Wednesday, May 26, 2010

the post that's not about my game development journey

If you are not interested in reading about what God has been doing in my life, and the journey he has me on, then you can skip this one. But of you want to know why I haven't written about the game project in a while, you might want to stick arround.

I am still not finished reading 'Jesus for President' by Shane Claiborne, Chris Haw and friends... but I am mighty close. It's a good book, and I recommend you read it if you get the chance. 

Anyways, today I spent a few hours visiting with a friend of mine, sharing with them what God has been showing and teaching me, exploring what it means to follow Christ, and the aspects of Church experience we have both been uncomfortable with, or have felt a need to challenge. The big one that came up was with regards to 'Church discipline', and where we feel our experiences have come up short, and in some cases felt counter to the teachings of Christ and the Bible.
I have been wresting through the issue for some time now, perhaps as far back as when I wasn't yet a teenager, and am baffled by the ways that we (I am including myself in this primarily because I consider myself to be a member of the Church, and it is the members, though not all of them, that have seemingly missed the point on this topic) have justified our actions towards our brothers and sisters, speaking hurtfully, rather than lovingly towards those who have gone through difficult times of personal failure. 

There is this section of scripture that I have read time and time again, and have not yet really seen it in practice (though I have tried to enact them, I can't say I have done a very good job of it) that speaks to this issue directly.
If a brother or sister sins (against you), go and point out (bring it to light) the fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over (case closed, brother or sister restored).
But if they will not listen (and reject your words), take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' (as it is written in the law to do)
If they still refuse to listen (and reject your words), tell it to the church (the community of brothers and sisters); and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector (with the love you invited them into the family with in the first place).
And we see examples of this at work in the early church letters (in Paul's writings to the Corinthians and Galatians, and in James writing). 

It seems strange to me that I haven't heard this taught, or put into practice, in all of my church experience (though I have read about it in books and listened to podcasts on the topic from churches and pastors I admire). Instead what I have seen has been what seems to be the polar opposite. Gossip, insulting or putting down those who have gone through personal failure, removing people from positions of service because of sin in their lives (usually sexual sin, most often repented of, and exposed for the purposes of getting help)... it just feels wrong, and from my reading and studying of scripture, it is shown to be wrong. 

Right now, my wife and I are searching for a Church home (not having rejected the church we were going to, only feeling the need to make a thoughtful decision about where we go), and it is this topic, Church Discipline, that I am searching for a good example. As I noted before, I have tried to put this teaching into action, but am just not sure I know how best to live it out. 

A good portion of my time has been spent searching and studying Theology (God and the Scriptures), and right now, the reality of my unemployment is leaving me with only more questions. 

Where is God leading me, and what am I to be doing in this season? 

A conversation I had with my wife today was searching this question out for the both of us. I don't want to be a part of the divisions that separate the Church from herself, and yet I feel like the ways that we live out (or more accurately, the ways that we don't) the teachings of Jesus are putting a wedge between me and the place I used to serve. 

I have had Church planting on my heart for over a year now and don't know what to do with it. I have been searching and studying what it means to follow Christ in the midst of (but not imitating) our culture, and am left with more questions than direction and purpose. 

Should I just keep trying to make a video game (to entertain people), or do I give that up in the hopes of investing into, and serving people. 

Is anyone interesting in hiring a Theologian? I don't want money to do with what I choose, only to have my bills paid... and that causes me to think about another question I am wrestling with... a question that will have to wait for another blog post.

Grace (the good gift(s) that come from [truly] knowing [heart to heart kind of knowing] God) and Peace (the kind that changes the world around you more than it gives you a good feeling) to you.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

twelve days

It's hard to believe it's been twelve days since I last wrote anything on my blog... but that is what the calendar is telling me... and it hasn't lied to me yet.

I haven't done a ton as far as the video game goes... gone back and forth on how I am going to create a unique 'pop up book' look while ensuring that the player knows what they will collide with and what they wont... and I think I am going to change my mind yet again on the subject the next time I work on it (more on that in the next post).

Right now, my wife and I are searching for a church to call home. The church we were going to is becoming increasingly difficult to remain involved in due to distance and a few concerns we have as our faith and journey is taking us in different directions.

The most difficult part of this whole thing has been relinquishing my position as a small group leader/teacher. There is nothing I love more (yes, even more than making video games... but no, not more than my Wife or Lord) than talking/discussing faith, and how that plays out in our lives. Now, before you stop reading because this post seems to have nothing to do with the game I am making, read on, because it all ties in.

I have wanted to create a game that is friendly and fun, that doesn't require the player to use violence and force to accomplish their goals, but instead allows them to embrace the very things I have been wrestling with in my faith.
Non violence/Passivism.
It can be difficult to give the player tension and conflict without encouraging them to use violence to reach their goal... so I have struggled with the ways to present that choice.

Currently, the plan (because I don't have any features in my game that utilize these concepts yet) is to have dangerous creatures that can hurt/destroy the player, but not give the player a weapon/weapons to destroy the dangerous creatures. I am still uncertain as to whether or not I will give the player something that can harm the creature at all, perhaps stunning it (the idea would be the dash ability that allows you to smash through a particular obstacle would also work to harm and stun the dangerous creatures).
The counter point to this feature (assuming I have the time to actually put this in the game) would be to reveal to the player in the late game that the dangerous creatures were in fact the very young children of something that, if you didn't harm them, would allow you to accomplish an otherwise impossible task.

I think it would be a great way to get across the positives and negative of violent choices without being preachy or ruining the experience for players who make the violent choice. The decision to use violence would make the game easier on one hand, but on the other, cost the player later on. There would need to be a way to present the choice of using violence as such, before the reveal later on in the game... and I think that is a much harder thing to do than it might seem right now...

Making games is fun... but there are a lot of choices that go into it that I didn't appreciate before I worked on a project this complex.

The Next game I make will be much simpler :S

Monday, May 3, 2010

Picture Preview

I know I have done this before, and unfortunately, the last time I did this, the content i posted is in many ways no longer relevant. This time however, I am going to show something that has a great deal more investment in it, and should make it into the final game with much less change to it than the last one.

So here is... the space ship
This is a larger concept piece that I am still not finished (but this is good enough for now).

And here is what it looks like in the game.

Hope you like it :)

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