I'm lucky - I have help. #snails

Posted on March 25, 2011 | 3 minute read

I am extremely lucky to have ended up in a situation where I know and work around people who do the things I’m trying to learn for a living, on a daily basis. I think I would’ve given up on this snail game long ago if I was in a more isolated position where the only point of contact with people who know what they’re doing and are willing to help is Google or programming forums. Just a couple of days ago, I was trying to do something that I knew is meant to be something simple. It felt like I was just missing some piece of the puzzle that I should already know, but don’t. After about five hours of trying every single possible solution I could think of, and then trying some more by just stabbing in the dark and hoping I’ll stumble across something that works, I was left frustrated and, I think, a little scary. C was in the room studying while I was threatening my computer and typing furiously. He knew better than to make fun of me at that point.

Cam offered to have a look at the code for me on Twitter and the next day came back with some awesome suggestions! Problem solved! (thanks, Cam :D).

I contract on-site, on a floor full of developers. My friend E, who is about a million times more knowledgeable than I am, is always happy to offer advice and help when I can’t seem to grasp something. I’m usually hesitant to ask for help because he has to look at code day in and day out, so the last thing I want to do is make him think about more code, but he always makes me spill the beans on the latest functionality I’m working on.

And then there’s Simon, who’s an amazing artist and gave me some great advice when I was pondering how to draw a snail for my game.

I’ve been really lucky in that my personal and professional networks keep me in touch with people who are able and happy to give me advice and have a look at my code when I’m ripping my hair out trying to figure something out, which I really appreciate.

The amount of support I have when I’m stuck makes me think about the people who don’t have the luxury of knowing someone who can help them. Not just in game development, but any venture. I know that there’s a whole world of forums, articles, tutorials, chat rooms, and books out there with people who can provide advice. And I use them - I don’t like bugging my friends for help every time I’m stuck and I spend hours, days, trying to figure out the problem on my own. But there is nothing like being surrounded by like-minded people who know more than you do about what it is you’re trying to achieve and who have actually done it all before.

I know I’m still in the very early stages of the game, but if I wasn’t surrounded by such an awesome and knowledgeable bunch of friends I would’ve probably given up on the project a long time ago. Or worse - never would’ve started in the first place.




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