Sorry I didn’t get this out sooner, I originally wrote part of it on 06/23, but decided it wasn’t ready
I live in a different dimension. Or at least, it often feels this way. You often visit this dimension, in fact, you’re here now. This dimension is intertwined with your reality, but has some slightly different properties. For insttance, instead of using your body to maneuver, you will be using a mouse and keyboard. Yes, I am actually making the comparison between the internet and an alternative dimension. I’ve probably spent the majority of my life online, and will spend a good deal more of it here. In the internet, rules are different. Though our consciousness is much the same as in the ‘real’ world, we interact in wildly different ways. Growing up with the amount of exposure to the online world I’ve had has completely shifted who I would be otherwise.
As I’m nearing adulthood, it’s a good time to reflect on my childhood and adolesence so far. When I was a child, I focused mainly on trying to fit in. In the environment I lived in, sports were highly emphasized, and I tried many times to make myself enjoy exercise. I failed miserably. When I was around seven, I got my first computer. Within weeks, I was hopelessly addicted. Strangely enough, the biggest appeal of the computer to me was not the actual computer, but the keyboard. I had extreme difficulty with handwriting, and still struggle with making my writing legible. The keyboard allowed me to write with ease, and portray my thoughts as they were intended to be written. The keyboard gave me a voice that I never felt I had before I was acquainted. Of course, being the age I was, the concept of gaming rapidly entered my world.
It all began with a long-dead game: ToonTown Online. It was a simple game, with bright colors and cartoon characters. I enjoyed the game, but there was another aspect to ToonTown that changed my world forever. After a short amount of time playing the game, I quickly realized the boxes floating above the heads of other players. Through the chat in a stupid cartoon game, I had just truly entered the world of the internet.
After a few years of pushing my parents, the previously imposed 30 minute daily internet limit sank to an hour, then evaporated. It was around this time that my interest in ToonTown began to fade. I began to become bored, and as I’ve stated before, Boredom leads to good things. I started playing with Cheat Engine to modify text on my screen to say funny things. This became mundane, so I chose a new goal. I decided that I was going to create an evil counterpart to ToonTown.
There are several robotic enemies in ToonTown, dubbed “Cogs”. For some strange reason, I have always wanted to play the villians in games, and nine-year-old Dylan wanted nothing more than to play the bad guys in ToonTown. I had no clue where to start, but luckily I was familiar with Google. After searching, I found some Python tutorials, and believed I was ready to start my project. Of course, this flopped horribly, and I quit after a few weeks of trying and failing.
At that point, I took a break. It was only in October of 2010 that I became interested again, when a friend introduced me to a new, unique game. This was the start of the Minecraft era in my life, which is only now nearing an end. Minecraft was very oriented towards multiplayer at this point. Eventually I decided to run my own multiplayer server, which was made possible by the game’s distributed nature. As months flew by, I began to look towards expanding my server, I noticed that many other servers had non-default commands, ranks, and game mechanics through server-side plugins. It took me quite some time to learn Java, but eventually I felt I was ready to write my first plugin.
I could never imagine that writing simple Minecraft plugins could affect my future so much. I created and published the first version of “Impression” on January 10th, 2012. It was through an argument sparked by this plugin that I met my close friend and business partner, who lives across the world in a tiny country in Europe. Today, he is sleeping downstairs, and will be here in person for the next two weeks. I still can’t believe that something so ridiculous could lead to one of the strongest friendships I’ve ever had.
Lenny and I have collaborated on countless projects since then, few of which made it to production. One of my greatest accomplishments to this point was the release of a minecraft server that was in development for more than a year. Accumulating over fifty thousand different players in the first 24 hours, it has since impacted a massive amount of people in a positive manner. Through this project, I achieved what some called fame. I now have more Twitter followers than there are people at my school, and many friends in high places in the Minecraft world. I’ve since parted ways with the server, and have been focusing on my own projects recently, as well as working at a few various local software companies.
Those are only the most important of countless other events that have occurred in my life online. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and everything inbetween. I’ve met all manners of people, from billionares, to homeless people, Christians and Satanists. I’ve met people I’ve hated, and people I’ve loved. Almost every part of my existence is tied to this world, its cultures, its people, and its inner workings. This is why there’s actually part of me that feels more tied to the online world than earth upon which I walk.