Archive for April, 2013

It might be said that the characters we hold most dear are those we relate to on the deepest level. We see part of ourselves in them, and a connection is formed. Fiction is only really effective insofar as it reveals truth about reality. I love it when game developers take the opportunity to explore these poignant themes within an immersive medium!

Problem Machine

ToTheMoon

Isn’t it strange how complex and overwhelming our feelings about fictional people can become?

There is a conflict of impulses: The sympathetic and the dramatic. We want characters to be happy for the same reason we want our friends and family to be happy– hell, I’m such a goddamn hippie, I even want my enemies to be happy, if possible. However, we also know that bad things need to happen to the character or there won’t be much of a story– or at least, often, not the right story for that character. Indeed, since characters are so often formed by their misfortunes, sparing a character pain could undermine the very qualities that made you love them in the first place.

We are time travelers trapped in a paradox of our own devising. We are helpless to swim against the tides of our own fictions.

To The Moon is a small…

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inage credits: liveretridemption.wordpress.com

Seriously, calm down. It’s just code!

 

What’s in your pocket right now? (If you said: the ring of power, then you are my hero) Probably a few different things, but what’s the one thing that you know is also in your friend’s pocket, and the pizza guy’s pocket, and in the hands of your crazy athletic friends who are too cool for pockets?

Yep, a phone. And if you care at all about it, it’s a smart phone.

I am a creature of carbon-based flesh, but also of habit. Every day I wake up, put pants/shorts on, and then I turn to my bedside table to enact the daily filling-of-the-pockets ritual. Into my left pocket goes my iPod Touch and ear-buds, and into my right goes my wallet, some pens if its a school day, and my bite-sized GoPhone. (Why not just get an iPhone and meld the two devices? Some day my friend…)

So before the ramble sets in, where am I going with all this? Yeah we have phones and tech, so what?

SILENCE PART-OF-ME-THAT-WANTS-TO-KEEP-THIS-SHORT!
*cough*
*clears throat*
Sorry… where was I? Oh yes, let me tell you a story.

Once when I was a young sproutlet, I became interested in computers. Correction: technology. Anything would do. Hell, I could kill a solid 15 minutes just messing with a calculator. I was that annoying kid who always asks adults for their phones (I am sorry anyone I have ever done that to, I know what it feels like).

Flash forward a few years; I’m in middle school. My favorite classes are Latin and Computer Applications. While my Latin teacher has me translating Caesar and Roman myths, my Tech teacher has me taking apart a computer and building webpages. I learn what binary actually is and how computers evolved (If you’re curious, a trip to Wikipedia couldn’t hurt…). I learned how the internet started, and how for a while it was just a bunch of really ugly webpages (honestly, thank God for graphic design) full of all sorts of boring stuff. 70% encyclopedia, 25% geeky chat-room, 5% hackers trying to spy on/steal from you. Nothing like the time consuming and entrancing cyber dimension that it is today.

But the scope of it was what amazed me. Just for funzies, take a look at this video that my Tech teacher showed me all those years ago. It took me forever to find, but it’s awesome because it illustrates beautifully all the steps that happen between you hitting “enter” and a webpage loading.

Anyway, I digress. As I got older, I became very interested in software. I mean hardware is cool and all, and if computers ever go quantum, or use DNA storage I want to be right there, but what’s the skeleton without the lifeblood, the nervous system you know? Stories of overnight billionaires captured my imagination. Facebook and Twitter connecting people online… You know the story. Video games turned computer science into an art-form  and I was enthralled, but still, programming seemed like wizardry to me.

As “apps” took over the mobile scene, I entered my teen years, and acquired the aforementioned iPod. I explored a world of bite-sized programs for palm-sized computers. I saw how apps could be works of art (check out the apps “Thicket” and “Eufloria“). I began to wonder how apps are made. Could I do it?

Then my math teacher showed me this video.
WATCH IT. (It’s a fun time, seriously.)

I realized the advantages of having this kind of skill-set  You become a golden chicken nugget in the eyes of employers.

image credits: wreckitralph.wikia.com

I wish coding was like playing an antigravity level in Dead Space…

I signed up for codecademy.com (and code.org), and started learning a new language: JavaScript  I want to learn how to make an app, to program a computer, to create a game. It comes from the same creative desire as my desire to write. I want to make something people will love to use, like Prezi or Pandora. I want to speak computer.

Yeah I know, that’s a super nerdy thing to say, but without people who are interested in that, your iPhone (or Android or whatever) wouldn’t exist. And without young people becoming engaged and involved in computer science, your phone will look the same in five years. And who wants that?

So, that is why I code. What I once thought was indecipherable nerd language (Weird Al says he’s fluent in JavaScript as well Klingon…) turned out to be a delightful journey into the world of programming. Why do I code? Because like Owl City says, this is the future. I dream of a future when even the most backwards hick can design simple applications. Give it a shot!