Maximize the Time Players Spend Playing Your Game

You’re going to pour hours and hours into building your first game. You want people to enjoy their time with it. You want people to talk about it with their friends, and have them experience what you’ve built as well. One of the easiest ways to make sure that happens is to make sure that your game is engaging. You need to maximize the time players spend playing your game.

There’s no one magic bullet to make sure that happens. Often times the most unexpected games end up trending for weeks – looking at your Flappy Bird. Games need to be fun, but that isn’t enough to ensure long term engagement. Games also need to give the player a reason to come back. To play again. 

Variability Expands the Horizons of Your Game

Photo by suzukii xingfu from Pexels

One way that games use to get players to go for another round is to have each round play out a little bit differently. This can be a single-player game where each round has different enemies to face, and different paths to take.

This can be a multiplayer game where the collective choices the players make have a drastic impact as to how the game is going to play out. There are certainly many methods that developers use to increase immersion and engagement.

The more choice that a player has, and the more impactful those choices are on gameplay, the more likely it is that the player will be willing to go for another stroll in your world. Sure the illusion of choice helps players feel more connected to the world initially, but being able to change the colour of your hair doesn’t get players lining up for round two.

Choices that determine the outcome of the game, allow you to skip over, or discover new areas, or watch an entirely new arc play out are the kinds of gameplay mechanics that will have players come back again and again. You will maximize the time players spend playing your game because each time you are giving them a novel experience.

Unrestricted Worlds Lead to Unrestricted Imagination

Photo by Thomas Svensson from Pexels

If you think about the top ten most popular games over the last decade, you’ll probably include one of the Elder Scrolls games. These games are massive, but at their core, not all that complex… you know, Morrowind aside. You can customize your character, follow a short tutorial and then, you make Tamriel yours. You decide which quests to do and when to do them. You are the boss, and that is the allure that keeps people coming back.

Open worlds aren’t possible for every genre of game, but keeping in mind that you need to restrict the player the bare minimum required while still telling your story will help keep players engaged. People line up to buy the new Call of Duty every year, and let’s face it it’s basically one long cut scene at this point, but that doesn’t mean everyone can be that successful. 

The sheer amount of money that the big studio’s put into marketing starts you at a disadvantage, don’t allow them to continue in the lead, there is plenty you can do to have people talking about your game rather than theirs.

To maximize the time players spend playing your game make them feel awe at the scope of the choices put in front of them.

The Impact can Maximize the Time Players Spend Playing Your Game

Rather than simply telling the story, let the player tell part of the story. Sure it may mean that you have to write two, three, or eleven endings, but when you get someone talking about Fallout 2, and how they struggled with which ends to pursue, you know you’ve created a masterpiece.

By limiting the player in a box, no matter how many choices they have in the middle, if they have no impact, in the end, they may be left disillusioned, as if their choices didn’t matter. Why bother playing a game a second time, making different choices, if the end result is the same.

To maximize the time players spend playing your game you need to provide them with a reason to keep coming back. You could do this by creating an exceptionally long game, that requires hundreds of hours to complete. You could add a bajillion side quests that fulfill the needs of the completionist. Or, you can give them a living breathing world that responds to their actions and can surprise them along the way.

With all of that in mind, if you’re ready to get started making a game then good luck, and happy coding!

How To Get Started Making Games in Unity

Making a game is a big decision, and I won’t lie; it’s a massive investment time. When you get started making games in Unity, you may find that once you downloaded Unity, you stare at an empty scene, wondering what to do next. If this sounds familiar, this post is for you. If you have programming or audio/visual production experience, some of this may not apply to you. Still, as a game developer, primarily an indie game developer, you have to wear ALL of the hats.

A mistake often made when folks get started making games is comparing your early works to the masterpieces that are the AAA games released every year. You can’t compare to those yet, maybe not ever. They have been built by huge teams comprised of programmers, artists, writers, and more. You are just one person, but one person’s vision can undoubtedly make a massive splash in the gaming industry, as we’ve seen in recent years.

Still, you may feel that since your game won’t be a financial success, it’s not worth pursuing. This is the wrong mindset. Most games are not a financial success, and almost all first games that people make are not financially successful. If you want to become an indie game developer, this isn’t the end of your journey. It’s the start. You are on the path to get started making games in Unity.

Maximize Your Chance of Success When You Get Started Making Games With Unity

You’ve decided to build a game, and that’s great. The actual process of making it, however, can be something else entirely. If you put in the time and complete the grind, you’ll have something to show off. However, if you’re put off by hard work, I’d probably stop here.

To maximize your success when you get started making games with Unity, you need to have a plan. This is seriously over half of the battle and the part which is most often neglected. This doesn’t mean you need to know what you’ll do when, and exactly how you’ll do it – not that that doesn’t help – no, this means you know what features you want, and an excellent idea of the type of game you’re going to make.

You’re going to want to start by determining what mechanics you want to see in your game, and how you want it to be laid out. You will need to know what kind of assets you’re going to need, visual and audio. Finally, you’re going to need to have an idea as to how you’re going to present it all.

If you don’t take the time to lay this all out initially, you’re very likely to find yourself in an eternal pursuit of perfection. You are just getting started building Unity games. It won’t be perfect, but it will begin your portfolio. Get it done. Get it out. Only by getting yourself started making games in Unity will you begin to see the success that you can generate from it.

Images, Sprites, and 3D Models

Whether you are working in 2D or 3D, you’re going to need to get your assets ready. Using pre-made assets from the Unity Store is absolutely an option, and regardless of what anyone says, if the mechanics are on point, there is absolutely no shame in using pre-made assets. This is especially true when you are new and just getting started making games with Unity.

If you do decide to create your assets, you’re going to want to consider familiarizing yourself with some of the tools of the trade. For 2D assets, you can use the following FREE programs to build up your assets.

In all fairness, you can use any of these programs or any other program to build your assets so long as the final image file can be imported into Unity. You’re unlikely to run into any problems because Unity plays so well with so many different file types.

Orange One Eyed Monster
This is an Orange One-Eyed Monster drawn in Inkscape.

Taken from Inkscape, or any other graphic design programs for that matter, you can get your creations into Unity in no time!

One Eyed Monster 2
Here’s our One-Eyed Monster in Unity!

When you’re exporting your 2D assets, try and pick a size that doesn’t cause too much distortion when they’re exported to Unity. Further, if you export your images too large, you may end up with memory issues when you finish your game, and that’s no fun either. It’s a tricky balancing act, but one you’ll get used to.

When building 3D games, you’ll need 3D models. To create those takes two components. The mathematical representation of the object, and the textures which cover it. You can use the following programs to make your 3D models:

Again, these programs are entirely free, and you can find huge communities online if you run into issues. There are tutorials abound for both of these options. You would use Blender to build your models, and GIMP to prepare textures to fit on top of them.

No matter the route, 2D or 3D, you’re going to have a learning curve when you start making your assets. The learning curve for 3D models is a bit rougher than that of the 2D, but they both come with their particular nuances.

Your alternative is to purchase assets or find free assets online. Make sure you have a commercial license to use the assets before you begin selling your game. Don’t worry that you don’t make everything from scratch. It saves you time and gets your vision completed faster. You’re using Unity for the same reason.

Getting Sounds and Music for Your Game

Another opportunity to learn more programs – or purchase more assets – as you see fit. Music and sound effects can be as intricate and complex as you want. If you’re good with it, the explosions in your game can be a balloon popping, recorded on your iPhone, and then modified slightly using Audacity. I’ve done it. It worked fine.

Alternatively, maybe you have professional sound capture technology and access to a sound booth. The choice is yours! If you’re looking for free options for making your games, though, these are some great ones. When you are a beginner getting started making games in Unity, perfection should not be your goal.

LMMS Viewport.
The LMMS viewport that you can use to make audio assets for your game.
  • Audacity for manipulating sound files.
  • LMMS allows for manipulation and incorporation of sound files into larger files. Further, his program will let you combine loops and programmatically played instruments into full-on songs for your background music.
  • Garageband (Mac Only) allows you to do everything that you can do with LMMS, but you have a more extensive selection of loops and instruments which you can use to construct your melodies. If you have a Mac, I thoroughly recommend this option.

Using the above, you can construct your music. However, if you decide that’s too much of a hassle, there are plenty of freelance artists or online sellers that can sell you a license to use their music and sound effects. To be legal and respectful, however, make sure that you have a license before using them in your games.

Sound effects breathe life into your game in the same way that beautiful graphics will. You need both to create a truly captivating world, and it’s worth doing your best to get both of these to be top-notch in your game.

You’re Almost Ready to Get Started Making Games in Unity

When you are just getting started making games in Unity, try not to worry too much about having the best or most amazing assets, this is your first go, don’t worry too much about the details.

You’re well on your way, and before you know it, you’ll be pumping out games of your own. There’s just one final step that I have to recommend for you. Take the time and do the tutorials on Learn.Unity.com.

Select those tutorials that relate to your style of game if possible, but keep an open mind. As you’re going through the tutorials, if you happen to notice one of the mechanics that you want in your final product, make a note of where you saw it.

By the time you’re done, you’ll have the experience, the tools, and the assets you need to bring your vision to life. You are finally ready to get started making games in Unity.

Happy coding!

 

Get Started With YouTube For Free

Hundreds of thousands of views.

Reaching thousands of followers.

Getting your voice heard.

Rolling in the advertising dollars.

The dream of becoming a successful YouTuber has been most of our minds at one point or another. Then reality hits. I need to buy a camera. I need to purchase sound effects, audio and video editing software and more. There’s so much that I don’t have. Then you’ll let the dream settle, and it’s gone, all the while YouTubers around the world continue to live that dream.

Get Started With YouTube for Free

Do you have a smartphone?

Does it have a camera?

Do you have a computer that you can use to edit your videos?

If so, then I hate to break it to you. You’ve put this off for nothing. You have everything you need to start your YouTubing career. Below I’ll share with you some of the best tools available so you can get started with YouTube for free! No more wondering about what could have been. Stop putting off your goals and get to it!

Don’t worry, all of these tools are either open-source, not for profit, or just available for free. These links are NOT affiliate links.

Video Editing – OpenShot from OpenShot.org

OpenShot Video Editor

OpenShot is a free video editing suite that is available on Windows, Linux, or Mac. All the features you’ll need to work like the pros, but you’ll spend absolutely nothing. It’s easy to use, but you still will want to take some time to get used to how everything works.

You’ll be able to add watermarks, visualize audio files, use the keyframe and animation editors as well as chop up your clips to make everything flow perfectly. OpenShot is everything you’ll need on the video editing front.

You can even create professional-looking Title slides that render using another of my favourite free programs, Blender. If you’ve got a knack for building 3D models in Blender, incorporating renders of them into your video could take you to whole new levels. I am only covering what you need in this document, however.

Download now at OpenShot.org.

Sound Editing – Audacity from AudacityTeam.org

Audacity

So you’ve got the video covered, well what about the sound? Using Audacity, you’ll be able to do everything the pros can, without taking a hit to the wallet. Open source, and again cross-platform, no matter what kind of computer you’re running, Audacity can help you with all of your audio production needs!

You can use Audacity for recording in various sound qualities. You can export into a variety of formats, and plugin support lets you customize your installation so that you can work however you need.

Download now at AudacityTeam.org.

Screen Recording – OBS Studio from OBSProject.com

Are you working on tutorials that you can show your user what you’re doing while you’re doing it on the computer? Maybe you’re streaming your gaming sessions? It doesn’t overly matter. What matters is that OBS Studio can help you with all of it.

Sponsored by big names like Twitch and NVidia, OBS Studio can get you up and running in no time at all.

Download now at OBSProject.com.

Stock Photos – Pexels.com

I know what you’re thinking. I have everything I need now to prepare my videos. I’m ready to go!

But wait! There’s so much more to video production than just recording yourself and throwing it online. Stock photos can add to the professionalism and look of your videos. Further, they have some stock videos as well.

The Pexels License spells out pretty clearly what you can expect from their site. However, please keep in mind that Pexels do have some advertisements blended with their downloadable stock that show stock photos from other paid sites.

Browse Pexels.com Now.

Are You Ready to Get Started With YouTube for Free?

I hope you are because you have everything you need to make it big. Take your idea and go with it. You can make it happen with hard work and consistency. 

Once your video is ready, head on over to Studio.YouTube.com and sign in with your Google Account. Here is where you’ll upload your videos and your story begins.

Why You Should Learn As Much As You Can About Excel

Why Learn About Excel

Excel is ubiquitous in modern office spaces around the world. There are alternatives, of course, but by and large, you can find Excel almost anywhere, on any operating system. When you decide to learn about Excel, you are making a career decision that will help you in ways you can’t even imagine.

Excel is useful for preparing charts, worksheets, performing calculations, comparing data, and so much more. In an increasingly data-driven society, we all need to understand that completing calculations on large sets of data will be increasingly important in the workplace.

These are the reasons why I originally wanted to learn about Excel. Even if Excel becomes outdated or is no longer used in your workplace, the basic concepts remain the same within other programs. Even making the jump to Access, or any of a plethora of other database-style programs will be made more accessible by the experiences you have with Excel.

Every office I’ve ever been in seems to have a guru. Sometimes that’s me. Other times the position is filled when I join a team. This arrangement usually works for a while, but there are some inevitable consequences to this situation.

  • There’s a good chance that a person will eventually move on, and someone will be required to maintain what they’ve built;
  • The person who’s best equipped to handle the task will usually be given it. This situation may be okay if you want less work, but where will management look come time for the next promotion; and
  • You may be required to complete a task with that you lack the skills to complete. If that is the case, you may be stuck having to ask your guru for help repeatedly.

Now, learning the program isn’t tricky, and you can learn about Excel in no time at all. If you put in the time, there are plenty of courses on sites like this one, or even Udemy or YouTube, which can teach you the basics. Depending on your fluency with Excel to begin, it may take far less time than you think to become the pro.

The Basics

I think anyone working in an office should learn the basics of Excel. How to enter formulas in a cell, create worksheets, switch worksheets, and so on. These skills are fundamental, and when utilized correctly, you can accomplish impressive tasks with them.

  • Assigning colours to create identifiable columns;
  • Using the formulas tab to develop, identify errors in, and deploy formulas;
  • Making use of the review tab to lock and unlock workbooks and worksheets;
  • and so much more.

These tasks will be invaluable to most people working within an office and require very little in the way of a time investment to learn.

The Intermediate Features of Excel

Features such as data validation and individual protected cells permit you to create worksheets that restrict the users to specific actions. Tallows you to create documents that will act the way you want them to work, even when operating in different environments with different users.

Any programmer can tell you that even though a program is working on your computer, it’s going to be broken for everyone else. The most significant variable when designing programs, or in this case, worksheets for others, is the users themselves. They may not be less skilled than you, it’s just that we all have very different ideas of how things should work, and this can result in damage or inoperability of your worksheet within their hands.

Using data validation and locked cells allow you to control what cells can be modified and what you can put into each of those cells. This gives you control over how other people are using your workbook. Combine this with the Protect Worksheet and Workbook functions, and you can make sure your workbooks are functional for everyone that needs to use them.

Learning about the majority of the features of Excel will let you participate in discussions about how data is used in your organization more comfortably, and maybe even lead you to replace that guru when the time comes.

Learning the Advanced Features of Excel

Advanced features of Excel, such as Pivot Tables, and VBA, are perhaps the most versatile and useful tools available to you in the modern office. A veritable digital swiss army knife, these tools allow you to display, modify, and process vast amounts of data in a fraction of the time that it would have taken you otherwise. If you have the time, it’s worth learning as much as you can about Excel.

It’s not likely required for most users to know how to use these features, and usually, you can get by without them. However, when you are equipped with these tools, your options will be unlimited when it comes to Excel’s uses.

Pivot tables allow you to examine data and drill through it in a useful and understandable form. Tens of thousands of lines in a table could be reduced to a mere six lines depending on the specific criteria you set.

With VBA, you’re not even limited to a single data table. I recently worked with a document where there was a requirement to merge data from several tables and have them displayed on the same page as the same table.

Using VBA, I was able to have three pivot tables appear to be a single pivot table. The slicers all tied to each of the tables to provide the expected performance, and yet all of it was conducted through hiding and unhiding rows of cells, to merge the three pivot tables into one. Displaying the tables in this way was preferable than just combining the dataset in my case, though it may not always be. 

The experience you gain by putting a little bit of extra time into Excel will help you to determine what you can do and when you should do it.

Other Features and Closing Thoughts

A Sky with the Sun Poking Through the Clouds
Photo by Prashant Gautam from Pexels 

 

Depending on your particular setup, you may also have additional features available to you. There are many add-in programs for Excel, and different workplaces will use a different combination of them.

What’s important to realize, though, is if you believe you can make yourself more valuable to your organization, or even in your job search, then do it! Spending the time to learn about Excel is an easy way to pad your resume and give you applicable real-life skills.

What are you waiting for? The sky is the limit.

 

The Fall of Orion

The mighty ship had defended Earth from the onslaught but found itself too damaged to continue in its service. As the remainder of the armada continued and eventually won the day, the Orion, which had decimated the incoming force, found itself floating, it’s crew evacuating as quickly as they could. The victory was only possible because of the men and women serving upon the Orion, and now the ship floated, dead in the solar system.

Aboard a salvage and rescue vessel, we flew back and forth to the wreckage. Docking where we could to save those who managed to maintain the airlock. We grabbed the occasional crew member who managed to get into their EVA suits. Sadly, we recovered as many bodies as we could. For three days, we ran recovery missions, our findings continually becoming darker, and hope was gradually waning. The reactor in the Orion was becoming unstable, and it wouldn’t be long before it would explode, becoming its own tiny ball of gas surrounded by a universe full of them.

The radiation sensors finally went off about 11 hours into the fourth day. All vessels serving in the recovery effort went engines full in an attempt to put as much space between them and the blast as possible. Unlike within the atmosphere, the danger here was less about the blast itself, and more about the weaker shielding around these vessels being pummeled by debris.

Just a few minutes later, in a brilliant explosion nearer Jupiter’s orbit than Earth’s, the Orion became an immense ball of flame for but a moment. Command gave the order for the fleet to turn round and return to Earth’s orbital ring, and all of the recovery vessels docked with larger freighters and warships. On the Kingston, our captain was slow to relay that order to his command staff. He and the long-range sensors officer were staring at something incoming.

“Battle stations! Any cruisers carrying soldiers all engines toward Earth, the rest of us need to buy you time to fortify. Notify Earth Command that we will only be able to slow them down… Everyone else… about-face… we face them here and now. God help us.”

Beyond the debris field, the enemy was coming again, in far greater numbers. Our victory against their first wave, purchased with the death and destruction of thousands, was but a test of our mettle. It seems we’ll be fighting all the way back, and on our beloved Earth.

The Orion fell in the hopes that Earth would live to see another day. We have to make sure it does.

Be Comfortable with Variables

Variables Declared on a Monitor
Photo by Jorge Jesus from Pexels

 

I’ll never forget a walk I took back to my car from an immunology class I took in university. The parking lot was down this long sloping pathway down to what was affectionately known as the pit. Along the way, you would be walking with a variety of other students who happen to be done for the day, and every once in a while you’d encounter a particularly excitable group. On this particular day, I remember one of the guys loudly expressing his distaste for variables. I believe they had just left the linear algebra class in a nearby building, and he was livid about variables, and how it made no sense that X means this, or maybe that.

 

Variables are Not Scary

If you are working on how to be comfortable with variables, my story should let you know, you’re not alone. The substitution of x, y, or maybe apple into what is otherwise simple math can make everything seem so much more complicated. If you’ve been struggling with variables, I’m here today to try to help you become acclimated to seeing them in everyday use.

 

Variables are part of advanced math, and programming because without variables you would not be able to create a dynamic program. Take for example the simple equation for the y-intercept:

 

y = mx + b

 

You see here a formula that has nothing but variables. Take a closer look though. X and Y are both variables, but they represent positions on a graph, or the X and Y coordinate respectively. As a result, even though they are variables, they represent something real. They represent a real point on the graph. If we want to know the Y coordinate at the y-axis, then we know that X is equal to zero. The formula then becomes:

 

y = b

 

Therefore, the Y coordinate is equal to b! Well, this is probably where you’d ask well what the hell is b? You wouldn’t be wrong to wonder this, but then this brings us to the reason variables exist in the first place. If b was replaced with 2. We could solve for x or y for any point on the line using this formula. This line, however, would never change, and the formula will always represent the same line. The same goes for programming, you want your program to be responsive to the user, but if you don’t use any variables, your programs will never be able to respond to the changes in the environment in which it’s running.

 

Make Sense of Variables

 

Perhaps you’ve been scared away from variables because you haven’t really considered any real-life examples. Sure the X and Y coordinates of a line are a real-life example, but outside the world of math or maybe maps, what does that really even mean?

 

I propose a few new examples to try to help you see variables in a new light. Dinner. It’s a meal that you most likely have every single day. It’s dynamic. The meal likely changes day after day and is an excellent example of a variable. Every single day you may choose a new meal, and that meal is stored in the variable for your dinner for that day.

 

As an added bonus, a constant for any given day could be the medication you’re required to take. Different from a variable in that it will be the same day after day, rather than changing depending on whether you want Mexican food tonight!

 

To Be Comfortable with Variables, Name them Well

 

Consider the following code (written in JavaScript):

 

for (i=0;i<=a.length;i++)
{
   if (z == a[i])
   {
       break;
   }
}
console.log(i);

 

Without the variable definitions, you may have a difficult time seeing what this code is attempting to accomplish. It may help to have the declaration lines for someone familiar with how programming works, but for the uninitiated, this can be off-putting. However, take a look at the same code with descriptive variable names. I’ll include the declaration lines below, but even without them, you’ll be able to read the code much more clearly.

 

 

let itemsInTheCupboard = [“Pie”,”Lego”,”Hammer”,”Tea”];
let lookingFor = “Lego”;
for (item=0;item<=itemsInTheCupboard.length;item++)
{
   if (lookingFor == itemsInTheCupboard[item])
   {
       break;
   }
}
console.log(item);

 

So now you can see the code is searching the cupboard, and all the items in it, for the Lego. This is an overly simplified example, but I feel like it demonstrates my point quite well. If you’re descriptive in your variables, and you learn to be comfortable with the dynamic nature of programming, variables aren’t scary, but actually one of the most fascinating building blocks of this amazing field.

 

 

 

How To Begin Learning to Program

Computer monitors and glasses.

Photo by Kevin Ku from Pexels. Computer Monitors and glasses. 

The more I learn about programming, the more I realize that no one out there has truly mastered it. Much like meditation, drawing, or cooking, you can never truly attain mastery, but you can fine-tune your skills, and become extremely proficient at what you’ve practiced.

 

When I started on the path of programming, I took it in what I believe is a fairly common direction, game development. Specifically, I wanted to make mods for games like the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, or The Sims, or a variety of other games. The ability to change the work of others was fascinating, exciting, and most of all, a creative outlet that I desperately needed.

 

I always thought that I wasn’t overly creative. It turned out that I just needed the appropriate outlet. Programming, even when not done for the creation of a game, can be as artistic as a painting hanging in the Gallery of Modern Art. You can automate tasks, you program the creation of custom content, you can even develop AI programs. 

 

The best part of all, everything you’ll need to learn how to program is available and ready, 24 hours a day, online. Most of it is even free.

 

How to Begin Learning to Program

It’s a big question, and it does depend on what aspect of programming you want to approach. Are you interested in Web Development? AI? Automation? Data Manipulation? There are so many fields, and if you get caught up trying to force yourself into one of those boxes, you’ll run into what I believe is one of the biggest misconceptions of programming.

 

Learning to program, and learning a programming language or environment, are two different things. That’s right, you can learn to program in one language, and find yourself working in another language professionally down the road.

 

Your capabilities in JavaScript will give you the foundation you’ll need to work in Swift, you may just need a little of extra time while you double-check the documentation to learn the new syntax you’re working with. To begin learning to program, you need to remove the constraints from yourself, and begin by learning the concepts!

 

Languages That Work Well For Beginners

 

We’ve covered that the various programming languages are merely the tool you will use to complete your art. In much the same way that a picture can be drawn with a pen, pencil, or a rock, you will find that you have a variety of programming languages with which you can begin. 

 

I would recommend a language that is largely self-contained and doesn’t require a lot of frameworks to get started. This is where you’ll have the easiest time learning, and you’ll be the least distracted while you build your programs.

 

You can start with Visual Basic, Java, or, if you have access to a Mac, try out Swift. Each of these languages can perform very complex tasks but retains the simplicity to perform easy tasks as well.

 

Resources for Learning to Program

 

Resources for learning to program are everywhere online. When I say everywhere I mean that they are all over the internet. 

 

For Visual Basic, you could try following Microsoft’s tutorial. The tutorial is conveniently located on their website that also contains all the documentation you would need if you run into any problems trying to use the various functions within your code. 

 

If you’re more interested in JavaScript, an excellent starting place for this would be the Free Code Camps JavaScript course. This course was designed to be taken as part of their overall web development course (Which I highly recommend by the way!) and covers the foundations of programming very well. 

 

If you’re more interested in Swift, I found a website, CodeWithChris.com, that covers the basics of programming well with a variety of YouTube videos.

 

Remember! The concepts you learn on any of the above methods will transfer over to another if you decide you want to change directions. Programming knowledge is a cumulative process, and the more you learn in one area, the easier time you will have expanding to other areas.

 

More Tutorials

 

I’m going to start posting tutorials on how to program here on this site. I haven’t prepared many thus far, but I want to cover a wide range of topics, many of which would be covered in the above content, but a lot of which would be missed. Comment below if you have any suggestions for topics, and make sure you come often back to see what I’ve prepared for you.

 

Let’s get you programming!

 

Purchasing a New iPhone Charging Cable

The iPhone charging cable that comes with your new iPhone is shiny, white, wrapped neatly, and probably most important to you of all, made specifically for the phone that came with it in the box! The peace of mind that comes with having the proper cable for your device cannot be overstated, and when it begins to fail, you may be surprised to find out what is available on the market as a replacement.

Apple iPhone Charging Cable

The most obvious choice of replacement cable would be to choose one from Apple themselves. This is, of course, a viable option if you don’t mind the premium price. A one-meter cable from Apple will run you around $25.00. It is at this point that I decided it would be best to search for alternatives.

 

Amazon Basics iPhone Charging Cable

The Amazon Basics products are exceptional, and I found that the iPhone charging cables they provide are no exception. Of course, when you are perusing their reviews you will find the odd one that failed rapidly, but so far with the ones I’ve purchased I have had no issues whatsoever.

 

 

Anker iPhone Charging Cables

Another brand that I trust to source iPhone charging cables is Anker. Also, cheaper than Apple, but perhaps not quite as cheap as Amazon basics, they provide a quality product that lasted me for quite a while. I have two children that are rather rough on the cords, and this cord held up like a trooper!

 

 

When I first went to purchase replacement cables, I had a difficult time sifting through the various cables available online. I found these cables to be reliable, and hope that you find luck with them as well! Have a great night!

 

 

Finally Getting Back To It

I, like many before me in today’s modern world, have taken on far too many projects to make any meaningful progress on any one of them. It’s a trap that I’m sure many have fallen into, and a trap that I hope to spend the next few months digging out of. I’m reducing my focus back to my basics:

The start block of a game board.
A game piece sits at the start of a game board. Pexels.com

  • Programming and I will attempt to reign in my focus back to Web Development;
  • Writing, both my short stories and ghost-writing of articles for others;
  • Health, by returning to eating properly and following through with plenty of diet and exercise.

I had thought of attempting to refocus myself closer to the new year, but I felt that if I made it about being a New Year’s resolution, there is an absolute zero percent chance that I will follow through. Rather than a gimmicky promise to myself, I’ve decided to take the time to make the decision my own, and approach it at my own pace.


I share this today, not because I hope that every visitor to my blog reads this and are fascinated, but rather so that when looking back over my accomplishments in the next year, I can see that on February 5th, 2020, I declared that I was ready to start again.


Here’s to new beginnings!

 

 

Prequel to Oblivion and Tea

Oblivion and Tea was my first attempt to write something for public consumption. Though I often find myself responding to writing prompts on Reddit (Like this fun one about aliens the other day) I never figured I would all-out try to stand on my own as an author. I was and am thrilled by the feedback I’ve gotten regarding my first public attempt!

 

Something I did notice though was that Oblivion and Tea left a lot of questions, and readers who communicated with me after the fact often had similar questions. I think this is to be expected when it comes to short stories, but it made me realize that I wanted to share the rest of the story. Hence, the prequel was born.

 

There’s not much I’m ready to share yet, because it’s a process that takes time, but I hope those of you that have read Oblivion and Tea are ready for the grand adventure that was the creation of those marvelous ships!