Hacking is my World of Warcraft
I've just read blog posts from Tom Coates and Rafe Colburn talking about time spent playing World of Warcraft that might have been better spent on more worthwhile pursuits - such as writing, hacking, reading, getting outside, etc.
Well, the first thing I have to say is that there's nothing inherently wrong with WoW. One of my best friends spends most nights in the world, along with his sweetie and the occasional get together with nephews and friends. It seems to me that he doesn't feel the compulsion to do anything in particular after work, beyond enjoying his time - and this is something he enjoys and provides something quite a bit more like a social life than television.
Imagine not being a workaholic - I find it difficult, how about you?
I tend to tell people that I'm lucky not to have a machine decent enough to run WoW. I've got plenty of hardware capable of doing all manner of web development and tinkering tasks, but none with the muscle to run a modern 3-D game. I have played WoW, however, on a friend's computer and a borrowed account. It's certainly fun, and I'd play it again, but I didn't really feel an irresistible gravity of addiction. No, what was starting to draw my interest is that the game client has an API and is scriptable in Lua.
That's when I return to a notion that occurred to me a few years ago: That is, hacking is my EverQuest. I swear I blogged about it, but I can't find the post. So, to refresh the idea - Hacking is my WoW. My friend's got a gnome with a monocle; I've got a Linksys WRT54G router that runs Netrek. The gnome's nicer to look at, though.
On one hand, my compulsion to hack and learn has rewarded me professionally and around the internets. But, on the other hand, WoW is a heck of a lot easier to /quit.
I'm always attracted to the idea of "The Zen Art of Programming". Development is my meditation. Desigining an architecture or writing a piece of code is like solving a koan.
I think this happens to more people that one may realize. It's why mods like Counter-Strike for Half-Life showed up. There were people more interested in programming for a game than playing the game itself. The game merely a new problem to be solved or played with.
So get the best of both worlds... hack World of Warcraft.
It uses Lua for add-ons, and you can write your own. I'm working on that now for a grad school project. It's a blast and a very fun application of your programming talents. :)