April 9th 2019

What a World

Over the last week or so, I’ve had some of the most exciting things happen to me that I think I could ever ask for.

I think what I’ve always wanted was to provide lots of people with something I have created myself, and simultaneously make myself happy while making everyone else happy, too. I’ve had a taste of this with my YTP+ project. In just a day I’ve gained about 150 followers and I’ve gained about 2,000 likes on the release post. That’s pretty damn good for something I didn’t put a lot of effort into. That being said moving forward I would really love to continue working on that program and making it, well, worthy of its following, because it’s far from it. I’ve never made something that has caught on this much. So it’s seriously a bit of a culture shock to me, I guess. I’m still trying to understand what the hell I should be doing with myself now that I’ve gained a somewhat substantial following that wasn’t centered around LittleBigPlanet. In a way, I’m glad I’ve come to terms with the idea that I can totally wipe myself away from something so easily and jump ships into something new that doesn’t leave me feeling, well, depressed.

I have lots of ideas. I have lots of plans. I have lots of things I want to try and create and do. It’s exciting. For quite some time I had my ambitions in the wrong place and I’ve now accepted that I have much more potential than I believed I had. I probably sound like I have a big ego, but I think it’s more of a confidence thing.

That being said, it’s beyond important that I don’t forget about my life. I put off a bunch of assignments and coursework that’s due this week (and some overdue by a week) so please give me some time to catch up with my important stuff before there’s any updates or new projects on the way. Just know I’m excited as hell to move forward with stuff I’ve wanted to do for years.

Thank you all.

P.S. I’m sorry about the lack of blog posts. I’ll get back to it!

February 26th 2019

The Antithesis of Game Development

My entire life, since I was aware video games were something that existed in the world, I’ve wanted to enter game development. Regardless of the level of where I enter, I’ve always wanted to make games. The first few games I had been exposed to as a child were Frogger and Spyro, both on the original PlayStation. As a kid I didn’t necessarily know I wanted to enter gamedev, but what I did know is that I wanted to be able to play levels outside the realm of what the game allowed me to do, and in turn create my own or have some sense of doing something the game wasn’t supposed to be doing. As I got older, I remember spending nights on my parents’ dial-up internet connection looking up cheat codes for my PS1 collection. I had discovered Gameshark, and I knew I wanted to be able to manipulate my game. So I nagged my parents to drag me to the local game shop, and I don’t remember much from that day besides the guy behind the counter telling me to avoid manipulating games that already exist, and rather, get into the world of creating my own. Albeit, I was probably nine years old at the time and I didn’t have many resources available to me to do so, but I went home and trudged through our dial-up internet connection and discovered Game Maker 6.0. A few days later, I urged my mom to buy the program for me, as the lite version lacked several features which I wanted access to.

Ever since then, Game Maker was the first program I learned, and the last language behind Java that I’ve mastered. I made a blog post about this a while ago, but I pushed Game Maker to its absolute limits whenever possible. It was only when I started writing actual “programs” in the software that I figured maybe it’s time I bite the bullet and learn a language that isn’t so restricted.

HellFire vs. the Officeman, 2013-2014

I’ve written a million things in Game Maker. I used Game Maker from 6.0 all the way until they released Studio 2, then I stopped paying for updates because I found it to be a waste. That being said, though, undoubtedly I’m the best at writing games using it. But there’s something that Game Maker taught me that I’ll never shake off now, and it’s something that really discourages me a lot: it gave me the illusion that programming is easy. Want to render something on the screen? Just create an object, place it in a room, it will automatically have X and Y coordinates, and you can adjust them by giving the object a script that says x=24 and y=62. Want it to move? Step event every frame, x++. Nothing more, just x++. It knows what x is, it doesn’t need to be defined prior, and it will act exactly like you’d think it will act. You don’t even need a semicolon on the end of the line.

Shenanigans, 2016

So me, being a freshie Java (and barely C) student, I’m faced with the concept of “Okay, so what if I want to make a game, but I don’t want to use Game Maker?” Then several options open up.

Sure, I can use Unity. But that’s lazy. The game engine is already made for me. Same with Unreal. Too fancy. I want to make basic 2D things like Game Maker let me do. But I don’t want to use Game Maker. So what next? Find some lackluster 2D graphics library some random dude made that will do nothing but hinder me more than Game Maker would? I want to create the engine myself. Surely rendering a few objects on a screen can’t be that difficult right? So I dive into checking out LWJGL, look into the different options it has available, and I’m told I’m gonna have a hard time if I don’t understand OpenGL calls prior. So what am I supposed to do – learn how OpenGL works? Why not just learn C++ and straight-up use OpenGL or even DirectX or Vulkan at that rate? Why limit myself to Java?

Then I remember that I’m almost out of community college, starting my last two years of my BS this fall and there is little to no room for me to take a course on C++ right now, and I’d teach myself if I weren’t trying to juggle five other classes. So then I become discouraged, and then I make no progress. So then my mind’s jumping to “if you want to make a side project, hobby game, just go back to Game Maker” and that absolutely kills me because that’s not the progressive mindset I’d like to be working with, it’s jumping back to my crutch, my easy way out of solving my problem by using something that’s no different from what I was doing at the age of nine.

Super Crunk Bros., a gag game – 2014-2015

So what’s a guy to do? The advice I’d give someone else in my scenario is just “go for it, try whatever and see how it turns out” but from my perspective, I’m having a difficult time even finding where I should begin. Is there shame in using a game engine like Unity? Why is it so frightening to write games in Java? Why do I have such a hard time comprehending the ideas of graphics and vectors and even at times, pointers? As a programmer, am I failing to do my job if I haven’t learned these things yet? When will I learn? Why am I so repulsed by the idea of learning? Why do I want to lift 300 pounds when I can’t even lift 30? What advice would you give me in this situation?