informa
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Reading while building.

Trying to multi task reading a document with building a game.

[From Pompi Pompi Development Blog

For the project Banana Jump, Barrel Kick, I thought to use Tortoise SVN. I have used Tortoise at work a bit, but I never got to install it or read about it. After installing Tortoise I have decided to start reading the Help file. However, I was also working on Labyrinthia which means I had to work on either one of them, or both of them simultaneously.

Part of the builds and compiling of Laby took a long time, leaving me the option to read on one computer while my other computer is building. The first problem I encountered is that I didn't know when the other computer completed a build. And since Laby is my primary project, that was a problem. I solved this in Visual C++ 2005 by simply adding a Dos command line that plays a wav file every time the build was completed.
In "Project->Properties->Configuration Properties->Build Events->Post-Build Event", I have added the command line "c:\Program files\Windows Meida Player\mplayer2.exe" /play /close "D:\Projects\Music\MenuMusic.Wav"
This is a partial solution, because it would only play music if the build was successful. But that was enough for my needs at that time.

I was multi tasking reading and building for a while, but unlike the previous technical problem, I encountered a problem of a different nature. The Tortoise Help document has a few chapters in it. The first few chapters are short and can be read quickly. However, I reached a chapter that I feared was too long to be going back and forth, and I wouldn't be able to understand it this way. This is a very important point, this fear was irrational. I wasn't actually scared of anything, I just wanted to move back to the usual patterns in my brain that told me to work on only a single task at a time. I was back to working on a single task, developing Laby. Very quickly I found myself surfing the Internet, waiting for compilations to complete. It took me a while, but eventually I thought, what if I would read the Help file and work on Laby simultaneously, even though its a long chapter? The answer is, I didn't have an answer. But I didn't even try. Only by trying I would know if I could handle it. Then I also thought, what if I would read and won't understand? I can always read it again and its better than just surfing the web. So there is no big loss here as well. That drove me to try read the "big" chapter and develop simultaneously. After actually trying to do it, I realized it was really easy. This might be just the case with me, but I think my brain don't like to "break the patterns" and prefer to do what is familiar, even if its not the best choice.
I think trying to do something different than what you are used to, could be beneficial, even if you didn't achieve the ultimate goal by doing that. And in respect to programming, you should try to work on two things simultaneously, even if you think you wouldn't be able to.

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