Computers, Conflicts, and Cartooning

Whew! What a week! With all the panic and preparation for Monday’s livestream, and the rest of the week being full of SockMonkey trials and tribulations, I’m surprised I’ve found any time to work on this. Wouldn’t want to break the streak and let you down now though, would I? Let’s jump into it!

First up, very exciting news for me, the new laptop arrived on Friday! This was a very distracting delivery that took up most of my day. Transferring everything work related from the PC to the laptop took a lot of time, as did completely refreshing my work environment to accommodate the new addition, but it was worth it. My workflow has improved dramatically, and having a three-monitor setup again is a massive improvement! Also, I had to take it for a test spin didn’t I? Apex runs beautifully by the way… Anyway, this is the office now:

The new office
The sun was having a lie-in when I took this shaky panorama.

I’m pretty happy with it, having a bit more space on the left makes the room seem more spacious, and a bit less clutter on the desk really makes a difference. The latter I’m sure won’t last too long, as anyone with a desk job knows, stuff has a habit of accumulating, but for now, it’s a great place to be. I’ll be updating the picture on the main page as soon as Britain remembers what summer is meant to look like, and I am graced with natural light!

The new kit did come with some downsides though. As a direct result of both the new laptop – having to get the SockMonkey codebase again, then needing to copy my local changes over – and a massive update to said codebase that I needed to merge into said changes, with conflicts aplenty, this week has been… well, hell to be honest. Everything was broken, and it took until 5pm on Thursday to put it together again.

Background for non-techies: So, you remember me telling you about repositories right? No? Well check out the background in this post if you want this section to not sound like gibberish. Refreshed? Ok let’s go.

So, when you can’t update from or commit to a repository for a while, you dramatically increase the risk of conflicts. These are basically what you’d expect. Different versions of the same file that disagree with each other. Now, a lot of repository (repo) management is pretty clever, and can deal with this to some degree. If the file is text based, and you modify different parts of the same file, it’ll just work it out. When it cannot work it out, you get a conflict. To fix these you generally have to merge the files manually. You tend to go through, checking the bits it can’t work out, and decide what code goes in from where. It takes time, as you often need to understand what ungodly changes the madman on the other end has made (often before realising that you’re looking at your own change). But it’s better than only one person being allowed to modify the same file at once… trust me.

And finally, the livestream. Wow, we did it guys. If you were there, thanks, you were amazing. If not don’t worry, you can find it on our YouTube page. Feel free to flick through. It’s pretty long, so I won’t blame you if you only skim it. I would embed it here, but it won’t let me for some reason, a length limit maybe? Who knows…

It was very fun. It stressed the hell outta me, but once we were in and chatting, things just sort of flowed. My plan of working through the existing zombie ideas immediately went out of the window as you guys went wild with concepts. I had no choice to be swept along, it was too tempting. The resulting tableau was a sight to behold!

Bill Murray was an unfortunate essential. Thanks chat!

Now, they are very rough. I put it to the crowd early on and the consensus was to go for many rough designs, rather than polishing each zombie. I had hoped that I could put together polished versions of each creation for this post, but I have not had time. Turns out balancing a project that has ceased to function, with housework long neglected, and a very tired game developer does not make for productive evenings. I did manage to put this guy together though, so expect more like him:

Added a puck as this suggestion got missed in my haste!

I will absolutely be doing more livestreams, they were productive and fun. These guys will all be being used as reference, and as temporary assets in the game, so it’s all useful work! Watch this space for the next date. Till then, I’m going to go polish another image and maybe. Just maybe, get some coding done.

Matt out.

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