Slow Trains

October 29, 2012

(For the short version, skip to the point 3 and the two images below it)
Katie Melua is one of my favourite musicians, not for her looks of course (though she is a pretty lady (and married, btw)) but for her innate singing ability and her learned song writing talent. One of the songs in her repertoire goes like this “So I stopped one day to figure it out, I quit my job without a shadow of a doubt, to sing the blues that I know about, my life is just a slow train, crawling up a hill.”

(Note how I’ve chosen a video that doesn’t show the music video)

For the past few months I’ve been working at Amazon, building up a decent cash reserve so that I can quit my job (without a shadow of a doubt) and spend some time learning to drive (Makes getting other jobs a bit easier) and do the things that I know about. I’m in a state of transition – where my patience with the job (which has a rota that jumps from 5:30AM-1:30PM to 1:30PM-9:30PM and back each week, often leaving me exhausted, as if I haven’t had a good nights sleep in months) is running thin and I need to get out.

I’m going to hold on just a few more weeks, get some more cash reserves in the bank, until Desert Bus for Hope comes along, which I missed last year. You see, Amazon has a holiday embargo at this time, so getting to see that is as good a reason as any to choose a particular week to take a chance and go back to what my heart is calling me to do… Assuming of course that I’ve learned certain key lessons:

1. Stay the hell away from making 3D games. I don’t like doing art enough for that, also, implementing things in code should be easier (depending on what that thing is of course) because I’m only coding for 2 dimensions instead of 3, less need to mess about with camera implementations.

2. Certain key changes to the design of my main project have to be made. Previously the project (which is about setting up a colony on a new extra-terrestrial world) was just too focused on numbers, became too much about managing production levels in a spreadsheet style. I’ve since had an epiphany whilst playing a little game called colonization – Make the game more about managing people by moving them from building to building and allowing them to pick up specialisations.

3. Since I want to move away from 3D and I want to make a big shift in the design, this is a perfect opportunity to do both by switching from Torque 3D to Torque 2D (I’ve already bought the 2D license) and begin afresh with the code. Making that switch in game engines will make it easier for me to write off the loss of all the code and art I’ve done on the old design in the old game engine.

So the next iteration in the design will be less like this:

On Second Thoughts

On second thoughts, maybe that wasn’t the best approach…

And more like this (With certain adjustments I’ll go into at another time):

Perhaps something more like this

I was really hoping to continue working on stuff whilst I was working at Amazon, but sometimes things don’t work out the way you want them to, so it’s time to make some changes. Heck, I might eventually opt for a part time job, 20 hours a week kind of thing so I still have money coming in but also have plenty of time and energy to make things, time will tell, I didn’t do so well on the part time job search last winter but that was a year ago.

If at first you don’t succeed…

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