Daily notes for 2023-03-09

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Job stuff ๐Ÿ”—

I got a little jostled out of the routine this week thanks to a couple of interviews (yay!) and the prep that goes along with them, then the inevitable and squirmy paralysis of post-interview “well, now what?”. I also got some writing energy out of the way with a quick post that riffed off one of the interview topics.

I shared the post on LinkedIn. It’s something I need to start doing and have been a little blocked on. It has been a hard platform to figure out, and I figured out some things from how it worked this time that reminded me that I used to write a lot of things for a living and had to figure out ways to get people to be interested in them, then keep them around.

The experience also led me to remember I’m trying to accomplish something here besides “post things on LinkedIn,” so I roughed in a little ad spot at the bottom of posts here that I’ll have in better shape for next post.

The interviews themselves were good experiences. When I think of the stuff I ought to be going after I think about three or four ranked categories, and these were first- and second-ranked opportunities. I left them feeling like I gave a good accounting of myself, knew where I felt a little soft, and felt “in the pocket” enough to watch myself and learn from those soft moments.

The other thing that occurred to me, after having decent experiences, is that I didn’t realize how much my last months at Puppet affected me. There’s more to write there, and I keep thinking about how that would look, but it’s not quite time.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order; Pokemon Sword ๐Ÿ”—

The past week or so I’ve been very absorbed by Pokemon: Sword and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. The former is just me realizing I’m completely illiterate where Pokemon is concerned and wanting something sort of low stakes to play. The latter was just dirt cheap on the PS4 online store and I figured “why not?” after a decent experience playing through Titanfall 2.

I find Pokemon engaging in a sweet, silly way. It has moments where it crawls and I want some of the interactions it forces on you to end, but it’s so lightweight and breezy and simple to grok that it makes a nice thing to sort of zone out to.

Fallen Order is the reason Pokemon feels like a little vacation. I am vacationing from Fallen Order, which is sometimes infuriating.

I think it is infuriating but I also suspect it is very much a product of the standard gaming vernacular. I just haven’t played many modern console games and never really touched things like Fallen Order when I was playing. I guess I got through a few Tomb Raider installments, which is pretty similar, but that was back in PS2 days.

So, infuriating:

  • You do a lot of running around back and forth between planets, getting stymied on Planet A, going to Planet B and getting a new capability, schlepping back to Planet A to use the capability, then back to Planet B because you found a thing on Planet A that tells you to go there, oh but there’s Planet C, etc.
  • Some of the level design seems sadistic. I don’t feel accomplished when I finally get past some “jump then grab then swing then jump then run then jump again” … puzzle?
  • You’re constantly reminded you are playing a game. Over-extended and beat up? You can rest to heal and get back healing pod things, but the game resets all the NPCs and monsters (same as it does if you leave a planet and come back). There are a few NPC tableaus meant to tell little stories or set the tone that you can see upwards of six or seven times, playing out the exact same way each time.

I stick with it, though, because I like other parts of it. It’s nice to look at, it’s a Star Wars power fantasy thing and you can do badass Jedi things with a sensible enough backstory to explain how you can both be a badass but not be a completely actualized one just yet.

I guess it frustrates me because if we’re to accept that “games can be art,” the way we assess the artistry of any game surely has to be about that balance between game mechanics and narrative flow: The ability of the game designer to engage your interest in feats of hand-eye coordination while also keeping things moving along. I think Fallen Order misses some here.

But I also accept I just haven’t played many games like it and that the things currently annoying me – fussy mechanics and contrived “swing from this, wall-run along that” – are probably just normal to most gamers. I do find myself getting better at appraising puzzles and doing more of the sort of lateral-within-the-limits-of-your-skill-tree thinking I remember doing when I played more games.

I’m treating Fallen Order as training for Ghost of Tsushima.

Writing about Git for beginners ๐Ÿ”—

I also spent some post-interview nervous energy on the Git publishing guide for weblog.lol, which I’ve already done a quickstart guide for.

I went into the project thinking I was going to avoid doing much for beginning Git people, but the more I tried to write in things that would be helpful to them, the more I realized it would just be frustrating for new people and distracting for experienced people.

So I redirected and have about 2,000 words on “what is Git? Why bother?” and getting set up. I chose to leverage GitHub’s own documentation for things like setting up an account and getting the GitHub Desktop app set up, and spent my own energy on explaining version control in the simplest terms possible.

The bulk of that work is done – still need to put in some stuff about making a first change and commit so I can show diffs and commit histories – and then it’ll be into the much more dry “here’s how to set up the GitHub action and manage your blog with it” stuff that Git newcomers and veterans alike will use.

It remains fun. It’s challenging to make something like Git useful to someone who’s just curious about it. I keep thinking of a sign on Ben’s preschool wall:

“Too much knowledge swamps the boat of wonder.”