Monday, September 1, 2014
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
As you probably guessed, sometime after posting 'not sick- busy', I actually got sick. (Yeah, I know, I was tempting fate there- if I ever say 'what lovely weather', do NOT plan outdoor activities.).
Robin Williams death has highlighted depression in the media. Finally we are getting the message across that depression is not 'just being sad' and won't 'just do away'. It is a real, and extremely dangerous illness.
One message I keep hearing is that we have to de-stigmatize it, let people come forward and get treatment rather than keeping to themselves. It shouldn't be something people are ashamed of.
So in that light, I finally feel capable of stepping forward and saying that I was not busy. I was very, very sick, and to be honest it came extremely close to killing me.
Depression has been a regular companion since I hit my teenage years. Regardless of how happy and successful I became, without any apparent trigger, the black dog would come skulking into my life. My depression would come in waves; sometimes strong, sometimes mild. I did not notice at first, but each time it came it would last longer, and longer. It was my wife Kate that spotted this. First weeks, then months, then, most recently, it devoured a whole year in one gulp. I simply don't remember much about the last few years at all.
The meager energy I had got me through about one hour a day of work. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I barely remember those years, and made excuses about being busy to cover the fact I simply could not concentrate long enough to sculpt or write. Eventually I started having panic attacks, again, for what seemed like no reason. Things started to take a dark tun. I could no longer drown out or ignore the suicidal thoughts, and came very close to losing the battle. But I had a wonderful wife, Kate, who realized I needed serious help and fast. She pushed and pushed to get me through the long and frustrating line of GPs, therapists and specialists- depression takes away your ability to get through treatment, frustratingly enough, and without her help I would never have made it. Our government pretends that Beyond Blue and Lifeline are effective solutions to the problem, but in my case it just resulted in being handed around back and forth between departments and organisations. Frankly, this treatment would kill a depressed person.
But then, something amazing happened. At the darkest, most hopeless moment, I got a totally new diagnosis. I was not suffering from a metal illness at all. The reason CBT techniques did not help me was that it wasn't my thinking that was the problem. It wasn't my serotonin levels either. Actually I was remarkably sane... all things considered.
It was a hormone deficiency.
One year after this diagnosis, I finally got through the queue to an endocrinologist. He gave me a script, I went home and popped the pill. It was the size of a coffee sweetener.
The next day I felt amazing. Not euphoric, but... wider. Like the world had expanded, and someone had open the blinds. Colors where intense, and for the first time in years I got up, went about my day, and stayed out of bed the whole day. Within the week, my energy levels had returned. My depression like symptoms had released their grip on me, and I suddenly realized just how I must have been severely depressed my whole life and not known it. It was impossible to see that tree for the woods.
But that was just the test. The endocrinologist had been testing to see how I would react, and this incredible result confirmed the diagnosis. He gave me a full script.
That was three months ago, and today, I am depression free. All I have to do is take a handful of hormone pills for the rest of my life, but no antidepressants and no therapy. I am perfectly healthy for the first time in my life! The world looks incredible, and life has finally lifted out of the murk. I cannot express just how different I feel. I feel like myself... what I should always have been. Now I will go into more detail about the condition a bit later and answer any questions about it then, but for now I feel this tale is long enough for a blog. I just wanted to get the message out there that depression is real, and you need to keep fighting. It really is worth it.
So I am back at work now, both at my day job and working on my old projects. I do not want to risk pushing myself too hard, so I will be slowly gearing back up my projects, essentially stress testing this new me to see how much I can carry now. After all, for me this is the first time I have not been depressed. I simply don't know my limits anymore.
I am excited to find that, in my absence, just shy of a hundred emails have accumulated in my Skulldred folder, as well as get well soon messages from those who figured it out. Thank guys. I did.
I plan to start mail outs and answer emails in the coming month.
|Giant Dice scenery, based on the Skulldred cover art. Ready for photography session.|
I scanned over the book where I left it, and it actually was pretty darn close to done. Depression clouds your judgement, and so I can see where I was getting snarled up. The solution I was looking for was actually pretty simple. I am LOVING my new brain!
So though my story took a tragic turn, the future is finally looking rosy for Skulldred!
At last you will have your maths free, any scale, any miniature skirmish game. And this time, it won't be a battle to make it. It will be pure joy.
So one closing note before I skip off back to work. If you suspect you have depression, there is hope. Don't make my mistake and think you can just reason it away or treat yourself. You can't. Please, please ring a help line. Get help. It really can give you a whole new life.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
After pushing info around all day, my inner artist was itching to get out, so I decided to spend a few hours tonight refreshing the look of the cover. This resulted in a tweaked logo too, and certainly did raise my spirits! I have been staring at the old one for so long. NOW it feels like Skulldred is rising from the ashes. Here is a quick taste.
|New look, new counters, new cards, new pogs|
So the new quickstart cards come with matching pogs, so you can play immediately without any miniatures. Skulldred uses the top down view of the models base of the miniature for all line of sight tests, not the figure itself... which means you can easily play with counters, papercraft minis or 'pogs'- and of course all your miniatures are legal... regardless of pose, make manufacturer or size. So long as you can get it on a base, you can play!
(oops- I just noticed this version still has her bum sticking out... I will return her loincloth for the release!)
The new counters do not have english words on them- no need to translate! They are also hex shaped and are double sided- so you can flip over a reload to use as a hide counter, for example.
As far as rules go... well, you will just have to wait and see!
Another day on the book tomorrow!
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Okay, so the forum is still down- I am just waiting on sysadmin to help me prune the spambot without timing out. Once that is done it will be back up. Sorry if your account gets blasted in the process- fortunately it is only a few posts if it does!
Lets see how the new security system holds up.
Skulldred is back on full burn now, and I am merrily building the beta. Thanks to everyone who emailed me for last minute applications. As always, forgive any delay- I am only one mortal. But it soooo nice to be wanted!
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
YE COUNTDOWN BEGINNETH!
Phew, I just compiled the new beta player list from all the emails that have been gathering in my gmail folder. There is a LOT of eager Dredlings!
Rather than have everyone fill in a questionnaire, I am going to post one up on the forum and you can choose to fill it in as a forum post in the introductions- that way we can all get to know each other a bit- and you may find people you connect to that you can play Skulldred with. Ahh, community.
You will receive welcome mails shortly giving you the password to the new playtest forum- as well as a pleasant little surprise. I will announce the mailout on this here blog- so if you do not get a login, something is amiss- flick me an email!
NEW BETA NOTES
The new free beta is a cut down version of the book release. It is formatted to A5 paper (pocket size). Though it is rather sexy looking, this is only the word file and does not represent the final layout, photography or illustration of the book. Rest assured. It will be even sexier.
The free beta is missing some modules, which will be privately emailed to NDA members.
As promised, with the release of the new beta, I will be reinstating the Skulldred Warband painting competition that got halted when I fell ill. The warband must have between 5 members and 12 members, and must feature either the Skulldred 'S' skull logo or 'Ace of Dread' logo. You are invited to make custom character cards for your warband, and a backstory. Prizes are Darkling Games miniatures- awarded for creativity, painting chops, conversion skillz, profile cards and general craziness- as judged by me. You have two weeks from beta release to finish your entry. May the maddest, paintiest Dredling win stuff! I m looking for diverse and clever use of minis from ranges from any era, any manufacturer. 'Tis the Skulldred way.
The new counters are language free with just an icon. Yep- I am listening!
Combat and wounds/health rules are done. So much nicer now.
Boost dice now equal 1 dreadskull per dice- lowering their worth so it balances out using skulls for extra pips and for standing. Basically you get double the dreds now, and have more ways to use them.
I only had a few hours tonight so I tackled the character card .psd file today and got that ready. I know making custom cards was a big enjoyment for everyone. I have still to do the gimp version.
Now that is done I can make the updated diagrams for the profile building section, pregenerated starter cards.
Only a few days to go. Tomorrow I am training a studio in a software package, but the day after it is fulltime on Dread!
Monday, March 24, 2014
I have just wrapped a big FX job and am back on 'Dred. Yay.
The forum is down thanks to spambots- apparently the inbuilt catchpha in phppbb was hacked ages ago and is useless. I have to install another security measure when I get the time- hopefully the old forum is working so we can use that for this beta. Any advice would be appreciated in the comments below...
Combat is up and running- with fresh color coded diagrams for damage. I ended up going with a drop dice system for damage for this edition. Scoop up winning dice, drop your opponents hits- then any armor they have (most have none- big 1, huge 2 etc).
If the result left is zero- you gain advantage (knock back, drive back, circle or disengage). 1 =down, 2= wounding blow and 3 killing blow. Step up one level if opponent caught off guard.