Personal TorqueScript training?

Scripting questions, discussions, etc
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Mitovo
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by Mitovo » Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:49 am
Hello,

Almost put this in the jobs section, but as it's not related to a game or other such project, I felt it would be better here.

So, I'm posting this as a request to see if there's anyone in the Torque3D community who's experienced and fluent in TorqueScript who might be interested in giving some paid, personal lessons? The means could be something like a Skype call with a shared screen or something to that effect?

I'm asking because, as with every other language I've tried to learn (Python, Javascript, PHP, etc), I find that I inevitably hit a wall in the training in the form of the author/creator seeming to forget they're teaching alien concepts to people completely unfamiliar with them. It's usually got something to do with arrays. Now, I suppose for some that's fine and they can work through it. For me, I like to make sure I understand the concepts completely before moving on to something new, or building on them. I don't learn well through rote memorization; never have. Unfortunately, book or video learning is entirely one-direction, and so there's no way to ask questions, or ask for clarification on something that doesn't "click".

I could ask questions here about it, but that would require me first knowing if I'm even asking the right question, and possibly attempting to type up an entire example, outside of the context of the lesson it was part of.

I've come to the conclusion that book and video learning just does not work for me. I feel like I need some live, real-time training with a living, breathing human being, to help me grasp this stuff.

So, I don't know if anyone in the community does this, or would be willing to, but if you're fluent in TS, and feel you can teach a beginner in an organized and, preferably, project-oriented context (like a simple game, pong, etc), that would be great. Even if it's something like... a 30 minute lesson to teach a concept, with "homework" to do for the next one, etc, that would be great.

If anyone feels they'd like to give this a try, please PM me with your cost and availability (I live in EST and am available every weeknight after 6:30PM, or "when ever" on the weekends).

I really want to learn this, so I can begin to actually work on these projects I've been wanting to do forever. I just need assistance wrapping my head around this TorqueScript thing that I'm just not finding in written or video tutorials.

Thank you for your time/help/consideration.
JeffR
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by JeffR » Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:45 am
You can feel free to add me in skype, my email being Areloch at gmail dotcom.

I dunno if I've got time to do a full-on sitdown lesson, but I'm more than happy to answer questions and help get you sorted :)

In the interest of plotting out better documentation and tutorialstuffs in the future, what parts of video or written tutorials throw you off?
Mitovo
Posts: 85
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 5:46 pm
by Mitovo » Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:17 pm
JeffR wrote:You can feel free to add me in skype, my email being Areloch at gmail dotcom.

I dunno if I've got time to do a full-on sitdown lesson, but I'm more than happy to answer questions and help get you sorted :)

In the interest of plotting out better documentation and tutorialstuffs in the future, what parts of video or written tutorials throw you off?


Well, the problem I run into, generally, is that I'll be following along with a set of tutorials/lessons, and doing fine. The material is being taught in reasonable, bite-size chunks, with all the concepts being clearly explained and built on with each proceeding lesson.

Then, at some point - and I always envision this to myself as the author getting bored or impatient, or forgetting they're supposed to be teaching people this stuff - the next lesson suddenly blows up into this much larger mess of new concepts and information that hasn't been well explained or taught yet, but is ostensibly intended to demonstrate the previous, much simpler concept you'd just completed.

This most recent example involves a lesson out of the 3DGPAi1 book, which I'm following (I still prefer a physical book to flip through over following something on a computer screen). It's the chapter on functions, the "twotyfruity" bit. Now, I understand functions. I understand what they do (they're effectively reusable miniature programs in your code designed to achieve a specific task). But the way they're demonstrated in this lesson has me completely confused - and not even by the functions themselves, but by the (to me) crazy use of arrays used in demonstrating them. There's 3 different arrays set up within a single function, all using similar syntax, but only a single reference used to access all of them, though they're being accessed individually elsewhere in the code. The result is, I can't follow what's going on in that program. I don't know what Ken was thinking when he decided *that* would be the best, most direct way to demonstrate functions in TorqueScript to a new learner.

Sometimes I get the impression that people who create these tutorials/books/videos are more interested in showing off what they know, than they are in teaching. I've only found a single book so far where the author doesn't run afoul of this.

Now, if I had the opportunity, a time-frame where I could speak directly to Ken and say "I can't wrap my brain around what's going on in this lesson example. Can you walk me through it?", or something similar, that would be a huge help.

The frustrating bit is, I understand all this in concept. There's nothing I've seen, yet, that I don't grasp conceptually. It's how to make it all work syntactically that is throwing me off. So, when an author throws all these crazy new, unfamiliar - or at best, barely familiar - things into the mix, it's only confusing me, because now I don't know what's actually relevant and necessary to the specific topic, and what isn't.

Anyway, long-winded reply there lol. Sorry.

Thanks for your time.
JeffR
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by JeffR » Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:01 pm
Yeah, I see where you're coming from on that.

Heh, maybe some kind of tutorial setup that has the example code, and much like a footnote reference on a wiki page, have little footnote references next to stuff like arrays, local/global vars, etc that link to their relevent part of the tutorial, to help mitigate the 'wait, what's "%thing[0]" supposed to be?' effect.
Mitovo
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Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 5:46 pm
by Mitovo » Wed Dec 14, 2016 5:20 pm
That could always be helpful; having a reference/link or summary/refresher of concepts taught in a previous chapter/lesson is certainly good for someone learning something for the first time... it reinforces what they already know, or helps them remember what they may not.

For the function/twofruity example from 3DGPAi1, my approach to that bit would have been to not jump straight into that large/involved of a demonstration, but to do something like...

Example 1. Demonstrate how to print out the contents of an array with a for loop as it was already taught by, say, using only the quantities of fruit, and leaving out the prices and the other category.

That would be a reminder of how to use a for loop and how arrays work (things previously covered), and would also serve as the foundation for the actual lesson.

Example 2. Repeating the same process, same array, same contents, same result... but placing the array and for loop inside a function, which is called from elsewhere in the program.

This way, the reader/student is seeing a direct, side-by-side, a/b comparison of what the function is accomplishing the same task and, thus, how it works.

It builds on and utilizes previously learned concepts but doesn't overpower the key concept for the demonstration... functions in this case.
JeffR
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by JeffR » Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:08 pm
Yeah, i getcha.

I think part of it is, that as knowledgable as all these really awesome people that do tutorials are, they're not actually teachers. So it can sometimes be easy to forget - especially when it's one-sided teaching happening - that skipping parts of the lesson, or assuming existing knowledge, can be a bit of a gamble.

Sometimes one you have to take to get on with the lesson, to be sure, but still a gamble. Ideally in those cases, there'd at least be a 'This part of the lesson assumes you have knowledge of X, Y and Z. If you aren't familiar with these, please go to A, B or C to brush up on them before continuing'.

I know a number of tutorials adopt that method, and I feel it's a decent compromise.
Duion
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by Duion » Fri Dec 16, 2016 12:18 am
For me it took a long time until I learned how stuff actually works, I tought myself on almost everything. Over time when trying stuff out you learn more and more methods you can use and so it builds up over time.
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