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An Early Death for Ascetic - A Rebirth for Thought Reactor

Posted by Michael DeLally on February 07, 2018

Change is Good

As I've dug into the legal requirements for shifting Thought Reactor to a "holding" company, I've come to find that such a task is difficult and cumbersome within the confines of Florida state statutes.

While I personally love the Ascetic brand - it has been a setback. It has no recognition. Its logo is neat but almost entirely subject to context (it's artsy, but a terrible branding choice). And the name, while very important to me as a person, is strenuous to read and leaves too much to the imagination.

Case in point: I use the name on Twitch and when a broadcaster reads that name out when I subscribe to their channel - 70% of the time it is read incorrectly. It's usually read top of mind as aesthetic. 

This is a problem. Coupled with the dubious marketability this creates, the legal protection of such a brand is not something I want to delve into. With Thought Reactor being a legal entity, those protections are in place and I simply have to pay my dues to the state to keep them there. I can hire people as employees or contractors and have legal protections and processes to do so. With Ascetic - that's just not possible and trying to obfuscate it through the LLC could be potentially hazardous, both financially and legally.

So with that, I will be retiring this brand and resuming all game development work under the Thought Reactor brand, instead. In the midst of this, I want to reshape the branding of Thought Reactor to better reflect the vision and direction I had for Ascetic.

I will be migrating this blog over to the new Thought Reactor site and at some point, this URL will just forward to that.

Some Minor Combinus News

There has been some pretty good progress on Combinus, namely shape combination logic coming together. I have a couple things I want to tighten up and some dastardly bugs I need to address before I share some footage of things in action.

After that, we should be getting super close to a tech demo release that I'll toss up on Itch.io so you can begin to help me test some of the mechanics and early game feel.

My Health and Sobriety

Things are going as intended with my health issues. The stomach pain comes and goes, but in a lot of ways has subsided. It seems as if a lot of the pain and nausea could have been a result of quitting the weed.

In that department, things are improving. My sleep is touch and go. The dreams have become less vivid and more normal. However, I am still having trouble sleeping through the night, often waking every 90 to 120 minutes. I'm going to start taking my sleep habits a little more serious in the hopes that it will help my inner clock acclimate itself to its natural rhythm.

I don't know if I will ever truly return to being my pre-stoner self as so much critical time in my life was spent in that headspace - but the sheer lack of a psychoactive chemical affecting my mind and body will allow me to be a much better version of myself. A version that I know will be more committed to making games and sharing them with the world!

Peace and love.

Michael

An Update on My Health

Posted by Michael DeLally on January 31, 2018

In the last blog, I briefly mentioned some issues with my physical and mental health before detailing my plans for Combinus, the spiritual successor to our first commercial game. I wanted to give an update to that and explain a little more about what it means for the future.

In all transparency, a large deal of the mental aspects of my current state is derived from a dependence on marijuana. I've been a daily user for almost 7 years now and the effects it has had on my mental health are beginning to manifest. A lot of that correlates directly to my physiological health - more specifically, my perception and anxiety surrounding it.

I have something going on with my stomach. My physician has yet to figure it out and I'll be visiting a gastroenterologist to get to the bottom of it. Uncertainty about any medical ailment is cause for anxiety and compounding that with daily pot smoking made it worse. A lot worse.

That being said, I've quit smoking pot for the foreseeable future, possibly forever. It's brought a lot more clarity and focus to my life, although at a cost. That cost is the effects of withdrawal. While nothing compared to narcotics like heroin, the withdrawals of chronic marijuana use are very real and can be debilitating.

Luckily, I took the precaution to ween myself off slowly instead of cold turkey - so a majority of these symptoms have been alleviated. The one that is affecting me most is known as REM rebound, wherein the brain attempts to recover months and years of little to no REM sleep by forcing it upon you en masse. I can only describe this as sleep deprivation, as these dreams are so vivid and so mentally taxing that they force you awake and leave you pondering them, causing insomnia.

Now, I've been here before. I took a break in 2016 for similar reasons but I quit cold turkey. The REM rebound at that time was LOADS worse. Night terrors, sleep paralysis, and wicked insomnia where I was literally afraid of sleeping because of those dreams. That is not happening to me now. In fact, the majority of the dreams have been very illuminating, something chronic pot smokers take for granted as THC slowly removes the REM cycle from your sleep. Up until this point it has caused very little sleep disturbance and insomnia - but I may not be out of the woods yet, so to speak. 

This drastic change in my lifestyle and mental health has and will continue to affect my progress on Combinus. In the short run, work will slow to a crawl. As I improve over time, work will ramp up considerably and my motivation to progress will return. The last time I took a break, IGEO was completed and released to the world. There's a lot to be said about how marijuana use has destroyed my motivation to build games. As the apathy of withdrawal begins to decline my passion for programming and creating games will come back.

I can only go up from here. I'm generally happy, my health is improving by maintaining a healthy and structured diet, and I'm becoming more and more determined to improve myself beyond just my bad habits. 

More to come on Combinus - I'm slowly working through redeveloping the movement and pushing mechanics to alleviate some of the issues in IGEO's mechanics.

Peace and love.

Michael