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Hello, my name is Rui Andrés and I am a creative technologist at Angry Ventures. In this video/blog post, I want to talk to you about the game of coding, what it is like to code creatively.
So when you face a new technical challenge, a new engineering challenge, how do you approach it in a creative way?
For me, my vision or way of doing it is to approach it like we approach a role-playing game or a game. You have a set of challenges and levels, and you have to improve your skills so that you can evolve as a character to surpass even harder and harder challenges.
And this way, you can gather the tools you have at your disposal and even new ones that you didn’t even know that you could gather and start building and evolving your skill set to address those new challenges.
But like in a videogame, there is an ever-evolving landscape of new challenges, new bosses, and new enemies. And you have to have a proactive approach to explore new horizons, new levels. If you stop evolving, if you stop looking for the next challenge, you stay a low-level character, and nobody wants to be one.
This means that it’s important for you to continue that exploration, to try and discover a flow or a pattern that makes you happy, that makes you go and move forward. If you don’t find that, you will slowly start to be in a rut, in a downward spiral. And that, ultimately, in a classic videogame, you shut it down, and you don’t put it ever back on.
Defeat that boss by coding
So what happens in a videogame when you face a boss that you cannot defeat? In a role-playing game, you mainly go back: go back to the training grounds, the easier area, to look for answers and new ways to better yourself. And in engineering, programming, and coding, this is very much alike because when you have a new technical challenge, something new that someone asked you to do, or a new idea that popped up in your head, you have to search, you have to search the digital landscape, you have to search GitHub. You have to explore Hacker News and look for new creative ways to achieve what you set out to do.
Thus, this proactive lookout for new tools and new experiments is what makes you evolve to defeat that seemingly undefeatable boss.
So, now you have achieved those powers, those skills needed, you can face the boss, and it will be simpler than ever before. But with that, you start to understand that you have not only the ability to defeat it but to create. You can transform the landscape around you. Now, you are not only facing the defeat of the monsters, but also the challenge of building the town, cultivating plants, crafting, and liking a videogame.
When you start discovering the tools you have and the coding processes, the new methodologies, the new frameworks, you begin to understand that you have the power to defeat bosses, defeat enemies, and craft new things to generate whole new worlds.
And that strength gives you greater responsibility. Like in the movie “Spider-Man” (2002), where Uncle Ben says to Peter Parker: “with great power comes great responsibility.” When you achieve that kind of power, you have the responsibility of the whole digital world, of the entire digital web, because you can improve things, transform them positively, and not make things harder.
You have to gather inside you that knowledge and find the vision internally to improve and build upon what you have unearthed in this world or this digital landscape.
The responsibility to create
So, now you have set upon yourself in this adventure to enhance the digital landscape with your new set of tools, with your new power. But then imagine that you have to return to one of your first levels. This can happen because there was a quest, like in a traditional videogame, that makes you return there. Everything seems easy there, everything seems boring, every old pattern that you don’t want to repeat because you spent so damn long there to improve yourself. So you start to be frustrated. That incites a rebellious streak inside you because you don’t want to do that type of work.
However, this is not a bad thing: it is an opportunity because when you have this new perception of things, you can start to understand and to pinpoint problems that you can fix. And this is how real innovation comes: from looking at old problems in a new light and then improving them for everyone.
When you understand this, you realize you have just leveled up. Now, you now recognize that you have the potential, the godlike endowment, to create new things, transform old things into new things, and improve them. And you also realize tech is a mere canvas for your creativity because if you know how to use technology, how to use coding, how to use engineering to improve the world, create your ideas, and make them real, you are a digital god, in its whole essence.
You are a god of technology and finally understand upon yourself that it’s limitless, because there are so many ways and so many things to upgrade and to discover and to “create a new [thing],” that you are and you can be a god.