Wed 26.07.2023

Introducing: our skillful code-smith

Dear friends and backers of YARPS!

Can you feel it? YARPS is in the air! The RatCon weekend is approaching, our excitement is rising. It’s time for an update.
Last night I played a board game with my sons. It’s based on four classic character types, representing the most common stereotypes of fantasy games (a warrior, a ranger, a sorcerer and a dwarf). The gameplay follows the rules of board games, with a limited number of options at any stage, but includes some roleplaying elements. For my boys, it was their very first experience in dipping into RPG-like roles at the age of 7 and 9. We had a truly wonderful evening and a fantastic experience. And the secret beneath is rather simple: the gameplay is cooperative.
While I am used to RPGs and the experiences of common adventures, my sons weren’t yet.
I realized that they enjoyed the absence of a permanent I must be the best challenge very much. They quickly understood the differences between the character types and the need to work together for achieving the mission goals. And the magic evolved from joint actions, joint victories and – joint defeats.
Working together instead of fighting each other: In a world full of competition, that is what makes our hobby so unique and valuable.
I think that not only from a social, but also a pedagogic perspective, cooperation should be the very first and most intensely taught principle in the life of humans. And while it indeed is absolutely essential to learn losing and accepting defeats, this goes way easier as a shared experience.
The teammate I’m about to introduce today not only is a very skillful code-smith, but also holds a degree in pedagogics. Welcome, Felix!

Felix: Hey Michael.

Before I ask you about my super innovative pedagogic hypothesis, the first question of course is: How are you today?

I am doing fine, thanks for asking. Just enjoying the evening on the balcony, with some good music and a nice interview partner. (smiles)

Absolutely, same here. So: You haven’t always been a web developer. Your character sheet states that you’ve a degree as a teacher. Have you ever worked in that job?

Well, technically not. After my studies I decided to take one year off before I start working as a teacher. After one month of hanging around and not knowing what to do I discovered software engineering. And what can I say, I was instantly hooked. I watched one online course after another and tried to build my first mobile app with basically no knowledge. It is actually a very funny memory if I think of these times.
But to return to your question, during my studies I spent one semester in school, teaching math and physics and always did a lot of tutoring for children after school as a side job.

I’m sure your expertise exceeds mine by far. What do you think about my hypothesis? Do you think education should focus mainly on cooperation? Or am I a naive dreamer?

Hmm, good question. What do you think is the main focus of education right now instead?
I feel like cooperation is already a part of education. There is group work, and many sports rely on cooperation and teamwork. I agree that we should encourage children to work together but there are also sometimes situations in life where you are just on your own, so in my opinion the ability to figure out how to solve a problem by yourself is also quite important.
Maybe fine-tuning children when and how to cooperate might be a good compromise.

I totally agree with that. Maybe the main intention in education should be to make it the most preferable goal to create win-win-situations instead of win-lose. Just like we did – you’ve just joined the YARPS team in May – win-win, I would say. How is your impression so far?

I really like being in the office and working with you guys. I sometimes even feel like the office is a bit too comfortable to work in (laughing). No but seriously, everybody in the team is very nice and helpful, so I really enjoy the atmosphere.

Maybe this is one reason why you always seem to be very balanced, resting quietly in yourself. Is that true?

Thanks for the compliment, I always try to take a rational approach and think before I act. I believe this is true most of the time, but, of course, even if it looks like calmness on the surface, it is not always the same on the inside. There are always things which bother me, no worries. But in my opinion trying to stay relaxed even in stressful situations is better, so that is what I am mostly aiming for.

Yes, keeping a clear head is usually better, but sometimes hard to achieve. Let’s talk about YARPS – you’re also involved in coding. What is your main role in the project?

I am mainly a frontend engineer so I work a lot on the visual stuff. I really enjoy putting myself in the users point of view and try to deliver the best possible experience.
This means my main role is to implement and think about designs, user flows and user experience. Recently I spent some time developing the YARPS welcome wizard. This wizard onboards new people to the app and guides them to their first environment on which they can play. And as we all know: It is always nice to make a good first impression. (smiles)

Definitely. Is there a feature or function of YARPS that excites you the most?

I recently discovered the field of machine learning and artificial intelligence. I guess this will be one of the most advanced features, but I would love to support users with some machine learning features, like generating suitable opponents or non player characters on the fly, or pick the right music based on the situation or whatever. There are so many interesting possibilities.

How do you find inspiration?

I am just impressed with what you can do with computers and the internet. I think the possibilities are almost endless. And programming sometimes feels to me like creating something from nothing which has value, can be used and helps other people which is just amazing to me.
Also there is so much more to learn. There is this saying “the more i learn the less i know” which absolutely nails it for me and I enjoy learning new stuff.

Great last words – it is curiosity that drives us forward. That was a wonderful interview, mate. Thanks a lot!

You’re very welcome Michael. Good times!

Here we are. Most of the YARPS team has been introduced to you. Only the guy is still missing. Stay tuned for the introduction of our fearless conductor – and of course, the YARPS presentation at the RatCon in August!

All the best on behalf of the YARPS/Compositas team,