Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Purpose and ideas

Sotsoft calls. He asks me to make a sound engine on the Amstrad CPC for producing random sounds or something like that. Combining this with screen noise he believes that some sort of quantum effect might take place that will bring strange patterns on the screen from another dimension by collapsing the wave function or something (This sounds like an absurd mix of quantum mechanics with pseudoscience,. I bet you know how much I LUV these stuff =)

I tell him that right now my life sucks and I can't dedicate it to the CPC and for few months in the future. He says "You know something? They tell me that what's good for me is that I have great ideas but I can't implement them."

I met some guy in a store and my brother talks that we are game developers. I take the opportunity to proudly present that I can code demos. He understands something else and later tells me with great enthusiasm that he has a great idea that can bring us money. I feel overwhelmed by something in his speak or what I feel about his intentions.

I like to show the demos I have coded to the people even if I am sometimes dissatisfied by their reactions. They either don't understand what is it all about or they just wonder why don't I plan something to give me plenty of money. They say that if they were in my position, knowing programming so well, they would grab the opportunity to make their ideas real. They say something that reminds what my friend Sotsoft said yesterday. "I have the idea but not the means"

I think they are kinda wrong here. Their ideas are either things I and everyone else have thought too or something that's not gonna work (But I do like how crazy the latter are :). I was walking with my friend Antitec this night just before writing this blog and we wondered about how many ideas do we have but something push us away from starting work on them. In the demoscene, I have some great ideas for demos, I think about them at bed, I imagine how wonderful the demo parts can be and how well they fit together. I imagine painting the graphics and writing the music for that demo. I imagine games or applications or websites I'd like to build, strange experiments to try on my computer. I even imagine crazy ideas in other domains than computers. The problem is that I have a thousand and one ideas in my notepad, as many as most other people have never been able to implement either because they didn't have the means (the balls to code software :) or the motivation.

Sometimes we democoders leave the very very good ideas in the closet and code another one of our regular boring demos with the same reused effects because the deadline is near. Think about it. When I watch a mediocre demo I say "What was he thinking? If I was in his position I would take few minutes to fix those colors, chose a better texture or even try something more original than spinning cubes". But when I code my demos the deadline is near and I make the same mistakes. And I do not even understand that I could have spared few minutes to fix some design details instead of spending several hours in other less important aspects of the demo (Like writing 200kbytes of text in boing boing writer effect =).

Going back to the guy about the "great" idea and money I'd like to say about two kinds of people. The geeks and the (as my brother likes to say) pimps. Actually my brother likes to call them geek-pimps. My term for them would be businessmen. It's the guy who knows nothing about programming and especially the thrill and astonishment of a geek debugging some code lines and actually making his algorithm to work well. His purpose is mooooney! It's the guy who "offers" you with the great idea that you are supposed to not have. Does he think that geeks are too stupid and don't usually have great ideas? Some people do think so. The problem is that the geek likes the way of coding, I mean the road to the goal and not just the goal itself, while the businessman focuses on profit without caring about what the geek does. The businessman has the idea but cannot implement. The geek has the means but is supposed to lack the idea. At least that's what the businessman wants to say. In my opinion he doesn't, maybe he is sometimes just so focused in the essence of coding and algorithm solving that he can't see far away, he enjoys more the process rather than the goal especially if it's just about making tons of money. I don't say that it's bad to make money, I do say that it doesn't emotionally touch the coder, no way as much as the core of what he actually does there.

Talking about money, since I have finished the army and I am still living with my parents, getting a job is essential. Even for geeks like me it is essential for me to think a bit about money. But it's not in the businessman's way! I could just get the basic and then code just for fun. The businessman would think it's useless to code impressive demos and do hell of a good work without shaking the market with something big that will bring tons of money. I don't need tons of money (but I won't say no if I receive them :), I need a regular job at the moment just to get me a bit more independent and I will still be coding demos in my spare time without a gain. The big bang in the market doesn't touch me at all! Of course I could succeed with something like that and maybe I would get plenty of money and then I wouldn't need to work anymore and spend more time on coding demos :)

But it doesn't touch me. What I do there in it's core sense touches my heart! There is a totally different way of thinking between the businessman and a geek I think. Also, maybe a reason why the businessman has the ideas but not the means is because he would never understand programming in it's sense and owning the ability to code would need a sacrifice of his precious time that is money, dedicating in pure creativity without the necessity of profit. That's the motive that makes us learn to program. He lacks it.

Isn't there a person sharing both values? Both understanding of pure creativity and dedication to learn not profit and then being a boss of his own self by selling his own creations? I think there are such persons that combine both, I just don't know what's the different mindset here in comparison to pure geeks or pure businessmen. There are people who are both proud of their ferrari's and still code 3d engines :)

But I just got out of subject. I am wondering what would happen if a geek-pimp suddenly found the means (balls to program). Would he work on his ideas or would he get the same response that happens to me and Antitec? Like having the ideas and means (because geeks also have ideas, people just don't think so) but being lazy or lacking the motivation to fulfill them. Would the same happen to that guy if he rubbed a magic lamp and asked for programming skills?

And then we speak about ideas of how to make money. Maybe not a lot but some without having to work hard. And I recognize that there are many simple ways but we never start with them. Even building some stupid site that attracts a lot of people and place adds, code something smaller and easier than demos but more useful and have a paypal button, make a simple yet addictive online game where people have to pay for subscription, etc. You'd say that each of them could possibly not bring enough profit or they may be a failure. But why spend my time coding demos instead of trying any of them? Maybe because the motivation for them is profit which doesn't attract me? But making few money does. A stupid porn site with banners would not be hard. Maybe not my thing? My friend tells me that he is busy and puts the blame on me who has plenty of time now. Excuses?

Isn't there a monthly grant for people who purely enjoy creativity? I am not sure if I would like to abandon my demoscene post and code something with only the motive for profit. Which I don't seem to have. But I still have to find a job :P

And yet the world thinks millions of ideas. Everyone of us does. Too many ideas..

..but not what we miss :/


Xtro said...

A little job for making money just for living indepedent and support your hobby? You would accept if big money were offered to you? This guy would call you a pimp, a capitalist pig with no integrity :P

Optimus said...

Ah yes! I know this guy. He is hardcore as hell!!! =)

Aasemoon said...

Jeez..Optimus, I so totally hear you about your "geeks vs. businessmen" discussion. It's again very interesting to hear this [well, read this] from you. You know, for quite a long while now, I've been having a sort of a "friction" with a bunch of people in my university about the idea of "studying engineering to become a CEO of a company and make lots of money" and so basically not really knowing [or needing to know] anything about engineering, or "studying engineering to design creative stuff", which would mean that you'll have to study your behind off and then work your behind off to get somewhere with it and make profit out of it. My problem is that somehow the 1st option that most people seem to be choosing, doesn't quite satisfy me, which has at the end resulted in me deciding to transfer myself to a different university [which I believe to be more directed towards the 2nd option] and a different country altogether. This is the same situation, where people come and ask you things like "exactly why do these guys spend so much time and energy creating demos like this and then releasing them for free? What's the point of it?". And well, I do believe that there are people who utilize some businessman ideas to get their life going, but at the end of the day, there will always be some sort of an ethical difference between a geek [or as it might be called "nerd" or "academic"] who utilizes business ideas, and a businessman. I seem to prefer the former anyway.Yeah well. I hear ya.

Optimus said...

Thank you for your reply aasemoon. I enjoyed it as much as you enjoyed reading my article :)

James said...

what if, ideas that can be imagined are mostly nonsense, but some are sensible? But one can see them through words, but one can not express them in words? Now if you could express them visually but not verbally, would that make them sensible? Well one can sensibly see impossibilities, e.g. unicorns. So to show an idea is merely impossible is showing something so long as one is paid up front. But if one shows a possibility than that is in itself payment. But if you wish to make $$ then that is speculation and, like entertainment, a Ponzi scheme. You can never tell the impossible from the possible until you express it. But to express some one else's ideas that they can not express means you get paid or you have an intuitive sense that the idea will work. good luck!

Locations of visitors to this page