Well, that was a terribly long absence.
Back in March I couldn’t keep up with my Game of Life due to working two jobs at once, and that got me out of my blogging habit too.
But I think I’ll at least catch you all up on the major happenings this year, and then maybe I’ll start a new Game of Life shortly (possibly with less rigid rules).
So, most importantly, kid #6 arrived way back on July 12th, 2008. We named her Stella Joy, and she’s a lot of fun. She gets so intensely happy sometimes that her smile spreads right through her body, causing her to twist up in pretty weird ways. It always makes us laugh 🙂
I’ve taken leave from that telephone job since her birth and just continued to do video game programming from home since. So it’s been a great (almost) 6 months of being home. I’m working a lot, but I’m able to take breaks whenever needed to help with the kids or whatever.
The Nintendo DS game I started working on back in February was finished in late August and released in stores in November. It was a great learning experience once again… very challenging at times almost to the point of “I don’t think I can do this” but I got through. I finally did some 3d game code, and was most proud of fixing a bug in the game engine. The engine programmers didn’t have time or motivation to fix it, so they gave me a workaround that I thought was just too poor. So I took a weekend and really dug in and fixed the bug myself. Just a couple days before the game was finished, this same bug was discovered in a different part of the game that I wasn’t responsible for. I was able to give the fix to the lead programmer and in minutes it was working 100%.
I’m working on yet another Nintendo DS game now, and there’s talk of more work after this, so we’ll have to see what the new year holds. I’m due to head back to the telephone job in early April, so I’ll have to see how things fit together.
I did a lot of travelling this year. Carla and I went to two homeschool conferences: one in April and one in May. The one in Hamilton meant we took our first flight together – ever, in 12 years of marriage! I really enjoyed both conferences, but was shocked how the Minnesota conference (held in Duluth this year) was so much bigger than the one for all of Ontario. I really enjoyed the vendor areas for both. I always find books and other educational materials interesting, but at these conferences the actual people who produce the materials are present and very willing to talk. Fun!
It was especially cool to meet Steve Demme, the guy who made Math-U-See which is the math curriculum we use with our kids. We had a good talk, and over lunch I showed him the prototype of a MUS game I’ve been working on, and he seemed quite interested. However, I haven’t followed up with him on that… I really should!
I also made it out to the same 3 geek conferences again this year: Milwaukee’s Midwest Gaming Classic in March, Chicago’s ECCC in October, and Toronto’s World of Commodore in December. I made out especially well in Chicago, getting loads of boxed games for a song. And there was the usual great food and conversation with friends.
There was also Ron and Mary Ellen’s long-awaited wedding in October in Scotland. I had a great time on the way, visiting my friend Brian in Oxford, visiting many C.S. Lewis sites, and then took the train up to Edinburgh for the wedding, and a neat trip to Stirling Castle. It was great spending time with the whole wedding party. I’ve got a bunch of pictures to share from the trip, and it deserves its own post later.
More recently I bought myself a Mac mini and an iPod touch and have set about learning to program it. I’m getting somewhere with it now, and am prototyping my first game for it now. I hope to finish a couple games for it in the new year.