Friday, January 11, 2013

Re-learning Lessons; The Cone of Shame

I have failed my deadline; my head hangs in shame. While I still believe it was possible, I was expecting things open up perfectly for me. Holidays are often a crazy time for the family. We do a great deal of traveling and use up our time for things that we don't normally have time for; like doctors, dentists, etc. I completely overlooked this and was overzealous of what I would be able to accomplish during that time.

Additionally I failed to allow for unforeseen circumstances. My family is currently going through a cycle of a flu bug. Hopefully it won't make a full round as that risks another round through the family. I am now in better shape to function and try to finish this project.

I am moving my deadline forward due to these circumstances. Instinctively I want to move it forward a week, but I'm aware that this deadline isn't reasonable. Therefore I am moving it forward to February 7, one month more, than initially planned. I'm hoping that if I can remain focused and continue to get support I will make this new deadline.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Mental Walls

Recently I was reminded of a time on the swim team when I failed to follow through and finish the race. While the details of the race are long gone, I do remember the end of the race, the feelings afterward and the promise that followed. Specifically on the last lap and the few moments that followed the finish.

Through the whole race I had doubted myself and the importance of it; distance swimming is a strange sport as you dedicate a lot of time to having conversations with yourself in the white noise of swishing water and screams. This time specifically I was tired and hitting the wall from said conversations. Upon reaching halfway across the pool, I mentally had given up and succumbed to self-doubt; decided to check out and coast that final stretch.

Initially it felt good to just give up and put the physical strains behind me. But after touching the wall (swimming's version of the finish line) I looked over at the competitors and realized I had come in just ahead of the slowest of the slow. Not only had I let the team down, but I had let myself down. I had not put my fullest efforts into the race. The race had more significance to me than I had given it credit for. I had plenty of energy; enough to pull myself up and out of the pool without hesitation (the high school pool sat well below the deck, making it a difficult to get out when fatigued).

My heart had sunkin and I felt ill. I cursed myself and inadecuacys. I pulled myself up out of the pool in one swift quick motion, grabbed my towel and headed straight for the couch in the team room. No one approached me and no one seemed to notice what I had done; only adding to my disgust. Sitting there filled with self loathing and physical numbness I quickly promised myself to not do that for the next race later that meet. But that wasn't enough, I took it a step further and vowed never to do that again and make sure that my body would feel like jelly making it difficult to get out of the pool for all races that followed. I kept to that promise through my swim career.

Presently I am reminded of this time in my life because I fear that I haven't fully embraced my lesson. In a phone call with my close friend "A" today, I noticed similarities to my mental conversations over Peregrination RPG and this time in my life. Mentally I had checked out of developing the game. For this I am sorry and I realize this game has more significance than I have given it credit for.  I hope to get moving forward with development again very soon and put myself back on track for a January 7, 2012 deadline for game testing.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Working under pressure against roadblock

While working on Peregrination RPG I did my best and made the most progress under pressure. Because of familial issues I had taken to working in the park with my kids and writing in a notebook. Counter-intuitively I was able to make some of the greatest progress during this time. But how & why?

I often spent my nights spilling over theories on game design, other game systems and crunching statistics. I would then sleep on it and internalize it. Finally the following day I would take the kids to play in the park where I would sit at the bench and write while they were occupied. I would often bounce ideas around through the rest of the day and start the whole thing over again. This was an emotionally draining time in my life and honestly, I'm not sure how I came out of it.

The largest flaw to this system is I had to be pretty organized and careful with my paperwork; which I wasn't. On a few occasions I had lost or misplaced my work, only to have to write it all over again. This wasn't always a bad thing, as it forced me to look at what I had done. This gave me an opportunity to refine various elements, but extremely frustrating.

Another theory I have is that computers aren't always the best thing to work on in this circumstance. Computers are precise machines & tend to scream out errors. I wonder if this paralyzes/intimidates me such that I have a fear of starting. Also outlining on the computer always feels wrong. The desire is there, but there's just something blocking me.

I've been thinking about this as of late as I'm having a bit of block and am hugely unmotivated. I'm still excited about the project and want to "git er done." In the weeks to come I hope to try working outside my comfort zone of home on my computer to see if a new environment will bring back the juices that I am currently lacking.

I'm curious as to what others do when they seemingly hit a road block. Suggestions in comments are greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Inspiring Birdie - The Mermaid

I plan to have the community of Birdie to be a sailing community. I've always got my ear to the ground (so to speak) for inspirations. This song, The Mermaid by Great Big Sea, had the air of something I felt a sailor of Birdie would sing on his ship.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Progue Influences - Madonna and Child

The Progue were greatly inspired by this painting of Madonna and Child by Jean Fouquet.
Inspiration derived from this painting:

  • Importance of femininity.
  • Milky white skin reminded me of albinism. 
  • The high hairline created a large forehead and got me thinking about the race having a dignified look by increasing the forehead size.
  • The use of a throne,
  • The opaque vivid quality of the tempera reminded me of illuminated manuscripts.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Inspiring the Progue - Venus Figurines

Photograph of three Venus Figurines on pedestals; from left to right Venus of Dolni, Venus of Willendorf and Venus of Lespugue
from left to right Venus of Dolni, Venus of Willendorf and Venus of Lespugue
One of the most interesting races I've begun to develop in Peregrination RPG are the Progue. Some of their elements are pretty easy to figure out and others not so much. One subtle element that influenced them is the Venus figurines. I was first introduced to these in my college Art History class. Their over sized feminine features are striking and even grotesque by today's standards.

I was filled with questions abound. Prehistoric man had fat people? What sort of status did they achieve to have little figures carved in their likeness? What role did these figurines play? Etc.

Of course one cannot ignore the irony of their name; why name them after a Goddess that never existed during the time they were created? Their name came from the assumption that they represent an ancient standard of beauty or perhaps an ancient female deity, both of which are used to justify the term "Venus." While given this name neither of these theory's can be proven accurate. Because their name is based off of an interpretation, the Venus figurines are a wonderful jumping off point for creating story and deriving one's own justification for their existence.

So when creating the Progue race, I wanted to think of a culture in which women were of great value and in charge. To me these figures represent the importance of women & their significance to continuing the circle of life; not only in childbirth, but also in their physical labor and bond to the community.

OK, your turn. In comments below I would love to read your interpretation of these figurines. What purpose do you think they served?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Put Roleplaying back into RPG's - The Pirates! Band of Misfits

I am thoroughly entertained by children's movies and am excited when I take my kids to one that looks fun. I was not disappointed when we went to see "The Pirates! Band of Misfits." After the movie I was standing at the obligatory restroom stop for the Mrs. & the Gang. While there I was reflecting on the movie and became excited about how the movie had some really great roleplaying elements that are wonderfully illustrated.

These antidotes offer really great ways to bring roleplaying back into your campaign. Here are a few points I wanted to touch on:
Don't take things too seriously:
The story never takes itself too seriously. The movie doesn't have a complicated plot or uber-serious content/ramifications, it's about the journey from place to place. The leader is guided by his supporting team & has an adventure to find glory.
Stick together and work together with a common thread:
The team is held together through a common thread, "Polly." The team stuck together in their goal because of a commonly favored NPC (non-playing character). This allowed everyone to participate in the adventure and would give the game master enough solidarity to manipulate an interesting story.
Interesting characters:
Good fun roleplaying characters don't need to be overly complicated or overplayed. One of the most fun characters was the "surprisingly curvaceous pirate." Every time he came on screen my children were screaming, "It's a girl!" It was a simple tool used to great effect to create an interesting character with entertaining situations.
Use the world around you to inspire:
The film was loosely based on "The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists" and also utilized elements from old paintings adding more detail & absurdity to them.
Some of the best campaigns are ones that contain as much fun as the characters and film crew were having in this movie.