It’s my birthday, again - and that means I’ve lived another full year on our lovely planet! It also means it’s high time for me to write on this blog again, and take a little look back, and a little look forward..!
@leafcodes and I released the Alpha Demo of Tiny Melon Friend’s Big Melon Adventure, bang on time at the end of April. Now that it’s been a little while since we did, it’s time to dig in and take a look at the feedback, the launch itself, and the various bits and pieces of analytic data we recovered!
So, there’s a bunch of stuff I need to do for my tiny melon friend game; at the very least at some point this year, I want to release an early alpha build of it. However, there’s still a lot of work to be done before it’s really in a ready state, and because of the whole, you know, everything, that happened this year, I haven’t done nearly enough of it. And one of the reasons for that is that there’s a bunch of different bits and pieces in the code that are following different styles of development or idioms that I was exploring at the time. Meaning, maintaining it is kind of a small nightmare. So, two paths branch before me: 1. Just hack my way along to a playable demo, compounding the issue for myself later, and 2. Actually refactor the code and make my life easier in the future, but probably fall short of getting anything playable this year. As you can imagine, it’s a difficult choice to make, but I think in order to actually make this game a real thing in the future, I’m going to have to choose option 2 - even if it means that the game I’ve been working on slowly for a few years takes even longer to be playable.
However! I don’t have to do it alone! I’m immensely lucky to have someone in my life that I feel like I can share the development of this game with, and we’re going to tackle the refactor together. I feel like it’s going to be much easier to bring something to fruition with another pair of hands. There’s a certain amount of trepidation in letting someone else poke around the loose contents of my brain from the last few years, but a little vulnerability is sometimes exactly what you need in order to grow, you know? And it will mean that tiny melon friend will be ready to make their star debut on the world stage all the faster!
So, one of the reasons I barely post on my own blog is because I often struggle with development friction. That is, I tend to lose interest/attention in my personal projects when I start banging my head up against long compile times, or lengthy processes. Most of the time, I just deal with the annoying process until I’m finished with whatever thing I was working on. For longer-running projects, like my website, it ends up stealing my motivation to work on the thing. I’d already eliminated most of the friction for web development when I switched to static site generation, but my setup was brittle and involved me manually FTP-ing into the site to upload stuff. How very 2000’s! So, one of the best ways to get around development friction like this is to just spend a little extra effort on automating the problem away; and lo and behold, along with most other source control providers, Bitbucket now has automation pipelines. With a little fiddling, and a couple of google searches to find the right docker images to work with, I can now just commit and push to my site repo and have it update and deploy here automatically! This practically guarantees that I can keep up with this site, right? Well, maybe..!