All MMORPGs are just 1's and 0's
The name Bjarne Stroustrup is to computer programming languages what Steve Jobs was to Apple. Stroustrup not only authored the first official C++ reference guide, but he is also the language’s creator. For anyone missing the significance, C and C++ essentially powers the Rapture engine -- you know...that thing that lets you play your favorite MMORPG from Iron Realms. In a 2010 e-mail interview with Wired magazine, Stroustrup not only tells the history behind the language but also reveals details about his personal life. Reading those details made me realize -- he’s really not that different from the average gamer!
Regardless of Client, It’s Still a Character in an MMORPG
In the interview with Wired, Stroustrup makes the point that, “...software is invisible. There are several processors in my little camera, but I don’t think of my camera as a computer. There are dozens of computers in a modern car, but we still think of it as a car.”
Whether you use Nexus, Flash, zMud, Mudlet or something else entirely, you’re still playing an MMORPG from Iron Realms. Regardless if you use Vadi or your own custom-built system, your character is still performing the same tasks it would do if you typed in every command manually.
Life Without Software
The C++ creator goes on to explain, “In general, I don’t think people appreciate how much we depend on software. Given the complexity of modern society and modern transportation systems, it is fair to say that most people would starve without software.” He’s not kidding, and no doubt speaks from experience. Stroustrup uses a small laptop “with a bunch of C++ compilers” and his “desktop is Linux with more compilers and tools for software development.” I like to think I could at least survive a weekend without technology, but others freely admit being lost without their favorite technological devices. When fellow author Penelope Swain’s computer died, she barely lasted forty-eight hours on her smart phone before purchasing a netbook to tied her over until repairs were complete.
Background Music for Programming
The Wired article was in no way limited to the technical aspects of Stroustrup’s life. When asked what music he prefers to listen to while programming, his tastes were really diverse, if not a little surprising. His list included, but was in no way limited to, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Grieg, Sibelius, Mozart, the Beatles, the Dixie Chicks, Handel, Clapton, and Beethoven. Wow. If you take out the Dixie Chicks, Sibelius, and Wagner, but add in Pink Floyd, Christina Perri, and Maroon 5 it’s not really that much different from my Pandora playlist. Background music is essential to some MMORPG players. Fellow author Tony Celentano can’t bash without heavy metal streaming through his headphones. Music isn’t for everyone, though. Nicholas, a long time player of Iron Realms games, prefers the television playing for background noise while a different player values a silent background -- just the sound of fingers clacking away at the keyboard.
Most of us will never come close to the contributions of Bjarne Stroustrup in the area of computer science. Without C++ we would know a very different Iron Realms, and the Rapture engine that powers our favorite MMORPGs definitely wouldn’t be the same! What people do you credit for the success of your favorite games? What’s your favorite background music or sound? Comments about this article are welcome in the spaces below.
Author: Mitch O'Hara
Editor: Tony Celentano