December 29, 2012

Thoughts about Indie Game: The Movie

This is now a bit more current again, as Indie Game: The Movie (IGTM) is included in Humble Indie Bundle 7.

I finally took the time and watched it. I'm sharing some personal thoughts that the film provoked. If you’re looking for a good review, please help yourself with your favorite search engine.

The main focus is on the development process of the indie games Super Meat Boy and Fez, supported by the earlier release, Braid. The movie is a bit long, but it manages to build an emotional attachment to the developers behind the games. This pays off in the end.

For me the film is very much related to video games as art debate (check e.g. Guardian Games Blog). I see a strong proof that making an indie game is a creative process. As the games themselves are constructed by putting pieces of art together, how could the final result not be art? IGTM shows the personal drive to create and communicate with people using the game as media, people following their vision despite the uncertainty about how the game will be received. In my eyes, these developers are artists.

The bottom line is that IGTM manages to deliver an emotional experience through its subject and cast. I’m happy to have seen it. Occasionally, I couldn't help thinking if I took the easy path of working in corporate software development. In some ways, I probably did, but I think there's no final answer to that question. What I envy most is the indie developer's freedom not to compromise their vision, when they so decide. I feel that is very different when compared to large scale software projects.

December 04, 2012

Sports bets recap - November 2012

Total balance of betting accounts in November: -21.57%

As promised, my first sports betting recap is here.

This month I had both good and bad times, but the final result is negative mostly because of one bad weekend. I think almost every bet was lost that weekend. While I can't be happy with the final outcome, I'm not too worried yet. I'm playing with very small stakes and can afford these losses. This is still more about learning to win than actually winning.

The monthly follow-up is proving to be a useful tool and is helping me to set concrete targets for the next month. During November I have made small adjustments to my betting system. Those haven't brought any winnings home yet, but I think it's a matter of time. I have considered starting a more detailed analysis on the teams and series I'm betting on. However, that would mean spending considerably more time planning the bets. The time I don't necessarily have.

To sum it up, no reason to panic yet. But I expect better results in December. If that won't happen, I'll need a careful review on my current strategy. But tonight, it's about some quality time with ice hockey and UEFA Champions League.

One more thing! My knowledge of betting terms in English is not that great. Here's one betting web site I stumbled upon when writing this post and looking for some information is English. Seems to be a decent one.

November 14, 2012

I'm learning betting discipline

I've been betting on sports quite regularly for about 18 months. As with any hobby, I want to get better at it and my long term goal is to practice profitable sports betting. The total account balance is now pretty close to zero, no great wins or losses. Kind of a good time to think how to go forward.

As European ice hockey leagues were on break and I've had some time look back and see what happened this fall. In September I was quite excited when the ice hockey seasons were starting up. I was trying out my new betting system, only to find out that it was not working at all. The faulty system combined with some bad luck quickly burned up about one third of my betting cash reserve in less than one month.

I had no choice but to rethink the betting strategy. Early in October I was ready to test a new system with significantly lower risks and high probability of smaller wins. To my surprise I was able to compensate the losses made in September by the end of October. It's too early to say whether this was luck or if the new system was really working. Time will tell.

The September losing streak provided a very good learning experience for me. I was forced to follow the bets more closely and plan the necessary changes. Therefore I decided to continue reviewing my betting success monthly. If I ever want to get more serious about sports betting, some discipline is a must. That does not come naturally for me.

I also plan to post monthly summaries in the blog. The first actual report for November should be available early in December. Right now it seems it won't be a total embarrassment.

September 25, 2012

Looking forward to an indie smartphone

First I thought to write about what 'indie' actually means to me. That would have been quite a bore. As gamer, I can relate to game developer perspective so I started looking from there. If you're willing to dig deep into what makes an indie game, Eurogamer has a fine article about it. My thoughts went elsewhere.

It happens to be a right time to ask: Can there be such a thing as indie smartphone? I'm not sure, but Jolla is certainly getting close. There is a lot of media buzz around Jolla and we are slowly fed with tidbits of information. Many concrete details still remain unknown, for example Android compatibility is apparently not confirmed.

The story of Jolla is a piece of Nokia history. Jolla's smartphone will rise from the ruins of Meego based Nokia N9 project and I keep waiting for more Jolla news with similar enthusiasm to N9 before its sad fate. Now we have seen what the next generation of Lumia phones and the iPhone 5 have to offer. This happens to be the most recent Jolla related article I could find. I agree that the time is right for an alternative.

I hope Jolla manages give us another demonstration of the spirit and mindset required to design and build a unique breed of smartphones. If I'm looking for an answer to what is indie, I've got one example right here. Jolla smartphone will be created by people who kept on believing in their own vision. That's what matters. Whatever they manage to release, it will be an indie smartphone to me.

September 20, 2012

Investing 10$ for the future

It's hard to start something new, such as the first sentence for a new blog. Well, that was one way to do it. I work as a software developer in Finland. My job security has been getting worse for the last couple of years and is very uncertain at the moment. To my surprise, it's not such a bad thing. More and more often I have compelling feeling that I should be doing something else. I daydream about having more time, freedom and independence, in short about being more indie. Eventually this drove me to pay 10$ for a domain name and set up a new blog. I hope it helps me to clarify my goals and work towards them. With the blog I have a way to measure my progress and keep track of it. Hopefully it will also produce a few words worth reading to others.

I'm not going to give up the day job at this point. It still pays the bills and in fact I have recently managed to make it more tolerable. The way I see it now is that each salary is bringing me closer to my goals. Savings and investments are slowly starting to generate a small extra income. I'm not a big fan of sports, but I still find sports betting quite interesting. I am not a winning bettor, but I do believe that it is possible with some help and hard work.

While investing and sports betting have both brought excitement and fun to the weekly routine, they are just a little more than means to an end. I have witnessed my work content gradually turn less and less creative. As this was happening, I really grew to appreciate people who were able to bring their vision to life using any form of art. It took a while to realize that it was the very thing I was missing, the artist mentality that used to be there at the start of my career.

As an enthusiastic gaming veteran, I have been following the rise of indie games with interest. The Internet seems to be a great equalizer in terms of sales and marketing, giving a lot of small development teams real success opportunities. The mobile devices create market for smaller projects and the indie games are thriving. I will surely write about indie games one way or another, just for a desire to be part of the indie phenomenon, at least as a supporting, enlightened consumer if nothing more.

With age I've come to like writing. That helps if you have a blog to update. So, I'm at the starting point of my new quest of finding my indie path. I want to take my job less seriously, make time for things I have passion for, and have fun while doing it. I don't want to turn this into another dull project.

Let's take a bored engineer with spare time, a network connection and a search engine. Sooner or later he will end up reading about passive income. Assuming that my writing gains any followers, I will try to monetize. This is a humble and early warning. The first goal then would be to get back that 10$ I paid for the domain.

To avoid the most pointless blog posts, I've set up an Indie Objective Twitter account. That's all for now.