It’s easy to get down on yourself when you’re trying to grow in a lot of disparate directions all at the same time and the results of your work aren’t clear. It’s a constant struggle for me, especially considering my tendency to focus exclusively on what I could be doing better under the guise of pushing myself to work harder and more efficiently.
In reality, I’m just being hard on myself for no good reason — probably because it’s easier than acknowledging that life is hard and making even a modicum of progress on anything substantial is no mean feat. So I wanted to take some time to look at the progress I’ve made in the past few weeks.
I’ve started working with a couple of new languages: Python and PHP. I’d always heard Python recommended as a great first programming language, and I can see why: it’s strict, but that forces you to keep your code orderly and easy-to-read. I’ve actually shipped a few snippets of Python code at work, which I’m pretty proud of considering
1. I’m not an engineer, and
2. I hadn’t even touched the language two months ago.
So that’s the code side of things. In terms of design, I’m starting to get my feet wet with Knytt Stories and Twine. I’m really excited about what Twine can do from a choose-your-own-adventure perspective, especially given its excellent visual UI and clever implementation of variables. The last “interactive fiction” game I wrote was a short, crude adventure game for my TI–83 where the player was an unfaithful Bill Clinton who had to escape from the White House and the terrible wrath of the First Lady.
Knytt Stories is the best do-it-yourself Metroidvania generator ever created. In case you’re wondering what the hell that hyperlinked word means: Metroidvania is a portmanteau of Metroid and Castlevania, two game series that share a legacy of two-dimensional, exploration-driven action gameplay in an open world where the player progresses by obtaining new abilities that enable new areas to be discovered. It’s a very engaging subgenre, and I’ve been dreaming of making games in that style ever since I first played Metroid II: Return of Samus as a young kid.
Considering I’ve been working full-time, editing articles for Silicon Sasquatch and traveling a bit in and around Austin over the past month or so, I’m actually pretty satisfied with how far I’ve come since I recommitted to making games. It’s even more impressive when I consider how hard it’s been to pry myself away from the final chapters of Persona 4 Golden.
It’s been hard work, but the best part is being able to look back on what I’ve done and recognize that it’s been a fun and fascinating journey so far. Learning new skills, refining old ones and taking the time to let my mind wander are some of the most rewarding ways I can think of to spend my time.
Speaking of which, I should probably finish sketching out this Knytt game and start actually building something.
- Remember, there was a time where this sort of thing was actually topical. ↩