GEMS of Life

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been hit with all sorts of inspiration, ideas and epiphanies. Not just topics to blog about, but also tips and tricks that I can apply to my life as problem solving tools or design mechanics for games. I decided to start a (yet another) personal project I call Project GEMS:

Guides, Epiphanies, Mechanics and Shortcuts

The idea would be to keep a record of anything and everything I learnt and classify each lesson into one or more of the four categories. I was thinking of writing them down into a notebook so that in future, when the notebook is filled up, I’d have a book of tools I can consult when I have a problem I can’t solve. It would be good to just go through the book again and see what solutions or combination of solutions I might be able to apply. Perhaps this would also be a source of inspiration when I need it too.

Guides
I would put in here any step-by-step procedures I think I might need later in life. It will be filled with things that I don’t regularly use, but will come in useful in future. For example, I tend to forget how to do origami, but some objects are pretty useful to make as gifts (paper flowers) or practical things (temporary paper box). There’s a little overlap between Guides and Shortcuts, but I’ll cover that later.

Epiphanies
These would mostly be thoughts that occur to me or that I read about. Stuff that blow my mind, just because I never thought of it before, or never saw that particular angle before. The aim is to help me initiate changes my perspective when I need it, usually when I cross subjects. That is, to bring an idea from one field and apply it to another. This category is related to the Mechanics category as it serves as the main source of ideas for game.

Mechanics
This category mainly concerns game mechanics that I make or discover, but will also include blueprints for stuff and how and why things work. It’s going to be pretty technical and practical, but will also hold a lot of possible design ideas, although design theories will be under the Epiphanies section.

Shortcuts
Essentially, this is just life hacks. Not necessarily the “proper” way of doing things, this category will comprise of ways to do things as efficiently and as quickly as possible.

I wanted to use one of the giant A4 sized notebooks that I got as part of the package I received for joining SCS, but I felt it was too big to lug around everywhere. That made me procrastinate starting the book, but now I can’t anymore. See, when I went to Rachel’s Safari themed dinner, I received an A5 sized white notebook as a door gift. It was the perfect size; not too big to carry around and not too small that I couldn’t write in it.

I’m going to be recording everything I learn in the order I learn them. The book is going to be filled with notes, mistakes and bad illustrations, much like how I imagine a mad scientist’s notebook would look like. Once I reach the last page, I’ll reorganize everything into a new notebook (still written and drawn by hand) by category and create an appendix for reference. But I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

I just realized that each category fits quite nicely with the four elements of Air, Earth, Water and Fire. I’m quite a sucker for flavour (when things fit together thematically and aesthetically) and thus a typical Vorthos. Guides, Epiphanies, Mechanics and Shortcuts are Water, Fire, Earth and Air respectively. They all fit so flavourfully.

Water guides me to where I want to go, like a river or stream.
Fire provides flairs of insight and inspiration for epiphanies.
Earth is how I will understand the mechanics of things from the ground up.
Air finds the most direct route to success.

Hmm… I seem to have a thing for the four elements recently. And it all started with Avatar: The Last Airbender.

I can’t wait to start collecting my GEMS of Life.

-Jace

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