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YEAH, I’ve released my game! Here’s a link to the landing page. You can also get to it via the Games section of my blog.

That’s what’s UP! Many of you who know me well know this is a pretty big deal for me. The rest of you probably know little to nothing about the game, or even that Growing is a game. That’s my fault! I’m going to be more open about future game projects.

I started Growing at a game jam in May 2011. The theme was “Motherhood,” and the idea was that I would give this game as a present to my mom when I completed it. By the end of the jam, I had a working prototype that I refined over the next few months.

I threw myself into the work in my off-time. By October, I had an almost completed game that I felt pretty good about. But all that changed in an afternoon, when my backpack get stolen with my laptop, wacom tablet, and all my game’s design notes inside. I hadn’t bothered to keep my project up to date in source control (a decision whose stupidity is only really considered in hindsight) and as a result the only remaining copy of the project I could find was from the beginning of the summer, not long after the game jam.

To say I was devastated would have been an understatement. I couldn’t stop crying. I’m really lucky I had Kyle around because I had some pretty violent and irrational reactions. Growing had become a part of my identity, a bright spot while I was going through some major life troubles. The worst was knowing I had brought it all on myself with the lack of source control.

When I calmed down, the most difficult decision was whether to quit the project forever or keep going. The thought of continuing work on it was so fatiguing.

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With the CrossFit Games happening this weekend, it seemed like a good time to look back and reflect on the more subtle effects a year and a half of crossfit has had on me. One unexpected benefit was that my perception of women’s bodies has changed drastically!

Andrea Ager There was a time when I would have agreed that yeah, it’s totally possible to become “too bulky” as a woman. And I probably would have argued that the veiny forearms, bulging quads and trunk-like cores of the Games’ top competitors like Andrea Ager would fall well within that category.

Lifting weights has given me an appreciation of the effort and dedication those muscles represent on a girl. It means she’s developed some steely mental fortitude, she’s set goals and pushed through them, she’s failed and bounced back. It means she’s fought stereotypes and championed above the prevailing opinion. I know how much work goes into it, having been through some of it myself, and I respect the shit out of her success. A muscular build is a thing of beauty to me now, not repulsion.

That being said, it’d be cool to see some more representation of muscular women in media. If this is the build we can expect from someone who makes fitness a living, why shouldn’t we see it in most of our female characters (fighters, action-adventure heroines, platforming protagonists)?

Why is it that our fantasy heroines aren’t even as badass as the ones we have in real life?

laras2 There’s been a movement towards “more realistic” and that works pretty well for some characters like Chell or Zoey who are supposed to be ordinary people in extraordinary situations.

The quest for realism has brought Lara’s boob size down and made her look more interesting, for sure. But why are her arms so small? If her life revolves around shooting, climbing, and generally vaulting herself around, shouldn’t she look like she can knock out a few dozen pull-ups with ease?

(I don’t mean to pick on Lara too much here, but it’s hard to pick out recent examples of females who are supposed to be physically strong. Zero Suit Samus, Jill Valentine, Faith from Mirror’s Edge, Eva from MGS3, Purna from Dead Island for a handful of others.)

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Speaking at IGDA!

So, after much time and coffee, Growing is nearly complete! For now, I’m just waiting to integrate changes from my teammates, and working on the landing page. Stay tuned for the update with the finished build.

In the meantime though, I gave my not-quite-retrospective this past Monday at the March meeting of our local IGDA chapter (IGDA PHX baby!)

I’ll link the talk and slides below. Basically, the talk was a history of my game development process, the techniques I used (or should have used) to keep myself motivated, the motivational pitfalls I landed in and how I learned to avoid them.

It gets a tad personal at times, but I tried to keep the advice as general as possible. It got some good feedback! In typical terrified-public-speaker style, I linked all my statements together with lots of ‘ums’ and ‘likes’… feeling more inspired than ever to attend some local Toastmasters┬ásessions. Maybe after GDC! Any Phoenix locals want to get in on this with me?

In any case, here are the links! I published the slides, but the talk itself was recorded at UAT and it’s available now on ustream. Check them out! ­čśÇ

If you have any feedback or questions, feel free to contact me at my IGDA email: corey@igdaphx.org
And check back soon for the finished (or nearly finished) build!

In an effort to be more visible during development, I wanted to post up some of my latest art on my work-in-progress, Growing:

Check it out! This is the final spritesheet for all the plants in the game and their various stages of growth. Do any of them strike you as representative of certain character traits?

Here’s a concept piece of the final character at the end of the game. I might have gone a little bit overboard with the level of detail, but it does have gameplay significance!

I didn’t realize this at the start of the project, but as I continue drawing I can see myself improve, and there becomes a marked difference between my earliest assets and the most recent ones. In art more than anything, the game has been a continuous struggle against my inner perfectionist. It’s similar to my urge to refactor code, but there I find it easier to adopt the “as long as it works” mentality. Art is just out there for everyone to see, mistakes and all. I think I’ve hit upon the danger of working without deadlines.

I have more to say about the development of this game, including my strategies for finding a balance between full-time and indie. But this is a “show, not tell” kinda post, and so for now I’ll leave it at that!

Happy New Year! To kick off 2012, my housemates and I have started a new round of the Whole30 program. (You might remember I did it this past October with some pretty awesome results.)

This time however, we have a formidable new ally in our midst, form of… DAN, THE FOOD PROCESSOR! (We didn’t really name him Dan.)

Having a food processor cuts down hugely on prep time, which means I’m free to experiment with a relatively low cost of failure. AND when the experiments turn out successful, as you’ve probably guessed: they’ll be here! And so, ladies and gents, I present to you…

Food porn at its finest right here, folks.

Paleo Baked Salmon with Basil-Walnut Pesto
(with optional yummy side veggies!)

    Pesto:

  • 1/4 cup walnuts, ground or finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalape├▒o pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil
  • 3 tbsp chopped spinach
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
    Salmon:

  • 2 medium-sized salmon fillets
  • Parchment paper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon (optional)
    Side veggies (if you want ’em):

  • 1 container grape tomatoes
  • A handful of white mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

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