This could as easily been called “Why I Love Programming (now)” which I promised to write way back in “Why I Love Programming (then)” and “Why I love Programming (since then)”, but it’s a little more than programming so I’m doing the #1 writer’s cop-out and making a Top-10 list instead.
10. The tools are so much better than they used to be.
Whether it’s WordPress vs. FrontPage, CygWin vs. MKS Toolkit, or even just Visual-C++ vs. Quick-C or Windows-8 vs. Windows 3.1 or Dos even; it’s all so much incredibly easier to create a game and sell it than it was 10 years ago.
9. The Internet is a phenomenal resource tool for solving bugs.
If you can search relatively sanely, you can solve just about any programming related problem with just a little research. And even this, 10 years ago, was not nearly as easy as it is today thanks to Google and Wiki and the communal notion of sharing information as a good thing.
8. The GGDA and the IGDA in Atlanta.
Just a great mix of great people coming together to share thoughts about all things game related. Since I no longer work for anyone but myself, it’s become a more important outlet for my social side.
7. Facebook, Linked-in, Meetups, etc…
It’s so much easier to stay in contact with both friends and colleagues throughout the years. Although there is some cruft/garbage in those channels; it’s actually pretty easy to use them for “good” and not get sucked into the “dark side”.
6. When I Program, I Program more than I Debug.
Although I enjoy debugging, I like to be productive more. When I’m coding, testing, coding, testing; I’m much more “in flow” than if I’ve testing to debug something that’s broken. Creating something from scratch, implementing it and then seeing it work still excites me after 33 years of doing this.
5. Creating My Own Product.
No designer/describer; no producer; no bean-counter; just me and my attempts at creating a viable product to support me and my family. No one that tells me “No Joe, it just won’t work”.
4. Learning About the Business End of Things.
Whether it’s dealing with potential Artists (both local and remote) or dealing with in-house representatives of distribution partners (both foreign and domestic) or dealing with my customers that have enjoyed Clutter enough to search out my Puzzles By Joe website; I find the business end of things just fascinating. Attending GDC and the Casual Connect conferences is also interesting and fun (especially speaking at the Casual Connect last year). The thing I most try to remember when dealing with other individuals in business is that most of them are just trying to do the best job they can do.
3. Having a Product That Actually Makes Money.
Not a huge success, but enough to keep doing what I’m doing. It’s so much better than not making money with my own product (something I did from 2000-2003 with the first 9 windows-based puzzle games I wrote in the first incarnation of Puzzles By Joe). Recently I started selling Clutter 3: Who is the Void? from my website and it’s been fun watching the sales trickle in. Not going to retire on it yet; but in less than a week I’ve already made more than I made from 2000-2003 selling my brainy-Puzzle By Joe games (which I admit was a paltry $300 or so…since I never figured out how to get any traffic…and less than .1 percent seemed interested in the brainy games).
2. Still Being Surprised In General.
It’s never, ever, ever the same-old, same-old. Good or bad, I love the comments I get at my website as well as in the reviews at the different distribution channels. I also, never know when a new opportunity will present itself. Even my student James that I’m mentoring continues to surprise me with his enthusiasm and willingness to try swimming in the deep-end of learning programming (and games). And speaking of being surprised…
1. The Awesomeness of BMT-Micro.
What’s allowed me to sell Clutter 3 from my own website is BMT-Micro. Although I’d been putting off for a couple of years, I finally decided to bite-the-bullet and sell directly from the Puzzles By Joe website. Because I’ve been doing this for 33 years, I still have residual fear for trying new stuff. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” taken to the extreme of avoiding something new because it might break my website or worse. Anyway, BMT-Micro took me less than 15 minutes to implement once I reached Kim Valentine in their Tech. Support and her emails convinced me to go ahead and give it a try and see how easy it was to work.
After that, she was very quick to respond to every question I had once the sales started trickling in. And their product…is just so simple to use. Amazing really. I had been so worried I actually posted on the GGDA and IGDA boards asking for help with someone who had gone through it. I basically worried for nothing.
If you’re selling something from your website and you want a professional looking shopping cart for a very reasonable percentage than BMT-Micro is for you. I couldn’t be happier with them.
And yeah, I’m a geek/nerd at heart…but I’m also service oriented and I appreciate great customer service. So great tech customer service is a very, very pleasant surprise.
So last week I still loved what I do…but this week, selling from my own website and being able to track sales in real time (instead of waiting for 1.5 months like I do on my distribution channels) adds to the love. And great tech support, adds to the love.
And now, I’ll spend the rest of the day programming. Creating a “Clutter Forever” variation that is sort of like Clutter crossed with Tetris. Going to be a fun day.