A crippling workload

A crippling workload

Hurrah, the posts from 2016 were unexpectedly being stored on Goodreads, and so I am replenishing the new site with the old posts.  If you are interested, you can now scroll back for a year so far, but as there are so many posts, I don’t think I can do them all in one night.

As regular readers will know, the furniture collection has been very expensive to produce, which has caused major hold ups.  I am seeking a contract or two to finish off the first few pieces, so that I can get on with Lucifer Ogilvie.

In addition, complications regarding my mother have meant that I am unable to do as much work as I have in the past, it is now turning into a huge legal conundrum which I am strangely unphased by.  So far, I have had to sit in a room full of people who have either already lied, or are in the process of lying because I am such a horrible person for taking care of my mother and avoiding people.

What is most irritating about this, is that people who don’t actually know what has been said or done are now jumping on the opposing bandwagon on the assumption that I have somehow forced a career driven carer to lie about my mother, and a pair of vile nurses to assume that because I am very polite, I am also a pushover.  Imagine their surprise when I chased them from the house shrieking thank you, thank you!

Anyway, for the raw foodies watching this saga, my mother now has proper arms again, and I am working on reinflating her legs after the concentration camp style nutrition in hospital.  She is not hugely conversational at the moment, but as you all know, detox involves a lot of sleeping.  I am restretching her muscles at the moment as she was suffering from contracture.

According to the vile nurses and her doctor, this means crushing her legs even more and drugging her so that you don’t hear her scream in pain as her muscles waste.  Instead her legs are gently being stretched with a fierce rub of menthol to restore her muscles in much the same way her arms have responded.  At 90, she has in three weeks recovered her ability to sit up by herself, so I look forward to seeing how these legs turn out when they are done.

The NHS seem to be genuinely offended by her recovery, which is most upsetting. Not quite as upsetting as her absent children’s wish to kill her in a care home.  Yes, looking after her is blisteringly hard work.  No, I do not begrudge it, although I certainly should given the family dynamic she set up in advance of her dotage.

Anyway, I am thinking I should get on with the shoe collection to pay for more resin, and I need to work on the computer games.

 

Toodle pip,

 

Ina

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The Gamebia Project Update 2 and Boris Johnson

I know I haven’t been posting a lot recently.  Mother has been in hospital and I am a bit stressed about a forthcoming court appearance as I continue to attempt to run a family of exceptionally stupid and vindictive people who seem intent on making people unhappy just because they can.

The furniture is significantly held back by lack of funds at the moment.  The hazard of making more expensive items is that they require more money to develop.  So far I think I have the new principle about half right, but it will take another £600 or so to finish the first few pieces and free up space for the next six, never mind finish them.

The distraction of the Gamebia Project has meant that I have not started working on the book for Boris as yet.  I have some background reading still to do, although some of the biographies are less than flattering so far.  I can see why Boris withdrew authorisation from one of them, as I find myself liking him and Stanley, in particular less and less as I read it.  Not my cup of tea at all, but then I am wildly unsuccessful at social climbing or making money, unlike them.  It apparently pays to be a cold and selfish fish.

I am selling off the detritus from the Gamebia Project as progress seems to be exceptionally slow.  I am still being updated by my former friend, although I suspect he is only bothering because he thinks he will get more stuff that way and I have lost interest entirely due to the very slow pace of development.  People often think films have to be epic slogs, but when you need to put out two a day you have to be a little bit more pragmatic.  At the rate he is working, he will never make any money from youtube, and he has not even attempted to create the project on fiverr, which on my schedule would have started paying for his rice by now.

So much for trying to help people that cannot be helped.  The subject of the project apparently only sees one word in ten that I write, and so he has no idea how the project has to be managed.  As he has now stopped pestering me online every time I am on, as he did before he got the equipment, I cannot even repeat the same information ad infinitum to put him on the correct track.

So, I think the next affordable bit of product development is going to be the range of shoes I was planning, which has an initial outlay of about a hundred pounds or so.  The Gamebia has, due to cashflow issues, left me without even that for the forseeable future, so I am understandably nervous about going ahead.

The games project and the writing then, since it costs me nothing.  I could have farmed some of the work for the game out, if my Gambian friend had paid any attention to what I was saying, but I am having to do it myself.

Getting very bored with pacing myself for normal people.  It seems piteously slow.  I guess that is how my former muse, Wolfe felt.  Nobody sees your vision like you do, and anything else seems like a distraction if you don’t pay attention to the lesson you are learning.

 

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The Gamebia doing very well

The Gamebia Everipedia Page

 

So far, this project has cost a lot of time and money, but I believe that my efforts have not gone in vain, since I have about £600 quids worth of equipment almost ready to head out to the Gambia and another £600 quidsworth awaiting my attention.  All for as little money as possible, since I do not actually have any.

 

The Gamebia facebook Page

 

At this point, the project is in profit, and has made about £100.  This is subject to change as the capital equipment gathering can be quite costly, although my salvage skills have proved extremely useful.  So basically I have saved money by learning how to fix a few brands of computer and encountering standard problems that other people do not apparently bother to learn how to fix.  You would be extremely alarmed to know how easy it is to break into your computer, for example. You might want to look at that.

 

The Gamebia google plus Page

 

Trying to explain social media to somebody who has only seen it on a mobile phone is also odd, especially as I decided fairly early on that social media was of limited use for Ina.  I have amassed a bit of knowledge along the way though, although losing the old blog was a tremendous blow as I was storing a lot of information on it.  Even if you are paying someone to manage your material, you still have to back it up because people are stupid.

 

The Gamebia linkedin Page

 

Also, trying to explain to the future owner of The Gamebia that this stuff is not actually mine, is quite interesting since I have set it up so far.  There are things I cannot do, but what I have done I have put into his name, since I will be letting go of the project once it is into a good and hopefully profitable routine.

 

In conclusion, the project is thus far going well and attracting some enthusiasm, although we cannot get started on the actual work until the first package arrives in the Gambia.  There are a few more things I can do, such as putting a cat video on the Gamebia youtube page to get the partnership sorted out, but mainly I seem to have taken up computer salvage so far.

 

Catching up with artwork for World of Interiors is high on the priority list right now – I will be in April’s edition, which will be out this month.

 

 

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New Project – The Gambia

I just opened the studio after a three week hiatus whilst I got the computer games off the ground, only to find I had left a heater on.  Not good.

Family stress is likely to be intense over the next six months as I try to preserve my mother against all odds due to the most unreliable friend I have ever had.  The fact that this ‘gentleman’ was supposed to be a pillar of the community has just made his common-as-muck behaviour far far more expensive.

Being me, I have decided to make this the springboard for yet another project.  It is a salvage operation which is designed to help generate some future income for a community in the Gambia.  Not strictly a charitable act, since if the games are successful, this will give me an enthusiastic crew of people to work on future pieces of work.

For those who don’t get it – this is how to make the most of the world the way it already is, and make it sustainable for a population across the globe to actually survive.  The ‘liberal’ sentiment that has you demanding more refugees to reduce your income apparently does not understand the concept of ‘labour specialism’ or the benefits of economic variety.

Were I to want to move to Africa, so far I would move to Morocco, which is a bit like the Europe of the 1930s in terms of economy.  Ironically, I was made more welcome there than I was in London.  As a Scot, this is not entirely surprising but it goes to show that struggling people are a whole lot more welcoming to certain people than people who believe that they have earned the right to be mean-spirited, self protective and bad mannered.

As someone who has worked hard all my life, to so far have next to nothing, with what I have left about to be taken to pay for my comparatively secure mother because of the inaction and snobbery of a lazy old man, it would seem strange to most people that I would choose to use my remaining time to benefit a community in a country I will probably never be able to afford to actually visit.  My friend found this very strange, until I pointed out to him that it is in my nature to be practical and helpful before I think about my welfare, at which point he remembered that this is indeed the case.

From an economic perspective, it is most interesting already how people can be financially oppressed by something as simple as lacking a postcode or secure mail service.  I am having to come up with ingenious ways of getting around a system in which you can send ten mobile phones in secure parcel, only to find that only three are in the parcel by the time they arrive.

As for the costings from this end, there is a subtle bidding war between parcel companies that has expressed itself via facebook and twitter.  The cost of sending my parcel is going down by the day, via adverts that look as if they have randomly appeared on my timelines.  We have even automated bidding wars.

Anyway the first two games are going well.  I have a strong concept for both, and I think Wolfe, in particular, will be delighted at what I have come up with in terms of infogaming.  It is a lot of work for one person.

 

Ina

 

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The Best Adventure Ever FTAO David Wolfe

I am getting on quite well with the game making side of things, and so I have decided to release Best Adventure Ever as a visual novel.

David is familiar with my graphic rendition of him, so he should not be too alarmed, but I need to make sure he is aware that I am planning to put his name on it, since it is unlikely that he will find an alternative method of reaching gamers.

I have just started work on the graphics, and am working on another piece of work designed to appeal to the more mature visual novel reader, who is not stuck in the anime/hentai groove and wants to try something a bit different.

One of the many fascinating things about Second Life, is how different we are from Americans.  We even imagine ourselves differently.  Americans tend to want chunky musclemen and tiny women with boobies,  Europeans and others have a wealth of alternatives to this in terms of appearance.

Several times I have found myself in a room full of people debating, from all over the world, and we all agree versus the Americans in the room. You have no idea how culturally different they are until you try discussing philosophy or culture.

Anyway, Best Adventure Ever was a very complicated story, and now it will be several complicated stories, so it will take a while, but in the meantime, here is a lovely picture of David having fun on the beach.

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The Gambia, and a general progress update

I see the deposed President of the Gambia, Jammeh has decided on a strategy for clinging to power.  As a result, many young Gambians are proposing to take to the streets to protest.

It is interesting that scenarios like this still exist.  To any hardcore strategy gamer, the plan is merely entertainment, and seems rather simple and quaint.  Jammeh has decided to promote key members of the military, denounce the impartial IEC who supervised the vote, and replace them with a corrupt, self selected version who will give him the result he wants.

As a formerly keen player of Tropico 3, I can tell you that this does not lead to long term stability.  It does lead to a more violent form of government which employs increasingly immediate means to quash dissent. I have advised my friend in the Gambia to stay well out of it and read some politics in preparation for deposing the guy, rather than rushing out and getting himself killed.

It is unfortunately unlikely that there will be any international intervention.  The Gambia has a small population of two million extremely poor people, and since Jammeh’s announcement that he now considers the Gambia to be Muslim, this makes it less likely that anyone will rush to the aid of the population, which is not a good thing if you happen to be Gambian.

What Gambians should bear in mind, is that nobody remembers a dead protester.  They remember the great educationalists, the politicians, the social actors that survived.

Jammeh, unfortunately, looks physically healthy, but his current behavior indicates that his knowledge of history is lacking to the extent that he is using techniques that are as old as the hills.  There are safer, and better ways of eradicating corrupt rule than getting killed. Look for free texts online and get them printed off or saved if you can, for reading up on historical ways of removing dictators rather than getting yourself shot.

 

Another nice snippet for this week, is that my blonde bombshell is considered to be acting out again.  He has my so far undying admiration for this.  Boris, so far, is turning out to be more interesting, more fun and far better looking than his predecessor.  Nice one, Boris. We were admiring your powerful brand earlier this evening.

The artwork is not going too badly either.  Jemima Khan is looking good, Iain Duncan Smith is on the way, and Darius Guppy is going as expected.  I am not sure how many I will release at once when they are complete.  Although it is not a taxing daily workload, the curing times mean that these pieces are very slow and space consuming, so I may yet be some time with the artwork.

The game is also progressing nicely, and I should be past graphics preparation and into writing after the weekend.  This is the first of three that I want to release at the same time, preferably alongside Best Adventure Ever and Lucifer Ogilvie, so it will be a few months yet.

As you can see, I had to restart the blog again, as wordpress had some problems updating.  I sincerely hope that this doesn’t happen again, but I will have to start backing up more often.

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Creating visual novels

Creating visual novels

First look for renpy or buy yourself a builder.  There are around five or so free builders online, but having bought one, I can tell you that this is a great option for adding bells and whistles.

 

Visual novels are particularly popular in Japan, but they are catching on everywhere as the ideas are often quirky and interesting.

 

From a user perspective, I personally find hitting enter over and over again pretty tedious, but then I cannot understand the fascination with comics and comic based art, so I am not a great example of a fan. I am more interested in it from the perspective of structure and branching storylines.

 

Do not involve an artist in your early dabblings, either you will waste weeks, or in my case months, for them to even pick your first picture and make it ‘perfect’ or you will waste the same amount of their time on ideas that you do not necessarily want in your finished product.  Far better to look for an approximate image online and use it as a stand in until your ideas gain some finesse.

 

One of the many good things I am learning from doing this, is the nature of scripting and how instructions have to be broken down to create scenes.  This is why I am doing it, so I am not quite so lost in the fog of learning to script.  I think it is a worthwhile thing to do.

 

In terms of the money you can make, there are a few kickstarter projects requesting tens of thousands of dollars for creating great artwork, and potential customers seem to be throwing money at it based upon a few visuals.  If that is your bag, this is probably the best way to raise yourself some capital before you even finish the project. Hardened visual novelists put out three or four a year to make a living, so at an estimate, each one is bringing in $300 or $400 dollars a month once their marketing gets going. Certainly beats writing, which brings in nothing at all for years and then if you are very fortunate, you might scratch a living for five more before you either hit the big time or fail.

 

I am going for a different option, which is to see what I can do without assistance, and then punting it on Steam if I create a good enough product.  Steam has two layers of prequel creation, Early access, which costs around $100 or so to put your product on there for perusal and purchase, and they have a hidden section for trialling ideas, which if you have a few graphics ready, is a good way of gauging reactions to your efforts.

 

As far as I can see from my brief bits of research, fans of the genre like great graphics more than a great storyline.  They are comic fans, after all, so far, but I have seen extended versions, such as 80 days, which are a bit more fulfilling in terms of story, and heavy on style rather than detail in terms of graphics.  I hugely enjoyed 80 days, and so I am leaning towards this stylistic method of putting out a product.

 

Thereafter, I will return to learning to script whilst doing a couple more.  In the meantime I am working hard on the furniture line with a view to getting the photography done and the products sold off to pay for more products.  Thankfully I have found a great supplier in India for my chosen weaponry in terms of originality.

 

I am effectively extending the current themes, Jazz, Beach and Sheep in wolf’s clothing, although I kind of have Boris in mind whilst I am doing it.  You will see for yourself how this pans out in terms of a visual feast towards the end of next month, barring accidents.

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Virtual Reality is coming

So, two computers are now complete.  I have taken a piece of garbage, which I kind of bought by accident along with a monitor and souped it back up to respectability for storage, and I have added some rocket fuel to my now somewhat elderly retired server. I am now awaiting two pieces of equipment to build a VR ready machine for around £300. If anyone is interested, I will post some instructions on how to get VR ready and mildly futureproofed for under £1000.

 

Why do I need a VR ready machine when I have little time to play games?  Because I plan to make some.

 

For those who question the usefulness of VR – here are the basics from wikipedia- What is VR

 

I think it is going to revolutionize education, personally, but I do not plan to leave it in the hands of dull witted educators to make a mess of it.  Learning is an adventure, not an excuse for a bunch of browbeaten and unimaginative people to access grants and hold interminable meetings.

 

How can I be so confident that I am capable of making VR games?  I spent a lot of time in Second life, and they are making a nice medium for me to work in.  You can read more about it here  Linden labs – Project Sansar

 

For this reason, I am aware that a lot of the products being launched this year are not quite as future friendly as they might appear on first glance. Looking but not touching, or using traditional gamer’s tools such as playstation controllers, for example, are things that will mean that you have to replace your expensive equipment within a couple of years

 

Playstation VR – looks very trendy but no thanks

 

Google Cardboard – a cheap way of seeing whether you like the idea of being blind and looking around a cartoon without much functionality.  The good thing about this is that it makes VR extremely cheap for smartphone users.

 

HTC Vive by far the best mainstream option as it at least enables you to wave your hands around a bit but no. I forsee a lot of peripheral footpads etc.

 

Oculus Rift I would like to be supportive but no.

 

Without some definition in terms of your real life body, VR is all floating hands and the novelty of watching things move about.  Limited in terms of long term value, but oooooooooh the potential.

 

Tesla Suit: Feel Virtual Reality With Your Body

 

Touch in VR goes in a predictable direction: VR sex suit sells out in hours

 

I can tell you that although these might be fun investments, and certainly the idea of a full body suit is far better than things that restrict you to visual or floating hand versions of VR, once Project Sansar is launched, it will be a matter of weeks before somebody posts instructions on how to make a far more comprehensive VR sex suit with a bit of old hessian webbing and a few improvised sensors they picked up on ebay.

 

Second Lifers are obsessive, they cannot be bothered with the real world, as the one you have more control of is a lot more interesting and colourful.  Rather than you spending all your money on commercial products, I would hazard a guess that if you choose instead to ensure that your computer is ready, you have a couple of monitors and you await developments from Sansar, it will take probably under a year before DIY VR becomes normality.  They are also rather keen on virtual sex, so if that is your thang, keep an eye on Sansar.

 

I have always been known as a rather uptight and foul tempered Second Lifer, so I am likely to create something more cultural, obscure and a bit surreal.  I do like things with an educational edge, although I am much more interested in alternative reality methods of presentation.  Roll on Sansar, and hurry up with the VR already.

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Gaming psychology

Well, there has been a lot of stress in rebuilding the computer room, and I am sure there will be more, but we are nearly operational again, with a bonus computer that I did not expect nestling between the two beasts (they sound like aircraft, I dread to think how much power they use)

 

As the plan is a personality driven series of games, I had a look around at game psychology.  Alter Ego is a very old text based game, but those interested can play it free.  I am shooting for something a little more delicate and fun, but I have trawled for something that goes in the same direction, and I think I might be onto a fairly original format for several different possible directions. There is no reason why it cannot be done, and yet it has not been done. Why not use your urge for entertainment and instant gratification for the purposes of self development?

 

So, I look up ‘personality driven games’ and I find the following personality tests for gamers.

 

 

The Multiplayer Psychology Profile  aka the Bartle Test 1996 – I am an anti-social achiever and explorer
The Four Player types test an alternative based on the Bartle Test – I am an innovative strategist

Then I try ‘gaming psychology’

Cognitive Benefits of playing computer games
The Psychology of Great Game Design
The Psychology of Video Game Play – low hanging fruit

This is not really hitting the mark for what I am looking for.  I did catch a fabulous BBC documentary on the psychology of gambling a year or so ago.  Did you know that gambling addicts are addicted to loss, rather than winning?  They believe that a series of losses makes a win more likely.

 

Having tried to be a gambler, and dismally failed due to my aversion to risk, despite playing a gambler’s game daily, I can say for sure that I do not have the gene for gambling addiction.  I have an unfortunate love of learning new things, and getting bored very quickly, however, which is why my life has been quite so complicated.  I am extremely useful, however, due to the ever-increasing skillset.

 

I then thought that gamification might be a useful thing to look up, and signed myself up on yet another course, only to find that it does not refer to educational gaming at all.  It is just another business buzzword for making marketing more appealing to millennials.  Sigh.

 

So, it looks as if I have a truly original idea.  So far, so good.  This should be fun. I was concerned about the lack of combat, and realised today that combat is really used as finite conversation in most games.  Only one percent of gamers are in it to kill other players, according to Bartle, the volume of killing is merely a quick easy reward system for avatar development and progress.

 

As my game will involve a lot of social interaction with NPC characters, I forsee my having to be a bit inventive with objects and progression.  I particularly dislike heavily story driven games, so I am likely to go for more of an organic, open scheme, which is going to get very complex with point allocation and reward/level progression.  To this end, I will be building a tycoon style game in the course of my self-training.

 

I think I have played sufficient relevant games to have a style in mind, and a clear idea of how the structure will work.  So now I just have to sit on my ass and learn languages and make games until I am ready to get on with it.

 

In the meantime I have an awful lot of research to do, so I am a happy, happy bunny.

 

 

 

Fact or fiction – video games are the future of education

 

Educational gaming commons

 

The educational benefits of video games

 

Gaming in education – gamification?

 

Teaching resources – educational games

 

Gamestar Mechanic

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Tantric super vegetable guru

Dear David,

Note – this is the working title.  I am absolutely not going to be making a game with this title, although I am sure it would sell very well, and if the game is played a certain way, I am sure you could manage to create a super tantric vegetable guru if you wanted to.

 

Making a game involves playing a lot of games, I have wasted a lot of time investigating what I am shooting for this week.  The idea I have in my mind is little to do with cults, but I have been looking at how cults are handled this week with a view to making the real idea work well in terms of gameplay.

 

Clockwork Empires is my favourite at the moment.  A city builder with Lovecraftian elements, it has factional warfare and potential for your own cult, but the developers are still having tremendous fun with process tree work at the moment, and it will be a while before it will be ready in terms of frictional behaviour and AI.  Lovely idea, but I do not think a city builder is right for the game I want to make.

 

Super Cult Tycoon 2 Deluxe A lovely little game which you can play free of charge, this is a simpler city builder which is extremely funny.  Basically you have to kidnap as many acolytes as possible before the FBI shut you down.

 

Evil Cult is a game for people who miss Dos.  The manual is an education in itself, however, and you can also play this one free

 

Pathologic is an old game which has been reworked in HD.  It is a little old fashioned and a bit too scripted, and even in HD, I do not think this is the look I am going for.

 

This one looks as if it will be ideal, so I will be purchasing this later in the year, although I see it retains the traditional American fear of socialism.  You aren’t all unemployed millionaires you know. People still starve to death in the richest country in the world.

 

I am bouncing around a couple of ideas at the moment, which may or may not intertwine, depending on how development goes.  The first part of the game is basically a career/management game, but since the course of becoming a guru and creating a cult run along similar dynamic lines, I think it is appropriate to look into how people handle AI, resource management and community.

 

It will not be a violent game, although it may have a mature rating, for the purposes of incorporating all these hot and horny health food fans.

 

I see from Rulers of nations, that I could actually just use David’s image after all, since he is now a public figure.  I do not think he would like this, however, although you never can tell with David.  He will freak out at the sight of a paperclip on some days, and be totally laid back on others.  Much like the rest of us, I guess.  It seems wasteful not to, on one hand, but he is never quite sure about my sense of humour, so it may be best to have an avatar and let you choose for yourself.  The plan is to make the topic variable also, with an emphasis on educational development in the course of a sweet looking game.

 

I am swithering as to whether to make a facebook style app to promote the 3d version, since the purpose of this is not strictly to make me money.

 

I think maybe do a relatively simple app first, and work on the more interesting 3d elements of the final piece of work later.  I have an awful lot of work to do.

 

In the meantime, if anyone wants to bounce an idea at me, feel free to use the comments.

 

 

 

Ina

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