Wednesday, April 22, 2009

And the Snake Attacks

Alright. Fine. In 1995, when I was first exposed to Python, any reference to "snake" was verboten. Python was named after Monty Python, not the reptile. If anybody was attacking, it was Knights who say Ni or possibly the Rabbit of Caerbannog.

In any case... back in 1994, I was battling fictitious baddies in the LPMUD scene. The Web was barely present, and broadband was unheard of. Low-bandwidth entertainment was the order of the day.

Wait. One more step back. 1979. My first computer was an Apple ][, and one of my favorite games was the Colossal Cave. Soon after that, I learned about and played Zork. I fell in love with the concept of interaction fiction and how a computer could lead you through these stories. These games hooked me, and led me into a life of computers. (and yes, you can imagine my ecstasy at meeting Don Woods some 25+ years later!)

So the MUD scene was quite interesting to me. But I wanted to help build these games. I met John Viega, a fellow LPMUD game author, coder, and designer. At the time, he was working at the University of Virginia in their Computer Graphics Lab, working on a system called Alice. Their system was intended for less computer-savvy and they wanted an easy-to-learn language for people to create animations. They chose Python for its clarity, power, and simplicity.

John was a huge fan, and pointed me at Python. "You have to learn this!" "Fine. Fine.", I said. The language was easy, yet powerful. It could do everything, without a lot of hassle.

That was February, 1995, and I haven't turned back.

Little did I know, at the time, just how pivotal Python would be to my career and my life. Thank you, Guido, for your creation.

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