Weakness

This year I’ve tried to focus more heavily on managing my time. As soon as the assignments were given I allocated time for them. I made sure that I approached all of my school work as a whole instead of the more serialised approach that I took last year. While this has equated to none of my assignments being completed, they are each very nearly finished, and all of them are above passing point according to their associated marking schemes. I’m pretty proud of this achievement, and will be sticking closely to my time management approach, its served me well.

I’ve identified a couple of weaknesses that I’m going to work on this semester that that’s mostly around my programming approach. I’m very much a write now and ask questions, or not, later type of programmer. On my final year project it was mentioned, and this year it’s already been mentioned a couple of times and that’s testing. I’m lousy at testing, in that, while I test as I go, I don’t keep any record of it. So one could say that I don’t do any testing at all.

I went to an interview for a placement and was given an exercise to carry out in a TDD situation. I failed this catastrophically. I should know about unit testing, and TDD as I’ve had a fair amount of exposure to it but I just never use it.
So this semester I’m going to approach all of my programming assignments using TDD. I’ve seen the quality of the code it promotes first hand and I want to bring myself up to that level.

Another weakness that I tackled early on and feel is worth mentioning is time wasting. This was actually a bigger problem than I realised. There was the phrase I heard that went something like “A lot of time is wasted beating your head against a wall hoping it will turn into a door.” I thought about this and realised that I spent a lot of time not understanding stuff. The next time your in a ‘beat your head against the wall’ situation think about how much time you spend with your head on the desk, or in your hands, or wherever. For me it was a lot. I’ve sat for hours thinking and fretting about how I don’t understand it, or don’t get it, or whatever. As soon as I get past that hurdle, the work would get done. But often by that time it was bordering on too late. So initially I focussed on how quickest to get over that hurdle, which is ridiculous now that I’m looking back at it, it’s kind of like planning to fail, or trying to take account of your own stupidity. So I determined that there was no need for that hurdle to be there in the first place. I know I don’t understand the subject, which is why I’m sitting there trying to learn it. So now when I approach work I find myself struggling to grasp the concept or whatever I push my brain into different mode, usually I just push on, I try things, test things, read things if it comes to that until the concept become more clear.
I tell you, I’m getting twice the amount done as before.

Open-Source.

I’ve decided that I’m going to embark on some sort of open-source project. This is a world that I have great respect for as a lot of really cool things have resulted from it.

The only problem is that I don’t have a clue what I would want to do for it. I thought about trying to create a game engine of some sort, but I think that’s a little ambitious. And there’s already a lot of really great open source engines out there that I’d really only be copying.
So while I think about, I put it to the world. Or those that read this blog anyway. What sort of open-source project should I go for.

Onward

I’m officially a degree student now.

I’ve completed my first semester and I must say, it’s good being on the degree course, even if it is all the hard classes. Let me explain.

Now that I’ve completed my HND, awarded with distinction I might add, I’m topping it up to a full blown bachelor’s, but in my HND I already took many of the modules, certainly many of the easier ones. So now on the top-up I’m enrolled in all the more difficult modules of the award, and all at the same time. As one lecturer somewhat apologetically put it, “The games top-up students either thrive or die within the first semester.”

So here I am, thriving I think. I’m one of only about 4 surviving games HND students and I’m just doing my best to keep up. I must be doing something right because so far it looks like I’m not going to have much, if any, work to do over the Christmas holiday. Just review for the exams.