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I recently bought Call Of Duty: Black Ops for the PC. It's a really realistic and challenging game, and my kids love it. However, if you want to share a gaming experience, you want to have different profiles for each player in the family. No luck with CoD:BO though. The game doesn't support mutliple profiles.

I started looking around on the internet for known solutions and stumbled upon this guy who made his own multi-profile CoD:BO launcher. I was quick to notice that it was a .net 3.5 app, probably WPF. I quickly scanned through it with Reflecor to see if there were no obvious virus-y or phone-home-y hacks in it, and judged it to be OK.

This morning, I boasted to my kids about how great their dad is: I just 'modified' CoD:BO to have multiple profiles. Their jaws dropped. You did what? Woooow, coool. I gotta tell this to my friends!

That's when I realized I should stop this lie instantly. I told them I found this tool online, and that I checked the code to see if it was nothing dangerous. I even commented that it was good looking code, well written and understandable. My son turned to me with a big smile and said:

"Dad, you talk about code like you would about a poem"


Did I? Is that the way I sound to the uninitiated? Should code even read like a poem? Lets look at some online explanations, shall we ;-)
From: How to read a poem

Reading poetry well is part attitude and part technique. Curiosity is a useful attitude, especially when it’s free of preconceived ideas about what poetry is or should be. Effective technique directs your curiosity into asking questions, drawing you into a conversation with the poem.

Up until here, I think we could draw the parallel with code. Read the previous quote again, replacing poetry and poem with code. I kinda like the sound of it.

... Most readers make three false assumptions when addressing an unfamiliar poem. The first is assuming that they should understand what they encounter on the first reading, and if they don’t, that something is wrong with them or with the poem. The second is assuming that the poem is a kind of code, that each detail corresponds to one, and only one, thing, and unless they can crack this code, they’ve missed the point. The third is assuming that the poem can mean anything readers want it to mean...

Wow, stop. The parallel between code and poetry goes only skin deep. Code should be unambiguous and instantly understandable. Poems should invite you to read a second time, and a third time, discovering new details and meanings on each consecutive read. Maybe we should try drawing parallels between poems and requirements ;-)

The bottom line for me is: Today, I went to work with a happy feeling inside.

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 10:08 PM Personal , design | Back to top


Comments on this post: From Call of Duty to reading code like a poem...

# re: From Call of Duty to reading code like a poem...
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Awesome story, that totally made my day! I'm glad that my profile loader benefited you and your family and that you found it 'trustworthy'. Thanks for the compliments on the code. I do try to write understandable, easy-to-read code, thus making the world a better place.

I also totally agree with you, code shouldn't be poetry. Sometimes the best written code is also the least 'entertaining'. But yes, requirements on the other hand generally don't make the author's intent clear and leave lots of room for reader interpretation. ;D
Left by Mel on Jan 11, 2011 6:58 AM

# re: From Call of Duty to reading code like a poem...
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Glad you liked it. And thanks for the CoD:BO launcher.
Left by Michel Grootjans on Jan 17, 2011 9:12 AM

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