How come it's always March?
Here is to trying new things! I always wanted to write monthly updates and things like that. I have no idea where these will reside, should I just make a new blog for YouTube updates? Should I make one of those newsletters on Twitter? Should I make a mailing list? Should I just keep these to myself? Should I create a Patreon or a Ko-Fi just so I can post these updates?
If you are reading this, I DID find a place for it. And I didn’t bother coming back to this line to update it.
As I start writing this at 7:12 AM on a Wednesday, listening to Animal Crossing New Horizons Music To Study/Chill/Sleep, it’s still dark outside, can you believe it?! It should NOT be dark past 7 AM, Jerry. With that being said, I do love when it’s still bright at 7 PM.
With all that being said, I missed my self-imposed rule that I would post a video every 2 weeks, due to, uh, personal reasons, that’s what they say, isn’t it?
I have been struggling to know what to do, I have a lot of video ideas that follow this structure:
- Make a coding project while taking notes about the process, about the problems I have faced, about the process of solving those problems, and record videos of work in progress.
- Write a script. This usually involves me picking a specific thing of the project to be the highlight, or just making it about the whole process.
- Make a shot list. Usually I will just attribute to the script which parts should be a-roll (just me talking to the camera) and which parts should be b-roll (that’s when I want to show you something specific)
- Record all A-roll and B-roll. There were, and still are, some issues here.
- The first one was that I had to record audio and video separately. I would record video with a Nikon D3300 DSLR for that high quality 1080p video that I will eventually mess up on editing, and record audio with my good old Blue Yeti. It might seem like a small thing, but having to sync audio is so limiting to what I can do with the a-rolls. The more video files I have, harder it is to organize and easier it is to mess things up. But alas, I acquired a Rode Wireless Go II and now I don’t need to sync audio anymore! I’m loving this little thing so far and the sound quality is actually amazing.
- The second issue is that recording b-roll can be hard. A lot of it is getting footage of me coding. And if you noticed, at this point the coding project is done! So a lot of it is just me typing some code while getting the footage. I really want to make a tool where I put the code and it just outputs it one letter at a time, giving it that typing effect, it’s not hard to do the typing, the difficult thing is replicating the color coding and the indentation of a programming language. I looked into some typing plugins for Visual Studio Code, but I didn’t find one that worked so far.
- The other trick part of getting B-roll is that if I don’t record a part of the process, well, there’s nothing I can do about it. Actually, there is, I can download the project on GitHub at that point in time to get the footage, but if I have to do it multiple times it can get annoying. It involves making meaningful and frequent commits on my projects, which I already try to do, since I use commits as notes too.
- Finally, with everything recorded, go into editing. Sometimes I love editing, sometimes I think it’s just something I have to get through. Sometimes I feel like here is where the storytelling happens, and it makes me excited, and sometimes I feel like storytelling happens on Part 2 (Writing the Script), the truth is probably that both can be true and it’s all up to what’s best for my workflow?! And I think I prefer creating the story and the shots before recording or editing. The biggest lesson I learned so far is that I should be mindful of every second of a video.
There’s a lot of steps to make a video! And I wanted to try something easier. I want to just work on a project while taking notes and record videos about the process, and when I have something to say, I just turn on the camera, get my lavalier microphone and start talking. And then I will figure everything out on edit. I actually like the idea and I want to try a new series where I will be making a game engine in DirectX while reading the book Game Coding Complete, Fourth Edition.
That is not to say I will give up on making videos with the Code/Write/Record/Edit workflow, I’m simply saying I might try both, but that at the moment I’m leaning more towards devlogs?
I have been addicted to this YouTube channel doobydobap and I wanted to try something on that style, but with coding as the main theme instead of cooking, that’s the driving force behind the idea of the DirectX game engine series.
I still want to make two videos before starting this series: One about remaking the broughlike game I’ve made in Godot, in Unity. The second one is about the renderer for my 2D game engine (gueepo2D). And I want to try doing something different with this one, instead of just talking to the camera sitting on a chair. I have no idea what that something is, though.
After that I have a “pilot” devlog that I think will be about tilemaps for my 2D game engine. And THEN I can start with the DirectX Game Engine series, that will be, like, 20 videos or so?! I am already reading the book and planning how to do it.
It’s going to be harder than I thought. The book uses a deprecated library called DXUT, an older version of Visual Studio, and it just goes over code explaining stuff. It’s not a book about incrementally adding to your code base. I will have to figure something out and do some extra work in order to show you something on every video, so it’s not just me talking about code and about my days.
I always wanted a book or course that would be a starting point to learning DirectX for game development, and I thought this would be it. But it seems like it isn’t, a lot of it because the book is from 2013 and the tech got old over time, so there’s still that “hole” in the game engine development world.
And also I have been questioning myself if it is “correct” of me to just read this book and talk about its every single chapter on YouTube videos, and make an open-source engine with it. It’s probably going to end up very different, but here’s my question: “After I finish this series of videos, will there be a reason to acquire the book?” - I think this question is (i) overestimating my abilities of doing a comprehensive series of videos on a game engine, so yeah, the book will still teach you more, and (ii) you can’t really find this book as “new” anymore, so it doesn’t really matter? I wouldn’t be hurting anyone financially?
Now, hopefully this is going to be an exciting journey!
Something that is on my backburner is that my game engine gueepo2D turns 1-year old in September, and I was thinking of setting up the goal of releasing a free game on Steam on that date, I still have 6 months, but you better believe me that if I really want to achieve this goal, I have to start working on it SOON :tm:
Working on two engines at the same time? This is madness!
Random Stuff #
So, this month I’ve read two books, and started a third one.
- “Iron Widow”, by Xiran Jay Zhao. It’s a very interesting read, it’s a Young Adult novel, which is not really my thing, but it did expand my view on what a book can be, the whole thing feels like a Mecha Anime, and I mean it in a good way.
- “How to make a Video Game All By Yourself”, by Matt Hackett. It was rather simple, but an interesting and short read, it gives some pointers on how to do it and some advice, I might take up on its lessons about Exploring until you find something that “scratches your itch”. At the moment, that’s making game engines. When I think about making a game in Unity, I’m kinda like: meh. But if I think about making the same game on my own custom C++ game engine, damn, I feel like I want to start coding RIGHT NOW.
- And now I’m reading “A People’s Guide to Capitalism” by Hadas Thier. Uuh, don’t worry about it :)
I watched a few movies. The second and third part of Kanye West documentary “jeen-yuhs”, and “The Gods Must Be Crazy”, a 1980 comedy set in Botswana! They are all interesting! But not enough for me to make a bigger paragraph about them, talking about Kanye West nowadays is like opening a can of worms, but the documentaries do be very interesting.
I’ve been playing some Elden Ring! I have a dual katana yielder character on PC and a mage on Xbox - I’m only 20 hours in, it’s not a lot, but hey, that’s more than I have put on any game since Hades was released in September 2020.
Something that I came to find out is that Elden Ring and Bloodborne both uses the same level up equation, therefore, my level up calculator is still valid!
I have this idea for a series of videos where I pick a mechanic or system in a game, recreate it and talk about it. What picks my interest in Elden Ring (and all Souls games before it) is the messaging system, I’m actually curious on how that would be implemented. I’m not well versed on networking code, so this could be an easier first attempt in order to get my feet wet instead of nose diving into full networked gameplay.
Stay well, and see you next month!