Video Games

Moving Day!

When the Ancient Forest and Tundra biomes were added to Landmark, I abandoned my tower and moved. It is hard to believe more than two weeks have already passed.

I found a lovely claim on a new island on the border between tundra and ancient forest in a beautiful valley near the beach, and fortunately Hubby and my aussie gamer buddies found claims nearby.

I took my time rebuilding the tower larger and prettier, improved my roof building technique, and then started experimenting to learn the tools and funky techniques a little better.

The swap meets put on by SmokeJumper, Govinda, and others had so many great examples of micro and antivoxel techniques, and so many creative ideas. Plus, I got a one on one tutorial from Tsagh on antivoxels. He (?) is a great teacher, and I highly recommend watching for the next class at the Leyspring academy.

When they announced the end of Alpha, I focused on adding Wantia(EQ)/Shin(EQ2) style houses to my village. I was able to work out the basic style, but there is a lot of work to do to be able to put together a complete village.

For those that don’t know, Alpha is now over. Closed beta starts later this week (Wednesday hopefully), and then it will be moving day again.

I’m planning on starting the village from scratch again (unless I get another wild inspiration). I’m not looking forward to coming up with the 38000 burled wood that I will need to rebuild the tower.

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Honoring the Craft

Wall before smoothing.

A lot has changed on my claim this week! During the work week I made slow progress. I went through the entire tower and smoothed the Plain Wood parts of the walls (for those who aren’t playing Landmark, that’s the open parts that sort of look like latticework). 

Smoothed wall.

After a couple days looking at the tower with smoothed walls, I wasn’t sure that I liked it. (more…)

Bug Report

I just submitted my favorite bug report ever. Since I regularly write bug reports for work, that’s really saying something.

One of the items in the Landmark patch notes today was “Added a feedback message to the player when they submit a bug. Now you know when it successfully sends the bug!”

Well, this evening I came across a bug, and submitted it (like the good little tester I am), and was disappointed to see that I did not receive a bug submission confirmation.

So naturally I proceeded to report another bug: “I submitted a bug report, and didn’t receive the new message confirming that the bug report had been submitted, so I am now submitting a bug report about bug report submission. :)”

When I read this to Hubby, I couldn’t stop laughing… but then a friend asked if I got a message confirming my bug report about not receiving a message about bug reports. And alas I didn’t.

Hopefully the bug is with the confirmation message for the submission of bug reports, and not the bug report submission itself, because it would be a shame if my bug report didn’t make SOMEONE laugh.

Murren’s Mountain

Holy crap you guys!

When I posted about my Landmark build, I never expected that people would like it so much. I have had a few people stop by to take a look while I was playing (building), and yesterday Noobzilla posted a walk through of my claim on YouTube! Check it out!

I’m grateful for all of the positive feedback, and in shock a bit.

My silly Qho floor, before I placed it in the tower. (Click for full size)

I created a crappy mosaic for the floor on the first level of the tower in honor of everyone’s favorite EQ2 trade skill quest giver, Qho AugrenIt is actually fairly ugly, but it amuses me. I expect that I’ll replace the floor with prettier tiles in the long run.This past week was super busy, so I haven’t made as much progress as I would have liked, but here are some updates.

I also finished placing the latticework in the walls of the tower, and I love how it looks. The next step (which I will start on this afternoon) will be to do some smoothing on the latticework to open the sides up a bit more. I hope that it ends up letting in more light! Since the lamps were dimmed, it doesn’t get bright enough in the tower.  

I’m a little worried that I’ll end up disliking it when the lattices are smoothed. To be safe I’m taking screenshots of the different wall configurations to work from in case I need to redo anything (since my templates are too full to hold the walls). 

For now, I’ve called my claim “Murren’s Mountain” (because I’m no good at creative names). I’m trying to come up with a better name to use long-term, and leaning toward something like “Shin Tower” (since it is inspired by the Village of Shin in EQ2 and Shinto architecture).

Latticework walls are placed!

Latticework walls are placed! (Click for full size)

Show and Tell – Landmark

I’ve been playing a lot of EverQuest Next Landmark recently. Even though it is still early in alpha, the game is great. In fact, I have hardly played any Minecraft (my most recent gaming obsession) since Landmark alpha started.

Me, Hubby, and our long time Aussie friend, just hanging out.

Me, Hubby, and our long time Aussie friend, just hanging out.

Landmark has so much potential, and the entire process that they (SOE) are taking with the open communication, no NDA, pay-to-play Alpha is refreshing. And also super fascinating to the business systems analyst and project manager in me. I’ll probably share my thoughts on that later.

Landmark is a sandbox game that is heavily focused on exploration and building the world. The pieces that have been released to the alpha group so far consist almost entirely of resource gathering, crafting, and building tools. So in essence, you go into the world and a piece of land plant your flag in it (almost literally) and build. You gather the resources that you need to make and upgrade tools, and to build everything that you want to build on your land. And you explore what others have built. There are some very talented people playing this game.

But now to the point. Today I want to share what I have made so far. (Click to view full size!)

The view from the bottom of the path up the mountain.

The view from the bottom of the path up the mountain.

I don’t consider any of this done at this point.

I really wanted to build a traditional Shinto arch, but I need to practice with the tools more before I can make one that looks right.

View from above, with Hubby's place down in the valley.

View from above, with Hubby’s place down in the valley.

Neighbors dotting the mountain tops.

Other settlers dotting the mountain tops.

I have three other neighbors near by. One at the base of my hill (almost looks like part of my claim) and two out in the desert valley.

I have three other neighbors near by. One at the base of my hill (almost looks like part of my claim) and two out in the desert valley.

For the building, I am still working on the latticework in the walls, and haven’t done much work on the interior. I plan to use the smoothing tool on all of it (or at least parts) to make the edges softer, and maybe make the pillars round. The arch is pretty, but not what I wanted.

Sunset!

I love how it looks at night!

I love how it looks at night!

Another night view.

Another night view.

If the images don’t load properly here, you can also view them on imgur.

For those of you out there that are playing landmark, if you have questions about how I did anything, let me know! I’m happy to share. If you want to take a look in person, I’m on Liberation/Dell in the SW corner of the jungle (coordinates:  -1340.40, 1340.60, 1647.60).

Reboot

Some days I’m glad I’m not my own boss.

Back when I was responsible for a team, I was a total pushover. Until I wasn’t. When I wasn’t, they hated me. In retrospect I know that what they hated was the inconsistency. But that’s another story.

What isn’t inconsistent is that I’m always hard on myself. I finish something a little late, and I’m sure that I’m walking on thin ice. Something goes the smallest bit haywire in one of my projects, and I’m sure I’m going to get fired. Even if it’s not within my control.

Usually this works to my advantage. It drives me to always improve. My boss appreciates that he never has to tell me what to do better. And eventually I find myself looking back and not really understanding how my professional growth happened.

Last year was incredibly abnormal for me in this respect. I was burned out, unmotivated, had lost focus on any career goal, and had turned into the type of worker that I would be happy to see fired. At least from my perspective. I have colleagues who assure me that I haven’t been a bad employee, I just haven’t lived up to my standard.

I took a lot of vacation in November and December. Perhaps that is why I feel like they were the two least productive months of my career. When I returned to work with the new year, I was apprehensive.

And then I surprised myself.

I accomplished more on January second than I expected. And again on the third.

Somehow with all the time I took off between Thanksgiving and New Years Day, I managed to shake off the horrible habits I’d picked up in 2013 and reestablish the great habits that I hold myself to.

As I have been writing this, I’ve been trying to determine why I’ve improved, and several things have come to the front of my mind.

First, I for the majority of my vacation worked my ass off. Not work work, but work nonetheless. Hubby and I hosted Christmas at our house this year. That meant cleaning house, rearranging, Christmas shopping, cooking, decorating, cooking more, and then doing even more house work. I made myself a huge list of everything that needed to be done, prioritized, set deadlines, and executed. Sound familiar? I essentially project managed my pre-Christmas to-do list (and right up through the weekend after Christmas since we continued the celebration through New Year’s Eve).

Second, even though I was working my ass off I made time to relax. This is a big deal for me. When something big has to be done I typically go all in until I get so burned out that I’m no longer productive. Hubby and I set aside a couple of days before Christmas on which we did a bit from my gigantic task list and then spent time together relaxing and having fun. Saints Row V, Minecraft, and Team Fortress 2 all got their fair share of attention, as did my Netflix queue and my crochet project (which was good, since it was a Christmas present).

Third, I delegated. There is no end to the kudos that Hubby gets for being so incredibly helpful with everything that I wanted to get done for Christmas. When Hubby asked what he could do to help, I looked at the list and gave him a task. I left my list of work that needed to be done on the coffee table, and when he wanted to help without being a distraction, he picked up the list and took the initiative.

Finally, I said no. I said no to myself (in the form of not starting a craft project for my elder niece’s Christmas present, and not making candies), and I said no to friends who wanted to get together right after Christmas (when I really needed some down time).

Leading up to my vacation I was struggling to make progress, like a computer that is bogged down by a hung process or a memory leak. My vacation was the reboot I needed to reestablish the old habits that I expect from myself at work (and at home), but hadn’t been living up to in quite a while.

Here’s to 2014 and carrying the momentum forward!

Too many things that I want to do, not enough time.

I’m constantly plagued by wanting to do, play, read, and watch too many things. I get into one, and get distracted by the next. It is the story of my life (and part of why I post here so rarely.

Recently, I’ve been making an effort to be on the computer less (and when I am on the computer to not play the same thing all the time). I’m now in the middle of a few craft projects:

  • Learning to crochet – It’s an on going process, and I mostly fiddle with it when I’m watching shows with my hubby. I’ve finished 2 things so far, and I’m free forming a blanket for my cats to lay on/play with now (since they love crocheted things so much).
  • Painting miniatures – I’m painting some Big Lebowski miniatures that I got for my brother and Hubby for Christmas. Many hours to go before I complete these, many other miniatures to paint when I’m done (more warmachine minis, and then my Stonehaven dwarven adventurers), and more coming in May (Relic Knights!).
  • The game box! – I have an old wooden box that I’m decorating and will use to store smallish games (Cards Against Humanity, Gloom, Fluxx, etc) for ease of transport.
  • To Do List Chalk Board – This one is kinda self explanatory

I want to work on all of them, but of course, I can’t do it all in one night. On top of that I have been yearning to play EQ2 (I haven’t played in so long that I probably need to reinstall), and I’m sure by the time I get home I’ll either want to play Guild Wars 2 or Orcs Must Die 2 with Hubby.

And of course, I’m constantly thinking about updating my blog at the worst times (like right now… Come on Amanda, break time is over…).

So what to do tonight, THAT is the question.

What comes next: anticipation and anxiety

When I went back to school, I had a grand plan: after graduating I would be qualified (by both project management experience and degree) to take the Project Management Professional test. I would study for a couple of months, take the test, and get my certification. After being certified, I’d try to get a project management job at Turbine.

I was in love with Turbine at the time, and still am, but I’ve realized that Turbine isn’t the only place I’d like to work, so I broadened my horizons. I want to work in a role where I can contribute the creation and support of video games (console, PC, mobile, you name it).

Last year I promised myself that I wouldn’t wait for the certification. It is still a goal (for this year even), but it doesn’t have to come before finding a job in the gaming industry.

So here I am, anticipating the thrill of finding a job and company that is a perfect fit for me and anxious about all of the things that a new job might mean for me.

The thought of a new job scares the hell out of me in some ways. I’ve worked for the same company for the past eleven years (That’s more than one-third of my life, yikes!), so it is comfortable; it feels like home. It would also mean a big move for my husband and I. We live in Bellingham (between Seattle and Vancouver, BC). I hope to find something in the Seattle area so that we can move between Bellingham and Seattle so Hubby doesn’t have to leave his job, but it is still a major change for us.

A new job would be exciting tons of reasons that I’ve shared before, but most importantly because if I choose well it will be a place where I can learn, grow, and be challenged. I know I’m odd, but I really like my work, when it is challenging (unfortunately, recently it hasn’t been). I could go on and on, but those are topics for other days.

I wake up every night thinking about it. Would Hubby really be comfortable moving out of state if I were to find something at Turbine or SOE? Will I be confident in interviews (the thought of interviewing terrifies me)? How do I meet people who work at the places that I want to work? What can I do to make my resume’ stand out? Should I call about the application I submitted before Christmas, or wait a while longer? So many questions and random thoughts float through my sleepy head.

It is exciting, and will be a fun adventure (even if there are a few sleepless nights).

Would you like one lump, or two?

I haven’t made time to write since last Sunday. So, to keep myself in the habit (and help me sleep better), I’ve decided to share this (relatively unedited train of thought) post. Think of it as the two of us sitting down over tea, and me monopolizing the conversation.

This last week flew by. Work was chaotic (in a verging on maddening yet semi-controlled sort of way), so much that I postponed a day off just so I could take that day knowing that I wasn’t perpetuating my backlog of work.

I mentioned recently that writing here has been helping me sleep better. This past week echoed that reality. I’ve gone back to waking up in the middle of the night thinking about everything and nothing, and having some really strange dreams. I’m sure it is fueled by my excitement for PAX (and then graduation), my eagerness to have a change in my career, and my nervousness about making it happen.

PAX is less than twelve days away now! I’m still fretting about being prepared. My hubby and a couple of our friends have planned what they’re going to wear each day. And they’re guys. I’m trying to get on that bandwagon, but I only have one shirt planned. For the other two, I’ll probably just pick whatever seems appropriate the day before.

I’ve started planning which panels to attend. I’d like to go to all of them, and then have another 3 or 4 days to wander and gawk over/play with all of the games and toys that will be there. The reality is that I’ll probably do a couple of career focused (not fanboy focused) panels per day, and spend the rest of the time exploring the glory that is PAX. Oh, and drinking caffeine. Lots and lots of caffeine.

I did decide to bring “introduction cards” (business cards, but for me – not for any business), because a little help to my networking skills couldn’t hurt. I haven’t decided what to put on them yet though. That may be my next task.

Well, that and completing two weeks worth of school work in the next 10 days.

~ Amanda

A few PAX related links

Preparing for PAX

I get to go to PAX this year! One month from now, the gamer masses will converge on Seattle for a three days of geekyness (as will music lovers for a different event, expect traffic). This will be my first PAX.

For the past week I haven’t been able to get PAX out of my head. Going to PAX is a big deal for me, both as a fangirl and as someone who wants to work in the video game industry. My inner project manager is planning what to bring and what to do, and making lists. A good plan starts with a list of things that need to happen right? (Well, after an objective, but that is already defined: PAX + Fun + Networking.) 

(more…)