RIP my wallet

Usually people are speaking in synecdoche when they write that, jokingly referring to some expensive luxury item or Steam Summer sale they can’t resist, but in this case, my literal wallet has finally died.

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Above: my old weatherbeaten wallet. Below: the until-now unused wallet my brother got me last Christmas, with my ID lazily photoshopped over

My wallet is the oldest item I possess by far, even factoring in that I’ve used it every single day of its life. I picked it out after graduating fifth grade, since I was getting library cards and credit cards and other things that required too many slots to fit into my plastic kid’s wallet. It followed me through high school, college, Ohio, Texas, back to California, and now it’s retiring at the very end of my Master’s program. It visited England, Scotland, Norway, Germany, France, Spain, Canada, Mexico, and countless US states. God only knows how many dollars, notes, cards, keys, and coins that have passed through it.

It’s weird to think I’m moving onto the next phase of my life without it. I’ve got a replacement all ready to go courtesy of Jake, but part of me wants to shell out for a wallet restoration place and keep the legend going (especially since the Velcro works perfectly, it’s just the worn-through fabric back that needs replacing). Something I can think about in September, once I’ve graduated and some of these distractions are resolved. Either way I think it’ll appreciate a short break.

If you want to know about some of these other things, I made an apology video for the YouTube channel since I’ve been letting it stagnate as my graduation looms:

 

And finally, its a bust at Pixelberry, but I can’t say I didn’t give it my all. I finished and returned the writing sample, and they sent me a form rejection. So I wrote back asking if I could downgrade to their Junior Writing position. Not content to leave my chances up to one email, I took a day off school and Ubered down there with a hard copy of my application.

Pixelberry was in a large multicorporate building, I had to sneak in at the same time someone exited the front entrance. Pixelberry’s office was locked with a fob, and I think everyone was at lunch so I loitered in the courtyard till 12:45. Then I flagged someone down at the front desk and asked to deliver my application to HR. They let me go in where I gave my printed application directly to the guy in HR. Explained I’d been in the running for Senior Writer and didn’t get it, so now I’m applying for junior and wanted to make sure they had a paper copy. He seemed nice, I think I made a good impression on him. either way, my efforts earned me a personalized rejection, which I genuinely consider a win. They ‘appreciated my persistence’ but they didn’t think my assessment ‘demonstrates the qualities they look for in our writers.’ Which is probably true; in all honesty I had a hell of a time writing it since teen romance is somewhat out of my comfortable writing purview.

So that’s the end of that story just kidding they recently opened up for a QA Story Tester position and I’m already printing out my application for another trip down there. I’m sure they can’t wait to hear from me again.

 

Pixelberry Wants a Writing Assessment!

Just got my first writing job application that wants to move forward! Pixelberry has asked for a writing assessment to see if I can move onto the interview stage. This is super cool, and I’ve taken the day off school so I can fully focus on it.

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I like the artstyle, and I can definitely do this sort of writing, though I hope they assign me to the sci-fi/supernatural/fantasy/not-just-high-school settings. The “every good option is locked behind a premium currency” business model is super frustrating but I bet it makes a fortune

I’ve kinda taken everything else off too, just to send out job applications fulltime. I repurposed my old C++ learning story into an all-purpose story for working on things in the third-person, and it’s got a pretty cute spreadsheet tracking my job applications and their status.

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I’ve kinda let my YouTube channel fall by the wayside as I sort this stuff out, but it’ll be there when I get back. My viewers almost exclusively come from my reddit threads, so this might actually be a chance to test whether a brief hiatus even hurts my numbers. Itch.io’s been sitting barren since February, but I’m pretty happy with the game selection already on there tbh.

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Just broke my 200th download on itch.io, which is genuinely cool. It warms my heart to check every few days and see a handful of people have downloaded stuff. Almost all of the hits are from TV Tropes, since I wrote full pages for Gamer 2, Find the Cure!, and Oedipus in my Inventory. Any of my future creative content will get its own page no questions asked, it’s great for building steady (if minor) traffic. My Clickteam Fusion tutorials and C++ Projects are steady hitmakers too, the latter of which I don’t really understand but I’m not complaining.

I can’t help but be a little worried overall. Literally no other job I’ve applied to has even written me a rejection letter, so if Pixelberry doesn’t work out I may not have a lot of options going forward. One safety net is that I’m in the running for their Senior Writer position, and if they say no, I can ask if there’s any chance I can downgrade to their Junior Writer position. I mean, you never know.

Individual self-assessment

I get melancholy at the end of every quarter.

1) What work did you you contribute to your game/team this quarter (similar to how you’d list it on a resume)?

I designed a website, recorded videos, wrote articles, created social media accounts, posted on said social media accounts, took minutes during sprint reviews, shoutcasted tournaments, and wrote spell descriptions.

2) How do you feel about how your game progressed during the quarter?

Major League Magic progressed extremely well. We’ve made big strides on every level, with the very successful implementation of terrain alteration being the biggest success. We’re getting some decent numbers on social media, but I didn’t do nearly enough marketing. I should have tweeted at least ten times as often, I barely touched the Facebook page, and in general anything I finish should have been done at least a week earlier. We also could have made more success on art, but what we managed to accomplish with the better-looking UI does wonders towards making the game look better.

3) Was there anything that you struggled with?

The sheer volume of content marketers need to release to get anything to happen. I just couldn’t find things to tweet about, and it took me far too long to actually make the social medias to tweet from. My excuse I kept using was “I’m waiting for us to get better art”, but considering we literally just our first few updated art assets yesterday, we’d have been SOL if I’d truly waited that long. Also I never actually started that weekly dev stream I’d been planning due to not being able to come up with stuff to dev stream about. The team never really kept me in the loop as to what they were working on, unlike Medical Necessity and personal projects where I always knew exactly the progress we’d made every week. If this game fails, it will largely be my fault due to shoddy marketing.

4) What you are working to improve next quarter?

I need to apply to more jobs. I need to finish my self-assigned jobs faster (I was more than able to finish things on Ahmet’s or the college’s pace, but the assignments were too slow and I should have finished things long before anyone asked for them.) I need to be more involved with the team and less of a free agent doing his own thing in the corner of the lab. This master’s ends in two months and I have nothing lined up. Again. After five years of not being able to break into the games industry, I’m about ready to give up if this college program ends and even that wasn’t able to turn me into somebody companies would want to hire.

 

They’re gonna buff Symmetra

Date: 11/22/2016

What you did: Contacted CoveredCalifornia to see my options regarding healthcare, contacted Adobe to learn about Black Friday sale, i can now pay $39/month for the whole of 2017 instead of $49. Debating going for that, to be honest. Teachers and Students get it for $15/month, the lucky dogs

Contacted my county to see my healthcare options. I’ve got to wait up to 30 days for them to call me and get the ball rolling, apparently. Sucks that I lose my healthcare on December 8th, which is less than 30 days away.
Update: I called them and now I’ve got an in-person appointment tomorrow at 1pm! 😀

Located the deadlines for the Degree Programs I’m interested in exploring. I’m gonna post my breakdown in another, more scripted blog post.

Shift in Focus

We’re doing a shift in focus. Namely, from a blog that doesn’t get posts, to one that does.

I’m starting a “once a day” blog post requirement. Literally doesn’t matter if I did nothing of value, if I was a lazy lagomorph with nothing of value to report for the last 24 hours, than that’s what I’m going to report.

That being said, I did damn good yesterday. Applied to 6 jobs, all of which are writing and so actually in my field of study. Perhaps it wasn’t the wisest choice to focus for so long on video game jobs due to  my Literature degree, but I was hoping to roguish good looks and charm would carry me through. They did repeatedly get me to the second-stage of interviews, so I can’t fault them.

Today’s big job is to write this quest for Legends of Equestria. I haven’t worked for them for months, but they need someone to write a big tutorial quest and I guess my starship was the only one in the quadrant. Plowing through updated literature so I know what I’m actually doing, and holy god do their modern writers have it easy. Back when I wrote the two dozen quests I did, my only available mechanics were “speak to stationary NPCs” and “add or remove items from inventory”, and now they can spawn mobs, walk NPCs around, initiate combat with unique NPCs, spawn items in the world…basically the shit a real MMO gets. This tutorial is going to break the fucking bank, I hope their gigabytes are prepared.

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For some reason I feel more like using this blog as an actual blog, where I discuss things I’m thinking about. God knows why, maybe its the fact that my nonexistent audience can’t actually lose interest and unfollow. I can’t believe I’ve been regularly referencing and acknowledging you nonexistent readers since 2012.

I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty dejected by Blizzard saying no. I thought I had that one in the bag, it’s a customer service position to work for Overwatch, which would be a fucking dream come true for a cartoony FPS fan like me. I also thought the interview went great. I’ve been debating focusing exclusively on Blizzard because I know a workable if niche job-getting strategy is to just hound one company until it hires you simply out of name recognition. But with Lyft abandoning Austin, it has suddenly become difficult for me to even reach Blizzard. My roommate is working the current gig so had I landed it I’d have carpooled with him.

I’m so unbelievably jealous of my roommate. He has zero game development projects under his belt, he has never worked in the industry, and this was his first time applying for a gaming job. So of course he gets it (Overwatch! He gets Overwatch!!!), and my four years of experience gets me the door. It’s pretty clear I was considered overqualified, and its far from the first time. I appear to be in that sweet spot where I’m not qualified enough to hire for a decent game dev position, but I’m too qualified to hire for a shit gave dev position.

What to do, then? The obvious answer is to keep plugging away at volunteer/indie projects and find one that’s worth the time and will pay dividends. After all, with the internet and endless tutorials/training at my disposal I (and everyone else, to be fair) have no good excuse not to. It would just be so much easier to drive to work, do a thing from 9 to 5 and then come home and get paid. And then get a nice sizeable refund on tax day instead of kicked in the nuts by Schedule Cs. It’s so stress-free. I’ve been doing it entry-level for under $10 at dead-end customer service jobs for months now. I guess I just hubristically feel like I’m ready to advance to something better. Consider this blog post my Disney princess song.

Luckily I’ve worked out a completely separate source of stress, that of my lifelong singlehood. I guess its around 25 that my biological clock finally started whining about how it was sick of being lonely and to start looking for charming gals and gents to spend nights with. And I may have wasted a few nights in bars wondering why the fuck I wasn’t at home writing or playing video games, and then ultimately going home eventually and doing just that. But me and my eros had some long conversations and eventually convinced it that I’m just not ready to spend time on another person right now. I want a steady job and a satisfactory level of content-creation skills under my belt before I can afford to try and balance my life along with someone else’s.

I have to remember that I’m incredibly lucky with where I already am. Not only am I a white decently-thin male in a first-world country who lacks any physical deformities, I’m doing something most people can only dream of. I’m risking everything and toiling in a self-chosen city following my dream. When I look at someone and feel jealous, I remind myself “Would you trade lives with them?” And the answer is always hell no. I’ve got my priorities straighter than anyone I know my age. And I’m going to succeed.

Five and O

Blizzard and EA both said no today.

That’s five now. Blizzard, BioWare, EA twice, and Bethesda. Thrice I’ve made it to the second round of interviews (the ones where you dress up and go speak to people at the studio), every time I’ve made it to the phone interview. Every time I don’t get the job.

I guess there’s nothing to do but keep trying. After all, who hasn’t heard all the stories that go “<famous person> got rejected 97 times before landing his dream job and becoming famous”, and by that rubric I’ve barely started.

In exactly one month it’ll be the one-year anniversary since I moved to Austin. Not sure what I have to show for it but I still think I made the right choice. I just need to work harder. There are so many basic skills I still lack. HTML, Photoshop, and Duolingo are all very easy skills that I really should have taken the time to learn by now. Lord knows after losing that EA gig with the John Madden division because of a lack of HTML knowledge, that should have been the first thing on my to-do list.

So I’m going to start on those three things. I should have plenty of time since I’m still unemployed. I’ve made it this far without having to call my parents and ask for money, but if I can’t find a job and fast that won’t last much longer.

At least ROSS, my frequently-appearing AI character and the protagonist of my first story published on this blog, is doing better, having recently become the world’s first AI lawyer.

Day 71 or something, didn’t check

 

Okay so I think the interview went fucking amazingly. There were definitely things I said that made me look less than perfect, but I think they got a taste of who I was, and if they don’t hire me, I know I couldn’t have done better.

Yesterday had its own weird event when I got hired for my first ever freelancing nude modeling gig. It was at a shadowy place I’d never heard of starting at 7:30pm and with higher pay than normal ($25/hour!) so I was kinda scared it was like a snuff film or something, but they turned out to be great people and I’m totally game to return whenever. So that worked out.

And with its departure, I’m all out of excuses to not keep doing Unity videos, so we’re restarting Block 4 and leaping back into Brick Buster. Today I rewatched in intro video and cycled 30 minutes and so stay tuned for daily updates again! You nonexistent readers are so patient with me :3