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A Little Break

So I managed to give myself a break this weekend. A little one. It had been about 14 days since my last so when I started finding loose screws on the floor, its was definitely a sign I was past due for one.

Elise got me onto a great thing this year which was keeping a log of the things you do in a day. Work related things of course, not really mundane related things otherwise that would just be weird. It really helps quantify just how much you are actually doing over a period of time and when any key events occur, like when you last gave yourself a break. It also clearly indicates just how much your performance drops off since then *pulls collar*.

A lot of this month for Elise and I has been focused on ourselves, mainly on health and motivation. No I’m not going to say “go running down your street” and “think rich” because that’s not really helpful. Unless you want to do that by all means run down the street screaming your rich.

We’ve been working behind the scenes on Redefinition Games for a long time now. The belief in what we are doing often dwindles at times, which is normal I guess with lots of creative projects and people (not just artist). So it’s really important to understand, and acknowledge, the effect that working all the time has on you. The key difference being the acknowledgement part. Knowing when you’ve burnt yourself out and not doing something about it is just outright silly.

Sometimes you may be acknowledging the fact you’re burnt out but what your doing is dismissing it, especially if your saying something like this “I’m really tired, but I still need to finish something off first” or “I’ve got to much work to do, and I need to get it done”. The right thing to so would of been to step back, give yourself some time unwind, think about something other then the work you need to do, and come back and tackle it again. I know it’s simple to say, and remembering to do that sometimes just as hard, but god damn it people. REMEMBER! It will improve your performance and ability to solve what ever challenges your working on/with.

So I gave myself a break this weekend, finally. Fourteen days straight of code, art and everything in between really takes a lot out of you. I ended up buying “The Cave”, a Double Fine game, on the PS3 (available on XBox360, PC). If you haven’t played, add it to the top of your things to do list!

The Cave is fantastic. It’s about 7 characters who seek something that they want, going into a cave to find it, reveals their story about how they get it. And all of them, have dark sided little secret. I’m not going to give to much away, so I’ll just leave it at there. A really charming game like most Double Fine games are. The stories are also quite funny. Lots of good one liners that’s for sure.

The Cave really reminds me a lot of point and click adventure games I use to play when I was kid on the good ol’ 486 computer. The only difference is its in platformer form (Super Mario style for you non-aficionados reading). It sounds strange and you wouldn’t think of putting those two types of games together. But it really does play pretty well and much like point and click adventure do, just minus the pointing and the clicking. It’s also simple and challenging enough to make you scratch your head without ridiculously obscure puzzles as a lot of adventure games suffer from. So if you got some time, a little bit of spare change, go give it a play. Your bound to enjoy it, especially over a shot break!

DeathSpudding

As usual I’m pretty busy. That never really seems to change.

But this week has been a fairly exciting week. I’ve been madly organizing and bashing out code for DeathSpuds again! YaY!

If you haven’t heard of DeathSpuds, it about a gun wielding metal biker bad ass potato who goes on a kick ass adventure to save his crew from a rival gang in twisted city. Created by Josh Sacco, who is the artist for the game, and also founder of Dead Leaf Games. Working on it is also Adam Taylor, who is mostly looking after the animations. He’s also a coffee fiend. And then there’s me, I’m handling most of the code and helping keep things as organized as possible.

Josh has been working on this for about a year now, slowly putting it together in his spare time. It was on display last year at Freeplay and if you were lucky enough, you could play the prototype demo that was on display.

The Freeplay demo is where I started to get more involved. Josh needed someone to handle the AI coding for the project because his other programmer would of been to busy to do to much else. Let just say sometimes the internet doesn’t always provide you the best things and this programmer, being sourced from the internet, was definitely not going to deliver. I ended having to pick up what was basically known existent just so we could be sure to hit Freeplay. It was quite a task but at the same time really showed us how well we could work together. We managed to jam out a pretty awesome demo in about 3 weeks. It was great. It had enemies, a boss, shooting, guts, audio, everything you’d want to see in a game.

After Freeplay things sort of winded down and Josh spent a lot of time working out the game and it’s design, discussing ideas through emails. It was basically a tennis match of emails.

It wasn’t until recently that I had time to spare and we finally worked out a contract to get me on board.

So now I’m working on it. w00t.