Welcome to the slightly late March newsletter (sign up if you want to read it):

But as there are infinite floors in the museum you can keep on deleting forever, falling from one floor to another, again and again, haunted by the same, repeating artworks. You can try throwing yourself out a window but there’s nothing out there to escape to but the infinite white.

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12 thoughts on “Discussion: What Sticks

  1. You know, if you rolled a good saving throw, someone could have considered it intentional. Repurposing old assets to compose the newsletter, mimicking the fact that the games had shared assets…

    On WFH:
    Longer hours? Check. Background stress radiation? Check. Both are pretty common round here.
    Do you also get Working on weekends and Unreasonable deadlines? Although the latter is not a WFH exclusive: what you said about MiFID II had Unreasonable deadline written all over it.

    But I like the benefits of WFH. Want to subdivide what has to be done today in smaller chunks and do something else in between? Should be possible. Want to take a break? Hey, you could prepare a cake for your next break!

  2. “I’ve also found I’m working longer hours and the background stress radiation has increased simply because I want to look like I’m getting stuff done even though I’m at home.”

    Oh, hello. This sounds familiar.

    I’ve been playing Stellaris during my lunch breaks, which was a *terrible* idea. Stellaris colonised my lunchtime, and then rolled directly into my early-, mid- and late evenings, and then after the point I should have gone to bed.

    Games that engross you like that feel a bad fit for this new WFH era. Perhaps I should dabble in more art games myself. I have, at least, completed the Stellaris campaign I started, and am now free.

  3. I don’t have anything smart to say about this whole thing (Data Mutations has been sitting in my inbox for ages as well), I just wanted to pop in and say I have some Strangethink stuff stashed away if anyone’s interested. Because fuck respecting the wishes of the author.

    And because I am a digital hoarder (please don’t say that to my face though).

  4. Figuring indie game experiments as slush piles – I can’t tell if that’s a brutal or a beautiful perspective. Good on you for pulling on the waders.

    I’m genuinely sorry to hear the homing from work lifestyle hasn’t been a liberation. I don’t have a from-homeable job so my life and routine hasn’t been much affected. I was envious of the multi-month ‘working holiday’ my friends had inherited; I might be a little less so now.

  5. I’ve been WFH for about 2 years. The thing that helped me get my head round it was setting a 9am-5pm work schedule. The rules for that are:

    1) I DON’T have to work 9-5 every day religiously, but it’s my general goal
    2) I MUST NOT work outside those hours, unless a) something really urgent comes up or b) I consciously decide to have a longer break in the middle of the day, then I work a bit late to make up for it.
    3) To start my day (and when I come back from lunch) I sign into a timesheet, light a candle, draw a tarot card and think about it for a bit, burn a sigil and listen to the same piece of music. It sounds VERY weird, but all these things shift my brain-gears into work mode surprisingly effectively.

    Of course, these rules work for me because I am my own boss. If I had someone else breathing down my neck this system wouldn’t really work, and I’m sorry for anyone who has to deal with the double problem of “I have to rearrange my mental furniture because WFH is new to me” as well as “I have a boss who may not appreciate what a confusing low-key shift that is”.

    @Shaun: I actually don’t tend to play Stellaris-type games much. I’ll boot them up occasionally, but I think because my brain wants some Stellaris juice right then and there. I’ll drop it a day later. I think most games I play these days are to give my brain some kind of soothing sensation rather than because I explicitly want to.

    Hm. That sounds sad.

  6. Well yesterday was a complete write-off. I was still working until 8pm with just a short break for dinner in the evening. After a big day of heavy mental liftng, I don’t think I enjoy that sensation of your mind having lost its bearings. You’re still present but somehow not? I remember that from when I used to pull the long days back in Japan but with the added bonus that I had a young body that could take it. Now, I ded

    Fede- I am fortunate in my current job to not get too much working on weekends. I’m 100% free from work today or tomorrow! I do get unreasonable deadlines but I’m lucky I have the option to say “hey if you want me to do A, then I can’t do B” and usually allowed to fail other deadlines in pursuit of the Chosen One. However, I have had a weird “serving two masters” situation for 9 months or so which has negated this trick card and work life has been a lot more stressful. I’m not sure exactly how long I can continue with this schizoid work existence. Oh and MiFID II is the beautiful gift that keeps on giving 🙂

    Shaun- I was kind to myself and acutally played a little bit of Puddle Knights during one lunch time this week once the newsletter was in the bag. Puzzle games are sometimes a great fit for snack play. It is a lovely WFH joy that I could play some games as a lunchbreak. My conscience would prefer to do some writing with that time but, hey, you can’t have everything conscience. I haven’t played a 4X game for a long time but I love the idea of it…

    Ketchua- I guess the author is truly dead and You Have Killed Him. I have a big cache of unplayed games that I downloaded over the last decade or so. I’ll never find them again. They live in a giant folder called Games Open. There are things in there. Things I should play.

    CA- I started out with the idea of saying “you know, I’ve had enough a time-wastng bullshit art games” (as opposed to art games I can engage with) but by the end of it I realised I wasn’t sure I wanted to say that at all. The amount of wonderous stuff I would miss if I cut out everything “just in case” doesn’t bear thinking about. Commiserations for not being able to work from home. I’m sure some people are getting a form of working holiday and I am also envious of those people.

    James- I was going to maintain “getting into work clothes” for the duration because sometimes that helps to impose that sort of mental switch, but I’ve found I haven’t needed it. Practically the whole team are working from home including bosses and my main project was always run remotely anyway (we’ve been Zooming for a long time). Saying that, you do wonder if that means blurring of work/home is happening too easily but for some in favour of work. Time to put that shirt on!

  7. @James: your pre-work rituals are interesting. It certainly sounds effective in mentally demarcating a strict line between work and not-work. Do you do anything similar at the end of your working shifts?

    @Joel: I enjoy 4x, god, strategy & city-builder games quite a lot, but they are time vampires for sure. I sometimes tell myself I don’t play MMOs any more because they are time vampires, but (1) it’s not true that I don’t play them (I’m eliding experienced reality through a category error rooted in a ~2005 definition of an MMORPG), and (2) a few titles from the broad church of PC strategy games have easily eaten more of *my* time than all the MMORPGs I ever dabbled in.

    Puzzle games sound nice, but it’s a long time since I really got into one. I, er, do not share your fascination with sokoban-likes! But the bitesize nature of individual levels or puzzles does sound like something I *want*.

  8. I’m not sure I’m even that much a fan of the Sokoban-like – I still retain a deep-seated prejudice against the pushing blocks – but I keep coming across interesting ones! Given a choice between The House of DaVinci and Snaliens, it’s Snaliens all the way.

  9. @ShaunCG: Sorry I never got back to you, turns out running a Kickstarter is time consuming!

    Thank you, it seems to work pretty well! I had to experiment a bit before I settled on this but I’m happy with it.

    I didn’t originally do anything to “log out”, but I found I was jittery and needed some time to “come down”. At first I tried playing videogames but that just stimulated me more. I’d like to avoid lighting another candle at the end of the day (3 a day seems an excessive number of matches!), so for now I’m experimenting with journaling how I think my day went. Since I’m also anxious about whether I’ll be able to do this gamedev thing long term or not, I also answer 3 prompts about whether I honored my intentions for the day, as well as trying to frame the day I had in the context of my whole life. It seems to be working pretty well. I also sometimes do a reading from the I Ching at weekends: it can help reframe and give me a wider perspective.

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