Archive | August 2014

Celebrate The Small Things: 29 August

f5f01-vik-smallthings2

  • Got to spend a lot of time with my boyfriend over the bank holiday. We went to the cinema, had a fun night out with some friends and he also took me out for a meal the next day.
  • It was my dad’s birthday. Watched a film together and ate lots of chocolate cake.
  • I decided to give Gran Turismo 6 a try as seen as it came with my PS3. The last time I tried a GT game I was absolute rubbish and hated every moment, yet I seem to be playing a lot better in this one. I’m actually rather enjoying it. :O

‘I Thought You Were Good With Computers’

I’ve had this conversation with a couple of people. When you seem to have a natural skill with computers you tend to get asked for help quite a lot (this may be the case for other skills too.) I actually prefer people to ask rather than to continue struggling with something that may actually be simple to solve. It’s satisfying to help others, plus I may learn a few things in the process too – if not computer related it’s a good skill to be able to explain things clearly to others who may not share the same level of understanding. The main gripe I have is that sometimes people are either not patient enough to hear the solution or they expect too much from you.

On failure to solve a problem straight away I sometimes hear the dreaded words, ‘I thought you were good with computers.’ I’m not sure if there are really many people that can boast an ability to solve every computing issue at the click of a mouse button. Computing is a wide subject area and it’s difficult to know everything. I’ve always been more focussed in the area of software. While I have built a few computers I’m not the best person to ask about hardware related issues… Oh and I’m absolutely useless at networking. I remember at primary school, based on my ability to use MS Paint correctly the teacher came over and randomly asked me to fix the printer – I didn’t even know where to start.

I’ve always thought that when a person is good with computers it isn’t because they’re able to memorize everything and find the correct solutions on the spot, it’s because they have an intuition for it that makes it easier for them to work things out. Sometimes we need access to the computer to be able to figure it out or just to better demonstrate how it works. More complex problems can take time to solve.

Read More…

Celebrate The Small Things: 22 August

f5f01-vik-smallthings2

  • Went out for an all you can eat buffet with some friends. I think I really needed that time to switch off.
  • Finally got my hands on a copy of Pokemon Y (I bought Pokemon X on launch.) Now I can finally get some Charizardite Y for my shiny. Love starting new Pokemon games too.
  • My boyfriend told me to finish my original game dev project first before moving onto my new idea. I’ve been making some progress with art work and creating a few prototypes too.
  • Bank holiday weekend is here! 😀

steampunkcannon

Enjoy The Journey

It really amazes me how often I come across people with the notion that there’s no point in trying something unless guaranteed quick success. When I tell people about my dreams they seem to enjoy pointing out all the reasons for why I shouldn’t try. I’ve known people who after not getting any success on a project for a month or two have grown despondent and totally given up.

Throughout history humans have always had a strong focus on inventing tools to make it faster to complete tasks. Sometimes I wonder if we’ve become so adjusted to getting things done quickly – using technologies such as the internet – that we’ve now come to expect it in many areas of our life. When we want to learn something many of us will try to information cram even though this is really ineffective. If we want to lose weight we have many get slim quick diets to choose from, but it’s probably better to take it slower and build healthier habits into your lifestyle for the long run. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with making life easier through the creation of new tools, but it’s also important to realize that not all aspects of life have a short cut to success.

Read More…

Creature Diaries – Part 1 (Creatures 2)

So I decided to return back to Creatures 2 (see ‘Feeling Nostalgic For Creatures.’) I’ve never been very good at this game – plus Norns can be pretty finicky – but I’m going to have a go at breeding a few anyway and see what happens. I usually prefer to keep the creatures in the world so that they all age naturally in relation to each other, but I may have to export a few if things get a bit chaotic.

I’m a bit rusty at the moment as I have to re-learn Norn care. My first Norn is of the Golden Dessert breed. I was hoping for a girl (I seem to remember that females take longer to reach sexual maturity,) but it turned out to be male. I called him Yasha.

 Yasha_learning

So far Yasha seems quite smart, although they usually listen to you more when they’re younger and often I find they become more distinctive as they get older. I trained him all of the words from each computer as well as trying to impress upon him the importance of activities like eating. Soon, I felt ready to unleash him from the nursery upon the rest of the world. He took the left lift and stopped on route to pick up the ‘Science Kit.’ This kit is quite useful as it allows you to inject your creatures with different chemicals for varying results (for example, if they’re unconscious you can inject them with ‘Defibrillant’, or if they’re starving to death ‘Liquid Food.’) Yasha didn’t seem too keen to be on the surface at first and tried to take the lift back down, but eventually I encouraged him to move across the rope bridge to the left.

Read More…

Celebrate The Small Things: 15 August

  • Tf5f01-vik-smallthings2he Stoops gave me a gift of Baileys Irish Cream to thank me for helping them with their website; Apparently they felt I’d handled the job quickly and professionally. It’s always nice to receive positive feedback on what you do, and I’m really glad they like what I built for them. The Baileys is much appreciated :P.
  • I managed to run a little bit further than last week at the Gym. I went for 40 minutes and reached 5k. Now my legs feel sore, but I suppose I’ll appreciate the benefits in time.
  • I’m really excited about the current game idea I’m trying out. I was working on another idea inspired by a game of marbles; I hope to finish this but I’m not entirely sure about it and I’ve had many other ideas I’d like to try out too. I built a quick prototype of my new idea. I think I’m going to test them with my friends and see what they think; My perfectionist ways mean I can be a bit fussy :P.
  • I finished The Last Of Us. The ending felt a little hit and miss, but overall I enjoyed the game and would recommend it.

It’s been a slightly unsettling week with hay fever striking back at me with a vengeance and hearing about some bad news too – on top of the sad departure of Robin Williams. Despite everything I’m happy to have finally reached the weekend once again and I plan to spend my Friday evening the usual way; chilling with my boyfriend, a movie, food and probably something alcoholic.

Do What You Can… (The Evolution of Ideas.)

This seems like really great advice. I admit, I suffer from a problem where I’m forever putting things off. I never feel ready, so I keep training. I buy more textbooks and teach myself new skills and yet I still don’t feel ready. It’s like in my mind I’ll never be good enough to do the things I really want despite the protests from my friends. I have many game and art ideas, but most of them never get started because I always feel like I need to do more planning. This reminds me of another article I read by James Clear, ‘Successful People Start Before They Feel Ready’ (http://jamesclear.com/successful-people-start-before-they-feel-ready.) I guess if we always put things off we may never get anywhere, and I reckon our skills will grow much more quickly if we push ourselves earlier on than waiting for when it feels right. This is a big issue for me, but it seems I’m not alone in struggling with this.

JamesRadcliffe.com

There is an idea, embodied in a quote that I recently read, which to my mind, is one of the most important and vital master keys to: living a life of joyeous productivity and achievement unhindered by unnecessary bullshit or false constraint.

It is an idea which has been battle tested by every single person throughout the whole of history, who has ever accomplished anything of significance.

It is fully timeless.  It is the internal foundation and impetus for all action.  It has been, and continues to be, of the greatest value in my own life.

Would you like to know what it is?…

View original post 774 more words

Depression Quest – Portraying Mental Illness In Interactive Fiction

A new addition to Steam caught my attention this morning; Depression Quest, developed by Zoe Quinn, co-developed by Patrick Lindsey and Isaac Schankler. The aim of the game is to show people what it’s like to suffer from depression or to show depression sufferers that they are not alone (although there are warnings stating that if you’re already suffering from depression you may want to avoid playing.) I was curious because the idea of conveying deeper issues like Depression in games is one that I’ve also considered myself. I also suffer from a bit of depression – mostly in the form of Anxiety. A lot of reviews are claiming that the game put them in a bad mood, so you may want to avoid it, although it didn’t seem to effect me too deeply. To be honest, things like this tend to open my eyes to how irrational my own thoughts often are.

Depression Quest feels more like interactive fiction than a game. I enjoy interactive fiction, but I think it’s important to make a distinction between the two as many gamers are very traditional with what they will accept as being a game. Much of the experience involves reading with a few options at the end of each passage. It was clever in the sense that some options – the ones that people without depression would be more likely to pick – were ruled out to emphasize the character’s state of mind. A lot of the time I felt powerless to change things, which I suppose adds to the point it is trying to make. Overall however, the mechanics are all pretty basic. There are definitely much better interactive fiction experiences out there. The story itself wasn’t particularly interesting either and didn’t really change pace much from start to finish.

Read More…

Feeling Nostalgic For Creatures

Norns in Creatures 2

Many of us still return back to our older childhood games, mostly out of nostalgia; Yet every so often a game comes along that doesn’t just give us happy memories, but also has a unique vibe to it that hasn’t been replicated since. There are many FPSs or RPGs that I’ve liked for instance, and yet I don’t doubt that in the future new ones will arrive that are just as good if not better. There are certain mechanics or genres however, that just seem to fade into rarity.

Some games were surprisingly advanced and continue to look great despite their age. One such game that my boyfriend and I had the urge to play recently was Dungeon Keeper 2; While there are other games in this genre nothing has felt quite like it since. Our copy had crashing issues but we managed to get access to the game again through gog.com, which is a great place to get hold of old working titles. I’m also happy to hear that a new game inspired by Dungeon Keeper is also currently in development, ‘The War For The Overworld.’ (see TotalBiscuit – ‘Dungeon Keeper 2 – This is why we can’t have nice things.‘) While searching through gog.com I stumbled across another game that I really wanted to return to. That game was Creatures 2.

Read More…

Celebrate The Small Things: 8 August

  • f5f01-vik-smallthings2It was my Birthday weekend. Went out for a lovely meal with my friends on the Friday (ordered BBQ Ribs and drank cocktails), and spent some time with my family on the Saturday where we played games like Articulate. I also ate way too much chocolate cake.
  • My boyfriend got me a new PS3. My other PS3 is actually an original launch console that I got on the first day of release, but after most of my friends yellow lighted I started to get cautious about it happening to mine (it hasn’t felt like it has been running too well recently.) My new console frees up some space on my desk and allows me to play without being on tenterhooks about it breaking on me.
  • I ran for 35 minutes at the Gym today. I think the issues with my flat feet are improving slowly but surely.
  • I made a little bit of progress on a game I’m working on at the moment. My computer did have a bit of a wobble yesterday during a programming session; Shut itself down randomly and wouldn’t let me get back to my desktop – I’m sure my code wasn’t that bad really :P. Well thankfully after leaving it off for a while the next time I tried it did seem to go back to normal, although random segments of my code had been deleted. I’m actually just relieved that everything is still working ok and I haven’t lost anything important. I’ve also fixed up my game. Still, always remember to back up your files.