Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lord of The Rings and Things

Hey folks,


First up, I now have a perminant day job!  One of the big stressers for me was freelancing- which involves a lot of late nights, hopping from studio to studio and chasing down clients and payments.  Very hard to focus on 'Dread with that going on.



Well, now I have a nice 9 to 5 job, so that means stability and free nights for Skully. It is a cracking job too.  I am now the character and creature artist for Lord of The Rings Online!

My new home!
   Aaaand unfortunately that is all I can say about it due to a non-disclosure agreement.  No, I have no influence on game design, no, I cannot buff your character and no, I do not have any Turbine points to give out.  I am just there to make things pretty, and that, dear reader, I shall.  :)

Sady, that means giving up my sweet office space at the AIE- I cannot have students looking over my shoulder, so it is back to the home studio with me.  Darn it, I was enjoying the commute.

In case you didn't know I have been a professional game artist for sixteen years now.  In fact, here is what I was up to a decade ago...

Skaarj by Delaney King
 Yep, that was me.  I did all the Skaarj and the main characters.  I cannot beleive it was 11 years ago.  I also did stuff for Civ 4, Dragonage, D&D online, Fury, Mythos and many more.  It's a shit job, but someone has to do it.

Okay, so with added stability comes chaos.  My son is due to be born in six weeks, so I am setting a soft deadline to get the beta out before he arrives.  I hear sleep will be in short supply afterwards!

The one to thank for my deadline

Thanks again for everyone's patience whilst I recover from my depression.  I am trying to be open and honest about it as possible, to help destigmatize it and let people realize it is just a illness like any other.  It can be recovered from, it can be treated, and it can kill.

Regarding that other part of my life that needs to be talked about*, well a recent study revealed that the ratio of intersex people (born somewhere between what is medically agreed male and female) could be as high as 1 in 100 live births.  Hearing that made me feel much less a rare creature.  It is kinda lonely being the acception to a rule, especially when everyone is annoyingly ignorant that we even exist, and utterly horrible when people attack you for how you where born. 


*(In case you came late to the party, I was born intersex but had a female gender identity- so though I was assigned male by doctors, I discovered this later and transitioned to female using hormone replacement to rewrite my body on a cellular level to use my female dna- exactly the same as transgender women do... only I had a headstart on them being partially female bodied to begin with.  Yeah, it's weird, yeah, it sucks, but hey, other than that I am just a regular gal.  I do identify as transgender, because my narrative and treatment is identical, but technically I fall into the intersex category).

I am loving life right now.  Switching to living as a female has so utterly transformed my life I cannot really connect who I was before with who I am now.  I kinda feel like Dax from ST:DS9- (someone explained the character to me- I never watched the show).  Like her, I have all of the old me's memories and skills, but transfered into a totally new personality and body.

And watching my body slowly replace it's cells with female ones using my own female DNA is definately like something out of science fiction.  These days, people just see me as a woman.  I don't get harassed, I don't get stares.  Hell, some guy asked if I could sit and chat with his daughter at a games convention because he worried she had no female interactions all day (we talked about her new unicorn, called 'uni'. She ate invisible magic popcorn, of course.)  I even had a former employee chat with me for a few minutes before I had to explain I already knew him, and who I was.  I simply am not that person any more.  Most importantly I am happy.  It is absolutely the best thing I have ever done for my health.

So new me, new body, new face, new hair, new job and new baby on the way!

Hopefully a sign of good things to come,

Okay, gotta get back to it.

D. ;)









Sunday, November 9, 2014

Darkling Games new office

Hi Dredlings,

  Oooh look at me, I can haz office space!

Darkling Games is now setting up as part of the Academy of Interactive Entertainment games incubator program.  I get to Skulldred all day surrounded by gamea devs in exchange for a little training!
Weee!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Big support happiness

Hi Dredlings!

Thanks to everyone for the tsunami of support, and new beta applications!  I am delighted to report things are going well for this freshly minted gal-  I feel very motivated right now and full of energy.

Look what I am doing.  Yep.  That is the elusive beta 3.3 right there.


 
After being ill for so long, reading it with a clear head is a pleasure.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Important news prior to new beta

IMPORTANT NEWS

Okay then, that should explain the delay!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Health potion

Hail Dredlings,

  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.

So my new plan is to not make any promises and stress myself out trying to deliver.  Instead I am going to get back into and really ENJOY designing Skulldred.  I have gathered a live playtesting team here in Sydney, comprised of video game designers.  This means I will be making sure the next release is sturdy enough for beta testing before I mail it out.

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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_suicide_crisis_lines




Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New cover art

I got to spend the whole day on the 3.03 free beta rulebook... imagine that?  A whole day!

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

Spamalot

Hail Dredlings,

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!