Starting Over Today

As is frequently the case as I pursue knowledge on my own time I park it for a while until I get the urge again. I’ve got the urge again. I want to learn. I want to get this stuff so I can create. I have the brain capacity for it, it’s just a matter of setting and achieving goals. Cramming that stuff into my brain parts so it can leap from idea to fingers to workable code.

My goal when I started this journey was a both too ambitious and too vague. Learn enough Python to be able to make a game. I technically achieved that as I made a simplistic game using Python. It was really more of a hacked version of a step-by-step guide on how to create a Battleship clone using PyGame. I added win loss tracking, although I wasn’t able to figure out how to sustain that across game sessions. Every time the game was closed the wins and losses went away and restarted at zero. I tried to figure out how to export those statistics on close and import them when the game was launched, but was unsuccessful.

Through Codecademy I completed the entire jQuery track, except for the final challenge, which was to make something. I did write a bunch of code and was trying to create a simple version of Pong. I made it pretty far and was proud of what I’d done, but it was never quite complete and working. It almost worked, except the ball had a tendency to get stuck to the paddles if it hit the top or bottom edge. I couldn’t figure out why that was happening, so never submitted it as completed. It had score tracking as well, but I couldn’t get the placement or display to work correctly. The score wouldn’t update even though I did verify that the variable itself was updating on scoring. Well, I verified that if 7 points were scored the Game Over/New Game screen would appear. So, I knew it was tracking it, but couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t displaying correctly.

Anyway, that’s stuff I did. I have a lot to learn and get better at. I haven’t touched this stuff in some time, unfortunately. I started playing Dwarf Fortress again after the .40 update and it made me want to get back into learning. I want to create. I want to troubleshoot and solve problems. Part of the reason I stopped was I got busy with other life stuff. Wedding, writing, improv. Improv takes a lot out of me. I love doing improv, but my mind reels when I do a show I felt wasn’t totally successful. I hold myself to high standards and if I don’t achieve them it’s difficult for me to excuse myself.

So, I’m starting over. I’m starting at the bottom. My goal is simple and attainable. Program for 2 hours everyday. Go through each Codecademy lesson. That is my goal. I will achieve this by November 1st. In November I plan to edit the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo in 2012. Every time I start editing I get intimidated and put it down. I’ve been editing the first chapter for two years. I mean, I haven’t sunk a lot of time into editing, but it’s time to forge through that and really edit and hone and expand where needed. I have a lot of good stuff in there, but I need to sort it out, find the weak spots and improve it.

I’m excited to get back to learning. I want to program for a living. I know I’m capable. I need to set realistic goals and achieve. It starts over today.

Goodbye June

I’ve been doing a lot Codecademy over the past month. It’s gone well. I have a much better understanding of JQuery and in turn, Javascript. I’m completely caught up on their lessons for Code Year. I even came up with a t-shirt idea, $(‘i’).animate(‘theDom’); or $(‘i’).manipulate(‘theDom’); something like that. Perhaps I’ll actually put that out there somewhere. Now that I have so much JavaScript experience (SO MUCH) I’d like to explore using MelonJS again. Javascript is quirky, but with a better understanding of the basics I feel more comfortable diving in.

My Python learning has been on the back-burner. Now that I’m all caught up for Code Year I’m going to go back through Learn Python the Hard Way and finish that up. I’m about half way through. I stalled once I got to the section on making your own adventure game. Instead of figuring it out and doing what I knew how, I tried to tackle too much, which is what led me to Pygame, and Invent Your Own Games With Python. There’s also a sequel that was written to IOGWP that I may get into soon called Making Games With Python & Pygame.

At this point I feel the best thing I can do is set myself on a small project and hack away at it until it’s complete. I’d love to have a mentor who could take a look at what I’m writing and offer guidance, but I’ve yet to meet anyone working in Javascript or Python. There are a lot of groups that meet about Python, but they meet on Wednesdays and I’m busy with improv at HUGE Improv Theater at that time. I still haven’t made a schedule, which leads to a lot of time wasted. I’m not a good scheduler or planner. Must plan. Must work. Must learn.