Where to now?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! Today seems like a good time to update this neglected blog of mine and talk about the recent past and the future.

It’s been neglected for two reasons. 1) I was finishing off my Diploma of Interactive Digital Media. It’s at last over so now I can interact with digital media, I suppose?
And 2) I’ve come to know (especially via Twitter) a lot really talented writers and developers, and you’re all so talented and proficient that I find it can be a little intimidating putting my thoughts on here for the world to see. What if I stick my foot in my mouth and say something stupid? My life and career will be ruined FOREVER! Well, not really, but that’s the paranoia that builds up when I compare myself with others. I once heard someone say that the quickest way to depression is to compare yourself to others. There will always be people better than you and there will always be people worse than you. However, to progress in your chosen path, you need to be willing to be vulnerable and accept that you will stumble multiple times before you improve, and that’s to be expected. Progress is impossible without failure. To never accept the possibility of failure, is to stay stagnant and to never learn.

So I started studying Interactive Digital Media a year and a half ago because I was dissatisfied working full-time in retail and I wanted to work in an area more appropriate to my interests. I thought initially that perhaps I could be a writer, but then anxiety cat appeared and I doubted myself. I hear that’s common to all writers though, no matter your experience. I wonder if Shakespeare ever thought to himself, “doth mine writings suckest”? (apologies for that made up Shakespearian English there)

During the course I was inspired by many professional indie game developers such as Markus ‘Notch’ Persson, Erin Robinson, Dave Gilbert, and Adam ‘Atomic’ Saltsman to name just a few very.

I thought, I could do that. As a small child, I muddled around with programming and making games when I had an Apple II computer, but as I aged, I thought of friends I knew who were fantastic programmers or amazing artists and I doubted myself. See that danger there of comparing yourself with others? It’s a crippling paralysis of analysis.

So next year I’ll be studying an “Advanced Diploma of Professional Game Development – Specialising in Art” at AIE. While it’s certainly possible to succeed in the games industry without any formal education, having it doesn’t hurt either. However, I did encounter many students in my recent diploma who had this naive idea that all you need to succeed is just the piece of paper that says that you’ve finished a course – that apparently that will be enough for potential jobs to come flying towards you. That’s ridiculous though. You need skills. You need a portfolio that demonstrates what you can do. Without that, your piece of paper is useless. So I’m under no illusions that going to AIE next year will magically grant me jobs. How much I put into it is how much I’ll get out of it. I suppose life is like that overall.

When I first started this blog, I assumed it would solely be a development blog to document my progress in games I was making, but then I wrote a review, and then I wrote an opinion piece and enjoyed doing so. I think I’ll continue doing all of these here from now on. Fragments Are Found will still be about games, mainly, but not necessarily exclusively either. What I wrote on my about page sums up best my motivations for this blog. I want to explore videogames and how they make us feel and think. I’ll examine my own steps in making them and my thoughts on playing games made by others. I’ll try not to compare myself to others while doing so too.

Next post, I’ll show the results of some of the games I worked on in class this year and the lessons learnt from that. Stay tuned.

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