The more games become my job, the less I play.

I wanted to play Uncharted 4 today and didn’t.

I might still, the day isn’t over yet, but I probably won’t. I’m recording Uncharted 4 for the channel right now. It’s my first time through, I’d probably have finished it by now, but I’m clearing an hour at a time, chapter by chapter because I’m doing it for the channel. Playing Uncharted 4 means getting out the little PVR Rocket, clearing the USB stick, turning of the PS4’s HDCP protection so I can get a picture etc. etc. etc.

I’m loving Uncharted 4. It might be my favourite entry in a series I love, but playing it for the channel is so different to just sticking it on and vegetating to Nathan Drake’s dreamy blue eyes. Commentating, making sure the footage is still recording, making sure I sound clear; it’s all work. Not very hard work, but work all the same. Playing a game I love for a few hours leaves me feeling refreshed and relaxed, recording leaves me drained.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it, and I love running the Youtube channel, but it’s strange how easily your hobby becomes your work. I try to hit three big streams or uploads per day, once that’s done, who wants to spend more time staring at a screen? Playing for fun takes place strictly between sessions of playing for serious, which is still fun, but not as fun as the other kind of fun play that I mentioned before.

It’s a good thing in a way. I set up the channel in the first place because I was spending too much money on games that were either consuming all my time so nothing really got done, or sitting on shelves unplayed. By making my hobby my work, I’ve really turned my life around, but I sort of lost my hobby in the process. I’ve had to actively pursue other hobbies. Netflix is a blessing. But youtube isn’t the sort of job that lends itself well to this kind of life. I find myself perpetually in the mindset of the self employed. If I have time to watch three episodes of A Series of Unfortunate Events, I probably had time to log in and stream a bit of Minecraft, if I can kick back and waste time brushing my teeth, surely I could be answering a few silly little YT comments.

Working with games has made me a workaholic…

Well, except for the money.

And it’s not like I can kick the hobby completely, enjoy games only in my little circle of work and learn to love Films instead. I need to be up to date, even my outdated little channel needs a new game every now and then. Even I need to be up on the conversation, Nintendo Switches and Playstation Pros.

It’s not really a complaint, I love what I do. I want to do it for the rest of my life. I’d like to say one day that entertaining people pays the rent. I sit and I think about that and really, truly, genuinely, and uniquely sit back and think ‘there’s a job I’d feel satisfied to do’ and yet the deeper down this rabbit hole I get, the less I play. I spend time with games, sure… I have the controller in my hand for no less than five hours most days, but play?

I might never play again.

Why is 7 Days to Die so ugly on PS4?

As a Youtuber who falls reluctantly under the label of “Minecraft channel”, I’ve had 7 Days to Die recommended to me a lot. I’ve held back because I don’t really want to reinforce that label, and the market is so flooded with survival crafting zombie games it sort of feels like covering the existence of drinking water at this point. Still, it recently went on sale on the PS4 so I thought I’d check it out.

I like it. It might just be because this isn’t a genre I’ve spent much time with really, (I stream Minecraft every day but I draw the line there. When I’m done with Minecraft’s quota on the channel I put it away and play something else.) but I found myself really drawn in to the realist take on survival. This has always been my favourite part of Minecraft, and 7 Days to Die doesn’t prod as hard as We Happy Few did, so it has all been rather enjoyable. It’s hit and miss at times, the UI is a nightmare from hell, but the sophistication and intricacy of the gameplay grabbed me. I just don’t get why it looks so hideous.

7 Days to Die ps4 graphics

I know the game is procedurally generated, but it honestly looks a mess. Minecraft gets away with basic visuals because it has a complementary style, this aims for realism and undermines it any time you actually stop to look at anything. Character models are hideous, tools like like crap, digging the ground turns everything in a mess of muddy textures, the supposedly frightening Zombie enemies sometimes look like pre-bought assets lumbering around in different lighting to everything around them.

I know, I know, PC isn’t much better, but there’s a reason for that. It came out longer ago, it has to run on wider hardware while being procedurally generated, and on PC once you get the gameplay right, mods can fix the rest. The PS4 entry has had a long time to tighten things up, and it just feels like a cheap rush job. It’s a shame because I really want to like the game. I can see myself continuing to play it and really finding a lot of fun with it, but I’m going have to do that in spite of awful visuals and an interface that makes no attempts to help the player out.

Maybe I’m expecting too much from a quick port of a budget game, but trying to play it on the PS4 just shows how cheap, frustrating, and unrefined everything feels. Like the developers thought “people bought it on PC, this’ll do fine” without ever taking into account just how much customers can fix later on a PC game. I never wanted to like a game so much that felt like it was refusing to meet me half way at all.

Sunday Round-up – 25/10/2015

Last week’s round-up went missing, but it’s not going to be too lengthy as things have been a little quiet. (Illness in the Adams household this week, as well as a lot of other distractions.) Still, there are updates anyway.

In Fiction, the second chapter of Balancing the Books hit the blog. The third was also supposed to arrive but I forgot to schedule it. (Oops.) It will now be arriving some time in the week, with the ebook still preparing to launch in time for Halloween.

And elsewhere on the blog, I wrote a slightly rambly personal post about why I find writing blog posts, and self discipline in general, to be tricky concepts to master.

Timeshare updated as always, two updates to catch up on, but you can go straight to the latest here. The one that didn’t get a round-up is reproduced below.

timeshare009

The Youtube Channel continues as always, I finally got to the end of Outlast and am incredibly pleased I never have to play it again, Minecraft carries along as always, and we began a new project, Trine. Check out my vertigo inducing attempt to build a giant statue in Minecraft:

And Lastly, It has been a quiet fortnight but there’s a lot on the horizon. I’ve recently been digging in to Lego Dimensions, which will definitely be making an appearance on my Youtube channel, but I’ve been considering reviving the old Lego Blog and reviewing the more physical aspects of the game on there too. Early days yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

That’s all for now, I’ll see you next week!

Sunday Round-Up – 11/10/2015

Hey guys, I know the round up is normally posted Saturdays, but I was unbelievably busy yesterday and so it’s coming to you today instead. So, what’s new this week?

Fiction Friday is back. But it’s a little different, this time I’ll be serialising longer stories every week. You can check out the first part of Balancing the Books here. It’s a spooky little tale that will be playing out over three weeks, with an eBook release in time for Halloween.

#Drawlloween continues, I’ve been posting the pictures to the blog pretty regularly, but I’ve also moved away from posting here each and every day. I’m trying to keep stuff like that more to twitter for now. Here’s yesterday’s drawing, the subject was “Alien.”

Drawlloween10

 

And there’s another Timeshare strip of course… You can head on over to the site to read through, or check out this week’s comic below.

This week’s Those Aren’t Biscuits is now live,  this week we talked about our favourite music, corny 80s cartoons, and I demonstrated my lovely singing voice. Check it out here.

And last but not least, my Youtube channel is doing really well right now. It’s growing faster than ever, and you can head there to see me Let’s Play vids of games like Minecraft, Dead Rising, Outlast (if you’re brave.) Or, if you fancy something a little more bitesize, check out this wonderful moment where fellow Biscuits- Host Jon and I finally took down the AT-ATs in the Star Wars Battlefront Beta. It was a beautiful moment.

A Quick Round Up

Hey guys, I know updates have been a little thin on the ground lately but with me leaving my job and setting off in bold new directions (TBA) it has been a bit of a hectic few weeks. I just wanted to stop in to give you a quick update on how things have been going and what you can expect in the upcoming weeks and months.

Firstly, I’m changing up how I get my writing out there. For a while now I’ve been writing short stories, Novels during NaNoWriMo and little bit of flash fiction, and I’ve generally taken the approach of posting the Flash Fiction in the blog and hoarding everything else while I find time to edit it. I want to get in the habit of producing a little bit more and really working my reluctant Rewriting bones. With that in mind, I’m going to move on from the flash fiction for a bit and try to really produce longer, 5000 word-ish stories and post those up straight to the blog too. I’m also considering leaving them there permanently rather than pulling them when I publish to Amazon. In the past, I’ve enrolled books in KDP select but the benefits for that programme are a little thin on the ground these days. Even free book days have declined, barely generating the spikes in the graph they used to. So, all things considered, I think I have more to gain by leaving stuff here to draw in readers. Anyway, we’ll see how it goes.

Secondly, I’ve been trying to get back into art and cartooning. For years I was interested in webcomics but I’ve never really had the time I want to devote to it. I’m hoping to get back into it shortly, but I’ll give you more info about that later. With that in mind, I’ve been digging out some of the more recommended books on developing one’s artistry. My first stop was the highly recommended Drawing of the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. I have never been that great at drawing from sight, but after a couple of exercises I was producing pictures like these!

Superman SketchGarfield Sketch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Superman’s donning a bit of an afro, but I was still very impressed. The book is still in print and I really recommend it if you’re interested in upping your drawing skills. I’m hoping to keep it up, as well as branching out into painting, so expect to see a lot more art posted here among the writing.

Lastly, I’ve been trying to make a little out of my free time. I’m usually spending my downtime playing games, and I’ve been branching out into youtube. So, if you want to see me do a really bad job playing The Elder Scrolls: Arena, or do a slightly better job at Sim City 4, then check out my Youtube channel and let me know what you think .

So, that’s that. I’m going to be more diligent about updates from this point on, and I’ll be keeping you up to date with more outside the writing, but I today I just wanted to remind you I’m alive, and still creating wherever I can!