On the uses and acceptability of tinkering

One of the things I love about our Pender house is that the previous owners left so much stuff behind, giving us ample opportunity to experiment with all sorts of DIY skills without fear. Every new skill teaches you a new facet of how the little bits and pieces of our world are assembled. It is incredible, to me, to be able to look at a thing and begin to understand how it was put together, why it was put together that way, and what that may say about its creators.

Ask ten different people to create an herb garden, with no further instructions, and you’ll get 10 wildly different results, all of which will be interesting for what they imply about the person who made it. The beautifully-finished cedar staircase planter filled with multiple copies of the same four basic herbs could be the work of someone who enjoys the aesthetics or the carpentry more than the gardening and cooking, while the rough pallet-hack planter filled with rare plants might indicate a gardener or a chef who’s either impatient or a carpentry novice.

A collage depicting three wooden planters of wildly different styles.
All three of these are approximately the same item — a wooden planter. None of these implementations are wrong, but they reflect the different priorities of their creators.

It can be difficult to tell, sometimes, whether an aspect of the piece is rough because the creator was inexperienced or they simply didn’t care, unless you yourself are an expert in that field. This is true for nearly any skill, I think.

Some skills are great for random tinkering and that should be encouraged. Other skills shouldn’t be practiced “live” except by those who are already trained up to a certain level of competence, because a wrong step could cause great harm to yourself or others. There is a reason that dog grooming classes don’t practice on dummy dogs with nylon hair, that hair salon schools allow students to (eventually) cut hair in class, and that surgeons are only permitted to cut into a live patient after extensive training.

I have more thoughts about this but it’s late and I’m still percolating.

Long time no see…

I can’t believe it’s been over 16 months since the last post… it’s been a very busy year and a half. Some updates based on my current About (which is soon to change):

  • My name is still Meg!
  • I am now 28!
  • I have moved from Vancouver, BC to beautiful Pender Island, BC.
  • I have pivoted from the 3D pipeline and game industries back into my original love, web development. But I do still dabble in Unity now and then.
  • Partially as a result of moving to Pender, I now have a much more extensive and successful garden than I used to. But there is always room for another project!
  • I got back into Facebook, used it for awhile, remembered why I didn’t like Facebook, and finally deleted it permanently.
  • Our beautiful old man cat, Heathcliff, passed away a few months after our move. We buried him in the back yard, in the kind of grassy, shady spot that he loved to laze in back when he was still an outdoor cat (before my time!).
  • We welcomed several new arrivals into our home, all rescues. Our dog, Charles, was adopted through the Burnaby SPCA and our three kittens were adopted through my partner’s dad, who was chosen by a pregnant cat to be her new human. We offered to take any of the “leftovers” and are now the proud roommates of three black beauties, all slightly different in looks and very different in personality.

I hope to post more soon. I like to share things about my life and what I’m working on sometimes, but the current state of social media makes me uneasy, so resurrecting the blog seems like the thing to do. I am thinking of adding a wider mix of topics since my interests have expanded so much since the last time I ran this blog, as well as some shorter posts just to keep in the habit of writing.

 

Gone, but not forgotten.

1 Room and 48 Hours (Ludum Dare compo entry)

Last weekend was Ludum Dare 37, and my first time entering. The theme was “One Room”, so I decided to make a simple and quick game about participating in Ludum Dare. šŸ˜€ It’s called “1 Room and 48 Hours”. Your goal is to make the best possible competition entry while still taking care of your own personal needs.

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I kept the scope pretty small for this game because I wasn’t sure how much I could get done, but next time I think I’ll be a bit more ambitious. (What’s the worst that could happen? :)) I’m also debating going back to try the old themes on my own. It was an interesting challenge and I’m not sure I want to wait another 4 months to try it again!

You can see the entry hereĀ or download the game here. Source code is available here.

Dynamically generating 3D meshes in Unity: what not to do

A simple 2D square generated in Unity. It's purple because we haven't assigned any shaders yet.
A simple 2D square generated in Unity. It’s purple because we haven’t assigned any shaders yet.

Recently in Unity, I’ve been playing with dynamic map generation. I wanted a hex-based map, so first things being first, I needed a hexagon. My hexagons would be pretty simple meshes, and I had to have all the points and calculationsĀ about their shape encoded into Unity anyway, since I would need that to put together the grid, so I decided to dynamically generate the mesh itself through Unity. Continue reading