Hi! I'm chris escue. I design databases, build software, and dabble in the culinary arts.

Four years later...

Wait, do people actually blog anymore?

I built this website about four years ago, and I haven't really done anything with it. Since the world has since become a hellscape, now's as good a time as any to change that.

As the sidebar suggests, I'm Chris. I mostly talk to computers, occasionally I talk to people. I enjoy cooking, making checklists, and rainy days. I prefer Ruby to other programming languages. I'm curmudgeonly, and prefer text editors to IDEs. I'm not a fan of Lisp (which is somewhat ironic, because I use far too many parentheses in my prose).

Here are some hobbies I've taken up, or at least taken more seriously, in the last few years:

  • Herb gardening
  • Food preparation
  • Fitness

The first two were out of genuine interest. The last was out of necessity (though I don't regret it). I've been dealing with undiagnosed back pain over the last several years, which finally came to a head during the COVID-19 lockdown. After far too many doctor visits, I was diagnosed with a form of spinal degeneration that's causing several of my discs to protrude. Not all of the protrusions are safely operable, and the most effective pain management technique I've found so far has been exercise. At least there's a silver lining here: I haven't been this in-shape since my early college years.

I'd also like to take up programming as a hobby, outside of a professional context. There a couple of projects I'll be working on over the next few weeks1, with accompanying blog posts. The blogging will be more for my own benefit than anything else; I've found that writing about topics as I learn about them helps to reinforce my existing knowledge by exposing where any "information gaps" are. The projects are:

  1. A todo-list desktop application
  2. A first-person shooter computer game

Obviously the difference in scope of these projects is enormous, and grouping them together is somewhat laughable.

A well-polished todo list could easily be finished in weekend of hacking. The world doesn't really need another todo list application, there are already thousands of them on The Internet. But it's a project that can be easily defined, which can be helpful when adapting to new programming paradigms. Since most of my experience is either web-based or serverside, this is an opportunity to familiarize myself with modern desktop technologies. With the growing popularity of frameworks of Electron, I'm not sure how different desktop development will actually be.

A playable (and ideally enjoyable) video game will take me at least several months to build. I've played with Unity a couple of times in the past, though I haven't created anything truly original. Here are a few projects I built while I was taking some courses on Unity development via Coursera (most of the assets were provided as part of the courses):

  • Space - This project was an exercise in camera management, lighting, skyboxes, and simple object movement. Click on a planet, and the camera will follow.
  • Box Shooter - A half-functional "time trial" style shooter. Shoot green boxes to gain points, white boxes to gain time. Avoid shooting yellow boxes.
  • Roller Madness - Roll around! Collect coins! Don't touch angry cubes! This is the closest thing to an actual game that I have built.

One of the big roadblocks for me when attempting to learn about game development is the intersection of disciplines. I've found it difficult to grok where asset creation ends, and programming begins. I'm treating my current project as an exercise in discovering this through experience.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

1 Or more realistically, months. I don't have as much free time as I'd like.