Archive | May 2015

The Power Of Expectation

One thing that I’ve come to notice is that expectation seems to be inexorably linked to how I feel about certain situations or experiences. For example, I’ve noticed that when I’m looking forward to something I regularly end up disappointed and vice versa I can be left pleasantly surprised.

It is also a concept that seems to apply to how I sell myself. I tend to undersell so that I don’t have to face the pressure of people expecting too much from me. I don’t like the idea of being taken on for a job that I over sold myself for and can’t possibly achieve as fully as I promised. I know of another guy that is the opposite and will reveal how long he’s spent on a project or make claims to it being the best work he’s ever done; The thought of doing this makes me cringe slightly because I feel like people will judge it by a higher standard. I’ve noticed that when I’m in the company of people that are on the side of big-headedness – even if they are genuinely talented – I’ve looked closer to find criticisms that I might not have if they’d been a little more modest. Then again, what I do isn’t ideal because it’s running the risk of being overlooked and people are often drawn to and reassured by confidence.

The expectations that others have for us can also affect us (as suggested by ‘The Rules of Persuasion, The Rules of Expectation—The Impact of Suggestion‘ and ‘How do Parental Expectations Affect Kids?’) Having high expectations put upon us can help us to push ourselves to succeed, whereas feeling like people have lost faith in us can pull us the other way. I have also been in situations where I had too many high opposing expectations set on me from different directions – parents, teachers and peers – and it led to a lot of stress because no matter what I did It never seemed to be good enough (we shouldn’t always strive for perfection.) What we expect from ourselves is also important – how can we be motivated on a project if we go in already expecting to fail? I think this is a problem that is currently affecting my own levels of motivation as I had a few setbacks, causing others to question my choices in life and in turn leading to a lack of belief in myself. Previously my family, teachers and peers had only ever bigged up what I was capable of.

Expectation can colour our view on life. When I’m entering a new situation I try to set my expectations appropriately. If I’m expecting something to be brilliant I may end up disappointed or making up excuses for why it is lacking, and on the other side of that if I’m expecting something to be terrible I’ll be more likely to search for faults even though my initial assumption may be wrong. The same goes for how we treat others. If we have unfair expectations of our friends/family we will be all the more likely to feel let down by them, but at the same time we could get hurt if we don’t at least expect them to treat us kindly. We should all expect to be treated with a certain level of respect after all. Finally, our own behaviour can be altered by others expectations of us or what we expect from ourselves. If we want to get the best out of ourselves, surrounding ourselves with the right people can really help. We should expect ourselves fully capable of succeeding, but set reasonable goals to get there otherwise we run the risk of causing ourselves a lot of stress.

Celebrate The Small Things: 22 May

strawberry_meringue_pief5f01-vik-smallthings2

  • I baked my first meringue pie, with a strawberry filling. I’d never done meringue or curd before, but it worked and went down a treat – rather quickly I might add.
  • I’ve been gradually adding to my game prototype. Had to do a bit of A.I, which I’m not brilliant at and yet my path finding is working relatively well. I also got to try a technique that I’ve been wanting to have a go at for while, just never had a reason to use it until now. So satisfying when you run it to find your logic actually works.
  • Finished reading Frankenstein. I’ve got an ambition to get through some of the classics, but I don’t always find them easy to read; I really enjoyed it though. Decided to buy the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ books, which I’ll be reading next. Now I can finally find out what it’s all about.
  • Bank holiday weekend, yay!

Enjoy The Experience The Way You Want To

Sometimes we can develop preferences for how we experience something, and in turn we may recommend others to do it the same way. For example, when I go to a rock concert I like to go up front because the crowd seems to be more active there (I’m also pretty short and I like to go where I can get the best view.) For a while I personally felt like that was a major part of the experience, moving along with the motion of the crowd and being surrounded by fans of the same music. When I met my partner I wanted to share with him the enjoyment that I got from such experiences, but he just didn’t like being up front. He prefers to stand on the edges and isn’t one for joining in so much. The crowd makes him slightly claustrophobic and he’s there more for listening to the music than the vibe. Now when we go to concerts we compromise on how we want to experience them.

Usually we make recommendations hoping to improve a person’s experience or just really wanting them to feel the same enjoyment that we do. Unfortunately, it can sometimes feel a bit forced on us and we’re left feeling guilty for experiencing it in any other way. Just as different people have different interests, we can also have our own preferences for how we approach an experience. I find such differences can occur a lot in gaming. For example, I’ve noticed a negative attitude towards people that choose to play games on an easier setting. There’s also preferences on whether cheats or using a guide ruins the experience (for me it depends on the type of game.) In games with lots of choices do we take the consequences as they come or re-load? In my opinion, games are suppose to be entertaining, and it doesn’t matter how you choose to play so long as you enjoy yourself.

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Coming Up With New Blog Post Ideas

Coming up with new ideas when you most need them, no matter what the situation, can be a struggle for many of us. Blogging is one area where we frequently have to come up with new ideas on a regular basis. I’ve ventured into projects in the past just to be intimidated by the prospect of having to update it regularly, and as such they fell short. However, there are also lots of tips available on how to keep ourselves inspired.

Trying to come up with an idea on the spot usually isn’t the best way to go about it. Most of my ideas come to me when I’m not trying to find them – our brains can be working on a problem in the background without us even realizing it. As such it can be helpful to keep a journal on you at all times. I have one for games and story ideas and I also keep a file with blog post ideas. We have to train ourselves to listen to our thoughts and to keep an open mind. A lot of us just throw our thoughts away and never really act upon them. It’s a bit of a joke amongst my friends that I’m always being struck randomly with new game ideas no matter where I am, but I simply don’t have a time where I close myself off to potential ideas. I usually find that a lot of inspiration can be found at the times that I’m suppose to be out relaxing; That doesn’t mean we should never allow ourselves to switch off, but we can store those ideas away for later instead of just pushing them aside.

My friends are a fairly passionate bunch of people and it’s not unusual for us to change between many subject topics while hanging out at the pub. Chances are, something will come up that might be interesting to write about later on. I allow myself to make a mental note at the time. If not with our friends we can find a lot of like minded people online through forums, communities and on other blogs. In fact, other bloggers can be a great source for ideas; We might be able to add to a topic or offer a different viewpoint – make sure to link back to them in this case. There’s also the option of writing to others to see if they want to do an interview or guest post.

Allowing ourselves to enjoy lots of experiences or exposing ourselves to lots of information can also give us more places from which to draw inspiration. Depending on the content of the blog, searching lots of relevant news sites and checking trends on social networks might help. I spend a lot of my spare time playing games, reading books and watching films – sometimes I form an opinion or analysis that I can then write about.

We could also look back over previous blog posts. Maybe we can extend a topic further and write more about it now. It’s also a good idea to break posts down if the scope is too wide, therefore turning one idea into two potential posts. Very lengthy posts could also be separated into parts as a series. Some topics can also re-occur, making it easier to figure out what to post on particular days. For example, I loved the Fan Art Friday on The Nerd Nebula. There are also plenty of sources online and in books outlining different blog post structures.

It’s also important not to be too critical on ourselves. Not all blog posts are going to be masterpieces or as well received as we’d like, but worrying about it can cause us to freeze up. Don’t be too quick to throw out ideas, even if now doesn’t feel like the right time to work on it – just keep it written somewhere.

Being able to create new content consistently can be a challenge. Lots of us have slower moments where we’re not quite sure what we want to create that day, but there are lots of ways in which we can help ourselves to get inspired. Keeping a blog can be a good way to help develop these skills and to motivate us to stay updated.

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Celebrate The Small Things: 15 May

  • f5f01-vik-smallthings2Managed to fit in a bit of web programming, game development and art this week. Feeling really good about this game prototype I started putting together and really looking forward to doing more.
  • Arranged to meet up with a couple of friends at the pub. Had a really nice time. The weather was nice and warm too.
  • My boyfriend won an award at work. He’s the type of person that works hard, is willing to put extra time in and tries to help others too, so I’m glad he’s got this acknowledgement and I’m obviously very proud of him.

Different Interpretations Of The Same Character (Black Widow)

I came across an interesting post from the blog ‘Doorway Between Worlds‘ about the portrayal of Black Widow in the Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Apparently a lot of people feel that she has been reduced to a damsel in distress. Now that I have heard this I can see why, but at the time of seeing the movie the thought never crossed my mind. (Some spoilers ahead.)

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Thinking About Starting A Blog?

There are lots of positive reasons for starting your own blog. Writing is a really fun activity; doing so regularly can improve our writing skills or give us a healthy outlet. It’s a good way to share the things we are working on and to receive useful feedback (see ‘The Importance Of Sharing.’) Some of the feedback that we do receive can challenge the way we think. I’ve learnt a lot from the comments and posts of other bloggers. The sense of community is wonderful and I’ve stumbled across a fair few like-minded people. There are very few opportunities in life where we can actually be ourselves, but our blog is one place where we have a lot of control. For me personally, a reason to start this blog is to overcome my anxiety of putting myself out there, even if it is just a very small part of the blogosphere.

Sill, many of us sit on the idea of keeping a blog before starting for various reasons. One such reason might be the confidence we have in our own writing skills. However, not everyone that blogs is a professional writer. I’ve never been very naturally talented at writing, but I’m good enough to share some of my ideas. Besides, what better way to improve those skills than having a reason to use them regularly.

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Celebrate The Small Things: 8 May

  • f5f01-vik-smallthings2With the start of May we got an extra long weekend. It was also my boyfriend’s birthday so we spent the whole time together. We went to the Royal Armouries museum, where they even had a small section devoted to the swords of Middle Earth. We also ate out and met up with friends. So yeah, all in all its been a fun week.
  • My friend has announced the lovely news that he is now engaged. I’m really happy for him.
  • I’ve been reluctant to do much game development recently as I have too many ideas and I guess my confidence just hasn’t been there, but today I finally decided it was time to at least attempt to put some prototypes together. Started reading a new game design book too.

Games Are Real

I’ve noticed a certain attitude towards games in regards to the fact that they’re not real, so therefore they must not add much value to our lives or the world. I’ve been around non-gamers joking about how some people need to get a life and stop playing. In some cases it almost seems like a fear as if games and computers are taking over real life. Even amongst those of us that do play, we can still receive those doubts that our time might have been better spent productively – yes I do actually feel guilty for it sometimes. This is an attitude that I don’t see as much elsewhere – such as films, books and art – even though they’re arguably no more real than a game (perhaps the fact that gaming has often been portrayed as an addiction doesn’t help.) Fantasy fiction has previously struggled to earn the same respect as other genres mind. As somebody who is interested in game design, I prefer to think that all of my time has been well spent. I can also say for sure that I feel I’ve gained a lot from games, and that was partly why I wanted to learn how to build my own. Just because something isn’t real, it doesn’t mean we can’t be inspired by it or that it can’t hold any real value to us.

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Creative Blogger Award

creativebloggerI would like to thank Pasduil for nominating me for the creative blogger award. He owns a couple of blogs ‘Thinking Play‘ and ‘Planet Pasduil,’ both are well worth checking out.

So here are the rules of the award:

  • Nominate 15-20 blogs and notify them.
  • Thank and post the link of the person who nominated you.
  • Share 5 facts about yourself to your readers.
  • Pass on the rules.

Five Facts About Myself:

  • I got to go to an award ceremony for receiving the highest marks in ICT out of all the colleges in the city where I live. I also won an award at university for a couple of game development assignments.
  • I contributed towards a published PSP game a few years back.
  • I’ve previously entered the Pokemon tournament. They hold it yearly in several different locations. I didn’t do very well, but got to meet a few interesting people.
  • A long time ago – while I was still at school – a clay model I made was chosen to be displayed within an art gallery exhibit.
  • I’ve been white water rafting in Scotland. It was a lot of fun.

Nominations: