Visual, How Visual is Visual?

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  • We use standards in the industry for a reason; feature naming convention is part of the industry standard and is not harmful in any way. If a beginner sees all that techie mumbo jumbo, he'll learn them and - hey, what do ya know, make a step further into the industry!

    You may call your apples "jonagold" or whatever - they still are apples. Variables have been variables since the human started solving equations.

    I'm no programmer either, however from the game design standpoint it makes sense to familiarize with those industry terms. It is easier to, say, read design guides on the internet, for example pathfinding algorithms. How would a total newbie go about it if they didn't understand any of it? Now, if they know what a variable is, they see it occurring in those algorithms, which makes it easier for them to understand.

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  • It always amazes me how programmers reply to reasonable questions like the ones I have posed.

    What can you call a thing other than "variable" that is more descriptive and more readily understandable to non-initiates? I'm sure you can find a better word or phrase if you cared to think about it for longer than a second or two. I know I can. For non-global variables, instead of a dead and indeterminate noun, why not use a verb like "remember". "Remember"(something) would hold whatever you wanted in its "memory" until it is replaced by something else. A global variable could be equally descriptive by using another active phrase that everyone can understand like "remember forever" (something). This is how we speak and this is how we think.

    Considering that something is "advanced" or "professional", simply because it is obscure is nonsense.

    The word "variable" is used for variables because that's what they are. It's hardly obscure... it is the correct terminology, and is widely used. There is no need to dumb it down, just learn what "variable" means. Not only is it correct, it doesn't make you look foolish when you're trying to relate your game making experiences to your peers. "Oh, you know... the remembery thing. It remembers stuff."

    How we speak and how we think changes over time, by learning new words and concepts. Learn the proper terms and concepts you need for the task at hand. There's nothing wrong with that.

    [quote:31ih90hh]Oh yes . . . Deadeye - that avatar of yours speaks volumes, you know.

    Um... just an fyi, I'm not a programmer . The only programming language I have experience with is BASIC, which I learned when I was ten years old. And if I'm not mistaken, that's around the age range of Kodu's target audience? I knew what a variable was then. I claim no special mental ability (in fact, I'm pretty average). So if a ten year old kid can understand the concept of variables, then what's the problem?

    I think perhaps you (and even the makers of Kodu) are greatly underestimating the capabilities of children, let alone adults. There are 14 year old kids on this forum making things at a level of complexity well beyond what is shown in that Kodu video. Were they able to do so right out of the box? No. They did have to learn it...

    The thing is, though, those same 14 year old kids who had to learn to make their games did so in a mere fraction of the time that they would if they were learning a true programming language like C++ or C#. Which goes to show that, yes, Construct is much more "humanly readable." So there are some words you don't know... well, the dictionary is readily available, and there's documentation, tutorial files, and helpful members of the community willing to lend a hand if you get stuck, so... what's the problem, again?

    [quote:31ih90hh]Games and game logic are incredibly simple if you care to be honest about it. There is no need to add layers of complexity just so those who consider themselves "professionals" don't feel let down.

    If you can claim that game logic is so simple then I'd be interested in seeing what kind of games you've made. And if Construct didn't have those extra layers of complexity then it would be completely useless for people who are serious about making games.

    It's all a rather pointless argument, though. It just seems that Construct isn't the tool for you. Most game making programs out there require experience with a scripting language, if not an outright programming language (Like C# for XNA). GameMaker's default event system is horrible for making games, so if you want to do a serious project with it you need to delve into their proprietary GML script. The only thing that comes close to Construct's point-and-click event system that has any sort of power is Multimedia Fusion 2, and if you think Construct's event sheets look confusing, just go and have a look at theirs.

    So by all means... if you find another product out there that has the power of Construct, yet speaks in plain English and has an easy, candy flavored interface that you don't need to type anything into then I'm all ears.

    If you can't help yourself to understand and learn the program, then DO NOT use it.. go to your Doku or whatever shit software you want to compare with construct.

    Look how many beginners has learned much about the program by not being lazy of reading tutorials and stuff.

    There's no need to get snippy, HB. Please, let's all be civil.

  • Also, if you are lost at what to do at the beginning, there are those tutorials. Some are bundled with Construct, others are available on wiki and forum. I think deadeye's platforming tutorial is pretty comprehensive enough.

    The stuff like 'layer', 'variable', etc. are all industry terms, naming them differently would only create confusion, which is what we want to avoid, yes?

    Of course more steps need to be made to make Construct more intuitive to the beginners, but I don't think renaming everything is the way.

  • Using industry standard terms which happen to be the best and most suitable terms does not make a product difficult or less intuitive, quite the opposite.

  • Wow, I really wouldn't have thought this would evoke such... um, er ..passion.

    Now from an artist's point of view I understand your plight, some of the concepts may seem very foreign, and exactly opposite of what is expected. Then again as an artist I understand that in order to be able to do something new, sometimes I must dive into the code itself to figure out how to do it.

    Also, coming from an open source community, I know that you have to be able to know how something works, in order to convey what you think would work better. You cant just complain about it, and expect change. You have to provide positive feedback, and a likely solution.

  • Haha, way to hit a nerve with the community Psmith

    I think we've established renaming a variable to something like "remember" is extremely counterintuitive - it actually makes it more obscure and impenetrable - the opposite effect to the one you intended - because the rest of the world calls it a variable. Still, if you're looking for a game development tool which you don't even need to use variables, have a look at something like Popfly or Kodu if it's released, but you'll probably find yourself severely limited in what you can create. If you want to create games as complex as Construct can without touching such basic building blocks as variables, good luck with that There's a thing to counter terms and concepts you don't understand, and it's called "learning"!

    For context, here are some of the things you have to specify or consider when declaring a variable in C++. This is not exhaustive, just off the top of my head. Perhaps it will give you some perspective on how far simplified Construct is already:

    • constant or variable
    • static, global, or local to a specific scope and if so its lifetime before leaving scope
    • volatile for thread safety
    • a fixed unchangable type such as boolean, integer (8, 16, 32 or 64 bits signed or unsigned), floating point (single, double or long double precision), string or text (wide/multibyte via const char* C style arrays or a handling class such as std::string or MFC CString)
    • initial value, where class const member variables must be defined in class initializer lists
    • memory address, location on stack or dynamic allocation on heap, heap memory deallocation, alignment, structure packing or array alignment
    • assignment involving implicit and explicit casts, possibly involving operator overloads, conversion routines, and associated performance penalties

    In Construct, all you need to say is whether it's text or a number, and its initial value. Hopefully you can see how far it's already been simplified in Construct and how much technical jargon has already been removed. Renaming a variables is a step too far though. That's what they've always been called and always will be called. There's no need to take that last step.

  • Now where'd he go?

  • Wouldn't be surprised if the angry mob scared him away

  • What exactly is so wrong with the name such as 'variable'? Just think of it as something that is able to vary. It can change. You put a number in it, you can use it, you can then change it. There's no reason to call it 'remember'. Just remember yourself what it means.

    (Sorry if this sounds mean, but a lot of people here have attempted to explain it and you don't seem to be listening )

  • I guess it's not really his fault.. Maybe he's some 10 year old kid who doesn't know his algebra and so variables..

  • It was more that he blatantly assumed that we all are stuck up programmers... which is only true for FEW members of the community. Most of us aren't even programmers, otherwise you'd see like 1000 plugins for Construct

    So, just because we, non-programmers, are fine with common technical jargon such as 'variables', he goes out to call us programmers... what an insult!

  • I'm so glad to read your many replies to my simple questions and statements. They have told me much about yourselves and your philosophies. And, from what I can gather, most of you are not even programmers, yet, for some reason you are attracted to the use of non-descriptive and counter intuitive terminology and structure. Many of you admit that you have failed to grasp "modern" programming languages, and that is why you have come here to learn Construct - which maintains that same programming paradigm that has given you such fits. Quite a dilemma for you, I should think.

    [quote:2j3po168]Using industry standard terms which happen to be the best and most suitable terms does not make a product difficult or less intuitive, quite the opposite.

    This statement assumes that because the industry uses this standard of terminology that it automatically makes it the "best and most suitable". For whom, I might ask?

    Really, I do understand both terms: variable and global variable, I just don't find them very descriptive, nor do I find terms like "function", "exception", "z-depth",(since not all software uses the Z axis to define depth), and many many more.

    It seems that those who initially "invented" programming conventions didn't spend much time thinking about what words really mean in English, and this would explain why these conventions survive until this day.

    And those of you who think you need to be proficient in advanced mathematics to make the simple things found in today's AAA games, which sell millions of copies, might possibly be in danger of making your heads explode, as it appears our dear friend Deadeye's head might do at any moment.

    Good day,


  • Look, it's really just about semantics here...

    The fact is: If you're not a programmer and you take the time to learn the application, you can create games that are on par with what a programmer with a ton of programming experience can do.

    And that's a wonderful thing.

    I have never been able to grasp any programming language, I _SUCK_ even at simple math, yet every programmer I've shown my project to loves what I'm doing using Construct.

    Let's not argue about semantics, let's just be productive, let us create.

  • <img src="'t%20feed%20the%20troll.jpg">

    The program is open source. He should find someone to help him go in and change all the expressions so even the mentally challenged can make pong.

  • It seems that those who initially "invented" programming conventions didn't spend much time thinking about what words really mean in English

    Quite the opposite. Engineers spend much time considering what would be an accurate name for their inventions and concepts. For example, 'variables' sure is a better one than 'remembers', to be honest.

    Also, using some terms directly from programming and the industry is a benefit for some people who want to move up to programming languages, who then already know some basic concepts. Finally, if you insist Construct's terminology is confusing or nondescriptive (which I have tried to show it is not, by comparing to a real programming language), then maybe there is another program out there you can go use like Kodu or Popfly. You don't have to use Construct if you don't like it, it's not like we're losing a sale or anything.

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