Something which has occurred to me recently, as I’ve been thinking about my relationship with books, writing, and art; that now might be the time for me to get back to working on the sorts of interactive storytelling (and/or comics) which I haven’t attempted in the last six years or so, but which I often think of. This would require me to both get my mind back into a state where it thinks programmatically and also to teach myself a new programming language or two (most obviously Objective-C, since most of my ideas are for iOS apps). It probably also calls for me to spend a lot of time working on my drawing/illustration skills, whether for comics or for most of the apps I’ve been thinking of developing, lately. I haven’t seriously worked on any programming (save basic web development) or on drawing any comics (or art anything like comics) in the same six years… Realistically, I haven’t done any serious programming (certainly no standalone applications) since high school. I’m sure I’ll be reasonably able to get back into the swing of things, and then to implementing some of the ideas I’ve been having lately.
I’m totally out of touch with the modern world of development. Computing power has increased at least a thousandfold since I last dabbled in programming, and I’m confident the entire situation has become more sophisticated and complex… though probably not a thousand times more complex… I hope. The iPad 2 I’m typing this on is ridiculously more powerful and capable than the best computers available to me in high school, and lots of people who had never programmed anything before have been developing iOS apps. So there’s hope.
Every time I’ve had an idea for an interactive story, an “enhanced eBook”, or an online video game or app in the last several years, I’ve put it off. Sometimes after discussing it with my brother, who always says he intends to develop video games, or that he’s developing this or that tool or engine for building video games or online interactive experiences, but often without even making detailed note of my ideas. Partially this has been in deference to my brother; he has a mindset where, often, if I accomplish something, he loses interest in pursuing it for himself. Since his most clear interest/pursuit since he was in high school has been to develop video games, I have done my best not to usurp -or to appear to be trying to usurp- that pursuit. Now and again I’ve attempted to work with him on project ideas, but I’ve always tried to let him stay in the lead on any such project.
In light of a lot of things which have been going on lately, some inside me and some around me, I think now is the time to take up programming and the interactive arts again, myself. I feel my deference to my brother these many years has been sufficient in this regard, and that the friction I’ve been feeling re: books is part of my mind’s (and perhaps the world’s) efforts to push me to consider other forms of expression beyond simply writing several simple/straightforward (ie: text only) books every year from now to eternity. This direction also provides an answer to the question of where to take my art, which has been on my mind for over a year.
I’ve added a few books on Objective-C to my library book lists, and I’ll begin studying programming post-haste. I’ve also begun thinking about which project or projects I’d like to try to address first, with thoughts toward careful planning so that any project can be reasonably carried out by one person. Since I’m just one person.
I don’t intend to give up on my current plans; I’ve still got dozens and dozens of dystopian/utopian novels to read through, and a pair of ’em to write… but perhaps some of the stories I’ve been avoiding developing, because they required some level of interactivity to be properly told, will come to fruition in the coming years.
Or perhaps I’ll find I’m not well-suited to some aspect of what I have in mind… and I’ll either give up or … learn to work with other people, somehow. Bah.
Anyway, that’s what I’m thinking I might begin doing, now. If you have any suggestions for good resources for learning to program for iOS, for how to manage indie game development, for interactive storytelling, or interactive comics, or whatever else, please let me know. I’m open to suggestions.