Total student loans: $15,875.39

Hi, I’m Rachel. I’m 31 years old now, and I have a full time developer job, and I’m currently working on paying off my student loans by throwing over half my monthly income into payments each month. It’s now August of 2019, and I last worked on this in December of last year. As I’ve been working as a developer, I’ve been steadily getting more internally frustrated and depressed at not doing any game development – an artist has to do art, ya’know? 😛 A lot of it has been, what do I work on? What tools? What platforms? And just feeling frustrated that I can’t just work on a game for fun for the sake of it, like my old games ( Rawr Rinth )… I hate having to worry about cross-platform-ality and trying to find a tool that runs in Linux AND is not-proprietary AND that I enjoy using. And develo…


Lightning talk: Conlangs

Linkin’ it here so I don’t lose it.

Project slump – Analysis Paralysis

I’m working full time now, and I’m still adjusting to it. January I had time to work on a game (Math Kingdom Quest) and February we were in India most of the month. Now I’m finding myself in a project slump, and the longer I sit in this slump the more frustrated I feel.


A lot of ideas I have are small things I want to do really quickly. But, I also code my stuff, I don’t really have a third-party engine I use to get things done quickly. I can sometimes pump out simple things in a day or two, but even simple ideas can take a lot of work to do.

I’m not heavily invested in any one project, now that I have a full time job… Now that I have the freedom to design something “for fun” rather than “for sale”, I have a lot of ideas that I’d like t


The first thing that happens is I get Analysis Paralysis on what language to use…

“I enjoy writing in C++ most”

“The kids I hang out with only use mobile, and it’d be easier to get them to play the game on that or on web.”

“Ugh god I don’t want to write it in JavaScript that kind of sucks.”

“Android development is a drag, too.”

“I should be using something like Unity or Godot to make these games cross-platform.”

“AGH I don’t want to use proprietary Unity and Godot was unstable for me in Linux!”

“OK well MAYBE I should be WRITING an ENGINE that can be built for WEB and for ANDROID.”

“Agh I WROTE a C++/SDL2 engine but it needs work and it uses Lua so then I’d have to figure out how to get THAT working, too!”

“Just start a new one and take parts of your old engine bit-by-bit! But make sure it builds for…”

And so on and so forth. Hard to even begin.


The second thing is that I want to build myself a social media hub, including a place for my repositories and to host my games as well as a replacement for a Facebook wall and Twitter feed that I can link back to from Facebook/Twitter/Diaspora/Mastodon/YouTube.

But that’s a lot of work.

Right now I have a mishmash of various pages with different things, different styles, different levels of polish. I want to put it all together but it would be a major feat,

“There’s no use making a new game until I get my webpage done.”

“AGH no that will be forever I can’t let it block me.”

“OK well you’ll just have more to migrate later!”

“Maybe I should just keep it all on for now!”

“But what about your project update blogs? VLOGS? You can’t just keep throwing everything to be hosted ONLY on proprietary social media!”


Trying to work my way out

I keep thinking of things I want to work on – little things here and there, or stuff I can work on over time. I want to make sure it’s in a language I want to use (I got really frustrated once Undead Debt was getting more complex, using Python), but I want to make sure I can also publish to all the platforms I want.

I want a platform to post my stuff to, but for my personal web development I still use PHP and old webdev practices. I’m not particularly amazing at design for websites, either, and I don’t like the style of 2010’s webpages.

I’m just stuck, in my mind, and I’m having a hard time working through it. I know I need a plan and a first step to tackle to get going, but I’m so overwhelmed.

Freedroid RPG (v0.16.1) walkthru


I’m currently trying to Let’s Play Freedroid RPG (and perhaps in the future other Open Source games), though I’m finding it hard to figure out where to go and what to do. There is, from what I can tell, one walkthru, and I am still finding myself stuck. Therefore, I’m going to write my own walkthru. For a note, I am playing through v0.16.1 for this guide.

Tutorial (and how to play)

When you first open the game, there is a Tutorial you can play through. I’d suggest trying to run through it, though it is pretty tedious. I’ll try to summarize things here in case you’re impatient (like me).

TODO: Write this

Starting the game

What a great day.
Yes, I’m being sarcastic again.
The whole planet is in flames.
Thousands of people are very dead.
Qwerty and Arensito are not responding.

Ah, yes, I almost forgot.
The bloody bots are about to find me, too.
I’m not very happy with that, Not happy at all.
I guess I have to pretend I’m just a nice rock, yet again.
Don’t you think it would be a great time to wake up?
Get up. Get here. Save my ass.

Dvorak, First AI

When you first begin the game, an old man comes up to you to initiate dialog.

“HELP! We’re under attack!”

Your character is apparently groggy, just now waking up. The scientist informs you that you’ve been in stasis, but there’s no time to explain – there is a bot running loose in the next room, and he needs you to neutralize it.

There’s only one way you can go – through the door with blue bars (red bars mean locked). You might want to hit ESC

Controls: Click in a location to move with the mouse, click an enemy to attack it. Hold CTRL while moving to run.

The bot will initiate dialog with you as well. It identifies you as a Linarian – your race (I’m assuming all giant penguins). After talking to the droid, it will attack you.

The robot is pretty weak, but so are you. Make sure to keep an eye on your health – the red bar on the bottom-right of the screen.

Kicking butt and taking names

After the droid is dead, make sure to open the chest and take the equipment – it will auto-equip. You can also view your equipment by clicking the INV button on the bottom-center of the screen, or tapping the I key.

You can go back to the scientist, Dr. Francis Spark, and talk to him now.

“Thank heavens! Perhaps the legends are true after all…”

You can talk to him and have some questions answered. He mentions that the Red Guard in the town directed him to thaw you out, and you can also get more backstory information as well. He will also ask you to take a data cube to the town, to a person named Spencer, the leader of the Red Guard.

Quest: Deliverance

To get out of the Cryo Statis Lab, go through the waiting room and out the front door. If you’re confused about the level layout, save your game and open the map editor. Press ESC, click the “Level name” option on the top, and type in 12. You can press O

Make sure to save your game before heading out – there are a lot of bots on the way. It’s probably best to try to avoid them for now and make a beeline for the town.

The outdoors map is map #8 in the level editor, if you need to view it.

Getting to the town

The first gate to the town is open, but the second gate is locked. Talk to the red North Gate Guard here to continue. He will tell you about another Stranger he let into the town. On the day the stranger visited, all the computers “went insane”, 20 bags of food rations vanished, and one town bot was stolen. The guy lives to the east, and you’ll receive the A strange guy stealing from town

The guard will tell you to talk to Spencer, the Red Guard leader, before wandering around town. Until then, a guard will be following you. Upon asking where to find Spencer, you will receive an update to the quest Deliverance.

The town is map #0.

Head down to the Red Guard HQ and talk to Spencer.

When talking to Spencer, complete the quest by telling him, “Francis wanted me to give you a data cube.” then Give the data cube to Spencer.

Quest completed!

While talking to Spencer, tell him “I want to join the Red Guard.” He will give you some tasks to do in order to prove yourself. Ask him, “How is it going?” and then “Maybe I could help somehow?” and he will give you the quest Opening a can of bots…

The town layout

Before you go out questing more, let’s look at important points around the town.

Doc Moore – You can be healed by Doc Moore and buy Antibiotics and Diet Supplements

Ms. Stone – Buy equipment (armor, weapons) here.

Library – B

Skippy – Buy a minimap and teleport beacons (can teleport to the Teleporter while you’re away from town.)

About: Items, stats, and durability

As you use your weapons or get hit, your weapons and armor will degrade. You can do a quick repair yourself with a skill, but the item’s maximum durability will go down. You can get your items repaired in town, without a penalty to the max durability, by going to ????? (TODO: update)

To repair your own items, click on the SKI button. Click on the Repair equipment icon, which will equip it as your right mouse button action. Then, in the inventory (Click on INV)

Also make sure to check an item’s requirements before spending money on it. Check your stats in the game by pressing C or clicking on the CHA button at the bottom-center of the screen.

About: The Teleporter

There’s a Town Teleport Guard who walks around inside and around the Teleporter room. Talk to them and ask how teleportation works – they will give you your first Teleporter homing beacon for free. To get more later on, you can go to Skippy in town (see the map).

Modifying the save game file

This game is pretty grind heavy. If you want to play through it without grinding, you can edit the save file in a hex editor. In Linux, your save file will be under ~/.freedroid_rpg. Extract the YOURNAME.sav.gz file, then open the YOURNAME.sav file in a hex editor. Search for base_ to modify stats like base_dexterity, base_physique, base_strength, and the points_to_distribute.

Quest: Opening a can of bots…

For this quest, you need to clear out the first floor of a warehouse. It is to the north-east of town. Before you leave, make sure to buy some health potions from Doc Moore and get a Teleporter homing beacon from the Town Teleport Guard. You might not have much money yet, but you can buy better armor from Ms. Stone too. You might also try to get the minimap from Skippy, as well.

You might want to grind right outside of town to afford better equipment and to level up so you can use better weapons. There are a lot of droids in the warehouse, and they’ll quickly drain your health!

Exit the town and then begin going East (to the right).

In the corner of this building is a hatch to go to the warehouse area. You have to exterminate all the droids on this level to complete the quest. The map number is #1 if you’re looking at it in the map editor.

It might take a few trips back to town to buy more potions, since you don’t have much money to start out with. Make sure to break Barrels and Crates as these often have money (Circuits)

Paulo B

Heyy, just passing by to let you know that you (and lazzy foo) pretty much led me into a CS degree, graduating later this year. Keep up the good work!

-Paulo B

Money stress

Me: I want to work on my own business! I’m not going to work full time for now!

School loans: Hey, I’m over here.

Car: Oh I guess I won’t start anymore.

Computer: *gasp* *wheeze*

Husband: Don’t worry about getting a full time job.

All the expenses: HHEEELLLLLOOO?!?!?

Me: *Depression sleeps*

Money and Motivation

It’s clear that I’m going to need to get a full time developer job once we’re back from India. My husband is talking about wanting to buy a house and wants to go on vacations and travel, we will probably be ready for a kid in a few years, and I still have student loans to pay off. January is my only “free month”, then I’ll be busy for all of February, and then I have to go back to being a real adult.

It kind of kills my motivation.

It’s great – I get a whole month to just think about this one game. But I wish it were my job. I wish I could look forward to months of being able to work on a game, hustle to find people or schools to pitch it to, learning more about marketing and experimenting and growing. But I know it won’t be my full-time job, ever. And I’ve carried that weight my entire adult life.

I watch GDC talks where indie guys work full time on their games and “support their families” and I’m envious. We need two incomes. And I know that I’m always going to have to pursue my game development as the “side thing”, mustering whatever energy is left to me at the end of a workday, while also balancing family, friends, and eventually a kid. I don’t have it in me, and possibly don’t even have the privilege

If I keep working at it – 30 minutes to a few hours of development each day – I can make things. I can publish them. I can spend a bit of free time to try to get the word out. But I’m not going to be able to make it my job.

And so, if I’m always going to have to steal bits of time away here and there to work on games that way, what’s the point of stressing myself out in January to get something done? It’s not like I’m going to finish my math board game for Android and magically make, oh, at least $10,000 in sales this year. This isn’t my Final Fantasy, my swan song, last ditch effort to “make it”. I’m not going to “make it” in a month. You can’t get successful from one month of work.

More than anything, I want to be like the developers I had idolized in the 90s, working for themselves on their own work. I want to build a company. But I don’t have the luxury of taking off enough time to build products, find licensing agreements, or find investors.

I’ve been beating myself up about this for over a decade, and I don’t see it becoming any less raw.

Lesson 1: Don’t forget your ramp-up time

I should have just expected my first few days in January to be time to set up my environments and properly explore different tools, instead of chomping at the bit to immediately get started programming. I realize now I need this exploratory time to really feel at peace with the tools I’m using and feel like I have a set plan. Also time to update software. Also time to experiment.

Don’t forget to allocate time to more than just DEV DEV DEV.

… Also, I’m taking my antidepressants again. I stopped when I got stick before Christmas because I didn’t want to “waste” the pills on a time when I was just going to be sleeping mostly anyway.


Waking up this morning still feeling like crap – I’ve been sick for two weeks now. Even though my cold is more mild now, my throat still hurts and feels terrible every morning. The house is a huge mess because I’ve been trying to get well and rest, and I want to make sure to program a sufficient amount each day. I also want to get into a routine and wake up early in the morning and sleep earlier at night.

I have been looking forward to January for months. And I feel incredibly depressed that I’m not at my 100% to tackle what I want to tackle.

I want to make money independently of a company. I want to do this. I want to make a living creating good things. I want to do fulfilling work.

My anxiety is spiking. I don’t get this chance very often – one other time in my adult life. I can’t just go that long without an income. And it’s hard to find any decent part-time jobs. I don’t want to go back to working full-time. I don’t want other entities to sap my energy and creativity and time. I don’t want to go back.

On Hold Because Money

Just a quick note – the game is currently on hold. Jan 2019 I have “free” because it doesn’t make sense to job hunt before I’m going to be out of the country for a month, so I’ll be focusing on making some educational games this month to try to make some money. That means this is on hold because it’s not small enough, or really “attractive enough”(?) to be something people buy. But I’ll try to work on it more in the future, once I have some income happening.