Way back in the day, when I had plenty of spare time, oodles of inspiration and far more capable brain cells than I do now, I’d be more than happy to dabble in a spot of scripting – or programming, as it was known then – just for the fun of it.
My very first experiences of coding were on an ancient RM 380Z, with a big white ‘reset’ button on the front of the case, (we used that a lot!), and would have been something along the lines of:
20 PRINT “I can count! “
30 LET x=”How cool is that?”
40 LET n=1
50 FOR n=1 to 100
60 PRINT n
70 NEXT n
80 IF n=100 THEN PRINT x
I never said I was good at it!
Over time I played around with various flavours of Basic, eventually settling down with Mallard Basic because of its built-in and almost unique ability to handle multiple array files… Real and complex databases written entirely in Basic, wow!
Then my enthusiasm waned,I lost interest, and my coding for fun days were pretty much over. However, they do say that necessity is the mother of invention, and as the years have passed I’ve never been afraid to revisit those forgotten skills when the need has arisen. I’ve dabbled with C, spent hours messing about with HTML, and sweated over VBasic when trying to persuade Excel to do things it really doesn’t want to. However, I can’t say any of these were particularly fun – I’ll code if I have to, but that’s all.
That also explains why I’ve never attempted to do anything with Java, Python, Flash or any of the more exotic languages currently on offer – I’ve yet to be in a position where I might need them to solve a problem, so I’ve never had any particular inclination to try my hand at them. The same must be said for LSL: whilst I have on many occasions come to the conclusion that I really should get to grips with scripting in SL, I simply haven’t developed any real enthusiasm to knuckle down and do it. As a consequence, LSL like so many other opportunities to develop new skills in my adult life, has been relegated to the ‘needs must’ fallback position – inworld scripting isn’t something I’d typically do for pleasure, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil that has to be satisfied if I want to achieve my aims.
Adopting this rather haphazard approach to an activity that, by its very nature, tends to require a structured and consistent approach is not without its issues. It can be utterly frustrating to constantly hit dead ends due to lack of knowledge and to be unable to resolve problems because of limited understanding. And sometimes you just have to accept you’re doomed to fail, no matter how hard you try.
However it’s not all bad news: It’s possible to gain a huge amount of insight by working methodically through a broken script, step by step, until the solution finally becomes clear. Similarly, reverse-engineering existing resources can be an absolutely fascinating process which can make even the most arcane principles crystal clear and with greater clarity than any amount of teaching or ‘hands off’ ever could.
In fact, taking this rather piecemeal and random approach has served me well. I’m no demon scripter by any stretch of the imagination, but I can certainly get by when I need to, and more importantly, I completely understand how the rather modest scripts I manage to put together work. They do the trick, and that’s good enough for me!
Maybe one day, when I have more time and my enquiring mind decides it fancies regaining some of the lost exuberance of my youth, I’ll have a bash at learning how to script for SL in earnest. Until then, I’ll leave it to the experts and let necessity dictate those rare occasions when I need to get my own hands dirty!
Here you go way too fast
Don’t slow down, you gonna crash
The Primitives – Crash