Hello bots, trolls, NSA, GCSB (New Zealand’s crappier version of NSA), & the odd real person. My name is Adam Herd & I find myself at a crucial turning point in my life. To help me decide what to do with my life I’ve decided to create a development/personal blog.
Who the hell is Adam Herd?
To over simplify it, I’m just another dude in Dunedin, New Zealand, who has no idea what to do with his life yet at the same time knows what he wants to do but is unsure how to begin. Last year I graduated from Otago Polytechnic with a Bachelor in IT & shortly afterward I had to move out of my parent’s place & find a job. Now I’m flatting with my two best friends, been working night-fill at a supermarket, & have not had to go to any kind of school for the first time since I was about 5 years old (sweet!).
My aspirations are to become a video game developer. In particular I’d like to work on the design & writing side, though I enjoy the programming side as well. I don’t mind doing art though it’s not my strongest suit. The furthest I’ve gone towards this was my final year project for the BIT where I worked on a sex education game for Family Planning.
My main interests are games of all kinds, in particular video games, fantasy worlds, & dreams. I also enjoy art, music, films, literature, more recently anime & manga thanks to my flatmates, & pretty much any creative, nerdy, thing you can think of.
Why make a blog?
In a way, making this development/personal blog is kind of the best thing I can think of right now. A while ago my sister suggested I try it out (she has her own website & tumblr). I started thinking seriously about it & realized it suits my current wishes quite well. Beyond having a place on the internet to call my own, even if it’s hosted by WordPress, it allows me to do the following:
Record my progress in game development
If I’m to be a video game developer I’ve got to develop games. With this blog I’d like to make regular updates on the projects I undertake. At this stage I’m simply trying to get into the habit of making games & better understanding the process towards making them. This will be in the form of mods & maps for existing games & projects with Unity3D & RPG Maker. I’ll also need an online presence if I become an “indie” developer so I may as well start now.
I’d like to try my hand at a variety of genres though I’d probably be leaning more towards RPGs & other genres where you typically play as some guy in some world on some adventure. Areas I’d like to experiment with include randomization (of levels, characters, game events, etc) & different ways of storytelling.
I guess it’s worth mentioning the games that have had the most influence on me:
- Blizzard games (Diablo, Starcraft & Warcraft (not WOW))
- Blood (I prefer it to Duke Nukem)
- Classic Doom
- Dungeon Keeper
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Final Fantasy (VI & VII in particular)
- Heroes of Might & Magic
- Kingdom Hearts
- Shadow of the Colossus
- Talisman (board game)
- The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, & by extension Oscuro’s Oblivion Overhaul (part of me wishes I played Morrowind first)
- Unreal (before Tournament though I do enjoy playing that as well)
- More recently Thief & System Shock 2
Record my dreams
For the past couple years I’ve been trying to become a lucid dreamer. For those that don’t know, lucid dreaming is when you become consciously aware you are in a dream. Once you become aware of this, you are free to shape & control the dream as you wish or simply go along with the ride, it’s your choice. I’ve only been lucid about 5-7 times so far & I’d like to reach the point where I can reliably go lucid when I fall asleep. I won’t be recording all of my dreams, mainly the ones I can remember in detail.
Why lucid dream?
We spend about a third of our lives asleep & I wish to utilize that time in some way beyond just resting. Part of me simply wants to see, remember, & be conscious enough of what my mind is trying to tell me, if my dreams are trying to tell me anything at all. Another part would like to be able to use my dreams to create & explore places that don’t exist & cannot possibly exist in the waking world. Maybe my dream adventures could become games one day. Regardless, I think it would be handy to have dreams as an available tool for experiencing ideas before they become reality.
Develop my writing & storytelling skills
It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I started to appreciate stories & narratives. I realized it’s an area I would love to focus on in my games; whether it is the story created by the developer, the one made up by the player, or a fusion of the two. Unfortunately back in high school I didn’t really care about writing & I wasn’t that good at English (the subject, not the language). Since then the only proper writing I’ve done is exams, reports, & entries in my dream journal.
This is probably my weakest area in reaching my aspirations as writing doesn’t really come naturally to me. It’s easy for me to think about what I’ll write for a long while only to write a single sentence. Hell, I started the draft for this three weeks ago & only seriously stuck to writing it in the last few days.
I’m hoping to change that. I think the easiest way I can start is to treat the dreams I write here as short stories. I’ll also be trying to do some writing for my game projects so there’s likely to be posts about that as well.
Keep me motivated to follow my aspirations
Since graduating from polytech I’ve hit a lull of sorts. I don’t know if I got burnt out from surviving the BIT & shortly afterwards moving out, but since then I’ve made very little progress in my life towards my aspirations. I’ve done a couple of tutorial projects with Unity3D, the odd technical demo, & played around with RPG Maker & various game editors. Beyond that I haven’t been able to stick to an idea or project for more than a fortnight, during which I’ll only be planning the thing. During this I’ve recalled only a dozen or so dreams & written down less than half of them. My hope is that by creating a blog & trying to make a post at least once a week I can get myself out of this lull & make myself more active in my life.
Expand my boundaries & meet new people
This is probably the biggest reason for making a blog. If you knew me in person I guess you would call me a chronic introvert. My default stance seems to be silently observing the world rather than trying being a part of it. Even in social situations I can’t seem to let myself go which has made it hard to make friends, let alone have a conversation beyond “how’s it going”. Growing up with a stutter hasn’t helped either though I wouldn’t blame my silence on that.
I’m sick of being silent all the time. I hate that I find it hard to continue a conversation with acquaintances & not make it awkward. With this blog I hope to take a step towards breaking my silence & expressing myself more by telling random people on the internet what I’m doing with my life &, hopefully, make friends outside of my immediate life. There are actual people on this thing right?
Why not use social media like Facebook or Twitter?
Eurgh, I hate Facebook. I tried the social media thing & it just doesn’t work for me. The only thing I use Facebook and Twitter for these days is keeping track of what people are doing, what articles Gamasutra have posted and replying to messages. Besides, considering the constant controversy with Facebook & privacy, I can’t trust it.
So what are you going to do next?
My basic plan:
- Put up progress on whatever project I’m focusing on right now
- Write up the odd dream in the form of a short story
- Post whatever else I feel like posting
For now just posting something on a weekly basis would be a good starting point for me. As a preview, for a long time I’ve been thinking about making a roguelike game as my first Unity3D project. The question is in what way do I add my own spin to the genre. Thinking up concepts isn’t hard but choosing only one concept to follow is. I’ve also been playing around with the Warcraft 3 World Editor again since a flatmate & a couple of his friends like to play custom maps. We’ll see how it goes.
I’ll leave this post with a wee motto I have for why I want to make games.
To craft stories & forge worlds.
P.S. Sorry for making this so long. I don’t aim for my future posts to be this long though I do like to explain things/ramble on.