Thursday, May 17, 2018

LD41 results, Goodnight Meowmie, Big Dance 2018, OHC500, etc.

I am fearful of everything
thorns pushing in from all directions
With an outstretched hand, you
reach out to me and remind me
what it feels like to be home

Ludum Dare results and Goodnight Meowmie

Before we knew it, Ludum Dare 41 results were out, and though I did not get as much of a chance to play and rate other games as I would have liked, we at least got a good number of people who played our game (~57 ratings).

I'll be writing up a full post-mortem reflecting on the process and result of the game, but these were our results from the voting:

Overall:    14th  (4.352 average from 56 ratings)
Fun:        276th (3.645 average from 57 ratings)
Innovation: 217th (3.773 average from 57 ratings)
Theme:      115th (4.236 average from 57 ratings)
Graphics:   42nd  (4.500 average from 57 ratings)
Audio:      4th   (4.509 average from 55 ratings)
Mood:       2nd   (4.574 average from 56 ratings - highest ever!)

Average Score: 4.23

We have still not promoted or linked to Goodnight Meowmie as we are still at work revising some key parts of the game.  The current version as it stands is fine, and was well received; however there are actually some important things that it does not really do justice to.  I'm not sure how it happened, but somewhere along the road, Goodnight Meowmie actually became an intensely personal project for me and I think it has taken on a significant emotional meaning.  It is really not often at all that I will be on the train thinking about how to structure a certain part of a game and start crying, haha.

This is what people mean when they talk about making works your own, and making works that only you can make.  As an artist there is a certain something that you can only bring to something if you are truly speaking from and bringing your own strong feelings and perspective about it.  And that is why it is so hard to write a compelling story about a subject that you don't really understand, or draw from a reference photo without really working with the real thing.  Not that there isn't value in trying to just "fake it" and great things can still come out of it, but it's really not the same experience artistically.

Anyways, as an artist this game is really starting to mean a lot to me.  Just like our failed project, "Bird" (which would go on to become "Rain"), taught me a lot, too.  "Bird" was a story about my struggle about loss, the past, and moving on -- the one story that I keep coming back to over and over again.  And I struggled a lot to figure out what the ending of "Bird" was supposed to be, because I was struggling to figure out the same answer in my own life, too.  The happy end was a fairy-tale ending that I knew would never happen.  But I couldn't accept the "we learn to move on" ending either.  I just could not.  And this story along with a lot of other soul-searching and life experiences taught me in the end that there was a way, my way, to continue on without reaching each other, yet without letting go too.  To accept the pain that comes with knowing that you will never see someone again, while still choosing to treasure them and yearn for them.  Because you would never forgive yourself otherwise.

We struggled quite a lot with the ending of "Rain" too.  In the end it ended up telling quite a different narrative than "Bird", but ended up being very meaningful to me as it was the first time we were able to create such a rich and meditative experience through the medium.  Like with "Bird", Goodnight Meowmie also deals with things that are very personal and important to us, and as we think about the experience and the narrative there are things that are very obviously wrong or right to us and we know it just because we feel so strongly about these feelings in our real lives too.  As an artist I think that is how you know that something is rich and "real", that it really has something behind it -- when decisions are made because of real experiences and feelings, not just "because I thought it would be cool".  And as we think about these narratives it informs our life stories as well.

I can never give up being an artist.

So yeah, I have been hard at work on Goodnight Meowmie -- not to mention, Samurai Shaver still needs that calibration screen put in too...ugh.  I was thinking about it the other day and realized that I am too much of a workaholic in my personal and artistic ambitions to ever be a workaholic in my career.  I know I'm quite fortunate to be able to say this, but when you pit my artistic dreams against job and career, there's just no question which one I need to prioritize...

Big Dance 2018

Well, that's one for the books!  This was a fun one for sure, definitely more so than I remember from last year, actually.  This year was sort of ridiculous in that me and Gem both had Deca rehearsal the morning after from 10AM-1PM (with Gem helping to teach, no less).  Big Dance runs from 9PM to 6AM, so...yeah.  I ended up coming before 9PM too, so I really did it all.  I ended up catching roughly 2 hours of sleep between Big Dance and Deca rehearsal, and successfully made it through before crashing until dinner, haha.  Apparently Gem had had enough caffeine that she didn't even sleep in between...

Let's see...performances were actually pretty great this year; I liked DL's choreos, and oh, Swingtime's new choreo was quite fun too!  "Wopening" was pretty epic and Bob's performance in Ceili was top-notch, hahaha.  Speaking of Bob, I got to partner with him for Dawn Mazurka again this year -- we had a solid set, and as I once did years ago, I got to sprint around half of Roble during the "chase" until he finally was able to cut me off.  Oh yeah, and we also did a lift after the genuflection.  Good times.

I also brought home 1st place in the Intergenerational dance contest with Elise (whom I had never danced with before), which was super duper fun omg!  With a Lindy Hop, no less??  I talk about this again and again, but there is always something exhilirating about dancing with someone you don't know and trying to play off of each other in a way where neither of you really knows what will happen.  It's something that makes me wonder if we can have more Luck of the Draw (ok, fine, "Jack & Jill") events (hint hint) in our community.

Other than that, good dances, good seeing everybody, and I even got to spend some time sitting out by the fountain, which was super nice and relaxing >w<.  My foot cramped up again but only way into the night...will have to use better insoles next time.

Edit: for reference, this was my 8th big dance, and my 6th all-nighter.  Double triple crown!

System Shock 2

I started up my Impossible playthrough of System Shock 2.  I hope to be continuing that soon (whoops), but in other news we also finished up the game in our co-op playthrough.  Getting through the Body of the Many fight was quite exhilirating, feeling more like a traditional FPS than anything as we tried to just rambo our way through all the rumblers and psi reavers (which seemed quite buggy in multiplayer).  The Shodan fight, on the other hand, was a walk in the park as I just blasted her away with a few shots of my EMP rifle, lol!  That's that...


That's right, OHC round 500 happened last week!  It's been forever and a day (basically 100 OHCs) since I last compoed, so it was nice to do it again.  I definitely felt rusty, and whenever I do OHC again these days it always feels like I'm suuuuper slow and clumsy compared to how I remember myself being, but part of it I know is also that I have higher standards for quality and I like to put more attention into detail into things now.  But anyways, that was quite fun and it was nice seeing everyone in chat again and seeing old and new faces alike.  We had some pretty epic entries too...twas a good compo.


In general, things are....rough.  I realized today especially that I need to find a better balance instead of my current pattern of alternatively working my butt off and then giving myself a break when I can't really handle it anymore.  It is really difficult with so many things bouncing around and when I don't have the proper balance and peace in my life, I get really cranky and it just feels like everyone is asking me to do more things and I hate having all of these responsibilities and expectations and UGH!  Gimme a break, guys.  It almost feels like I went back to being in high school again =/  Not really a good look.  In any case, time spent to my own devices is at a premium now and I think the best thing I can do for myself is just to say no, and remember that Drowsiness Is Red Alert.

In my near future coming up, I have...more work on Goodnight Meowmie, more other work on...Samurai Shaver, music, etc...System Shock 2, maybe Super Metroid Randomizer (I'm a bit more familiar with the SM map now)...FNW, Deca rehearsal, and good lord, Fanime is already next weekend (plus GCC dance, wow).  Gotta just hang in there...

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