Dedicated to all the best teachers ...

    I grew up in a small town in the Altai Territory on the banks of the Biya River, not far from the place where it merges with Katun. This town, in essence, was no different from hundreds of other tiny cities - former pre-revolutionary county centers, which grew in the same type of block five-story buildings in the Soviet era around some scientific research institute or "city-forming enterprise." Such generously scattered across the expanses of our vast.

    In my childhood there was a pine forest, a river, a boat station not far from a narrow beach where bathers came from everywhere on weekends and where we went swimming with an older sister at the time of my kindergarten childhood. As well as the hills for skiing in the winter, right along the ski track down, left and around the perimeter into the pit, there was once dug God a message for what needs, and left it to the will of its simple geodesic fate.

    This is me and my friends on the way from school in the distant not that 84m or 85m year.

    And in our suburb, where the road immediately after the bus stop forked and with one of its branches went towards the school and then through the square with the cinema and the Zarya sports complex in the direction of the boat, and the other rested against the entrance of the local chemical research institute, there a fork, back to the forest stood Dome. We called it the Dome in accordance with its obvious architectural features, and for all the others it was the Planetarium or the Savchenko House of Children's Creativity.

    Biysky House of Children's Art named after Savchenko Ya.F.

    It was a place of attraction. Against the background of the cloned five-story building, the Dome towered apart and attracted children of all ages from all over the city. On the second floor there was a musician, who habitually chimed in a rolling violin-piano dodecaphony. On the first were technical circles of all stripes. Model aircraft, radio electronic, astronomical (yes, we had a telescope under the dome there, and you won’t believe it, the real coolest planetarium with Carl Zeiss optics), amateur radio with an antenna on the roof, photos, there were also some more exotic ones (like you satellite TV mugs, for example?). However, I don’t even remember all of them. However, the center of attraction for everyone who has ever visited this little town “temple of technical progress” was, of course, the Robotron computer circle.

    I remember when I was still a young tomboy, after lessons in music I often looked into the room on the first floor, and watched with envy as the “first-graders” tapped a string of incomprehensible code with a smart look or were noisily chopped into some Tetris, seizing the minute when the teacher went out on business or just someone finished classes.

    Needless to say, as soon as the music ended, I first ran "there." And what was my annoyance when I found out that, alas, “the set has already been completed” and that now I will have to wait another whole year. And somewhere about a month later, when I was already reconciled with the thought that instead of the mysterious electronic machines, I saw the dull cutting of wooden squirrels on the CPC *, the phone rang. It was a friend of Micah. Mikha said that in their group one guy “dumped”, and therefore there is one vacant place that I, if you wish, can claim. The decision was lightning fast! I quickly got dressed and after 10 minutes I was already skipping in the direction of DDT.

    * CPC - training industrial complex.There was such an educational practice in Sovka. It is completely meaningless but liberated the day from school. The bonus is that those who worked in the circle Robotron for some kind of interschool agreements were exempt from this obligation at all. And it was possible to come in the morning and, if you were lucky with the place, in fact, all day long it was unrestricted to program :)

    That very door, from which came the mysterious pi-pi and clicking of reed switches. Alas, I didn’t find any Robotron mug on the net or in my interior, if suddenly one of the alumnies has something in the bins, strike it. I will add. Yes, rate the panel!

    I scooted to the Dome, past the doorman, in the foyer, and here it is the coveted door. Now I will open it and carefully look inside. For the first time I will be able to cross the threshold of this mysterious institution. As a candidate.

    * * *

    Under the buzzing lamps, the guys sat in silence and thoughtfully examined the numbered lines of incomprehensible characters on black-and-white monitors with a blinking cursor in the corner. Someone stuffed something, someone just peered wisely at the typed text. I contemplated all this magnificence with a mixed feeling of mysterious anticipation and, at the same time, fears that "they have been here for a month now, but I don’t understand anything at all." After a short conversation with the teacher, I got hooked in Mishka and began to examine the luminous symbols.

    10 A = 020 A = A + 130PRINT А

    This was my first programming lesson in BASIC :)

    Formally, we were taught only the first six months. Well, that is as taught. Classes were built according to the following principle: the first 15 minutes - the theory, then the task. Who has done, can play with toys. Such a simple plan.

    - “Today we are studying bubble sorting ....”. Someone worked immediately, someone fumbled until the closing. One way or another, it took its toll and after a couple of months I was already more or less scribbling on Basic and trying to do some simple experiments with graphics. And closer to winter, as a real programmer, came with his own diskette and neatly saved all our exercises there, as well as toys, demos and God knows what else the visiting studioios, the former Robotron graduates, brought.

    It lasted exactly six months. And then the winter holidays came and we were “let go” ... Sergey Viktorovich said so: “Everything, you know BASIC, now think of what you want to write on it”. I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted a music editor. Then I wanted the game "a la Arkanoid", and then ... Then I wanted it to be as beautiful and with the plot as in Space Quest. Actually, this was my first project, which I invented myself and, step by step, tried to write as much as I could, changing the trajectory from time to time, when "the principle became clear." Actually, after that no one taught us anything else. After some time, they gave us an "introduction" according to Pascal. And six months later, according to C. Now the whole theory was reduced to one or two lessons, which explained the syntax and features of the language. And the rest is your own business. Here is Kernigan and Pike on the shelf, here is Stroustrup, Whip, a stack of PC World, but the older guys and sometimes teachers, who always have something to ask if something is completely unclear. The main thing - no toys during working hours. Understand, ask, help the younger ones, in a word, do what you want.

    It more than suited me. I had played so much in the first half of the year that I began to be interested in toys only from the position “how cool it was with them, I had to figure out how to make it better”. In general, I somehow gradually realized that programming interactive computer images with sound is what attracts me the most. There was no “multimedia” at that time. Rumors about the wonderful overseas Roland and Sound Blaster just began to appear, and all this was worth exorbitant money. We had the usual IBM PC with a 286m processor, which just replaced the monochrome Neuron, so I was content with ScreamTracker and, later, with Covox soldered to it from resistors. Well, eight-bit graphics VGA 320 to 200.

    The Soviet 8086 compatible Neyron I9.66, on which we learned the basics of software development at that time (Photo: Sergey Frolov, Soviet Digital Electronics Museum )

    I remember, I got a video memory grabber, but not simple, but one that ... either because of a bug, or if it was such a feature, in general, he knew how to rob video memory completely. VGA mode, as it is known, allowed to store four video pages. So, having discovered this wonderful property of it, I first took out the contents of the video memory Prince Of Persia, and found sprites with the phases of the movement of the hero there. Everyone who caught this era will surely remember how detailed and realistic was the movement of the hero in this toy. I repeatedly tried to make high-quality sprites for my game, and, to tell the truth, I was just fascinated by this movement in the Prince. It was some kind of extraordinary benchmark for character character animation. And, of course, I immediately began to draw in the image and likeness of the hero in my game, carefully copying the phases, at least in reduced quantities. (years later, we all learned the secrets of this quality , but that's another story)

    Later, I met like-minded people Misha Ivanov and Igor Lebedev (they are in the photo below, on the right), they just as I loved Quests and programming and just as I loved understand everything and experiment. And we did not hesitate to rush to write a quest for our favorite book at that time. About the hobbit Bilbo, of course. Of course, we didn’t finish it, and then the universities, studies, all this ... but I am sure that this toy is still somewhere. I even recently found a disk in my bins, where it can be. It remains to find a 5 "drive :)

    Our teachers: Vladimir Leonidovich Strigin, ... after years of age, forgot how the name of the teacher in the younger group (alumnies, help!). More to the right: I, Mishka and Igor with my little brother are colleagues in a game maiden. And left behind is Vasya. Vasya was the coolest assembler. I remember that I wrote a resident utility that emulated the interface of the Borland Sy editor (even with a running cursor and opening menus, in my opinion) so that you can play Civilization on the sly, for example, during classes :) An

    artifact from childhood that I drove for some reason all this time around the world. I myself wonder how miraculously this rarity was preserved for me, just to be left here as an illustration :)

    I must say that everyone who just fanatically loved coding like me (as well as those who just came to play on the sly), we tried to snatch every free hour to get to Robotron, by hook or by crook, including same time between classes, after classes and sometimes instead of classes. Some especially gifted ones even managed to stay overnight, hiding behind the tables and sitting in a dark room in the light of the monitor without the opportunity to go out in a tube until the very morning. But one on one with the compiler and debager, and, of course, toys (and woe to those who did not know to turn off the sound ahead of time). It did not do without someone (Vova Stebunov, hello!) Not being caught in the morning on Saturday, for example, in the office, sleeping on the keyboard.

    Then there were attempts to disassemble ScreamTracker in order to understand how he extracts such a thick sound from a single-bit tweeter. (The older comrades explained about the PWM :) trip to the summer school of informatics in Akadem Town, where I then spent all of my student youth, our universal computer-laboratory tusnya, acquaintance with Novosibirsk designers and movie shamans, which in many ways predetermined my circle future interests, and many many more.

    * * *

    A lot of water has passed since then. I tried myself in different guises in one way or another connected with both aesthetic and technical practices. I rented advertising, made interactive design, for the last 10 years I have been engaged in designing and developing electronics. But what unites all these my studies ...

    I have met many people, experienced professionals and self-taught talents in their craft. And communicating with them, I became more and more aware how important this immediate interest had been in my childhood. As far as he is the fundamental spring, the driving mechanism and, if you will, the subconscious model of all your projects in life, if you really love what you are doing. The very principle that a person still being a child is not forced to “learn” according to formal patterns, but simply does what he is interested in, without didactic tinsel and not being a hostage of a rating system and rewards, he simply digs, understands and realizes his ideas, this principle of the “natural continuation of the research game”, flavored with uncritical support of equals - is an extremely fundamental thing and important for so that the child does not fade away the spark of knowledge and the natural desire to create. If you think, in essence, this simple condition is the determining factor for any creative self-realization. What makes you happy and, perhaps, will make happy those inquisitive young guys with whom you will sometime share your experience and knowledge.

    Many people spend years, and someone and all his life to understand that the only natural state that makes you happy is the continuation of the game, in the broadest sense. Games growing out of simple children's curiosity. I was lucky, I had excellent teachers in my childhood, who were so cool that they had the talent of “not teaching” but helping to learn by myself. Therefore, I can do what I can and I can’t stop learning what I don’t know yet. Because I just like the process itself - to learn and understand. And that makes me really happy.

    Actually, I wanted to tell you about this in this relatively short sketch. This experience, as I now understand, is so fundamental and at the same time simple that it is worth it to write about it on the pages of your favorite blozhik. Especially since September 1st is just that. And this is my modest tribute to my computer teachers Gopkalo Sergey Viktorovich, Strigin Vladimir Leonidovich, all the other teachers of the circle, as well as a cheerful greeting to all those who came out of the walls of the Biysk Robotron and, perhaps, also read these lines.

    Thank you, you are the coolest!

    PS: well, the most important thing is my daughter, the day before yesterday she went to school :) The


    photo is partially mine, partly found in the vast web. All rights belong to their authors.

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