Only 5000 hours left (Meta #10)

I seem to only be doing these meta posts every 6 or so months now. That seems fine. I had to go back and read my last meta post to bring myself up to date on…myself.

I could go on and on about a few things that have happened but knowing myself it’d end up taking up twenty pages and it wouldn’t really be interesting.

It was interesting reading the last post because I followed through on a surprisingly large number of the things I mentioned I was planning (like playing the Mass Effect trilogy and Walking Dead seasons and posting reviews).

But I also mentioned working on my R520 server and Proxmox, which I haven’t made a lot of progress on.

Actually, upon seeing my electric bill I decided the number I was seeing was probably a result of both he AC and the R520 running at once so I would therefore wait for the winter months when the temperature had dropped, cover up the vent pumping warm air into the room with the server and use do the server then.

Well the second half of December the temperature did drop but I still haven’t gone back to the server, though I really should. There is one more detail I also need to do before I can do anything with the server: connecting a USB cable from the server to my beefy UPS so that the server will power itself down automatically when the power goes out. Between December 20th and December 30th the power has gone out at least four times now. So if I can make the Proxmox Linux OS power itself off via a signal from the UPS that will be definite step toward really using and working on that server. I think I decided the UPS only lasts about 5 minutes keeping that server alive. I spent so much money on the UPS I was hoping for more.

I still haven’t started work on my “game reviews in a lunch” idea from last time though I still occasionally think about what it’d take to do.

I actually bought a new desk, a very special expensive desk with an electric motor that moves up and down. I ended up taking the table top of my existing desk and drilling it into frame since it had more surface space. I was half expecting that to be difficult and take a long time but it didn’t really. Just a matter of deciding how far apart the legs would be, making sure they were facing the right way and then securely attaching them. Then there was just the matter of attaching my heavy/giant wide screen monitor. Which was a more difficult task than the desk assembly given the wideness and weight. I also swung the the desk around to face a different wall and wall mounted a secondary monitor in portrait orientation for long documents. I had to mount this at just the right height and location so I could still raise the desk up when I wanted. I also had to put my laptop up on a shelf and wire everything together with enough slack the desk works both low and high up. And wall mounted my USB hub, again at just the right height and location. I should probably do a separate post about this but it’d probably be boring.

One thing I did do though is come up with a project for my week off: test one game making solution a day every day for the week off work. Which I actually did…mostly. We had a rare snow storm that knocked out our power. The snow is rare not the power outage. Anyway, hard to follow online tutorials with no power or internet and also in freezing cold. Though the temperature doesn’t matter given the first two.

I’m still trying to talk myself into diving head first into following many, many tutorials on one game making solution or another. Probably GameMaker or MakeCode arcade. Maybe both.

Programming I can commit to

It feels like I have done this before. This all seems vaguely familiar. I did an attempt at 100 days of code a couple of years ago that didn’t go so well for instance. There was also that time I spent with Scratch that time.

side note: I wrote the above paragraph having literally no memory of a prior post from 2019 entitled Proto-dev log and outlining nearly identically everything I wrote after this. Apparently I'm predictable.

I think this time it will go much better though. Yes. I will actually work my way through those Udemy courses I bought, watch more YouTube walk-throughs and really make lots of games this time around. I mean I created an itch.io page. I must be serious.

My thoughts are to spend I assume many hours following the tutorials trying my own variations then when I feel like I am capable…start producing my own versions of primitive early ’80s games. I mean Robotron, Adventure, Pac-Man, space invaders, asteroids, snake, missile command, galaga/galaxian. You get the idea. The ultimate would actually be a remake of the first level of Gradius. I think that’d be fun. To have my own version of a small part of NES Gradius. Actually playing the re-release of Far Cry: Blood Dragon made me revive the idea of a “de-make” of Blood Dragon again. I assume I can’t be the first to ever think of that.

I thought there was a term in music for learning a song via “playing by ear” but I couldn’t find any single word when I looked it up. I thought that is what a “pick-up” was. Guess not.

Anyway, much like possibly the best programming channel on YouTube (CodingTrain) I would look the basic rules of the game on Wikipedia or where ever and start creating from there to make my own version. Kind of a “clean room” approach which would probably fall apart rather quickly and I would have to find help through a video.

I’ll start small though: just start watch tutorial videos, very small incremental steps. And I would also like to believe I’ll keep an ongoing “dev log” of my progress. Problem is it might be too small to really write anything about. Which leads to the other thing I should embrace more: that’s it’s okay to post really short, not very detailed posts. After all it’s no like I’m publishing a book or writing with the expectation my thoughts will be in the national archives. I should just post what I have.

On a semi-related note, this fellow Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation fame did a “developer diary” in 2019 in which he committed to releasing twelve games in twelve months. It’s actually quite inspiring. He does a really great job of explaining how he comes up with ideas and explaining how he then implements them. I would recommend it to anyone, even those not interested at all in game making. It’s also quite an indirect sell on using GameMaker Studio 2.

Well I think that’s all for now. I’ll write again in probably 6 more months after either hundreds of hours of game tutorials or a failure after a distraction of a shiny object.

Random idea

Since I would call my one game solution a day project a success in the sense I completed it and wrote those blog posts I thought of a new random idea for similar that I wanted to write down before I forgot.

Modifying/rooting/etc one game console a day. And making a blog post for each. Well some of them might take longer than a day. That seems like something achievable though. I probably won’t link directly to any software used though. It’d just be the information.

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