The Woes of a Tired Programmer

I call myself a programmer, but there are several things about this that get to me more every day.

Before anything, though, it's really hard to type with my cat sitting on my lap trying to gnaw at my left thumb. Okay, now he's just sitting in front of the monitor chasing the moving text cursor. This will do fine.

My issue with my "programmer" status is I have zero ambition. Every day that I try to work on "my game," the same stupid bullshit repeats. I start up Flash (more on that later), and look at all the piss-poor work I've decided to save in the past, and figure I better start a new file. Then I draw some grey shapes for my nonexistant "animator" to fill in later, throw some hardly functional scripts on them make them into walls, floors, or moving entities, and quickly become bored since this is exactly what I did last time I decided to work. A bit of "testing" the half finished scripts, and eventually I decide I've accomplished nothing and exit the program without saving.

And you know what? I'm not going to complain about Flash. This is my fault.

I think the problem lies in that I find nothing more gratifying than teaching myself new techniques. I spent all of high school on my laptop thinking of complex systems that I didn't yet know how to create, then creating them, and then fine-tuning them. I get no greater joy than taking on a challenge, then ending up with something even cooler because my method of programming opened up new ideas while I was going. This probably explains why my most "complete" project I've made was a simple 2d hack-and-slash, but 75% of the time working on it was spent creating a death system that generated a level of "hell" with random properties where surviving allowed the player to continue, but failure meant a true game over. That was REALLY fun.

Also AI. AI is SUPER fun to program. On a character, that is.

So back to the actual problem: I can't get back to that point where I'm not just coding, but creating anymore. So I want to make a game? Great. That'll be hours of bullshit programming I've done a thousand times before I get to the fun, creative part. Programming a character to move, duck, jump, attack, etc. and play all the animations to match was a blast when I was figuring it out as I went. It's so tedious yet time-consuming now, though, that it's the main thing keeping me from starting anything. I don't want to do that part again.

I truly think I'd be able to have a lot of fun programming again (even the character part) if I had an animator or a music writer, or ANYONE to drive the project forward with me, but I'm terrified of making a commitment and letting my partner down. THIS is the part that's not helped by Flash. My brother and I have several game ideas, and he can animate, but not with Flash.

Hm...this is getting to be a wall of text coming out of my ass here. Leave a comment, if you will, and I'd love to speak with some purpose.


Dark Souls 2? But it's the third one, right?

I'm as big a fan of Souls as anyone you'll find, so you better believe that after seeing the new Dark Souls 2 trailer, I hopped on this blog post before I even cleaned the shit out of my pants. I'm a little confused, though.

I'm not confused as to why they named it Dark Souls 2, I'm just confused as far as whether I like that name.

I'm assuming it's called Dark Souls 2 because it's based off the lore surrounding Lordran as opposed to Boletaria or some new place. I think ideally, I would have liked to see yet another entirely new area with a name like Dead Souls or something, though it is exciting to think how they'll expand upon Dark Souls' story. Not because the ends were tied up or anything, oh heavens, no, but rather the opposite: they have every direction to go.

Gameplaywise, it's promising, too. Will we see more enhanced versions of game mechanics and subplots that already exist like the covenants?

Once again, I can't wait to die. Many. More. Times.


Bioshock: Angry Guy With a Gun

So we've all seen the Bioshock Infinite cover. I don't have to waste time with why some people think it's bad and some people think they shouldn't care.

What gets me, though, is their thorough explanation on why they went that route. Sales? Sure, but it's more than that. Ken Levine doesn't just say it's for the sales; he goes into how deeply he believes that it's all about the sales. What concerns me more is how he says a more artful cover would make the "fratboys" think the game isn't all about shooting things as though the game is all about shooting things.

I don't want to sound ranty or preachy or elitist, and the more I type, the more it will sound that way. I've deleted about eight paragraphs now that ended up sounding pompous, so let me just say this:

It isn't all bad. They're aggressively marketing toward an audience other than who's already sold. This is going to help them short-term, and hell, it will even open the doors for a few fratboys on just how cognitive a gaming experience can be.

I guess I just feel that on behalf of those of us whom were already sold on the game based on all its apparent brilliance thus far, and those of us who wanted a box on our shelf to represent that brilliance, we're being taken for granted, and I'm surprised so many of us are taking it so well.


Diablo 3's Inferno Mode Is Brilliantly Unfair

Perhaps I've spent too much time reading around the Diablo 3 forums (although "too much" is very little time there), but it seems the game's biggest fans are the people whining and bitching about it most. Diablo seems to have the same thing going against it that WoW does; people don't play it, stop feeling satisfied, and look back on a good gaming experience. They play and play and play until they hate it.

I'm writing out of my ass here, so this may seem a bit unfocused, but my big issue is not the whiny, under-appreciative community, but rather the issues they're whining about. 98% of posts and conversations I've had with burnt out, ranting ex-players complain about Inferno mode being unfairly difficult.

You've already beaten the game three times with just that character. Isn't it about time the game got its revenge?

I think the difficulty wall of hitting Inferno mode (more-so act 2 than 1) is brilliant. It encourages the players to rethink not only how they're playing that specific character, but the whole game. It's an unfairly difficult goal to achieve so you have something huge to strive for. On the other hand, if you don't enjoy this type of tough love, Inferno mode should be pushing you to try expanding what the game is about. Try out a new class! You still have three difficulties of fun with four more unique classes! Try Hardcore mode where the game is still easy, but far more intense with what's on the line! Go achievement hunting. There's some really fun ones (and some frustrating ones). If you have any buddies that haven't played yet, get them into it and play some non-public co-op. If it's Act 2 you're stuck on, play Act 1 again!

My point here is that people complaining about Inferno act like it's the only thing to do in the game. I think their frustration should be encouraging them to try a different aspect of what the game has to offer.