The Joy of Creation

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After spending an unholy amount of time in front of a computer, finally have I built:- something.

Long before I started to smash buttons in front of a glowing rectangle, I was, like everyone else in that age, a walking destroyer protected by laws. I.e. a nine-year-old. I have to confess, as a kid, I derived joy from destruction. I guess it's a very human thing to burn ants to their death with a magnifying glass, to break windows of deserted factories, and to "test the properties" of various containers with explosive crackers.

There is an innate pleasure to destroy things. Vsauce had already made a vivid demonstration on this topic and I do apologize that I only have Vsauce as citations instead of a bunch of papers like a real scholar. But I don't major in psychology anyway.

As I grew up, I gradually found those destructive activities not that amusing anymore. Maybe it's because I have repetitively done those for five years so the threshold of excitement has raised. And if there was no control over what I could do at that time, I might choose to burn down a house or stab some people just for the sake of it. Luckily, based on the fact that I am still keeping a clean criminal record, it didn't happen. The compulsion of the urge to tear things apart came from a rough childhood and not because I am a sociopath.

Looking back, it seemed that I didn't have access to any resources to support some creative works. Though it is said that writing and drawing are creative activities requiring virtually no additional material for a school-aged kid, I was judged "not able to write essays properly". I was graded "slow" in writing because I cannot write descriptive texts. For example, in a class, the teacher brought a tiny fishbowl to the class and asked them to write a short descriptive text about it. Instead of writing anything, I stared at the fish through the glass and wondered about them. My mind went blank when I focused back on my notebook and I was unable to start the sentence. To be fair, I can still remember the fishbowl to this day. It was a fishbowl of ten centimetres in diameter. Purple quartz was laid as the bed, dressed with a few shoots of green with a pair of goldfishes, bearing a red and black blot pattern. I could describe it in English since the checks are not strict. In Chinese, however, despite it being my native language, I was not able to scribble down the first character. In my defence, I was trying to escape the cliche of writing. Before I start my work, I would pre-render it in my mind. The rendition is usually too boring or too childish to my taste so I would discard the draft and start again, wasting a lot of time. I was doing my reading, though. But the books I have read were not meant for naive, unprepared minds, in the sense of ways of writing. It was not pornography, don't get me wrong. It was a bit like Gothe and Nietzsche and such, talking about more complicated and advanced topics. I was too young to fully grasp the meaning, yet old enough that I could coarsely finish the book. I guess this is also a major reason for me being "too eccentric" and getting excommunicated with my peers at the time. To this day, I still have a fear of writing formal (or informal) texts. Procrastinating to the very final moment and thinking "fuck it" and scribble as fast as I can, ignoring all the checks and turn in what it is. It should be foreseeable that the result won't look good. For drawing, I have never managed to learn how to draw. I draw in a mechanical manner, with straightedges and compasses. I was eager to learn how to "draw properly" with free hands, but I eventually gave up as stick figures are good enough for me to entertain myself in a boring course. I could draw technical diagrams, though.

So, two of my ways to the joy of creation were blocked. What about music? I was able to sing partially in tune, but that's it. I had a keyboard (with black and white keys), but I had a failed start due to a) the keyboard is itself hard to master and b) there was no tutorial or anything for the young version of me. The internet access was not a thing and I was not old enough to go to the library alone. Heck, I wasn't even aware of the existence of a library back then. All I have was a book of lead sheets, i. e. a fake book. Though I knew a little bit of how to read sheet music thanks to the music class I had taken, I was never taught how to play with a lead sheet since I had absolutely no idea of what is a chord, let alone voicing them. I gave up on a not-so-fine summer afternoon.

All was changed when finally, a computer was bestowed upon me.

In the beginning, I was like others, playing computer games non-stop. Whether it was my luck or not, the computer my parents brought didn't install a dedicated graphics card. This means I was not able to play those "real games" like a real PCMR. My choice was only limited to Flash games. Yes, Flash games were still a thing then. Eventually, I got bored. I thought, what about making my own game?

And my friend, this is how everything begins. A young entity, tired of others' works, thought themselves better than those lesser ones. Set off to create more. It seems that almost everyone in that era got into programming with a dream of making their games and I was no exception. After all, games are the media of experiences and there will be no shortage of the need of expressing oneself.

My road to the palace of programming was not flat. There weren't many tutorials on how to make games. Especially those step-by-step tutorials for an absolute beginner. I installed Flash (the creation tool) but didn't figure out how to actually make a game. ActionScript was quite elegant, but due to the lack of programming experience, it was no different from a random set of characters that I have to type. Eventually, I gave up. Once again.

But I didn't stop there. I was met with another tutorial, on Visual Basic, thanks to the magic of the internet.

It was a detailed enough tutorial on Visual Basic. It even taught me to keep a good coding style. E. g. properly name your controls and variables. Keep a consistent indent, etc. Even though Visual Basic was not a "good language" to start with, but it's better than nothing. I gradually mastered the basic ideas of programming through endless repetitions of the tutorial. The magic words started to have meanings. After a while, I turned to C with the knowledge condensed from Visual Basic. Java followed as I cannot grasp the idea of pointers. And through years of imitation, I finally trained the network, learning language and frameworks with ease. Spending an unholy amount of time in front of a computer, I finally found my power, my joy, of creation.

The joy of creation is rather dignified because it was earned. The creation process might itself be difficult, boring and sometimes painful. My early years are a good example. It takes time and tears, and there will be many dead ends. Some might never find a way to it, either because they had no resources or chance to get access to their goal or because they are exhausted and gave up for good.

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  2. 小生化说道:



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