09 June 2017

Cheap gaming

50 cent per hour. 

What is a good price for a game? For some people 60 € is fine, for others its outrageously expensive. I tend to lean towards the "too expensive" group of people. Which doesn't mean I wouldn't buy a game right away if I'm really curious or hyped about it.What can I say, the flesh is weak.

History however has thaught me that such behavior can go both ways. Either the game is what you expected and super cool (Starcraft 2), or its a total miss (No man's sky).

But when do you know if the price is worth it? For me I did a little research last week and checked the prices I payed for my games and the amount of hours that I spend on them. Fallout 4 for example would be 103 hours and I payed 25 € for it. On the other hand, Torchlight 2 only has 5 hours , but I only wasted 3.79 € on that one. Also, I spend a shamefull 339 hours on Minecraft. At least the time that has been kept in the statistics, I'm sure I've spend more on it but the data just got lost over time.

This gives me (price / time played = €per hour)
  • Fallout: 0.24 € per hour
  • Subnautica: 0.09 € per hour
  • Torchlight 2: 0.75 € per hour
  • No man's sky: 0.71 € per hour 
  • Minecraft: 0.03 € per hour
After having done that with all my games I came to the conclusion that I have an average of 0.50 € per hour for the games that I have. Thus in the future, whenever I want to buy a game I'll just ask the following question. 

"How long do you expect to play this game?"
With that in mind I can see if the time played and the price that they offer comes close to the 0.50€/h. If it doesn't then the price is not good enough yet.

This has of course the odd effect that I don't play games when they are fresh from the AAA oven. But at least I won't burn my fingers because I'm wearing the mittens of patience.

A lot of gamers might think its strange not to play a game as soon as its released, but I find this technique to be very beneficial for me. I'm not saying its good for the companies, oh no, I'm the worst customer they can have.
But whenever I buy a game a few years later I'll end up with a product that has all its bugs fixed, probably has some free DLC in it, there'll be walkthroughs all over the net and of course its cheap as hell.

A fine example for this would be Fallout 3, it was released in 2008, yet I only bought it last week. It was the fair price of 10 € and having checked average playtimes of people I got 0.08€ per hour for this game. As this is well below the 0.50€/h benchmark it was ok to get this game. Especially because there were no bugs left, and all the DLC was already included.

All I have to do is play this game for at least 20 hours to get my 50cent, and heck that's the easy part.

25 May 2017


Like the good old times

A few days or weeks ago I started working on a drawing type that I had not used in years. Its made in a style that throws out any rule of perspective and can be best related to the isometric graphics style used in older games.
Back then they didn't have strong 3D engines and a lot of the games used this type of style. Me being a joyfull gamer, back then and still today, got inspired by those types of level designs.

Although its not realisticly correct, it does give you a kind of freedom to show more than you would normally be able to show. In my older drawings I usually didn't add any people, for this one I didn't bother either.
The only big problem I had while making it was inspiration. It was rather difficult to come up with an idea for the stage. Even now I feel like I should have added more details to some of the places. Too many times did I use a cheap trick to fill up empty spaces.
Whenever I had a wall I added either a piece of wood as support for the building or just painted the texture of a brick wall. Its a simple way to fill up empty space and you don't have to come up with new ideas to draw.

Most of it was drawn during my lunchbreak at work. Which of course turned a head once in a while. Its only recently that I started making sketches again during my lunchbreak. Mostly because I have the time to do so. A few years ago I had 45 minutes to eat food and draw, but when I moved to a new shop it changed to 30 minutes. Which is fine for eating food, but not enough to really get into a drawing. But as of late we got those 45 minutes again and I figured it was time again to roll out the pencils. Just got to make sure I don't eat any of them.

btw, can you see the C&S, it stands for "Clothes and Stuff".

14 May 2017

Scary stuff

Sometimes life can really mess with your head

You can't say that I'm a superstitious person, but I do know some of the habbits out there. Basic stuff like, don't walk under a ladder, or the four-leaf clover. Little meaningless stuff, created by old cultures. Me on the other hand, I'm more of a science guy. Whenever people come to me with scary stories or odd things happening, my first thought will wonder towards the scientific explanation. Be it hallucinating fungi, rats running in walls or simply just people playing tricks on you.

All that being said however, the mind is a powerfull tool that can really mess with you.

For example:

A few nights back I went to bed at my usual hour, much later than the responsible grown ups sleepy time. I had set my alarm for the next day and left the real world for dreamland. Then during the glorious hour of 1:33, i.e. the middle of the night, my alarm went off. That's 1:33 am for people not using the 24 hour thingy.

The beeping noise woke me up and I rushed my hand towards my phone. Eventhough I had just woken up I knew this wasn't the time for my alarm to go off. After checking the time I was wondering what the hell was wrong with my phone, because I knew for sure I had not chosen that time to go off. It seemed very odd that my phone would pick a random hour to go off.

Strike one..

Confused I turned around and tried to go to sleep again, thinking it was a one time thing. However, what I did not realise at the time was that in my haste I had pressed snooze instead of turning the alarm off. So, at 1:38, five glorious minutes later my alarm started beeping again. Now remember, in my mind the alarm was turned off and there wasn't a single reason for it to go off a second time. I rushed up and slammed the button multiple times while in my mind I was thinking, "what the fuck is going on here".
Still sleepy and not thinking straight I was getting a bit worked up. Its kinda like when you just wake up in the morning and that pile of clothes looks like a person or dog sitting in your room and you think, "how did he get in here?". I was at the same stage right now, half awake, wondering what ghost was haunting my phone and by God if it went off a third time I would freaking move out of the house.

Strike two..

For some reason however I was able to fall asleep again with very little effort, but then came the dream I had. In hindsight its very logical I dreamt this because my mind was already set for haunted things, but let me tell you what happend.
In the dream I was doing some random stuff, going to the store to buy some bread, but there wasn't any bread left anymore so I stood there for a second thinking I should just go home again. Right when I was about to turn around I heard a voice wishpering from behind me. A silent, whispering, ghostly voice right next to my ear softly calling out to me. "Stiiijjjjjn" (for the english people it would sound like "Stan", but long "Staaaaaan")

I woke up the second I heard that voice and actually said out loud in the middle of my room "What the fuck!" Now I was really fucked up and I turned on all lights (which luckily I was able to do because the lightswitches are right next to my bed) and prepared myself to check under the bed for monsters. While carefully pulling away the sheet I already kept in mind what object to grab first in case I actually encounted something. The space underneath my bed was clear, which was a huge relief.

Strike three.

Luckily that was the last thing that happend that night, but my mind was going crazy with scary stuff and I did not go to sleep for the next hour, I refused to. I kept the lights on, pulled the sheets a bit higher over me and took my tablet with me to browse some of the funny sites. Only an hour or so later I was back to my normal self and was I able to realise the sillyness of the situation. The rest of the night however was very short because I had to wake up for the early shift at work. Needless to say I was a bit tired the next day.

After that odd night I can say that I did not move out, even though I had three strikes. Strike three and two are just silly things that my mind turned into something far scarier than they actually were, but that's what happens when you wake up in the night and your mind isn't fully awoken.

However, I have not yet found an explanation for my phone going off in the middle night...

19 April 2017

Look at me adulting

The beauty of adulting

Today I went to the supermarket and bought myself two brooms, one to sweep the dust of the floor and another to clean the floor with water. People in the street probably thought to themselves. "Well there go's a man who wants to keep his house all tight and clean. A real responsible adult."

Truth be told however, I haven't used a broom for quite some time. I have a vacume cleaner, and when I want to clean the floor with water and soap I actually do it by hand, and not with a broomstick. Seems kinda oldfashioned, but its a good workout.

The real reasone why I bought these two brooms has nothing to do with cleaning. Far from it actually.

During lunch I was reading one of the magazines my collegues had brought to work and in it was a comic about the things you could do during a lazy summer vacation. You know, things like picknicks and breakfast in bed, that kinda stuff.  One of the options was to build a fort in the living room and watch movies in it.

From the moment I saw that example I knew in my heart, nay in my soul, that I had to do that. So, all day long I was thinking about how I could build the perfect fort in my home, but then I realised I didn't have a broomstick. As many of you people might know, the broomstick is the foundation of a good coughfort. Luckily for me, my local supermarket actually sells brooms. After work I made a quick stop there and got me two of them floorsweapers. The second I was home I started the construction works.

I had to move the sofa a bit to the side and needed to pile up some of my lego containers to build a support for my brooms. Sadly one of the brooms wasn't long enough to bridge the gap so I had to get creative with a tube I had. But in the end I was able to put everything up. All that was left was to fill up the camp with fluffies.

"Being an adult allows you to do things you wanted to do as a kid without a grown up trying to stop you."
Because I am a child in spirit I already had a giant crocodile fluff and some other soft stuff that I could put in the fort. After some finetuning I had the perfect resting space for me after a hard days work. My first plan had me put a projector inside the tent to watch movies, but in practise it would be difficult to pull it off. That idea was scratched, and I'll stick to making sketches in the tent and maybe reading books in it. Depending how long I'll keep it standing.

For now I'm happy with the cozyness it provides and the childlike nostalgia it represents.

05 April 2017

Music all the way

In memory of my old MP3-player 28/06/2010 - 03/04/2017  

Yesterday I bought myself a new MP3-player. The old one had a malfunction with the sound socket. Sadly I had to get a new one, but its years of service will not be forgotten.

Whenever one of my previous MP3-players stopped working properly I tried to do something fancy with them. If I remember correctly I belief the screen of my very first MP3-player stopped working. When you can't see in what part of the menu you are its kinda difficult to properly use the machine. So I changed its function from "portable MP3-player" to "stay at home player/usb stick". It was so long ago it didn't even have a gig of memory, it was still calculated in megabytes.

Yeah, that's a turtle from TMNT, it used to be this mini castle when you opened its shell. I had to burn two holes in the sides to give the cables an accespoint. That way I could still plug it in and put files on it, even listen to the songs if I wanted. But after I had reconstruced this one I quickly got a new player. Can't go out in the open without a machine to ignore the people, aheum, I mean, to listen to music.

That new MP3-player was the shuffle type of machine, so it got changed way faster then anticipated. I think I really missed having a menu to browse through. Also the previous one had a microphone which this one did not have. So after much consideration and because my mouse also had died that day I build me a mouse/usb stick.

Pretty cool stuff, worked like a charm as well. The only sad part is that I have no idea where I put it. Knowing myself I might have thrown it out thinking it was a regular mouse. Then again, I havn't checked my trunk of junk yet.

That trunk of junk includes a shitload of VHS tapes featuring "Married with children", "Teenage mutant ninja turtles", "Buiten de zone" and some cartoons. There's a load of other crap in there, but I honestly have no idea.

Anyway, back to the MP3-player of today. Its soundsocket malfunctioned so I have a new MP3-player, same type only a newer version. I have not yet decided what to do with the old one. Putting it in a dead mouse again would be cool I guess, but it wouldn't be original. Another idea was to get a stuffed animal and put it in there, though I'm not sure if that would be a fire hazard or not. I'll definatly keep it for a while, and I'll keep you posted if I make something fancy with it. 

For now I'll take that new MP3-player and enjoy some of the new songs that got published this week.

29 March 2017


When it comes to big projects I can be the best procrastinator out there. 

Back in 2010 I started the "Apples" project. This was an animation I wanted to make, with fancy sounds and wicked animation. In the end it turned out just basic. But still, I got to finish it, which is pretty amazing for me.

It took me up until 2013 to actually finish it. Most of the basic work had already been done in 2010. Stuff like the storyboard, timing, and even a whole bunch of animation. But then I got to a speed bump where I stopped working on it for a while, but that "while" turned into a few years.

That speedbump was something stupid that I did to myself. I had chosen to put the outlines of the character in different colors. With that I mean that a grey hat would have a darker grey outline, while the purple hair would have a darker shade of purple for its outline.
This of course meant that I had a lot of colors to put down, not only the inside colors, but also the outlines. Let me tell you, putting ten different colors on the outlines for each of the 24 frames in a second adds up to a whole lot of painstakingly slow work.

Being a massive procrastinator, that speedbump made me lose interest in the project. Thus it was only in 2011 that I continued working on the project. However, it could not be helped, again it fell in my folder of projects that I'm still working on and it stayed there for a long time. Apparently I did make two extra frames in 2012.

The real finish was in the summer of 2013. You know that moment where you look at the kitchen sink and you see a pile of dirty dishes, and suddenly you get the feeling its moving, sort of breathing maybe? That moment where you realise you better clean that shit up before you end up calling a biologist with the good news you discovered a new creature.
Yeah, that's the moment I had with my animation as well, I just had to finish it. Most of the work had already been done so it was just a matter of finishing up the last frames of animation and doing some slow repetitive work. So in August I finally uploaded the finished animation on devianart.

Back then I had no idea how to convert .sfw files into video files for youtube. Thanks to my Dailywulfy project of last year I learned of a program on Newgrounds that allows you to transform any flash file into a moviefile. It was a revelation.

Anyways, here you go.

22 March 2017

What a world we live in

Looks like I'm not procrastinating right now.

You know those blogs which have died a silent death, but then years later they make a new post and are all like "This is it, from now on I'll post every day and this'll become the best blog EVAR!"? Usually those blogs die off again after that one new post and you'll hear nothing of them again for the rest of eternity.


I'm pretty sure my blog belongs to that group, about 87% chance of it. Nonetheless, it is now time to start ranting. Enjoy.

A good point to start is the following question: "What the hell have I been doing in the past five years?". To awnser that question I could write a whole bunch of posts, explaning in excruciating detail what has happend. But to hell with that, here's the short version.

Vacation to Canada, brother having a kid, changing work location, living on my own, grandparents died, became godfather of two lovely little buggers and I did a year of making animations every day.

Oh yeah, look at that, its even in chronological order. You can thank my journal for that. Yeah I said it, I have a journal. Not that I use it on a regular basis, far from it. Usually there's a month inbetween the moments I write someting in it. However, I have been using it for the past two decades. Because of that it has accumulated a lot of thoughts, lost mindsets, opinions and ideas. Most of them are as foolish as they are long.

An example: (translated from dutch for your comfort)
A minute ago I was sittinig at my window, looking at the moon. It occured to me that next year or the year after that people might be flying around the moon again, courtesy of SpaceX.  It would be the first time in my life that I could look at the moon and know that I'm not just looking at a dead rock, but also people who are actually there. Wtf.

After that I started looking at the stars and for the first time I realised that around each and every one of those stars there is probably a planet. In the past I only saw stars when I looked at the night sky. But tonight I gazed at the stars and I saw more, in my mind it was not just lonely stars, but stars with a planets floating around it, maybe even more then one planet, heck maybe even a  planet with actual life on it. Its fascinating to look at the sky with this in mind.
Its not that I didn't know this before, but with scientist discovering more and more exoplanets lately, the idea becomes more and more realistic. Kinda like a kangaroo, I have never seen a kangaroo in real life, yet science/photo's has shown me that they are real. Just like those planets, I have never seen them, but science has shown me that they are there, floating around those little bright lights in the sky.  
I like that idea, its comforting in a way.

In case that it isn't obvious, I like science. More specifically, I like spaceships, spacetravel and the fact that I live in an era where I might experience a new space revolution. The only sad part about it is that I do not have a degree in rocket sciene and thus I cannot participate in pushing the space science to the next level.

So I'll just sit around here and entertain whoever that reads this blog. I might need to bring some snacks and drinks if I want to keep people interested.