shelter from the storm

I'm writing this from the little room upstairs at my parents' house in Texas. They moved here while I was in college so it's not the house where I grew up, but it has some memories.

At the end of 2010, my career and my marriage fell apart at the same time. I didn't know where else to go, so I came here and stayed for a month.

One reason I like visiting here is that it reminds me that I have survived everything life has thrown at me so far.

I couldn't have managed that alone, though.

The past two months have been difficult. In some ways, coming home for the holidays feels a bit like hiding from the world. But even at my most ambitious and unreasonably self-critical, I have to admit that I've accomplished some things I'm incredibly proud of this year. Here are some highlights of 2015, some things your support has made possible:

  • Last time I was here, Playscii existed but it couldn't do much more than display random flickering characters. Today, Playscii is a full-fledged ASCII art program that works on the 3 major PC platforms. Its game creation capabilities are maturing, and it includes one complete example game.
  • People are contributing to Playscii and using it to make things! Here are the games where I know it's being used for art development:
    • The terminal-based hacking MMO HackMUD - see this tweet for an example of how it's using Playscii for terminal-based animations.
    • MTRD, a cool demake for the #MetroidJam.
    • Frog Fractions 2. Yes, that Frog Fractions 2. I confirmed with creator Jim Crawford that it was okay to divulge this.
  • I released Endless Ladder Climbing 2, a strange little thing I made in seven days to prove I could ship a game with Playscii.
  • I got a larger scale game design off the ground. You can see some progress reports from its early stages on my Youtube channel. Still a ways to go, but when I finally return to it, I have so many things I want to try. I'm still very excited about this project and think it can be great.
  • I designed the album art for Brother Android's Pastoral II, a beautiful piece of music from an artist I'm honored to know.
  • I advanced the concept of Game Tourism on my site and made a few mods. People seem to like the idea!
  • I created a new revision of WADbot, which posts screenshots from random Doom levels. Kill Screen did a writeup of it!
  • I worked on several more things that are unfinished and in some cases a bit more secret, so I don't want to treat them as accomplishments here. Lots of little seeds, I hope to see some of them sprout in the next year.

This year is ending in a hard spot. The contract I'm working will still definitely be worth my while in the end, but it's left me with less energy for solo work than I'd initially hoped. I started to get really depressed, and realized I was repeating an old pattern - tying my self esteem to my productivity. Fighting through this reminded me starkly that I have other, larger, interconnected issues remaining that I need to do something about if I want to return to full-time independence next year. So I've started seeing a therapist, and am eager and hopeful to begin the healing process.

All of which is to say that right now, your support is helping me


in multiple very real ways. I can only barely express how much I appreciate that.

Here's to a 2016 full of hope, healing, and fulfilled potential.