Friday, September 30, 2016

So long, research life.

Finally I have finished my master degree. I got that "certificate" that my mother wanted so bad. Now, my plan is going back to Thailand to try make a game, or make other things.

What I have learned from this is, I am definitely not a researcher. (And I am glad that I have spent 2 years in my life to realize this early, rather than later on.)

There is one time last year that my researcher said "Even a monkey could make game" when he is persuading me to continue my work faster because he thought I was wasting time making games and music. (In fact I have no time to touch the game at all.)

I did not argue because that would be a waste of time, but I think he does not mean literally (but maybe a monkey could make tic-tac-toe, I guess) but he means making games is just following instructions and program on until it is finished, contrary to "researching". Now, the reason I bring this up is because I am going to talk about why I am not a researcher. It is a mindset like this that I don't understand. Maybe he thinks researching is much more interesting and more complex.

First of all, I am not a monk, so I find that harvesting happiness in life is "good".  People like me find happiness from making useful things that make others happy. This is the same as researchers, they invent new methods/knowledge for the better world. But as I will soon explain, I am a "maker",  not researcher. I found researching prohibits many things that could potentially bring me happiness.

Initially, "researching" seemed to be a pinnacle, purest form of inventing, making things. I like making things, so isn't researching ideal for me? I discovered that, in researching, many "interesting" things does not qualify to be a research.

For example, if I make a game, it worked well and 500,000+ people downloaded it. No matter what I say it won't be a research. But in fact, the game does have many "new" things that cannot be put out easily as a research. (In fact, it worked because of those new things) I would like to say that my game worked and resonate with so many people because I combined frame-to-frame animation with Tom and Jerry style screen cut, along with comedic sound effects. Now that's interesting. And definitely makes other people happy. But it is an application so it is not a research. On the contrary, this could not be put out as a paper because all of them works as a whole application.

I have more games design, more arcade design, more music to make, or more food products to try to cook. All of them probably is not a research. But definitely making new things. It requires trial and errors just like researching. To make music I also have to learn about which of millions combination of beats, melody, and synth parameters that will work together. I think this is the bigger side of researching, or making, that I want to be in.

In my master degree, I felt limited even though I am in the place "most suitable for invention". Maybe by the various systems such as attending class, lectures, meetings, strive for publications, getting money for survival and place to stay, and finally getting degrees. All of this for an exchange of being able to stay in good place to create new things, that is also limited to your lab's interest. In the end, I am wondering what I am doing in this system and does that truly contribute to what I really want? I believed what I do is a form of researching, but not in this system.

I feel like, I am in a cycle of trying to please someone or something, that is not directly related to what I want to learn about. Publications, fundings, etc.. And you have to adapt your dream to your supervisor too.

On the other hand, Introloop, one of my work that I am really proud of, I think that IS a research. I managed to find a way to play audio file that loops seamlessly in Unity to any point. I learned a lot, I can make use of it, and no one have ever done it before, and this is definitely what I want to do. But I can imagine this would be funny as a research paper. I can put it in more fancy, research term like "Introloop : A Method to Play Looping Audio File With an Intro in Unity Without Cutting the File.", but again I kind of don't like that you have to complicate things up to get to the paper-level.

Of course you have to follow the system if you are in the research field, because you have to live from fundings, from publications. But I thought, if I take a day job to earn money for living and then using that money as a funding for my own research, that sounds equivalent and even more interesting. Salary, surely is a good system.

I could not put out my research as a paper, but I can as a product. And definitely that can bring happiness to others just like a research paper. And I am definitely learning entirely new things everyday from making things.

So in my opinion, researching does limits something, for me at least. I feel like my research (which I spend very long time on) does absolutely nothing for no one. When I cook food for 2 friends I felt more happiness than this. When I make music for 20 or so listeners I felt more happiness than this. It should be the case that my research sucks, but that is the more reasons that I am not a researcher.

Probably, I will continue enjoying making things and discovers many new things along the way like what researchers do, and enjoy when others benefit from the creation you made just like what researchers enjoy. But maybe the correct term for me is a maker.

I just type on without planning again, so this post might be hard to read. If my professor see this he would say "the worst blog post I have ever read!" (that might be true, haha) but I won't edit this because it represents my random thoughts well.

PS. I just realize what I usually blog has a word coined. lol

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Finishing line

This time I will keep things minimal. Pictures say a lot more than words. This blog post is a beautiful memorial of my once-in-a-lifetime master degree study. It might not mean much to anyone else, but when I read these things I can instantly recall every bitter moments that I have gone through.