Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A bend

Release 3 wouldn't be much of a follow up without a few milestones, and milestones (of a sort) I did make. This time the stretch became a bend, which doesn't make sense but for the fact that thereafter follows the break--fortunately I anticipate it to be more of the winter kind than the psychotic kind. The 17 straight hours of desk work seemed pretty significant at the time, but today upon leaving my obligations (met and otherwise) at the classroom door, I realized that 17 hours was a number unwittingly exceeded. Admittedly, it took a while to push aside enough fuzz to narrow down two sides of time, longer still to then find the difference within that silly base-twelve chronological institution. Fancy dictum and questionable conflations aside, this time I worked for around 21 hours straight. The distinction though is probably less than significant, since the prior 17 was constrained by having such a late start--this time I only managed to begin my Olympic marathon of stationary feats a few hours earlier. For the better too, as there was much to be done! It started rough, as my digital tablet suddenly refused to comply with my digital scribing needs. Its absence might have meant more time available, not lost to enjoying or perfecting my production, but that was time lost nonetheless trying to get it to work as it has and should (by all reasonable expectations), and this was time lost without the end result of a better picture, mind. Eventually reason won over and I resigned myself to the mouse for my work. While we're here, let me opine that the mouse was a brilliant introduction to the world of computers 25 years ago--today it's just a sad and unavoidable display of our deficiency in interacting with computers. Even worse, people with money to move markets have been convinced of the absurd notion that touch interfaces are superior. That's the point where I might have written "but I digress," but didn't; to clarify, I did digress, briefly (and continue to do so), but did not make the matter explicit in the sentence prior--I was saving it for this sentence. Moving on, I decided to embrace the uniformity of which electronic mice conduce by creating a virtual milieu of very uniform structures for my next game. For this strange place I envisioned a purple sky and square hills covered in blue grass, but attempts at both proved unsatisfactory. Instead I went for square hills covered in arbitrary textures. The result certainly was strange.
 With my patience presently waning just as it was then, I moved on to a mildly meaningful but voluminous task (thusly giving a questionable but satisfying notion of productivity) partially akin to sorting books for my groups' body of computer code. It was with irony then that I moved on to some real work of debugging, for which several hours of careful reading gave in return very little productivity. At some point near there others in my group awoke (as normal people are expected to do) and began to make their own contributions to our code, starting with the goal of the illusion of a completed project, with any progress thereafter for good measure. As the only person able to produce visual elements (or the only person foolish enough to readily volunteer), I then spent most of my time drawing (or mousing) graphics. Of course we had way too much to do, and even in a rush I have a hard time producing insufficient material (unless that's my intent from the start, but lack of time isn't sufficient to incite acceptable intent for whatever reason), so I spent a lot of time thinking that I should really just leave it, whatever it was, how it was, but that it really needed to be fixed and so on. Perhaps the highlight of the bend was another event which surpassed its image in the stretch: once again, I managed to do quite an amazing thing in the final moments of the ordeal--I made an entire game, from drawing to coding, in about a half hour. In the stretch it was much the same in an hour, but for whatever reason so much more thrilling. If anything, back then my modifications to the code were rapid foolish dashes of adventure into the unknown, whereas now my understanding of the code was such that my programming amounted to copypasta with a few lines changed to get new images. Nonetheless the result was a game that functioned to some degree (don't try anything other than moving left and right), but it met the final requirements we naively set for ourselves long ago of having 6 total games. In reality there were two types games with slight variations between them but otherwise obviously the same. Though our result was a little rough, it could be cleaned up in a day or two, so it wasn't that bad. While only having two gameplay mechanics is less entertaining in the long run, I think it was sufficient for our purposes.