Captain’s Log L8·B1: Squirrel

I have tried being employed, and swallowing my arguments with my employer rather than walking out.

I have tried being unemployed.

I have tried being employed, but feeling quite content to walk out when things don’t suit me.

I dislike all of these states. But the first feels dishonest, and the other two at least feel honest.

It is possible, just possible, that there is a job out there in which I can be content. It is also possible that I need to learn, by the Grace of God, to be content in a suboptimal job.

But I think I had ought rather to try being self employed.

Previously I have stated that I think I would rather have a day job than have to choose my artistic projects on their profit merit. Now that day jobs require obeisance to the State Religion, I am less content with that conclusion.

I talked it over with my best friend. My real plan is to tinker until mid-September, and hope that I can be drugged into being a productive citizen. But my ultimate goal is to create a little media company that covers my family’s needs, and there’s no reason I shouldn’t act on that goal. And following a pragmatic plan that I have considered and ignored because I doubt I can hold to it with my ADHD, on the basis of “Well, I might get treated a month from now, and that might enable me to carry it through,” is every bit as sensible as getting a retail job for a month, and hoping my treatment allows me to hold down a real job.

That was where I ended my thoughts the day before yesterday. Yesterday was a whirlwind tour of journaling in the form of comic-making.

I hope never to run these comics on Bunny Trail Junction. Navel gazing is self-indulgent and poor entertainment. But the rules are I draw whatever I feel like at the time and hope God gives me something good. And the whole point of this blog is to permit me to be self-indulgent.

Well, here’s the comics.

At this point I went onto YouTube and started looking up videos about space shooters. I wanted to get a feel for the field. I’ve done four or five space shooters by now, and I never want to do another. But if I must, I’d at least like to see if I can come up with something entertaining.

As I was watching the videos, I shook my head sadly. Why can’t I skip straight to the platformer? No. Not reasonable. I can’t assemble one in one month.

Then it struck me like a thunderbolt.

I went to bed last night confident I was going to work on platformers for the rest of my life. Queued up my playlist of platformer-related lectures, and drifted off to the dulcet tones of TotalBiscuit breaking down why a platformer failed, and reminding everyone that the market has no responsibility to make you successful.

Thing is, I have very little to add to the world of platformers. I have a lot to bring to a different genre.

And back and forth my brain goes between these two options like a ping-pong ball. Whee.

Ah, the irony of being told to man up by a figment of my own imagination. I’m sure there’s someone who thinks that’s not healthy.

Well. If ADHD is, as I suspect, retardation of the executive functions, then my self-talk is retarded. Behold: I have externalized it. Sadly, studies suggest that externalizing self-talk is not an effective treatment for ADHD. Though I don’t know. My use of the Zettelkasten allows me to bring my past to bear on my present in ways I previously could not.

Let’s break this sucker down.

When I have a dilemma, my three golden standards are Truth, Freedom, and Fun. Truth is meant to be objective: e.g. given a choice between something moral and immoral, I should obviously choose the moral one. Freedom and Fun are subjective my personal principles. I do not expect anyone else to follow them, for they are mine.

So let’s examine this:

  • Truth:
    • Neither choice is inherently sinful. That means on an absolute scale, they are equally good.
    • The platformer is marginally closer to my interests. But my interests are not a stable thing, and so it is unwise to use them as any sort of metric except to say I should not make any sort of game I blatantly dislike.
    • I blatantly dislike neither option. I actively like both.
    • Pixel art platformers are a dime a dozen. Adventure games are rarer. JRPGs are a dime a dozen thanks to RPG maker, but the style I’m going for is utterly unique because of design elements that don’t yet exist in RPG maker. It’s more marketable because unless and until my writing becomes broadly known, I have a corner on the market.
    • So, in terms of being true to myself, the platformer may be marginally better. But the metric is “sometimes I feel like it would be better.” Over and against this, the JRPG engine has “underserved market, good storytelling tool,” and, “sometimes I feel like it would be better. But fewer times than the platformer.” There is no clear way to objectively weigh these, but it feels like the JRPG comes out on top.
    • Unless the Lord builds the House, the workers labor in vain. Neither option will prosper without Christ’s blessing. Neither option will fail if Christ blesses my handiwork. So again, we come back to, “one seems slightly wiser than the other, but ultimately you can choose either.”
    • Inconclusive. Slight edge to JRPG.

Whew! Round two, ding ding!

  • Freedom:
    • Neither option intrinsically makes me more free.
    • If the JRPG path is indeed wiser from a business standpoint, the income will bring me a measure of freedom as a second order effect.
    • Inconclusive. Slight edge to JRPG.
  • Fun:
    • All the fun of the platformer for me is in designing and tweaking the mechanics. Level design could be fun, if I focus on hiding a bunch of secrets, but my experiences with Mario Maker indicate there’s a hard limit there.
    • Building a world and hiding secrets with minimal reference to game mechanics is, in fact, the standard fare of JRPGs.
    • Inconclusive. Slight edge to JRPG.

And here we go. Every indicator is pointing to the JRPG, but none of them with wild enthusiasm.

Which, in turn, suggests spending the remainder of August and September making a Candy Raid Trick or Treat game using the JRPG engine.

I am not 100% ready to commit yet. I need to think. To pray. To look through my Zettlekasten and see if I’ve learned any profound lessons in the past that would instantly clear this up. But I will be surprised if I do not land on the JRPG.

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