Never waste a good crisis

“This… is a blessing in disguise”, I quickly realised, when the Big Boss delivered the inevitable news during a group call:

I am sorry to inform you, but your position is being furloughed.

I was not surprised. Not surprised at all. Finally, the furlough wave swooping through the country had made it to my little development desk.

Here in the UK, “furloughed” means the government pays a percentage of your monthly salary (up to a certain limit), while you remain employed, but are no longer allowed to perform any work for your employer. No work at all. No calls, emails, texts. Nada, nichts, nothing.

“Never waste a good crisis”, a wise man once said. And so I immediately shifted gears and started searching for the best use for this gift of time that I had so unexpectedly been blessed with.

Something I wanted to do for the longest time, was to create a place to share small snippets of my own, personal game development journey. In a format that I hope will inspire and motivate others who share a similar passion.

Making my website with GatsbyJS

As a first step, I wanted to create a truly simple, blazing-fast, SEO-friendly website centered on one key feature:

A blog.

I didn’t want the complexity and hassle that often comes with a custom backend, a CMS, or even just a WordPress site. Instead, I wanted my blog to be based on Markdown, which I feel provides a fantastic editing experience that is just perfect for my needs.

To be search-engine friendly, fast, and cheap to host, I also wanted my site to be static.

Working in web development, I regularly use a JavaScript framework called React. And I remembered that GatsbyJS, a React framework I long wanted to learn, might just be the perfect tool to get this site done in a matter of days. So I went with it!

Here are the steps I took to create this very site:

  1. First, I browsed the official GatsbyJS website to develop a general understanding of the technology.
  2. Next, I downloaded the official GatsbyJS Blog Starter and familiarised myself with the code, changed things here and there, and experimented for a few hours until everything started to make sense.
  3. It soon became clear that, while this little starter provided basic blog functionality, I wanted a few more features than what came out of the box. So I realised that I would need to develop a slightly better understanding of GatsbyJS to achieve what I had in mind for my site.
  4. Fortunately, I found an awesome article titled Build an advanced blog using Gatsby and React that covered many of the features I wanted to implement. In addition, the source code for Dan Abramov’s OverReacted blog was a great help as well.
  5. For the final nooks & crannies, I found the official GatsbyJS Docs to be a godsend. You wonder how to achieve a specific functionality, only to find that they’ve already anticipated your need, and already have a page covering just that!

Branding anything is hard

With the majority of the technical aspects of my site done, I could no longer escape having to commit to a brand name for my site and its associated social profiles.

If you’ve ever branded anything in today’s day and age, you know that this is a process plagued with constant confrontation with some form of prompt that basically boils down to:

That brand name is already taken.

Whether the culprit is the domain name, the social handles, or the YouTube channel, something is typically taken.

So after much brainstorming and research, I am especially proud to present to you my new game development brand:
Game development inspiration. Brought to life. With Unity.

And that, dear reader, is how far I’ve gotten and where I’m at right now. Well, I’ve also created some matching social profiles for GameDevMix.

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