Ph.D. Adventures!

Why Can’t They Use Powerful Languages that Already Exist? (Ph.D. Year 2, Spring Update 6)


I was sick half the week so I didn’t accomplish much. Worked on refining the beginning part of the SDG theory paper. For teaching, I had grading, quiz creation, and made some minor improvements to assignment instructions. Feeling overwhelmed and not all the way better.

Weekly Update Breakdown

Accomplishments Since My Last Update

  • Writing (SDG theory)
    • Updated abstract, citations, and gathered ACM CCS Concepts. 
  • Research (Project CODE Switch)
    • Started learning GML. The only positive thing I have to say about GML is that it is better than JavaScript. My brother told me that by the transitive property that it is also better than R. 
    • This has been a roadblock because I am unclear what the best way to implement the sim in GML. (I would just do structs and classes in C#.) I believe I have an idea of how to implement it. I really wish we were using an OO language though.
  • Teaching
    • Is going well. Getting lots of good feedback to help improve the class from post-presentation writeups. That was an excellent idea I had. 🙂
  • Self-care dailies
    • Thank goodness for these! Helping me stay sane. The extra daylight is making me feel better as well.
  • Executive
    • I did the NCFDD’s core curriculum #2: “Sunday Meetings.” It was good to listen to the webinar on 1.5X speed. I gained some new insights on the benefits of Sunday meetings and how to frame some concepts (like feeling overwhelmed from a massive to-do list) and creative ways to handle it.
      • One thing to note: the idea that the weekly plan (created during a Sunday meeting) is flexible. It isn’t meant to be rigid. Sometimes life happens and can through off your plan (happened to me right after I did the webinar!) and then you should take some time to replan. 

Next Week’s Tasks

  • Writing (SDG Theory)
    • Keep going through Rogelio’s notes and re-framing paper based on design rationale
  • Research (Project CODE)
    • Help finish the vertical slice
      • Basic Sim model
      • Hero Pool
  • Teaching
    • Create quiz 10

Speed Bumps & Obstacles

  • Research: Project CODE Switch
    • Learning GML
    • Getting over freaking GML (Maybe I’ll like it later????????) This is causing me a lot of anger and frustration. Had I known that I would have been asked to do core programming I would have pushed for Unity so I could have worked in a powerful programming language. I freaking hate programming in GML-like languages and it makes me very angry. I feel incredibly frustrated and really really mad.
    • Rant: it also makes me really really frustrated that these game engines have to write their own languages like they’re going to make something better than other languages that built and used by teams 10s-1000s times bigger than their little game engine team. No, you are not going to write a language that is better than C# or Python and make a great game engine. It hasn’t been done, and if it is done, it will be done by a very large team and/or take another 50 years. It’s freaking ridiculous! These game-engine-made languages are so limited. And why require a programmer to learn yet another crappy language when if you used a language that is both popular and powerful the game programmer to actually do their job: program a game. It really infuriates me.
  • Executive
    • Getting the rest of the way better.
    • Managing overwhelm and stress
Ludology, Ph.D. Adventures!

The AISL, Sickness, Arches, Campfire, and a Corn Maze! (Ph.D. Year 1, Fall Weeks 6-8)


AISL grant proposal won in the University of Utah competition. WAHOO!! Celebrate! Now we (Rogelio the PI and myself) need to write the full proposal. Need to complete my Hertz application, finalize my keywords for my systematic review, and lots of homework and an exam all need to be completed (or taken) all in the next eight days. Should be fun. 😉

Despite being sick, kept up with school work (at least the minimum required), and had a good fall break with camping and fires, Arches National Park, and a corn maze!

The Full Story:

An exam review, two weeks of sickness, and fall break made me miss the last couple updates. Here is my three-week catch-up.


I wrote up a draft for the AISL grant proposal for the University of Utah competition. Because we found out about it close to the deadline, my illness, and Rogelio’s own busy schedule, he took my draft and finalized it for submission (he is the PI on the grant as it is anyway). If you compare the two you can see my content throughout, just elevated, by a large margin. I’m excited to be working with someone who is such a good writer so I can learn from him. Oh yeah, our proposal was accepted! Now we write the full proposal. 😉 More on that later…

I did preliminary searches and read a previous literature review on educational game design and have found that no one has addressed my specific research question about educational game design, so I am moving forward with my research topic. It also fits very nicely into our AISL grant proposal.

I got sick but somehow managed to keep up with the MVP for my classes. My professors are all really kind and understanding. Hopefully, I will be nice professor one day.

Over fall break I specifically did not do anything school-related. I thought I might get bored, and I did start to, but then my husband decided we should go on an adventure after all, called his work and received the time off, and we headed down to Arches National Park for two nights! That meant we got to build two campfires! That was fun.

On Saturday we took the kids and their uncle Zeke, my younger brother, to a corn maze in Lehi, Utah. My husband’s favorite part was seeing how fast he could throw a baseball, my favorite part was seeing how good my soccer skills still are when kicking a ball at various targets, Mikey’s favorite was the zipline (despite hitting his head on the rope at the end), Uncle Zeke’s was lifting a 400 lb haystack (all by himself), and Chelsea’s favorite part was the corn maze. Gotta take time to have fun!

What’s next

In order of priority (for the next 1.5 weeks): finalize keywords for systematic review, finish Hertz application, keep up with classes (I’ve got a lit review, group project announcement, two-week homework assignment, multiple reading writeups, and an exam), and the AISL full proposal.

Also, try to get the rest of the way better. 


I’m still recouping from my two-week illness, still feeling sick, and having side effects from being sick so long and from all the medication. I’m back on herbal and essential oil remedies so the side effects should start subsiding. 

I really do not enjoy one of my classes — it is not related to my area of study and the class is mostly busywork. The professor himself even told me that last part before classes started– and it takes a very long time to do the homework assignments, so motivation is low.