Fatigue, Code Liberation and the V&A

Here I start another blog on another site. Knowing full well, much like all my blogs that came before it. It will eventually become an abandoned page on the internet. Never visited by anyone. Collecting dust and regrets.

But is that going to stop me from doing it? Heck no! I live for the excitement for the thing that has yet to be abandoned. So on we go. To an update about making games!

So, anyone who knows me knows I have been working on an "yet unannounced" game for years. It's state of development limbo is something that kind of kills me inside a little bit. Mostly cus I worry my peers think I'm irrelevant or that I'm not actually DOING anything, cus hey, they haven't seen anything from me since SALT showed at Rezzed a year and a half ago. And I've looked back at that build of SALT, the writing is terrible. I was working on that unannounced game then too, just to give you a sense of how long this has been! So having worked so hard on something which I am yet to show any videos or screenshots from is really frustrating. I think it's something really cool but it's taken 2 years to get there.  Two years of limbo, two hard years of making decisions, finding they were the wrong call and having to iterate and course correct.

All of this really takes a toll, on my health (both mental and physical), my social life and my general feelings about myself, my work and "my worth". Really unhealthy stuff, but we all do it so I'm not going to pretend like I'm above it. There are certainly the days I fondly remember the comradery of working in an office and the regularity of Friday drinks with my office buddies. It wasn't often an exciting experience, but it was stable and it was safe. Now it's me in our office (John and I work in the same space from home), my team popping up on slack occasionally and a lot of lonely days of grinding out the work. It's draining and I felt like I needed a boost to bring me back to the land of the living. 

So in September a friend posted a link to the first UK Code Liberation Workshop being run by Pheonix Perry in conjunction with the V&A. This was my chance to try and bolster myself up! As usual I had the fear about applying, cus I have done a few scripting tutorials, but it was still mostly all out of my comfort zone. Learning in front of strangers too? *Shudder* Flashes back to the times I would break into tears when I was learning 3D and my work was just horrific and misaligned. I told John about it and he said "you're going to apply though right?" to which I replied, "of course!". I have trouble saying no to people.

Early October I found out I was selected for the workshop along with two of my friends. I wasn't alone! And most importantly I was motivated!

The seven weeks has flown by and whilst the topics covered in class I could have done at home (except the Arduino stuff, turns out I actually find electronics fascinating!). I wouldn't have done if I was just at home learning and struggling on my own. You put it off, in the evening after you have sat at the same computer for hours, the last thing you feel like doing is sitting there some more, only to feel like you are drowning. Without Code Lib I would never have had the confidence to ask my partner for help when I got stuck on stuff, such is the luck of living with another game developer who is a "functional coder". Learning new things is uncomfortable and embarrassing. You have to be back at that baby stage where you try and grab the coffee table and pull yourself up. You fail to grip, you fail to balance, you fail to muster your strength. By making a choice to learn something totally new as an adult, you put yourself back in this vulnerable situation which you haven't been in for decades. It's scary, but ultimately unlocked a pure joyfulness and curiousness that I haven't felt in such a long time.

I'll probably try and write another post about code lib in more detail at a later date. But for now, know that's it's amazing. If you get a chance to apply for one of their workshops. Take it. I've met some super awesome women, we've helped each other. I've also learnt so much about myself and what I can achieve.

I will be showing this game, a silly massage simulator called Mama Seuss, a Swedish Mama who's making her kronor from giving super quick massages. This silly game, I have made all by myself, with the help of awesome women who volunteered their time to teach us (and John) will be shown at the V&A. A place I remember going to on school trips. Among the ancient marble statues of marvellously naked people, I shall show a game about conveyor belt massages. I don't think I've really processed how cool that is yet. It's so amazing that games get enough respect to have a presence at such a loved establishment.

If you are in London on the 25th of November (2016) please do come along and join the madness.  Facebook event with full details here > https://www.facebook.com/events/238386896576594/ or the V&A link for the event here > https://www.vam.ac.uk/info/friday-late