Thursday, January 15, 2015

Black Professionals and the stigma of White Business

Very rarely do I get into tirades involving what I do for a living publicly. After some time of certain issues weighing heavily on me, I thought I'd just throw some thoughts against this internet canvas. While I am mostly venting, it is my hope that someone reading this sees where I am coming from.

I will begin by saying that I cannot say I live a life that is always 100% righteous in the face of the American law system. I cannot say that my personal life is positively reflecting the expectations of what a 'black professional' is, does, or represent. I smoke weed and aspire to become a recognized lyricist and video game developer, after all.

With that out of the way, there are things I have experienced in every professional environment I have worked in. that have become impossible to ignore, as they hold true everywhere I work, and has been one of the greatest motivational factors for pursuing self employment and pursuits out of the grasp and confines of white America.

I design for a living; from architectural to civil/structural, electrical to mechanical, I have shaped the living environment of Pittsburgh, PA and areas surrounding it...even beyond that. Even in typing this, I smile knowing that before any real notion of success, I have been (so far) a fully functioning member of society despite my shortcomings.

And yet...I find myself greatly troubled. There is a huge magnifying glass on my persona, notion of professionalism, and general mannerisms in the 'white establishments' of construction and design. At first, I self reflected, taking into consideration that I am by no right without fault...but that is on a personal level, something I do not let leak into my professional life.

Almost everywhere I have worked I have been the 'token', or single black person employed. It is a lonely and uncomfortable experience in which everyone watches you, judges you, and holds you accountable for things outside of logical reasoning. You can feel the eyes of people as they stare at you while you work. The generally 'culturally insensitive' things people effectively chose to say without any fear of reprimand or regard for humanity is baffling. I often find myself enraged at what I experience, because it looks and feels so incredibly slanted.

I cannot walk into a work restroom and ignore the horrid conditions of it without correcting it, because if I do, someone will passive aggressively suggest that I was responsible for the disgusting manner in which it was left. People who fail at aiming at a urinal will leave there urine all over the floor, pubes all over the sides of toilets and never, ever, replace the toilet paper. 

Everyone surfs the internet. Literally, everyone, work hours be damned. If I leave a screen up, or someone walks by, knowing they do the exact same thing, once again this passive aggressive notion of responsibility and professionalism is taken into play as if they hold themselves to a high standard, which is a falsehood.

If I perform my work and exceed the expectation of a deadline, I work too fast. If I painstakingly ensure the quality of a design document ( or as some would call it, a blueprint), I work too hard.

 If I drink the last cup of coffee after hours of the pot sitting there, I'm blamed for not making a new pot.

I must remain politically silent, while hearing the overbearing rants of racially slanted republican news outlets such as Rush Limbaugh and the daily faults of President Obama, local political structure and functions be damned. 

When I am approached regarding anything from work related matters, to casual conversation, people will choose to utilize slang that seems an over reaching effort to reach some mutual understanding, which is, in and of itself, incredibly insulting.

For some reason, it is always a zoo like fetishism with the fact that I am black and working in such an environment; as if there are no black architects, engineers, estimators, construction supervisors, etcetera and so on. It's like I'm the first to do it, ever, every place I go. 

Dialogue with me always goes into sports. I get into highlights of stuff, but I am by no means a fanatic. Why? Well, what do you talk to the black guy in the office about when you are killing time or attempting to evade work?

When I attempt to use professional dialogue and common everyday courtesies, I am met with an overall smugness, if not completely ignored, or it is insinuated that I am trying too hard to impress.

When I am insulted, I could never reply in kind without some form of reprimand. if the inflection of my voice goes too high, I am told to calm down. Too low, and I am told to speak up.

When I inquire about the intimacies of a project, as they determine the overall result of creating a design/construction document, I am going beyond my means, or I am asking for information that doesn't pertain to me.

If I'm not the minority willing to engage and laugh at racially insensitive remarks, which I never am, I am watched that much more closely with the intent to be removed or labeled unprofessional.

And yet...whenever I look at the white equivocate of what I do for a living, they are not treated in the same way. In fact, they are rewarded for working hard, praised for extra effort, and unshaken by the cultural sensitivity that I would expect professional adults to have.

These things, after repeated occurrence, have warped my views and shut me off to the notions of government enforced equality. There is no such thing as government enforced equality to me anymore, because white people will do and say what they feel, and very little will stop them in such an environment, created by the very same people. The saddest thing is that this random list of things that happen in every environment has been incredibly condensed. It goes deeper than anyone really wants to fathom. 

I hate the work I do. I hate the people I am surrounded by. My soul has been stained this awkward shade of bitter, and it makes me hate myself. I come home to my significant other and sons, and often am in such a place of melancholy that I pretend to be happy to keep them from being concerned. Weed is great, but when you wake up knowing that your professional life is in a perpetually biased groundhog day, your making it through the day to roll up another blunt, or another g pen hit, and becomes a crutch. I used to smoke because it was something to do with my friends in college. Hell, I learned how to roll a white owl from one of my school buds, an Asian. Now, I'm smoking to just not give a fuck about the ridiculousness of what occurs every single day. 

Has some of this been motivational to me finishing my game this year? Beyond the shadow of a doubt, yes, it has. Is it a deterrent to overall positive thinking? Unfortunately, yes as well. My mind is constantly plagued will thoughts that often distract me from the overall purpose of independent employment and happiness. I start a beat and can't finish. I pick up the game script and get a couple of sentences of dialogue in and freeze up, overwhelmed. And more than anything, I am just incredibly alone with these issues, and I cannot lie, the shit hurts.

I am attempting to finish something with everyone in my professional and private life interfering. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of feeling different when I am finished, and profiting enough to walk away from this biased occupation, and never have to deal with these issues again. For now, I just gotta smoke my weed and try not to give a fuck about any of this shit, because the sad thing is, nobody gives a fuck at the end of the day but the nigga on the receiving end of it.

One day, soon, this game will finish, and if I have been correct regarding the magnitude of the potential success, I will flip off every single person and company I have worked for. Fuck burning bridges, I'm gonna Chernobyl the fuck out of them, and as ignorant and black as I can possibly be. Why? Because, bitch, you had it coming. And if you think I am the only one that things this way, you are misguided, because allot of niggas would shit on all of this if they had the opportunity. I am not above that. Why should I be? If you can do it, I can too, right?




Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Commercial Rights at hand!

Finnnnnaaalllllyyyy *Birdmanhandrub*...THE HOUR IS SOON AT HAND!

So, I got quoted last year for the commercial rights to the pixel graphics I'm using for the game, and it came up to roughly a rack. HOWEVER, as fortune would have it, the artist is having a sale on her commercial rights to said graphics, potentially cutting what I would spend on them in half.

This would be the finishing touches on what I need to get back to my map making, as I have bought the other stuff I needed already. As we speak, busts are being drawn, sprites are being pixel-ed, and progress is in motion. So far I have 8 directional sprites in walk and run animations for 3/8 characters. The game's plot is being converted into a game document that will assist me in smooth story telling and map design. ALL IS IN MOTION!

All I have to do this year is dodge the bullshit, keep my day job, and dig away with the proverbial spoon in Alcatraz at night. Quite frankly, I'm feelin' like Clint Eastwood. Watch me get this bread this year.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Paperwork

 I had to think about how I was gonna phrase this, because I realized how much of a spaz I seemed like typing this out the first time. Okay, here we go:

 Anyone who does music in some fashion or form, can attest to how annoying it is to deal with a person who claims fake connections, i.e., being signed so blah, going on tour soon, yadda yadda ya. I personally don’t care about that stuff at all. What bothers me about these types, is when they assign a value to their “contribution” that they never legitimately earned. In other words, middle man ass artists.

They are worse than the nigga taxin for herb, because they won’t promote the song, won’t do shows to the music, and have no real connection other than whatever talent you feel they possess. We all should know by now that there’s more to it than that.

Take for example, if I ask you if you wanna voice act for a video game, and you aren’t doing SHIT, you should be happy af, because it’s an opportunity for not just me, but for you, my nigga, and you barely are doing any legwork. I already have someone to mix the music and V/A scenes, so if you know a nigga with a mic and fl, you can record and send it to me raw….so WTF ARE YOU TO BE TRYNA CHARGE ME $450 PER SESSION FOR EXACTLY? YOU RETARTED CUH?

Shit like this has me rethinking how I am bringing people in on this, because I’m the one taking the risk, spending the money, and investing the most time. All a nigga gotta do is say he/she is down and will play their part, and ACTUALLY PLAY THEIR PART, WHICH ISN’T HUGE. But everyone is famous nowadays. I don’t need that bullshit. Music to me IS NOT A HUSTLE. HUSTLING IS NOT BUSINESS TO ME. That’s just finessin my nigga, and it’s lame as fuck.


So, from now on, anyone fuckin with me seriously, is gonna sign this paperwork. If you don’t, then I wish you the best, because I got something worth protecting, and an investment that will pan out positively. I don’t need a co-sign from some wannabe famous ass niggas. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It's Dungeon time

Man, the ups and downs of video game design. I never knew how big of a task I was taking on until I was knee deep in it, but I'm actually having fun with it! 

Now I did have some setbacks; regarding the artwork for the character busts, I had an artist back out of the  project due to personal issues, another draw horribly below the graphics advertised, and another disappear off the face of the earth. I did finally get an artist to commit to the game graphics, but the prices went up. Price to pay for professionalism I guess, but check it out!

I'm pretty excited! I submitted a 35 page character concept design document for the 8 playable characters of the game. I figured it was a good place to start. The art style reminds me of a manga that I read and like alot, Drifters:

Not wanting to justify sitting around and waiting, I decided to do a scaling down of the scope of the game...considerably. I overwhelmed myself by creating too many towns and countries. in the first half of the game alone, it would have been 48 towns...ridiculous if you take into consideration I'm going with a town to dungeon ratio of 1:2...that would have been 96 dungeons in the first part of the  game!!! HELL NO D:

So, I had to re-evaluate. I took another look at my chrono trigger map study, and figured that I needed another reference. I decided, at the suggestion of a longtime friend to check out tales of destiny 2 and the amount of explore-able areas it had...because it is a pretty extensive game!

While shrinking down the game, I realized that I could finally take my focus to relating dungeons to story. I'm currently at 13 populated areas for the first half of the game, and 26 dungeons...wwaaaayyy more manageable. I may even shrink the populated areas again! 

Currently reading dungeon design guides, just to get an idea of where I'm going with them...puzzles, traps, all that.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Improvement is a really steep mountain

September is almost gone, and what have I done? Long story short, get my affairs in order.

LIFE:

The new gig is starting to get comfortable, thank God. I do better work when I don't feel like I'm racing the clock, and things have definitely gotten better. Aside from that, I bought a new washer and dryer, and am finally going to start saving for the new car...might be a dodge avenger, but the misses wants to explore other options.


MUSIC:

On the music front, I recorded some new songs with Producer/Sound Engineer Roscoe Wiki, of which I'm having a longtime friend and fellow artist Kae Eye Dee doing with me. Some of the project is involving purchased leases for instrumentals, and others I am producing myself. Yeah, I finally picked up the MPD18 and blew the dust off of it after that debacle at SOBs awhile ago. So far things are looking well! Dunno what wer gonna call it yet, I may just leave that up to Kidd. He's playing ball in college now, I'm randomly proud af of my homie!

GAME:

On the game front, I had a minor setback and had to adjust fire; the artist that I got on board to do commissions is going through some stuff in life, so I had to find another. This Thursday I receive my first commissioned work from him, so we'll see if I can rock with him enough to get the rest of the art done.

This didn't deter me as much as it forced me to focus on the parts of the game I can do without the art...primarily, solidifying my story. I ended up creating a timeline of events leading up to the game! I felt that it would help me story-wise, and even regarding creating different projects within the same universe! The main "continents" the game takes place on all now have a backstory and lore. All that is left is to go in depth with the cities

I found a way to make use of the Chrono Trigger study I did awhile back, by comparing and contrasting map sizes using autoCAD2010 at home. I discovered it was possible bsing for time at work on Friday, and it's something I will be taking on in depth.  If I can figure out map sizes for towns and dungeons, everything else will fall into place.

OH, AND THE WORLD MAP IS MAKING A COMEBACK. It's just easier for the sake of non-linear or nessicary quests/missions. Don't hate meh D:

BUISNESS:

I got the company logo professionally done finally, but I dunno how I feel about it. The thing I liked the most about it were the pixilated clouds lol! I'll probably just redo it with the clouds from the commissioned logo.


All of this has been done in between me playing ffxiv, home life, work that tries to takeover my home life, and  me just trying to stay motivated. It's been an uphill battle, but I do plan on winning it...as soon as all of the pieces fall into place. Just keep in mind we're talking lego pieces here, and there's a bunch of them, including the ones that will jack you up if you step on them not paying attention XD

Friday, August 1, 2014

Trading Spaces.

My new job is awesome. I never thought I'd say that. I hold more responsibilities at work, I'm acknowledged for the work I do, and I cannot deny that I am getting paid decently. But it is in the throws of financial liberation that certain questions I try not to think about come to haunt me.

Am I being treated different BECAUSE I am making money? I haven't acted any differently than before...perhaps a little more upbeat, a little more focused...but sheeeeeet. The main concern is that people in my immediate life treat me differently. I can't shake the thought.

I always felt like I should be treated better considering what I do and what I deal with, but now I'm wrestling with the notion that some paper did this. Am I working for it, yeah, hard in fact. But I'm still me, ole' goofy ass Dev, working on a video game, taking care of my family.

So if I haven't changed, why couldn't I be treated this way before?

Friday, July 11, 2014

The real stuff begins now

It's been awhile since I updated, and allot has occurred so far!

For awhile I was on unemployment, and figured that I would utilize my time effectively by working on the game. What has really occurred has been a random piece-wised attempt at productivity, haphazardly spread across categories I couldn't put into an order of importance. It was an extremely frustrating and depressing time of self-loathing and aimless effort that was only soothed by hours of playing Final Fantasy 14. Then something amazing happened. Not only did I get a job that pays more than the last one, but my significant other got a job as well! Huzzah and all that jazz, but some time issues came up: how am I going to continue working on my game while I slave away for the man? The answer is easy cheesy lemon squeezy: outsourcing!

Now I know what some may be thinking: "Dev, that's mad expensive, you'll go broke trying to do that!", a sentiment that may run true for most situations. However, I discovered something that may get the ball rolling in a quick, efficient, cheap, and UNIFORM standard. Everyone, say hello to Reoihare on Fiverr, a very talented artist familiar with 2-d graphics for games.

I actually conducted the initial business of starting characters today, having submitted the supporting character documentation ( rough sketch, equipment concepts, etc). If everything goes well, I can (very quickly) come up with the necessary character busts for the playable characters with supporting various expressions at an affordable rate! Eventually I will be getting to the character busts of supporting characters and antagonists!

If you think my outsourcing madness ends there, well your sadly mistaken buddy. I took the time to put together a comprehensive list of contacts regarding my needs and wants for the game. One of the things I realized was how crazy I was for factoring in animated cutscenes without scouting how long it would take for one person to do this, lol. Man was I slowjuice for that. Did you know that a 30 minute animated episode could run roughly $100,000? Wtf has that kind of money atm <_<? Not I sir, so once again, random concessions have to be made. While the animated cut-scenes are in the air at the moment, take solace in knowing that stuff is being worked on.

This process, If anything, it was an eye opening experience as to how seriously I'm taking this, and how important the presence of the game is to me. I have enough supporting information to provide accurate and consistent details to someone who can do the work I no longer have time to do even better than had I had done it. And that's alright with me! ('_')b