I am kaitco

a writer's log

Dorienne, the gamer Saturday, July 22, 2017

Filed under: Gaming,The Sims,Writing — kaitco @ 5:33 pm
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From blog.doriennesmith.com/:

Something fascinating occurred over the last few months: I’ve finally decided to fully acknowledge that I’m a gamer, instead of someone who sometimes plays games.

Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes has taken up a huge part of my time lately. Not just the game itself, or my alt account, but planning for it and researching for it, interacting with my guild members, and recently, writing about it. I’m writing about it on Gaming-fans.com, which is one of the first times I’ve written for someone else. I really enjoy writing reviews and such for GoH on the whole, partly because I enjoy the game, but mainly because I love writing about the game.

My gaming is really disjointed, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying it from every aspect. I keep buying games like some people collect Lego sets. I had a somewhat sizeable Xbox 360 library, but then discovered Steam Sales and Humble Bundles and decided to switch to PC-gaming, which required re-purchasing (albeit for pennies on the dollar) a bunch of games and trying to play them in a different environment. That said, I’ve got 252 games in my Steam library and I’ve only played through 6% of them.

I usually end up restarting games half the time because I take such long breaks in-between them and tend to jump from game to game. Finishing Mass Effect for the first time really brought this home. Four years elapsed between the time I first attempted ME1 and eventually finished a complete playthrough, but once I got fully engaged in the game, I couldn’t stop until I’d finished. I loved every part of following my Shepard as she commanded the Normandy, befriended various aliens, and fell in love as she saved the galaxy and in playing Mass Effect and discovering its Reddit community, I finally realized that this is a media that I’ve long-since adored.

Regardless if I own a game and it’s just chilling in my Steam library or gathering dust beside the Xbox or I’m simply curious about it, I love reading reading reviews from professional critics and players alike and researching all the furor or glee about every release or console.

While every minute spent gaming is a minute not spent working on Flight or Damen or Anne or any of the other million projects I’ve got pending, with the way first-job has been stressing and depressing me, sometimes all I can do to keep my sanity is engage in interactive stories by playing, writing, or reading about them.

Whether it’s my 13-year-old Sims 2 game that still going and going until modders can’t get it to run on modern OSes anymore, or just discovering which of the latest games can hold my attention best, I’m a gamer. I’m involved.

Part of me wants to link this into all my other hobbies by thinking that eventually I’d like to write my own game, but I think it might be best to let gaming live on its own. Gaming can live beside writing and even occasionally intertwine, but there’s no need to force myself to start a new project like writing a game…at least not until I’ve made a dent in my Steam library.


Where Inspiration Leads Thursday, August 22, 2013

Filed under: The Sims,Writing — kaitco @ 5:28 pm
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I had long thought that after I began the agent search for Damen, I would immediately begin working on Jill. To my surprise, inspiration has led me to Anne, which perplexes me because I dislike doing things out of the order I’ve set out for myself.

The order is supposed to go Damen, Jill, Lydia, Lucy #1, and then a couple others before I would attempt Anne, but upon my yearly re-read of Persuasion, Anne just came pouring out of me. I suppose I can’t plan everything, and even if I could, there’s no telling how the execution of these plans will flow.

I’ve been asking God quite often lately about what I’m supposed to do with my life and, like usual, there’s no parting of the clouds, allowing the sun to illuminate a specific building or person or a billboard with the words specifically telling me what it is I’m meant to do. I’m still searching for that kind of sign, though, I’m pretty sure I’ll not see something that grandiose.

I’m not entirely sure what I’m expecting, but I what I do know is that the written word is everything that I am. Despite nearly losing my mind on Steam sales and Humble Bundles, every game I put any real time into allows me to tell a story, i.e., I play The Sims 2, and to a lesser extent nowadays, Sims 3, because I want to tell a story. I do very little in my spare time aside from reading and writing books and stories. Writing, or rather, storytelling, is not just a part of who I am, but really just who I am in total.

I suppose I’ve been a little more existential than usual because my patience with this publishing process is beginning to wear thin, and I thoroughly dislike it when things do not go according to my plans. In the end, however, I guess it’s better to go where inspiration leads and plan around that, rather than pout and grow depressed when I’m forced to Plan B my life events. So, I’ll write Anne before Jill if that’s where inspiration leads me and Lucy #2 before Lucy #1 if need be. I’ll admit, I won’t like it; I rarely like not getting my own way, but I’ll go where inspiration leads me.


Autosave! Why hast thou forsaken me?!? Friday, September 2, 2011

Last night around midnight, I decided to keep writing and finish Chapter 21. I was in the midst of a zone and in mid-word when the screen suddenly turned blue and said something about an error. Long story short, my laptop crashed in the middle of everything I was writing and I sat worried about the blue screen of death facing me. I hadn’t written a lot after I’d last saved, but I had some notes written in a Notepad doc that I really wanted to keep and I liked the little bit that I had been writing.

While I completed two hard restarts and allowed some random Windows repair screen to do its thing, two thoughts rushed through my mind: Did my novel autosave? and Was my Sims 2 game at risk? Now, the former was more of a wishful thought than anything else because autosave has failed me in the past and I did not expect much from it, but the latter was really a surprise.

I guess knowing that I had saved at least the bit that I’d included at my last word count and also knowing that the novel is not only saved on a separate shared drive between all three PCs in my house, but also backed up to my DorienneSmith.com server eased any real concern about the safety of my work, but my Sims 2 game was not so well-guarded and all I could think of as I waited for the autofails autosave’s inevitable failure was whether I’d lost some eight years worth of gaming with just one crash.

I instantly Googled how to make a laptop hard drive into an external hard drive in case the laptop couldn’t be started again and eventually I considered all the pain of not having this particular laptop when I traveled later in the month and then again about that autosave, but a real fear and this amazing sense of loss started to overcome me when I thought about my little game.

I don’t get to play the game as much as I used to play, but Jill is a story born directly out of my Sims’ game and I consider each sim and each family a potential character or set of characters. If it wasn’t for Beau and Alexander Goth and their adopted sim children, I would have never looked at Jill and said, “Hm…there’s a story in this.”

I’ve spent a long time playing this game and, as odd as it sounds, I’ve been playing some of these characters longer than I’ve known some of my friends…my good friends. So, it’s not so much the loss of the game that troubled me, but the loss of so many characters, all at once, with no hope of recovery that caused an ache in my chest and probably reduced some of my life expectancy.

Even though my amygdala started sending out all sorts of irrational thoughts, I did not completely freak out and I found that my fears were, more or less, groundless. The autosave did, indeed, fail to live up to its name, but my game and all its characters were safe. That said, I immediately created a back of my game just in case another random crash comes in the future.

I wrote 614 words today (before she sat across from him) and after each and every pause in writing, I took a minute to Ctrl+S my work to avoid another incident. I’m also going to attempt to upload the 12+ GB file that is my Sims 2 game folder…I’m sure my webhost will shut me down long before I succeed, but it’s worth try.


Build 2 Thursday, March 24, 2011

Filed under: Favorite,Music,The Sims,Writing — kaitco @ 11:58 pm
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I’ve been playing a game in The Sims franchise for the last eight years and, while I spend the majority of my “free time” playing The Sims 2, I’ve edited my Sims 2 game to play the “Build” music from The Sims 1.

In the first Sims game, when you were building houses or making structural changes to the lot, a very calm piano music would play, though it changed when you went to the “Buy Mode” in the game. I spent countless hours in Sims 1 just building houses because I loved to simply create and listen to the beautiful music.

The Sims 2 brought its own brand of techno-something music that crossed every mode from Create-A-Sim to building and early on in my Sims 2 playing, I changed all the music over to the Sims 1 Build music. After realizing how much I enjoyed said music, I eventually ported it onto my iPod and then iPhone and even added some album art to it. Nowadays, most of the six Sims 1 Build Mode songs create the bulk of a playlist I call “Soothe Me” which I play when I’m in need of something to calm my mind. I also write to that list on occasion as well, which is why I’ve spent two hundred words of this post talking about it.

While listening to a song I only know as “Build 2,” I not only felt calmer than I had all day, I also wrote some really beautiful prose and was so in the zone with it playing, that I re-played it to keep the momentum going.

Tonight I wrote 260 words (and left the table to sit on the floor next to Angel) and I am calmer for it. I have no other desires for tonight, either; just to sit and listen my Sims 1 music and let my mind rest for the night.


Blue text Sunday, February 13, 2011

I’m so surprised when I come across coloured text in Damen. I had made these random insertions into the original heavy notes and coloured them blue and red to alert myself of how they belonged to a separate part of the whole text. In the last draft, I pulled all the coloured texts into their appropriate places, but I still have a bunch of them lying in wait in my “Damen reminders” file.

For some reason, I’m completely shocked when I come across these, if not because of the sudden change in colour, then because I suddenly remember why it was coloured and I’m further shocked by how well the text flows even with the blue or red text.

What frustrates me, however, is that I can’t remember why I chose the colour scheme I did. Did red mean notes? Did blue mean full prose? It doesn’t make too much sense to me…

I went to church today and sang in the choir. Pastor’s sermon really hit me today as I contemplate some terrible undercurrents at the first-job that may be just waiting to sucker-punch me. I spoke to my mother about the same today and reminded me that when waiting for a blessing, its best to keep oneself busy with other things one should be doing.

That said, I should have taken her advice to heart and written throughout the day, but I played the sims throughout the majority of the day while I edited and coded video. I managed 206 words (as the bird hit the trunk of its tree with a dull thud), but I had every opportunity to finish Chapter 10 and even break ground on Chapter 11. I suppose when I’m feeling a little down since I’m being weighed down with utter dread, I run to comfort things like old Seinfeld episodes and the sims…


Sunset Theme Monday, February 7, 2011

Filed under: The Sims,Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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…by Brendon Small from the Home Movies Bonus CD.

I don’t have much to say about today since I really didn’t do anything today. I wanted to spend some time creating and playing The Sims 2, but in all my family creating, one lot ended up screwing over the entire landscape of the neighborhood and spent hours trying to move other lots pixel by pixel to correct it.

I did manage to successfully stop playing sims with the specific intention to write, which makes me feel good about myself, even though I didn’t pick up the dry cleaning or do laundry or dishes when I had all day to do something.

I wrote 1312 words today (all the Neanderthals we deal with every day) and I’m coming to a part I’ve written and re-written and re-re-written some dozen times already. It takes a while to get out what I’m saying, but I can imagine it so clearly that I can’t help but continue writing. The difficult part – for all of Damen for that matter – is to keep the reader guessing about my ultimate message, given that I don’t really have one outside of all people pre-judge.

This chapter talks a lot about guns and etc., but I worry that the message may be that only crazies like Corey would ever really use a gun and that’s not what I mean to say at all. Though I don’t own one myself, if anyone else desires to have a million of them, that’s his choice. As long as I’m not attacking him in his home, I’ve not really got anything to worry about overall.

Anyway…it won’t be like that. I hope.


Simming vs. Writing Monday, January 10, 2011

Filed under: The Sims — kaitco @ 11:42 pm
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Any time I have a long expanse of time on my hands, I have to make a conscious decision on how I’m going to spend it. Often, however, this time falls into one of two categories: writing and simming. Today, like many days before it, was a day where I chose the sims.

So, while I can’t say I’ve done anything significant in regards to my literary aspirations, I have created a simified version of myself.

Meet Dorienne Duplex, created to ease sims into their duplex homes.

It’s far easier to have a random sim to have others move into duplex-type homes and I figured that I would be the best candidate for the job. She’s not truly a spitting image of me since her bottom isn’t big enough and her eyes are too dark, but I like her nonetheless.

I haven’t had a lot of things to smile about in the past few days and, if Dorienne Duplex can make me grin just for a moment…then so be it.


Back to reality Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Things I’ve done today:

  • Completely edited a WP theme and fit my main blog.
  • Retextured a sims hairstyle in both a Maxis-match cartoony look and a more realistic texture, including more than 8 colours for each and renamed and binned all the new hair. (Took close to two days to complete all this and I still doubt it’s share-ready)
  • Deleted a bunch of purple, pink and cherry red sim hair from my Red bin and made appropriate natural red recolours.
  • Watched at least six “Seinfeld” episodes.
  • Went to the gym.
  • Uploaded a pic to my Project 365.
  • Wrote 510 words.

I say actions speak louder than words and I’ve had an outstanding day! 🙂

That last one was the one that took the most out of me, even more than going to gym when I hadn’t been since probably August. I’ve never worked so hard for 500 words in my life. By the time I got to 400, they were coming a little easier, but I must have written the tie-between scenes for when Damen first meets Corey and when Corey invites him to his grandfather’s house, three or four times before I came to something worthwhile. Each time I attempted to write a scene, everything seemed like it was happening too fast.

Damen was suddenly happy and all I had to “show” how it happened was half a paragraph where I just told what happened. Very lame.

I’m on a roll now, so I’ll keep writing for sure. I said that yesterday as well, but got sidetracked by trying to edit a theme for my main blog (blog.doriennesmith.com) to death. I figure I’ll just have to create my own theme at this point to get everything that I want in a theme, but that’s a project for another day.

I have to say, I was little perplexed earlier this evening when I started to sit down with my tomato soup and fire up an episode of “Coupling.” I realized that I hadn’t updated this blog or my Project 365 and I leapt from the sofa, soup in hand, and ran upstairs to do some writing and uploading.

While I think I’ve got it a little backwards, writing so that I’ll have something to post instead of posting because I’ve written something, I like the idea of it. I’m kept honest by the fact that I’ve got a real deadline and if it works…it works!


Now to get going again… Monday, December 20, 2010

Filed under: Dorienne,The Sims — kaitco @ 10:09 pm
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I don’t remember when I last wrote. I’d love to, but I can’t seem to get going again.

I’m not even inspired to post, but I really didn’t have an excuse for not writing and wanted to look back on today and say that I’ve at least written something.

It may be because I’ve had The Simpsons on for the last 48 hours (making that random Simpsons list was really a bad idea in hindsight) and my mind is slowly turning mush. I think if I just keep playing the Sims, I’ll get sick of it soon and move back to Guitar Hero and then back to my routine of food, Guitar Hero and writing. Hopefully…



Day Three Thursday, December 16, 2010

Filed under: The Sims,Writing — kaitco @ 9:49 am
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For the third time this week, I found myself lacking the desire to write.

After feeling achy from my chest, to my legs, to my hands and feet, I just wanted to be warm and to play the sims. The problem with the sims is that I’ve recently made decision in the game to make all my “breeder” families and households into just Townie sims and hope for the best since none of these families were ever fun to play since they didn’t have a backstory to them.

I was in the middle of considering to bulldoze half the Bluewater Village neighborhood and set up eight or nine families like I had in another neighborhood, but the task sounded too daunting and, while pondering this further, I dozed in my chair, eventually crawling to the bed at around 2:30am.

I woke up this morning ashamed that, again, I had not written anything and was about to just pull up Damen so it would be ready for me when I got home this evening. Then I saw the timestamp on the last save of chapters 7-8: “December 12, 2010 11:14pm.”

Technically speaking, it had still only been 3 days since I last wrote, my mind did the simple math and counted it as four days (December 13, 14, 15 and 16) without anything written and knew that I had to break the cycle before a full 7 days elapsed with nothing accomplished.

I only wrote 140 this morning and, even though it was just the “full prose” of previous “heavy notes,” I’m glad that I at least started something. The first job is just really pushing on me heavily and, though I’m tired, I’ve got to figure out a way to energize myself in the evenings.

Perhaps it’s time to turn on the heat…


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