Game developer of many hats. MFA Thesis student. Part-time vocal synthesis guru.

Thesis Blog

Warning: not all blogging is directly related to thesis, although most of it is.

GDC: Night 2

Not too much happened today, but I did have a couple of important things to write down.

When I talked about my “boss battle” metaphor with a friend, he pointed out that fighting the “illness creature” with violence was somewhat unproductive—dangerous, even, considering that that means beating yourself up, trying to force your way through. It was an interesting take on the concept; I had imagined the actual means of the “battle” to be nonviolent, yes, but there is merit to seeing it as a more standard video game battle, as well. Fighting oneself is a losing battle, not just an unending one; learning to exist at peace with one’s illness, not letting it rule your life while also accommodating it when you must, is the real goal. Perhaps I can even work that into the mechanics by presenting it as a battle, only for the player to learn with time that fighting is unproductive… There’s some deeply interesting potential here.

We also talked about how anxiety, to him, could be described as “something innocuous living inside of me, but when it feels threatened, it lashes out and becomes dangerous”… I love that description, and it fits right in to the “creature” design that lives in my mind. A “muck” that makes it hard to leave the bed; fangs and claws that form when stress begins to mount. The strange, horrible cycle I’ve been trapped in: not wanting to face the thing because facing it is stressful, but being stressed out because I’m not dealing with the thing that’s sitting on my shoulders, weighing me down. I want to keep digging into all of this…

We also talked a lot about vocal synthesis and audio signal processing, which is incredibly interesting but not entirely topical.

I talked with another person who suffers from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) pretty heavily. They had some neat opinions, too, and some interesting takes on how depression feels that they promised to share with me—since they’re another writerly type, I’m interested to see how they talk about it. We talked a lot about mental health, suicidality, the dangers of misusing suicidal themes in media—as they said sarcastically, “normal dinner conversation”, but if my superpower is helping people bare themselves in unexpected ways and learn about themselves when they talk to me, then I really can’t complain about that in the slightest.

I was reminded of my possible “game over” screen, if there’s a need for one, which would simply read “Do you want to give up?”… where if giving up means death, of course you don’t want to give up. You just want to stop trying so hard all the time. We talked about how touching on sucidality at all in media can be dangerous, as it must be utterly accurate, and never glorified; we agreed that most likely, suicidal impulses and the topic at large should probably remain relegated to autobiographical works in some capacity…

I took a refreshing walk through the industrial suburbs on a long misadventure to find some business cards. It was actually quite nice; I felt utterly apart from all things for a little while doing that. A change of scenery is really the best thing for my health, I think. Supportive conversation, fresh conversation, fresh perspectives and scenery—sometimes just putting the extra effort into dressing nicely can help pick me up from a low-energy state. Still, I’m exhausted already, and I expect only more of that to come…

personal, gdcLou Carrollgdc