I’ve been away. Not just from blogging, but from creating, too.
My creativity goes through phases, where I know very well what I want to achieve, and I burst with energy. Then, I go a bit too hard or I go down some rabbit hole, and I lose my way for a bit. Sometimes it’s a few days, sometimes a month. I’ve learned to recognize this and take it as a sign that I need to refill my creative tank.
But the past two weeks were different. I didn’t feel like creating, but I also couldn’t quite remember why I wanted to create. And not in the sense that I literally forgot, but just that I couldn’t feel it anymore. There was a big empty silhouette in the spot where my passion used to be. And damn I had no idea how to fix that. I had a lot of cool projects I could work on but I didn’t feel like it. Refilling the creative tank with cool shows/games/art didn’t work either. Plus I also felt held back by the muscles in my arm being overloaded recently, and worries about houses and friendships and more. It was a weird time.
What got me out of it was the Netflix show Sex Education. Aside from being very good, it reminded me of something I had forgotten: authenticity.
I’ve been working on a bunch of prototypes for games recently, and while they are all good game ideas, I realized they were missing something: my authenticity. I was so focused on mechanics and scope and marketability that I didn’t realize these prototypes felt hollow because they didn’t include enough of me. A relatable character, an experience I’ve had, a place I’ve been, a theme that I struggle with. I need to start from there again.
In the words of Kanye:
I just needed time alone with my own thoughts Got treasures in my mind but couldn’t open up my own vault My childlike creativity, purity and honesty Was honestly being crowded by these grown thoughts
I’ve always been a fan of the Tomb Raider franchise, so I had to seize this opportunity to play with the formula. And I learned a lot doing so, as this is my first fully 3D third-person game. (It doesn’t even use Adventure Creator!)
The first thing I watched on Netflix in 2019 was Taylor Swift’s Reputation tour. I loved 1989, but I hadn’t really checked out her newest album yet (or any other album), so: great excuse. And it reminded me why I like Taylor; the phenomenon around her has gotten immense, but in the center is still this genuine likeable person – who still genuinely loves what she does.
2018 has been a funny one. Even though it’s technically been a quiet year for Hedgefield lots has happened still.
For starters, I had my first intern! Kim Leunen from the HKU asked if she could intern with me for a few months, so every week we sat down and spent the day making games.
It was really refreshing to work with someone from the game world again. And like me, Kim started from illustration and now wanted to tell interactive stories, so our design vision was very similar.
We wrote a new concept from the ashes of Black Feather Forest, and built a prototype for her girlscout forest adventure game (a recurring theme in my career by now). I look forward to seeing what she creates.
I don’t usually get around to doing inktober, but this year I was doing a lot with my iPad Pro, so it was easier to roll into it. What helped me especially was not to try and do the prompts list, but just draw whatever was on my mind that day. If there is an emotion behind it, I find it’s easier to start drawing.