2023, The 10th Year Of Press.Exe

Hey, it’s January! That’s an odd-numbered month, which means there’s not going to be a theme here. It’s also the start of the year and there’s going to be a bunch of stuff getting cleared out from 2022 so it’s not going to have a proper theme but it’ll definitely have something… themey.

What’s coming? Well:

  • February is a month of Smooches!
  • April is a month of Self Indulgence!
  • June is a month of Pride!
  • August is a month of Tricks!
  • October is a month of Dread!
  • December is a month of ‘Ween!

Then, each month, look forward to

  • A How To Be article talking about a character in 4th edition D&D
  • A worldbuilding article talking about building my setting of Cobrin’Seil, or building settings in general
  • At most one article on 3.5 D&D, one on 4e D&D
  • Each month I’ll show you at least one article on Magic: The Gathering, where I’ll show you this month’s daily custom cards, and well, we have a big special project for that, which we’ll talk more about soon.
  • An article talking about an OC, usually from City of Heroes, but hey, wide open world.
  • One piece of graphic design for a t-shirt, mask, or sticker
  • A story pile article each monday, with at least one anime a month (loose target)
  • A game pile article every friday, with at least one video a fortnight (harder target)

Each month I’m going to present at the end of the month, a summary of the game dev I’ve been doing that month, which is also going to be built out of articles posted on other social media spaces.

Ah.

Yes.

Other social media spaces.

You know, like Twitter, where I used to do this all the time.

I’m writing this back in December, of course. I don’t know what’s going on with Twitter. But I think it’s probably bad, and I think I’m enjoying not having to be on a space that predominantly is known for everyone on it screaming about how bad it is. So what I’m going to try and do going forward is do things like dev threads over on my Mastodon, which lets me do long-form threading with graphics, and search my own history. That’s what I really liked about what twitter gave me. I’ll also be presenting things on Cohost and Patreon to see what the audiences there want to say.

Basically, what you’ll find where:

  • Drafted article ideas where you can comment and give me direct suggestions where I’ll be able to meaningfully engage? Cohost.
  • Threads for showing ongoing progress on projects where I’m primarily taking notes on my own work? Mastodon.
  • Places for answering polls and questions about the game development I’m doing where you get to provide meaningful input into things I’m doing? Patreon.
  • Just the video articles? Youtube!

Each of these platforms is going to do a different job, and that’s important. I need to stop treating you as if you’re going to different sources for content firehoses. What I want you to do is come to my blog to look at the best of my material, and look at those other platforms as places you can go if you want more. This blog hosts articles. Those places are for social interaction, in different ways.

Particularly, this plays into the new way I’m approaching Brainstorm posts. Instead of having each month open with a post explaining that month’s game project, which can feel a bit like an open space, my intention is to present a link to the month’s brainstorming thread on Mastodon. Mastodon serves a purpose that the blog doesn’t necessarily, where it allows for lots of small additions, maintained in reverse chronological order, threaded on one another. At the start of each month, there’s going to be now, a post summarising that thread. This also stops cutting off a bit of extra time, where scheduling meant sometimes a month was more like three weeks of working on something rather than 31 days.

Below the fold, though, there’s some reflection on the history of this blog, why we have ten years of Press, and how I feel about realising this is now one of the longest ongoing projects I’ve ever had.

Goodness me

This blog started out as a byproduct of a change I wanted to make in my life when I was 29, turning 30. I realised that I’d spent my twenties trying things and starting a dozen projects but finishing nothing, which meant that all the ideas I had and all the concepts I was sure of had resulted in a lot of incomplete things. I’d had it in my head that I’d write a book or become a videogame maker or something like that. I felt, in the back of my mind, that I was always working on a thing, and any day now I’d make the thing.

I hadn’t.

I mean, there were things I made! I made things like a D&D setting and outlines of ideas, and D&D prestige classes and feats and magical items, I had been working on these small things but I’d never internalised that ‘small things’ and ‘big things’ were still just things. I mean I had a whole D&D setting, which one of my friends had printed out and put in a book, but that wasn’t a thing for people to read. It was a thing for me to be happy I had (which is noble enough on its own).

This blog is a thing that charts to my life, and now it charts to this particular period of my life. The year I turned 30, I made a plan. I would write one thing a week, a short story being the aim, and at the end of the year I would have 52 things that were made ‘together’ and that would count as a book. It had no option but to count as a book. Fox made this blog, which I think was her idea and it was a good one. Give me a place I had to put things, after a period where we once shared a blog on another site.

I wrote that first book. I’ve told this story before – about midway through the year I realised just how much I wanted a plan, how I wanted structure. I was using the blog in a very random way, and there’s probably a bunch of stuff back there that’s a big bad or meanspirited in ways I’d probably not be wild about now. I think I should keep things up, generally speaking, to make sure I’m accountable for things I said and so that if I did something that deserves an apology, I can actually do that. But I did write that book, The Sixth Age Of Sand.

It’s not great. I mean I like some of the ideas in it a lot, I like the way that it built bits of a world. I kind of like the idea of how a modern setting becomes a magical setting, with the idea of it being like buildups and thresholds and I liked the idea that the previous civilisation that we never knew about on earth was entirely made up of crabs.

In the November of that year, of my first year of university, while studying for my first exams, I wrote my first book for Nanowrimo – I wrote Immortal Engine, which was much smaller, tighter, and built out of a burning desire to finish a story that I could make with a structure. I like that book, not because it’s amazing writing or because it’s very good, but because it was my first book, and that book required a world that then became the setting for my next book, One Stone.

One Stone is a book that even now I’m proud of.

When I started this blog, I started making this blog because I imagined I would become a videogame journalist who wrote books on the side. Those were two things I liked, a lot, conceptually. Still kinda do. But what happened along the way was being believed in by teachers, and guided by friends and enabled by an audience. To shift from I think games doing this are bad to the next level of well why don’t I do things differently to suddenly… there are games. We made games. We made games, because again, Fox has been instrumental to this.

It’s been a weird few years. I became a game maker. I grappled with the challenges of self-identity. I started a youtube channel, because I was intrigued by the different ways you could use video to explain ideas. I acquired a stalker at one point. I got a dog! I progressed through multiple types of conceptual rage and started writing about my material conditions. I became an anarchist, which I’m still cautious about saying because I’m afraid the boss of anarchism will find me and yell at me for saying it and I know that’s dumb.

There’s a sort of soppy inclusivity that internet content creation wants to induce you to, the ‘we’ did it, you did it with me, you, the reader, you helped, and you totally did! I really like to imagine that someone is reading what I have to say, and that alone is enough to make sure I do it. I remember someone letting me know they laughed at something I said about Touhou predating Dark Souls and…

I smile.

I throw a lot of words out there and they wouldn’t be here if not for Fox. I press post because I imagine my audience, I visualise people who are interested in the kinds of things I want to talk about in the way I want to talk about them and bless, some of you are out there and have found it.

This blog does give me stressful nights sometimes, when I feel I haven’t done enough, written enough, worked enough for the Patreon dollars I receive, and the inherent anxiety of knowing the Queue Hungers. but I still love this feeling, this moment, when I’m able to bring my focus to bear, and let words spill.

Thank you for showing up, and thank you for telling me what you think about what I do.

Hey, wanna know why the blog is called press.exe?

I’ll tell you at some point this year.

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