Creativity (Or The Lack Thereof) (Pt. 1)

How things were and hopefully will be again.

I’d originally intended for Moggie’s Proclamations to be somewhere I could share and talk about my creative content. However, over the last eighteen months or so, the posts have (somewhat intentionally) become skewed towards gaming content. There are many reasons why I decided to take a break from creating anything new, but I hadn’t anticipated that I’d be away from it for this long. Which is entirely my fault. Regardless of the reasons that I may give and how understandable they may be, trying to attribute blame to something won’t change the widening deficit of new creative content.

I need to actually do something about it.

These posts are the beginning of that. I’ve not really got a way to casually discuss creative content as I do with gaming content in posts such as Crawling Through Dungeons. I’ve not really got a way to discuss the near-endless flow of updates to social media sites and my personal site, either.

Prior to this I would discuss any updates in a consolidated fashion through a post such as Further Integration. Which is still an appropriate approach when a number of significant updates have been completed, but when they’re minor or aesthetic updates I’m less inclined to write a whole post about them. For instance, I’ve recently updated the thumbnails for various creative content posts. I’ve also spent some time updating and standardising the layout of various pages on my personal site. I always assume that I’ll eventually write a post which I can discuss these things in, but I rarely do nowadays. Which means that some updates are never discussed. Or that they’re discussed at a point when they’re no longer relevant.

An ever-evolving conceptual approach.

These posts are not intended (nor designed) to contradict Material Studies posts. Which will still serve their original purpose of discussing works in progress or any unusual approaches that I’ve taken with different materials. Hence their name. But they could include creative content that I’ve not shared on Moggie’s Proclamations before, as this one does, and could illustrate (pun intended) my development as an artist, or highlight something that I like which doesn’t fit on my personal site. As is the purpose of this particular sketch. I’ve never been able to successfully refine the concept, but I like it.

So much so that I’ve been trying to refine it for nine years.

I’ll likely attempt it again once I’ve relearned that which I’ve forgotten in the last eighteen months. Not that I feel that I’ve regressed too far. Much of what I do seems to be habitual, which makes it difficult to forget how to do it. But that also makes it even more difficult to adjust old habits.

It is through that adjustment that I’m hoping to share pieces that better represent what I’m trying to accomplish. I’ve been thinking that I’ll need to alter the creation process with traditional pieces, as these are currently at a distinct disadvantage to digital pieces. But a lengthened process could result in more mistakes. So it’s not entirely without risk- which is understandable- as everything that you create represents who you were at the moment you created it. Lengthening that process adds unknown variables. Which could be advantageous, as it could allow for the creation of more complex pieces. But it’s a start. One that I haven’t had in the last eighteen months as my motivation waned and my technique dulled through disuse.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

An Uncertain Future

One can never be too sure.

While some may loathe uncertainty I’m rather fond of the possibilities presented by it, but then I’ve never particularly thought too much about the future. Where I’ll be or who I’ll be. What I’ll be doing or where I’ll be doing it. I’ve had some incredibly fortuitous experiences because of this, and I’ve likely squandered some potential because it. I’ll never really know as I’m unable to experience the numerous possibilities afforded by making different decisions. But that’s fine. I’m reasonably comfortable with things as they are at the moment, and I can honestly say that I have few regrets.

Which is all that I can really ask for.

If I’m disappointed about anything it’s the notable lack of creative content last year. I’m still highly enthusiastic about all things creative, but I’ve been (unsuccessfully) considering how best to continue with things as they currently are. I haven’t really been making as much time for it as I should, either.

What I have been making time for is innumerable JRPGs. Starting with the wonderfully charming World of Final Fantasy, then the exceptionally enjoyable Octopath Traveler, followed by the bizarrely satisfying Mary Skelter: Nightmares, and continuing with the breathtaking masterpiece that is Yakuza 0. I also decided to play the exquisitely crafted Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered, and the incredibly engaging sequel Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom. It was then time to revisit Grim Dawn through the outstanding Forgotten Gods expansion pack, and write about the misadventures of my Cabalist. I’d also previously written about the re-release of Diablo and the Hellfire expansion pack, and decided that I’d document my adventures in the blasphemous bowels below Tristram.

Earlier in the year I’d played the absolutely thrilling Battle Chasers: Nightwar, too. Following that it was finally time to begin my campaign in the thoroughly engrossing XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, and I once again became far too attached to soldiers that could perish at any moment. I also revisited the Mexiverse through the delightfully humorous campaign of Guacamelee! 2, and then spent some time with the Bergson family in the beautifully narrated Children of Morta. I then shared my first impurressions of the utterly pawesome Cat Quest and the many cat puns found therein.

There were countless compelling gaming experiences to be had.

I’d also decided that I’d spend the festive season playing the (woefully abhorrent) PC re-release of Chrono Trigger. I wasn’t expecting too much from it, but I still managed to be disappointed. Thankfully, the rushed amateurish PC re-release did little to diminish how enjoyable Chrono Trigger is to play.

Chrono Trigger will feature prominently throughout January as well. I’ve been writing about my time with it, and the result is an interesting series of posts quite unlike anything I’ve done before on Moggie’s Proclamations. I’ll also be writing a Steam guide for it. As I’ve noticed that there are few available which detail anything besides the requirements to unlock each ending, and of those fewer still suggest ways to unlock each ending. It’s quite a sizeable guide, though. So it’s going to take some time. But I’m going to make every effort to finish writing it, as I’ve always been fond of the JRPGs of the SNES and Chrono Trigger is a great example of the best of them. It’s also my favourite video game of all time. Without a doubt. Even Diablo II (and the hundreds of hours spent with it) can’t compare to joy that Chrono Trigger brings me.

Happy New Year, all!

Moggie

A Refined Outlook

Things are slowly but steadily improving.

I’ve not yet mentioned it on Moggie’s Proclamations but I’ve added Instagram to the list of social media sites I frequent. I’d been thinking about doing so from as early as the end of April last year, however it took until the end of October last year to actually set everything up. I’m quite happy with it, though. Naturally being entirely new to the site I’ve few followers to speak of, but I’m pleasantly surprised to find that my pieces are being found and engaged with regardless. It’s certainly a better and more consistent response than I’ve received on Twitter over the years.

It features more traditional artists than expected, too.

Then again, given the nature of the platform, that’s not really too surprising as it is all about taking photographs of things. Which I definitely do. Yes. I’m hopeful that over the next year I’ll be adding much more content to Instagram and that it’ll serve to mostly tie together my creative, gaming, and other content.

I can’t really share too much about Moggie’s Proclamations on Instagram as I would on Twitter. But that’s also fine. I’ve been thinking about intergrating this blog with my personal site and having the two work together, to raise awareness of the content on here. Especially the creative content. As I would like the Material Studies posts to feature on the site somewhere. Somehow. Hence the recent updates to my personal site, as I would like to have a more cohesive approach to things. Which, to be fair, is actually working, as I’ve found that I’m quite pleased with everything as it stands at the moment. However, both this blog and my personal site will never be truly finished as they are a perpetual work in progress. They change as I do or as what I do changes.

Most of the updates to my personal site are relatively minor as they mostly address layout or page issues. However, there are some substantial changes made to the actual number of (and categorisation of) pieces on the site. With some being moved to different sections, some consolidated into a new page structure, and some removed. So it’s quite a significant update despite not looking any different. But it may start to look different as I work with the new layout to accomodate the Material Studies posts.

In the same way this blog has also seen a few minor updates.

Mostly, again, to mirror the recategorisation or removal of certain pieces, but also to standardise the categorisation of posts. I’ve got more updates for Moggie’s Proclamations, and I’ll be working on those slowly and steadily over the next month. I’m hoping to find time to create content at some point, too.

That’d be nice. But I’m still rather hopeful that this year will provide more content than the last and that things will continue to improve. I feel as though I’ll be done with the majority of the updates at the end of January, and that, at that point, I’ll have very little else to do other than focus on new content. I found it quite refreshing working on the content for Instagram, as that features myriad pieces from different periods in time and of different states of completion. It’s interesting to see how well the finished pieces and the works in progress sit comfortably next to each other. These social media changes will likely be the last that I make. So, wherever this goes, and whatever happens as a result of it, this is likely to be the last iteration. Let’s make it a good one.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Festive Reflections

I should probably have stopped eating mince pies after the twelfth one.

It’s a lot like the Steam Winter Sale. You tell yourself that this year you’re only going to buy one new video game and instead work through your backlog, but inevitably you end up with a list of discounted titles. You can’t turn back now, though. Nay! That would show weakness. So, in a moment of pride, and utter senselessness, you purchase the whole shopping cart. It’s not the best decision you’ve ever made, but they do add to your backlog and you did say you were going to work through it. So you’re still doing what you said you were going to do, right?

Personally, I’ve been buying JRPGs. I’ve missed those.

Of those JRPGs the most notable is Battle Chasers: Nightwar. A delightfully adorable and incredibly enjoyable experience which is reminiscent of Breath of Fire III on the PS1, but with a much better fishing minigame. Fishing which (I would assume) is somewhat required. As it’s one of the few reliable ways to earn Shadow Coins.

I’ve been fairly lucky with engaging gaming experiences in the last year or so. Most recently I decided to finally purchase Book of Demons (as it had come out of Early Access) and it was fantastic. Both Life is Strange and Life is Strange: Before Storm were wonderfully executed narrative-driven experiences, while Okami HD prompted nostalgic reminders of yesteryear. I was also able to experience Final Fantasy XV for the first time, which was surprisingly better than expected. Not to forget the wonderful (yet somewhat finicky) Divinity: Original Sin and the exceptional sequel Divinity: Original Sin II. I also spent more than a few hours playing through the story for Dragon Ball FighterZ, and I might have actually won an arcade match or two in that time.

It’s been a particularly odd year for my creative pursuits, though. I feel as though I’ve made decent enough progress, and that digital painting in particular has surpassed all prior expectations while still rapidly improving. But I haven’t finished as many pieces as I would’ve liked. This more or less aligns to a rather distressing turn of events in my personal life. For that reason I’m not surprised by my lack of commitment, but I do want to start this year with a greater focus on all things creative. I’ve actually been working on a few updates today towards that end.

I shall, however, share further details about those later.

I’m quite excited to see how things will develop as these minor updates work alongside major updates from last year. Together they promise a much better foundation for future content with more accessibility, and more opportunities to coherently connect various parts of the collection of sites together.

With the coming year I would’ve been using WordPress for seven years and it’s interesting seeing how things have changed. How I’ve changed. How my ideas have evolved. How the kinds of content I’ve been creating have developed. And how, even after all this time, and through all of these iterations, I’ve still got ideas for what I can do next. How I can make things better. How I can provide a broader range of content that still holds true to the original intentions. I’m most excited to work on traditional pieces again and to finish some of my older digital paintings. I’ve got quite a few concepts in mind for both. Here’s to hoping that this year at least proves to be better than the last, and that I might finally realise some amount of the potential I perceive myself to have.

Happy New Year, all!

Moggie

Newly Constructed

I haven’t done this in a few years.

Following a series of increasingly expensive decisions I built a new computer this weekend. It wasn’t an entirely necessary upgrade as new releases were still running at the highest settings at 1920 x 1080 resolution, but it was becoming evident that my ability to upgrade my older machine was rapidly decreasing. Which is to say that the video card upgrade from last year was the last possible upgrade I could make. Or, rather, it was the only upgrade that wasn’t ludicrously expensive for the performance boost it would’ve afforded the system.

I learned much of this while looking at video cards.

I wasn’t entirely sure as to which video card would best suit this new system. At first I was looking at either the GTX 1070 or the GTX 1080, but both of these cards were older models and comparable to the prices of the newly released RTX 2070. Which I would assume would provide better system performance.

The full specification of the machine features an i5 9600k 3.7ghz six core processor, 32gb of 3200mhz DDR4 RAM, a RTX 2070 (with 8gb DDR6 VRAM), and a 1tb SSD as an operating system drive. I had considered an eight core processor, but this is a machine that can be repeatedly upgraded and I don’t feel as though I need it immediately. So we can add that to the list of things that might change in the future. The RAM is of a much higher specification than what was in my older machine, and also has the capability to be of an even higher specification due to the XMP profiles present in BIOS. Which was the entire motivation for building this machine in the first place. I want to be able to build on the system over time and not have to continually replace the motherboard.

I’m not only surprised by how small that SSD is but that it worked without needing to be configured.

As a result of building this new machine I finally decided to replace my failing secondary monitor. I now have a 3840 x 2160 resolution primary monitor, and my older 1920 x 1080 resolution primary monitor is now (an actually functional) secondary monitor which I plan to finally start using. I’m actually thinking it could be a valuable tool for my creative efforts. I’d be able to have references or what have you on a secondary monitor, while having the full workspace of the primary monitor available.

I’m also pleasantly surprised with the new resolution.

Everything I’ve tried so far (that could actually support different resolutions) has had no issue running at this resolution. I’ve run into a few issues where the resolution is actually supported but it’s not very stable, and so I’ve had to remain at 1920 x 1080 resolution for those. More testing will be required to determine whether it’s best to run them as fullscreen or windowed, though.

As with most of my modern systems I’ve had little to no issues getting everything to run. I was incredibly surprised that the Steam library functionality now reconnects to every installed title, and doesn’t require you to manually reinstall each for it to find the existing files. That certainly saved me some time. My initial testing has also revealed that almost everything is willing to run without issue. I almost miss the days where setting up a new machine would require hours of testing or possible unexplained errors. It’s also a little sad to think that this machine could be one of the last that I build for a very long time. Even if that was the purpose of pursuing the components as I did, it’s still something that will be absent from my life in the years to come.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie