One Month in Cleveland

August 04, 2016, 2:50pm

Today marks the one month anniversary of Lutetia and I living in Cleveland. Here are a few observations from these first 30 days.

There are not nearly as many people wearing Cavs jerseys as I expected and hardly any LeBrons. At the local grocery store, I noticed a small “Cleveland Cavaliers 2016 NBA Champs” poster by the checkout line but it was covered up by a pyramid of World of Warcraft candy boxes. Thought that said it all.

Cleveland has been a land of few distractions in the sense that I don’t have many obligations that cause me to leave my work desk. Ultimately though, I find myself beset by other distractions, such as:

A big shout out to The Ringer, whose recent Cleveland Week feature provided an exceptional primer to Cleveland’s historical and modern cultural relevance. Some of my favorites articles cover:

I’ve kept up with building a new game every week, but my recent games have been pretty uninspired. Part of this is because I have been feeling rather uninspired and uncreative myself. This a little worrisome but I haven’t minded so much because there’s a huge mountain of non-creative work that needs to be done and I’ve been slowly but surely grinding my way through it.

Speaking of grinding, I’ve spent this month playing through some old Final Fantasy games. I recently beat Final Fantasy 1 and 4 and am currently making my way through 5. I'm a big fan of classic Final Fantasy games and am extremely impressed by what they were able to do with a small team and severe hardware limitations. I’ll probably publish my thoughts about each individual game at some point.

Our rent in Cleveland is about half what it was in Berkeley (the apartment is also half the size) but food costs about the same: eating out runs about $10-15 a person and pints of beer range from $5-8. This, plus being on a no-income budget, means I cook for myself and Lutetia almost every day. Today is a special occasion though, so we’re splurging and hitting up Applebee’s. I’m actually really excited for this! It’s funny how just one month removed from living in gastronomic heaven I’m already stoked to dine at Applebee’s but that’s life, right? I can’t say that this month in Cleveland has been absolutely amazing or that I don’t miss California every single day, but I am settling in and getting lots of work done in the meantime.

I once compared my mental approach to living in Cleveland to distance running. For me at least, running consists of willfully enduring long periods of extreme pain and discomfort, which is also how I’d describe coding long hours on an overheating laptop in the sweltering humidity of my poorly ventilated apartment. Like running, it feels great to be done and after a while it even becomes fun in a strange and twisted way.

Ultimately, this first month in Cleveland has been far from perfect but it’s trending in the right direction. On to the next one!

Week Fifteen: Operation EquatiaLib

August 01, 2016, 5:31am

If you’ve played the original Equatia, Week Fifteen might look familiar. It should, because that’s sort of what this whole game-a-week thing is building up to.

Ultimately, I’m planning to rebuild Equatia over the next few months with a better architecture, multiplayer, a Rails backend, and many other ideas that have been floating around my head for the past few years. It’s taken some time to get myself reacquainted with the tech, but the ball is rolling.

The biggest change is that 99% of the game is built in code. That means no prefabs, no scenes, no Unity Editor at all, really. This makes collaboration much easier down the line and also allows the project to be open source. It's taken a fair amount of effort up front but I think it will be worth it.

Revisiting Old Code

July 31, 2016, 11:11am

I’ve been going through code I wrote between 2010 and 2013 for Equatia. During this time in my mid-20s, I was single in Berkeley, did most of my coding between 11pm and 5am, and was fueled by copious amounts of energy drinks. Now I’m 30, living with my girlfriend in Cleveland, code during the day, and mostly stick to coffee. As I trudge through the code attempting to rebuild Equatia from scratch, I am alternately impressed by the cleverness and amazed by the short sighted stupidity of my old code.

It’s like a different person wrote that code.

Operation EquatiaLib

July 27, 2016, 11:46pm

Operation EquatiaLib is underway and open sourced. Stay tuned.

Week Thirteen

July 18, 2016, 10:28am

I've been slowly adjusting to life in Cleveland. So far, I've felt compeltely uncreative here and started to slip into a morass of self-pitying depression. Then, I remembered this quote from Stephen King:

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

Touche, Stevie. So even though I have had zero inspiration for creating games this week, I did a ton of work on building out the infrastructure on my website, including a login/password system, SSL encryption (so you can feel safe entering your password), a RESTful API which allows for games I create to interact with the Rails backend, and a basic navbar. Not particularly creative, but fun in its own way.

This week's game was built in about an hour, and most of that was figuring out text input and buttons. The fun and interesting part (to me, anyway) is that you have to login to play the game and your high scores will be stored in the site's database via the aforementioned RESTful API. Anyway, this week started out depressing and ended quite productive.

Of course, even though I've been trying out lots of new tech with these weekly games, none of them seem to play nicely with WebGL. Pretty frustrating.

Anyway, give Week Thirteen a try and see if you can beat my high score!