Scope, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Start Planning

Honestly, how much planning do you put into a project? A lot of people just dive right in and let the code take them as far down the rabbit hole has it needs to go, like a painter on a canvas. Well, guess what, Bob Ross, this is programming. There’s no happy little tree, no titanium white, and no happy little gnarly accidents that will save you. Diving in without any idea of what you’re going to be working on, or what tools or patterns you’re going to need, is the biggest killer of any project. I don’t care what you think the front-end should look like – you’ll just be left with default assets if you can’t visualize it.

I can say, at this point, I’ve been working on video games for 10 years. I can’t tell you how many projects never made it up to this blog, let alone out in to other peoples hands. All of them started with an idea, a gimmick, and then, as the project grew and got more fleshed out, more was added to it in a fever feature creeping, and then, bam, the project would die. Why? Many reasons: bloating features slowed down the game, asset creation became absurd, code became unmanageable, people dropped off the project, and so on. But it all boils down to one centralized issue:

We fell out of scope.

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Dragons

So, the time is come for me to make my commitment. I have committed myself, I have dedicated myself to the pursuit of the Dragon. And having made that commitment, having decided that once and for all, now, all of a sudden, I can see him.

We all live in a fantasy world. It’s a fantasy that we make up for ourselves, but we don’t really realize it. We all battle monsters that we conjure up for ourselves – Skeletons in our closets, Demons in our heads – and we personify our issues with images of monsters that we wage battle with. We sum up the most trying times in our lives with the idea that we were battling a horrific monster. I hear about this stuff every day: So-and-so “beat” cancer, Such-and-such “escaped” the streets. These struggles – real world struggles – are reverse-LARP’d into a fantasy quest. That’s what it feels like, doesn’t it? We were forced into a bit of hardship, and reluctantly we set out to overcome the obstacle set forth. Once our quest is finished, we tell others of our doings and our deeds as if it was an adventure. What if it was, in retrospect? It may sound like a page out of Don Quixote (and it should, since I already referenced Chris Crawford), but what if those monsters and demons and dragons we were told of long ago are real, and they exist as illness and debt and mistreatment? What if the dragon is not a scaly fire-breathing beast, but some goal that lies before you, and you have to fight in other ways to achieve it?

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Video: Will Smith Shares His Secrets To Success.

This may be a potato-quality video, but it speaks volumes. Everything he speaks is what I’ve been working my entire life to accomplish. His motivation, his determination, his stride to be “unrealistic,” and his ability to keep loving life, and take its challenges. That’s what I’ve been telling myself for years, and to hear it from someone who had the passion to make it to the top, that just solidifies it more for me. And I hope it means something to you, too.

I do not, however, share his passion for treadmills. They are machines made to kill, and kill they certainly do.