What’s up this week

By Shamus Posted Sunday Jul 5, 2009

Filed under: Personal 24 comments

A few people have nudged me, wondering why I haven’t been posting about X or Y lately. It’s been a couple of weeks since a game review, and months since my last post on tabletop gaming. The truth is that I have a couple of background projects going on that are eating into the time I usually spend on this site.

1) I have an interactive fiction game that I’ve written. It’s a satirical text-based “FPS”. It’s been hovering at 95% done for ages now, and investing more hours doesn’t seem to move it past that 95% mark.

2) I have some other fiction I’m writing. I don’t know where I’m going with it, but I’m sure you know the feeling of getting an idea stuck in your head and needing to get it out, no matter what that does to your productivity. It’s a big project and I don’t know if I’ll finish it, so I’m not keen on posting it. The last thing I want is to leave everyone hanging with an abandoned project.

3) I’m doing a little programming. I have discovered the joys of SDL. I cannot say enough good things about it. I don’t think I’ll ever write another Windows-specific program again. Programs written using SDL are smaller (less Windows boilerplate) cleaner (the structure of a Windows program is generally “sprawling”) and (ostensibly) cross platform. Hooking it up to OpenGL is a breeze. I haven’t been writing about it, because articles like, “today I learned to handle keyboard input” do not make for a thrilling narrative.

4) As always, I have the day job, the comic, the Escapist column, and the family. But not in that order.

5) Gotta play games in order to feed the column, the website, and comic. Pity me, for I am a martyr to my art!

When I need to steal some time, this website is the first place I go to get it. I can cut into the hours I spend here without impacting my income, which – I hope you’ll forgive me – is becoming increasingly important these days. As the next seal is opened on the coming jobocalypse, I am grateful to have a job and a half in a time when so many people have none. Ergo, I’d like very much to maintain them both while feigning some level of professionalism.

The good news is that I actually do have a post on tabletop gaming coming this week. And some game review stuff. And nothing about Michael Jackson!

 


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24 thoughts on “What’s up this week

  1. Neil Polenske says:

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, tabletop gaming blah! Are you ever going to talk about ANIME again? :P Actually, all this downtime has given ME time to look round the archives. Got me interested in install Thief again.

  2. Jason Love says:

    Whoa, Shamus. You’re into IF? I had no idea. Is this in TADS, Inform, or some other system?

    1. Shamus says:

      Jason Love: Inform. This is my first IF.

  3. Mark says:

    Blog moar.

    /thread.

  4. Telas says:

    Live your life; we’ll be here when you get done.

    Yay tabletop gaming! We need more intelligent and mature discussion of PnP RPGs.

    No thanks on the anime. There’s enough random internet chatter about it already. (And I frankly can’t stand the stuff.)

    And a big thank you for not covering Micheal Jackson. He ceased earning our respect and attention over a decade ago.

  5. Hugo Riley says:

    As a hobbyist game programmer I would really like to read about your experiences when learning SDL.

  6. Samopsa says:

    Looking forward to your IF then. Really, really loved your system shock novel, your writing style is awesome.

    And it’s quite logical you cut this first, after all, all you get here is some comments from (anonymous) interwebbers from the blogosphere. ;)

  7. Logicaly_Random says:

    Come on Shamus. Do you really want to be the only page on the net not to cover Jackson kicking the bucket? Do you?

  8. Huckleberry says:

    If it’s interactive fiction, can’t we write the last 5%? ;)

  9. midget0nstilts says:

    @1 Well, the site *is* called Twenty Sided.

    @Shamus Eh, know the feeling. You get a hobby, and the next thing you know, it turns into a *job*. Post whatever you want as much or as little as you want; otherwise, you’ll burn out and we’ll get *no* Twenty Sided fixes!

  10. Rutskarn says:

    What? The week to come? You’re biting my style!

    I might have a few hours to donate, but the postal service always loses them and they’re a bugger to attach to emails.

  11. DrMcCoy says:

    Re 3): Welcome to the Light Side of programming :)

  12. The Stranger says:

    Does posting that you won’t be posting about Michael Jackson count as posting about Michael Jackson?

    Post whatever – I tend to enjoy your posts even when I don’t have a lot of interest in the subject matter.

  13. Rubes says:

    Shamus and IF. Now that’s something worth looking forward to.

  14. Miral says:

    #1: Inform v6 or v7? (For the uninitiated, v6 is pretty much a regular programming language. v7 is a pretty cool natural(ish) language parser sitting on top of that programming language.)

    #3: I beg to differ. I’d love to read a step-by-step “becoming familiar with SDL” type series, even if it reads more like a diary than a how-to.

    1. Shamus says:

      I’m using Inform 7. I wanted to see what a “natural language” programming language is like.

      Short answer: Odd.

      Long answer: Ask me once I manage to finish the project. :)

  15. SatansBestBuddy says:

    I hate when people pose logical answers to questions.

    Then we can’t rage at them because they make too much sense.

    Anyway, are you gonna post that game that’s stuck at 95% here? Sounds pretty cool.

  16. Rowan says:

    I’ll be coming back just for the missing Michael Jackson news.

  17. WWWebb says:

    Make all the excuses you want. We all noticed the big drop after you started playing Left 4 Dead. That cleared your buffer and once Team Fortress came along…

    I blame City of Heroes for giving you the crazy notion that playing games online with other people might be fun and not torture.

  18. Samrobb says:

    More about handling keyboard input, please!

    No, really. I’m serious… which is absolutely pathetic, but hey, at least I’m honest about it.

  19. evilmrhenry says:

    Samrobb:
    Two ways in SDL. Either you loop through and pop all current events, filtering to all the ones you actually care about, or you get an array of all keystates through SDL_GetKeyState. In my experience, the loop method is better for menu-based games, (filter to mouse and key_down events) and SDL_GetKeyState is better for real-time. There really isn’t much more to it, although the set_repeat function is very nice.

  20. Andrew says:

    I’d definitely recommend SFML as another option to SDL, especially if you’re using C++(it does have a C bindings, as well as .Net and Python too though), if only for the fact it lets you get up and running just as fast as SDL, it’s available to the majority of systems, and offers hardware accelerated 2D by default.
    It too is really easy to hook OpenGL in with (being it uses it internally for its accelerating 2D functions), but also comes with audio and network support.
    Short of when you specifically want to do software rendering everywhere, or can’t guarantee even the simplest of 3D cards to accelerate 2D sprites, I would use it over SDL.

  21. Decius says:

    Remember, the first 90% of the project takes 90% of the time. The remaing 10% of the project also takes 90% of the time.

  22. samiel says:

    My mind is trying to wrap itself around 180% of time…

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