Archive for category: Life

Once More Around The Sun, With Feeling

23 Jun
June 23, 2015

Thirty three years ago today, a boy was born.

That boy would grow into a young man, and that young man would one day blog about his birthday in the third person.

A beautiful story, I think we can all agree. So let’s join that young man in celebrating his, my, birthday.

It’s going to be an exciting year. System Crash will be released soon; by Christmas I will be working on my second commercial game project. But release of SC is just the start, I’m looking forward to trying out different things, marketing wise, and extending SC with new content and gameplay modes.

I’m treating running a business like learning to play an RTS. Does this work? What about this? How can I gather resources more efficiently? What’s a good build order? Maybe I should build a farm now? ;P

Beyond that, I’m looking forward to participating in some game jams, once I have this load off my shoulders. I want to spend some time just playing around with my game dev, like I used to. Just bashing stuff out and seeing what’s cool.

I’ve also got an exciting gamedev opportunity lined up for later in the year, which I’ll talk about once details are finalized.

And, for myself, I’m looking forward to taking a bit of a break. Taking stock and time out to refill the tanks. Gathering supplies for the next stage of this incredible journey.

Have yourselves a great day, friends.

Time Out For Injury

25 Apr
April 25, 2015

As I mentioned in a previous post, a week or so ago I started feeling the twang of repetitive strain in my mouse arm.

Pretty alarming. That’s your body ringing the alarm bell before you suffer long-term injury.

So, whether I wanted to or not, I’ve been taking a break.

Difficult, since so much of what I do, work or play, involves a computer. And I didn’t want to take leave from work just yet. But after hours I (mostly) avoided the computer. I even browsed twitter on my phone using my left hand, as I wanted to completely relax the right.

Not that bad, overall. I caught up on some TV, read, spent time with my girlfriend. And it seems to have helped, the arm is improving. Not quite 100% yet, so I’m still being cautious, but getting there. Whew.

With almost 2 weeks of unproductive-ness, though, I’m starting to feel the itch. The urge to do something. R&R is fun, for sure, but it’s not fulfilling in the same way that building things is. I desperately want to finish SC then move on to all the other ideas bubbling around in my head! Time’s a-wasting!

I gave in to the restlessness the other night and started doodling. Here, enjoy this work-in-progress picture of an evil ghost lady. A dress that is both gauzy/transparent AND made of glowing ectoplasm? Hahahaha IHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoingDog.jpg.

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The hand held up pretty well, though. Painting is a different set of movements to mouse use but it’s still a good sign. Almost ready to get back to work.

Fortunately, there is a confluence of public holidays next week that mean that I can take 3 days off and get a full 9 day stretch of holiday time. Which is perfect, I can put in 8 hours a day on SC, feel productive AND relax the arm in the evening, avoiding immediately straining it again.

I’m looking forward to it!

But that’s next week. No work today. Today, I’m slightly hung over. And I think I’m going to get some quality time in with Pillars of Eternity. 😉

It’s been pretty difficult, given how much I was enjoying it, to not dive back in to Pillars every evening after work. I have been disciplined and patient. But now, now I play!

Enjoy your weekends, everyone.

Pumped

24 Apr
April 24, 2015

Scientific fact – listening to the 300 soundtrack while you exercise makes you feel like a Spartan Warrior.

Rather than, say, a pasty, sweating programmer struggling to lift light weights. 😛

On Goats

15 Apr
April 15, 2015

(Disclaimer: atheist stuff)

This is fascinating. Totally nuts, but fascinating.

Note the chicken thing.

The term scapegoat derives from ancient practices where a tribe would symbolically cast its sins into a goat, then drive that goat into the wilderness to perish. The goat takes the punishment in place of the tribes people, and their God forgives them for their misdeeds.

This idea was practiced by ancient Israelites as a regular religious observance. And it was from those people and their beliefs that Christianity sprung. The core principle of which is, of course, that the sins of Christians were symbolically taken on by Jesus, who was then tortured and murdered in our place, so that God could forgive the rest of us (Jesus himself being pure and innocent of any crime, of course).

The ultimate scapegoat.

Funny how, when you grow up with the story, carefully sanitized and presented in the best possible light as an act of love and forgiveness, you don’t stop to think “whoa, that’s crazy and immoral”. Any human justice system that would accept the brutal murder of an innocent in place of punishing the guilty party would be considered grotesque and perverse, not celebrated. That system would itself be a crime, even if the victim was willing to do it, out of love.

But we do celebrate it. With little symbols around our necks and bumper stickers on our cars. We sing songs about our sins being washed away with the blood of the Lamb. Washed clean. With blood.

We sing these songs, unthinkingly, even bored as we say the words. Across the world, in the centers of modern civilization, people raise their voice in celebration of blood sacrifice.

The idea of chucking a virgin into a volcano to prevent it from erupting is, these days, a cartoonish caricature we laugh at. Ho ho, how primitive. But it’s the same thing, isn’t it? The sacrifice of the pure to buy mercy for the rest of us.

There’s a lot like that in the Bible, stuff that is horrifying when you really give it some thought, but which you are taught is great and deserving of celebration. Like God killing all those babies in Egypt in order to convince the Pharoah to let the Israelites go. Including, as specified in the book, the babies of Egyptian slaves, whose parents couldn’t have chosen to let the Israelites go if they’d wanted to, being slaves and all.

Why not just kill the adults making the decision, God? Just the Pharoah himself? Or maybe just teleport him to the top of a mountain somewhere to ruminate on the consequences of being a douchebag? That would be more direct, and killing the innocent to pressure the guilty is an abhorrent, immoral act.

It’s all so surreal, once you’re outside the thing, looking in. There’s a lot of aggressive atheism and atheists out on the internet these days, and that aggressiveness is problematic in many ways. But it stems from the urge to grab your fellow humans and shake them, try to snap them out of it, break the spell.

“Look,” we want to say. “Look at it! See it for what it really is! Stop swinging that fucking chicken!”

The Frailty Of The Flesh

14 Apr
April 14, 2015

Man, I wish I was a robot.

Or at least a cyborg of some sort. Come on science, what’s the delay?

The last few days, I’ve developed a persistent aching in my mouse arm, along the forearm and near the elbow. Not the first time this has happened, but it’s always scary when it does. I need that arm, long term repetitive strain would be a huge problem in my life.

My only choice, in order to avoid a lasting injury, is to take a break for a few days. I still need to work at the day job, of course, but it’s the after hours PC activity that, I believe, pushes my muscles and tendons to breaking point.

It needs to be done, but I resent the loss of productivity.

Bah.

You said it, Eder.

11 Apr
April 11, 2015

Skin Deep

10 Apr
April 10, 2015

That Sad Puppies thing is still ongoing, drawing even George RR Martin into the fray. It looks set to continue for a while, this fight. And it’ll get uglier before it gets better, no doubt.

I was chatting with a friend on Facebook about it today. She mentioned how she’d tweeted an article about the Hugos and, as is par for the course with these kinds of things these days, some rando looking for a fight quickly found her and engaged her in “debate”.

And there was a point this guy made, one similar to what we saw deployed in GamerGate’s NotYourShield campaign. It goes like this: “We’re not against diversity! How can you possibly say that?!? Look here, we have black writers, interracial marriages, female writers etc! We’re diverse!”

The flaw in this argument is that the anti-diversity part is not just about who creates the work but also about what they’re creating. You can be a black lesbian author, no problem, but don’t write a story that’s an allegory for racism and homophobia! Don’t discuss gender roles in video games! And certainly don’t give those kinds of stories a bunch of awards!!! That’s too much, intolerable. They can only have won by cheating. Something must be done.

You must conform to the *tastes* of these groups, tastes which represent, primarily, white conservative males.

Both groups will happily welcome women, homosexuals, gay people, people of colour, transexuals, whoever into their ranks. Just don’t go writing about issues that specifically concern those groups. Don’t give your awards to fiction that scathingly critiques capitalism and nationalism. Don’t evaluate video games through a feminist lens. Don’t point out that existing media is problematic.

Just be a fan, that’s ok, that’s safe.

Maybe, maybe we’ll let you talk about those issues, just a bit, just over in that corner over there. Where it can be safely ignored. But don’t talk too much, don’t be too loud, don’t take center stage, don’t trespass into our domain.

It’s skin-deep diversity, deployed as a smokescreen, a shield.

Don’t be fooled.

Thinking Out Loud

08 Apr
April 8, 2015

I’ve long debated with myself over what I want this blog to be. Do I only want to post stuff about game development? Or do I want it to be more of a personal journal, a place for thinking out loud?

And do I want to talk about controversial topics like atheism or politics, that might drive away people who only browse this blog for the game dev updates? People who are nice, but who don’t want to read views they may feel are attacking deeply their deeply held views on whatever? It’s so easy for that kind of content to ignite into flame wars.

I don’t know. But I do know that trying to keep this place “game dev only” has resulted in long patches where I go quiet. Honestly, some parts of game development are just boring drudge work, and I find it hard to motivate myself to write about those aspects. I’m probably sabotaging myself here, there may very well be people interested in reading about even the tasks I find dull as ditch water, but it is what it is.

But I do think I should be trying to write on this blog regularly. For the practice, mainly. Of all the tasks I’ve tackled in making System Crash, writing is the hardest. Not necessarily because it’s the hardest skill, but it certainly is the one I’ve developed the least. Programming is obviously my main skillset, I’ve been doing that professionally for a decade and it comes fairly easily. Art, well, I’m competent enough to get by. But writing, writing is where I bleed.

So I’d like to get into a practice regime, in the same way one would get up every morning and do sit ups. And I think that, whether it’s writing fiction or non-fiction, attempting to put my thoughts into words will exercise those writerly muscles.

So I’m trying something different as an experiment, as least for a while. From now on, I’m just going to post whatever moves me to write. Whether that’s gaming/dev related, personal anecdotes and musings, or even contentious politics. I’ve decided that GarethFouche.com is for me, my personal stuff. All of it. It’s a better place than my facebook wall, that’s for sure.

If I feel the need to split off the game dev part so that people can consume only that, I’ll add a dev blog to roguemoonstudios.com. Feel free, lovely reader, to let me know if that’s how you’d prefer things to be divided.

I’m fairly lazy, so I’d only go to the effort of splitting that content off if there was a demand for it. ;P

Fuck You, Morpheus

12 Mar
March 12, 2015

I predict that most enduring legacy of the Matrix movies will be hatred of the term “taking the red pill.” And those who describe their world views as such.

Spotted on twitter.

Over a month ago, I declined some “for exposure” work. This evening, I finally got a response and its….. incredible.

-Rian Sygh

B_3JSchXEAEaFCs

https://twitter.com/RianSygh/status/575837646934708225/photo/1

Fake It Till You Make It.

05 Mar
March 5, 2015

My twitter feed right now is filled with awesome devs meeting and hanging out with other awesome devs over at GDC, having a whale of a time. I’m a bit jealous, I’ll admit. Maybe more than a bit.

I have the money to go to GDC, but I’ve never quite been able to justify it to myself. With the terrible exchange rate from SA rands to US dollars, it’s a rather expensive trip. And that’s just the trip, never mind actually renting a booth. Without a game with a bit of buzz behind it to show, I don’t know that the return on investment would make sense. Or rather, make cents.

At least, that’s what the “sensible” part of my mind tells me. But I’m still jealous.

And I’m remembering something I read about the phrase “fake it till you make it.” The word “fake” has unpleasant connotations attached to it, sleazy connotations. But, as someone pointed out once, the point isn’t to be a fake. Rather, it’s to act like the thing you want to be, even if you don’t feel you are that thing, yet. If you want to be a game developer, act like a game developer. Go to the conferences, introduce yourself as a game developer, go up and talk to other professionals in the industry etc. Even if doing so feels like wearing a suit that doesn’t fit. Eventually, so I’m told, it stop feeling like an act you’re putting on.

As a side note, I still hesitate to call myself a game developer. I haven’t finished and released a commercial game yet, so I still feel like a wannabe. Calling myself a game developer twangs away at my Imposter Syndrome, and I still often introduce myself as a programmer.

It’s something I need to fight against. I know that, logically, but it’s still a struggle, emotionally.

So I’m thinking next year I just need to make a plan and go to GDC. Just fucking do it. Walk the walk. Go as a developer, get a name tag that says Director of Rogue Moon Studios on it.

Oh, how pretentious I feel saying that. I struggle to refer to myself by that title with anything other than a self-mocking smirk. What a laugh, me, a director. Psshhtt.

Gotta work on this.