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October 15, 2017 / gameofslaves

Still moving forward? Yep!


Yes, still… moving forward.

It’s been four weeks, and I’ve proved (to myself, at least) that I can write and code when not inspired.  More to the point, I’ve learned ‘forcing’ myself to write leads to being somewhat inspired.

Since that Saturday, I have spent time “nearly every day” writing and coding on my two primary projects.  (I said “nearly” because I did skip a day here and there, I’m not going to lie.)  Some days it was only a half-hour, and some days I put in six hours.

In 28 days, I had a combined total of over FIFTY HOURS!  (I didn’t count all my hours, so it may be as high as 70(?).  I’m keeping better tracking of hours.)  It’s not much, by many standards.  But it’s a lot when you consider my schedule, and that I’m not feeling inspired.  I prefer to write and code when inspired, I admit.  …but that course of action led to so many incomplete projects…  so, so many incomplete projects.

Right now, I’ve got outlines and I’m following them.  I’m somewhat organized.  I also have room to add more paths and story if I should feel inclined.

I have several goals.  When I meet certain goals, I’m going to release some of my work.  When I reach more goals, I will expose my Patreon account to the world… and if donations reach certain goals, I’ll be able to cut back on second-job hours so I can focus on what I enjoy doing…  coding and writing.

If I reach the point where I don’t need the second job at all, then I’ll be able to really start reinvesting into my games and stories.  I’d really like that.

I’m nervous about actually releasing… anything.  It will happen.  It will be a learning experience.

I believe I’m ready.  I’m keeping to my goals.

My next goal is to match or exceed the number of hours I’ve invested, over the same time frame.  Maybe I’ll hit a release goal before then?  Time will tell…

–Cam

September 18, 2017 / gameofslaves

Moving forward


I’ll keep this short. Mostly. After all, time is money, right?

The part of the USA where I live experienced a big change in the cost of living. It wasn’t for the positive. (I’ll save the political rant for another time and place.)

Since my primary employment wasn’t able to carry my lifestyle, I had to take on a second job. I now work about 75 hours a week, in addition to commute times. (When one job gives me a day off, I end up working the other one. …usually.)

I don’t have nearly as much time to write and code when I want. I managed to get a Saturday with no work scheduled. I decided that was the day to break my pattern. I am pleased to present the results of a test.

In the past, I have shown myself to have issues with ‘self-discipline’. I admit it. I’ve even written about it a few times on this blog.

This time, I decided to work on something when I wasn’t ‘feeling it’. It was slow going, at first. I’m not going to lie. It was rough. But I was able to get a rhythm going and bang-out 5,000 words on one project, and 600 in another, in six hours. I asked around, and the general feeling is that this is a good pace. I don’t know if I’ll be able to continue at that pace, but I’m attempting it.

I don’t see myself having long stretches available like that, very often. I am making time to work some of my projects with the intent of getting them ready to share.

I’ll put in an hour a day toward my projects… notably, toward a specific visual novel… one of my smaller projects. I don’t have a name for it, yet.

There will be days where I won’t have the time or energy. I’m ready to accept that. I am making an effort.After the hours on Saturday, I put in another hour+ on Sunday after work. Tonight, I’m writing this blog post and heading to sleep ‘early’. Tomorrow, I will work on the visual novel since I expect to be rested.

It will be done. I’m not going to settle for ‘plan to’… I’m doing it. I’m making this happen, even in a ‘creative lull’. I can do it. I will do it. I am doing it.

(Hooray for pep-talks?!)

— Cam

May 1, 2017 / gameofslaves

The wisdom of others…


I’m an ‘idea person’.  I get inspired and I run with it.  Left?  Right?  Up?  Fiction?  Game?  English?  Fortan?  It doesn’t seem to matter.

The positives include getting to vent my creativity in so many different ways.

The negatives include never rarely getting anything done.

My inspiration waves don’t have me running around like a manic cat on recreational chemistry, but I do get easily distracted.

I’ve been trying to follow the wisdom of others who walk the same path I’m on.  And it’s more of a challenge than I’d like to admit.  It’s easy to repeat the wisdom, but to actually walk that talk?  meh… not so much.

Start small.  – I haven’t managed it.

Finish something. – Yeah, same.

Stick to what you know. – I know way too much for my own good.

Blech.

…well, normally, I’d be kind of ‘blech’ with a huge serving of ‘meh’ and a dash of ‘feh’.  But this last week, I discovered two things!

First, I have an idea for a simple game.  Not too crazy.  Just crazy enough and with plenty of room to expand, if I feel inspired…  (actually two games which meet that description, but I digress.)  …but well-defined enough to keep things simple.

Second thing I discovered?   [-REDACTED-]    Seriously.  I know I touched on it before, but ugh.  Now, that I’m inspired and have a reasonable project in mind – this happens.

I’m not making excuses.  I’m grumping.  I’m frustrated.

Borrowing from the wisdom of others, once more – as soon as I make ends meet, they move the ends.  …and my GPS isn’t helping me find those ends.

As far as a progress report goes…  I’m not feeling it.  I don’t want to focus on things I won’t have time to support.

April 9, 2017 / gameofslaves

LiveJournal awareness post – Russian Law


For those who read this and have a LiveJournal account, even if it’s old, take a moment to read this.

I do not want this blog to become a political soapbox, so I’ll keep this post quick and clear.

LiveJournal is now subject to Russian Law.

This means that fines and arrest can be leveraged against sites (blogs, games, stories, authors) which support or “raise awareness” of non-traditional lifestyles.  While many people are focused on the LGBTQ+ people, it also applies to those of us who enjoy kink and poly relationships.

Heck, you don’t even have to support  anything ‘deviant’, simply “raising awareness” is enough.  This post, right here, is probably not permitted by the Russian Law.

If your blog gets enough views, they consider you a “media outlet” and that puts you face-front against their Law and facing even stronger penalties.

Most people I know left LJ a long time ago.

The data, however, is still archived.  I’m nervous.  I had an account before LJ got overwhelmed by its popularity, and I had some non-standard posts… deviancy, and such.  I subscribed to some kink-focused and trans-friendly groups and blogs.  Makes me wonder.

I figured I’d just post this to raise awareness… while it is still legal to do so where I live.  (However long that may be.)

I’ve had my ~200 words of politics.  That is all.  For now.

-Cameron

February 13, 2017 / gameofslaves

Another month flies by…


Again, more time flies by.  Still, I keep writing and working…  researching and prepping.

I have more than a few storylines I’m working on while I try to decide what kind of game(s) they would make… and trying to decide which game engine to use.

TWINE is easy to use, but only now am I learning how to use it for sandbox sims.

RAGS is also easy to use, good for simulated environments but limited and difficult to work with, from a coding and programming perspective.  (Someone was kind enough to get me a license so I could break beyond the five-room limit.  I figured out how to get past that limit, but it was unfair to the developer, so I held back on abusing it.  Also, it’s just easier.)

Inform7 is powerful and flexible, but it’s all command-line driven and that frustrates a lot of people… even when you throw in hyperlinks to make things clickable… it’s not enough to keep people happy.  (I’ll admit there are times when I don’t want to play a command-line game, so I’ll play something else.  But there are times when that is what I want…  maybe I’m an odd-sock in that regard.)

Ren’Py has so much potential and is largely dialogue-driven.  I like to think I’m good at dialogue.  I’ve seen a variety of games use Ren’Py and many of them have a similar feel, but there are some who have taken the engine and done some amazing things, breaking away from the mold(s) created by previous games.

(I’m also considering doing some dialogue-heavy work in EPISODE, which is intended for mobile devices.  I’ve been looking at their script engine and it has potential.)

RPG Maker (in its various flavors) is very much the choice for JRPG-style games like the first Zelda and Final Fantasy games.  I have only see a slim few variations on the standard style.

There are a few MUD options now, too.  I’ve been tinkering with a few of them.  Again, command-line driven, but allowing for multiple players to interact in real-time without having to generate 3D environments, models, and animations.  (Though there are a few of those coming down the pipeline in terms of licensing and ease of use.)

Then again, there’s custom work in Java, Python, PyGame, and Flash / ActionScript.

There are also other options, but I wanted to limit the list to the ones I’ve delved into most.

Each engine has strengths and weaknesses for differing types of games.  So the big issue becomes a matter of matching the engine to the style of play (and my ability to work with it) which will best suit the story I decide to work on.

As for the stories…  I’ve got more than a few that I can use.  Some of them, I’ve just been writing as stories to flesh out the game-worlds and story potential.  I’m working with everything from G-rated to very naughty and kinky, slice-of-life to sci-fi and fantasy… and several combinations thereof.

I’ll release some samples of what I’m toying with on my usual sites… but I wanted to give a quick write up before sleep… since I realized it’s been so long.

Also!  The ‘sissy thing’…  I’ve never really been able to wrap my brain around the appeal.  (Sorry, not my thing.)  But I have connected with someone who has been able to give voice to it in a way which makes sense to me.  I’ll be using said sissy to bounce ideas and we’ll see what comes from that.

I’m off to rest.  I didn’t check this for typos and improper wording… please forgive any such.  G’night.

-CameronD

December 28, 2016 / gameofslaves

December Holiday Ramblings


First, I want to say that I hope everyone reading this is having a pleasant Holiday Season, no matter which holiday(s) you might celebrate.

Now, on to the ramblings…

November and December were caught in my creative down-cycle.  I haven’t stopped creating, but I have pared back a bit.  I’ve been watching what others are doing, and TRYING not to rehash what they’ve been up to.

I was chatting with someone who mentioned (paraphrasing) “you say you have so many ideas for games.  Like what kinds of ideas?”  I ran off a short list of ideas which I haven’t invested any real time on… which means they didn’t go onto the site, here.  After five or six ideas, “I would totally play every one of those games.  Why don’t you start your own game studio?”  Because I know enough to know I don’t have what it takes to run such a business.  “Hire people to do it for you.”  That takes money.  And no one will invest in someone who hasn’t finished a single project yet.  “Then finish one.”

*sigh*

It sounds so easy, on paper.

In my day-to-day life, I’m laid-back and casual.  When it comes to creating something… my inclination and instinct is to go for perfection and accept nothing less.

In software design, they have a concept called Minimum Viable Product (MVP) – the most basic, featureless composition you can offer and still have it be ‘your software’.  I’ve done that on two projects… and I was left wanting more… so much more.

Mentally, I generally approach software design from the ‘wrong direction’.  I usually start with a story or concept, and then build from that.  Wrong.  I like to build bottom-up.  Wrong, too.  I enjoy creating from passion and inspiration.  Wrong three – STRIKE!  YOU’RE OUT!

(I know I got the wording wrong, but… meh.)

In all seriousness, I do not code / program / write as a career, because I go about it all wrong.  But…  going about it the ‘right way’ doesn’t feel right, either.  Maybe I’m just being rebellious?  Maybe I was meant to find success doing things the ‘wrong way’?  Maybe I was meant to quest forever, seeking my elusive goal, never to find it.

*shrug*

Don’t know.

So anyway…  I’m still up to my usual activities…  writing, coding, designing, creating, and all while trying to get by… month-to-month, day-by-day…

-Cam

November 12, 2016 / gameofslaves

Me? Yep, still here… doing my thing(s)…


So, I was on a heavy creativity kick for MONTHS.  When I finally thought I’d burnt it out, a couple of days later it was back with just as much force.

What have I been doing?  (Aside from working full time, having a social life, and trying keep my responsibilities in line?)  Writing, coding, playing… a lot.   I even managed to watch a season of a TV series.  (“Just one?”   Yes.  Like I said, I was was busy with the writing, coding, and gaming.)

I’ve also been helping a (non-programmer) friend with a (game-build) task she volunteered for… and then ran into Life Events face-first.  I think she’s back on track now.  Hopefully, she’ll have something to share with the world soon… and I’ll give a little bit of screen-space to her project.

And to top things off, I had just finished earning nearly all the (non-Breach) Achievements for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided… and now Dishonored 2 is out… *sigh*  must… play…  learn new story…  (I’m already kinda far in.  Enjoying it.  Playing on console, so not having much of the trouble WinBox players are having with it.)

Also… also…  I have a little box up and running the starter framework for The Game….  (Game of Slaves)  …the MUD engine is running fine.  I’m still working out the scope of what I want vs what I can actually do.  *grin*  I’ve done it a few times, and it will probably go through a few more revisions… before anything public happens with it.

Actually, I just had an idea…  If my other projects take off and garner a following, I may be able to get enough people to help me work out the hiccups in The Game.  Hm.  Not ready for that yet…  but getting closer!

A wise person, an author, said something akin to:  “An author’s first million words are worthless as a representation of what they’re capable of achieving.  You still have to get through the first million, no matter how brilliant you are.”  I see the truth in this.  I think it also applies to coding and programming.

I’m also learning that my first take on a scene is just me getting it out.  The second version tends to be much more cohesive and efficient. The same does not hold true for programming and coding.  Interesting, I think.  Maybe because in one instance I’m writing for machines, in the other I’m writing for people.

That’s enough of an update for now.  More to come as it does.

–Cam

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