Hey guys. I’ve been thinking about this for a few days now and, I’ve finally made the decision that I’d like to take a break from developing The Peacenet. I feel like it’s the best thing not only for the project but for my own personal well-being that I take some time off to clear my head and get more focused.
I understand some of you guys may have some questions, given how well the project’s been going, why I’ve been considering taking a break, so, I’ll try to guess what some of them are and answer them.
What’s the situation like?
Well, working with the team and the community is fucking amazing (pardon my language.) I couldn’t ask for a better community or a better team and seeing people volunteer to help me out (for free) when I desperately needed it, really warms my heart. I’m looking at you, Warren Harris and Anders Enger Jensen, as well as @TheEdge, @AShifter and everyone else on the team.
I also couldn’t ask for a better development workflow either. Unlike the days of ShiftOS, things are more planned here at Watercolor. We actually sit down and discuss how things should be implemented, and if we have a conflict down the line, we usually try to resolve it. While this may have lead to a rewrite in Unreal Engine that delayed the alpha release of the game back in July, a delayed game is eventually good. A rushed game never is.
In my personal life and outside of game dev, things haven’t been so good. While my dual credit course is going extremely well and my average grade is in the 90% range, the rest of school hasn’t. I’ve been falling behind on assignments/work, procrastinating, losing interest and focus, and my grades reflect it. I know I can do better, I’ve got the evidence from last year because I was a straight-A student throughout 75% of Grade 10. I’m not an idiot.
Furthermore, I’ve been running my eyes and my head ragged the last little while trying to juggle school and Peacenet. I’ve had more stress- and eyestrain-related headaches in the last three weeks than I have all summer this year - all from constant late-night coding sessions before school.
Is there going to be a rewrite?
(pardon my language again) Fuck no. Unreal Engine 4 is the best damn game engine on the planet, and it has made my life a LOT easier when it comes to keeping my code maintainable. Yes, Blueprint spaghetti is a common problem, but at least it’s a visual representation of what the game’s trying to do and I’m pretty good at keeping the spaghetti minimal. As a visual learner (ironically given I’m blind) it’s a lot easier for me to tell what a spaghettified Blueprint graph is doing than it is for me to tell what spaghettified code does. [glares at literally every program from Philip Adams that I’ve decompiled over the years]
So, no, I’m not touching the game’s code. It’s staying in UE4. The codebase is solid. I may have been revamping the core in the last few weeks, but that was to make development easier - and did not effect the actual presentation of the game in any way. Unlike Peace Engine, a modification to the core just changes what data the game presents to you and how it’s used, not how it’s presented. (an exception is the Mesh UI update that made the UI much more pleasant to look at.)
What will you do while you’er gone?
Dual credit, schoolwork, and I’ll still be frequenting the Discord server and this forum. So, I’ll still be visible. I’m not going to leave ya’s hanging. Just won’t be working on the game is all.
What about YouTube?
Well, my microphone is dead anyway. But, I’m the only one taking a break. If progress is still made even when I’m gone, I don’t mind making a few videos here and there to show it off.
That brings me to my next point…
This break isn’t going to be simply me cutting development off completely. I’ll still be coming up with new ideas for the game and discussing them with the team. So I’ll still be designing the game and making sure things happen. I may need a week or two to get my head back into place, but when I do, things will still be happening. I just may not code the game as frequently.
However, for those who are wondering, I will be posting written tutorials on how to work on the game in the front-end and since it is an open-source game, they will be freely available to anyone. The goal for The Peacenet all along was to create a fun story-driven hacking game that was completely free and open-source that anyone could easily modify, learn from, and experiment with. Whether that be making the Terminal say “Hello World,” repurposing the window manager to work in your own game, or, hell, using the mission and story system to tell your own story about The Peacenet or really anything, we want to make it possible. It was me being able to do exactly that with ShiftOS that ultimately got me into gamedev, maybe I could share that same opportunity.
So, please don’t be thinking that this is permanent or that I’ll drop off the face of the planet for a while. I just need a few months to clear my head. Thank you guys so much for understanding and sticking by (and reading this far.)