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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The Lords of Midnight are moving…

With the release of the game getting ever closer, I have decided that all blog posts regarding the game will move to the dedicated site. The address for your bookmarking…


I have copied historical posts for completeness and hidden them from the main home page of this site…

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Olympic Stadium at sunset

Olympic Stadium by Chris Wild
Olympic Stadium, a photo by Chris Wild on Flickr.

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My Weight…

This morning I passed my latest milestone for losing weight, in that I broke the 13st barrier, weighing in at 12st 13lb

When I started this process at the beginning of January, I was 15st 7lb, wearing extra large t-shirts, 38in waist trousers, and suffering terribly with my indigestion. I was starting to feel really bad about my weight and therefore myself, and I felt really unhealthy. I needed to lose weight. I didn’t need to diet. When I read the word diet, I see sacrifice, I see giving up things that you enjoy, I see misery. I had to change my lifestyle to one that allowed me to enjoy eating and drinking, but in a way that didn’t threaten my longer term health.

I must put something into perspective, having just typed the above statement, it definitely sounds worse than how it appeared for me at the time. My diet was not particularly bad when i started a how to lose cellulite diet. My drinking was not excessive on a regular basis. Nor was my fitness a particular issue, visiting the gym regularly, and competing in Tough Guy and Hell Runner over the previous years. I was overweight, and struggling, despite trying seemingly quite hard, to remove that weight.

In January I increased my pure forskolin extract regime. The sole reason for this was that I was really struggling to get through the morning, and therefore day, without feeling hungry, and the end result of that was ‘crashing’. While at work I would be eating my lunch by mid morning, which in turn meant I would often need something else to eat by lunch time, and in turn I might need ‘snacks’ late afternoon. Snacks meant crisps and chocolate. And chocolate for me means multiple bars…
I was aware that previously, exercise has reduced my cravings, so I upped my gym work during the week, and increased my running at the weekend.

First thing to go was chocolate. It’s the one thing I decided to symbolically sacrifice. It was going to be the only thing that I would actively “give up”.

The next thing I did was to address a problem that I have had for thirty odd years, my aversion to porridge. As a kid, I was happy eating Ready Brek, but I have never been able to stomach porridge. So in order to try and deal with that issue, and hopefully give me a better breakfast to start the day with, Victoria bought me some Qakers Oats so Simple, instant porridge. They are as near as Ready Brek as you can get. I ate them for a week before changing over to Porridge proper, and that has been my staple breakfast since: Porridge with Maple Syrup.

We tweaked my lunch, favouring wraps to sandwiches. I also reduced my fruit intake. I felt that I was eating far too much fruit and thus having ‘sugar’ problems caused by that. I added a mid morning and mid afternoon snack. So my daily meals consisted of: Breakfast: Porridge. Mid morning snack: Fruit and a packet of Ryvita Mini. Lunch: Wrap or sandwich, Yoghurt, and a piece of fruit. Mid afternoon snack: Go Ahead biscuit and piece of fruit. And then evening meal.

First thing I changed with the evening meal was portion size. The other thing I changed at the beginning was simplicity. In the beginning I was happy to just have a piece of protein and some salad. Or a piece of protein and veg. And Victoria was very helpful in reducing unnecessary fat and sugar from my meals, and reducing the amount of food on my plate. When you need to control your self, it’s useful to have someone help make those decisions for you!

By late February I was losing weight but was concerned that my decision to let my gym membership expire at the end of the month was going to cause me a problem. I decided that I just needed to increase my running during the week or weekend.

Over the following months I consistently dropped either one or two pounds a week. Every now and then I stayed the same or blipped up by a pound, but the overall trend was downward.

What I found was that my daily eating routine became habit. I am now one of those people who can’t stray too much from a meal time. But the flip result of that is that I don’t need to eat outside of the predefined eating slots. Yes I may be hungry by my evening meal, but it’s a different kind of hunger, one that is usually dealt with by eating the meal. I can actually be getting full while I eat my meal. Previously, the only way I was full, was because I was on portion number two or three! And then you become overly full.

I have now lost over 2.5st. I am wearing 34in waist trousers. My shirts are slim fit. My t-shirts are large. I have only had one bought of indigestion all year. I feel good about myself. I feel healthy. I can run 5km almost 10 minutes faster than I could 8 months ago, and that is not just down to fitness, that is down to carrying less weight!

What is remarkable, to me, about the last half stone that I lost over the last 8 weeks, is that I have not “exercised” at all in the last month. Yes, I park my car at the far end of the car park. And yes, I use the top floor toilet, taking the 3 flights of stairs, and yes I walk down to the canteen and back every day with my colleagues, even though I am not buying anything or sitting in.

I have also had a few blips. On Friday I weighed in at 13st, on Monday I weighed in at 13st 5lb. Yes, I had a “heavy” weekend, having dined out at a nice restaurant, big breakfast at the hotel, and copious amounts of alcohol. But even I was surprised at the 5lb gain. To be fair, depending on how rounding on scales work, it could actually be a 4lb gain. However, I watched myself drop a pound every day this week. I don’t normally weigh myself every day, btw!

What it all says to me is that, I have changed my habits. Everything is just that little bit healthier, I’m eating less, and I’m a lot healthier. I don’t feel that I have made great sacrifices. I don’t feel that I need to follow a grueling fitness regime. I am 8 months in and now feel that this could and should be me from now on.

I still have weight to lose. When I first started this process, I would have been happy with 13.5st, but deep down I wanted to get to 12.5st. It felt an unachievable goal, but I like those. Victoria was concerned that that would be too much weight loss, it would make me look gaunt. But as I have dipped through the 13st barrier, I can happily say that the weight loss distribution from around my body has been such that I am confident that another 7lb’s will be coming from the right places, and I think she would probably agree. I’m going to try Clenbuterol for help losing some extra pounds, here are some of the Clenbuterol side effects.

I know there is more I can do to help myself too. My evening meals have possibly slipped a little over the last few months. I feel like I have eaten more than I needed to on a few occasions. Not running over the last 4 weeks hasn’t helped either, I intend to get back to that, but that is more to do with fitness and not weight loss. However, in the scheme of things, those are bother relatively small things to tweak.

So, 12.5st here I come… and watch out 12st, I’ve not got my eye on you. For more info please go and see website info.

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Directors Cut

Directors cuts are slightly controversial, I am aware of this as I embark on the IOS version of Lords of Midnight. Although not a Directors Cut per sae, the involvement of Mike makes it sit somewhere between remake and directors cut.

There are many films that have received the Directors Cut treatment, some successfully, some not so. You have to ask, why the need to revisit the film. The integrity of the new release is brought into question; if the Director did not like the version put out at the original release, then why did they allow it be released? If they had no control over that aspect, then why now, other than for additional profit, are the studio allowing the film to be changed. That said, at least most Directors can retain some integrity, as they usually don’t have the rights for the Final Cut Privilege especially early in their career.

In books, we have the Authors Revised Edition. Again I wonder how an author can not release a book that is true to their original vision. I do however know that sometimes, again especially in the early stages of an authors career, the author does not have as much control as they would like, and indeed the editor may assert more of their vision.

I use Katharine Kerr’s Darkspell as a case in point. Her editor insisted at the time that parts of the story be changed so much, that it materially altered the overall intended message of the book. Kit was all to eager to put it right as soon as she had chance.
With Stephen King’s first book in the Dark Tower series ‘The Gunslinger’ it also makes sense that he would want to revisit the book and put right issues as the series expanded.

This brings me finally to music – why would a musician release a Directors Cut album that covers songs from not one previously released albums, but two? I understand doing some form of Uncut version where songs are stripped back to just the singer and some acoustic instruments, or even dramatically different versions that are almost covers in their own tight, but to release new tinkered versions of songs that you had full artistic control over at the time?

So, I bought Kate Bush’s Directors Cut with much trepidation – and I have to say, it’s awful.
She has taken a group of songs from two albums, placed them together out of context on a single album, reworked them in some mysterious way, for no obvious reason, and ultimately destroyed them.

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