Dredging through the past

Seems like it was only a couple of years ago that I was furiously finishing up my contribution to “Tricks of the Windows Programming Gurus.”  In actual fact, it has been decades.  The book sits on my shelf now, a simple reminder that I CAN do it when I put my mind to it.

That attitude has been a driving force for me ever since Deb’s diagnosis.

In the next few months I hope to resummon that same energy to start on a new series of books on a variety of topics.

On the technical side I am interested in writing books on creating games using several different game engines.  Of particular interest are the Torque 3D engine, the Unity engine, the UDK engine, the Torque 2D engine (and it’s iPhone version), the Nevrax MMO engine, and the Hero Engine.  Enough writing there for about 10 years!

What is a tough choice is whether to begin with game engines in which you have actual source code to work with for a reasonable price (Torque engines and Nevrax) or whether to focus on the game creation elements and push making a game (Unity, UDK and Hero engines).

Of course, I’ll have to pick one engine to start with and that may be the most difficult choice of all.  They all have strengths and weaknesses – and the companies behind them work constantly to make improvements. (Can you say sequel?)

I am also interested quite a bit in the latest research into creating books that actually encourage learning, rather than simply function as an encyclopedia and example.  The Head First books come to mind.

I also hear the siren call of the fiction universe. It has been a plan of mine since I was in my late teens to write fantasy, scence fiction, and mystery stories.  I actually started to write fiction in my twenties, but put it away as a project when I began to work in the computer industry.  I actually wrote a bit only a few years ago when I started doing story backgrounds for MMO games.  Now, as my wife’s illness progresses, I find myself with a broken schedule and lots of opportunities to write.

I strongly suspect that my initial writing will be a haphazard pastiche as I flip from idea to idea and try out some themes I’ve had in mind to see which ones still resonate after so many years on the back burner.

Of course, having a wife who was an editor is both a blessing and a curse.  It means my work gets some sorely needed initial polish, and my bad writing habits get slapped down pretty quickly.  It also means that I have a pretty high hurdle to clear just to get a piece to where she would be willing to let it out of the door.  Still, if the goal is to produce the best work you are capable of, then I expect I’ll get there pretty quick.  I wasn’t an “A” student in grammar, but I’m pretty sure I can get there.

My worst handicap as a writer is my terrible typing skill.  I transpose letters with horrifying regularity.  The good news is I am a very good speller, so I can usually spot my mistakes and correct them pretty quickly.  It does slow my train of thought though.

So, that’s it for this first post.  I’ll keep updating as I make progress.

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