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Comment: Re:Not likely. (Score 1) 166

by Opportunist (#49757537) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?

The examples you mention are the low hanging fruits of the computer industry. Yes, EBay, Google and all the other "Internet wonders" started out small. Hey, MS started as a garage shop, and so did Apple. And I think I remember something about Henry Ford starting his motor company with little more than his own bare hands.

The point is that in the early days of a technology, what you mention is possible. It is no longer possible, though, once big players have emerged. You think a garage shop making cars, OSs or search engines could hit it anymore? Nope.

Big things can still be done, that's right. If, and only if, it hasn't been done before. And in this time and age, "doing big things" essentially means "try to find something that ain't been done to death, then hope that Google or Facebook buys you out before you drown in litigation fees".

Comment: Re:Not likely. (Score 1) 166

by Opportunist (#49757527) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?

Excuse me, but it's not just "generation bashing", it's simply an observation of how computers evolved. Before my time, when people pretty much had to "roll their own", they needed to know electrical engineering to run a computer. You'd have to be able to pretty much piece it together. And to operate it, you had to understand how to troubleshoot in hardware because this or that failed, got out of sync or simply needed a nudge.

My "generation", so to speak, had to learn how to operate the OS, how to configure startup sequences and organize ram and resources like IOs and interrupt lines. We didn't need an EE degree anymore, though, for our hardware was stable enough to "just work".

And now you don't need to learn those "intimate" OS details anymore. Computers evolve. And the people don't have a need anymore to know certain things to use them. Yes, if people are interested they will of course dig into the matter and learn things, but there is no longer a need.

Comment: "Leak". Yeah. Sure. (Score 3, Insightful) 295

I can only wonder how incredible the timing of those "leaks" always happens to be. Just not that the big discussion is brewing on whether the UK should retain its "Brit-rebate" and other undue privileges, we get to hear that the sky is falling over Europe should they dare to withdraw.

Timely blunders indeed.

Comment: Re:Not likely. (Score 2) 166

by Opportunist (#49757405) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?

I don't make my own clothes, don't slaughter my own beef and don't distill my own gas. And I probably would fail miserably at trying to do so. Then again, I also don't bemoan that people lose the skill to do so.

The point was that it didn't matter in the "old days" whether you're curious enough so you'd want to do it. Back then, you simply HAD TO learn this to get things done. There was no way around it. If you wanted to program a game in the days of the C64, you HAD TO learn assembler since there was no other language remotely fast enough to accomplish what you wanted to do. And for the longest time, games and programming them meant riding the bleeding edge of technology development because only then you could actually squeeze those few last cycles out of the CPU or GPU and abuse some quirks of this or that chip to your advantage.

Advances in compilers meant that eventually we could dump asm in favor of C and C++ because those compilers were actually advanced enough to optimize sensibly, and soon their level of optimization beats the average asm programmer. But when I look at the development and how games are today written in C# or, like the Minecraft you used as an example, in Java, it mostly means that game programming now, too, has left the field of "bleeding edge tech" in favor or making it easier. Computers are fast enough that cycles wasted don't matter no longer.

But this also always means that certain skills will no longer be learned simply due to a lack of need. Which may be good, since it frees up time for learning something else, but it also means that some foundations are lost. Convenience always entails not knowing, or rather, not having to know something. Whether someone will learn it depends only on him wanting, not him needing, to learn it.

That difference is crucial. Some times are simply no fun to learn, but they may well be very important for understanding something and doing it the right way. Learning Big O Notation is no fun. None at all. But it is crucial if you want to understand (and not just accept as given) the advantages and drawbacks of various algorithms. And yes, you can simply learn that this algo is "better" than that one, but you will always be dependent on someone who learned it to calculate it for you.

Comment: Re:Absolutely (Score 3, Interesting) 166

by creimer (#49754469) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?
Most people leave the video game industry for good after they realize that they want a personal life that includes a significant other and having a family. Very few testers work their way up to become producers or programmers. I went into help desk support for ten years and I'm now doing computer security, making twice as much money for half the hours that I did as a video game tester.

Comment: Re:It's like dumb and dumber: zuckerberg edition (Score 1) 166

by creimer (#49754283) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?
A lot of cars today are not user servicable beyond routine maintanence. My father once spent $800 on replacement parts trying to fix his car, gave up and took it to a shop. The mechanic scanned the computer, checked the error code, and replaced a electronic module for $30 in 15 minutes. The problem was digitial, not mechanical.

Comment: Re:Absolutely (Score 1) 166

by creimer (#49754205) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?

The organisation sounds like its run by douche bags incapable of proper project management.

The company I worked for insisted on making each and every game be available for each and every video game consoles in existence. That looks good on paper, if properly executed. The developers took shortcuts to meet the aggressive schedules imposed on them. The pipeline blew up when Nintendo started rejecting the PS2 ports for the GameCube and demanded that the deveopers start over with an original game. On my last project, I had to work 28 days straight to keep management happy.

Comment: Re:Is it safe to smoke that much of whatever that (Score 1) 166

by creimer (#49754061) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?
When I worked in the video game industry in Silicon Valley, management always told us that we could get a job clearning toilets at Taco Bell if we didn't like our pay and work condiitions. One of the testers did that after discovering he could make more money, get better benefits and work a saner schedule at Taco Bell. Management stopped mentioning Taco Bell after that.

Comment: Re:Absolutely (Score 3, Interesting) 166

by creimer (#49753957) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?
As a lead video game tester for three years, I had to teach the next generation of video game testers fresh out of high school. They like the idea of being paid to play video games, and then they learn that testing video games is not the same as playing games. Writing bug reports, going to meetings, and testing the same broken piece of shee-it game for weeks at a time is just the beginning. Most don't survive the mind-numbing crunch times of working 80 hours a week for months.

Comment: Re:Disagree, Correlation != Causality (Score 1) 166

by creimer (#49753883) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?

I hated learning LOGO on the Apple II in the seventh grade (circa 1983). That's when I found out I came from a "poor" family because we couldn't afford to get an Apple II (~$2,500). My parents got me a Commodore VIC-20 (~$250). The logo instructor called it toy and the entire class laughed. I hated Apple for the next 25 years.

To the systems programmer, users and applications serve only to provide a test load.

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