The earth has orbited the sun one more time

Hurrah! Thanks to gravity, velocity, and the fact that space is mostly a vacuum, we’ve managed another lap without falling into the huge burning mass of nuclear fusion that is our sun!

Well, technically we are perpetually falling into the sun. But thanks to the planet’s opposing velocity being just right, we neither get too close, nor slingshot into space. We managed to catch a really luck break and go into orbit around a star at just the right distance that life as we know it was able to flourish. Lots of singularly hugely improbable events have come together in one absolutely ludicrously improbable series of events that means I’m here, right now, typing this. I am one lucky git. Good thing I choose to spend every minute of my life doing meaningful, significant thi… oh wait, I make video games.

(On a side note, microscopic levels of probability become entirely likely when you try and comprehend just how big the universe is. So it’s probably not really that big of a deal that I’m sitting here after all).

It’s been, oooh… six months since I started Arcus. I honestly thought I’d be finished by now. But I haven’t really done any work on it since I released a demo in early November. I wanted to let that sit for a while, ended up playing a lot of Fallout 4, then went home for Christmas and New Year… Now I’m back, looking at my work in progress, and feeling extremely daunted and a little bit depressed about the whole thing.

Before the demo, I had fourteen out of twenty levels done, most of the graphics and sound in place, and my bug list was as short as I’ve ever seen it. Now, two months later, I have two out of twenty levels done, a ton more graphics and sound to add, and a bug list as long as the Kieber Belt. Bah.

In retrospect, saying I’ve been working on Arcus for six months isn’t entirely true. It certainly wasn’t six months of full working weeks. I have a day job, and it’s often damn near impossible to come home after eight hours of work and do a few more hours of something that requires a significant amount of mental dexterity. Weekends tended to be a lot more productive, as I could get up, put on a pot of coffee, and start working first thing.

This brings me to one of my new year ‘suggestions’ (I loathe to use the word ‘resolution’) – to concentrate on Arcus more on the weekends, and leave weekday evenings free to relax and switch off. I’m not advocating a blanket ban on coding during the week, but I’m also not going to beat myself up when I go to bed on a Tuesday night without having opened GameMaker. This is a hobby. I don’t have a deadline to meet; I don’t need to finish Arcus to pay the bills; this is a project purely for me. I fully intend on finishing it, but I’m going to stop worrying about when. I don’t want to end up ruining what over the past year has become an incredibly productive and educational hobby.

I want to end this post on a positive note, so I’ll just say that 2015 has been, overall, an absolutely incredible year for me, and part of that has been due to diving head first into programming and game development. I am going to try and be more frequent with my posts as well, but that’s also a ‘suggestion’, not a ‘resolution’, so don’t hold me to that…

Here are some of my other new year ‘suggestions’:

  1. Listen to at least one new TED talk every day.
  2. For every three fiction books I read, read one non-fiction. I’m starting this off with The Elegant Universe, by Brian Greene, which claims to offer a comprehensive assessment of superstring theory, one of those things I’ve long since had a patchy understanding of, but never really fully got the hang of it. It’s pretty good so far, and has blown my mind several times within the first 150 pages or so. CERN has sort of knocked string theory aside a bit in the last few years, but it’s still good to finally get a bit more of an in depth understanding of what’s probably the most famous physics theory since relativity.
  3. Run a 10k. I would like to shoot for a marathon, but the step up is just ridiculous. I can comfortably run 5k, so the jump to 10k isn’t that daunting, but 42k? Urk.
  4. Spend more time learning other programming languages, and doing things outside of game development. I want to learn Java this year and I also have an idea for a mobile app I hope to start working on.

Happy new year folks, and here’s to another 365… wait, 366!, days of smooth and constant transit around an enormous ball of gas!

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