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Francisco & Aneesha trip to Spain

Wins & Fails of Q3 2017, Q4 goals

I feel like this 2017 has gone really fast. I can’t believe we’re already at the last quarter of the year. Q3 has been a bit strange, as I had a long holiday (19 days), something I’m not used to. It was a wonderful trip and I wish I could do that more often.

Anyway, regarding my goals for Q3…well, you can see the title. I was aware that this quarter wouldn’t be easy for various reasons, and when I wrote my goals I tried to be less ambitious. It didn’t work. Let’s have a look at the list:

  • Manage my time better: this is probably the only thing I have improved over the last 3 months. I’m more aware of when I’m losing my time procrastinating or surfing the web for no reason. Now I force myself to stop and do something more useful or something that I truly enjoy. It’s an improvement but there’s a lot of margin to get better at this. I can”t say it’s a win, so I’m gonna give it a Meh.
  • Continue working on my Unity project: there are a few reason I haven’t worked on this. I’ve gone through a deep introspective analysis of my life and bla bla bla… I’m gonna stop game development. It’s not like I’m gonna forget about it but I need to put it on hold. I might write about the reasons soon. Anyway, this is a FAIL.
  • Keep my exercise routing going: I didn’t add anything to my routine as I wanted. I’m happy that I keep going for yoga with Aneesha, but it is not enough. On top of that I’ve put some weight back. You lazy bastard. FAIL.
  • Keep learning web development stuff: I did learn some things, but because IS MY FRICKING JOB. I haven’t been proactive, and haven’t done much outside of work. I’m changing that routine now, but I started too late. FAIL.

Ok, so now let’s try to do a list for the 4th quarter. I’m gonna try to be a bit more serious about it and avoid disaster:

  • Keep learning web development stuff: I’m working on it right now. I’m starting with Javascript and taking it seriously. I’m doing Pluralsight courses on the topic, and I plan to dive deep on it. If you have any recommendations of websites or other resources, I’ll be happy to hear about it.
  • Improve my exercise routine: stop being so lazy and do something more than just yoga. This is gonna be difficult, my sofa is giving me eyes.
  • Keep improving on time management: first step is taken. Next goal is to just stop checking social media and my favorite websites so much.
  • Do some creative work: it doesn’t matter what it is. It doesn’t have to be big or complex. But if I’m not gonna be doing the gamedev thing, I want to do something else.

That’s it for me. I hope this last quarter of the year is better than the last one. I’d like to end the year full of energy, as 2018 looks like is gonna be a very important year for me. Salud

The picture is from the trip to Spain that Aneesha and me did on August.

Snake Eater

Snakes and Nails

Like every quarter, I’m doing a little review of the games I’ve played on the previous 3 months. This time, with holidays and all I haven’t played so much, but I still have a few new notches in my gamer’s belt:

Assassin´s Creed Bloodlines (PSP)

Let’s see… I got the game just because it came on a bundle with my PSP. What to do? I liked the color. Anyway, this year I started the Assassin’s Creed saga, so I had to give a chance to this game that serves as a bridge between AC and AC2. The game tries to adapt the mechanics of the bigger entries on the series to a handheld type of game. And it does it pretty well, but the limitations of the hardware, plus the limitations of the original game mechanics is a bad combination.

Assassin's Creed Bloodlines
The game looks pretty good for the PSP

In the game you control Altair through a bunch of pretty linear missions. The developer reduced the size of the levels, making the game more dynamic, but the mechanics are still the same. The combat system is pretty bad and the pickpoketing missions are a pain. Thankfully, the game is not too long and lets you advance at a good pace. It’s not awful, but I can’t recommend something as average as this.

Metal Gear Solid 3 HD (PS3)

Finally. Even playing it 13 years after the original release, it’s easy too see how MGS3 was a revolutionary game. The introduction of food, hunting and the surgery/medicine system changes the game completely regarding the previous entries on the series. We’re talking about elements that have been introduced in multiple other games after MGS3, and I believe that even a genre like the survival games, owes a lot to Snake Eater. The game is an absolute masterpiece, though it has some things I didn’t like (there’s no perfect game). An essential game, a classic, and vital to understand videogame evolution.

Quake (PC)

Last year I started a trip through id Software history, and Quake is the third game of theirs that I played. Quake keeps alive the company’s fast paced gunplay, while going deeper into the horror-like theme already seen in Doom. The game is still really good, but I see it as a step back in level design if we compare it with the wonders of Doom II. I’d like to mention two things. First, the Trent Reznor soundtrack is really creepy, and together with the sound design helps to create an uncomfortable feel in the player. Second, today it would be unthinkable to have a game so incoherent on a visual level. Having that in mind, the game is worth a play, and I think it will keep any FPS fan entertained for the 6h or so that it lasts.

Quake
I played on a resolution of 320×200, 90’s style

As a side note, recently a found this article about the impact of Quake in the games industry. Very interesting read.

The Witcher 2: Assassin’s of Kings (Xbox360)

Last year, Aneesha got me The Witcher 3 for my (then) new PS4. After playing for a few hours I decided to take a step back and play the 2nd game in the series first, as the story seemed to be tightly connected. Despite missing some of the improvements made on the 3rd game, The Witcher 2 has marveled me in many ways. The game world is fascinating. The complexity of their characters and plot, surprising. I really liked to play something that feels mature and complex. Though it only happens a few times, the game let’s you make decisions during the game that will alter your relationship with other characters and even change the story of the game.

The Witcher 2
The Witcher 2

The combat system is probably the weakest part of the game, specially compared with the much improved system on the 3rd one. It took me some time to get used to it, but it truly pays off if you fight with patience and being strategic. And the camera sometimes doesn’t give the best angles, specially in combats in reduced spaces. The game has a high level of complexity, but doesn’t force you to use everything. For example, you don’t need to do dig deep into alchemy or make use of the secondary weapons if you don’t want to. That gives for a personalized experience of the game, and leave a lot of freedom in the player.

In summary, great game, probably the best western action-RPG I’ve ever played. At least until i dive deep into The Witcher 3.

Thomas Was Alone (PSVita)

I started Thomas Was Alone long time back, but for some reason I didn’t connect with it. A year or so later, I gave it another chance. This times things were substantially different. The game is no prodigy on any aspect. And I think the quality of the game was magnified at the time of the launch. But it’s undeniable that the level design is really good, with some excellent levels on it. The game is a succession of puzzles with a bit of platforming, where you control several characters (color blocks) with different abilities. It’s through the combination of these abilities how you solve the puzzles. The addition of the narrator is interesting, and it gives a lot of personality to the game. But that’s it, it’s not revolutionary on any level and it’s far from achieving excellence. The duration of the game is well measured, avoiding an excess of repetition of the game mechanics.

That’s been all for this Q3. Now I’m about to embark myself into the highest adventure Link has gone through. And all thanks to Aneesha that got me my new (and amazing) Nintendo Switch 😀

The clever biologist

Alienated by stupidity

My brother and I have had an ongoing discussion for years about the proliferation of stupidity on major Hollywood movies. He has the feeling that most blockbusters coming out nowadays contain scenes, characters or conversations so dumb that ruin the whole experience. Though, I agree that most of those moments are bad, I think they shouldn’t spoil the movie. These decisions, usually enforced by studios, are getting worse and more numerous every year, but they’re not new to Hollywood. Maybe because I’ve been reviewing the Alien movies lately, allow me to use this saga as an example.

The characters of Alien

After this line there are a couple of spoilers of the Alien saga

I’m gonna mention to different cases on the series, one from the first movie, and another one from Prometheus. On the original Alien movie, the infection is caused by the famous Facehugger. The character played by John Hurt finds what it seems to be a crashed spaceship on a planet where they arrived due to an SOS signal. He enters the ship and after roaming around for a while he founds a huge room full of eggs. The eggs are around half a meter tall, and when he approaches one of them, the egg opens. What would you do in that case? Of course, you look inside. The result is the following:

Come here and give me a hug
Don’t be shy and give me a hug

Prometheus is full of questionable script decisions and stupid characters, the most infamous being the biologist. At certain point in the movie, a world renowned biologist finds an extraterrestrial life form in an uncharted planet. As an expert in the field, he decides to pet the cobra-like creature:

Such a cute space cobra
The face of the stupidity

Enjoy it if you can

The Alien producers and writers have proved that you can create dumb characters for 40 years (yeah forty) and, not only be successful, but create a little empire of entertainment products. Maybe we are the dumb ones. But despite all their errors, I still believe they are good movies. They could be better, and it seems like most of the mistakes could be easily solved. But at the end this is entertainment and, though we should be demanding on the quality of what we pay to watch, we should try to enjoy it as much as we can. I will keep overlooking some minor script problems as long as the full movie satisfies me. And my brother will still get angry EVERY TIME 😛

The Dark Tower: an impossible adaptation that does some things right

The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.

That’s how the The Gunslinger starts. The first of an 8 book epic saga by Stephen King. The Dark Tower movie has a really different start. Fans and non-fans will certainly be confused by the first few minutes. Let’s be honest, anyone that has read the books knows that this story is probably unadaptable in a movie format. It’s too complex. There are constant changes of genre. Too many references to other material, some of it from King himself; some from other authors.

Be aware that there are some minor spoilers of the movie in the following text

A re-interpretation of The Dark Tower

The route taken by the Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinker, Anders Thomas Jensen and Nikolaj Arcel in the script is probably the only one possible. Re-interpret the original story, reference the material for the fans and just touch wood. The problem is that this interpretation of the material is not the best possible.

There are a number of changes that are more or less fortunate. For example. the idea of using Jake’s point of view is not bad at all. It gives an even more mythical aura to Roland and Walter. It also accompanies the viewer as an outsider to this complex world. On the other hand, taking concepts and ideas from the whole saga to present it on the movie is not the best. We’re talking about a literary world that expands over more than 4,000 pages – And a movie that barely gets over the 90 minutes mark. This adds complexity to the movie, making it difficult to understand to the newcomers. I can imagine someone going to the cinema and not understanding anything.

The Gunslinger and his nemesis

The election of Idris Elba as the gunslinger was received with a lot of noise and complains by the fans. The literary Roland is based on ‘the man with no name’, the character played by Clint Eastwood in the ‘Dollars Trilogy’. I tend to not care so much about this things. It is true that the character is clearly described as a white man with light eyes. And that the eyes of the gunslinger is a recurrent topic through the saga. But to be honest, who cares? Elba does a magnificent work. He takes his role very seriously and plays it really well. The way he looks, his ‘poker face’, etc. gives the character much needed old school vibe. My only complain regarding Roland, is that the writers have changed Roland’s motivation. As much as he hates Walter, he is always true to his mission to save the tower, what is not depicted that way on the movie.

The Dark Tower - Walter o'Dimm
Walter o’Dimm, the man in black

And speaking of the devil. Matthew McConaughey. does a great job portrays Walter o’Dimm. If I have to guess, McConaughey had a great time with his his role. On the movie, Walter is a wicked character who rejoices in his own evil. This is really well shown on screen multiple times. He’s acting on the movie has been criticized by the press, but couldn’t disagree more.

Lastly Jake, portrayed by Tom Taylor, sees his role expanded compared to the novels. But, though we follow him through most of the movie, his character stays on the background, being most of the time and spectator of the action.

Now that I mention action, the movie has its quota of action scenes, some of them depicting to perfection how us readers imagined the gunslinger in action. The problem comes at the end of the movie. I’m pretty sure that the last 10 minutes of the movie are full of ‘studio decisions’. I’m not gonna get into details, but in my opinion is awful and stupid. It’s something that we’ve been seeing for a while on blockbusters. They try to make and spectacular ending with, usually, bad (or plain dumb) results.

Easter eggs for the fans

Being a fan of The Dark Tower myself, I was able to accept the fact that this is no adaptation of the books, and I was able to enjoy the movie for the most part. I think there is true love for the original material in the people that worked on the movie. There are dozens of references to the books scattered through the movie, that I’m sure a fan will enjoy. But I’m also aware of the issues that the movie has, and I doubt that it will be a massive success.

The Dark Tower - All hail the Crimson King
There are a number of references to topics that are not discussed on the movie

In my opinion, the reviews have been very unfair, with a current 18% in Rotten Tomatoes. I believe The Dark Tower movie could move around the 6-6.5 out of 10. It’s an entertaining movie and something different to what people is used to see as fantasy on the big screen. Let’s see if they solve some of the issues in the hypothetic sequel.

Boyd

Nowadays American TV produces probably more than a couple hundreds TV shows. That, unfortunately, makes really interesting or high quality shows to go unnoticed. Justified is one of those. The series follows the ‘adventures’ of Rylan Givens, an old school US Marshall who goes back to his native Kentucky, and his counterpart, a criminal named Boyd Crowder.

I don’t really remember how I came to know about the show, but I’m really glad I did. One of the main reasons, if not the main one, is Boyd Crowder. The character portrayed by Walton Goggins, is nothing short than brilliant, and it’s played by the actor magnificently. Funny enough, the character was supposed to die at the end of the first episode, but the chemistry between Rylan and Boyd was so good, that the producers decided to keep him in the series.

Boyd Crowder thinking with the Bible on his hands

But what makes the character fascinating? For me, the way he talks is a big plus. Not only he has some of the coolest lines if heard on TV, he just talks different. This half criminal, half preacher, who defines himself as an outlaw, as it we were watching a western, it’s incredibly eloquent. And, as he loves his own voice, he decorates every sentence, making an amazing use of language. Big thumbs up to the writers of the show, and to the actor. Goggins makes a great use of pauses, and sometimes emphasizes words or even syllables, making a perfect delivery, full of character.

The writers even allowed themselves to make a comment on how he talks (probably more but this one stuck with me:

 

Boyd not only has his silver tongue. This redneck outlaw demonstrates once and again his intelligence. That, combined his survival instincts, allows him to navigate through a world of crime and violence. Something that differentiates Crowder of the other villains and criminals seen on the series is that, despite his bad luck, he always goes ahead of everyone else. Other criminals in the series are short sighted, they’re not able to see beyond. That’s obvious specially on the ‘local criminals’. Boyd seems smarter, more educated and less impulsive.

Another interesting trait of the character is his relationship with some characters like Ava and Raylan. Ava is his brothers former wife and Boyds girlfriend (weird…). And thought it seems that Boyd truly loves Ava, there is this thing, a sense of unpredictability in his behaviour, that made me doubt of his real intentions. With Raylan there is a weird brotherly love-hate relationship that works really well during the whole series. At the end, one character can’t properly work by himself, it needs of relationships with others to build his own story.

To wrap things up, I would like to say, give it a chance to the series. Just Walton Goggins character and his performance are worth a try.

 

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

My experience with ludonarrative dissonance

Have you ever played a game where narrative and gameplay seemed to be somehow disconnected? Maybe even in conflict with each other? That’s exactly what Clint Hocking was talking about when he coined the term ludonarrative dissonance in 2007.

I’ve come across this kind of phenomenon a few times in the last few years. Hocking found it Bioshock. And I recently found it in, at least, 3 games. Those games are Tomb Raider (reboot), Metal Gear Solid 3 and Uncharted 4.

There are some minor spoilers on the following text about those 3 games.

Tomb Raider

The Tomb Raider reboot launched in 2013 is a fantastic videogame. To restart the saga by Crystal Dynamics is clearly inspired by the Uncharted saga, though, in my opinion, it improves the formula giving some moments of pause, more exploration (some but not much) and a higher level of freedom. Being a reboot, the team decided to start over with Lara’s story, giving us a character that is living it’s first adventure. To make that point clear, they show us a Lara Croft fragile and naive, that sees herself forced to fight and kill. Is in this first killing where they show us how bad Lara feels, how terrible it is for her.

Ludonarrative dissonance - Lara Croft first killing in Tomb Raider
Lara Croft first kill in Tomb Raider

After this little cut scene you take control over Lara again, and in less than 30 minutes you find yourself killing like there is no tomorrow. Through cut scenes and dialogues, the game continues to emphasize the fragility and how disturbing the whole situation is for the character. But it fails, as it is not consistent with the gameplay, and we can even say it’s in conflict with it.

Metal Gear Solid 3

I have a complicated relationship with the Metal Gear saga. I love the games, they’re stories, game design, etc. but I profoundly hate it’s control and camera. Every time I land my hands in one of the Metal Gears is a struggle that takes me a few hours to enjoy. I’m saying all this because the kind of dissonance that I’ve found playing Metal Gear Solid 3 might be my fault.

Though its topic, setting and narrative, the game tricks me into believe I have to be extremely cautious, like playing an espionage simulator. The problem comes when you try to play like that. The game doesn’t give you tools to do it. The control is completely arcade. I found myself repeating a million times that last fight of the game. Trying different strategies, being careful. At the end, I realized I only had to run constantly and be extremely aggressive.

Ludonarrative dissonance - The epic battle with The Boss
The epic battle with The Boss

There is nothing wrong with that and the game is truly awesome. But for whatever reason, I feel that the gameplay is not true to the game setting. Never heard complains about this so maybe it’s just me.

Uncharted 4

The Uncharted saga has been always an example of ludonarrative dissonance. Nate, Sully and company are truly charismatic characters, and it’s really difficult (for me) not to like them. But if you pay attention to the gameplay, you’ll see that it suffers of the same issue as the Tomb Raider reboot.

On the fourth game in particular, there is a scene that where this comes to light very clearly. On the last third of the game, you find yourself confronting Rafe Adler and Nadine. Sam is pointing at Nadine and Nate intervenes to save her life. By this point in the game, you have easily killed 300 enemies with Drake, what makes the situation a bit odd.

Ludonarrative dissonance - The "Don't do it Sam" moment is a bit odd
The “Don’t do it Sam” moment is a bit odd

At Naughty Dog, they’re aware that their saga has been related to this topic several time, so they added a trophy to U4 called “ludonarrative dissonance” that you get after killing 1,000 enemies. You can’t say they don’t have a good sense of humor.

Is ludonarrative dissonance a problem?

In my opinion, is not. But I also going to say that is not ideal. Videogames are game first, and gameplay mechanics should be (in most cases) the core of the product. Making an action-adventure game where the “hero” only kills a couple of people would make the game incredibly short or boring. That doesn’t mean that game creators should ignore this. Videogames is a young medium, and there’s a lot of progress to be made.

Wins & Fails of Q2 2017, Q3 goals

Here I go again. I made this list last April, and I’m going to go through it to see how I’ve done. This helps me see what I can and can’t do, and also put a little pressure on myself to keep going and not let myself go. So, let’s get to it:

  • Manage my time better: I suck at time management. I think I’ve even gotten worse through the last three months. Not happy at all with this. Big Fail
  • Develop at least one game prototype: have I ever told you that I’m not very smart? Let’s see, I started a new and exciting project. A little puzzle-adventure game that I think looks pretty good so far. But I committed a few mistakes that had led me to not finish it. The first mistake was to do it in Unity. Unity is a wonderful tool but it’s not easy. There’s lots of technical stuff to deal with and, to be honest, I don’t have the time nor the knowledge and patience to deal with it. On top of that, on mid May there was this game jam going on, and I decided to participate. So, to make it clear, while I was struggling with one project I started another one. After that Ramadan came and my brain was already fried so I haven’t done anything in the last month. Silly fail
  • Do a web project with a JS library / PHP framework I’m new to: I haven’t created a full project, but I have experimented with a couple of things. I started the EmberJS tutorial, what made me question the way we do things on this industry. Also made some silly “instastories” mini webapp. That made me learn to use the javascript camera API. I’m gonna be good and give myself a little Win
  • Getting my #*!$ driving license: finally! And I got a car! WIN
    Me and my car
  • Again with the exercise routine: I haven’t been back to the gym on a daily routine, but  I have started a new one with yoga. I go once or twice a week with Aneesha. It’s pretty good and it surely makes my body work way more than running on the treadmill or doing some cycling. I’m half happy with it, but I think i could complement it with some extra gym time. Win (for now)

Now that I’ve gone through my objectives for Q2, I’m going to set some for Q3. To be honest, I don’t want to be ambitious at all this time. I feel like I’m aiming for too much, specially when it comes to develop stuff. I’ve been struggling with doing coding related stuff, as my mind is a bit tired by the time I can really get to work on my side projects. Also I have a really nice, long holiday planned on August so I won’t be able to do anything for 3 weeks. With that said, let’s do the list:

  • Manage my time better: as I said last April, this is more of a general purpose thing. I want to improve. but so far is not going well. Let’s see
  • Continue working on my Unity project: I wish I can say I hope to finish it, but I think is going to be impossible. At least I would like to make good progress and have something that people can try.
  • Keep my exercise routing going: I’m happy with where I am right now. If I can add to it one or two days of some gym stuff that would be awesome.
  • Keep learning web development stuff: a good thing would be to dive deep in ES6, the last javascript specification.

That’s all for today. O’ll come back to this post at the beginning of October. BTW, the main picture is from our holiday in Budapest, wonderful city

Portal by Valve Corporation

Of Portals, Karts and more

Yo! So I was thinking of writing about the game I’m developing at the moment, but I’m gonna leave it for another moment. The truth is, working and developing games (even if they’re little shitty prototypes, yeah) is kind tough. Specially because I spend my whole day at work coding, reading code and solving issues. I’ve been obsessing about it for the past week, and writing about something else will help me clear my mind.

Anyway, I thought it’d be nice to just do a little review of what I’ve played lately. That way I won’t have to do a mega-post at the end of the year. So far I finished a few games, five to be exact:

  • Super Mario Kart DS (NDS): I got this game in 2006 or so. I was in my first year at uni, and we we’re spending a crazy amount of time playing Mario Kart on multiplayer. I have to have played dozens if not hundreds of hours to this game through the years, but I never really payed much attention to the single player mode. Truth is, the game is outstanding on every level. The game is a true gameplay bomb. Fun, entertaining and with lots of contents. It has 32 circuits plus a mirror mode, 9 different drivers, 16 karts… It’s one of those games that are easy to play, but difficult to master. A must play for anyone that likes videogames at any rate.
  • Crisis Core – Final Fantasy VII (PSP): Another game that I’ve had for a few years. The game acts as a prequel to the most famous (and highly overrated) Final Fantasy VII. The game runs away from the classical concept of a FF, offering an action-RPG with a good combat system. Zack, the main character, is quite charismatic and stands out from the rest of the cast. The story has some non-sense and weird stuff, but is something common in the series. If you can overlook that, you will get hooked to the battles and the high rhythm of the adventure. I highly recommend the game if you own a PSP. Just 2 last quick notes: the graphics are incredible and I hate Aeris, one of the dumbest characters ever.
  • Assassin’s Creed (Xbox 360): yup, the first one. Good game overall. Still looks amazing 10 years later, thanks to a great art direction and a great use of t Xbox 360 hardware. Also, I think the work they put in recreating that time is truly over the top. The game is full of good ideas but with some problems. The first and most important is the combat system. Putting it short, it sucks. Also they designed 5 different quests and they decided that to repeat those exact same mechanics, without any variation whatsoever, would work to make it fun. And it doesn’t. The 10th time I got to a pickpocket mission I couldn’t take it anymore. On the other hand, the parkour mechanics, the silent killings, atalayas, jump of faith, etc. are mechanics that work and are fun. It’s not as good as the press said when it came out, but not as bad as the internet says.
  • Heavenly Sword (PS3): I like Ninja Theory, the game study behind this game. Enslaved is one of the games I liked most and connected better on my 360. But Heavenly Sword is flawed at so many levels that I can’t recommend it. The idea behind the combat system is good. Three different types of attacks (soft, strong and long range), combined with with three different types of guards and two attack buttons gives the system a lot of variety. But it’s so poorly implemented that you feel like you don’t control what’s going on. The animations of Nariko are too complex and ‘flashy’, and that affects the gameplay. Another issues are very poorly designed quick time events and shooting phases. I had some fun playing it, but unfortunately an interesting setup, great art, and a very good protagonist can’t save the game. Only give it a chance if you’re a Ninja Theory fan.
  • Portal (PC): one of the best games I’ve ever played. Plain and simple. Portal get’s the concept of teleportation and constructs a whole set of gameplay mechanics around it. The game gives you a gun that can create to portals. Portal A and B are connected, and you have to use them to solve the levels. The game looks like a shooter but it’s nothing more than a puzzle game. The thing is, level design is so genius that you’ll be constantly amazed through the 3 or 4 hours that the game lasts. I have no doubts that this is one of the best games ever made. Just something to have in mind, everyone says that Portal is just a demonstration of what Portal 2 is. Can’t wait to put my hands on the sequel.

So that’s it. I’ve played some other stuff during this few first months of the year, but not enough to mention it here. I will tell you about them on my Q2 gaming post. Have you played anything lately that has marked you as Portal has done with me? If so, let me know, I’m always looking for great games to play 🙂

P.S. Buy Portal, you can thank me later

The picture was taken with my brother at the Lennon Wall of Prague

Wins & Fails of Q1 2017, Q2 goals

Three months ago I started this blog. I did it with a post where I was setting a few personal goals Q1 2017. Today I want to have a look back to this three months and see how I’ve done. Back in January, I thought my objectives were realistic and somehow, easy to reach. I still believe that, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to deliver on all front as I wanted. That said, let’s have a look at the Q1 review:

  • Build a website: I’ve got myself into that little universe called WordPress. I’ve developed a theme from scratch. I’ve tried plugins and done some research. I’m happy with my accomplishments on this front, though there’s still lots to learn. Win
  • Start an exercise routine and stick to it: I wish I could say this is a win but it’s not. I’ve started well at the beginning of the year but a couple of injuries, a very persistent cold and a travel has prevented me from being constant. Fail
  • Blog once a week: except for my 2 weeks of holidays, I’ve been regular on my blogging. I’ve written on a ton of different topics, things that were happening to me or things I was interested in. I believe my English writing has improve substantially. Win and very happy about it
  • Finish my Unity prototype: Done. You have the proof here. Not going to lie, it was pretty painful and the “game” is bad and flawed. But it was tremendously satisfying to finish this project. I’ve learnt a lot from this and I’m confident I can do way better in the future. Big win
  • Build my first prototype with Game Maker Studio: I didn’t even start, and I have excuses for it but they’re lousy. Big fail
  • Getting my #*!$ driving license: I’m almost done but still doing my driving classes. I had to stop for my holidays but I’m only a couple of classes from going to exam Almost a win ok?

Overall I’m happy with the results of this first quarter, though I’m disappointed regarding the exercise. I feel like I had a lot of productive days mixed with weeks of laziness. I’ll try to improve that on the next quarter, as I have a couple of projects that look very time consuming. Let’s have a look at my Q2 goals:

  • Manage my time better: I lose too much time with irrelevant stuff. I would like to improve some parts of my life but I need to stop wasting time. This is more like a general purpose thing.
  • Develop at least one game prototype: Actually I started this already. I’m again using Unity, but I hope this time it will be less painful thanks to what I learnt the first time. I can’t say much about it (I started 4 days ago) but it will be some kind of puzzle game.
  • Do a web project with a JS library / PHP framework I’m new to: being a coder is a pain in the @#$. You have to be recycling yourself continuously or you risk to get yourself out of the market. As someone that has being working on the same project for so long, I find difficult to learn new things as I can’t apply them at my job. The only way of solving this is working on mini projects, maybe uploading it to Github. Most probably I’ll do something on React or Angular 2, but we’ll see.
  • Getting my #*!$ driving license: this time for real. I’m really close.
  • Again with the exercise routine: right now I’m injured on my left foot but I hope I can hit the gym soon. Hopefully I’ll have less accidents this time :D.

Besides those things I would like to continue exploring WordPress development but we’ll see if I have the time to do it. It’s something I’m interested in only partially. What about you? Did you do what you expected on this few first months of the year?