Creating one big idea by literally piecing together lots of little ideas / A lesson in recycling

Started on a rough animation for the presentation
Brought to you by the Ministry of Silly Walks
- Kalonica
I currently have the flu, so I know what it's like to die alone.

This week I've been thinking about themes. I like a theme in art, because I like to pretend other people have more of a clue than I have about life. 

I'm finding it hard to think of themes for this game, as it really has no story and the environment is a whole bunch of nothing. I guess the most basic theme of our game is the basic theme of all games, which is the basic theme of all art: to leave the player a tiny bit different than they were before.

There are three main topics I've been thinking about:

1. Companionship: the trials and tribulations of. Together you may be strong, but being dependant on others also makes you vulnerable. United in a group, you can be more than the sum of your parts, but you can also feel the loneliest you've ever been.

2. Snowflakes. Snowflakes are unique. We are all unique snowflakes. What does this mean in a world made of snow? What does this mean if they're all trying to kill you?

3. Resilience. You must keep striving forward, even though death is inevitable. I think this theme resonates with me the most. You know you're not going to succeed, it's certain you're going to let everyone down, you're mostway dead already, but you have to keep going. Because what's the alternative?

This week I'll be thinking of stories, starting on a polar bear and planning my funeral. Next time I'll write on things I've learnt from Mr Ferguson's comedy workshop.
Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made. Here are some real-life events which are too gamey to be in the game:
  • One time they camped on sea ice. This wasn't a great idea, as when they awoke they were floating out to sea and their possessions were scattered on a bunch of floating ice sheets. To get back to land, they had to collect their supplies and ponies and jump from one sheet to another as hungry orca whales lunged at them.
  • Another time, as they were crossing a field of crevasses, the ground collapsed under the dog sled team. Half the dogs were one one side, half were on the other, and the ones in the middle were slowly strangled to death by their harnesses.
  • As the last support team left Scott and his team to complete the final trek to the South Pole, the weather turned and they couldn't keep up time. To avoid dying of cold and starvation, they took a radical decision to speed up their journey. On the top of Beardmore glacier, they all hopped on the sled and rode all the way down, reaching speeds of 100 kph. 100 kph!
  •  The same team (lead by Lieutenant Evans) also encountered massive crevasses on the way back to camp. One particularly large crevasse, 25 metres from edge to edge, could only be crossed by a tiny ice-bridge. They named this "the crossbar to the H of Hell".

On stuff.


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Forgive me for another huge long blog post, but I've been stuck in a house with cats for a week and I'm enjoying the opportunity to use words with consonants in. I want to write about the future, because it's just like the present except you don't have to do it yet. It's also made entirely out of platonic forms and hope. The future is the best place to hide vulnerable emotions like hope, because no one will ever be able to find them to crush them.

I originally wanted to get into games design to get rid of all the silly plots and characters that had been free-loading off my synapses for years. The bludgers just kept breeding and producing new ideas, and I figured the sugary pill of paid employment would eradicate them all. I thought about being a writer, but decided against it because I enjoy having money and self-respect. (So obviously, I became a student.) 

We're all in our final year at RMIT, and it's been really fun. We do arty-farty stuff, and writing exercises, and make mods, and sculpt 3d models. The only downside is that we have to trade in this cozy patchwork world for the real one. There's only limited space under this doona, and you have to get out of bed sometime, even if you do have cold feet.

"What chance do I have" I wonder, often now. But it's not useful to be negative, except in certain medical or electrical circumstances. I can't remember who said "We have seen the enemy, and he is us", but I'm sure he was lots of fun to be around. Sometimes I think I'm the only optimist left in the world. 

So this project is pretty important, as it will be the last of its kind. All our other projects have been consumed, sent away to zoos or otherwise tamed for the domestic market. This will be the last wild game we make. Maybe one of our group will try eke out a living in the indie jungle. Perhaps we will all live in the city and tour the countryside on the weekends. Maybe we'll breed little baby games in our backyards as a hobby, or spend our lives splicing genes to determine the toenail colour of huge honking beasties. Maybe we'll stack supermarket shelves.

I'm quite sure the future will include play, because play is everything. As you get older, I think playfulness gets directed into certain areas. Flirting, cooking, decorating, pets and children. These are adult ways to play. The rest of it all seems very serious. And it seems to me when a person is serious for a long time, they get used to it. And it becomes comfortable and familiar, and eventually it happens that you can't remember feeling any other way. But there's always more future, and you can keep fun in there too.
At temperatures below 30 degrees, anything exposed to the air dies. Flesh freezes solid. Capillaries in the skin writhe and burst. Nerves shut down, then wake up screaming hours later. Fingers blacken and split. Hope evaporates. Dreams of homecoming perish. Memories fade. Thoughts other than food and warmth shrivel and die. Your only change of survival is to cut yourself off from the world. 

Fortunately, there's a Wikihow to tell you how to do it. I wouldn't want to be a polar explorer before the internet.