Re: Money

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On Tue, 25 Mar 1997, Cuny, David wrote:
> Michael Packard wrote:
> > The books give you the option of going deeper than we can here on the
> > listserver.
> I agree. And the book has been highly recommended by David Gay. Let me make
> it clear that I consider the book a Good Thing for what it does. But not as
> a substitute for answers in this group, because that puts Michael Packard in
> competition with this group, and the group loses.

No it doesn't.  I enjoy the stuff that gets posted here, but quite
frankly, there is some stuff on here that gets very technical, beyond my
attention span especially when I'm not using the code being discussed.
I'm sure much of what is required for a complete explanation of one of the
topics in the book gives people who aren't interested the same reaction.
That's why I wrote the book.  If you want more than a hint, you can get
the resource, and I don't clutter everyone's mailbox with stuff they don't

> I ascribe no unkind motivations to David Gay or others. I will grant that
> perhaps his answer was *exactly* what was needed. But in the instances I was
> referring to, there was no overview, or code snippet offered.

Without an understanding of the theory and the pieces that have to work
together to make the puzzle work, a code snippet is useless.  I have given
a general overview of what I've done, MANY times.  There comes a point
when I've answered the same question 50 times, you just gotta say "read
the book"

> > I spent 4 months developing a generic arcade game engine,  it's a
> > disservice to wave my hands in the air and say "you know, just do this..."
> A disservice to whom?

It's a disservice to those asking the question.  I have a complete
solution to their problem, but it takes a lot of time to explain.  If they
want to go through the steps by trial and error they can, by all means.
If they want to avoid the serious problems I've had, they need to know
what I did and why.

> It's not "disservice" to tell someone how to do something. By the time a
> person has reached the point of knowing that they have a question, they've
> probably reached the level of being able to understand a direct answer.

That's plain not true and you know it.  I get MANY questions from people
who haven't a clue about how to get going with it.  I ask many questions
about things I have no clue about how to get going with.  To this day,
I haven't been able to understand ANY of Jacques' techical answers to me,
but I use his code every day. (Brilliant stuff Jacques!)  If you want to
teach, you need to take more time than just typing a quick answer.  I
personally find short answers frustrating.  Almost nobody here documents
their code adaquately enough to answer the questions.

> You've made a point of listing the things that your game engine does (large
> numbers of sprites, collision detection, etc.) to the group, and followed it
> by remarks that if people did not want to have to wait a number of months
> for the information to be published piecemeal, they would have to purchase
> your book.

We WILL get to most of the issues in the book in crash course, eventually.
Eventually may be a few months away.  Some people want to know NOW
everything we'll get to THEN.  The book is available now.

> By giving out the information, the primary person you'd be doing a
> disservice to is yourself. You've labored months to put together a great
> product, and to give all the information away at once would marketing
> disaster - where's the incentive to buy something, if you can get it free?

Giving people access to what I've discovered will make Euphoria stronger,
that is my only purpose.  The Crash Course Lessons are free, not as a
marketing ploy, but because many people are interested in doing games.  I
don't have to do them.  I do because some people find them useful, they
want to understand the process, and pick up some of what I've picked up in
the last 15 years doing game design and production.  Eventually the
lessons will be another book, but not until we finish it together.  To
cover the material generally will take a few more months.

> This is a commercial venture, plain and simple.

No it isn't.  If it were a commerical venture I'd sell the lessons, and
charge for access to the web site.  I've spent hundreds of hours creating
lessons and preparing the book to help people get where they want to go
with Euphoria, to change how we and the rest of the world see Euphoria,
and for all of that I've asked for and received almost no compensation at
all. If I were doing it for the money, I wouldn't have.  Its really
frustrating to have people like you go off at me after all the work,
especially when you haven't gone to the extremes I have to share what I
know.  I really liked what I've seen of your editor, but I have no idea
how it works, or how to do something like it.  I've read your code
snippets, but I am no closer to doing it myself.  What you've done is make
a VERY cool toy for us to play with, which is an achievement, but it
doesn't help anyone LEARN how to do it.  They just look at what you've
accomplished and go "oooo!"  For you to go off at me for what I'm doing is

> > A hint and a code snippet is different from A Crash Course in Game Design
> > and Production.
> Another plug.

ARRRGGH.  It's NOT.  a five minute answer isn't a 200 page discourse on
game production, it isn't countless checklists of things to keep in mind
when taking what you're doing seriously. It isn't mentoring people on how
to reach their goals. It isn't holding their hand through the entire

> > If you're curious about a technique, you want a hint and a code snippet,
> > if you are serious about learning from the ground up, you want more
> > serious training materials.
> Sell, sell, sell. Even in a response to too much commercialism in this
> group. Where's my "ironic" smiley? %^(

You completely miss the point.  You're ideal is for us to not produce
anything useful, just give vague answers and hard to understand code
snippets.  If we stay as we are, if we don't go out on a limb to share
what we know, if we don't produce the serious materials others need to
stand on our shoulders, Euphoria will not grow.  And there will continue
to be only a few programming gurus and a ton of wannabees.  I'd rather
have everyone be a guru of some sort.

> Your training materials are for SALE, being touted as a solution on a list
> that was set up to provide Euphoria users with FREE information. That's why
> I am concerned when a sales pitch is substituted for a direct answer. It's a
> sort of creeping commercialism, and the beneficiary sure isn't me, or the
> group.

If I become a stronger programmer because of a programming resource you
game me info on, and I push the limits and expectations of Euphoria
because of it, are you saying that doesn't help the group?  That's
silliness.  Instead of us sticking together and supporting eachother in
Euphoria's advance, we're bickering about how wrong it is to earn a living
helping people learn what they want to know.  We should be cheering each
other on when we start taking Euphoria seriously enough to develope
training aids for it.

I seriously recommend that everyone on here write a book about their pet
program.  Go from ground zero and explain your reasoning for going the
route you went.  Write out your design spec in detail, then explain every
line of source code, give reasons for what you are doing where, and how
you came up with every number in the code.  I don't care what the program
is, if you do that, you WILL become a better programmer, because it forces
you to clean your code up. ( you don't want anyone reading your speghetti,
or laughing at your cheesy work around for a bug you didn't fix)  Take the
time and do it right. (at least 150 hours)  Make the reader understand
what you did and why.

I'll trade my book for yours.  We MUST have training materials for
Euphoria.  We MUST take what we do seriously.

Michael Packard
Lord Generic Productions
lgp at
A Crash Course in Game Design and Production

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