A moment to reflect…

Well, this will be the first personal post on this site for a while…

I’ve been so consumed with Lords of Midnight, that most other things have taken a back seat. Now that I have moved LoM to its own blog, I thought I’d post something personal here, and take a moment to reflect.

Last New Year’s Eve, I set myself two goals. I don’t normally make resolutions, but I did last year. The first became known as ‘Piss or get off the pot’. This was directed at Lords of Midnight. I made the decision that I had to finish the game, or at least have made enough progress on it by the end of the year, to warrant continuing. If I hadn’t, I had to step away from the project for good.

So firstly then, I shall reflect on LoM, and I shall do it backwards…

The last two weeks have been manic. I had an intended release scheduled for the 21st Dec 2012 which didn’t quite go to plan. Due to Apple closing down iTunes connect, their service used to push out Apps to iTunes, I had to release LoM early. I chose the 19th, hoping that a) it would give me a little time to fixup any issues that might occur during the release, and b) no one would notice. The problem was a) there were no issues, and b) people noticed. So ill prepared, I found myself in the middle of the release storm, a couple of days early, and from that point on, it’s been go go go, all the way.

I have to say that I am very happy with how LoM has been received. From a sales point of view, it’s shifted just over 2000 units to date. As numbers go, it’s nothing to write home about, it won’t make anyone rich, and in fact for me, I chose to split the royalties after Apple and the VAT man took their cut, and therefore absorbing my costs out of my earnings. So, if I really analysed it to detail, and depending on what cost I want to attribute to LoM, I probably haven’t broken even on everything I’ve spent over the last few years, getting to this point. But then, it was never about the cost, and I have spent that money anyway. For sales, moving forward, it is now about stimulating the market, and getting out the releases for Android, Windows Mobile, and desktop.

Midwinter’s day was bitter-sweet. It was great to finally, albeit in a different way, to have shipped the product that I have been working on for the last 2 years. In another way of looking at it, I have finally commercialised something that I started working on over 20 years ago; in some way that legitimises the work. However, I’m painfully aware that it only happened because of Mike’s death, and that he was not there to see the release. That aside, I had a great pick-me-up on the day when Julian, Mike’s son, called me to talk about the release.

The game has been pretty much universally accepted well by the press and the public. The reviews I have had so far have all been positive. And although the game will never be the one that Mike and I intended to release, I feel justified with the decision I made just over two months ago.

The Christmas break proved a much needed rest, even though I must qualify rest based on the previous 6 weeks, which meant I was still working hard, just not quite has hard as before. Either way, I was able to recharge some of my batteries! It was also great to spend a bit more time with my family!

The 6 weeks prior to release were just hectic. I managed to cram in during that time, so much work that I had been unable to do over the previous two years! I was working on LoM until 2am most days, and then getting up in the morning to do the day job; home from work, start on LoM. It was so much a relief when the game shipped even if it didn’t relieve the work load.

The two weeks prior to that were a little numbing. Mike’s death knocked me a little more than I expected. Mike was a friend, and although I only met him a few times over the last 20 years, and I wouldn’t have considered him a friend in the same way I would friends I went to school with who I am still in contact with, or friends that I work with, or friends that I see more regularly and go for a drink with. He was a friend I spoke to very regularly, some times many times a day, every day. So, if we analyse friends based on how much we have talked, he would be up there near the top. Add in how much he, and his work, has influenced me over the years, and that we were collaborating closely on a project, it really is no surprise that his passing had such an affect. I think what happened was, I realised that he was more of a ‘friend’ than I had ever considered.

The second goal that I set for myself back at the dawn of 2012, was to lose weight. I won’t go into any detail here about that, other than to say that I lost 3 stone/ 36lbs / 16.6kg over the year. My shirts are now slimline, my t-shirts are now large not extra large, I just bought two coats that were medium, and my waist size went from 38 to 32. Overall I feel that I changed my lifestyle without sacrificing much or excessively exercising, so on the whole, I am very very happy with the result.

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When two events happen simultaneously…

“When two events happen simultaneously pertaining to the same object of inquiry, we must always pay strict attention.”

– Agent Dale Cooper, Twin Peaks

I had a scary moment of the holiday period. I started becoming ill on Boxing day, just the usual trivial stuff – nose and throat, and by New Years Eve it had settled in good and proper. Now, I’m not someone who subscribes to Manflu and I tend to handle illness relatively well. However, by New Years Day it was well and truly getting on my proverbials…

New Years Eve had been a late night, going to bed about 4am, and then New Years Day involved going out for a walk. So by 9.30pm I was well and truly knackered – soaked in the bath and early night.

I woke at about 2am to the smell of some kind of burning. It wasn’t the smell that had woken me, it was just there. As I woke I noticed that the whole room was misty/smokey. I jumped out of bed and rushed into the kids room. I checked all the rooms upstairs – everything ok apart from the smoke.

My rationale at the moment of time was that I didn’t think there was a big roaring fire, just some kind of small simmering type fire, or more likely, something bigger outside that was filtering in through the windows.

Anyway, I rushed downstairs and systematically checked all the rooms – everything ok – except for the smoke. I looked outside, but there was nothing obvious. By the time I returned to the kitchen Victoria was there wondering what was up. She wasn’t at all panicked by some smoke, more likely by my irrational behaviour.

[Paraphrasing a strange conversation that followed…]

“What’s up?”
“The whole house is filled with smoke or mist or something,” I said.
“Go and look in the mirror,”

I looked in the mirror, and my eyes were filled with yuk! A few minutes of vigorous washing later, and everything had returned to normal.

So the smoke turned out to be my cold coming out of my eyes, or a possible reaction to the bubble bath!

The smell – Victoria had lit an incense thingy when we’d got in on New Years Day to attempt to remove the smell of the stale house.

I didn’t sleep anymore that night…

Needless to say, Victoria bought extra smoke alarms and stuff over the weekend…

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Weight – Week 4

I’m four weeks into my lose weight regime. My gym work has been good i’ve been lookin for the bowflex selecttech 552 for too long to avoid it, and my eating has been mostly good. Actually my eating is not too dissimilar from normal, however I have managed to cut out the hunger cravings that normally lead me to chocolate and crisps and rubbish. And my quantity control is better. So I kind of feel balanced.

One major milestone for me is drinking water. As a rule I don’t drink much water – as I don’t like it. To drink water it has to either be ice cold sparkling water on a hot day, or flavoured sparkling water. So at home I drink cordial with sparkling water. But I generally only drink one large glass with my evening meal; that and a couple of coffees over the day is all I drink.
I don’t go in for the mantra of how much water you must drink, I think everyone is different. I’ve gone 38 years without problem and I can count the number of water infections I’ve had in that time on 1 finger…
That said, I decided that I needed to force myself to drink more during the day as I no longer drink coffee while on my current contract. So I now take a litre bottle of made up flavoured sparkling water to work every day. The thing I’ve noticed is that I grab the drink quite frequently during the morning and I wonder if previously that would have been an urge to eat, which often meant I would get to lunch having already eaten my lunch!

Anyway, 4 weeks ago I was 94kg ( 207lb/14″ 11) approximate of 27.3 ( overweight ). I use approximate here because the BMI calculation is a croc really, because it doesn’t take into account physical size rather than height. A tall muscular person is going to show as overweight based on their BMI, despite the fact that they are relatively fat free.

First week I lost 1.5kg ( 3.3lb ), then 0.1kg ( 0.2lb ), then 0.4kg ( 0.8lb). I was a little dissapointed after week 3 that the trail off had occured as I wanted to lose about 2lb a week. However I knew that over those 2 weeks I had gone to the pictures and had a meal with friends. Which although by my standards I had done very well (2 bottle beers and 2 glasses of wine, and a more than wanted but less than previous, quantity of food), they were nevertheless still potential blips. I took solace in the fact that my stomach ( not waist ) measurement and gone from 41 inch to 39.5 inch. So every movement down was good no matter how small.

Weigh in this morning – 91kg ( 200.5lb ) down 1kg ( 2.2lb ) on last week.
So in four weeks I have lost 3kg ( 6.6lb ). I am below target but very much happy with that, it’s not just that the weight is going down, but I already feel better for it; I no longer have the hunger which means I am less likely to fall off the wagon!

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Weight

I’m overweight. I’ve been overweight for about as long as I can remember now. I’m not obese, I’m just a little chunky around the waist, a little too much on the belly, and a smidgeon of a extra chin.

It bothers me. Not in a great big way. I don’t get depressed about it. I would just prefer to be a little less. I’m on the border where a little sustained excess makes me feel bad and a little sustained good eating and exercise makes me feel really good.

Over the years I’ve tried to get my weight down without much success. Over the last 18 months I have kept my weight consistent despite know that my eating/drinking habits have been poor. On the whole I have a good diet – I just tend to pick out on crap every now ( usually when work boredom kicks in ) and my portion control is real bad!

So I’m pretty sure that a better eating regime, less pigging out and bingeing, and more consistent exercise should easily allow me to achieve the required weight loss.

So the aim is to drop 2 stone over the next 6 months. That’s nearly 13kilos or 28lb or 13 bags of sugar!

At the start of this last week, I was 94kilo, 207lbs, 14 st 11 lbs. One week in I have dropped just over 3lbs… watch this space… or not…

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