Out-takes, Gameplay and Storytelling notes, and other miscellaneous ramblings from behind the scenes at Richmond Sims.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Hole in my Blog, and other non-story stuff...

I only realised when I posted this morning, that it's been over a month since my previous post!  I have no idea where that much time went!  Actually, scratch that... I do have some idea.

The date of the previous post is significant - Feb 18. Four days before the  major earthquake here in New Zealand.  I wasn't directly affected by it - it was a long way away from where I live - but like probably most NZ'ers away from the area directly involved, I was still affected in some way.  It was on the news here, literally constantly, people talked about it all the time...  we're a small country, everyone seems to know someone in Christchurch, or has been there... on tv I saw buildings I have visited, in ruins.  It was so unbelievable and so terrible, it put a kind of black cloud over everything.

Where I live, we're on a faultline.  It's not unusual to get one or two little shakes a month.  Usually, people just go 'oh, an earthquake', the same way you might go 'oh, its raining', and get on with whatever they were doing, whether or not the shaking had stopped.  Suddenly, they were terrifying moments when all activity stopped while we stared nervously at each  and waited to see if we should run for cover.  I can't imagine living in Christchurch right now, where not only have they really experienced this devastating quake, they are still having several aftershocks a day.   And I kind of wanted to acknowledge it here, because for my country, this has been huge, and although r/l stuff doesn't often get a mention in this blog, in this instance it doesn't seem right somehow not to.

Aside from the earthquake itself, that day signalled the start of a kind of week from hell for me personally... nothing nearly as bad as what happened in Christchurch, though, and I won't bother with the details here... except that it was a chain of mostly-unrelated negative events that were inconsiderate enough to all occur around the same time, coupled with this backdrop of earthquake-related melancholy.  It was enough to put my most of my on-line activities, and a bunch of my r/l ones, on hold until things improved a bit.

And they have improved.  The last week has actually been great, I've been on holiday/vacation, staying in a little cabin in the woods, while further exploring my family history in the town my ancestors settled in.  I had planned to use the evenings during the trip to put together a few blog entries, but that didn't work out - which brings me to the second bit of this post...

I while ago there was a question on a message board about the process of producing sims stories - do you write first, play first, take pictures first... that kind of thing.  And I thought my answer was easy - I always play and take picures first.  Even the storylines that are heavily storytelling as opposed to gameplay (like Kyle's story or the one still happening with Samantha and Cory) are in some way rooted in gameplay events and the actions and reactions of the sims involved, so I couldn't write them until I'd played out the events.

I would have said that my usual process was to play the events, take the pictures, then write the story, and maybe go back for one of two more pictures if I think I need them when its all done.  If there's a lot of storytelling and posed shots, then I take them sometime during the gameplay.  A clear two-step process, play/pictures, then write it up.  Or so I thought, until this week.

I discovered the one major downside of my quiet cabin, was that it had no internet or cellphone access.  For the last week, while in town I have been a kind of wi-fi refugee... lol... going from McDonalds (free wi-fi, limited mbs) to the library (free wi-fi, but only at certain times) to Starbucks (wi-fi on account, better coffee than McDonalds), trying to satisfy my technology addiction :)  .  It shouldn't have affected my blog posting idea, though.  I should have been able to take the pictures and do the writing in the evenings, just like I'd planned, then just put them together the next day when I had internet access.

Only it didn't work.  I found that as soon as I put them together, I discovered I needed more pictures.  Then the next day, I'd add those pictures, and realise that the text needed changing as a result.  So I'd write some more, and than find that I needed to add or change some more pictures... and in the whole week, I never finished a single post!  The one I just posted took about another hour this morning before I was satisfied.  And when I think about it, I've probably done just as much back-and-forth stuff, on most of my other posts.  Its not a clear pictures-first-then-write thing for me, it seems that they are actually simultaneous processes, rather than one before the other.  Interesting, because I would never have realised that if I hadn't found myself without the means to do them together.

So anyway... now that normality is returning to r/l, I'm hoping for some normality in my posting schedule.  I'm aiming for 2-3 posts a week, although that won't start until next week.  The next post is a storytelling-heavy one, it has scenes in several different locations so the pictures will take some time, and I've barely started them.  I'm aiming to have it done by the weekend, then kick off my regular schedule from there.  I might put up an anticipated posting schedule or something, like I've seen on other blogs, just to make me more accountable to my schedule :) . Also need to do some work on my badly-outdated Richmond Families section... now that I've got my blog-enthusiasm back, I want to take a second week off work, with wi-fi, just to catch up this stuff :)


  1. I am so sorry to hear that this happened to you! I hope everything is alright and that everything will be ok!

    I'm very happy to see you back! And when you say "blog-enthusiam" I know EXACTLY what you mean, as someone whos getting it back right now, haha!

  2. Billy, thanks... I'm glad to be back. Looking forward to seeing more from your blog, too!

  3. It is hard not to be affected by a major disaster that took place so close to one's home. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan had gotten everyone on my island pretty shaken up too.

  4. Lepifera, the disasters in Japan were so horrible and I can imagine they would affect you if you are nearby. I guess these things remind us of our vulnerability.