On C++, Unity, and things I’m actually good at

This quarter has been going great in some ways, not so great in others. On one hand, it’s going great in the ways that are actually important, but on the other hand…I guess I’ll get into that.

One of the classes, Procedural Generation, is kicking my ass. The first assignment is to make a particle system in C++. I have no fucking clue how to do that. Three different students have been helping me, but I’m literally just sitting there doing whatever they tell me, I just can’t make the mental links myself. Even after over five years of trying to learn how to program, I feel just as clueless as when I first tried to make that checkers game in September 2012. I know the adage is that you get better at something the more you do it, and the only way to fail is by giving up, but I have five years of blog posts showing just how terrible a programmer I still am after many, many different attempts to tackle that hurdle.

Said first assignment was actually due Wednesday, the professor gave me an extension. The second assignment, making a smoke effect in Unity, is due today, and I can’t figure out how to do that one either. Apparently it “doesn’t require any coding” and is done entirely in the Inspector, but that’s not doing me a hell of a lot of good because I can’t seem to get the inspector to do anything. Once again, other students had to walk me through opening the Inspector, spawning objects, applying textures to those objects, fiddling with those objects’ settings, and now I’m at the point where I need to spawn a new object that represents the explosion before the smoke. I don’t even know how I’m supposed to transition between these objects; is there a ‘timeline’ object that lets me disable the smoke effect until the explosion effect happened? I guess I should ask somebody but everybody else already went home for the night. I’ve been working on actual useful shit like marketing Major League Magic.

Yeah, Magebrawl got renamed, and I wasn’t super jazzed with the new name until I started writing it everywhere. People seem to really like it, and it’s made marketing honestly a lot easier. Right now I’m scripting out a 20-second promotional video, and I’m also in talks with Mixer, the Microsoft-founded Twitch competitor, to get a developer’s account, which will stick us on their front page whenever we stream. That’ll be huge for exposure. It frustrates me how I’m actually enjoying this marketing element, and I’m good at this marketing element, and yet I’m forced to keep sitting here feeling like a moron as Unity and C++ duly refuse to do anything I want from them. I don’t know what else I need to prove that I’m just not cut out for programming.

Am I sabotaging myself by mentally giving up? Probably, but for fucks sake, five years and I can’t even spawn a goddamn object without getting help. I have over a dozen completed Unity projects, you’d think I’d know how to do something in the engine by now. I paid $75 for PlayMaker, whose reviews wouldn’t stop crowing about how it makes Unity a billion times easier to use. Perhaps it is, but a billion times zero is still zero.

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