Learning Out Loud

November 15 - 21, 2021

This week marks one of the most important weeks on this journey. This is the week I decided to launch “Game Design Journey.” Here’s a piece of a journal entry I wrote that day:

My Journey Into Game Design

11/17/2021

Ben Stokes launched Paper Website and I feel like it’s a sign, so I’m taking it and starting a blog. Today is the day I launch my blog about my journey into game development. It’s scary. I have 0~5 followers, so who even cares? Regardless, I’m publicly committing so I can be consistent. At the end of the day, this will help fulfill me.

I even messaged Ben directly and asked for a spot on his website’s showcase section to ensure this blog wouldn’t be gathering dust after just a few posts. He was kind enough to help out. Announcing it on Twitter was still weirdly terrifying despite the low follower count.

I wrote that entry, made a Twitter post, and started publishing week 0 & 1 during week 7. I knew having 7 weeks of content backed up would help me be consistent in writing/editing these entries each week. So here we are, 7 weeks published while I’m actually on my 13th week. There are quite a few weeks of vacation I can gloss over. The blog will catch up soon.

Teaching What I Know

Now that I’m seriously considering exiting my current industry, I feel compelled to teach what I know because I have the passion for it. I don’t know how that will manifest just yet, but I’ll figure something out. Maybe more blog posts over on my dev blog?

What the hell is creativity anyway?

I decided to buy A Whack on the Side of the Head as recommended by Mark Rosewater in his podcast episode about creativity. It talks about what creativity is and has tons of chapters on how to be more creative. The book is awesome, but I see myself using this more as a reference book when I need to get the creative juices flowing.

Creativity is a fascinating topic to me. Is it really as simple as combining two completely different ideas together? Engineers typically don't do this for the sake of self-expression. Let me explain:

As a software engineer, you apply concepts you’ve learned to form solutions to real problems you encounter. “This part of our code is taking too long; figure out how to shorten it.” It's more practical. You don’t combine completely different ideas for the sake of self-expression (at least I’ve never experienced this as an engineer). There are creative solutions to problems, but that’s just it: They are a means to an end.

It feels weird to need to study creativity, but that’s my engineering brain for you. I need to make sense of it. Maybe I just had a childhood starved of creativity, or I haven't willed enough of my own ideas into existence. Anyway, this is a topic I'll write a special blog post about when I make sense of it. It’s necessary for game design, after all.

“UE4 can just DO that?!”

My journey into gameplay programming via unreal engine continues with an exploding barrel! Let me show rather than just tell (40MB gif. I promise they'll get smaller).

Progress has been steady, and Tom’s explanations continue to help. I’m often blown away that UE4 can “just do that for you.” Sometimes it’s intuitive enough to jump ahead and figure it out. After years of being confused by MSBuild, it’s great to see I can pick up other areas of programming with (relative) ease. That won’t last long, though. I’m still in the honeymoon phase and haven’t tried building anything from scratch yet.

Next Week's Plan