Code - What Do You See (Part 1)

Speaking Ones and Zeros

Sweaty hands grips the controller. Mashing the ‘A’ and ‘B’ buttons to slash different attacks. The D-Pad is pressed left and then right. This kid is a natural. Well, a 20 something 90s child loyal to the bone to the very franchise he drooled upon as a kid. A 2D graphic tube TV turned 3D with 4k HDR resolution. Let’s not forget Ray Tracing making the reflection oozing with shivering vibrance. Shading now soft and variable.

Pretty much every controller is the same now days. There are four main button, side “L” and “R”, Joysticks and a D-Pad. Every game franchise is different. Some have swords, sneaking around with capes or exploring open space. The variety of virtual space is infinite. Giving something to anyone who wants to create their reality of comfort and adventure. All that adventure, confined to a predetermine set of buttons.

We feel, and we know games are thrilling. But all were doing is mashing the same buttons in different combinations. How many times have you hit X and L together? Or rapidly tapped the B button to get out of a bad situation? Yet we don’t care. The buttons don’t matter because they are just interfaces to the virtual world. Its the music, and the characters highlighting a story, pulling upon our emotions with dazzlingly colors that makes it all immersive. Those buttons we press express our desires to interact with the game world in a way we feel is awesome and right. We mess around to make NPC miserable, and finding new unnecessary moves to beat monsters. In our online world, we laugh at our attempts and express our emotions through character alterations. Our avatars feel a part of our thoughts and sometimes inner being. All done through mashing buttons on a controller. Uploading our gameplay recordings, giving our thoughts, reviewing games and showing off slick moves. Comments section of each creator is filled with snarky comments and heated debates over characters that don’t exist. Yet those characters are brightly shone to our eyes through millions of dots called pixels.

Take a brush. Imagine yourself a master artist. Painting strokes upon a canvas. Take your magical eye glass and zoom in. What do you see? Hairy lines of paint forming in clumps. Those clumps form into strokes that define a finished piece. And now, visualize your favorite movie. One that makes you cry. Yet that movie is made of images flying across the screen 24 times a second. Sometimes 60 or 30.

My point is our world is made of layers. Layers that are meaningless unless a communicator strokes something together. Like iron minerals forged into metal and shaped into appliances. Leather that used to be animal hide, processed into material that makes arm rest and couches. Your favorite desert, perhaps ice cream, is made up of cream, sugar and many other ingredients I don’t want to know about. I prefer to keep my delight a secret from my inquisitive mind.

Information is all about communicating your will and design into the language of your target. Like the way you type into your computer. At the most base level, computers are made up of transistor wires that have two states. On or off. Hence the name binary. Two states. True or False. Yet those two states opens up our modern games. We went from playing cards to rolling through dungeons with swords in hand and magic firing at our will. Clearly 1s and 0s is a language of its own. Yep that is right. Binary is rich with possibility that will lead us past the moon and into space of opportunities. Or perhaps, more simple, give you the ability to run your businesses completely online. Online connections connect devices together. Giving creators of code to create and publish their works. Either giving it away or selling it. 

So what is on top of 1s and 0s? Code.

Today we don’t require coders to think about binary. We code computers with written languages. Called programming languages. They are languages that allow expression of ideas in natural languages. Predictable and solid. There are hundreds of dialects and expressing our thoughts through these languages gives us immense power and freedom in different ways. Imagine the possibility that will open up when our computer hardware becomes 5 times the power from today? Our imagination, our will to bend the world, can be spoken into a computer language that runs our decisions. Creativity that goes from the mind into digital language and back into the world for interaction and completion of intended design. Coding can be very artistic. Expressing artistic ideas and representing them in modern code. Or you can be very structured and engineer your code. It is up to the user, and how they view the world. Code will always bend to the mind of the programmer. Perception and imagination rule highly in the realm of computer code.

Computer science is very artful if you want it to be. Information is just a glorious map. With millions of different representations. Think of a 2d map of your neighborhood. How do you mark the outline of your neighborhood? Depends on what you want to communicate. What if you are a noisy neighbor gauging friend or rival. Perhaps instead of boxes for houses, you draw gummy bears. Ridiculous right? Red gummy bears are stubborn neighbors who you want to avoid. From red to straight green, you are marking the spectrum of the neighbors agreeableness to your viewpoint. Handing the map over to people, who give a crap, you are communicating the thoughts of your viewpoint. Now let’s change the scenario. Now you are communicating water leaks. You draw boxes for houses with blue dots to communicate where leaks are. Simple as mashing the same buttons in different combinations, but radically changing the experience of the map. Representation changes everything. Causing the same information to be different from a monster to a hero.

Coding is the same in every way. Once you learn the rules, like a tabletop RPG, the sky is the limit with your imagination. What happens with the computer is how you represent the information in code. Giving the computer different ways of looking at information and how to interpret everything. Which changes how fast the application runs, or what the application does, or how well it handles unique, unthought of situations. All center upon representation and the instructions that interacts with that representation. For example, gravity in games. How you code the gravity and the math that governs it depends on what you want to happen. Maybe your game just needs simple gravity, so the number “9.8” is sufficient. Or maybe a monster controls gravity based on how it feels, so of course you are going to represent gravity uniquely in code. Now gravity is not only determined by math, but also the range of the monster’s emotions. How you want that to happen is completely up to you. For me, these opportunities is exhilarating and freeing. Building virtual worlds with god-like power? Sign me up. I love the ability to create anything I desire to see. That is what gets me excited in life. To bring it all together into reality.

Becoming a Bridge

Information is neutral in structure. What is simply is. In its complete raw form. However, we humans, all see it in different ways. Take eating for example. Or family. The concept substance or having a loving family to be around is related to in so many ways. Some healthy. Others not. The point is how we choose to express these truths is up to us. Many bikers love leather jackets, but I am sure there are those who don’t give a crap and where what they want. How do you communicate to so many different languages that pulse with its own rules and understanding? Immersing yourself and understanding the system of their language.

More than just people, everything has a language. Microwaves has a language. Math has rules that govern calculation. Or how to get your horse to gallop in the planned direction. Everything responds differently, and has a range of abilities within its own language. Horses may not do math, but they sure understand a lot of other things. Haven’t asked anyone about horses ye, but I do have a dog, and they can be shockingly perceptive at times. Animal companions may not understand as much as humans can, but their language grasps the concepts of being upset and need of comfort and reassurance. That is why they will snuggle with their master at times of need. They understand the emotion. Their canine ways makes their companionship wonderful.

Jumping from companions to anything else around us. Do learn the language, its limitations and opportunities. Speak the language in different ways, and become creative with it. The recipient of your words will vary in response depending on the recipient. Dogs may beckon to your call. Maybe you negotiate a good deal with another person. Or learned to grow your makeshift garden at an astonishing pace. Language is very powerful. Words are the gateway to information. And information is the key to all systems in the universe.

That is why communicators and inventors are very similar. They are bridges between different languages breaking down barriers. Different entities bonded together in a system by a governing layer. Think of your phone. Whether it be iPhone or Android, it doesn’t matter. There on your screen is the governing system that brings together art, physics and functionality. Intelligently responding to your needs and taps. Each has its own language unrelated to code, but a bridge was laid together by code that brought it all together into one system. Which in fact code is a language of its own. Innovators always learn the languages, manipulate them into groups and bring them into a one cohesive whole. Working together like wheels with an engine. Components made up of components, and systems within systems. Truly modern society is built upon the giants before us. That is what innovation is. Building upon the knowledge. Pushing the boundaries further. Tearing up old foundation, and adding upon mature foundations. Always redefining our models of the world into better ones. Exciting crap for me, and many others. An itch to make the world in different ways, or create entirely new spheres to explore.


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