Normally I want to start a year with big plans and a new year's resolution. But this time, nothing needs to change. I'm already on the path I've chosen back in May 2023.

Faith in Despair will be my next game, and I'm already working on it. It is available as a demo right now, and it's still in its early stages.

My list of things to do grew again in the past two weeks, but it all feels like it will improve the game, nothing feels unnecessary.

So, this is my plan for 2024: To keep focusing on one project. Faith in Despair. Nothing else. All energy will continue to flow into it.

I want this to be the most fun game that I can make. Every decision builds on the question whether it is fun, and I feel like I have seen early signs that I'm on the right path.

I can't wait to see how it all plays out. I believe 2024 will be an exciting year. Let's see how far we can go.

One Year Without Caffeine

The first time I drank coffee as a kid, I threw up all night. I was like five years old, and I must have taken a sip from a cup from my parents. A dozen years later, I met Auri and I started drinking black tea and coffee with a lot of milk and a lot of sugar.

Over the years, we drank coffee while having a “Jause”, it’s an Austrian thing for just putting a lot of things from your fridge onto your plate, like cheese, meat, pepper, tomatoes, bread, and just eating it with your hands. Or with cake and other sweets, like Blattlstock or Sachertorte. Then we started drinking it in the mornings, especially during Winter, because it was a warm start to the day.

Slowly but surely it turned into a habit. One coffee in the morning, one after lunch, and one after dinner. We switched brands to a sweeter one because we noticed stomach issues from the brand we bought at the grocery store, and we slowly put in less and less sugar. I also reduced the amount of milk I put into it, until it was just a spoonful. At this point I drank it basically black.

Then we started noticing our sleep getting worse. There was a lot of anxiety and stress from our jobs too, but something was off. And of course, we knew it was the third coffee before bed. You might say, that’s obvious, but the third one just felt really cozy for some reason (maybe because of the dopamine?).

We found a coffee replacement - a dandelion coffee, which has zero caffeine and you can prepare it just like filter coffee and drink it with milk. So, for the third cup of the day, right before bed, we switched to this one. And I believe we slept a little better, can’t say for sure.

Then, last year, I got covid. I was practically dead for almost two weeks, no appetite, and I couldn’t smell anything for a while, and everything tasted wrong. I couldn’t drink coffee for two weeks. This was basically my rehab.

Normally, you can’t just quit drinking coffee. Usually you get headaches from withdrawal, it’s a very specific kind of headache that feels stingy and particularly annoying. Which is why coffee is such a nasty addiction. The easiest way to get rid of the headache is to just drink another cup.

But now, I accidentally escaped its firm grasp. When I got better, I tried drinking a cup, and it felt like my heart burst. I was still recovering from covid, so my body felt a bit weak overall, and a lot of things like exercising or taking walks would increase my heart rate more than usual (or at least it felt like it).

So, one time, when my taste was more or less normal again, we sat in a café, I just asked if they had decaf coffee. They did! I drank it and to my surprise, it… tasted just fine.

We looked up the brand that we drank at home and discovered that they also offered a decaf option. Auri bought it, thinking we’d never get through the whole package. When it arrived, I tasted it and it was just like the one with caffeine, only without the increased heart rate and anxiety. It was honestly such an awesome feeling! I could have my coffee again, but still sleep well.

One year later, it’s kind of boring how normal it feels to not have the usual coffee anxiety. I feel like I can have moments of calm throughout the day a little bit easier. Work can still be stressful, but I do wonder how much worse it would be with caffeine.

And best of all, I don’t depend on it. I can just not drink it if I don’t feel like it. There’s no more headache looming on the horizon if I don’t get my caffeine hit. And honestly, that is quite freeing.

As with other substances and media, it makes you wonder why this is socially accepted. Everybody does it, right? That’s what people say. I know I’ve gotten looks and questions whenever I order decaf coffee in restaurants. But, it tastes the same. Why wouldn’t I drink it without caffeine?

9 Cam by Alexis Clay

Alexis just released a new game called "9 Cam", and it's inspired by Halfquake, as you can probably tell! It has evil smilies, black and white textures, and even music by me.

It still needs ratings to not get blammed on Newgrounds, so please check it out and rate it.


Halloween Sale

Get all my games for just $6.66 in the itch.io Halloween Sale.

My games weren't spooky enough to get into the Steam Halloween sale. Reminds me that I should make a horror game at some point!

Until Death

Every day I wake up and all I want to do is work on my game. This has been the truth for many years now, in fact, that's pretty much all I can remember. Before Halfquake, I made Counter-Strike maps and experimented with music. I wrote short stories, built maps in a game called Kye, and wrote a text adventure in batchfiles.

There's a video of me as a child, sitting before a Yamaha keyboard (before my parents got divorced). My dad was filming, and my mother was standing next to me. I played a melody that I thought of, I turned to the camera, grinning and checking if dad was "getting this". My mother would then ask me if I wanted to play something from a note sheet book. I declined and just kept jamming my own stuff. Then mother would just put the book in front of me and sort of "suggest" that I play that.

I gracefully wound down my track with an "end" button (which caused the percussion to play a sort of fill-in), and begrudgingly played what mom told me to play. After that was done, I played another melody that I found interesting. Again mom would ask me to play something from the book.

When I accidentally saw that clip recently, I was stunned. I couldn't remember it, but I vaguely recalled the melodies I played from memory, and I sort of still understood why I liked them. And I realized that I'm still that kid.

I absolutely hate being told what to do. That is simply not what I'm here for. My mind is full of ideas, all of which are asking me to be turned into reality. And believe me, they won't shut up, not even in my dreams. Thankfully, I've found a compromise that allows me to live an adult life and still have time for my own projects.

But as time slips away from me, I'm trying to hold it closer. Knowing that my time is running out, I'm longing for even more to call my own. And I know this has been an on-going theme on this website, because I kept mentioning it ten years ago.

I'm using productivity tricks, I use lists, motivation hacks, time audits, but all that does is burn me out, so I have to take it slow and steady. At least one hour per day, that's been my motto for over 15 years now. And that is what I will keep on doing until the day I die.

Will it be enough? Probably not. But realistically, with an infinite amount of ideas, could it ever be? No, but I have to learn to be okay with that.