Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pursuing Dreams

I've moved to Hyderabad and am planning to stay here for a couple of months. The main purpose of the shift is to work here in a gaming company called Golive. Though I did get selected in an IT conglomerate during the college campus recruitment, I doubt that I would be getting the call letter anytime soon. Besides that, a career in gaming for me is almost a dream come true. So, if there is an opportunity for this to become reality, I'm definitely going to give it a shot. And so, here I am, giving it a shot.

In real life though, a dream is never really a dream simply because, it costs a lot. In life, pursuing a dream demands sacrifice and risk. Fortunately, I didn't have much to risk in my pursuit since it is not some unknown company, but it has demanded a lot of sacrifice. I obviously miss my family, my friends, my stuffs etc. but more than everything, I miss my life. I had lots of freedom during both my school and college days, which meant that, I spent a lot of my daily life infront of my computer. I had certain daily routines of reading RSS Feeds, going through some forums, playing a couple of games with my clannies, taking my bike for a ride etc.

Now that I'm not near my computer, it feels, different. I don't see my wallpaper anymore, I'm not able to listen to my favourite list of songs, I don't get my daily dose of favourite games and I don't have the pleasure of being online 24x7. A lot has changed, but I'm still working in a field (gaming) that I'm familiar with; I'm still able to play games, though not that frequently; I'm still able to make a late night blog post; but most of all, I'm still with my friends. Bharath and Majid are with me in Hyderabad working in the same office. Its a life that is worth being called a dream.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Every Beginning has an End, ours just wasn't that Epic..

The inevitable has happened. Like most gaming teams in Chennai, my team 'Gdn' was also struggling to survive thanks to lack of motivation and pure laziness. We rarely played together and once in a full moon, we went out for a clan match. To be exact, we went to other cafes and had a clan match twice a month. Considering that me & Bharath were at the end of our student-life & Praveen had sort of settled with his cafe, it was obvious that we were getting ready to move on.

But for the past two months, Raja aka Arch3r and Praveen aka Spk didn't come out with us for any clan match. For months now, I have been under the impression that its gonna end. But the meaningless absence of two key players somehow mad me angry. It was obvious that Praveen just didn't want to play without Raja. But Raja's reasons were weird & didn't make any sense to us. At this point, let me make it clear about how I feel a life in gaming would come to an end.

Gaming is not like going to office daily & suddenly retiring one day. Gaming is about showing so much passion that even daily office-goers would look like lazy ducks and finally, when its time to move on, we simply lose the passion and play for fun, once in a while. A true gamer wouldn't just sign a resignation letter & call it a day, he would slowly reduce his playing hours & just try to hang on to it as long as he can. When there is no other option, he would resort to casual gaming (which is spending one or two hours, twice a week) and go out with friends once in a month and have fun.

That is exactly how I think I would retire. Gaming is neither a kid's sport nor an addiction to simply stop one day. Gaming is something that gamers try to do professionally (meaning competitively) while others do (play) for fun or to relax. Therefore, there is no question of throwing the towel & giving up. Everything in my life has been about gaming for the past 6 years & I've learned so much thanks to gaming. I've become a better person, a more confident professional and most of all, I've gained so many friends whom still change my life every single day.

If I say that I won't play anymore coz my life comes first, then I'll be ridiculing my past 6 years including all my friends. This is my life & this is what I do. Yes, I may not play 7 hours a day anymore, yes, I may not keep track of every single international match, but that doesn't mean that I shouldn't play anymore. If none of this made any sense, just look at Ganesh anna. He had to get a job & move on years ago, but he still kept in touch with the game if not with us. Though he is now working 6 days a week, he is still eager to play with us & attend a gaming tournament. Best of all, he still wants to win & he is still fired up about it. Now that, is a true gamer.

Why this long lecture about quitting gaming, you ask? Well, coming back to the very first line of this post, the inevitable has happened as Raja today called it quits. Of all the gamers I've met, I didn't expect Raja to be the one so dumb. Of course we quit, but all we asked for was to play with him once or twice in a month. But he prefers to rather spend 3 hours a day in the gaming cafe than play with us once a month. Well, he was indeed the most talented among us, he was the most enthusiastic among us, he dreamed like only a child can, and finally, he proved that he is still, only a kid. I would have rather preferred a night-out to celebrate the occasion of a gaming team moving on with life, but sadly, he had to get it all wrong & make us look like kids. But none-the-less, these 6 years will probably be the most memorable in my life and I owe to this team, Guardians..

From the left: Praveen aka Spk, Vijay aka Maximus, Bharath aka scribbler, Raja aka Arch3r and Deepak aka TD. Below is a picture of Raja holding the team shirt.. Just posted it for good'ol memory's sake..

Monday, June 8, 2009

Friend or Teammate?

  Contrary to what most grown-ups think, gaming (at least according to me) is not about sitting alone at home all day in-front of your computer screens & controlling some virtual character.  Gaming is about hanging out with friends, having fun, being competitive, having discussions on strategy and basically growing up as a team.  Gaming is not just a passion, it is the means through which we (gamers) build our relationships.  Therefore, maintaining our relationships in gaming is as complex as a relationship with your girlfriend or probably even a lot more complicated.  Having been a part of a team called Guardians and having spent 5 years with them, I know of all, how it is.  I've toured together with them to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Trichy; I've worked in part-time jobs with my teammates; one of them is my classmate; a couple of them are my cousins; a few of them are people that I really admire.  So, they play a major role in my life.

  Gaming teams are usually like Hollywood Celebrities' marriage, they'll split before you realize they were married.  But we have been together for a long time (relatively) and I'm trying to understand how we pulled it off.  Of course, you too have friends and you might wonder what is the big deal about having a team.  Well, teammates are completely different from friends.  Friends are just friends, they might be your neighbours, classmates, colleagues or relatives.  Friendships don't have a purpose or aim.  We have friends simply because we value our relationship with them and we like to spend our time with them and share our life.  A teammate on the other hand, has a purpose, a common goal towards which we have to work together.  A teammate is a person who shares your passion, enthusiasm and love for the game as you motivate eachother to become better.  If a friend is someone without whom you can't enjoy your victory, then a teammate is someone without whom you can't even win.

  Now that I've defined the role of a teammate, let me explain why this relationship is more complex.  A friend doesn't have to be with you every day, meaning you can even live in different cities and still be friends.  You just send him/her an SMS every night to show him/her that you thought about them & when he/she is in-town, you get together & share your memories.  But you can't have a teammate who rarely plays with you.  You can't say that he/she is your teammate because you went to the movies together.  A teammate has to spend a considerable amount of time with you every week, doing something related to your passion and working towards your common goal.  A teammate isn't there to share your life; he is there to make your dream (which is also his dream) come true.

  Since gaming in our country is looked at as a childish, playful or sometimes even as a devilish concept, its hard to dedicate one's time and effort into gaming.  But that is exactly what makes it special.  Teammates are a bunch of friends who believe in something that others don't and they strive hard to achieve something that they alone can dream about.  But if a teammate can't find time to be with his team, then he isn't just being lazy, but he is making his teammates look like an idiot.  Friends don't have to remind themselves that they are friends; parents don't have to tell their children that they love them; but teammates have to be there for their team.  Because, without the players of the team, the team has no meaning.  If a member of a team doesn't participate in the team's adventures; if he is continously absent in their endeavours; if a team doesn't get together at all; then is there really a team?  The line separating a teammate from a friend can sometimes be very blurred and if you don't realize it soon enough, the line won't disappear, but you'll be at the wrongside of the line.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Snaps of Ooty using Lumix LZ8

I went on a family trip to Ooty and we had just bought a new camera a few days earlier. So, I put it to some good use and here is what I managed to capture.

The camera was a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ8. It had some impressive reviews & it costs around Rs.7,000/-
in Chennai.

The picture of the sunflower was taken just after rain. The camera automatically detects whether it is flower or a scenery or a face that I'm capturing & based on that, it sets the exposure, aperture etc.

The color and contrast was perfect in almost all the pictures. It has Image Stabilization which is very important to avoid blurry pictures. It also has a 5x Optical Zoom. Digital zoom is just hogwash because its just like pressing the + button in the Windows Picture Viewer.

It is a 8.1 megapixel camera which is more than enough for an entry-level camera as this can give wide-screen resolutions up to 3264 x 1840. If its not wide screen, it can go even higher.

I've uploaded these pictures and a lot more to my picasa album in 1600 x 902 pixels. To know the details about the aperture, ISO, exposure etc. of each picture, just click on 'more info' at the right hand side in the picasa album. Here is the link to check them out in their full glory..