6 min read

Week One of Month 3 or "How I Learned More In A Day Than I Did In A Month"

Class + Rant = Giant Post!

The first week of the new month is done, and I can safely say I welcomed my weekend break.  My first day of programming 2, I feel I learned more than I did my entire month of programming 1.  I’ve always heard things about C++ and how those that use it love it, but I never got the chance.  I’ve worked with Java, some Unix scripting stuff, PowerBuilder, and some horrible Visual Basic back when we were learning in Air Force tech school, but just never got the chance to check out C++.  I really like it.

C++ just seems very natural. I can’t really explain it more than that.  It just kind of flows out, and when something is explained to me, it’s not just useful, but it totally makes sense in a kind of, “That’s exactly how my thought process works!” way.  So basically, C++ is Skynet. 

            Anyway, that’s enough of that, back to school. So as I mentioned, school this month is pretty intense (so nothing has changed).  Linear Algebra is easy to do,and when it’s explained all the things we use it for, it blows my mind.  Now when I play games, I don’t so much see my character moving around, but I can see an object moving along a vector.  It’s changing my whole perspective on games.  In a good way.  We also got wind of our month project for the class.  While it is a math class, it’s a math class in a game dev school, and as such by the end of the month, we’ll be writing code that works with vector math using DirectX.  As an aside, before I had this class, I just thought DirectX was something that was randomly installed along with my games for no reason.  Also, I guess by the end of this class we’ll be making physics demos? Pretty neat stuff, and I’m excited.

            Programming2 continues to overload us with a thousand and one things that we need to quickly pick up.  That’s a joke, you see, as we just learned about overloading operators. Yeah for programming humor. Anyway, there’s a test every day, be it coding or a written test, and a quiz as well.  If you don’t come to this class prepared to learn, I don’t think you’re going to make it.  Heck, if you don’t come to this school prepared to learn, you’re not going to make it.

            So this now brings me to a problem I’ve encountered while going to this school.  I understand that there’s gamers, and then there’s people that are passionate about games. I’m sure that anyone that’s spent more than three minutes talking to me about Dead Space knows that I’m passionate about my games.  Not all of them, some games are just there for me to pick up and enjoy for a few days and then move on with my life.  But the games that shine really draw me in tothem.  I love Contra for its action and spread gun, no doubt.  But I remember playing Contra III, the Alien Wars, and just getting really mystified by Red Falcon, and the aliens and all that. Even the original contra that had you going and destroying a giant alien heart inside an island really creeped me out and intrigued me.  I remember playing System Shock 2 for the first time, and being afraid to sleep for eight weeks, lest The Many would come and make me a part of their/its essence.  If I ever meet Ken Levine, I will shake that man’s hand and tell him he’s my hero.  Pacman, with its ridiculously simplistic gameplay is still played almost daily by me, simply for the fun and frustration it generates.  I can actually feel my adrenaline pump when I play that game. So yeah, I would say I’m passionate about my games.  And then there’s gamers.  Those guys that just scream at Halo multiplayer and do all sorts of vile things to the corpses of their enemies.  The people that actually bring the game lingo out of Xbox Live and in to the real world. Those gents that if their K:D isn’t anything but a 3:1, SOMEONE is hacking. 

            Yes, I know those are total extremes, and yes I’m totally aware that 99% of people will find themselves a healthy mix of both catagories (myself included), but my point with this giant wall of text is this: Why would you come to an expensive private school and enter yourself in an intense and challenging degree program and then not put forth effort that matches your passion?  I think a healthy chunk of people that go through this program mistake themselves as passionate when they’rejust hardcore gamers.  You can tell the people that go home and continue to delve in to their schoolwork and want to perfect it, and you can tell the people that go home and just game.  In this industry, I don’t think the school or workday just “ends.”  To me, it’s always on.  Trust me, I know people need to veg out and relax, I absolutely agree with that. But I see guys struggling with the subject matter, and instead of seeking help or practicing it at home, they just go on their weekly raid and then stay up until 4 AM getting that next prestige rank.  Instead of tuning in to lecture on good coding practices and why you would want to use a formula that can check if two vectors are equal to each other, they’re off surfing some WoW forums or watchingYouTube.  I don’t know, I just honestly don’t understand how you would go come to this school to enter in to this industry and decide you don’t really care to put forth the effort.  Ah well.

            Anyway, I don’t mean to come off as an old man yelling at punk kids, or someone playing the Holier Than Thou card.  Just something that irks me.  I’m not sure what classes will hold for me this week, but I can promise they will not fail to surprise me with a story or two.  So until next update, I hope all of you have a fantastic morning, afternoon, or evening, and I’ll catch you guys later.

            Oh yeah, and apparently the Super Bowl was today. A big grats to the Saints and all the Saints fans out there.  Maybe someday I’ll get in to it and see what all the madness is about.  Maybe.


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