Time for a Change… a Retrospective.

This past weekend was an eye opener for me… both personally and professionally.

I attended a game conference held at Eastern Kentucky University this past weekend called Vector. Now prior to going, I assumed it would be a much larger event than the one I found once I arrived. To summarize, there were talks, there was some networking, and some students shared some really great work, but alas that is not what this post is for.

Now, I went to the “event” for different reasons.

  1. To hopefully gain some sense of my place in this local community and abroad. As up to this point, I had only attended some IGDA CIN meetings since December and I was still feeling my way around the group.
  2. I also had my mind set on spending some time with the IGDA Cincinnati organizer and gauging how committed he was to IGDA Cincinnati as he is involved with many many groups in the Greater Cincinnati area. And I wanted to see if the things I had observed over the last 6 months were a fluke or are simply problematic for this group. ( Short story for those not wanting to read further is, yes this group has several problems and one major factor is structure… or should I say lack thereof. If only “someone”, in particular, could spend time at a real developers meeting then they would quickly understand what they could truly accomplish for the local dev community and in turn have a much more involved community? Personally, I think going to bars and drinking is not my idea of networking. Again this is just my opinion, but I’ve also had 6 months to form one. There are literally many many ideas that could be brought to fruition but are dismissed for one reason or another.)
  3. The third reason was to see if Vector was something to invest time and money into supporting in the future. (For me, this is still up in the air.)

The following paragraphs are with regard to how I am viewing IGDA Cincinnati and therefore this is simply my opinion:

The morning of the event, I arrived and assisted IGDA Cincinnati’s organizer Branden Middendorf with setting up his booth and discussed with him many of the ideas I had with how to improve the group from my time spent with Indies in Boston. Now… mind you, this is not the first time I had done this, but I had done it this time in a more direct way since there were fewer people around to distract him. The responses I received were little to none, and I realized then that this “group” isn’t what I thought it was. And that takes me to something he said during my exit of the event when I explained briefly how I was feeling after the last talk, he said something along the lines of making sure to get what we want out of the meetings. I took that as, if I’m not getting what I want out of the “meetings” then maybe they are not right for me. More on that later.)

When talking to him about the group and his ideas for future talks he came at me with grand ideas of venturing, capitalism, entrepreneurship, and startup ideas. I was very confused by this line of ideas. I feel like I should have a good system or game working before I begin to even think about those ideas. There are already great youtube videos on the matter from industry veterans and other groups that actually discuss and meet with regard to startups and entrepreneurship.

So, then I presented the idea of doing showcasing for feedback for the first hour and then a talk or workshop of some sorts for another hour. Unfortunately, he feels that only “external” speakers are best for the group and that people could care less if we had valid speakers from within the group based off of what people had said in the past. Frankly, and in all honesty, I want to hear what others in the group have to say. I want to know what went wrong for them and what has gone right. This can only better the group as a whole if they are there to learn and want to become better developers. If the overall thought of this idea is negative, then maybe this group is definitely not for me.

Frankly, I want to hear what others in the group have to say. I want to know what went wrong for them and what has gone right. This can only better the group as a whole if they are there to learn and want to become better developers. If the overall thought of this idea is negative, then maybe this group is definitely not for me. This has led me to guess whether he is actually listening to the group as a whole or just a few people.

This then leads me to another issue I’ve had floating around for a while and that is it disturbs me to think that the “real developers” are not showing up to the meetings. Loreful, Wraith, and even Nectar themselves rarely show up to show their own games at events or meetings. So, the question I’m now asking myself is… “Did they already figure out what I’m figuring out now or is it that they are really too busy to come out and pitch/show their own games to the community?” Just like Mommy’s Best Games’ Nathan Fouts. If he is going to an event he will show up to show his game and talk to people and not send someone else to do it for him. After all, who’s gonna know his game better than himself?

Just like Mommy’s Best Games’ Nathan Fouts. If he is going to an event he will show up to show his game and talk to people and not send someone else to do it for him. After all, who’s gonna know his game better than himself?

There are exceptions to this case, Austin Huebner is making a game called Gravity Pong and has been working on the game, from what I can tell, a good while. He shows up when he can and talks to everyone he can to show his game and get feedback. This is the kinda guy that is setting a good example of what I am looking for in the dev community here. Unfortunately, this is where the examples stop at least from what I’ve seen in the last 6 months.

Anyway, back to the “event”… I met with past acquaintances and made new ones. And I tried to bring what I assumed was value to the group. However, by the end of the “event”, I discovered one very important thing about myself and my relation to the community around me… I am either nobody or nobody cares; both of which is not a good thing. I’m trying to make a good effort and meet good people who want to dev. (I’m also pretty sure that this blog post if read by anyone is not going to help my case with certain people unless they can take criticism well. We’ll have to wait and see.)

Now, sure we all suffer from some sort of level of depression, but this isn’t it… this is simply a revelation that I think I’ve been either hiding from or still trying to figure out. Sure, I can teach this stuff, sure I can provide logical and technical feedback, but if I was on the other end of it… why in the hell would I ask me? What do I have to show for what I know? Nothing. And so… would I ask me for feedback?

The fact is… I wouldn’t.

You’re probably saying, if you’re even reading this, is that I am being too hard on myself. That’s not it. I am simply being practical and I discovered this past weekend when I presented a game that I made in 2013 to ‘someone’ to play. (This was the first time anyone has played a game of mine since I started coming to the IGDA events.) The person took the device, played it for about a minute and dismissed it without saying a thing. This taught me something about myself and once again, my place here in the community… if it can’t be played with a controller or keyboard then it does not matter. Thus I do not matter… at this time.

You can see what I did there, by saying… at this time, I’ve recognized that I have the chance to turn this around and prove that yes, I know what I’m talking about. No, I am not just a talker and I am a walker. Yet, that question is still out there… will anyone care? The answer to the latter question will come only in time, but the former must come now and I realize what I must do to prove myself otherwise.

It is time to go dark… more on this a little later.

During one of the final talks at the event this past weekend, I listened to a woman discuss people having long term goals and being terrible at following through with them. This talk affected me deeply. I have had the same long term goal for almost 2/3 of my life if not more and I have done everything, but that one goal. I have found excuses and ways to get around it and not do it. Now, I have made 1 public release game with the help of my colleague and another with the help of some software, but that is only two games released in 5 years.

I’ve come to realize that I need to make it or break it. This is it. Make the game prototype. Show the prototype. If it does well, I’ll keep going. If it doesn’t. The project is over… forever. Gone. Permadeath.

And I feel, that in order to do this I need to pull myself away from distractions and stop having excuses.

As I said before, I am going dark. Now, you’re probably asking yourself, if you’ve made it this far, what the hell does that mean.

Let me break it down:

  1. I will not be posting anything on Social Media directly. You may see a retweet from me on Twitter or a share on Facebook, but that’s it.
  2. I will continue to communicate directly through two means. I will be posting project updates on this blog right here and I will, in fact, be launching a Patreon during this time. Through Patreon access only will I communicate with you directly based on the level of donation.

So, you’re probably asking… okay, so how long are you going to be doing this…

I will re-emerge once I have something literally PLAYABLE. PERIOD!

So, you don’t believe I know what I’m talking about? You don’t believe me when I say I can do it?

Okay then. Let’s just see.

I will launch my Patreon page on May 1st as this will be the day that I also launch my media blackout. I hope that you will stop by then and show your support with a donation for as little as $1.00.
See you soon!

Cheers!

 

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Papalati

I'm just a small little character artist in this big world. I like making characters and places come to life; either through my concept art or character designs. I mostly use Sketchbook Pro for concept art and Zbrush, Maya, Substance, etc for everything else. If you happen to like what you see here, go ahead and subscribe and or email me and hire me for a project! Thanks!

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