Without fail, every project that I head up or am a lead contributor of in the open source community, a question is handed to me with great anxiety and trepidation. For some reason I instill great uneasiness within developers because of my own work ethic and drive. This is an open letter to all of you, and those of you who are to come, to try to head this question off at the pass by giving a public and broad wave of the hands sort of answer to the grand question – What do you expect out of us?
I have been writing a lot lately, unfortunately not in direct relation to my blog or public persona. I have been unable to code properly in the last month and it has been wearing my managers thin. We are trying to add a couple seemingly simple modules to a perl cgi application and I’m running into the age old problem of code complexity being the bane to all existence. I ranted previously about how goofy the code that the previous developer chose to use for the template engine, and I wish that were the end of the train. I have hit a weird stand point. It seems like adding anything to this is a pain. Let’s take a step through the code, together.
I met up with a good friend of mine this previous weekend in order to discuss the prospects of getting back into the game development arena. We are long time friends, and had previously worked together on a project called White, which was a first person shooter based around logistics. It was a heart warming experience because we are, once again, on the same page.
Our plan is to start work on a game that is a space simulation that is centered on the situations going on back in the White universe. Although further information is going to be dependent on further discussions and possibly finding a couple other developers interested in the project it surely is going to be fun and educational since neither of us have actually worked on a game at this level. This is going to be my first official step into working on a full game and will, of course, be based on ogre. More information when its available.
Work has begun mapping out the mod I plan to build with the UT3 release. So far it looks like its going to be a military simulation and revolve around reality. While I can already hear a few of my critics complaining about my choice to do so I really don’t want to trouble any of you too much. I have some very fun ideas and above all else I plan to respect the release early, release often mode of development to actually test out much of what I have been preaching to the mod communities that I have contributed to over the years.
Mutators are still in the works, allowing me to learn the engine more and more as I continue development but the overall goal is going to be this mod. Information about the mod is available here.
Thank you all, I have some reading to do so I will catch you later.
Have you ever been working on a project and lost your drive to continue? Do you find it to be difficult to get going again? You may have experienced what many developers do – Burnout appears to be as wide spread as the number of people who breathe that have also died. Developers often struggle their applications and eventually lead to complete failures. Paul Graham wrote an essay on the topic of keeping a program in ones mind. It doesn’t seem far fetched to think that an applications complexity is going to correlate to the amount of the application that you will be able to think about and how much of your steam and investment I involved in any project that you choose to undertake.
I started work on GneuManager long ago, nearly 2 years ago now, with a goal in mind of putting together a project management application that would allow me to keep track my progress and momentum that I had with any of my projects. I need it to work for game development differently than it does web development differently that it does console or any other applications that I work on. I also oversee things that have little to show like testing and meetings that I should still account for in my application. As you can already see, this is definitely not a simple project, and as such when I first began work it was quite specialized. It didn’t do much other than track my bugs and allow clients to log in and see progress.
Burnout occurs when developers take a bite out of something that is larger than they are able to actually consume. It runs a close parallel to what many of us understand to be bad already, the event of choking. Forgetting to chew or biting off too much of a hot dog can lead to the terrible gagging that we have all experienced. The reluctance to take another bite is something that we don’t all share.
My first bite for GneuManager was to build out the user system. I ran a close editorial summary of my progress with a series of essays that I will publish at a later time, highlighting my progress and sharing my thought process of the application as things grew. Unfortunately there were things that I didn’t understand well enough. I also lost my team and these two events lead to a loss of drive.