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MikeM
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Default I'm new..... - 02-24-2010, 03:01 PM

Ok, I am a 34 year old stay at home dad who has always been interested in computers. I do my fair share of surfing while my kids are napping. I've got a Bachelor's Degree and eventually will need to return to the work force. My guess is probably in the next 5 years or so.

Could someone give me some more information on what I could do in the field of computers?

Any suggestions would be welcome.

Thanks. Mike
   
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AmoebaMan
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Thumbs up 02-24-2010, 07:59 PM

well, if you are a new programmer, this isn't really the right place for you. alice is designed for beginners, but in my experience, (as a 14 year old - still good though ;P) it is not very well laid out, difficult to understand (with the initiator/"method" separation) and has a very low ceiling, meaning you can't do much with it even once you know how to get it to work.

now read through all of this plz.

if you are just starting out, a far better language would be Scratch. I'll list all of the reasons below.

1) script blocks layed out more nicely - categorized into type by color (command, movement, sensing) - NOT IN ALICE

2) less specific commands - allows much more freedom than in alice

3) easier to understand scripting method - notched blocks vs. squares

4) variables are all under the same category - no choosing whether you want a number or boolean or string LIKE IN ALICE

5) possibly the best reason of all: CUSTOM SPRITE (object) PAINTING - you can paint how you want your sprite to look - ALICE CANNOT MATCH THAT!

6) create new costumes for sprites - if you want your beach ball to turn into a dinosaur, go for it.

7) graphic effects - make your sprite dissappear, pixelate, or multiply 100 times

8) online sharing - instead of uploading your creations to a forum with no preview, you can upload them to a special website where they can be viewed RIGHT ON SITE. then, if u want to figure out how it works, you can download it

alright, those are only some of the great reasons you should use scratch. here is the only reason to use alice, and i hope you don't follow it.

1) alice can do 3D - while it is possible to imitate the 3rd dimension in scratch, it takes a lot of scripts, and is very hard. in alice, it is built in.

Now, if you decide to use scratch (which you should), go to this website. http://scratch.mit.edu
there you will find the scratch community. in the search box, type "download Scratch 1.4", follow the first link, and download Scratch. then, go back to the home page, and sign up for an account.

now, if you want, i can help you. search for my username, AmoebaMan, and click the link that says "AmoebaMan's stuff" click "add user to friends" under my picture (the squirrel), and then leave a comment on one of my projects letting me know its you (mention the alice forum). if you do that, i will be able to give you help (cuz the first few days are the hardest in programming)

that's it. download scratch, and don't give up. if you want, i will help you
   
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x2495iiii
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Default 02-24-2010, 08:06 PM

I agree that Scratch is a good language, but I think Alice is a very good start for beginners as well. Plus, if he really wants to get into scripting and customization so early in the game, he could always use Mama instead (it's Alice-based, but with improvements like a custom object creator and a standalone world exporter).

Hey, he might even be into both languages. Nothing wrong with that either.

But I don't think you give Alice enough credit, AmoebaMan. It's a good piece of software that helped a lot of people get started with programming.


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AmoebaMan
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Default 02-24-2010, 08:58 PM

maybe i don't, but as a prior scratch user, i found alice very confusing, esp. with the whole local/universal variable issue. also it peeves me that there is no boolean function for "if key is pressed"

btw, wats ur scratch username x2495?

Last edited by x2495iiii; 02-24-2010 at 09:00 PM.
   
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Dameria
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Default 02-24-2010, 09:00 PM

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Originally Posted by AmoebaMan View Post
maybe i don't, but as a prior scratch user, i found alice very confusing, esp. with the whole local/universal variable issue. also it peeves me that there is no boolean function for "if key is pressed"
What do you mean "no boolean function for "if key is pressed""? There is an event for it in the events panel.


Check out my best projects so far and please comment:

Tic-Tac-Toe 2.0 ................... http://www.alice.org/community/showthread.php?t=3548
Alice Paint ........................... http://www.alice.org/community/showthread.php?p=23408
Real-Time Clock .................. http://www.alice.org/community/showthread.php?p=12725
Maze Game ......................... http://www.alice.org/community/showthread.php?t=4301
   
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x2495iiii
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Default 02-24-2010, 09:07 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmoebaMan View Post
maybe i don't, but as a prior scratch user, i found alice very confusing, esp. with the whole local/universal variable issue. also it peeves me that there is no boolean function for "if key is pressed"

btw, wats ur scratch username x2495?
Boolean function? Do you mean While a key is pressed?

I don't have a Scratch username. I know it's uses and features from other users (like yourself), but I plan to start using it after I'm done with RP4 (maybe sooner, but no guarantees).


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Niteshifter
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Default 02-25-2010, 12:08 AM

Personally, I started with Lua scripting using SCiTE, then I went into a programming class and learned Alice which actually helped a lot. I've recently gone into Python which is really simple (it was actually a major shock to me since there was no 'end' command).

If you really want to try programming, I would suggest choosing a simple scripting language like Lua or Python as well as learning Alice since once you learn your first couple languages, all other languages are very simple (I learned Python within about 3 days after looking in the documentations for the syntax).

After you are well adapted to the scripting language (know the language syntax, limitations, etc. in it's entirety) you should try tackling an actual programming language like C, Java, etc.

Also, a side-note: Why would you need a boolean for the "When a key is pressed" event? It's an event designed to be fired once. If you need a boolean attached, then put a method that switches a boolean in the event arguments.

Last edited by Niteshifter; 02-25-2010 at 12:10 AM.
   
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jediaction
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Default 02-25-2010, 08:28 AM

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Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
Ok, I am a 34 year old stay at home dad who has always been interested in computers. I do my fair share of surfing while my kids are napping. I've got a Bachelor's Degree and eventually will need to return to the work force. My guess is probably in the next 5 years or so.

Could someone give me some more information on what I could do in the field of computers?

Any suggestions would be welcome.

Thanks. Mike


If you like making objects, do google sketchup. Its aload of fun and you can create anything and download objects from 3D warehouse straight into sketchup


Website: www.salokingames.com
FaceBook: www.facebook.com/SalokinGames
   
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AmoebaMan
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Default 02-25-2010, 04:41 PM

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Originally Posted by Dameria View Post
What do you mean "no boolean function for "if key is pressed""? There is an event for it in the events panel.
yes, but there is no function for if you want to sense it withing a script. you can only use a key press as an initiator. you can't use it as part of an "if" statement.
   
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x2495iiii
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Default 02-26-2010, 12:40 AM

But you could have the same effect easily by having a key set a variable to true while held, and false when released, then have the if statement check the variable.


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