Oh hi there. Long time no see. Apparently I haven’t posted since February 2017, huh. A lot of things have happened in the meantime, it turns out. Some of those things are to blame for my general inactivity elsewhere, but when it comes to this blog I just can’t seem to come up with anything to say worthy of my trademark text walls, at least not ever since I joined Twitter several years ago— wait, wasn’t that in 2010? Time sure flies. I feel old. Okay, let’s face it, I am old.
In addition to it having been a while since my last post in here, it has also been a while since the last time I gave the website an overhaul, for what little use it sees nowadays. Because of that, plus some of my experiences designing the new website theme for The Battle for Wesnoth last year, I decided to try to modernize my own a little bit so it looks more in tune with my current practices. I also decided to spruce things up with a new colour scheme, like last time, taking things in a different direction to what I’m used to.
An attentive reader who’s been around for long enough might be able to tell that the “Iris” design last year did undergo a slight revision incorporating Font Awesome in order to make icons not look awful on high-DPI screens. This was a natural conclusion of my work designing and testing the Wesnoth.org theme on devices with higher pixel density. Plus it was precisely last year that I actually caved in and got a smartphone given to me by a relative, further highlighting all the inconveniences of designing things on/for 96 DPI these days. Other than that, though, the design remained mostly unchanged from what I made in 2014.
“Iris” version 1.2.0, aptly codenamed Amethyst for reasons that should be blatantly obvious, is mostly the same as before under the hood, but on the surface it hopefully looks shinier and more elegant and modern. Even though I am not using the site much right now like I mentioned above, I have a faint hope that the new look will motivate me to post more again.
Since there wasn’t a New Year post last year, or even the year before that, or uh... the year before that as well... actually I guess there haven’t been New Year posts in here since January 1st 2013. Oops. Anyway, I guess it’s time for a short summary of what I have been up to in recent times. Let’s see...
Too many things, really.
I guess we can start with me returning to Wesnoth development after my longest hiatus yet, just in time for the Steam launch on May 1st this year — not to mention also taking up the task of making a new design for the stable release notes. At some point, I would like to talk at greater length about both Wesmere (the overall Wesnoth.org design I finished and deployed in July 2017) and Lintanir (the release notes design) if anyone is interested on hearing about my web design adventures with those two. Besides those two big projects, I have also been contributing various bug fixes in areas that concern the community at large (e.g. the MP server and add-ons server), as well as issues that affect my campaigns more directly.
In February this year I also took care of doing the largest upgrade the forums platform has ever seen since I took over forum administration in 2009. It was not a trivial task by any means, and it necessitated lots of (repeated) testing, hand-fixing, damage control, some amount of wheel reinvention, and also brought forth a lot of changes for our users.
In May last year, I also handed over control of the user management aspect of the forums to Pentarctagon, who thus far has done an excellent job at handling issues which had simply become too much for me to manage, especially since the amount of time I could dedicate to crowd control in Wesnoth decreased significantly as I became moderator (and also administrator) for multiple YT content creators and Twitch streamers — a subject that probably merits a whole post of its own at some point in the future.
In October last year I also released version 2.0.1 of my Invasion from the Unknown campaign for Wesnoth, adding AMLAs for Elynia and Anlindë to make things a tad more interesting. In the process, I also moved After the Storm and IftU to their own GitHub organization (Project Ethea), and began to migrate parts of both campaigns to a shared library codenamed Naia to ease future maintenance tasks. And this year, just a couple of weeks ago in fact, I released IftU version 2.1.0, the first version on the 1.14 add-ons server and the first version built upon the Naia library. AtS Is going to take a little longer to come out, but I will get there soon, I hope.
Oh, and I also set up shop on Discord server of my own, if you are into that sort of thing. I primarily discuss Project Ethea business with Vultraz and Nemaara but there are other people and things to talk about as well.
On the personal side of things, I have also been going through an unusually long phase of not having any creative momentum (a.k.a. “motivation”) at all, which happens to be the main factor behind the original release of IftU 2.0 being delayed for so long, as well as AtS 0.10.0 and now the release of my campaigns on the 1.14 add-ons server. It should go without saying that this never-ending demotivation streak has also kept me from working on the long-awaited codename EOL, which is slated to be the direct sequel to After the Storm. I have been pondering for a while the possibility of making a smaller unrelated campaign to try to get back into the creative mood.
On top of all that, I have been having my own struggles with physical and mental health for the past 15 months, due to a horribly-timed series of events that started with the reappearance of an illness in my upper jawbone which was supposed to be gone over a decade ago. After a long and uncomfortable treatment, this March I underwent surgery and I seem to be recovering fine. Hopefully things will be fine from this point onward, although due to the nature of the issue there can be no guarantees that it will not reappear again. We will find out how that is evolving at some point in July.
So yeah, it has been a strange couple of years. Or year and a half, since my last blog post was on February last year. Which, by the way, reminds me that Derpycore did not in fact get bricked — it just ran out of battery and somehow wouldn’t power up in its state at the time, but eventually I left it plugged for no good reason and managed to boot it back up. Which is actually a very good thing, since otherwise it would’ve been harder for me to test Wesmere on a high-density screen, not having access to any others besides that laptop.
Despite everything, I’m still pushing along, hoping things will improve at some point along the way. I still have plenty of time after all, I reckon, and it’s a long road ahead.
Oh. That’s right. I forgot the most important part of all, and, as crazy as it sounds, the real motivation behind this post, and the website redesign.
After February this year, some people have been wondering about me, after pushing changes to several things attributed to me to get my name and usernames corrected — including on this very site. So, let me clear this up once and for all:
I am a trans woman, and my name is Iris Morelle, although I am better known as shadowm by the Wesnoth community and ShikadiQueen by everyone else.
If you look at it from a narrative standpoint, I was leaving a trail of subtle foreshadowing about the subject behind me all along. The process and end result of writing After the Storm are probably the probably the biggest crumbs in the trail, although it would take a lot of reading between the lines to realize precisely what I am referring to. At some point, someone managed to spot one of the clues, but naturally, no-one should be able to visualize the full picture from an isolated data point alone. It is also no coincidence that I named my previous (well, still current, just heavily refurbished) personal website design “Iris”.
There is a lot more I would like to say about the matter, but for now I figure this will do and dispel any doubt or speculation that has been going on for the past few months. I also realize that certain people will see and regard me as a different person (in a negative fashion, even) despite me being the same as always as far as it should concern them, and honestly, literally the same person but with different pronouns. Unfortunate, but true, and the best I can do is to be prepared to handle them as they come. I have made it quite far in spite of everything, so a few little bumps along the way aren’t going to stop me now — even though, like I said, it’s a long road ahead.
Happy Pride month, everyone. 💜