Mr Speaker

What I learned from watching people watching Notch

Last weekend was the 22nd Ludum Dare 48 hour game comp. Again Notch livestreamed it, again I watched pretty much all of it, and again I learned a lot. But having seen Notch in action before, this time I could afford to take my eyes off the code from time to time, and spend a bit more time to perusing the informative "chat" that accompanied the videos.

With an average of around 5000 anonymous viewers, that's always going fun. Over the weekend the topics ebbed and flowed over 3 core themes: "What radio station is this?" (devolving into music flamewars), "When is the next Minecraft release?" (devolving into Minecraft flamewars), and "What program is he using?" (Devolving into programming language flamewars). Here were some of my favourite quotes from the informed and poignant programming language discussions:

  • java wasnt really made for games
  • C isn't a very good language, it doesnt have xml or objects
  • tell me, why the *** would you write a game in an imperative language if you knew c++ just as well?
  • You should start with c++ if you want to learn programming. All other languages are ***, except for the D language.

  • how do i OOP?
  • object oriented programming is a sad failed paradigm of the 80s
  • Object C isn't very flexible ;-;
  • i hear you need to learn html to get into C#, is this true?
  • you're a good c++ coder if you don't use any pointers
  • the part i hated most about notchs code was the bitwise shifting i hate that
  • i learnt c++ from a book, its boring

  • C++ isnt boring, just as fun as Java, but faster and more flexible
  • c++ is a mess now
  • java looks a lot like c++
  • i just now realized how similar c++ and java really are
  • C++ can be writtnel like C cause C++ has bacwardcompapility
  • the C lineage has it's tendrils everywhere in modern programming, maybe not in c++ but certainly in later iterations
  • c++ is like updated c#
  • whats easier to learn c++ or java and what is better overall( like quality of programm)
  • java is easiest. c++ is more useful and makes a better program

  • C# is an improved Java. Java is an improved C++. C++ is far harder, more difficult and complex than java or c#. C# is also a better language than both.
  • C++ is the most efficient programming language to date

  • java takes too much ressoursses
  • java is demanding in terms of RAM
  • Java is similar to C++ with Objects and stuff and antway wasnt java writen in C++
  • Visual is the standard programming language....doesn't mean its awful << haters
  • C++ is a giant, ugy, monstrosity of a language. somewhere inside it, there is a much simpler and more elegant language. that language is called java.
  • Chrome sucks because it has seperate processes for EVERY tab! And they say it's lightweight.. lol
  • why are you people talking about c++? seriously, learn c# or sth. like that, but not c++... *** c++. so outdated nowadays and just terrible
  • as long as someone is using a old programming language it's worth learning... look @ bank systems they're coded in old langs

No one was delving on the irony of spending an hour or so arguing about which language is better for games, without noticing that an actual game was unfolding before their eyes. If only games were flamewar powered!

It was obvious that most people liked the idea of making a game, but balked when confronted with the part where you actually had to put in a bit of effort. This attitude was entrenched firmly in what was perhaps my favourite quote for the weekend - directed towards Notch's wife (who at one point was moderating the madness):

EZ, any advice for women who want to marry men who are in game development?

Now that's just plain lazy.


  1. Funny but the problem of getting into debates rather than getting shit done or solving a problem exists for almost everything, not just games. This is true for relationships, work, entrepreneurship, and just about anything else you can imagine. Mankind is lazy… period.

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at 12:14 am | Permalink
  2. Hah, fascinating. I completely agree with your closing statement. At University, I tried to set up a similar kind of scenario – I wanted as many people from the related courses of game development, design, art, music etc as possible to come together and make a small game (or a mod, anything! Really just some CV fodder and experience). The initial reception was astounding. About 80 people turned up, all eager and ready to go! They listened diligently and wholeheartedly agreed the motivations were sound.

    I thought I was seriously on to something until the time came to actually do some work. Holy crap, I’ve never seen a mood shift like it. “Why are we looking at mods?! We should be doing our own thing with our own engine!” “What’s this I hear about using C++? We’ll never get anything done, it’s ancient!” “Why can’t we just use Game Maker or Unity?”

    I tell you, I damn near lost my faith in humanity in those weeks. Programmers can be absolute assholes.

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at 12:35 am | Permalink
  3. I think you mean interpretive, not imperative (Java and C++ are both imperative). Technically there is no such thing as an interpretive language, only an interpretive language *implementation*. The main Java implementations use JIT compilation so it’s a mix of both.

    [Note from Mr Speaker: I didn’t write those quotes – they were from the live stream chat. I’m just making fun of them. All.]

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at 3:09 am | Permalink
  4. The main thing to be learnt from these chat comments appears to be that people are indeed idiots and don’t know what they’re talking about…

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at 5:23 am | Permalink
  5. Was he listening to a radio station and if so was there ever an answer to what it was?

    Thursday, December 22, 2011 at 5:38 am | Permalink
  6. Haha, awesome. Yes he was… and, um, I saw the answer 50 times but I forget… Strange thing is, I really liked the tunes but was so annoyed at the inane chat that I forgot to realise that it was relevant to my interests!

    Thursday, December 22, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Permalink
  7. It’s reinforcing my homemade quote. “You can make beautiful things in COBOL if you re good at it”.

    Friday, December 23, 2011 at 5:33 am | Permalink
  8. He switched radio stations a couple of times, I think one was Electro House and another one of the SomaFM ones – Groove Salad maybe.

    Sunday, December 25, 2011 at 4:52 am | Permalink
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