I know I told myself I wouldn't work hard over the weekend, but it happened again. I managed to get all the defects assigned to me done by the cut-off, but I took on two more that ended up being a lot more complicated than I expected. The last one left is making me very nervous, but it has to be done. I know it has to be done, but it still makes me nervous.

It also reminds me that there is a flaw in the masking tape programmer. Related to the duct tape programmer, I would see the masking tape programmer as someone who thinks they are worth of the duct tape title, but don't have the sheer skill to really put it off. The type of developer who throws something together that pretty much falls apart if you sneeze too hard. In Joe's comment, "you aren't good enough" is pretty much the masking tape programmer.

I'll fix it, I know I can. I just lose another weekend to finishing things well over a week after "cut off". I try really hard to finish things on time–more so after I got dinged for that very thing in my annual review.

I'm not a duct tape programmer. I like to think I can be, but I don't like to be because you end up with code that can't be maintained after a few months or even years. I have too many years of being a masking tape programmer, the code that falls apart seconds or minutes after you finish it, or just balls up into this ungodly mess when you breath too hard on it.

I do try to be an artist. I like elegance in my code. I want a pattern and beauty. My code is laid out like poetry and I aim for consistency in everything. Like my writing. One of the projects I spent way too long earlier in this year, involving rewriting tens of thousands lines of code, became something beautiful a month ago when I made one change and everything just dropped into place. Like a novel plot that slid up from the reader's side.

Or a game plot. My games get emotional; I had great players who were amazing and would do so, but I also like to think that I create good characters. People get involved and really start to believe in the games and characters. In one game, they were using the tavern (cliche, I know, on purpose) owner as their primary contact. She helped manage their adventures. They slowly got to know her and her history. In the last six months of real time, they found a plot to attack the party. Competition adventuring groups stealing their jobs, robbing from them, and occasionally turning public opinion against them. In the final end of the arc, they finally gathered up enough money to hire other adventurers to track down this party attacking them and gave it to the tavern owner to manage…

… only to find out she was the one who sending the groups to attack them. Then, it was like watching dominoes in the group. That slow realization as all these little hints and back story suddenly clicked together. I could see everyone around that table finally put everything together, then that collective moan as hit them in the gut. It was… amazing in so many ways and it led into one of the most impressive, intense, and creative final "boss" fights I had ever been in.

I love that feeling. Probably one reason I start most games with "create what you want, as long as it will adventure with others, and in the end, I meant for you to make them." I've done that with the last five games and I don't think anyone has ever been disappointed.

Needless to say, it is just as great of a feeling to see fifty thousand lines of code suddenly click together. I can only hope the work I'm doing this weekend will be epic instead of wrapped together with masking tape.

2009-10-17