September 15, 2005

Life Long Hacking

Still awaiting that dream job here in Fort Awesome, how long will I last waiting for a call back from a place I actually want to work at, before I crack and apply over at MacDonalds or ASDA? Take your bets please.

In the meantime I've been trying to improve my C++ skills by moving them into the modern era of namespaces, I/O streams and design patterns. My current method is to mix a variety of reading material sources with some real world problems by coding up a mod for Half-Life 2 called The Opera. The mod is one I've been involved with for some years, through a release on the original Half-Life (netting 5 stars in PC Gamer I might add) to an abortive attempt on the Unreal Engine finally reaching the present day with a Half-Life 2 version. Previously I've always been involved in the level design and modelling aspects so this is my first foray at taking the very familiar design into my ill practiced coders hands.

I always feel like something of an academic leper, useless at the most high brow philosophical debates due to the large gaps in my knowledge caused by doing a split degree. Yet I have also never been able to quite keep apace of the computer Scientists either. While I have latterly felt more at home among them, I actually studied even less Computer Science than I did Philosophy. Maybe this is why I can't get one of them fancypants coding jobs.

So, with my degree a fading memory, I've decided that I don't really care too much for those high falutin' philosophical debates. Nietzsche was right. The End. I'm going to spend my post university time learning to be better at all things computerized. Soon I shall know my observer pattern from my bridge pattern and I'll write UML designed code that will make grown men weep in wonder.

If anyone has any essential C++ coding tips or, just tips in general then post up a comment.

- 10 comments by 3 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Job applications truly suck, but without our standards, what do we become? This is why I am similarly unemployed and getting ever more frustrated by all those ads requiring "12 to 18 months commercial experience".

    15 Sep 2005, 02:47

  2. my c++ tip is to give up whilst you still can.

    15 Sep 2005, 03:24

  3. My tip would have been to not be interested in philosophy any more, but, as ever, you were a multitude of steps ahead of me.

    15 Sep 2005, 03:39

  4. Make sure you delete your pointers after you've finished with them, otherwise your memory will leak out and ruin your carpet

    15 Sep 2005, 04:02

  5. Ewwwww brain goop.
    Offers standard words of encouragement then goes back to panicking about own career in slightly hypocritical fashion ;)

    15 Sep 2005, 08:07

  6. Excellent. All sage advice which I can sell for profit.

    15 Sep 2005, 08:46

  7. Mathew Mannion

    Make sure you delete your pointers after you've finished with them, otherwise your memory will leak out and ruin your carpet

    Already made that joke last night, chum…...p.

    15 Sep 2005, 09:52

  8. John Dale

    What's your starting point for C++? Are you already experienced in C, or Java, or some other language? Or is C++ the only language you've ever used?

    15 Sep 2005, 11:34

  9. You'll be alright Dan, you have me, C++ dude, as a housemate. Jeff's good at it too.

    I think Dan's got a reasonable understanding of C++, but mostly from tweaking existing code from Valve as opposed to coding from scratch.

    I'd recommend having a go at coding something from scratch, no matter how simple, as it gets you used to the idiosyncrasies of the language such as how includes work, why you keep on getting "undefined reference" errors, the difference between compiler and linker errors, and how not to leak memory. Make sure each new has a delete, and try to manage the allocation of memory by putting it in one place. Most frameworks and game engines will have an entity manager that handles all the creation and deletion of entities in one place.

    15 Sep 2005, 13:08

  10. Yes I was thinking that Howes. I should start a fresh project too as well as this Opera malarkey some kind of ickle game sans framework.

    To John, I have mostly used Java but spent a fair bit of last year learning the basics of C++ to undertake my 3rd year project which was to modify the original Half-Life.

    15 Sep 2005, 15:46

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