This is an attempt at trying to do Jekyll. This is an open source blogging backend thing. I tried to get it working several years ago before I started my podcast but got frustrated and gave up. I’m making much more progress this time apparently! I’m even writing this from within NeoVim for some reason. It is difficult to explain the rollercoaster I’ve been on!
Mental health took a nosedive for a long time. Covid certainly didn’t help but it wasn’t just that. Even though I was doing a podcast that was difficult and forced me to learn things I never tried before… It just wasn’t what I was looking for. Having this constant pressure to keep up on complex technical topics at all times while also needing to be a person recording shows and having a full time job to boot. It just wasn’t the right mix.
More than a month ago at this point, I got started on learning programming for the 3rd or 4th time since 2011. We’re not gonna count the HTML writing that I did in the 90s. Everyone did that!
It feels like I’m actually getting into this programming stuff in earnest. It is a very deep rabbit hole of novelty and maths. The maths scare me but I’ve been trying to broach that too. What got me into actually pushing past the first learning stages of learning programming concepts and finding that programming mindset? GAME DEV!
Specifically via the Pico-8 “fantasy” console. Which is just another way of saying a game engine with artificial constraints built in. I did this by using the Lazy Devs tutorial found here.
These constraints are exactly why I choose to go with Pico-8 over Unity, Unreal, or even Godot.
First I started with pixel art – something that I have never done before. Anytime I ever opened up paint in the 90s, it always made me feel like I could never make anything with it. For some reason, the sprite maker built within the Pico-8 interface just felt natural and a joy to use right from the start.
This flowed into the code side. I’ve known about if statements from years of trying to understand Python but I finally had a reason to APPLY THESE CONCEPTS. Ho-boy did I learn how things worked MUCH faster than trying to understand them as an esoteric concept.
Real progress as been made! I have a decent grasp of the syntax of Lua, the scripting programming language that Pico-8 uses. I’m being propelled to learn even more. While I am currently building a Star Trek Shmup, I’ve been studying raycasting in 3D game engines. My research led me to the Game Engine Black Book for Wolfenstein 3D by Fabien Sanglard.
While a great deal of this is going over my head, I have a stronger sense of where I am headed than I have been able to find in the last few years. This journey has only begun.