It starts with “I’ll just put this on the shelf and continue after the weekend”. Then it continues with “Oh, I’ll finish this next week”. A month later you’re officially on a hiatus. A few months more into the hiatus, you accept that crawling out of it won’t happen all by itself. So this is my fight against the hiatus and how I’m fighting back.
A ritual cleansing!
Well, it’s a little less dramatic than that. My first step in getting back is cleaning up the mess I left behind. I left behind quite some unfinished projects:
- Unfinished Scenery
- Unfinished Corsairs being painted
- Unfinished modular Cauldron of Blood
- Unfinished cleaning proces of metal models
- Unfinished cleaning up the sprues and separating the bits from the trash
It’s more tempting to start with a clean slate, or table in this case. It’s like working with tools: it’s more fun when they are neatly sorted rather than having to dig your way through them.
As I sort out the mess I left behind, cleaning up the closets and boxes left untouched the memory of the game comes back: the fun, the dice rolling, the tiny little plastic soldiers that look awesome. It’s a productive cleaning and a trip through memory lane that feeds the waking flame to a slightly larger flame.
I can’t help it. Theorycrafting is like sudoku puzzles for me and I’m addicted to it. So I’m working on some theorycrafting, recalculating odds and what not. It’s a part of the hobby for me, and because it’s so accessible (all I need is my head) it’s an easy way to get the hobby back in my mind.
But while I’m thinking on numbers, I’m also working on building a calculator or tool to work out the numbers. I’m fairly competent with Excel, but it’s a slow way to work and repetitive, when the key parameters can be summarized and translated to a graphic more effectively with a small program.
I did not hesitate to make the program. It exists. I have it on my computer, see:
These are all generated in the blink of an eye with only a few parameters. That’s the fun part. But I don’t want it to stop there.
Breaking down the theory of how to compute the numbers is sometimes a bit of a challenge (this is a graph taking into account multiple wounds, multiple damage sources and more), yet remarkably simple once you “get it”. Making the code to implement the theory is also remarkably simple. It would take only 5 to 6 lines of code to be able to compute the numbers which the graphics above display. The challenge, apparently, lies in providing a user friendly interface that is fit for more than math wizzards.
And that’s where I’m working on. It’s a fun trip through SVG technology, HTML5, CSS3 and the latest web design techniques for mobile devices. Because that too is part of the hobby.
Modeling: the first target
After getting back into the hobby, I need a target. Something easy to get me going, but challenging enough to give me a since of fulfillment. I therefor pick my old Corsairs, that are about halfway painted, and pledge to this: I’ll finish their cloaks by next week.
I discovered last time, right before the hiatus, that I take way too much time to paint the cloaks. I make steps that, while fun, make the proces too slow to enjoy the progress. What’s worse is that the detail isn’t necessarily better because my skills aren’t up to par to the complex schematic that I use. What good is it to use another blend on a small surface, when I can’t paint with sufficient precision?
This is why I’m tackling it with my renewed spirit. I hope a fresh look will give me a better judgement on what steps I can drop without compromising (too much) the quality of the end result.
Ten cloaks coming up by next week!
Tips and Tricks from the Pro’s.
As I’m fighting back the hiatus, I’ll report on my struggly on the blog. I considered: why not? The downtimes and the battle to keep the hobby alive is a recurring issue in this hobby. I opened up on it on Druchii.net and asked what other people’s tips and tricks were to come back after a hiatus. These were some of the responses:
- Getting a class cabinet. I assume because seeing is believing.
- Checking out the (warhammer) shop more often. This seemed like a fun way to get back in the hobby. I do need to check out the store in Mechelen, now that the shop in Halle closed. It might be a good way to get to know people in real life, instead of forums.
- Playing the game. But that is a challenge, logistically. Visiting the store can help there. I did use the cleaning up session to work on a hobby room. Maybe I can report on that as well!
- Use the community to keep the interest alive. While this method can help, I found it can also bring down the spirit of the hobby. The online communities are fun, but they also have a tendency to wear down a new project quicker than it can be finished. Communities are a great way to talk with other hobbyists, but it also brings a lot of content consumers: people who actively discuss a topic until every aspect is explored and dead. I haven’t been able to find a good balance myself there.
- Getting excited over new products and developments, one at a time. It seems the bling of new things is a good way to keep the spark alive or to bring it back. My main issue with this being, I’ve let that spark buy me loads of stuff. It’s building and painting them where I get stuck. Shorter projects sound good, but without games, there’s no point.
I learned throughout the discussion topic, that I’m not alone in this battle. That’s heartening. Maybe we can make a support group instead of a discussion community? lol.
Well, what are your tricks to keep the hobby alive?