maybe I could write a little bit ^^

It has been quite some time since I wrote here last time and no, it’s not because I don’t like my blog anymore 😛
I still think that this blog is very important to me, but I was getting insecure about telling about things that aren’t so much game related anymore, since I originally had made this blog with the intention of using it to show my progress in it.
Well….but life doesn’t always go smoothly and I have been on sick leave for many months now….and in therapy and on medication and trying to work through the problems I’m having.
It honestly feels a little bit surreal, to be told that I can “practically” do whatever I want, even encouraged to do so, because for so many years I was always bashing myself to not be good enough and not living up to mine or “imagined others” standards.
Also…last time I thought I took a break for a year to “find myself and get better” it was without therapy and I felt guilty about it being a hole in my resume….
but…that doesn’t matter anymore…all I care about now, is that I can find a way to get better and get back to what I love doing…which is making games, creating worlds, being creative and sharing it with others ^^

I’m….a little bit more hopeful again, that things might go better…slowly…carefully…allowing myself to believe that my past, especially the bad stuff that has happened, doesn’t need to continue defining my life and that I can change it.

I want to live.

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Coming to terms with the state I’m in

I can’t deny it any longer that I need help. As far as I know I have been suffering from anxiety, depression and possibly OCD my whole life. I don’t have any diagnosis (yet), but I’m wanting to change that to get proper treatment.
I reached a certain…black hole in my life, beginning of this year…getting burn out from doing the best I could and at the same time bashing myself for not doing good enough ever. Like a constant reminder of what a failure I would be on repeat.
I know it’s not true…or I should know it isn’t, but it’s hard to see through that wall, that I have been living with for most of my life.
I finally got the courage to ask for real help, to ask for what I need and to put my health first, so that I have a chance to get better at any point. I’m currently trying anti-depressants (which seems to have helped a little bit, making it possible for me to at least do some laundry or dishes without feeling completely exhausted) and I’m gonna see a therapist end of this week…..
I want to get better….I’m sick of being sick.
So…health first, my game(s) have to wait.
one little bit of hope though, through all that darkness, it seems that games are a passion for me…I’m glad that’s clear for me now.

Whiskers Collision and struggle to come to terms with resting.

I actually managed to get myself out of the general fear and anxiety to keep working on the game. I felt like everything I did was awful and couldn’t even start doing anything without getting burnout simply thinking about all the things I would need to do to get my game to the state I want it to be in….
I’m working on getting help, also talking to friends and trying to approach everything work related very gently. As much as I would like to be that superhuman being that is always working at 100% max capacity at all times and thinking I can sustain that over long period of time, I can not.
It’s hard to accept and even harder that when I’m thinking I’m already hanging far behind of what I wanted to achieve and what I thought I could achieve and then I HAVE TO take a break, find a way to relax and rest and not think about work….it feels like I should be working, trying to catch up with my huge list of things to do, but I know it’s gonna tear me apart if I try and do that again.

I don’t want to linger in the past and in what I perceive as my past failures, but my mind tends to hold it in front of me, like a bad parent would smear bad grades into their kids face, yell at them and scold them for doing so bad and few.
No matter what the truth of that specific child is, it hurts and it is usually not fair.

Despite all that, some week ago or so, I managed to get myself into programming/developing again. I was doing a little sideproject, something I’m very interested in, in terms of procedural generation. I really want to use it in my games in the future. And it gave me a little of that spark back to why I was actually wanting to make games, the fascination with making worlds etc.
It also gave me the courage to go ahead and start trying out something new for Critters, something I was quite afraid of starting, because there are many things that are interconnecting that need to be implemented and changed in my game in order for those things to work.
In this case I started with the one thing which I call “WhiskersCollisionDetection” it is practically a system, that allows every creature in the game to find their way around obstacles. Think: a cat’s whiskers helping to find their way in dark places by telling it through collision of the whisker tips where it can’t or can go.
I have already a working prototype of it and I want it to work together with a priority system (what a creature is interested in/looking for/needing at a specific moment) and a search system (creature walks around to find what it needs, like food)
and also to be able to avoid things that might be dangerous, like keeping distance of thornbushes or cliffs, though I want to implement an awareness system aswell, that should allow for accidents to happen 😛
I also want to replace the current cubs behaviour with those systems, so that they don’t blindly follow mom around in a rather straight line, but instead if they see food and mom is nearby, they will go to it and eat it, no need for micro managing their movements, but they should still prioritize following mom when as example a storm approaches.
Though I am starting to think that it might be useful to implement a sort of “call” for the mom, to be able to control that cubs follow you and that maybe those further away that might have gotten lost, find their way to you, if not too far away to hear the call aswell.
….I’m not giving up on this….I love doing this….I just hope that with some work on my health side, that I will be able to work on it more freely.

rough version of my past few months

Writing this post is not going to be easy for me….I have been avoiding to write here, thinking that I really don’t want to appear as always bad mooded, depressed and anxious, but that it seems to be my main concern in life, the thing that keeps coming back, my past haunting me, the present not really doing my much favors either.
I know it would be easy to just summarize the things that happened, that are easy to sympathize with. If I would simply tell about the struggles that everyone is seemingly able to relate to easily, like, the christmas time being somewhat stressful, new years eve, my 3 year olds birthday, though the truth is, most of the struggle regards those holidays is only the anxiety of having to interact with people I …struggle to interact with, if my family in germany is reading that: I’m sorry, it’s how it is….and I can’t even explain it to you in a way that you would fully understand, I think.
Then there were events, like my daughter getting pneumonia and being in hospital for a week, with lots of sleepless nights, not to mention worry and suffering. My plan was to actually somehow use the holidays weeks to not have to get my daughter to daycare (her daycare was closed over holidays) and SOMEHOW relaxing and trying to not think about work for 2 weeks…..but turned out, with that 1 week of hospital and practically 1 week of aftercare, that it was only what….1 or 2 days that I actually had somewhat of a bit of restful time? which was before the hospital…so it feels like nothing went how I wanted it to be and I’m practically still burned out, just, instead of being burned out by mostly game dev and my constant anxieties, now it’s also life stuff in general…..
and it DOES NOT help that I keep bashing myself for not doing enough, that despite friends telling me that I probably need some time off and I agree with that….it doesn’t take my fears and anxieties away…….that I have to build up a business, HAVE TO be a reasonable and responsible adult, that I have to take care of my child, somehow SHOULD take care of myself, that, if I ever want to fulfill my dream about making games for a living, like actually living from it, that I would need to do more, that I would be lazy and that I should have all the time I need to actually work on my game….BUT I barely get to open Blender or unity, while I really want to see the game to become what my vision for it is, I’m overwhelmed with all the anxieties, that I don’t know if I can make it, that I feel as if it will take forever, that my skills aren’t good enough to satisfy the people who would actually want to buy my game, that I can’t make my company selfsustaining with my income from selling games……there are so MANY freaking worries, all the time, which are making it even harder to actually work, giving me more food for my brain to dismantle myself, to question everything I do, because it feels as if I’m proving to myself that it’s right, that I’m not doing enough….that my company likely fails…that I’m likely not gonna be able to lead a whole team of people to make the game I’m dreaming of, that everything is likely gonna fail etc.
and whom am I to believe that it could be any other way? considering how my whole life is practically full of all those things I never had really control over, things just happening to me, pushing me down.
*takes a deep breath*
I hate it so much! that I feel helpless, that I feel anxious all the time, that I feel like everyone must judge me for not doing good enough, that I hate myself, that I have inherited so many bad things people told me throughout my life!
I hate that I can’t just shake it off and act as if everything is fine, because it comes through eventually, it always does and then I wonder, where I’m even taking the strength from….what keeps me going.

well…actually I do know….I kept some things close to my heart, always and I didn’t allow anyone to destroy those…..my imagination, my drive to create, my love for animals, dreaming, my passion for new things I’m discovering and can learn about.
It sounds a bit cheesy if I’m honest, but I think those are the things, that I want to live for….the “what could be” in a positive way…..
Games are a big part of my life, because they allowed me to experience and “live” so much of those traits that kept me going and alive.
It’s probably also why I want to make fantasy games, fantastic worlds to immerse into, that are not avoiding touch of reality, but at the same time allow you to see the world with different eyes.

hm.

I honestly don’t know where to get time from ^^”

I’m trying my hardest to keep up with everything, from social media, private life, game updates business stuff etc. but I have to say it’s very stressful…. to the point that I’m sometimes a little bit worried about my health, since I barely get any quiet and peaceful time and even if I do, I might feel guilty about not doing enough or wasting time.
Such was the case when I started my day today…I have been working over-hours through the weekend and days before, as much as I was able to, to squish some bugs in my game, prepare some social media material, making plans, responding to e-mails…add more features in general, set up forum topics on the steam forums, upload the game on steam (again) to see if everything works and is ready for release…
So today I felt like it was almost impossible for me to work on anything, so I mostly tried talking about my stress to friends and taking everything slow by mostly watching the sales/wishlist/views numbers from my steam store page, checking on various platforms, if there are messages I need to respond to and then just browsed the Internet, practically watching random youtube videos in hope it would help me relax a bit.
I think it did, but it feels sometimes hard, when I think I need to justify what I do somehow and could be criticised for it :/
but that’s MY fear.

So I have been releasing my game yesterday on steam and I felt so sick, that my stomach felt like turning upside down, because I was so afraid of the feedback I could be getting, since I have set the price quite high and I’m still not sure about, if I keep it that way, but I want to see how it goes first. It is my income after all, which I mainly use for developing the game (and future games). A lot is hanging on it and I do think that the game will be worth the price, when I get the game to the stage I’m planning to (and think I’m capable of) I’m only slightly unsure about how long that will take, since I’m working alone and I have already noticed how much a simple cold can knock me out and “steal” my time…

btw. end of this month 22-23rd of November I will have a booth for EmberSparkz, showing off Critters 😉 in Vaasa, Finland on vaasagamedays.com
so if anyone is nearby, you can come visit me there 🙂

oh and not sure if I have mentioned, that I’m branching out a little bit into merchandise, since I don’t know how my game will go exactly and I was looking for t-shirt print for my logo anyway for that game days event 😀 and since I’m not having to do any shipping and printing for it, but just upload and arrange designs, I thought I can as well make it accessable to everyone who is interested 😉
You can find me on redbubble: https://www.redbubble.com/people/farelle/works/28698998-embersparkz-logo?asc=u
and on Displate : https://displate.com/displate/357438/gaming?q=Farelle

will likely update those sites with more things, not only Critters or EmberSparkz related, when I have time ^^

uhm….I probably forgot to talk about something, but my daughter is demanding my attention again….so….

I think I managed well, past 2 weeks ;)

Of course, I would have liked to progress much more with the actual game (and I feel like I keep repeating that *rollseyes*), but I’m finally through all the managing stuff for steam and got my steam store page up 😀
http://store.steampowered.com/app/717280/Critters__cute_cubs_in_a_cruel_world/

this also includes the very first trailer I made for the game 🙂

If anyone is interested in my process for that:
I got Hitfilm for it (since it’s free and has a composing part as well, for text and effects) and watched some very good, tutorials for it. I also applied simple moving on principle to it, which is simply: rough it out and continue moving on, one clip/step at a time.
In this case, I looked for some music that could fit to my game and made some footage of my game with Bandicam and then I imported those files into the project and started shortening and cutting them down 🙂
With a bit of a system, I was trying to make cuts on noticeable music changes and also some faster moments in the footage match up with some of the music. The same goes for the text I was overlaying later ^^
I also always tried to remind myself, that a trailer shouldn’t exceed 1:30 minutes and that the first 30 seconds are usually deciding, if the trailer hooks (based on lots of stuff I have read over the years)
I probably haven’t done best job with that, but I tried to think of which information is most important for me to convey : the games name, that it’s early access and that it will be on steam and what the game is about, hence why I chose to build in those little text overlays, which are practically naming what I can’t really show from game footage alone, since I’m still working on implementing the variety needed to show it properly (besides colors changing)
I think it’s probably also helpful, if I post the most compressed and best tutorial I was finding for Hitfilm 😀 thanks to him, it felt so easy to understand how to use the program 😉 https://youtu.be/7rXWTJzmbZ8

uhhhh so yeah 😀 I’m happy that everything went well, the only thing that bothers me, is that I couldn’t make the release work for 31st of October 😮 , but therefore I have now time to develop on the game until release into Early Access and then I will likely update it immediately, so it just means more stuff for everyone who gets the game :3

also tried out today on how it would work out for me, to use a physical to-do list, I think it’s going well, helps me to keep my brain a little less scattered :3

*squeeeeks* I’m so excited to get this game out to everyone and to be able to keep working on it 😀