Dev-Blog: Love-Hate The Sheets

Let’s talk about spreadsheets. Over the course of this trimester, I have had to use spreadsheets a lot for one of my units. This has be a huge issue as I hate spreadsheets!

But the silver lining is that spreadsheets are actually amazing! And I don’t mean in the overzealous use of the term amazing where everyone uses it for things that are not literally amazing. I mean in the formal Oxford Dictionary use of the word “Amazing”. I have been filled with wonder and, most certainly, surprised at the power and functionality of sheets. To give an example;

sheet

This is a sheet is part of a submission I made for assignment 2 in my Rational Problem unit. This sheet allows the user to calculate a window of opportunity for a hero too:

  1. distract a guard,
  2. run down a hallway,
  3. Or use a cannon to launch themselves over a gap!

 

That was certainly a surprise, and just a simple example of how powerful spreadsheets are. They allow the user to plan out a formula to see if all the variables line up which is truly a great tool!
Image result for spreadsheet memes

By why do I hate sheets so much? Maybe it is because I fear them? There is no flashy way to do something in sheets, no way to wow someone with my sweet sweet asset skills? Or maybe I hate sheets because they can be unintuitive and sometimes down right dumb! But this is no excuse not to use them. To the contrary, this just proves to me (maybe not to you) that sheets should be used wherever it is possible as it is usual to hate or fear something you don’t understand. I would say in the case of fear that it is perfectly normal to fear something you don’t understand as the lack of understanding results in negative space where you are unable to function effectively. But hating something you do not understand is not useful at all. So What do we do about this hate? Well we write a blog and figured out that there are many reasons not to hate the thing we do not understand. I forget where I was going with this.

 

Well let’s look at some of the ways I have been able to use sheets outside assignments, because in the context of assignments the commitment and responsibility can cause friction. This results in not wanting to interact with the friction causing thing. The main use I have found for sheets that make me hate them less than others is their ability to store data in functionally logical way. This method of organizing data into rows and columns allows for some neat data storage. As an example I have discovered the ability to import data using sheets in the form of CSV files (CSV stands for Comma Separated Values) and have the interesting ability to easily read into programs such as the Unreal Engine in the form of data tables.

datatableview.jpg

Data tables are a fantastic tool to be able to handle a lists of data that need to be accessed by a range of systems, this way it can also be easy for designers to change values without having to poke around in code and change values in stored in scripts.

References

Epic Games,. “Data Driven Gameplay Elements”. Docs.unrealengine.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

Epic Games,. “What Is Unreal Engine 4”. Unrealengine.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

Oxford,. “Amazing – Definition Of Amazing In English | Oxford Dictionaries”. Oxford Dictionaries | English. N.p., 2016. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

Wikipedia,. “Comma-Separated Values”. En.wikipedia.org. N.p., 2016. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

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