if, while, for, &s, my_stuff, and so on

So, my husband and I started last week a very good lecture series from MIT about computer science using Python as the example language.  Still at it this week.  My favorite is still the “Tower of Hanoi” lecture where the professor demonstrated it, even though I had a harder time comprehending the rest of the talk.  Still, the main issues of efficiency came across well enough.  I’m finding I can grasp most of the things he talks about in the series, and I’m slowly starting to get where it fits into my own programming adventures.  The lectures are designed for very beginner programmers, and I’d suggest them to others.

I’ve started as well to look up others’ code, to broaden my understanding.  Makes sense; after all, writers are told to read as much as they can – so logically, since at base Python is another language – just a synthetic one if you want to be technical – I should read as much as possible within it.  To that effect, last night I was reading the code to  the game Colossal Cave Adventure, which I’ve never played but clearly should, and today I went through most of the sourcecode available for Myst Online.  Never played that one either, but I went through Myst and Riven some years back and loved them both (though the little girl consistently creeped me out) – and the devs have the sourcecode available in Python:).  Anybody here play either of these, or is there a programmer out there who could suggest other sourcecode to look up?

It’s interesting reading code.  Kind of a new experience – I read in Learn Python the Hard Way that a good way to learn programming is to read others’ code and then read it backwards, so that you get your brain used to separating it out from English.  Wow I tried that and it literally felt uncomfortable.  As someone who has a linguistic background, it seems like a very odd way to learn a new language – but I tried it!  Other things that occurred during this past couple days was I’ve found I could pick out little ideas from the lectures, like i = [1].  Ok I get it now.  Base, you want base to have the problem solved.  And for some reason someone wanted coordinates to be separate from functions, but also to be able to be used at some point as functions.  It seems somewhat reasonable in Myst games, where the player’s going here, there and everywhere on the map in order to solve this or that puzzle (or in my case, just sitting occasionally to look at and listen to the beautiful, peaceful landscapes).  Anybody else do that with that game, or some other?

I’ll be starting back on writing code next week; I’d left it off for a week of study and research, which seems to be very helpful actually.  “Nikria’s Menace” needs to have inventories put in; it is looking very different already from “Four Horsemen” as it has more depth:  while my previous game was linear more or less, this one has the text part of the game in files, and the bare code is what’s visible on my SPE screen.  And from the bits I’ve read so far of code, that seems to be the way to do it.

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