Monday, May 01, 2006

Future games programmers.

I've been reading some other blogs on here, and a couple jump out. One of them go went on about how hard it is for young people to start programming. In the past (in the days of spectrums and C64's) you would switch on a machine and bang, you'd be ready to code. Now its very very tricky. Getting even the most basic program is way beyond what a 10 year old is able to do. But in the past you could give a child a TV, a computer and a very simple manual.

So what did these old machines - lets take a Sinclair Spectrum as the example - have to offer. First, as soon as you start your in the BASIC editor, this means theres nothing complex for a child to do in getting up and running. Second, you have direct access to the screen and simple graphics. Third having complete access to the machine and being able to PEEK and POKE everywhere allows very simple hacking and lets teenagers and the like get to know what a machines like and what makes it tick. Machines like the C64 add things like hardware sprites, character map screens, sound and music and rasters.

So, what does the modern machine offer? Well, they're big and powerful and have complex 3D built in not to mention great FPU support. But what do you have to do to actually use a PC to program? Well some sort of BASIC would be nice, but Visual Basic isn't "simple" by any means for a child to use. This means you would have to get some sort of QBasic, FreeBasic orYaBasic etc. Once you have all this, making graphics and sound etc. is still a fairly complex process.

All this adds up to a growing problem, computer programming is getting harder and harder and as such, professions like mine will become harder and harder to break into.

The other blog was on one that went into detail about just how hard it is to break into the industry in the first place. This blog explains that in rality there isn't actually a lot og games programmer jobs going around, and that with a lot of new talent comming in, theres less and less available.

Now, put these together, this adds up to less people interested in coding, and even less people having the interest in games programming. Normal programming is fairly simple, and even if you're bad at it, you can still make a living doing things like database coding, internal applications software and the like. But you dont last long as a games coder, if your hopeless; you might get by for a few years... but with the way games technology is heading... it'll outgrow you quickly.

Oh well....perhaps someone will bring out a "retro" machine that "Kids" can code again.

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