All Things Must Pass
I’ve been away for a while, but it’s been because of good news. I got a job in the games industry.
I started this blog at the behest of my wife who encouraged me to find a productive outlet for my private grumbling and creativity. I was guided by a few things: Merlin Mann’s exhortations to stop thinking about how to work and start working, Conan O’Brien’s call to “work hard and be kind,” and a metaphor of three tunnels leading to freedom. I didn’t expect to be here so soon.
Where I am is where I wanted to be (better than, in fact). I found my own way, a combination of blessing, luck, social networks, and hard kept sanity and drive. What I learned is that I can’t choose what hand life deals to me, but I can choose how I play the hand. It’s trite and worthy of a cat themed poster, but it’s true.
And so that’s it for this blog. I’m still going to write and I’m going to pick back up with programming, but it’s going to be a bit before I get back to them. It’s time to start another journey, still miles to go before I sleep. Bad times will come again soon: Sunrise doesn’t last all morning; a cloudburst doesn’t last all day. But for a time, I’m going to be the ant who soaks in the summer to store for winter. I’m going to admire the view from here before I being the next climb.
10:22 am • 17 June 2010
Perpetually Stuck on Week Three, Array a week!
I’ve been having trouble finding good documentation for SmallBasic, which makes it difficult to use as a language. Arrays are especially difficult to use, but I need them in order to make the games…
10:57 am • 24 May 2010
So that was exciting.
Apparently if you don’t sleep you can get sick. Then if you keep not sleeping, you can get *really* sick. Let’s not do that again. Despite the who lost week thing, something I think it’s best to ignore and move on from, I came up with a solution to my game issues of two weeks back: Throw it away.
I’m still going to be working through Chapter 3, but after much consternation, I think I’m just going to wad what I was working on up into a ball and chuck it into the ol’ waste paper basket. I’ll be honest. It took me a while to feel comfortable with this approach. I have a high regard for the things I produce and the idea of just throwing it away felt wrong; however, this is the kind of thinking that got me into trouble in the past I get too attached to things and ideas and when they don’t match the vision I have in my head I get frustrated and give up. What I should be doing is trying things and producing at volume. How I do that is to fail often and early.
Still, this is a difficult thing for a perfectionist like me to embrace so we get into a matryoshka doll of really bad failure. I think it’s time to get out of this doll and back on the horse.
12:29 pm • 17 May 2010
Monday was spent in a haze of sickness and Tuesday looks like it’s going to be spent in a haze of a quil of some variety (day or night). I still really want to finish the first game I was working on. If I can resolve my issues with my understanding or how Arrays work in SmallBasic, I’ll be in great shape to complete several games I already have started.
I think I’m just going to skip the post-mortem this week and keep working through my intended game for chapter 3. This means that I’m not advancing to chapter 4; however, if I don’t work through my programming issues, I’m just going to end up right back here in a week.
If by next Monday I’m still having trouble, I’ll post what I have and those people who have offered to help may do so via comments and email.
Until then, I just have to remember that it’s ok to struggle and muddle through.
10:16 am • 11 May 2010
JoCo took a week off
My current project’s name sake is “Thing a Week,” something the singer/song writer Jonathan Coulton did six years ago which made him an internet superstar. Looking back over his blog I just discovered something a bit shocking (at least to me) he took at least one week off. http://www.jonathancoulton.com/2005/11/22/week-off/
Now let me go out of my way to say that I’m not in anyway questioning Mr. Coulton’s work ethic. Frankly it’s a load off my mind to remember that someone supremely talented is still human. Let me also I’m not planning on taking a week off, nor am I doing this for internet super stardom. I’m doing this to learn how to fail better which means, sadly, from time to time I’m going to fail… and sometimes not better.
Anyway, I need to sleep. I’m coughing up a storm and I might miss work tomorrow as it is.
9:45 pm • 9 May 2010
Game a Week Three - In which I fail in every way except one
That one way being that I actually finished *something.* I made not one, but six games this week and none of them worked out. Mostly I’m just butting my head against some really major holes in my math/programming abilities.
Right now I mostly feel defeated, and sick, tired, and burned out. This blog just got real.
Post mortem might be more introspective this week, expect it Wednesday.
9:37 pm • 9 May 2010
[Game a Week] Chapter Three, Day Two… Fighting the urge to call this one “Puzzled”
Lat week’s game (as I’ll go into in the forthcoming post mortem) didn’t go through many concept iterations. I came up with the simple jump pattern concept and then spent the rest of the week figuring out how to program it. Chapter 1 of A Theory of Fun was simply creating an interaction. I accomplish this with a simple game of Red Light/Green Light. In the recently completed chapter 2, I only had to make a practicable pattern. Chapter 3 is a bit dicey as—from the subject matter—it’s clear that I should make a puzzle game.
It’s been something of an secret mission statement to try to keep my games from being derivative of something I can find easily on the internet. The reason is simple: I don’t want to be tempted to cheat. There are many games out there in SmallBasic and if I wanted to I could just copy/pasta a section I’m having trouble with into my game and be done with it. I’d rather just work from scratch.
Designing and programming a puzzle intimidates me because I’m making something real. I’m not just making interactions anymore, now I need to game. The fear is good though. If I’m not at least slightly afraid of where I’m going, I’m probably not heading to the right place.
1:58 pm • 3 May 2010
It may not be the prettiest, but here's Game a Week 2
It may not be the prettiest, but here’s Game a Week 2:
It’s a simple game with a simple pattern to master. The logic I used may not have been the best, but gosh darn it it works. I’m still…
11:44 am • 3 May 2010
Game a Week Two: Chapter Two - We're Talking About Practice! ..and Patterns.
That’s right. If we’re not talking about nearly decade old Allen Iverson references I don’t know what we’re talking about.
Two of the key features in chapter two in A Theory of Fun are “Patterns”…
11:26 pm • 29 April 2010