Last month I posted a June 2023 Update, so this month, I thought I’d do a follow-up and officially turn monthly updates into an ongoing thing. Especially since this July has been the most productive month I’ve had in a long time.
Remember how a few months ago I said I was getting into game development with Unity? But with the big caveat that The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom had just come out, so there was a good chance I’d drop the game dev stuff entirely and just be completely consumed by Zelda for a while?
Well… That’s exactly what happened. I binged hard on TOTK for a month and a half, but pretty much right after I finished that game, I jumped straight back into making my own.
All month, I’ve been going hard on learning the basics of Unity, platformer physics, how to make pixel art tilesets, how to make half decent pixel art in general, collision detection, Unity coding best practices, and on and on. Game development encompasses so much.
Every day that I work on the game, I work on vastly different things. Yesterday it was platforms that move along a set path. The day before, it was jump physics fine-tuning and debugging a silly little camera glitch. And tomorrow? Tomorrow could be anything I want, because there’s dozens of little things I could do next. And dozens of big things. Because games are big, and it’s hard to stay focused on just one aspect at a time when there are still so many foundational pillars to set down.
(As a side note, I’ve recently started wondering if I might have ADHD after all.)
So, that’s the big thing I’ve been doing recently. For once in my life I managed to say “I’m going to work on this project soon” and then actually follow through with it. But honestly, the main reason I was able to do it in the first place is… I quit* Reddit.
I don’t remember if I’ve talked about it before on this blog, but for a long, long time, I’ve considered myself an Internet addict. For most of my life, I’ve spent most of my time—weeknights, weekends, whenever—on various Internet timesinks.
When I was a teenager, it was the GameFAQs message boards and (eventually) a forum I created myself, through which I met many of the friends I still have to this day. When I was in college, it was Tumblr and Homestuck and MSN and Skype. And for many years since then, thanks to the deaths of Tumblr and of special interest forums in general, it’s been Reddit.
I managed to centralize just about all my Internet browsing onto Reddit. World news, hobby news, science news, and a slew of easy entertainment in the form of r/AmITheAsshole and r/BestofRedditorUpdates—I got everything through Reddit, to the point that it became muscle memory for me to just type “r” in my browser’s URL bar any time I was bored, and whoops there goes another hour, and another day, and another week. Whoops, there goes my plans to do anything useful at all. Just another sacrifice for the one true god of the modern age: the endless dopamine machine.
I tried to quit a couple times before, and of course failed each time—because I wasn’t replacing it with anything, so I would suddenly find myself disconnected from the world, from news and politics and everything, and so I’d go crawling back…Back to the endlessly entertaining comment sections of r/news threads whose headlines intrigued me. Back to the social commentaries on r/BestofRedditorUpdates, where it was so fun to read commenters’ speculations on other people’s lives.
I probably would have failed this time too, if not for the fact that Reddit itself helped.
If you haven’t heard about the recent Reddit controversies, the gist of it is that they effectively banned most (maybe all, idk) third party apps by increasing their API prices to an absurd degree. The end result was, a bunch of subreddits protested by shutting down for a few days or a week (including the ones that were my biggest timesinks), and the third party app I used shut down. So… No more mobile app Reddit for me.
And no more timesink subs, for just long enough that I stopped caring about them completely. Goodbye, BORU! And good riddance!
I can’t say that I’ve fully “quit” Reddit, since I still use it as a news source usually once a day. But it doesn’t have the same control over me anymore. And where I used to skim the comments in lots of threads just to see how people were reacting to various things, I’ve cut that down to a minimum too.
The end result is, I’ve gained back a lot of time, which I invested in game development and in a few other small projects I have going on right now. Like that secret writing project I’m still doing with B. A. Baker.
Oh and also, I watched the Mission: Impossible movie series this month, for the first time. Those are some really good movies! Especially the second one. It was ridiculous in all the right ways.