The Sea, 15 Seconds a Day

The Sea, 15 Seconds a Day

Este artículo está disponible en castellano.

On the 31st December 2021 I declared finished a series of short videos I’ve been putting up in the fleeting story format that several social networks offer. Mainly Instagram, but also Facebook, and Twitter when it had Fleets. In general, each video is about 15 seconds of the sea from the beach in Brighton (Hove, actually!), taken each day whenever possible, with some exceptions on days where I wasn’t in the city, or I was not able to go.

A theme that really attracts me is everyday life expressed through repetition. I have done this even with popcorn.

A frequent question is how or why it began. Checking my archives, it’s certainly not the firs time I had recorded videos in that same format. But in 2019 I had a great loss at the same time I moved from London to Brighton. It’s was intense, and traumatic, but no one had died. When I got to Brighton, and I walked a few steps to the beach, I experienced silence. And it was delicious, like saying hi to an old friend. Citing Alfredo de Hoces, you cannot feign silence. It was the silence of the sea (which I know is not exactly silence) what hooked me on, and thus how the series began.

Repetition doesn’t need some big announcement. In the right moment and place, it becomes organic. With these videos, my direct messages started getting messages with people commenting on the video of the day. It became a way to stay in touch, in times where touch was reduced because reasons *gestures hand around*. I had people who asked when the videos suddenly stopped, as I had ghone out on holiday in March 2020 just as the world suddenly changed. Continuing to show the same sea as the daily situation changed so dramatically kept me grounded. Many thanks to all those who commented, and many thanks to all who were inspired and sent me their own videos when they went to the beach. You made my day several times.

But as with everything in life, I think the series found its purpose, met it, and ran through its course. I feel there’s not much I can add to it. All the videos are in the highlights of my Instagram profile. 2020 is shown in a hour and a half video, and 2021 will have its own video as well. Even though I’m not moving places, I do think I have moved on, and start thinking on what’s next.

The Future of Programming, by Bret Victor

This is a talk that Bret Victor gave 7 years ago, and I’ve mentioned this talk in my Spanish-written gamedev blog, but it’s completely worth it to see it again.

“The most dangerous thought that you can have as a creative person is to think that you know what you’re doing. Because once you’re thinking you know what you’re doing, you stop looking around for other ways of doing things. And you stop being able to see other ways of doing things. You become blind.”

Bret Victor – The Future of Programming from Bret Victor on Vimeo.

Making Music in Lockdown in 2020

Hey, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything in this blog. Sometimes life happens and you just don’t allocate time to write. 2020 is no exception for me, even in the circumstances that we are now in.

Many good things happened to me on 2020, nonetheless. One good thing that came out of lockdown was getting online together on Tuesdays with some fine folks and set one hour to make some musical piece based on a theme decided at the beggining. A jam, for those who don’t need extra words. After many years wishing to learn how to make music on the computer, I got Ableton Live and started making these. There were 37 jams, and I participated in 34 of those jams.

As 2020 closes, I would like to share with you my results. All for good fun and having a hobby, in its most essential meaning. I’ve been also playing some stuff over my Instagram @chiguire, just to reach out to friends, acquaintances and curious folks.

I hope you enjoy this, and that your 2021 will be the best possible.

An Introduction to HaxeFlixel with HTML5: London Haxe Meetup 2017 talk slides

You can find the slides in here.

Our own icons 8

I’m a bit shocked on how many people think that today’s world is incapable of producing their own icons, given the amount of recent celebrity death news.

I think this may be related to the amount and quality (specifically production values) of the media we’re exposed to. It’s great we have this quality around, but I believe this creates at the same time an implicit message that you may not ever be able to reach that quality, no matter how much you do. And don’t even think about it if you don’t make it your main trade.

However, I believe in the entertainment oriented to the people that are physically and emotionally close to you. From that point of view, we have in our society hundreds of entertainers that with their talent and charisma are able to touch us beyond what a TV celebrity might reach. If you allow it so. Big screen celebrities will keep existing, but they are not able to dictate your immediate environment, nor your future.

In short: don’t justify yourself with crappy music or bad shows as an excuse to say that yesterday’s things were so much better. Don’t age prematurely.

Short posts: Time to go back to blogging?

After 8 years writing short messages on Twitter, I’ve noticed something. It’s not a sudden observation, but rather an accumulation of these years. Maybe what I’m noticing is tiredness. I love Twitter to share information, and with Reddit and other websites these are my link sources; I like also to share back what I read. However, I see that it’s tiring to use Twitter to discuss and create a community.

I’ve always compared my timeline (that comprises more than 2000 accounts) as trying to drink from a fire hose. It’s not in my interest to have a carefully curated timeline, but rather a fountain of serendipity. But this goes against talking to, you know, real people.

I usually encourage anyone, with whom I don’t have a previous relationship and that writes me through a DM or a Facebook chat, to write me to my email (ciro.duran@gmail.com, just so you know). Email as a way to communicate that I can read when I want, with no notifications, with the length I want, and with no restrictions beyond my available time, is still for me the best way to communicate between peers (group conversations are another subject, much more complex). I like to read your email, and I like to answer you, though I confess that sometimes I don’t do it, rather because of distractions (and real life priorities) than because of malice.

On the other hand, Twitter restrictions impede expressing about things that are larger than an SMS. This already happened when we moved from SMSs to mobile instant messaging (i.e. iMessage or Whatsapp). But the perspective of Twitter increasing their limits to 10k characters is ridiculous to me; it’s a huge bait and switch, and Twitter passed that no return point a long time ago. It would change its nature to something completely new, and I’m not sure I’d like it.

I like to keep my writings as mine. If I write on Twitter or in Facebook is because I value more being able to communicate to other people rather than keeping what I write. But companies rise and fall, as it has happened before (e.g. Geocities). And what you write might be in danger of going away with the company. With that in mind, I prefer to make myself responsible of taking care of my writings and have the capacity to copy them and store them where I want to, with data formats that make it easy, and not hidden inside some configuration screen.

Having said this, I’d like to store my impressions in a much more trustworthy place. And then figure out how to communicate it to other people. This is the first writing.

New games and reorganising the list 18

I finally uploaded here Blame Clotilde!, a game made in past August together with Héctor Vargas, ¡it was a great experience! I also seized the moment to upload several game I’ve done throughout several game jams, so they now have their own place.

Dancing Cubes, a voxel art tool

Dancing Cubes, a voxel art tool

DancingCubes_v0.1

May I present you the first release of Dancing Cubes, a tool for making voxel art, available for Windows. With the tool the artist may build models to make tiles in 2.5D or models with voxel art, using basic constructions blocks. It’s available in itch.io, where you will be able to download it.

The tool is based in the prototyping challenge proposed by Daniel Cook in his blog [Lost Garden](http://www.lostgarden.com/2013/10/prototyping-challenge-3d-modeling-tool.html).
The program still has many rough edges, but I appreciate your feedback. Especially if you have used similar programs.

Here’s a quick timelapse on how to make a model inside the program:

(Español) Abiertas las inscripciones del Caracas Game Jam 2014 4

Sorry, this entry is only available in European Spanish.

An important announcement 1

An important announcement

I have something important to say today. I believe it is important to share it with all the followers of my work.

I accepted an offer to study a Master in computer games programming at the United Kingdom, with a year of duration. As you’re reading this text, we will have travelled and I will have started the course. I’m studying this course at Goldsmiths College, a university that has a long tradition in arts, something that attracts me a great deal. Although, the master itself is strongly oriented to programming. One of the teachers of the course has worked for over 30 years in the field, and in its most recent curriculum works with the compilers in Sony.

These last months have been for me a terrible pressure. Emigrating is not only a test that consists in completing all requisites and you’re done. It is a psychological test that strains your spirit and those of who surround you. Thank you, thank you, really, to all the family and friends that have supported us in this tough process.

The moment the thinking of leaving to somewhere unknown settles in your mind, that solid floor you sed to have disappears, and you enter in a freefall: what you knew stops making sense, and you must complete a series of sequencial steps so your life can continue. And in the meantime these steps are completed you must wait, and that threatens your mental health.

I do still think that Venezuela has an impressive talent in matters of videogame development. Moreover, I think it develops despite the things that happen around that affect or minimize their importance. As you know, the Caracas Game Jam 2014 will be done and will be bigger than 2013. El Chigüire Literario will continue publishing articles and tutorials in Spanish. My site, www.ciroduran.com, will have articles in both languages. It is necesary that you developers stand out with your work, and keep talking between you.

At some moment several of you made to yourselves the same question: “am I the only videogame developer in Venezuela?”. I think that’s a stage you have already overcomed, and the next question should be: “what can we do together?”. I have seen the results from the game jam, and other initiatives I’ve seen around. From this side of the screen, I offer all the support you need to spread your work.

Thank you for reading me, following me, and supporting me. I hope you still do it.

gracias