Adventuring with Vim

2017-07-22 at 09:59 Leave a comment

Watching The Surrounding Game with my peeps a few nights ago rekindled my love for the game called Go. Somehow, that led to me signing up for Twitch. Oh — I remember! I was playing at Online Go Server, and an announcement popped up that a particular player was going to be streaming their game on Twitch. Curious, I clicked and began watching.

So, using OBS, I’ve started streaming on Twitch myself (I’m mike_tac at I’m not yet playing Baduk there, because I’m a bit chicken (also because I haven’t yet investigated the ethics and standard procedures for streaming content that’s essentially being co-created by the opponent); but I’ve been playing a game called Vim Adventures, and streaming that.

Vim Adventures is a game that teaches people how to use Vim, which is one of the FLOSS text editors long favored by computer programmers. Vim is liked by coders because it is designed in such a way that you can keep your hands on the keyboard instead of mousing around, which helps productivity. Plus, it has powerful editing functions, it can be customized and tailored to many different workflows, and it can be extended with scripting and plugins. Cartoon - Web designer trying to figure out how to save file and close Vim This power comes with a price, though — it’s not particularly intuitive (until you’ve been using it for a while), and the learning curve is real. (The quick tutorial that comes with Vim helps a lot, but it covers just enough to get you crawling, or maybe walking. It doesn’t cover running, skipping, and dancing.)

Vim Adventures opening screen
That’s where Vim Adventures comes in. It’s a maze game with logic puzzles, combined with a tutorial that teaches how to navigate and edit a document in Vim. Doron Linder put in an amazing amount of work on Vim Adventures, and I enjoy it so much that I’ve bought a license for it twice. (You can play the first four levels for free, if my memory is correct; after that, you need to pay for a license that’s good for six months. Hmm, looks like a six-months license costs $25 US; and a 12-months license costs $40 US. I wish I’d noticed the 12-months option!)

So, that’s what I’ve been using Twitch for — streaming my clumsy attempts at leveling up my Vim skillz. I’ve learned that 1) my main computer is somewhat underpowered for running two browsers, a webcam, a video stream editor, a Powershell instance running Vim, and MP3 player software simultaneously, 2) my home wifi seems up to the task (to my surprise, I don’t have to jack into the router), 3) turning off the webcam and dropping the screengrabs to 10 frames per second allows me to at least stream, even though it’s not going to win any quality awards, and 4) the whole thing is way more fun than I’d expected. And, I guess you can add 5) Vim is the honey badger of text editors. (I kinda knew that already. But now I really know it.)

Someday I may succumb to the Lispy goodness of Emacs in Evil Mode, but until I have to maintain a codebase of 2 x 104 files, I’m really enjoying Vim. –MMlvx


Entry filed under: Computers, Open Source. Tags: , , , .

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