Trip Report, March 1st, 2023

Photo by Pixabay


February was the ninth month on the journey. February proved interesting and was a milestone of sorts. During the month I only created one new post (bad), but that post had the most initial engagement of any previous post and created a longer initial tail than any previous post (good). Post 10 of the 'How to make a Text Adventure Game in Rust' series earned over 402 views (Blogger) on its initial posting, in its first ~20 days the post has earned over 2000 views (Blogger). Both Blogger and Google Analytics also show an unexpected 'two peak' engagement pattern where a second higher peak of engagement occurred two days after the initial posting. By any measure, this post is the most successful initial post thus far.

The positive reaction to post 10 created the best engagement numbers the blog has ever seen. Metrics for February were more than double January and to be honest create a new bar that will likely be difficult to repeat.


All did not go well in February. Despite the success on overall engagement metrics, I fell short of my posting goal. Why? Well it is the result of lack of planning finally catching up to me. I've been working through a series of posts based on the excellent series by Ruud Helderman. In my work, I've been implementing parallel posts in Rust as I come to them, one by one. What I haven't been doing is working ahead of my posting. And therein lies the challenge that prevented me from posting a second time in February.

In post 9 of the series we added a game file that shifts game data (e.g. sites, actors, objects) into an external file. This is a shift from the parent series, which uses AWK to generate code and then compile that generated file into the final executable. My thinking at the time was that it would be better to externalize the game data into a file and create a data driven executable rather than to compile the data into the game as static objects.

HOWEVER in post 11, the series extends this code generation to include actual snippets of C code that are then compiled into the game. This creates a problem because statically linked Rust won't eval code at runtime and my externally configured game data can't replicate the same capability. This leaves two options that I see, either go back and switch how we do the game file (perhaps using macros), or to embed a scripting language into the game so the game file can pass scripted logic into the game. I still haven't settled on the best path forward, and thus the delay in the second post.

A second challenge I'm having is that the amount of time to create posts is too long. Currently, to create a post, I've been following a pattern where I implement the code, and then re-implement the code stepwise while writing the post. The takes at least twice the time as just writing the code does, and typically, the second step takes twice as long as the first step because of the added descriptions that I end up creating. There are two problems with this. The first is that creating a post is taking on the order of 10-20 hours, which is too much to post regularly. The second is that the authoring process feels tedious since by that point I've already implemented the code. I need to find a better way to capture and share my work that doesn't involve double the work.

Ultimately, if I want to keep to my planned post average I need to post 4 times in March.

One way to achieve this that might also address the challenges I'm having would be to create some more exploratory posts that aren't tied to the text adventure game series, but that would be stand alone posts that allow me to explore coding topics that are likely to be of value in future game development efforts, but that would stand alone. These could be simple 'How To's' for using various libraries, or explorations of game topics.

More thinking is required to figure out the best path forward.


Ninth monthly report - March 5
5000 Blogger Page Views in a Month - Feb 28th
1000 Analytics Page Views in a Month - Feb 28th
1st Comment on Blogger - February 4th

The Numbers

A thank you to all the supporters past, present, and future who make these numbers possible.

Month Revenue Expenses Total Posts Indexed BPV APV MP
July:$0.00$0.0050106718* (Partial month)3
June:$0.00$12.0020626* (Includes personal)0* (Not installed)2

BPV = Blogger Page Views
APV = Analytics Page Views
MP = Monthly Posts

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