Level 9 (Now With Pedestrians!)

You can’t have the old trolley problem without taking a few innocent lives, so the game needs pedestrians!
Unity offers many prebuilt assets for this, but because I’m still in the initial development phase focusing on the real content of the game is more important than wasting valuable time and willpower dealing with complicated 3D models of humans. While I was trying to get to sleep a few nights ago, I realized that I just needed to make the cardboard cutout (used in a previous level) mobile, so why not just put wheels on it so it can roll around in whatever direction I need. Here’s what I ended up with last week after wasting a few hours with blender (I ended up just using unity’s primitives because I’m too impatient for a real modeling app):

The Wheelbase Prefab

My modeling skills are embarrassing at best, but it works. I want to make the wheels more like bicycle wheels that spin when it moves so it looks like somebody made it in their garage at 3am. It’s only able to move in one direction, but you can specify the speed. I also want the pedestrian image itself to be an actual cutout not just a textured plane, but that will have to happen later when I have all sixteen levels working.

Bad as it looks, it works, and I was able to do the first real level where the trolley problem is implemented in the game. I’m hoping to have a playable demo on here soon. The neat thing was adding this to the game as an obstacle attached all the behaviors the previous obstacles have as well, so colliding with it causes a failure and so forth without any additional coding on my part. Maybe you can OOP correctly?

New Home and CC Update

So, we’ve relocated to https://newcarrots.games and I’ve finally got the code editor working the way I want. I need to build and publish the latest version of CC up here somehow.. working on that now. I’ll post an explanation and also write about some of the problems I’m having now with finishing CC.

Stress Level Monitor

I wrote this little application:

Every five minutes, it appears, I click on a number between 1 and 9 to describe my current stress level, and it pushes that data to an ELK stack which let’s me see how I’ve felt:

I thought of this yesterday while working on the playground I’m building for my kids. I was applying finish to the playground’s wood and I got really antsy and wanted to stop while I was thinking about all the work I had to do. I thought maybe I would just keep going and see how I felt in a few minutes and compare the results, and after about five minutes that feeling had subsided and I felt fine about the work I was doing. I then thought wow what if I had stopped then? So, to apply this to my current gamedev project, I made this application to monitor my overall stress level. Zero and ten are asymptotes. You always have some level of stress and ten would mean stress to the point of quitting life. I would hopefully just quit was I doing long before that happened.

While we’re on the subject

I truly believe I’ve established this axiom regarding productivity: it’s a balance between my own physical/emotional/mental limits and my ambitions. Work too hard, you’ll end up too stressed which greatly impacts your health, but work too little and you’ll regret not doing anything impactful. Now, I’m working on applying this to my life. Lately I’ve been ill, but not to the point of constant bed rest, I just feel down and out with a minor cough and sinus congestion. I meant to bring my cold stuff with me today but I forgot if that tells you anything about how bad this cold is. I need to get back on the wagon.


I have fallen behind on my exercise regimen and the results are noticeable. I had a pretty hard fall playing basketball which hurt my leg and hand so I wasn’t able to work out or simply needed a break and then I got sick. Now I feel like I’m completely done and won’t be able to get back into the routine I had previously. I’m going to run later today I think to get back into the habit. I don’t have my ball with me but I can at least run and use the weights at the gym. If I don’t exercise I won’t be able to deal with the stress level I’m at right now. I’ve never been this busy before.

Unnecessary Update #2

Same plan today I guess. I’ll keep making these updates until I feel comfortable with what I’m doing. I’m going to get my day job stuff done and work on CC hopefully around 3 or 4pm this afternoon. I refactored the CarCodeProgram class yesterday so it’s much cleaner and easier to work with. Still working on being able to move instructions by dragging them around. I also had the idea of being able to full-screen the editor in case the screen is too small to make a very specific change. Hopefully I can get the drag and drop reordering working. I’d like to be able to have the
CarCodeProgram class reorder the list when the array itself changes but that’s all dependent on the same code (I would still use the code I’m writing now although things would be organized a bit differently), but it would make things easier if I start adding new instructions later on. Also, I should use actual icon images and not font awesome for the instruction icons… anyway, that’s for later. My next update won’t be until Monday unless I have time over the weekend to work which is doubtful.

Unnecessary Update #1

Yeah, um, balance… well, what does that mean? I’m thinking that first, I have to setup a basic schedule/plan each day, but then I’ve got to make sure there’s some down time in there. Seems simple enough to me. So, start out with some basic reading and surfing until say 10, then day job until say 4, and then work on CC. Actually, I need to check emails first. That always has to be done first thing so that nothing sits there while I’m just doing whatever. 

I’ll check in tomorrow and see how that went? I’m working on the code editor in CC adding in some usability features like dragging instructions to reorder them. If the editor isn’t easy to use and intuitive (I think that means it’s easy to understand) no one will bother with the game. I need to get this right or it won’t have a chance at being successful. 

Right now, you can drag instructions to delete them but that’s it. I need to refactor it a bit to make it easier to program on too.

Cutting it short


I’m ending my experiment today. After two months I can see that taking the, “when I feel like it,” approach yields nothing. I worked on some projects maybe twice and very little was done. Mostly I just played games when I should have been working on something. 

I’m not going to pretend I haven’t gone the other way either. I’ve ran this same experiment far more times than I would like to admit, and the results are the same. I feel this tremendous amount of motivation, work very hard for a few days, and then get so stressed out I end up sick or seriously depressed.

I have enough evidence to conclude my experiments. I have to find the grey area here between these two polar opposites. If I don’t schedule time to work and have a plan describing what I need to do, nothing will get done, and if I try to do everything at once I won’t be able work at all. That’s it, I’m going forward with my findings so no more binary work ethic. 

I’m thinking that I’ll have some time, maybe 30 minutes to an hour, later in the day to work on Car Coder sometime after 3pm. I still don’t like that name.

EDIT: I just wanted to make a note about the release date. If I keep working on the project regularly I’ll finish it, but I can’t work with hard deadlines right now. If I was working on this full time maybe I could do that, or have a better estimate. Honestly, I don’t think this project will be ready by the end of the year, but I should know when it will be done by then because I’ll be able to track my progress/productivity as long as I keep making updates here. If I keep breaking down the work involved and work regularly I should be fine.

I’m never going to feel like it

That’s what I’ve heard at least. If you wait until you feel like doing something, then you’ll never do anything. In my experience, I have certainly felt like doing things, but the feeling never lasts long enough for me to actually get ‘er done. Typically, I feel really interested or engaged with a project ending in betrayal later with nihilistic feelings of hopelessness. I’m starting to realize that this back and forth has had a big impact on my overall sense of self-worth. I feel cheated, but then I can only blame myself, right? Nah, I’m too creative to rule out demonic influence. However, I need to make sure I see the difference between this conflict and simple apathy because answering a serious question that’s been holding me back most of my life is not indifference or lack of action, but rather it is an achievement on its own.

Continuing my experiment, I’m considering the keep it small approach, where you only do things that are easy or simple enough to get done in a short amount of time, but none of the ideas I come up with interest me. I do whatever I think is fun or interesting and when the nice feelings go away I stop. So far, I have some assembly code that prints a string to the console (pcjs), and I believe I worked some on Questr which needs a new name now that I have found another game with the same moniker. I’m feeling the familiar burnt out feeling I was talking about earlier.. ugh. I am both dreading and looking forward to the last three months of my experiment when I’ll change my strategy to ruthless discipline.

Maybe not

I’ve literally done nothing since the last update. I have not stressed out to the point that I have in the past when I’ve tried to maintain a regiment either, so  whether or not that’s a bad thing is another matter I suppose. I have been looking at pcjs, an IBM PC 8088 emulator written in javascript because one of the first things I did when I started program was fail at writing some code that could converse with my computer’s serial port. I was trying to write my own BBS software because I was not happy with what was available. Anyway, that’s it so far.