Miaowth
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So at my college everyone does similar computer science coursework so that they can do a nice easy project and still be "of A level standard". However, as a transfer student into Year 13, I started my coursework beforehand so I was allowed to do a different type of project - I'm doing a text based game.
I am struggling with keeping up with my work, mainly because my teacher is unable to offer me any support. Plus, nobody else in my class understands my coursework so I can't bounce ideas off of them. It's tough to find motivation and I have to work harder than everyone else as they have much better guidance since they all do similar things.
I also have to teach myself how to program AI and it feels like an impossible task. I know I can learn how to, it's just the lack of support is really getting to me as it feels unfair since others get proper comments on their work and how to improve it, I get "just make sure to finish it, I can't help you because you did something different," my teacher won't even look at my code as evidence I am working hard in lesson.
Does anyone know of anywhere I can get support or help with working on this project? I desperately miss having people around me who I can code with and discuss bugs with of my age (my parents are both programmers but it gets frustrating to keep asking them).

Side note: I struggle with anxiety around failure and stress to give some context to why I can't just pick myself up and work harder naturally.
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brainzistheword
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(Original post by Miaowth)
So at my college everyone does similar computer science coursework so that they can do a nice easy project and still be "of A level standard". However, as a transfer student into Year 13, I started my coursework beforehand so I was allowed to do a different type of project - I'm doing a text based game.
I am struggling with keeping up with my work, mainly because my teacher is unable to offer me any support. Plus, nobody else in my class understands my coursework so I can't bounce ideas off of them. It's tough to find motivation and I have to work harder than everyone else as they have much better guidance since they all do similar things.
I also have to teach myself how to program AI and it feels like an impossible task. I know I can learn how to, it's just the lack of support is really getting to me as it feels unfair since others get proper comments on their work and how to improve it, I get "just make sure to finish it, I can't help you because you did something different," my teacher won't even look at my code as evidence I am working hard in lesson.
Does anyone know of anywhere I can get support or help with working on this project? I desperately miss having people around me who I can code with and discuss bugs with of my age (my parents are both programmers but it gets frustrating to keep asking them).

Side note: I struggle with anxiety around failure and stress to give some context to why I can't just pick myself up and work harder naturally.
It seems unusual how your teacher is unwilling to help. Is there another teacher who could offer some advice? Or someone you can just approach and say you aren't coping (i.e. personal tutor or form tutor etc)?

Have you maybe looked at joining a society of some sort (if they exist) so you've got a network of like-minded people who might be able to help?
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Miaowth
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(Original post by brainzistheword)
It seems unusual how your teacher is unwilling to help. Is there another teacher who could offer some advice? Or someone you can just approach and say you aren't coping (i.e. personal tutor or form tutor etc)?

Have you maybe looked at joining a society of some sort (if they exist) so you've got a network of like-minded people who might be able to help?
I had a meeting with both of my computer science teachers yesterday talking about the coursework (among other things) and they said they would relax deadlines for me, but they still won't offer much in the way of support. There is an extended study session for computer science students on Wednesdays, but I don't really want to go as I'll have had further maths right before and that tends to fry my brain for a while.
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winterscoming
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OK so I've been here, done this, and got the t-shirt, and I failed my A-level computing as a result. Mine wasn't a game, but it was an absurdly over-complicated project for the place my parents worked at.

In my case, I crumbled under the pressure of trying to solve some massive problem which needed me to do stuff that I didn't understand very well at the time, and the deadline just made it impossible. long story short - I ended up doing a re-sit where I passed by basically going back and doing the same easy project as everybody else :P

(Original post by Miaowth)
I struggle with anxiety around failure and stress to give some context to why I can't just pick myself up and work harder naturally.
You're not alone with this. I actually think trying to make yourself work harder makes things worse because not only are you trying to do something against a deadline, you're also teaching all this stuff to yourself. What I've found is that stuff like this is easier to learn when you're just doing it in your spare time without needing to worry about grades and deadlines. I think AI is a pretty big topic if you're going to actually dive in to all the machine learning and neural networks stuff.

If it was me, I'd think of doing one of two things:

  1. Relax the game project and don't try to do anything too clever. You can do text games with sort of basic data-driven "rules" (from tables in a database or data in an XML file for example). I mean, you still need to do something complex enough to pass the course, but I am guessing that you don't need fully blown machine-learning AI in order to make the grades.
  2. Ask whether you can switch to the easy project that everybody else is doing instead. This is probably the easiest way to actually pass the course and get the grades because then you will have all the support from everybody else and the tutor. The downside is that you'll be behind everybody else to begin with, but probably not that far. I bet half of them are going to leave it until the last minute anyway :P
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storm95
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Things about computer science is that you need a lot of patience and trial and error. Also YouTube is your best friend.
Also Have you considered using stack overflow? It’s realky helpful you post a programming related question and users around the world can help you out in no time
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Miaowth
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I have nearly 600 rep on stackoverflow
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winterscoming
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(Original post by storm95)
Also Have you considered using stack overflow? It’s realky helpful you post a programming related question and users around the world can help you out in no time
The thing about StackOverflow is that it's for specific questions about code, ideally when you can post a chunk of code which shows a particular problem or error.

The OP mentioned needing to bounce ideas of somebody, so it sounds like they're at the point of trying to model a really big problem and maybe even defining what the actual problem(s) are which need solving, so StackOverflow isn't the right place for that (the same for softwareengineering.stackexchang e too - they get a lot of open-ended questions like this, but those questions often get closed and deleted for being too vague or broad).

On that note, defining the problems which need solving, and the rules to solve them is probably the hardest bit about trying to do anything with 'AI' - Even without machine learning, a lot of games use fairly static AI which still potentially has loads of complicated conditions and decisions depending on various inputs and state, and probably a lot of data about each entity in the game. Trying to logically organise everything can be difficult, and likely needs several attempts before it starts to look right. There are always lots of things to think about, like how to model the state, how to structure the rules, and how to separate out the functionality to stop it turning into a big ball of mud.
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EmilySarah00
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Honestly I can't offer much support here but I can let you know you're not alone! I too am in Year 13 and completing my Computer Science Courswork at the minute, I've picked something that I'm really struggling to program and I'm genuinely very stressed about it.
Being in a class of only 4 no one else understands my coursework either, and nor does the teacher now as I've got past developing the GUI so I too am purely reliant on the internet for support.
You can completely fail in making your project and still achieve a good grade if you justify and evaluate the problems you've come across and what you attempted to fix them, at this rate that will be what mine will turn out like.
Plus just remember the coursework is only a fraction of your final grade so it's not the absolute be all and end all!
Good luck! :yep:
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winterscoming
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(Original post by EmilySarah00)
Honestly I can't offer much support here but I can let you know you're not alone! I too am in Year 13 and completing my Computer Science Courswork at the minute, I've picked something that I'm really struggling to program and I'm genuinely very stressed about it.
Being in a class of only 4 no one else understands my coursework either, and nor does the teacher now as I've got past developing the GUI so I too am purely reliant on the internet for support.
What are you struggling with? I'm not promising to be any help but curious what kind of problem you've chosen?
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EmilySarah00
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(Original post by winterscoming)
What are you struggling with? I'm not promising to be any help but curious what kind of problem you've chosen?
Ah I've chosen to randomly generate networks and then perform Dijkstra's shortest path Algorithm on them in a clear visualised way as to teach students the algorithm.
Honestly such a regret, I never considered the complexity until I was in too deep.
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winterscoming
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(Original post by EmilySarah00)
Ah I've chosen to randomly generate networks and then perform Dijkstra's shortest path Algorithm on them in a clear visualised way as to teach students the algorithm.
Honestly such a regret, I never considered the complexity until I was in too deep.
Oh, I'm actually familiar with the theory of that algorithm from studying internet routing at year 1 in uni, but that wasn't a programming module so I didn't actually program it. It's pretty well known so I'm sure there must be loads of examples where other people have successfully done it and put their online though, are you able to find someone else's shortest path program online anywhere and get any ideas from that? (Not suggesting for a moment that you just copy+paste their code, just use it to compare and learn )
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EmilySarah00
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(Original post by winterscoming)
Oh, I'm actually familiar with the theory of that algorithm from studying internet routing at year 1 in uni, but that wasn't a programming module so I didn't actually program it. It's pretty well known so I'm sure there must be loads of examples where other people have successfully done it and put their online though, are you able to find someone else's shortest path program online anywhere and get any ideas from that? (Not suggesting for a moment that you just copy+paste their code, just use it to compare and learn )
There are a few examples but they'll take some work to adjust to my program, they also use aspects of code which I'm not yet familiar with, but since multiple examples use the same kind of things I'm going to presume they're required and I have some learning to do. Honestly I'm not the best at programming in the world so it will take some work but I'll hopefully manage something at least. I'm going to begin implementing the algorithm on the networks I've created tomorrow so... should be fun! :eek3:
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winterscoming
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(Original post by EmilySarah00)
There are a few examples but they'll take some work to adjust to my program, they also use aspects of code which I'm not yet familiar with, but since multiple examples use the same kind of things I'm going to presume they're required and I have some learning to do. Honestly I'm not the best at programming in the world so it will take some work but I'll hopefully manage something at least. I'm going to begin implementing the algorithm on the networks I've created tomorrow so... should be fun! :eek3:
Yeah I get that reading someone else's example and figuring out what it's doing is a bit of a mindbender, especially if it uses a language you don't know or some class or syntax you've never seen before, and of course nobody ever puts comments or explains why the code is doing things. I am fine with programming and I still run into that all the time - getting your head around peoples' code is the hardest thing, but once you figure it out, you've probably learned a lot from doing it.

If you need a bit of help with the programming side of it after you've started the implementation, then you're welcome to ask me programming-related questions on here, in case I can try to help you understand some code example or help you to try and debug something.

Good luck with the algorithm tomorrow
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EmilySarah00
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(Original post by winterscoming)
Yeah I get that reading someone else's example and figuring out what it's doing is a bit of a mindbender, especially if it uses a language you don't know or some class or syntax you've never seen before, and of course nobody ever puts comments or explains why the code is doing things. I am fine with programming and I still run into that all the time - getting your head around peoples' code is the hardest thing, but once you figure it out, you've probably learned a lot from doing it.

If you need a bit of help with the programming side of it after you've started the implementation, then you're welcome to ask me programming-related questions on here, in case I can try to help you understand some code example or help you to try and debug something.

Good luck with the algorithm tomorrow
Thank you very much! I'll take you up on that offer if I have no port of call and I get stuck. I'm hoping I'll be able to get through it though, even if it does test my brain!
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winterscoming
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(Original post by EmilySarah00)
Thank you very much! I'll take you up on that offer if I have no port of call and I get stuck. I'm hoping I'll be able to get through it though, even if it does test my brain!
Ah I'm sorry that I didn't actually get back on here to reply in the thread, although hopefully you didn't get too stuck, nor end up completely blowing your brains out over it? :P

Anyway, I decided this week that I wanted to try coding something interesting with my free time over xmas instead of staring at the TV, and I've used your idea of trying to implement the Dijkstra path-finder. I guess now I can finally say I've written it in code and not just read about it in a networking course book. I had to start out by putting a few youtube vids of people walking through the steps on repeat, but doing this gave me a bunch of ideas in translating it to code which I could actually think about how to work with. The code definitely isn't as simple as the videos, but making the thing work is actually rather satisfying in a funny kind of way :P
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