1 November, 2016
Once again I have survived a full revolution clinging to a ball of dirt and molten metal hurtling through space around a continuous nuclear fusion engine. As with most things, this makes my life sound much more dramatic than it really is. For the non-science nerds out there: it’s my birthday today.
But, as is tradition on my blog, let’s take a look at the past year or so of life.
The number 42
I had some hope last year. I was turning 42 magical years old. Being a fan of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I thought this was potentially auspicious. I mean, it’s the meaning of life, after all! Except we still don’t know the question.
Well, imagine my disappointment. As Douglas Adams admitted later, 42 was just a smallish, ordinary number picked out of the air. There’s really no mystery to it.
However, in Japanese culture, there’s the concept of Yakudoshi, where certain ages are supposed to be bad luck. For men, the primary age of bad luck is… 42. I learned about this just this year.
But, I’m reminded of the Old English poem I read in high school, Deor, and I remember the refrain from the translation I read: “That passed away, and so may this.”
I guess at least I’m not one of the celebrities who passed away this year. Although, I guess I still have 2 more months to endure before I escape that fate.
Frankly, the game industry is still a depressing place. I was recently talking with a friend of mine about some terrible experiences I had in the past with a mutual acquaintance. The response was:
There’s literally no part of your story that hasn’t happened so many times as to render the anecdote indistinguishable from all the rest. For what it’s worth, I’m sorry it happened to you.
And that’s pretty much the game industry summed up. It can be a dispiriting place. Especially for people who don’t fit the stereotype of a typical “game developer”. And since I’m now solidly middle-aged, a lot of people don’t see me as a “game developer” anymore.
But, I’ve been indie before and I’m eagerly doing it again. As people have said, there’s never been a better time to be an indie. I’m glad to be working on The Humanity Hypothesis. Although indie development is a lot less stable and secure than having a steady job, I at least have some enthusiastic supporters out there. Thanks. :)
I’m still playing a lot of games. My MMOs of choice are still DDO and FFXIV. I also play the occasional single-player game. A friend of mine just bought me ARK: Survival Evolved. I’m putting together a new computer system this week, and I’ll probably start playing that when I get the system up and running again.
I noticed my interest in mobile and tablet games has waned. The only game on my phone I “play” much anymore is Neko Atsume, which has very little real interactivity. I mostly play it as a fun way for my significant other and I to compare how things are going. I’ve almost gotten all the mementos from the cats, with only the elusive Peaches (Cream-san) holding out on me right now. The occasional update means I might revisit the game in the future even if I “win” it.
In a bit of sad news, the Star Wars: Uprising game I was playing on my tablet has announced that it will be shutting down. Sad news for Kabam, which went through a round of layoffs earlier this year. It’s a shame, because I really enjoyed the game. It was a surprisingly deep game for a tablet game, with pretty good action-RPG (read: Diablo-clone) elements to the game. The monetization wasn’t too obnoxious, which is probably why it underperformed. Sadly, being a licensed game means that there’s someone expecting to get paid, and if certain minimums aren’t met, then the license gets pulled. It’s one thing for a fire-and-forget game, but it’s another issue completely when the game is online and potentially had years of life ahead of it.
But, less gaming distractions is probably for the best. I’m going to be heads-down this month doing a ton of writing for The Humanity Hypothesis. I’ve got most of the structure in place, now comes the grunt work of putting words to a page, and transferring those into the game.
My immediate future is going to be writing, and tons of it. I’ll post more about the game on here and on the social media accounts we’ve set up as we go along.
I’m also involved with a neat role-playing game project (mostly tabletop and text-based RP). I’m the “sensible adult” for the group, guiding the head of the project through the minefield of dealing with other creatives and how to protect their work. It’s a lot of fun!
After these projects, I’m not sure. The most likely course is another game. I’m enjoying working with Dave a lot, so we might work on another game together after this one. We’ll see how he feels in a few months. :)
Long term, I’m still keeping half an eye on MMOs. A friend and frequent commenter on here sent me a lengthy birthday wish on Google+, lamenting the state of MMOs. I replied that while things are mostly grim right now, I think MMOs will come back in some form in the future. There’s a lot to be learned from MMOs if nothing else.
I’m also playing around with the idea of starting a Patreon. As I said, indie development tends to be unpredictable and insecure. Having some fans support me doing cool things would probably help a bit. But, I want to figure out a worthwhile reason for the Patreon to exist rather than simply asking “gib monies plz”. Especially for a blog that sometimes gets neglected. I’m thinking maybe more writing and/or tabletop RPG design might be interesting.
But, I’ll keep going. For now, at least.
Happy Birthday me!
Leave your birthday well-wishes below. I’ll appreciate these most of all.
If you’re feeling particularly generous (and you certainly don’t have to), you can stalk me on Steam and buy me something from my wishlist. Or you can buy something off my Amazon wishlist for me. And, since I’m putting together a new computer, a gift card from Newegg.com wouldn’t be wasted.
But, as I said, simple well wishes are sufficient to brighten my day. Thank you all, again, for your continued encouragement and support.