Future posts/need to post SOMETHING

It’s really tough to write about video games, when you’re spending a lot of your time not playing video games.

So instead, I’m going to write a post about the stuff I want┬áto do.

Like I’ve mentioned before, having a full time job and a full time girlfriend is a real killer for anyone whose only previous goal in life was to play as many video games as possible, and so, playing anything other than the most rudimentary snatches of Hearthstone or Pokemon on my DS has become the norm. Instead of a real update, here’s a list of the stuff I am working on, along with the stuff that I really want to get on top of.

Why? Beats posting nothing, I guess.

One game I have gotten a chance to play is Audiosurf. Being one of my favourite games of all time, I found it a little odd that I only have one video on my channel that’s purely about this game. So I figured I’d make a top ten video detailing my favourite songs to ‘surf. And why not? Top ten videos are one of the more popular formats on YouTube, and Audiosurf is a subject I can talk about without it feeling too forced; certainly a problem when dealing with a format as trite as top tens.

Such a token image. Just so I have one.

So that video is currently in development – I’ve shot 90% of the footage I need, and I’ve written 90% of a script for each song on the list. Why only 90%? Because I, er, forgot one song when I was recording all the footage. But that’s no bother, and I should hopefully be able to get that done tonight.

Which means I then have to get around to recording my narration. And that’s always been a problem for me. Like everyone else in the world, with the probable exception of Kanye West, I hate the sound of my own voice. Or at least, I hate the sound of it when it doesn’t sound natural. And getting your voice to sound natural when you’re reading lines off a script is not just hard, it’s almost goddamn impossible without training. You can do it with practice, but… I haven’t really had that practice. So I keep getting “performance voice”. Oh yeah, you know the one. It always sounds too forced, and too fake. It probably doesn’t sound like that to anyone else – but to you, it totally does. The same way you can never enjoy something you’ve created because you’re constantly re-editing it as you watch, or seeing parts you should have done differently, I can’t listen to my voice in that context without getting weirded out. And that’s a major barrier to overcome.

But isn’t that what having hobbies is at least partly about? To improve something you love. And goddamn it, I do love myself.

I also have other ideas for more informal videos. I want to do a “Should You Play” on Thief, but I just haven’t played enough of the game to feel like I can really comment yet – plus the bit I did play was months ago now. Perhaps I picked a bad game to critique because I’m not really enjoying it as much as I feel I should be. Which is a shame, because I feel like the game has a lot to offer. Like, a lot. If you like games like that, you’ll probably enjoy Thief.

I also want to shake up that particular format a little. It’s nothing too major, I’m keeping that under my hat for the moment.

Writing is, in some ways, more difficult than the YouTube videos. Whereas I’m simply pressed for time on the videos, writing can be done in small chunks, and I’m just having more difficulty drumming up the enthusiasm to do it. I don’t dislike writing – not at all – it’s that my job saps an awful lot of creative energy, and it’s hard to sustain the energy needed during my lunch break, or when I get home.

I really want to write about easy mode, and how much I enjoy playing on it. But the words just aren’t coming. I guess it’s always best not force these things, so perhaps I can take that as a sign that it’s not meant to be.

Nah, fuck that. I’ll write that bastard.

So what’s the real point of this post? Mostly to prove to myself that I am still capable of creativity, and that progress is incoming, just at a snail’s pace. My YouTube channel and my blog might have suffered as a result of this new job, but I’m confident that I can balance the time out eventually. I just have to keep on trying.

Oh, and I did get an online portfolio for my writings up. So that’s a thing that I did. Go check out some of the stuff I did, especially if you’re interested in seeing a couple of the blog posts I did in a professional role.

But that’s all from me now. I doubt I’ll get this out this lunch break – I’ll leave it up to Future Mark to edit this down and get all the links in the right places, and the italics on game names… you know, the grunt work. But that’s okay, because Future Mark is a bastard and deserves all he gets.


Lent, why it sucks, and cravings

First off, I’d like to start this post in a beautifully stereotypical manner: yes, I’m going to apologise for my lack of posts within the last six months or so! What a unique way to write a blog! Anyway, I’d love to be able to only blame university work for my lack of writings, but that simply isn’t the case. Sure, recently I’ve been pretty snowed under with deadlines, reading and work, but the majority has been pure laziness on my part. And I haven’t really had much to say. Usually when I play a good game, a blog post will just start in my head and I’ll have a fairly good idea of what to say. That just hasn’t happened. Perhaps the games recently have been as boring as fuck. Since these have included Bulletstorm, Europa Universalis Rome and Battlefield: Bad Company 2, I somehow doubt it.

Anyway, I won’t be posting anything strictly game-related any time soon, as I’ve been convinced to give video games up for Lent. I’m not a particularly religious person, at least not in the sense of Lent, but doing something like this is a challenge, and one I was sort-of happy to accept. Hell, it gives me more time to read, which is a relief; my ‘to-read’ list has been steadily rising since Christmas.

It’s also given me time to think about stuff to do for this blog. For a while I’d been looking for a project to help this blog stick out in the blogosphere, and whilst I’ve had a few ideas knocking about, nothing has really stuck. This time though… this one might actually work, as it hinges on the very thing this blog was named after: my legendary propensity to be distracted.

I have a rather large collection of games, considering my relative youth in PC gaming. Some I bought because they were genuinely wanted, and then got bored of (Dragon Age, Saints Row 2, Red Faction Guerilla etc). Others I bought because they were cheap on Steam or Gamestation, and have never really played (ARMA, Hitman: Blood Money etc). My idea is to take this list, and to play them. In a random order. From a hat. Possibly of the camp-cowboy variety. The basic idea is for me to learn some form of patience and sticking-power with games, and to actually play the games that I seem to have wasted so much money on over the years. Hopefully, this will work.


Anyway, there’ll be more on that story later. Back to Lent, and why it sucks. As mentioned, I’m off games for fourty days. It’s really nothing other than a pure willpower exercise and competition against my girlfriend, who has given up something she adores in compensation (chocolate). It’s not going too badly, other than occasionally being tempted by seductive sultresses of games. Two vixens in particular (which I hadn’t expected to be attracted to) are Wurm Online and the MUD Achaea Online. Both very deep games, and both are total bastards to get into. Somehow, my almost sexual lust for gaming has landed on two of the ugliest motherfuckers around. For some reason, these are the ones I really want to play again. Yes, despite almost everyone in my student being entraced by Minecraft (and making some rather impressive structures) I am instead craving two games which I have taken up and given up several times before. Gah!

I have played Wurm Online before, and I always meant to write a post about it. Unfortunately, once I’d stopped playing the game and had actually sat down to write the post I was on the waning edge of my obsession and writing about the game in a positive light seemed like a nigh-impossible task. Another chance to write a post would be nice, but… to put it in perspective, the last time I played Wurm, I spent eight hours in a hole, mining myself a safe haven. That’s eight real-time hours, not in game hours. In a hole. Mining. I passed twenty-four hours of gaming within three days. For me, that amount of game-time is ridiculuous. I was hooked.

It seemed like the key were the goals I’d set for myself. See, Wurm places you into a fantasy setting, complete with goblins, and gives you one task; to survive. You’re on the frontier, and you are the first wave of civilisation into this wild area. It’s up to you to ride the wildness and to tame it. It’s a very compulsive idea, and I soon found myself grabbed. My short-term goal was to build a house. And I was hours away from doing that, even several ideas into the game. And I wasn’t even going for a mansion: I was aiming for a garden shed-sized building. One block in size. Even something as small as that was many hours work away, because of the skill system.

The skill system in Wurm is deep. And I mean deep. For instance, Carpentry is one of your main skills that splits into other sub-skills: Fine Carpentry, Toy Making, Fletching, Bowyery, and Ship Making. Each one levels up differently, and each is needed for different items. To gain points in a skill, you must create items, knock down trees, kill things – whatever ties into the skill. Sounds simple, right? Wrong. To create a simple mallet, you first cut down a tree, chop that felled tree into logs, carve that log into a wooden shaft and mallet head, then try to put them together. If you’re lucky, now you have your mallet. Should you be mortal like me, then it’s more than likely that you failed at some point along the chain and are now sitting in a pile of scrap wood, weeping at your inability to carve a simple wooden shaft. To begin with, each link along this chain has a chance of less than fifty percent of working, and combining the mallet would be much lower. Obviously, this goes up as your level increases, but the differences are slight, especially in the early stages of the game. To add insult to injury, your shaft may have gone into the head, but might now need filing, sanding or even, hilariously enough, bonking with a mallet to finish it off. Catch-22 scenarios like this are fairly common and this is very much a game for the hardcore and/or stubborn.

But anyway, enough of that tangent. I’m sure an actual post for Wurm will follow at some point. The ironic thing is, writing this has only made me want to play it even more. Fuck.

On that note, I’d better leave before I knaw my own arms off in lust for gratification from an interactive-visual medium.


Should you be the self-hating type, or just curious, Wurm Online can be found at http://www.wurmonline.com.