Currently on art: Bad Feather Day out!

Hi everyone!

It’s been 1.5 months since the last update again, so it’s time for a new one. This time, I have some exciting news!

In the previous post, I mentioned that I was on a game project course. Well, at the time of writing, I still am, although now we’re wrapping things up. We’ve now released the game we’ve worked on throughout this year: Bad Feather Day, a small low-poly 3D adventure game in which you control Tengu, a wizard who has been turned into a bird with human arms. By punching and throwing bananas, you need to defeat your enemies in order to obtain the means of turning back into a human. You can download the game for free on itch.io here: https://windysilver.itch.io/bad-feather-day

This project course has been quite a ride. I’ve learned a ton of things both about developing game in a team and about doing code for Unity games. Out of the three programmers in the team, I was the least experienced and I’d be lying if I said that impostor syndrome didn’t haunt me in the beginning. Now, however, I can fortunately say that the impostor syndrome is only a distant memory as copious amounts of Google Fu and a bucketload of successes have built both my skillset and confidence. There’s so much I have learned that making a list of it would take a lot of time and space, so I will not go into that.

Honestly, this course is definitely among my favourite courses so far. Although we’ve had crunch days when we’ve worked on the game for hours at a time and even times when something vital has broken – for example, the first time we were supposed to have a testable prototype out, we were crunching on the same day as the testing event, and our main scene broke twice not long before the event was supposed to start – we’ve also had fun together. We actually got to meet up one day to record audio for the game (and also play some games afterwards) and it was a ton of fun! On a side note, I actually ended up giving my voice to the monkey and parrot enemies during that meeting!

Such a great team that we formed was a true blessing, since it made the weekly meetings and, actually, everything about the course far less of a chore. If I were to change something about how things were done, I’d change something like how we operated in the beginning – such as better communication on who’s working on the scenes – but not the team itself. Despite of the challenges, we succeeded at finishing the game on time and I, for one, am proud of it (the code could be better, but for a product of a learning process, it does its job well enough). The end result is quite different from the ambitious idea we started from; in the original concept, Tengu was meant to gain his human parts back one by one, with the game’s emphasis more on exploration rather than action and the prototype having at least the level after he had regained his arms – but it is one I am proud to say to have been a part of making. I may have noted to someone aloud that it’s a game I am proud to showcase with my own face (as opposed to just hiding behind the picture of a windy silver banana as I tend to do).

Now that this project is done, now what? Well, this is the penultimate course for me this period, so once I’m done with the other course, I’ll focus on two online courses that I need to finish in order to get my Bachelor’s degree (given that two courses I’m still waiting to hear about and the last course of this period yield me passing grades). As for my paper for the degree, I got the results yesterday: it’s passing with the grade 3 (on a scale of 1-5, where 5 is the best). If everything goes well with the releasing process, it should become available online in a few days. It’s written in Finnish, though, so I may opt not to share it since I reckon most people who are reading this don’t know the language.

Aside from the courses, I’ll put more focus on my art projects; I’ll resume working on things that have received little to no attention for the last weeks and finish my next FFM collection (which is, by the way, pretty close to being finished, so I might very well be able to finish it within May). On the hobbyist IT side, I’m planning to do some web programming things to get a firmer grasp on full stack development and have something to show next time I apply for jobs since I was unable to get a summer job this year. Hopefully when I have my bachelor’s degree and some more experience and projects under my belt, I’ll have better luck finding a job. I’ll probably find myself in the grasp of impostor syndrome once again when I venture to the job market, but my experiences with the game project course have taught me that I am capable of learning enough while working on something to leave that pesky thing to bite the dust. Once I get my foot between the door and get some work experience, thing will start coming along from there for sure.

The experiences I’ve gotten from this project course are valuable, but the hope and confidence that have come with those experiences are invaluable especially in these trying times. Although things are starting to look up at least here where I live, the pandemic is still ongoing and will most likely be for some time. It’s easy to lose hope when the end isn’t clearly in sight, but it’s there. We just need to hang on for some time more before things get back to normal. They will definitely get back to normal someday, and I’m definitely looking forward to being able to return to the campus and see my friends.

Onwards to new experiences and successes!

Now, let’s have a look at how things are going with my projects, as per my project widget:

  • Exceptional Jedi: Chapter 4 of Aces is in progress. All writing is at 1788 days. Jedova’s reference has been at a standstill most of the time because more often than not I haven’t found the time to work on it. I need to make a comic about Valentine Clanker and lots of other drawings. I’ve been creating data on Scrivener to build a wiki of sorts there so that I can flesh things out for writing. It hasn’t been progressing at all recently, though. Revising is still in a standtill.
  • The Fate’s Way: Chapter 44 is in writing. I still need to redraw the regular Alyssa and also Alyssa’s friends and family and the other important people, like Matti, someday. Revising needs to be done.
  • Off-DA projects: As detailed above, the game project course’s game, Bad Feather Day, has been finished and released! Woohoo!
  • Greenfield: Due to studies taking too much energy, I haven’t edited this much. I’m currently working on editing chapter 3. Read more about the project here.
  • Lyokostar: The translation of Lyokostar 1 progresses: Part 10 of story 6 is in betareading. The monthly Lyokostar 3 oneshots in Finnish are on a hiatus because nobody cares. References need to be done.
  • A Wandering Aura: I worked on this a little because Pokémon Masters EX‘s Father or Foe event spurred me to do something, but I didn’t get around to posting anything. I might have gotten more done by the end of the quarter.
  • Gaming: Habitica, Duolingo, Pokemon GO and Pokémon Masters EX keep on going. I played a little of Subnautica Below Zero, but I decided to say the rest of playing after the out-of-Early-Access launch (which was earlire this month). I’ll probably play it more during the summer. I also dabbled a little with Tabletop Simulator with hopes that I could use it for hosting some Star Wars Force and Destiny RPG sessions online, but otherwise not much has happened.
  • Other stuff: I’m still pretty badly behind with literature deviations because I can’t read them on DA without getting a headache from the eye strain, but I have gotten some FFM stories read. I’m working on my fourth FFM collection. Reading is still in a standstill on the book side since I’ve spent my reading time online, but I hope I’ll be able to pick up the remaining Death Note volumes and read them in the summer. I’ve been doing stuff on Unity because of Bad Feather Day and I’ve learned a ton of stuff, and I also did one animation on Blender for Bad Feather Day. I should get back to video editing.
  • Personal life: As usual, I’ve been drowning in studies as I’m trying to finish my bachelor’s degree during 2021, so there isn’t much to tell. COVID is still going on and I’ll continue waiting for the vaccine; it’s very likely that I’ll get my degree before I have a proper reason to go to the campus again since I have hopes that I’ll be able to get the degree during the summer period.

Thanks for reading this post! Take care!

Currently on art: Q4 2020 – onwards to 2021!

Happy New Year everyone!

I wrote this during 31st December, 2020 and decided that it would be fitting to schedule it to one minute before midnight. Hence, chances are that when you do read this, it’s already 2021 in your part of the world – that’s fine, though! Enjoy the new, hopefully better year!

Well then. Buckle up; this is going to be a long, long post.

It’s been quite the year, this first one of the decade of 2020. Had I been told what would would end up happening, I probably wouldn’t have believed it. Yet here we are, three quarters in with the COVID19 pandemic, although since the vaccines are spreading already, I’m feeling hopeful about next year.

Honestly, this year has been too slow yet oddly fast, despite of everything. Things have been going pretty slow but I can’t help asking, “wait, it’s over already?” Funny, right? Anyway, I’m glad that it’s almost over now and we can look towards the new year of 2021, a year of hope.

It’s hard to come up with a proper list of major things that happened this year alongside COVID19 pandemic coming, but such a list does include DeviantArt’s Eclipse becoming permanent, which marked my move to WordPress, ending two projects and starting a new one, finishing Greenfield‘s first book’s first draft and starting to edit it, getting some games done, trying my hand at podcasts and finally starting to work on my FFM collections. A lot has changed and a lot is on hold or in progress for now, but all in all, despite the hardships in both personal life and academic life, I’m fine with how far I got. This is a good stepping stone for continuing onwards.

This year has been a year of unexpected learning and growth. We’ve all had to learn to adapt to a sudden, drastic change in our lives and learn how to do work, studies and other things remotely. We’ve missed out on many things, let it be events, normal gatherings, traveling or something else. It sucks, but you know what? It’s okay. We’ve gotten through tough times and now there’s light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve got hope for returning to normal – a normal where we can once again enjoy the things we’ve missed out on this year – now. How long will it take? I don’t know, but then again I don’t know when in 2021 I’ll get my bachelor’s degree done either, so I think it’s fine. Nevertheless, I feel hopeful that this mess ends during 2021.

What is the biggest lesson I learned this year? I really don’t know. As a writer, one of the FFM challenges made me learn how to improve my skills at “show, don’t tell”; as a student I learned to cope with a failed exam (something I had never encountered before this spring) and figured out how to deal with failed courses; as a person, I learned to deal with the sudden and continuous social distancing; as a game developer, I learned to use Twine and a huge bunch of useful things during my game courses during the autumn semester.

Perhaps there is no single biggest lesson, but a group of major ones: these ones, each of them meaningful to different aspects of me.

It has been a tough year, but if there is one thing I’d like you to get out of my ramblings, it’s this:

Have hope.

Today, on the last day of this year, I faced a daunting challenge: retaking an exam I had failed on my first try, an exam of the very same format that caused me my first fails during the spring. I already had a different course lined up to compensate for the potential failure, so I prepared for the retake and decided to do it on the last day of this year to see if it’d end in a victory or an expected loss.

Against all my expectations, I was able to pass the exam and end this year with a bang I had not seen coming, just dreamed about.

So, even if things look bad, have hope. You can pull through. You just need to keep going.

Keep fighting, brave human! Or if a non-human happens to read this: keep fighting, brave fellow sentient being!

Back on DeviantArt, I had a habit of putting the next year’s to-do in the last Currently on art journal of the year and look through the previous one. It is a tradition I want to continue to see where I was 12 months ago and where those months have led me. Therefore, let’s see how ambition I had a year ago and how much fell flat like a certain Project Moonshot did. The ones struck through are done, while underlined are in progress. Bolded words are comments.

  • Studying
  • Revising all stuff I have yet to revise In progress
  • Working on my projects
  • Doing more references – hopefully including remakes that are direly needed I’ve got several references done this year and the other one of the direly needed remakes is in progress
  • Finishing the comic I’m working on
  • Finishing artwork currently standing by
  • Studying
  • Reading
  • Posting art I haven’t yet posted
  • Ending Behind Armada and putting its trilogy on hiatus until further notice
  • Losing some weight and getting into a better shape would be healthy Eh, I’m not sure how to address this. I did lose weight during the year, but recently I haven’t worked out at all and I’m pretty sure I’ve put up weight during the Christmas holiday… Let’s try this again next year with some proper scheduling, shall we? :’D
  • Publishing my FFM collections Two out of six done and the third one is in progress!
  • Editing and posting speedpaints that are still lying inside my hard drive I posted some but since then it has been on a standstill. I did work on a video essay for a course, though, so I didn’t stay away from editing completely during the autumn semester!
  • Studying
  • Looking into stuff like Patreon I don’t even remember why I was thinking about this last year, although Patreon did come across my mind recently. Odd…
  • Studying
  • Less procrastination, more Habitica I did lessen the amount of procrastination, but I could do better. Hence, I will put this to the 2021 to-do as well.
  • Studying

Okay, that does look pretty good. I’ve got most of the things done.

Then, what next year?

  • Studying
  • Revising stuff
  • Scheduling my life better
  • Getting the rest of my FFM collections done and published
  • Getting my Prose-ject and Tribble Month collections done and published
  • Studying
  • Trying to get a summer job
  • Working on my projects
  • Getting at least a quarter of Greenfield‘s first book’s editing round 1 done
  • Less procrastination, more Habitica
  • Studying
  • Finishing my bachelor’s degree
  • Losing some weight and getting into a better shape
  • Tackling my speedpaint footage pile
  • Tackling my TBR pile even harder
  • Studying
  • Playing some games I’ve got on my TBP pile
  • Studying a lot if I do not get a job for the next studying year
  • Studying a little if I do get a job for the next studying year
  • Honestly? Studying
  • Watching videos, series and movies in my TBW piles
  • Taking part in The Gauntlet (Coming up in January!)
  • Taking part in at least Flash Fiction Month, perhaps Tribble Month and/or Prose-ject

I think that isn’t too ambitious. I’ve got goals that are (hopefully) achievable and I will work towards them during the next year.

I suppose I’ve talked long enough about all this stuff. Let’s focus on art and talk statistics; since this is the second year I’ve been doing them, I whipped up a yearly comparison infograph as well. Therefore, you’ll get the see Q4 2020, the quarterly comparison, the whole of 2020 and the yearly comparison. I must admit that while these take a good bunch of work even now that I’ve gotten a spreadsheet to (mostly) automate the math side, the results are interesting to look at. Definitely worth it.

Now, let’s look into what’s going on right now, as per my project widget:

  • Exceptional Jedi: Chapter 16 of The Strength of Mind is in editing. All writing is at 1649 days. I’ve finished remaking Arya’s reference, so now I’m working on remaking Jedova’s one. I need to make a comic about Valentine Clanker and lots of other drawings. I’ve been creating data on Scrivener to build a wiki of sorts there so that I can flesh things out for writing. It’s been progressing hardly at all recently, but it’s looking fine; I’ve got a lot of written down. Revising is still in a standtill.
  • The Fate’s Way: Chapter 42 is in writing. I still need to redraw the regular Alyssa and also Alyssa’s friends and family and the other important people, like Matti, someday. Revising needs to be done.
  • Off-DA projects: Making and releasing a prototype of Project Moonshot, finishing and releasing Ther Person At The Door, now working on the third one!
  • Greenfield: Due to studies taking too much energy, I haven’t edited this much, but content-wise it keeps getting better whenever I do work on it. Read more about the project here.
  • Lyokostar: The translation of Lyokostar 1 progresses: Part 8 of story 6 is translation. The monthly Lyokostar 3 oneshots in Finnish are on a hiatus because nobody cares. References need to be done.
  • A Wandering Aura: To celebrate N making his first game appearance ever since Black 2/White 2 came out (which was 8 whopping years ago) in Pokémon Masters EX, I got around to posting his debut in A Wandering Aura. I’m already working on more stuff to get to some parts I really want to write, but otherwise not much on the editing and posting side.
  • Gaming: Habitica, Duolingo, Pokemon GO and now Pokémon Masters EX (due to the aforementioned N appearance) keep on going but otherwise I haven’t played much due to lack of time. The last one on the list has me hooked with the story, I must admit.
  • Other stuff: I’ve fallen behind with literature deviations because I can’t read them on DA without getting a headache from the eye strain. Due to being busy and tired, I haven’t even been reading FFM or Tribble Month stories for some time, so things don’t look good in my watch. I’m not sure what I even want to do about it, so for now I’m letting the stories sit there until I figure out what’s the best course of action. I’m working on my third FFM collection. Reading is still in a standstill on the book side since I’ve spent my reading time on Archive of Our Own, but I hope to change that soon. I’ll have a break from Unity for a while, although I’m quite likely to return to it soon because of a course. I should get back to video editing since I have so much footage to be edited.
  • Personal life: Studying, studying and studying in addition to the Christmas “holiday”. I got through the tough online course somehow and now I can focus on the spring semester with a little lighter load. I watched through The Mandalorian and a short anime called Girls und Panzer (it was surprisingly good) and now it’s probably time to look into resuming The Clone Wars.

I think this is the best time to end this long post. Thank you so much for reading all the way here. I wish you a better year! Take care and remember, no matter how bad things look, have hope.