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The Games Programmers Play

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the nibbles-the-worm-doesn't-count dept.

Programming 163

An anonymous reader writes "Cort Stratton, a developer who has worked on graphics code for many first-party PS3 games, wrote an article about the kinds of games that appeal to programmers. He covers coding-friendly games of varying depth, mentioning basics like RoboRally, RoboSport and Frozen Synapse before moving on to more complex options. Quoting: 'On the surface, SpaceChem has nothing to do with programming; it's merely a futuristic puzzle game in which you build factories that convert one or more input molecules into one or more output molecules. Each factory contains a pair of independent molecule manipulators (the game calls them "waldos") which follow a fixed path through the work area. Waldos can grab, drop, and rotate molecules, make and break chemical bonds between atoms, request new input molecules and submit output molecules. ... Don't be fooled! This isn't a game about chemistry; it's actually the closest thing I've ever seen to a low-level SPU programming simulator! Each factory is an SPU running a single task. The two waldos are the SPU's dual execution pipelines. Moving and editing molecules is analogous to reading, writing and operating on data in local store.'"

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163 comments

The plural of anecdote (5, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644446)

I'm a programmer, and I play first person shooters. Not everybody likes to solve the same problems on their downtime as they do at work.

Re:The plural of anecdote (5, Insightful)

Neurotrace (2382180) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644502)

Agreed. If I'm in a coding mood, then you'll usually find me coding. Otherwise you'll find me in front of an FPS, RPG, or platformer.

Re:The plural of anecdote (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644952)

Agreed. If I'm in a coding mood, then you'll usually find me coding. Otherwise you'll find me in front of an FPS, RPG, or platformer.

This is why 11 years later I'm still playing Counter-Strike.

Re:The plural of anecdote (1)

AwesomeMcgee (2437070) | more than 2 years ago | (#37645848)

Quake 2 here. Coding is fun so I do it for work. Mentoring junior developers too, and that's more like these silly train a machine games id say. That's for the office, not the home.

Coding "is" a game (4, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#37645554)

Coding is a game. It's a great big puzzle of interlocking pieces and shifting requirements that make a Rubik's Cube look like the primitive toy it is.

I enjoy what I do. Programming is far more challenging and fun than any artificial gaming environment I've ever encountered (despite many years of FPS gaming.)

That said, I've no interest in actual puzzle games. They have all the frustration of a debug session without the satisfaction of delivery to the users.

Re:The plural of anecdote (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37644536)

Perhaps a more accurate subject, "Games simulating programming."

I freaking /love/ SpaceChem. I work in web programming which has a far wider, but far shallower experience. When I go home, sometimes it is actually relaxing for me to play a beautiful deep puzzle rather than the complex fuckery that arises from a wide net.

Perhaps stereotyping your target audience is just a bad way to start an article about some products that can actually be pretty slick.

Re:The plural of anecdote (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37644660)

I work in web programming

That's not programming, monkey boy. You're a glorified scripter.

Re:The plural of anecdote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37645034)

If even that.

Re:The plural of anecdote (2)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#37645270)

What the hell is programming if not scripting? The only difference between PHP and C++ is syntax. Unlike compiled software, web applications use a number of languages (PHP/Perl/SQL/javascript/css/html). Lacking a compiler I rely on Apache error logs to debug. I also don't use an IDE (I prefer gedit with syntax highlighting to break up the monotony a bit). I also develop Delphi compiled apps, which I think is easier because of nice friendly compiler messages and the VCL. It gets trickier when I'm trying to interface with other software because .NET is full of arse and ActiveX isn't much easier to debug than web apps (no friendly compiler errors), but it has its uses (hooking into things like AutoCAD). You can do a hell of a lot with web apps when you get into sockets, data mining, HTTP servers for compiled programs, etc.

Get some balls junior and tell us what programming language you use so that we can bag the shit out of it. Unless you haven't gotten past VB, in which case I wouldn't fess up either.

Re:The plural of anecdote (1)

North Korea (2457866) | more than 2 years ago | (#37645366)

Actually you don't even need to be lacking compiler, most good IDE's (for PHP at least) have fully capable debugging built-in. Most people probably use the old echo die method, but the possibility is there, and it's just as powerful as with C/C++/Delphi/Java/.NET etc..

Re:The plural of anecdote (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 2 years ago | (#37645448)

"The only difference between PHP and C++ is syntax."

Write a driver in PHP.

Re:The plural of anecdote (1)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#37645572)

If I had a compiler for PHP and I had a clue how to write a driver then I'm sure I could. C++ doesn't make a driver; the compiler does, and C++ is just a language. The reason why there is no compiler for PHP that can make a driver is that there is no need for it. Why make a driver using PHP when C++ works? Why make a web app with C++ when PHP works? Also, how many programmers out there actually write drivers in C++ or any other language anyway? You picked a pretty niche application to make whatever point you were trying to make. Try outputting a formatted document using C++ in the time it would take with LAMP+Firefox. The C++ and PHP lnaguages are similar, but I wasn't trying to imply that their use was.

Re:The plural of anecdote (2)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#37645598)

If your point is that writing a driver in PHP would be a pain, then I agree. PHP libraries are written for higher level tasks than C++, but if someone went to the (however pointless) trouble of first writing a compiler to make binaries from PHP and a library of low level utils, then I'm sure it would be as easy as C++. Actually PHP isn't that much different in syntax to C++. I dunno what dope AC that I originally replied to was smoking, but it must've been pretty cheap/nasty.

Re:The plural of anecdote (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 2 years ago | (#37645656)

Scripting controls, configures, and gives data to existing programs as its primary purpose, while programming creates new programs.

It's a lay definition of course. s/programs/behaviors/ to taste. You can perform programming in scripting languages and vice versa, and if you dig too deep the definition breaks down.

Re:The plural of anecdote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37644556)

100% agree. Except I play mmo's... Don't judge me! :-P

Re:The plural of anecdote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37644584)

Word. I desire mindless entertainment (outside of reading) when I'm not working.

Re:The plural of anecdote (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644712)

Double word.

Not that I play a lot of Scrabble. And not that Scrabble isn't a good game.

I'm primarily a web apps designer/maintainer these days, and I'm enjoying learning more about the history of programming, and looking into lower level stuff like device drivers right now.. but as far as games go, I'm really looking forward to Skyrim and AC: Revelations.

The games I've enjoyed that are closest to programming would be MUDs. I'd often write little scripts/macros to automate away a lot of grinding. The last server I frequented explicitly allowed automation as long as you were able to respond if an admin came to check up on you, just to make sure that you weren't completely AFK. So instead of simply dumping 100 commands into the thing at once - requiring a disconnect and reconnect if you wanted to cancel the buffered command execution - I built macros that chained off of each other that meant I could still chat while my macros were working away finding and killing things, or training stats..

My list of games (2)

MagikSlinger (259969) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644686)

So odd... As you said, when a programmer (like me) wants to program. We CODE!

Games I have played in the last year (which I don't think have anything to do with me being a programmer) in no particular order:

  • Portal
  • Starcraft II
  • Company of Heroes
  • Dragon Age
  • Mass Effect 2

I think I play those games for reasons non-programmers play them: they suit my taste & temperment. I think each programmer will have their own list of games they enjoy to play which, again, have nothing to do with being a programmer. 'Cause we can CODE if we want to scratch that itch. ;-)

Re:My list of games (1)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#37645306)

original broodwar is the shit - "you require more [lesbian] gas"

gta vice city is good for bad days when you get home and just need to run over some cops and rake some grannies with a minigun (good ol' nuttertools and panzer cheats)

joining in on the odd slashdot or wikipedia talk page argument can also be entertaining

Re:The plural of anecdote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37644854)

Agreed. My favorite game by far is Go, but a nice RPG now and then is pleasant as well.

And for that matter (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644890)

Sometimes working in a field ruins it as fun for a person. That is the reason I'm not a video game tester. I considered it as a career and I think I'd be pretty good. I've good problem solving skills, I know quite about about how computers and programming works so I can think logically about why a problem might occur and so on, and I enjoy games. However, testing is work, not fun. It is trying to break the games.

Well I'm worried that would make games not fun for me at home, and they are my favourite form of entertainment. As such it is not a career I'll ever pursue.

As an example I currently work doing systems and network support, and I rather like my work. However I've found I have little tolerance for system problems at home. I just want my shit to work. There was a time when I enjoyed messing with overclocking and so on and solving the problems could be fun. However I do computer problem solving at work now, at home I just want a system that runs well so I don't mess with it. It removed the fun from system building.

Of course not everyone is like me, some people can have work and fun be the same thing, but I'm not the only one like this.

Re:And for that matter (1)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#37645324)

that's why mechanics have cars that don't work and builders have unfinished renos on their house

Re:The plural of anecdote (1)

subanark (937286) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644946)

I mainly play WoW (when I'm board, or when I raid). Other than that, I play puzzle like games. I hate competitive games and FPS. I also spend a lot of time analyzing the rules of games and their consequences, both from a game play perspective and from a playability perspective.

My current job is in Bioinformatics (by chance).

Re:The plural of anecdote (1)

Jonner (189691) | more than 2 years ago | (#37645166)

I'm a programmer, and I play first person shooters. Not everybody likes to solve the same problems on their downtime as they do at work.

Indeed, I'd be inclined to think the kinds of games described in TFA would would appeal to non-programmers in the same way games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band appeal to non-musicians. Perhaps they could even inspire people to become interested in programming.

Re:The plural of anecdote (1)

Ingenu (2127512) | more than 2 years ago | (#37645626)

You may have touched on a key dichotomy. There is a category of people in any technical position (such as coding, physics, engineering) that get off work, and then need to unwind with junk TV or mindless video games. There is another category that get off work and want to keep doing mentally demanding work (no idea why, but possibly because they are that passionate about a field or they are addicted to brain exercise much like some people get addicted to physical exercise).

Re:The plural of anecdote (1)

baboo_jackal (1021741) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646198)

Me too, and +1 on the FPS. I love my job, but I swear it's like parts of my brain just get tired after work and I prefer to play games that don't require the same sorts of thinking as work.

Mastermind (1)

high_rolla (1068540) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644472)

I always like the game Mastermind [creativitygames.net] as a quick game to play when I have a few spare minutes.

Mostly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37644484)

They just play games with my emotions.

coders don't play games. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37644520)

I've been a Linux coder professionally for about 15 years. I can't think of a single co-worker that plays video games. Only non-coders play such things.

Re:coders don't play games. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37644602)

You sound like the type of person that would not want to join their friends on Bad Movie Night.

Take that stick out, you might find life more enjoyable.

Re:coders don't play games. (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644646)

The professional programmers in the same building as me at work are currently playing a lot of GOW3 multiplayer modes. Sometimes they even let a hardware guy like me join them. ;-) These are serious coders who do avionics where code bugs kill people.

Re:coders don't play games. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37645102)

Google and Facebook employ a ridiculous number of Starcraft players. So many that they hold internal tournaments and have professional casters and players come and give talks.

Re:coders don't play games. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37645108)

I am a programmer and have been in a professional capacity for at least 20 years. I play video games and so do a number of other significant, well-known programmers who I happen to be friends with.

Maybe you just don't play games because there are none for Linux.

Re:coders don't play games. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37645698)

On Linux i often play xbill and emacs tetris. Does that count?

Programming game (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644526)

Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] and TV Tropes [tvtropes.org] have more examples of these "programming games". But they forgot to mention WarioWare DIY, a tool for creating four- to eight-second microgames that runs on a Nintendo DS. The "dojo" missions are to complete the last line of a game's logic.

I pity programmers (0)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644546)

I've heard people talk about playing a game and being unable to see the game for the involuntary analysis of programming, organizational, or stylistic choices crowding on their brains.

And beta testing...God. You think you're getting paid to play games and it turns out you're getting paid to play *broken* games. And when something breaks you're not supposed to move on or work around it; your job is to break it again and again and again until you can document how, when, and maybe even why it breaks for the developers.

No, I truly pity those who program, write, or test for the gaming industry; and I suspect these maladies are common to all types of programmers in one degree or another.

TV Tropes will ruin your life (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644592)

I've heard people talk about playing a game and being unable to see the game for the involuntary analysis of programming, organizational, or stylistic choices crowding on their brains.

It happens to writers too. Eventually they end up unable to see the plot for the plot devices, character devices, etc. It ruins your life in the same way that TV Tropes allegedly does [tvtropes.org].

And when something breaks you're not supposed to move on or work around it; your job is to break it again and again and again until you can document how, when, and maybe even why it breaks for the developers.

Which is exactly what Aspies like me are good at [slashdot.org].

Re:TV Tropes will ruin your life (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644842)

Why is it that seeing things for what they really are ruins them?

Re:TV Tropes will ruin your life (1)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646190)

Fuck man, now i'm not going to do a damn THING tonight thanks to TVTropes.

Re:I pity programmers (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644684)

Hell, I'm like that just from playing video games for over 30 years now. It doesn't hurt my enjoyment, though, and even helps me beat a game sometimes.

Re:I pity programmers (1)

cr_nucleus (518205) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644826)

I've heard people talk about playing a game and being unable to see the game for the involuntary analysis of programming, organizational, or stylistic choices crowding on their brains.

I think it really only happens when the product is bad or just so so, cause on the other hand when it is really good and you can see how well it's been done it's even more of a pleasure.

Re:I pity programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37645212)

I disagree. As a game artist, I often find myself studying the intricate details of textures, shaders, lighting and world geometry in games. The better looking and more well made, the more time I tend to analyze the game instead of playing it.

Re:I pity programmers (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644892)

Meh, I know how games work, but I still can get immersed in them. Maybe it's because I know well enough about how they work that I don't really have to have it crowding in on my brain.

It does frustrate me to see really crappy AI in games and know that I could do a better job (spent a few years as a teenager programming bots for Counter-Strike, and also messed about making Quake 3 mods for a while), but a good game is still a good game.

I guess you are right to an extent though. When I was a teenager I used to wonder if I could build some program to simulate waves lapping on a sea shore. I still haven't actually tried that, and I still would be interested to try it.. though actually now that I think about it, I already know how I'd do it. I have problems with not even trying things because I already know how I'd do it.

One other thing I'd been wondering for a while was if I could make a decent AI for Tetris. I decided to do a project combining lots of new factors to me - using Ruby, using QT, building the game Tetris, and doing AI for it, thinking that I could teach the computer to play better than I can myself. I was disappointed when I built the game in an afternoon, and built a working AI algorithm for it in another day (having never looked at any already existing AIs). I think by that point it could play better than me (and I can play better than all my friends). I was hoping the project would last me for a week or two! Since then I haven't been able to think of any home projects that would interest me enough to start them. Perhaps doing some race-car AI, that occasionally interests me - though again I already know I could create an AI driver that can race better than I can round a track by itself (and I got all golds on all the license tests in GT5, twice :p ). Adding in things like overtaking, or figuring out how to get the car to do controlled drifts on dirt tracks would be the interesting parts.. if anyone has any fun ideas for small game/AI projects I'd be happy to hear them!

Re:I pity programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37645308)

Given that you know all that you think that you know, you must also know that your post comes across as a steaming mass of conceit.

Re:I pity programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37645914)

Only to inferiors.

Re:I pity programmers (1)

whiplashx (837931) | more than 2 years ago | (#37645550)

Don't pity us. Like, yeah, its hard work, but it's creative and flexible and fun. Its better than any other job I could imagine.

SpacChem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37644550)

SpaceChem is one of the best puzzle games I've ever played. If I did job interviews, I'd make the interviewee play it just to see how they approach that kind of problem.

Chipwits! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37644564)

I remember playing Chipwits when I was a kid. THat was definitely my first programming game.

I was a games programmer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37644640)

For 17 years. Consoles from the 3DO to the PS3, PC from Windows 3.1 to 7.
I stopped playing most games in 2001. The only game I've played seriously in the last decade is Angband, and that only recently.

Portal??? (1)

Canadian_Daemon (642176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644650)

No mention of Portal/Portal II? Both great games. As a programmer, I would have to say that TFA doesn't really represent me. I think I have spent far more time playing Halo 3/ODST/Reach and Black Ops than any of the games mentioned.

Re:Portal??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37644752)

Not exactly a lot of replay value there, sport.

Re:Portal??? (1)

Canadian_Daemon (642176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644970)

Really? The online co-op doesn't offer replayability? Want to recommend something that is 'more replayable', champ.

Re:Portal??? (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 2 years ago | (#37645788)

I agree with the AC, although I wouldn't have been so rude. Once you solve a level in Portal, the magic is gone. You will come back to it, and never have the fun "aha" moment again, because you already know the solution. This goes double for co-op, because one of you may know the solution and the other not... making it either an exercise in keeping your mouth shut for the experienced partner, or the Portal equivalent of power-leveling for the inexperienced partner. Neither is the most fun.

Hacking games is a game (1)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644672)

I hack Wii games in my spare time. Cheat codes, like infinite life and infinite health but more complex.

It really is a game in itself. How will you find your health value? Is it a float or an integer? 16-bit or 32-bit integer? How can you make yourself invincible while still allowing enemies to die? What is this piece of ASM trying to do with my health value?

You can do some pretty crazy things. One fellow Wii hacker made the F-Zero GX game into a 3D game, by finding the camera object in memory and manipulating it so that it wiggles back and forth every frame, creating left- and right-eye images.

RoboSport (1)

demonbug (309515) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644714)

Haven't heard anyone mention RoboSport in a long time. I remember playing at a friend's house, taking turns carefully laying out our moves and then listening closely to his headphones as it processed the turn - it would play the sound effects for what was happening while processing the turn, but you couldn't actually watch until it was finished, which lead to great anticipation as you tried to figure out if that horrible death you just heard was your robot or your enemy's. I might have to check out Frozen Synapse to see how it stack's up - this kind of simultaneous turn-based game has seen precious little development over the years, and I found it quite enjoyable.

Pfft, amateurs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37644718)

I set a Rube Goldberg machine up to play Magic Cube 4D for me.

Everyone is different (3, Informative)

Windwraith (932426) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644754)

I am a game programmer and I generally prefer console games, as hammy as possible (if things explode gratuitously, bonus points)..more like arcade genres, such as shmups, beat'em-ups, platformers and fighting. Although I play roguelikes as well, if that counts as programmer games (do they?). And I don't care if it's kiddy stuff, I indulge in pokemon when I get the time. I used to like console puzzles like Tetris, Puyopuyo or Panel de Pon, but I don't see anything new on the field since that Puzzle Quest thingy.

Then again, the type of games I make are either roguelike-ish or arcade-ish, and things do explode gratuitously, so maybe there's a relation there.

Re:Everyone is different (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644852)

I used to like console puzzles like Tetris, Puyopuyo or Panel de Pon, but I don't see anything new on the field since that Puzzle Quest thingy.

I wonder how much of that has to do with the interference of The Tetris Company and/or Nintendo's patent on Dr. Mario.

Re:Everyone is different (1)

high_rolla (1068540) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644898)

Or maybe it's just that racing and FPS games sell better. Todays younger generation tend to be an instant gratification one. Pressing a button and watching an enemy blow up is more fun for them than having to think.
(not all, I'm generalising obviously but this observation comes from my experience working in a school)

Re:Everyone is different (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37645080)

Todays younger generation tend to be an instant gratification one.

You want instant? Tetris can be as fast [youtube.com] as any FPS.

Pressing a button and watching an enemy blow up is more fun for them than having to think.

But in FPS games, players still have to think about how not to be seen by the opponent.

Re:Everyone is different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37645700)

On the contrary, many FPS games require a great deal of thinking and skill.

Re:Everyone is different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37645864)

I play games to have fun, asshole... not to be a smug little prick.

Robot Odyssey! (2)

wikthemighty (524325) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644888)

First "programming game" I think I ever played was the MECC classic, Robot Odyssey [abandonia.com] When I went to play it a number of years back it just made me recall how easy games are these days - I think I was able to get through this one faster as a kid than as an adult. Then again I was playing around a lot more this time instead of just trying to beat the game... Don't forget that Frozen Synapse is currently headlining the Humble Frozen Bundle! [humblebundle.com] with about 4 days left to purchase!

Hello, OP here (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37644926)

Thanks for reading! A few clarifications:

My goal for this article was simply to draw some attention to a handful of games that distill some of the art of programming into an enjoyable gameplay mechanic. I never meant to imply that these are the only games programmers should ever play, and that if you don't love them you don't deserve to call yourself a REAL programmer. Believe me, I regularly play a pile of not-even-remotely-programming-related games; I've clocked more time into WoW and LoL than I care to admit. If you'd rather spend your downtime with an FPS, or an RPG, or maybe even IRL, great!

Nor was the list meant to be exhaustive. Don't get upset if I forgot your favorite programming game; instead, post a link! I've already been introduced to at least a dozen new games since the article was first posted.

Dwarf Fortress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37644934)

This article doesn't mention Dwarf Fortress. This article is flawed.

This thread doesn't mention Dwarf Fortress. This thread is flawed.

Re:Dwarf Fortress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37645020)

your face is flawed.

Nethack (4, Informative)

Plugh (27537) | more than 2 years ago | (#37644982)

Nethack [nethack.org] or GTFO!

Re:Nethack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37645206)

Pffft. Angband is for real men.

Re:Nethack (1)

kale77in (703316) | more than 2 years ago | (#37645594)

I played NetHack for 15 years or so, with two near-ascensions, but have found DungeonCrawl to be more absorbing over the past few years. Vastly more variety and chaos, a better UI (and I mean in console mode) with nav tools like auto-explore, and it's been much more actively maintained. It's true what they say: NetHack doesn't care if you live or die, but Crawl has a preference. I haven't seen Gran Turismo Faroe Islands, though (that, er, _was_ what you mean by GTFO, ya?)

Re:Nethack (1)

cpricejones (950353) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646056)

Exactly what I was going to post. I am not a programmer, but hanging out in the alt.org nethack put me in touch with a lot of cool programmers. ^^ My 15 ascension streak is still up there I think too.

board games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37645014)

Since I stare at a glowing rectangle for at least 8 hours a day, I tend to favor board games when it comes to my gaming habit...

i wish i still played games (1)

WWE-TicK (593858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37645074)

I'm a programmer and I don't play games any more :(. Not sure what happened. In college, I damn near flunked out because I played Quake too much. But ever since I started working professionally (10 years now), I simply don't have the motivation to load up a game and play it.

humble bundle (1)

MagicM (85041) | more than 2 years ago | (#37645100)

Frozen Synapse [frozensynapse.com] and SpaceChem [spacechemthegame.com]? What a coincidence! Both are part of the latest Humble Bundle [humblebundle.com]! I wonder if the anonymous submitter knew that...

Re:humble bundle (1)

shish (588640) | more than 2 years ago | (#37645244)

Given that inclusion in the humble bundle = instant million times popularity multiplier, I would think that games being included and written about would be somewhat correlated. I got SpaceChem from the bundle yesterday, and just before reading this story I was emailing some university staff I know thinking that they might have a use for it :-P

SpaceChem (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 2 years ago | (#37645130)

Careful with that SpaceChem game. It's a lot harder than you'd think at first, and you can lose many hours of your life per level on the later ones. I just barely pulled myself away from it, and I still feel the urge to start playing again, months later.

Re:SpaceChem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37646188)

That game is really fun. There's so many ways to approach a problem its unreal. I hope they remake their intergrated circuit simulator like spacechem one day.

Core Wars or it ain't programming... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37645158)

You cannot mention programming games without bringing up Core Wars. The original programmers game.

Zachtronics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37645356)

duh its zachtronic industries that makes the game. he also makes a chip building game too. of course you advertise the one that costs something though.

Real programmers play NetHack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37645462)

The newt bites!
The newt bites!
The newt bites!
You die...

personally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37645472)

I am a coder, and I am interested in new thresholds of hyper-realism, or on the other hand, interesting artistic vision. I dont look for "coding' like activity

I am a Game Programmer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37645568)

And enjoy programming games for fun ( http://geekhousegames.com ) away from my day job which is programming games for fun & mortgage payments ( http://www.firaxis.com ).

The only long-form PC game I consistently play is Team Fortress 2, but mainly at work where there is some civility in taunts since the coders, artists & QA members know they are just down the hall from each other.

New games played come in 2 forms...
1. iPhone games, usually recommend by other devs:
- "Goat Up", Llamasoft
- "Where's The Water", Disney
- "Train Yard", Matt Rix

2. Facebook games (I peek at for a week or so), recommended by CivWorld team...
- Triple Town ( http://apps.facebook.com/tripletown/ )
- Bush Whacker ( http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=10150142382830591 )
- Sims Social ( http://apps.facebook.com/thesimssocial )

Occasionally I get caught up in a console game (last one was Death Spank) but usually it's just the newer Pac-Man, or Tetris.
Next game I plan to buy... well there is an arcade auction happening in Baltimore this weekend and some of those machines are looking pretty nice. Also may pick up a Centipede I saw on Craigslist.

Yeah, I'm old. :D

Pipelines in SPE? (1)

nickferber (2457920) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646102)

Are you sure about that? Don't you think you are talking about SIMD rather than pipelining? Well, it has been a long time, but I was under the impression that SPEs are stripped of all branch prediction, pipelining etc to overcome the powerwall. Data transfer and execution is software pipelined, yes, but there is no level of pipelining in the hardware. I could be talking total bs though.

misfiled (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37646164)

should have been called "games low level programmers play".

Other (free!) geeky games from the same developer (3, Informative)

Alsee (515537) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646246)

The guy who made SpaceChem released several other free games, mostly flash games. He calls the series "games for engineers". Very geeky cool.

The codex of alchemical engineering [kongregate.com] where you program robotic arms to assemble molecules.

The sequel: The codex of alchemical engineering magnum opus challenge [kongregate.com]

Bureau of steam engineering [kongregate.com] where you use steam valves and pipes to build control logic for steampunk battle robots.

A downloadable EXE game Ruckingenur II [zachtronic...stries.com] (requires Microsoft's DotNET 2.0 to be installed). The idea is that you use logic probes and stuff to hack electronic circuits. It's kinda cool and it's pretty realistic, but your options are fairly limited. It's more of a puzzle game than a simulator.

And then there's my favorite:
Kohctpyktop engineer of the people. [kongregate.com]
This one is definitely the geekiest and most intellectually sophisticated of them all. The idea of the game is that you have to build transistor circuits. You are given a blank playfield to draw circuitry, and the game does a full electric/logic simulation of your circuit. If the game board were arbitrarily large you could literally build an entire working CPU in there! If you manage complete the game you will have a very deep understanding of how computers work at the transistor level.

Unfortunately Kohctpyktop has almost no instructions, the help tab is a link to a tutorial video that is only marginally helpful, and it has a seriously steep learning curve. If anyone wants to give it a try be sure to use pause during the help video, it goes by really fast. You also need to know that you need to hold shift to switch from red to yellow silicon, and in delete mode hold shift to delete metal. For further help look for me in the Echo Hall chatroom on Kongregate. If I'm not there you can try asking for Kohctpyktop help in general chat - there are several Echo Hall regulars who know the game.

-

slashvertisement (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37646280)

This is a sneaky advertisement for the newest humble Indy bundle. I have supported humble and have bought all of their bundles, but I find this kind of manipulation dishonest and shameful.

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