Any technology which is distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.

Moving To The Country, Gonna Eat A Lot Of Lemons

Posted: April 17th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Hermit, Projects, Soapbox | 3 Comments »

What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient… highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed – fully understood – that sticks; right in there somewhere.

– Cobb (Inception, 2010)

That idea for me was to drop everything, move out into the middle of nowhere, and make games out of nothing. It’s not a new idea. It’s been stewing around in there for a long long time. When Gameloft Auckland closed its doors, that provided the impetus to move it along. I spent a good year tossing it over, discussing it with peers and (former) colleagues. The general sentiment was, “If I could, I would.” The catch was, of course, that we are never really truly prepared. Sometimes you have just got to take the plunge. So I jumped. What’s the worst that could happen?

A few were tempted to jump with me. There were quite a few late night discussions on where to go, what to do, how to set up a community of indies so that we can feed off each other’s creative juices. We even had a big road trip down to Taranaki just to scope out the place and see how comfortable we would be there. Reality has a way of crashing down on dreams, and that happened for many of my compatriots. They are still keen to come down in a couple of years when their earthly affairs are sorted, but for now, I am the pioneer.

So… the idea of moving out here is of course for the cheap rent, fresh air and uninterrupted coding time. I scoped out the cheapest places I could find, and spent a few days down in Hawera to look at places. Some were downright nasty, while the good ones were snatched from under my nose mere hours before I was due to inspect them. The very last place that I was scheduled to look at, however, wasn’t too shabby. It was a spacious three-room house with a reasonably large garden and yard. It was old, and needed some cleaning up, but certainly serviceable. The other catch was that it’s out in the farmlands 20 minutes drive from the city. It also came with a very bountiful lemon tree. That was the sign. Life literally gave me lemons. I took the deal—$150 a week… eat your heart out Auckland!

The move itself went fairly smoothly, but there was a lot to take care. It appears rural folk take great pride in their ruralness (rurality?). I had to sign up at the post office for Rural delivery. Internet is not through fibre or even copper lines, but via Rural Broadband (which is really just glorified 4G with a dedicated cell tower). If it tickled your fancy, you could even fill your car up with Rural Petrol. Then there was the war on the creepy crawlies. With my trusty spray can and dustbuster, I expanded my territory from room to room, eventually claiming the entire house. There are still guerilla insurgents every now and then, but nothing that can’t be shocked and awed. The garden is still wild territory though, but I have a good excuse…

In the two weeks that I’ve been here so far, not one, but two cyclones (or as they like to call it in the news, cyclone remnants) have rolled lengthwise through New Zealand, causing flooding and closing highways across the country. My choice in lodging was validated, given that the house was in no danger of flooding, and I didn’t need to get evacuated. How traumatic that would have been! So while it wasn’t the most auspicious of signs, there was plenty of silver fresnel.

One other thing that killed a lot of momentum in my personal efforts, was some contract work I’ve taken up. Before I left Auckland, I made arrangements with a few choice game companies to take up contract work from time to time, with the stipulation that the work either be lightweight (~2 days a week) or short (~2 weeks). As it turned out, one of them wanted me to start on something right away. So for the first two weeks I’ve been here, that has been the main focus. Looking on the brighter side of things, at least it gives me spending money to cover the cost of the move and settling in.

Nevertheless, having committed to my course, I’ve started a dev blog to track my progress which you can access by clicking here. Unlike this one, that will be focused on the project itself, with daily updates and weekly thoughts, which is why I have not been talking much about it here. Right now, it’s mostly full of excuses for my lack of progress, but hopefully things will kick into high gear once I’m settled in.