PhD re-edit time

David Shaw, 9:19 am 7th January 2010
Posted under: Blog Babble

My immediate plans for January have been mildly derailed due to PhD issues. I’ve finally got my examiner reviews back and they request some additional material and another resubmission. It’s my own fault for leaving some serious holes in there and not submitting the strongest dissertation I could have mustered; the last year I was so sick of the whole thing I just wanted to get the whole thing behind me. The theories are sound, so hopefully if I put in some more results and a better eye to presentation it will be a lot stronger. Unfortunately that means requires a fair amount of time which will temporarily have to eat into game development. I’d wished to get the thing complete in 2009, but there was a six month delay in examination. This means the thesis will most likely be still hanging over my head in some form for most of 2010, with still the off-chance at the end of it I might fail the whole thing. Oh well, better make the most of it.

Because of this I won’t have a Python game ready at the end of the week; it might have to wait until next week. I’m planning on putting in a solid few days on correcting and planning that takes priority so I can gauge what needs to be done and make me feel a bit more in control. Once that’s over, while I’ll be spending a fair chunk of January working on this I should be able to slot it between game development tasks, so I’ll still have things to talk about here. I’m not that sure how long the whole process will take, but I suspect I’ll have the bulk of everything finished by March. I might not post more about the PhD corrections until it’s out of my hair, since I don’t want to derail the blog into writer’s rants. ;)

Welcome, 2010!

David Shaw, 3:24 am 4th January 2010
Posted under: Blog Babble

2010 – it’s not just a new year, it’s a brand new decade! Gee, this only makes the nineties feel that much further in the past. Hope everyone has had or is having a good holiday!

I had planned on starting the year with a review of last year, but I don’t think I will dwell on it. I can’t in all honesty say my performance in game development over 2009 was stellar; far from it. It’s pretty clear that my main issue has been a lack of focus, which has led me to be all over the shop. As a consequence, I’m roughly where I could have been at the end of last July. No point crying over spilt milk, but it does mean my top new year’s resolution is to develop a better awareness of how I spend my time.

More important is a plan for what to do this year. I’ll need some time this week to fully work a plan out, but again I won’t go overboard. At its heart, the languishing plan for 2009 was sound. The key to focus on is content creation. Last year I got bogged down with fear over whether what I was doing was good enough, sellable, or done in the right way, rather than focusing on just making stuff. Roughly, I think the plan should go something like: make stuff, make unique stuff, and then thinking about making a living off making unique stuff ;) . It’s slightly generalised and I may need to accelerate things over a few months depending on how far I want to take the “making a living” part, but it rings true. That means I may have to spend a month (or two) to find my feet and a further month (or three) to find my groove before seriously thinking about something that leads to income, but instinct say it’s necessary. I’m a bit wary of my instinct though, as I also feel if I don’t dip my toe into the market in 2010 then I probably never will. It’s effectively a do or die year.

Top on the list of things to do is more of those week long projects. I was doing prep work for a Python & pygame one before the holiday period distracted me with mince pies. I’m kicking myself for not making good on my promise to fully explore Python last year, as my refresher reminded me why I chose it. Python appears to suit my style of quick development quite well, and if I put in the time to properly learn it it should be a good language for the majority of my in-house work. Python seems to be extremely well suited for small scripts, tools and probably prototypes. Even if I do have to rewrite everything in C or C++ for whatever reason, it’s probably faster to mock up the architecture in Python first. I’ll need to trial Python first with some of these small projects, but I’ve got a good feeling about it.

Following on a suggestion in the comments, I’ll start with a fairly unoriginal Asteroids-like game in Python using the pygame library. The point of the exercise isn’t to do anything particularly original, but to get a feel for the pros and cons of developing a game in Python.