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Eleventh year

Well well, it is 11 years since I started this blog. And looks like this year I posted two entries - I'm not sure if that counts as "blogging", hence the title of this post is mere "Eleventh year" instead of "Eleventh year of blogging".

I think there are two main reasons for me not writing blog posts as regularly as before.

First, it is my reaction to the world situation. This might look like a paradox; for example, in my personal philosophy one of the central questions has been something like "why there are wars, and what could be done to reduce violent conflicts?" And for so many years I actually enjoyed writing some thoughts revolving around this kind of questions. But the more serious the situation is getting, the more I've felt like resorting to my old coping methods - withdrawing to my introvert semi-hermit world, that is. This withdrawal is not a conscious decision, but a deep emotional reaction, so that sometimes the idea of communication feels almost impossible for me. Or, I've just become even more introvert, so that most of the social communication feels even more draining than it did before. On the level of rational thought I'm well aware that being silent is not going to help. Also, as we all are citizens of the globe, we all bear our part of shared responsibility, and sometimes it is the combined effects of small individual actions which enable bigger historical developments. So, in a way I feel that I'd like to participate, to say something about war and peace. I just need some more time, and in so many ways I feel like waiting for my own inner sound to mature and to clarify, so that once I resume my expression I'll be able to express in a more solid way than I've done before. I have a feeling that something is quietly brewing under the surface, and I just need to wait patiently until something emerges.

And then the second reason of writing so few blog posts; whenever I've had time to sit by the computer I've felt like devoting that time to the Ancient Savo development. This year saw some surprise turns in the development, which has meant the official release getting postponed again. And big portions of the code needed to be rewritten, it has been slow. One example of the process; The basic game play of Ancient Savo is very simple - you click a map tile, choose an action, and something happens. One action is "hunt" which simulates a few days trip of hunting big game, and it resulted in a small pop-up message telling "you gain X amount of meat and Y amount of pelts". But at some point I felt that instead of that simple message it would be nice to have a small story describing the trip, so that the story would not always be the same but having many randomized elements. So I gathered together all of my previous experience with dynamic story generation and put together a simple engine which turns numeric data to a human-readable story. Then I felt that this could be further improved by making the story interactive. And once the interactive stories started to work I went on implementing simple AI to simulate non-player families. Which means that once the player clan has multiple families the families could visit each other, exchanging news and telling stories about their memorable hunting trips. All of this has taken time to code, and I really don't know if anyone will enjoy the (interactive) story elements in the game. That remains to be seen.

As usual, there are at least half a dozen of thoughts floating around in the back of my mind. But a hunch says I won't be able to translate them to words today. So, enough for this post. Let me conclude with a movie recommendation; if you get a chance, see Fallen Leaves by Aki Kaurismäki. The movie features Maustetytöt playing one of their original songs. And as the movie has been gaining popularity, getting good reviews in USA and Europe, Maustetytöt have also been playing a few gigs around Europe. Huh! To me it feels that it is not so long ago since I first saw Maustetytöt - at that time they were an indie duo playing at a tiny festival to an audience of some 30 people. Soon after that their popularity skyrocketed in Finland, and it really seems that they tapped into the deep undercurrent of Finnish mentality and cultural heritage, so that a lot of people feel that they can easily relate to their music. And I always thought that it is all based on them cleverly utilizing and recycling the history of Finnish pop music, their lyrics are often rich with references to the classics, often combining melancholy, sad topics and gentle humor with puns that simply would not translate to other languages. But maybe I was wrong. Just like Aki Kaurismäki movies feel like they are distilling the essence of Finnish folk culture, it is so deeply local that it quietly becomes globally understandable - for, after all, the basic humanity is the same everywhere, and Kaurismäki movies are the art of using minimal body language to express maximum meaning and emotion. So, maybe Maustetytöt walk the same lane, being so deeply Finnish that it turns into universal humanity, so that the emotion is tangible even when you don't understand all the lyrics.

Looking forward to new adventures
Looking forward to new adventures
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Comments

Very happy to hear from you.

Great to see that you're posting again. Im just getting back into game development myself and it feels good. Dan (Norfolk, UK)

Always a great pleasure to see that you have posted again, Erkka! I always look forward to reading these. Sending you my best wishes for the holiday season from Canada!

Happy new year!

Always a valuable reflection from you. Even if it's once a year, still a quality blog as far as I'm concerned. Thanks for sharing.

Wonderful to see you here Erkka! I have similar thoughts with my own blog. Peaceful within yourself radiates peace to the world, and you have always done that. Wishing you a wonderful New Year! xo

Clementine

Hurraa Erkka! Toivottavasti ensi vuonna lempeys lisääntyisi maailmassamme

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