Sunday, April 30, 2017

Oh, right.  With all the LD stuff and everything else going on I forgot to write about my birthday, which happened last week.  As is the tradition now, I disabled FB wall/timeline posting and prospered greatly.  It was a bit of a weird bday this year to be honest, as I was taking the next day off for LD and thus working pretty hard at work to finish a bunch of things up.  Nevertheless, it was really nice for people to reach out to me directly.  IMHO, it's something that we should try to do for each other more often, not just once a year.  I got a few letters too, which was quite nice.

Aaaand we're back.  The week was a busy one for sure, as is usually the case right after Ludum Dare.

Speaking of Ludum Dare, we came out with a pretty cool game!  It's called Raven Delivery Service -- you can check it out here.  LD itself went pretty well, though I was quite stressed that the game wouldn't come together -- the project was more ambitious than I initially realized and required a lot of moving parts to come together for the game to really click.  I'm happy with what ended up coming out of it, though!

The LD event itself has been hit by delays, the standard website outages, and more recently, even more drama than before, which is...unfortunate, though not entirely surprising.  It's sad because I feel like this might be the needle that breaks the camel's back, so to speak, given that community faith has already been..."less than stellar" because of the issues around the last few jams.  Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I'm pretty certain that griping about the issues isn't particularly constructive; if that LD "proper" kicks the can or disproves itself the way out would be to migrate to different game jams.  That's hard though as no real equivalent event exists.  Sort of a lose-lose situation.  Again, unfortunate.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to get high scores on our game too!  You can see all of those videos here.  It was a pretty interesting process and definitely fun!

Went to the Big Dance prelude dance this past Friday -- it's really exciting to see the Stanford dance community so vibrant and with so many young faces with good energy going into these things.  This especially after having a few definite slump years.  It's pretty cool to see.

I've definitely been being a social recluse recently, for quite a while actually -- longer than I think I have in the past.  Part of it is definitely just wanting to be alone, but I also worry that part of it is just that I haven't been taking care of myself, especially sleeping on time I've been doing really horribly at =(  That is something that is just going to require conscious diligence to improve on.  To be honest, wasting time like that and losing sleep is more of a dent in my day-to-day life than the SF commute is.

Rain World is on hold right now, but I made it into the filtration unit which seems quite intense.  In the meantime, I've started playing Hyper Light Drifter!  It's a pretty fun game, very cool in how it doesn't hold your hand through anything, and instead let's the player have a lot of these "oh, I get it" moments.  It's got a good amount of difficulty too.

Seems that a minor Brood War resurgence is on the horizon so I'll definitely want to try and get in a bit on that!  Aside from that, hoping to carve out more time to work on music as well.  Game dev has taken a spot on the wayside for now, especially since LD has given me more than its fair share of that.  Dance, too, I feel like, has been going sort of steady but the surge of new ideas and creativity that I had earlier is more or less gone, it feels like.  I dunno.  Maybe I'm just too tired in general.

Monday, April 24, 2017

LD38 has ended and we made it out, alive, with a game.

Still returning to the real world.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"Always, you said."


Dance really is such an interesting presence in my life.  There are times when I feel completely inspired by it, but also times when I wonder if it would serve me better to spend that time pursuing something like the visual arts instead.  It's a funny thing.

Really felt like glowsticking last night.  Glad I didn't though -- I needed to go to bed!

I worry that I've fallen slightly ill, which isn't really good news for LD this weekend.  On the plus side, it seems to be pretty minor, so hopefully I'll be all back on my feet for the big event.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The War on Giygas Is Over

It's been a bit of a hectic week...

This Tuesday I finished playing through Earthbound on the train ride to work, and also watched Kimi no Na Wa that night in theaters.

Earthbound was great and I'm glad I finally got to cross that off the bucket list.  It was really cool seeing so clearly how it inspired other games like Undertale and Yume Nikki in some of the ways that it pushed the genre forward as a storytelling medium, especially in some of the more experimental parts near the latter part of the game.  I already knew sort of more or less how the end sequence was going to go, but actually going through it and experiencing all of the details for myself was a treat and I think it was quite well done.  There was even a bit of Higurashi-esque vibe at one point.

Besides the eerie sense of "darkness" toward the end of the game I think it's really nice how throughout the game it really tried to push forward the idea of "meaningless but meaningful" player interaction -- the idea that even if a choice in the game doesn't actually affect how the game plays out, it is still meaningful by its very existence of being a choice for the player to decide on.  Earthbound is by far not the only game that does this, but it was quite apparent to me and I think that it's really important for video games to try and engage the player in that way as part of the storytelling experience.  It's like the old "show, not tell" adage, except in video games, you want to have the player "act" not "watch" -- everything feels so much more "real" when it's something that you are driving as a player rather than something that you're passively watching as an audience member.  The Last of Us was great at achieving this as well.  And games like Earthbound, Journey, ABZU, etc do a good job of giving you a more "tangible", "interactable" reward at the end of the game as well.

So yeah, that was pretty great.  I'll get to Mother 3 at a later time, as right now I'm moving onto the Specter Knight campaign in Shovel Knight (great so far!), as well as Hyper Light Drifter (haven't started), and most recently, Rain World, which I purchased and started playing just yesterday.  What a harsh far it really has captured the sort of "stress-inducing terror" that you got in little bite-sized chunks in various other games, like the opening sequence of Out of This World, for example.  It's actually one of the most terrifying games I've played, though I wouldn't really classify it as traditional "horror".  The visual design is done really well, I think it really sticks in your mind in a sort of raw primal "danger instinct" way.  Anyways, I'm working through it with my best friend right now; though we're not too far, just got into the Industrial Complex and started exploring that area.  I really don't want to play that game before going to bed, haha.

Kimi no Na Wa (a.k.a. "Your Name") was quite enjoyable and I'm glad that I liked it better than I did 5cm/sec back when I saw that.  I have mixed feelings about 5cm/sec because I really didn't enjoy it when I saw it but I wonder (?) if I would see it with a different point of view now.  I'm not sure and I'm not sure if I care enough to find out.  But Kimi no Na Wa was pretty good; besides having the as-expected gorgeous backgrounds and everything, the story actually had quite a handful of nice moments for me and I thought the pacing felt pretty good too.  The part about pronouns also really cracked me up to no end, haha, though that's something that you wouldn't really get if you're completely unfamiliar with Japanese culture.  I didn't end up crying or anything but there was one point towards the end where he was going through life thinking about having "lost" something, and -- in essence, thinking about the past (yes, that's right...the past) -- where I almost thought I was going to lose it.  That's really the key to getting to my feelings...just start talking about the past, haha...

Other things that have been going on...spent the day on Sunday helping family move furniture, but I got a dresser and bed upgrade out of it, so I can't complain too much.  I went to Mission City Swing last week, and Jammix too, but decided to skip both Dancebreak and the new WCS practice session at Stanford this week.  I think not only am I now on a downswing in terms of dance, but also just being around people in general, I think I need a while to sort of recover, especially after Sunday too.  It's just a combination of stress and introversion and needing some time to recharge, I think.

Jammix was interesting in that it was both fun and not fun at the same time.  Audrey announced the intergenerational dance contest at Big Dance next month which I think is really cool, but even cooler is the fact they'll be putting on ambi dance contests, which I think is really cool and amazing of course!  Really hope that everyone will join in on the fun for that and give it a try.

It was a combination of factors that got me slightly "down" (air quotes) at Jammix, one was sort of a pesky one that can't really be helped, but moreover I think the bigger factor was again just needing to be away from people, and also a moment in which I intensely remembered a moment from my past and started to really get lost thinking about it.  Interestingly enough, I danced "softly" for the first time in what seems like forever that night because of the mood.  I very, very rarely do that now, but it's got sort of a nostalgic feeling to it.  To think that I used to dance like that consistently, every time...

Richard pinged me about my idea for starting up something for social waltz and I think I've sat on my hands for too long now, so it's time to finally put words to action.  Unfortunately the deadline for applying to forming a new VSO is on sunday so that option is out until next fall (my bad).  But maybe we can do something else in the meantime regardless?  ...

Monday, April 3, 2017

Every once in a long while, there comes a moment in life when I feel like I have finally regained something from my past again.  Like something so important that finally came back to me in the end, if even for a short moment.  In those moments, I can only feel a deep sense of gratitude, love, and hope.

I had a dream this morning that reflected my inner thoughts and struggles, as dreams often do.  It made me sad; actually, I was crying in my dream.  Sometimes I act on my dreams.  Like reaching out to a friend when they appeared in my dream, even when I wouldn't otherwise.  Or asking if someone is OK.  Sometimes it's good to pay attention to your subconscious feelings.

Despite that, it was an ok weekend.  I hope with all my heart that I can continue to reach closer to my past.