Leaving On A Jet Plane

Don’t know when I’ll be back again.

In other words, I’m back in America. Good ol’ U.S. of A. Land of the 自由 and home of the 勇敢な人々.

For the first time in a long time, I’m focused on looking for a job. That means getting my résumé in working order, actually finishing my portfolio, and spending time each day applying to jobs. All while combating the jet lag that’s hampered my ability this week. Not to mention all the noise my brother makes here. Forgot about that.

But things are getting done, and for that I’m glad.

There’s always this small sense that things are never perfect enough when it comes to applications. After all, looking for a job in the game industry is harder when you don’t have many professional contacts to vouch for you, nor a history of work on AAA titles, nor a degree in computer science or anything comparable.

So my biggest asset is going to be my portfolio. It’s the one thing that proves I’ve done work that shows I know what I’m doing. But as I continue to make games to add to the portfolio, I always come back thinking: What if this isn’t enough? What if it’s my next game that makes my portfolio stand out? By that point, I’ve already applied and judgment has been cast. That regretful thought: Why didn’t I just wait?

Fact is, jobs come and go quickly. There’s really no time to wait. I think I’ll always regret not applying for a level design job at Double Fine. Just as I’ll regret applying with a weak portfolio. Yet that’s just how life is. Time is limited, and there’s no time to dilly-dally.

In any case, wish me luck! And if you know anyone hiring in the games industry, let me know! I’m hoping to relocate. 🙂

Update

Can you guess what I’ve been doing the past week? I’ll give you a hint. It rhymes with Army Tea Baker Gem Key.

Stumped? C’mon. I… Oh, you knew all along and were just playing me? Well I guess the shoe is on the other hand now!

In any case, not only have I been making Shichikashuku 2, but I’ve been trying to finish A Return Home (ARH), which is becoming increasingly harder as I start to pour mental resources into the former. I have most of the script ready to go, so now the work is all in implementing it and making sure the battles aren’t too ridiculous. In truth, it’s probably only a week or two of dedicated work, but that’s a week or two that I could be spending on the new game.

I even made rewards to myself if I finish ARH. Like, an extra monitor. And seeing that I’m leaving in 9 months, the longer I wait to get it, the more the purchase seems like it’s made on faulty logic. Which means I should finish the game sooner, so my monitor will be used more. Right? Something seems off.

Anyways, Shichikashuku II has been really fun to make, as all games are in this early stage when solid forms start to emerge from the gelatinous mess of the mind. I’ve been modeling the whole game on my actual town, which means I need to do some fieldwork to place buildings and streets correctly. I need to take pictures. And seeing as the winter is coming and lots of places are going to be closed off soon, I need to do it quickly.

Probably the best part about this project is that wonderful feeling of increased connection to the town. As I only have 9 months left, a project like this helps me connect even more to the small places and tiny details. Hope it comes through when the project is finished.

In other news, RPG Maker MV is great fun. As much as I enjoyed VX Ace, MV is leagues more usable than the former. It has some quirks, but I don’t think there are any reasons to continue using VX Ace after this project is over.

In other news, it’s starting to feel cold and there are so many new JETs this year. More new JETs than returning JETs for Miyagi. Like, 24 new JETs and 20 returning ones. Something like that. Crazy.

RPG Maker MV Comes Out Today

I know what you're thinking. "Amazing Photoshop skills!" you say. But no, for it is Microsoft Paint that let's me bring this masterpiece into existence.

I know what you’re thinking. “Amazing Photoshop skills!” you say. But no, for it is Microsoft Paint that let’s me bring this masterpiece into existence. Also, don’t mind the “comming”. English is hard.

Today!? Wait, what?

Wasn’t this just announced like, a month ago? And here I thought that their vague “Winter 2015” release could mean something as late as March 2016. I mean, that happens. I’ve been there and been okay with it. But here I was thinking that my current project would be well and done by the time MV comes out and I’d have to go back and update it.

What does this mean?

I will finish “A Return Home” in VX Ace in the next few weeks. But given all the assets I’ve been using, I think a port to MV will prove difficult. If enough people enjoy it, I will probably consider a port, but for now, I’ll leave it as is.

In other news, since finding out the release date a few days ago, I’ve started to lay the groundwork for my final game made just for my students. I call it: “Shichikashuku 2”. I have about 5 months to make it. Let’s see how it turns out!

Anywho…

It’s there. I’ll probably post about it next week with first impressions.

Until then! またね

Idle Thoughts (2)

Summer is officially over. I guess that should be obvious by official dates (Summer technically lasts from June 21st-September 21st in the US; 秋分の日 was September 23rd in Japan). The air is cooling down and everyone is asking if I’m cold when I wear a t-shirt. Seems like some things never change, even though they definitely do.

This past Wednesday we had a へき地研究集会(へき研) where schools from the neighboring areas all came to my elementary school and watched some classes put on by our teachers, myself included. Another teacher and I taught the 5th graders some English while our tiny rural classroom was filled to the brim with other teachers from other rural schools. Normally, English is a relatively casual affair, and laid-back to facilitate learning. Not on Wednesday, however. All considered, it went pretty well, and I even got to talk in front of a group of 30 teachers or so about my thoughts on English education and why it’s important in an elementary school. I think just about every ALT has thoughts on the matter, but so few are allowed the opportunity to speak to a group of Japanese teachers that want you to speak. It’s a good feeling, even if I couldn’t be as eloquent as I’d like.

Thinking about my Japanese, I realize that I haven’t improved all that much recently. I am improving, definitely. But gradually. I wouldn’t mind a big boost in study sessions–say, 30 minutes more a day of dedicated study–but I don’t feel like I can act on that. Actual study is kind of hard, especially solo. With additional focuses, like game development, I’m not too displeased with my general lack of Japanese development. After all, I am making progress in other places.

Every day this past week I’ve been working on my little RPG, A Return Home. I set myself 3 months to finish it, and I have goals I want to stick to. However, about 15 days into the project, I started learning Unity. As a result, I haven’t given it the attention it deserves. Well, assuming it deserves much attention. The game is intended to be simple, but my biggest worry is that it’s both short and not worthy of time. Like a terrible short story or poem. It makes me doubt some of my writing skills while at the same time makes me want to convert it into a short story itself. I feel like that’s its proper format, and the only reason I made it into a game is something arbitrary like wanting to make a game.

The deadline for my next “update” to A Return Home is October 10th, and I’m only about 70% through the things I wanted to include. Unfortunately I won’t be able to complete everything I wanted to by that time. Why? There’s a big trip this weekend (and it’s a 3 day weekend here in Japan) to a lake near Bandai mountain in Japan. This is the 3rd time I’ve gone and it’s honestly in my top-2 trips every year. Looking forward to a weekend of hiking, kayaking, swimming in freezing water, and merriment with friends.

In 30 minutes we have a ceremony to end the first semester and then the students will be free to leave and the teachers have a nice relaxing afternoon ahead. At least I hope. I’m sure someone will come and make some busywork for us all. But if I’m lucky, I might be able to finish up some of the features I wanted to include in this update, bringing it from a eh 70% to a woo 90%. Things like finishing off the cutscene dialogue and implementing it in the game, even if I don’t polish the cutscene up.

May we all do our best.