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Dan's Epic Gamin' stuff


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Nice models!:)

It looks like you could weight the central spline, at the elbow, to 50% upper arm and 50% lower arm to ease that distortion.

 

I've never done any CP weighting before. I usually just go into muscle mode and smooth stuff out. But things like CP weighting are things I keep intending to experiment with.

 

Just to clarify would I make the whole spline ring where the two bones meet 50/50?

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Been a couple of days since I checked in so I thought i'd post some more details and a sneak peak of the upcoming EG Episode. But first I'd like to talk about my set idea.

 

It became apparent to me recently that my Laptop lacks the grunt to be able to do all the things I want to do with regards to A:M. Money however is way too tight to even consider upgrading it. So I've been doing my best to work around it.

 

I'd originally gotten hold of a stage rip from Sonic Colors that I imported into A:M and started texturing.

 

stage_rip0.png Originally I tried to make all the grassy areas out of Hair and the one time I managed to get it to render it looked pretty sweet. But any subsequent attempts (no doubt down to the fact that I'd added to the group size) resulted in a not responding message that didn't go away. So I tried to texture everything instead. That worked out a little better but when I tried making a test animation, again my laptop wept like a little girl and then passed out.

 

So I needed a set for Sonic to run on that wouldn't need so many resources to render. After a little while of thinking I came up with the idea of a tube. With a large ring at one end. A backdrop would be placed on the back ring and BG and FG objects (along with Sonic) would be put onto the surface of the tube. To test the theory I built a palm tree and a platform and of course the tube. After some placing and rotating I ended up with this.

 

Set_experiment0.png here's a close up of the palm tree palm_tree0.png palm_tree_0.png

 

As you can no doubt tell the set isn't totally finished, the textures need re-doing and I need to make a backdrop. But here's a test render of Sonic running along while doing his dialogue. It's low quality to save space but it doesn't look too bad maximized.

 

Sonic_Animation_test.mov

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Thanks Rodney :D

 

Now we have the run up to Christmas, which is gonna be a busy time, Things that I have planned include

 

- A Body for Gwen because Due to the time frame I was working with I only modeled the parts of Gwen you could see. So underneath her clothes she's just thin air. This makes quick adjustments to her outfit a nightmare (hence the reason her Halloween costume was just an orange head band, cats ears and a color swapped + decal'd shirt.

 

- A truck, I Don't wanna spoil the surprise but i'm excited for this one.)

 

- A body for Tech, I want to test whether i could pull off a 3d body with a live action puppet head. This would enable me to make Tech much more expressive and dynamic without needing to make modifications to the puppet. I may even build him entirely in 3D and do a test with him that way.

 

- A new set because currently we're on a 2D set image and other than dollying left and right (and zooming I suppose) there's not a lot you can do with it.

 

What do you guys think? would Tech lose some of his charm if he was 3d? would doing so make it so i was over doing the 3D? Gimme your opinions.

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What do you guys think? would Tech lose some of his charm if he was 3d?

 

I'm going to say he would.

 

There is something about the fact that you've got all these characters from different 'worlds' that really appeals to me. I suppose keeping him mostly a puppet wouldn't prevent an episode or two where he transforms into another persona. If you make a reasonable story that explains the change I'd say people will follow along. I fully expect Gwen to get some transformer like armor and sword one of these days so why not Tech also? ;)

 

If you keep having fun with it I think others will too.

 

You are doing a great job of leveraging the resources you have available to you. Just keep plussing it up a little each episode and that'll keep me hooked. :)

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There is something about the fact that you've got all these characters from different 'worlds' that really appeals to me.
Sorry to give a "Me, too" response, but I agree with Rodney. The multiple medias are a really neat part of the show. The one thing I'd tweak with him is that his arm seemed to just wave around, sometimes almost in front of his face. It would be good if it were a little lower, and then comes up occasionally while he's talking.
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It would be good if it were a little lower, and then comes up occasionally while he's talking.

 

Lol tell me about it. That's down to a cock up on my part.

 

Tech was originally a life size stuffed model of a character called Shadow from a novel I was writing called Parallel Worlds: Elite Force. Then when I lost my job and decided to start making the show I cut up the original stuffed toy and modded it into a hand and rod puppet. This limited what I could do with him because (unless it was secured in his hand first) a rod puppet can't hold anything.

 

So I modded the puppet again into a hand and glove puppet. However when I did so I put the sub arm, a sort of extra bit of material that's the same as the puppets arm to hide the operators arm, up near his elbow. When it should have been at the wrist.

 

So now I have to have my arm in an awkward position to make it work and as such tech's arm has to 'float' in front of him. This is another of those 'need to fix that when I get a little extra time' situations. But since I've been doing the whole thing on my own since May getting some of this fabled extra time is easier said than done.

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I mentioned before that Gwen didn't have a body...well not a proper one anyway, just a coat with arms sticking out of it and a t-shirt with nothing under it. So I've built her one and just for fun I've been playing around with reflections.

 

Gwen_in_a_chair.png

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Hey guys (and possibly Gals), I've not posted in a while (Been busy getting the new review done. But I have been working on a couple of things. I've started the Epic Gamin Truck (The E.G.T) and also started taking the first tentative steps to overhauling the sets for the show.

 

Anyone who has watched a few episodes of E.G will probs be familiar with this image.

 

Basement1.jpg

 

This is the backdrop for the room we affectionately refer to as 'Tech's basement' (See Episode 1 to understand why). As with all the current sets except the wall of the Games Lounge from the last episode, it's a static photograph. Albeit with some areas prepped for chroma keying like the big TV on the main set. I've wanted to update the sets into 3D for some time so today I sat down and started boxing out the basement. It's got no textures yet but I thought some of you might like to see.

 

basement3d0.png

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Hey guys, just wanted to stop by and show you how the Epic Gamin' Truck (E.G.T) is progressing. I don't usually like posting unfinished stuff, but I also have a lot of respect for many of the guys and ladies who frequent these forums and I didn't want you thinking I had been sitting around doing nothing. Also I became a 'master' recently. I don't think that's entirely accurate when you see some of the other stuff posted around here (a lot of it puts my stuff to shame) but it sounds good anyway.

 

I'll probs change it to 'Epic Gamer' when I have enough posts to activate that option, but for now 'Master' will do just fine. Anyway enough rambling, on to the picture.

 

EGT0.png

 

Bare in mind that I don't usually 'do' vehicles and that there's lots of details left to add, exhausts, headlights, doors and then there's all the 'special' details that will be added later. I don't wanna entirely give the game away but after all, Holidays are comin'.

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Thanks guys, here's some more of the truck. Added a few details, It even has doors now, I always find doors to be important on motor vehicles. I don't have the frame for a dukes of hazard window style entry.

 

EGT0.png

 

I redid the wing mirrors as well because I didn't like the old ones. Still needs steps to get to the door, wipers, brake disks and other little odds and ends....and a trailer obviously!

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K so I wasn't gonna post anything more to do with the truck until I'd finished adding all the details....But then I started shading it and got all excited and wanted to show you guys.

 

EGTwith_color0.png

 

Definitely gonna make a wallpaper out of this once it's done. Oh and the windows aren't gonna stay solid blue I just haven't decided how I'm gonna handle them yet.

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Hey guys, I just posted episode 17 for anyone who would like to watch it. Sadly Gwen (well my wife technically) came down with a bad cold 2 days after we recorded the review audio so couldn't do her lines for the Skit, intro and outro. That means there's no Gwen or other 3D magic in this episode, so I understand if you wouldn't want to watch it. Just wanted to let you all know anyway.

 

http://blip.tv/EpicGamin/sonic-generations...sode-17-5749344

 

Work is progressing fairly well on the E.G.T and I've got plans to start Gwen's' Christmas outfit tomorrow (that will hopefully be worth the wait.) Thanks for supporting me and the show, if any of you use facebook and would like to add us just type Epic Gamin into the search we're the only one there. There's extra ramblings from me and the crew on there and I also post any wallpapers I make on there.

 

Just re-read that and it totally sounds like a plug. Ah well

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Thanks Chris! and also thanks to all you guys who've been supporting my efforts.

 

Just wanted to show you all the prototype of Tech's body. I remember discussing this with Chris and Rodney not too long ago. The idea is to overcome Tech's physical shortcomings (i.e he doesn't have any legs and only one arm can be operated at a time without assistance) by building him a 3d body and combining it with footage of the puppets head. This'll mean I can focus on getting his head movements exactly as I want them and then his body can be animated to fit the dialogue (much the same as Gwen is.)

 

So here's the prototype. I've given it fur on the hands and tail and a denim texture for the pants. The lighting is just the basic chor set up.

 

tech_tests0.png

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Looking very good! :)

 

It'd be nice if you could maintain the look of a puppet versus CG... I know that seems like quite a task but I'm thinking you could probably get it accomplished with one decal (a full solution would take a few more Decals but for a quick fix I'm thinking of a Decal applied just from the camera view. That's really all that needs to be seen). The idea would be to take a picture of Tech's clothing and fur (the puppet that is) and then arrange that is such a way as to apply it as a Decal from Camera View. This Decal is primarily a texturing overlay. You'd adjust the percentage of the Decal to let the underlying colors/textures show through.

 

Got any good photos of Tech... I'll look back through the videos. ;)

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Looking very good! :)

 

It'd be nice if you could maintain the look of a puppet versus CG...

 

Totally agree Rodney, once I've tested the concept (gotta see if I can get the video head and the cg body to play nice together) I'm gonna take some close ups of tech's shirt to decal his cg shirt with. I've also gotta tweak the darksim denim on his pants. It always looks so much better on Gwen's denim skirt.

 

Oh I noticed that my title has changed to Epic Gamer! I assume I have you to thank for that. So thankyou very much, it's much more appropriate than 'Master' (lol although many would argue that i'm far from epic :lol: )

 

Anyway hopefully I'll have some more news on the tech front later today.

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Okay I've been looking into the whole Tech situation and while it's possible to do what I wanted to do, it's a time sink that would be totally impractical. Tech needs to be more dynamic for the upcoming year so I'll probs just build him a 3d head. If I can make it look like it's still the puppet then that's all good. But if it comes down to it I'll just have to divulge the characters origins earlier than I planned to.

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She looks great.

Very festive!

 

But if it comes down to it I'll just have to divulge the characters origins earlier than I planned to.

 

Careful now... remember Wolverine had many of years of fans guessing at his mysterious past before they messed everything up and revealed his 'real' origin. ;)

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The 6 million dollar puppet....

 

It was cold out and raining heavily when the officer came into the gamin' lounge at E.G Studio's. His heavy raincoat was soaked through and his expression was no warmer than the temperature outside.

 

"Mr Skelton?" He asked enquiringly. I confirmed my identity with a quick nod of my head and he continued. "Mr Skelton I'm afraid there's been an accident tonight involving one Mr Tech Nology. We got your address from the business card in his wallet."

 

"Is...is he hurt?" Gwen the newest member of our team asked. She was tall with redish brown hair, deep blue eyes and legs that...sorry I'm getting off topic.

 

"I'm afraid so miss, we're trying to contact next of kin do you happen to have a contact number?" The officer asked, taking out a small black notebook and pencil.

 

"I'm all he's got...." I said guiltily, it was my fault Tech was here in the first place and worse it had my idea for him to go pick up a pizza for the three of us to eat while we pulled an all nighter working on the Christmas special. Thanks to me he was injured, maybe even dying by the sounds of it.

 

"In that case i suggest you get to St. Andrews as soon as you can. I was there when they cut him out of the car and I didn't fancy his chances, I'm truly sorry to have to tell you sir," the officer said before excusing himself and heading for the exit.

 

10 minutes later Gwen and I screeched into the hospital parking lot and soon after a friendly young lady at the front desk had pointed us toward the Emergency ward. We were greeted by a stern looking doctor, his face was weathered like an ancient oak tree and his wrinkles clashed glaringly with his immaculately pressed white coat.

 

"Are you family?" He asked.

 

"As close as. He lives with me, doesn't have anyone else." I said in rapid fire succession. Why are hospital staff always so reluctant to give information to anyone who isn't family? It's not like I was going to call and inform the local press that my best friend was fighting for his life. "How is he." I asked, bracing myself for the worst.

 

"Not good...In fact he's barely alive," I heard a choked sob escape Gwen from somewhere behind me and I won't lie I felt my tear ducts kicking in as well. "Is there anything you can do or should we say our goodbyes?" I asked in a small voice I barely recognized as my own.

 

"Well there is one thing, but it's risky." The doctor replied. "You see we could rebuild him, we have the technology. We have the capability to make him better than he was before. Stronger, faster, we could even.....Give him legs!"

 

 

Alright that's quite enough of that. Just wanted to stop in and let you all know Tech 2.0 is completed and tomorrow I plan to put him through his paces. Here's a pic.

 

Tech_mk0.png

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Hey, I'm liking Tech 2.0! :)

You may just pull this Tech-Switcherooie off!

 

If you have the time to explore I'd recommend looking at the material used for Keekat's fur or perhaps a velvet material but I'm liking what you've got going on there already. My thought is that he's looking just a little bumpy versus furry.

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Just posted a quick video to the Epic Gamin' Chanel. It'll be more interesting to you guys than your average gamer though.

 

The vid has the animated debut of Tech 2.0 as well as 3d rotates of my Mario, Sonic, Shadow, Truck and Christmas Gwen models. Hope you like it and it gives you a little more of an idea of what to expect from the show in the coming months.

 

http://blip.tv/EpicGamin/quick-message-from-the-team-5796616

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Nice preview!

2012 is going to be a great year.

 

My suggestion for this post (I seem to have a quota of at least one per episode... it my Epic Gamin' quota thing) would be to have Tech stay closer to the camera. That really enhances the puppet-feel of the character (and will be easier to animate). When you do show him at farther distances away from the camera that'll be something of a treat. I like how you have him up close and personal on/about frame 20. Of course he'll have to be farther back if other folks are sharing the scene with him...

 

Something you'll be able to get away with more with Tech than other character is that Muppet-like lip sync of Open/Close Open/Close without worrying too much about refining the details. Most of the sync you can probably capture in movement of the head to emphasize the dialogue. My thought here would be to animate the phrasing to the head moves alone and then exaggerate the opening and closing of Tech's mouth to gain the key points where (thinking) words are emphasized.

 

Why do I get the feeling that Tech is about to become my favorite character? (Don't tell Gwen I said that!)

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Nice preview!

2012 is going to be a great year.

 

My suggestion for this post would be to have Tech stay closer to the camera.

 

Thanks Rodney! I hand on heart greatly appreciate that you (or any member of the community) take the time to comment on my stuff. I know it's not up to the standard of some of the hard hitters around here but it'll get better the more I do it. Which rather neatly segues into the next topic I'm throwing open to discussion.

 

Don't get me wrong I love video games. Whenever I have some spare time I'll sit down and play through some classics or try out the hot new thing (E.G has been a great excuse to do that). However my real passion has always been with story telling and animation. I'm sure the following story will be a familiar to a lot of the A:M'ers.

 

When I was a kid and even more so now I'm older. I used to watch Saturday morning cartoons and be pulled into these other worlds and imagined adventuring alongside my heroes. But unlike a lot of people I would also watch these characters brought to life and wonder, "How do they do that?", "how could I recreate that effect", "That's a really good choice of camera angle" and so on.

 

As I've worked more and more with A:M the point has really been driven home. I get much more excitement and pleasure knowing that people will be seeing Gwen, Tech or the logos etc and not so much from the reviews themselves.

 

So starting with the Christmas episode (which will most likely be entirely skit based) I've been thinking about shifting the focus of E.G away from the skit - intro - review - outro. Format I've been using and instead making the show be more animation and story-centric. Either by making the story a separate entity to the reviews or dropping reviews entirely. E.G would still be about Videogames characters and culture. Just with original stories and my own characters.

 

My reasoning is that there are a crap load of videogames review shows online and having 3d characters, puppets and (at least in my view) a well put together show, doesn't seem to be helping to raise E.G above the white noise. There are very few videogames related animation series though. (Not counting all the flash and sprite based stuff that newgrounds users make. But a lot of that is unnecessarily violent, full of crude humor or meant to be a one off).

 

So after that long explanation my question is do you all think this is a good idea? Am I missing something? I respect your opinions so feel free to fire off some thoughts and opinions.

 

Oh and while I'm here, here's a low res render of part of the Christmas intro. No sound effects or BG Music.

 

gwe_angel_test.mov

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So starting with the Christmas episode (which will most likely be entirely skit based) I've been thinking about shifting the focus of E.G away from the skit - intro - review - outro. Format I've been using and instead making the show be more animation and story-centric. Either by making the story a separate entity to the reviews or dropping reviews entirely. E.G would still be about Videogames characters and culture. Just with original stories and my own characters.

 

Do you all think this is a good idea?

 

Yes, it's a good idea. But...

 

Isn't that always the way answers go?

 

I don't think you should look at this from the standpoint of whether it is a good idea or not.

That is chasing things to a place you already plan to go.

 

What qualifies as a good idea to you?

Are we talking in financial terms?

If so then even if it is a great idea you may find that after all is said and done the idea still doesn't work.

 

If this has anything to do with finances... let's cut to the chase and get ugly.

 

What do you want to do?

Will it make you money?

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I want to make the show a financial success, not for the bragging rights but for purely practical reasons (and my own self efficacy). When all is said and done this is supposed to be my job. I refuse to say work because I love doing it and supposedly when you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.

 

As far as money is concerned, the change couldn't possibly make me any less money than it is now. since April I have made a staggering $4.00 in advertising revenue from the show and while I'm not 100% sure, I attribute this to "Another guy making another video game review show" syndrome. I thought we had a fairly unique angle on the premise, but how unique can you be in a potentially over saturated market.

 

Statistically our viewing figures show that between 55 - 95% of our total viewers watch up to 25% of each episode. While only 25 - 30% watch all the way to the end. There are 2 explanations for this as far as I can see.

 

1) Viewers watch the show because they like the pre-review stuff but aren't really bothered about the reviews. So they watch the bit they like and then stop watching. Or

 

2) Viewers start off watching the show expecting the review to start right away and when after a couple of minutes the review hasn't started they lose interest and switch off.

 

Quite frustratingly these 2 explanations point to either dropping the pre-review stuff or dropping the reviews :unsure:

 

What do I want to do? Basically whatever works and will enable me to increase the viewer base and enable me to make enough money to support myself and the show. Sadly without much in the way of viewer feedback (I ask for it pretty much every episode but don't get a whole lot) I have no way of knowing what the viewers want.

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I haven't followed the entire conversation but as far as the good idea/bad idea question... it seems like anything involving animation or games or animation and games is stepping into a brutally competitive and crowded environment.

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it seems like anything involving animation or games or animation and games is stepping into a brutally competitive and crowded environment.

 

Animation and games are 2 very competitive areas. But there aren't too many animated shows about videogames. The only one that comes to mind is Rooster Teeth's Red vs Blue. The amount of competition drops again when you factor in 3D animation.

 

But i'd like to apologize to you and Rodney. This is after all my problem and I should be dealing with it. I'm the only one who can make these decisions and if I f**k it up then it's my fault. It's my fault my life is the way it is .It's my own fault that I got fired and am on crazy pills to stop me from going off the deep end again so no one will hire me (can't blame em like who wants to hire a potentially ticking time bomb). I shouldn't be bothering people with my problems.

 

Sorry everyone.

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It's OK to ask questions as long as it's OK that we may not have useful answers :lol:

 

I'm nearly completely "Game" oblivious. I'm not drawn to play them. They are graphically interesting but the actual game always seems tedious to me so that's why i don't follow that universe much and dont' have much advice to offer on it.

 

The one bit of game commentary I'm aware of is the Penny Arcade webcomic. That seems to have a huge following but I haven't looked at it in a year.

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But i'd like to apologize to you and Rodney. This is after all my problem and I should be dealing with it. I'm the only one who can make these decisions and if I f**k it up then it's my fault. It's my fault my life is the way it is .It's my own fault that I got fired and am on crazy pills to stop me from going off the deep end again so no one will hire me (can't blame em like who wants to hire a potentially ticking time bomb). I shouldn't be bothering people with my problems.

 

Absolutely no need to apologize but the fact that you did solidifies in my mind that you've got what it takes to do anything you set your mind to.

Mental Health is a serious issue that we should talk about but it is such a sensitive subject and... woo boy... folks will react unexpectedly every time.

For those under a doctor's care the first step is to take your medicine like a man (or woman). It is much tougher to deal with external problems when you are simultaneously dealing with internal chemical imbalances.

 

Money (or lack thereof) is the big ticket issue that magnifies our problems and sets restrictive timelines. This is why why I'm laser focusing on the issue of money here because while very important it does not and therefore should not define you. Artists are particularly susceptible to discouragement because they are often distracted by issues of money over creativity and unable to be creative due to lack of resources that are compounding over time. (Life has a way of wearing us down)

 

Historically most artists and innovators never had the chance to enjoy any fame or good fortune during their lifetime. On a day to day basis it's hard for us to see beyond this veil of tears we call life, to set our minds at ease and to allow ourselves to be distracted from the cares and troubles of this world for a little while. Perhaps this is why we are so attracted to animation, wherein we escape to the illusion of life.

 

No matter what your station or lot in this life, know this, you are a very talented guy.

I've hardly looked a game in years and yet your videos entertain and educate me every time. You make it seem as if I've been gaming all my life and I am easily caught up in the Epic Gamin' conversation. Keep at this (and back up your work!) and who knows what opportunities you'll find.

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Dan, one example of someone combining two tracks (mixing story plus some domain) in the area of software development is Bob Martin's the Craftsman series of articles. From that link, under the "By Topic" column click on "Craftsman".

 

Alternately, maybe one thing you could do is have two tracks ... one of game reviews, and one of story. They could tie in to each other, so if someone got interested in one, they could easily find and follow the other. You could even have references to each other; for example, have one person playing the game in the story-based track, and have someone the characters in the game review track make references to what is going on in the story-based track.

 

You have displayed a lot of talent and skill with this series so far. You seem to have a good aptitude for using A:M, along with other tools to create a finished product -- a show.

 

It's not easy to find a niche that can be profitable, and since I've never done that I don't have a lot of suggestions.

 

Regarding mental health -- we are all ticking time bombs in one way or another. The only suggestions I can think of: 1. Fake it until you make it. 2. Through it all, treat everyone with respect.

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