Life

New-ish Year Re-resolutions

On Jan 2 I wrote:

“I want to make some resolutions for myself for 2015:

  1. Write at least once a week on here, even if it’s nothing major.
  2. Spend at least 1 night a week working on side projects, likely in Unity. (Bonus – combine 1 and 2 by writing about the side projects)
  3. Work out at least twice a week. This is a habit I’ve really gotten out of after my son was born, and I notice a difference in just general energy levels and evenness of mood.
  4. Take my son to some activities, at least a couple times each month, now that he’s getting old enough to go out and do things.”

Let’s see how I’ve fared 18 days later:

  1. Well, this one’s obviously a bust. This is my first post since then. So call it… 33% successful so far, I guess.
  2. Batting 50% on this one. I have monkeyed around with Unity and spent some time formulating a project, but not very much. My excuse has been I will have plenty of time for that after I no longer am going into work…
  3. I’m batting closer to 80% on this, I have had several good workouts. Room for improvement still, but not too bad overall.
  4. We’ve been going to the park on days that it’s nice, so that’s something. I would still like to do something a little more special at some point. I’d give myself a 75% on this.

I guess the unspoken 5th resolution of “find a damn job” is also unfulfilled so far. But with all these there is still concrete steps to be taken, which is the important thing. Layoffs are a weird rollercoaster of emotion and motivation, and finding consistency in all that feels difficult, but I can continuously recommit to my plans – after all, the only one grading me is myself.

Going forward, I want to make an amendment to the first item – write at least once every 2 weeks specifically about my forays into Unity, and my design process as I progress in my projects. It seems like half the time I sit down to write, there’s just so many divergent topics I could cover I don’t know where to begin, and the blank page is creatively stifling. So I’m aiming to write about the more narrowly constrained topic of development.

Advertisements

Welcome 2015

2015 will most certainly be, for me at least, a year of many changes. The most obvious, and at the moment worry-inducing, change is that I will need to find a new job. I have until January 22nd to be officially employed at Edge of Reality still, at which point me and another 10 employees are left to fend for ourselves. The timing of these layoffs has been… less than ideal, the news coming as it did a few days before Christmas. It’s certainly cast a shadow on the end of an otherwise very good year, and in a way I wish I had been able to remain ignorant through the holidays and be able to actually relax and enjoy myself more, since I already sorely needed a vacation.

I’ve done a little bit of preparation to search for jobs, including putting word out on the twitbooks, and updating my resume. The timing is awkward as well because I’ve been unable to contact anyone I know working at studios around town, since all their offices are closed for the holidays, but that’s something I intend to pursue in earnest starting next week. Also on the mental checklist of things to do is update this site to include links to my resume, linkedin, etc. I might try and put together some form of demo reel or portfolio, although showing the design process is difficult to to visually, and might just amount to me describing problems I faced and how I tackled them, in a sort of post-mortem style here on this blog.

In the end I think this layoff will be a good thing for me, since it will allow me to finally work elsewhere. I’ve been at Edge over 7 years now, which is frankly too long to be a designer at a studio which relies on ports and has little proclivity or need for good design. I understand that designers always face constraints, and working around those often leads to more creative outputs, not less, but it would be nice to work for a place where one of the constraints it not “convince everyone constantly that designing things, as a concept, is even important”. It seems clear looking at successful studios that they put a heavy emphasis towards the player engagement, and have a constant eye towards how to craft fun and deep experiences. I want to be somewhere like that, and while I’ve been on a kind of slow-burn search for a while now, this layoff has really forced my hand and caused that search to take a much higher priority. Of course, I still have to go in for the next month or so…

One final note, seeing as how it’s a new year and people tend to do these kinds of things, I want to make some resolutions for myself for 2015:

  1. Write at least once a week on here, even if it’s nothing major.
  2. Spend at least 1 night a week working on side projects, likely in Unity. (Bonus – combine 1 and 2 by writing about the side projects)
  3. Work out at least twice a week. This is a habit I’ve really gotten out of after my son was born, and I notice a difference in just general energy levels and evenness of mood.
  4. Take my son to some activities, at least a couple times each month, now that he’s getting old enough to go out and do things.

So the year is not starting on a high note, but I feel confident I can make the best of it and in the end 2015 can be my best year yet!

Fatigue

There are a lot of topics I find myself wanting to talk about, but am too fatigued lately to really muster up the effort to say much of anything on here. There are a couple reasons for this, probably the largest of which is having a 10 month old who wakes up anywhere between 5:30 to 7:30 AM every morning. So sleep is a thing of the past, but such is life as a parent, as I hear it told.

Baby-induced sleep deprivation aside, however, I do feel a bit caught in a rut lately. Work on Loadout continues at its usual breakneck pace, where we are doing our best to salvage the game into something money-earning, but are given incredibly short timelines and a meager team size. Even aside from the overtime and late nights working from home, this ordeal has been exhausting simply because we constantly are required to make design compromises/sacrifices to get it done, but after enough sacrifices it starts to feel like what we’ll end up with won’t be what we need to make the game work. It’s a shame, too, because done right I really have strong hopes for what the last 3 months effort has started. I just hope we get the chance to more fully realize that promise.

Perhaps I’m being too hard on myself, given the constraints on my time imposed by working overtime and caring for a baby, but another aspect of that feeling of exhaustion is the sense that I’m stagnating in terms of self-betterment. My gym trips have dwindled to almost non-existent, my personal projects have sat in limbo for months now, and I’ve picked up no new skills or hobbies in what feels like a very long time. Hell, even my leisure activities have languished, and I’ve barely had the chance to play games anymore.

I suppose all of this is just standard “getting older, having kids” complaints, and maybe some day soon I’ll push through these doldrums. There are still things to look forward to, after all, the anticipation of which can itself be a salve against stagnation.