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[thread split] Helpful answers vs. elitism

Discussion in 'Programming' started by S8NSSON, Aug 19, 2003.

  1. RegularX

    RegularX Master of Dagoth Lies

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    I'm prefacing all of this by saying that the Unreal mod community is, in the end, one of the more communicative and open of all the engines - which is one of the reasons I started working with it.

    That said, I still think it can be intimidating to new modders, especially those with little programming background. I failed the first time I tried to make a mutator, repeatedly, and stopped trying because I didn't find many avenues to figure out what the hell I was doing wrong (to this day I don't know what I was doing wrong - when I went back to try the same mutator a year or so later I had it running in an afternoon... )

    The Wiki kicks ass. But the Wiki isn't always the friendliest interface in the world. These, the Atari Forums and the groups.yahoo lists comprise a wealth of information, but sometimes you have to be clever with your keywords (as well as knowing where the heck these places are ... I found out about the groups.yahoo list by doing a google search...)

    This and the Atari forum need a FAQ/New user guide. It should link to the basic UScript tutes on the wiki, the editors and other tools, etc. We have an enormous wealth of info out there, we have a dirge of overviews about that info. Virtually every place you go for info is akin to trying to pull something out of the back of a closet.

    That said - it's still 100x better than what most mod communities have available, and it does get difficult to throw a stone and find someone who might able to point someone else in the right direction. Which leads me to:

    1) Someone responds to you and you feel they are being condescending. First ask yourself - did they help? If they did, why do you care what their tone was? Yes, surely, politeness is nice. Politeness is good. Was every teacher you ever had the politest? I doubt it.

    2) "All I get is wiki or 'look in Mutator.u' - well, these are the two most common answers you'll get from now until the end of time. It's best to get used to them now. This is not someone being elite, this is usually someone who has gotten into the habit of finding out answers by doing exactly that. If you have questions after looking at wiki/classes/etc - those are obviously valid answers, but don't get put off by a response by someone telling you what they would do to find the answer.

    The truth is, most people who read such posts probably don't respond *at all* because they simply assume such answers will be found with a little more elbow grease. So be glad for the response that is there.
     
  2. Doc_EDo

    Doc_EDo LEFT

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    Learning to code every simple stupid little thing, like additional beacons for special actors, just takes HELL OF A LOT OF TIME, and you'll probably NEVER need that again, or you'll use the same code. So WHY NOT post some code that you have to help ppl out? Next time they'll post code to help YOU, and both mods (his and yours) will be coded faster.

    WHY do we need to invent the WHEEL again???
    If you have a sort simple similar solution or part of it on your hands, POST IT! Learning something is PAIN, and if you give them a good guidelines/code they'll learn anyway but MUCH FASTER!! :rant:

    Imagine if Epic said we should code the whole UScript part of the code for ourselfts, instead of them giving us the source, just so we will LEARN and grow into a LEET USCRIPTERS! Wouldn't that be stupid?

    Isn't the whole point of open source the sharing part??
     
  3. Mychaeel

    Mychaeel New Member

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    I trust every UnrealScript coder will learn a lot more than just "how to make team beacons" by creating a piece of code themselves that makes team beacons. I doubt anybody learns anything to speak of by copy-and-pasting finished code, on the other hand; it doesn't even require them to just read it, let alone understand it.

    Why not post the code on the Unreal Wiki (like I did here and here, not to mention a big bunch of other ready-to-use classes and code snippets which are in Category Custom Class or part of Unreal Wiki's very own wUtils toolbox package) instead of posting it in a forum just to let it drift into the forum archive's oblivion after a short while?

    Speaking of me, I prefer to thoroughly understand the code I put into my mod, so posting some hints or posting the actual code would be all the same for me.

    For that matter, I can't remember having ever asked for help with anything UnrealScript-related in this forum.

    I've never seen nor used Epic's classes as a pool of code to copy-and-paste from.

    Now there's the right spirit.

    I haven't seen you post anything yet on the Unreal Wiki however, which was, after all, founded entirely in this very spirit. Why?
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2003
  4. RegularX

    RegularX Master of Dagoth Lies

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    I've posted/released/offered/emailed nearly every line of UScript I've ever written.

    However I think a lot of times code gets put into the forums and then lost forever because someone can't find the right keyword to go back and hunt it down. The Wiki may be confusing, but at least it's a valid attempt of categorization and linking and concepts. The complaint that the search brings back 100 unrelated concepts may be valid, but it's a lot worse when you are hunting things down off of forums. I really feel, and I've certainly been guilty of this, that if you put significant code to the forums - there's probably a place for it on the wiki.

    Posting code is great, and undoubtably more helpful - but that doesn't mean that pointing to a uc class or a wiki page is any way couterproductive and insulting.
     
  5. S8NSSON

    S8NSSON New Member

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    I know a lot of different programming languages. I've used everything from ASM to Action Script. Those programming languages that pay the bills definately get alot of attention and research.

    My goal with UT2k3 is to produce a vision. Hammering through page after page for hour after hour just to find out how to tell UT2k3 to use my custom model for 3rd person is not teaching me anything except how difficult it can be to find specific information about different programming languages (or libraries of languages), and further delays the creation of my vision. I mostly know when it takes an EXEC. I know when I should Extend a class. I know how to build if, switch, for, while, do, and all kinds of other nifty statements. I would love to learn it all. But I just don't have the time. I barely have time to even work on my vision. The more shortcuts I can take by obtaining example code, or experienced insight, the faster I can reach my vision.
    Now this is not the case with some people, I know. Some probably just want thier vision written for them. I don't. I wanna write it all. Do I feel I really need to completely understand it all, no. I know I want this to do that, that to move here, this to explode when that touches this. For my vision I don't really care that the engine just processessed 2 million lines of physics code in a nano second in order to achieve my goal. I just want to achieve my goal. If I had the time I would try to learn it all, but that's not the case. If I had the time I would never have to ask for help either.

    Keith
     
  6. Doc_EDo

    Doc_EDo LEFT

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    Because my code is mostly unfinished (like multifire mode weapon). I usually have things(bugs) that I'm not happy with and many ppl would screem "n00b" if I posted such crap. :(

    We can't all be leet like you Mychaeel.
    It just "aint gonna happen"!

    S8NSSON:
    Thanks! At least someone understands. :eek:
     
  7. Mychaeel

    Mychaeel New Member

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    While that's understandable, please also understand that the people here are doing this as a hobby, not paid work; so if it's simple to give you an answer (such as a Wiki link or an offhand statement), they probably will, but if a question of yours means that somebody else has to do your footwork and dive into the documentation and existing code to find out how to get done what you want to do, forum posters' inclination to do so rapidly sinks the less interesting (or challenging) the question is and the more they get the impression that you'll be back the next day with a question on similar level.

    Very frequently forum replies of mine are along the lines of "This is how I would approach this problem: Look here, try this, look there" rather than actually going and looking here, trying this, looking there and then posting the result as a bunch of ready-to-use lines of code.

    I have the impression (quite seriously; no offense meant) that what you'd really need is an experienced programmer grunt to make your vision become reality. There is little chance of finding one in a community like this, though, since everybody who can code is usually pursuing their own goals and you have little to offer to compensate anybody for doing your work.

    If you think it's finished enough to post it as a reply to a question in a forum I don't see why you think it's not finished enough to post it on the Wiki. (Even more so as others are much more likely to double-check and correct it when it's on the Wiki than when it's on a forum.)
     
  8. S8NSSON

    S8NSSON New Member

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    As i stated above. I am the coleader of a mod that already has a programming team. I am simply learning utscripting because it's interesting, and to help me to understand and manage my team.
     
  9. [SAS]Solid Snake

    [SAS]Solid Snake New Member

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    I am also a modeler, artist, coder, map level designer. I am essentially a one man army when it comes to Unreal, but I am Mychaeel's side of arguement here. I can see his point of view, but I also realise the point of view made by other people such as S8NSSON. I also do think that this is become a little personal towards Mychaeel.

    My approach to Unrealscript was that I tried it when Unreal I came out and I failed miserably, so I decided to stick to the Duke3D engine which had CON coding. Now let me take the approach of CON coding, it was code that didn't to be compiled and had a strong resemblance to Unrealscript in the way it worked and so forth. However it wasn't so complicated. There WAS NO documentation at all, we did not have a foum. What we had was 3D Realm's code that shipped with the original game. Most of us who became 'legends' at CON coding simply nutted it out and worked through it until we understood it. Now a days someone has written a full guide to CON coding which you can just pick up and learn now.

    Now taking this approach with Unrealscript, I didn't learn Unrealscript by trying to do things. I did it to learn how it works, and because I understand how it works, I can quite confidently say that I can do whatever I want or figure out how to do it.

    I find Unrealscript easy, and that was only after 1 and a half years. I have never had any programming experience (which apparently helps) yet I can code quite successfully and bring out my own visions pretty quickly.

    I don't think any of us can argue about this point because people have to accept replies to their post no matter what it says in the end. Some of the posts I have made I admit are rude, but when I check back at them no one else has bothered to reply back to attempt to answer the original question meaning that some people felt the same way as me. When I do post a question here (which is pretty rare) I never expect an answer, and if I do I am rather happy.

    Whatever happened to good ol' greasework and working the answer out? If time is the factor then why not find someone who will do it? I don't understand why you (S8NSSON) are bringing personal issues such as family life, and job into the equation because you are saying that you 'deserve' answers because of these. I find that very unreasonable, and it suggests that those of us who reply with short answers and those who hardly ask questions have no life but Unrealscript. In fact, I found it a little offensive in some ways.

    What does this have to do with it? Management of a team doesn't come by knowing Unrealscript or knowing how to code. Management is a totally different field altogether. Some people can be good managers of a team without even knowing how to do anything for that particular engine.

    Why are we even debating about this?! It's like debating evolution vs creationism. IMHO pointless.
     
  10. Sir_Brizz

    Sir_Brizz Administrator Staff Member

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    what I don't understand is that if you (S8NNSON) have a team of programmers at your call, why don't you have them tell you how to do what you are wanting? There are perhaps 3 people on this forum that I go to when I run into an insurmountable problem, and generally I figure out the solution of my own accord anyways. When I ask questions here, I usually EXPECT to be pointed to a Wiki page..in fact, often, that is what I am looking for...more information that I can look at on what I am trying to do. As I recall, I have never gotten a SPECIFIC code example from this forum or the Wiki that I have used in my code because it was not necessary. All the tools required to build anything up to a Total Conversion for the game are included in the source download.

    This isn't to say I don't have my differences with the way the Wiki works...but when you are pointed to a specific location, it's hard to argue about. I also agree that those that actually READ a wiki page and still have a hard time understanding the concept should post to their thread again saying what they have done. In fact, I have seen several times this happen on this board...that and those that solve their problems reposting the solution they came up with.

    When I reply to threads in the coding forum where people are having problems, it is rarely to type out the exact words someone should use in their mod, but maybe an example code and some explanation. You have to understand that most of the coders on this forum learned UnrealScript before UT2003 and practically all of us learned it of our own accord, referring to each others work for examples but never ripping or stealing or having our work handed to us which, in my mind, is the major reason that this forum attempts to point people in the right direction more than giving out solutions.
     
  11. Mychaeel

    Mychaeel New Member

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    Then I understand even less why you're wanting to take as many "shortcuts" as you can get.

    If you want to get an impression of how UnrealScript coding works, taking shortcuts won't teach you anything worthwhile; because figuring stuff out oneself is how UnrealScript coding works most of the time.

    For that matter, I suggest you peruse the UnrealScript sources of the stock code that's part of the game. You can get an immense amount of information out of just trying to find out how a certain UT2003 feature works (like the HUD or the game rules or bot support). I believe you'll learn much more and much faster that way.

    Nah, that's just Doc_EDo being his usual self.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2003
  12. Doc_EDo

    Doc_EDo LEFT

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    :con: :rant:
     
  13. CorDharel

    CorDharel UT3 is my religion

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    I can understand the most of you. I really love this forum, cause you get an answer quickly. If you have the problem you told us, I would guess that if someone knows a wiki page with (perhaps) your answer, he can post it, and if you go there and don't find a solution, simply come back and say "I couldn't find something in the wiki, pls help me" and the problem is solved, isn't it?

    I always prefer to make life not too difficult :notworthy
     
  14. jb

    jb New Member

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    Bah just end up answering your own questions..I seem to hold the record for that here :) :)

    But S8NSSON there is no really good way to learn how this works until you get your hands dirty and stuck on issues. My recent Animation issues forced me to know more about animations now than I ever cared to know. And it set back my progress by at least 2 weeks (as spent about 1.5 weeks on it before I asked here). So while I may have "lost" some time I have gained little "nuggets" of UScript knowledege that I can use to build off. This is the main way I really learn. Shure reading wiki helps a lot as well. But you need both to make your vision a reality. I had to take over coding back 2 years ago or else Chaos would have died then and there. I was a mapper with no coding experince (other some basic corse work). But I sat there and plowed through it little by little. I made a HELL of a lot of mistakes. I "lost" a lot of time. But I also grew my supply of "nuggets" to where I feel confident enough to try new stuff. Learning is never an easy process but its always a worth while one....
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2003
  15. Dark[NSF]

    Dark[NSF] Northwest Secessionalist Forces

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    Divorce your wife and auction your children, then sell your home and buy an apartment... :)

    Then spend 80% of time coding
    10% sleeping
    and another 10% on work to support rent and cable modem bill :)



    This = good plan.
     
  16. Solve

    Solve New Member

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    I really don't have a problem with someone linking me to a Wiki tutorial or directing me to a script in UnrealEd.
    As someone new to UScript, I'm not really sure what I'm looking for so usually when someone directs me to something it answers my question.
     
  17. Dryn

    Dryn New Member

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    Another item to consider:

    Some guy spends 1 manhours developping a piece of tech.

    Some else asks how one would do this same system.

    The original author posts his logic, issues and solutions.

    The other guy goes 'thats nice, buy could you just give me the code'.

    Most of the advanced users here have spent (too much) time learning the ins and outs of the launguage and the engine... I think most would agree such programmers don't mind sharing bits of this knowledge with the less experienced coders. However, there is a difference between sharing a bit of logic, pointing in the right direction, and handing the entire object on a silver platter. Part of the reaction to requests to the latter is out of shear time constraints; it takes a few minutes to point, and takes a lot longer to consider and write out whole peices or workable code. (or debug 500 lines posted abstractly). The other is in my example up top, which though is technically elitism, should be understandable.

    Also, one big problem is people ask more than they can comprehend. To make the player walk on walls is an interesting concept, but the engine isn't suited for it. It should be possible to get working, but it would likely take a fair bit of time. (and understanding of uscript / unreal). So, now, what does one say to a noob who's decided 'hello world' demo is 'I want to make people walk on walls AVP style'.

    Neways, food for thought.
     
  18. [SAS]Solid Snake

    [SAS]Solid Snake New Member

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    The way I see it, is that most of us coders who have learnt Unrealscript have done it the hard way. We've taken an unknown language and undocumented language and played with it, worked with it, swore over it and tweaked with it so that we understand it's use and application. We know how to apply the knowledge we have learnt as code to make it do something new. Take for example, the thread asking about how to translocate the person to another area, the mutant game type already does something similiar and most of the advanced coders could figure out how to change it so that it would do what we wanted and know it would work over the internet.

    However I have noticed a lot of new people here either don't want to learn Unrealscript or just want quick answers to complicated problems. Far be it from me to say that this is true, but it does seem to be the trend that IS ever so influenced by the fact that Epic have setup a modding competition.

    Well, lastly, I believe that a uni system works the best here. Most of our lecturers demand us to work and study on a problem for a few hours to at least understand something about it. If we still don't get how the puzzle quite fits together we then ask the lecturers to help us piece it together. They most of the time just correct a small piece which makes the other pieces not fit together. If I don't do any work, and just simply ask the lecturer what the heck he was on about, he would ask me to go out of his office and close his door pretty quickly (although some are very forgiving).

    My 2cents is that, I usually solve my own problems. But they don't get fixed in 1 or 2 hours. They may take a matter of days or even weeks to solve. In the end, I sometimes just delete all the code I have written and start all over again and document it all the way through.

    Time wasting? Time consuming? Heck, I enjoy it throughly and if I thought coding was a waste of time, why the hell would I even be doing it?

    Some more snacks for the brain.
     
  19. Sir_Brizz

    Sir_Brizz Administrator Staff Member

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    snake that is one good post.

    Unless it's a two or three line solution, I almost never post any code because I can't stand people that don't try it themselves.
     
  20. Dryn

    Dryn New Member

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    Very good post Snake, and I agree with your completely Sir_Brizz.

    The University style setting example is perfect.

    As for wasted time; time is only wasted if to get nothing from it. Though you learn a bit from an easy fix, you learn infinitely more from finding WHY something works, and more importantly, why 300 alternative solutions don't. (this means that you can't do the "bang head into wall until it all goes away" solution, as brain damage wipes the short term memory preceding the event... arg, the curse of being a programmer)
     

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