Dylan.Blog Writing and musings by Dylan Reed

OMG!!! A Giant Snake Has Gotten a Hold of Me!!

And it is all Harper’s fault!!!

And by a giant snake I mean Python the programming language. Since Will and I started Sprinkler Studio we have been in need of a programmer. Using game salad and the like to create games was great and worked but was to limiting for what we really want to create, The Untitled Sci - Fi 2D Top Down RPG Epic (it does now have a title but that is still a secret).

Finding a programmer who wants to work for free and help us make this game so we can maybe have money later is really hard. This is because people that are any good at programming know that they should charge money for it. Just like good designers know that they should be paid for their work. I did a little looking tried to recruit some people but none of them had the required passion to join the team. I took a look at different programming languages (Java, C++, etc.) and was frustrated by most of the programming books. They would all have “Anyone can learn to code!!” or “Easy to learn” on their covers but were missing the ‘’ which would state further down on the cover ‘ As long as you understand one of these 3 other programming languages this one should be a breeze’.
Harper suggested Python because it is his favorite and he secretly desires me to be his clone… or something. He told me that I already understood programming I just needed to pick a language and learn it. He emailed me a copy of “Learn Python the Hard Way” which I ignored for a while, then looked at, then got frustrated and ignored some more. I understood, from the title, that it wasn’t meant to be easy but it was using a vocabulary that I didn’t understand and I couldn’t wrap my head around the concepts. I felt like an idiot. I soon got over that.

I realized that I am a visual learner 100%. I have a very hard time learning from books, I always have. I do much better in a “Watch me, now you do it” learning atmosphere. This is why I excelled in Art school. It was a lot of here is the technique, now you do it. It was great. I got A’s for the first time in my life. The other classes I took that were book based were a lot more difficult. So I set off to find a programming book/tutorial that provided that type of learning process. I searched the library and couldn’t find anything that fit the bill. I used the internet to search and found a few things but nothing that seemed comprehensive enough to get me the knowledge I needed to make what I wanted to make.

Luckily I expressed my frustration to Harper and he pointed me towards Invent with Python. On the Invent with Python site you can download(for free) to ebooks specifically about making video games with python. What made these books different is that they are truly written for first time programmers with no previous knowledge. True that are also wittern for 12 year olds but hey I am still 12 at heart. I have been working my way through the first book and enjoying myself because the book follows this template.

  1. Here is some code
  2. Copy this code
  3. Run this code
  4. Here is why it does that
  5. Here are some other ways to accomplish the same task

For one who is a visual learner this is working great. It allows me to look at code writtern by someone else, analyze and understand it and then apply it to what I want to build. Once I finish the first book, which is pretty much bare bones, none graphical games (hangman, tic tac toe, guess the number) then I will move on to the second book which involves making games using pygame. This allows you to have actual graphics that aren’t just a square or circle.

I am pretty excited to learn and will probably go onto Learn Python the Hard Way after those two so that I have a full knowledge of the power of the Python.