The Calm Before The Storm

November 22 - 28, 2021

I’ve got a Yosemite trip planned this weekend! It will be the calm I needed for some time now. It’ll be tricky because the trip is at odds with my publishing schedule. How do I do this so that I can still write and publish with no internet? I’ll make it work.

Once we get back is when the storm starts. I’ll have about ten days before our next trip: Mexico! That means I’ve got ten days to plan, pack, see family, get gifts, buy gear, etc. Needless to say, I don’t expect those days to be very productive.

Found Myself A Side Project

I talked to one of my mentors who had a side game project going, and to my surprise, they invited me to work on it! It was described to me as a project for learning and making mistakes. It sounds like the perfect opportunity. My role will primarily be gameplay programming while contributing some design. For the sake of respecting boundaries, I won’t be talking details much on this blog. Just know that it’s passively taking up my time throughout the weeks.

A Wake-Up Call

That same mentor checked up on me to see how I progressed on the UE4 course. I genuinely appreciate that they care enough to do that. Unfortunately, I hadn’t done much, so this was a wake-up call. I was focusing on planning this trip, yet it still bummed me out to report no progress over the last few days. I’m being a little hard on myself, but only because it looks like I’m not committed. Time to get my head back in the game! Pun intended.

Honestly, the beginning of the course was much more complex than what I’m seeing now. I got to around 10% completion before my trip, and it wasn’t too difficult. The pacing is excellent, and I’m genuinely excited to see when things get complicated. I often chuckle when something fails and MSBuild error codes come up. I can see how they would make ZERO sense to most people, but they come naturally to me at this point.

Tutorial Pro Tip

Wanna know how to learn faster when following a tutorial? Pause the video and try to solve the problem that your instructor is about to solve. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but you learn something new no matter the outcome.

Check out this treasure chest I got to open (on my own) at the press of a button!

Game Design Blues

It’s been a month since I wrapped up my first game design, and I honestly miss it. I need to do a game jam or something.

Leaning so much into game design got me thinking about “Thinking vs. Feeling” and analyzing how I process information at a fundamental level. It’s interesting to talk to artists about how they need to feel to create. If you’re doing it right and expressing yourself, it’s vulnerable. Doing this daily as part of your job seems to lead to a “feelings-first” way of processing information. I dipped my toes into that way of thinking last month and found it fascinating, intimidating, and liberating. There’s so much to write about this topic that it deserves a future blog post.

Double Threat

I’m glad I went comp sci first in the grand scheme of things. It worked out for me, but it wasn’t without its own set of frustrations. One consistent point of frustration was never expressing my creativity. The projects I seemed to come up with always had a practical purpose, never for the sake of sharing my voice like I "secretly" wanted to. Now that I aim for game design, I can express that voice. So now I’m a double threat. As a game designer, I use that voice to design experiences. As an engineer, I can bring those experiences to life. Art is another story, but I’m happy to let other folks handle that area. My point is, nothing is holding me back from expressing myself the way I want. The downside of this dual-specialization is a game company would likely hire me as one or the other, but not both. At least, I think.

Next Week’s Plan

Let's keep next week simple:

That’s all for now 🍩