Friday, January 7, 2011

Craps and Music (and Independent Game Development)

I haven't had a really solid narrative dream to blog about for quite some time now, so that explains why I haven't been around here too much lately. I know all you readers are probably just bursting at the seams trying to restrain yourself from saying something disapproving, but have no fear! I am still alive and sleeping every night, and sooner or later a good dream is bound to come along.

Actually, the truth is that I have a couple sheets of dream notes that I need to blog about, but I lost my steam a little bit with this blog. I don't think it's quite dead at this point. I think I am still going to keep up this blog from time to time. But I don't think it'll be particularly frequent.

Last night, I did have two dreams that I can vaguely remember. Though most of the details are gone, I do remember a couple really basic concepts from them, so let me share...

The first involved learning to play Craps. I don't gamble. I'm good enough at math to know how bad an idea it really is. So I'm a little hazy on how exactly the game of Craps works, but in my dream world, I was learning how to play it. It seemed to be a bit more like Roulette in the dreamspace, except not so entirely up to chance. There was actually some significant element of skill in placing bets, and in fact, it was not really that hard to win. I got myself ahead quite easily and started to develop a crowd of old ladies who were impressed by my ability.

Then, somebody was being mugged in another part of the casino, and I alone sprang into action. When I got back from rescuing the victim, the old ladies had stolen my winnings.

Upon waking, I realized that my subconscious does not understand Craps at all.

The second dream involved a former college peer named Matt Glickstein visiting my apartment for some musical reason. I think he was listening to rare Avenged Sevenfold B-sides on my computer.

You might remember that I've mentioned Matt before on this blog. He was the other Music Composition major in my year at the University of Redlands, and I've always admired his music because he has such a knack for writing effective songs. I usually don't write songs. While at University I think I never wrote songs, and although I probably felt at the time that it was because I didn't like the traditional song-based structure for music, I think now that part of it might have been that I wasn't very good at it. Matt is good at it. You should go listen to his songs, and then buy his album.

I think he was listening to Avenged Sevenfold because yesterday I was reading about Mike Portnoy's departure from Dream Theater and trying to figure out why some of his fans were upset with something that he had said. I couldn't find any reference to what he said or did to make them mad. Anyway, until recently Portnoy was also the touring drummer of Avenged Sevenfold. I don't listen to them really. I used to listen to Dream Theater a lot, but not so much now.

The other reason that I haven't been blogging very much is because I'm trying to complete an album of my own. Once that happens, I will probably link to it from this website, but it'll have its own website, and I expect I will focus more on that one than this one.

I'm also trying to get myself solidly into independent game development. I've been inspired by two guys mostly: Terry Cavanagh and Jonathan Blow. Their games have had a deep effect on me. Particularly, three of Cavanagh's games: VVVVVV, Pathways, and Don't Look Back. And Blow's Braid, which has affected me in a way that no other game ever has.

I'm starting to write down all the ideas I have for small games that I might be able to complete without too much difficulty. Usually my ambition defeats me. Even projects that start small eventually become huge and are subsequently abandoned. This will not do. So I'm trying to force myself to keep my ideas small, and when I attempt to create them, I will do so as quickly as I can. Getting a few projects done, whether or not they are particularly good, is my current goal.

Of course, as I am presently working on a Computer Science degree, it may be slightly difficult to find time to work on that stuff.

I think I might be spreading myself a little too thin.

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