I'm sure this is true for some people, but it seems to completely disregard the problems this guy went through and his personal context.
It's true that programming and/or game development may be a craft to some people, but it doesn't sound like it was for this guy.
He went through something bad, was censored and censured for talking about it, and came out of the wringer feeling betrayed and lost. It sounded like something went wrong with his little brother, too.
Rather than the "I have a dream and I want to make this game real" story we usually see, this sounds more like a guy turning to his hobby as a therapeutic outlet, specifically:
> While my career was falling apart, I decided to start making a video game. Normally I might have played a video game as a way to retreat from the world. But instead I channeled all of my anger, sadness, disappointment, and frustration into a project that became the video game you see above. . . . I can take some fictional people, make everyone betray them for all their own petty and cowardly reasons, and our protagonists will just have to deal with it. . . . So now I've resigned from a job I had grown to despise, and I'm channeling my frustration into something productive as a way of dealing with everything that had happened.
This post is certainly an advertisement for his game, but it's also definitely a way to try to vent about things he's not allowed to talk about -- I can't imagine how frustrating that must be.
I think that saying that his feelings now are due to his misunderstanding of "his craft" is needlessly dismissive.
IMO a really basic helpful model is: 1) thing I could do in my sleep and still amaze people with OR make money with == means of making a living and 2) thing that excites me and yet always seems just out of reach == hobby.
However the devil is in the details and you cannot by easily diminish the excitement of #2 (above) because you risk becoming the enemy just by suggesting that it not be prized above all other work. So there are other models which must be skillfully employed to help tease out this comprehension. It's kind of a minefield, actually.
It is a bit dangerous to be unconsciously good (ie in my sleep) at something and think that you can make money with it.
Let's take something like chess. Unless you are a TOP 10 player, you are not going to be making a good living from chess unless you go into secondary sources of income: teaching,writing, coaching. Source: as a master I know many poor grandmasters.
So there has to be a market demand for the skill that you have deliberately practiced to be unconsciously good at.
Like that guy who can skip a stone 88 times.
He certainly enjoys it and people are amazed by it. However there is a very limited demand for experienced stone skippers.
Nevertheless, those are usually not the things you spontaneously think of when you hear the term. So maybe untangling the different motivations and giving more value to things that are not immediately meant to make a living could help to make a change.
i had a passion for programming in highschool. but i absolutely hated working 9-5 in an office environment. the problem was when i had that experience as an intern i didn't know why i hated it. it took me years to figure out what the real problem was and to find the kind of work that aligned with my passions and avoided the things i didn't like about it while also along the way changing my feelings about some aspects (9-5 looks less bad when other factors are good (i still avoid it though)).
If a person loves their occupation then that's great! But he/she still needs to treat it as a business rather than a mission for a higher cause (even if it was a mission for a higher cause) because without financial insight it gets hard to prioritize things.
a) Working without passion and having almost no time for what you are passionate for.
b) Working with reduced passion. And if you are a bit lucky even lots of passion.
I think (b) is preferable.
Anyone going to do this?
It's from the Vietnam period, but it doesn't sound like much has changed based on OP's description.
There is a big blue button labelled 'Start your request'. I hope you can figure the rest out, heh.
As the saying goes: you don't quit your job, you quit your boss.
Because that is how you get your name on a list.
Surely one more list wont make any difference, right?
I had a friend who formerly worked for military intelligence in the UK who asked once (to a group) if we thought we were on the GCHQ database. I said yes, I would likely be in there and when he asked why I gave my reason, which is that I once did something that relatively, very few people have done and thus I have marked myself as ahead of the crowd in some way since it is probable that the government became aware of that. My friend did not confirm or deny but acknowledged my contribution. I presume he would be forbidden from revealing operational details like this but these days I think that yes I am in the database because we are all in it.
Its going to be a relational database and there is no single 'rank' as such but certainly accomplishments and connections are noted. If you speak <language> and they hear about that, they will note that. They might need a <language> speaker at short notice one day and you just happen to be there. They might need a person with a particular type and colour of car. They might need a pilot. All of these people are already available within the military but they might want somebody else. It is their job to keep tabs and I think they probably do it well.
Sadly, recruiting for the intelligence community is probably around the same efficiency of your local state government. Recruiters go to college career fairs and review applications from the website. Most candidates are unqualified, crackpots, or both. A couple schools have professors that encourage students to work for agencies, so alumni from these schools are overrepresented in the IC.
Occasionally, an outstanding person is identified and recruited, but this is rare. It is almost certainly driven by a person on the inside giving a referral. The recruiters have no bandwidth to be spending time pursuing candidates in any kind of targeted fashion.
Edit: Wow, I've a LONG way to go to get on this list :/
...some of the NPCs that are in his way.
(Yeah, there's another song that has "He's making a list, and he's checking it twice".)
Going back to the 80's, you have Operation Cyclone, which was the CIA operation to arm and finance the mujahadeen against the USSR, which led to the creation of the Taliban, 10 years of brutal theocratic rule and ethnic cleansing in Afghanistan, and ultimately to the September 11th attacks on the United States, and to the (still ongoing) NATO occupation.
I don't know much about India, but it looks like the CIA may be implicated in the assassination of Indira Gandhi, and bombed a plane in the 50's in an attempt to kill Zhou Enlai.
I think GP is pretty justified in saying that the presence of a CIA/NSA operative in South Asia would leave a bad taste in his mouth.
That is actually not what happened. The mujahadeen are not precursors of the Taliban. Matter of fact, the mujahadeen and Taliban fought each other. Many members of the mujahadeen left to join the Taliban but they are not the same. The Taliban was started by students.
The Taliban did not in any case organize until after infighting broke out again among those groups, and the Taliban's growth came in large part exactly because these groups were far more disunited at the point the Taliban was rising than during the war against the Soviets.
Analyzing the course of political debate and the mood is important to understand a country you're working with. Not that this is particularly secretive work.
Well put, Mr. Google. ;)
Web development has not been nearly as "fun", but it's been so much more lucrative. If you want to make video games as a business, I'd say make your money first with "boring" work and then making a video game can be fun since you don't have to have the financial pressure overhanging it. You hear the indie darling success stories like Undertale, Stardew Valley, etc. But I imagine that the common case is: "Spend lots of time, then nothing happens."
> Is this an advertisement for the video game I'm working on? Well, honestly, yeah, it kind of is.
I'm more than okay with seeing this sort of thing, whether or not it's an advertisement, as long as it provides value to read. I hope someone sends in that FoI request and posts it later (I might do so myself once I have access to a computer), as the context sounds fascinating.
Interestingly, this is also much more effective than traditional advertising, at least for me - I'll be keeping an eye on this game when it goes to early access, whereas I actively avoid the majority of products I recognize from advertisements.
Most likely its a) probably far more interesting to the participants than a public audience and b) could easily just be your typical government/big corp managerial politics issues, as it's rarely the talent who float to the top of administrative (and risk-oriented agencies like the CIA are super administrative).
Those stories are typically built on type of a ton of tiny small insignificant interpersonal issues that snowball into bigger problems until they start affecting real work. The type of problems that could easily have been dealt with far earlier on in the process had reasonable adults been in charge.
Not everyone makes up their stories, and not nearly everyone is lying – but there are people who will abuse the natural trust people exhibit, and take the profits into their pockets, as opposed to helping their fictional cause.
It's so prominent because there's a whole lot of people who do that. Similar to the "vocal minority" phenomenon, people start assuming that everyone in the same group is <something>, regardless of how valid the assumption is, because of the exposure towards a certain kind of the group's members.
Haven't we gotten the distinct impression that the unsupervised services are rife with such experiences, even more than other federal government bureaucracies? When it's illegal to go the press, very few people do so.
When work situations get really intolerable, the civil courts are always an option. Except, for the unsupervised services they aren't. I'm sure that makes a difference.
Dunno - I guess there are cases where you need to be careful what you wish for.
Adding to this, the public sector pays much more than the private sector (often 50% ~ 100% more). Have job stability, generous vacations and other benefits. Depending on where you are (federal, state or municipal government levels), you also have a special retirement plan that gives you 100% of your salary when you retire (the private policies are capped at around 4.5 minimum wages, for comparison a good dev in the bigger cities can get about 10~15 minimum wages).
And so we have many "lifers" in the public sector, and this kind of job is the dream for many people (which is terrible IMHO).
Someone gets a permanent position and is dragging his feet and dying out of boredom. Someone else sees that as an extra degree of freedom (not having to worry about his job security) and he is branching out say to explore/contribute to a tech stack that is not popular with employers.
"This ends here. Anything you write from here on out, we have to approve. If you write a tell-all book without our permission, you go to prison. Any questions?"
I hope that does not apply to software.
Which they did promptly. But yes, there are government jobs that have this sort of stipulation in them that covers anything you produce, ever again. (I'm neither defining nor maligning the practice, just providing an example.)
you could very well leak that algorithm out or even miscellaneous implementation details (or whatever) in your job at the new place, even unwittingly, and so .gov could argue that they'd need to audit that so as to ensure no classified info has not been disclosed via your work.
I'll buy you a drink if you're ever in Sydney...
Birth of a genre.
The wiki link for non-Americans who are unfamiliar with the character:
Hannah Gadsby's put it into words better than I can in "Nanette", but sadly I can't link to a 1-hour Netflix special so my own angry take on this will have to do.
Yes, some art, specifically art about suffering, benefits from people who experienced suffering. Otto Dix is brilliant because he shows us the horrors of war he experienced. And there is such a thing as posttraumatic growth, so sure, overcoming "suffering" can have benefits in general. Emphasis overcoming, though!
Other than that it's romantic nonsense that has been debunked by psychology time and time again. And it's dangerous nonsense too, because it leads to movies like Whiplash.
Don't get me wrong: it's a brilliant film, but because it's so dazzling I don't think people criticize the issues it has enough. Think about it: two of the most privileged white dudes in the world complain that Jazz is dying, and our main antagonist spends the entire film bullying, tormenting, sometimes flat-out gaslighting his students because he somehow believes that traumatizing them will make them as good as some of the worlds greatest musicians. Of course, he is being completely ignorant of the context that the latter lived in, of their personal histories. Suffering in itself does not inspire greatness, dammit.
Perhaps Whiplash's underlying thesis is that this is not true, nor justifyiable, but if so it's just like anti-war movies that end up glorifying war.
Because it ends with giving Terence Fletcher a moment to tell "his side" of the story. He shows no regret for bullying one of his students into suicide, "because a real Charlie Parker would have been able to take [my abuse]."
Holy freaking self-serving cherry picking survivor bias, Batman! First of all, we don't know if Charlie Parker would have been any less brilliant if he had had proper therapy for his inner demons. Perhaps he would have been more brilliant, ever considered that? Young John Coltrane suffered from heroine and alcohol addictions, but he wrote "A Love Supreme" after he had a religious experience and overcame those addictions. Not to mention the fact that we are ignoring countless of brilliant artist who are not suffering, which you don't hear about because it's not a juicy story.
So at the end of the movie the main characters are just as horrible, misguided and unaware of their own institutional whiteness and privileges as before, and haven't really learned anything. Then they give a dazzling performance that seems to suggest to us that yes, all of this was justified to give us this. It's ignorant, insulting and wrong.
Believing that suffering for art is necessary is a misguided, romantic and outdated and dangerous view of genius and I can't wait for it to die. No matter what field we are talking about.
 The appreciation of "ugly" art is actually a very interesting topic, I recommend Talk about a Painting: A Cognitive Developmental Analysis as a nice starting point.
On seeing the presentation of this game and the story behind its making, I am touched but its truth and the balance of beauty with the matter of dealing with what's thrown at you. I hope to play it someday.
But I disagree with idea that suffering for art is just "a corollary" to that. That would ignore that The Suffering Artist is an age old trope with a long history of examples of (IMO misplaced) hero-worshiping, which has nothing to do with this "complacent vacuum".
Yes, art (or science or tech or social change or whatever) is always created within a certain context, and this context may have obstacles that need to be overcome to create said art. Sometimes those obstacles involve suffering, and not everyone is willing to pay that price.
There is a romantic notion of believing in something greater than yourself and suffering for it, and sometimes that is true: Snowden was willing to suffer to get the truth out, and without it we wouldn't have known what we know now.
But knowing the context and the price of what you want to do, and paying it willingly does not imply that great art (any kind of "greatness") requires suffering, or worse: that an artwork becomes better if the artist suffered for it. That's an utterly banal reversal of causality.
Am I understanding this correctly? He's dumping the game on 'Early Access' but isn't going to finish it? Hardly early access and more duping people, if I'm not mistaken?
"It's playable now, through about 8 hours of content. It's going to be a lot longer than that before I'm finished."
Still, kudos to him for persevering and getting his project to completion.
A real question. I don't use Steam.
The previous title was "I started making a video game because the CIA was ruining my life"