Bouncing off brick walls

In a previous post I promised a bit of an explanation on just why this project has taken so long to get this far (barely alpha at the time of this writing).  The main reason for this will reveal a little piece of who I am and how I handle what appears to be insurmountable hurdles, or at least how I handle the day to day frustrations of a mediocre programmer.

Throughout the entire life of the project (6 years) I have been subjected to certain random and, shall we say, unknowable crashes in the Marble Maze game.  These would crop up perhaps twice a year or so, and sometimes disappear without any work done by me.  Nothing frustrates me more than dealing with a bug I have no clue how to fix.  It just shouldn’t happen!  But it does.

I used the term unknowable because of the nature of the DBPro language and its plugins.  As stated in a prior post, the DBPro language can be extended through the use of plugins (DLLs).  The Newton physics engine is wrapped by one such plugin.  When a random crash occurs deep inside the bowels of Newton.dll I have no way of knowing what inside Newton has crashed or why.  It is a black box where I have no idea what is going on inside.

It is a toss up between whether the randomness of the crash or the closed nature of 3rd party software makes it so frustrating to deal with these types of issues.  Regardless of the cause, it is the outcome that counts.  I handle these frustrations in a very non-productive way.  I stop coding.

The most secret fear I have with a project of this scope is this: that I will eventually strike upon a brick wall situation of which there is no workaround.  In other words, that some limitation/bug of the DBPro language or the Newton physics engine will cause my dream of a 3D marble platformer to never come to fruition.

…Yet I endure.  I continue work to this day, however slowly.  I continue despite several episodes of “coder’s heartbreak” over the years where I really thought there would be no recovery.  But now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I strive for it with a renewed vigor I have not felt in years!

I would like to write about how I took control of certain fears, along with the perceived helplessness, and the positive results it had on my productivity.  That will be for another time…

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