. Ultimately, it's all the same basic logic, but with different sets of tools available and different optimizations under the hood.

The Daily WTF


: DDD
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Re: An Elysian Tail

Postby Coda » Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:11 pm

draque wrote:
Coda wrote:You looked up my resume? XD


I was just speaking hypothetically, but the temptation to just let you think that I'm able to link arbitrary online accounts to real people that easily was pretty significant... |:3

You could have found my resume online fairly easily, especially if you know my real name and I haven't made any attempt to keep "Coda Highland" detached from "Adam Higerd." (*google* Huh, I guess Google doesn't have it in the hits. I'm surprised. Maybe I didn't actually LINK the silly thing anywhere. Probably a good thing -- the copy I have online is out of date.)

Any developer who's worth their beans can go from one language to another without too much trouble. Ultimately, it's all the same basic logic, but with different sets of tools available and different optimizations under the hood.

Not exactly. :P That's only true if you're switching between languages using the same core paradigm (object-oriented, for instance). Learning LISP after years of C++ actually took some effort on my part.
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Re: An Elysian Tail

Postby draque » Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:34 pm

Coda wrote:Not exactly. :P That's only true if you're switching between languages using the same core paradigm (object-oriented, for instance). Learning LISP after years of C++ actually took some effort on my part.


That's just the grammar that you're talking about there. You still get to make use of looping and the like (ultimately, the computer's most powerful ability is to do the same thing over and over again, very quickly). Languages that have very different grammars are something that I have never had too much trouble with. One of the only languages that I've ever really detested though... was ML. My discrete math class back in college used it, and the fact that everything must use purely expression based logic just turned me off to it instantly. It's one of the few examples of a true breaks from traditional logic in "higher level" languages that I've seen... and I say use quotations because I would rather just code something in assembly than bother doing it in ML.\

Ironically enough... I did realize in retrospect that learning ML was supposed to help us be able to better appreciate the recursive nature of LISP when we came across it later in our careers, but I still hate it. ^^()
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Re: An Elysian Tail

Postby Coda » Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:49 pm

draque wrote:
Coda wrote:Not exactly. :P That's only true if you're switching between languages using the same core paradigm (object-oriented, for instance). Learning LISP after years of C++ actually took some effort on my part.


That's just the grammar that you're talking about there. You still get to make use of looping and the like (ultimately, the computer's most powerful ability is to do the same thing over and over again, very quickly). Languages that have very different grammars are something that I have never had too much trouble with. One of the only languages that I've ever really detested though... was ML. My discrete math class back in college used it, and the fact that everything must use purely expression based logic just turned me off to it instantly. It's one of the few examples of a true breaks from traditional logic in "higher level" languages that I've seen... and I say use quotations because I would rather just code something in assembly than bother doing it in ML.\

Ironically enough... I did realize in retrospect that learning ML was supposed to help us be able to better appreciate the recursive nature of LISP when we came across it later in our careers, but I still hate it. ^^()


Comparing LISP to C++ is far more than just syntax; they're completely different ways of thinking about programming.

That said, ML and LISP are both functional-paradigm languages. ^^() Everything you criticized ML about is also true for pure LISP. My only real complaint about ML (and worse, Haskell) is that the syntax is just so utterly incomprehensible. It's worse than Perl! LISP at least is clean and predictable in its syntax.

Pure LISP also has a very beautiful thing going for it: ACL2. Once you know how to think in functional programming, you can express your algorithm in LISP and throw it into ACL2 and actually get COMPREHENSIVE MATHEMATICAL PROOFS that your function does what you say it's supposed to do, with no bugs.
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Re: An Elysian Tail

Postby draque » Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:11 pm

Coda wrote:Everything you criticized ML about is also true for pure LISP.


LISP has loops. That all by itself is a massive difference to me. Maybe it's just because I haven't dealt with that style of programming enough in the past, but that all by itself makes it infinitely more readable to me.
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Re: An Elysian Tail

Postby Coda » Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:31 pm

draque wrote:
Coda wrote:Everything you criticized ML about is also true for pure LISP.


LISP has loops. That all by itself is a massive difference to me. Maybe it's just because I haven't dealt with that style of programming enough in the past, but that all by itself makes it infinitely more readable to me.


Pure LISP only has iteration via recursion, just like ML. Common LISP provides some looping constructs as a convenience -- I personally have never used them, so I don't even know the syntax. Pure LISP also doesn't have mutable variables.

I mean, when I learned LISP, this was your standard "count to 10" routine:
Code: Select all
(defun count (x)
  (if (< x 11)
      (list x (count (+ x 1)))
      NIL))
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Re: An Elysian Tail

Postby Alfador » Mon Sep 07, 2009 9:38 am

Them: "Do you know how to program in WebQL?"
Me: "No... I don't even know what it is, but I'm good at learning new programming languages."
Them: "Here's where you can get a free trial of the development studio from them; here's an assignment we'd like you to work on. Consider this test another interview."
Me: "Ugh... sorry it took all weekend, but here it is. Took a while for me to even figure out how to use the language."
Them: "Can you start next Tuesday?"

(A little exaggerated, but that's more or less how I got my current job.)
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Re: An Elysian Tail

Postby Relee » Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:38 am

draque wrote:
Relee wrote:
Coda wrote:A friend of mine and I were talking, and I was saying how I was lacking confidence as a programmer. He commented that most programmers can't even understand linked lists and binary trees, to which I replied "Well, someone who doesn't understand things like that can't really call themselves a programmer." and my friend laughed, and laughed, and laughed, and laughed.


Maybe I've just been lucky in my career so far, but with a very few exceptions, any programmer I've known to be that inept has been fired very quickly. Of the serious professional jobs I've held, two have been with smaller companies, where firing someone was (and is) very awkward, but it's blatantly apparent when people are unwilling or unable to do their work, and one very large company that used standard metrics to measure work output, and toasted anyone who fell below them for too many consecutive months.


I guess you've had a pretty different working experience than the friend I mentioned! When I said that there was an important word missing. What I should have said was, "He commented that most professional programmers can't even understand linked lists and binary trees". And really, thinking about it, it makes sense. They might be neccesary for some applications but between programming web-aps and database interfaces, there's really not that much need for things like that, so I can imagine a lot of professionals lacking those skills. Probably not in desktop application development and video game engine programming, but you can get pretty far with just the basics.



Oh hey Coda, you mentioned you were interested in learning Flash. I would reccomend Flex instead. I didn't know what Flex was untill I started reading my book on Flash, and untill I got that book all my attempts to figure out 'What the heck is Flex?' online met with deadends. Adobe's website is terrible for gathering real information, it's all sales pitches that assume you know what they're selling, and only need to know why they're the best at it. Even Wikipedia had a terrible page on it when I checked before.

What Flex is, is Flash for programmers. It doesn't use the Flash interface at all, it's slightly different programatically but applications and websites programmed in Flex create Flash movies/apps that you can host on a website, or use directly on your PC. You can even use Adobe AIR to make them into regular desktop applications.

Canabalt was done all in Flex, for example, using the Flixel libraries that were made by the same guy who made Canabalt.
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Re: An Elysian Tail

Postby Coda » Mon Sep 07, 2009 5:25 pm

Well, I already have Flash CS4, and Ginny (my wife) has been using it for animation, so Flash is more a matter of a point where our skillsets converge.

That said, I may check out Flex some time.
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Re: An Elysian Tail

Postby Tychomonger » Mon Sep 07, 2009 9:58 pm

Gettin some namespace collision here! I know of a flex which is a lexical analysis tool.We used it when we wrote part of a lisp interpreter for a class.

http://flex.sourceforge.net/
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Re: An Elysian Tail

Postby Coda » Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:28 pm

Tychomonger wrote:Gettin some namespace collision here! I know of a flex which is a lexical analysis tool.We used it when we wrote part of a lisp interpreter for a class.

http://flex.sourceforge.net/

I'm familiar with that flex too, but I'd actually heard of this Flex before too.
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Re: An Elysian Tail

Postby Relee » Wed Sep 09, 2009 12:54 pm

Yeah I'm talking about Adobe Flex. Adobe has a bunch of products but like I said, their website is terrible for explaining what any of them are, only why you would want them over alternatives you aren't even aware of.

I use a shared copy of Flash CS4 myself. If I ever make any real money with it I'll buy a personal copy though. <3



One more thing, Elysian Tail won the Dream, Build, Play contest at PAX. The guy making it won $40,000 and his game will be published on Xbox LIVE. He'll probably use the money to fund the feature film he's also working on.
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