November 20, 2007

Keeping my journal alive

I’ve been meaning to post an entry here about the new research building I’ve moved into, but I couldn’t find the words when sitting in front of the computer. So instead I’ll repost the entry I stuck into my journal over at to stop my old journal from dying from neglect. I won’t bother changing it too much since it’s pretty much the same as what I wanted to post here, except that it has a slightly more game oriented feel from the combination of stuff I’m posting over on my site. Anyway, onto the cut and paste:

I’ve been neglecting this journal so long it slipped off the page. I feel guilty when that happens. Unfortunately, I feel more guilty that I don’t really have anything game related to post. I’ve hardly had anything to do with games in the last few weeks - making or playing them. But I feel obliged to keep my smiling little avatar on the journal post, so I’ll post the sort of things I post over on my own blog in both places for this week until I have something particularly gamey to talk about.

At the moment game development has slipped to a fairly low pegging in my priority list, which currently stands as follows:

1. Settle into new research building

Last week my research group moved into a brand new building on the other side of the university campus. It’s a pretty nice place: good view, good equipment, nice orange paint scheme, great coffee machine, closer to where I live. It’s got some downsides too: it’s only one and a half blocks from the closest pub, which is a fair walk compared to the old building (one block) and where I live (right next door). Plus the great window view means if the air conditioning is off then you need to strip and douse yourself in ice water to survive.

All in all I think the new place is a step up, but at the moment since everything is brand new nothing really works properly and it’s going to take some time to get back into the groove. Which is annoying, because I’ve got stuff I’d really like to do. As shown by task 2:

2. Move a few steps closer to finishing this PhD

According to my enrolment information I am meant to be wrapping up my studies in March next year. Unfortunately the research work I’d like to complete would take me until 2014. I am told that every PhD student feels this way at this stage, but it bugs me that I am such an expert procrastinator I spend more time writing elaborate work plans during the day then actually implementing them.

Lately though I feel I’m making progress, but the day calendar doesn’t have very many sheets left in it for 2007 so I feel the necessity for spending a few extra hours and a Saturday here and there in the lab. Plus a fair few hours at home too. Next year this will be number 1 and 2 on my list. Possibly 3 as well.

3. Get a webcomic started

I may have mentioned this before, but as well as working on games I’ve had plans to make a webcomic. It’s a relatively recent dream - only started a couple of years ago - but it’s pretty strong none-the-less. I even listed it on my 2007 New Year’s “List of Stuff to Do This Year” that I create in place of resolutions. I’m doing pretty well this year: start a website, create a game (Brixtar counts, but only barely); both checked off. I’ve still got “finish the first draft of my PhD thesis dissertation” to do - touch on wood to finish.

And then there’s “Start a Webcomic” - which is both extremely easy yet hard to tick off the list. I mean, I could just throw anything old thing together, post it on my website, and call it a webcomic. But the whole purpose of me wanting to start a webcomic is to have a vehicle for practicing art and creative writing, so I want it to be as good as I can reasonably make it. Something that dies in the first month isn’t going to cut it.

So in the interests of making something adequate I’ve been doing some preparation. Or more accurately pre-preparation: I realised I don’t know a lot about webcomics or what’s out there. I’ve been branching out into webcomic forums and reading a variety of what’s available. It’s the latter that’s been the biggest time sink - have you seen how massive the archive of webcomics like Sluggy Freelance are? Sheesh.

At my current rate I don’t think I’ll launch before January next year as I’ll need a dozen or so strips for a decent lead time, but I’ll consider it a success if I’m making the strips in 2007. This is still a possibility, although it might be over the Christmas break.

4. Variety of Social Activities to round off 2007

If you hadn’t noticed from the calendar and my mention of it at least twice already - it’s almost the end of the year! This means there’s a whole bunch of stuff you need to do involving other people - end of year parties, farewells for people heading overseas, greetings for people coming back from overseas, buying gifts for Christmas, general celebration of summer (note my home hemisphere northerners), and so on. The undergraduates have all finished their exams, so they flee the city like the simple minded migratorary species they are. Us postgraduates rule the campus, and we celebrate by drinking beer. Admittedly we also do that during semester too, but at least we aren’t now surrounded by youngsters who think the experience is novel.

5. Vegging Out

Been doing this far too much, but it’s getting hot and I haven’t listened to all the directors commentaries on my Futurama DVDs yet.

6. Develop another goddamned Flash game, you slacker!

And here we get to game development! At least it’s on the list. Unfortunately I haven’t mustered the energy to actually do anything - I’ve been saving that for one of the higher ranked items. At this rate, I may have to wait until the Christmas break before I have the time and lack of cares to actually get the ActionScript neurons firing again.

I’m hoping once I get settled in to the new building I’ll have the ability to plan something in as I really want to get more Flash learning in, but I’m afraid for a little while it’s still going to be second to comic skills (and very third to the PhD work). They don’t make free time like they used to.

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2 Comments on Keeping my journal alive

November 21, 2007

Steve @ 12:26 am:

Hoy, that’s quite a lengthy list! And some of us just won’t stand for things like game development being at the bottom of the list [you slacker! ;)]. Still, being one of the many fellows who have been pushing you in the direction of #3, I’m glad to see that the webcomic has fairly high standing. Best of luck!

Yeah, I’m feeling a bit guilty about letting the Flash dev slip. I’m finding at the moment I’ve only really got the time and energy for one hobby. I’m hoping to squeeze in the Flash dev eventually once I’ve got everything else under control.

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