Monday, March 3, 2008

The game compiler

Just finished the game element in the revised compiler, which, being the topmost abstraction in a bottom-up hierarchy, means I've mostly finished the revised game compiler. Well, module some hard stuff like the collision run-time which I'm putting off till later. And some easy stuff like background scrolling & images that I just stubbed out and will also do later. And testing - games and sprites are both untested, though I've been testing out the lower-level abstractions as I build them. I guess that means I'm not really finished at all. That's okay; I didn't really expect to be.

Right now, I feel completely and utterly drained of any coding mojo, and wanna go off and become a fantasy novelist or something. It doesn't really help that I just looked at Sploder and GameBrix, and they've both launched and are actually sorta moving now. (Well, technically they'd launched when we started, but we didn't see any movement.) Now it feels like we're behind and shooting at a moving target. This is frustrating because I know that if we had working software, I could move faster than they're moving now; after all, I've moved significantly faster on every other project I've worked on (well, except the ones that never got to working software). But first we have to get there.

A word of advice to anyone that ends up reading this: pick a problem that you can solve within the first month or two, and then release something. Your initial enthusiasm will burn out within about 2-3 months, and if you don't have something working with users to spur you on, you aren't going to finish. When Mike first presented GameClay to me, I thought "cool, a project that's at the edge of my abilities, this'll be an interesting challenge." And it was - the problem is, people (namely myself) always overestimate their abilities, and so something that's at the edge of their abilities is actually just beyond their abilities.

Actually, we did release something within the first couple months - 2 somethings. Unfortunately they don't have legs; there was nothing to grow from them. So we needed an idea with more depth, so we did GameClay, which may have too much depth. Which I guess illustrates the entrepreneur's dilemma perfectly: the easy stuff isn't all that useful, and the useful stuff isn't all that easy.

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