As a child, I have read many stories, delving into everything from geography to Spanish literature, crime novels, and global history books. Each day, before or after school, I'd go to the local library, eagerly choosing the books that would be my companions for the week.

A few years into this routine, I transitioned to a Kindle, lured by the prospect of accessing a world of books at my fingertips. Yet, unexpectedly, I found myself reading less.

Despite having the world at my hands, I didn’t have restrictions. Everything was as free as I could have wanted.


Each morning during my childhood, I'd rush over to my friend’s house, where a computer, a fascinating device to me, awaited.

He lived just two houses down from my place, and thanks to his computer-enthusiastic uncle, his computer was always the best in the neighborhood.

I remember waking him up early, eager to play games on his PC, which could handle everything from latest games available to movie editors or even game engines! (which, for me, was always a new experience).

When I returned home, I often had a feeling of being incomplete, wondering why I could not have a similar one. At that time, I did not understand how difficult it was for my father to satisfy my unlimited needs.  

My computer was only suitable for emulator games like MAME32 and Counter-Strike. As a child, this felt like a significant challenge. Determined, I chose to confront this limitation. I began tweaking and modifying my father’s computer, finding ways to entertain myself offline, experimenting with regedit, and discovering hidden Windows features. 

During this time, I started cracking games, fascinated by how altering a .exe file could drastically change a game's behavior. Some were simple – drop and replace. Others required disconnecting from the network and following a complex process.

This was thrilling for me. I didn’t fully grasp the technicalities of injecting code into executables to bypass authentication, but it felt like a magical skill acquired through trial and error.

Months later, very good with computers (in comparison with the people I knew), I turned to my father's library. There, I began my journey into programming, starting with C++ and Visual Basic. I didn't understand then, but I quickly recognized the immense potential of programming.

To have the power to say whatever you want to a computer and have it just obey your commands.

Much to my mother's discouragement, I devoted countless hours to it, preferring coding to outdoor activities, even on perfect summer days.

Rainy days became my alibi, offering more time for coding.

My true passion ignited with Unreal Engine 3.

Before, I had dabbled in modding, code modifications, and cheats. But at around 14, coding in C++ with Unreal Engine was a revelation. I devoured tutorials, guides, articles, and game source code.

I spent considerable time on a Chilean game development forum and the ADVA forum, both pivotal in my journey. There, I met incredible people who made me grow.

There, in the forum, I learned to fail. To be criticized. To be taught, and despite my limited technical skills (self-taught mostly) and English proficiency, I continued using these restrictions as stepping stones.

Eventually, my graphics card's restrictions with Unreal Engine 3 became evident. The need for a more powerful computer, yet financially constrained, made me switch to XNA (C#), marking another pivotal shift. The challenge of creating a game from scratch, building everything from the game loop to sound emitters, was thrilling for me.

Years later, I created numerous games and video tutorials, sharing them on YouTube. This period was entertaining and productive.


During my college years, because I wanted to stop burning my brain with knowledge, I decided to start recording music with some friends. At first, it all started as a hobby, but after a couple of months, we started to do really well (not the music, but the flow of the recording).

It was a sanctuary.

We would record, talk, discuss, improve, repeat.

At the time, we also recorded some podcasts (with whom we are now great friends).

All these episodes in my life made me good at one thing: understanding good records.

I had to spend so many hours recording with bad microphones and low-tech equipment that we ended up getting excellent at recording podcasts and music.

I had to learn everything about recording and, from there, adapt to the low tech I had at hand since I didn't have a dime to spend on this.

Now, I consider myself a person who can understand mastering processes, audio frequencies, and recording techniques, acoustics, all because I didn’t have money to buy a good microphone.


A couple of years later, I realized something: restrictions made me curious.

I bought radios at rummage sales. I didn't have any money, but it wasn't very  expensive ­­ they were old, broken radios, and I'd buy them and try to fix them

Richard Feynman

and from there he wrote one of the best stories of his books: He Fixes Radios by Thinking

For me, each step of my journey involved overcoming some restriction, be it physical, economic, or social. In retrospect, these restrictions fueled my desire to learn, to satiate my curiosity, and to delve deeper into unknown realms.

I developed a practice: after consuming content like an article, blog post, essay, or video tutorial, I'd recreate the process using a different conceptual idea.

For instance, if the tutorial were about a game, I'd create a tool to make the game. Not the game

Why? Because of self-imposed synthetic restrictions.

There’s no way around restrictions.

If a book talked about simulation of the economics of a game, I’d turn everything down. I’ll make a game about simulations.

I don’t care about quality; I care about learning the right thing.

We must impose limits on our desires and intentions, harnessing the power of our creativity.

My journey would have been different if I had started with a state-of-the-art PC with no restrictions, no need to go beyond, and no need to optimize. A microphone that could make us sound like pros.

In the context of free and abundant resources, restrictions are seen as something terrible, while, in reality, those are just as good as positive feedback loops.

The concept of "synthetic constraints" (self-imposed limits to channel our exploratory and creative efforts) has been a milestone since I started learning and thinking. There is no way around the constraints, you either win or you tell the story of how you could have won to your relatives.

Keep with restrictions, and stop when you feel ready

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