Interview, some updates, some upcoming appearences

Hello friends. I want to share this interview from the last day of GDC. Crystal contacted me on Twitter and it was the very last thing I did before I headed to the airport and back home. It's a little rough around the edges (we recorded it in a crowded conference hall with no notice) but I think it may be my favourite I have done in a kind of weird way. Crystal is a really cool person and you can follow her work here.

Next week I will be showing DEEP at the Creative Coast Festival in Karlshamn, Sweden. I've never been to the Sweden before and I am excited to check out the feeling of the Scandinavian Peninsula. Apparently Swedish Whiskey is a thing! Gonna have to get me some of that while I am there. If you are in the area please do stop by and try the new version of DEEP (and recommend some Swedish whiskeys).

The other big upcoming showing in Shanghai, China (Whaaaaaaaaaat?). Niki has actually had one shown DEEP  this year in Beijing but this will be the furthest I have traveled with the work. I will be showing it and giving a talk to boot at the Buddhism and Technology Conference. We have taken DEEP to game shows, art shows and even science shows but this is a new frontier to us. I am told the audience will be mostly monks and academics. I am more then a little nervous to be talking about meditation to such folk, my understand of which is still in the realm of fundamentals. 

On the development side of things we are still plodding along. It is sloooooooooow but the experience is the best it has ever been. We are experimenting this month with alternative inputs and, if I can get them feeling good, it might actually become possible for us to distribute the game in a somewhat conventional manner. Google have sent me a Daydream so I'll see if I can get something running on that too. I'll let you know. 

 

Celebrate

As I have noted here many times, I am not very good at updating this blog. And that is unfortunate as there is so very much to share from the last year. DEEP is in full swing, there is a modest but passionate team of developers, designers, scientists, artists, musicians and wizards working hard on it. This summer it will be pushed out in a brand new way. There is also a new project, something aligned but very very different. A partnership with some amazing biologists where we are building something to help people cure a disease. And I was in a book! I can't believe it but I got to write about my life in games and I shared the pages with some really, really wonderful people.  And there are many many little things. I'll see if I can keep a little writing up and share them here over the next while, but to get started I will tell you a little thought I have been having. A pattern I have been playing with lately. 

Celebrate

Life, I am sure you have noticed, is really tough sometimes. I spend days, and weeks and sometimes years ruminating on this things I have done wrong and that have gone wrong. Maybe you do too. Our failures are many and our losses are in the mail. That is why it is so important to celebrate. Celebrate every little thing! Even the small things, ESPECIALLY THE SMALL THINGS. 

Celebrate something that happens this coming week, a milestone, a birthday, a self nurturing decision, a good night's sleep even. Celebrate and let me know about it! Be kind to yourself.

1 week in, 1 week out

I am happy to report that the experiment is going really well. I have taken the last week very very easy and kept up with almost all of the plans. The meditation has really helped me settle my emotions and has really diminished my anxiety and catastrophising. I still get a bit bumpy each day, but where before it would take over and consume me, now I notice it, communicate it and it passes after a while.  It's more "Tá brón orm" than "I am sad".

The creativity has been what has faltered so far. I have not kept up with it as much as I would like. A few sketches and some messing with the guitar but thats all for now. Tomorrow I'll be getting back to work on DEPE though so I will be sowing, sketching, wiring, coding and  tinkering. 

But the biggest success of all has been the "write down 2 things exercise". In case you don't know it here is how it works. 

Get yourself a nice notebook and a pen, you will use these exclusively for this exercise. Set a daily reminder on your phone to go off at the very end of your day, less than an hour before bed is ideal. When your alarm goes of think back through your entire day and pick your two favourite experiences. Some days you will be scraping to find two but you always can, even if it is something really, really small. Other days you will sit there agonising over which of the five great things to pick.

It is this deliberating that is the heart and soul of the exercise.  It feels like it re-appropriates that part of my brain that makes me miserable in service of happiness. The part that, left to it's own devices, will index every failing, every hurt, every crumb of loneliness and isolation and instead set it to work on picking whether you preferred seeing Star Wars for the third time or chatting with my friend. 

At the end of the week you look back on your collection of 14 highlights and pick your favourite 2 fro them and at the end of the month you pick your two favourite from those and so on and so on. 

I have never actually made it more than a few weeks for some reason but sure we'll see how we do here. 

Old Gear

You've been dropped in to the middle of an alien metropolis on a distant planet. It's loud and scary and all of your senses are utterly bamboozled by the cacophony of sights and smells and sounds. You need to get out. You have to get home. It's ok, don't worry. Don't panic. Here is something to help you find your way. 

This is how we live now. Our nervous system evolved on the pains of Africa over thousands of years to do a few things. Bond with our close ones, mate with our compatible ones, eat the tasty things and DON'T GET EATEN BY THE BIG THINGS!

We have walked out of those plains but we still got the same gear. Gear that is utterly unsuitable to navigating this bizarre world we have built. A world which is largely an expression of our collective neurosis' and fears, shame and desires. The scarier the world gets the more we are befuddled as we struggle to understand the world with our gear. This makes us more terrified and we make the world weirder still. 

So how do we stop this? Should we?

Perhaps we can continue to strain and stretch our gear. Perhaps if we try hard enough it will grow 3 sizes and we will once again be at peace with the world around us. 

2015

The time has come to cast an inevitable eye back over the year. It's inescapable, thou shalt inventory. So let's do this, and think about what it all means and what comes next. 

2015 has been exceptionally difficult for me.

This simple fact came as quite a shock to me. To look at my year through the distorted lens of Facebook, it has been one of accolades, jet setting and adventure. But that is not how it has felt. The truth is that this year started with a family illness that swept a fire of trauma though the hearts of all close to me. The first season was a blur of tears and anxiety. Things got better for a while but a deep depression, anxiety and isolation set in summer and I am still trying to shake it. This resurgence of this old problem has put a serious strain on my relationships and creativity and I just want to find a way out of it. 

Of course it has not all been bad. There has been some great stuff too. 

DEEP is better than ever
My physical fitness took a big jump this year
I started doing therapy
Me and Char's trip through Spain and Portugal was amazing

So what now. 

I am going to beat this thing. 

I will not allow sadness and despair to drown me in 2016. So here is the plan for the next 4 weeks:

Every day
Meditation
Exercise
Some form of creativity
Note my 2 favourite things about each day

Every week
Keep going to therapy
At least 1 Yoga class
See an old friend
Play a boardgame with loved ones
Note my 2 favourite things about each week

So that's the battle plan folks. When sadness visits I will meet it with a welcoming smile, listen to what it has to say and then move on. I'll update here on how it is going. If you are feeling down feel free to join me in this.... and let me know how you get on.