January 26, 2018•496 words
Something strange just happened. And it happened seemingly overnight.
I mentioned before how I've spent a lot of time sucking in Rocket League on PS4. Nonetheless, I’ve played it consistently. And I’ve seen myself improve very little.
Over the last week, I’ve been thoroughly obsessed with Twitch live streams. I’m late to the party—but have you ever participated in a live stream? It’s one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever experienced. Essentially, you’re able to control this human being thousands of miles away live on camera, directly from your keyboard. You ask a question, and the streamer—wanting to keep his audience engaged—answers politely, charmingly, and wittily. I tried this a few times, and was smiling all throughout the experience.
I saw a few live coding streams, which number very few—there is great opportunity to be one of the early live streaming coders on Twitch. One developer uses Twitch as his primary marketing source. He’s developed a community around his game, which, as he mentions himself, he would otherwise probably not have gained. Other developers mentioned that part of the reason they stream is its effectiveness at combating laziness. They work harder and are less likely to slack when people are watching.
Anyway, I’ve also been watching some streams of people much better than me playing Rocket League, and I’ve taken notice of some of their tricks and strategies.
I remember just last week cursing myself for having made no perceptible improvement in my gameplay over the past few months. But somehow, over the last two days, I’ve become able to do some wicked tricks. My control over the aerial aspect of the game has improved tenfold, and when I tried the advanced training challenge, I was able to hit most of the shots in, whereas I could not hit a single one in just last week.
This is strange because I haven’t really played that much in the last week. I’ve watched streams more than I've actually held a controller. So when did it happen? When did it just click? How did my hands and fingers all of a sudden learn to swivel and control this vehicle with such precision and dexterity?
There’s only one possible explanation to this: problem-solving is built in. It’s built in to our minds. This isn’t a new insight: we’ve known that sleep is a very effective tool for solving problems, as our brains continue computing in the background. But I’ve never seen it so pronounced before. After watching the streams, after hearing tips from the pros, and after reconciling months of my own gameplay, my brain studied and built solutions to the problem at hand, without any direction from me.
And this conclusion makes sense, because if problem-solving weren't built-in—if the solution did not come in pair with the problem—we couldn’t have made it this far. We couldn’t be progressing in technology as fast as we are.
Problem and solution are one and the same. One is just time-delayed.