Angry Developers

Over the last decade of independent and open sourced development I have noticed a number of times that the most respected developers tend to be right, and that they tend to be dicks, outright. It has disgusted me at times, to the point that I was inspired to write nearly 50 tutorials and walkthroughs of code based systems. In my eyes, the separation between mediocre and great developers was that they would be able to get along with others. Was I wrong?

Partly, yes, I fear.

I have already posted a few times regarding my horrendous views on group projects in school, how frequently do we see the same events show themselves in open sourced and indy game development studios? An interesting question if you ask me, but it is one that suffers from the file drawer effect, unfortunately. Bad outcomes are hidden from view, difficult to uncover and at times erased completely. Who wants to have their failures out for searching in this exposed culture we know and love? If it is difficult to get people who are graded to work together it must then be the case that volunteers are even harder to find, even when self-selected.

It doesn’t frighten me too much to remember the long list of projects that have come and gone, but they have scarred me, and bring me back to the above mentioned question – Was I wrong to believe that helping people would be the better road?

I find myself dragging my feet on projects to keep up with the art and “ideas” department, wondering what neat thing would be fun and interesting to do but likely will be batted down by the lead of the project on others, and once again I am rethinking the idea of working with others. Meetings with developers turn into hours long debates trying to hash out simple things like movement and motion, when really that should have been prescribed, but the devil’s details were not approached previously.

Part of my issue and frustration with those who are unskilled is in their seeming inability to piece together the independent drive to find answers. My mentality is simply that… if an answer exists I will find it, it may not be today or tomorrow, but it will be found. Why is that not found in a gross majority of the self-selected world of independent developers?
I think the problem is partially because people like me exist, and partly because people like me have already put our hands out there, making it very easy for people to gain small bits of the information that they will need to be able to achieve something great. These unmotivated people get a taste of that fleeting feeling that I typically get when I have passed a hurdle, having lost sight of the millions of hurdles before me, when I realize my goal and can move on to the next one. They taste it, and it sours in their mouth, wondering if they can do more, but what do they want to do?

A piece of me dies each time a silly question is asked.

  • How do I declare my own variable?
  • Where do I put this code to make it work?
  • Can you tell me what var_3u9jr309j does?
  • In what context will I be able to make the character do something fun?
  • Can you make this game more fun?
  • Do you know what it takes to become good?

Each time I see these questions I curl up a bit, trying to realize that they are novices, surely some of them will eventually know someone who I work with, at the very least.

  • Why do you put that function there?
  • Can you explain what’s wrong with this huge block of code?
  • Can you explain replication to me?
  • Why do we need to do that, shouldn’t everything just go over the internet? – I have broadband.

Questions that I have likely had when I was younger, and ones that I have already answered in my typical way – A little googling, a lot of practice and a shit ton more reading. Who would have thought that in the information age, with everything so close… some would be so incapable of finding it?
I surely hope that I continue to be able to be an easy to get along with developer, but I am feeling the changes surging through my body. Hopefully it won’t be too difficult a change if it does happen.

Best to Helk, SolidSnake, Garry, and a load of other developers who have helped me to become who I am now, and who inspire me to become better at what I do. I hope I don’t disappoint too much. =)

7 thoughts on “Angry Developers”

  1. I think you’ll get there, bud. If the 80/20 rule exists such that 80% do 20% of the work, then let it be said that you still need those 80% around to oogle at how cool what the 20% are doing.

    I think you rationalize stuff a bit. You ought to let whatever emotion come out that spurred you to title this blog post “angry developers”. Your post briefly dealt with so-called angry developers, and you quickly departed from your initial sentiments. I know it or can recognize it because I do the same darn thing.

    It’s a world of hard knocks, don’t waste it on the slouches. Better to have conflicts like we had, better to do it in person too. It’s so easy to say shit online you absolutely wouldn’t in person 🙂

    Cheers m8

    1. Your response is along the lines i would expect from you, I think you missed the point.

      I think that the great developers, those angry devs if you will, are simply the default for being able to understand complexities, because it is difficult to understand how things don’t make sense once the light has been turned on. I am far from an amazing developer, i am good and learning, but i can recognize the path that i am on is similar to the path chosen by others.

      I think this post is more about acknowledging that my achievement in the communities exists because i rebelled against this image, and partially because I felt the draw already.

      And while there may be more than one 80/20 rule, the one i am aware of is that 80% of the deliverable will take 20% of the time, and the remaining 20% of the project is the long tail, for any non trivial project. Hence Project: White being 9 years in the making. I am hoping to get a revision of it out in the next semester if possible.

      Hope you are well, even if you are wrong =D

      1. How can I be wrong, you dope. It’s just what I get out of it. And shaddup, you love my Bob love. You have achieved a lot in the communities you’ve been in. You’ve been a relatively giving guy, but that’s also relative.

        Personally, as I’ve come out of the closet and become a geek-in-person, I just get irritated by noobs. That’s not true at all, I put my hopes and dreams into them and they disappoint me horribly. People do that, generally. My reaction (surprisingly) has been anger. What I’m saying is that we all have different ways we go through the common cycles of life, i.e. we have experienced the same thing generally the same with only slight differences.

        I made my goal to stop being a developer. I’m trying to do something bigger than myself. That’s my goal. I think from the sounds of it you are too.

        For what it’s worth, I’ve learned to make my relationships uncomfortable at the outset to set ground rules. If both parties are still on board after that, you know you’ve got something. Remember all those conversations we had where you told me to “get it in writing”? Think the same, except to add that I compartmentalize all of the disaster at the beginning and the structures make the duration of the relationship smooth sailing.

        To old friends,
        M

        1. Sounds like one of us is rationalizing silliness and the other is hard headed.

          I think i can see where you are coming from, although it is still vague. I would love to just be able to be irritated and move on, but the issue is that those around me have not got the background that i do and so when they attempt to join my world i find myself getting short tempered quite quickly. Something as simple as a semicolon has lead to arguments and frowns between my wife and me. This post is more about venting some frustration with the communities, and to try to pat some of those I’ve been angry with in the past on the back for inspiring me and giving me the drive to care to oppose them.

          =)

          To each their own, ill make sure to pour a little out for my homies.

  2. Everyone has a diff background, that’s why I get so ticked because those relationships that formed me are basically gone. Coming from a variety of places in the real world, I can see a fallacy that school paints that we can somehow all be on the same page. Math is the best we’ve got. Otherwise it’s tradition that holds us together and as weve seen, that same tradition can be readily abandoned.

    As i climb social hierarchies I think daily about how not to be a jerk and like you said, pestered by ignorance.

    Over time ill replace my persistence with tradition, and ill do it in a way updated to technology. Thats something no one has done, and in my world it grants me an authority even over my elders since they disrupted 2000 years of relative stability. There’s holes to poke at with any man or his thoughts, its just where I stand. To be a player, You have to hold fast to your positioning and revise silently to avoid vulnerability. You have to give back and give thanks for where yiu came from.

    1. You sound like the love child of a hippy buddhist and a nihilist, but you continue to confuse me. I thought i understood your point of view, as so many times before, but i think i fell a bunch short.

      The ignorance that i am so horrified by is my own. I think its just that im in the murky middle ground where there is a lot that is behind me and a lot ahead of me, and more that i cannot see. I am at a cross roads of some sort… i need to get out of the gloom and get back to work on amazing programming. Time to invest in red bull again.

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