Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I was writing/learning HTML with FrontPage 2003 and Flash 5 (6? 7? I thankfully don't remember anymore) when I was 14 - while knowing almost no English (thus, not understanding even what the menu items and controls mean!) and without a manual or teacher and just clicking around and seeing what happens to the code :-( Hard, hard times it was. But I enjoyed it nevertheless.

But still, I'm jealous of you.

If you were to seek my advice, I'd tell you to watch some OCW (OpenCourse Ware).

http://cs50.tv <-- great for starting out. I am ready to bet $50,000 that you'll learn soooo much (while not being overwhelmed) that you can't believe it

http://cs75.tv <- great for starting web development (php, mysql, javascript, css, ...)

http://see.stanford.edu/see/courses.aspx (CS106A is good for now or a little later, CS106B and CS107 are way more advanced but you might find them very educating in a year or two)

http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/audio-video-courses/#electrical-e... (I've heard good things about 6.00SC)

All in all, I'd suggest you start watching cs50.tv right now (if it's not a whim and you're really interested in programming as a career, or if you at least enjoy programming right now).

Best of luck.




Heh, when I was 14, I published my first book: Game Programming for Teens, which eventually became an international best seller in 6 countries.

I even got a monthly tv spot with Leo Laporte on what was then called Tech Tv. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdh5dqbvrDE

And still...none of my games have ever been as cool as OP's. Great work man


Your book was the first I ever bought about programming. I don't think I ever wrote a line of code from the book but it illustrated basic programming concepts that inspired me to continue development. Very impressed to read that you were only 14 when you wrote it, as I was probably only 14 when I bought it.


Wow! That means so much! Thanks for that comment.


now I love this community even more :)


...I'm not alone.

I had no idea the author was 14 when he wrote it. I was reading it when I was only three years younger as my first programming book. Unfortunately it wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but it definitely helped me get started in the world of programming.


Nice one Maneesh! Way to make me feel inadequate.

First, I started programming at 15.

Second, the beard you had at 16! Back then, I would have killed for one of those.


I miss TechTV! I owe so much to The Screen Savers, Leo & Pat! Wow nostalgia.


Get off my lawn. I first learned HTML and JavaScript using Notepad in 96 when I was 14.


When I was 14 I had a mustache and was chasing girls. I was failing all my classes in school and my favorite past time was licking the bus window.


When I was 14, the only easily available microcomputer was the TRS-80. You couldn't save your programs (unless you owned a tape-player that saved files), it got 40 rods to the hogshead and that was the way we liked it!


When I was 14, I had to push the electrons around by hand. It was painful getting clobbered by those massive protons and neutrons. I eventually got around the problem by converting the particles to waves, so that they only tickled.


When I was 14, time had not yet been discovered so I didn't even know I was 14.


When I was 14, I had to create the universe and wait billions of years before it assembled the first computer


When I was 14, butterflies.

( http://xkcd.com/378/ )


Instantly searched to see if someone posted this... so glad you did.


Man, I feel old.


When I was 14, you couldn't just go buy a "personal computer", as the minicomputer revolution was underway. So, I had to build my own computer... and I did. (I think I started at 13, and finished at 15).

When I say, I built my computer, I mean I designed a PCB, laid it out, etched it, assembled it, then needed to build a display board to output to a TV, which was another several months of design, etc. And when I had all that... then I had to start writing some sort of software for it! (EG: I had to write software, build an EPROM programmer (because they were expensive) burn EPROMS ..... all to get to the point where I could start working on making an implementation of BASIC!

So, when people complain that "kids can't hack on iPhones" ... well, I think its silly. You buy a Mac and you get a fantastic IDE and development platform for free, etc.

To the OP: Congrats on making your game! It looks very professional. Keep at it!


That is remarkable, yet the thread somehow more and more resembles this nice Monty Python's sketch: http://youtu.be/Xe1a1wHxTyo


Monty Python ? In my days, we were happy watching 'At last the 1948 show !'


This is one of my favorite Python sketches.


Oh the day I made spectrum joystick interface all on my own as a kid! I enjoyed that more than playing games subsequently. OP enjoy being a kid, the more you learn, the less your thinking is unbounded! Never forget that.


This deserves more attention. It's easy, as a kid, to crack doors open that would take a tremendous amount of effort as an adult.


I wish I was you, then ;(

Having to build a computer (with your definition of building, of course) as a young kid... God, that's the only Heaven I want. After those two years you can send me to Hell.


Why, when I was a young programmer we had to write the code in the snow with our pee, and a compiler was just a word for the pilot of the hovering dirigible that read the instructions and passed them to the ALU, which was another fellow with an abacus. They would wrap the results around a rock, and drop it on my house when the program would exit. We had to walk uphill...


"You buy a Mac and you get a fantastic IDE and development platform for free, etc."

Buy a Mac to hack on iPhone? I don't think that any IDE is so costly if you develop on any other phone.


Just for reference, a quick search reveals that MS VisualStudio can be purchased "from £502" (UK) and a new Mac mini starts at £499.


Or you use Visual Studio Express C# which is free. Visual Studio (payed) combines all tools, all languages together and works with git, sourcesafe and many, many things more.

Or if you're a startup, you can receive all Windows stuff for free ;) (so you don't have to pay)


That's interesting! How can you get all the visual studio for free if you are a start up?


I think he's referring to the BizSpark program: http://www.microsoft.com/bizspark/


Thank you.


Eclipse and android SDK?


Of course. The comment was "I don't think that any IDE is so costly if you develop on any other phone".

That said, I'd happily pay £500 to not have to use Eclipse, but each to their own.


> That said, I'd happily pay £500 to not have to use Eclipse, but each to their own.

You must have gotten a lot of pocket money when you were 14, then.


Woz? Is that you?


Congrats to the OP!

Of course, there's always the birth lottery for most people reminiscing here. For people coming from the third world, this kind of a feat would be very rare to come by and won't be appreciated even if they do, as they are still tackling lower level problems. Heck, my parents don't even know I do on the computer. From where I come from, good grades are the best thing a kid could show to their parents.


I can feel what you say suhastech. But I don't think that is particular to developing countries. I am from Ecuador, and when I was maybe 9 or 10, was given my first Commodore 64. My dad taught me some BASIC and there I was making my first crappy programs. Of course they cared a lot about grades, like any parent. Being born in a developing country screwed you up because technology took ages to get to you. Man, they still have 128K connections there... Congrats to the OP by the way!


well, change that for your kid. Every society builds on the work of previous generations. We in India, are late to the party so yeah, one generation will disappear without enjoying all this, but we can ensure that the next generation won't.

BTW it's never too late. I may not be 14, but I am going to have just about as much fun with my brand new arduino ;-)


When I was 14, I lived in Fiji which many consider a third world country. I know what you mean when you say parents consider good grades above all. I've witnessed that firsthand. It's sad how many of my peers were chastised for attempting personal projects outside their school curriculum.


where in the third world ?


I learned to program at about twelve, my first program was in the WATFIV dialect of FORTRAN, it printed multiplication programs.

I love how much things have changed in forty years. Everyone come play on my lawn!


I learned Pascal and Visual Basic when I was 9. Didn't lead to cool things like this game. Congrats OP. :)


That's me too! Then HTML/CSS/PHP/MySQL at 11ish :)


At 14, I was programming in assembler (well, machine code since I didn't have an assembler) on the Altair 8800 my older brother built from parts. 1st program: a game called Fly! where you hit the spacebar to make an 'X' flitting around the screen turn right 45 degrees. When it hit the edge of the screen you lost. Futile - you always ended up losing! But fun to write, in under 128 bytes too.


The first CS50 lecture made me smile ear to ear through most of it. What a great and engaging professor, wish I had more of those in school.

I'm going to share this far and wide, thanks for sharing clean, direct links to the content, it helps me share them a lot easier :)


Sorry, but to be honest I never learned a lot from such courses and if so it was at a really, really slow pace.

I'd like to hear your experiences. Am I the only one with problems learning "university style"?


when i was 11, i taught myself html,css and js and then moved on to batch scripting and later taught myself php and later c#. Now i am 18 and code (Mostly) in Vala, building apps for elementary OS.

i wish i worked on some games too. :-)




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: