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Working with different nationalities is interesting, and sometimes kind of bewildering. And tiring.
I've been working with an Indian dev for a little while, and while she's a decent dev, interactions with her sometimes leave me a little puzzled. She glazes over serious topics, totally over-sensationalizes unimportant oddities, has yet to say the word "no," and she refers to the senior devs as (quote) "the legends." Also, when asked a question by her boss, like "Are you familiar with this?" Instead of a simple yes/no answer, she shows off a little. Fair, I do this sometimes too, but it's a regular thing with her. Also, like most Indians I've known and/or worked with, she has a very strict class-and-caste view of the world. It honestly makes me a little uncomfortable with how she views people, like certain people belong in certain boxes, how some boxes (and therefore their contents) are inherently better than others, and how it's difficult or simply impossible to move between boxes. My obviously westerner view of things is that you can pick where you want to be and what you want to do, and all it takes to get there is acquiring the proper skills and putting in the required effort. I see no boxes at all, just a sprawling web of trades/specialities. And those legends she talks about? They're good devs with more knowledge than me, but only one, maybe two of them are better devs. I see them as coworkers and leads, not legends. Legends would be the likes of Ada Lovelace, Dennis Ritchie, Yukihuro Matsumoto, and Satoshi Nakamoto. (Among others, obv.). To call a lead dev a legend is just strange to me, unless they're actually deserving, but we don't work with anyone like Wozniak or Carmack.
Since I'm apparently ranting about her a little, let me continue. She's also extremely difficult to understand. Not because of her words or her accent, but I can't ever figure out what she's trying to get across. The words fit together and make valid sentences, but the sentences don't often make sense with one another, and all put together... I'm just totally lost. To be a math nerd, like the two conversations are skew lines: very similar, but can never intersect. What's more, if I say I don't understand and ask for clarification, she refuses and says she doesn't want to confuse me further, and to just do what I think is best. It's incredibly frustrating.
Specifically, we're trying to split up functionality on a ticket -- she's part of a different dev team (accounting), and really should own the accounting portion since she will be responsible for it, but there's no clear boundary in the codebase. Trying to discuss this has been... difficult.
Sometimes other cultures' world views are just puzzling, or even kind of alien. This Irish/Chinese guy stayed at my parents' house for a week. He had red hair, and his facial features were about 3/4 Chinese. He looked strange and really interesting. I can't really explain it, but interacting with him felt like talking to basically any other guy I've known, except sometimes his mannerisms and behavior were just shockingly strange and unexpected, and he occasionally made so little sense to me that I was really taken aback.
This Chinese manager I had valued appearances and percieved honors more than anything else. He cared about punctuality and attire more than productivity. Instead of giving raises for good work or promotions, he would give fancy new titles and maybe allow you to move your desk somewhere with a better view of your coworkers. Not somewhere nicer; somewhere more prominent. How he made connections between concepts was also very strange, like the Chinese/Irish guy earlier. The site templating system was a "bridge?" Idk? He also talked luck with his investors (who were also Chinese), and they would often take the investment money to the casino to see if luck was in the company's favor. Not even kidding.
Also! the Iranian people I've known. They've shown very little emotion, except occasionally anger. If I tried to appease them, they would spurn and insult me, but if I met their anger, they would immediately return to being calm, and always seemed to respect me more afterward. Again, it's a little puzzling. By contrast, meeting an American's anger often makes them dislike you, and exceeding it tends to begin a rivalry.
It's neat seeing how people of different nationalities have different perspectives and world views and think so very differently. but it can also be a little tiring always having to translate and to switch behavior styles, sometimes even between sentences.
It's also frustrating when we simply cannot communicate despite having a language in common.25
What's the deal with Python? All the young devs coming out of school are so centered on it, but honestly I can't think of a project that I've had where it was even considered being used. Am I missing out on some hotness here? I know some schools are moving away from Java centered education to Python to help ease people into programming. To me that seems strange since you're learning so much less about the stack. </ rant>19
Saw lots of regret posts about being in dev field. Then why bother living that way?
Not like engineering, medicine or business management fields, I believe programming needs passion similar to art related careers like acting, music and painting etc. So if you don't have any passion for programming, you won't be successful or satisfy at all.
That doesn't mean it is all good and happy days for every passionate programmers. We sure have ****ed up days (probably more than other fields.) Seriously that's why we have devrants. No? But it doesn't reach to the point of regret to me.
Here our national programming language is probably PHP. The pays are lower than your part-time fast food chain workers. The internet speed is in kbs with 2 digits most of the places. Government doesn't give a crap about IT. No IP copyright laws and so on. I probably would earn more and live better if I were not running this IT business.
But hell yeah I never regret at all.1
Any other language: Hey fuckface, you can't name this variable by a single letter, tf is wrong with you? use some descriptive shit.
Golang: lmao fuck u
I really find it interesting how we use short variable names for items in golang. Kinda makes sense when you think of it. Most of these items come up in short methods for which the mental model lets you know and remember what you are doing, they even make sense when going through the std lib in which that shit is all over the place. YET years of going by other languages has made me squint my eyes a bit in frustration every time I see it.
Say for example that a function is implementing io.Writer. What would you call the method parameter? you could argue that writer would be sensible since it has it in the signature, but what about when the io.Writer in itself is a file or a socket or whatever? writer would be funny or strange? nah fuck it just w, it makes sense, but x wouldn't. I find these points to make sense even if i don't like them.
Would, now, this practice be acceptable in C? you are supposed to write the same modular code with C in which you compose large functionality in separated units of code, yet I am sure this practice of single name variables is something that C engineers dislike greatly.
Are go devs just doing this out of blind love for their preference in languages? and how would this work if mfkers add generics to go(I hope not, Go is simple enough to understand in order to extend functionality through the empty interface, but that is a preference of mine as well)
The more I use Go the more I like it to be honest, I think the code looks ugly syntactically, but that is subjective as all hell and based on my constant preference for a language to look like Ruby, which even though it might not be everyone's cup of tea it remains to my eyes as the most beautiful language in existence, again, an obvious personal preference.19
The source engine is interesting, because it has reached that stage of life where it's old enough to be remarkable-- in the sense that it could be called 'legacy', a sort of milestone in development practices and thinking, both in software, and design.
That said, a better look at it might be from the lense of *uses today*.
A lot of former source engine (SE) devs are now going to unity or unreal, I don't blame them.
But it's interesting to examine examples of games that haven't.
One such game is the freeware "No More Room In Hell". A couple online play throughs shows a wealth of well designed maps (and an even greater horde of shovelware maps, but hey, you take the good with the bad).
The age of the engine itself shows. Even in games like Left 4 Dead the engine's age can be seen. This, in some respects has been a drag, but also a blessing. Where other games could rely on their effects, shaders, and other tech, modders, map makers, and designers have had to rely on wit and creativity.
Enter "situated environments."
In an age where many people desire to travel, to go places, and have grown up doing the exact OPPOSITE, there is a great desire for variety of locations in games: not merely 'environmental' in the shallow sense of a 'theme' such as 'lava', 'tundra', etc. But in the sense of setting in general.
We want places that are both out of reach and yet familiar. Fire-fights happen in city streets. Apocalypses happen in neighborhoods where the skyline is both broken and at once something we know by sight. Open air markets, grocery stores, neighborhoods, all of these provide the back drops of popular games and series such as COD, Battlefield, The Last of Us, and yes, the example game, NMRIH.
I call this idea of 'familiar but out-of-reach level design', "situated environments", because familiarity with them, but *lack of real life experience* with them, on a day to day basis, allows people's expectations to fill in the gaps.
No one for example would argue the layouts of 7 Days To Die are familiar, but most of us don't spend all day in a junkyard or a high rise hotel.
So they *feel* familiar. Likewise with Skyrim, the villages and towns, both iconic and strange, our expectations formed by cultural inheritance, hollywood films, television shows, stories, childrens books, and yes, other games.
In a way, familiarity-without-real-in-person-experience is a shortcut for designers, one that lets them play with the player's head-space, the players subconscious idea of how a space and setting *should* work, what to *expect* out of the area, how to *operate* within the area. And the more it conforms to expectations, the more surprising an overdesigned element appears to be, rather than immersion breaking. A real life example of this is people's idea of chernobyl. When they discover the amusement park and ferris wheel they're blown away by the juxtaposition of the wasteland that surrounds them and the associations ('nostalgia' as it were) that such a carnival ride carries for many of us. It simultaneously *doesn't belong* and is yet all at once *perfectly situated in the environment*.
It is to say 'surreal', which is adjacent to the idea of *being real*, in terms of our "perception of what is and isn't plausible, if not possible."
This is at the heart of suspension of disbelief, because in essence, virtual worlds are a lie, like fiction, and good fiction violates expectations in order to tell us truths about reality. As part of our ability to differentiate bullshit from reality, there is to say an element in our bullshit detectors (doubtless evolved over many 10's of thousands of years), that is designed to not merely detect what is absurd in our limited experience, but to incorporate absurdity into everyday experience. In that sense part of our rationality is the acceptance of irrational experiences, learning from it, and discovering 'a proper place for each thing' in the "models of the world" we all carry around in our heads. Eventually we normalize the absurd, it becomes the new reality, and what remains unassimilated becomes superstition (real or otherwise), a figment, or an anomaly.
One of the best examples I've encountered is The Last of Us: Left Behind, a good chunk of which is spent in a mall. And they nailed the environment perfectly I would say.
Or for those who don't own a PS4, a more accessible example is a map in NMRIH aptly called "the museum", and few words better do it justice than to go play it yourself--that is, if you really want to know what I mean by a 'situated environment'.
What better way, during this pandemic, to get out of the news cycle and into your own head? Sometimes the best way to escape isn't outside, it's within.3
Ahh, this particularly memorable occasion, it’s not much of a “fight” per se, but remembering the events I really want to beat the shit out of those asshats,
Backstory, I was working in a project, big one, my previous one, we had all this “squads” to say, agile teams consisted of several devs, I was happily working in my squad namely squad “A”, until one day by the end of a sprint my PO asked me to help another squad, call it squad “B”,
Curious for the reason as I may be, I ignored it at first, after all having the higher up owing me one is always welcome, A and B are having similar amount of dev team, with A having 1 more Front End developer,
Skipping the boring detail, continue on to my first sprint, I saw problems within the team, the other 4 FE consisted of 2 foreigners (call them “the good guys”) and 2 of our own (same vendor as me, let’s call them “the pricks”),
The ones leading discussions most of the time are the pricks, the good guys usually keep their mouth shut, calm and composed, and when shit happens, the good guys usually fix the problem without any fuss, on the contrary, the pricks threw fit all over the place trying to find somone to blame first,
Skip all the excruciating 2 weeks of trying to guide them in the right way, and talking with their PO, my PO, tech leads, etc, I came across a development of a certain feature, PR already made and waiting for review from a TL, then being the impatient ass B’s PO is, he pushed me to ask for a review from another TL, and the only one available is “the meticulous and perfectionist” TL, which is definitely not my choice in any given order,
Simple math, I assigned my review to TL X, wait a day, it’ll definitely be merged within a day, give it to TL Y, he reviews it immediately, and he’ll find all these shit squad B’s been writing, and then I’ll be spending 3 days trying to clean it up, but no matter, the PO insist on having it reviewed first,
Lo and behold, it happened, I had to refactor all the shit the pricks have been writing, again, I took the high road, until I stumbled upon a piece of code that just doesn’t makes any sense, no matter how exhaustively I put the effort to trace it out, an hour passed by and I decided to ask the pricks, let’s call them #1 and #2, #1 being the senior prick, and #2 being the regular prick but bigger pain in the ass, it went on something like this,
Me: uhh, sorry to bother you guys, but what’s this piece is used for?
#2: huh? Dunno, last guy to touch it was #1
Me: eeh, but the line history says it’s you,
#2: strange, I don’t remember, for testing probably
Me: well TL said to remove this one if it’s unused, I want to know if it’ll affect any functionality
#2: well, go figure
Me: yep that’s why I’m asking
#2: well, if you don’t need it just remove it
Me: again that’s what I’m trying to figure out, will it affect any functionality, since time is pressing I don’t have room for experimenting so I’m trying to find some solution by asking the creator if he might have any insight on this matter
#2: well don’t ask me, try asking #1
Me: dear sir #1 have you the faintest idea of what this piece of scripture might mean?
#1: huh? No idea, #2 wrote it
#2:... I don’t remember, I thought it was you,
#1: see the git blame, it’s #2
Me: guys, since we’re not getting anywhere, I’ll just go against my guts and remove it, so that everyone can live happily ever after,
#2: wait, who’s asking?
Me: the reviewing TL,
#2: yes, who?
Me: mr Y
#2: let’s meet with him
Me: what for?
#2: you said he wants to delete the code, let’s have a chat with him
Me: *not this shit again
#2: what are we waiting for, let’s go,
Me: naah, no need I’ll just delete it as you said it first, sorry, my bad
#2: what’d you say?
Me: I already deleted it, nevermind
#2: why did you do that? If the TL doesn’t like it let’s have a chat
Me: and what would be the point of that? I deleted it already, case closed, I’ll take the responsibility for fixing anything that may come up later, I don’t have time for your childish shit,
#2: *glares at me
Me: *glares back
#1: now, now, let’s all take a step back here, blah blah blah
#2: blah blah blah
And they both starts arguing with each other after #1 tries to act all diplomatic, I left them to their own discussion, and proceed with the PR,
Thankfully removing the piece of code doesn’t affect anything, it seems like #1 or #2 forgot to delete it when fixing the unit test some commits ago1
A question to game devs : which design/architecture patterns do you use ?
Everytime I try to take a look at game development, I feel like there is a lack of guidelines, mostly about architecture.
It's something strange to me as a web dev, as we use much of these patterns on a daily basis. Of course I think about the near omnipresence of MVC and its variants, but not just that. Most of frameworks we do use are essentially focused on architecture, and we litterally have access to unlimited tutorials and resources about how to structure code depending on projects types ans needs.
Let's say I want to code a 2D RPG. This has been done millions of time across the world now. So I assume there should be guidelines and patterns about how to structure your code basis and how to achieve practical use-cases (like the best way to manage hero experience for example, or how to code a turn-based battle system). However I feel these are much harder to find and identify than the equivalent guidelines in the web dev world.
And the old-school RPG case is just an example. I feel the same about puzzle games or 3D games... Sure there are some frameworks and tools but they seems to focus more on physics engine and graphic features than code architecture. There are many tutorials too, but they are actually reinforcing my feeling : like if every game developer (at least every game company) has his on guidelines and methods and doesn't share much.
So... Am I wrong ? Hope to.
What are the tools and patterns you can reuse on many projects ? Where can I find proper game architectures guidelines that reached consensus ?6