Posted on 2023-10-30

table of contents

I'm attending my second batch at The Recurse Center from Oct 30th to Feb 9th (14w 4d). Here's a quick reflection on my last batch, and what I plan to accomplish during the next one.

First of all, if you don't know what The Recurse Center (RC) is, you should check out their website here, but the TLDR is; It's a program that provides an environment for curious programmers grow alongside peers in a self-directed manner.

With that out of the way, the rest should make more sense. :)

Batch #1: How it went

My last batch (Summer 1 '22) was only supposed to be a half-batch (6w), but at the last minute I made the call to extend for the duration of a full batch. Was this the right call? It doesn't really matter. All I know is that I met more wonderful and inspirational people than I would have otherwise, and I learned more about myself than I would have had I not.

For the first half of my batch you may refer to my weekly updates I made at the time. But to summarize: I came into the batch wanting to study embedded systems and learn enough to produce a proof-of-concept for an idea I had been rolling around in my head. But due to blockers and a waning interest in the topic I ended up pursuing a deeper familiarity with Rust and dabbling in audio synthesis instead. I had attempted to keep a habit of providing weekly updates as posts here, but I stopped producing those past week 6. The rest I will summarize from the record I kept in the form of daily-ish community check-ins I maintained in RC's Zulip.

In the latter half of my batch I made more of a point to try and host more events and in general just socialize more. Sometimes this was good, other times I pushed myself too hard and burnt-out hard. I took on another hobby, 3D-printing, and spent a decent amount of time fabricating mods to improve the printer itself (very meta). I started preparing myself for the job-search post-batch, and I dabbled in basic life simulation by following some guided lessons on the subject. I attempted to get back into embedded systems as the new batch came with renewed interest in the topic, but ultimately I didn't move much closer to my original goal. I continued to try and finish-up a project that blended my interest in cellular automata and audio synthesis but finished my batch without producing a proof-of-concept.

Batch #2: Some intentions

What's the difference between batch #1 and batch #2?

This one's got game-dev.

Yeah, that's right. This time I'm going to make a game. But not by using someone else's game-engine, uh-uh, that won't do! I'm going to make my own game-engine, and make a game with it! But why? What motivated me to choose this as my focus for this batch?

A little background

I got into software-development specifically to make games in college. Around that time I had little idea what I intended on doing in life. I had a passing interest in being an artist of some kind, maybe graphic design. At the time I was working on a project with some friends trying to make a game. I was "the art guy", but on a whim, to help out "the code guy", I took an iOS development course at my local community college. From then on my eyes were opened to the wonderful world of writing software.

But over time, I got it in my head that getting into game-development wasn't the "responsible" thing to do, and that I should prepare myself to write "real" software. There was no single point of origin for these thoughts, a little from a father just wanting the best for his son, a lot from the rumors and reports of terrible working conditions in game-dev studios, etc. But after working for a couple startups as a back-end developer and cosplaying as a front-end web-developer on the side, I feel like I haven't yet found my niche in this field, the thing that captures my full interest.

Back to the present

It's my intention during this batch that, by fully immersing myself in the art of game-development, I can either finally find something that contains my deepest interests in this field, or I at least find less ground to cover in my continued pursuit! Additionally I intend to keep trying new things in this batch, and to put myself out there more than I have before. I feel this implicit pressure as an alumni to be even more present for my peers than I was last time, to support and learn through teaching. But, I also intend to know my own boundaries. If I spend the majority of my time burning-out and then overcompensating for burning-out, I'm not doing anyone (including myself) any favors.

In conclusion

This was shorter than I wanted it to be, but I think it fulfills its purpose, and I'm writing this post hours before I officially begin so, I should probably ship it!

I'll put in the effort to provide weekly updates for this batch on or by Sunday each week. They'll be tagged under #w1'23, and additionally filed under the check-in category.