Dealing with Multiple Pursuits and Interests – The Craving of a Renaissance Soul

One of the things that I like about video games is that it’s a convergence of different disciplines resulting to an entertaining and fascinating creation. Its field of development is something that matches my interests because other than my passion for gaming and programming, I’m also fond of a wide range of interests and I’m always hungry to learn something new. Music, Literature, Asian Culture, Otaku Stuff, Martial Arts, and everything in between are the other things that makes me tick. It’s a lot of fun to have such holistic learning experience, though at times it can get out of hand, and it feels like the twenty-four hours of the day cannot fit in for everything that you want to do. Here, I’ll try to share some approaches that worked for me in order to keep progressing with my pursuits and interests.

Keep a List

If you have a lot of hobbies and tasks, chances are you’ll miss some of them if you don’t organize it into a list. Creating a list reminds you of the pending items that you want to start or continue. It’s also useful for prioritizing which ones you like to try the most. If an item gets stagnant in your list for quite a while, then you might want to reconsider if it’s actually worth keeping in your list. By elimination, you’re removing clutter from your tasks, which will give you more focus on the things that you really like. If you want to go hardcore, you can also set deadlines for each task so that you’re bound to progress for each item, but don’t impose it to the point that you’ll experience burnout. Schedule enough time to recharge and unwind with a different type of activity.
I use the To-Dos feature of HabitRPG. Gamification is motivating for me, so this web app is my weapon of choice. You can try other note-taking apps as well, but if you’re a gamer, especially of Role-playing games, then this productivity tool is for you.

Find Activities That Will Cater More Than One Interest

Zombies Run: A Game That Combines Real-life Running with Zombie Survival Mehcanics Image from http://cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/image_content_width/hash/7a/dd/7add9234834237b0b01c0d3bf0ec8002.jpg?itok=H1s8LrDf

With all the stuff that you have to attend to from full-time work to relationships, you have to utilize the time that you have as much as possible, and what better way to do that than to address more than one interest at once. It’s not multitasking but rather choosing the right activity that caters two or more of your interests. Review your list and try to come up with possible combinations that can be formed into one hobby or job.
I’m a bit lucky that a lot of activities are being gamified now so it can address my crave for gaming while doing something productive. A good example would be Rocksmith 2014 which is a rhythm game that features an actual electric guitar as your controller. It has the expected core gameplay of playing songs by following the timing of hovering markers for plucking and strumming the guitar. Beyond that, there are also lessons from basics to advanced concepts for playing the guitar and arcade games that test your skills from controlling your strum volume to playing different scales. These  features are useful that I found some bad habits that I need to correct.

Get Involved in the Community

It’s always fun to meet people who share the same interests with you. It’s also motivating to follow through if you have someone to compare your progress. Just keep it as a healthy competition. You’re there to gain more friends and get motivated, not to pick up some bitter rivalry. Ask for tips from experts of your chosen activity or field. You can also contribute by assisting your colleagues or classmates, especially the newbies in your specific activity. As one of my programming professors taught me, to understand something, teach it to a person. There’s also the possibility that they’ll introduce you to a new hobby that you will enjoy.
For hobbies that let you attend classes, this will be a given thing, unless you want to sit in one corner and just participate to the actual practice, but you’ll miss the opportunity to learn more from other people and get some useful feedback. For other activities, you can join online forums and Q&A sites. Join contests if applicable. It will be a good avenue to hone your craft and find out what you still need to improve.

Having a lot of interests and pursuits gives you a wide range of knowledge and a myriad of skills to take advantage of. Just remember, you’re supposed to be doing these things because you really have fun doing it, and it makes you feel alive. Take it one step at a time and don’t put any unnecessary pressure to yourself. Live the moment and embrace your renaissance soul.  (~^_^)~

The Challenges of Passion and Lifetime Aspirations

About a month ago, I was talking to my mom about joining the global game jam. After expressing my hope that somehow I could win the said contest, she responded with the question: “What else do you have to prove?”. I was caught off-guard that I just said, “I think you don’t understand” and she really admitted that I was right. She’s enigmatic with why I’m doing such things. She asks similar questions whenever I follow something that I want to do or when I want to learn a new skill. Don’t get me wrong. In the end, my parents usually support me on my final decision, though there are a lot of times, I’m being questioned about my priorities. So why did I made such decisions in my career path? Why do I continue to study a new skill? Why can’t I just focus on getting a high-paying job and buy all the stuff that I want? To be honest, I know getting rich will make me happy, but definitely not as happy as achieving my lifetime aspirations and doing what I love to do. I only have one life, and I want to make the most out of it rather than just having an abundant lifestyle…

A Dream Job

It has been my dream since high school to create a video game of my own. Back then, I had no idea how hard it is to make one. Right after I graduated from college, I applied for a game programmer job, but little did I know that they were requiring a game portfolio, something that I don’t have. That moment slapped me to reality, and I considered forgetting that dream and pursue a different track. The first company that I worked for has been good to me and I had a lot of fun working with the people there. They taught me a lot of things about software engineering and project management that are deemed useful, even in my current job. They even gave me the opportunity to work in Japan for three months (something I really dreamed of since I became a fan of Japanese media). I did well with the first path I chose, but then I reached the point where I ask myself the “what if’s”. What if I tried harder and  became a game developer? What if I made my own portfolio and showed it to other companies?

That’s when I resigned from my previous job to give my dream a second chance. It was a hard decision, but I’ll stay restless if I don’t make my paradigm shift. And so, I tried to apply for game development companies once again but this time, I passed all of the applications including a whole-day technical exam. That’s when I started living my dream job. Even though, I had a lot of development experience from my previous company, I still have a lot to learn when it comes to game dev. I’m enjoying the learning process nonetheless. I can’t say that everything went smoothly, but it’s part of every software engineering job. It didn’t take long to have my affirmation that I really love making games, and I want to stay in this industry. By the way, we recently released a game last November. You might want to check it out V(^_^).

I still have a lot of goals that I want reach in this field. More than being a game programmer, I want to give life to my game ideas and make a name in this industry. Sounds ambitious? Well sometimes, it’s part of following your passion. You don’t settle with mediocrity.

Beyond The Educated Skill

Working with a team is really good when it comes to game development, but sometimes, my renaissance soul keeps kicking me out of the box and urging me to learn new things and combining it with what I already know. I remembered one time when I was in the training for department leads, we were asked about our dreams. What I said was, “I want to be a one-man game development team”. And I’m really serious about it. I want to learn more about art, music, game design, and other aspects of game development. Back when I applied for my current company, I made a demo game on my own, from design to programming. The sound effects were not that special and the 3D models were not optimized at all, but for me, it pushed me a step closer to what I wanted to achieve. It’s not easy studying several fields, especially if it’s not part of your natural skill set or educational background. I’m not recommending you to do the same, but if you’re really itching to learn something new, then by all means, go forth and level up!

A Demo Game I Made on My Own: Word Panic Type K!

Does that mean that I want to go solo all the way when time permits? No, not at all. I still know my limitations, and some of my ideas are just too enormous to be done alone, in which case, I will find other talented people that are willing to collaborate. Besides, I want to learn more stuff from other game developers. I also want to help other designers to develop their game when I have some spare time. Just like in game jam, the output game is a valuable prize for itself.

Balancing Passion and Knowledge Aspiration with Sustenance and Financial Responsibilities

It’s a lot of fun doing what you really love to do, but that doesn’t mean that you will ignore your finances in turn. Remember that without proper sustenance, passion alone won’t survive, and you may end up broke and unable to continue your works. It will be a lot better if you plan how to convert your passion and interests into something that will improve your entire lifestyle. Moreover, if you have financial responsibilities, learn to compromise as necessary. If you’re one of the breadwinners in the family (like me), find a way that you’ll be able to earn enough out of your interests and passion. Learn to save money by treating it as a bill, making sure that you won’t run out of resources at any given time (just like in RTS games). Worst case, you have to postpone your goals until you have a steady cash flow. Just make sure you keep track of time while waiting for that moment, we’re not forever young, and it’s hard (though not impossible) to pursue your passion at an older age.

Well, I hope you readers are following your own passion and succeed in your respective fields. There’s nothing wrong if you’re really aiming for a better income, it’s practical and beneficial, but if there’s a way to get it while fueling your passion, won’t you grab the opportunity to do so?  Remember, you only live once, and you have one shot to reach your aspirations and live the life the way you want it to. (~^_^)~

Next Post: I need a breather from long posts so I’ll post my first entry for random quotes series V(-_-)V