April 2, 2008


As I drove to pick up the food for tonight's core hours, I sort of sat there wondering: is this what I am supposed to be doing? I don't mean game development or level design. I am, at this point, entirely convinced that this is my calling. I like it, I am passionate about it, and it turns out am actually pretty good at it. My thoughts focus on whether this is the right path for me. I've long considered venturing out on my own, and I often wonder if I had all the time I spend in class plus some of the time I spend working on homework, isn't it possible I could spend more time making kick-ass portfolio pieces and getting a reasonable amount of sleep instead of spending a lot of time on things that aren't really helping me get a job?

I don't really know the answer and so I continue to go back and forth. We officially lost another level designer bringing our group down to 7 (from the original 17), which is unprecedented, and I think everyone who is left sort of feels like they're traversing the edge of a knife, including yours truly. Take, for example, our level design midterm. Given on Monday, it asks us to build one of our DFS rooms to completion: sounds, textures, geometry, everything is supposed to me in there. Now, we had a DFS milestone on Tuesday, so that day was basically shot, as you know I crashed last night so I couldn't really get much done then, this morning I needed to watch a three-hour movie for Ethics, then I had class and core hours with my team, and now I need to write a short paper on the aforementioned movie. This basically leaves me (and as I understand it, most of the other level designers) to do all the work tomorrow evening as it is due Friday during class (potentially at the beginning, though there is an unconfirmed extension until the end).

This is one of the first times I can actually recall things feeling impossible, and I don't say this with any sense of despondency or bitterness, just simple realism. There is too much to do and not enough time to do it in, and to hell with your well-being. So as I said, I sit here wondering: "is this right?" , "can I actually keep doing this?" Again, it is not with the sadness that has haunted my thoughts previously, but a realistic evaluation of what I am willing to do and how much I am willing to sacrifice. The cost of being here has already been high, in time, in money, in lost opportunities, and in health. The fact that I've come this far should be proof enough of my dedication and passion for this craft, but it begs the question of how further I can go, or even more how much I want to. I know it is on the minds of several other LDs in my cohort, sometimes it even manages to find its way to their lips, though it seems to fall on deaf ears.

I find myself right now in a state of incredible weariness. It's not just being tired or low on sleep. At a macro level I probably am, but it's something more, like a feeling of being stretched, spread out over too much area. I have little doubt that many students and professionals endure this feeling from time to time, but I think its prevalence here is what bothers me. I feel as though right now I am left with two options: 1) continue to work obsessively to meet ever increasing requirements and expectations regardless of detrimental effects to my mental and physical health or 2) do what I can reasonably do with the time I am willing to put forth and accept the consequences. I am trying to follow the latter path, but I am continually afraid of the consequences. I feel if I use this approach on my midterm I will fail and find myself in a hole that I may not be able to climb out of.

The really irritating part (and this may be a little bitter/frustrated) is that I don't think that reflects on me at all as a designer or as a student. The things that have been asked of me these last two terms have often been ridiculous and unreasonable, and it is only through sheer force of will that I think people manage to complete these tasks. Without exception, every LD is constantly tired, frustrated, stressed, and overwhelmed, and there is seemingly no end. Any attempt to express these feelings is often met with derision or they ignored entirely.

Anyway, I do not wish to languish in this anymore, but these thoughts continually roll through my head, and I feel it necessary to vent and capture them in some way. It may be just another bump here at the Guildhall, but every time I encounter one, my urge to leave grows stronger and I question my devotion to this program. Alright, I have work that needs doing if I hope to pass this term, so I better get to it. I hope you all have pleasant dreams, and I hope that at least have some, pleasant or not.

No comments:

Post a Comment