Very recently with a friend called Spywin, I had a discussion about Counter-Strike 1.6, Halo and old games with old maps and gamemodes. The discussion was about custom maps, mods and map design, especially with respect to the Infection/Zombie gamemodes, comparing tensions, pacing and map designs. The unfortunate thing is, a lot of the resources for these are slowly either disappearing or no longer being possible to see, which is where I bring up the topic of this blog. The importance of backups and data hoarding.
Now I know a lot of people are going to groan when I say "Backups are important", because every systems administrator, and computer scientist will say to do backups; and when a harddrive fails or something corrupts the files they casually and insultingly say "I told you so". I'm not gonna be talking about it with this reason in mind, but it's certainly an important reason to keep in mind and respect. The loss of data is no nice thing, especially when it comes to very important things, but what I'm more interested in talking about are the less important things. The things about how our workflow, or our ways of thinking and writing, and even our styles for coding or the different arts. Dismissing these "lesser" pieces of data and letting them be deleted or just letting them being left on old hardware I feel is a great loss, as this data has a lot to say about your very personality, mind, way of thinking and being during those times. Even if some of the works may be disrespectful, rude or just weird, deleting it is akin to burying your past and not talking about it. This certainly has its place for very significant offences, but for general data and arts I feel like one should try to keep their old "lesser" data and files.
It's not just that, but as we get older, their value increases as the small changes in our styles and personalities add up very fast. Even in a month, your art style can adjust significantly, as the capacity for learning increases in general with age. I feel this recording of our old "lesser" data and files is important as it allows us to reflect on changes we have made and understand them more thoroughly. I feel part of this is because we can share these changes to our own friends or curious individuals. The developments we make in this regard are significant, but easily overlooked. It's a great shame to lose them. It's for this reason, I try to preserve my old prototypes of games, and old scripts and codes. Sometimes I lose them and whenever I do that is a great sadness. It's for this reason I move onto the second point on data hoarding.
Data hoarding is the process of hoarding data. It can be compared with the librarian who collects books but never reads them. Personally, I think that data hoarding can be a very real problem if you don't ever use or look into the data you hoard, but it's also a huge benefit. The librarian who collects and shares books freely for the population to read. This is generally considered piracy, but I personally think it's contextual for when to pirate papers and books and other mediums. But that's a completely different discussion. I don't endorse it or demonise it obviously. Without data hoarders, we don't get to see old custom maps, custom games, mods, old papers/books, unpublished works, prototypes or demos. It's for the wide range of materials, knowledges and items one can gain from this, which is why I support data hoarding, if not done
Support your local data hoarder, backup your prototypes, pictures and weird arts!