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Teaching Leadwerks

Josh

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About a week ago we sent a survey out to Leadwerks 3 customers to get their feedback and plan our next leg of development. According to the results, the number one most important issue Leadwerkers care about is tutorials.

 

We've taken the following steps to build resources for Leadwerks user to learn from:

  1. The Leadwerks 3 tutorials database is available here. Anyone can submit a new article, but all articles must be approved by the staff before they appear visible. Without a process of approval, it's difficult to keep everything consistent and error-free.
  2. We added some new features to the tutorials template to make it easier to convey knowledge. First, we added a tabbed interface to display multiple code files. You can use this to display a lesson in C++ and Lua side-by-side, or you can use it to display multiple code files from a single project.
     
    We've also added some new BBCode tags, available only in the tutorials database, that allow you to display a chunk of code with both C++ and Lua syntax. The "tabber" BBCode tag starts a tabbed box. "tabitem={title}" will open a tabbed panel. Both these tags need to be closed like so:
    [tabber][tabitem="Item 1"]Panel 1 content.[/tabitem]
    [tabitem="Item 2"]Panel 2 content.[/tabitem]
    [tabitem="Item 3"]Panel 3 content.[/tabitem]
    [/tabber]


     
    The code above will yield this result:
    blogentry-1364-0-51995900-1367523609_thumb.png
     
    You can use this to explain what a chunk of code does, and a block of C++ and Lua code, covering both languages in a single lesson.

  3. Search tags are now available. The following built-in tags can be used: "C++", "Lua", and "Blender". We will add more tags as new content becomes available.

Educating our community is a powerful thing. For our staff, we have all the knowledge of how Leadwerks works in very deep detail, but it can be difficult to communicate that knowledge in a structured way that makes sense. On the other hand there's the community, made up of people who are smart and eager to learn. Conveying the knowledge of how to use Leadwerks to our community is a powerful thing. Like Agent Smith creating clones of himself in the Matrix, we can create new experts and mini-experts just by showing the way.

 

There's a gap that needs to be overcome. In some ways, this is as difficult as writing the actual code that powers Leadwerks. There's three levels of code examples we're providing right now.

  1. The first are the documentation examples. Just about every command has an example in both C++ and Lua that shows how to call that command. These are kept as simple as possible so it's easy to isolate how the command works.
     
  2. The second type is the game-ready code we write for examples. Darkness Awaits is an example written entirely in Lua, while our first-person player tutorial is using C++. These examples show real game code I would use in a commercial product, but they're harder to understand.
     
  3. Somewhere in the middle lies the "feature" examples. "Aggror" has posted a lot of tutorials like this for C++. These are more conceptual than the simple documentation examples, but are usually just one code file, and they don't go into a lot of heavy game structure so they're lightweight enough they could be used to demonstrate both C++ and Lua simultaneously.

So now I would like to ask the community, what's working best for you? What kind of tutorials would you like to see more of in the future?



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I personally would like to see complete mini game tutorials (much like the awesome FPS tutorial you guys are doing now). I also prefer Lua to C++ (so don't forget about us non-C++ guys). I think Lua is a lot less intimidating to people coming from an art background.

 

Also it would be great if you could make a tutorial (or later convert the FPS tutorial) for iOS and Android versions. I'm sure a lot of users (myself included) are very interested in publishing for mobile. So having an FPS tutorial for iOS and Android would be super helpful smile.png .

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All tutorials are mixed.

It shoud be great to have sub categories if it was possible ?

- Lua

- C++

- 3D art

- game examples

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We will separate the lessons into categories as they evolve. Right now, there would only be two categories, so it's not worth doing yet. (The features I just added allow programming lessons to be both C++ and Lua.)

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It might be a little advanced for most people, but I would love an article about shaders.

 

Best way to learn shaders is to read some OpenGL tutorials. Even if you aren't interested in OpenGL itself, you will very quickly learn how shaders work and how to use them.. Then adapt that

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