Back from Berlin, more bloggage next week

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Just back from a compressed trip to Berlin for a new project, looking very good! I hope I will be “forced”/allowed to go to Berlin once a month for the next months. I love the city, so yea!
Otherwise, I need to get back into my new-found work routines, that little trip messed it up a bit. So, the next 3 weeks will be work, album recording, blog, and preparation for my band’s tour at the end of the month.

just played: Sims 4
just watched: Total Biscuit Content Patch #203
just read: Still Monte Christo, almost done …

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Podcasts and Vodcasts

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So, what are you listening to, podcast/vodcast-wise?

Because of my job and interests, I mostly listen to people ranting about the games industry. I like the podcast format, because it is great to listen to on the side (while sorting stuff/cleaning up/answering mails etc) or during walks/train rides. And if you manage to warm up to one, it’s hours and hours of free entertainment featuring somebody you find funny!

That being said, I tried so many more, and failed to like them. Good ones are hard to find. But these are the ones I currently recommend:

Podcasts at the moment:

Cagcast
Current issue:
436
Good for: Console Game news.
Three gamer dads talk about console game news. Cheapy D’s day job is a video game website about getting video games cheaply, which is a very interesting perspective! Wombat is more of a classic family dad gamer. Shipwreck is the collector & excel sheet jockey archetype, plays a lot of games. The 3 manage to cook up an entertaining show every Friday.

Co-optional Podcast (also a Vodcast)
Current issue: 107
Good for: PC game news. Sarcastic British commentary.
Total Biscuit leads this 3 hosts + 1 guest format. I love his british sarcasm. Jesse Cox is a freaky wild American, it took me some time to warm up to his crazyness, now I love it. Dodger is as lovely, loud and charming a gamer girl as I could imagine.

 

Vodcast:

Jim Sterling
Sub-channels:
The Jimquisition (68), Squirty Plays (495) …
Good for:
Entertaining crazyiness
I talked about Jim Sterling earlier in connection to his Patreon. This crazy dude with his unique personality will bring you both great insight into the industry and the weirdest jokes. Mostly, he checks out small crappy games and greenlight trailers, but also tackles the current topics in his own way. I know him from his old show with …

Yahtzee’s Youtube Channel (Yahtzee19)
Sub-channels: Let’s Drown Out (64), Ego Review (24) …
Good for: Sarcastic British humour.
Yahtzee Croshaw (of Zero Punctuation fame) has a youtube channel, in which he and co-host Gabriel drown out games or talk about his own game releases. I lost interest in his endless “Let’s Drown out Dark Souls 2”, but otherwise, enjoyable says fanboy.

Classic Podcasts:

Australian Gamer Podcast
Current issue: Sizzled out. About 215 issues.
Good for: Australian game scene & a historic period of console gaming (roughly the Wii/360/PS3 era 2006-2011).
Talking of Yahtzee, his regular guest appearances on this show made me discover it. Matt is one funny witty nerd. Yug is sometimes drunk and sometimes an idiot (today, mostly Pax Australia). πŸ˜‰ They had a really good podcast, which I loved until it faded away. Towards the end, Yug had had the idea of the Mana Bar in Brisbane, and it was a huge success. Next, he moved to Melbourne to open another Mana Bar, and that was sort of the end of the thing. I backed most of them up, but not all. Collector’s item!

Russel Brand (BBC2/BBC6)
Current issue:Β 
Brought down by a massive scandal. About a total of 125 show.
Good for:
witty craziness
Not games related, but awesome. Russel Brand is the wittiest man I have ever experienced. Crazy, womanizing, well-spoken, improvising whole rhyming songs…Β  He feeds the rockstar side of me… The whole run of shows has ups and downs, it’s certainly not for everyone, but I can wholeheartedly recommend to grab them. Luckily, somebody uploaded all episodes.

Honorable mention:

BlaΒ²
Current issue: Died at 39.
Good for: Hmm.
That was my own (German-languaged) podcast. I do miss it.

Are you following any Podcasts or Youtube channels regularly?

Got a new idea for a small series of posts ..

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… which will belong into the music category, and will spotlight a bit of my personal stuff. I will transfer some of my very old stuff from tapes to digital, and we will all gather around to laugh at it. Will be fun. I am also a bit more active on Twitter.

Next few days, I have a lot of sound design to do, I hope I will not become super silent here.

just played: worky work
just watched: co-optional podcast (on youtube) #004
just read: gamasutra interview with the makers of Kingdom

Me in 2016

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My 2016 will mean “more presence”, more content. I just have to shake of the constant sense of “Man, I can’t write a blog entry when I have this work here and that deadline there”. If I follow that road, I become really silent, because there is constantly something urgent to do. If there is NOT, I really have to do a whole bunch of worryin. I was super silent in 2015.

And I feel guilty having a moment off. While spare time is normal for everyone, a freaklancer (lacking a preset inherent work cycle) might be tempted to feel not entitled to any spare time, as there is this urgent deadline, and I am late for this project or that.

I think, this is rubbish, and doesn’t really lead to a great mindset and quality of life. Yes, I have some projects, yes, my album is late. BUT, instead of feeling bad about it all the time, I try to be productive, to do good work, make progress, and then take the time I need to recover, relax, regroup – and to talk more. Pondering over the silent weeks around the holidays, I realised, I need to express myself, to make life matter more, to be more present in the passage of time, and most important, for my sanity.

So, this year, I will try to write more, point out something interesting here or there, recommend, warn, inform, teach … I don’t have the time to be brilliant all the time, or super well researched. I’d still feel guilty if I spent many hours on a deep article while there is red-blinking work on my desk. But a few paragraphs? Why not!

It might just be a small hint here, or a nice game I played there. But, trying to drop at least a blog post every other day will make me feel present again in the goings-on of today, and for someone with my wicked mind, this is a healthy thing.

just played: Magic 2013: Duels of the Planeswalkers
just watched: Simpsons
just read: the crap you folks write on Facebook πŸ˜‰

Top5 Games I played in 2015

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Everybody and their horse has a Best Game of 2015 list of some sort. So, I gotta have one of them, too. Right? Isn’t this how it works? A very personal “best games I played in 2015” to be precise, I am nowhere near current. I am not a reviewer or youtuber, I don’t play too many games per year. I try to play more, but I have a lot on my plate. Seriously working on reconstructing my work day so I get a human chunk of spare time (to waste on more games) … But – that’s another story.

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#5 Kingdom

Nice little mysterious one-button sidescroller. Great pixel art weather and atmosphere. You can ride to the left and to the right, recruit subjects, arm them, build walls and wait for the next horrible blood moon night, with its creepy horde of monsters.

Kingdom turned out to be much more addictive than I would have thought!
Love it for: it keeps you in the dark about its mechanics, so you are eager to find out more. I like that.

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#4 The Consuming Shadow

Yahtzee (of Zero Punctuation fame) made a great, dark Lovecraft story-heavy roguelite game. I am a big fan of his sarcastic comedy writing, but with The Consuming Shadow, he hooked me with his dark side. Very well done, sir!
Love it for: Inspirational atmosphere. I fire it up and I am immediately inspired to write something dark.

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#3 Adom

In some ways, Adom will always be #1 in my heart. I gave it another go as it hit Steam, with the new graphics it’s still a wonderful roguelike, but better than ever. Have I mentioned lately, super proud that I actually discussed bringing it to Indiegogo with creator Thomas, expressing my optimistic opinions, and it turned out to be a huge hit there! πŸ™‚ In 2015, I tried again to beat it (still haven’t). I will have to finish my dedicated blog post about it some day, there is so much to say about it …
Love it for: It’s extreme depth. There are so many guides out there, and they are massive, as there is so much to find. Pick one, browse a page, you will be intrigued.

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#2 Renowned Explorers International Society

Wonderful little explorer game, it feels like a great board game, with a rich research tree, light on-point humour, many strategies… I had beaten Renowned Explorers once, tried it again with other characters, and found many different tactics to play it.
Love it for: Showing how great you can tell little stories in this format, and keep it ever-changing by denying some of the content per playthrough.

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#1 Assassin’s Creed – Black Flag

Only XBox One game on this list, and the oldest. This 2013 game was a Game With Gold I grabbed for free, and on the same day it was upped as a free game, I actually had it in my hand in a store. (I was so happy that I didn’t buy it.) Weirdly enough, I even worked for Assassin’s Creed in a tiny way, more so on the Prince of Persia “originals” for that matter, but never really played an AC title. And this one’s great, the parcour is stellar and sailing the waves feels great … Fighting a fort, during a thunderstorm, while being shot at by the fort and 2 pirate hunter ships, breaching the walls, jumping into the huge waves, climbing up the broken walls through the smoke, joining the fight to conquer it and raise the black flag over the ruins – can a video game atmosphere be better?

I get it, there are so many AC titles, people were quite sick of them, still this one counts as one of the best. Having played it without being sick of the parcour site of things, it made a great impression on me. The first 10 hours or so, I didn’t even leave the 1st city.

I know it’s not a 2015 game, but I had so many nice 30 minute sessions on the open sea last year before going to bed, and I am still only at 29 % complete! πŸ™‚ It’s my number 1 go-to-game at the moment (still), so the guts say #1.
Love it for: the pirate flair that made me remember what’s great about the pirate setting. I turns out, I love it! I almost forgot. Now that you say it… I loved those old pirate movies… Now I want a Port Royale game using this engine!

just played: minecraft
just watched: co-optional podcast 003
just heard: cagcast 435

 

Gamify your todo list – with Habitica

Formerly known as HabitRPG (a name I prefer), this tool helps you gamify your todo list.

Enter the following things:
– Habits you want to enforce or remove from your life
– Daily jobs, or jobs that you need to do on certain days of the week
– Oneshot tasks

Then gain gold, xp, loot & pets when you keep at it, or get damage when you don’t! Equip stuff, nurture pets into mounts, get some friends to fight monsters, solve quests, or join a guild of like-minded individuals to chat or quest with. Those quest monsters can be defeated just by being productive – don’t miss your dailies, or forget your to-do list items for too long, lest your party gets damage!

So far, it seems helpful to me. On it for a week now, level 5.

“Secret Hitler”

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Total Biscuit and 7 other Youtubers/Podcasters playing the card game “Secret Hitler” (by a designer of Cards Against Humanity) in Tabletop Simulator is a unique spectacle. It’s hard to follow if you (like me) know only a few of the persons involved (it’s 8 people talking). And they play it 4 times and learn the game more and more (making mistakes in the beginning).

Still, it’s a wild, weird game of lying, betrayal, paranoia … If you can’t invest 4 hours, and you don’t need introduction to the rules, just watch the 2nd video. I am watching both a 2nd time, because it was that weird and entertaining to watch. People shouting “you’re a fascist!” or “that is something Hitler would say!” at each other, laughing, double-crossing, triple-crossing … A very well made game.

just played: dirt showdown
just watched: see above
just read: still count of monte christo

 

Almost there …

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Coffee breaks of productivity! I just need the header for 2 categories, and our redesign is complete. Good practise for the album artwork I need to wrap up soon …
Tomorrow is teaching time again …

just played: assassin’s creed black flag
just watched: jim sterling – assassin’s creed thingy india
just read: still count of monte christo
just heard: cooptional podcast 105

New Design trodding along

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Almost done with the restructuring… New look for Game Design and Music is done, too. Rest will follow.

It’s kinda nice to polish this little blog in coffee breaks, but now I start to feel the new year taking up speed again …Β  A lot of contact with clients today, new work coming in. I like! But: I have to fight to keep remembering all my other things, #1 of them the album of course.

I also want to reinstall a weird little thing I had on my old website: Adding some needless “Now” info to my posts, just to make them super-current. πŸ˜‰ Might be just more noise, might be interesting, I don’t know. Like this:

just played: dirt showdown
just watched: let’s drown out… james pond 2 (youtube.com/user/yahtzee19)
just read: the count of monte cristo (alexandre dumas)

Re-designing this, more posts, new stuff

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New year, new things one wants to do. I think, a blog is good for me. Helps me keep track of days, of progress, helps with the old mood swings and stuff …

I want to do some new things here, and want to post more often. Right now it’s a bit of a mess here, but I hope to have more to show soon.

It’s always a guilt thing: I have things to do, so let’s address this here: I am doing this for me, next to my work, not instead of work. So, me, don’t feel bad about this. It’s not wasted time, it helps me to focus and to keep my mind clean and sane. (I hope)Β  Blinking deadlines are good for me AND stress me out, which usually silences me (between stress, guilt and the feeling of fading away from the present). Weird, but there you are.

I have to go through all my old posts and update them to fit them into my new structure, wahhh…. This will take a week or two.