One of the most important things that we can learn and develop through an event like a global pandemic, especially in the midst of the technological revolution and globalization is the ability to adapt to radically changing life circumstances. Career transition, philosophical upheaval, and the desire to become more directly involved in social and political spheres are common symptoms of the 2020 phenomenon. As for me, I’ve always kept a loose grip on anything I held as necessity.
My formal education has all been primarily in the sciences and psychology with spatterings of business and economics throughout my twenties. I worked in labs as a technician, manager, writer and consultant, and I’ve been involved in a handful of academic research projects. I’ve also played with music and creative writing all my life and started programming and building computers before middle school in the early 90s. So now, in early 2021, I find myself a month and a half into my tenth (or so) major project in software development, and I’m being aided solely by one other person, a talented sketch artist whose works will be showcased in the digital world I am creating. Almost two months in, it has become clear that strict expectations must be conceded to adaptability.
That is not to say we won’t produce what I initially hoped for. However, we have both realized the tendency to raise our expectations for every aspect of the project as we have progressed. I’d like to be able to do everything. What started as a simple table top style role playing game (with all calculations being determined by simulated 6 and 4 sided dice) became something we both expected to crush our initial goals. Keeping things simple and sticking to the plan has become difficult for two like minded perfectionists. The art is good (hand drawn and digitally painted), the interface is friendly and intuitive, but the world, music and overall scope have shifted. Technical limitations are trying to cut everything back down. I’m developing for PC, but recently ran tests on a couple different android devices. Complexity, high quality representations of the artwork, and a dynamic and active coding system are going to limit accessibility if I continue to push the boundaries, meaning less people will get a chance to enjoy the artwork and charm.
The original idea was to pay homage to my favorite classics simultaneously while introducing the artist as well as my own original core gameplay mechanic. You could theoretically play the game with two dice, a pen and paper without so many confusing statistics that are commonly found in other games. It is meant to be accessible while still holding up mathematically as a satisfying “game” experience. This is where I feel overwhelmed. I started coding as a 4 or 5 year old with my dad, and I quickly learned BASIC, pascal, and C++. There were things I wanted to do as a kid that I couldn’t due to hardware limitations, and while the same is true now, the box is open much wider than it was then. I can do those things in 2021, but I want to release the game on mobile devices and I want the artwork to be appreciated, and really, I want the experience to feel satisfying to fans of classics, and approachable to a casual audience. So I limit myself, and I force myself to remember that sometimes less is more and elegance in simplicity is often more beautiful. In fact, I believe wholeheartedly that limitations are what force us to produce and evolve overall beauty. Omnipotence eventually breeds absolute perfection, and past that there is no future. I feel the pull to do everything all at once, but I believe pure creativity loves boundaries.
To summarize, I started a project that I gave myself about 6 months to finish, and now I see everything I could do with it as well as all the technical and personal barriers to my own success, and I don’t like how impatient I am with myself… and I write this while I laugh at me. Adapting is about remembering where you came from, knowing what you want to accomplish, and knowing that the path of least resistance is not always the one you planned on.
She and I are hard at work today, bringing our characters and world to life. To date, we have completed almost two dozen portraits and paintings including sketches, watercolors and digital drawings. We’ve also completed town and world design, created dozens of equipment items, spells and abilities, and are excited for people to play with it all.
More (and less reflective) updates on the game to come. 🙂
Tonight for many people is just like any other night, but regardless of your belief system or holiday traditions, there is a peaceful air cutting the edge that we’ve been feeling all year. Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and hope to all who are reading. When times are difficult, humanity shows its true colors. The year has tried us all, some more than others, but persistence and hope still overwhelm everything negative that could be dragging us down. To my readers, have a good night and a beautiful day. If you have time, stop to reflect on the importance of connection. We would be nothing alone.
Look up the definitions for sarcasm and satire, or skip to the end of the article. A lot of Americans are complaining about a $600 economic stimulus check (click here if you aren’t in the loop), and I suppose I understand why. Unemployment is up, opportunities have been lost along with small (and not so small) businesses, and salaries have been cut. But really, what is the stimulus package going to do? What is it supposed to do? If it is raised to $2000 dollars, will it help much more? Of course, but not for the long term. Really, the package is meant to fuel the domestic (and to a lesser extent, global) economy, meaning they kind of expect everyone to blow the $600 (or $2000) on food, toys, tech, etc. It will help very few people out of a crisis, but it will help some.
I can see the $2000 check allowing a few very low income individuals make ends meet until they secure additional employment. But there are already systems in place to make that possible, such as unemployment benefits. If only a third of Americans get a $600 check, you’re talking about something on the order of $100 billion dollars in cash out of Uncle Sam’s pocket. In truth, a stimulus package is not for the individual, it’s for the health of the entire system. It is meant to bolster overall cash flow. The potential problems with this come from the fact that Uncle Sam took out a fourth mortgage on the nation to give you the check.
If you want to heal the global economy, go progressive. The paper economy is a system with a clear endpoint. With inflation, debt, and lack of proper backing (though it is largely backed by oil, indirectly), it just can not be sustained forever. But then again, there are finite and inflation proof (as well as being non consumable) resources out there. For anyone confused, I’m saying any economy where you can create more currency without a limit to the amount will always inflate and eventually become unusable. Minimum wage goes up, but employers can’t pay it, quality goes down and prices go up. Inflation is a symptom of death. It’s like aging. It is very literally the economy spiraling out of control while the government attempts to follow it.
There has never been a global economy before (as there is now), and no one knows how to handle it. Almost no one. When the dollar was backed by gold, things were a little better. There is not an infinite amount of gold, and we use it up. Eventually, the dwindling resource becomes a limit to how we can trade. But then, for any economy to work, the currency needs to have value to the individual, and it holds value because not everyone can have as much as they want. In our current economy, products drive commerce. We want things people make because they’re cool to have, and not everyone can have everything. For this reason, we don’t need to base trade on a natural resource like gold. We use gold in jewelry and technology production. It’s a resource that should be protected.
So what now? If inflation continues, debts are not payed, and Sammy prints dollars that didn’t exist, the system will eventually cave. Fights are almost always about money and resources (including land). In couples, families, and between nations. The answer is to use the finite, non consumable resources we have to manage trade and commerce. Digital currency does this, and because it already has value in dollars, it has already won. The transition just hasn’t completed itself. Digital currency is already integrated into the economy, and because it is a unique resource that has never existed before, it will eventually have a unique impact. The thing that I would personally prefer to avoid is a giant economic crash (or war) over paper currencies that really no longer hold any real value (except that everyone still holds differing amounts). I would advise the government to get the proportions going now. Start paying people in ether, bitcoin, or whatever. They’re all linked together as well, and while you can create new coins, you can’t create value. No one will take most of the coins, and the small ones will lose their value…….
Nevermind. I just talked myself out of this being a good idea. Unless everyone holds a little bitcoin, and the other digital currencies hold no value, you face the same problem as with paper money. Let’s just spiral out of control forever and hold it together with empty promises and lies. Give us $2000, please.
***Don’t read this part: What I’m saying is the system is what it seems like. A bunch of random people hold more of an unnecessary and invalid (but globally used and in many cases inherited) currency than everyone else, and they decide how to give it to you, and how much you’re allowed to have. This becomes incredibly clear in stock market operations. No, we’re not all valued fairly (not even close). Yes, it’s absurd that people are going hungry. Yes, there is enough to feed everyone. Yes, people turn to careers in crime because they don’t have their needs met, or know they’re undervalued and lack respect. Some people just don’t have anything else going for them. Yes, other people just make bad decisions, even and especially when they have everything or more than they need. In general, cleaning up depressed urban or suburban regions would decrease crime, especially if the residents were given jobs in the community. Losers exist because of winners, and they will always turn to drugs to get the illusion of accomplishment and satisfaction that the winners who beat them get naturally by winning. The top will always control the bottom unless the muscle turns and forces the top to share. Communism, no. That’s another philosophical topic, especially considering the potential end to the energy crisis. How do you manage the people when you have enough energy to do things like create gold from dust? 3D print food? Not everyone can handle life when everything is handed to them. Plenty of rich celebrities go down in flames when they have everything. The same would be true for many in a post capitalist world. When do they stop asking for more? Right now, there are things to clean up and people who are undervalued. Work hard and do what you can for yourself and the people around you.***
Sometimes nothing we wanted seems to be finding us. Other times we have more of what we wanted than we know what to do with. And when that happens, there is a tendency to mishandle it all. Then, after you’ve gotten everything you thought you wanted, lost it all and had nothing, you get a chance to do something with everything you’ve learned.