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Rough title screen

I didn’t manage to make it to Toronto today to jam on site for Feb Fatale 5, but I have managed to jam successfully off site.

I did make fair bit of progress. Of course, a lot of stuff is place holders.

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It’s a menstruation resource management game.

I’ve got three status bars that you’ll need to keep from draining, and one that you’ll need to keep from filling.

Shields – is your products (tampons, pads etc)

Health – is managing your anemia (this bar isn’t active in all modes, because some people will not struggle with anemia)

Life – you’ll need to go out, sleep, and go to work without bleeding through your pants. Sleep is the dangerous one, because some of us, do wake up in pools of our own blood. Also the joy of the long conference call when you stand up and feel a gush of blood.

Discomfort – you need to prevent this bar from filling. In some modes this will be impossible as the pain will be too high. Discomfort includes things like pain, shame, rashes (typically from heat from pads, or allergy to pads), dryness (changing tampons too frequently), etc

Allowing any one of these bars to hit their zero state results in a loss.

endgame

lose – I’ve lost so many times

 

win-screen

Win- For some of us, the game goes on for years. 

A win is achieved by managing to survive through a cycle. Of course, the win is only temporary because well this game in real life goes on for years. I have the screen ready for a win, but not the actual programming part.

That’s it for Sunday.

Oh here’s an animated gif, that I don’t really care for anymore. It takes up way too much memory and is just not much to write home about.

uterusdefault

 

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I’m taking a wee break from writing Jelly’s Adventure, and back to my super serious medical game making.

For Feb Fatale I’m working on a resource management menstruation game. It’s called Don’t Bleed Through Your Pants. I’ve been working on the groundwork for this one for while, but I’m finally doing the base coding and assets.

scar

I choose to use game maker instead of construct 2. I wanted to make a game that can be played in a browser. I went with game maker because there is a little more options for writing code rather than using a visual language. My mind seems to be leaning towards code more these days.

I’m going to make several different modes as periods are wildly different. Sometimes it’s not about quantity of blood, but how an unpredictable cycle can ninja you.

Resources that need to managed are your ‘shields’ aka all the stuff to protect your pants. In what I’ve temporarily called “Diana’s nightmare 8 month geyser of blood” you’ll have manage your anemia.

demon

Is this Uterus scary enough?

You’ll have to manage your distance from a toilet/waste paper basket. Part of the motivation is I want people to get the idea that some periods basically trap you in a radius of a bathroom. You can’t watch an entire movie or sleep, because you have to change your products. Other’s can basically surprise you when you least expect it, and it might be a relief that you got because “whewww I’m not pregnant.” Other periods can be so painful, that you simply cannot function.

Changing products too much or too little results in discomfort. I can say I’ve definitely had a sandpaper tampon cut my insides like Captain Crunch cuts your mouth. Different products have different levels of protection, and some can be used in combination.

Right now, it’s about getting the basic framework set and then releasing the more complex version in May 2017.

I did get a bit of a head start. Makes me feel a bit like a cheater, but I’m missing most of the jam tomorrow because I’ll be in my car. fibroid

Also, I wanted to show that sometimes it’s not ‘just you.’ That people with periods aren’t whiny, or over reacting, but there might actually something wrong if you are limited by your period.  My blood geyser was a lovely mix of fibroids and a probably a bleeding disorder called Von Willebrands (I say probably, because the hematologist suggested that it might be a cause, but also never tested me for it.) The problem is that we shame periods so much, that a lot of people don’t get help, or are often refused help because they are told “it’s just your period.” I was told to get pregnant for years, because creating a human is a very sensible solution to controlling flow. (That was sarcasm.)

Here I go, trying to teach people about how managing menstruation isn’t easy.

I am a pro at bleeding all over the damn place.

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stepper(C/N – PTSD, Medical error, helplessness)

A few thoughts on the NoJam version of Stepper. I intend to keep working on it in 2017.

In news that surprised and amazed me, I finished a game jam game about PTSD. Now this isn’t big news for most people, most people finish. I usually make a monster project that can’t be done in a weekend. The last one I finished took a month, and the other one I finished in 3 weeks. This one I ‘technically’ did in the span of weekend (A Sunday, and then a Thursday night, so about 16 hours of programming).

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Iron Cat

The first game jam I did was AdHoctober through Dames Making Games in 2014 and I made Iron Cat, which was a game about PTSD that I couldn’t finish because I had PTSD and the game triggered me.  I wanted to come back to this idea of making a game that could articulate the frustration and hopeless I felt. I made a series of maps where if you stepped in the wrong place you were sent back to the beginning. An endless and torturous game of Snakes and Ladders.  This was an analogy I used a lot in therapy. It felt like if I moved that I’d always be sent back the start and my life became about not trying to move and then punishing myself for daring to move or believing that life could be better.  That I was involuntary time traveler that often was taken back to terrible memories.

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Iron Cat – waiting room scene

In Iron Cat, I picked my most triggering memory. The one that set off my PTSD. It is the hardest for people to understand. I was teased in a waiting room in a fertility clinic after having the wrong tests performed on me and told that I’d need multiple surgeries and I might not ever be able to have children. It was devastating that in a vulnerable moment I experienced utter thoughtless cruelty, and humiliation that brought me back to being horribly bullied as teenager.

 

In Iron Cat you are sent back to that waiting room over and over, to hear part of a conversation that makes almost no sense if you have no idea where I am, what I’d just gone through, or that my health had taken a turn for the worst. The words are harmless, but the context makes them insensitive and cruel. I hate talking about this day, so instead I changed the game to talk about the 8 months of living with Heavy Menstrual Bleeding and the lead up to my surgery which I would unfortunately be awake for part of it, all of would weave itself into my PTSD. I know, it’s strange that it’s way easier for me to talk about being awake during surgery, than it is to talk about being bullied. The difference is, people believe physical pain, they don’t believe emotional pain and humiliation. Emotional pain is abstract and is somehow always my own fault.

People rarely ask “Why didn’t you yell at them?” when they heard I was awake during surgery (mostly it’s a stunned silence), but with being bullied I am constantly blamed over and over for running out of the room and crying. “Why didn’t you..?” “You should have!” I was terrified and shocked. I did complain, and all it got me was my medical records appended to make it appear they didn’t do the wrong tests, and that a doctor was there, who wasn’t.  It made me more helpless because it proved that I have no power, because by doing the right thing I was harmed even more. It snowballed into a living hell as my care became about covering several medical professionals’ reputation than about my health and almost died because of that vanity and fear of failure.

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Stepper

Now, I have resolved PTSD, which means my PTSD is manageable and doesn’t infiltrate my everyday life.  I am capable of talking about how I got it and how I felt. I’m still relatively heavy handed, but I still had an urge to make a game to tell my story, and get people to understand how I felt.

Serious illness is not something I was equipped to handle. As an ignorant patient I made a lot of mistakes, which one day I hope to teach other patients how to navigate this invisible labyrinth. Navigating the system felt like wandering through mazes and puzzles were I didn’t understand the rules. I was punished for not understanding or taking too long. When I thought I did get it, the rules would suddenly change and often not in my favour.  I thought I was suppose to honest. I thought healthcare practitioners were suppose to help you. I thought I was suppose to report my symptoms. I was wrong.

At times the puzzle is wandering through a clinic doctor’s circular reasoning “you need to get pregnant” or a cruel nurse’s slut shaming. It’s getting stuck in a maze that’s just so huge and overwhelming that you want to sit down and do nothing, and then find there really is only a single path that you are herded toward. That I couldn’t escape my own body and had to learn how to handle the distress and physical pain without disassociating. In the game,  certain lines of thought or avoiding symptoms send you back the beginning, like how my flash backs made me an involuntary time traveler and how my avoidance of healthcare is damaging my health.

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Stepper

I’d remember  things I didn’t want too. How no matter how hard I tried to not think about it, I always got sucked back into reliving all eight months. To get treated for PTSD, I had to walk to past the clinic that ruined me, and have therapy in the hospital that ignored me and then almost killed me. For twice a week for a year and half I had to worry about running into the people who hurt me.

I did once, and even though he ruined my life, there was no recognition in his face of mine. I literally ran away when I met his eyes. His life went on. I thought, my life was so insignificant that it was barely worth remembering. It was just another Thursday for him. The unfairness of it all weighed on me. How was it fair that one of the persons who ruined my life wasn’t suffering, when I was? Why didn’t he have to go to therapy and change who he was? Why didn’t he have to try to make it better? Where was this accountability I hear of?  I tried to reason out that maybe he already dealt with his guilt, that he had the right to live again,  but I couldn’t shake the feeling that he was a horrible monster that didn’t care for anyone but himself. That he and his colleagues would throw another patient like myself under the bus to protect their career. I can’t know what he thought, I can only know how other people were treated, and that clinic apparently had a bad reputation, the hospital knew this, but they still sent people there. It makes me sick to my stomach to know that they knew I’d likely be harmed, and they didn’t care.

I wanted to make a game that would want to make you give up. That would make you feel helpless and lost. That you could feel some progress, and occasionally have that progress taken away. Invisible, inconsistent and tedious rules that would eventually change. Exactly like my healthcare and the PTSD that came from it. I wanted a narrative like mine, where ‘success’ comes at a price and it isn’t a win.  Stepper is less grueling that Iron Cat, but not by much.  Ultimately, I wanted to make a game that feels unfair and unjust.

I didn’t get justice. I still have damage to my body and mind.  I had to learn how move on and live with those changes.  I had to re-learn how to think and how to be a person again. Some days are better than others, but the moral injury, and the betrayal are wounds that aren’t easily healed.

And that’s the thing. Life isn’t fair. Sometimes you don’t win.  At least in a game, you can quit with no consequences.

 

 

 

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This coming week is Patient safety week.

I started to post my advice under the hashtag #asklistentell

Here are some of my tweets, yes I did see the spelling errors after I hit tweet. Embedding tweets doesn’t seem to work, so I’ve pasted them as they appeared.

Patients ask questions. Doctors Listen. e.g when I tell you that resistance to anesthetic runs in my family, don’t be surprised I’m awake

When I tell you about my heavy period, maybe don’t advise I get pregnant right way.

When I tell you I won’t remember to take BC pills everyday, maybe offer something else like an IUD or depo provera.

Patients if you doctor refuses to answer your question, interrupts you, to tell you to “trust me”, Get a new doctor

If you are scared to ask a question, bring it in on a piece of paper and bring a recorder to save the answer.

If you’ve been teased or are dismissed, get another opinion. e.g I had a gyno laugh in my face about sexual pain.

The best appointment I had, I was prepared and had researched what I wanted. ‘s standards are useful information.

 

 

 

 

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I’m spending a bit more time in this space, so don’t be surprised if things start moving around. Example, I finally added an up-to-date PDF version of my CV, because wow, that page was looking a little rough.

Apparently, I don’t know how to use tumblr, so three weeks of posts were uploaded in four days. If you want to sneak ahead on Conversations with My Surgeon you are more than welcome to while I manage cross post here in a sensible matter.  There was a bit of a delay here, because my country internet was not having any of my uploads.

2016-08-21I’m still working away on Station.  I’ve managed to compose some pretty decent horror music using audacity and  pxtone (yes, that page is in Japanese, here’s an English manual).

There’s three paths for Edana to follow. I’ve been having fun writing them in Scrivener. I really wasn’t planning for this game to become a large thing, but I started to like the story. It’s gonna need a bit of love and constructive criticism. But I’ll keep moving forward.

ETA: I’m playing with different fonts and I updated the categories, so it’s useful. Meaning if you want to see all posts about a subject, you can!

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I’m changing the format of this blog in the next few weeks. Basically a massive update because I really haven’t used it in a meaningful way in a few years.

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