Talking at AGDS (and other updates)

So famous! So Jams! So updating my website for the first time in almost a year!


Long time no see! If you’ve explored my website you’ll probably find out first-hand that my focus comes in cycles - consistency is not my strong suit, and consistency is maybe the most important part of having a blog. My last blog posts were made during my last hyperfixation on making my website - now I’m remaking my website and the hyperfixation is back. So enjoy this moment together, when the hyperfixation well runs dry I’ll be gone for another year!

In March of 2024 - Wix decided to dramatically increase its prices - and I am unbelievably cheap and stingy; so I’m taking matters into my own hands and writing my new site with HTML. There are probably many better, other ways to do this - but hey, that’s for the next website overhaul hyperfixation phase.

As to not just be a “hey, I exist” kind of update; here’s a list of things that happened since I last updated my blog in… March 2023?

  • Did the honours thing
  • Graduated from the uni thing
  • Worked at the uni thing for two months
  • Started to do the freelance thing
  • Joined Biome Collective (and did some things)
  • Resumed development on that For Hexposure thing
  • Made 4 game jam things
  • Hosted a talk thing at the Abertay Game Dev Society

That last thing is what I want to especially talk about here - everything else is fairly well documented across the site - but being invited to do a talk was a pretty big event for me! I had never really done something on that scope before - but it went down really well and I’m glad that I got to portray some of my own personal perspective to the students.

I tailored the talk to advice I wished I had as a student - I don't think I’d be exactly qualified to give out grand, sweeping industry advice or really technical advice, so I felt like trying to provide a slice of my own vulnerability and honesty and story for the audience would be the best call. One of the things I particularly suffered from as a student was imposter syndrome - heck, I still see myself falling for it nowadays on occasion. A lot of my own personal identity has come about from trying to battle imposter syndrome - continuing to create and be vulnerably honest to override the fear that I’m never as good as anyone else. The world is not on a linear track - I am never going to be the best by all objective metrics, but I do have my own artistic identity and style that keeps me going and growing.

There have been so many moments where I have personally looked up to an artist or peer in some way - and inherently I have been comparing myself to them, viewing their skill level as an insurmountable ceiling from which I am crumpled onto the living room floor. But in quite a lot of those instances, I’ve found that when I actually talked to those artists, they ended up appreciating and looking up to me in different ways? The slides for the talk that I’ll link will somewhat cover this, but there are a few anecdotes I ended up dropping on the spot that I’m going to relay here. See this as a sort of commentary track to the slides!

The slides feature some references to a mysterious ‘Jack’ - someone who I met in my 1st year classes of uni who seemingly had infinite amounts of charisma and knowledge about everything about computers and programming and everything ever somehow. And I just consistently compared myself - even after we became friends, even after I started succeeding in other areas. It is very hard to comprehend the different stages in growth and different areas of specialisation when you are in the weeds of creation.

One night I was talking home with this ‘Jack’ fellow and, in an interaction he probably doesn’t remember, he said that I was one of the best programmers he had ever met - which I immediately responded with… “that’s bullshit.” Because, in my head, I felt like I was no comparison to his level of technical knowledge and skill, and he had to know other people far more technically competent than me. But he elaborated - and said that no one else thought about games in the same way as me - that my brain interfaced with game mechanics with such an efficiency that he looked up to. And after thinking on it, I realised that he was right. During DARE, we had a Gantt chart of implementation time, and things were supposed to take around 4 weeks. When we got to actually implementing that list of things… I did most of it over two days. It’s so easy to feel unremarkable when the only context you have is your own self - but I have had to force myself to feel remarkable ever since. Every little thing I do, I try to take a little pride in. Updating this website made me realise that I have done a huge amount of things, in a variety of directions, even just in the past few years.

Especially since a lot of those things are in different directions, it’s hard to calculate the overwhelming magnitude of progress I have made since those days where I felt particularly small. But hearing how other people talk about me has shown me that the progress has been occurring in spades - and one day I’ll look back on the overwhelming kingdom I’ve crafted, and the progress will be undeniable.

I am the only person that is making games that are Undeniably Me - and living in that feeling, and the comfy little niche it gives me, is sometimes all I have and all I can attract value from. Life, society, and all of its byproducts can be so competitive - and I am unable to compete in that way. I wasn’t built for competition, and that much becomes evermore clear as I keep going - but I was built for expression, so I’m gonna keep trying at that part.

If you want to read the slides of my talk, they can be found here: public AGDS TALK MAR14