Status update

It’s been a while since my last post here, about 3 months. Worth noting that the lack of a message is a message itself.

First of all, Rot Gut’s status.

We’ve developed a multiplayer version of Rot Gut (lost the count, is it 4th time?) and tested with a lot of peers and feedbacks have been great. It has game modes, destructible environments and all that cool stuff that I wanted to do for so long and could not do in previous games. So that’s great there.

Then we’ve decided to add online multiplayer and it’s been my worst nightmare so far. I’ve dabbled with a lot of networking techs from UNet, to Photon, to Forge, to uLink, to etc just to find out none of these work out for us.

Each of them has a problem in it’s core that prevents us to develop our game on it.

This project introduces challenge after challenge from it’s start and this online networking has been the hardest that I’ve faced my whole life. Truly a beast that doesn’t want to get tamed, no matter how hard I try.

On the bright side, if there is any, I’ve learned much about networking and multiplayer and it’s been adventurous on that side.

Personally speaking, my depression got worse and I’ve been changing meds and none of them worked out so far. It’s very hard to be alone, deal with depression (among other things) and face a project that is hardest you’ve faced so far and there is no guarantee that would even make a single buck.

I find myself more and more trying to escape this craziness called “Indie Game Dev” and before it gets even more late to find a “job” that pays. But I can’t. I simply love it so much and spent so much time to just be able to leave it be. Maybe it’s the right choice.

I’ve used to thinking of quitting before but the frequency has gotten so much higher than before. And it’s not good.

That’s all for now I think.

لطفا به یکدیگر فرصتِ بودن بدهیم

این متن رو مرتب معتمدی نوشته و به نظرم خوندنش به صورت روزانه و دوره ای خیلی برای ما واجب هستش. پیشنهاد جدی میکنم این متن رو٬ حداقل یک بار٬ بخونید.

به یکدیگر فرصت «بودن» بدهیم

بعد از سفر ۳۶ روزه به خارج و مشاهده‌ی داخل سر فرصت، این نتیجه به من رسید که ما در ایران، شایدم جهان، اسیر یکدیگر هستیم. از خانواده گرفته تا دوست و ملت و دولت.
ما به معنای واقعی کلمه «درگیر» همه هستیم جز خودمان. رونق فیس‌بوک و وایبر و اینستاگرام هم گواه بر همین است.
ما با نظر‌ها، توجه‌ها، کمک‌ها، هم‌دردی‌ها، قضاوت‌ها و فضولی‌ها و انواع سیخونک‌ها، یکدیگر را در این مملکت زندانی کرده‌ایم و نه به هم و نه به خود، اجازه‌ی بودن نمی‌دهیم.
اجازه‌ی آزاد بودن، بی‌دین‌بودن، کسخل‌بودن، گیاه‌خواربودن، عجیب‌لباس‌بودن، همجنس‌گرابودن، تپل‌بودن، کچل‌بودن و هر کوفتی بودن.
ما حتی اجازه نمی‌دهیم پارتنر سابق‌مان که دیگر با ما نیست، با کس دیگری وارد رابطه شود. یعنی او حتی بعد از رهایی از بند ما، آزاد نیست؟
به کره‌ی زمین قسم که او آزاد است.
ما اسیریم، که حتی چیزهای تمام شده را ول نمی‌کنیم.

ول کنیم تا ول شویم
می‌دانم که تقریبا در این خاک، امری‌ نشدنی‌ست. ولی حداقل سعی که می‌شود کرد. از نظر ندادن و نظر نخواستن شروع کنیم و تمرکز خود را به سمت «داخل» معطوف کنیم تا «خارج». موتور مقایسه‌گر و فضولی‌گر و قضاوت‌گر را خاموش کنیم و به خودمان و دیگران «فضا» بدهیم.
جا برای همه هست.

اول اشتباه خود را درست کنیم، بعد دوباره اشتباه خودمان را
وقتی به آموختن یوگا یا هر راه و روشِ «درست‌کن» مشغول می‌شویم. اول از همه می‌فهمیم که در هر ثانیه از بودن حداقل یک اشتباه داریم که باید درستش کنیم. یا طرز نشستن و ایستادنمان است، یا تنفس، یا نگاه یا طرز «تفکر». که معمولا همه‌ی این‌ اشتباه‌ها را در لحظه داریم. پس چطور انقدر «به‌کار» دیگرانیم؟ چطور انقدر مشغول «نقد و نظر» هستیم؟ گیریم «سازنده» هم باشد. نخواستیم. خودمان را اگر بسازیم، سازنده‌ترین کار است. خیلی هم وقت و انرژی می‌برد. شش دنگ حواس را هم می‌بلعد.

حواسمان به خودمان باشد
از اره، اوره و شمسی‌کوره بکشیم بیرون و بکنیم در خودمان. خیلی سفت!
در نهایت و در همین لحظه، همه‌ی ما تنها هستیم. این‌را بفهمیم و به دیزاین و «طراحی تنهایی» بپردازیم. از محکم کردن چارچوب بدنمان تا شل‌کردن و رهاساختن سیالِ فکر و ذهنمان. مطمئن باشیم که عزیزانمان بدون آنکه بگوییم، چون داریم «انجام» می‌دهیم، از ما یاد می‌گیرند و ما خواهی‌نخواهی تاثیر سازنده‌مان را به اطراف منتقل می‌کنیم.

سفر خارج برویم
نه حتما خارج از کشور، ولی به خارج از خانه، خارج از شهر، خارج از مغز، عقیده، تعصب، باور و خارج از هر چارچوبی که درون‌ آنیم برویم. با این کار، فرصت سفر به داخل را از طریق دور شدن و مسلط شدن و مشاهده کردن پیدا می‌کنیم. البته اگر باز در آن خارج حواسمان به دیگران نباشد.

لطفا به یکدیگر فرصتِ بودن بدهیم.
تا به خودمان اجازه‌ی بودن بدهیم.

A blog, a post (and few other stories)

Some big stuff happened like Rot Gut getting Greenlit and some other things and wrote a big draft on all this but I rather talk about this rather than brag on.

There are several sources of wisdom that are not “single-use”, meaning that you can read and re-read them after some time and they will fruit deeper and more valuable each time (Replaybility value?). I’m sure, or at least hope, each of us has at least one in each category that is important to one self and I like to share one of mine with you.

The source of wisdom that I’m about to share is nothing but Dead Mage studio’s lead Amir H. Fassihi‘s personal blog, cleverly called “thought++“.

I find myself getting back to this blog for several years now and after reading new blog posts, I get back to the old ones and re-read them and even though I know some of them by heart, I find a lot of wisdom hardened into them and it’s always been a mesmerizing experience.

I strongly suggest you do the same, especially if you are into game development or similar fields but there are enough content for everyone and any discipline, IMHO.

If you “do not have time” to do that ( *sighs* ), I suggest you to at least read this particular blog post, “The Rare Breed“. There are 20 mandatory and 3 optional attributes listed by the man of the hour that is essential to any candidate for the project they were head hunting at the time but it’s a good measure on where you are in your life, no matter whether you are into programming or not.

I’ve printed the list and pasted on my wall in my room and read it everyday to my shame, just to realize how far I am from the person I should be, and clearly am not.

15 Million Merits

“I haven’t got a speech I didn’t plan words I didn’t even try to, I just knew I had to get here, to stand here and I knew I wanted you to listen, to really listen. Not just pull a face like you’re listening like you do the rest of the time, a face that you’re feeling instead of processing.”

“You pull a face and poke it towards the stage, and we lah-di-dah, we sing and dance and tumble around. And all you see up here, it’s not people, you don’t see people up here it’s all fodder. And the faker the fodder, the more you love it, because fake fodder’s the only thing that works any more. Fake fodder is all we can stomach. Actually, not quite all; real pain, real viciousness, that, we can take.”

“Yeah, stick a fat man up a pole and we’ll laugh ourselves feral, because we’ve earned the right. We’ve done cell time and he’s slacking, the scum, so ha-ha-ha at him! Because we’re so out of our minds with desperation, we don’t know any better. All we know is fake fodder and buying shit. That’s how we speak to each other, how we express ourselves is buying shit.”

“What, I have a dream? The peak of our dreams is a new app for our Dopple, it doesn’t exist! It’s not even there! We buy shit that’s not even there. Show us something real and free and beautiful. You couldn’t. Yeah? It’ll break us. We’re too numb for it. I might as well choke. It’s only so much wonder we can bear. That’s why when you find any wonder whatsoever; you dole it out in meager portions.”

“And only then until it’s augmented, packaged, and plumped through 10,000 pre-assigned filters till it’s nothing more than a meaningless series of lights, while we ride day in day out, going where? Powering what? All tiny cells and tiny screens and bigger cells and bigger screens and fuck you!”

“Fuck you, that’s what it boils down to. It’s Fuck you for sitting there and slowly making things worse. Fuck you and your spotlight and your sanctimonious faces. Fuck you all for thinking the one thing I came close to never meant anything. For oozing around it and crushing it into a bone, into a joke. One more ugly joke in a kingdom of millions. Fuck you for happening. Fuck you for me, for us, for everyone. Fuck you!”

Bing’s speech on Black Mirror episode “15 Million Merits”
Channel 4
performed by Daniel Kaluuya

I haven’t got a speech. I didn’t
plan words. I didn’t even try to…

سیگار نیمسوز

پسر در ماشین منتظر بود. رو فرمان انگشست میزد. ظهر، حدود ساعت 3 بعد از ظهر، تپه های شمس آباد

پس کجا بودی؟ چرا اینقدر دیر کردی؟

نمیتونستم بیام، یه ماشینه مشکی اینجا بود نمیدونستم کیه. از دست بابام هم باید وقتی خونه بودم بکشم هم الان که مثلا خلاص شدم از دستش. خوب حالا کجا میخوایم بریم؟

بشین، بشین که باهات خیلی کار دارم.


آیدین؛ اینجا کجاس داریم میریم؟ میخوای سورپرایزم کنی کلک؟

آره عزیزم، میخوام سورپرایزت کنم


کات به بیرونی، زمستون، دم دمای گرگ و میش، یه جایی مثله لواسون، هیچکس نیست و فقط این دونفر جلوی کادر هستن

آیدین، داره دیر میشه، کجاییم الان؟ کی برمیگردیم تهران؟ میترسم …

نترس وقتی با منی

نمیگم میترسما میدونی که من خیلی بهت اعتماد دارم


ولی خوب یکمم میترسم چیکار کنم خوب

ببین …

چی شده؟


آیدین زود باش بریم اون ماشینه چیه داره میاد اینوری، پلیس مولیس نباشه شر بشه

نه نترس

نمیترسم، وقتی با تو ام نمیترسم


عزیزم برگردیم دیگه؟ خیلی داره دیر میشه او ن ماشینه هم نزدیکمونه

ببین …


من خیلی دوست دارم، خودتم خوب میدونی

آره، خوب؟

پدرت بهم هفته پیش زنگ زد

بابام؟ چی گفت؟

هیچی، یکم باهم صحبت کردیم، حرفای مردونه

راستشو بگو، چی گفت؟

هیچی بابا هیچی فقط نگران تو بود میگفت چرا اینطوری میکنه و به زندگیش لگد میزنه

ولم کن، آیدین این ماشینه رو فک کنم میشناسما …

به من گوش کن، ولش کن اونو


خلاصه کنم برات، وقت نیست خیلی

بگو جونمو به لبم رسوندی. آیدین اینا چرا دارن میان سمت ماشین ما؟ میشناسیشون؟

قرار گذاشتیم که تو برگردی


هیچی قرار شد تو برگردی خونه، بعد بابات کمکمون کنه باهم درست زندگی رو بسازیم

آیدین! من که بهت گفتم اون چطور آدمیه. من رو میخواد به زور بفرسته خارج مارو از هم دور کنه

نه خودش بهم گفت اینکارو نمیکنه

تو چرا باور کردی؟ اونو نمیشناسی آیدین نمیشناسیش

ببین، با اینا برو، اینا تورو صحیح و سالم میبرن پیش بابا بعد من میام باهم حرف میزنیم

آیدین،  نکن این کارو بامن نکن

چیزی نمیشه که میشینی تو ماشین و میری، همین

آیدین تورو خدا کمکم کن نزار اینا منو ببرن

*صداهای دخترک تبدیل به جیغ میشه

آیدین اینا چرا ئس با من اینطوری میکنن مگه نگفتی منو میخوان فقط ببرن پس چرا …

پسرک پشت به صحنه، سیگاری روشن میکند.

به چراغ های کم نور ولی پرتعداد شهر نگاه میکند و

پک عمیقی به سیگار میزند

Purpose of making games

4th LIMITED ACCESS festival poster.

I always thought of this blog as a technical one but I’ve been recently thinking about writing about other aspects as well because I find technical stuff, simply boring. This leads to my point of this blog post, purpose of what I’ve been doing with my life for past several years, making games.

Even though I have a technical background, I always had a strong artistic side. Sometimes I nurtured it and let it grow and show itself, which was either as my experiments with making films, experimenting with making music or doing regular sketches and playing instruments. I’ve been lucky enough to attend to 4th LIMITED ACCESS festival, curated by Amirali “Ghaf” Ghasemi, and this triggered that side once again.

I think about my life a lot. It’s purpose and what’s the best way to live it. What can I do to make it more meaningful. What can I leave as my legacy, if any. As I age, I think about this even more, about the true potentials that I have and what I can really do with my life, in retrospect of what I’m actually doing. And to be honest with you, I find making games, just meaningless.

It’s true that it’s the only thing that I truly love, I mean if I turn to be the richest man on the Earth in an instant, I will continue to do exact thing that I’m doing, this much. But it doesn’t satisfy me. I’m still not as good as I want in programming or developing games, mainly because I didn’t just code my whole career and tried different paths as was needed in the project but still it’s not that easy for me. So after a long and hard day, I think about what I’ve been doing and what I added to this world and it just crumbles into, entertainment.

There is nothing wrong in entertaining people, I even find it very good that in this day and age, if you can even make some fun time for someone with your game, you’ve won but people can be entertained very easily and even if I stop doing what I’m doing, there will be someone else doing it. Heck, look at the amount of apps and games that is thrown in app stores everyday, surely there is no lack of app developers. Of course how good or bad they are is debatable.

Sad thing is, people are trying to find a good pipeline to make “better” games. And by “better” they mean a way that they find people like and teach so others can copy it and follow the same path because “it worked for Maio” or something. And that is sad. That is killing creativity by limiting and teaching whatnot. Of course you can teach someone basics but they are more likely to follow the path blindly rather than trying to get out of their comfort zone and do something new.

Art on the other hand, I find very amusing. One can do several things with art, or by combining art into games. With Art you can express yourself, talk about ideas, challenge people, share experiments and a lot of other things which I find more meaningful than just entertaining people. I’m not a teacher or anything but I really hate to be some guy who just makes games so people can buy and entertain so he can make a few bucks.

Yes you can do other things with games like Serious Games or educational games but over the years I’ve seen that almost no one plays such games or take them seriously enough so after several years that they have been introduced, good digital games for this purpose are almost non-existent, due to lack of market.

I can be wrong on some of assumptions that I just made but I’ve been seriously thinking about this and I really feel I can use my knowledge to express myself or be more “meaningful”.

به بهانه فروغ

I tend to keep this blog technical so it would hopefully bear some fruit to someone but there are rare times that I find poems that describe me perfectly and I can’t resist on not putting them here, usually to store them. You, if are not me from the future, may find it useful/amusing/etc. .

It’s by Forough Farrokhzad, was an Iranian poet and film director. She is arguably one of Iran’s most influential female poets of the twentieth century. She was a controversial modernist poet and an iconoclast. Even though today is her birthday, I did not put this to celebrate it:

نمي دانم چه مي خواهم خدا يا
به دنبال چه مي گردم شب و روز
چه مي جويد نگاه خسته من
چرا افسرده است اين قلب پر سوز
ز جمع آشنايان ميگريزم
به كنجي مي خزم آرام و خاموش
نگاهم غوطه ور در تيرگيها
به بيمار دل خود مي دهم گوش
گريزانم از اين مردم كه با من
به ظاهر همدم ويكرنگ هستند
ولي در باطن از فرط حقارت
بدامانم دو صد پيرايه بستند
از اين مردم كه تا شعرم شنيدند
برويم چون گلي خوشبو شكفتند
ولي آن دم كه در خلوت نشستند
مرا ديوانه اي بد نام گفتند
دل من اي دل ديوانه من
كه مي سوزي از اين بيگانگي ها
مكن ديگر ز دست غير فرياد
خدا را بس كن اين ديوانگي ها


Report on making 2D mobile games with Unity.

After several months spent on learning Unity on making 2D mobile games, here are my thoughts on the matter:

1) Don’t get me wrong, Unity is a great game engine, probably the best I’ve worked so far, but I think for 2D and especially the type of games that I’m intend to make, it’s bloated. I’ve accessed best 2D tools for it and even with those, you feel like that it’s not intended to do 2D with and it’s like you are always trying to make it work 2D for you while it was made for making 3D in mind. This makes you not only do not use some of it’s great tools, but you have to carefully make sure those tools do not get in you way of making 2D. I’ve seen several good 2D games made with Unity and if I may consider it again but I feel it’s not for the type of games I want to make.

2) Artist-wise: You have to teach your pipeline to your artist(s) in order for them to be able to import their art and each iteration is lengthier because it has to go through all that 3D pipeline that Unity has. I prefer a simple file replacement method for small games that I tend to make. I don’t feel good, and safe, to have all my game some texture on a plane.

3) License-wise: I have basic mobile license for Unity and even with paid license, I don’t get support for some basic stuff that I feel is not available to me to force me to go for “pro”. For example when I paid for a license, why can’t I remove Unity’s splash screen?! I have to pay $3000+ for such feature. Striping unused stuff is another thing. If you pay for a “pro” license, you get to decrease file size by removing components that you do not use! Why it’s a “pro” feature?!
It’s just plain annoying and bad PR, IMHO. And you have lots of things that you are paying for that you will not use.

4) Because it was made with 3D in mind, most of the common problems/solutions in other 2D engines are available to you in 3D. It “may” sound good to you if you are not experienced enough but an experienced developer knows it’s just more problems to you.

5) A lot of hidden costs for making 2D. As I mentioned before, if you want to go 2D with it, you have to either develop or buy several packages to shed some light on your nightmares and they either mean more money or more man-power.

Even though learning Unity was a joyful journey, and I’m truly happy that I’ve learned it, I’m thinking about 2D specific options here.

My [future] kid.

I’m a die hard Tintin fan. Through the years I collected all the books in the series that they used to print officially in Iran with localized translations. And the reason I kept them is to deliver the same experience I had had reading them as a kid to my own. To let him learn many aspects of life, being from how to man a submarine to land on Moon, from the Chinese mafia to Pharaohs of Egypt. So I was watching Kramer Vs. Kramer  the other day and at some point the protagonist was reading Tintin to his kid (even the image quality is very bad, I recognized the book being Red Rackham’s Treasure) and instantly saw this idea that I had for my whole life just in front of me.

I can’t thank enough of Sir Hergé for his outstanding legacy.