Background image for the blog post

Side projects

Merry Christmas internet! 👋🎄

There's this running joke amongst software developers that we have far too many side projects. In software development, it's ridiculously easy to start something - create a code repository, spin up a demo application, tinker with a shiny new library - and usually at the cost of only a little electricity. The tools in our industry make it easy to start, and we end up inundated with side projects for side projects and testing so many little things out, but hardly anything is ever complete.

A comic about developers and their side projects

I was even one of those programmers that thought, "Hey, let's write a game!" My aim was to recreate the original Command & Conquer (C&C) games from the 90s, starting from scratch to write my own game engine, learning how to do graphics programming and everything else that creating the code for a game entailed. It was called Red Horizon (my favourite C&C game was Red Alert, so having something similarly named was a must) and I had so many ideas of things I would do.

That was... over 14 years ago now? 😅

Just before Christmas last year I got back into the codebase for that game and have been working on it somewhat regularly. I've been a little more incremental in my approach, working towards much smaller goals that help fuel my desire to do the next thing, and then the next thing, etc.

For example, by New Year's 2020 I had the videos from the games playing again. I posted them on YouTube and shared it with other game-dev hobbyists at Xero at the time:

I even added a TV scanline effect!

And just before Christmas of this year I built a little viewer for the units in the game where you can view the different angles they made for them and their animations:

A year-long gap between new developments is kind of glacial, but with my day job in web development, being able to use my brain every so often on something not web-related is really refreshing 🙂

So yes, I have my own little sea of unfinished structures like the person in the comic strip above, and this here is one of those structures. I'm making it up as I go, and I enjoy working on it when I get the chance: it's a break from the norm, makes me learn and apply things I don't normally get paid for, and often gives me something to look forward to doing. Just like with any good hobby.