Monday, April 8, 2013

Outlining an Essay

My mind wonders pretty regularly, sometimes I get ideas I want to discuss but there's no one around to discuss them with. So I discuss them with myself and on occasion can think of some robust concepts. It seems like a decent idea to start keeping track of some of these ideas, as any time I do get to typing them out they turn into essays anyway, and actually write something decent on a topic. I've recently re-played the Metal Gear Solid series in release order and, as I'm sure Nick will relent as he recalls my 'brief thoughts on MGS2' that turned into its own essay, the way the mechanics evolve through the series is fascinating. I've also recently started playing Dark Souls, which may have some of the most sound game mechanics of anything released this generation, at least that I've played. So I want to write a piece on game mechanics and their importance. I've got a few ideas, but knowing how my mind works it won't really start to come together until I really get into it. I also haven't written anything proper since I was in university and even then I never wrote more than a rough draft that I would hand in a few days later. So this will be a bit of a dual exercise, both in refining my long-form writing, and hopefully in objectively analyzing my long loved hobby of gaming without ruining it for myself.

So onward. I've got a few rough ideas, but most importantly for now and where I'll leave off for now, my rough thesis;

More so than sound art direction and graphical fidelity, or plot, theme, and good writing, what sets apart truly lasting and revered games is their mechanics. Without solid, well executed, and most importantly enjoyable mechanics, a game will not stand up over time.

Now, I don't know if this will ever actually be finished, but I'm hoping that by getting this bit down and out there I'll have something to build off of, and at least a couple people to prod me to keep writing, or maybe even hold a public forum on the topic. As I think more on the subject I'll try and post my drafts and outlines for not only myself to keep track of my progress, but for anyone else who is interested.

So, what are your thoughts on game mechanics? Can a game transcend having poor mechanics if it's good looking and the plot is interesting? Can good game mechanics save an ugly game with no story and cement it in the hearts of millions?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Eritonik Dialogues - On Work

20. March
It’s awesome that you have a field that you know you want to work in.

Well someone else planted the seeds, I'm just sowing them
I dunno, I think there's two ways to look at working in the Western world
One is that your career is who you are, it's what you want to do and you make a living from it. The other is that your career and what you do has nothing to do with who you are, it just enables you to do what you want to do.
Either has just as much potential to lead a fulfilling lifestyle
I'm also immature and idealistic so take anything I ever say with a spoon of rock salt
But I'd like to think that it's more important to determine what makes you happy as an individual, and find ways to enable that. Be by pursuing a long career, or funding it by working.
That’s not wrong. But eventually there is a point where work gets in the way of your fulfillment
Especially when work sucks donkey nuts
I can't disagree with that, I've definitely been there.
Corey always tried to tell me how lucky I am that I have the ability to work in a field that I really enjoy, and I don'
I don't agree with him.
I think it's fortunate that I can enjoy the work I do when I do work in that field, but outside of that I never have much else I'm working towards in a fulfilling way
When I was working at the University I was basically just killing time until I could go back into the office and keep doing what I liked doing.
So I was pretty happy and fulfilled at work, but pretty bored and unfulfilled in my 'personal' time
For many people it's reversed, their work life is unfulfilling and they're just killing time at their job so they can get home and do what they really like
So I suppose in my experience I've always just flopped between the two. Unfulfilling personal time working towards fulfilling work, or unfulfilling work leading towards fulfilling personal time
But as long as you have that aspect of fulfillment in one or the other, you're okay
But if you lose grasp of fulfillment wherever you were finding it, that's when you start to slip into the ruts

Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking forward to 2013

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
         - Marianne Williamson

2013 is close aproaching, so before the clock strikes midnight, I'd light to get down a few things I'm hoping to work towards as 2013 marches on. There were a lot of things that happened in 2012, some good, some a bit less good. Some awesome, some not as awesome. But, as most people looking towards 2013, I've got a few, and I hesitate to say it, resolutions. I hesitate because New Years resolutions seem like the kind of things we say we'd like to do because it makes us feel good to do them, but then we never actually get around to doing.
So I guess these are my goals for the coming year. Not New Years resolutions, but the goals I'll be actively working towards as the year marches on. Is it the same thing? Probably. But I like it my way. this is Burger Kind, after all.

  • Keep doing stuff. Keep meeting people, keep participating in things
  • Produce. Make stuff, be it lego, pixel beads, computers, videos, photos. Have something on the go. Then I'll always have something to do when there's nothing to do
  • Talk to girls. It's time, you're ready. Ish. Just get the devil out there and talk to them. If stuff happens, cool. If not, meh. It seems like I've about mastered the 'art' of making friends with women, it's time to move on to the next logical step; find my best friend.
  • Keep climbing. Think seriously about also running. Couch to 5k. Get on that. You're young, start acting like it. (Actually I started the first day of Couch to 5k last week, so step 1 is already done. Just keep at it!) Everyone says the best time to start getting in shape is NOW, no matter what time now is. I already get to the PAC three times a week, let's keep running a part of that.
  • Get your ass to Mars Europe. Do shit. Meet people. Visit your family. Have a goddamn adventure and be assertive for once in your goddamn life. This right now is my number one priority above all else. If I don't do it this year, it's only going to become harder and harder to do. Do it, do it NOW. Get your financial management skills under control, and go to Europe. For the first time in your life you're actually trying to instigate change. Don't lose sight of it.
  • Get your ass to Mars school. Knock it out of the park, and get a job doing what you love and what you're good at. No more procrastinating. Or procrasturbating. This is my top priority after going to Europe and actually experiencing a small part of the world that isn't my own.
That's pretty much all I want to do in the coming year. Keep doing the positive things I'm already doing, meeting people, hopefully meet someone (and actually have the gaul to tell them how I feel and make something of it instead doing what I always do and shun someone who could potentially make you very happy in the way you crave into a friendship that, while you'll always cherish  neither of you may ever be completely satisfied with.) Grow. Some Balls. Take. A. Risk.

So that's what I hope I can make out of 2013. Which mostly  boils down to keep doing the awesome things I'm doing, and push myself to do the awesome things I want to do beyond those. Which, I think, is a pretty good outlook on the future no matter where you are. 

Happy New Years, my friends. And, as always, DFTBA.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Looking back at 2012

To all the people watching, I can never thank you enough for your kindness to me and I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask of you is one thing: please don't be cynical. I hate cynicism -- it's my least favourite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen.
         - Conan O'Brien

I'd like to say that 2012 will standout as on of the key years that helped define the years that would follow it. I don't know if it will, or won't, but if feels like it might. 2012 started out fairly interestingly. Shortly before Christmas, my first (albeit short) relationship in long than I'd like ended. New Years wasn't exciting. I broke my hand in a fit of frustration as previous events culminated with the shattering of a simple mug that, when filled with tea, reminded me of nothing but my Opa, as nothing else did. Things didn't exactly start off on the highest of notes, and for a few months it didn't seem like they would start looking up.

Then spring came along. Thinking back it's actually hard to keep track of what happened in spring. I started going to Tonight It's Poetry more frequently. D&D became much more regular. Nick popped up for St. Patrick's Day (I think). Things got more social. They were looking up. Will was gearing up to go to China, Steph was gearing up to go to South America. Tony was gearing up to go back to Ontario (even though he was in BC and it wouldn't actually effect how much we hung out). People all around me were DOING things. And it was exciting! Thinking of all my friends going off on adventures! The places they'd go! The people they'd see! The things they'd do! The STORIES they'd tell! I couldn't WAIT for them to go! I even went on a tiny adventure of my own and took the Jeep to Winnipeg to visit Rachel and get my fill of sister hangouts. Later, I made a giant rice crispy square (and it was DELICIOUS).

And as I was becoming more and more excited for everyone around me to start their adventures... They were suddenly gone. All the time I spent helping them get ready to leave, I never actually thought that they would really be leaving, and what I would do without them. With Steph gone, who would spark spontaneous adventure? With Will gone, who would keep on my case to keep me off my own case? To keep my head in the game? Who would do dishes with me in our underwear on webcam for all of Reddit to see?

And all at once I was lost.

All at once I didn't know what I was doing anymore.

All at once I realized I knew exactly what I was doing. I was doing nothing.

I didn't know what to do.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Project Steve365, mostly live!

A new YouTube Channel, and a new video to go along with it! I can't believe how much more work this was then I originally thought it would be. I tried editing the video I captured using iMovie, but apparenly iMovie doesn't let you impose images over top of video like I wanted to do. So I had to move to Final Cut Express and figure out how that works. So the first video is out at least a week later than I expected it would be, and I'm still working kinks out of the entire process. But now that the ball is rolling it will be a lot easier to actually keep on schedule for these. I'm going to try and get last week's video shot and up before Sunday when I want to do THIS week's video and get it up for Monday, and hopefully keep a Sunday shoot, Monday upload schedule. We'll see what happens.

Anyway, here's the new channel, and check out the video below.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Project Steve: 365

I've just got out of the shower and was struck by a brilliant idea. Don't the best ideas come from the shower? I think so.

Project Steve: 365

My dear friend Katie has been telling me to start vlogging for... Ever, really. And I've continually been apprehensive about it, because I really don't know what I'd talk about and I don't consider myself a very interesting person. I also shy away of making a vlog that is a video journal, partly because I'm bad enough as it is at keeping a standard journal, and also because I don't know if I would really want to share those videos that would come of it.

But this morning (and by morning, I mean I was out of bed at the crack of noon) while in the shower I got a brilliant idea: combine vlogging with my already ongoing Project 365 that I share with my friends on Facebook.

Project 365, for anyone unaware, is where I take one photo every day at around 5:30PM, wherever I am, write a short caption, and post it to Facebook so that all of my adoring friends can see where I was or what I was up to that day with a quick photo. Sometimes they're really interesting and have great stories behind them, and other times they're pictures of my mom's dog, or my computer desk, or just a picture of myself being a rather boring.

But here's where the brilliant part comes in; what if every day, I made a short vlog video about the photo that I took? That I think could be rather interesting, not only to myself but to others as well. It gets me vlogging a little bit, it's a new thing to do (which I've been searching for, these days. I like projects), and it gets me doing something new, which is also a little fantastic.

So here's what I plan on doing:
Every day, I'll take my photo, just like I always do. Then, later that night, I'll record a short video about the photo. I need to sit down and figure out how to actually edit video, so the first entry will either be tonight or, more likely, tomorrow. I think there's going to be a good photo tonight. Assuming I actually keep up with this, I think it will be fantastic. It took me a while to get Project 365 in full swing, but it's been going great all this year, so I'm up to the challenge.

New skills, AHOY!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday, Monday, MONDAY!

Another week another recap!

Things are getting pretty slow at work right now. If there isn't anything for me to really chew on tomorrow I'm going to get John to find something for me. With my luck it's going to be something terrifying.

We had a farewell potluck for Bob today. He's resigning as the associate director of IT at the end of this month. Bob is pretty awesome, so I hope I see him around. He's still super involved with the Jazz Festival, so I'm sure I'll see him there. The potluck was pretty amazing today, people really stepped up. Well except for Quentin and I. We totally dropped the ball. So I ended up bringing plates and cutlery from the cabinet and he went with John and got more plates and pop or something. But everyone else was wicked awesome. I can't even begin to list what was made. I ate waaay too much. As always with the potlucks. I think the best part is always the food brought by our fine friends from the middle east. They know how to eat. Spices! I could seriously eat that all the time, it's no wonder they've become so known for their cuisine.

And of course Chelsea and I exchanged more ridiculous emails throughout the day. Makes it go by super fast. Until she had to leave early at 3:30, then I was left to my own devices. Testing a machine role is only so interesting.

Taught Will how to drive stick some more this evening. But first we went over to my parents place to give mom back her knives that Will had sharpened for her, he's good at that, and I gave her our damage cheque since she paid the whole thing at our old place. Also looked at some of the bikes my parents still had and did a little work on my dad's old bike and brought it home so I can start biking to work soon. I should be able to leave the house later in the morning and I'll be getting exercise. It's win win.

I tried taking Will to the exhibition grounds to practice driving stick, but they were all locked up. So we started out by Diefenbaker instead. Drove around there a bit, gave him some pointers, and got him to start smoothing out. He's getting a lot better pretty quickly. We hit the streets and he was doing super good. Only a couple stalls! Still needs more practice shifting, but he's pretty much got the ideas down. We stopped in at Dave's because we were in the area and I forgot my earbuds there on Friday. We ended up watching the end of Fright Night with him and Rhiannon, and then watched an episode of Hoarders. I'm not so bad.

Not much after that. Saw some epic lightning inside a giant cloud in the distance, so I dug out my rain coat. I tried finding it this morning but failed. Found it tonight, though, so that's awesome. Now I'll be prepared for the worse. Well except I forgot to make lunch again. Damnit. Gotta get on that.

Will's going to run me tomorrow. He's going to help me start eating better and exercise more. He runs so he's going to help me on that, and now that I've got a temporary bike that'll help also. We're going to sit down at some point and come up with some meals that I'll ALWAYS be able to make, and a grocery list to go with it. Set up a meal plan and try and stick with it so I always know what I can eat and have the stuff to make it with. I think it's a good step int he right direction. It isn't even about losing weight or looking better for me. It's about feeling good. I don't feel good these days, I don't have a lot of energy, and I can't do things for the length of time I feel I should. I need to reverse that before it gets too difficult. I should be in my prime but instead I'm just sitting about. A fix is at hand. I'm dreading it, but I know I need it. This is going to really suck...

Skype date with Tabi tomorrow! Excited! I'm passing through Calgary on Thursday, but I'll be missing her then. Hopefully we can meet up on Friday on the way back through. Nick and I still haven't worked out our details yet, all that's for sure is that I'm driving to Revvy on Thursday and we'll probably figure things out from there. Erik is super excited and so am I. I can't wait to see him and Liz and Tony. I miss those guys. I'm also hoping to have a visit with the family out in Calgary while I'm in town, too. Lunch probably won't work out since it's Thursday afternoon, but maybe Friday night or Saturday morning. Saturday morning would be pretty sweet. I'll have to give them a call soon.

That's all for now. Time to take a quick look at the internet and then get some sleep for tomorrow. For it's another day!