Sunday, October 21, 2007

How To Fullfil The (Geek) Rockstar Dream

I've been putting a lot of though to my ongoing desire to write something in the way of a video game. This was my original foray into programming and I just didn't stick with it. Turns out I am such a geek that I actually found database design and protocols more interesting than first-person shooters. Go figure. Still, the old dream burns inside me. I've spoken with a few people here and there that could gain interest if I started something, and I'm thinking the time is arriving that I buckle down into the nights and see what I can do.

I've been looking pygame versus pyglet and hoping to find a ready-to-use accelerated sprite library. Although I really want to write a straight Python, installable game, the lure of the web is strong. There are a lot of fun ideas I could try there, and probably a much larger audience I would reach. Of course, there are pros and cons to both.

















Web-Based
Installable
Pros
  • Zero installation
  • Higher number of users
  • One target platform (for the server software)
  • More powerful result
  • Allow mods easier
  • More justified to charge for the game
Cons
  • Nearly impossible to charge players
  • Limited capabilities
  • Disperse browser platforms
  • Less people will play the game
  • More capabilities to waste my time on
  • Disperse target platforms


My options really aren't very clear. I don't know which I'll go with. Either way, I'm sure I'll bring Python into the mix on some level. Of course, I don't necessarily have to choose one or the other. I'm considering the option of taking both routes. The development time would take longer, but I could try an interesting approach of a demo or slim version of the game for free use, probably supported with advertising. Anyone who enjoys the game enough can buy a full version for download.

There are even techniques to share a significant amount of the development effort between the two versions. I'm sure that would give me some interesting things to blog about and perhaps some fun pieces of code to share.

Of course, all of these options don't even get into the questions of platform support, or javascript versus Flash for the web development. The different choices are really a bit much.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

How To Consider Chicago in February

Brett Cannon is considering an import tutorial for PyCon '08, focusing on his new work in the area. I've caught word here and there about talks people are working on, and even had a suggestion to make a talk proposal myself, which is silly. I haven't a clue what I would be able to talk about. I sure would love to listen, and watch, and chat with everyone else. I'm really wondering how likely it is that I could make PyCon '08 the one I am finally able to attend.

For Work This Means...

I have a pretty flexable schedule at work and the boss is a great guy. (No, Van, I am not just saying that because I know you read my blog.) Still, I have no idea what prospects I would have for taking the time to attend PyCon, but I'll deal with that when I decide for sure that I want to try to go. Well, I know I want to go, but I have to make sure that I personally can go, before I figure out if I can professionally go.

For Family This Means...

Either Heather will want to come along with me to the cold of Chicago in February or she has to stay home and take care of Caelan all by herself for a few days. Of course, he'll be almost two by then and gets easier to take care of every day. I wouldn't mind them coming along, but what would they do with all the time that I'm at the convention? I suspect they would find something to occupy those days for them aside, like visiting one of her friends or something else that would take them away from the house while I'm gone.

How To Move Down Three Flights Of Stairs

Well we finally moved into the new office space. It doesn't feel very strange, of course, as I have only been in the old offices for a day over two weeks. Still, it is some feeling. We've got a nice, open space. I'm really loving the use of a long ledge along the one wall as a single, extremely long book shelf. The power and network running down poles at two points in the space allows us to encircle desks around for great collaboration. I'm a little worried about the lack of any personal space barriers, but I don't see it will be a great problem. I really wish I had gotten one of the two desks with their back to a corner, but Daniel grabbed it up pretty quick. He's been there as many months as I have been there in weeks, so I can't really complain about his getting first dibs. Now that we have the new space, I have my keys and I can leave a little early to avoid most of the traffic.

The old leaser of the space was an embalming office. It makes the existence of a loading dock a little creepy.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

First Week At SocialServe

My first full week at Social Serve ended yesterday with me jetting out early to try and avoid the rush hour traffic on top of race weekend conjestion going past Lowe's Motor Speedway. Turns out, everyone else had the same idea. Still, most days I seem to be able to make good time if I just get out before the real traffic clogs the roads. I've learned a few tricks, as well, like avoiding I-77 completely on the way home in favor of Brookshire all the way to the 85 junction. Avoiding the ramps between three interstates makes a huge difference.

The work itself has been good. I still am learning my way around the existing code, and making my fair share of suggestions to improve things with all the stuff I see from the Python community. I'm looking forward to doing some fun stuff.

I've joined the commit team on the GeoPy project to push some patches and further work I've done on it for Social Serve. Where things are is a surprisingly difficult problem to deal with.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

How To Work At SocialServe.com

Here are my instructions to anyone else who may want to work at SocialServe.com:
  1. Have a strong enough interest and passion for development to start a contracting business without any formal training. Support yourself for about a year and a half working for one client and the next.
  2. Move to an area populated enough to start a user group for your favorite development language, tool, or concept. (Mine was Python)
  3. Be suggested to send in a resume to the company of one of the first members.
  4. Sweat your way through the first real interview for the kind of job you've wanted your whole life.
  5. Cross your fingers not to screw it up.
So, that's my story. I had my interview last Tuesday, called Thursday, and started Friday. I've enjoyed it a lot. Learning my way around the codebase has been going pretty well and I've already got my first couple of commits in, as well as two small projects. I like to think I'm moving along nicely.

One of the things I need to get used to is that all of our development boxes are Macs. I have a company issued Macbook Pro (2.33ghz dual intel, 2GB RAM, 17") and I'm really enjoying the Mac life. The UNIX background is great and the interface is just slick. Installing applications is just fun. I've got the entire KDE suite installed, so I've got a lot of my favorite tools and toys right there.

The time away from the house, while somewhat nice, is probably the biggest downside. Caelan misses me a lot while I'm at work and I miss him and his mother quite a bit. After all this time at home, and all of his life so far with me there every hour, it is tough. It may be harder for me than him.

Finalizing the whole picture is my commute. 30 minutes or less to work and an hour to and hour and a half to get home. What's up with that? I need to see about leaving early or I might just leave an hour late. I'd still get home at the same time, so I might as well spend it in a comfortable chair instead of my ugly car.
I write here about programming, how to program better, things I think are neat and are related to programming. I might write other things at my personal website.

I am happily employed by the excellent Caktus Group, located in beautiful and friendly Carrboro, NC, where I work with Python, Django, and Javascript.

Blog Archive