Time for another Tome O’ Davis: “Elusive vet seen on IRC frequently”, “There’s Newbies – and then theres No0bies”, “A Look Back At My Experience With Torque”, “My Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shade(r)s”

Elusive vet seen on IRC frequently
Yes, it’s true. For the past like, oh, week and a half I’ve been hanging out on IRC in the GarageGames channel (and elsewhere.) Logan asked me – What changed? I got onto IRC because of the Game In A Day thing, and decided I needed to spend more time chatting with people in the community on IRC. The wisdom of such a thing is pretty debatable, but it’s really nice to chat with everyone much more frequent basis. I’m not sure when the last time I talked to Dave @ 21-6, for instance, but I got to chat with him the other day in the GarageGames channel. I talk with Nicolas pretty often, along with Phil, Ben @ GG, Tom, Paul Dana, etc. In otherwords – I get to waste time having some cool conversations with fellow Indies ;-) 
However, I hate IRC. The main GarageGames channel has it’s good moments, but at the same time it’s probably got more total crud conversations. But there are other places too – stepping away from the main channel suddenly reduces the noise level considerably, and 
get more focused on specific topics of interest… sometimes πŸ™‚ I set up a second monitor now specifically for IRC, ICQ, and Yahoo – basically, all my communications minus email. So, while I’m working, I can keep glancing over and see if anything interesting is going on. It’s kind of nice to feel a little more connected.
(BTW: – the “elusive vet” is a comment Logan made, I thought it was funny and repeatable. I know what he meant – but “elusive” gives it that fun recluse sort of feel πŸ˜‰
There’s Newbies – and then theres No0bies
One thing that I like to do is help people. Honestly, I do. What I don’t like to do is help someone who has no intention of helping themselves at all. Meet me half way – all give you answers if you’re willing to work at it a little. Now, if someone has a stupid question – no biggie, it happens to the best of us, I’ve asked pleanty of stupid questions in my lifetime. I’m sure you can find one or two of ’em in the forums somewhere around here πŸ™‚ So I’m quick to forgive a stupid question, and answer it. But damn people – how about a little effort on your part? And sure – everyone has a moment were brains fail to enguage. I’m complaining though when people don’t bother with the trying to enguage it at least partialy. 
But that would probably be bearable if it weren’t for the number of people who get hostile about stuff like that on IRC. Look, if someone annoys you – hey, there’s an “Ignore” function that works really well. Don’t threaten. Don’t bait. Don’t start a fight. You aren’t helping, and you aren’t going to make the person go away if they annoy you – for that matter, they have the same rights to be there as you do. It doesn’t matter how you feel about them, if you can get on there, why can’t they? Live and let live people, or just find another channel and bitch about them (Ahem – I do πŸ™‚
But I’m quick to point out again – I’m more than happy to answer questions when there’s one that I can answer. I actually enjoy doing that. I was a newbie once. But I was never a bloody n00bie.
A Look Back At My Experience With Torque
Yeah, that makes it sound like something semi-(self)important and like I got big things to say. I don’t really πŸ™‚ I had just got to thinking when I looked at the line that says “Since Mar 27, 2002” and realized I’ve had this engine & account for over two years now, and thought about how things have changed,with Torque and with me:
1) Docs for Torque completely sucked. I mean, REALLY sucked. Ron Yacketta released his alpha Console Command doc – I was ready to kiss that man. (I still use ’em too) There was that little. And now… look at the kick butt docs we have, and they are only getting better. Shoot… I’m not going to have anything to complain about – I’ve only been complaining for 18 months or so πŸ™‚
2) TSE. Shaders… this is a mixed bag. I’m interested in some of the stuff that GG has done to simplify shader creation. But the real point here is – two years ago, shaders were a “Make your own solution” deal, which almost no-one did. Now it’s here. Well, Early Adopter is here. That’s a ways until full OpenGL, crossplatform support. But it’s here enough to look at, and realize it’s going to rock. Granted, it does increase the complexity of content / game creation to make use of shaders, but, it’s here. I think it’s cool, but haven’t wet myself with excitement over it.
3) I’m still making Trajectory Zone. That hasn’t changed, and has been going on forever. But man o man have I learned A LOT from that particular experience, including how NOT to write a game πŸ˜‰ It’s not that TZ is bad, it’s that it’s been a comedy of errors on my part. It was supposed to be small, simple, fast. Bleh. However, it’s also a pretty snappy looking (and playing) game now – not what I have ever envisioned. But I learned a lot of rules along the way that I’m begining to apply to new projects.
4) I became a full-time Indie. I now make part of my living using Torque. I say part, I’m still doing automation work from time to time. But I’ve got a fairly “free” life – no real bosses for the most part.
5) The community behind Torque is becoming HUGE. I think within like two months of being on here, I knew most of the names of people. Now? Forget it. However… one disapointing aspect is while the community grew, the amount of cool things like FxMelv’s (Not that Melv isn’t doing his job – I want to see is game get done! πŸ™‚ didn’t really grow proportionatly. Granted, I didn’t expect that “1 in 3” were going to make a cool addition to the engine – but it just seems like there just aren’t as many people releaseing cool stuff these days. That or I’ve become jaded to what “Cool Stuff” is πŸ™‚
6) Plans. My .plans continued to get more and more inflated. But more people are also using them. I check those more often these days than I bother to check the forums themselves. People actually talk about what they are up to, what they want to do, etc.
7) Garage Games has grown in employees and interns. They keep adding cool people to thier staff – and you have to wonder, what exactly do these people do there all day? πŸ˜‰ That growth is a good sign, IMO, since Jeff & Co. aren’t dumb at business. The leverage and increase thier resources as nessisary, not just one day deciding to add 5 people to the payroll. You know there had to be good valid reasons for that increase.
I know – not earth shattering stuff. But it’s interesting to see how things have slowly changed over time. But the pace seems to be picking up – TNL, TSE, etc. What’s it going to look like in two more years? Where will I be at, game developer wise, in two years? And will Trajectory Zone be bloody done? πŸ™‚ Feel free to add your thoughts – what’s changed (better or worse) since you adopted Torque?
My Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shade(r)s
So, besides all my babbling – what the heck am I actually working on? Right now my main focus is on Torque vehicle physics for a contract job. It’s going to be a while before you see the results of that – but you will eventually. It’s going to be cool.
But in the more short term, I’ve got another game dev contract job coming up – and this one isn’t a year out before you see the results. I’ve also got projects going on here – TZ is still in development (though I’m holding back on it just a bit), and I decided to turn Boulder Panic! 3 into a “real game” and release it, along with my Tip-Top Secret moving at glacial speeds (it’s usually a matter of being frustrated with another project, and doing a task switch and moving that forward for an hour until I’m no longer frustrated, then getting back to the “real work”). Well, that’s it for this .plan, proving once again I can use a lot of words to say very little πŸ™‚ (Actually, I have a lot more to say – but, this .plan is already big enough. Fodder for my next plan, I guess.)
Davis Ray Sickmon, Jr
Owner, Midnight Ryder Technologies
Just because you’re smart does not mean that the other guy is stupid.
Stefan Lundmark   (Jun 08, 2004 at 03:39)   Resource Rating: 5
Hehe, made it to the bottom. Cool plan πŸ˜‰
Nr4 in your list “A Look Back At My Experience With Torque” must be a wonderful experience.
Good luck!
Jorgen Ewelonn   (Jun 08, 2004 at 04:04)
Davis, I must say I always enjoy your .plans
Dylan Sale   (Jun 08, 2004 at 04:47)
Wow, you were here only a month before I. Was it really that long ago? 😐 Torque has taught me so much about programming and game dev, I really owe it to Garagegames. Now as I think back on my experiences I can see just how much of a newbie I was.
Thanks for the trip back down memory lane πŸ˜€
Edited on Jun 08, 2004 04:48
Ron Yacketta   (Jun 08, 2004 at 07:33)
Hey Davis, give the Kiss to your wife… I’ll take a 12 pack instead πŸ™‚
Eric Forhan   (Jun 08, 2004 at 09:01)
Davis Ray Sickmon Jr,: Man of Internet Mystery. πŸ˜›
Jay Barnson   (Jun 08, 2004 at 09:01)
Davis – I love reading your .plans. 
[quote]But I learned a lot of rules along the way that I
monki (Wesley Beary)   (Jun 08, 2004 at 09:20)
Its like the elusive vet is releasing a biography, but this is just the teaser… I’m with Jay on this, bring forth the lessons!
Logan Foster   (Jun 08, 2004 at 10:05)
You pretty much summed up the IRC in a nutshell there Davis. I am glad to hear that you are enjoying IRC, you have already added a lot to the channel through your participation the past few days. Its good to keep in touch with your peers πŸ™‚
Jim Rowley   (Jun 09, 2004 at 04:40)
Hey, thanks for the cool idea. I knew my old 15″ monitor might come in handy for something!
Glen Rosenblatt   (Jun 11, 2004 at 06:50)
wow – amen to your comments about putting forth some effort to help yourself πŸ™‚ a little common sense goes a long way.

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