The Tool Trap

12 05 2006

Curses, the mass generator doesnt work too well, its too stupid. Or rather, the distribution is highly gay. Generated objects tend to cluster. It seems the Random class that comes with .NET is a piece of crap. I have a couple of choices, I can implement the Mersenne Twister algorithim, whose psuedo random generation is unparralleled in all areas (save predicatabilty) and is as equidistributed as they get. Or create an editor. The latter is at the moment not an option. Although I plan to create an editor I do not wish to do so till after I have completed one episode because I have no wish to get caught in the Tool Trap.

The Tool Trap

The tool trap is the manifestation of feature creep, greed and having eyes larger than your stomach. It is known that children often overstuff their plates with sweets, cakes and pies beyond what they can eat. Their eyes drink in the goodies and they try to eat as much as they can only to be beset by great stomach pains. This same behavourial pattern carries over to adulthood where those working on projects see this and that cool feature which must be had but only serve to bog the project down and cause it to loose direction.

Attempting implementation of advanced features, even the mere act of listing these features, which are not necessary to the essence of the project is an example of a rapid way to lose sight and control of a project. As the features fail to be implemented one becomes sick to their vision and lose hope and feelings of progress. It is necessary that a tight hold be kept on what is destination and the quickest way to it.

Another method is one of the misunderstanding of originality, creativity and creation. It is necessary that one know what it is they wish to do and have a clear idea of their vision. It is not neccessary to dig a hole if you wish to bake a cake. Nor is it neccessary to grow wheat if you wish to eat bread or frosted flakes. So also must all those who set out to create say to themselves: I must realize that if some kind person has helped to wash all my dishes, then I will not wash them again before I set my dinner on them. It makes more sense to get about the more important task of setting the dinner out. It does no one any good to create from "scratch".

Because truly there is no such thing as original, everything is learned, taken and reworked from somewhere. The human mind is not an original one. It cannot create. The laws of conservation apply even to creativity. Certainly there is a Mapping from the set of all people creating to another Set of all those who have written and taught. Each member of the relation essentially tells who the influences on the set of students are. Certainly it feels good to cut a tree, whittle the wood, carve a handle. Find some ore, a smelter, a forge and make a blade to then attatch to the handle so you can cut some bread with the knife but it is also a massive waste of unnecessary time. Ofcourse if the task was to create a knife then no time was wasted. Except ofcourse if you had cast the forge yourself. Thus it must be that you must know your goals and task and know how to use the tools at your disposal to allow for the most rapid development. Overpride in what must be yours and a severe misunderstanding of what is your original creation does no one any good. The essesence of your creativity is in the shaping of your goal not in the laborious side tasks of the creation of tools which facilitate such.

The final tool trap is where one actually creates more tools than they need. Or make the tools much more fancy than they need be. I fell for this once, building an editor, improving this and that and making it more and more friendly and with more features while the game languished. The tools need not do any more than they must.

To do what you wish you must do no more than you must.

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