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Why I Switched From Git to Microsoft OneDrive

I made the unexpected move with a string of recent projects to drop Git to sync between my different computers in favor of OneDrive, the file sync offering from Microsoft. Its like Dropbox, but "enterprise."

Feeling a little ashamed at what I previously would have scoffed at should I hear of it from another developer, I felt a little write up of the why and the experience could be a good idea. Now, I should emphasize that I'm not dropping Git for all my projects, just specific kinds of projects. I've been making this change in habit for projects that are just for me, not shared with anyone else. It has been especially helpful in projects I work on sporadically. More on why a little later.

So, what drove me away from Git, exactly?

On the smallest projects, like game jam hacks, I just wanted to code. I didn't want to think about revisions and commit messages. I didn't need branching or merges. I didn't even need to rollback to another version, ever. I just …
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I Learned 4 Things From my First Ludum Dare

I've done my first Ludum Dare Jam now, and actually my first game jam of any kind. Wow! I am so happy to have finally done this. It was a super rewarding experience and I want to share that, and my game, with as many people as will listen.

My game is Patient Out Of Time. It is an apocalyptic moody shooter about a doctor salvaging power sources from robots in the wasteland to keep the life support of his last patient running as long as possible. The hospital staff have all left, and they are the only two survivors. Keeping this man alive is all this one doctor has to keep him going.

It is a sad game, but it was also a lot of fun to make.


Here are some things I learned this time. I hope to learn more things the next Ludum Dare.

Little Steps Make Safe Steps I didn't have time for broken builds or half-built code I needed to fight my way back out of just to get the game running again. Every change I made had to be broken down into tiny, discrete non-breaking changes. Every step of…

Game Development is Hard, Okay? 5 Things That Suck About Making Games

Game development is hard. I mean, really hard and everyone knows it. You probably won’t finish your game. You probably didn’t finish several games before it. You’ll probably start some more games you’ll never finish. The thing is, not finishing the games isn’t the only reason game development is hard. Let’s learn from some of my failures so far.
Taking Time From Your Family is Hard
Putting it like this sounds kind of distasteful. Yeah, if you’re working on your game in the time you aren’t at your day job, there’s a good chance you’re taking time away from precious family time. You’re missing evenings with your wife. You’re skipping days with your kids growing up. If you don’t have a family in your life, you’re opting out of time with friends, watching movies and reading books, or even just playing games, the same medium you obviously care a lot about.
Making games takes a lot of time. You think you know that, but it takes more time than you already fear. Double that number in your head. …

On Pruning Your Passions

We live in a hobby-rich world. There is no shortage of pastimes to grow a passion for. There is a shortage of one thing: time to indulge those passions. If you're someone who pours your heart into that one thing that makes your life worthwhile, that's a great deal. But, what if you've got no shortage of interests that draw your attention and you realize you will never have the time for all of them?

If I look at all the things I'd love to do with my life as a rose bush I'm tending, I realize that careful pruning is essential for the best outcome. This is a hard lesson to learn, because it can mean cutting beautiful flowers and watching the petals fall to the ground to wither. It has to be done.

I have a full time job that takes a lot of my mental energy. I have a wife and a son and family time is very important in my house. I try to read more, and I want to keep up with new developments in my career, and I'm trying to make time for simple, intentional relaxing t…

The Insidiousness of The Slow Solution

In software development, slow solutions can be worse than no progress at all. I'll even say its usually worse and if you find yourself making slow progress on a problem, consider stopping while you're a head.

Its easy to see why fast progress is better: either you solve the problem or you prove a proposed solution wrong and find a better one. Even a total standstill in pushing forward on a task or a bug or a request can force you to seek out new information or a second opinion.

Slow solutions, on the other hand, is kind of sneaky. Its insidious. Slow solution is related the Sunk Cost Fallacy, but maybe worse. Slow solutions have you constantly dripping more of your time, energy, and hope into a path that's still unproven, constantly digging a hole. Slow solutions are deceptive, because they still do offer real progress. It is hard to justify abandoning it or trying another route, because it is "working", technically.

We tend to romanticize the late night hacking…

One Game A Month: Off And On Again

Off And On Again is a series of light puzzles. You must turn all the lights on, but you must do so by flipping them in patterns. If you turn one light on or off, you'll be flipping lights around it, too. If you can find the right combination, you'll brighten up the board and move on to the next challenge.
This was more than just a game. This was a public project in putting light on the hobbyist game development experience. Created over 25 hours, every single minute of the development of Off And On Again is available as part of a YouTube series Let's Make A Game. If you're interested in learning from this process and seeing what came out of it, you can watch the entire creation of Off And On Again and then play the game for yourself.
The Series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlFKDVs9l3Q&list=PLg8XhO9Ilwl9Bw9h5wimuRgx5VrK3D-Kb

The Game: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.stonebirdgames.OffAndOnAgain

Why Am I YouTubing An Entire Game Development Project?

For a few weeks now I've been posting new episodes of a YouTube series I've been doing this month called Let's Make A Game. Now that I'm most of the way through the project, I wanted to think a bit about why I'm doing this, what I think people might get out of the videos, and what I hope to get out of it for myself. The best way I know to do that reflection is to write about it, and to share those thoughts.

So, Why am I YouTubing an entire game development project? Why would I put myself out there so publicly for anyone and everyone to look over my shoulder for twenty-five straight hours as I stumble, typo, and mistake my way through a skill I'm still learning and still very green on? And, why exactly would I think anyone cares enough to watch me code, mostly in silence, for twenty-five hours?
Why would anyone care to watch?The truth is, I don't really expect anyone to. And that's okay. Part of this project required that I be okay with my own definition o…