Return to “Dev Logs”

Post

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

#1
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Quite a flurry of an eleven days (for those of you who think you've spotted a trend in the spacing between dev logs, don't get too comfortable :ghost:). Were I to remain as mysterious and secretive as my inner Josh is telling me to be, this would be a short and unsatisfying log indeed. So I guess I'll just...not be like that.

I've been stupendously crushed under work this past week-and-a-half. For better and worse, it's not the usual kind of work. Better because the long-term ramifications for LT are awesome. Worse because this dev log is not going to be shiny.

But to tell the tale of this week-and-a-half, I must first set the stage. Prepare to be taken into the life of Josh outside LT (which, as we know, is quite minimal...but does consist of at least one interesting activity).

---

I may have mentioned this once or twice on IRC, but I'm not sure I've ever actually mentioned it on the forums. Over the past year, I've been part of a program at LSU (the local uni) that holds math classes for high school students on Sundays. It goes pretty far beyond what students normally learn in high school; it aims to prepare them for major mathematics competitions like the Harvard-MIT Math Tournament, Berkeley Math Tournament, etc. These are (obviously) kids who are 'gifted' and seeking challenge beyond what high school affords them. The program is called 'MathCircle.'

This year, the director, a graduate mathematics student at LSU, decided he wanted to explore adding a programming component...after all, Math & CS are match made in heaven. As it would turn out (through a series of interesting coincidences, which will be the theme of this whole post), I ended up volunteering to be the teacher for this. Every Sunday during the school year (or most Sundays), I prepared a lesson to teach high school kids basic programming in Python, with the intention of getting them to a sufficient level to compete in the USACO programming competitions, of which there are 4 during the year.

Anyway, I must stop myself from getting carried away with this story. TL;DR: we competed in programming competitions. I also competed so I could judge for myself how hard the different 'divisions' were. I made it to the top division (Platinum) by the hair on my chin. The Gold (second-highest division) questions nearly tore me apart. I expected most students to remain in Bronze (beginner's devision), and perhaps a few of the best to move up to Silver. You can imagine my surprise when one of these high school students with very little prior programming experience made it to, and subsequently did quite well in the same division that had ME breaking a very real sweat. Not that I'm the best competition coder, but I do at least program for a living so, you know. After talking to this student a bit more and coaching him individually in preparation for Gold-level questions, it was clear that his brain was built for programming. He gets it.

Which is why he'll be interning for me over the summer, hopefully starting on Monday.

---

I've had my office at the Louisiana Tech Park for 2.5 years now, so I've gotten to know many of the residents quite well (especially the other game programmers).

It was a very bizarre coincidence indeed when, last week, the most talented game programmer I know here walked into my office, curious if I had ever considered letting someone else work with me on LT. I told him I had considered it but that location and money generally made such considerations very short-lived. As it happens, his location is the same as mine. As it also happens, he, like me, is more interested in hard problems than money.

Which is why he's currently sitting five feet away from me in the office, working on LT engine code.

---

So, what have I been doing over the past 11 days? Very little, with regards to gameplay features and the like. But I must say, Manager Josh has done more in these 11 days than in the rest of the 4.5 years put together.

Hiring Nathan as CM was (obviously) a fantastic choice that continues to pay dividends. I guess I finally got the message: I'm not alone in this world, and, occassionally, it may happen that my path crosses with someone capable of making my life easier (read: getting LT out faster and with less ibuprofen consumption). I've always said before that I couldn't afford to get help. And you guys kept telling me that there's help out there that would come at a relatively cheap monetary price as a consequence of getting to be part of the beautiful project that is Limit Theory.

I get it now :)

For the first time, I'm excited about the idea of having some help on the code side. I've got an intern with incredible potential who's interested in AI -- and I've got a thousand interesting AI problems. I've got an engine/graphics programmer with very deep knowledge of C & C++, architecture, graphics, and the like -- and I've got a thousand interesting engine/architecture problems.

Now, nothing is certain at this point. I'm 95% sure on the intern front. I'm less sure about the mysterious other developer (btw, these guys will get names when we achieve certainty). He's working with me right now as a sort of 'trial run' while he evaluates offers from other places (that could no doubt give him more than an its-not-about-the-money-right?-sized paycheck). In the mean time, I must ensnare his mind with LT, and show him that there is no other project of such beauty, challenge, reward. Manager Josh has much work to do. Pragmatic Josh is standing back nodding his head and smiling. Graphics Josh is antsy as always, being locked in his cage. Gameplay Josh is hoping he catches a break by being able to delegate away some of the hard, low-level work. Human Josh is quite hungry and is hoping to finish this log right about now so he can eat the warm sandwich sitting beside him. Meta-Analyst Josh is slightly concerned that Josh finds it reasonable to describe himself as a multitude of different persons, and in the third person, no less :ghost:

I'm sure this log raises loads of questions that I've not answered...but I've got a lot of work to do right now, starting with inhaling this sandwich :)

The future of LT is bright. :wave:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
Post

Re: Tuesday, May 16, 2017

#7
Josh, that's freaking fantastic.
Hopefully your Intern stays with you, because I can damn nearly guarantee that if he goes elsewhere it won't be anywhere near as interesting, even if the paycheck has numbers on it. :V
You should already hopefully know you can turn to the forums with an idea for gameplay, let us run with it for a week, and get a crazy level of interconnected nonsense about what you could do with that gameplay idea. :V
(Like the random sensors conversation that poked up last time :V)


IronDuke wrote:Image
!!! INCORRECT !!! TO THE PIT OF SHAME!!


It's NOOT NOOT

Code: Select all

<+BMRX> Silver Invokes Lewdly Verbose Experiences Readily With Absurd Rectal Expeditions
Post

Re: Tuesday, May 16, 2017

#9
I still can't get rid of the strong suspicion that those two "persons" are not actually real, but rather some of these very advanced AI clones of Josh :ghost:

To be serious: I feel that this is a very important step. Having some very competent people with inside knowledge around, and being able to discuss ideas and problems with, has to be a huge improvement. Congratulations on this step :clap: I really hope this will work out for you ( and your possible future partners in crime creation) :D
Post

Re: Tuesday, May 16, 2017

#10
JoshParnell wrote: I guess I finally got the message: I'm not alone in this world, and, occassionally, it may happen that my path crosses with someone capable of making my life easier (read: getting LT out faster and with less ibuprofen consumption). I've always said before that I couldn't afford to get help. And you guys kept telling me that there's help out there that would come at a relatively cheap monetary price as a consequence of getting to be part of the beautiful project that is Limit Theory.

I get it now :)

For the first time, I'm excited about the idea of having some help on the code side. I've got an intern with incredible potential who's interested in AI -- and I've got a thousand interesting AI problems. I've got an engine/graphics programmer with very deep knowledge of C & C++, architecture, graphics, and the like -- and I've got a thousand interesting engine/architecture problems.
Josh, this is a really important step you did there, trust me: I know what I'm talking about.

I was and sometimes still are a person that REALLY doesn't like to give parts of my work to other people. It may sound arrogant, but I always had the feeling, that they wouldn't be able to finish the work in a (for me) satisfying manner. I always kinda was like "Nooo, they will do it wrong, and then I have to do it again!" and just did it myself. I came to the point where this almost broke me and tried to correct it from there on.

I started to delegate, give parts of my work to other people. I went from doing stuff to partly MANAGING stuff, which is REALLY scary in the beginning.

But it's very important to build up some trust into the skills of the people you work with, and trust them to do the work in a good manner. Maybe not in the manner you wanted it, but if the end result is good, works and is in an acceptable quality, you don't need more.

Sadly, I stated this WAAAY to late and it broke me. I had to take some time off, talk with a coach (for managing), and after some time came back. A little switch in my brain was toggled, and now I trust in the work other people do. I check, if they really do it the way I want, maybe guide them a little into the right direction if there's something to do better (for me) and let them do the work. It takes a shitload of pressure and work from your shoulders.

But with delegation comes another, really important part: inspection! Inspect what they did, maybe correct the processes, their way to do things, give some input, and check that it works out in the end. Because if you trust them blindly, it will come back on you in the future (maybe, maybe not).

And as soon as you're sure that they're doing it properly, you can give them more important tasks, give them more freedom in their way to do things, and trust in their work without controlling it.

Start small in the beginning, and don't give them your "most important workpiece" and in the end it's done in a way you don't like, you lost a lot of time because you let them just do it for weeks and yo have to do it all over again!


Okay, enough of the serious stuff: Congratulations on your really nice coincidences, on your intern and your maybe coworker. :D

Btw, who's Nathan? :P
Automation engineer, lateral thinker, soldier, addicted to music, books and gaming.
Nothing to see here
Flatfingers wrote: 23.01.2017: "Show me the smoldering corpse of Perfectionist Josh"

Online Now

Users browsing this forum: Hyperion and 1 guest

cron