Corona Activities

One perk of working remotely by default is that not much has changed since the pandemic started.

Rereading the last line is a bit unsettling. It’s like the beginning of a bad horror fiction starring Jesse Eisenberg.

But the strangeness of this year’s current events aside, the full impact of social distancing and quarantining doesn’t appear to have affected me as much as it would someone who works daily from an office with other people, or perhaps people with small children.

Most of my work is done online already. My work place relationships are via Slack and Zoom. If anything, our in-person meetups are the only real ‘normal’ interactions my colleagues and I have – and they aren’t really that normal since they take place in amazing places.

Since all work related travel has been suspended I’ll likely be working from Philadelphia for the near future. That being said, I’ve put together a few projects to keep myself centered and to distract myself from reading too much into the crisis coverage.

Building a 2D game in Unity

Over the summer in 2019 I began learning to code in the Unity game engine. I originally began a tutorial by Gamesplusjames, but considering it was recorded in 2015, some of the concepts were a little outdated. I still recommend it as a lot of solid principles are there.

My first attempt at building a game

While working through this tutorial I also had my eye on a more recent tutorial by Mister Taft Creates. I switched over to this one because, one, who doesn’t love a Zelda clone, and two, it was made in the last two years so the methods employed are pretty modern.

I like this a lot.

It’s fun to work through a tutorial like this because it helps you realize what game mechanics can be applied to your own game. Going from “I have no idea how to make this” to “okay this seems plausible with some work” is pretty empowering especially when trapped inside your apartment.

Complete JavaScript course

JavaScript is a coding language I’ve attempted to learn for…five years now? My first few attempts landed me squarely in the ‘fuck it, lets use jQuery’ camp. But since beginning the Teamtreehouse Full Stack JavaScript course I have actually begun to get a foothold in learning this thing.

My issue has always been one of persistence. I would begin a tutorial, get two thirds of the way through it, then get distracted and put it down.

Without actually applying the concepts on a regular basis, I would forget everything and essentially start again from scratch. The irony is that if I had only just continued despite being fatigued I’d have accomplished a lot more with less effort.

Implement JS lessons in WoW Calculator project

Once the above tutorial is completely finished, my immediate goal is to implement it in a few personal projects. The first is to complete my World of Warcraft Talent Calculator.

The idea behind this project is to build out a three tier talent system for eight World of Warcraft classes.

An example of what I am building can be seen at https://classic.wowhead.com/talent-calc

Some basic concepts I’d like to implement are:

  • Dynamically build out the talent grid from a JavaScript object containing class data
  • Provide controls that unlock superior talents as inferior talents reach the allotted point requirements
  • Refactor project to ensure expedient load times and good performance across devices
  • Perhaps the ability to save and share builds within a profile (or without)

JS and React

Another project to implement my newfound JavaScript knowledge is to try and build within my company’s open source Calypso codebase. I’d love to learn more about how the product I work with everyday actually works underneath its smooth veneer.

Workout from home according to Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Governator has posted his ‘workout from home’ routines on Reddit, and a lot of them are purposefully accessible to the average person. Hey, I’m average! I already began the 100 Pushup Challenge, so adding this to my home routine should be a welcome change.

Hopefully, the above activities aren’t too much to work on at one time. I like to think a lot of these are complimentary projects that provide valuable insight into one another.

Code one project, implement that learning into another, take a break and do some sit ups, repeat.

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