Saturday, June 23, 2007


I hate naming these entries. I sit here wondering what to call an article I haven't created yet. It's stupid. I'm picking all video game titles from here on out.

There really hasn't been much to say lately, as I just put in the most time at work in a single week in my life. I also managed to separate my shoulder and crack a molar, both conditions going unchecked until I finish this project for work. Really, the only other activity I have engaged during this time is CZK. Luckily, this is rather rare for my company, and the police are involved, so it's not some bored executive trying to get his peon developers to show their loyalty to the company or something. I can "buy in" to the reason why we've all been toiling so, and it's fine. I'm a pro.

That being said, before this week I have always marginalized my own accomplishments, mentally, when it came to their cash worth. "If I were able to learn how to develop software, anyone could, so the day exists where I will be knocked back to the wages of a sales associate at an Electronics Boutique." These last two weeks, if nothing else, drove that thinking out of me. Working on someone else's Java code isn't easy. At least it's well commented. (It's not commented.)

But this all brings me to the steady realization that my one-time dream of making computer games as a career has probably come to an end. I've gone far enough into the world of Java that I don't want to start over again in C++. For a long while I juggled several languages professionally, at various companies, not necessarily mastering any of them, but knowing enough to stay competent and write useful applications that worked. However, the pain in getting into production code and test harnesses and all the other stuff ready in Java has greatly influenced my desire to stick with this environment for the next several years.

The reason comes back to IF as well: there were a lot of nights when I was programming A Crimson Spring and Fallacy of Dawn where I was punching the keyboard, swearing out loud, getting enormously frustrated, learning the language. And Hugo has the best error messages after a failed compile of any language I have ever used. I'm now at the point where Hugo doesn't give me any trouble. I'd like GIF support and multi-dimensional arrays, but I can probably whip the former up and submit it to Kent Tessman now that GIFs are in the public domain again. The environment no longer frustrates me in any way, and I can simply be productive in what little free time I've been getting. (It only took eight years to get to this point as well, natch, ha ha. Christ, 8 years is almost a fourth of my life. I have been writing in Hugo for 1/4th of my existence in this world. Jesus.)

I've also been rapidly consuming shorter, bite-sized video games in an attempt to stay sane. I bought Geometry Wars through Steam. I think that the PC game Grid Wars 2 (which is no longer easily distributed due to legal threats from the Geometry Wars team... and of course, Geometry Wars is a pretty shameless ripoff of Robotron) has more stuff going on that is interesting, but Geometry Wars seems to work on both of my gaming computers, so it's got that advantage. I also played through All Alone, the text game by Ian Finley. I played it late at night as well! I have a Trotting Krips review coming, but I will say that TADS offers the amazing ability to copy all the game's text to the clipboard and then paste it into Notepad or whatever. This is unbelievably cool. Actually, for all I know Inform and Hugo do it as well, but still, I completed All Alone and was able to keep a transcript to reference after the fact. I expect the TADS games I will be reviewing will increase a million per cent in the days to come.

There are three CDs that I have been listening to at this stage of CZK development. (I know this isn't interesting to anyone, but it helps me keep a historical record.) There are two albums by, one by "Die Trying" and Riot! by Paramore. (If you are a pop punk band with an embarrassing name, you will get your band's name in quotes on this web log.) The new Paramore disc is really good all the way through -- I've been thinking about whittling away a lot of MP3 discs into the tracks I actually like, but Riot! is good all the way through.

(That being said, I once complimented a "Panic! At the Disco" disc on Jolt Country for not being repetitive when I had given it two listens, one of which was while I was writing Pantomime. Needless to say, I'd like that post back for a do-over.)

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