Archive | August 2016

Dealing with Creative Jealousy

I came across this honest art video about jealousy and I wanted to write about my own thoughts on this. I haven’t experienced jealousy much myself, but this could be due to my mindset or my unusual mix of interests – art and computing. There have been moments where I’ve felt intimidated by the skills of others, but then I remind myself that I have my own unique angle to see things from. I have abilities that perhaps the other person doesn’t have. With creative pursuits it’s not just about the skills we have, but also our own unique approach to it and the experiences that have inspired us. Those that thrive at what they do are not necessarily the most skilled at it, but the ones that bring a new attitude to the table.

I enjoy browsing through what others have produced. When I first started programming I read through game development diaries to see what process others followed. They were way better than me, but they did have years of experience on me too. I found it inspiring as it showed me the potential for what I could become if I stuck with it. If it wasn’t for seeing other creations I’d have never considered venturing into it myself as I wouldn’t have known what was possible. I’m also thankful to those that pass down their knowledge to newcomers, allowing them to skip some hurdles along the way. Some people allow others to put them off because they can’t imagine ever being able to reach such a skill level. If we allow a goal to feel insurmountable it can prevent us from even trying; Why invest our time and energy into something that isn’t going to work out? When we view the work of others it helps to do it with the belief that we can one day get to the same point. We’re all on different journeys and we don’t have to travel at the same pace or in the same direction.

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Value For Money? (No Man’s Sky)

I’ve played a bit more of No Man’s Sky since I last wrote about it and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about it. I’m not getting a massive urge to play it anymore and when I do I’m only entertained for short bursts at a time (motion sickness and headaches are also a problem forcing me to cut sessions short.) The amount I’ve paid for it keeps playing on my mind. I don’t like to throw in the towel too early as I’ve had experiences in the past where I’ve hated a game, loved it, hated it again and so on. There’s this idea that a game should grip you within the first five minutes, but I think we can make a few exceptions as there have been some titles that I would have regretted giving up on early (Eve, Don’t Starve and Dark Souls.) Some experiences get more exciting as we master the system. My tastes can also change so long as I keep an open mind.

No Man’s Sky has been an interesting release due to how opinions about it seem to be so polarised. Some people love it, others are bitterly disappointed. In my case I didn’t have any hype for the game and hadn’t thought about it much until the week before launch. That’s when I received some birthday vouchers and researched a few options to spend them on. I have to admit I had a few uncertainties about No Man’s Sky as I struggled to find clear information about what the gameplay involved. I kept seeing the same footage that had been revealed years before – a game can change a lot in that time. There was still enough there to convince me to take the risk and my curiosity got the better of me. Even if I’d waited a while I think I would have still gotten curious at some point. I like to experience games first hand so that I can form my own opinions before any hype or hate can colour them.

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The Source of my Creative Anxiety

Following a creative pursuit can require a lot of resilience. I love hearing the stories of other creative individuals regardless of their interests because creative anxiety is a common issue linked to many disciplines. There’s no easy way to deal with it, but neither is it an unusual problem. When we create something we are pouring much of ourselves into the project and it can be difficult to emotionally detach from the outcome. We might have been working on that same project for a long time and could have made sacrifices to bring it to completion. We risk leaving ourselves open to criticism as we attempt to share our ideas with others, hoping that they’ll understand what we are trying to accomplish.

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Celebrate The Small Things: 12 August

I did my first bit of decorating ever. I wanted to help my sister with sorting out her new house and painted a few walls. I was thoroughly impressed with myself considering that it was my first time and around some awkward corners and angles. Her partner also has a rule that anybody who helps out will not go hungry, so I was fed and offered lots of chocolate treats in turn – well worth it. I’m wanting to learn a lot of this stuff anyway so that I’m ready for when we move into our own house. We keep having conversations about how amazing it’ll be to finally get our lives started, although it’s also slightly overwhelming.

No Man’s Sky was out this week, which was something to look forward to checking out. Yay, new shiny game feel. I’ve got the night in so I’m going to get some snacks while I spend my time exploring the universe. I’ve also become obsessed with the film Metropolis as we finally got a copy in. My sister and I had been wanting to watch this old sci-fi film for a long time. I wasn’t sure at first as I’d never seen a silent movie before, but was amazed at how engaging it was considering the age of the film. This film has inspired lots of things, like the Queen video Radio Ga Ga. I get excited when I discover enjoyment in new things. They inspire me.

It’s time for Comic Con again so it’ll be a fun weekend.


Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here.



Pokémon Go Tips

I started Pokémon Go a little bit later than my friends did, but have managed to catch up much to everyone’s surprise. I don’t think I go out as often as they do either, but I’ve been very careful in how I’ve used my items. So here are a few tips that I followed to get a good start:

  • I didn’t power up my Pokémon right away as this is a waste of stardust. You catch better Pokémon later anyway.
  • I caught everything to begin with, especially Pidgey. Only 12 Candy is required to upgrade a Pidgey. You can get a lot of experience from upgrading so I use a lucky egg beforehand. I like to fully upgrade a Pokémon before powering it up too.
  • Eggs are another good way to gain experience as well as stardust and rare Pokémon, so always make sure to fill the incubators before going for a walk. Some incubators have limited use; To get the most out of them it’s better to fill these with the larger eggs.
  • Plan a route that will allow you to pass 10 different Pokéstops within 30 minutes. After the 10th you’ll receive double experience and twice as many items.
  • If petals appear around a Pokéstop a lure has been used, which will attract more to that location. If I’m taking a break from walking I like to position myself over a couple of stops with lures. The stops also reset after 5 minutes (the icon will fade from pink to blue) and you can use them again.
  • Go for walks at different times of the day. The type of area you are in will also affect which Pokémon will appear.
  • When catching a Pokémon holding your finger over the pokéball will cause a reticule to appear. The colour of the ring indicates the difficulty. The smaller the ring the better the chance of catching. You can also use berries and better Pokéballs to increase chances.
  • Good throws get you bonus experience while catching, indicated by text that pops up, ‘Nice!’ ‘Great!’ or ‘Excellent!’
  • The Pokéball can also be spun to create a curve ball, increasing the chance of capture and adding a small amount of bonus experience.
  • Before powering up a Pokémon I check its moves first. I prefer to have different types if possible.
  • We also use the Google Opinion Rewards app. You can fill out short surveys for rewards which can be put towards Pokécoins. You can also get coins from placing Pokémon in the gyms. As soon as you do go to the store to claim the reward. You will then need to wait for it to reset before you can claim another.
  • To save on battery turn on the saver mode in the settings, turn off AR when catching and lower the brightness of your screen. We also got a battery charger to enable us to lengthen our walks.

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No Man’s Sky First Impressions

I didn’t understand why there was so much hype around No Man’s Sky. Every video I watched emphasized the scale of it, but offered very little on the actual gameplay. As the release date drew closer I became more intrigued, but was still on the fence about it. When too many promises are made in regards to the scale of a game it makes me wary because  there are limitations in regards to budget and time. Put too much work into one area and usually the project will suffer elsewhere. I much prefer quality over quantity. It’s cool to think that there’s this massive universe to be explored, but the majority of it will go untouched and as such I’d rather have a small and well designed area with the illusion of scale as opposed to lots of similar content that I’ll never see. I also suspected that the game might suffer from that problem of being really exciting to begin with – at the thought of all the potential space can bring – just to quickly lose engagement in its players due to the lack of goal driven things to do. A larger scale usually slows down the pace of a game too, as there could be a lot of travelling from A to B with nothing of interest in-between. Despite my doubts I eventually caved and put in a pre-order as curisosity got the better of me. I love the idea of being able to freely move between planets and while there are lots of space games available to buy, I’m still searching for the right one.

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Celebrate The Small Things: 5 August

It was my birthday this week. We went to the zoo where they now have Giant Otters. Followed this up with a meal at my favourite restaurant. We attended a show called Kynren a few days prior, covering the history of England from when the Romans and Vikings came right up to World War II. It was spectacular, performed by thousands of volunteers and utilising lights and music to great effect. Luckily the weather was also warm that night. Tonight we plan to have one final treat for this week and will be getting a takeaway pizza, while watching films and playing games.

I’ve been following more drawing tutorials this week. It seems to be getting easier to keep at it every day. I guess this is now becoming more of a habit. I’ve also began making plans for a visual novel I’d like to create, and I’m hoping that my skills at drawing characters will be much better by the time I’ve gotten the story figured out.


Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here.

Consistent Practice Builds Skills

On the games programming course I did there was only myself and one other that had come from a creative background. Everybody else had taken maths and science courses prior to starting. This knocked my confidence as I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to fit in. However, there were definitely some areas where my different mindset was a benefit. Some of our classes required us to create animations. I got a fair bit of attention for my work as only a few of us had the skills to give it a good go. Something that I heard a lot of was, ‘I could never draw like you do. I’m not creative at all.’ I appreciate the compliment, but it’s a bit of an odd thing to say when you think about it, considering that it was coming from people that hadn’t even tried to draw. If you don’t try to draw, well of course you’re never going to be good at it.

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