Based on what I’ve read so far, pointers are a pretty cumbersome way referring to variables and functions. So cumbersome in fact that they feel like a way of artificially limiting the ability of an OS from deciding the best use of a computer’s available resources by forcing the computer to store information in certain locations and thereby limiting how many and indeed even which processing core the system can use to run the program. I’m sure they were great back in the days of the 80086 processor or even the 80386, but after reading the recommended tutorial, I can’t help feeling like maybe they’re a piece of programming that has outlived their usefulness.
Pointers aren’t a way of referring to variables and functions… they are a way of assigning an address to and accessing stored values from a block of memory that the computer has given you to use. Far from being cumbersome they are a rather elegant way of dealing with memory allocation and usage issues that will be with us until they stop using 1’s and 0’s.
I am pretty sure that Ben will go into greater detail and the use of them (especially in games) will become clearer. If you want a great introduction to the “down and dirty” low level magic of computing take David Malin’s Intro to Computer Science course through EdX… (Harvard CS50) it’s free and an amazing explanation of all the things that are porrly explained on the web.
Thanks for the referral, I’ll definitely be looking into that when I get the time. I rather figured that there is something that what I read just didn’t even hint at so it’ll be good to get a more in depth look at the subject.