Back in the Game

This week, I was struck by the first proper case of writer’s block since I started this blog. I’m actually a little surprised that it didn’t happen earlier! Thankfully, it let go of me after just a few days, and I’m now back in the game. But for a while there, I just wasn’t interested at all.

That’s how writer’s block manifests for me – not as an inability to write, but as a lack of interest. I have an ever-growing list of topic ideas and several drafts in various stages of completion, but for a while there, none of them interested me enough to actually write. And that lack of interest I find far more difficult to deal with than any other obstacles, be it performance anxiety or just exhaustion.

After all, as I keep repeating to myself, I’m doing this for my own sake. I’m writing because I enjoy it, because it’s fun, because I think I have something to say. So what, then, do I do when it doesn’t feel fun?

Part of the problem is probably that I’ve been worrying that I am boring. Ironically, I think this worry comes from my doing and being interested in too many things. I doubt there are a lot of people who share my particular constellation of obsessions, and so whenever I open my mouth or start typing a tweet, I’m always aware that part of the audience is probably completely uninterested in what I want to talk about.

Outside of the blog bubble, life is pretty good. I spend my days swimming around in a sea of code, rapidly learning my way around Unity3D and getting more and more inspired to do my own projects. I’ve also started getting back into gaming again, putting the lie to my earlier statements that I’m too busy making games to play them.

Yesterday, I hung out with Vector (boss by day, friend by night) and played Obduction on the Oculus Rift, which was both fun and educational. Obduction is the spiritual heir to the Myst series, and I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time. Unfortunately, the experience was somewhat underwhelming, which I largely blame on a sub-par VR experience. Something I’ll get back to in a future post, I’m sure.

I really should try out more VR titles and get more of a feel for what can be done and what doesn’t quite work. And yeah. My chosen line of work means that I can say “I play video games for research purposes” with a straight face.

It’s a mixed blessing, though. The more I learn about game development, the more critical I get of games I play. Whereas before I would simply let myself enjoy the ride (or not, as the case may be, and if not I would just stop playing), these days I can’t help but notice all the things that might have been done differently.

This has already been a problem for me when it comes to biology and geology. I’m always hyper aware of how many games treat the natural world with casual disregard for facts. Sometimes, I understand that shortcuts are needed, or that natural laws are broken as part of a science fiction or fantasy theme. But often it just seems like no one bothered to ask someone in the know (or google) how things actually work. Or even look at a picture of a plant or a rock or what have you before trying to model and animate it…

Deep breath. I’m alright. It’s okay. I can still enjoy games.

Speaking of, I think I’m going to finish this up and enjoy some Gone Home. Or possibly Candy Crush if I turn out to be too tired to truly immerse myself.

All for research purposes, obviously.

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