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Iger, 3

-> Faith gives Courage
-> Be Humble and take risks (Innovate or Die)
-> Leadership is Knowing who you are
-> Own your Mistakes

Iger, 2

Learnings from Chapter 2.

-> Build Trust and Camaraderie in your team
-> Ask for Help
-> Be Honest when you don't know
-> Accept New Challenges, Make Life an Adventure

Where Games Are Heading

Meow In Verse's first article: "Where Games Are Heading"

Publishing on Medium & WeChat, for a global launch!

https://medium.com/@shuandang/where-games-are-heading-the-next-decade-in-creativity-a12a981b589

Iger

Learnings from the Prologue and Chapter 1 of "The Ride of a Lifetime" by Robert Iger.


-> Wake up Early and give yourself time to Think.
-> Strive for Perfection
-> Don't take No for an answer; Find another Way
-> Balance the Product and the People

Necrobarista

I love the art and the music presented here: The character designer Ngoc Vu created very memorable designs that eek personality in every way. The music kept the tension up and the catchy bits stayed in my ear for a while.

Playing through the game was a little slow paced for my taste. The story was intriguing at the outset, but took a long time to build up into the any sort of activity-filled scene. The game is more of a slice of the cafe's ongoings, with heavy emphasis on the development of character relationships.


The characters' internal struggles have a hard time surfacing. They become a bit lost on the audience with the sporadic switching between scenes. With every jump, time became more lost on me.
For a game about the scarcity of time, this made time extra difficult to digest. I acknowledge that the scenario--a Terminal where spirits pass, run by quasi-immortal beings-- lends itself to a feeling of timelessness. But at the story's core, the dead only have 24 hours to stay. I don't think I felt that as strongly. I felt lost with regards to feeling time progress.

The presentation as a 3D environment with stealthy camerawork was an attempt at cinematic drama, but without voice acting, it is more reminiscent of the old silent films. A bit difficult to digest.

Interestingly, the parts of the game that put me most at ease were the Memories (text-only excerpts of dialogue, story, and lore). These sections let the writing speak for itself, without the complication of messaging through the contemporary set and characters.



Superhot: Mind Control Delete

The sequel to SUPERHOT was really simple to pick up:  node level selection, wave based combat, and cryptic, unobtrusive story.  It really fit into the modern schedule:  short bursts of entertainment that doesn't try to overstay its welcome.  I was happy to play it, being given access for free as a I already had SUPERHOT in my library.

This ease of jumping into and out of the game let me play through in about 7, one-hour-long sessions over the last few weeks.  And I certainly enjoyed it.

SUPERHOT: Mind Control Delete had very appropriate and creative theming (MORE, MORE, MORE).  It continued the fourth-wall-breaking computer simulation veil, with a bit of self-aware critique.  The narrative suggested that I was yearning for more, and feeding an addiction to the game.  While partially true (I did want to overcome its challenges to see what it had to offer next, I thought that it was better viewed as a commentary on media consumption in general.  The messaged goaded me on and kept my curiosity up: "Why would the game prod me about playing too much?". 

It was a sensory stimulating experience, very well integrated with its marketing strategy and ability to stand out as a unique game.  I think it was a great idea to distribute free copies to generate interest and dialogue about it.  If not for that I would not have picked the new game up, as the original superhot was a wholly complete experience that did not ask for MORE.

Check out the replay system!


My Android App Homescreens

I live on my phone so much these days that it's important to keep organized and eliminate inefficiencies. These are the latest homescreens that I use.

On the dock:
Evernote - I use this for my dream diary, daily writing and notes. Experimented with alternatives for a while, but Evernote has the most pure experience that gets me straight into writing.
Twitter - You can follow me @shuandang. Personally, I am still building my tweeting skills. This app is great for me to discover and keep up with creative people and their work.
Camera - I got the Pixel 3 because the camera could come close to replacing my point-and-shoot. Very important for capturing moments. I don't use it enough.
Podcasts - Last year I listened to a lot of audiobooks. This year, I discovered so much great podcast content out there I can't possibly listen to it all. This reminds me to play a few when I have the time.
Maps - Though I'm not going out a lot these days with the coronavirus pandemic raging on, Maps is core to my smartphone lifestyle. I'm using it to mark off places that I want to visit someday-- once we're able to travel again.

On the first page:
Mostly communications tools, productivity, photos, and music.

On the second page:
A bit of news, lifestyle, and arts.

On the third page:
Games that I'm playing. Some regularly, others sporadically.

After that (not shown):
A few random games that I'm trying out.





Sold Out Lamps

We went shopping for a lamp, a desk, a mat, and a shelf at IKEA yesterday. The store funneled us in to prevent crowds. It was uncomfortable to be near others even though everyone was wearing a mask.

From my shopping list, I had a vision for the bookshelf that I wanted (based on my previous visit). We really liked the design of the Besta shelves. In my mind I knew roughly that it would go underneath the window, and that the color would match the decor of the room. But in the store, the pieces didnt come together. From the options shown I had the choice of mounting a floating tv stand to the wall, or stacking a shelf and a short-shelf for the desired height.

I had no vision for a lamp, though I did like the tall cylindrical ones. My family requested a desk, but called to tell me they changed their mind.

We found a nice lamp, and after deciding to purchase it, found that it was out of stock.

We found a single soft floor mat in a heap of exterior door mats. It was out of place and we couldn't find where it had come from. I wanted to see if there were alternate colors, to no avail. We took the mat.

Towards the end of the trip, I walked into the as-is section to buy a set of Billy shelves. Again, the color matched, but it didn't feel like the right shelf. I passed, and circled around a few more times.

Serendipitously, perhaps by the hand of fate, I finally noticed the discontinued Besta standing tv- shelf. It was the right size and all.

There really was no choice for me that day in shopping.

Change Happens

We measure progress with tests and metrics. We measure performance with tests and metrics. These tests are simply measures that help us confirm that changes have happened, that improvement and progress has been made. They aren't a necessary condition, and shouldn't be the only way progress is achieved.

Change happens whether we measure it or not. Time flows without us constantly watching the clock.

Daily Habits

There are a plethora of books about how to build habits, but you must create it by acting it out. Ultimately, it will be a very personal journey that will allow you to build the life that you want. 

A natural requirement to being a human on Earth is that we have a daily routine: Waking up and falling asleep with each turn of the planet. Use the sun-rise and sun-fall as universal anchors and build your day.

Dedicate Time To Being You

Most hours the day, I am not myself.  In games, I take on the avatars of heroes and champions. In films I relive the tension and drama of others. In the virtual realms of social media, I become a reflection of the community. When am I me?

Worry not, Negotiate

We worry a lot about different potential futures.  Have I made the right choice?  Will I pass that interview?  Worrying does not solve the issue and only makes us more nervous.

The cornerstone lesson from Negotiations: "Everything is negotiable".

Worst case scenario?  You'll negotiate.   And negotiating isn't too bad. It will open up even more possibilities.

Creative Goalsetting

When being creative, set a goal that is outside of the norm.  Oftentimes, aspirations are derived from one's immediate perspective, and one's goals will be in the realm of a limited 'possibility space'.  Don't restrict yourself.  Place your goal further out and reach a bit.

The goal that everyone else sees is not necessarily yours. Establish for yourself a strange, personal, and unconventional goal.  Forge a new path with a novel approach and an inspired way of thinking.

Placeholder

A placeholder reserves room for new and wonderful things to come.  

The MBA Journey

Where one journey ends, another begins.  The past two years have been a mix of personal tests: challenges, curiosities, and choices.  I set out at the end of 2017 determined to forge myself in study.  This goal led me to the UC Davis MBA program, and I found myself surrounded by a supportive community of business leaders with an appetite for improving the world. 

It's interesting how a vague goal slowly manifests into many interesting happenings.  Over the course of the program, I discovered product management for games, participated in a venture capital case competition, started an educational app project, and much, much more.  I made new friends, adjusted my thinking with a few books, and honed my communication skills.  All these deserve stories of their own, which I'd love to divulge someday.

Today, I'm just taking a moment to celebrate the achievement.



When I moved my belongings home (most of it fit in this van!), a big question mark appeared in front of me.  What's the next journey going to be?  

This year started off with a lot of uncertainty.  It's one-half tumultuous and another-half chaotic, but new ground will be settled once balance is returned.  2020 also marks the near-ending of a decade for me.  So I'd like to make it a meaningful cycling of time.  Regardless of where I'm headed next, I'm certain to hold myself to these key values:

Creativity - to make reality from imagination
Connection - to share and communicate
Curiosity - to investigate and discover 

Continue on!

Steel Samurai on Fire - Global Game Jam 2020

Jammed it out in Sacramento this year!  We kept it simple with a small team of 2 + 1 sound designer.  Based on the theme of 'repair', we made a Nintendo DS inspired minigame-game (Warioware, Cooking Mama), where you repair a Mecha as it fights the Kaiju. 

I got to sneak in some time towards the end to write a battle theme song for the game.  This marks my first official song!  Listen here: 
https://soundcloud.com/kisaragis/steel-samurai-on-fire-battle-gamejam-ver





Check out the game here on the GGJ site:
https://globalgamejam.org/2020/games/steel-samurai-6