Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Life is a Harsh Mistress for the Gamer Dad

A long long time ago, in what almost feels like a galaxy away, I used to log into EVE Online 40 hours a week, on average. New Eden was a familiar site to me, the music playing in the background was well known, the sound of my ship getting permission to dock or warping was reassuring. I did all this gaming while my better-half, who needed a lot of rest, was asleep. Late at night or early on the week-ends you would normally see me fly the space highways. All these hours roaming the universe barely affected my social activities - My Gaming Life was in balance with Real Life.

Then we decided to produce a half-clone, and thus MiniCK was born. At first, she had very little affect on my gameplay. I would wrap her up from time to time and set her on my desk next to the monitor as I flew across space. Things where the usual. But with time, things started to change. All of a sudden my week-end mornings started to be more about Baby Einstein, or Dora the Explorer than about EVE. And then the evenings started to shorten as MiniCK stayed up longer and longer.

Eventually a MiniCK2 was in the works, which meant even less time for gaming as my better-half worked on various production runs for this future capsuleer. Eventually MiniCK2 made the typical geek "Hello World" announcement, and the remaining gaming activity I had just went out the door.

These days, I'm lucky if I'm able to game 5 hours a week, some of which are spent in New Eden. Since I can't pause EVE in the middle of a combat, whether PvE or PvP, games such as Defense Grid or Torchlight have made their way into my gaming habit these days.

I do know that eventually I'll have more time to myself, but these days I just don't see how I can play EVE, blog more than I'm doing right now, and still be a dad, a husband and make a living, which will always come first.

Just to give you an example, in between the last 2 paragraphs I've had to run back up to the 2nd floor (from the basement where my office is) to try to get MiniCK2, who's still awake and hungry at 11:15 PM, to sleep. And my day started at 5:50 AM this morning with a request from MiniCK to watch Zoboomafoo. Are you getting the big picture here!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to complain, or seek pity here. I'm simply trying to put things in perspective so that you may understand why I'm not blogging as much as in the past, or haven't been policing the EVE Blog Pack as I should. I've also come under fire for the types of post I'm doing and the lack of EVE content on my blog. Understand that it's much easier to blog about the game and my other geeky interests then it is to play the game - the first can be done from work during lunch, or whenever I get a few minutes to myself, whereas the other can't.

But things should change in about 3 weeks, when I start my paternity leave and am off for 5 weeks. Though I'll be enjoying the opportunity to interact with MiniCK2, I'll also have time to catch-up on my gaming, blogging and podcasting. I've got about 2 dozen posts to be polished up before they go live, and many more in the works. I also want to promote my CrazyKinux's Musing Fan page on Facebook, and grow the community there. There are things I want to do with the EVE Banter and the Pack, and so much more.

So all I'm saying is bare with me! This is a busy period of life, one that I want to fully enjoy, even if it means a little less gaming and blogging.


Edurardo D'Appaza said...

I feel your pain. I'm lucky to be a dad to an awesome 3yo and know what it's like.

Anthony Thurston said...

So true CK. I have a 8 1/2 month old Son, so luckily he still sleeps quite a bit. I don't know what I'm going to do once he actually wants to be awake and do stuff! Maybe ill start him on EVE early :P

Anonymous said...

Although I am not a father myself and thus I cannot share both your pain OR joy, I do think that the fact you're getting any blog posts done at all is a bit of a marvel considering all the RL stuff you get up to!

As you say, real life comes first. I just look forward to the moments when you do have time to inject a little CK insight into the blog or comment on the other blogs out there.

Oh and Torchlight? Yeah...that game is awesome!

Rob Sanchez said...

I know exactly how you feel. Being an MMO gamer and a dad can seem to be almost impossible these days. For instance, running a dungeon instance is impossible for me as my little one wakes up and cries for me when she wakes up at random times of the day and night.

Tony "EVE's Weekend Warrior" said...

Awe adorable kids CK!

John Calvin Hall said...

CK, Just do what I did....

Open another account and get them their own characters!

You can never start too young.

Yoh said...

Well, I'm not a parent, but I can say this at least.

It's going to get worse before it gets better. ^^

But once they start going to kindergarten/school, you might be able to get back an hour or two.
Or if they start having their own life, or start playing MMO's.

I think when their old enough, you can all play MMO's/games together, as one big happy geek family.

Btw, so far Oliver seems willing to entertain me, so we'll see how it pans out.
Thx btw.


mbp said...

Congratulations on your beautiful daughter CK. As a parent whose youngest is now 8 I can vouch for the fact that it gets better. You will get back some of your free time in a couple of years. The fact that parenthood trains you into surviving on far less sleep helps. Much of my gaming happens after the kids have gone to bed.

What you don't get back unfortunately is the ability to devote undivided blocks of attention to your gaming at least not until they leave home. That pretty much rules out organised group play.

Kirith Kodachi said...

Having 19 month old twin boys at home, I can sympathize. For a few months playing Eve was forgotten and all I could do is blog from work at lunch.

Its gotten better lately except another clone is on the way for March! So I expect next year will be no-Eve for me :(

Cute kids BTW :)

Myrhial Arkenath said...

Those are two adorable children, you are a lucky man.

Anonymous said...

They are beautiful children mate, you are truly blessed!

Always remember, real life and more importantly, children, will always be more important than an internet spaceships game.

You have done an incredible job in helping this blogging community come to life. You are our "Blogfather" as many call you. You have helped this community get it's collective feet off the ground and it has both matured and learned to take care of itself. It's grown and grown, with my work with the OPML download, Alexia Morgans with The EVE Online Portal, 00sage00's Tweetfleet and all the blogs that are a part of our community. We all have worked hard to take the seed you planted years ago and to make this forest of blogs continue to thrive.

Sit back, enjoy this time with your children. We will hold the fort for you.

We all understand that you need to spend more time on the things that are important in the real world.

Just don't be a stranger in these parts! Become the casual gamer, it's a perspective that I think you will find suits your new real life.

Anonymous said...

third time trying to post, it gets shorter every time :)
1) your wife must be gorgeous
2) don't pay attention to anyone who tells you what to post on your site
3) your head is on right , your family and your life are first everything else needed to support that are second , then comes other crap.

Anonymous said...

@Manasi: 2) don't pay attention to anyone who tells you what to post on your site.

CK, you should listen to this one. I've seen some rather hateful posted comments on your blog. Don't allow anonymous commenting. If someone has something to say, they should have the courage of their convictions and post publicly.

This is NOT the EVE forums, it's not a cesspool, it's your blog mate.

Latro said...

To echo what others have so eloquently said. I've got a six and a seven year old, so keep in mind your future includes homework, gymnastics (or other activities), school productions, etc. "Family support ops" will continue to have a big impact on your play time, just fit it in when you can and don't feel at all guilty about putting RL first. Secondly, I too have read some really crappy comments on what you've been posting. Ignore them. It's your house. Post what you want, when you want. Good luck and o7 for all you've done and I'm sure will continue to do for the EvE community.

Unknown said...

As a Dad of 3 year old quadruplets I completely understand your time contstraints. Due to my own time contraints I found EVE to be the most attractive MMO for me. Primarily due to the skill system. Good luck. See you online.

--Zango Fup

Letrange said...

"Family support ops" oooo like that one. Nice one Latro.

Selina said...

I think Manasi touched on it in his first point but I'll say it outright, I'm guessing the kids got their good looks from their mother? :D j/k.

On a serious note, games like Eve are meant to be entertainment, something to occupy your time when life's responsibilities have been dealt with and you've got two very special responsibilities. I agree with Ga'len when he said your like the blogfather of Eve, so you won't be forgotten. Just sit back, relax and enjoy this precious time with your kids. Feel no need to blog that often about Eve or apologize for not doing so. However, just be sure to pop up every so often and let us know you're doing well!

Linato said...

Just to add to the list, it does get better. I'm a MMO player with 3 kids so I totally get the lack of time thing. Luckily, the oldest is heading right into Geek World and most of my gaming time is spent with him these days. Nothing like getting to play things you like with your kids and have them love it too! Good Luck!

Maria Wingtips said...

Pretty much the same here, although I became a father first and started gaming later. To echo one of the sentiments here: it will get better in a few years' time!

And if you're lucky they'll even join you. My 8 year old son loved to do Eve with me; for a while, it became a father/son thing for us. For the moment he's lost some of his interest, but I hope it will return! My daughter (10) plays Runescape, and both of them use my OpenSim instance. I see a bright gaming future for these kids :)

Michael Draper said...

Hi CK, you've talked a lot about your kid since it was born and we're really happy for you, but with all the stuff you've posted about other video games, movies and stuff it seems a bit disingenuous to package your lack of effort in this family man box.

It's not that I'm bitter or angry at you not churning out content or not doing your job, hell most of the EVE publishing community are total slackers and I'm OK with that -- no excuse necessary, it's what you're using for an excuse that riles me up.

You're tired of EVE and you've reproduced, it happens man.

My entire corp is made up of people who are working adults with children, some of whom are nurses, doctors, millitary personnel and other walks of life. They manage to have a thriving EVE life in 0.0 space and family life without making excuses. I myself am a single father and I work 40 hours a week, commute 10 hours a week, and still manage to play 16-20 hours per week.

If you wanted to make it work, you would. If you can't, maybe you're doing it wrong? Just don't push your lack of desire off as you being a good father. Because good fathers don't leverage pictures of their kids as excuse for not meeting expectations.

Wayne said...

Well, I am sure I will be considered a fan boy, but everyone but this last commenter has it right. Congrats on the beautiful family, good luck with them, and definitely, your priorities are right and we will still be here when you have time.

Star Defender said...

Jumping on the bandwagon a bit here - great looking family CK. I have 3 girls (6,11,12) and my EVE time is the wee hours after wife and kids are in bed. I am a night owl anyways, so it works out. No more weekends, etc. Makes for limited types of play for sure.

Those <2 years old days are filled with sleep deprivation and other sacrifices to be sure, but I cannot count how many times I have looked at any of my kids and thought (a) how fast they grew and (b) how much simpler things were when they we that young.

Cherish the days when all you get is love and adoration for when you begin to be the recipient of pre-teen madness... ;-)

Fly Safe!

Achernar said...

Your children look lovely!

CrazyKinux said...

Thanks everyone for your input, support, encouragement and understanding. Believe me, it helps a ton! I'll try to spend sometime over the week-end and answer all of you back (currently at work taking 5).

As for Mike, mate, you just don't get it do you. This isn't a contest about who's a better Gamer Dad, or who's able to login the most hours while tending to their genetic heritage.

As most of the folks who commented, family comes before work, which comes before gaming. Which means that I currently don't get any free time to play until after everyone's asleep, which these days means about 11PM once I've put MiniCK2 to bed and I know he's sound asleep (since I don't hear him when I'm in the basement office and I don't won't my better-half to have to get up again). And since my days usually start between 5:30 and 6:00 AM, by that time I "could" play, I'm completely exhausted and will sometimes fall asleep at the EVE login screen (just as I did last night).

As for the content of my posts, last time I checked this was MY blog, and since I can't play EVE at work, but can publish on my blog during lunch, that's the sort of content you'll see these days. So if you feel that the content of CrazyKinux's Musing isn't EVE-focused enough, you've got a few hundred other EVE blogs to go read. Be my guest!

Sorry guys if this isn't the usual up beat tone that you're all used to from me, but there's a limit to the amount of whining and bitching a guy can take on HIS blog, and I reached my limit a long time ago!

Fly safe and now back to work! (well for me anyways!)

Dante Edmundo said...

You look as if you are blessed with some very happy children.

That to compliment the fun of being involved in the gaming community - must be a good life to live.

Theo d'or said...

Beautiful kids, ck! And absolutely, your family and job come first.

Xeross said...

I can also barely find the time to login to EVE or other games I play. however I don't have any kids yet, just so busy with programming and stuff.