Monday, November 28, 2016

Wow, big catch-up post!  So many things have happened...

First thing's first -- my Patreon site is now live!  You can now support my music directly by going to and subscribing! =D  Every little bit is greatly appreciated, even just $1!  Plus, pledging gets you access to some cool exclusive rewards, like early access to my WIPs and unreleased tracks, as well as my exclusive new single, "Devotion".

I've gotten some great support so far and already have 6 pledges, for a total of $16 per song, which is great!  Since I've hit the $10 mark, that means I've already passed the mark for my first goal, so I'll be celebrating by hosting a live composition stream sometime soon!  Stay tuned for more details on that as I work out scheduling with my patrons. :)

Apparently there was someone who was a bit salty about me having Devotion as an exclusive patreon-only song, which was a bit disappointing to see.  They left me an angry youtube comment essentially saying that it was unreasonable for me to "lock my songs behind paywalls".  I tried to formulate a polite response but in the end I felt like this person was already in an antagonistic mindset and nothing I could say would really change their stance, which is...unfortunate.  I'm not sure I understand what the big deal is given that this is the only song that will ever be Patreon-exclusive -- I really just wanted to offer something special to patrons?  Perhaps they were just opposed to the idea of having to pay for music at all, as opposed to offering everything for pay-what-you-want.  In which case it's just yet another example of how artists and musicians' hard work are being devalued.  We put knowledge, skills, expertise, time, and effort into these creations; what makes you think that you are entitled to them?  My prices are already FAR lower than the market value -- e.g. $2 for over 20 tracks.  Or why not just download one of the countless albums I have available for free?  All of a sudden I release a single song as a paid promo and now I'm the bad guy?  smh...

In other breaking news, I can finally talk about work stuff.....I quit my job!  That's right!  I'm moving onto the next chapter of my career, and it's super duper exciting!  I'm left my corporate position last week, said farewell to my co-workers, and am starting a new job at an amazing indie game studio called Funomena in 2 weeks!  I'm really looking forward to it -- this is the sort of opportunity I've always wanted but never thought would actually exist.  Though my bank account will be a little sad that I'm leaving my cushy large-company job, I have no regrets and am absolutely looking forward to working at a company that tries to do something unique and evoke emotional responses via diverse experiences:

"We had a girl who said, 'It's the kind of game you want to play when you're having a bad day,' " Hunicke says with a laugh. "A lot of kids would get in the headset and immediately dive in and look all around and put their heads inside of everything, look underwater, and make all these excited remarks. We had one young boy, like a nine year old, who, as soon as the turtle appeared at the end of the demo, dropped the controllers and hugged it.

Hunicke was pleased with how the game resounded with women. "A lot of women would just take the headset off and say, 'I didn't think that VR was for me. It seems like it's an intense experience. I was a little afraid to give it a shot, but it was so relaxing and calming. This is exactly the kind of game I would play!'"

"I want it to be an expander title that someone can download and share with someone with very little experience and go, 'This is why VR is magical.' It isn't all shooting stuff or things flying at your face. It can be kind of a chill, creative, meditative experience," Hunicke continues. "That's what I wanted to build, and so to hear that, we were just thrilled."

And I'm even more excited about working on games that focus on a different kind of narrative:

"A lot of games are about getting revenge or going back in time to fix mistakes, but that's not how it works in the real world," Hunicke says. "In the real world, when you make a mistake, you have to kinda learn to talk about it, share your story with other people, and then by listening to their stories realize that you're not alone.

This is something that I've been writing about in a few of my letters recently, actually -- the idea that as an artist, with games as my medium, I really want to explore narratives that show people what it's like to go through life with values like compassion, understanding, forgiveness, and love.  And of course, narratives that are about the past...because you know me -- I'm all about the past.

Anyways, so that is super-exciting!  I'm nervous for my new start but know that it'll be a good one.  In the meantime, I've got two weeks that I'm hoping not to squander!  We'll see if I can crank out a new game or album with this precious time that I've got on my hands. =X  It's a bit stressful, to be honest, but I'm hoping to approach it calmly and recenter myself with this time.

Other things that have happened...Thanksgiving came and went, along with a bunch of yummy food!  I also managed to use this cauliflower soup recipe from Serious Eats to pretty good success!  It came out pretty well, though I don't know if I'm the biggest fan for the taste personally -- it's definitely good, just not my favorite.  I don't think it'll become much of a mainstay recipe of mine, especially given that it's difficult to make a smaller portion -- I used a single head of cauliflower (which, mind you, is pretty huge) and it was definitely enough for 5+ servings...

In terms of giving thanks, I'm actually thankful for a lot of things recently.  I'm incredibly thankful for the opportunity at Funomena and think that it will change my day-to-day life a lot in a good way.  I'm really thankful for all things meowmie.  And I'm thankful for my current living situation, though recently I think the water heater has been struggling to fight the cold temperatures -- the shower temperature has been a bit sinusoidal.  I'm also thankful that everyone at work was so gracious and appreciative during my last few days -- it was actually super nice having people say their thanks and goodbyes to me and feeling appreciated.  Not to mention we had a pretty epic sushi dinner at Fuki Sushi as a farewell, haha.

Went to a friend's dance party in Pleasanton!  Looks like I'll be driving a bit further for dance these couple of weeks, as FNW is taking a two-week break, and I'm hoping to head all the way up to Two Left Feet in Danville (!) next Friday, assuming all goes well.  It's been a while since I've done any serious WCS, so that should be fun/exciting!

As I've been mentioning, waltz has suddenly turned fun and interesting again as I've discovered a bunch of new things that I've been trying to work on.  It's great!  I've also recently become super interested in helping other people out with their waltz in whatever way I can -- so if you're looking for help or ways to improve in your cross-step or rotary, please let me know and I can work with you!

Now that I no longer have my work laptop (and I'll be using a windows desktop over at Funomena -- exciting!), I went ahead and got myself a MacBook Air, both so I can still have a laptop on hand, and so that I can still have an OSX machine on hand as well.  Decided to go with the 13" MBA even though it's a few years old, as it seems like the best compromise between size and processing power.  It's actually got better processing power than the new ultralite macbook but is still real light and much cheaper than the other options.  Not to mention it still has the standard ports, so no dealing with usb-c and all that mess (yet).  The main downside is that I couldn't manage to get a model with 512GB storage so I've only got a measly 256GB to work with, which is a bit problematic if I expect to be dualbooting Windows.  I haven't actually decided yet whether I WILL be dualbooting windows yet, though -- to be honest I almost never did with my previous MBP...keyword "almost".  I feel like it's something that really isn't that useful...until it is.  Anyways, even if I do end up dualbooting, I can say for sure now that I'll be in the OSX partition most of the time, so for now my strategy is going to be to keep a small ~50GB empty partition reserved.  If I end up needing windows, I'll already have that space reserved, and if I decide that I don't, I can just expand the OSX partition.  I'll also be doing some additional computer work soon as I have a new external HD coming in -- will be doing some backups and data management to make sure that all of my bases are covered.  Also going to be ordering a case for the MBA soon, to make sure that we don't have any..."incidents".  I actually spent a fair bit of time trying to look into which one to get, and also whether it was worth considering getting custom skins or decals or custom cases -- I could maybe make one with the All in a Day's Work 3 artwork, for example.  It was tempting, but in the end doesn't really seem worth it -- the print quality probably won't be the greatest, it's too expensive, etc etc.

Got to try out Overcooked recently with my brother!  Was super fun :)  Can only imagine what it'd be like with 4 players, hahaha.

Went to see Vienna Teng's concert at Berkeley!  It was pretty amazing, as the last one was, though of course with a bit of a different flavor, some different songs, some different feelings.  Soooo worth.  Got a chance to hike around campus (so pretty!) and see the Botanical Gardens at Berkeley too!

Ludum Dare is coming up in two weekends (that's right, right before I start my new job), and it looks like things will be proceeding more or less smoothly despite some minor bouts of LD drama (again...but not nearly as much as last time).  It should be an interesting one for me...not exactly sure what will end up happening.  I'm also going to take this moment to admit that I never did a proper post-mortem for Watch for Falling Rocks =(  I also never got to do a comment-back for every single person who gave me a comment, which I said I would do =( =( =(  I DID go through and play all of the games that were on my "looks interesting, bookmark for later" list though.  LD36 was...very interesting, being a no-rankings event.  Overall I don't think that is the way to go moving forward, but it was actually a pretty nice changeup to not have to worry about ratings for once, and it was also amazing to see the community actually step up and make sure that the event remained successful -- and in some regards even better than usual.

Other random things...I randomly randomly had the urge to play through MissionForce: CyberStorm again (super old turn-based mech game on a hex grid), so I've been going through that on hard difficulty.  Crushed the first two systems without too many problems, so now all that's left is to build up my forces and then take on the final mission.  I also booted up the PSP again to see if I felt like doing something more with FFT but...I don't know if I do.  You can't even do the rendevous missions without connecting with another co-op partner (which means I can't), so the only real thing left is the deep dungeon...meh.

Christmas Letters -- I just finished number 9, probably have around 15 left to go!  I'm going to have to be dilligent, but it looks like we'll be ok this year.  The more pressing issue is that I need to get started finding presents, as I still need to find a big bunch of those.

Contemplating (again) dying the tips of my hair...hahaha.  Saw someone who had colored tips and it looked pretty cool!  Hey -- if worse comes to worst, I can always chop them off...

I should post more often...

I've been in an interesting mix of happy and sad recently.  I'm doing okay, but at the same time there is definitely a lot of longing for the past.  I mean, there always is, but I guess the difference is I don't know if there is anything really "pulling" me towards the future right now.  I'm hoping that over the next two weeks I can spend some time to myself and figure that out.

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