Just my blog for now

I Finally C Something Interesting

In my last post I talked about finding a side project, and I had narrowed down my options to diving deeper into Go, making a game with Godot, or writing something mobile with flutter. I could never make myself try out flutter, right now mobile just isn’t interesting to me at all. While I’d to get to know Go a bit better, I’ll have opportunities for that in my day to day job as I get deeper into the Kubernetes world, but I really like the idea of either learning a general purpose programming language that has a bit more going on than my current go to language, Python. At the same time, while playing Godot, I found that while I do like the idea of a making a game, pasting my own scripts on top of other peoples’ pre-made engine isn’t terribly satisfying. Of course if my goal was to ship a game then using an existing engine would make the most sense, but this is a hobby project just to scratch my own creative itch, so starting from scratch isn’t a crazy idea. I briefly considered Go for this, but after a brief skimming of some forums, it appears to be possible to write games in Go, but it’s not a great match for the task. More of a fun thing for existing Go aficionados to do, which isn’t me yet and didn’t seem to be the best way for me to learn Go. So I thought about what libraries I’d be using and even today, SDL seems like a decent choice for basic game development. So while it does have bindings to several languages, even Go, it’s a C library at its core. I’m no stranger to C, I learned a bit of it when I was in high school, even doing some rudimentary operating system development, and learned it a bit more properly in college, but I’ve probably not touched it for a serious project in about 15 years. The amount of forgotten is far more than what I remember, but it should be fun to pick back up.

Some of you may be asking why I don’t use Rust, C++, or some other supported language. One additional thing I realized when I picked C, is that it’ll dovetail nicely with the various microcontroller boards I have in the closet. Right now they’re mostly set up for arduino or maybe micropython, but learning C again would give me a lot more options with those. I really like the idea of low level system programming and maybe I could even get back into some operating system development. So that leaves out most of the languages on list. Rust seems interesting, but it’s still growing and a lot of the tooling is still maturing, especially on the game development side where I plan to start out, so it’s off the table for now, but who know, once I have a taste for learning programming languages again I may pick it up down the line. Finally we get to C++. Honestly I don’t have a good answer for this one except personal preference. Back when I did play around with C before I also picked up some C++, and I alway just found C to feel “cleaner”. I might pick up some C++ down the line as needed, but for now I’m going to stick with plain C as much possible. I’ve been playing around with it this weekend and I’m finding that I remember more than I thought(probably helps that nearly every other language I’ve used in recent years has ripped off C in someway) and I’m feeling about computers in a way that I haven’t felt in a long time. Sort of a feeling of excitement and awe just being a bit less abstracted away. Compared to Python, Go, or Java I’m basically playing without any guard rails and it’s fun. I guess after so many years being stuck far further up the stack, it’s nice to be reminded that there’s lower level that can mucked around with too.