I absolutely know that this should go without saying, but if you are doing work that is important to you on a computer, back it up.
Learn from me, my name is Becca and I trusted the one copy I had of a project I was working on. That one copy, yeah, I lost it. It was entirely deleted. Don’t worry, this story has a happy ending, thanks to Andrew (he literally is my better half when it comes to electronics).
Recently, I had been working on the death animation and also making changes to the sprites I had previously completed. It’s a lot of little things and still a learning experience for me, so it all takes quite a bit of time. I’m not always the fastest at learning the ins and outs of a program, and editing in gimp is pretty easy, but there’s always something new that I’m learning. That’s a story for another time though.
|Three frames of the original animation
For the death animation, each “frame” needs to be separated into six layers (hair, skin, shirt, etc. ), colored, and then exported as a specific file type. I have to take my time and make sure every piece of every layer, falls in a way that looks natural, has the right coloring, and stays in the proper visual order. For example if I want piece A to be in the front of piece B, I need to arrange the layers of the animation accordingly for every frame.
Needless to say this takes a bit of time for me to do. By “a bit of time,” I mean hours. It took me many hours to do this, and get it just how I wanted it to be. Once I had all the layers saved, I also had to organize them which took time. Overall it was a long project, but like the majority of projects that take time, the final product was so worth it. When it was done, it was beautiful and I was filled with joy.
Fast forward to last night.
Somehow doing a simple copy and paste of a parent folder deleted this specific sub folder. As soon as I realized it was gone, I scrambled. Frantically I clicked through the maze of folders we have. I searched every digital nook and cranny. I looked in all the places I thought I had saved the information, I even looked in all the places I didn’t save it just to be sure it didn’t somehow get misplaced. I checked the recycle bin over and over. Finally in desperation I whispered “It’s gone.”
To people this might not seem like a big deal. They might think “It’s just some pixels, that’s like nothing in the grand scheme of her life, let alone this game.” To those who think that, may I just say, I’m shocked you can even read this from all the way up there on your high horse. I absolutely know it’s not the biggest part of the game, or my life, probably not even the biggest thing I’ll do this month. I have a lot on my agenda to do this month (with my personal life and with the game). However, at the time, this felt like a catastrophic loss, because it was entirely my fault. There was no one to blame but myself, and that’s what stung. It was almost as if I heard a loop of every time Andrew had asked me if I backed up all my work over and over in my head. When Andrew hugged me, the tears fell.
I was a failure. I was to blame. All that beautiful work I did was gone into the ether because of one careless mistake. In copying the parent folder a notice I had seen before told me I needed administrative rights to make that change. I barely read the message and pressed continue as I had about 100 times before on this computer. Apparently this is the time I should have paid more attention as I’m 99% confident this was my downfall. I cried and told Andrew how upset I was that all the awesome work I had done was gone forever, and I would never be able to get it back. He agreed that my work was awesome (which felt good), and he let me cry a bit (which was good for me), he hugged me tight and made me feel like somehow this could all be ok. I mean, I made it once, so I could obviously make it again, right?
The thing about this situation was, I was so proud of what I had made, that if I did make it again, it wouldn’t be quite the same. Also, it wouldn’t be quite good enough, because I would know it wasn’t the original. I cannot say this enough, I knew that this was all my fault. It felt to me as if I built this elaborate and beautiful dollhouse in a garage, and then because I didn’t pay just enough attention I ran over it with my car.
|Four more frames of the original animation
Andrew asked if he could switch me seats. I obliged him, still crying. I sat at his computer not touching anything, because I didn’t want to somehow delete something really important to the game. I tried not to look at what Andrew was doing because I didn’t want to get my hopes up just to have them dashed away. I sat in my sadness for a little while, then I saw it. On my second monitor popped up a little window that had the missing folder on it! All the hope rushed through me at once. Andrew explained he had found a recovery tool that was able to recover the missing folder.
Andrew saved the day, he was my hero! He also set up a better backup process for me. I am going to stick to this new process, instead of my old process, which really was no process at all. I’m so glad to have my work back. It was a really scary lesson to learn, but I’m glad I learned it this way. Instead of learning it through losing something I can never get back.
Moral of the story: Back up your things. Multiple times. Every time. Forever.