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Holding tutorial content accountable to novice aptitude on the GMC

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
Part of the limitations of youtube tutorials is when you're a channel owner, analytics tell you the shorter the video you can make, the better it is for hits/views. So they tend to gloss over important stuff. We're unfortunately in a soundbite world.
Wouldn't splitting a 30 minute video into a 3-part 10-minute series be even better because then people are forced to watch 3x as many videos? Or doesn't psychology work that way?
 

GMWolf

aka fel666
Wouldn't splitting a 30 minute video into a 3-part 10-minute series be even better because then people are forced to watch 3x as many videos? Or doesn't psychology work that way?
Multi part videos end up very wired statistics wise.
Or at least, they have for me.
You would think the first part gets more views than subsequent parts but that's not even the case...
 

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
You would think the first part gets more views than subsequent parts but that's not even the case...
I often accidentally start series in the middle and then realize I never watched the first part, so I abort watching that video and go for the first part so I get the context. If that happens a lot for other people as well (not sure how normal I am :p) that could explain a bias for later parts... anyone doing this mistake will watch them twice metric-wise, bumping up views. (part of the reason for this is that I'm subbed to a lot of channels and sometimes I end up having to skip episodes to stay up to date somewhat with all channels, so I don't pay attention a lot to the number on the thumbnail)
 
S

Snayff

Guest
As a very recent member of this forum I am perhaps guilty of some of the aforementioned complaints. I hope not, but as a potential offender I thought I would share my thoughts on my short experience with the GMC. People before me in this thread have already made plenty of cogent points so I won't look to repeat them.

I wanted to make a game, something of my very own. After looking around (and floundering with unity for a while) I saw promise in game maker. I picked it up and started the search for a place to begin, with the results largely falling in to two categories: "make this game" or "this concept explained". Knowing very little, bordering on nothing, except what I don't know, I went for the former, expecting it to teach extensible ideas.

Without commenting on the quality of the broadcasts the experience seemed largely OK; I came away with enough of an understanding to implement some basic ideas. So where now, to further or refine the ideas? And here I became somewhat unstuck. I read some concept info and tutorials (thanks for the help @Fel666 , @Yal, @CardinalCoder64 !) which, while exceedingly interesting and often just as helpful, were too far removed from my current knowledge base for me to engage with.

I am now working with someone one and one, to supplement my learning, and most of the paradigms and methods learned from the original tutorial series have been thrown out, for a variety of reasons.

All this to say that I feel a lack of direction was a large part of the beginner's challenge. A stickied thread of tutorials focused on building up a foundation, similar to nocturne's one on design, would be great, as would a suggested order to follow. However, without tying it back to the underlying reason of why we are learning each foundation I think the journey can feel direction-less. Knowing that I am learning about state machines to support player actions (among many other things) or variable scope allowing for select game data to be shared helps keep things cohesive and the bolsters the feeling that we are working toward something greater.

Well, that's my take anyway. There are lots of people who know their stuff and I would be keen to learn from them, should they want to share their knowledge. As, I am sure, are many others.
 

Niels

Member
All you "anti-YouTube tutorial" people assume that people who learn by tutorials aren't interested in learning concepts and why stuff works...
 

GMWolf

aka fel666
All you "anti-YouTube tutorial" people assume that people who learn by tutorials aren't interested in learning concepts and why stuff works...
Read carefully and you will see that we actually accuse YouTubers not caring about their viewers not learning anything. They go for the view grabs.
 

NicoFIDI

Member
I completly agree on the teach to think instead of teach to do.
But theres a big downside to this, people that want to think already does it. And the other ones doesn't care.
I did watch those tutorials you complain and find also lots of errors, but i also watch extra credits, and gdc to satisfy my brain usefull food.
And this brings me to the aclaration i wanted to provide:
The bad food it's in the store as accesible as the good food, you might want one over the other, same to code and brain food.
The reason why you see more people with this it's not the increasing source of bad code, but the increasing source of people using Game maker. We are not the marginal self teached compulsive creative programmers anymore. We are now a public common field for casual people. And the casual people don't want depth the want snacks.

So that's something we need to keep in mind when we try to teach to think, because some people just doesn't want that.

PS: my icon was only posible thanks to HeartBeast lets pixel :D
 
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dudeman85

Guest
"Good artists copy, great artists steal."
As a artist I can say that everything is of value. Take it all in then make it your own down the road. We all gotta start somewhere. Ill be waiting for some tutorials from the "pros" then that correct it if this is such a issue.
 

zendraw

Member
"Good artists copy, great artists steal."
As a artist I can say that everything is of value. Take it all in then make it your own down the road. We all gotta start somewhere. Ill be waiting for some tutorials from the "pros" then that correct it if this is such a issue.
that quote is such BS. but then again, oh WOW steve jobs said it. (and some other guy before him).
 
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dudeman85

Guest
Haha I would have to agree but it felt like it would fit this topic in whatever way you want to take it.
In any case. I would to see some other ways to learning GML for beginners like myself. I would say dont go straight into a video tutorial. Learn about programming in general or you will be confused like I was not long ago. What a loops, ifs, and all that stuff.
Some tutorials jump right in and just start coding and its like wait hold on. Im liking the book GameMaker Essentials. Had to pretty much skip half the book to get where I wanted to be but I find that learning to be good and at my own pace instead of pausing every few minutes to analyze the code.
Just my opinion. Could be wrong but working for me as of now.
 
M

Melazee

Guest
If I'm honest, I'm one of those newbs who is using a tutorial. I did think to myself that I wished there was something that taught the basics of scripting in Gamemaker. I do use the documentation too, and try to make my own stuff up, but I have never been good at learning from text in a book. I'm much better at learning from seeing someone do something in front of me, or in a video, so the text documents don't make too much sense to me. They sort of just appear garbled to me most of the time!

However, when I watch the tutorials, I copy exactly what they are doing first of all, and then I will go on to try to make my own adaption of what they have done but change things around so it's not exactly the same (without copy/pasting code). For example, I just completed Heartbeasts' "Your First Game" tutorial series on Udemy, with the top down shaceship shooter. I'm now making my own version, and I've changed the direction the game plays in, so by doing that, I've learned a lot about how the axis works in Gamemaker, and how to manipulate objects on different axis. This weirdly took me a while to get used to, despite being dead simple! I'm also trying to add smaller, new features such as adding save game features (which wasn't covered in the tutorial), and unlocking new characters after getting to a certain score. I like taking what I'm taught, and trying to carry it on further.

I will also trawl around the net for deeper explanations of what each command I come across does (and if I struggle to understand it, I will come back to it later).

I'm not a fan of explanations where people just type out some code without explaining it and expect you to copy/paste it. I would rather not use that code, and find my own way of doing it if I am unable to understand what I am using if that's the case. I love when people explain their thought processes behind their work.

I totally understand the salty feeling though. When I started learning 3D art, it was much harder to learn as I didn't have much internet access. Now you've got people coming in, making a bad model and whacking PBR shaders on it and hey, it automatically looks awesome, but do they really understand the why things work the way they do? Does this model even animate? Oh gosh, why are there so many Ngons?! D:
 

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
I totally understand the salty feeling though. When I started learning 3D art, it was much harder to learn as I didn't have much internet access. Now you've got people coming in, making a bad model and whacking PBR shaders on it and hey, it automatically looks awesome, but do they really understand the why things work the way they do? Does this model even animate? Oh gosh, why are there so many Ngons?! D:
That goes to show that you can make something cool with OP tools and you can make something cool with raw skill. I'd still advocate you need both skill and the right tools to make something truly awesome, though.
 

Llama_Code

Member
If I'm honest, I'm one of those newbs who is using a tutorial. I did think to myself that I wished there was something that taught the basics of scripting in Gamemaker. I do use the documentation too, and try to make my own stuff up, but I have never been good at learning from text in a book. I'm much better at learning from seeing someone do something in front of me, or in a video, so the text documents don't make too much sense to me. They sort of just appear garbled to me most of the time!

However, when I watch the tutorials, I copy exactly what they are doing first of all, and then I will go on to try to make my own adaption of what they have done but change things around so it's not exactly the same (without copy/pasting code). For example, I just completed Heartbeasts' "Your First Game" tutorial series on Udemy, with the top down shaceship shooter. I'm now making my own version, and I've changed the direction the game plays in, so by doing that, I've learned a lot about how the axis works in Gamemaker, and how to manipulate objects on different axis. This weirdly took me a while to get used to, despite being dead simple! I'm also trying to add smaller, new features such as adding save game features (which wasn't covered in the tutorial), and unlocking new characters after getting to a certain score. I like taking what I'm taught, and trying to carry it on further.
I think the biggest issue with a lot of these tutorials is that they tell you how to do something without explaining the functions the use or why they work. I personally have never watched a heartbeast tutorial so I don't know how he teaches, nor am I speaking about him in general.

I'm quite the opposite, I can't learn from videos because I don't absorb anything, my preferred method is to read it and follow along executing as I go. But I have watched videos from people that just do stuff like:

Ok open a code box and throw in there x -= 4;close that and now your player moves left.

Um, ok. What is X? What does the 4 mean? Why am I subtracting 4 from x and making it equal to x? Is that subtracting or is that a special thing for code?

Obviously that's a dead simple one, but you have to assume the person viewing your video has never coded a hello world in their life and knows nothing about it. You need to take the time to explain exactly what your doing, what every function does and what your code is supposed to so. So the person walks away not only knowing how to make a player move left, the know how to modify that movement to fit their needs. This is not always the case.

This becomes more important with more complicated techniques. It's great to make a tutorial about particles, physics, multiplayer, surfaces or whatever. But if they are just watching you type you have shown them how to copy your code for one thing. If you explain what everything does, now they know how to create their own and modify them.
 

sylvain_l

Member
you have to assume the person viewing your video has never coded
no you don't !
you can, and even should if your target are new coders. And the video is "your first coding project with GM".
But shouldn't if the targets are coders already familiar with gamemaker. (learning what x is should be the first lesson; no need to repeat it again and again and again; that's redundant and boring for the video creator and those who watch)
 

Llama_Code

Member
no you don't !
you can, and even should if your target are new coders. And the video is "your first coding project with GM".
But shouldn't if the targets are coders already familiar with gamemaker. (learning what x is should be the first lesson; no need to repeat it again and again and again; that's redundant and boring for the video creator and those who watch)
If your watching a video about how to make a player move, then there is a high probability you don't know much about what x is.

That's my point, if someone is watching a video to learn something, they obviously don't know it, or don't have a strong grasp of it.

If you already know what x is, you probably already know the basics of making something move.

And that's teh exact trap these videos fall in to. Most people watching them need to learn, and they are showing how to so something without explanation. So all the really learn is that one singular (possibly limited) way of doing something.

If the video is starting to slow, you can easily jump ahead. If it's missing information there is nothing you can do.
 

zendraw

Member
i think gm tutorialists shuld make 'beginner tuts' as a bonus to theyr content that shuld be targeted towads more advanced stuff. game maker has history and plenty of tutorialists that alredy have covered the basics.
 

NicoFIDI

Member
The problem it's not the quality of the tutorial, but the content. If you have a code so clean that you can eat over It, and a talk so great you could be president, but you apply only one solution metamorfed into other things, then you are still bad.
Good programmers don't pick a favorite tool, or a favorite way yo do things, we need to constantly learn new stuff and apply what's the best for the problem.
Most of the tutorials on internet show the same solution to diferent problems, for example: The finite state machine, it's suposed to be a solution when you have strict rules and cases for a state transition, and yet you see It in platformers... WTF? How much states do you need? And how limited it's the transition between them?
If you tell me you have a Boss, Who have multiple attacks, taunts and stages, i whould recomend a state machine.
But for the player i whould recomend some simple validations, like "cant jump on the air" or "cant attack while hurt"

So the thing with these guys it's not the polish of the content it's the over all quality
 

GMWolf

aka fel666
The problem it's not the quality of the tutorial, but the content. If you have a code so clean that you can eat over It, and a talk so great you could be president, but you apply only one solution metamorfed into other things, then you are still bad.
Good programmers don't pick a favorite tool, or a favorite way yo do things, we need to constantly learn new stuff and apply what's the best for the problem.
Most of the tutorials on internet show the same solution to diferent problems, for example: The finite state machine, it's suposed to be a solution when you have strict rules and cases for a state transition, and yet you see It in platformers... WTF? How much states do you need? And how limited it's the transition between them?
If you tell me you have a Boss, Who have multiple attacks, taunts and stages, i whould recomend a state machine.
But for the player i whould recomend some simple validations, like "cant jump on the air" or "cant attack while hurt"

So the thing with these guys it's not the polish of the content it's the over all quality
Eh. Depending on the platformer, a state machine may be quite useful for the player. But i see your point.

For instance, we get a lot of newcomers directly manipulating physics objects just because heartbeats does it, despite it not being best practice.
(Other examples exist, i dont mean to pick on heartbeast).

Boweber the issue can be more complex than just poor content.
Even a very well written platformer is of little use: it only ever teaches the user to make that one platformer (to take another example from heartbeast, his rpg tutorial has a lot of code only applicable to that one project)

I've picked a lot on heartbeats. But many others (including me) make similar mistakes. That's simply because making tutorials us hard, and givijng the audience what they want (not what they need) gets more views.
But as tutorial creators, we should stay away from that.
 

GMWolf

aka fel666
It also suprises me neither Shaun or heartbeast (the two largest GM YouTube people) are not taking part in the convo.

We should probably tag them in @uheartbeast @ShaunJS

[Edit] errr. Why have neither of them been on the GMC for so long?

Sorry for double post. Not sure editing and mentioning works with notifications atm.
 
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NicoFIDI

Member
I am not a teacher, i can't help here. :/

But if you have a complex behaviour and need a state machine on your character then just use it. What i meant it's about how we see lots of people using state machine in the early state of the game, without even knowing what are they doing. It's like if i make a player an abstract factory just in case.
 
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hogwater

Member
There's a great series remaking Super Mario Bros NES in GMS. The neat thing is that he starts simple, and adds complexity as needed. So it starts with a simple step event, then moves to a state machine later when needed.

The series gets too advanced for me very quickly (in certain aspects) since I am only using things I fully understand and/or code myself. But it's really helpful to come back to it now and then as I learn.

 

Edmanbosch

Member
Even a very well written platformer is of little use: it only ever teaches the user to make that one platformer (to take another example from heartbeast, his rpg tutorial has a lot of code only applicable to that one project)
Actually, some concepts from Platformers can still be useful for other types of projects. For example, you could use a similar movement system for your Platformer in a Top-Down Shooter or an RPG(without gravity and jumping, of course). And you could use the checkpoint system in a Platformer for saving your room and position for saves in a Metroidvania or an RPG.
 

GMWolf

aka fel666
Actually, some concepts from Platformers can still be useful for other types of projects. For example, you could use a similar movement system for your Platformer in a Top-Down Shooter or an RPG(without gravity and jumping, of course). And you could use the checkpoint system in a Platformer for saving your room and position for saves in a Metroidvania or an RPG.
From my experience beginners have no idea how to translate code from one project to another. Because theyh are used to spoon feeding. (And don't always realise code can work across different projects)

By making vids that are project agnostic, it will force beginners to see the nature of code.
 

Edmanbosch

Member
From my experience beginners have no idea how to translate code from one project to another. Because theyh are used to spoon feeding. (And don't always realise code can work across different projects)

By making vids that are project agnostic, it will force beginners to see the nature of code.
Yeah, that is true. That may be part of the reason why people such as Shaun Spalding get a number of questions asking for tutorials on an RPG or a Fighting game, the made a tutorial series on something like a Platformer and some people want more of that for other genres.
 

NicoFIDI

Member
By making vids that are project agnostic, it will force beginners to see the nature of code.
Actually every time you make code, copy pasters will do that.
Instead of focus the video on writing the code, maybe a focus on decompose the code should be better.
If people have the hability to decompose code, then you can throw a fully fleshed complete source code, and they will learn on their time.

And that's how real life programmers work.
We are not here to create art, we solve problems, the art of the games comes from the designer.

Indie studios and Indie devs take both roles, but we need to set them appart if we talk about teach seriously.

PS: (I repeat that I dont know teaching, I talk as a student and programmer).
 
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