November Life Update – Cutting Back


Hello, I know it’s December now but this update is about things that happened last month. Besides, I might end up doing one more update before the end of the year.

It feels like I’ve delayed this update too much so there’s a fair amount of things I want to cover & try to recall.

Quick summary for those with little time:

  • Been thinking about my dreams & if I can ethically justify them in the context of the world at large (something I’ll delve into on a separate post).
  • I’ve had two sets of random guests stay over at my flat briefly. I’ll be talking about the first pair (the second largely kept to themselves).
  • Cancelled my D&D campaign.
  • I’ve taken a different approach to my game projects, & now I’ve found myself actually sticking to a project for once (yay!).
  • I also finally got around to getting most of these questions up in front of my house.

I’ve been, oddly, more socially comfortable in the last few weeks. I remember at the start of November I found myself wanting to stay away from people again, but about halfway through the month I was feeling perkier.

I will preface this by saying the reason I was feeling down in the first place may be related to the first point above. Existential introspection has a way of making me shut off from people.

I felt perkier at about the time a couple of backpackers came to stay. One was from England & was highly talkative; I believe he makes a living working on boats every second week in Te Anau of all places. The other was a “child of the world”, being of Vietnamese &… er some other descent (sorry I can’t remember), yet he’s actually French; he has stories where people of varying ethnic backgrounds keep mistaking him for being of the same culture. The two seem to be long time friends & have been road tripping around NZ, living in their van the whole time.

They were really friendly & easy to talk to (well, to be more accurate I mostly just let them talk & interjected when I did have something). I’m not sure how people like that can just seemingly connect with complete strangers. I mean, I literally just met them that day & seven hours later we’re having a night on the town. I don’t care if I ended up drinking too much, it was just really nice to have that happen. It was almost a shame to have them leave a few days later.

It kinda confirmed a suspicion I’ve had about myself, that perhaps I’m not that socially inept but just needed to be around new people.

Now for something I feel kinda bad about, cancelling my flat D&D campaign. Since saying I’d do it months ago, I’ve spent much of my time thinking about & creating my own setting for the campaign & what can be encountered. It’s helped me cope with working full time & having little work to do (& I’ve come up with some good ideas I’d still like to use else where), yet in the end I feel much better just letting it go.

Here’s why:

  • Even with the work I’ve put into the setting, my expectations for what I wanted the world & setting to be were unrealistic & beyond my scope, yet it’s the only way I’d want to do the campaign. To maintain fortnightly sessions, & to maintain my expectations, would mean treating the campaign like a full-time job, where I meticulously plan out the direction of the next session & try to factor for everything my players are likely to do (again, wanting something completely unrealistic).
  • Despite knowing I should just forgo these expectations & embrace improvisation, I know I wouldn’t be truly happy with running a campaign I feel was ‘not ready’. Improvisation feels counter to the nature of the campaign I had in mind.
  • I’d feel more satisfied using this time to design & create my own games & systems.
  • In a weird way, I had a restricted sense that I should conform to typical D&D lore, which I personally feel has been overdone. I’d feel better going for a more unique setting of my own creation.

Also when I recently did a brief impromptu DMing session, I realized that I preferred to just get in & not worry about it. It was a lot better to treat it as ‘just a game for the sake of play’ rather then a planned out campaign. Improvised imagination feels truer to the real nature of D&D.

This isn’t to say I’m giving up on DMing entirely. I think I’d feel better if I just used existing modules & did little prep work.

I’ve now been dedicating my time towards something else – a paper prototype.

I’ve been thinking about all my past attempts at making games, & how I’d reached a point where just thinking about making a game triggers feelings of self-frustration & apathy. But now I’m trying a different approach. I’ve been thinking that perhaps I should stop trying to make video games & instead focus purely on just getting some physical form of an idea together.

Essentially my approach now is to see if I can make board game versions of my ideas to see if they are worth turning into a video game.

I’m starting with an idea I’ve had brewing for a long time (if you visited this blog in 2014 it’s essentially a more basic version of the “Lost Isles” concept). So far I’ve got a basic description, user stories, a list of requirements, & now I’m in the middle of turning those requirements into tasks & creating dialogue diagrams.

I’ll leave you with the brief description I’ve formed of this game – Sojourn:

Sojourn is a story centric adventure game where players go on a journey in a fantasy world that is different every time. They will encounter randomized events, locations, objects, & entities that players can solve in different ways, leading to different consequences that may appear later in their journey.


3 thoughts on “November Life Update – Cutting Back

  1. The Twentysomething Social Recluse

    I’m looking forward to the post about your dreams and if you can ethically justify them. I also think it is a really good idea to get a physical manifestation of your game idea – and playing a board game is a fun way to test an idea!

    • Woops. I do have a draft about the justifications but I haven’t touched it in a while. I’ve been too focused on Sojourn since writing this update. The Christmas & New Years period has also left me feeling jaded :/.

      I’m currently trying to get back into things with another update post; I may touch on this there.

      • The Twentysomething Social Recluse

        It happens! Don’t pressure yourself to create posts when you don’t feel passionately about them – it’s a waste of your time. Looking forward to the update!

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