Author Topic: Pumpkin is still alive  (Read 565 times)

Offline Pumpkin

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Pumpkin is still alive
« on: April 02, 2017, 04:41:47 AM »
Hello, folks!

I was passing by and couldn't resist saying hi. More specifically, I'm here to say why I suddenly disappeared in the heat of AIW2's kickstarter and what are my plans regarding Arcen in general and you, fine community of happy folks, in particular.

Long story short: I left school, found a job, got money and lose time. Not exactly in that order, but you get the idea. ;) That is why I can't roam the forum as I used to, despite my desire to delve again into the heat of discussion and nitpicking. I will continue to watch AIW2 growing from afar, but I shall return when the stars will be in the right position. My plans are to use my kickstarter's modding reward in order to design the pseudo-expansion I was dreaming of when AI War was not AI War 1.



Now the most of you might be willing to read something else than my rambling, and I won't blame you, but for those of you who are interested in the details of that story, past and future, read along.

So I found a job. I'm an "IT consultant". (I call that "mercenary program maker".) I hate that job. Why did I chose it, then? Essentially because of fear, I must admit. But also because I knew my dream-job won't pay much (if at all), and I wanted to become financially independent. Beside, Mom and Dad aren't rich... My plans are to keep that job as long as I can and make as much side-projects as possible (I write novels and make games) until I find the courage and opportunity to show them off and hopefully get to do that for a living. Problem is: I don't have time. :j Eh, I'll figure a way.

So that's basically why I disappeared in the middle of the kickstarter. It took a lot of effort to pull back from AIW; back then this game (and community and universe and...) was all my life. That was great, for sure, but that was too much. Seeing how deeply I was emotionally involved into it, I decided to chill out. I kept saying to myself "AI War is not my game". I became a mantra for a while. And it worked. I still feel personally, emotionally connected to that game, but I'm now able to handle these emotions. I accepted that some decisions I don't agree with might be acted on that game, and I have to live with that and love it as a whole. I could burst in rage about squads in AIW2 and write pages of threads with people who like them, or talk about how nobody understands what's good for the hull/ammo balance and how you should design it if you could just listen to the truth I'm the only to see. I could. But "AI War is not my game". And it'll be moddable, in the end, so I'll just wait for it to be ready to withstand my plans. I'll test, make, show, debate, and fate will decide if my ideas shall survive or not for the good of that game we all love. Go see the earliest posts in Ideas for Maybe Later or my graphviz musings, if you want to get a feeling of what I plan.

So yeah, that's basically it. I'm still alive and I'll be back. Think of it as a prophecy : "And then it was told that one day Pumpkin shall return to Arcen's community to bring content and balance in the game he once loved."  ;D
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.
Pumpkin>> Do I need another cure about paranoia on top of overexcitement?
Mal>> We play AI War, enthusiasm and paranoia are both required!

Offline Draco18s

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Re: Pumpkin is still alive
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2017, 10:13:20 AM »
So I found a job. I'm an "IT consultant". (I call that "mercenary program maker".) I hate that job.

I am amused.
But largely the same has happened to me recently. Well, not so much in the "hate my job" or suchlike.

But I got hired for a contract position and having to manage that move has eaten a lot of time. And the entire process has had me banging my head against my desk.

Offline x4000

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Re: Pumpkin is still alive
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2017, 10:16:06 AM »
Glad to hear from you!  And I'm glad to hear that you're doing okay, if busy.

And there is hope: I had wanted to be a novelist from the age of 14, and was ardently pursuing that.  I had a couple of near misses with publication, but never quite made it.  Meanwhile I had taken up an IT job that later turned into a programming job, and later programming+management.  I was with that company for 8 years.  I kinda figured the boat had sailed on my dreams, in a lot of ways.

For the first half of that time I was far too busy to work on writing or my hobbies -- games and 3D art.  I basically went from 2003 through 2005 without doing any of the above, and then I got back into writing with what time I had.  My near misses with publication were in 2007, on a book I'd been working on since sometime in 2005.  I then had to give up on that book and start anew, and I was doing so.  Things were going a lot better, but I was kinda burned out and things were slowing down at work as the amount of contract work coming in was lower.  So I took back up my hobbies during 2008 -- making games and a bit of 3D art again.

Anyway, I was working on what later became Shattered Haven as a game that I had as an idea to give away for free as a promo material for the book it was based loosely on.  I never did finish that book, although it's my best prose writing to date.  I wound up getting consumed in making the game instead, which was a rekindled passion.  The only reason I never thought of games as a career was that it always seemed dead-end pre-indies.  There were large horrible companies or shareware, and a few lucky standouts like Geometry Wars, etc.

I started getting stuck and frustrated on Shattered Haven in late 2008, and so decided to work on a little side project called AI War.  I only made that because I was tired of modding the AI for Supreme Commander, and couldn't find a worthy adversary elsewhere.  So I worked on that until mid 2009, and then the rest is history.

I remember telling my wife that I thought maybe I wanted to be a game developer rather than a novelist, feeling really awful that I was giving up on my dream of nearly a decade and a half at the time.  But she was just like "that makes perfect sense actually!"  And it was what I really wanted, it turned out very quickly.  So Arcen was born, and it's been nonstop ups and downs since then.  The industry in many ways was just as brutal as I'd feared, although there were some periods where it didn't seem like it.

Overall the point is that you can deviate from your life plans and things can still work out.  I'm glad I made all the various career choices and attempts that I did, because they all contributed to me being where I am now.  Which is mostly where I want to be, although finances are admittedly dire outside of AI War 2.  There's this constant stress that I never had prior to this that I just don't want, but beyond that it's good.

TLDR: I understand what it feels like to go off the beaten path of your plans and feel like you're giving up your dreams.  But that doesn't at all mean that your path won't lead you back to where you want to go.  It was 2001 when I stepped off the path I'd wanted to travel, 2005 when I kinda got back on it, 2008 when I found the path I really wanted to be on, and 2009 when I got on that one.  So these things can take time, but they're worth it. :)

Like I said, though -- I'm glad you're doing well!
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Offline z99-_

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Re: Pumpkin is still alive
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2017, 11:38:36 AM »
Yay, Pumpkin's back!

I'm glad you're returning, even if only partially. Back when the discussions for squads and hull balance were going on, I remember I disagreed with a lot of what was going on at the time and felt the urge to speak up, but I didn't have the time to write 1,000 word treatises and follow 20 page threads (I guess in the end you didn't either, eh? ;)). But then you came along, and said pretty much everything I wanted to say! I'm not sure how much effect it had on things, but it was still nice to know I wasn't alone in not understanding the glory of ship archetypes. I feel like Keith explained it in the new design doc in a way that made a bit more sense, but maybe it had just been so long since the discussions on the topic I forgot what my problems were ::)

Either way, I look forward to hearing more of your input on the way AIW2 is progressing - as long as it doesn't get in the way of your real life, of course ;D

Also,

I was working on what later became Shattered Haven as a game that I had as an idea to give away for free as a promo material for the book it was based loosely on

My thoughts when I first read about Shattered Haven were, "this seems like a really cool plot/concept, but I'm not sure how fun the game is." You should totally finish that book! :D Or at least add it to the big 'things I would eventually like to do' pile.

Hmm, while on the subject of Shattered Haven, you know what would have made an epic April Fools Day prank? If you had announced that Arcen's plan for the future involved investing every dollar into a big Shattered Haven remake. I can just picture everyone flipping out >D

Offline x4000

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Re: Pumpkin is still alive
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2017, 11:55:53 AM »
Yep, the book was much better, heh.  It is on my "maybe someday" list, for sure!
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Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Pumpkin is still alive
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2017, 11:38:33 AM »
Hello again. Thanks for the kind words.

Thanks for sharing the story, Chris; it actually left up my spirit and made me consider that life is long indeed. And, yeah, I'm curious about that book too. Let us know if that thing comes to life! ;)

I am also pleased to hear my efforts weren't as pointless as I considered back in the days of pre-AIW2 heat and sweat. :$
I might be tempted to develop my opinion on the current state of AIW2, but I won't do it now for several reasons.

First, as I said, I don't have much time for AIW, especially for keeping up with the forum's peace. Secondly, I already said a lot of things about squads and hull/ammo/bonuses and I have few things to add. For the hull/ammo/bonuses question, the current state of the later is "of course" disastrous as now but (1) it will improve and (2) it will be moddable so I (and everyone interested in that question) will be able to test, tweak and show their ideas for real, and not just in theory and maths. For the squad stuff... ah, let's do that here and very quick.

When the idea was announced I was worried and asked many questions about what exactly was that idea. I had experienced, not long before AIW2 was announced (and I think I mentioned it) the same novelty in Homeworld remastered: the first opus has "1 controlled unit = 1 displayed unit" and the second has squads, very similar, now that I see them, to AIW2's current squads. And I must say I hate AIW2's squads as much as Homeworld's ones. Well, maybe a tiny bit less AIW2's because you can "repair" the squads. My point is (did I said "briefly"?) that squads brings nothing. It's supposed to be a graphical optimization, but in the gameplay I still "feel" the same number of units. It's like Heroes of Might and Magic: a unit with 999999 under still feel like one unit. Well, you can imagine the huge pack attacking when the lone image plays its attack animation, sure... And I would even like this other extreme: give me one unit in AIW with "999999" under its icon which hit that many times harder, let me split it and merge it with identical units and show me a small swarm of a dozen of them when I zoom in, and I will "feel" that huge army as much as in Heroes MM.

Anyway. It's not a big deal; I can live with it. If most people out there like it I won't discuss it anymore. I just think it adds a little confusion for (IMO: absolutely) no gain. But thing is, the game feels like AI War: send blobs in AI's face, micro and roam a little, check your map, pin next objective, rinse and repeat, and panic when a wave hit. Squads or units doesn't change much, in the end.

And just to end on a bright note: I love the animated planets in the background and the per-planet-energy for defense. Oh, and I looooove the new Intel mechanism (sensor array and scrambler instead of lil' scouts): more strategic decisions and less micro = yay!
Keep it up!
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.
Pumpkin>> Do I need another cure about paranoia on top of overexcitement?
Mal>> We play AI War, enthusiasm and paranoia are both required!

Offline Logorouge

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Re: Pumpkin is still alive
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2017, 05:32:56 PM »
It's like Heroes of Might and Magic: a unit with 999999 under still feel like one unit.
Unless I misunderstood the way they made squads in AIWarII, wouldn't it still be 999999 units, but every 10 units follow the same orders and have their HP pooled together?

Also, welcome back. :)

Offline Cyborg

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Re: Pumpkin is still alive
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2017, 06:48:23 PM »
Pumpkin, I can't disagree with you more about squads. I'm playing in the alpha with them, and I absolutely love them. It's just that much more space violence. In the end, the numbers are the same, it just makes my eyes happier. Please try out the alpha sometime.

In regards to growing up and getting a real job, ever gamer I know has a similar story. That moment when you realize real life needs your priority attention. For me, it was within two weeks of my internship, I realized that I had an opportunity. I had to make that decision to grow up and leave behind what had been years of dedicated gaming.

It doesn't mean that you can't game anymore, it just means that you figured out that it's supposed to be a hobby, not your full-time job. That's healthy.

I still consider myself an avid gamer, but I have long since acquired the discipline to put my real-life first and only start the games after I have finished what I'm responsible for in the real world. I also would recommend balancing it with picking up real life skills, such as playing an instrument, sports or something like that.

Lastly, I recommend reading books. Some people say that reading their Facebook feed counts as reading. It doesn't.

Best of luck. That's my quick advice on transitioning to being an adult who likes gaming.
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Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Pumpkin is still alive
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2017, 12:04:07 PM »
Hello to you too, Logorouge and Cyborg!

Pumpkin, I can't disagree with you more about squads. I'm playing in the alpha with them, and I absolutely love them. It's just that much more space violence. In the end, the numbers are the same, it just makes my eyes happier. Please try out the alpha sometime.
I tried Alpha before coming back to the forum and I was speaking of the current, actual state of the squads. You're welcome to disagree, of course, and as I said this isn't a big business: the game feels like AI War while zoomed-out, with or without squads, even in that very early form. And that's all that matters to me right now. Squads can live. (I'll just continue to silently hate them. ;) )
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.
Pumpkin>> Do I need another cure about paranoia on top of overexcitement?
Mal>> We play AI War, enthusiasm and paranoia are both required!