What do I say?

It’s been a good while since I made a post. Lots has happened, mostly good things. I found a job and as a result, my “extracurricular” activities have taken more of a back seat.

I find myself wanting to come back to publicly writing things down. For what reason, I don’t know. I don’t write code quite as much outside of work, but that’s normal. However, I have been drawing recently and dropping the occasional masterpiece on my pixel art page.

So like the title suggests, what do I say?

I think for now, I’ll say things about my art path and anything else that comes to mind. Well, I’ll try to. I think it’s good to document things you do. It slows time down a little. In a good way. I enjoy looking back at the things I’ve done and it’d be a shame to lose out on that going forward.

As a start, I recently completed the 250 box challenge on Drawabox. What an absolute project that was! I started on the next lesson from there and I can already tell that 250 boxes is in fact just skimming the surface. The texture exercise in particular has reminded me that getting what you see onto paper is incredibly difficult.

Anyway that’s about it. Here’s to hoping I can say some more stuff later!

Pixel art, its community, and my findings

I never was a huge creative. I made my attempts but it was easy to go back to old habits. Within the past few months I’ve been doing pixel art and it was kind of an accident. I started out with trying to make a game with Rust and Bevy (see Games and Experiments, namely the Avoider Game) and then realized that in addition to programming, pixel art is actually pretty neat.

After just trying to get some basics down for the sake of making something that looked functionable, I started to jump down the rabbit holes and eventually I could only think…

huh.

Now I’ve got a gallery and I can’t stop! This revelation made me realize that I had deprived myself of a creative outlet for quite some time. While I have tried creative endeavors in the past and didn’t care for them as much, I didn’t give myself the opportunity to continue looking. Thankfully, I’ve found a method of expression that wasn’t just typing at people or sending sick Rocket League clips.

Another surprise I’ve run into is that the community is pretty supportive. I’ve done some posting on twitter myself and it’s nice to see people sharing and liking each other’s work. Plus, hang around there long enough and you start to see the same people after a while; it feels like a wholesome little neighborhood of sorts.

I’ve also joined a pixel art discord that has a variety of channels, including one where you can post your work for feedback. In my time spent there, people have been surprisingly helpful as well.

Initially, my subconscious perception of the art community as an outsider seemed like it was a difficult-to-penetrate sphere where only the highly skilled dwell. That could not be further from the truth. People in the community understand the amount of work that goes into something that actually looks good and all the difficulties that you inevitably find along the way. Plus, looking at the work of others helps to inspire yourself. A little bit of support goes a long way when you want your favorite artists will keep making more stuff.

Overall, it’s just nice to be heard. If I make something, really enjoy how it came out, and others feel the same, it’s really validating. Sometimes I’ll make things that I’m not exactly excited about and some people people may still enjoy it nonetheless. Much like in the “real world,” people can still like what you do in spite of, or because of, your blemishes. I’m learning how much better it is to put your ego to the side and just create, instead of being afraid and doing nothing. As long as the process and the rewards after are worth it, That’s what matters. If you share your experiences or creations, there will be like-minded people out there that would like to see what you’re doing, or at the very least, help make it better.

‘Till next time. Make good choices.

Low times

It’s been a bit of a tough period since my last post. I had been dealing with some work stuff and thankfully that’s over, but it’s been really difficult to create on my free time.

I started on a small Rust program recently to learn a bit more about how Cargo works. In addition, the tool was supposed to help me with some of my other hobbies. After some days of spending time on it, I noticed that it was increasingly harder to press my fingers on the keyboard and make the code do stuff. I did learn more about Cargo, but I just couldn’t be bothered. I think it’s temporary, but we’ll see. I’m thinking of greatly down-scaling the project to make things easier. I may have also recently ran out of coffee but surely that can’t be related.

Pixel art has been more of a consistent interest for me at least. Even though I am still having a hard time producing stuff there too, it’s at least because it’s novel and I don’t have it figured out yet, and not because I’m just like ugh. It’s hard to explain, but it may be because I regularly code at my normal day job. It’s much more difficult to work on code stuff on my free time when I’m also spending 5 days a week programming at my job.

I don’t really have much of a point to the post. I think sometimes it’s good to reflect on accomplishments when you’re down. I’ve done a lot of stuff the past couple months! That’s neat. We take those. It’s easy to beat yourself up when you want to push yourself at low times, but honestly it’s not worth it. People who do that to themselves end up pushing themselves away from their interests.

I think what helps too is that I don’t plan to make money with what I do or make on my free time. There doesn’t need to be good enough writing, good enough art, good enough whatever. I finish and submit whatever I think is presentable. The void I’m filling with all this stuff I am doing is a creative one. I’ve kinda deprived myself of a creative outlet for long enough, so the fact that I have many of them now is worth its own celebration.

For anyone reading, thanks and stay cool ?

Messing around with pixel art

A considerable step up from my last attempt

I’ve been enjoying pixel art more and more these days. It gives me a way to think without having to access the part of my mind that’s usually active when coding. Plus, you can sit down for an hour or two (or more) and usually have a finished product by the end. Is it something I’ll continue doing? Hopefully. I could use more creative outlets.

I decided to pick up Twitter to get more involved with the pixel art community ’cause why not, and I saw things that would make lots of aspiring artists quit on the spot. People make some insane stuff. One artist I’ve particularly enjoyed is Joseph Hyde. Call me basic but I’m a bit of a sucker for the landscapes honestly. Definitely worth checking out.

There’s also a twitter account called Pixel Dailies that posts a topic every day and people can make pixel art based on the topic. I like that they’re pretty open interpretation of the topics and they actually feature (by retweeting) the best works they find. Given my lack of experience, my submissions have been pretty juvenile so far; needless to say none of them have been featured yet. I’ll take my time with it. It turns out other people have been doing this for far longer than I have.

On the topic of my game, I’ve been slacking a bit on it, though it isn’t without any good news; my job does hackathons every quarter so I’ve been putting some work into a neat little side project with Bevy Rust. That’ll be a little extra something I hope to host on the site too. It’ll involve fancy sand.

One thing I know for sure is that in two weeks I’ll be taking a week-long trip to Colorado, speaking of sick landscapes. Knowing that, I want to have my projects in a complete state before I go. I highly suspect that whatever is incomplete when I get back won’t get done. I may try to mess around with pixel art during the trip though since that’s easier to pick up and put down.

Anyhow, that’s about it. ‘Till next time.

Now approaching the 20%

What I can say about this: like many things, it is an attempt.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the 80/20 rule and how it applies to effectively everything. In my particular case, I’m beginning to reach that point with the game that I showcased in my first post here. The situation is as follows:

  • 20% of the development time has taken up by 80% of my todo list
  • 80% of the development time is now being taken up by 20% of my todo list

To clarify, I have reason to believe I have reached that 20% based on the fact that I have gone from knocking out multiple things per day, to one thing per day, to potentially one thing per multiple days. I would say progress slowed down after my commits on March 23rd.

I am reaching the end of my first month for making a game and I’m hoping I can meet it. It’s tough; since I’m new to Rust and the Bevy framework, I’m now suffering the consequences of some of the mistakes I made while making a game for the first time. I’ll definitely make a reflection post on it after the fact, rather than now since hindsight is a bit of a better teacher in these sorts of pursuits. When you’re in the technical weeds, it’s easy to incorrectly assess the big picture.

I had a pretty fantastic breakthrough with the discovery of events in the Bevy framework though. I was having a hard time wrapping my mind around how the game would know the exact moment that the game was over and it was safe to clear everything exactly one time. On top of that, there was also the logic involved with resetting state back to the beginning. Thankfully I was able to figure that out and now the game restarts when you lose!

Also, I made a new enemy type which is neat. They’re far more dangerous than the standard ones that drive in a straight line (as hard as that is to believe).

Anyway, I’m hoping to get the game published to my website soon. I have no idea how that will work but apparently it’s mostly trivial to get a bevy game working on your own website. I like to hope those aren’t famous last words.

Starting a blog

This is my first post and a test to see how this website framework works. So far it’s been pretty neat with only a few snags here and there. I’ve been working on learning Rust and making games with the Bevy framework. It’s actually been a nice experience and I’m hoping to stick to a 1-game-a-month schedule. March is looking pretty good with a game I’m making that was originally supposed to be about *avoiding* bad guys but I could not resist adding a mechanic to also *destroy* the bad guys.

Currently, the annihilation works a little too efficiently and deletes the bad guys from existence with no trace of their previous existence. I’m working on trying to get an explosion sprite sheet I made to show an explosion occur when an enemy gets killed. Turns out it’s harder than I thought, due to my lack of knowledge in handling game assets in general. For the curious, here is the Github repository.

I’ve also been learning pixel art with Aseprite as a side-effort to at least come up with my own sprites for my games. I don’t expect to be good at it any time soon but that’s okay. It’s another avenue of creation if I don’t feel like coding.

Anyway, that’s all I got for now. This site may undergo lots of changes cosmetically and functionally, but for now it seems to work. Once I have a better workflow, I can hopefully start working on more in-depth and interesting blog posts. And with that, I am going to test out code blocks by writing the following:

fn main () {
    println!("Have an Awesome Day!")
}