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I'm trying out Ambient.

I forgot to start a devlog for this, but I feel like it might be interesting to document my thought process. Here's a rough overview of my journey:


Naively gave Ambient a try thinking it was something I could knock out in a few hours--embarrassingly presumptuous of me. I got stuck on some basic stuff and it actually sent me into a small existential spiral, like, I guess I can't do programming anymore, I'm just a helpless designer! Bad feeling, but got through it. Had a conversation with a small games community that refreshed and rejuvenated my energy and confidence.


Asked Tanner what he thought of Ambient, he shared with me the list of Rust engines that exist out there, and some opinions. I won't share them here, but it all had the effect of reminding me that Ambient is just one little fish in a big pond, it has weaknesses and strengths like the rest, and if I'm having trouble, it's not my fault.

So I got back into trying it, I spent about 3 hours squirming around trying to learn Ambient using a bunch of tutorials written by users in the Discord -- switch to a Rust tutorial to learn the basics of the language which I realized I actually didn't know at all in the first place -- then came back to Ambient, Owen Palmer helped me out in the #beginners-corner, and I... got exactly nowhere in terms of building a game.

Wrapped up the window of time I'd set aside for trying to learn Ambient.

I've been thinking the whole time, "How does Ambient want to be used?" I was really tempted to just figure out how to hack in a 2D rendering scheme and make a platformer, but it felt wrong. I felt like I was going in the wrong direction. I thought about some recent thoughts about nonresistance and realized that I shouldn't just be learning from the examples, I should literally be using them to find fun things to do.

Next time I'll build off one of the examples rather than starting from scratch. There is already a tiny bit of fun to be found in these folders, and I can do a little work to bring it out. That has the nice added bonus of also being basically the easiest way I could possibly do things.
Tenets / Transparent Structure
May 04, 2023, 07:58:58 PM
It struck me while reading a perhaps lesser book that the structure of Christopher Alexander's writings have always had a beautiful transparency to them; he says what he is getting at and how and why before he gets to it. It's filling me with a deep frustration about the nature of other writings, books I must read and read and read in order to get at what their author is, finally, trying to say.
Completed Projects / TALK: Small Games Community
May 02, 2023, 09:48:50 PM
Giving a 30-min talk on small games communities. Notes here
Close reading / Stand Out of Our Light
May 02, 2023, 04:30:39 PM
Regarding James Williams'
"Stand Out of Our Light"

recommended to me by Pinchazumos
What could bring me more joy than clicking around a computer, and typing things into it with precision?
These too are feelings of play.
Close reading / The body keeps the score
May 01, 2023, 08:11:08 AM
Regarding Bessel van der Kolk's
"The body keeps the score"

From https://twitter.com/visakanv/status/1652548739876409344
Reviews & reflections / Splatoon, Splatoon, Splatoon
April 29, 2023, 10:47:56 PM
I've been playing Splatoon for years without writing about it. How dare I?
Regarding Donato Mancini's
"You Must Work Harder to Write Poetry of Excellence"
April 21, 2023, 10:07:42 AM
I've been sick for over a week, and it's terrible. I haven't been able to gather my focus or recover my energy enough to do the things I tell myself I ought to do, so I've spent a considerable amount of time doing everything I suppose I ought not do, but want to do anyway. And, specifically, I've found myself thinking about why I do anything -- why do I make games, for instance?

Some part of it is certainly for 'getting' some reward. Not points, because points are made-up reward-substitutes into which we opt for the sake of a game, but say, attention, or money, or something like that.

But even stripped of all these things, making games is one of these things that I "want to get points for". Oh, I should quickly give some context for that quote before I continue:

~ The Well-Played Game, "What do we want to get points for?" (P69)

Bernie DeKoven here explores the purpose of points, of keeping score, in the context of the well-played game. The arbitrary and designable nature of points allows us to reward the right things, to control the direction(s) in which we are steered, in contexts where points are usable, and used.
Primordial soup / ONE SITE, MANY FIELDS
April 20, 2023, 02:40:00 PM
That precious tension of allocation
Close reading / How To Make Good Small Games
April 19, 2023, 09:55:12 PM
Regarding John Thyer's
"How To Make Good Small Games"
The real meaning.
Strip away interpretation and we are left with truth?
The shirt is cotton because of its price, because the designer liked the way it felt, or because it happened to be the default option.

There is always a reality to notice. Symbols and images distract from that.
I've had this thought before.

Wearing clothing (as well as accessories, etc) is a deeply contextual act, clothing being always worn on a particular body, almost always part of an outfit (i.e., worn with other things), generally worn in a physical location.
Primordial soup / institutional conversations
April 19, 2023, 01:51:42 PM
if i think about every human activity as a conversation
perhaps a one-sided conversation, not always a dialogue but sometimes a monologue
a speaker speaks, someone or something listens

then every conversation begins because someone wants to say something
the conversation continues because of continued desires to speak
fueled perhaps by enough desire to listen but that desire to listen can only be perceived as a desire to speak back
perhaps not in the tongue of words
but body language, warmth, art, movement

a conversation of everything
not just words

then we picture
long-lasting conversations

there are rules to a conversation
each conversation is a context
for speaking and listening
listeners infer the rules and learn to speak in the language of the conversation
how to speak safely

a conversation that outlives its original speakers
a conversation that outlives its original speakers' desires to speak
a conversation that lasts too long

everyone follows its rules
nobody wants to have the conversation
but out of the desire to have some conversation, any conversation
the institution survives

sustained only by fear of a silent world.
Close reading / Emotion Engineering in Videogames
April 15, 2023, 08:00:30 AM
Regarding Stephane Bura's
"Emotion Engineering in Videogames"

I must admit that years ago I laughed at the absurdity and coldness of this piece. Now I think I'm going to really see what it has to offer -- it was a particular social environment, a particular mindset, a particular place in my life and in time, in which I laughed at it. I think I'm past that and may today actually learn something, and have some useful criticism to offer.

I hope to have a useful conversation.
Feelings of Play / Dollying books
April 14, 2023, 09:19:42 AM

Or getting the movers to do it
Ego and Emotion / self-possession, egoless ego
April 08, 2023, 11:57:37 PM
The rainbow is beautiful.
Close reading / Difference and Repetition
April 08, 2023, 11:21:45 AM
Regarding Gilles Deleuze's
Difference and Repetition

Translated by Paul Patton
Where is this link leading you?
Into the darkness --
you are connected to someone across the aether,
through the wires.