What I’m Working On – Jan 2024

This is half journal entry half blog post. It’s hard to believe we are ten days into January already. It doesn’t feel like a lot, but I’m in a race against the clock right now. In just over 10 weeks, I’m going to be a dad. There are a few things I want to try to finish ahead of then, aside from the obvious life and house prep things.

Destructomath Plus

I’ve been working to bring back Destructomath, the first game Dylan and I worked on. About 4 years ago we thought about re-releasing it and spend an afternoon porting it to Swift and re-designing the main menu. It was pretty hot. I was excited about it.

I didn’t touch it again until early December of this past year. Since then I’ve gone pretty heavy into building and designing what I believe is a better version of the game. It’s been fun to get back into the game design side of things, something I’ve neglected for a couple of years, and just brainstorm things that can be improved, from small mechanics to polish and visuals. In my most recent trip to visit my family, I had what I’ll consider a minor breakthrough in terms of ways to make the game look better, feel better, and play better. It’s part mechanics and part game art. I’m now trying to get the last 10% done before the end of the month. As anyone who has built anything knows, the last 10% takes 90% of the time. My true deadline is pre-baby, but because I have other things I want to do, this is my current goal.

There’s still a lot to be done for the game in terms of polish such as unlocking new themes, the business model, setting up leaderboards for the daily challenge, and tutorials/onboarding. My dream is to get the game onto Apple Arcade but I have no idea how to make that happen beyond submitting it to them. That’s what I’ll be doing at the end of the month if all goes well.

I’m currently refactoring the sprites in SpriteKit because I noticed the borders looked a little jagged and I didn’t like it, so I’m switching from ShapeNodes to SpriteNodes. More to come as I continue working on this.

Researching Infertility

My second project at the moment is a writing project on infertility. I wanted to do more writing and explore a specific problem, what’s being done so far, and where I think there are interesting business or product opportunities. The long term goal could be to discover something worth building on my own, but I haven’t decided. This is just the first step and the first rep associated with it.

As part of making progress on this, I set myself a goal of trying to write 1,000 words a day. I’ve wanted to have a writing goal before but didn’t have anything to direct it towards so the daily act of writing was challenging. After listening to more podcasts about writing (despite already knowing the importance and long term value), now is the time I’m finally taking action.

And yet…most of the time I spend writing my 1,000 words it’s not on the infertility project 😂 Instead I write blog posts like this one, or lengthy journal entries to think through things that have been bothering me. Part of the challenge is my project is a research project more than a writing one, which means I still need to spend a lot of time learning first. This makes writing take 4x as long as something like a blog post that can be more of a brain dump based on my thoughts and experiences. Anyway, more writing is good, even if it’s not on the thing I want to do.

I am planning to publish the full piece on infertility (probably 5,000 – 7,000 words if I had to guess) in the coming weeks, but I’ll have to see how it gets balanced with Destructomath and life prep. I’ll be putting up the introduction and landing page this weekend though so that’s some progress.

Generative AI x Art

My final project has to do with generative AI. I’ve described it to friends as my new big project and one that I expect to be working on for the next 12+ months, mostly because I still need to learn a ton to actually build what I’m imagining.

All I can say right now is a magical and delightful iPad app for creating art, taking advantage of Generative AI and bringing fun and magic back to software. It’s a bold claim for someone with my level of development experience lol, but one I intend to chip away at for a while to make a reality. The different paths I have for this are on the brainstorming front for different ideas (still nailing down my own vision for what it will be) while also learning more about GenAI — I have been working through a couple O’Reilly books and brushing up on my Python skills so I can at least understand the fundamentals. I’ve also had to do some Metal tutorials which I think might be what the app is built in. I’m not 100% sure yet of the technical details and don’t even know how to make the decision yet. Part of me thinks for the ideas I have, I might need to use a game engine to have better control.

It feels like there’s a lot going on, but my own project priorities have clarified compared to the last 12 months. Combined with regular progress I feel like I have some good momentum building. I’m excited to continue to tinker and finish these things, putting them out into the world for that lovely (and dreaded) feedback.

If you’re curious about anything I’m working on, hit me up! It would be fun to jam on these ideas a bit to help make them better.

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