Archive for category: Life

#FEESMUSTFALL and not being a sneering whitey.

24 Oct
October 24, 2015

(First Note: This is going to be completely meaningless to my international audience. Feel free to skip it. Video games and tomfoolery will resume in short order. 😉 )

(Second Note: Racist shit in the comments will be terminated with extreme prejudice, be warned.)

The Facebook comments I’ve been seeing around the #FEESMUSTFALL movement have annoyed me enough to write a blog post. It’s a difficult, emotionally-charged topic, and as a middle-class white male, I’m not the best person to speak on it. So I may put my foot in it.

But regardless, here goes.

Fellow white people, could we stop with the “well, just vote for someone other than the ANC, then, duh!” comments. Please.

What do you expect, really? Do you think the black majority really sees a good, effective alternative at this point?

The DA is seen as the “white party”, regardless of who they elect as their “face”, and what white people did to black people in this country destroyed any possibility of majority trust in even the hint of “white rule” for the next few generations. That’s just reality. We white folk have no one but ourselves and our ancestors to blame for that.

And the other parties are small and fairly ineffective.

So what good alternatives are there? It’s easy to say “oh, they’re just stupid, why don’t they vote for someone else” as a white person, but I’m not the first generation in my family to be born free of slavery. I don’t have those scars etched into my soul.

The ANC, flawed as it is, is the political center of the movement that freed non-white people from bondage in SA. When it starts to lose its moral compass, its supporters are entitled to first try to reform it from within, give it a course correction, before they just discard their allegiance.

If you want to reform politics, support measures to broaden access to education for all. An educated populace is better at holding politicians accountable and less prone to believing exaggerated political promises.

Give those kids credit where it’s due. They marched on Luthuli House. They’re dissatisfied with their elected politicians and are organizing to hold them accountable. That’s an extremely positive thing, and could help bring about reform in the long run.

We need more of this, sure, but it’s a great start. Nourish that seed with your support, not sneering and ignorance. Change takes time, be patient and understanding.

TransPrawns

21 Oct
October 21, 2015

The future is here, and it’s weirder than you could have imagined: Sex-changed prawn farming.

http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/scientists-are-giving-prawns-sex-change-help-farmers-increase-yields

So cyberpunk.

Snapshot of A Teenage Gareth

06 Oct
October 6, 2015

Everything in this, except that for me it was always, always about the rocket launcher. I was all about that splash damage.

But the rest, about how DM17, with its extreme emphasis on mobility and speed, the surreal grace of players hurtling across the map, epitomized the Quake 3 experience? How it probably represents a high point in my gaming life, in terms of my overall mastery of and investment into a single game, as I will likely never again have either the time or inclination to give that much of myself to a game? That I’ve accepted that that particular season of my life has passed, with only a little sadness?

Yeah, that all rings true.

It rings more than “true”, it resonates, pregnant with deeper Truth. Sometimes, someone writes something that reaches out and strums your soul like a guitar string, speaking directly, intimately, to your experiences in this life. Something in them is kindred to something in you, and for a moment those two somethings recognize each other.

To quote the hippies, “I feel you, man. I feel you.”

Except for the railgun part. Eat my rocket, you sniping SOB.

Gamescom Cosplay

16 Aug
August 16, 2015

I’ve been back a week now. But you’ll have to bear with me, I was utterly shattered when I got home, so for most of this week I’ve been doing little besides my day job, spending time with Michelle and sleeping.

I’ll report back on Gamescom soon, I promise. In the mean time, here’s a video of some cool cosplay. I can’t believe the Transformer didn’t cap it off, Iron Man is cool but that costume blew all the others away. I’ll post pics when I get a chance.

Heavenly Minded

01 Aug
August 1, 2015

I may be a little absent-minded. Or, as my mother affectionately puts it: “Too heavenly-minded to be any earthly use.”

Decided that, since I’ll be in Germany for a week, it would be a good idea to buy an extra pair of jeans. Go with Michelle to the mall this morning to, among other things, buy said jeans. Return home, completely forgot to buy jeans.

Procrastinate for an hour before reluctantly getting up to head back to the mall. Just before I step out the door, I check my other pair for size…and see another pair of jeans next to it.

No, it can’t be…it is.

An identical pair of jeans. Which I forgot I bought with the first pair.

I feel somewhat sheepish, I’ll admit.

Gamescom!

28 Jul
July 28, 2015

Apologies for the lack of blog posts, I’ve been a bit swamped IRL lately. Various birthdays, including my own, some tax stuff to sort out (paperwork, yay, fun) and most importantly, getting my shit together for Gamescom!

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That’s right, in about a week I’ll be jetting off to my first ever big international game development conference, courtesy of a cultural exchange program between Make Games SA, local educational institutions and the Goethe Institut. Together with a number of other South African developers and educators, I’ll be meeting with international game developers, hanging out, attending game development talks, discussing “the biz”, and generally just networking and “exchanging culture”, which I think is code for “drinking beer and eating wurst”.

Fun times!

I won’t be presenting System Crash at the show, as I’m not really going in my personal capacity so much as a member of the MGSA delegation. But I’ll certainly have System Crash with me, and it won’t take much to get me to talk about it/show it off. 😉

So I’ll be gone all next week. But I will have my lappie with me. Assuming I can get some decent wifi (and avoid atrocious data roaming costs), I’ll post some updates from the show.

Wish me luck!

Cyberpunks Represent

27 Jul
July 27, 2015

It is the year 2015 and corporations exert their influence over every aspect of human life. The gulf between the haves and the have-nots grows ever wider, and the desperate underclasses rumble in discontent. The ecosystem teeters on the verge of collapse as corporate interests race to strip mine the planet of its natural resources, heedless of impending disaster. Wracked by internal strife and political corruption, the great powers turn inward. Foes old and new, emboldened, rise to threaten the established global order.

But some resist the New Order. Operating in the shadows, they forge their own path, living by the code of the street. They are the Runners…

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So, it happens that I recently crossed off another year around the Sun. I’m also, I feel, within a month or so of releasing System Crash. So I decided to do a combined birthday & release party deal. The theme, natch, was Cyberpunk.

The flat was plastered with cyberpunk art from System Crash and the classics of the genre, guests were offered “blue pill” and “red pill” shooters as they came in the door, and there was neon everywhere, of course.

Like all good cyberpunk media, there were Urban Punks and Street Gangers…

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…Street Samurai and Cyborgs…

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… and, of course, femme fatales.

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Also, these guys, who didn’t ask for this.

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And Greenbeard, the crazy ex-hacker who’s been on one too many Matrix runs.

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Thanks to all my friends who came out and made it such an awesome night. *Comic book guy voice* Best. Party. Ever.

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Hone your Edge and Fight The System, Runners!

On Making Space For Creativity

03 Jul
July 3, 2015

I had a great idea for a game prototype in the shower this morning. One that is reasonable in scope and achievable with my limited art budget. Which is great, and I look forward to finishing System Crash so that I can play around with it.

But it’s always like that, I’ve found. Ideas come in the shower, while I’m out on walks, or basically any time when I’m away from screens etc and my brain has space to churn.

That’s my simple theory of creativity. Spend time filling your mind with a range of influences: tv, books, music, art, life and so on. Then do some activity that forces your bran to switch modes from “processing input” to “ruminating”.

The ideas will bubble up naturally. Without any effort from you, your unconscious will get busy forming new connections, combining and rearranging your influences into new and interesting configurations. You just have to give it the space to do so, away from the million inputs and distractions of the modern world.

And have some easy, non-intrusive way to capture those fleeting ideas as they float up from your unconsciousness at hand, or they’ll slip from your mind as easily as they entered it. A computer with an active internet connection doesn’t count, by the way, unless you can stop yourself “just checking twitter quickly” when you’re recording your ideas. 😉

Before you know it, your problem will go from being “how do I be creative?” to “which of these ideas do I pursue?!? I can’t fit all of them in!”

Happy Birthday To Me

02 Jul
July 2, 2015

For my birthday, Michelle got me an amazing, thoughtful present.

She had some of System Crash’s artwork printed out on canvas, so I could hang them up on my wall next to my computer. So that whenever I want to, I can always look across at them and be inspired.

I think they look fantastic! I’m going to treasure them.

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Defining Success

26 Jun
June 26, 2015

When I think about releasing System Crash, it brings up a flood of emotions. Hope, excitement, anxiety, fear, all jumbled up together.

But fear, unfortunately, is a powerful, primal emotion- focus on it too much and it can grow, overshadowing all the others. When fear takes hold, excitement fades, motivation leaches away, and the brain switches to distraction-seeking activities in order to protect itself from being overwhelmed by anxiety.

And the more you’re invested, the greater the hope, the stronger the fear.

I’ve talked about this before, but the way I fight this is by reframing. I consciously choose to look at the situation differently. That might seem like ‘faking’, but it’s more self-persuasion. We’ve all experienced talking ourselves into or out of things, right?

For myself, this involves redefining what I consider to be a ‘success’. Choosing to look at success as not just the outcome of the making, but also what I’ve gained in the process of making something.

I can’t control how many units System Crash will sell, pinning my definition of success/failure solely on that metric leads to fear and anxiety. So instead I look at what I’ve achieved. I’ve built my first commercial video game, something I’ve been dreaming about my entire life. I’ve levelled up my skills in so many areas, in design, art, UX, networking and more.

And most importantly, I’m no longer a spectator cheering on the fighters in the arena, idly arguing over “how I would have done it”. I’ve left the stands, donned my armor, grasped my sword in sweaty hands and stepped out onto the blood-stained sands of the arena. I’ve put myself into the fight. And whether I win or lose my first battle, I’m out there putting myself to the test. I’m learning, in blood and sweat and pain, what works and what doesn’t. Where I need to improve, what my strengths and weaknesses are, and how to take a hit and keep on going.

That is real success. Progress. Challenge. Growth. Loving the process.

When you look at it like that, the last 3+ years are already a success. I know that sounds like some cornball hippy crap, but it’s the truth. And when I hold that firmly in the front of my mind, fear loses its hold. Eagerness, excitement and joy bubble back up, and I’m rearing to get back into the fight again.