Making Progress

Seeing Yourself Move Forward

While learning a little more about Bootstrap’s framework through the Treehouse “front end development track” I decided to try a little extra on my latest project. It was adding a little accordion style drop down on list items, to display a little description for each of the separate items. This is where I usually get caught up and either give up or look up the answer. I decided this time that I would really try to find the solution on my own, just using the resources I could find online. The idea was to make it as real to an actual project as I could. Who would’ve guessed, I actually pulled it off! HALLELUJAH!

Chipping Away

It’s just so nice actually experiencing little milestones like this. For all the times that I’ve been discouraged and felt like quitting, that’s what makes the good times so damn good! It doesn’t have to be anything big, this big celebration, but it does feel nice. The more you do something the more familiarized you become with it. I know that’s nothing new that you’re hearing but it could not be more true. The only way I was able to code something like that from scratch was because I knew about what would happen if I put the code in certain spots. I only knew that because I’ve done it wrong so many times in the past. So just remember no matter how hard it gets, if you enjoy it just stick with it. It’s as simple as that.

Failures

I failed so many times on trying just to make a little description show and hide on my webpage. I tried a bunch of different syntax before I got it right. Just keep on going and don’t give up. That’s what I keep jackhammering into my dumb brain.

Wins

This whole post is kind of about my coding, but I will tell you that I’ve started now learning more about front end optimization. Meaning faster load times on the site as you enter it. Now I don’t know much about this yet but I think I can figure it out a little bit. The more graphics you have, the more JavaScript you use, the longer the actual site is. There’s a lot of factors that go into a faster load time I’m sure.

Thanks for visiting and remember keep on coding! Also check out my friends blog as well, he’s doing something similar check him out at tumblr.

Idioms and Odysseys

Getting Started Still..

“It gets easier.”, “One day at a time.”, “We all go through it”. Everyone knows these sayings very well, the crappy thing is that the one time that they are supposed to be useful is the one time that they’re not. When you are in the middle of a hard time or right in the trenches of something you don’t want to be doing, it’s almost guaranteed you will get a little bit of tunnel vision. It’s a very easy thing to do when all of your focus is on one task, or one moment. Sometimes you just have to take a breath, zoom out and relax. Well when I take a step back I can see how far I have to go. I can see how many things there are for me to learn, and it can be a little daunting. It sort of feels like you’re starting over every time you learn about some new language or some framework or API. Especially when I don’t know what an API is.

It Gets Easier

Coding is a real beast with some crazy talented and smart people in the field who have been doing it forever. There will always be someone who knows more than you do. You just gotta live with that, settle for the fact that there will never be another you. Learning how to code is literally learning a language and just with other languages it’s easier to learn and understand it than it is to speak (type) it. Therefore one thing you have to do from the beginning is give yourself little projects, and fail at them. Give yourself something that you don’t think you’ll be able to pull off, something just a little bit above what you know. Then, when you fail at it, you’ll have somewhere to go, something to research, a problem to be solved.

One Day At A Time

    There is a lot of instant gratification in the world today, everything is moving extremely fast and it’s not slowing down. Therefore we have to teach ourselves that sometimes it’s better to suffer a little now so we can have a great payoff later. We need to learn that the best gratification you can get is from yourself, to improve yourself. And improving yourself takes a lot of time and effort. So one thing we can do is just take things slowly and not be so hard on ourselves.

We All Go Through It

Man, it’s so easy to get that dopamine spike when you’re learning something new and understanding it, or you just accomplished a task you’ve been stuck on for days. Going back to what I was talking about, slowing things down and taking it one step and a time. When you do that and it’s feeling good, you’re making progress, then all of a sudden you hit this wall. The infamous wall that gets all of us, it’s a real bitch that thing. No matter how many times we hear somebody tell us that you just have to break through it, just a little extra effort, if we’re the ones hitting the wall it’s a lot different. What’s the opposite of an epiphany? Because that’s exactly what that feels like. Every time you hear someone’s story of hitting a wall and breaking through it you think, “Heh good for them”. Then all of a sudden you’re the one hitting it and it seems impossible. Well unfortunately there is no easy answer here. You could read all the self help books and take all the courses you want, you’re still going to have to put in the work. So keep on keeping on man…

Failures

My failures have mostly included not approaching people if I have a problem. That’s always a struggle for me, and it always will be, but I can and will get better at it as well. I also said I was going to create a small JS quiz for some practice, but I didn’t get around to doing that.

Wins

Still been working with Bootstrap and creating some new layouts with that framework. Currently learning how to bring up a modal window with the click function. Just some basic stuff, but will give me some great roots when it comes later down the line.

Again thanks for reading guys and if you want to check out a similar blog about starting out in coding go to my friends page at tumblr.com/sauercoding. CODE ON!

Gaming Convention

Weekend Getaway

Sometimes you need a break from the computer, or other activities. One great way to do that is to play board games. I’m not talking about “Monopoly” and “Sorry!”. There are many great board games available. I’ve been a fan of board games for a while, going to board game stores, friends visiting and playing games with you. It’s a wonderful way to spend your time, especially if you’re looking to refresh yourself after a long week of coding or work. Board games have conventions in many different places throughout the world, and as it turns out there’s one every year in Michigan called GrandCon. This year was the second year I’ve gone and it was great.

Great Friends

One of the big things on this blog for me is keeping myself motivated to continue learning and coding. A great way to do that is get support whether it be from friends and family or some other community. Well a great source of inspiration for me is my friends who are all very successful in their lives. One of the reasons I went to GrandCon in Grand Rapids, MI was to visit a friend of mine who is also learning to code. His main goal is to eventual work on AI and video games. It was great catching up with him and sharing some of the same gripes we have with learning how to code, it’s nice to know you’re not the only one going through some of these hard times. Visiting him ended up being a great way to relax forget about the rest of the world for a while and have fun gaming!

Inspired Gaming

Playing board games is a great way to keep up your inspiration for coding. Learning all about the mechanics of a game, is a bit like learning the mechanics of how certain languages or web pages work. It’s something that can really get the mind flowing.

Failures

Some of my failures lately have been not being able to code enough. Our internet was down for a few days which is very frustrating, I used that as an excuse not to practice what I already know. I should have just been continuing to work on the website “quandtico.com“. Also I took the weekend to go to Grand Rapids, which is about 2 and a half hours away. So I just didn’t get much done this weekend, which is why I won’t have the normal “Coding Update” section this post.

That’s all for today if you want to check out my friends blog about coding and keeping up the motivation, visit his tumblr page at “sauervideogames.tumblr.com“! I would really appreciate it if you check him out!

Frame Work

Frames Work

When you have a project you need to work on, it can be very daunting when you first get started. All you can think about is how many little things you’re going to have to pull off in order to get this huge thing done. “Oh and that’s another thing that I can’t do, oh ya I forgot about that too”. There’s a million things to remember on a coding project, from beginner to (I assume) more advanced, technical ideas. The one thing to remember is to zoom out. Start with the end goal in mind, what do you want to accomplish with this project? If you have a clear idea of that, than you will be pretty well off. Go from the top down, “Ok first thing’s first, I need to mark up the HTML, then I need to figure out how to style this header…”.

Frameworks

Something I am currently learning about is all the different frameworks you can use to help you along with web development, such as, “Bootstrap“. As well as knowing how to look things up when you are in a rut, using frameworks can be a great way to help you out of one. They allow you to quickly mark up different components and snippets of code to help you along with making your website look smoother and code faster. These frameworks can really help break things down as well. If you know you need a certain number of things in your website and don’t know exactly how you’re going to do it, start by looking up some frameworks and maybe someone has something close to what you’re looking for.

Work In Frames

Going along with breaking things down into bite size chunks so your brain can handle it, separate your files. Why have everything in one file when you can keep everything nice and organized by just separating your code as need be. Something I’ve noticed for myself is I have a lot easier time not only reading the code but also I think coming back to it at a later date will be much easier.

Failures

Some of my failures this week have been not totally figuring out flexbox when it comes to CSS. I tried using flexbox on the website I am trying to recreate, and I couldn’t quite crack it. I did get a little farther than I thought I would but I have been frantically studying the web about flexbox for the last few days. Also I have pretty much given up on “Unity”  for the time being. This one I don’t see as too much of a failure but still that was kind of the idea of this blog when I first started, and I’ve been leaning pretty heavily on becoming a web developer recently.

Wins

I’ve made some strides in my coding, in knowledge and workflow. I have still been attempting to recreate my other website “Quandtico Guitars and Repair“. That has been a really good lesson in how to organize things, where to get started, what to do in CSS when you’re stuck, also just getting stuck in general and how to get out of that rut. Next challenge I would like to hone my JavaScript skills a little more and just create a simple quiz that keeps track of your score as you go. Keep on coding, and wish me luck!

Long Week

It’s Been A While

It’s been about a week since I’ve last posted and there’s a reason. I’ve been busy with work and coding when I get out of work. I’m sitting here about to fall asleep writing this, but I figured I had better get a new post out there. We’ve been making some changes at work which is leading me to work longer hours than I already was. So now I’m usually getting about 12 hours a day in, which leaves me little time after getting home, showering, eating, all that jazz. But I have been learning and exercising my abilities in coding. This post is going to be a shorter one seeing as I’m basically sleeping while writing this, but here we go.

Genius

We’ve been lead to believe that only a few people in history were geniuses: Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Ben Franklin, to name a few. I truly believe that we are all geniuses in our own right. Who’s to say we’re not, it’s a great habit to believe that you are and tell yourself every single day you are, eventually you will start to believe yourself. That’s the funny thing about how our minds work, if you give it enough encouragement, it will start to take it in as truth. We all have our own truths, all our own realities, so why not let ourselves be geniuses. I know you’ve got one thing that you’re really good at, that you know you can do better than other people. Now I’m not saying that you have to be the best at that thing, but you know you are good at it. If you keep talking yourself up as if you are talking about yourself to yourself than heck, that’s as good as gold.

Failures

I’d like to start sharing some of my failures. Maybe to keep me on my toes, but I’d like to think it’s to celebrate them because I am (while failing) at least attempting. So a few things I’ve failed at this last week is not uploading a post, I told myself early on that I would try to upload at least twice a week. Clearly that didn’t happen. I could make the excuses, “life got in the way”, “I was too busy”, no I should’ve uploaded content. I have been procrastinating working on a personal project of recreating my website quandtico.com, I think it will help improve my skill and overall workflow for a future in web development.

Wins

My coding has been going pretty well I have learned all about the DOM and how to manipulate it with JS. Like I said I have started coding from scratch in “Sublime Text Editor”, attempting to recreate one of my other websites made with Wix.com. Now I’m discovering jQuery, do people use jQuery very often in real world applications of web development? Or is it just an old language that you should know because you will run into it as you move along? If anyone can answer those questions that would be great! Thanks for reading again guys, check out my other websites and if you have any suggestions on how to make a responsive website that would be greatly appreciated!

Blank Spaces

Nothing’s Easy at First

When you start something, like coding, it’s not going to come natural to everyone. In fact there might be a lot of work involved. This has been a very rewarding journey I’ve been on so far, It’s fairly difficult to learn something of this magnitude on your own. I’m currently trying again to learn to speak Italian. I’ve been fascinated by the language and the country, for a while, with their rich history and lovely cadence. That has not gone too far, except for a few phrases here and there. BUT I do know more now than I did a year ago about Italian. Although I can’t quite speak it, I know how to say a few things. That brings me to my topic of “Blank Spaces”. When you are learning, whether you are new at it or not, it is more difficult to portray when there is nothing in front of you but a “blank space”. Think of a painter or writer, when they have a blank canvas or page in front of them respectively. Not just painters and writers get this phenomenon, while learning a new language for instance, speaking something from nothing is almost impossible when you are first learning. The same goes for coding.

Be Proud of Your Failures

“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates. As long as you are failing, you are trying, so be proud of that shit! Be proud of your failures, own them breathe them, they are what got you here. I have a tough time with that myself. This blog has been a huge motivation for me. I enjoy telling you guys what I’m up to and encouraging myself as well as you guys.

Wins

I’m gonna start ending my blogs with an update on what I’ve been learning and accomplishing. So what I’ve been recently learning is all about JavaScript, the latest thing is about event handlers and how you can make them react with a web page. The one thing so far about JavaScript that has confused me the most so far is loops. I think I get the idea behind them, but where and when to use the actual syntax of the loop is where I start to get confused. I’m excited to keep working on it though and have been trying some coding challenges (of which I’ve failed almost every one). So code on everyone!!

First Thing’s First

Here’s to learning

Well it’s been a few days and I’ve been working on “Unity”, trying just to figure out exactly how to use it and downloading different assets to create my first 2D game. I’ve been getting sidetracked by “TeamTreeHouse” and have been taking the “front end development” course.

I have been actually having fun learning about the different aspects of JS, like I said this is my first real experience with learning any sort of programming (other than adobe flash in high school). So that has postponed me for a bit, but I am determined I will get this game up and running soon enough!

Troubled Waters

While using “Unity” you’re first thought to get used to the layout is to look up tutorial videos on “YouTube”, seems obvious. In the midst of following this tutorial, downloading assets, getting all the right skins, and the correct save file, having a good time. One of the first things that this tutorial video has me do is download the sample assets for a 2D platformer. I download the correct file and apply it to the play area in the game, and I receive an error. After researching it, I found that I haven’t the slightest idea of what I’m doing wrong, but once again I’m pretty confident that the more you stick with something in general, the better and more confident you will get!

Always Stick With It

Which brings me to my next point. If you are passionate about something, STICK WITH IT, I am mostly talking to myself when I say that. I can have a tough time sticking with something because as soon as I lose that initial lust for the idea in my head, I move on to the next thing. That’s something that Seth Godin would call “the dip”. That name is pretty self explanatory.

Well, what can you do about “the dip”, there is pretty much only one thing you can do if something is tough to consistently do every day, but you can see yourself doing it for a long time. STICK WITH IT. When I say “always stick with it”, I don’t mean if you hate it then tough it out, no, life’s too short. Find something you love that you would do for free and keep doing it, even when you think there’s a point where it “get’s too hard”. Again mostly talking to myself here.

Life is a Mindset

“If you put your mind to something you can do it”. There’s some truth to that quote. When you think you’re too tired to do something, you just didn’t have the right mindset before going into that thing. You knew once you got off work you would be exhausted and just want to sit at home and watch Netflix or play video games. There is nothing wrong with having that mindset, and Lord knows I’ve certainly had those days too. The mind is truly a powerful tool that can be tough to utilize, but once you do, you will become much more productive, and with a more positive attitude!

I know this post hasn’t been much about programming, but I’m still learning and have been struggling actually doing this daily. So I hope this is as helpful to you as it has been for me. More results coming soon!

First Day

   The Goal

Today’s goal is to get started on the first draft. The design I will be using, the program I’ll use to start creating, but the goal today is to get some solid results!

Humble beginnings

First post. Ok. Here we go. I should explain what’s going on here, currently I am working as a landscaper in the town I grew up in. I had briefly moved away for school (where I promptly got into trouble and then dropped out) and a few years later moved back and got the first job I could find. I am here now to find my calling! Which is beginning to learn about programming, and eventually develop games. I know big dreams, but let’s take this one step at a time. I’ve gone through the beginning courses of ‘Codecademy’ and ‘Team Treehouse’, so basically I’m already a game developer (sarcasm).

The Idea

I guess this would be a good spot to try and explain the first game I will be trying to make. Well it’s going to be a simple one, a 2D platformer with some simple objectives. Similar to ‘Dark Blue’ by Thomas Palef. Ah, yes a nice simple aesthetic. Have I mentioned I would like this to be simple. After researching a bit on how to create 2D platformers, it seems that unity is a pretty good tool to start with.

Off to the races

I don’t want to spend too much time today on here telling you what I’m going to do, I’d rather get started so I can have some evidence in the future to show you. Alright I have a lot to go off of and this seems like a good place to start. So if you guys have any recommendations on what language I should get started on learning, or what the best strategy is on creating your first games, let me know! Any advice is extremely helpful!