Hakan Alpay

Hi, I'm Hakan Alpay.

I'm a sophomore at UCLA studying Computer Science and the vice president of Billiards Club. I like to develop videogames, logos, languages, and crazy Counter-Strike strategies. I also think too much, and hence this blog was born. I would love any feedback you have on my site!

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The Beauty of Working with One's Hands

I’m a computer science student

I work on the computer every day, designing this Jekyll site or my portfolio, making an online fighting game or a multiplayer shooter, doing a hackathon project, etc. When I am not working on my personal projects, I’m doing school projects, which often involve coding something in a C++ or C project.

It’s mostly pretty fun! It’s definitely a privilege not many people get to enjoy. But sometimes it gets tiring.

I don’t like using the computer just for the sake of using a computer, or one step further, I don’t like doing everything digitally for the sake of doing things digitally.

Rather, I enjoy the benefits that it brings. You can’t version control your real-life projects by virtue of you not being able to rewind time in quantized increments, or create your own 5th dimensional branches of time that you can easily switch between. I know that sounds crazy but that’s really the real life equivalent of the magic of a version control system like Mercurial or Git.

You also often don’t have as fast a feedback loop with real world projects as with digital projects. When making a video game, when you want to test your code changes, you can just save and play the game (If you’re using a compiled language, you will have to compile first (like “C++” for Unreal)). But if you were to make a real sport, the only way to test the efficacy of your rules would be to simulate what would happen in your head, or have an entire team of players play the game with the rule set.

I also being able to create almost anything I want digitally. I can create amazing worlds in Unity or another game engine, with buildings from AutoCAD, and characters animated in Maya, and create a game from it, or record a video within it, or do almost anything I want, all without paying any money (usually). Your only temporal limit is how fast you can figure things out. If you were to create your own city in real life, you would have to find enough empty space, somehow get permission, spend millions of dollars designing, building, and painting buildings and infrastructure, populating that city, etc. That’s probably not even how it works.

But if I had the benefits of the digital world in the real world, would I use them?

Absolutely! If I could somehow move my hands in the air and create something in mid air with tools similar to those on the computer, except the end result would exist in the real world, I definitely would. I’ve always valued creating things with your hands in the real world higher than creating things equally interesting while looking at a screen.

When you’re an imaginative individual without millions of dollars, the only place you can build your wild dreams is on the computer

I still greatly enjoy what I do, but the physicality of creating something with one’s hand and feeling it and its weight is more engaging to me than creating something of equal value by typing, moving my mouse, and staring at a computer.

I know that sounds incredibly vague, but I think about this issue very fundamentally.

How do you feel about working on your dreams in the physical world versus the digital world?

About this picture

I went to Google games with Ankith and Rohit and we went to the beach after totally creaming all 100 teams with our mad hacker skills. The beach was really nice and a dolphin got really close to land to the alarm of the woman next to us. Our Uber driver reminded us that weird things happen in Venice.