Programming with Fire

My thoughts on games and making them. Mostly.

Programming with Fire

This piece is inspired by the excellent Catt Small‘s recent piece Code and Creativity as well as spending all month working incredibly slowly in 3D and realizing that I don’t need to.

fire gif

For me, programming is a means to an end. A particularly brain-driven, completely rational means to an end. And yes, there is creative problem solving when coding, but it doesn’t the emotional charge I’m trying to hit when making something. It’s removed from the fire.

I want to stay as close as possible to my emotional fire when I’m making things. To work from my heart and my gut and my groin instead of from my brain. To open up to and to be opened up by my work. To reach through the screen and grab your heart.

Writing, drawing, acting, designing, and tons of other tasks are playing with fire. Programming is taking the idea’s fire and molding it. Like building a kiln or a furnace or a fame-thrower in order to share the fire with the world. But the building itself is technical. It’s craft. And, to paraphrase Julia Cameron, I don’t want to focus on my craft to the detriment of my art.

With games, it’s too easy to spend two years building a single furnace. Two years trying to stoke a single flame. Two years leading with my head over my heart. Two years slowly becoming more and more closed off and removed from what’s going on inside me – from my own internal furnace.

Instead, I want to start one hundred fires. One thousand fires. For every week to be a poem. To live so openly and honestly that whenever I place a footstep on dry grass, you see the spark and begin to warm your hands in anticipation of the heat. There’s a fire coming, and the best thing for my programming brain to do is move aside. There’s more on the way.