Inspiration hunt

Inspiration has been hard for me to get hold of lately. I tried different ways to push me back into the momentum of the inspiration wave. I have also read different ways from article to article to help me open up the creative side of me.

I found that when I work on something harder and harder, my frustration increases and makes me stop being inspired. I start new drawings to relieve the frustrations then when I return to the drawing, I seem to lose the creative momentum and often give up as the new drawing overrides the past ones.

However, I read in one article, it mentions that being in the same environment can make one lose creative juices however, finding a new environment starts pushing new visuals.

During my recent holiday, because work was not on my mind for a week and a half, drawing stuff and being more creative about stuff began to flow naturally than forced. Forcing creative stuff just hurts my head a lot and I start rethinking whether drawing is what I want to do as a hobby.

I also read that spending only one hour a night doing something you love doing pushes one to create great things. But these “great things” aren’t to the full 100% extent of the creation as it feels forced than natural.

As I look at my drawings, I noticed that most of them consist of either frustration or sad types. Every time, I draw a smile, I seem to always rub it out and end up giving the character angry or sad emotion.

This definitely shows my emotion through life.
It is either work related or just life as a whole. It does not sound great however, when I release them on Social networks, I feel a slight relief upon how people either like or comment on it. There are people who mentions that they can relate which makes me feel better.

There was one drawing that was produced which consists of a smile and that one made me smile too!

The next few drawings I have produced I feel like the colours and emotions have been altered in such a way upon how I feel so I hope you enjoy them when they are released.

So I guess what I want to really push out to all you creative individuals is not to always be in the same place. If you feel like you are slowing down as a creative person, remember to get out of your comfort zone or the place you are “trying” to be creative and try work somewhere else to have a bit more of a view. It doesn’t have to be a holiday or somewhere magnificent… It could simply mean that you can go to a coffee shop (preferably one you have never been to) and work there. It seems rather simple but it helped me a lot to think out of the box.

What do you guys think? IF you guys have solutions to getting more creative, please leave a comment! I would love to get some new ideas to think creative!

Realization…

There are many things that I think about on a day to day basis but the one thing that really gets to me is the career path.

I spent a few years collecting experience and spending half of my life in an office and I felt like I was trapped. A place with high pressure just cannot make me think very well but more importantly, problem solving becomes harder! Solving problems does not feel as good as it used to and maybe the reason for that is the repetition of the same issues arises becoming nothing more but a chore.

I recently jumped into a new job where things are constantly changing, consistency is slowly integrating and unlocking new areas I have not experienced before… It feels like I am finally leveling up and it feels great.

One thing that I have felt confused about lately was mixing the hobby and work to improve my quality of life! So when I was thinking to become a games developer, I would have created the illusion of being excited to go to work everyday! It feels like it makes perfect sense… to me anyway.

However, there is a slight problem when trying merge a hobby with work

The way I define a hobby is an activity that I like to do and it creates a nice distraction that allows me to escape the work environment. Work, on the other hand, brings an environment where things need to be done at a certain time generating a thing I like to call “unnecessary pressure”. The reason I call it this is because the pressure is pushed by someone else but does not benefit anyone else but the person who owns the company!

Getting the pressure from individuals who may not care about the project and only cares about the payslip makes the other begin to dislike the entire operation altogether. The way I see it is that if it is supposed to be something you enjoy, how could you truly love it if you are being pressured to do it?

Don’t get me wrong though, there are some areas that do not deal with this kind of pressure.

So with me, I am a web developer in the day but a games developer as my side quest. Web development is a broad area and it equally gives the same frustrations as a games developer but the key difference between the two is the fact that the development patterns are different which gives that extra challenge.

What I am trying to get at is that creating two environments for one thing you enjoy most and the other being a job is the ideal thing to do if you want to continue enjoying what you want to do…

It is not to say that jobs are boring but people are pressuring to finish things where you want to be perfect aboutJobs are also a place to learn! If you don’t learn something new in a job, you end up being bored.

For me, the way to really fix this is just to keep my games as personal projects and my web life as work. This keeps the game development as a stress-free environment.

Maybe this is not an ideal way for some people but I feel it is the right move for me. One way or another, I’m glad I have some sort of direction once again

My new found hobby…

It has been a while since I have written a blog and the reason for this is that I have recently got into a new hobby… Digital Art!

I never really saw this as a hobby… As a matter of fact, I never really saw myself having such a creative mind to push my drawings onto paper. Purchasing the Samsung Note 3 (yes I know… Not the latest model but whatever!) made me realise that I can finally put all the small doodles I have had in my notebooks and push it into the digital space.

So far, as you have probably noticed a few blog posts with drawings instead of my writings and although this has been a change of pace, it has been great and it still continues on! Although the drawings have been at a basic level, the idea is that I am learning by doing. My drawings are looking simple for now but maybe down the line, the skills will hopefully progress so with the amount of images I post up, it will be my log to look at and check upon how much I have grown

I remember discussing with a friend once about a website called Illustration Friday (illustrationfriday.com). This website basically gives illustrators the opportunity to post their illustrations onto their website with the sweet allowance of giving traffic back to your website! One inspiration that I really appreciate from this website is the weekly topic. This one small feature gives me a challenge every week to think about what to draw on a weekly basis meaning that it builds improvement towards my digital drawing journey! To those who are looking for inspiration to draw again, I urge them to give it a try! (No promotion intended :p)

But wait, I hear you wondering “I thought you wanted to be a games developer?” Now that is a perfectly good question and one I can explain!

At first, I found that development gives me such an exhilarated feeling when either problems are solved or better yet, the end product is complete and looks precisely how I want it! One problem about it is that these small victories are becoming a little too small and now my exhilaration fuel needs to be fed in another way! Analysing my life in this aspect is rather disappointing which led me to discovered my low point. This low point began to increase again when I started writing blog posts and with this, I began to feel the victories again! With this, it became a necessity to write more and improve my writing! During this point, I started doodling on paper and began wondering whether there were ways to post this digitally. This is where my inspiration for doodling and drawing became my next thing to do! So ultimately, I will never drop my dream of being a games developer but these “victories” or accomplishments are segments of my proudest achievements and will continue to keep my skills balanced! In other words, I will bounce around to different things when inspiration kicks in, whether it is a game idea, a drawing I want to show the world or even a story I would like to write!

So I suppose my point for this post is whether you graduate in being a developer, it does not necessarily mean you will stick to it in the end and more importantly, it is never too late to switch around what you really want to do. If you feel like you want to do something new, don’t feel like you don’t have time or you don’t have money to do it. There are so many things out there that can lift you up to make these aspirations change into reality!

Don’t give up… Think positive… And never look down!

How the new life is so far…

It has been months since moving from UK to Australia. It has been crazy busy from when I moved and until now, I believe that I have come to a stage where it has kind of calmed down that I can sit back to write an update blog. It has been a while but lets go!

So what’s changed? I started off with a bit of cash so the minute I landed, I was a little unstable but good thing that I had a place to stay so that was a huge benefit for me.

With no time wasting, I immediately went job hunting. This initiated with a quick portfolio website for companies to see and whipping something up and looking for work, I felt like the portfolio was the key part of it all. Finding time to do it was difficult but eventually, it was complete… After an extra few days, companies started to call me and several initial tests were sent for me to do. Long story short, it came down to 2 choices where one company was interested and the other still in deciding mode but with a bit of thought, it became clear that I decided to choose the company that suited me best… So 1 month and a bit later, I was in the working life.

So now the job was clear and out of the way, it came back into looking to find time for my projects, which were put on hold for so long. This became a little difficult as I gave the job priority. It was rather hard to find time since I did a few late nights and stuff but recently, my weekends have now freed up opening time for development.

My progress now lies at a point where a new project that I thought of a while back can now jump into motion. At the same time, I have given more thought into a web project in collaboration with my brother so with that, I will be busy for the next few months. This is a great feeling as personal development starts here!! This deserves a smiley :).

In another topic, networking is starting to look better. I am beginning to see a clearer forecast of friendly people to hangout with and stuff. Although this is still a small number, it should rise if I let loose but like I said, it’s only been a few months so let’s see in another fe months to find out where I get to…

The games part of me have played a bigger role lately. Specifically, the Wii U is the console played most. I suppose I never really saw the potential in the beginning for the Wii U but with the recent games especially Mario Kart 8 (and of course, the multiplayer experience), it changes my whole opinion about the console itself. Maybe I am living in the good old days where play games next to people just makes a game 10 times more enjoyable. Whatever the case, it creates a great diversion away from the world.

Moving on to a social topic, I ran into a few friends down in Melbourne to see how they were in the weekend. They were friends that I have known for years (since secondary school) and we all decided to redezvous in Australia! It was pleasant seeing these faces again and we had a great time just catching up and hopping from bar to bar. I guess I haven’t really had one of these nights since London but it was sure a good feeling that I was experiencing my first time in Melbourne with these guys! So if you guys are reading this, thanks for that weekend! It was awesome!

So to sum up my entire time over in Australia, I guess I have been enjoying my time over here so far. The people are pretty nice, work environment is a splendid place to work in and the general networking is slowly happening making everyday a moment to remember. I did start off a little scared moving from a space I was once very comfortable in to an entirely new life but it is growing on me…

Thanks for reading guys and I will try post more often. Until next time…

Kirby: Triple Deluxe – Nintendo 3DS – Review

Kirby: Triple Deluxe, the Nintendo 3DS version, is actually the first Kirby game I have tried and playing from start to finish, I can give a full review of it.

Kirby-Triple-Deluxe-300

The game is developed in a 3D environment but keeping the retro feel by preserving the controls two dimensional. Considering the fact that I have only experienced Kirby controls on Super Smash Bros., the game feels the same when attacking enemies and avoiding the pits of death by inflating the pink bubblegum into the air (one problem: you can puff up Kirby infinitely so although some people will like this, I feel like the challenge decreases as you can float into the air throughout the entire stage).

The layout of the stages and the interactivity of the game really challenges you ESPECIALLY when you are trying to get all of the Sun Stones and if you fail to comply, you are forced to either die and try again or complete the stage and do it again. I am the type to see that if a stage is not complete with 100% satisfaction, I prefer to do it again.

It really keeps the player immersed with the variety of weapons Kirby can change into and the challenge of the puzzles. The game is very nicely laid out keeping the “learning as you play” formula. Also, there are some unexpected twists to the environment around every corner that surprised me.

I feel there was a lot of thought considered into this game. I do believe that the cut scenes could have been good with some voice acting and I was rather disconnected from the storyline but truthfully, the gameplay really made up for those minor disadvantages.

As a person, this game really fits my category of gaming as I enjoy my fair share of retro gaming. If I was to give a rating, it would be a good 9/10.

Experience with TFL!

I generally never write or even complain much about public transport although there may be certain times where I mention how annoying delays kick in without any reason from TFL. But this one time, I experienced a service I was not satisfied with…

underground

Firstly, I’d like to mention my smart watch I purchased a while back. So this is a Sony Smart Watch where it gives you the capability to connect your phone to this device using Bluetooth. You’re able to read tweets from Twitter, statuses from Facebook, a trigger to call your phone in case you lose it… Oh and obviously look at the time. Although there are a few drawbacks to this device but I won’t go through it now. Anyway, back to the story.

So in the morning around 8.40am, I was on my way to work and usually I travel from national rail, and then 2 underground trains. On the first underground station, I was prepared to get off and as usual, I am readying myself to pace to the exit as soon the doors open to get off the train. As the train door opens, I shot out with my foot onto the platform and my arm swinging pass the door. As my arm passed the door, my watch clipped on to the edge of the door resulting the watch to drop on to the side of the tracks. Here is one thing I did not mention – the smart watch was made of two parts: the wrist band and the watch itself. It gives you an option to detach the smart watch from the wrist band and clip it somewhere else.

Seeing my small white smart watch on the side of the track, I could identify directly where it is and was very much annoyed with my action. I could even just jump down right there and then to pick it up but two things stopped me from doing that. The first being that it’s dangerous and secondly, a poster is plastered around the tube stations saying somewhere along the lines of: If you have dropped an item onto the track, have a little patience and speak to a member of staff. Trusting this poster, I marched to a member of staff on the same platform and described precisely what happened and said what can he do about it. He took down my details and told me that I should return back the next day to claim my little smart watch. Reason that he couldn’t get it immediately is because as I said before, it was dangerous to do it at that time seeing that it was rush hour and all but in the evening, the tracks will be free so a member of staff can check the tracks. Also, I couldn’t wait around as I had work so I left it and trusted them.

The very next day, I followed the member of staffs advice which was to go upstairs and ask someone for a supervisor. So I found someone who was able to help me and he told me that he will check. I assumed there was a box of lost stuff so I described precisely what I lost just to put emphasis that the thing they are looking for in this box did not look like a watch, it was a clip on watch. About 10 minutes of waiting, I was told that no one checked the track last night! He told me “We logged it in the book for someone to check the track but I don’t think anyone did so you will have to check tomorrow”! WTF!? As patient as I am, I replied “Okay that is fine however, can I just double check that you have my details”. They confirmed it in the book and so I went off to work.

The next day, returning back to the same place at the supervisors office, I bumped into “Supervisor Andy”. I told him my situation thinking “Yep… This is the last time I’ll be doing this” and he said “Ok, let me check for you”. He went to the back to check and came back saying “Nope. Nothing there and it seems like no one checked the track again…”. Standing there like a right muppet, I told him “Oooookayyyy. So what can I do about this?” He tells me “Can you go down to the platform and take a look to see if your smart watch is still there? If it is, I’ll just jump down and get it for you!” So hang on a minute, these people made me wait 2 WHOLE DAYS and then giving me a conclusion that if it is STILL THERE, they will jump down to get it at RUSH HOUR on a FRIDAY!? With my head firing out so many questions in my head, I accepted his quest to journey through the huge amount of people rushing to get to work versus me walking the opposite direction just to check. As to no surprise, the smart watch is gone. Returning back to the supervisor empty handed, he goes on to say “Ok you’re not going to like what I am about to say next…” At this point, I really didn’t care anymore. He says “You will have to fill out an online form indicating that there is a lost item”.

After all this, I have accepted that I will never see this smart watch EVER AGAIN.

So, my final thought is: Don’t make “have patience and get a member of staff” posters… You just make us look like a mug when you don’t do anything about it! Thanks TFL…

One push in the right direction…

It has been a while since I have written about myself and quite frankly, it’s all building up in my head that I need to release some of it on this blog so I can discard the thoughts and think fresh.

So what have I been up to?

medium_4610115463

My attempt to accomplish my projects is just laughable. They seem to be increasing more and more! The thought of just how many there are makes me a little pissed off. Why haven’t I been doing it? It’s the overwhelming fact that work is draining my energy altogether. My sleeping pattern have completely changed and the motivation has decreased. There was one motivating day where it gave me the mental push I really needed.

I don’t usually go to salons to get haircuts however, my last experience was cosy and thought that I would try it again seeing that the barbers are always full of people and although the price is twice as expensive, it was definitely worth it and I am going to explain why…

So firstly, I had the most amazing head massage and made me feel at ease. This made my thoughts gather all at once and made me think clearly once again, as though my mind was reset to null. After this awesomeness, it was time for the main haircut. So I had the privilege of getting my haircut from the owner of the business. It started with a conversation from what I currently do. Then it went on to telling him my thoughts on what I really wanted to get into: Gaming. That’s where it started to get interesting.

We went on to discussing this one guy who basically had a life with people doubting him however, he ignored all those people and continued becoming one of the most successful people in the world. I relate to this because I spend my time just caring about what other people think and end up forgetting my idea.

medium_485265735

Continuing on, the conversation moved swiftly to pinball machines. So we discussed about how there were a small audience in the world where people are just so into these things and I must admit, I was surprised. I suppose I have been in my own world that I guess I never really analysed the world enough to even consider what is happening and just the thought of this small audience just means that there are plenty of other small communities waiting for the next big thing to be released for them.

Finally, the conversation ended with gaming. We started speaking about how game ideas just pop up randomly, EVEN if it is just a small bug in a game, the bug can be altered to create a great game. The trick is to just create whatever you feel like creating and you will find even more inspiration. Like they say, ‘learn by doing’.

After exiting this salon, my motivation was on high and I was just excited to get home and start developing.

Now I’m going to explain why these 3 points of the conversation fired me up.

‘The doubt’ of others can be really off putting and although you can try convince yourself not to do things because of the one or several comments you received were negative, the inner troll embedded in your head just keeps poking at you and eventually crack! The result? Give up. I suppose my best method to stop being put off from my projects is just to keep it to myself and just do what I feel like doing and not speak a word of it until it is finished.

‘Pinball machines’… What made me wonder is that even though the biggest ideas are taken, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all is lost. In other words, these small communities are hoping for someone to create something for them and they will throw good words to their friends and families if proven worthy of it. The motivation actually pushed further and made me want to fulfil these small holes we have in this world.

Lastly, the ‘game talk’. I suppose the gaming part of me have always been there and whenever someone asks me what my dream job would be, I immediately imagine myself wanting to strive in the gaming industry or better yet, having a small community just talking about a game that I was somehow involved with.

medium_3120877348

So there you have it! A great conversation that happened for one whole hour (or more) but what makes this one conversation stand out from all the other motivational conversations I had? I guess it all just dumbs down to the hook of the conversation. He backed up all his answers in such a way that really got me putting myself in the situations. I suppose it is just the way he expressed his words. He seemed rather regretful since he mentioned how it is too late for him to be the successful man he wanted to be. For that reason, I would like to thank him and probably try even harder to accomplish all I have… Before it is too late…

Photo Credits:
.reid. via photopin cc
stargardener via photopin cc
ktpupp via photopin cc

Too hard to choose between tablets or laptops

So it has come to my attention that laptops and tablets are now rising in the market and the thing is that although a laptop signifies the possibility of graphical edge, it does not suit the portability crowd however, finding the perfect portable device (tablet or ultra thin laptops) means that it will lack processing power and the usage of graphics will be shared with Random Access Memory (RAM).

So the question is: Should I buy a laptop or a tablet?

The bigger question is “What will you be using it for?”

Here is my opinion on this:
Laptops with high specifications hold a great deal of components meaning that when running games or applications that require a big mass of math calculations, it will run smoothly however, if you are the type of person who uses these types of applications a lot, I would recommend a desktop… The main benefit of a laptop which is why we all want one is so that we can take it around with us.
A tablet, which nowadays hybrids are being introduced, are mainly to carry around and optimised the battery long enough to use away from a power supply. Also, the touch screens make it easier to navigate rather than the little touch pad laptops provide…
Moderate users who do use a mixture between just browsing, typing up documents, watching films or requiring a little photo editing, an ultra thin laptop or even a tablet will suffice.

Shopping for these devices are quite head aching and there is no specific answer to it. Just comes down to personal preference.

A way to choose your device

Pricing is a whole new story. Given all the online stores, it is a radical difference. Tablets being almost the same price as a very high specification laptop however, tablets currently carry a low end specification but handles day to day activities excessively well. But as the diagram displays, its up to you where you want to be.

Laptops are a hard choice! Tablets can even be difficult… So it boils down to weight, price, size and keyboard.

Here are my top 3 choices of laptop hybrids:

Microsoft-Surface-Pro-2 Acer-Aspire-P3 Sony-Duo-13
Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Acer Aspire P3 Sony VAIO Duo 13

And then my top 3 choices of portable laptops:

Sony-Vaio-Pro-13 Samsung-Series-9-Notebook Asus-UX31
Sony VAIO Pro 13 Samsung Series 9 Notebook Asus UX31 Zenbook

But if you were to ask me which one I would choose, I choose a hybrid laptop. It completes both worlds for me which is what I’ve chosen to date today!

This post is for those who are confused. I hope this sheds some form of light towards your problem…

First glance at GTA 5

Grand Theft Auto 5 is amongst us and having grabbed my copy on the first day of release, I managed to start playing it this weekend and here are my thoughts…

I haven’t played it to its fullest just yet. I will give this a full review when I complete it but give my opinion in regards to where I am now…

image

The game dives straight into the action allowing players to be engaged immediately and in order to learn the controls, GTA grabs our attention with a ‘learn by doing’ approach which is very typical in the gaming era. However, it is a great way to learn the controls and is simple to get hooked. As the game proceeds, you get the entire understanding of aiming, shooting, running, hiding and getting into a car in the little 5 minute situation. The game is straight forward if you have played any GTA series before.

The game is so far a great game with all the little extra things they put in. Seeing that the last GTA game I actually played was in fact Vice City and I enjoyed that game to the very end. From seeing GTA: VC to the 5, it’s obviously a huge improvement in graphics but more importantly, the game carries several different personalities in terms of characters (especially Trevor)… The consistency has been kept as well as the controls making players feel familiar and it is definitely a game worth trying out. The part that most people do is start messing around with the police mechanics in the game just to try see how long they last for…

From this short review, I give it a 8/10 so far. Definitely beats the last few iterations of the GTA series… For me anyways…