zondag 31 mei 2015

A week untill presentation time!

It's been quite a while since I posted anything. I am working on a concluding text about my research. But for now here's an image I've been working on this morning. I also included a Gif showing the process of the image.

dinsdag 21 april 2015

Spacestation design

The final design for the spacestation. My small gameplay demo will take place within this flying spacehulk

Creating a demo

I'm creating a scene of my game. It's one of the later stages of the story. I started the day with a little pencil sketch of the spacestation where the players need to go to.

donderdag 16 april 2015

Practising space vistas

A big part of my game will take place in space. (rhymes)
So I might as well practise a bit before going into production.

Also. Johan Terink, a former colleague of mine is helping me with some html programming. We just made a very small prototype to see which interface works best.

Wrapping up research

So weeks left untill a very important green light presentation. Might as well start wrapping up my research. I'm going to give a quick summary about all sources and books that where an influence or an inspiration for my project.


Framed ink by Marcos Mateu-Mestre
A book that goes over composition and storytelling with images. I learned a lot from this book.
I talked about this in the beginning of my research phase.

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
A theory book about the history and the art of comics. Written as a comic. So not only very usefull but also fun to read. The most important thing I learned from this book is Closure. The space between pictures.

Reinventing Comics by Scott McCloud
Not As usefull to me as his first book but defintely an interesting perspective on the future of comic books.

Dream worlds by Hans Bacher
As a painter for Disney Hans Bacher has an incredible knowledge of storytelling with images. He shares his experiences in this book. A good read!  

Color and Light by James Gurney
The artist behind Dinotopia shares his knowledge of color and light in an easy to read and interesting way. He talks about how light behaves and how colors act in the real world. A tough subject but very useful!

A bunch of other artbooks which happened to be in my room.
I like to collect artbooks of games and movies. Not only are the images pretty, those books give a great insight on the design pipeline in the game and filmindustry.


The Yawhg. 
 A multiplayer storytelling game. I got the idea for my project by playing this game. I wrote a small article about it in the beginning stages of my project. 

Telltale Games
The walking dead, Game of thrones, The wolf among us. Games that use the same succesfull format. Single player rpg's where choices affect the storyline. Just like in my game. 

Pen and Paper roleplaying games.
Games like The one Ring, Pathfinder and mutants and masterminds. Choices are made individually or as a team and a throw of the dice decides the outcome of situations. One of my hobbies and some mechanics proved very useful to me.



Guardians of the Galaxy
An inspiration to me because of the look and feel and the overall design of the movie. Colourful space vistas and crowded cities. Two things I really love. I looked at their design process to use for my own project. 
The Lego Movie
The story element was important for me here. Especially the switch to the real world near the ending of the film. 

The Matrix
The Matrix shows two worlds next to eachother. Things in the real world affect the fantasy world (the matrix) An idea I used for my project. 

Paultje en de draak
A short animated film about a kid battling his illness in a fantasy world. Just like my protagonists are doing. 

That's it for a short summary. I talked about most of the sources in previous posts. 
I'm of to write some more game mechanics and puzzles for my game! 

dinsdag 14 april 2015


About my interface. I have been trying out some formats and ratios. I'll probably go for 1080p resolution paintings. But I also need to describe those paintings and give players choices. The main point is that the text must not interfere with the images. So I decided to put the text in the top right corner.
People read from left to right so they will probably look at the image first and then at the text. And as I said. The textbox can't interfere too much with the important parts of the paintings. But painting and text have to interact with eachother somehow so I have to keep the text box in mind when I make the paintings. There shouldn't be important information on the spot where the textbox is. I have to keep that in mind when I make the composition for the paintings.

An example below

as you can see all the important stuff is happening outside of the text box. I have to keep in mind that the text needs to be readable for all players but in the end the game is about the artworks and players make choices based on what they see so the textbox shouldn't be too dominant. I think the composition above works well. Because according to the golden ratio, the focal point should be on or near one of those four intersections. The place where the textbox is is usually an empty space or a space supporting the focal point. So no vital stuff happening there. If I use those composition rules with my paintings the textbook will never interfere with the rest of the painting. The painting below is showing the Mri machine, the most important part of he painting, placed on one of the four intersections.

Some actual test shots of the game coming soon.
And to make things clear, you can't walk through the paintings. The paintings are describing the situation and players can react on that and give their own interpretation to the story, like in comic books.

Talking to people.

Last week I had two appointments. One with Jelle van Doorne, a game designer who graduated last year and with Keoken Interactive the company I did an internship with. I wanted to talk to these people about my tools, my story and gameplay.

I did my presentation to both Jelle and Keoken and they were pretty positive.
I'll try to summarize their feedback:

About the platform. Unity or Twine

Jelle suggested Unity because the programm is more versatile and in Unity I'm able to implement a score system. Where you go to a scene based on a score instead of only the choices you make. That way it's easier to incorporate more gameplay possibilities.

The guys at Keoken on the other hand suggested to use Twine. Because the story and the art are the most important thing in this game. A platform like twine is easy to easy with decent endresults. They thought that for a game prototype, Twine would be ideal.

The story part seems alright according to the people I talked to. It's just a matter of making the gameplay interesting they say. And I couldn't agree more. That's why I'm going to make some small playtests this week to play next week. Those tests would probably be small parts of my game without the artwork. Because artwork is really a production thing and takes too much time for a small test. Just to test if some situations are interesting and if players are interacting with eachother to make the choices.
As I said before choices the players make are either made individual or as a group. Making choices would be the core mechanic but I don't want to make a movie where the players just click and look at images. I want them to interact with the game and with eachother. So I have to come up with some interesting situations where I can focus on these player interactions.

About the world itself. We talked about what the world should look like and we agreed on a big thing. Since the heroes are actually children in a hospital the fantasy world shouldn't be too complicated. Simple forms en simple text. No swearing and foul language for example. And Doctors would probably speak in an incomprehensible language because children don't understand medical terms.

They also suggested that when writing the story I should come up with the end first. At this moment I have most of the situations, characters and locations in mind but the end is what it's all about. It's the climax. And there should be different endings.
The end game so far is that the players find out that they are actually in a hospital and were making up the fantasy world the whole time. The rest of the game leads up to that endgame. I think there should be different endings but we'll see how that goes.

So I'm off to write some small tests. I hope I cna come up with some nice small playtests for next week.

donderdag 9 april 2015

Possible Locations

So for my gamestory I'm going to need locations and characters. I already told about the general things that should be happening in my game.
The heroes are off to their goal but underway they are being obstructed by things happening in the real world. (surgery, family visit, dinner etc.)

I can build my locations around this idea.

So a starting point for the players would be the location where they get their spaceship and their assignment. Probably taking place in a huge office building in a city. The office where Crohner is would probably be very similar to a doctor's office.
So the city with the big office building.

The colors would be cold and a little bit hostile and intimidating.

Second we're going to need the interior of the spaceship. This is where the players spent the most time navigating and talking to eachother.

 The universe is also a location in itself. The players will be travelling from location to location through the beautifull quietness of space. Much like they do in the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy. But at less improbable speed.

There will be a point when the players are hungry and the ship is out of fuel.
Therefor they will be visiting a near planet with a nice and cosy spacebar.

In the restaurant they will find out that they get hospitalfood instead of what they ordered. A visual clue for this world being a fantasy world.

From here on things get worse. The heroes get more and more clues of them being in a hospital. The doctor's are also after them, trying to take the heroes to their homeplanet. (in reality they need to undergo surgery or examination) They ultimately succeed to take over the player's ship.

That brings us to the homeworld of the bad guys, the doctors. A cold planet with big intimidating square buildings.

In the end the heroes will find out that the doctor's were only trying to help them. And that Crohner, their boss is actually the bad guy. (he is a manifestation of their illness)

Other locations based on the hospitalroom could be:

Jungles (based on plants in childrens room)
Abstract worlds based on children's drawings
Big oceans based on the ripple's in the children's bedsheets.

Still working on a more detailed version of the story.


woensdag 8 april 2015

Story Elements

After browsing some websites for help I made a short list of the elements in my story.
So of course a story needs to be built uit of something. There has to be some kind of structure about it.

The first thing I tried to do is to come up with a premise.

I did that by asking myself these questions.

Who is the protagonist?
The children in the hospital are the heroes. Space travellers, travelling through the depths of space searching for freedom and fortune. 

 What is the situation? What is the hero’s personal condition at the beginning? How will that 
condition be changed, for better or worse, by the hero himself or by the antagonistic force?
The Heroes are under contract from a big syndicate lead by a mysterious man called crohner. They are to discover something in a vault. They're free to go when they find it. Crohnar however tries to prevent this by sending his men to capture the heroes.

 What is the protagonist’s objective? At the beginning, what do the heroes want? What moral (or immoral) choices will they have to make in their attempt to gain that objective?
The heroes are to find the treasure in order to be free with a big reward. In the real world it would be to leave the hospital. In order to leave the hospital they have to undergo some things that seem negative and scary at first. Things like surgery, medicine and examination. To the heroes this seems like a bad thing. And the bad guys turn out to be the good guys after all. So the heroes are after freedom and adventure. And in order to get what they want they have to face some inevitable things.

Who is the opponent? Who or what stands in the way of the heroes achieving their objective?
What will be the disaster? What misfortune will befall the hero as the result of her attempts to achieve her objective?
The opponents or antegonists for the heroes are the doctors in this case. The heroes don't see that the doctors are only trying to help them in the real world. The heroes will be captured by the "bad" guys because they need to undergo examination or surgery in the real world. The players are pulled out of the world into reality. Another enemy can be a manifestation of their illness. Crohner in this case. Crohner is a manifestation of Crohns disease and is a crime lord. It seems like Crohner wants to help the heroes because he sees the bad guys (medical staff) as the enemy. In the end Crohner is the bad guy and the doctors helped the heroes overcome or stabilize their disease. A disaster could be one of the heroes being taken away by the bad guys. Resulting in the heroes being seperated. (in the real world one of the kids needs to undergo surgery)

What’s the conflict? What conflict will result from the hero’s reaction to the disaster? And what is the logical flow of cause and effect that will allow this conflict to continue throughout the story?
The bad guys will always be after the players. But in reality they are only trying to help them. This is an ongoing situation showing how intimidating the situation in the hospital is. On their adventure the heroes are being interupted all the time. Dinner time for example. Or parents visiting, or examination by the doctors.

I have to use these elements and build a story out of it. So to summarize it.

The heroes are on a journey in their ship (their room in the hospital), looking for freedom and adventure. Everything in their universe is based on what the children see in the hospital. They have to find some kind of treasure for a man named Crohner (not sure about this) On their way they come across various locations and aliens. (more on that in the next post) The bad guys (the medical staff in the hospital) are trying to stop the heroes from reaching their goals. But in the end it seems that the only way to reach their goals is to do what the bad guys want. And not what Crohner wants. Crohner is actually a personification for their illness. The bad guys are actually the medical staff in the hospital. Each entity has their own form language.

This is what I have now. Now it's on to find some cool locations for the players to travel to that can also be linked back to the real world. 

dinsdag 7 april 2015


So about this presentation. The main feedback from my teachers was about a few things.

Story. What do you want to tell with this story?
Check. I'm working on a storyline as we speak! They suggested I used a premade storyline or structure. I'm looking at nice structures with which I can make a story so I don't have to make anything from scratch.

They also asked. Do we need the real world? Do we need to switch between worlds?
I already talked about that in my previous post. Their comments made me think about it. And I'll probably go with a story that confronts the player with the real world in the end.

How can I give that extra layer to my images? 
I also talked about that a few posts before this one. It's either Animated Gifs or layered paintings with a parallax movement.

What will the interaction be like?
Basicly 3 players are faced with situation and they can make choices individually and as a group. Each choice affects the world and the other players. I hope to make people interact with eachother outside of the screen. The writing has to be humorous and good to do this.
The interaction so far doesn't seem like much but when done correctly text and images can make players interact with eachother.

There are quite a lot of games that face people with choices. But they are mostly single player games like The wolf among us. I want to use mechanics from roleplaying games like dungeons and dragons where players can make decisions individually or as a group.

My game will be very similar  to a Gamebook but for multiple players. I think that describes my game in the most accurate way. The game tells a story to the players through text and art and the players can alter the story by making decisions that affect the world and it's inhabitants.

So how am I going to create this story? More on that in the next post.

The red pill or the blue pill?

Well. Last week was presentation time. We had to show our research process and our general ideas about our graduation project.
My presentation went pretty well. I had a lot of drawings and paintings to show.

I told about my idea about the children in a hospital creating their own science fiction world.
More about the feedback later.

The main question for me at the moment is. Do I want to face the players with the fact that they are in a hospital at the beginning? Or rather at the end as some kind of climax. The idea would be to give the players a lot of hints about them being in a hospital, without actually showing it to them.

I can go for a middle road by switching to the hospital world in the middle stage of the game.
In for example the matrix. The fact that there are two worlds is being shown to the audience in the beginning of the movie. In the rest of the story the scenes switch between the matrix and the real world.
The audience gets a visual que when things are transitioning from the real world to the matrix. Most of the time they do that by plugging people in to the matrix. It's also very clear for the audience where they are because rules are either bent or broken in the matrix. But before Morpheus gives Neo a choice the Matrix seems like the only world. But everything changes when Neo picks the red pill.
Another story with a fantasy and a real world is the Lego Movie. Entirely different from the matrix, The lego movie takes place in the fantasy world and the audience only gets to see the real world near the end of the movie. However, there are a lot of hints for the audience that there is actually a real world. For example the kraggle. A glue tube that doesn't really belong in a Lego world. This is very relevant for my own story, as I want to give the players and audience some clues and hints by basing everything there is in the fantasy world to the real world. The audience should know there is something wrong and the world they play in might not actually be the real world.

My story will probably a bit more like the lego movie. Giving the audience some hints and clues but not showing the "real" world untill the end of the game. I still need to talk to some people about that though. Get some other insights apart from my own vision.

So to summarize:

Switch between worlds troughout the game? Or. Let the players stay in the fantasy world and showing them the real hospital world near the end of the game. As some kind of climax.

Some Dilemmas

I talked about dilemma's in the early stages of my graduation project. Tough choices affecting the world and the players in the game.

Now I have to make some tough choices about my game. After the last presentation I received some feedback and some questions. I'll go into that a little bit more later.

First I need to answer a few questions, and I'll probably need some help for that.

question 1: 

Will my game be made in Unity 3D or in Twine?
I talked about both platforms. Twine requires almost no programming skills but is kind off limited when it comes to images.

Unity is a more versatile platform but I'll probably need a decent programmer to help me with that.
To answer this question I'm going to talk to Remco Dazelaar. A former internship collegue of mine. He's a unity guru so he probably has some answers!

question 2:

About Images. My first idea was to create Gif's for each situation. But that will probably eat a lot Twine's power. I'm not even sure if twine can handle so much Gif's. As there will probably be 50 or more unique gif's in this game. Another option is to create camera movement in Unity by layering my images in the Unity 2D engine. I'll need to make sure to paint my scenes in different layers. Seperating Foreground, middleground and background. That will probably look pretty cool. I've actually done it before in a previous project.

This is the painting I used for the camera movement. 

The trick is to make a 2D painting look like a 3D environment. This can be done by as I said, by seperating foreground, middleground and background. A virtual camera can then be used to suggest movement.

I already posted some examples for the Gif's I think they would both look cool but I haven't made a decision yet. I guess it all depends on whether I'm going to use twine or unity.

More on that later.

vrijdag 27 maart 2015

Form and Symbolism

The story I'm creating features two worlds. One realistic world, the hospital where the kids are. And the fantasy world. That's where the kids are going when they want to escape their situation.

Two worlds are very different from eachother but at the same time, they are the same. Everything in the fantasy world is based on the real world but imagined by the children.
In the real world the kids are just patients waiting for help. But in the fantasy world they are more like superheroes. Camera angles can help showing this contrast. In the hospital the camera will be looking down on the kids. And in the fantasy world the camera will look up to the heroes. To show their position compared to the environment.

Form and shapes are also important for showing contrast. The real world is rigid, rectangular and cold. While the fantasy world is warm, round and cosy. Even though there is an evil part in the fantasy world. The part where the kids go to when they need to see a doctor or need to undergo a surgery.

Like this:

All of the machinery, buildings and vehicles are based on things you can find in a hospital.
For example. This concept painting features a machine based on a cat-scan
The ship the players fly in is overloaded with monitors. Based on the monitors in their own room.

So everything the kids see is based on things in the real world. But often very deformed or made bigger or out of scale.

These shapes can often be found in a surgery room. In the fantasy world they are depicted as giant structures.

This structure is based on a blanket fort. Things I used to make as children very often!

This city is suposed to be the friendly part of the galaxy. With round shapes and warm colors. This is the happy place the children go to. This place could be made even more friendly by adding trees and animals to it.

So it's important to show contrast and symbolism. Every image should reflect a little bit to the real world and to the situation the children are in.
More about that later!

Some sketches

Friendly space station resembling the warm and cosy side of the fantasyworld

Cold and rigid lab resembling the evil hospital side of the fantasyworld

One of the players being taken away by the forces of evil (one kid has to undergo surgery in the real world)

Target audience

My Target audience for this game will not be children as you might all think. Children have the talent to come up with fantastic and sometimes absurd imagined worlds. The phase in which children learn to do this is called the formative stage. Which is in danger because in the present day children get everything presented to them with images in stead of letting them figure out things in their heads.
My target audience is everyone above 16 who is interested in science fiction, roleplaying games and comic books. In this game I will still present the audience with images but I leave plenty of room for imagination.

The reason that this game is not for children or ill children for that matter is because they already know how to imagine these worlds. It would be weird to create a game in which children play as children that come up with a fantasy world. They wouldn't need this game. They can come up with their own stories.
I want to create this game for adults to let them know how it feels to escape to another world. That sometimes it's the only choice when you've got nowhere else to go, and that sometimes, you don't need much to come up with an immense fantasy world. In this case all the children need is their own little hospital room. There are plenty of objects to use in their story. Like their bed, the windows, the curtains, balloons, medical equipment, teddy bears and so on.

So once again this game is not about being sick. It's about imagining and escapism. I present the target audience with the outlines of the world (through images) But they can use their own imagination to fill in the empty space (between images) That's called closure, and plays an important role in my project.

Visual novel
Symbolism (which I will talk about later)

Children's hospitalroom

donderdag 26 maart 2015

Sources and examples

So what would this game be like?
Take for example the games made by Telltale Games, like the Wolf Among Us, Tales of the borderlands, Game of Thrones and Walking dead.

In these single player games you play one or more characters. The choices you make in the game will alter the storyline and the outcome of things.
My game will use some of these simple mechanics. One main difference is that my game will be for multiple players. So players make individual choices that can have an effect on the storyline or on another player. Some choices are made with the entire group so the players can actually discuss their choices outside of the screen, adding an extra dimension to the game. Two worlds inside the screen, and one world outside of it.
Telltale's Game of Thrones visual storytelling game

The multiplayer aspect leads me to the Yawhg. A game I talked about a while ago. This game has a very clear system that makes it easy for players to see whose turn it is. They use color codes. Player 1 controls a green guy, player 2 controls a blue lady and so on. I'd like to make use of that.
The Yawhg's Characters

Also in my game there will be two worlds. And choices can be made in both of them. Each world affecting the other world. Because a doctor would just look at 3 kids sitting on a bed talking about spaceships. But the kids are actually in their fantasy world.

In terms of theme there is a Dutch production called Paultje en de draak. An animation about a boy defeating his ilness that took the shape of a dragon. In this movie the boy also steps into a fantasy world where he defeats the dragon. In my game the players don't defeat their illness they just forget that they are ill for a while, while being in their made up world.

Players soaring through the sky with balloon based objects.

The two worlds are very contrasting in terms of shape and design language. More on that in the next post

Two worlds.

In my previous post I talked about my idea for a little bit. Now for some more information about the whole game.

This game is about children who are in the hospital because of an illness of some kind. However, this game is not about ill children. It's about fantasy, children's ability to conjure up worlds and the game is also about escapism.

The reason I wanted to use a hospital environment with children for this game is:

I have experience with being ill.

Children have the imaginative capabillity to come up with everything.
I used to do some kind of imaginary stuff with my brother. Turning my little room into a space ship by using whatever technical stuff we could find. Gameboys, radiostations, keyboards. You name it!

A hospital setting is a great excuse to combine with a science fiction world because of all the medical equipment and machinery. Lots of cool design posibilities.

Sick people have a reason to want to escape to something else even though they know they can't really go anywhere. (a imaginary place seems like the right place to go)

I could have made a game with for example homeless people imagining a fantasy world for them to go into but that would change the entire world design-wise as well as story-wise. 

So the goal is. To create a science fiction world based on everything there is to find in a hospital. Think, beds, ctscans, a cantine, balloons, get well soon cards, heartmonitors, surgery equipment, you name it.

But ok. I have designed out this world. But what can players actually do?
The game will be a multiplayer visual novel, probably for 3 players. So it's just like a comic book. Only the players get to make choices that alter the storyline.

The game will take place both in the real world (the hospital) and the imagined world. The children (players) want to escape to that world and they would like to stay their. But in the fantasy world there are often reminders that they are still in the hospital. For example. The players enter a restaurant in the imagined world. And they get to choose from a huge menu. After they made their choices they all get the same hospital meal, to remind them that they are still in the hospital and they don't really have a choice.
Players ordering some food. They'll find out they don't really have a choice.

So the game will often change between worlds depending on the player's choices.
Some things are inevitable, like one of the kids needs to undergo a surgery. Or one of the kids can leave the hospital. Both can have a big impact on the fantasy world. Even though one of the kids can go home. The other ones will be left without him.

Players are able to make individual choices. And some choices will be made as a group. Choices the players make will alter the rest of the story.
All of the things in the world are based on things to be found in a hospital. This environment is based on some medical equipment.

Working in Prague and a new story

A few weeks ago I took a trip to Prague in the Czech republic to work with the amazing Factorio team. My job is to rework their promotional art. I am using the designs already plotted out for these artworks. It was a nice break from the graduation project. Even though I had plenty of time to work on my game over there in Prague.

After the first presentation the main question was: what is it that you want to tell with this game?
That's when I took some time to think about what I really want to do. What are my qualities? And what are my downsides? What did I experience so far in life?

That's when I thought about my disease called Crohn's disease. My brother and I both have it and he had to spend a while in the hospital for it. I remember him being incredibely bored. There was just nothing he could do. He didn't have a choice. He couldn't just head back home.

But something else also happened. My classmate Joost had to go to the hospital too for problems with his appendix. And he really had to as well. Not really much to choose there. 

That's when I came up with the idea and story for my game.
It's about 3 children sitting on their hospital beds in their shared room. Bored, but no where to go. That's when they start conjuring up this sci fi story. You might think: why sci fi? Well, all of the medical equipment in their room gave the kids some inspiration for their story. Their room could be a spaceship!
And so they spend their afternoons. Thinking about travelling through the galaxy in their spaceship (their room actually). They use whatever they can find for their story. Their teddybears turn into kind aliens, balloons turn into huge flying objects, the building blocks in their room turn to castles and cities and the plants in their room turn into vast jungles.
They spend so much time in their made up world that the fantasy world becomes real. It's their only escape out of the hospital (they can't just step out of the front door)

That's what my game will be about. Players become the children in the hospital. Travelling through their fantasy world. The story continues based on the players choices. And the real world and fantasy world are parallel to each other. Meaning that everything that happens in the real world will affect the fantasy world.

So far for a short introduction,
I will talk about symbolism, concequences and the story in the following posts.
Here are the first few black and white sketches for this story.

vrijdag 27 februari 2015

woensdag 25 februari 2015


One of my biggest inspirations is Thatgamecompany's Journey. In this game you play a little character without a face and without the ability to speak. He or she has to undertake a Journey to reach a mountain in the distance. While travelling you visit the most wonderfull places and meet magnificent creatures. The art direction in this game is simpy stunning. I spent ages looking at the game's artbook.

This game basicly tells a story with images and locations. While travelling you learn about your past and about your people, still without spoken word or text. You can collect pieces of cloth that can be used to fly, that's about the only game mechanic in this game. Flying for brief periods of time.

You can interact with another player though. You are automaticly being connected with a random person playing the game at the same time. You don't see his name only his character walking about! So now you have a travelling buddy. But still, without spoken word.

It's magnificent to see how you can share your journey with someone you've never met before. This works best playing it for the first time though. But it's a great experience every time I play it. I believe I finished this game 7 times now.

So this game tells it's story only through the use of visuals and music, without music and text. To achieve this you need to have a very strong mood and a strong understandable shape language. Players also need to have a clear path to follow. In this case the mountain is almost always visible throughout the game so the players know where to go to.

This game is very interesting. Thatgamecompany manages to tell a story only using visuals and music and one or two very simple game mechanics. I probably won't be creating a 3D game but this is defenitely a big inspiration for me.