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Some more meta thoughts

A few unordered thoughts, continuing on the theme of why and how I've felt it difficult to update the blog;

Sometimes a fictional story appears in my mind. Those stories often comment or illustrate some philosophical themes. But before I sit down to write such a story to be published in the blog, my mind keeps on working on the idea, expanding the story and adding more details. And then it start to feel more like a story-line for a story-driven computer game. Then, a game feels to be a better format to tell that story, so I leave the idea simmering, waiting to see if I ever will have the resources to implement these stories in games. The reasons I'd prefer to tell most of the stories as games instead of a blog post; A game would split the story to smaller chunks, making it easier for the reader / player to spend time with this or that episode, getting more immersed into the story. Game would also make the player to interact, leaving the decisions for the player to make : what would you do in this situation? For me, raising questions often feels more meaningful than simply trying to tell others "this is what I think!". Why should anyone be interested in my personal views? It gets more interesting if there is a way to stimulate and to encourage questions inside the thought system of the reader / player, then letting them to process the questions.

I'm probably starting to lose track - has it been already more than two years of actively developing the Ancient Savo project? What I remember is that it was some time around October or early November when I finally got my life arranged so that I could focus on indie coding as a regular part-time job. Or, varying from part-time to full-time, as there have been weeks when I haven't quite had a day off, for it has been seven days of work - each day either working for money, or working with indie coding. But it is not very healthy to have a lot of such weeks in a row, so sometimes I need to cut it down for a while. Well, but the reason of writing this now is; Ancient Savo development has taken longer than I expected, although already from the beginning I was well aware of that often being the case, yet my first estimates were all too optimistic. Yet, the future looks brighter, for two reasons. If, after the Steam release the game would generate some regular monthly sales, that would allow me to ditch some of my current odd jobs, immediately making the work / refreshment balance healthier, enabling regular long-term indie coding. And, a lot of Ancient Savo code is so designed that it would be easy to re-use and to expand to make sequels and other future game projects. The optimistic estimate is that after Ancient Savo it would be possible to release one smallish story-driven game once a year. Now, add some realism to that, and it would be more like something "devoting a lot more time to help Sami with UnReal World development, slowly working on side projects, and releasing a side-project game every second year." And stories and game ideas have been piling up in the back of my mind, hoping to see that optimistic future of unleashing the simmering potential.

Then, another theme. Every now and then I see people posting on the internet something like "Football is so very stupid! I hate football fans! Nobody is going to make my feet to be spherical! I prefer my feet the good old way!". The cognitive reaction very easily is: "Ah, hey, I think you are hating football for the wrong reason. In case you are interested to clarify your thoughts; the idea of football is not to make your nor anyone's feet spherical. Yes, the word sounds like that, makes you think about ball-shaped feet, so I understand that it is very confusing. But, would you believe - it actually refers to a game which is also called soccer, where the player run and kick a ball with their feet, hence the name. Is that something you could even remotely imagine wrapping your mind around? If you knew that football is not about making feet spherical, but it is sports about trying to score a goal by kicking a ball, would you still be against the idea of football?". Yes, that is the cognitive reaction I get, and for a split second I might entertain the idea of writing a blog post trying to clarify the confusion. But then comes the emotional reaction; why should I bother? For most of my readers probably are not affected by that confusion, and those people who are confused are very likely to just feel pissed-off because it is very normal for a human to feel deeply and personally hurt when someone says that they are wrong and maybe they should change their mind. And when people get pissed off, their bodymind goes to the age old fight-to-defend-survival mode. Because of the way the nervous system works, we learn new things easier when we feel safe - when we feel threatened, we tend to revert to what we already know. So, if a piece of text is intended to help people do some cognitive work, possibly helping them to clarify some confusion and learning a new thing, the first thing is to make sure not to agitate, irritate nor hurt the reader. And this is the point where my emotional reaction turns to "why bother / this is beyond my capability / I don't have energy for this right now". And merely imagining any likely reader reaction makes me feel threatened, and my mind reverts to what I already know; that safety lies in solitude, so better just shut up and enjoy the peace.

(At the very moment of posting this we are having normal January temperatures in Finland, temperatures falling below -25 Celcius. And I've already seen people post on the internet that "funny how no-one is talking about the climate getting warmer now!" - as if one local single cold day would somehow prove that the global climate change is not happening, or something? To me that sounds about the same as believing that "football" means wanting to turn people's feet spherical. But the mere thought of discussing the climate change with a denier makes me feel speechless. Also, for some reason facebook keeps spamming totally irrelevant content into my feed, provocative memes that none of my real friends posted, shared nor liked. I've already quit Twitter (while it had that name), and now I'm seriously considering quitting the facebook for that reason. They even offered us EU-residents an option to pay a monthly subscription to get rid of paid content. I tried that, wanting to signal them that some people really would be willing to pay for the service if that would mean seeing only content what fb-friends post. Alas, that didn't happen. Paying for the service made the obvious adds go away, but it did nothing to the irrelevant content facebook keeps on adding to my feed. My friends said that constantly blocking or clicking "I'm not interested in this" will eventually make the feed less provocative. For me that feels like facebook trying hard to collect more and more data of my personal preferences, despite me trying to pay to make them stop the data harvesting. They won't stop. So maybe I just should stop using the site. Oh well. But, some of those memes have been based on the idea of "feminism is stupid because it is reverse of chauvinism, but why should women oppress men?", and I feel like "huh, I'm pretty sure the word doesn't mean what you seem to think it means..." But, enough of that, as I still try to write a few more lines to this blog post, but now these thoughts make me feel like quitting immediately...)

One of the long running themes in the blog has been (my) social anxiety, depression and related issues, and trauma recovery. I often feel like writing an update on those themes, for those themes have been in deep process for the past few years of my life. The reason of writing about these themes would not be to tell everyone what is inside my personal mind; I have no urge for that. But, it becomes meaningful if my self-reflection resonates with some other people, so that someone finds it helpful or supportive to read about another living person going through similar experiences, and seeking ways to support the recovery process. And that is the Catch 22; as soon as I think that there actually is someone reading my blog, it makes me feel like "oh, that means communication, and that I don't have energy to do just now!". Paradoxically, writing the blog was easier when I thought that no-one is reading =) Another paradox is that as I've felt my own social anxiety healing a lot, friendship and connection becoming easier and more enjoyable for me - at the same time I've learnt to better allow myself to be the person I am. And the person I am, that person is an introvert. Here, introvert does not mean a shy or quiet person, but a person who finds social interaction often being energy-consuming, and to recharge the energies an introvert needs solitude and silence. And my need of solitude and withdrawal often feels to be more strong than my inspiration to write about recovering from depression.

Huh. So much words about how I find (public) writing energy consuming =) So, let me conclude with a little bit different perspective. "Allowing myself to be the person I am" seems also to mean some slight autistic traits. For, when I open up the IDE and start working with the code, it often feels that the coding work kind of a fills my mind, and everything else fades into the distance. Sometimes I find myself coding for hours and hours in row. A thought of "soon I need to take a break to eat something" lingers in my mind, for an hour, for another hour, and then it is 2 pm when I finally have my breakfast, after starting to code at 10 am. Often that also means that I find it very much easier to devote one day to one thing. So, there are "coding days", and "doing practical work, taking care of the household chores" days. If I'd sit by the computer it would be a coding day (meaning that the idea of updating the blog feels distant, vague and distant, as at the moment of coding the coding is all there is). And if I have a real-life day, the idea of typing a blog post by the computer feels like "not today, today I want to live the life". This is boosted by my urge to get Ancient Savo finished sooner instead of later, making it very easy for me to feel like "multitasking is not healthy, better do one thing a time. First I do this, only after that I do other things. The coding is not yet finished, so I focus on it, now." Hehe, so hard to say if that feeling will be different once Ancient Savo gets published.

I make no promises on trying to update the blog a few times even before Ancient Savo is finished. Let's see how it goes, maybe there will be a blog post or two. Or maybe not, I don't know. But I do make a promise of trying to keep on posting a daily picture for this year. As usual, there might sometimes be a few days of delay if I'm away from home and off-line. Should that happen I'll catch up once back on-line. Also, I'd guess it is very likely that for the most of the days I feel it easier to just post a picture without a single word of explanation. So I will allow myself that, if that is the way to keep the daily picture alive.

EDIT: A moment after posting this I heard this on the radio and decided to share it right away. "We play, you dance" by Aavikko.

The usual development environment
The usual development environment
155 users have voted.


Thank you for the blog update.

Here is how I circumvent Facebook's bullshit algorithm: I disabled all notifications, and set them on for pages I follow (I think there is actually only one). I try to stay away from the homepage also known as feed (the UI is designed to make you mindlessly scroll through the feed, so easier said than done). There is a new function to the search bar, it stores your earlier searches and shows if there is something new about them. That adds a filtering layer to the poorly optimized chaos of Facebook. When I open it up, I type in the URL of the page/user I specifically want to go to or the chat URL.

I would say, just stick to email newsletters and your own web bookmarks. Doesnt get any better



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