Breaking it all down…

I’m not a very good programmer.

It’s not that I’m a bad programmer. I’m just not a very good one. And what can I say, I’m rather new to this. I’ve worked in animation and design since I was 19, and it’s only been within the last two years that I’ve had to shift from a life of abstract thinking to a thought process of logic, reason, and consistency. That’s a rather sudden change, and I’m far from bridging the gap.

It’s been rather entertaining to see how ‘geeks’ think. I get to witness this cross section of society on a very personal level while I attend the University of California here in Irvine. They have a strict attention to detail. Almost fanatical at some points. They also become amused by some of the most benign subjects. Like throwing off the order of a 128-bit encryption key. (???)

There is also a rather rigid approach to process simulation. Ever since I started venturing into more and more complex game design, I’ve found myself stumbling into this thought process. How DO you tell a computer to fire a laser, then have it bounce off of a mirror, then have it check for collisions, then have it turn off after two seconds.

Procedure is a rather difficult concept to master when programming. Contingencies often throw a wrench into the works of an otherwise solid algorithm. Not anticipating something can take a long time to accommodate it later on. Since I lack the ‘geek-thinking’ needed to make that aspect of software design easy, I do what comes best to an artist like me.

I draw.

Flowcharts are my new friend. Every aspect of my program is broken down into some sort of visual element. Level mock-ups, character control sheets, controls, you name it. John has been kind enough to take pictures of my production whiteboard, and I plan on posting every one of them. I envision some senior level programmer spitting his coffee all over his screen when he realizes how noobish it looks. I’d totally deserve that.

Will I lose this trait as I become a better programmer? Will my ‘geek brain’ hinder my visual creativity… or will it augment it? Who knows. Until then, I get to draw more trig diagrams.

Sad panda.

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