Thursday 22 September 2022

Shame and Hatred

A sidestep from game content today. 

A year ago I wrote about the experience so far of working full-time on games. Everything in that post still applies, but with another year under my belt I thought a little more self-reflection could be interesting. 

I've now been working on games full-time for two and a half years, with six years or so before that somewhat earnestly making games in my spare time. It's been a good year, so I'm pretty confident saying that I can keep doing this for now.

I hold up Honesty and Authenticity as standards I expect from myself and from others. In short, I think people should tell the truth and be themselves wherever possible. 

So let me live by those values and bare my shame and hatred for all to see. 

SHAME - The Backburner

I keep most of my work notes on a Trello board. Among others there's a list of Live Ideas and the Backburner.


Now it's easy to imagine Backburner as a euphemism for Bin but it's really not. Maybe one or two of them are getting close to rubbish, but the rest all have ideas that I revisit now and then. 

They vary from highly fleshed out (Blighters, Space & Solitude) to barely more than a vague idea (BACK ON THE MENU, Battle for Bastion). 

It would be easy to look at this list, add up the hours I've spent thinking about them, writing, rewriting, testing, and cost it up as a business loss. I've certainly felt that way at times.

But I no longer fear it. The backburner serves a purpose. Ideas can be repurposed, mechanics stolen, and some projects may rise to the Live Projects board again. 

The Doomed started as GRIMLITE, which I never expected to be played by anybody but me, and pretty soon I'll have some news on the exciting future of that game.

The backburner is not a thing of shame. It is a thing of pride. 

HATRED - Twitter

I hate it. 

I hate the type of conversation that it encourages. I hate the way it makes people perform, people who don't perform that way elsewhere. I hate that it makes me think about people I shouldn't be giving headspace to. I hate that it feels like it's become the online hub of RPGs. 

Most of all I hate that I hate it. I know others feel the same, but it also feels like the problems above have a direct wire into my brain. I should be able to rise above them, but I can't. 

If I just had a personal account I'd be long gone, but doing so would be a business decision now, so I'm still there, or rather Bastionland Press is still there. 

I unfollowed everybody a while back, so I essentially have no timeline to scroll through. This helped. 

There are a handful of people I enjoy keeping up with, so I manually visit their timelines now and then, like how I used to know the phone numbers of my best friends. 

Unfortunately there are other people my brain won't let me forget, so I sometimes find myself checking in on them. Are they posting something terrible? Are they arguing with somebody about something ridiculous? Are they just yelling out for attention? I don't know why I can't ignore them, but I said this post was about honesty didn't I?

At least I'm good at not publicly engaging with that side of things.

There are good elements. The vast majority of times I get tagged it's something worthwhile, so I still look at my notifications and reply or retweet as appropriate. DMs are a handy way of contacting somebody new for a podcast or collaboration. Occasionally I forget myself and post some dumb thing and I get some funny replies. It can be fun. 

I just wish the good stuff was happening somewhere different to the bad stuff. The stuff I don't want to be associated with. The stuff I don't want to feel like I'm legitimising by staying there. 

Of course there are alternatives. You're reading this post on one of them (Patreon or Blogger). For conversation and link-sharing I love Discord, though I've limited myself to just five essential servers. 

Last week I started a mailing list. I whisper to myself that if my email subscribers outnumber my twitter followers then I'll delete the latter, but I won't. Maybe mothball it, but I fear the damage is done. The problems I have with twitter won't be solved by me leaving it, but I do hope I can continue the non-total transition to other platforms. 

This one won't be shaken off as easily as my shame. It's here to stay. 


This post was originally sent as a reward to all Patreon supporters, and is released freely on this site the week after its original publication.

If you want to support my blog, podcasts, and video content then head over to my Patreon. 


  1. twitter is the shit man. Social media are designed to redirect our energies towards division, hate, procrastination, infantilization. On the contrary, in a clunky jank like blogspot we create good stuff, even if we dont even have comments many times.

  2. As a person with a lot of backburners, a big thank you for this: "The backburner is not a thing of shame. It is a thing of pride."
    And then Twitter. Seems like everyone who's there hates it. Including me. I curate it all the time as there are some really nice and inspiring people there. And a few friends.
    Out of curiosity: which servers on Discord are you on?

    1. The Bastionland Discord of course:
      I also enjoy the NSR Cauldron:
      And three or four little private ones with a much more personal feel