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Life, My Universe, and Everything

Brief History

Hi. I'm ArcaneSpeech. Born 17 November 1982, I've been a coder since 1990, when I learned good ol' GW-BASIC. (Does anyone remember that magazine, 3-2-1 Contact? With the BASIC Training articles?) Although I graduated through other versions (namely QBasic, QuickBASIC, and VB), I didn't recover from the disease until 1995, when my dad bought a nice, shiny copy of Micro$oft Visual C++ 4.0. While Dad tried unsuccessfully to get Win95 to stop crashing every time he typed the word 'unix', I desperately tried to remember the %#$@ semicolon at the end of each line. Still, I vowed never to go back to the monstrosity that was BASIC.

Fast forward to the present. Now out of high-school and holding down a respectable career as a job hunter, I discovered Unreal Tournament in 2001 (yes, I live under a rock). Love at first fight. When I played it for the first time, my jaw dropped at how realistic it all looked. (Stop looking at me like that! I told you, I live under a rock!) Then I looked under the hood, and thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I'd studied Java a little (enough to use it, with my now-extensive C++ self-education) and knew I could work with this UnrealScript stuff. I wanted to alter unreality.

Shameless Self-Pity

In the beginning, most of my UScript projects went the way most of my C++ projects did – stillborn. I'm pretty sure I have ADD. If I don't care – and I mean care about something, it doesn't get done. Even when I care, unless I plan out what I'm doing, think it over carefully, and research all parts of it, my projects tend to stall when they hit a bump or a bug that I just don't know how to handle. When I search for an answer, ADD sets in after the twenty-third article that bears no relation to my problem. That's when the Unreal Wiki came to my rescue.

Ode to the Wiki

For the past year, I've been blundering through the UnrealEd class browser, desperately trying to find out wtf is going on. Everything I've done has been an attempt at understanding the unbelievably complex machine that is the Unreal Engine. Thanks to the Wiki, I've learned more about the Unreal Engine in the past few days than I learned in the past year. Sixty-five-thousand-five-hundred-thirty-five thanks to each and every one of the Category Personal Page!

capt. k.: Hehehe. Ten points to anyone who can name where the "Basic Training" section of 3-2-1 Contact orignated. :)

Tarquin: My vote is Chiark Orbital.

capt. k.: Sometime in the early 80's the print publishing arm of CTW started a computer magazine called "Enter" to accompany their 3-2-1 Contact, Electric Company, and Sesame Street magazines. I don't recall if there was a show to go along with it, but probably not, as the magazine was short-lived. Probably because back then computers were still just hobby machines and expensive toys – when it was incorporated into 3-2-1 Contact, there was actually a big stink about it from Contact readers, who felt that it was a waste of space because not everyone owned a computer. Still, they're worth digging up if you want to read about hot technologies at the time, like the TRS-80 and Commodore PET.

Ars-Magna: I'm definitely younger than you, but I got 3-2-1 Contact as a kid as well. That was after the "Basic Training" section was removed, though, I think.

BTW, Arcane, I have serious ADD too. The computer is about the only thing I can focus on (besides movies and music). I have had a love for programming since I was about 7, and I believe I finally completed my first program at the age of 13, and that's just because I got paid a whopping $800 to do it. (I worked literally hundreds of hours on that project.) Being ADD is tough, especially when Ritalin, Adderol and the other meds don't help. Best of luck to you, if you have ADD. It sucks.

EntropicLqd: Welcome to the Wiki :). I definately don't have ADD and I probably complete about 10% (less than that probably looking at the number of project directories littering my HD) of everything I start. I figure out the hard interesting stuff and then get bored doing the drudgery and think of a new whizzy idea that would be more interesting to do. Maze games are about the only ones I've finished consistently so far. Weird that.

SavannahLion: 1982? I'm older than you and I don't even remember those Basic articles. I started cutting my teeth on an Atari XEGS With the Atari-Basic manual that came with it. I'm pretty sure I left my sanity there since A: I had no one to turn to if I had questions about what was in that manual and B: I knew squit about how to type so it would take me an hour just to create a dozen lines of code and C: My dad is a carpenter. I'm going to dig up my old 3-2-1 magazines and see what's in there.

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