Holding tutorial content accountable to novice aptitude on the GMC

FrostyCat

Member
Most of you should know by now that I'm no fan of video tutorials, but today I'd like to explain why and ask the GMC to act.

Ever since the rise of YouTube tutorials in the GML scene, I've noticed a disturbing downward trend in independence and individual aptitude. We are now in a time when it's common for novices to know how to copy platformer code, but have no clue how to do any variation of such code. And that's no surprise --- many of them are made illiterate in basic skills, unable to scope a variable or distinguish between an object and an instance.

Since around 2010, it became fashionable to learn by freely querying "how to XYZ" on Google, or by following a big-name channel (e.g. Spalding, HeartBeast). Most of the video content have little quality control or peer oversight, milking view counts off teaching what novices want to know but not necessarily in their interest to know. More importantly, these videos have not taught any sense of independence or professional judgement, nor the skills required to enable both (i.e. what novices NEED to know).

Why is the GMC still blindly extolling such ineffectual modes of learning? As a top-10 Q&A responder who sees first-hand the consequences of YouTube-driven GML education, I think we can do better.

We should do a better job covering basic skills that video authors fear because of the independence that such skills inspire. We should hold tutorial authors accountable and save our recommendations for only the worthy. And we should help take the spotlight away from toxic resources like Wikia.

Because we should all know that just because something is popular, it doesn't mean it's right. But what can we do to make this new stand, and how can expert users better protect novices from misleading content? I'd propose a curated list of video and written tutorials, but the expert community on the GMC needs to get together to make this happen.

Original Post:
MOD EDIT: This topic has been split from another topic in the Programming forum at author's (FrostyCat) request so as not to derail it any futher.

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Through experience, you discover the use of stateful objects and that sorta thing, to allow game objects to do all the little embellishments. Easy in hindsight, hard in newbiesight?
It's hard in newbiesight only when people teaching newbies aren't teaching what newbies genuinely need. As far as I'm concerned, people like HeartBeast and Spalding teach what newbies want instead of what they need. You end up with newbies who can copy platformers but can't scope a variable right.

This is coming from a top-10 Q&A responder who sees first hand the consequences of YouTube-driven GML education.
 
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Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
people like HeartBeast and Spalding teach what newbies want instead of what they need
That's probably because newbies watch what they want to learn, not what they need to learn (because they can't really tell), and to get views it's easier to make videos about popular topics so people actually watch them. BLAME THE SYSTEM!
Or, more constructively... do you think it would be beneficial to start lobbying for some official "how to code things right" video tutorial series and have that linked in the GMS2 startup or such? (not necessarily made by YYG themselves, but sponsored by them and endorsed by them). I've personally felt that the "check out what's new!" videos get a bit stale after you've been using GMS2 for a while, and having random short tutorials on stuff like variable scoping while the interface loads could increase the chance newbies watch them.
 

Tsa05

Member
Oh! Lol, I guess I'm in this discussion!

It would be really neat to have a community-specific "how-to-learn" resource. Kinda like how people can *roughly* relate now with "I'm on such-and-such tutorial." Would be useful to be able to refer to specific sections or examples.

The only problem, of course...is the "right" way to learn/teach. Lot of methodology to debate there, and possibly some egos to negotiate--after all who *doesn't* best know how to explain what they know ;D But, would be interesting to see some kind of forum-linked wiki course as a base of knowledge?
 

FrostyCat

Member
Or, more constructively... do you think it would be beneficial to start lobbying for some official "how to code things right" video tutorial series and have that linked in the GMS2 startup or such? (not necessarily made by YYG themselves, but sponsored by them and endorsed by them). I've personally felt that the "check out what's new!" videos get a bit stale after you've been using GMS2 for a while, and having random short tutorials on stuff like variable scoping while the interface loads could increase the chance newbies watch them.
That's one way, another way would be to have an official GMC topic for its ongoing development.

A video tutorial series would be nice, but I'm not convinced that it would be comprehensive enough for a good formative understanding of GML. To be really complete, some written tutorials and Manual reading is essential. Videos tend distract from understanding concepts that are abstract or consist mostly of raw code samples.

I disagree with the random interstitial approach because the content won't be in a learnable order most of the time, and chances are that viewed content would be duplicated in the future. Some bits and pieces could be shown this way, but that would be in the minority.

Oh! Lol, I guess I'm in this discussion!

It would be really neat to have a community-specific "how-to-learn" resource. Kinda like how people can *roughly* relate now with "I'm on such-and-such tutorial." Would be useful to be able to refer to specific sections or examples.

The only problem, of course...is the "right" way to learn/teach. Lot of methodology to debate there, and possibly some egos to negotiate--after all who *doesn't* best know how to explain what they know ;D But, would be interesting to see some kind of forum-linked wiki course as a base of knowledge?
Being able to reference specific sections or examples is one thing, but my biggest aim is to have expert eyes screen for bad content before novices damage their understanding with it. At the very least, I'd like some peer-reviewing accountability involved in the tutorial scene, at least on the GMC.

I don't think it's my place to point out what's the one right way, but there are some things with online GM content that are just objectively wrong or dead. Several years ago, there was a surge in novices using action_*() functions because Wikia recommended it. Just last year there was a fire sale for Apprentice/Companion and novices were having trouble with obsolete stuff on GMS 1.4. Now we're in the midst of a crisis with novices turning on physics and then man-handling phy_position_x and phy_position_y because HeartBeast did it in his tutorial (Spalding's method wasn't that clean either but it's miles ahead). Many of these are too popular for their own good and Google is doing the devil's work bringing these to the forefront.

The main goal of a curated list is to remove unverified content from the formative phase of learning. Once novices get a sound foundation and enough professional judgement to tell the cream from the dregs, then we can encourage them explore on their own.
 
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Kenjiro

Guest
So you are trying to close down YouTube? Good luck with that :p

People will learn only if they choose to. You will never stop the copy/paster. They will always exist. (As will people who make crap videos - the attention seekers)

All of us started with a zero knowledge base in GM. Those of us who are still here chose to learn - through reading the manual, trial and error, some copying and pasting. But in the end we chose to learn what the code does and how it works.

People who choose the 'free' road will always exist and they'll never get far in life.

To me, this is a weird and pointless thread in all honesty.
 
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Guest

Guest
Boiling this down: New users try to learn from sucky Youtube videos and fail, and YYG/GMC should do a better job presenting educational materials. Who can argue with that? But who's going to put in the energy to curate and produce the content? Only people with a monetary interest---oh crud, those are the sucky Youtubers!

The upshot (I think) is that @FrostyCat should write a book. I'm serious. All the GameMaker books are of the same quality as the videos. And now is a fantastic time because it can be billed as GMS2 specific, trumping all the older books, and hitting early in the release of the new version. I'd buy it!
 
What Kenjiro said. "Youtube makes people dumb" is not true. Dumb people will copy and paste. Smart people will take what they need from youtube videos and actually learn from them. Video tutorials are a great source of info if you have any common sense. And if you don't have any common sense, you're not going to get too far in programming anyway. For the thousandth time, I'm going to have to say this is a non-issue.

Did a youtube tutorial kill your dog or something, frosty? ;P
 

RangerX

Member
I stand in between the 2 opposite views of Frosty and RichHopelessComposer.
I think that accessibility puts us into contact with ALOT more noobs and beginners than people and alot more casual people that will never achieve anything because they are precisely like what Frosty say about them.
But I wouldn't say its a non issue either. If there's a larger crowd with game developing interest, real or not, casual of not, it doesn't mean we shouldn't help them or try to put this crowd in the right direction.
 
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Kenjiro

Guest
Like I said though. Good luck policing that.

A huge percentage of people watching these videos have probably never set foot in these forums.

And what's to say that @FrostyCat 's idea of what is the 'right way' is the be all and end all? No disrespect intended I know FrostyCat is a very competent coder. But if one single way of doing something is enforced, then where does creative initiative then come from?

Seems like a bit of a case of 'There's FrostyCat's way and then there is the wrong way'.
 
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JackTurbo

Member
Saw the tread title and instantly new who the OP would be without even looking at the username!

Interestingly I've been without internet access on my dev machine for over a month now and it's actually been great and super productive. Before when I'd want to introduce a new system I'd spend ages researching ways that other gms users have created such systems and apply that same methodology to my project, but this last month I've been having to work from scratch, I honestly think this has really improved my analytical thinking hugely.

If you're not careful tutorials really can be too much of a crutch that stop you from developing the critical thinking required to tackle game dev problems.
 
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Kenjiro

Guest
If you're not careful tutorials really can be too much of a crutch that stop you from developing the critical thinking required to tackle game dev problems.
Exactly my thoughts.

I don't think I have ever watched a video tutorial or even used a written tutorial for that matter (aside from snippets in the manual). I always tackle the problem at hand head on and very rarely lose the fight.
 

zendraw

Member
this is the main reason i stopped watchin GML tutorials, they repeat the same old noobish practices over and over, here and there somthing helpful and a + to a dev.

im all for a more educational tutorials that go more indepth and are actually worth my time.

i say the more advanced coders here to combine and make such seeries. if they really want to stop the noob spam.
 
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Kuro

Guest
Isn't there tutorial templates for GM:S 2 allowing third party tutorial creators to create new built in tutorials? And, a corner of the market dedicated to such tutorials?

I'm not convinced videos themselves are a problem. But I do like the original sentiment of the OP; give someone a fish and they'll be fed for a day but teach someone to fish and they'll be able to feed themselves thereafter.

tl;dr:
I haven't played with the tutorial template myself so I can't be sure of any of the details, but from what I saw at a glance there seemed to be the strong implication that anyone could make a tutorial for GM:S2 and then I assume put it on the marketplace, where those who needed it could download it? As far as I'm aware nobody's really taken advantage of that functionality, asides from YYG, at least if the tutorial section of the market is anything to go by. Assuming people can upload their own tutorials to there, it seems a much better way of doing tutorials since it combines text, video and is integrated into gamemaker? If videos are the issue as the OP asserts, then wouldn't it be worthwhile for the community to flesh out the native tutorials to where they cover more than just 6 things in a limitless ocean of possible things that can be done?

I'm not personally convinced it's a problem with video tutorials themselves, more just a reflection of modern attention spans thanks to google. Someone can get valuable information and actually learn things from videos, but only if they're actively engaging with the material. Sure if they copy paste they probably won't remember any of what just happened. But that's something that has always held true. Even back when the main option for learning anything was books. I'm pretty sure I have more than a few programming books with CD roms containing source code that warned that just copying and pasting the code wouldn't do the reader any good if they wanted to actually learn anything. One thing for sure though,Youtube is very good at propelling people onto the next thing the instant a video ends, I'm sure that doesn't help.
 
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JeffJ

Member
It makes absolutely no difference whether it's a youtube video or a GMZ, GM81 or whatever posted on the forum, or even code in a BB tag you can just copy/paste.

I've been on the GMG forum since 2003 and later the GMC forum fro 2005 and seen all manner of tutorials posted, be it video, files, text, you name it. I even started out learning in the exact same way you seem to have so much contempt towards - as a 14 year old eager to make something cool, I was way too impatient to "learn", so I just stole code left and right from mostly unedited tutorials examples downloaded off forums. Eventually I had to start tweaking them to do what I wanted, and then I reached a point where I could not always find examples or tutorials showing the exact thing I wanted to do, so at that point I had to really start looking at the code and do actual learning to understand what was going on. Eventually I did learn, and about a decade later I was a professional, commercial developer. But rest assured, I would have never gotten to that point if the world looked like what you want it to.

Frankly I think your attitude stinks of elitism. People learn in different ways. Maybe you were never an impatient teenager, but many of us were (heck, still are in some cases). Trust me, from experience, if those "noobs" stick around long enough to attempt something serious, then they will discover all on their own why they should have paid attention, but you can never force that. Everyone learns in their own way and pace. Deal with it.
 
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Kenjiro

Guest
It makes absolutely no difference whether it's a youtube
video or a GMZ, GM81 or whatever posted on the forum, or even code in a BB tag you can just copy/paste.

I've been on the GMG forum since 2003 and later the GMC forum fro 2005 and seen all manner of tutorials posted, be it video, files, text, you name it. I even started out learning in the exact same way you seem to have so much contempt towards - as a 14 year old eager to make something cool, I was way too impatient to "learn", so I just stole code left and right from mostly unedited tutorials examples downloaded off forums. Eventually I had to start tweaking them to do what I wanted, and then I reached a point where I could not always find examples or tutorials showing the exact thing I wanted to do, so at that point I had to really start looking at the code and do actual learning to understand what was going on. Eventually I did learn, and about a decade later I was a professional, commercial developer. But rest assured, I would have never gotten to that point if the world looked like what you want it to.

Frankly I think your attitude stinks of elitism. People learn in different ways. Maybe you were never an impatient teenager, but many of us were (heck, still are in some cases). Trust me, from experience, if those "noobs" stick around long enough to attempt something serious, then they will discover all on their own why they should have paid attention, but you can never force that. Everyone learns in their own way and pace. Deal with it.
100%!!

I don't even know why this topic is a thing.

@FrostyCat - How do you propose you go about 'holding tutorial content accountable'? Revoke GMS licenses? Forum ban? Death by hanging?

Who will be the judge and jury? You?
 
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FrostyCat

Member
It's not just teaching them to fish --- it's getting the right people to teach them to fish.

Here's my response from near the top of the topic:
Being able to reference specific sections or examples is one thing, but my biggest aim is to have expert eyes screen for bad content before novices damage their understanding with it. At the very least, I'd like some peer-reviewing accountability involved in the tutorial scene, at least on the GMC.

I don't think it's my place to point out what's the one right way, but there are some things with online GM content that are just objectively wrong or dead. Several years ago, there was a surge in novices using action_*() functions because Wikia recommended it. Just last year there was a fire sale for Apprentice/Companion and novices were having trouble with obsolete stuff on GMS 1.4. Now we're in the midst of a crisis with novices turning on physics and then man-handling phy_position_x and phy_position_y because HeartBeast did it in his tutorial (Spalding's method wasn't that clean either but it's miles ahead). Many of these are too popular for their own good and Google is doing the devil's work bringing these to the forefront.

The main goal of a curated list is to remove unverified content from the formative phase of learning. Once novices get a sound foundation and enough professional judgement to tell the cream from the dregs, then we can encourage them explore on their own.
Though I have a reputation for hammering on novices when they don't pull their weight, I'm not talking about this problem. I'm talking about novices being made to randomly stumble on tutorials that are often badly made, obsolete or too crafty for beginners, because they have no reference point as to where to start. I'm also talking about people recommending tutorials to novices without having checked them for appropriateness, out of convenience and/or inexperience.

HeartBeast's RPG tutorial was recently recommended to an entire class of students, and in no time flat they are constantly man-handling phy_position_x and phy_position_y. They are now coming onto the forums because they can't navigate the physics system properly, having only learned how to use it wrong. If I knew that was what he's doing, I would have recommended novices to stop following that tutorial until he fixed it, and I wouldn't have been alone.

It's about taking some the unnecessary randomness out of the formative experience. It's about being more careful with recommendations. It's about more fact-checking across peers in the tutorial scene.

@FrostyCat - How do you propose you go about 'holding tutorial content accountable'? Revoke GMS licenses? Forum ban? Death by hanging?

Who will be the judge and jury? You?
By recommending against them and turning the heat on them with competitors who did things right.

And I clearly mentioned not being the judge and jury, I did ask for a panel of skilled users so that several viewpoints are represented.
 
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Kenjiro

Guest
The problem you face is the demographic seeking the tutorials. A huge proportion aren't likely to be forum members to begin with.

It is after they run in to issues that they join the forums and this is where they are then put on a better path (hopefully).

You are trying to control something you can't possibly control. You'll drive yourself crazy if you continue down this path.
 

FrostyCat

Member
The problem you face is the demographic seeking the tutorials. A huge proportion aren't likely to be forum members to begin with.

It is after they run in to issues that they join the forums and this is where they are then put on a better path (hopefully).

You are trying to control something you can't possibly control. You'll drive yourself crazy if you continue down this path.
You're right that their pre-GMC experience is mostly out-of-band. But I propose that their post-GMC experience can be improved with curated guidance. It's about putting the GMC in a better position to "put [them] on a better path", like you said.
 
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Kenjiro

Guest
It's about putting the GMC in a better position to "put [them] on a better path", like you said.
Absolutely. And that's all any of us try to do.

Some advice will be better than others. But, that's life. No one intentionally tries to hand out bad advice. We all give bad advice at some point, but the intentions are always meant well.

I can't see how anyone can hold someone else 'accountable' when the good intention is there. That will only drive forum members away as the 'power players' will be considered 'stuck up'. It will be gamedev.net all over again. No one wants that sort of talking down to.

I remember a certain Anurag Raghav, who'd go nuts if you didn't do things her way. Most of the time her advice was crap too and there were more efficient ways of doing things. The old GMC wasn't fun because of that sort of thing.
 
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Storyteller

Member
i have an MSc in Instructional Design with Doctoral Classes in Information Science and Learning Technology.
Im game to use what I know to help with this.
In general, most ID is done using the ADDIE method, Analysis, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate. Rapid Prototyping, SAM and several others are all based on ADDIE. As for the instructional theory, Im partial to Kolb's Experential Learning Model.

Brush on those terms and concepts and we can begin the Analysis phase, identifying the demographic, desired outcomes, goals and objectives and then start designing a way to meet those outcomes. As much as behavioral changes or skill improvements, you want a change in KSA, knowledge, skills and attitudes. Thats a cultural change and may benefit from a dash of behaviorism in the mix as well.

Im game, but if please brush up on the jargon and lingo used in instructional deign a bit so we can facilitate communication more effectively. If you need some links, I'll drum up a few.
 
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Kenjiro

Guest
i have an MSc in Instructional Design with Doctoral Classes in Information Science and Learning Technology.
Im game to use what I know to help with this.
In general, most ID is done using the ADDIE method, Analysis, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate. Rapid Prototyping, SAM and several others are all based on ADDIE. As for the instructional theory, Im partial to Kolb's Experential Learning Model.

Brush on those terms and concepts and we can begin the Analysis phase, identifying the demographic, desired outcomes, goals and objectives and then start designing a way to meet those outcomes. As much as behavioral changes or skill improvements, you want a change in KSA, knowledge, skills and attitudes. Thats a cultural change and may benefit from a dash of behaviorism in the mix as well.

Im game, but if please brush up on the jargon and lingo used in instructional deign a bit so we can facilitate communication more effectively. If you need some links, I'll drum up a few.
No idea what any of that meant :p

It's not going to deter me from what I am here for - coding, helping others, and having fun along the way.

I really don't feel we need a committee to enforce 'meeting outcomes' and incite 'behavioral changes'.
 

FrostyCat

Member
i have an MSc in Instructional Design with Doctoral Classes in Information Science and Learning Technology.
Im game to use what I know to help with this.
In general, most ID is done using the ADDIE method, Analysis, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate. Rapid Prototyping, SAM and several others are all based on ADDIE. As for the instructional theory, Im partial to Kolb's Experential Learning Model.

Brush on those terms and concepts and we can begin the Analysis phase, identifying the demographic, desired outcomes, goals and objectives and then start designing a way to meet those outcomes. As much as behavioral changes or skill improvements, you want a change in KSA, knowledge, skills and attitudes. Thats a cultural change and may benefit from a dash of behaviorism in the mix as well.

Im game, but if please brush up on the jargon and lingo used in instructional deign a bit so we can facilitate communication more effectively. If you need some links, I'll drum up a few.
I will definitely be adding these to my reading list and thinking about them over the next few days. Thank you for the heads-up.

I really don't feel we need a committee to enforce 'meeting outcomes' and incite 'behavioral changes'.
But again, I really haven't seen it done before on the GMC or the GM tutorial scene as a whole. A small pilot wouldn't hurt. Perhaps then we'd know for sure if we need it.

See, the accountability thing is already working, you two are holding me accountable to my own statements. I don't see why this can't work on tutorials the same way it can on discussion topics.
 
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Kenjiro

Guest
How would it be done though?

I'm all for a 'pinned topic' or something that lists reputable tutorials. That's about the only way I see this working. Otherwise anything else will be buried in the forums pretty quickly.

If it's the 'pinned topic' method (or something similar), I am all for it. :)
 
So I started learning to code from scratch (no previous experience) about 3 years ago. I found GameMaker and with the less daunting DnD method which could be expanded with code, I was sold. I quickly realised I needed help and invested in the Apprentice/Companion books. I also found and worked with some of Shaun's tutorials. I would like to think I am now a couple of notches above noob and still a long way from competent. Here are my thoughts...

When I first started learning, I would have quickly become despondent if I had to start with learning about variable scope, etc. The exciting feeling of seeing my dragon character move across the screen for the first time still makes me smile. Within five minutes I had "coded" a character that moved. It was inspiring. It made me want to do more. For this reason alone I think there is a place for tutorials that allow noobs to get somewhere quick; it's the hook!

After about 3-6 months I quickly found that I didn't really have a clue what I was doing. I was copying code (which it turns out wasn't actually the best of code either) and making things happen, but when I came to try and create something from scratch, I was lost in a sea of bugs and syntax errors that I didn't understand. At this point I actually gave up on coding for 9 months, before crawling back to try again. This time, I tried to learn what I was doing. I read the manual, read the tech blogs, tried to write simple code without any help and build it up from there. This was painful but it worked. I can now sit down, think about what I want to do, and make it work. Do I still run into errors? Heck yes! I still look at code I made 3 weeks ago and realise how I could have written it better. I am by no means a great coder, but I have developed the ability to self-improve.

I now get to my main point...

If I had started with better tutorials, that explain the process as they go, and write solid code, I may have been able to speed up my learning. So I agree with FrostyCat that something could be done to help noobs in this way. However I still feel there is definitely a place for video tutorials and people starting with exciting examples rather than having to read the manual for 6 months before they're allowed near the keyboard. The two processes should be entwined.
How would it be done though? I'm all for a 'pinned topic' or something that lists reputable tutorials. That's about the only way I see this working. Otherwise anything else will be buried in the forums pretty quickly. ...
I'd worry that this would become a mess of comments, unless it was closely controlled. Personally I think a wiki, with moderated content by the guru's, could be an excellent resource hub. It could include reviewed tutorials that meet the mark, answers to FAQ, etc. There could then be a wiki section on the GMC for people to discuss its content, ask questions, etc.

Whatever happens, or if nothing happens, I think there will always be people who don't get it, or try to shortcut and don't want to learn. Some of these will come through thanks to the help of the GMC, whilst others will be gone after 6 months and never return. Just a fact. But I'll always be grateful for those that helped me with my issues (not just in the GMC) and meant that I still love GMS and am still learning :)
 

RangerX

Member
I remember when I started a general coding class during my level design degree some years ago.
The teachers started by explaining what is what (variables, functions, loops, etc) and the basic logic to make us understand we are talking to a machine and how does that machine "thinks".
Right there at the second of third class, we were in GM8 and she made us create a blue square sprite, putting it into an object and made us write 4 little events (keyboard events for each directions) with a simple "X+value" inside for each direction.
In no time we were moving a blue square around in the screen and that felt AWESOME. It also made us understand alot of things and what was really going on. Extremely encouraging for the rest.
So as Micheal Bateman pointed out, I clearly think there's a way to teach the noobs in a way that is quick on results and encouraging. Its in the "how to" and nobody on the internet is all that good at teaching true noobs the right way. At least not a random YouTube dude.
 

Niels

Member
Without people like shaun spalding or heartbeast I would have probably never made a single project in gamemaker... nowadays I rarely look up on YouTube tutorials, but it learned me the basics without me having to reinvent the wheel. So yes I'm a big fan of youtube tutorials
 

Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
I've tried watching tutorials to get up to speed with the new GMS2 stuff (and even some GMS1 stuff I never really tried), and the amount of cringe I've felt over solutions advocated by their makers is enough to convince me that some quality control definitely could come in handy.
 

johnwo

Member
Just my two cents:

Looking up stuff to get a sense of concept is fine, enabling ye ol'e "copypasta" is not.
Not to be cruel, I think that rather than the title of this topic being: "Holding tutorial content accountable to novice aptitude", it should be: "Holding tutorial content accountable to general ineptitude".

Knowing why X does Y is paramount when coding anything. Looking at an example to get a grip on a concept is okay, as long as you can read AND understand the code; This way you may improve the code, or recognize limitations or faults in it.
If you don't have an idea of what some snippet of code is doing, you should not use it until you know.

Make a video explaining the concepts, do not give the viewer some sub-par code that he/she can copy and paste, as this do not teach anything else than how to transcript or hold CTRL and C/V at the same time.
Understanding how and why some snippets work and others don't is valuable. Giving someone a snippet that "somehow" works, is not.

TL;DR:
I generally agree with the OP, but I do think there is some value in video tutorials (albeit they shouldn't be as C&P friendly as they are now...).

Pardon the bad formulations of sentences as English is not my first language.
 
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John Bailey

Member
I personally learned just about everything I know by starting with tutorials, and then moving on to trial and error. Tutorials have their use, but I think people just don't know how to use them right. They should be a starting point to give you the ability to self correct, not a crutch to rely on whenever you're too lazy to figure something out.
 

Storyteller

Member
I do apologize for my lack of action in this thread (and on the forums lately), summer is my time with family and its about all the time I get with them. I will be free after the 5th of next month and plan to revisit this topic.

Ive pulled out my copy of Rapid Instructional Design, by George M Piskurich

I will be making a series of threads, one for each of the ADDIE steps, that cover some of the different considerations that need be taken during each phase, such as difference in target audiences (tutorials for a teenage hobbyist would be very different for a working professional at an ad agency) and different approaches to evaluation, such as objective measures like number of views and subjective results like positive language in video comments sections, etc.

I look forward to advancing dialogue on this subject in the coming months, better quality training material for GM will lead to better quality games later for everyone :)
 
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Blakkid489

Guest
Hmmmm @FrostyCat has made a good point about newbies and YouTube videos. On that same coin, It really is how the mind works and what YOU want to get out of it. Anyone can copy and paste a code, but what are you getting out of it if you don't understand why the code works?
 
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Blakkid489

Guest
A working game you can sell. You don't need to understand something to copy it.
View attachment 10833
Well that's generalizing it though. If we're referring to just the act of copying and pasting then yeah, no need to understand that. Copy and paste to your heart's desire.
spongebart square-simpson it up


EDIT: Nvm, you're right. I'm wrong. You win
 

Rattlejaw

Member
Hmmmm @FrostyCat has made a good point about newbies and YouTube videos. On that same coin, It really is how the mind works and what YOU want to get out of it. Anyone can copy and paste a code, but what are you getting out of it if you don't understand why the code works?
Well, I look at it as a student sitting in class taking notes during a lecture. Yeah, the student can copy the notes, but if they don't look it over and study what they wrote down, they'll probably do poorly on a test. I've watched tutorials and I thought Shaun Spalding and Heartbeast do a great job at explaining the logic behind the code they are typing.

It sounds like some of the old timers of GML are a bit salty because they had to learn the language the hard way. Now they see some noob riding the coattails of veteran GML coders by having easy access to fundamental code. Well, that's just the way it is. Pioneers have always had to do the trailblazing and grunt work, which paves the way for an easier path to future participants.
 

Simon Gust

Member
Well, I look at it as a student sitting in class taking notes during a lecture. Yeah, the student can copy the notes, but if they don't look it over and study what they wrote down, they'll probably do poorly on a test. I've watched tutorials and I thought Shaun Spalding and Heartbeast do a great job at explaining the logic behind the code they are typing.

It sounds like some of the old timers of GML are a bit salty because they had to learn the language the hard way. Now they see some noob riding the coattails of veteran GML coders by having easy access to fundamental code. Well, that's just the way it is. Pioneers have always had to do the trailblazing and grunt work, which paves the way for an easier path to future participants.
I always though learning it the hard way was the best part about learning any language in-depth. I used to watch tutorials but of course didn't understand them. I soon started coding on my own and I had a great time figuring things out. Things that are not explained in any tutorial even.
 

FrostyCat

Member
A working game you can sell. You don't need to understand something to copy it.
Well, I look at it as a student sitting in class taking notes during a lecture. Yeah, the student can copy the notes, but if they don't look it over and study what they wrote down, they'll probably do poorly on a test. I've watched tutorials and I thought Shaun Spalding and Heartbeast do a great job at explaining the logic behind the code they are typing.

It sounds like some of the old timers of GML are a bit salty because they had to learn the language the hard way. Now they see some noob riding the coattails of veteran GML coders by having easy access to fundamental code. Well, that's just the way it is. Pioneers have always had to do the trailblazing and grunt work, which paves the way for an easier path to future participants.
If novices were having easy access to code that's actually fundamental, I'd be more than pleased. Do you know how much I wished people had pointed me to variable scope, with block patterns, GML best practices and basic CS when I was new?

Except that's not happening. They are getting example code that isn't genuinely fundamental, and left without skills that are genuinely fundamental.

As much as most of the tutorials involve a working product, not one involves a sellable product. Getting from tutorial to sellable product between requires having a grasp of non-genre-specific skills that can be put together to suit virtually any need. It's the lack of coverage on skills enabling such a transition, and the constant encouragement for not having these skills, that make me salty. Tutorials can't be expected to cover every project-specific thing.

For example, when rookies ask about how to add a second score to a tutorial-made platformer engine, I just have to wonder what they took home from that tutorial. Making a platformer clearly requires knowing how variables work, but why is the question being asked if it is "explained well"?

The only reasonable answer is that it isn't explained well, and basic skills are not being given sufficient emphasis.
 

GMWolf

aka fel666
I completely agree when it comes to 20 part video tutorials such as "Building and rpg game" or "Make a platformer game!".
Which is why i have been steering my tutorials towards concepts, rather than features. Teaching about objects, reflection, State machines, Actors and actions, using json, vertex buffers, or how to use arrays to create structures.

I do see many people simply copying my code, and not understanding why it wont work in their projects. I dont think that is an inherent issue with video tutorials, but more to do with the type of tutorials.
THe number one offender in my books are again, tutorials like "Make and RPG" , which feature code which is mostly applicable to that one project. leading to very counter productive tutorials.

Or, more constructively... do you think it would be beneficial to start lobbying for some official "how to code things right" video tutorial series and have that linked in the GMS2 startup or such? (not necessarily made by YYG themselves, but sponsored by them and endorsed by them).
I would love that.


[Edit]
I realize this post is self promotion. But I have no shame...
 
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G

Guest

Guest
The next step for this thread, unfortunately, is for the people who do know what they're doing, and are helpful, to curate a list of decent videos to point new people to. This is unfortunate because it requires people who don't need to watch the videos, to watch the videos, in order to weed out some decent ones. I am not one of those people. Perhaps @FrostyCat should start a sticky thread in Tutorials called Sound Starting Points Unless You WANT to Fail (or something similarly acerbic) and then curate the first post, taking recommendations from trusted posters yet also allowing suggestions (that could be ignored) from self-promoters and misguided Heartbeast followers. It would be along the lines of Nocturne's and David Richard's Essential Game Design Articles and List of FREE Tools stickies in the Game Design forum.
 
G

Guest

Guest
I completely agree when it comes to 20 part video tutorials such as "Building and rpg game" or "Make a platformer game!".
Which is why i have been steering my tutorials towards concepts, rather than features. Teaching about objects, reflection, State machines, Actors and actions, using json, vertex buffers, or how to use arrays to create structures.

I do see many people simply copying my code, and not understanding why it wont work in their projects. I dont think that is an inherent issue with video tutorials, but more to do with the type of tutorials.
THe number one offender in my books are again, tutorials like "Make and RPG" , which feature code which is mostly applicable to that one project. leading to very counter productive tutorials.


I would love that.
Yes, this is absolutely correct, at least from my view as a benighted learner but someone with teaching experience in other areas. @Fel666 and @Pixelated_Pope tutorials tend to be concept-based and extensible. Heartbeast's (and don't get me wrong, he's a well-meaning guy, I have a copy of his book sitting on the table) tend to miss that point for some reason; and even at least some of his concept-based tutorials tend not to be extensible---I'm thinking of the random level generation one.
 

Rattlejaw

Member
I completely agree when it comes to 20 part video tutorials such as "Building and rpg game" or "Make a platformer game!".
Which is why i have been steering my tutorials towards concepts, rather than features. Teaching about objects, reflection, State machines, Actors and actions, using json, vertex buffers, or how to use arrays to create structures.

I do see many people simply copying my code, and not understanding why it wont work in their projects. I dont think that is an inherent issue with video tutorials, but more to do with the type of tutorials.
THe number one offender in my books are again, tutorials like "Make and RPG" , which feature code which is mostly applicable to that one project. leading to very counter productive tutorials.


I would love that.


[Edit]
I realize this post is self promotion. But I have no shame...
I'd love to see you do a parallax tutorial for GMS2 because parallax seems kind of wonky in GMS2.
 

GMWolf

aka fel666
I'd love to see you do a parallax tutorial for GMS2 because parallax seems kind of wonky in GMS2.
Im still looking for a nicer way to do it, without having to determine you parallax constants in code. Im thinking a json file or something. But still not the best.
 

Docker

Member
I've said it once and I'll say it again.

Either newcomers need to be pointed towards resources that teach basic programming concepts inside or outside or game development such as OOP, DS&A, inheritance, abstraction etc or people need to stop pandering to lazy learners.

All of the people named I have personally watched their videos, now I am by no means comparable in skill to many people on this forum and yet if you go through them you will probably find comments from me that involve making the code more modular, removing duplicate or unnecessary code, fixing bugs, added features and so forth.

Why am I able to understand these concepts and make, what I believe to be, improvements? because I don't copy code, see it working and say 'great!', I spend a lot of time reading manuals, completing courses not related to game development, learning the concepts behind what is going on and so forth. There is absolutely NO REASON that a newcomer that has access to the same resources as me cannot do the same thing that I have done, as far as I'm concerned its not the tutorial makers problem its the student who is too lazy to do any form of self learning.
 
It is sometimes annoying the sheer number of people coming to this forum asking about how to do something using one of the tutorials they watched. But I'd say there's ten at max for any particular tutorial. That seems like a lot, but when I checked, Shaun Spalding has anywhere between 15,000 and 500,000 views on any given tutorial. Now a certain number of those never actually decided to program it. Using conservative numbers, let's say 50% of them did actually use the tutorial. Then let's say there's 50 people who can't figure it out and post to the forum. That still means the percentage of people actually having trouble is only between and 0.2% and 0.67%. Those are fairly conservative numbers (I'd say it's more like 75% and 10 people), but if you want even more conservative estimates, there's still no conceivable way I can imagine ending up with a percentage higher than like, 5%.

Doesn't seem like a terribly big problem. You can't make certain every single person avoids copy and paste code. If anybody here cares that much, start making your own tutorials if you want. I'd love to see some.
 
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