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.

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…

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


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.

Carmack’s reply!

As I’m finishing up my game, Rot Gut, these days I was trying to remember all the people helped me during the process to at least thank them in the additional credits page. As I was remembering people, I remembered how at some of the hardest parts of last year that I mostly spend on learning flixel and developing Rot Gut with it, one of the most inspirational videos that I used to watch, as always, were Carmack’s talks on several occasions, from old press conference of ID Software at a tiny room that he is asked by journalists about whereabouts of DOOM to Visits to ID software videos up to E3 demos featuring RAGE on PC/PS3/XBOX360 running at the same time to his invaluable QuakeCons that gave me energy to see how people are doing such great stuff and thus how my problems perhaps have solutions.

If I want to talk about my deep love towards id Software I have to go on and on and this post will probably never end so as it’s 4am here let me cut to the point today out of the blue I thought to tweet him and ask if he would give me permission to state his name under “Lifetime Inspiration” and then the most amazing thing in a very long time happened, he replied with a very very very modest reply “I would be honored”.

My jaws were, and to be honest with you still is, dropped on the floor. He is co-founder of id Software with 54k followers on tweeter and just tweets once or twice every 2-3 days.

My words cannot express my feelings, so I think I better stop typing and just leave you with the screenshot I made from that tweet:

مواظب سرمایه داری خبیث باشید

داشتم در مورد خرید آی پد، مطلب میخوندم که یه متن خیلی جالبی دیدم، قسمتیش رو براتون مینوسیم

مواظب سرمایه داری خبیث باشید

سرمایه داری موجود خبیثیه. بحث کمونیسم و عرفان و غیره نیست. بحث یک چپ انتقادیه. سرمایه داری خیلی ماهره توی اینکه به شما توضیح بده که اگر یک تبلت بخرین خوشبخت می شین. فکر می کنین اگر بتونین همه اش آنلاین باشین، دوست هاتون زیاد می شن (مراجعه کنید به تنهای ابدی)، بهتون می گه که دلیل کتاب نخوندنتون اینه که تبلت ندارین، بهتون می گه که فلان دوستتون که تبلت داره الان خیلی خوشبخته چون توی فلان سایت چک این کرده و شما جا موندین، بهتون می گه اگر عکس یک سیب درخشان روی دستگاهتون باشه جذابترین. همین الان بزنین یکی از شبکه های ماهواره ای، چند دقیقه بعد یک تبلیغ دیگه بهتون توضیح می ده که اگر این کالای خاص که تبلت گالاکسی باشه رو بخرین، شبیه یک آدم باحال می شین که از همزمان که از روی نقشه راه می ره، با دندون های سالمش لبخند به لب داره و اطرافش همه چیز درخشانه.

خلاصه حواستون به این سرمایه داری خبیث باشه. منهم تبلت دارم. نمی گم توی غار زندگی کنیم. نمی گم از جامعه مدرن خودمون رو جدا کنیم. ولی بشناسیمش. حداقل برای اینکه توی ذوقمون نخوره. از حالا بهتون بگم:

شادی درون آدم ها است نه در ابزارشون. نداشتن هیچ چیزی به نوبه خودش باعث غمگین بودن آدم ها نیست. اگر من فکر می کنم تبلت بخرم که کتاب بخونم باید ببینم در سال گذشته چند تا کتاب بوده که فقط چون تبلت نداشتم نتونستم بخونمشون. و به جاش چیکار کردم. اگر فکر می کنم یک ویلا باعث می شه دوستام رو بیشر ببینم، باید به این فکر کنم که چند بار با دوستام قرار گذاشتم و فقط چون یک ویلا نداشتم به هم خورده و غیره و غیره

Reading out of the box.

While I was honored to work along with some of the best developers on Garshasp video game, which each of them was a monsters in his/her field, literally, I was privileged to meet our fearless leader, Mr. Fassihi. Today (which was actually 5am to the “normal” people) I was reading my feeds that I encountered a post by him that was an ad for a game programmer, probably for next installments of the great dragon slayer, Garshasp. Since I’m a night owl and at these times my mind is hitting pedal to the metal, I read something between the lines of his invaluable post.

He is basically listing perks and feats that he requires a game developer to have, and it is a very interesting list to me, as I worked side by side by him and the team and faced each of them being as vital as any game developer out of his bedroom, can think of.

Why I’m writing about it is that you can actually, if you have his #13 perk, read this post in reverse and look at it from another point of view that these are the skills that you will require (and believe me, you DO) to work in a game development environment, I don’t spoil them and leave them to you to read them for yourself but take a good look at the last paragraph, knowing C++ or so, as one would think is primary, is optional. Because if you have those perks, you can learn C++ or whatever that is needed, in a glance. Bad things happen when one has C++ and such knowledge but doesn’t have those perks, so his talent and experience would be NO good, no good at all, for the project or even the team.

As he mentions, they are a rare bread, they are.

Very wise.