Section 5 needs a lot more challenges

It’s one thing that this section is faster/heavier than the last, but I feel like most of the time I’m just hearing an explanation as to why we’re doing something, then listening to the presenter essentially read out the line he’s typing as he’s typing it. “Then we’ll set this equal to this, of type this, because this” etc.

The challenges where I’m asked to figure out how to do what we’re about to do are very appreciated but few and far between. The last course section with Escape, by contrast, had a lot more moments where I was asked to try to do these things myself.

Now you could say I could impose those challenges on myself, but we move so fast from line to line that by the time I could figure out what we’re about to try to do, the line has already been written, and often it’s multiple lines at a time. I don’t know when I’m about to encounter a place that I could try to figure out myself.

It’s just a bit disappointing. This approach feels closer to the usual YouTube videos you can find where they’re very useful, but not so great for getting practice in and solidifying the concepts by being forced to figure it out yourself, with or without provided hints. As a result, I’m finding myself pausing the video and rewinding considerably more, just so I give myself a chance to not only write the line that was written, but to write a comment and teach the “why” to myself, without getting to actually practice figuring it out myself too (which is by far the most important practice you really need in programming imo).

The most valuable approach is having access to a guiding hand as you google and problem solve yourself, then compare it vs the mentor’s approach. But in this, I feel like I’m mostly watching the mentor write their own code and I’m just copying it and summarizing the explained “whys” as my own comments. I feel like I’m having to read my own code three or four times as a result before I get it.

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Thanks for the feedback.

This section is going to be updated at some point as a lot of other people have felt the same way about the Toon Tanks section. I’ll make sure this gets shared with the team. There is another thread somewhere which contains a range of feedback like this but I can’t remember where.

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Of course! And that’s good, I see. Yeah I didn’t see a place for feedback, although maybe it’s at the end of this section.

There’s one other thing I’ve gathered since making this post. I feel like as people going through the course, we’re not involved with the planning stage of the game we’re writing, the problems we’re solving. We’re really just told what we need to do, and sometimes we’re writing the code before we’re told why we need to do it. The lack of being given insight into the planning before we organize and write the code makes everything sort of come out of nowhere and that much harder to follow.

What would really go a long way is making us involved in the decision-making / planning aspect of laying out the groundwork to the code. Slides that show planning, ask these questions as to what we need to do, why we need to do them, and then finally how we do them in the code itself. I think there’s a good bit of that in the last section with Escape, and I know this section covers a lot more topics and might be very verbose if all of that planning was also taught, but I think it has to be done for this section of the course to really stick.

Besides, in programming and especially in game development, I get the sense that planning out your designs before you actually implement them is incredibly important. Just allowing us to feel like we’re a part of that (and introducing little challenges in the planning along the way to see if we can also figure out what the course writers figured out) would help a ton in making this content a lot more digestible.

It’s mostly the constant unexpected decisions and coding that cause a lot of pausing and rewinding (for me anyway), like we’re being shown an end result step-by-step, rather than walking through a project together from start to finish. The former is still totally fine and extremely helpful, but it’s also something you can readily find for free on YouTube, or very cheap with a lot of Patreons lately. When I come to Udemy paying a decent price, I kind of expect the more involved teaching approach. This section has glimpses of it, but I think what would solidify that is making the viewer involved in the planning process as well as the implementation/coding process, as much as possible. The more complex the topic, the more the viewer has to really understand how the planning process worked. At least I feel that way but I can’t speak for others.

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You’re right. It takes a lot to plan out any application and games do have to co-ordinate more with audio teams, visuals, textures and so on, and the larger it is, the more time you need to plan. However, this shouldn’t necessarily be done at the start because if you plan too much up-front, you feel invested in your design good or bad and it can lead to rigidity. Have a big-picture idea and notes around it but don’t be afraid to change the design

For this particular course, they’ve designed a curriculum that is meant to teach you UE and C++ and, at least with building escape anyway, offers you a chance to design your own map and take it in your own direction with the tools that have been demonstrated. Take a look at some of the work that’s been shared - they are impressive. Unfortunately, with any course, it is too easy to follow the instructor and not try things on your own.

The course is not a games design course however - that’s a different story and would need a whole course on its own, and unfortunately, there are too many genres out there to be able to create any one course to cover it. For that, play games, get ideas, see how designers have approached their games and come up with your own ideas.

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Right, I wasn’t expecting a games design course, just that the ToonTanks section and code structure was clearly planned out before it’s taught to us, but we don’t get to see any of that brainstorming or organizing and planning of said code structure. We are only shown where to organize our code, but not why it was decided that way. If that makes sense. Whereas in Escape, a lot of that planning and question asking was presented before we started writing and organizing code.

I think I found the thread you’re talking about so I’ll post my feedback there too so you don’t need to worry about rounding up feedback from all over the place.

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