Today was nasty because I woke up to a bad cold. I had to deal with lots of sneezing, puffy eyes, and runny nose. By the end of mid-day, my room’s dustbin was full of tissues.
But I didn’t let it stop me from playing some games. Today I specifically went with playing Starpoint Gemini Warlords.
Originally I bought the game (that was several weeks back) because I thought it was interesting but I didn’t quite like the first few hours of playing it. It felt a little clunky and the learning curve was a little bit too much. As I had Everspace to keep me occupied, I didn’t put much focus into Starpoint Gemini Warlords.
And today when I went to play it for several hours, it was starting to get the hang of it and I found myself enjoying the game.
By about mid-afternoon, I decided to stop and play Cities: Skylines. It was a short game because I didn’t know what else to do and I was still dealing with the cold. Before that, I took a pill for it and by the time I was done with the game, I was already feeling sleepy.
So I went to take a nap until about 6pm when I woke up. I was already feeling better and I decided to go for run. By now, the rain had already stop but the ground was still wet but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.
I ran about 4km before deciding to stop. Since I ran on the pathways beside the roads, the evening air was particularly bad. There were cars everywhere and most of them were diesel-based. Some could be from Malaysia too and may not have installed any quality filters. So all I could smell was car-exhaust. I suspect I have already breathed in an insane amount of toxin into my body.
I have been looking at the AIR+ Smart Mask to protect myself from the bad air quality in Singapore as you guys know I am particularly sensitive to cigarette smoke, car-exhausts, etc. I just hadn’t gotten around to get the mask because I was lazy and self-conscious. And now I have reached the tipping point.
And now as I’m writing this journal, my runny nose came back. Sigh.
Time really flies. If you aren’t careful, hours, days or even weeks will just slip by you. If you have any kind of life plans or goals, there is no better time than now to start taking action. Because, before you know it, you are already in your mid thirties or forties and it may be already be too late to start doing anything. It’s especially problematic if you aren’t an entrepreneur or simply don’t have that inclination since ageism is a thing. In Singapore, once you cross about thirty-six year old, you either find a way to carve your own path or is working at some companies waiting for the day when they decide to downsize and cut you out.
Personally, I’m good with what I’m doing and that is getting my hands dirty: writing codes, taking instructions, etc. Of course, I do my have own strong opinions about some things but most likely you will see me overruled by the more senior people.
Well, I suppose most people would expect me to be in some kind of leadership position due to my age or work experience— I’m 30 and have worked for at least four different companies (internship included). But I have no inclination or desire to be in any managerial position. I rather focus on doing what I do best and let someone who’s better at management do management. Also, I like my long downtime after six pm and being in the management position means I won’t get that chance even with careful scheduling. My prioritization of video gaming yesterday demonstrates just how much I love and need my downtime. No complains there.
Talking about gaming, I spent most of the morning (after I finish my morning routines) and early afternoon playing Everspace. It’s one of those games that really test your reaction time other than testing your patience. Yes, I’m using it to train my patience too due to the drudgery involved.
I took some screenshots during my gaming sessions yesterday and today. Let’s see if I can tell a story.
I shall start with Everspace.
Over the various sessions that I played this game, I have upgraded various parts of my spaceship, focusing primarily on the engines, boost capabilities, hull hit points, and energy reserves for my weapons.
This first image shows my ship yesterday morning, two weeks since my last play.
After I upgraded the engines, boost capability with the credits that I collected in-game, there were some visual changes, especially how the engines and thrusters looked.
This next image is from my final session from yesterday afternoon before I went off to play Cities: Skylines. I have already maxed-out all the engine, boost, and energy reserves. There are no obvious signs of change but looks great nonetheless.
This next screenshot is from my session this morning, after encountering a combat situation. It’s very obvious that my ship’s hull took some damage with pockmarks everywhere.
This next screenshot is from I forgot which round (this game feature permanent death. The only persistent thing is your spaceship and its upgrades). I hid in an abandoned space station because I was scared to go out. I was surrounded by a full alien combat fleet featuring corvettes, fighters, and gunships. I’m just a lone ship.
Of course this is where I ended that specific round. I made an extremely stupid mistake here when I fired the ARC-9000 missile within the confines of this space station, killing myself. It was pretty sad because I had a pretty good run here, reaching sector 4.
My next game, after I further upgrade my ship with the credits I have collected so far, saw me fighting droves of both human and alien spaceships.
Well, as my spaceship shows, I’m pretty much in an extremely dire situation. I’m about to die with no ability to repair my ship. I had used up the last of my nanobots that would allow me to repair.
I made my way into another sector of space and faced off with more enemies. This is the end result of that combat. I was lucky that I didn’t die during that fight.
Well, that’s it. My next encounter with the enemy saw me crashing into the asteroid while attempting to evade enemy fire. My spaceship exploded in a massive explosion. That marked my second last game for today as I was getting very tired from having to spend so much mental energy keeping track of so much stuff, fighting off enemies, avoiding obstacles, etc.
I made my last few rounds of upgrades, finishing off the credits that I have collected and then made my way into sector 2 of the game, and saved the game there.
After that I went for a run around my neighborhood.
Cities: Skylines with Green Cities DLC
As I mentioned yesterday, I went ahead and bought the Green Cities DLC. This whole game series is now one of my favorite ones.
With Green Cities DLC, the game get a new office zoning call IT Cluster. You can think of it as having the ability to create your own silicon valley.
I did allocate a section of my city for that purpose. This next image is the night view. The buildings in the foreground are those IT buildings surrounded by normal office buildings with the low-density residential buildings at the near back. In the background, it is the other part of my city.
This is the day view from another angle.
Subsequently, I re-zoned another area of my city into IT Cluster. Originally, it had normal office buildings. It is night view and was raining. Around it are basically leisure and tourism zones, forestry zone, high-density residential zone and the only airport in my city.
Anyway, my city did reach such a density that I am having a hard time adding more zones to increase my population time due to the amount of pollution everywhere. Of course there is the new recycling center which had reduced pollution level and ecologically friendly water treatment plants with the DLC and I have added them into my game, replacing the original incinerators and water treatment plants.
Some people may say that I should remove all the factories and replace them with offices. Well, I could do that and maybe free up even more space to add more residential zones. But I like to try to constraint myself and I like to play it real. I mean no real-life city can truly survive purely on services and tourism right without some kind of heavy or light industries. Those that did rely heavily on tourism and services are hard hit when no one visit them. You see, even when I play video games, I bring my authenticity value to it. I like to replicate that aspect and then see how far I can push. I want to see if I can get to 400k population without mods with this kind of constraint.
Here are some statistics of my city as of last night.
This first stat you can see how my city is faring with the kind of population changes, the budget that I have allocated and the amount of tax I’m getting.
This next stat shows the taxation of my city with how much that is in my city’s treasury. There were many dips and climbs due to some rather massive population changes, increase budgets across all the services. I suppose that’s how it is in real life too.
This next stat shows the amount of residential zones, industry and office zones. As you can see, it somehow replicates real life. The amount of heavy/light weight industries either falls or stay stagnant while the number of services (aka offices) rises. And to ensure a healthy economy, the amount of residential zones must increase drastically to deal with massive immigration.
Not sure what happened here. I get increased tourism but don’t get increased tax income from tourist-related activities? Is it because of the amount of parks that I have and tourists just aren’t spending money? Not sure how realistic is that.
So my city consistently has a higher birth-rate than death rate until towards the end? More people are dying? Oh, what happened there.
The last stat show how happy my city is. I don’t think they are especially happy. The highest is around 92%? I need to do better there. Let’s see if I can push it up to 100% next time.
That’s all for today. I shall spend the rest of the night catching up on some of the shows that I watch and see if I got time to write my novel.
I am prioritising and had prioritised video games today.
Spent much of the morning and afternoon today playing Everspace, which saw me going through the drudgery of collecting in-game resources and upgrade my spaceship.
Then later in the afternoon, I went and play Cities:Skylines. I also bought the Green Cities DLC today. Reloaded the save game and continue to play as well as modifying my city with the new contents from the DLC.
All good. Shall spend the rest of the night playing that.
I actually thought about doing some work today but decided to play some games instead.
The first game I decided to play was Cities: Skylines as I wanted to repair the tax deficits that my city is suffering from. But before playing, I went and get the Natural Disaster DLC for the game. I intentionally didn’t want to get it earlier on because I didn’t want to deal with the stress of seeing my city crash and burn caused by random disasters. I got it now because I want the full experience afforded by the game and to also develop certain kind of management skill or coping mechanism when facing extreme adversity.
With the Natural Disaster DLC, I think trees are very vulnerable to fire. So one of my building caught fire and it just spreads.
Oh dear, there goes my trees. I have painstakingly planted the trees almost everywhere in my city I felt was necessary. To see them all burnt… it upsets me. However, the DLC does include some new service buildings like the Fire Fighting Helicopter Depot. So the forest fires, if any, are put out by helicopters.
As I’m at what I think is late-game, my city had just finished maybe its sixth massive immigration. The baby boomers then started dying en-mass across my city.
By right, my city’s health-related services should be able to handle this mass dying but because I made a mistake of keeping the budget for the health service at 50% for the night cycle. That caused massive downstream problems. The dead bodies started pilling up and people start leaving the city en-mass too. At its worse point, my city was bleeding nearly 8000 citizen per week. Oh my goodness!
So as you can see from this statistic chart. The population change is so drastic. I went from around 290k population to 260k by the time my city started recovering. By now, I had already set the budget for health services back to 100%.
The damage is already done and I have to deal with massive amount of abandoned buildings. My industry zone suffered the worse. There just isn’t enough workers.
Look at my forestry zone.
Look at my farming zone.
When my city recovered, the population went up to 300k. Way more than before the mass exodus of people.
Of course, I’m still bleeding money. I had way too many services running concurrently. I went from 16 million in treasury to 13 million. I was bleeding 20k to 40k per week in game.
I will let this statistic chart do the talking.
As you can see, my city’s budget was several thousand more than my taxation. And notice the sharp spike in taxation? I raised the taxation for majority of the zones from 11% to 12%. But I honestly don’t know if it’s enough. The amount of micro-management is just strenuous for me but I think it helps in training me to prioritize one thing at any point in time.
This game also taught me the importance of having some kind of safety net. I have enough in my treasury to deal with the kind of losses I was dealing with. Of course, it pains me a lot (I actually felt very sad) to see all the hard earn money gone down the drain due to my own mismanagement of my own city. Same thing applies in life. You need to build up a series of safety nets that will allow you to live a relatively stress-free life.
I got another game alongside the DLC for Cities: Skylines. Everspace caught my eye on Steam and I thought it looked like an interesting space game. I love the graphics. It’s just so beautiful.
Once I’m in game, playing for a couple of hours, I came to appreciate the game’s environment and gameplay.
The game is a roguelike, a sub-genre of games that relies on procedurally generated game world with permanent death. Every time you die in the game, you restart from the beginning. All your game progress are lost except for the upgrades you made to the aircraft. That is the only persistent thing.
In the past, I will not pick up such games because its arduous and boring. But now I think it maybe a good time to try something new, make myself uncomfortable. Playing such a game can, I hope, train me to be more careful and more intentional with what I wanted to do. One wrong move, you die and you have to start all over again. But then in real-life, you don’t always get to restart but failures and mistakes are everywhere. Lastly, I hope I can use this chance to learn how to cope with repeated failures and picking myself up again and again. Learning to live and deal with drudgery I think I can see it as a form of training my patience because I know I lack it. I always wanted results right away.
So now, who say video games are useless? If you are intentional with what you want to achieve, it can serve as a very good tool.
I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t feel as depressed as I was yesterday when I woke up at around 1030hrs.
Upon waking up, I actually went searching for jobs with my phone while still in my bed. I manage to find one that I thought was interesting. It was a full-time writing position with a media company in Singapore. I actually shared the job description with some of my friends.
I am excited and wanted to apply. I also shared my discovery with my mom and subsequently, the whole family. I told them that I wanted to try something new and I got sick of working with computers already ( as in software development).
I went for a shower after dinner and I am suddenly reminded that I don’t have a decent resume. My resume was mostly geared towards looking for software development job and I don’t have any writing experience in a “professional” setting. I admit that my low self-esteem kept rearing its ugly head, sabotaging me, forcing me to rethink.
Applying the five-second rule. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
I will prepare a new resume geared towards career change.
As per my journal title, let me talk about video game; specifically, Cities: Skyline. I love this game a lot. Well, the base game with the various DLCs. I personally don’t do mods. In case you are wondering why, it has something to do with my personal value of authenticity. I apply it to video games too.
I actually spent almost the whole day playing this game. I was focused on trying to stabilize my city’s tax income. It had been fluctuating rather badly even though I fixed the “traffic” issues, and the industrial zones and commercial zones are getting raw material and goods respectively.
After some tweaking and redoing the roads, my city’s treasury managed to accumulate 15 million dollars as at 2000hrs and the population stood at around 290k, if I remember correctly. I hope to go beyond 300k with the base game.
I also decided to start designing my city better. Area by area, I started adding greenery. I was spam clicking my mouse as I randomly placed trees and bushes in empty areas of my city. My right index finger kind of is aching now.
The following screenshot was taken at 1819hrs today. See the whole bunch of trees between the buildings.
Compare it with a very old screenshot of the same area I took exactly two months ago (Yeah, it has been that long since I last played the game). Oops, the exact two months was unintentional.
Notice the drastic changes? Yeah, my city has been evolving.
And here is an overview of my city today, screenshot taken at around 1800hrs.
Compare it with the screenshot I took slightly more than a month ago.
Notice the insane road implementations everywhere? Haha. It was part of my idea of optimizing traffic by forcing one directional traffic with the highway road-type. You will also see additional mixed residential-commercial-office areas. And now I got a cargo rail network that span across my city, delivering raw material and processed goods to the various commercial and industrial zones.
One thing to note. My system (Core i7 6700, 16GB DDR4 Ram, GTX 1080) is lagging from time to time having to render my current city. I did check the ram usage. The game itself used about 4GB. I was actually expecting the game to use more. Maybe I will try and add more in-game objects to see what happens.
Oh, there is a new upcoming DLC/expansion pack call Green Cities for the game. I can’t wait for it to come out. I have seen the gameplay demo on YouTube, and I’m excited by the new assets and gameplay changes.
I didn’t do much today except spending most of my waking hours playing Cities: Skylines. I managed to fix the traffic issues and got my city population growing again. Tax income has now stabilized and that the commercial zones can get their goods now. What I did was simple. Creating a cargo train network that spanned the whole city with support from cargo ships.
Later in the evening, I went for a 8km run. Wanted to do 10km but then I felt that I should let my joints recover as they still hurts when I run. I still hadn’t got around to get the new shoes yet as I have some budget constraint this month. I mean, I didn’t quite want to spend the money since I’m technically not employed full-time.
Had my dinner and off I went to watch Dark Matter (TV Series) and Killjoys (TV Series).
Woke up at around 1030hrs as usual and went about my morning routine.
I actually spent most of today playing Cities: Skylines until the point where I don’t feel like playing it anymore. LOL. Bored or burnt out from playing the game? Anyway, I was having problems with the traffic and I wasn’t sure how to fix it.
Also went for a 5km run to counteract my lack of activity today. My legs are still hurting. Time to get a new pair of running shoes. After the run, I went to get a waffle with red bean paste.
Spent the night watching Dark Matter season 3 and Killjoy season 2 and then switch to watching some YouTube video.
Tomorrow I shall go to my client’s office to do some work.
Before I end the journal, you guys probably know that I’m on the path to minimalism and here is a video of an interview with Joshua Fields Millburn that I think would be good for those who like to join me on this minimalist journey.
Slept at 0200hrs and woke up around 1030hrs. Went through the morning routine, has breakfast and decided to play a few hours of Cities:Skylines.
Previously I mentioned something about my city was having severe traffic issue and that the commercial zones are not getting the goods from the factories. I managed to fix it by adding more six-lane road linking the commercial zones with the factories and converting two-directional roads into one one-directional. This force the traffic to move in certain direction, therefore optimising the routes.
My city was also suffering from massive deficits in terms of tax to expenses. So I raised the taxes for all zones to 11%. Now with the commercial zone mostly getting their goods and higher tax, my city treasury now is adding money instead of bleeding money. I will continue to tweak my city to improve things and maybe experiment with some stuff.
I have also grew my city in size by adding more residential, commercial, and office zones. You can see the screenshots showing the difference. Although they are taken from different perspective, if you looked close enough, you can see what’s different.
This is a before screenshot.
This is the after screenshot.
Later in the afternoon, I went for the appointment with the hospital for psychology review. It was to determine if I was indeed suffering from bipolar disorder. The conclusion was that I wasn’t suffering from bipolar. Good thing. Now I just need to work with my psychiatrist on the depression and monitor my mood swings until the next review in three months time.
Later in the evening, I met with my friend for a movie, War for the Planet of the Apes. Before that, we had dinner at Sushi Tei. I can’t say the same for my friend but for me, it has been quite a while since I last ate there. Upon walking in, I noticed that there were iPads for diners to make and confirm their orders. That itself is a good thing. It helps save time and definitely make everything more convenient rather than waiting for the staff to take order.
As for the movie itself, I will give a quick review and will try not spoil the movie for you. I found it quite watchable but not to the point where I would re-watch it. There was a decent amount of action scene, character building, and some emotional scene. The movie ended with a bang followed by a decently happy ending. I give the movie a 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Early in the morning, instead of going to work first, I went to ST Electronics to sign my employment contract. I will start my new job on Sept 04, 2017. The contract last two years and I shall see if I like the new job. Maybe it’s irrelevant? Cause having a job is just a means to an end and that is I don’t starve to death and/or end up living on the streets.
Life to me now is all about me spending time doing the things that I enjoy. That means reading, watching shows, gaming, and writing. Software or application development is work and is just a fucking job. As long as at the end of every month or the work I do I get a paycheck, I’m good.
After signing of the contract, I went to work. First thing in the morning was to fix some issues that my colleague encountered with the Kong API Gateway as well as the custom API Management Portal.
Then another colleague and I had a discussion on the SIT issues.
After that, we went for a decently early lunch. Then, three of us made our way to the customer office for a meeting and some discussion.
I left the customer office at around 1745 and made my way home.
Anyway, I have been thinking. If I’m gonna spend majority of my time using Windows to do my work in the future, then I don’t want any Windows machine at home. Unlike most people, I have trouble switching off mentally from work without an actual physical reminder. So I will move my gaming to Mac and PS4. Besides, Apple announced support for external GPU over Thunderbolt 3, it may serve as a compelling platform to do gaming. If not, well, I can always get an iMac pro or a maxed out iMac for my gaming needs. So I think I will dismantle my current Windows PC.
With that, I will continue to play Cities: Skylines.
I will be splitting this journal into two parts, covering the events that happened yesterday and today. You can think of it as a summary of my weekend.
Jul 08, 2017
I met my friends for Spiderman: Homecoming at 0950 at Jurong Point. Decided to have breakfast at Subway and reached it at around 0930. At first, I thought that we were meeting at 0955 for a movie that’s much later. Turns out, my friend intended to watch the movie at 9.55am. My bad. So I had to eat fast. However, it wasn’t until 0941 before it was my turn to order. The queue was not that long but slow. Every single person in front of me was ordering multiple shares.
After I was done eating, I rushed up and met my friends at around 0950. Needed my morning coffee fix and so I ordered black coffee from the cinema’s food counter.
The movie itself was slightly longer than 2 hours. Generally, it’s a fun movie to watch and has the same quality found in other Marvel’s movie. It’s definitely better than the preceding reboot made by Sony in many way.
After the movie, we had lunch at the Legendary Hong Kong restaurant (seriously though the name sound riduclous).
Ordered a whole bunch of food that we could barely finish. For me, I had Ice Lemon Tea, Fried Rice with luncheon meat and egg, Crystal Skin Shrimp Dumpling.
Egg Tarts, Carrot Cake with Fried Shrimps, and Custard buns were the extra stuff that we ordered to share.
Then we went for desert, which I didn’t take any picture of but it was Pomelo with Mango on ice.
We made our way home after that and for me it was just in time for me to do my first ever 9 kilometer run as recorded by my Apple Watch.
After the run, had a shower. I was super tired and decided to take a short nap. Told my parents that I didn’t want to go out anymore. So my dad packed food for me before they went out.
I spent the rest of the evening watching tv shows and did a little light gaming, playing Cities: Skylines.
Jul 09, 2017
Woke up around 1100 the next day. I slept really late last night. So did my usual morning routine and continued playing Cities: Skylines in the morning.
I won’t say I’m very good at playing these kind of games. Also, I am not that creative or have the patience to actually do things like what other players did. E.g. reconstructing their home city or town.
But I managed to build up my city up to a decently big size without having me going to deficit for longer than 1 in-game week. That deficit happened because of some in-game power issue. A large section of my city was without power due to an accidental destruction of the connecting electrical lines causing lack of water supply and buildings simply stopped working. Well, I was remodeling the roads and forgot about my power grid. Other than that, my city was constantly bringing me 10k to 30k worth of taxes.
Took some screenshots.
Before I knew it, it was about 1430 and it was time for my lunch. I went to Jurong Point again to eat at Sushi Express. Had 11 plates worth of Sashimi and Sushi. Then I went to grab some supplements and toiletries before I ordered a grande-sized Ice Americano.
Made my way home at around 1730 and decided to watch some movie. Rented the movie call LIFE on iTunes and watched it on my Apple TV.
After that, I had my dinner and here I am writing this journal. Along the way, I watched some youtube video on Starcraft 2 and reading its Wikia.
Tomorrow is another round of SIT. Tuesday too. Personally, I’m super bored by the whole thing.
Did I mention that I actually got a job offer from ST Electronics? It’s a .NET Software Developer role on a two-year contract basis. I don’t know if I want to take it. A big part of me still want that career break. Another part of me is thinking if I reject it, I won’t another offer anymore. But logically, this kind of fear is unfounded.
Anyway, let me lay it out what I’m thinking about.
It’s a .NET position and I’m more proficient in Java considering that was what I have been doing all these while for my career. Since the project has a deadline of six months, that means I need to pick up a whole bunch of unfamiliar stuff within weeks. I’m not sure if I can do that kind of ramping up. After all, I’m still suffering from the effects of burnout. I mean I have not been having any desire to do any work anymore…I’m even contemplating about whether I want to do any work for my client; Yeah, they raised some bugs with the application that I’m maintaining and in case you have forgotten, I’m a freelancer.
A large part of me is saying that I no longer want to go into the situation where I simply can’t tune work out when I reach home. And then repeating the whole cycle of burnout. Call me avoidant or childish or whatever. My health and mental well-being is more important and I’m still working through my mental toughness and resilient.
My other priority is that I just want to go home to do my own projects, my own things after work and not think about what’s next for my main job. I mean it’s naive to think that way, but for me work is just a way for me to earn some money to survive and enjoy myself. I have no intention of burning through my health or happiness just to earn the extra dollar or climb the corporate ladder.
I have one more day to consider the offer before I need to make any kind of commitment and the company send me the actual physical contract to sign. I will think about it more tomorrow. But for now, I’m hovering around 60% rejecting the offer.