2013/09/11

Another sabbatical is in the can

Six months since I last "punched in" to my day job.  And tomorrow, I'll punch in again.  I thought I should write down my thoughts on what I did with my skin during that time.  Mostly for my own reference, but do read away if you're curious, and comment, if you want.

PAX East

First stop was PAX East as an honorary member of the Space Team along with Henry, Sara and Philippe.  It was my first consumer-centric games con (been to GDC a few times).  Boy is the crowd dense.  Already making plans to attend PAX East next year.  I'll be there as long as I can get tickets, which unfortunately usually sell out within 12 hours.

North-East Asia

Next up was all about planning my first-ever big trip.  First time out of the continent, first time out of my home for more than 2 weeks.  Being a complete noob when it comes to trip planning, I made a number of mistakes in the planning and execution of that trip, here are a few takeaways.

- The Government of Canada's website for Canadians travelling or living abroad contains a wealth of useful information.  The page for each country has many tabs, make sure you consult them all.  Especially the Entry/Exit requirements.  Ahem.

- If you're going to do a multiple-stop trip, try not to return anywhere you've already been.  For example, I went Montreal>Vancouver>Beijing>Tokyo>Kyoto>Tokyo>Montreal.  The second stop in Tokyo was just a day, plus a day of travel, so sort of a waste.  If I had to do it again, I would probably do Montreal>Vancouver>Beijing>Shanghai>Kyoto>Tokyo.

- This one's for me: Don't make a travelling vlog.  It's too much investment :)  Had fun doing it for a while.  But it's too much work.

Aside from a few minor hiccups, the trip went exceptionally well.  I enjoyed it very much.  The Great Wall was probably the most breathtaking sight.  Japan was awesome and I really want to go back.  I would live there, if I didn't have to work there.


Gettysburg

After my lonely trip to Asia, it was time to go on a bromantic getaway with Francis and Jean-Luc.  And nothing spells bromance like a trip around old battlefields to see where men killed other men in huge numbers!

Manassas/Bull Run, Sharpsburg/Antietam and Gettysburg.  With a day in Washington to start off.  The battlefields are well maintained and very interesting to visit.  The tour guide, 'specially the artillery expert at Antietam, were entertaining and resourceful.  Gettysburg has the most to offer, but also is the biggest tourist-trap of the three.  Complete with Ghost Walks and other nonsense.


Back to Zulula

Those trips (PAX excluded) were meant to disconnect me from my omnipresent thoughts on game development.  And they did.  When I came back I had to decide whether or not I would make one last push to bring Heroes of Zulula to Unity and therefore iOS, or if I was just calling it a day and moving on.  Either to another game or away from indie dev permanently.

I chose to give the Heroes a final push and a proper send off.  They will land on iOS and Android (in their new form) in late October/early November.  Look forward to it!  Dammit.

Ingram

So in Japan I bought this Ingram model kit.  For those who don't know what an Ingram is.  Shame.  Anyways, assembling it was a lot more fun than I thought it would be.  Did I discover some sort of future hobby of mine?  Time will tell!

Ottawa road trip!

Fascinating one-day stop at Ottawa for the Diefenbunker and Mosaika with Jean-Fran├žois and Shelley.  The Diefenbuker is a great cold-war-era underground bunker.  Felt like I was in the Canuck version of Fallout.  Mosaika was great!  Only 30 minutes but worth it!  I noticed Ottawa has ghost walks as well.  What the eff?

Weight and health

I gained about 5 pounds during the that whole period.  Not a lot considering the 15 or so I had gained the last time I did such a thing.  Since that time I had lost 35 or so, so it's not like these 5 make me any closer to being back to where I was (close to 300 pounds, ugh!).

I did notice I gained the bulk of that weight while doing work on Heroes.  During the last sabbatical I worked on a game 100% of the time, and I gained weight 100% of the time.  As I get older I am establishing a correlation between working on indie games and doing everything wrong when it comes to my health.  I don't know how that observation will inform what I will do after Heroes ship, but it's there.

It's a wrap

I'm quite happy with this sabbatical.  Didn't spend it all in front of a computer, but instead with good friends travelling to cool places!  So, it's a win!  Back to work tomorrow.  Looking forward to seeing the whole gang.  Having lunch with the G-Man, going up the stairs with Robert, telling Vincent why he's wrong, again.  Arguing, being right, being wrong, making hard and easy recommendations, living with the consequences.  Hopefully making things better.  Time to saddle up.