I was supposed to launch a book last week.

I was lost.

I was supposed to launch a book last week.

It was called Gaming for Fun and Profit, and it was about how to make money streaming video games on websites like Twitch.tv and YouTube. It was originally going to be supported by a website, CharityStreams.com, which was going to empower people to use the knowledge they gained from the book as a way to raise awareness for causes they believe in.

I’ve been working very hard on these things for the past year, and I’ve decided to shelve them both for now.

Yet again, I lost sight of what I truly want to be doing: making video games. I saw dollar signs in this idea and was chasing money, not happiness.

That’s not a way to live.

90% done w/ writing it and I was miserable. I knew that after writing came all of the promotion. A week before launch, I had a conversation with an entrepreneur colleague of mine that went something like this:

  • Them: “What have you been working on?”
  • Me: My GfFaP book and CharityStreams.com.
  • Them: “What happened to making video games?”
  • Me: I’ve been working on this and then I’ll switch to making video games.
  • Them: “Between writing the book, promoting it, building out and managing CharityStreams.com, on top of having a day job and spending time with friends and family, when will you have time to make video games?”
  • Me: Well…uh…
  • Them: “Do you want to make video games or do you want that book and website to be your business?”
  • Me: I…want to make video games.
  • Them: “Then why are you spending so much time working on this other stuff when that’s not what you want to do?”

Of course my first reaction was “I’ve already put so much time into it, it would be a waste to not keep working on it,” but that’s the sunk cost fallacy. The worst thing I could do right now is keep working on it. I need to stop and shift focus to what I really want to do: make video games.

  1. I want to build a company I can operate from my laptop from anywhere in the world.
  2. I want the freedom to wake up and go to bed whenever I want.
  3. I want the freedom to go wherever I want, whenever I want.
  4. I don’t want to be held down by an 8-5 job.
  5. I want to make video games that make people happy.
  6. I want to help people learn how to make video games in a better way than I learned.

Which is why I’m shifting my focus to work on GarrettMickley.com and game development. The future of this blog+newsletter will be focused on discussing the design, development, business and marketing of video games.

For those who made it here from IndieGameDev.Club, that site is going on hold until later this year. GarrettMickley.com and this blog+newsletter will handle everything that site was originally supposed to be, and later on in the year I’ll be building a community for game designers and developers at IndieGameDev.Club.

If you would like to join me on this journey: awesome! I’m excited to have you here.

Starting next week you will be receiving emails about my journey in game design and development.

Coffee Coffee Coffee Coffee Cappuccino Java(Script) YES! – December Introduction

You may already know I host a podcast about learning. If you don’t, it’s called Learn To Learn With Garrett Mickley and you can check it out at LearnToLearn.club. In that podcast, I teach you to learn more efficiently so you’ll be more competitive and stay one step ahead in your field.

Here, I’m going to show you how I put that knowledge and those techniques to use in my daily life. You can consider this a lifestyle blog of sorts. Learning is a lifestyle, after all.

It’s December! End of the year already.

Main Quest – Full Stack JavaScript

I’m focusing on learning Full Stack JavaScript (JS, also not to be confused with the Java programming language) because I have some small ideas that I think JavaScript will be perfect for. A month of hyperfocused learning on JavaScript will get me started on what I need to learn to be able to complete this projects, which you’ll be able to find in the Weekend Projects section of the site, in the future, when they’re complete.

I’m using two main resources to learn JS: a book titled JavaScript and JQuery: Interactive Front-End Web Development 1st Edition by Jon Duckett and Team Treehouse, which I used back in October to learn HTML and CSS. If you click on that link and sign up, you get 50% off your first month (and I get 20% off my next month. A penny saved is a penny earned, right?).

The book is a pretty solid 600+ pages and the Team Treehouse course looks to be about 40 hours long. Everything in the book will most likely be in the Treehouse course, but the course will have much more, so what I’m going to do is read the book and anything I don’t quite understand, I’ll watch the Treehouse video for, and then make sure I watch all of the videos of things that weren’t even covered in the book. I’ve flipped through the book a bit and I can already tell it’s going to be a necessary asset to my learning and continued development.

Side Quest – N/A

As I’ve stated before, I’m not doing any side quests for a while.

Reading

I’m going to read Rant by Chuck Palahniuk for the umpteenth time. It’s been a really long time, but this is one of my favorite novels and I really want to read it again. Last month I started Days Of War, Nights Of Love (also a book I’ve read multiple times), and I picked up Recipes For Disaster and I would like to finish that as well. Plus, there’s that JavaScript book.

Day Job

For my day job I’d like to start working on weekly blog posts and a podcast, and eventually grow to doing weekly videos as well. I have no intentions of setting up sponsorship’s on my personal podcast Learn To Learn, but I would like to get sponsorship’s on the day job podcast so that my boss sees that it’s generating direct revenue and thus it’s worth me working on. Other than that, I’ll just be doing my normal day job hustle making sure everything is not only done, but done to the best of my abilities. Oh, and I want to set up a lead magnet and a newsletter for that.

Other Stuff

Speaking of, I’d like to get started on a newsletter for this site as well. I’ve been collecting emails for a while, so I’d like to start sending those out on a weekly basis while I continue to grow the list and podcast listeners.

Looking forward to this month. Hopefully it’s not too intense, considering it’s also the holidays and my brother will be in town.

Pod-Casting Spells – November 2015 Retrospective

You may already know I host a podcast about learning. If you don’t, it’s called Learn To Learn With Garrett Mickley and you can check it out at LearnToLearn.club. In that podcast, I teach you to learn more efficiently so you’ll be more competitive and stay one step ahead in your field.

Here, I’m going to show you how I put that knowledge and those techniques to use in my daily life. You can consider this a lifestyle blog of sorts. Learning is a lifestyle, after all.

Are these puns doing it for ya?

November didn’t go so bad, but I didn’t reach my goals (read the November Introduction). There’s really no excuse, I guess I was just lazy. I can’t pinpoint any one reason why I couldn’t accomplish everything in November. I spent a lot of my weekend time with friends, and playing Fallout 4 which came out this month. The good news is, I got that out of my system and now I’m writing this in early December and I’m motivated to get a lot done. Though I didn’t beat Fallout 4 and it is a lot of fun. There will be plenty of time to play it when I’m done with my initial hustling and can spend more time on leisure and less on the hustle.

Main Quest

Just to remind you, my Main Quest this month was to learn how to make a podcast, and then start a podcast with ten episodes planned, and six episodes both written and recorded. I did get the podcast started and launched a week early, and I actually planned fifteen episodes, but I didn’t get six written and recorded. At the time of writing, I have four written and two recorded, and I’m actually going to be recording episode three right after I finish writing this post up. I did not have a Side Quest this month.

There was so much to learn about podcasting, and I’m really glad there’s a podcast called The Podcast Dude, by Aaron Dowd. This podcast is part of the Seanwes Network of podcasts, all of which have taught me more in the last seven months than I learned in the prior ten years combined.

Some of the most important episodes I listened to:

  • Episode 001: How To Start A Podcast – This one’s pretty self explanatory. I don’t think I need to tell you how it helped me and what I learned. The entire podcast episode was knowledge that was completely new to me.
  • Episode 002: Podcasting Equipment Guide – This show, coupled with talking directly to Aaron and getting advice from him, helped me figure out exactly what I needed. I settled on a Blue Yeti microphone, A shock mount specifically for the Blue Yeti, a cheap pop filter because you don’t need anything fancy for this, and a boom stand for the microphone, which is actually not strong enough for the Blue Yeti because the Yeti is such a dang heavy microphone. I tightened up some bolts and it’s working for now but I may invest in a stronger boom in the future.
  • You know what, actually, just go listen to every episode if you’re interested in starting a podcast. There’s something in each episode that taught me something and I’m not going to list every single one here!

As a member of the Seanwes Community, I was also able to talk directly to Aaron and get a lot of advice directly from him, which was really what I needed to get this snowball rolling downhill. Now, with less upfront work, I’ll be able to watch the snowball grow and grow as it gets closer to the bottom and knocks over Jimmy from down the street. That’s what he gets for saying I would never be successful.

Too far?

Now I’ve got the podcast started, which I would appreciate you go subscribe to, download and listen to the shows, and leave me a review.

Moving Forward

First of all, there are more podcasts to make! All of the podcasts! There’s one every week, so I’ve got a lot to do each week with that. That takes up a considerable amount of time, which is why I may not take on any more Side Quests for a while. In the future, I definitely plan to pick them back up, but between my day job, my Main Quests, the podcast, and other projects, I just don’t really have time. It was an ambitious goal in the first place, but I’ll definitely bring it back when the time comes.

As for the Main Quest, December is going to be Full Stack JavaScript. I’ll talk more about that in the December Introduction post.

Here’s to December!

Quick! Get Into The Escape Pod-cast! – November 2015 Introduction

You may already know I host a podcast about learning. If you don’t, it’s called Learn To Learn With Garrett Mickley and you can check it out at LearnToLearn.club. In that podcast, I teach you to learn more efficiently so you’ll be more competitive and stay one step ahead in your field.

Here, I’m going to show you how I put that knowledge and those techniques to use in my daily life. You can consider this a lifestyle blog of sorts. Learning is a lifestyle, after all.

November is going to be a much better month. As I said in the October Retrospective, I’m not going to be hyperfocused on learning something really intense, like a programming language, and am instead hyperfocused on starting my podcast. The thing is, I’ve never started a podcast, so it turns out there is a lot to learn there, too. The good news is, there’s a podcast called The Podcast Dude that is about podcasting (so meta, right?) which happens to have all of the information I need to get started. As the host, Aaron Dowd, continues to make new episodes I’ll be learning more and improving my podcast as I do it.

I want to have ten podcasts planned and six written and recorded, to use as a buffer, before the end of the month.

I don’t plan on having a Side Quest this month because I really want to make sure I get the podcast ready to go before December.

There’s not really much else to say, so let’s get started working on that podcast!

What A Mess – October 2015 Retrospective

You may already know I host a podcast about learning. If you don’t, it’s called Learn To Learn With Garrett Mickley and you can check it out at LearnToLearn.club. In that podcast, I teach you to learn more efficiently so you’ll be more competitive and stay one step ahead in your field.

Here, I’m going to show you how I put that knowledge and those techniques to use in my daily life. You can consider this a lifestyle blog of sorts. Learning is a lifestyle, after all.

October was a rough month. I announced that I would be getting started with everything, and then my world fell apart. I’m just being overdramatic, it wasn’t that bad.

As Sean McCabe says, “People don’t notice announcements, they notice consistency.” I was unable to provide consistency this month and that’s where I see failure.

My website got compromised by some malicious code, and that was like…I can’t even think of a good analogy. It was gross. The code was everywhere so that if I found and deleted one file, there were 10 more hidden elsewhere. I got blacklisted by Google and any security plugins people have for their browsers, and my host threatened to ban my account. I spent days cleaning out the content. Some days I would wake up and log in to the host and there would be 5 more instances of the code. I figured out they were getting in through compromised FTP accounts, so I deleted a bunch of old ones and changed the passwords on all of the ones I kept. I used a random password generator and at this point even I don’t know the passwords. I also ended up paying for a site security service that is kind of pricey but hopefully solves the issue, and prevents them from happening again. If it works out, then it’s worth every penny. I see it as an investment.

I could say “because of the hack…” I didn’t keep up with weekly updates that I planned to do (like this one, but based on the previous week instead of the previous month), but that would just be a crap excuse. The truth is, I used that as a reason to justify to myself not to write anything, so that I could spend more time doing things I like to do (like play Heroes of the Storm, watch Twin Peaks on Netflix, run around pretending I know photography, etc).

I did write my October 2015 Introduction, but it didn’t get posted until just now (a month late). Let’s see how much of that I stuck to.

Just a reminder: “Main Quest” is my primary learning goal, and “Side Quest” is my secondary learning goal. I refer to them as “quests” because I’m a dork and I like to allude to video games as often as I can.

Main Quest:

My main quest was to learn HTML/CSS, again, after learning it when I was younger and then only barely putting it to use. A lot has changed, but I feel pretty comfortable now with the stuff that’s newer than when I initially started learning it over ten years ago. I’ve already started to apply what I learned to my day job and it’s really motivating to get to use what I’ve learned last month so quickly in my every-day life.

I did fail on finishing the Treehouse course, but I intentionally skipped some stuff. For example, the classes on HTML tables. I know tables pretty well; there’s not a whole lot to them. I was able to skip that. I also skipped the graphic design classes because I was focusing on learning the code end of things. I do plan on going back and learning that stuff in the future, too, because I know they’ll benefit me immensely, but this month I couldn’t squeeze it in. The one thing I didn’t finish that I wish I had was the SASS class. I really want to get into that because I’ve seen some really cool stuff made with SASS. I also skipped out on the SEO class because I do that every day for my job; I don’t need to sit through an online class of that. I may go back and watch it one day on the clock (R&D time!) to make sure they don’t have some revolutionary new idea I seemed to have overlooked in my over seven years of doing SEO (doubtful but possible).

Side Quest:

As far as my side quest, sudoku, goes: I finished that. The book I had was cool but the puzzles were all too easy, and it didn’t go up to five stars as I had thought. I did some puzzles from one star all the way up through the four stars and I found it all too easy. Since there were no five star puzzles, I downloaded a free sudoku app for my iPhone and started playing with that. I had to play a couple games of each star level to unlock the next level, but it only took me an hour or two to unlock all five levels. At that point, I was completing five star sudoku puzzles in less than an hour, but I had mistakes and had to use hints. I researched some tips and eventually, through practice, was able to beat five star puzzles in less than thirty minutes with no hints or mistakes. I can’t do it every time, but I did it a few times. I’m going to mark that off as a success.

Day Job:

I picked up some extra work at my day job, and was offered some other opportunities to take on in the future, and my boss is happy with my performance. That’s really all there is to report on that for now. I’ll talk more about the potential future opportunities when they’re more relevant.

Vlogging:

I tried to start daily vlogs but failed after 2 days. I just don’t think my life is that interesting (I say as I’m typing a blog about my life…c’mon Garrett be real here). I mostly sit at a computer and do internet marketing stuff, and then sit at a computer and do learning stuff. And work on my new podcast. That’s about it. I think I can salvage some of the footage and start doing weekly ones. That might be more interesting. Enough happens to me in a week that I have things to show and talk about. The hard part is remembering to turn on the camera to record stuff. I’m not the type of person to take photos or video during a concert; I like to live in the moment and not really worry about recording it, so it’s tough for me to remember to grab the camera and turn it on when something worth recording is happening.

Reading:

I also read The Martian by Andy Weir. I got kind of bored about two thirds into the book, but after taking a week off, I finished it. I’m glad I did, but I probably won’t read it again. It was a pretty stressful book, and was very repetitive in that it’s just a series of unfortunate events for the main character. The book was will written and the main character was really funny.

Moving Forward – November 2015:

For November 2015 I’m not doing a side quest. My main quest is to learn how to podcast, and I’d like to focus on my podcast without worrying about keeping up with something else. I think I spent a lot of time on the sudoku side quest last month and I believe that was part of my problem with getting everything done last month. I’ll write more about podcasting in my November 2015 Introduction post.

I’m going to continue doing one big monthly recap at the end instead of weekly recaps. That would be better for everyone. Or would you rather weekly recaps? Let me know, I’m sure I can swing it.

I’m going reorganize my website a little bit and definitely going to redo my website theme because this one loads to slow. I’m also going to redo the colors to match the branding of my new podcast, Learn To Learn With Garrett Mickley.

Oh yeah, I’m going to start a new podcast, Learn To Learn With Garrett Mickley.

Once the podcast is up and running and I’ve got a solid queue of content prepared, I want to start doing weekly vlogs to coincide with the weekly recaps. I’m very inspired by CharliMarieTV and Casey Neistat, and I also bought a sweet new camera so I might as well put it to use, right?

I also have some weekend projects planned including a music project, a text project, a couple games, and some other stuff. I miss game design. I’m going do more of that. Weekend projects are for hobby stuff to help me recharge. Weekend projects don’t necessarily take one weekend, and often are spanned across multiple weekends, so check the Weekend Projects page regularly to see if there’s anything new. Or just sign up for my newsletter (below).

Looking even further forward, I want to release a book in 2016, and of course there is A LOT of learning to be done, so let’s get back to that!

October 2015 Introduction

HTML/CSS – Sudoku

It’s October of 2015 which means it’s time to start up a new learning adventure! This month, my Main Quest is HTML/CSS, and my Side Quest is to practice Sudoku until I can beat five star difficulty puzzles, which is the hardest level that is readily available. I also have one weekend project planned, but I’ll wait until it’s ready before I talk about it.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I want to point out that I’m not entirely new to HTML/CSS. In fact, when I was 13 I started building websites with tools such as Geocities, Angelfire, and eventually Tripod. I had a lot of fun and in high school I started learning HTML. Back then, LiveJournal was popular and you could customize your theme with HTML and CSS so I had learned a little bit of that to be able to have a cool theme. I also built a few websites here and there that weren’t anything interesting. Then, at some point, I lost interest and didn’t really focus on it. Jump ahead to college and I end up working a job in internet marketing, and all of that sort of comes back to me because I need to make minor edits to HTML and CSS on a regular basis. The thing is, I never REALLY got into Web Design, and though I know HTML and CSS on a fairly basic level, I don’t know much about best practices or advanced CSS. So, I’d like to take a month, the month of October, to focus on learning more advanced HTML/CSS.

I’ve found that Treehouse (click here for a 50% discount code) has excellent tutorials and so I’ve signed up with their platform to take their 40+ hour Web Design course. In a nutshell, Treehouse hosts a lot of tutorials for programming in various languages, as well as some recorded design and programming conferences, and their students get lots of discounts with other useful online services. Their tutorials are good for all learning styles, because they touch on visual learning, auditory learning, and kinesthetic learning throughout each tutorial series. I’ll be completing the entire Web Design course this month, and I have a strong suspicion that I’ll be back on Treehouse in a future month, learning something different.

As for my side quest, I’ve actually been doing Sudoku off and on since senior year of high school. When I was a senior, I had an English class where pretty much all we did was read a book, out loud in class, and then filled out a packet of questions to make sure we comprehended the books. I’m an avid reader, and classes were about an hour and a half long, so I was able to finish these books generally in a week, which took the whole class reading out loud a month or more to finish. In just one or two week’s worth of classes, I would have the book finished and packet filled out, with nothing to do. Sometimes I skipped class and went to IHOP and the beach with my girlfriend at the time, which I’m not even sorry about because I got an A, but for the times that I did show up to class, I brought in Sudoku puzzles to pass the time. I never really got past the three star difficulty, either because I wasn’t good enough or just because I wasn’t confident enough. I happened to recently pick up a Sudoku puzzle book with puzzles ranging from one star to five stars, so I’ve decided to tackle this book. It has 103 puzzles, and I’m going to finish them all this month, without cheating of course.

Alright, well, it’s time for me to get started. First, I want to show you that I have a referral link where you can get 50% off your first month of Treehouse, and I don’t make any money off of that! But I do get a discount on my next month, so I can’t say I’m not benefiting. It’s normally $25 per month, but you can hop in for $12.50 and see if you like it.

Let’s get to learning!

Let’s Play bit Dungeon II (Part1)

This is part 1 of a Let’s Play video for bit Dungeon II.

This particular video is part of a series I am working on called the Burnin’ Dollar Signs challenge, which you can learn more about here: https://youtu.be/Gj8_QptOUoo

This was my first time ever playing bit Dungeon II and I had a lot of fun. It’s a pretty unique game yet it’s full of throwbacks to some older games like the GameBoy era Zelda games, which are a staple of my childhood, and references to Rogue and the other old Rogue-likes from the late 80’s and early 90’s.

It took me a little bit to get the hang of it but I think I’ve got it now! I’ll need to do some research on the game, now that I’ve tried it with naivety, so that I can play it better and get the full experience of the game.

If you have any tips, please let me know in the comments!

Introduction To Burnin’ Dollar Signs Challenge (Let’s Plays)

So I’m doing Let’s Plays with all of the hundreds (not exaggerating) of games I purchased on Steam and haven’t even touched.

I’m calling it the Burnin’ Dollar Signs Challenge because I feel like if I don’t play at least 100 minutes of each game then it was a waste of money and I’m just “burnin’ dollar signs’.

Anyway, this video is an introduction to that.

If there’s a game you hear me rattle off that you particularly want to watch me play, let me know in the comments and I’ll move it higher on the priority list.