Monday, July 10, 2017

Behind the scenes: overdue update

Ok, so my New Year's resolution of blogging more regularly isn't exactly going well.  Clearly.  But, it's just the midpoint of the year, so there's still time to improve it.  (Like many, I could say the same of my weight loss goals, too, though I do love my lifting!)  I've been wanting to write about so many things here but the idea of getting started has been tough to overcome.  Plus, the fact that I have around 100 saved draft posts that I've never published.  Not exactly writer's block, but maybe writer's paralysis?  When I started this blog, it was a living document of my quest to learn all I could about game audio and become an expert in the field, beyond just my lifetime of playing games and knowing the material that way.  It was a way for me to keep track of what I was learning and access it anywhere, anytime-- before the "cloud" got so popular.

And then everything got real: instead of just writing whatever I felt and thought, I started to meet people whose work I'd written about.  The blog started getting a ton of page views and attention from folks both in my academic life and in the game audio world.  It became a part of my professional portfolio.  And that started to change everything.  I can still remember a conversation I had with my partner, Vince, about the blog a few years ago.  Should I really say what I thought about a book, an article, a conference, or a game sound, especially if it wasn't glowing?  Or should I just put on a smiley face about things since I was likely to encounter a lot of these folks in my career in person and wanted to foster relationships.  Luckily, Vince encouraged me to write my true thoughts and be real because that kind of work would make the writing more interesting for others and also keep it engaging for me, too.  But then, there are burned bridges.

Professionally there's become much more to juggle.  I'm writing grants, letters, petitions, to improve game audio research and equipment in my academic community.  I've Skyped and lectured at institutions talking about using game audio as a teaching tool.  I'm having meetings with people who have, or would like to, work in the field of game audio, be they scholars, sound designers, composers, or programmers.  (In fact, I'm headed to a happy hour now for one of these.)  I have former students working in all the major tech companies, some even in the field of game audio.  I was asked to contribute to an academic journal for the first time as well, something that left me unsure of how to balance writing here with writing other places.  I also started to meet people who love game audio and who had read different portions of my writing here.  Someone didn't like my review about his work.  Someone else was angry that I never reviewed her material but wrote about other people's.  Argh.  All of that made it seem even more difficult to come here, clear my mind, find myself, and continue to make time that I wanted to put in to this.  And, frankly, all the ways that game audio is now a part of my life take some of my early energy that I poured into here because it had no where else to go.

And yet, I know more than ever; I have more to say than ever.  Writing here can be both for me and of interest to others.  It can be separate from the work that I do during the academic year, when I'm really devoted to encountering my students' ideas and learning from their discussions.  Despite how much progress has been made in online game audio material, there is still a major lack of good online discussion about game audio.  So often it's mentioned very much in passing at the end of a review of a game.  Or an article about the music in a game will say "here are the 10 best songs from 'this' game or 'that' series," but no reasoning other than that the writer likes them.  (Not that I have anything against mentioning favorite sounds/tracks.)  But that's not the substantive discussion that people can learn from and that folks want.

All that said,  there is more great material than there's ever been.  I intend to chronicle it here and to continue the discussions.  So forgive my being away, and know that I plan to be putting something out here at least once a week for the rest of the year, maybe more, depending.  I'll make that commitment because this is going to be my best game audio year ever.

I know, not the most informative post ever, but I'm hopeful that simply acknowledging all this can help me feel like it's a tiny step in the direction of restarting a regular relationship with online writing.    I've got some great ideas in the works.  Hope you'll enjoy and follow along for the ride...  

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