After playing Tabitha's tiny ratopia, I wanted to try making a game for the Revival Jam inspired by the same game jam, the TinyUtopias IF jam. That particular jam is one I've had my eye on for awhile, because I had gone through a bent of perusing through all of the projects that Emily Short had worked on- and the Revival Jam was the perfect venue for finally sitting down and getting around to it. I ended up making stomping grounds.

stomping grounds is dedicated (with deep affection) to Dan. He is someone who is very important to me- found family: the older brother that I never had. Life has been difficult for the both of us in recent memory. It was in part because of that onslaught of events that he told me that he sees me like the little sister he never had. 'A promise made is a promise kept,' is something that I try to live by: even if the threat of having your pinky finger excised for reneging isn't actually on the table. Something that we've sworn is that neither of us can quite kick the bucket until we go fishing together on a camping trip: perilously close as we might teeter on disaster at times.

Something relevant here is my aphantasia: the inability to visualize imagery. Because of this, I have always struggled with therapy skills related to envisioning a 'safe space,' even asides from personal difficulties in trying to envision what something like that might be: how to encapsulate feeling safe, and at ease- before the idea of somewhere where you could even be happy might begin to enter the picture. When so much of your life is spent in survival mode, happiness seems a luxury.

But it shouldn't be one, and it shouldn't be treated as some mythological rarity. I might not be able to picture what that camping trip will look like- (notice the tense, the fragile hope inherently bound up in it-) but I can certainly write about it. Keeping a keen eye for sensory details has always been a point I've been proud of when it comes to my writing: and it was nice to just let the words hurriedly tumble together, more conduit than architect, more instinctual than planned.

I put together the UI in a little under a hour, including futzing around with some last minute additions and rearranging: and it's not very coherently sectioned or commmented. Certainly messier than some of my other longer WIPs at the moment. I was more focused on having it come together as a visual whole, and then in letting the words scamper out onto the page before they could flee- and before I missed the evening bus on my commute back from campus. Wound up sitting flat on the floor and hammering it out in about two hours, all together, with an intermission of class between the UI and the writing.

Creating sometimes hits you all at once, like a wave breaking overhead. The best I can hope to do when those moments wash over me is to strike while the iron is hot: and it's pretty invigorating. I really enjoy those magical moments, where everything clicks into place. I had a good time making stomping grounds. I'm happy that I made it. It'll be a nice piece to return to in the future, when I need the reminder.