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Alex Gwartney
Alex Gwartney

Posted on • Updated on

My Programming Journey So Far.

It has been about 5 months now. Since I started making the change to pursue graphics programming. I have done a ton of work in that time. Between school and learning a new language and studying a whole lot of math. And in this time, I have decided why not start documenting my process. I see a whole lot of success stories that are always getting posted every day it seems like. And I feel like I want to share the before the success the actual grind of getting there. And to do this I plan on writing a post like this one about every week or two weeks depending on what got done that specific week. And just cover exactly what it was I worked on that specific week. Now I don’t want to just keep this to a technical blog post. Just covering the specific program, I worked on. I want to go into things such as how I have been scheduling my time between work school and getting my other goals. I then want to show the specific programs I may have built that week. Granted they may not be much at first but as time goes on I plan on creating bigger and better projects. But I figure each time I get something out the door and done. Its just more practice and more experience I didn’t have before.

So, with that out of the way let me get into what exactly it is I have started doing. To begin breaking into becoming a graphics programmer. So, the very first thing I began to do was buy a whole lot of resources. Because being a graphics programmer is such a wide term. And there is so much information to study and take in. As time goes on and I begin getting into the specifics of writing code for the graphics portion of things I will begin narrowing down my section within the field. But in the meantime, I wanted to get as much information as I could on the subject. Here you can see just some of the resources that I bought. https://www.instagram.com/p/BgzW64thWn5/?hl=en&taken-by=alexgwartney17 Now once I bought these books I started with the basics of the basics. That is learning c++. And gaining the math skills needed. I have been focusing a lot on the math as the code portion of it can come last. But I do try to get in as much coding in as I can. You can see some of my progress here. https://github.com/gwartney21 . Also if you are wanting to learn c++ I suggest getting c++ One Hour A Day. There are a few other books I have but I found this one explains things in a way that makes more sense. At least in my opinion.

Now outside of this I also have been working in java programming for class. Which has been nice for practice. And just a good skill to have in general. You again can see some of the stuff I have been working on in my GitHub. But I will cover more of these specific projects in a future post. So with all of this going on let me explain how I schedule my day. To start with I work a mix of swing and graveyard as a help desk tech. So half of the week up until Monday and Tuesday. I tend to get up around 10 or 7am. On Fridays, I take and begin working on getting ready for the week. Catching up on emails looking to see what must get done at work and school ect. I then take and begin trying to get through at least a few chapters of math a day. I do a tutor session as well with my brother. My goal has been to get a certain section of the math book done a week. As to cover as much as I can. I try to study at least until I go to work. After work, I tend to come home and just relax and play games before I got to bed at 2 am as I get off at 11:30 pm.

I then take and repeat this process up until Sunday. Where I will take and begin working on some of my homework for the coming week. And then spend a few hours on math before I head in. Now on Mondays and Tuesdays, this is where I tend to put some time in between finishing homework math and try to get some C++ programming in. Depending on the time I have in the day since I don’t have to go to work until later that night. Then on the weekends, I have made it a point to not do any work but just play games. So this way I get a mental break and can spend some time relaxing before I start the week again.
So overall I try to really split things in half throughout the week spending as much time as I can on each subject.

At first, I think the hardest thing was getting into a routine. But once I got into the swing of things being able to keep to a schedule became easy. I think the biggest thing I learned out of all of it was to schedule a time to relax. To avoid burn out and be able to keep on pushing forward. As I have a tremendous amount of stuff to learn. And none of this is going to be done overnight. And that’s about it as far as catching up. If you made it to the end of the post thank you for reading it through. And I look forward to sharing my journey as I go along.

Top comments (11)

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psimoes01 profile image
Patrick Simoes

You should take a look at c++ primer plus (developer's library) it is really a great book for reference. Since you want to learn the graphical part of coding I suggest you go to udemy and buy some course it is really cheap like 10 to 12 dollars on unreal engine which uses c++. You will learn how to create games and graphics.

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Alex Gwartney Author

Thanks for the help. I will take a look. Also are there any specific videos you might recommend course wise?

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psimoes01 profile image
Patrick Simoes

I bought "the ultimate guide to Game Development with Unity" it focus on the engine unity which is in C#, that is almost like a c++ but made by Microsoft translating your skills from c++ to c# shouldn't be too hard. Like I did from Java to c++. The other one I bought was "The unreal engine developer course - Learn c++ & make games" that is based on unreal engine and the language used is c++. I haven't started either because I was taking some classes at my college and it would be too hard to do everything. But I am planning on starting them this summer to at least create two games. I saw the reviews of the courses and they are really good. I think one the them is sponsored by the engine company itself, so one of the instructor works directly to either unreal or unity engines.

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psimoes01 profile image
Patrick Simoes

Are you studying in college for graphics programming. Or are you going for computer science and then specializing in graphics programming?

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alexgwartney profile image
Alex Gwartney Author

Computer science and then specializing in graphics programming.

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alexgwartney profile image
Alex Gwartney Author

Also thanks for the resources I will
Check them out. Also when you get going on the courses you should post some of your stuff. Would be cool to see what you are working with.

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psimoes01 profile image
Patrick Simoes

Definitely, but I'm not a really good writer. lol. I'm about to get my associates degree in computer science then I'm transferring hoping to graduate within the next 3 years.

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alexgwartney profile image
Alex Gwartney Author

Nice iam currently getting my bachelors. I got my associates a couple of years ago. Also Iam not great at writing either lol.

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ohadpr profile image
Ohad Eder-Pressman • Edited on

I highly recommend Michael Abrash's Black Book of Graphics Programming. It came out in 1997 so its not going to cover the more modern things. What it does well is give you foundations and some great stories on the earlier history of computer graphics and game programming.

Abrash worked with John Carmack on the original Quake engine and shares lots of great stories. I consider both of these folks demigods.

amazon.com/Michael-Abrashs-Graphic...
github.com/jagregory/abrash-black-...

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tadman profile image
Scott Tadman

Game Engine Architecture and Real-Time Rendering are both fantastic books and highly recommended.

For the C++ side of things some of the Scott Meyers books on "Effective C++" provide a lot of good advice on how to apply C++ to solving problems.

With C++ it's especially important to stick to new material, as older books, especially from the 1990s, pre-date a lot of the huge improvements brought about in C++11/14/17 which have dramatically changed how people write production C++ code.

Hope you're enjoying all that so far, and best of luck on your journey.

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alexgwartney profile image
Alex Gwartney Author

Thanks for the recommendations. I will have to take a look. And yea I definitely had to make sure the books I was getting were at least c++11 or hire. I have like three different ones two I use more as a reference. One of them being C++ Programming Language, 4th Edition by Stroustrup, Bjarne. Also, thank you and yea I am defiantly enjoying every bit of it thus far.

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