I’ve been a successful participant in National Novel Writing Month three out of the past eight years. One thing each of those years had in common was a panicked realization that I hadn’t written or produced anything of value for most of that previous year. All it takes, really, is an aggressive and firm deadline and a well-defined deliverable.

But fiction isn’t what I want to do right now. Hasn’t been for a while. Also, since when did any NaNo project turn out a quality result?

What I want to do, and what I haven’t been doing, is making games. Unfortunately, building up a “promising” playable prototype hasn’t been sufficient to hold my interest when there are so many other fun things going on.

I moved into a new apartment three months ago and my whiteboards have barely changed at all since then. My printer is still sitting in my bedroom closet. My paper cutter is languishing desperately in a drawer with my notebooks, index cards, and other prototyping supplies. To be fair, my mother died about six weeks ago. And the weeks leading up to her passing were quite full.

But, every time I look at any of this stuff - this game-making stuff - I feel depressed. Like I’ve been neglecting a friend. Not just any friend, either, but a life-long friend who has always been there when things are bad or good, and now I’m realizing that I’ve been taking that friend for granted and wondering how I would feel if our roles were reversed. Anthropomorphizing a hobby? Maybe. But the feeling is real, and I have a real need to turn it around.

So what, now? A publicly-stated commitment. No more sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike at an opportune time.

This month, I will finish a game. It will be published and you will be able to buy it (probably at The Game Crafter). Yes, in a month. 

On or before November 30, I will take the last step before self-publishing: ordering myself a production copy of my game to review before release. I’ll share my progress here. There will be pics.

I hope you enjoy it even more than I do.

"Because we do not know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. And yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really.

"How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you cannot conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, or five times more? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty.

And yet it all seems limitless..."

- Paul Bowles

reading

You buy them books, and what do they do? They eat the paper!

listening

Forget about your seat -- it's the beat.

viewing

Television will make you dumb. C'mon and get stupid!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

So I Totally Bought Serato

I got a fairly decent bonus check yesterday, realized I don’t have to pay tuition for at least another month, and decided to check out Craigslist.  Lo, it was being sold by an experienced DJ looking to switch out for some new gear!  Bennett from rhythm sektion (check that link for some nice MP3 downloads and readable web log action) cut me a pretty sweet deal and threw in a laptop stand and no fewer than three pairs of control records. 

The only thing I’m missing is a pair of patch cables to get the pass-thru connected so I can still mix vinyl, but I can get those today at lunch. Meanwhile, my lovely girlfriend has declared that she will relinquish a metric shit-ton of MP3s she wants to dance to. Yes, people.  I am situated.

Turns out rhythmsektion is one of the Sunday night DJs at Beauty Bar here in Austin.  I’ll definitely have to check that scene out if/when I’m not at Back Alley Social (and you should, too)!

posted on 07/16 • blog • (1420) commentspermalink

Friday, July 10, 2009

Serato Scratch Live: A Vinyl Purist’s First Impression

I first encountered Serato Scratch Live
at a house party a couple of years ago.  I had lugged in a stack of about thirty records—the other DJ lugged in his laptop, this little box…and his entire rig.  My first impression of the device basically amounted to, “That’s neat. Looks simple enough and it’s obvious that things have come a long way since Final Scratch.  But, hey, buddy!  Your 128k constant bit rate MP3s sound like shit!”

Last Sunday, however, I saw the same gear in the hands of someone who actually had decent, recently-downloaded tracks instead of a scattered collection of crappy dance music remixes from the late 1990’s.  Lo, I am impressed!

This got me thinking about some of the excuses I’ve given myself in the past for not “going digital.”

more...

posted on 07/10 • blog • (733) commentspermalink

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Climb the Ladder

Thanks to everyone who came out Sunday night!  Yeah, thanks…all… (counts on fingers) five of you guys.  You are special, you are loved, you are decent, and you are hardcore for coming out on a Sunday night after a weekend already crammed full of partying and revelry.

It was a night of first-time-in-a-long-times for me.  In addition to playing out for the first time in years, I climbed a steel rung ladder to get to the DJ booth.  When’s the last time you climbed a ladder, anyway?  If you’re an office zombie by day like yours truly, it has probably been some time

I also met a DJ named Loki (last Loki encounter: July 2002), and I got a close look at Serato, some tech I haven’t really examined since playing like three tracks at a house party in Seattle a good piece back.

Anyway, I must have done something right, because Cam has invited me back to play again soon.  Details here when I know them!

posted on 07/07 • blog • (2198) commentspermalink

Friday, July 03, 2009

Back Alley Social - Sunday 5 July

This Sunday, I’m guest spinning/opening up for DJ Handsome Cam at Back Alley Social! This is my first gig since moving to Austin from Seattle almost a year and a half ago. In fact, now that I really do the math, this will be my first live gig in probably four years. Dang.

So I’m pretty alright in the living room on my own rig, but can I keep it together on a system which is large?

I don’t know, but know what? I bet you don’t know, either. So I guess we should all just show up and see what goes on.

Back room (entrance on Lavaca).  Music starts at 10.  No cover.  21 and up.  Come say hi!

posted on 07/03 • blog • (1180) commentspermalink

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Preparing to launch

Setting up a site with ExpressionEngine and getting a design together has been smoother (and considerably more fun) than I suspected it might be.  I’ll post about that once the site goes live.  Meanwhile, you can see a design comp of the coming-along-nicely, soon-to-be-ready website here and a wireframe mockup here

Taking some criticism into account (“What is this, a beach rave? What’s with the sea foam stuff?”), I’ve made some changes to what you see in the .jpg, but it’s all more-or-less the same.  More on the design process later as well. 

Things to do:

  • Make sure I have styles for all my elements represented in my design (don’t forget hover states…).
  • Slice graphics and mark up some static HTML to style with them.
  • Plug in the back-end using the existing ExpressionEngine tags on the live site.
  • Get going with some Google AdSense.
  • Get some content up on this mother.
  • Turn the mother out.

We’ll see how much of that I can get done on a Sunday afternoon.  So far, ExpressionEngine isn’t really making things hard on me at all, so it’s looking good for a launch later this week!

posted on 06/28 • blog • (1750) commentspermalink

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