Re: Aw: [stella] atari 2600 programming

Subject: Re: Aw: [stella] atari 2600 programming
From: Julian Squires <tek@xxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2001 15:26:34 -0230
On Tue, Oct 23, 2001 at 10:13:35AM -0700, Glenn Saunders wrote:
> Why not let this guy decide if he can cut it or not?  We have no idea what 
> his aptitude is.  And I don't think it would necessarily take 1-3 years of 
> external study to be "ready" for the VCS.  It all depends on the 
> individual's aptitude.

I think it largely depends on the individual's ambition, as well as their
aptitude. [FWIW, I strongly agree with Manuel and Thomas...]

> To me, VCS programming is far easier to grasp than, let's say, full-blown 
> C++ or Java where you have to know all the preexisting libraries to prevent 
> yourself from constantly reinventing the wheel.  There is a LOT of rote 
> memorization there.  Of course, once you do that, you spare yourself a lot 
> of manual coding [i.e. DrawCircle()) which is what Chris worries about as 
> the death of real-man coding] but to get there it's a long path--at least 
> to me it is.  Everybody's aptitude is different.

VCS programming is ``easier to grasp'' than, say, writing large-scale C++
applications, but it is not easier. While C++ has a higher overhead (I
would disagree on the rote memorization aspect), VCS programming is
ultimately very challenging. I teach programming (Real programming, not
just coding) to high-school kids, and I find that it isn't people with
good memories or such who succeed, but people who can solve problems and
think logically, and juggle many seperate conditions in their head.

While it is easier (mostly due to the availability of templates!) to
create a simple VCS game, writing a complex game and optimizing it takes
accute mental skill. This is similar to the level of challenge seen in
demo coding on many platforms.

I think that it's good to see the 2600 scene getting so much new blood, but
this new found popularity is attracting a lot of people who may not really
know what it entails... but hey. Everyone gets a shot, and some people may
be happy with a combat clone while there will always be those who are pushing
the limits of the system to its extremes.

 |/|  Julian Squires <tek@xxxxxxx>

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