Unsure?

Have you just been so unsure of what to do that you doubt everything? In regards to my decision to move to Florida, I had come to the conclusion I would go. However, I’m closer than ever to get things straightened out for me. I haven’t been this close, well I’ve never been this close. If I leave now, it almost feels like I’m running away. I do need a break. I think I’ve earned one. I’m not sure what my family will do, but they’ll survive. If one person could give me some kind of reason not to go, I’d probably take it. I don’t see that happening. I already paid the deposit. Now I’m just waiting until the moment, but what if I miss something here? Is this it? There is more to life, but where is it? Well if you have never been unsure, I am doubting enough for everybody.

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Viva La Resistance: The Fall

As we gathered around the table, I could not help but feel a surge of excitement and anxiety. I was anxious to get the game started, but having never played, I was feeling the nerves hit. I was in a state of doubt, as the thought started, “Maybe I can’t fool them.”

The game was called Resistance. A small group of my friends were gathering at Cari’s apartment to play it for the first time. The objective is simple but the game is very involved. The goal is to successfully complete five missions for said Resistance. However, there are spies among us. The spies, whom have a secret identity, are there to sabotage each mission. For the spies, they must keep themselves composed so that they can pull the proverbial wool over the eyes of the rest.

In our small group of five players, I was anxious to see if I could successfully infiltrate the others. I wanted to play as a spy, and as I glanced at my identity card, I could not help but feel a sense of glee as I saw the red background. I was one of the spies. I had to struggle to keep it from showing, for my excitement would have been a dead giveaway.

Once we had our identities, all players had to close their eyes, so that the spies could reveal themselves to each other. In a game of five, there are two spies. It was reassuring when I opened my eyes and saw Ben looking back at me. We were the spies. The downfall to this revelation was that Cari and Ben were a couple. So could he lie to her? Could he keep it together? I found out the answer to this rather quickly. As the game got underway, Cari and the others figured out that Ben indeed was a spy. I jumped on this as soon as I could, using his treachery and betrayal to my advantage. This allowed me to get inside the Resistance and push forward with my own plan of sabotage.

Keeping my emotions in check as accusations flew across the table, and throwing in my own as I saw fit. It was clear that a majority of the team believed I was indeed loyal to the cause. Little did they know that all along I was plotting against their success. “My loyalty lies with the government,” I could hear this thought in my head every time I lied to them. “These Resistant scum make me sick.”

As missions progressed, and it was becoming clear that the Resistance was going to fall, tensions rose. Shouts frequently spurted out back and forth. Nobody had yet discovered my identity. I had stayed poised and prepared to make my final play. The government that they were fighting would soon welcome me back as a hero. I would forever be known as the man who single handedly brought down the Resistance. Making my moves so that nobody could suspect my true intentions. I was ready to strike. I was prepared to make this next mission the final one. Biding my time for what seemed like forever, I had spent so much time away from home. This though is indeed the life of a spy.

I was very intrigued by the role-play that this game allows for. Taking things to the next level, and truly feeling like I was in the moment. The tension the drama, it all came together in the end. As we prepared for the mission, and everybody voted to approve it. I knew as the tally came in that this was the culmination of all my hard work. Nobody, after all of this time, had any suspicions of me. Throwing Ben under the bus, proved to be a valiant strategy. The mission started, and we placed our cards on the table. One vote for success was revealed, then another. My card had yet to be revealed. As I turned over the fail card, the room filled with gasps. Truly they had no idea; I was calm and collected the whole time. A true testament to what our government can accomplish, I had never been more proud of a victory in a card game.

It was the emotional impact of this game that caught my attention. The social elements of a seamlessly perfect design that piqued my curiosity, this was a simple but deep card game. Game design comes in many forms, for days and weeks after we played this, I contemplated how one could design something simple but yet as complex as this. What was the process like as they sat down with the base idea? Even today, I wonder if it is possible to perfect this experience. Was there anything missing? Could we add anything to make it better? Could this type of game be converted to say a video game? I find myself on the path I am on now, in hopes to answer these questions. My dream is to one day be able to bring these social elements and emotions together to create amazing and memorable experiences, for those that play my games.

My Journey has just begun. It will require much dedication and hard work. There are those moments of self-doubt, “Can I truly achieve my goals?” In some way playing the game of Resistance, paralleled my own life’s ambitions. No, I am not here to sabotage anybody else’s goals, but the tension and drama of overcoming my doubts were all present. In the end, will I be perceived as the hero or the villain?  Many choices lie ahead, as I seek to continue this journey of discovery.

(If you haven’t, check out Resistance the Game.)

 

Prepared to be Forgotten

How is it that some bands/musical artists, just seem to understand whatever we go through? I mean it is different for everybody I’m sure. What I mean is that certain bands I’ve always loved, no matter what album I’m listening too, the songs seem to fit my every situation. I didn’t write the words, but it is as if I’m screaming them at the top of my lungs whenever the new songs are released.

Just feeling random after my nap. At what point does a nap become more? I laid down for a nap and then slept for 4+ hours. There are nights where I don’t get that much sleep, so is that still a nap or do naps just last a couple of hours? 2 hours and 59 minutes, once you exceed this you are no longer in nap status. I don’t really know, maybe they’re just long naps, short naps and then regular ones.

As always, I’ve been listening to a mix of musical styles. Lately, I have spent a lot of time playing Grand Theft Auto 5, and as a result find myself enjoying the soundtrack very much. On top of that, one song from My Chemical Romance has been played to death on my phone. Still I enjoy the lyrics, and “Famous Last Words,” may go down as one of my favorite songs period! However, not one of my usual bands. I do tend to enjoy one of their songs every now and again.

Trapt is one of those bands that just seems to understand me. From “Headstrong,” “Disconnected,” to “Stand Up” and “Contagious,” so many songs I absolutely feel connected too. I haven’t listened to their newest album as much as usual, but it is playing right now. I have already discovered so many more songs that are great.

I’m moving on, going forward, progressing and leveling up. I don’t really know what to yet, but I am stepping up and stepping out. No longer living in the shadows that I find so comfortable. Speaking up and speaking out, making my feelings known and standing my ground. A philosophical change that is so essential for me to live the life I so desire. Mentally I’m stronger than I have ever been, life’s many twists and tragedies have best prepared me for whatever lies ahead. Stronger today than yesterday, however more cautious. Prepared to be forgotten, nevermore.

Prepared to be forgotten? Interesting words, as the thought of accomplishing nothing with my life has always been a big fear. For so many years, I have thought that one question over and over, “What have I done?” You know I don’t remember when that question faded away, but it no longer runs my life. I know I’m going to do something, and frankly I don’t give a damn what anybody else thinks. Maybe it’s love that I can’t seem to find or success in my career, but nothing will stop me from achieving the goals I set for myself.

When did I get so old? “I love that Ninja Turtle piggy bank that I saw at Wal-Mart today.” Oh wait, I ain’t that old. Just going to say it, I’m not 30 yet. However, I have never been closer. The Big THREE ZERO is just right around the corner. I had a list of things I wanted to do before I hit 30, but I am going to have to extend the timeframe a little. Hopefully, by the time I’m 35 I can check much of it off. Renewing my focus, it is time to make it happen.

Should I stay or should I go? Still tossing up the notion of moving to Orlando. Doubts of what my family will do have crept in. can I leave home, when dad isn’t working? Will I be able focus on my day to day, without worry if they can survive? I have spent so many years, and have pulled them through so many times, but every time I have left, I have had to come back and fix it. Again, and again. My sister says it’s time I move on, but she doesn’t want me to go that far away. I don’t seem to have anything holding me here but my parents. I have some family members that think me going would be a great thing. I tend to agree with them, but do I lose everything if I leave? Can I make it? Don’t doubts suck…geez.

There is one way, and that is to pray. I was raised in church, but I find myself further and further from that everyday. Most of the time, I don’t feel I have the right to pray. I wasn’t taught that, but I don’t live that way. Why would God answer my prayers, when I know I fail HIm everyday? God bless you all. I can make this work and I know He hasn’t forsaken me.

One thing that I must admit is holding me back, is my friendships. I have a great number of friends that I do not want to lose. Some I work with, and others that live within a vicinity to my own dwelling. Moving away, I know it is so hard to stay in touch, but so easy with modern technology. However, I am having a hard time convincing myself that we can stay in touch. I play Xbox Live with most of my friends, and whether I’m in Orlando or La Follette, that won’t be any different. Still would it be the same beating them at golf in GTAV, when I can’t rub it in in person the next day? Who would come visit me? Does Mickey Mouse really care?

If you’re interested and in college check out the Disney College Program. They are accepting applications until November for the spring term. I was accepted for the Spring Advantage, which lasts from January until August. If I do go, I won’t be back until around my 30th birthday. I wonder what has changed at Disney since 2005. I worked there before, and I loved it. That is the crazy part, when i was 20 this choice was so easy to make. Nine years later, and I just can’t bring myself to do it, but I do want too. Florida is such a nicer place than Tennessee in the winter, and I can still wear my Big Orange colors while I’m there. I have until Thursday to decide. Leaning toward going, but we shall see what changes by then.

Looking for that first time feeling for the last time. To be honest, I’m on a search for that special someone. Am I going to find her here or there? If she’s here, then leaving I would miss her. However, if she’s there, then staying I would never find her. Then again, who’s to say that leaving or staying has anything to do with it. Maybe I’ve met her already? I don’t know. She probably doesn’t know, but nothing has to be so final. I mean if it’s fate/destiny then it will happen when it happens. I just want somebody to share those special moments with. No luck in relationships, so for now friendships are the best. With the changes coming, getting too attached would probably be a bad idea, but I kind of like the idea. Then this really shouldn’t matter, but it does, or does it? I don’t remember.

I can take a hint. Nothing can hold me back, I just feel I should do things differently. Holding myself back and staying silent has only gotten me so far. The future is bright and I’m still young, but with tragedy I’ve realized I don’t want to waste my time anymore. So I hope to never offend anybody, but I will speak my mind when it comes to feelings I have kept inside for so long. I can’t bring myself to hold things in anymore. Living my life in honor of my big brother, I’ll never forget you bro. I’ll post again once I make my final decision for Disney. I may post again before that, we shall see. Until then…don’t forget me, then again I’m prepared if you do.

Game Design: Humble Beginnings

I do plan to record my journey here on this blog. The main focus for me right now is school. I recently enrolled in a Game Design program at Full Sail Online. After reading many great reviews about the school, I felt it was the right place for me to gain the knowledge and experience I so desire. I have now been a student there for 3 months. Lately, I have suffered from a lack of motivation, but that is all changing now. I will make something more of myself. I am reaching for the sta…start button. Just thought I’d add a little gamer humor. 

I have to admit that I am not where I wanted to be at the age of 29. Living with my parents, currently as the sole provider. Dad started working about a month ago for the first time in a couple of years. It has been tough since my brother passed away. Anyway, I am still seeking after my dreams. There is no giving up now.

I did get accepted into the Disney World College Program. Which is a great opportunity to get my foot in the door of one of the largest entertainment companies in the world. However, I am not sure if I should take the chance now. Everything was going well, dad was working, and I was able to save some money. So I applied for the program and did my best to get in. I didn’t think anything would stop me, but this week they told dad to stay home. He was hired through a temp service, and they spoke as if they had another job lined up for him. That has been 3 days ago now. I’ve got until the 24th of October to decide about the Disney program. I really want to go, but I would feel better if dad was working. 

Mom has been sick for a while now, but i believe she’s been better the last couple of days. I couldn’t leave if anything happened to her, but I do feel I need a break from this way of life. I’m not complaining by no means, it’s just ironic. I’ll probably go. I need to go. I mean it could be the start of an amazing career opportunity. I could start out working in the parks, and then who knows, the cruise line or the adventure tour guide. Disney World is a great place to network with all sorts of people. The Happiest Place on Earth, would probably make me a little happier. Then maybe I could find my princess. 

As it turns out, my princess isn’t in another castle. Well maybe she is, but I have this idea for a potential game. You know, well if you are a guy, you should know how difficult it can be to build up the nerve to ask a girl out. So I was thinking of a platformer game where you do all of this stuff, I don’t know what the stuff is yet, but it is all done to impress this girl at the end. Once you get to her, she rejects you. I mean it is most guys biggest fear. The Rejector Simulator. You wouldn’t be told that she was in another castle, but indeed you’d be verbally abused by that very girl. Ah, it’s a stupid idea, but I think there is something there. At the end of each level, you can determine if you give up or keep going. Maybe on the next level, you can win her over? Then again, is she worth it? I must say, I believe she is. 

My other idea involves a mechanic derived from the first Mass Effect game. In it you could adjust the type of ammo you used in all of your weapons. From fire type, to ice, to warp ammo and armor piercing. This was one of my most favorite features of that game series, and sadly it was removed after the first game. You could use different types of ammo with certain characters as a special ability, but this just wasn’t the same. I have an idea for maybe a top down shooter that uses a similar mechanic. Just allowing you to completely customize your ammo. You can essentially make whatever type of ammo you want. Of course, I have not the technical know how to make this happen yet. These are just idea. On the competitive side of this game, you could add your own personal signature to your ammo. This would allow a way to taunt your victims. “You were killed by A Boy Named Sue.” Well, That Aint Me.

Ah but in any case, can’t sleep tonight. I probably could if I would lay down and shut my eyes. I found a great article on Gamasutra about how learning programming is essential for any one interested in Game Design. I really enjoyed the article. It gives me something else to focus on. I am a couple of years out from any programming courses, but I so want to learn. Now is a great time to visit Lynda.com, and use my free time to learn code. I have of course studied the basics, and even created a couple of text based adventures. I love playing the classic Zork games, but they do get challenging. I think that I may start off developing text adventures. I could share them on here. Another interesting idea. 

I need to learn more about Xcode. I got a new MacBook Pro when I started school, and it is amazing. The Mac OS, is so much more streamlined than Windows. However, I for one am a fan of Windows 8. I believe it was time for a change, and Microsoft embraced it. 

For anybody else interested in game design, check out the Unity Engine. This engine can be a great place to start developing your own games. Great for prototyping as well. There are many other sites out there that will help you discover the game designer in you. One day, I hope to design a great game and get it on the market. In the meantime, I’ll keep blogging about my journey. 

Another random freewrite.

Things seem to be looking up. I’ve not had a setback in weeks. Been able to write and seem to be getting ahead. I started a new plan. I call it one thousand words a day. This has changed everything. No matter what I set down and I write until there are at least one thousand words, one thousand new words. I can’t spend each day writing the same words. One thousand words a day has definitely changed my way. It has changed my life, my way of dealing with everything that comes. No matter what it’s right here on this page or that one.

                I’m not necessarily keeping a journal. I mean I want to elaborate on my daily events. Maybe this is a journal. Anyway it all starts with one thousand words.

Today seems different. I know it’s nothing but just feel like the winds are changing. It’s time I stride for myself. I’ve been reading on writing and craft. I’ve studied and I’ve researched, and I’ve literally tortured my mind with doubts. Can I do this? Can I write? I don’t have the skill of Stephen King or the word play of John Gardener. I wasn’t born with some innate ability to write, or to form plots. Am I creative enough?

                These are just doubts. All tied to the “Great Lie,” as James Scott Bell put it. I have to agree with what he said. Today I declare my independence as a writer. Today I start the journey. I’ve read, I’ve listened and I’ve studied. Never fully accepting that I’m good enough, or that I’m worthy; today that changes. Today I start writing and disciplining myself. Today I declare my freedom, and today I die.

How harsh is that. I finally get everything going my way. As I was walking down the street to work, with all the hustle and bustle as usual on a Saturday at lunch time, I was knocked out in to traffic. I’m not sure what happened. I was there just walking the sidewalk, and the next thing I know is this bus is coming right at me. I had no time to react. I had no time.

        “What the hell is going on?” I shout apoplectically at the darkness. “Where am I?”

 No responses. Nothing happens and this feeling of drudge comes over me. I’ve not been good enough to make it to Heaven, and I was raised to know the difference. I know what’s coming and it’s not going to be pleasant. Is God really this cruel? The day I resolve to change my life for the better is the very day I die.

 This is not poetic. Most definitely ironic, and why am I trapped in my thoughts. I can hear myself speak but nobody else can. I am aware for myself but nothing else. It’s not just dark to where I can’t see, it’s as if I’m floating in nothingness. Alone with my thoughts, in some ways this could be great for a writer. No one to bother me, and I could just write all the time, but who’s going to read it? There is nobody here. It’ll be very hard to get published. Hell I don’t have a pen or paper. This isn’t a writer’s retreat, more like a writer’s Hell. If it stays like this I could think of some amazing plots and characters, and have no way to write them down.

 This is no doubt Writer’s Hell. Imagine a void of nothingness surrounding you. You’re left with your own thoughts and that’s not a bad thing, but no way to jot them down. It’s so empty and silent; I can’t even hear my own heartbeat. Wait do I have a heartbeat?

 More calmly I ask, “What is going on?” Expecting no response, I try to move but then the room changes. Well room isn’t necessarily the right word. Wherever I am at or am not, goes from pitch black to bright white. Still unable to see or sense anything, it’s not a blinding light. This feels better than it was before.

  Now, I can see myself. I look down and see my hands. In my right hand a pen and my left hand is empty but flat on a desk. I realize that I am sitting down. The desk looks like an old school desk made of wood. It’s perfect to set down and write to my heart’s content.

  I am not sure what I’m supposed to do. Is this a sign that my resolve was in the right direction. Was I born to write? It doesn’t make any sense. I know we aren’t promised the next breath or well I wasn’t, but I thought I had more time. So much in life I want to do, I mean wanted to do. Gosh, accepting death is not easy.

                “Is there anybody else here?” I say with all that I can muster.

                “We are trying to decide what to do here, “I hear an unsure voice loud and clear. “Something has gone wrong, and we need to fix a mistake.”

                “What went wrong?”

                “Just give us a little time.”

                “None of this makes sense to me.”

                I hear some chatter. It almost sounds like a jury trying to determine the verdict on a huge case. So am I entitled to a trial by peers in this scenario? Did I do some damage to that bus that ran over me? I don’t think they could punish me for that. How the hell did I get in front of it? Sorry for thinking hell, God.

                I must be patient. God I know you don’t make mistakes. I do have one question though, do your angels? Look if I’m where I think I am, you can’t hear me anyway, but if you can…please help and I promise I’ll make things different.

                “Did you really have to tell him?” agitatedly I hear someone ask.

                “Tell who,” nervously I say, “are you talking to me?”

                “Yes you,” the voice says sharply.

                “I really don’t know what’s going on.” 

A free write session from about a year ago.

Maybe I’m the one who is the schizophrenic psycho, as stated in the Puddle of Mudd song.

What I know is I have chosen to write. Key to writing success is creating strong, dimensional characters. One has to be open to the voices in his head. You know the old saying, “I hear voices.” Well I welcome the voices. Maybe I’m the one? Sometimes being a writer is way more than I bargained for…

Unfortunately, I’m a writer by night. Maybe not necessarily by night, it’s more like whenever I get the chance to focus on craft. My “day job” is a run of the meal retail job. What I would give for the chance at some sort of routine. Work this day and age, you’re lucky to have it, but all I’m asking for is a set schedule. I really don’t mind my job, just wish it was more routine(I’d love to have a 9-5).

They say the hardest thing for a writer is showing up. I can agree from my experience. I decided to start really putting time into writing about a month ago. I have spent some time studying and trying to learn little tricks and nuances; however I’ve barely spent any time actually writing. Everything that I’ve read states the best way to learn to write is to write, write and write some more, when you get tired of that, write more. It seems simple enough.

Ok, so I’m not writing for my own amusement. I want to create something bigger, better than myself. I want to be a part of something, something more than I am now. What I do know is that my current conditions will have to change.

Who am I? Why bother reading my story? These are definitely good questions to ask. Let’s say I discover some ancient artifact that lets me time travel. I can go back in time and possibly change the outcome of some catastrophic event, or create one. Let’s say I’m an alien from some other planet sent here to protect the human race…or dolphins. Let’s say that I’m just this awesome guy you can’t get enough of…unfortunately none of this is true. Who I am is simple an everyday man living day by day to get paid. Look I’ve got bills, and since nobody else in the family works right now I’m kind of stuck. So my plan is work my menial job for my lousy paycheck, and write at night. Along with studying and research until I get some idea that’s going to take the world by storm. Maybe dwarves will beat you in the head with it. In my world, in my writing anything can happen. You might want to stick around.

So I’ve been reading in this book. It states that plot is more or less a disruption of routine. Well my whole life seems to be a big plot, but here is the kicker. I want to write. I try to set down at night (or anytime I get free) in front of my computer. I like typing better, because I have a wretched handwriting. (I do take notes in a notebook). Anyway, I set down to create something; I let my creative juices flow. What happens at this moment, my parents have to start arguing. Yes, I’m almost 30 living at home. Earlier I told you that nobody else works, so I pay the bills. It’s not the life I would’ve chosen. Back to my point, while I want to set down and do something good, possibly a way out of this mess, I can’t get one moment of peace. Sometimes, honestly, just hearing them talk drives me crazy.

                        “Just kick him one time in the face!”

                        Nails yells excitedly, for no matter how loud they speak they will not wake their lucky client.

                        “How come this doesn’t wake them?” Larry asks quizzically.

                        Questions like this only seem to spark the curiosity of the first timers. You see in the business of “Rough Nights,” business is good and everybody loves their job. The love for the job probably has to do with the smallest of envies. Dwarves always want to be taller, and humans well are.

                        “Did you hide the keys?” Scar asked turning to Crow.

                        “I found the best place; they never think to look in the freezer.” Crow retorts with a smile.