Stalled on the Shoulder life

It has been more than a year since this site has been updated. That was not my intent, but that is what happened. I intended to keep the site up-to-date with game development progress and general thoughts on programming. Back when I had those intentions, I worked for a few weeks preparing the site for The Trespasser's 2018 retrospective. After publishing the retrospective, I hardly touched the site. I altered a few things occasionally, but nothing worth mentioning.

At the beginning of 2020, I was gearing up to write a 2019 retrospective. I might have dropped the ball with posting new content throughout the year, but the least I could do was another annual write-up. That project lost priority as soon as I decided to go to GDC. Suddenly the only thing that mattered was polishing game content and mechanics in preparation for the small chance that I'd have an opportunity to show it to someone, anyone at GDC. You probably see where this is heading. Enter COVID-19, the deadly pandemic. GDC and most conferences at that time were canceled.

Meanwhile, pressure was building at the day job. GDC was meant to be my "vacation" from all of that, but with the event canceled and nothing else to do, I decided not to take the time off. The virus wasn't expected to be around so long when I made that decision. I assumed I'd have ample opportunity to take time off later this year. I still might, but it's not looking good.

Between work and the cancelation of GDC, my motivation was sapped. My game dev routine collapsed. Instead of tinkering away night after night, I found myself binging an entire tv series or playing multiple games from start to finish. A couple of months had passed and I realized I hadn't opened Unity once. This led to worse thoughts about failure and giving up, of which I'm a stranger to neither. Cue Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence."

Hold your pity - it wasn't all bad. This period of doubt led to a lot of time away from the computer. Eventually my free time pivoted from consumer activities like movies, tv, and video games to more productive ones like reading, cleaning, cooking, bread-making, and spending more play-time with the pup. The feelings of doubt started to fade, and I was getting some motivation back.

I started small, with something new and non game dev related - a program that auto associates documents containing proper nouns matching other document titles. I don't have a specific use for this program, but I've had the idea for a while. I completed a proof of concept that does exactly what I set out to do. It's not performant, scalable, or portable yet, but it's a start.

Next up, I was thinking about this site and how I abandoned it. It was up and running, sure, but otherwise neglected. I think I was nudged in this direction by my rss reader. Since the pandemic, long forgotten blog names and favicons have been showing up in the reader. The dormant personal blogs I have subscribed to over the years were all active again. It was inspiring to read everyone's updates. Before I knew it, I was loading up my own site, deploying improvements, and wondering what content to add.

I think the small, incremental progress on other projects was a jump start to my motivation. Before long, I was working on The Trespasser again. Progress is slow right now, but I'm just happy to be getting back to normal. I have a pretty good idea of which features I want to work on next, and which bugs and systems I want to fix and refine, respectively. There's still a long road ahead, but at least I'm no longer stalled on the shoulder.