Archive for the ‘ Learning ’ Category

Learning.

I both love and loathe learning.

I love it for the very simple reason that it gives me pleasure; no, don’t be weird. Learning to me is like sport is to everyone else; I learn a new skill or some new fact that I didn’t know before and it feels like I imagine it to feel if one was to score a goal-in-one at snooker.

The thrill of putting new skills to the test and finding out quite quickly that I enjoy this new task is where my ambivalence towards learning comes in. I imagine those of you that way inclined would call it a “meta-emotion” and then sit back, smoke your pipe, and feel happy with yourself. Either way, I hate loving to learn.

In way of explanation I’ve done a quick flow diagram for you. No, don’t thank me, it was my pleasure:

Why I never get very good at anything

As you can see I hand wrote this just for that personal touch.

Anyway. As we can plainly see in this incredible diagram, I start out learning a new skill, learning more of it, before finally going bat shit crazy and substituting every activity for this new one (including but not limited to: Sleeping, Eating, Breathing, Farting, Cavorting, Standing, and Videogaming).

Then I get bored and go find something else to do, although the step between boredom and finding something else can take up to a few months.

“This is fine” I hear you yell, spraying toast crumbs and bits of half chewed Marmite all over you filthy monitors, “you get a new skill, and you enjoy doing it; you make me sick. Where are my hitting pants? This man needs a thrashing only I can deliver!”

Well, yes. I have fun. But, you judgemental pricks, if you look closer at the diagram I’ve included a red asterisk (or if you’re colour blind, a grey one). This asterisk allows me to refer to my skill level at that particular point in the cycle. Follow me to a superfluous bullet point list:

oh, you made it.

  • Amazingly perfectly brilliant  <———–This is where I think I am
  • perfect
  • amazing
  • brilliant
  • great
  • good
  • all-right <———–This is where I get to
  • okay
  • meh
  • not that good
  • bad

As you can see, the asterisk denotes a large deficit of perceived skill on my part. This being a mistake I make every damn time. I learn something new, for example, squirrel wrestling, I do nothing but wrestle squirrels for damn near a month. I live to wrestle those squeaky bastards. Then it gets boring and I stop, thinking “Well, if nothing else, at least I’m now a damned good squirrel wrestling sonofabitch”. Then to my dismay, when I check all the squirrel wrestling newspapers, it seems that I’m only just of amateur status; I probably wouldn’t even be able to wrestle squirrels at the local wrestle off! (we call it the nutcracker)

This makes me sad, and what’s more, I have no inclination to even attempt to get any better because the whole concept of squirrel wrestling now bores me.

The whole cycle ends with me feeling somehow like I’m worse than I was before I started. Before I could say: “No, I don’t squirrel wrestle”. Where as afterwards I have to say “I’m all right I guess”. Which isn’t  an improvement.

This time though is going to be different; I’ve learnt how to make things in flash and I’m so good I can make buttons and everything. I’ve done nothing but practice for the last 3 weeks and I’m really enjoying it!

Oh… Wait…. bored. Damn.

EDIT:
Turns out, ladies and gentlemen, that I am incapable of spelling. I have rectified this by signing up to an 18 month long correspondence course. The first practical involved letters a through b!

PhotoShop

If you’d have asked me 6 months a go about anything to do with photoshop I would have said “Back the hell off creep, I’m not your photoshop guy”, before likely head-butting your nose and jumping through the nearest window. There are two reasons for that.

  • I wasn’t very good with photoshop.
  • I wasn’t on the correct dosage at the time.
In the last 6 months I have gone from despising the idea of using photoshop to… Well, still not being ecstatic about it, but much less likely to damage your philtrum (and not just because of my change in perscription)

A number of months ago I was fortunate enough to be given the chance to redesign the game menus for a remake of a game from a popular old school franchise. Obviously I jumped at the chance of getting anywhere near the Game Development Industry (caps are necessary), and got straight to work on some concepts. It took me three days and surprisingly little sleep to complete the concepts, concepts which I was very proud of.

I sent them over the intertubes with a hint of trepidation; obviously I wanted the job more than I wanted the voices to stop, however, getting that job meant more photoshop work; much more. Over the days it took for a reply to form within my inbox I had convinced myself that my abject lack of talent had been just as apparent as I imagined it was and, upon receipt of my precious concepts my prospective employers had all caught Lack of Talent from them and died.

This was not the case.

The reply said they liked them and they would like to contract me to make them function in game as flash menus (to be mounted into the engine using witchcraft I think). Needless to say I panicked.

When I panic I tend to do so very quietly and all to myself; as if a little voice says “oh no”, and everything starts getting messy in my head. In the process of attempting to clean out this brain filth I decided my only possible solution was to learn myself some photoshop. Which I didn’t.

Not long afterwards (only two months) it came time for me to make good on my contract and start making some pretty menus. The work that I had promised to do was on the very limit of what I thought I would be capable of if I had actually bothered to learn how to use the package, so as you can imagine there were a large number of “oh no”s going on.

Good news next though because, after spending a number of months making these menus one at a time, day and night, finding a tutorial for everything I didn’t know how to do, and endlessly experimenting for everything I needed to do that didn’t have a tutorial, I began handing in what I had made. This was done quit unceremoniously; like a small child handing in a battered page of scribbles and calling it homework. I genuinely refused to read my e-mails for several days afterwards for fear that the e-mail would be so venomous that its hate would leak onto all my other e-mails, creating some kind of evil rejection slurry.

This was not the case.

Again.

It is my fervent, desperate hope that no one figures out that my low opinion of my own abilities isn’t just down to an inferiority complex. If that never happens, I may just be able to carve out a niche for my self in this industry we call Games.

Or not.