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October 06th 2014

Here's a Vain Attempt Cover by Inconnu Fletnn (thanks to Niles for contacting him). The original can be listened to here.

And here are new screenshots for the Postal 2 mod Useless Soul.

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I've had a sort of breakthrough in the last few days and been writing a lot for my new book. It's still difficult to say when it will be done; if I take a look at my mental roadmap, I'd say I'm close to the end of the second story arc, and there's still one arc left to write.

It's hard to convey any sort of progress with a book (or music for that fact), but since I'm used to game development, here's a work-in-progress screenshot. If you don't know yet, the book's called Walter's Deal and it tells the story of a scientist, who invented teleportation in the 1990s, also involving a salesman who's trying to connect the world with Walter's technology. And yes, there are Star Trek references early on, but then people die and the actual fun begins.

Last time I said I'm never bored, and the book is one of the reasons. There's just so much to do, and even when I'm not writing, there's enough content out there that can be consumed at any time that it would probably last a lifetime or two. I've thought about boredom a lot, and it seems it usually affects people who aren't used to being alone and can't quite figure out what to do when nobody's around to tell them. Maybe it's due to the fact that our senses are constantly overcharged by being connected all the time or it's because there's so much content available; the brain is over-stimulated and becomes insensitive, and thus becomes bored, as nothing seems interesting anymore.

I don't really know, it's definitely a strange state to be in. What I do know is that I'm used to creating and when I don't create anything for a while my brain longs for that sort of fire again. I actually get frustrated when I can't work on my stuff for several days and whatever I do - I can't stop thinking about continuing with my projects and nothing else interests me. I guess that's a form of boredom. Or is that the sign of addiction? Can one be addicted to creating?

I know I was high on updating PHQ for a while. It was a quick fix for my brain; I got lots of stuff done in short bursts of time, I wrote lengthy satisfying news articles and watched people try out the new stuff I made. I sought attention and found that compared to huge projects that took years - PHQ resulted in instant gratification.

If boredom means not getting enough attention, maybe I create because I'm afraid of being bored. And maybe I like to entertain people because I want to return the attention I've received and don't want anyone being bored.

Are you?

September 14th 2014

Here we have new fan art by Dmitriy The Fox and Kvindor!

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Dmitriy is working on a Postal 2 mod called Useless Soul, which connects to the Halfquake world and thus also uses textures from Halfquake.

And finally, Niles wrote a blog article about the meaning of Halfquake and another one that explores the idea of MLP crossing over with Halfquake.

I've been thinking a lot about creating as a service vs. creating as a hobby. My stuff isn't sold anywhere and my motivations behind creating new things is because I have ideas that I like to realize, and ultimately I like to entertain people. Making people laugh is something that I've enjoyed ever since I was a child. Some of my stuff is available in my shop, but that is just something for people who appreciate real objects, and I also like to surprise people with each and every package I send out. The profit I make is minimal, it completely evaporates into nothingness when you consider the monthly costs of running this site (which isn't a lot to begin with), so money isn't the driving force behind my creations.

I have friends who create games for money. One in particular recently admitted to me that he is "a prime example of whoring out". He creates clones of other successful mobile games, and even copies those clones and sells them with new art themes. The result? He's actually making money. He says, he's offering a service to people.

It's no different than the work I do for money (I'm a web programmer). But the things I make for the pure sake of creating them have a special place in my heart. Even so, by sharing them, am I not offering a service as well? By wanting to make people laugh and experience new things - is what I'm doing that much different to what my friend is doing?

I always disliked the term "hobby". It has a negative vibe to it, it sounds like just something you do on the side, when you're bored. (I'm never bored, but that's a topic for another time.) When I build things they consume me and I give everything I have to breathe life into them. They're a part of me. So what is it that I'm doing? It's not a hobby, it's not a job. Is it a service? Am I just reaching for attention? Perhaps. Has it something to do with my past? Possibly. Maybe I haven't gotten a lot of attention when I was young, and I learned to appreciate the wonderful response of you all to carry on. Not only with my creations, but with my life.

So it's not a hobby, it's not a job - this is just me, being alive...

August 05th 2014

We're all artists. Being artistic means to be human, to express opinions or feelings; everyone does it, some more creatively than others, but that doesn't elevate them to some kind of higher status. If someone publicly and loudly declares him or herself as an artist in an attempt to draw a distinction between that person and the audience, you'll know what he or she's actually trying to say: "Hi, I'm having an opinion and it matters more than yours." And that is bullshit.

There's a reason art lies in the eye of the beholder: You as the viewer agree to the artist's opinion or not.

I recently read an essay by James Baldwin, who said artists owe their audiences the truth, to hold up a mirror to society; they are "incorrigible disturbers of peace". Guess what, everyone owes him or herself the truth. You shouldn't be lying to yourself or anyone else.
  
I also saw a keynote by Trevor Paglen and while the video itself is highly interesting, he starts off by introducing himself as an artist. Why even bother stating that? He said he's not the painter type artist either. So in plain English he said that he loves to show truths about the world. Why he's bothering to set himself apart from "mere" painters - it doesn't make sense other than to try and convince people that he is even better and more important than them. The only difference I can see is that the painter already fits an established category and he does not, and maybe he's scared that he won't get recognized by humanity if he doesn't belong to at least one category of this world.

You probably shouldn't call yourself an artist if all you're trying to accomplish with it is to push your ego. It's not supposed to be a badge you wear in an attempt to show everyone you're a Very Important Person.

The best artists - the most successful human beings - are people who stay true to themselves, especially to their inner child. So when people say some guy is a true artist, does that mean he is simply talking and sharing absolute truth about everything?

Everyone is an artist. Everyone is human. Stop lying to yourselves and you'll see it too.

July 05th 2014

Halfquake Amen has been mentioned in a recent WASD magazine article, which was written by Stefan Köhler (projektariel). You should totally buy a copy and support them (it's in German).

As I mentioned previously, Flo helped me out with creating the new Halfquake Trilogy Installer, it's done now and it even includes a small fix in the first Halfquake before the second "repeat" part (sometimes players wouldn't have enough health to survive the fall). The Halfquake DIY Kit has been updated with that change too.

Here's a funny story: I recently got an email stating that "Ben Drowned" (made by me and Pinkerator) is a bit popular on iTunes, probably because the name's based on the Ben Drowned Creepypasta, which was also my inspiration for the atmosphere of the track. I actually thought about going back to Keratordash and make a whole album based on urban legends like that, definitely sounds interesting, although I probably wouldn't get any sleep while creating more of that kind of music...

June 03rd 2014

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Thank you Eva for the Somos drawing and thanks Kvindor for another sneak peak at the Minecraft Halfquake mod (complete with its own Absence Board)!

The other images are recent Halfquake DVDs that I've made; you can get those too if you order stuff in the store, such as the new Rotten Melody CD (hint hint).

Apparently I'm thirty years old now. It's taken me a month to realize and it will probably take another year to fully understand. Thirty! I still remember twelve years ago I was writing a Halfquake Amen news update, which read: "I'm eightteen *lol*" Yeah, you keep laughing, MS from the past! *shakes fist and almost dies from exhaustion*

I look at my list of finished projects and wonder how many more I've got in me. It's a strange feeling to only have a limited number of things to complete. Somehow you start to choose wisely, and in doing so you don't choose at all. You kind of don't do anything. Maybe it's the post-project-release-depression after Rotten Melody (which cost me like four years), but somehow I can't seem to find footing right now and just play games and watch movies.

The time will come I guess in which the euphoria of April's news post embraces me again, and maybe when time comes, it will also point its hands in the direction of my next project.

Of course, I still have to finish Walter's tale. My bag of ideas is bursting already, just need to sort it out and place words in a specific order.

Work is strangely occupying my life as well, and I keep wondering where all the time goes that is not used productively - and what it means to waste time in the greater scheme of things. As I said in a mail to my dear friend John, in the eye of the universe I'm so irrelevant I might not even be here. To which he replied (paraphrased): if a project can inspire at least one person out there, that's enough. And seeing the new images again at the top of this news item - that is reminder enough to go on with what I do.

So, here's to the next thirty years.

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