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Thread: Tutorial Writing Competition

  1. #1
    Co-Founder / PGD Elder WILL's Avatar
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    Question Tutorial Writing Competition

    How do you guys feel about doing a Tutorial Writing competition here on PGD?

    It wouldn't be too hard to take part and there would be a small prize for the winner. The winner would be based on the ratings given to all the articles that are a part of the competition. The system is already in place in the CMS software of the site.
    Jason McMillen
    Pascal Game Development
    Co-Founder





  2. #2
    I suppose it would help to bring some more content; I think I was only the third person total to submit a tutorial article.

    A few things:
    1. This should still be perfectly feasible even if, e.g. someone's tutorial is for Delphi (which I don't have) because the quality is easily enough judgeable.
    2. The current article wysiwyg editor is terrible
    3. Have you had any spam article postings? Is it possible to just disable article posting for those with less than 5 posts or something? Self publishing would be nice, but it's not TOO annoying having it approved by an admin first.

  3. #3
    Sounds like a good idea, especially if it gets more content created

    cheers,
    Paul

  4. #4
    Sounds good, are there any limits on what type of tutorials you want? I mean would general tutorials to do with pascal, which don't necessarily involve games, be OK?
    I would do tutorials but idk, if i trust my level of skill to be able to teach other.

  5. #5
    PGD Staff code_glitch's Avatar
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    I've had that pong tut in the works quite a while now... Getting there. I just can't find what level to aim it at. I mean basic programmer, new programmer, or basic windows user (problem - I run linux and have done so for some time now) which I forget how to do everything. Eg. today, hit start key type in cmd (thats all OK) then typing in ls (oops) followed by a cat (oops again) and trying to grep some trees Lucky uname works though Next I might try top.

    @dazappa: you did set it to that full gui mode right? Otherwise its a right mess.

    @Will: Any limits on what libraries we use? I might start a chain of GameDev with prometheus tuts if thats acceptable, not sure yet, since Pong may be my only and last sdl tutorial. I really am losing it since I never use sdl any more. Ever. Its bare opengl once to make prometheus then I just use that
    I once tried to change the world. But they wouldn't give me the source code. Damned evil cunning.

  6. #6
    Co-Founder / PGD Elder WILL's Avatar
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    Well you can write whatever tutorials you want in the tutorials section of the site, however what we actually need are basic game design/development tutorials. How to structure the main game loop and how to represent objects and such. Learning API X, Y and Z only helps those that want to learn an API, which is fine, but you can learn those yourself with the API's own documents.

    I'd ultimately prefer if you didn't use too many if any libraries with these as the whole point is for people to learn something fundamental about game programming and development. The use of SDL for graphics-based lessons is highly encouraged since it is among the easiest to learn, set up and make use of for simple projects.

    For this first competition, and probably all other ones, I would go for what PGD needs most right now. Tutorials about the basics.

    Examples:

    • Organizing your code for a simple game project (Main loop, screen drawing, game objects, etc).
    • Basic simulated game physics and maths.
    • Basics of creating tile-based games.
    • How to create a simple platformer / side-scrolling shooter / maze game (pac-man) / (insert fundamental game genre here).
    • Game input and best practices for user interfaces.
    • How to add, with code, an easy menu for your existing game.
    • Introduction to the concept of an intermediate code layer for graphics API. (for when it needs to be changed in the future, should it be necessary)
    • From Pascal to Object Pascal for newbies in 5 easy steps...


    These are the types of tutorials we need right now. We have lots of tutorials that sort of go off on a tangent, but don't really cover the essentials. All very good tutorials mind you, but not what the site really needs to encourage NEW blood into the Pascal game programming scene. So I'm only focusing on these types of tutorials, or similar ideas.

    The best way to look at who it's for would be to take a high school student just learning CS and write for them. The ones that will read your tutorials will be the ones that have gone at least half-way or completed the first year, in which they will already know the language concepts of conditional statements, loops and functions. You have to take them from the completed level of a high school student to someone who now wants to take that knowledge of programming and the Pascal language and make a game now.

    If it helps, try to remember when you were first learning about making games.
    Jason McMillen
    Pascal Game Development
    Co-Founder





  7. #7
    PGD Staff code_glitch's Avatar
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    Yup, I figured you might say that... Although I'm with you on SDL for beginners, all I am saying there is that it may be the easiest to learn, but in my case (and a few others I reckon) who have made their own libraries, its just a tad annoying to remember

    high school student just learning CS
    Now that is indeed good news, I will assume they know how to set up their environments, or we could write some tuts on those I suppose, because it is a pain to include into your own tuts TBH.

    Although in my case, I got into game programming by C/C++ tutorials (and a book) and then picking up FreePascal and working stuff out. Ie. I learnt how to program games while learning a language and porting examples and techniques over. It only took 2 years to get where I am, and I don't regret a minute of that experience: I can read C/C++ and program games in pascal at the same time so yay.

    Can't help but take extra notice of the 'tile based games' - I've just been down that road and have the scars to prove it. I walked into the scene with a faulty rendering code and buggy tileset management. All in all it took 2 days, and 58 bug solutions to get it working properly. Without performance tweaks - I doubt many beginners are going to want to go through all that. Although I could grab prometheus and have it done in say, 8 lines?
    I once tried to change the world. But they wouldn't give me the source code. Damned evil cunning.

  8. #8
    Sounds like a good idea!

    There are some things I had trouble with when I first started designing games. Most of these problems were math related. Now I have enough knowledge to write about:
    > Trigoniometry, which is quite essential if you want more than pacman or simple platformers
    > Vectors and Matrices (and especially the dirty and confusing edges they have.. this won't be a basic introduction to them though)

    One of the topics that doesn't recieve a lot of attention in this community is Artificial intelligence. I could try to write an article about that too, because last year I recieved a nice book about it *nudge*wink*

    I also know quite alot about OpenGL/OpenAL but I feel that there are plenty of those tutorials on the internet. Yes, these are not always pascal-oriented, but that shouldn't be a problem. I actually feel that anyone who really wants to make games, but doesn't want to follow tutorials written in other languages, is being picky, since their concepts could be easily applied in pascal projects. There are exceptions though (like advanced topics + tips'n tricks), but this is my general opinion.

    I noticed that ZenGL is pretty popular nowadays. It might be a good idea to make some tutorials highlighting some of it's features in more detail.
    Coders rule nr 1: Face ur bugz.. dont cage them with code, kill'em with ur cursor.

  9. #9
    Co-Founder / PGD Elder WILL's Avatar
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    A tutorial on How to set up Lazarus for Mac or... JEDI-SDL for Delphi on Windows, Mac & Linux or Lazarus on Windows, Mac & Linux would be great too. It also could then be often referred to by other tutorials that use JEDI-SDL as a base for graphics and such. This is good practice in tutorial writing. You want to teach one thing typically not everything else leading up to it as well.

    A C to Pascal 101 could be a good topic too. For those that know C, but would rather code in Pascal. A C/C++ to Object Pascal tutorial would be even more interesting too. Though I think you could end up getting carried away and end up with a whole book in the end.

    Mostly what we want are tutorials that just teach simple concepts that will take a person with basic programming knowledge and start them into making games.
    Jason McMillen
    Pascal Game Development
    Co-Founder





  10. #10
    @code_glitch I think it's just that I don't like VB's editor as well; it's not wysiwyg at all, it's "press button for bbcode" which is unintuitive, but I know a lot of other forum software that does it too so I can't complain much.

    Pascal tags. We need them again!

    I think that's a nice idea for a tutorial Will, but I hope everyone doesn't do the exact same type of tutorial!

    Also will, Lazarus + FPC is much easier on the Mac now. I was able to simply install fpc -> fpcsrc -> lazarus, then run Lazarus and recompile it. (It almost works out of the box, but for some reason in .9.30 a recompile is still necessary or it will never find the Interfaces unit. This seems to be because it thinks the unit is outdated or newer than itself or something odd like that)

    Oh well, I think I'll end up writing a couple of tutorials anyway in the near future, and submit the one I like the most for any contest that may spring up.

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