With the Wheel Reinvention Jam just over a week away, we’re very pleased to finally release the Orca MVP to the community!

Orca's UI

For those unfamiliar, Orca is our new cross-platform runtime for WebAssembly apps. It gives you a cross-platform app development system without all the baggage of browsers. It’s a long-term project with ambitious goals, but we are very excited to finally release an early MVP for the community to play with.

All the details can be found in the announcement post over on the Orca website. There you’ll find how to access the source code, the list of features and current limitations, and how to get help and provide feedback. If you’re interested and think it would be a good fit for your project, we’d love to have you try it out during the jam.

Jam! Jam! Jam!

Wheel Reinvention Jam: September 25 - October 1

Our third annual Wheel Reinvention Jam is less than two weeks away! The Wheel Reinvention Jam is a week-long jam where we build software from scratch. Whether you want to clone an existing app for fun or build something wild and ambitious, this is your chance to try.

If you’ve never participated in a week-long jam before, don’t sweat the time commitment - you can participate with however much time you have. Whether you take days off of work or just participate on the weekend, we’re excited to see what you create!

The jam takes place from Monday September 25 to Sunday October 1. For all the details, visit https://handmade.network/jam.

Why reinvent the wheel?

We owe the name “Wheel Reinvention Jam”, and its logo, to Casey. At the start of Handmade Hero, literally in episode 1, a viewer asked the question: “Why not use an engine? Why reinvent the wheel?”

Casey’s answer deserves to be watched in its entirety, but part of it is shockingly relevant right now:

If you start with an engine, then it changes what you’re learning from the fundamental truth of how to implement a game to someone else’s version of that. […] What you’re really learning is that engine. You haven’t learned how to make games, you’ve learned how to make games in Unity. Right? And if Unity were to disappear, for example, you would no longer know how to make a game at all. I’m not exaggerating this, that’s just the truth.

We could not have planned our jam at a more opportune time. Unity recently announced a dramatic change to their pricing structure that leaves the future of many game studios in doubt.

What Casey said back in 2014, at the very inception of the Handmade community, has now come to pass. For many game developers, Unity is no longer an option. And just like Casey said, their very existence in the industry has now come into question. Will they be able to make games at all?

Casey’s reasoning holds as true today as it did then. The world needs engine programmers! Programmers who understand how engines work aren’t constrained by the limitations of the engine - they know what’s fundamentally possible and can work around constraints to achieve anything they want. But more than that, our current engines are not good enough! We need people making new engines, better tools, better wheels.

This is not just true for game engines. It’s true of the entire software industry. We need new video editors, new platform layers, new code editors, new databases, new networking protocols, new compilers, new typesetting systems, new presentation programs, new graphics APIs, new operating systems.

We will never make progress unless we reinvent the wheel.

See you on September 25.