One Week

By Shamus Posted Sunday May 10, 2015

Filed under: Personal 89 comments

I am a creature of habit. I don’t like doing new things. But if I do something long enough that it becomes part of my routine, then I hate not doing it. And I find it really irritating when I get pushed off my routine. Some of my habits are so ingrained I’m not even aware of them.

“Taking a nap?” my wife says to me one afternoon last summer.

I stop. Yeah, I guess I am. I just stood up from the computer and I was about to head for the bedroom. But only because I had insomnia last night and it’s just catching up with me now. This isn’t my usual naptime. “Hang on a second,” I say, cocking my head to one side, “How did you know?”

“You just took off your socks. You always do that right before going to sleep.”

“Wow, really? I never noticed that.”

After that exchange I began trying to spot other odd tics and habits of mine, and it turns out they’re innumerable. This is good for all of us, since one of my ingrained habits is running this site. Here is one week of running Twenty Sided:

Saturday

Saturday is my day off, so by Saturday evening a nice little pile of work has accumulated. So I check the site comments, get caught up on email, then meet up with my friends in Ventrilo. We usually spend an hour or so talking about videogames or life. Once we’re warmed up, we record a Diecast. Then we record Spoiler Warning.

Sunday

This is my biggest work day. If you need something from me, don’t ask on Sunday. Everyone always asks for stuff on Sunday and I always blow them off because Sunday is crazy.

On Sunday I have to write my weekly column. I used to try and do this the week before, but I got burned one too many times. I’d finish the column, send it in on Friday, and then some news would happen over the weekend to make the thing inaccurate, irrelevant, or just dated. Gaming news moves too fast to be writing stuff five days ahead of time.

I also try to make a quick, low-pressure post for the blog. Something easy. Something from the gut. (Example: This post.) I want to fill the space on Sunday, but traffic is way down on the weekend. I see Sunday discussions as more intimate, less formal. Mentally, it feels like a good spot to talk about personal stuff, even though it will still be on the top of the page when everyone comes to work on Monday morning. (Oh yes. Most of you read from work. I know all about your “coffee breaks”.)

Once I have the Sunday post done, I begin editing the Diecast. Josh used to handle this, but that caused a lot of duplication of labor. Since I write the post, I have to listen to the show to gather up all the timestamps. And if I’m going to listen to the show I might as well do so while editing it. It generally takes a good three or four hours to edit a one-hour podcast. I don’t know why. It doesn’t feel like I make that many edits. But when I check the clocks at the end, half the day is gone.

I suppose I’m guilty of a few “coffee breaks” myself.

So: Write column, edit podcast, write podcast post, write blog post. That’s a full day of work and then some. Sometimes I can’t get it all done and some of it spills over to Monday. I hate when that happens.

Monday

I give the column one last proof and turn it in. I post the Diecast. Then I work on feeding the late-week content. If I’m in programming mode, then I’ll do some coding. If I’m in writing mode, then I’ll do that. If I’m stuck, I look for a new game to try to light the writing fires.

Tuesday

The column goes up in the afternoon. I dislike having a post that’s just a link to the column, so I try to expand on it. I’ll either use cut content or bring up something that didn’t occur to me on Sunday.

Then it’s time to put yesterday’s content to work. I’ll either write about the game I played or the programming I did.

Wednesday

In the afternoon I have my weekly meeting with the rest of the Pyrodactyl team and we’ll talk about what we did / plan to do on Good Robot. After that, the fixed jobs for the week are done so now it’s all freeform. If I’m coding, I can REALLY focus on coding. If I’m gaming, I can dump a lot of time into it.

In the evening Josh puts up the first Spoiler Warning. I watch the show, look for something we overlooked or something that can be expanded on and turn that into a post to go with the video. Sometimes I’m done in an hour. Other times I’ll go on a long rant or add to what I said on the show, and end up spending most of the evening on it.

Thursday

I dislike having a block of three Spoiler Warning posts in a row. Some people aren’t into the whole “video content” thing, and I like to give them one more prose post before the week ends. If I’ve only got one programming post or game review, it goes here. This is where I want to put long essays or topics that will incite a lot of discussion. That will give the prose-only folks something to chew on for the last two days of the week. I really hate not having a Thursday essay, but if I’m running out of creative juice then the Thursday post is usually the first casualty.

Later in the day, I post the second episode of Spoiler Warning. Some deal as Wednesday: Watch the show, look for topics, turn them into a 300-ish word post.

Friday

The week winds down. I officially quit at the end of the day on Friday. Friday evening is family time. Josh usually griefs me by putting up Spoiler Warning at the last possible moment. So I’m sitting there at 5pm wondering if the final episode is going to appear and I’ll need to hang around so I can bang out a half-assed post, or if it isn’t going to appear and I can knock off for the week and grab ice cream with the kids, thus leaving Spoiler Warning for my already-full Sunday.

To be fair to Josh: A lot of the blame goes to Adobe Premiere, which seems likely to crash in inverse proportion to how long you have before your deadline. Many Friday evenings have been thrown into doubt because Premiere decided to crash 45 minutes into its hour-long encode time.

At sundown, I’m done. Check in the code. Answer the emails. Read the last comments, and go do something else.

Saturday

I think having a day off is really important for my creative process. It’s one day where I make no content. Instead I play games, spend time with the family, and generally avoid doing the stuff I do for a living. This is to avoid burnout and give long-form essays time to bake. By the time Sunday rolls around, I’m usually chomping at the bit to get going.

So that’s a rare peek into the fast-paced, exotic lifestyle of someone who writes things and puts them on the internet.

Enough stalling. I’m off to write my column. I think I’m going to talk about the new GoG.com client, but we’ll see.

 


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89 thoughts on “One Week

  1. krellen says:

    One thing religion gets right is the Sabbath; we don’t need a Sabbath as a day to reflect on the Lord (necessarily; nothing wrong with it if that’s what relaxes you), but having a day where you do not have to worry about earthly obligations is absolutely necessary for your well-being, mental or physical.

    Language: In your Friday blurb, I think you meant to say Adobe Premiere crashes in inverse proportion to your deadline, at least if you meant to say that it crashes more the less time you have before your deadline.

    1. AileTheAlien says:

      I totally enjoy the fact that religions of various kinds, have contributed to a nice pool of statutory holidays for me to use, plus weekends. Everyone enjoys their time off, but I personally need more sleep every night, plus more time during the weekends, to recuperate. Everyone I meet just thinks I’m just lazy*, but I honestly have slightly different biological needs.

      * Don’t get me wrong, I am lazy, but that’s what motivated me to get a Comp Sci degree, a desk job, and try to build software and hardware to make life easier.

    2. Shamus says:

      Yeah, I didn’t want anyone to think I was shoving my religion in their face, but I do observe the Fri Night thru Sat night Sabbath.

      1. krellen says:

        The particular scheduling of your Sabbath may be religious, but the need for a general “day of rest” is universal, I think.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Same can be said for fasting.You dont really need to be religious to have some time when you clean your body of unhealthy stuff.

        2. Cuthalion says:

          For a mix of religious and practical reasons, I’ve been trying to more aggressively enforce a Sabbath for myself. I haven’t been doing it on the traditional time like Shamus (Fri night through Sat night), but I have found that picking a day a week where I’m not at work and where I just don’t let myself worry about doing projects is helpful for my stress levels and ability to actually enjoy some entertainment instead of constantly feeling like I’m climbing all the time. Sunday fits the most easily for me, so I’ve picked that one.

          1. Felblood says:

            I’ve seen what happens to me when I go too many weeks without taking some time off for “personal rehabilitation.” I stole the term from wildfire personnel management doctrines, back when I was working in the wildland.

            It just seems particularly apt for me.

            In an emergency, I can give up several weekends in a row, but the cost is that I need to do some really hardcore relaxing the first free day that I get. I don’t have to become physically one with the couch, but mentally and spiritually, I need to achieve a state of complete nirvana for 8-24 hours, before the true healing can even begin.

        3. Ambitious Sloth says:

          There’s really only so many days a person can go full steam with work. Taking a day/sleep-wake-cycle to rest is key to a healthy living in my eyes. The reason for doing it doesn’t really mater as much as the meaning of it.

          Kind of related but for where I work (a privately owned retail store) we close the shop on Mondays every week. So our “Sabbath” is the first day most people go back to work. Perhaps the biggest benefit of this to me is the fact that after a busy weekend there is a guaranteed day off I can look forward to. It really makes it easy to stay positive late on Sunday. Which is always healthier than getting tired and angry towards people.

        4. Dude says:

          I can vouch for this. For the past year and a half I’ve been juggling a full time job along with a couple of other full time commitments and four to five hours of sleep every day.

          It is no way to live. (For context, I am still catching up on diecasts. Currently at number 39.)

          And the worst part is after the ordeal was done with, these past two months or so I haven’t really been able to enjoy much downtime. I’m so programmed to that cut-to-cut schedule of the past year and a half that every time I do something entertaining or relaxing I cannot fully commit to it. I always end up thinking, “Why am I not working now?” even when there is no work to do.

      2. Abnaxis says:

        I, for one, appreciate your sensitivity toward not shoving religion in anyone’s face.

      3. Zak McKracken says:

        That’s weird: Where I grew up, Christians don’t work on Sundays and Jews observe Sabbath (on Saturdays). In fact, as late as the 80s, we had school on Saturdays, and it was still considered half a working day (unlike Sunday, which was always off).

        …me, I am attempting to be lazy for the entire weekend, but something (domestic or work-related) always creeps in, and by trying to avoid finishing that one task I reliably manage to fill most of the weekend with work-related thoughts or at least the knowledge that there is still this thing to do which I am trying to avoid but eventually must get over with.

        I cannot recommend this method. In fact, I admire Shamus for being able to get stuff done while at home, while having an arguably better division between work and private time than me, who is in employment…

        1. Joe Informatico says:

          Some Christian sects, like the Seventh-Day Adventists, observe the original (Jewish) Sabbath, Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. Most observe on Sunday though.

          1. Paul Spooner says:

            To be fair, nearly no Christians observe a strict “sabbath”, and if we’re being less strict, most people do a double day off on both Saturday and Sunday.

          2. Zak McKracken says:

            Just occurred to me that in the US calendars seem to usually indicate the week as going from Sunday to Saturday, while over here it’s Monday to Sunday (which makes sense to me since Sunday is part of the week-end). So maybe that’s got something to do with it?

            Whatever the history, from both a spiritual and a psychological view, probably even from a biologically, having some time reserved for introspection, and having that free time respected by others is a very very healthy thing. So power to all who observe it.

            I’m trying not to work on either of those days and usually fail, and that is a genuinely bad thing for me, not just an annoying one.

      4. Mormegil says:

        Don’t sweat it. I’m an atheist. Because you think about something differently than I do doesn’t make that difference offensive, just different. You deserve the day off and if you think that a deity gave it to you then go ahead and enjoy the day.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          As a militant agnostic,I vehemently disagree with you,or maybe I agree 100%,I cant be sure.

          1. Mormegil says:

            Do militant agnostics form into knightly orders? You could join the Knights Whatever.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              No,we would be in the order of knights or maybe days.

    3. evileeyore says:

      Eh… I don’t see the need. But that’s a personal thing and I realize I’m not wired like everyone else.

      I’m fine with the 24/7/365 schedule, as long as there are scheduled rest breaks in there (but I don’t need a full day, and very often don’t get one).

      But then, I almost never actually worry about things. I take it as it comes and deal with things when they need dealing with, thus I don’t get stressed. I’m just lucky to be wired that way.

    4. Mersadeon says:

      Not to praise my own country too much, but I really like that in Germany, Sunday is a special day. It doesn’t really have religious connotations anymore, it’s just a day where almost everyone is guaranteed to be free and most shops are closed. It sort of ensures you have a day to spend with family or friends. I think it really helps culture here as a whole. I am not religous, but I always defend the idea that Sunday should be a “Feiertag”.

      1. MrWhales says:

        That is what I like here in Spain. I can do a bit more on Saturday, knowing that there will be nothing of importance Sunday. Then when I do get around to joining the world on Sunday, it’s adventure time with friends, or whatever.

  2. Da Mage says:

    Seems about right.

    As a student Saturday is also my day off. My day-to-day schedule is a bit more fluid, I tend to work from lunch through to dinner, and then perhaps in the evening depending on the work. But setting hard cutoffs for working time is really important.

    I also have a ‘work space’ that I go to do work, and then another that I do other things, like playing games, in. Having the physical separation seems to prevent some of the slacking off when I have work to do.

    1. Thomas says:

      As a student, term time is my day off :p

      (non-term times are my holidays)

      1. Lombombadom says:

        As a student I find the most productive hours of the day are from midnight till about 3 AM. I find there is a balance between the comfort of working at home (not having to pay for coffee and being able to read while in bed) and the productivity of going to a library where there are no video games or spoiler warnings to distract me.

  3. thebob288 says:

    Having no idea how editing works I have to ask if it would be easier to have spoilerwarning as one big chunk. Having to edit in the credit sequence 3 and little title comments 3 times per show also has to eat up some time. As a regular viewer of the show I’d be totally cool with one super episode a week instead of 1 per day 3 days in a row (I’d actually prefer it I always wait for a full week to go by before watching anyways I can’t stand cliff hangers) So I have to ask if one long episode would make your life easier. This is also me being curious, do the rest of you guys like the one episode a day for 3 days schedule or would you prefer a larger episode once a week? Either way thanks for all the content shamus.

    1. NoneCallMeTim says:

      It might be easier to edit, and having large videos is how spoiler warning started, but people prefer to watch smaller episodes.

      1. krellen says:

        I definitely prefer the shorter episodes. Easier to squeeze them in my day.

        1. Alexander The 1st says:

          Not only that, but larger videos tend to get interrupted more often then shorter videos, and require you to re-seek through the video to the point you got interrupted, then buffer again…and hope you’re buffering at a useful video quality setting (I almost always go to 240p quality if it doesn’t make text unreadable – save on data cap/throttling issues, it buffers faster, and since I’m not fullscreening the video, means I can focus on doing something else on the side. Audio never seems to audibly degrade with video quality, so…yeah.)

    2. Josh says:

      The credits sequence is actually its own separate file, which I edit once and then encode. The finished credits video is then dropped into each episode’s sequence. This does cause some measurable quality degradation for the credits sequence (encoding in a lossy format and then encoding it again in the same lossy format as part of the complete episode) but to my eye it’s never enough that I think anyone has ever consciously noticed it.

      So that at least isn’t a big concern as far as time investment.

      The bigger problem is that I work a full time job in addition to Spoiler Warning, and like Shamus, I like to have a weekend where I don’t have to worry about anything. Thus, all of the editing gets thrown into the week, shortening the deadline. Typically I don’t start editing an episode until the morning of its release.

      What compounds this problem is what Shamus refers to as Adobe Premiere “crashing.” This isn’t entirely accurate (although it does periodically crash during the editing process, which is irritating, but necessarily a huge time impediment). Every incarnation of Premiere I’ve used has had a bug where it will always complete the encoding process and not throw any errors or warnings, but occasionally the actual video file itself isn’t finished; it cuts off somewhere. This means I don’t know that the process has failed until the entire encoding process is completed, which wastes a bunch of time.

      Worse still is when I forget to check if a video was encoded properly and it turns out it wasn’t. I might go and upload it to youtube and then find out later the video is incomplete. One of these errors is actually visible in our released material; you can see it if you go back to the original ending video of Half Life 2: Episode One. The process managed to fail at the exact moment the citadel explodes while Rutskarn is singing it out; an amusing coincidence that was apparently so convincing as a joke cut, that Shamus thought I did it intentionally and posted it as is. It was only after I woke up the next morning that I realized the encoder had omitted a full five minutes of ending footage.

      1. Looked at using Blender?

        I tried once but the Blender interface and me don’t get along. The video editor is supposedly pretty good though.

        I’m also impatiently waiting for this to get stable… http://www.videolan.org/vlmc/

        I’ve also looked briefly at Lightworks not sure what to think about that one.

        1. Piflik says:

          I once edited a video using Blender, and I will not do it again. Blender’s UI and I repel each other…

          Lightworks is nearly as convoluted as Blender and unresponsive on top. The way their licenses work is also not exactly user-friendly.

          Personally I haven’t encountered any program that could compete with Adobe Premiere (and I am still using CS2)

          1. Paul Spooner says:

            I do all my video editing in Blender. But I’ve never used Premiere, so I can’t compare.

        2. Zak McKracken says:

          I did cut a video in Blender once (just removed adverts from a TV recording). You can do crazy amazing stuff in Blender. Even if you only use it as a video editor, it is probably more powerful than Premiere.

          … but I had to do it Tutorial-in-hand, and when I wanted to do it again a week later, I remembered nothing. There are so many things you must set up just in order to do avoid doing fancy stuff — a side effect of all barely-conceivable variables being available to the user is that the user needs to concern themselves with those variables at some point.
          So I think that once you have everything set up, saved the presets and figured the actual process out, you can work about as fast as you could in other programs. Getting there, however… I don’t think it’s worth it if you’re only ever going to cut footage, add sound layers and maybe insert some titles.

          That attempt at using the Blender video editor was with version 2.5x. They’re onto 2.7x now and the interface has been redesigned, with big improvements at every intermediate version, and a concerted effort to create simple defaults. I haven’t tried to use it again, though I have it on my looong list of things to do. My guess is that it’d still be a bit harsh to learn just for cutting and adding titles, but much more viable now if you want to do more fancy stuff.

          1. Paul Spooner says:

            Yeah, it takes a while to get everything set up. I just re-use my old video edit files so I don’t have to do the setup again.

      2. Lachlan the Mad says:

        Josh, with regards to the credits being at a theoretically lower quality than the rest of the episode; I think, now that you’ve pointed it out, I’ve realised in hindsight that a few of the credits sequences were a bit worse quality. This is particularly true of the Mass Effect 2 and Tom Braider credits sequences, where there’s a lot of fast movement.

        That said, it’s only because you’ve pointed it out that I’ve noticed anything. The take-home message is that you should never point anything out ever again.

        1. Josh says:

          Yeah, the older seasons had some issues with quality that I was never really proud of. But it’s worth noting that I’ve significantly dialed up the bitrate on the videos over time. Mass Effect 2, along with all of our 720p seasons, clocked in at around ~8000 kbps, and Tomb Raider through The Last of Us were around ~10000. The more recent Hitman episodes (after the stuttering went away) were ~16000 kbps. In fact, episode 11 was actually 20k, but after the youtube conversion I didn’t really see enough of a difference to justify the increase in file size (and encode and upload times).

          Now it is worth noting that Hitman was in 60 fps so there are actually fewer bits for each frame, but having twice as many I think alleviated a lot of the motion compression issues. We’ll see how it goes for future games.

          1. Chris says:

            I hadn’t noticed a quality-drop in the credits, but then I was convinced that the choppy presentation was an art-stylistic choice. So the trick is to say you totally meant to do that. :)

            I’ve been hoping to see a post on the process used in picking which of the vast collection of musics on Kevin MacLeod’s site will be the end-credits. Because so far the choice made has always felt so well done, that I can’t hear those tunes without immediately knowing what game it is tied to. Felt the Marlow Briggs credit song selection to be especially inspired.

      3. Wide And Nerdy says:

        To anybody here who understand video formats, is there any particular reason why developers might struggle to make proper video editors that are intuitive and do what you think they’re supposed to do? Is it something intrinsic to the structure of video data or are the developers just not paying attention to their users/being lazy?

  4. NoneCallMeTim says:

    Being self employed doesn’t mean that you have no structure to your work week, it means that you have to impose your own structure.

    Otherwise you end up wasting too much time on irrelevancies and having to work last minute to get things done.

    I envy your ‘many small projects’ lifestyle. I used to be self employed, but that was with a few large projects, with very few fixed milestones, so it was a bit difficult to be disciplined.

    1. Zak McKracken says:

      That is what scares me most about the idea of being self-employed: Having to give structure to everything you do.

  5. Bruno M. Torres says:

    Shamus, how did you find out about my coffee breaks???

    1. It’s the chart of site traffic that dies over the weekends and peaks at around 9am on week days in the USA. Probably not that hard to figure out.

      1. Alexander The 1st says:

        Haven’t seen it, but I like to imagine it spikes at 9 a.m. for 9 a.m. every time zone.

        1. Humanoid says:

          I take occasional work breaks during my coffee days.

          * Actually, that’s untrue. I don’t drink coffee. But Decaf Diet Coke is close enough.

  6. SpiritBearr says:

    Holy crap, joining GOG’s beta was easy.

    1. Eruanno says:

      Yeah, I signed up yesterday expecting nothing for a while and this morning I got an invite. Huh!

    2. AileTheAlien says:

      For anyone who doesn’t already know what they’re referring to (as I didn’t), it’s Good Old Games’ “Galaxy” program. Basically, a client on your computer, like Steam, which integrates chat, multiplayer, played-time tracking, etc; plus the actual downloads and patches. This is really goddamn cool. Another competitor to Steam, and it’s DRM-free!

      1. Grudgeal says:

        So far it’s re-downloaded all my games when I’ve tried pointing it to its origin folder. It really could use a “this is my GOG games folder, look in it for what I already have” wizard.

        1. AileTheAlien says:

          Make a feature request / bug report, then! :D

    3. McNutcase says:

      For purposes of being able to have people add me as a friend, I made one forum post. It’s here.

  7. Cuthalion says:

    It generally takes a good three or four hours to edit a one-hour podcast. I don't know why. It doesn't feel like I make that many edits. But when I check the clocks at the end, half the day is gone.

    This is highly consistent with my experience when I tried to do a one-hour podcast (we never really got anywhere, but I edited a few episodes). I think I’ve heard it elsewhere, too. Scripted audio content (like a drama or commercial or whatever), in my experience, takes about 1 hour to create per minute of final time. Live+edit content takes about 4x the final time to create.

    So I bet your numbers are pretty average.

  8. Muspel says:

    You know, if you’re ever starved for column ideas, I’d like to hear the background on how you got involved with Pyrodactyl. (I mean, obviously, Rutskarn works for them, but did they approach you about Good Robot or the other way around?)

    Also, maybe a retrospective on the various Spoiler Warning hosts and guests, and how you got in touch with all of them. You’ve talked about how you met Mumbles, Josh, Randy, and Rutskarn in the past, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard the story of how you first got in touch with Chris (or some of the guest hosts like George or Roses).

  9. SKD says:

    I do not read your column on my coffee breaks. Coffe is way too serious of a subject to be interrupted or displaced. :P

    Actually, I read your columns during the day as I work in IT support and generally have time to fill while waiting for other tasks to complete.

    1. Groboclown says:

      Yes, us Javacrucians take offense to the idea that coffee could be considered something you do as a distraction. It is not so lowly a drink such as tea, unless said tea is of the Japanese tea ritual variety.

      *sip* Gods, I needed that.

      That said, this site is a great compiling side-activity.

    2. Wide And Nerdy says:

      Basically the same as you two. I have a really show dev server.

    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Same.Most of my time working ends up being me waiting for stuff to download,stuff to unpack,stuff to pack,stuff to install,stuff to restart,….Lost of time that I can spend doing nothing,OR I could read a website or two.

  10. nerdpride says:

    I feel particularly in a funk with regards to laziness and productivity. There are dozens of things I want to do and I’ve done scarcely 30 minutes of work today.

    Sometimes I wonder about what kinds of work are most profitable. Out of all the things I like doing, what do other people want the most? That could be motivating.

    Did you know that some of the people on youtube earn millions? PewDiePie makes something like 6 million dollars a year. Bizarre. Is that really worth that much money? Plus, it’s not a Patreon or anything, that figure is only ad revenue. Does the rest of the internet not use Adblock or something? I hardly ever see youtube ads, so the economics of it doesn’t make any sense to me.

    I think Shamus had talked about that before. Anyway, I’m not asking about anything in particular, just thinking through the internet.

    1. krellen says:

      PewDiePie is the #1 YouTuber. Comparing what he makes to what anyone else makes (or could possibly make) is nonsensical. It’s like comparing other MMOs to WoW. His success is very likely completely unreplicable.

      The same goes for other rags-to-riches stories, like Notch. Or even non-video games ones.

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        Pewdiepie himself is an anomaly but I feel other less successful but still popular YouTubers have things we can point to as causes for their success. Talent, quality, schedule, type of content, etc.

        If they’re not popular its because their channel is new or they suck or their schedule is inconsistent or their subject matter is just very niche. But yeah, Pewdiepie himself is an anomaly.

      2. Zak McKracken says:

        It’s pretty much the same thing for all Arts: Painting, Music, Acting… There are very very few who “make it” and get rich and famous, there are a few more who are getting by reasonably ok, and there are huge masses who would like to but never will make enough to live. The crazy thing, then, is that this success does not scale directly with actual talent but there is a large portion of luck in there as well.

        So: I don’t think “become a rich You-Tuber” is something you can plan out and execute. If it seems like some people can, that’s only because you’re just hearing the success stories (since being well-known is part of those stories) rather than the ones about the masses of people who were every bit as talented, tried just as hard and failed.

        1. Wide And Nerdy says:

          I hear this a lot and, while I’m sure there’s a certain amount of luck involved, this really feels like sour grapes. Not directed at you specifically. A lot of people say this. I think people do it because we’re conditioned to compare ourselves to the great successes when we shouldn’t, so we’re countering one lie (that we’re worthless if we’re not as good as the greats) with another lie (that the greats are just lucky). I can accept that as a coping mechanism but when I see it being used as a basis for change, I have to call it out.

          Its rare that I’ve seen a case where something is in all ways the same thing but better and yet is the less successful thing with no explanation. Take games. One might be objectively superior but the more accessible one wins even if its dumbed down. That’s not nothing.

          It happens sure but in comparison to everything else, I think its an anomaly.

          Though its admittedly hard to judge at times. “Luck” can be finding backers or other talent to work with. People who can’t manage that always have amazing sounding ideas but we know that there’s a huge difference between having an amazing idea and making it real. We don’t know that any of these amazing ideas would be amazing in practice or that the people having those ideas could figure out the implementation and sell it.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Ok,lets take games as an example:Saints row 2,3 is basically the same as gta 3,4 but better.Yet gta is the more popular one because it got there first,simple as that.Thats just luck.Or how about fps:Both doom and wolfenstein were loads of crazy fun,yet all the subsequent fpss were doom clones,not wolfenstein clones.And yet,a few years later,we got a wwii crazy that wasnt there before,when all the best selling games were wwii themed.If wolfenstein came out then,it wouldve beaten doom handily.There are plenty of examples like that in video games.And in movies.And music.And theater.And architecture.And writing…..

            1. Wide And Nerdy says:

              Regarding the saints row series, thats not luck. We don’t know that Saints Row as we know it would have ever existed without the inspiration of GTA. Saints Row might have improved on things (I’ll have to take your word for it, I’ve played none of those) but you can’t discount what they took from GTA.

              Really this reinforces my point. Where people see luck, I see causes. This is not to say that the causes necessarily always indicate inherent merit I guess. You think your idea will catch on but you can’t know. You’re to some extent guessing. I’ll acknowledge that luck is a factor there in that sometimes you, out of all the other talented people, happen to be the one to guess what the public really wants. But you can’t discount the talent and perserverence.

              I guess it hits home for me because I have a frustrating number of good ideas that I never execute on. I came up with Patreon in exactly the form it is now a good two years before they launched. And I do mean specifically (monthly fee, tiers, transaction model, I even had a couple of other ideas to build on it with like providing templated sites for creators to get started, an opportunity I feel Patreon should sieze. Also, a site widget to auto verify backer status for ease of access to perks). I felt like Flattr wasn’t the right model for providers of ongoing content and I knew that Kickstarter wouldn’t work for that either (most people couldn’t do what Penny Arcade did and do an annual kickstarter drive to fund their site for a year). But I didn’t have the skill as a web developer or businessman nor the connections to make it happen. I tried. i have no idea how to get something like that going even with the development experience I now have (let alone what I had then). Maybe I could have if I knew more people to help me fill in the gaps in my skillset I could have made that site and I’d be the one changing the face of modern content creation.

              But I have to accept that they had the means and I didn’t. I can’t begrudge them that.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Just because you recognize something involved a lot of luck doesnt mean you begrudge them.And Im sure youre not the only one who had the idea for patreon.I would even bet that someone else actually tried it,but failed,even though they had money and knowhow.

                1. Wide And Nerdy says:

                  EDIT: Forget it, I don’t know why I’m arguing about this. It won’t change anything. I’m going to enjoy everyone’s reactions when they finally get what they think they want. Silver lining.

    2. Robyrt says:

      The entertainment industry, in all forms including YouTube, has a few megahits, a bunch of minimum-wage jobs, and a bunch of people doing it for free. There just isn’t room for even dedicated fans to watch more than a couple personalities regularly, since the amount of content you’re expected to put out is immense.

      To take a random game (Europa Universalis IV), you will regularly see 6-hour multiplayer games between all the top personalities: Northernlion (535k subscribers), Quill18 (250k subscribers), Arumba (135k subscribers) and Shenryyr (80k subscribers). These guys all have 4000-5000 videos under their belt, and they’re all playing the same game, but the difference in ad revenue is probably night and day.

  11. Ed Blair says:

    As an “avoider” of video content in general, I appreciate the prose entry. It’s almost always one of the best things I read in a week. Thanks for the years of content.

    1. Cybron says:

      I agree.

      I find video content very hit or miss (and if an early episode is a miss I usually end up skipping the rest of the series), but I don’t think I’ve ever skipped a prose entry.

    2. Robyrt says:

      Agreed. The prose content is easily the best stuff on the site: it has the same insights and explanations about vaguely gaming-related issues, but I can consume it on a 10-minute “coffee break” instead of a 2-hour video or a 1-hour podcast. The only thing I don’t get from the prose is everyone complaining about Josh’s taste in games.

  12. Felblood says:

    Week before last, my company got new web-blocking software, and twenty sided is no longer viewable from the breakroom.

    Facebook is still blocked, but YouTube and TVTropes have become available.

    This is a lateral move, at best.

    1. Bubble181 says:

      I can go to plenty of game websites (up to and including the Escapist) but this blog is blocked at work. It’s a sad thing.

    2. eaglewingz says:

      TVTropes at work.

      What could possibly go wrong?

      1. Tizzy says:

        Some workplaces could do with a better knowledge of tvtropes. Most of Holywood comes to mind…

    3. Mersadeon says:

      There’s always a way around a blocker.

    4. Paul Spooner says:

      Sorry man. I don’t know what I would do without internet at work.
      You’re probably more psychologically stable for its absence though.

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    And I find it really irritating when I get pushed off my routine.

    How ironic it is then that after posting this there is no diecast posted on monday.

    1. Seconded.
      Commence cat pictures?

    2. Phill says:

      My immediate thought on reading this blog post was that since Shamus posted his typical working schedule, it is virtually certain that the schedule will get borked this week and the diecast will be late. Schedules and timetables are quantum – the very act of viewing them makes them change.

      1. Shamus says:

        Spoiler: This post was a “saved for a rainy day” deal. No Diecast this week, and as of right now I don’t have any late-week content either. :(

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          At least we got a spoiler warning.

          1. Groboclown says:

            That we did. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to hear the casts’ views on how the narrative breaks down when the work week is seen as a whole. Nor did Ruts give us any of his patented puns.

            Complaining aside, I’m starting to think that their schedule has spoiled us, so now it’s up to the readers to do something about it.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Complaining aside, I'm starting to think that their schedule has spoiled us, so now it's up to the readers to do something about it.

              Pun intended?

              1. Groboclown says:

                Of course. I wouldn’t want the egg on my face of an unintended pun.

            2. MichaelGC says:

              I started typing up my thoughts on Bloodborne but cut myself off. Er. Bit of a stretch, but this could maybe count as some “horrible SimCity news”:

              http://techcrunch.com/2015/05/08/simcity-creator-will-wrights-new-app-wants-to-create-a-graphic-novel-of-your-life/

            3. Groboclown says:

              I’ve been meaning to make a write-up of Journal, but there’s no way to really talk about it without it being all spoilers.

        2. Wide And Nerdy says:

          I’m beginning to think I’ll never hear you guy’s thoughts on Pillars of Eternity.

  14. Jeff says:

    It’s not that I’m “not into” video content, but that I’m vehemently against it – primarily because it’s literally impossible to access on my “coffee breaks”.

  15. Kamica says:

    … The watch bothers me… It does the 4 wrong in Roman Numerals, but then isnt consistent enough to do the 9 similarly (Proper 4 = IV, Watch 4 = IIII, Watch/correct 9 = IX, Consistent 9 = VIIII)…

    1. Asimech says:

      Almost all watches and clocks do the number four as “IIII” due to tradition.

      I have found exactly one clock that had it written as “IV” and it was a cheap one with a rattling plastic mechanism. Much to my dismay as I find the “IIII” to be visually unappealing and the last clock with a rattling plastic mechanism had a habit of not keeping the time.

      Edit: I think I need to specify that I found exactly one clock that was on sale and had four as “IV”. I don’t really care if a public timepiece has it as I’m not allowed to take it home.

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