At Revolution, we've had a number of real-life adventures which have inspired our games. Charles, on a working vacation, took to Sri Lanka to be inspired by the sights and sounds of the country but found himself in the presence of some unexpected visitors. Here, in his own words, Charles looks back on his unusual encounter:
I got up early this morning to work on the game design. Shortly after sitting at the table on our balcony, I was disturbed by the arrival of an unruly family who promptly stole my Wi Fi card, and then encamped themselves around me. The children demanded attention from their exhausted mother who was nursing her newborn baby. Eventually the father appeared and looked on wistfully: the man of the household clearly had little authority over his boisterous family.
Toque macque monkeys are, according to the Conservation Status, endangered. What a privilege to glimpse into the family life of these extraordinary creatures - which feels so horribly familiar.
We have been in Sri Lanka for a week, and it’s a wonderful country. The coast line boasts beautiful, palm-lined beaches and a sea that is just about the perfect temperature: cold enough to be refreshing, but warm enough to not be too bracing. Inland a wide variety of trees from mahogany to the mighty iron tree form thick jungles sliced through by mountain streams, spectacular waterfalls and mountain pools populated by garra fufa fish that nibble enthusiastically at your feet.
The country’s history is rich, with cultures much more ancient than those of the European countries which plagued Sri Lanka from when the Portuguese first arrived in 1517. The King was eventually forced to move the kingdom to Kandy, in the centre of the island, as far from the invaders as possible. When the Dutch arrived a hundred years later, the King signed a treaty in the hope of ridding his island of the Portuguese. But the ambition of the Dutch East India Company, the first company to issue bonds and shares to finance its expansion and which grew to become the richest private company the world had seen, amassing huge wealth from control of the spice trade, led to a betrayal: the Dutch marched to Kandy and burned down the magnificent Temple of the Sacred Tooth – the temple which houses the tooth of the Buddha.
When the Netherlands were conquered by Napoleon the British were fearful that Sri Lanka would fall into the hands of the French, and occupied the coast areas in 1796. In 1815, the British occupied Kandy and the whole island came under their control.
What is most lovely about Sri Lanka is the warmth of the people. They give radiant, beaming smiles and greet you as you pass them in the street. I can’t help feeling that this has a lot to do with their religion which is primarily Buddhism. I was told that roots of unease come from three poisons: evil, greed, and self-delusion. My reading of this is that by reaching contentment within oneself, one generates positive karma, part of which leads to a welcoming of others.
The people we have met have been keen to talk about what the British contributed to their wonderful country. That the British built the railways that still run today; the bridges; and the courthouses. And then, in 1948, the British appeared to leave in an ordered way. A young woman, highly educated, said that the people of Sri Lanka were richer under British rule. So many bad things are written about colonialism, and clearly there were many terrible acts perpetrated by colonialists on those they governed, but it would seem that Sri Lankans, fiercely proud, looks back affectionately at the 130 years of British colonial rule.
By now the Toque macque monkey children have become braver – having devoured the Wi Fi card, they are wandering over to investigate the laptop, my glasses and my phone. Their parents look unconcerned – they have more important concerns. Clearly they are here because they enjoy human company. I retreat, and when we shut our balcony door and go for breakfast they move on.