Monday, August 18, 2008

you love blizzard right?

i don't. i want my tree test again.
short news for a moment, in my nerdierier blog - i downloaded Bionic Commando Rearmed, the graphic/gameplay update of the ol' Capcom game from the days of yore. I played with it for a few minutes, after drooling at the trailers back when they were released. game's gorgeous, and it "feels" right - and sounds very cool - but you know what, setting back into those boots made me wish I was just playing the old original version! Kinda the same feeling i got after playing Contra:Shattered Soldier back on PS2 some several years ago, "this is nice and all, but I don't NEED it" - especially not when it was so perfectly nailed back in it's original incarnation. Still, it is a budget release (10 bucks!) and for the money you pay for it, it is more than worth it. Obviously the thing's an overblown promo piece for the real-deal update coming out later, and I hope it does well. Sounds like it is, already! Capcom is making some crazy waves these days, i gotta hand it to 'em. The 1942 upgrade was also fun to play, that might be worth picking up as well - nice retro feeling, cool FX. Commando upgrade is by far my least favorite, it -does- feel like Mercs, kinda, but it also feels a little less loved than these other titles. I played the demo and had enough..

I downloaded braid, after hearing much hemming ad hawing over the thing on podcasts. Initially, as I wasn;t so much in the mood, "this feels kinda draggy..." and if I'd not heard so much word-of-mouth over it, I would've never even checked it out at all (come on, "braid?") The game is cool, and the few minutes I spent with the demo have got me thinking "this is actually a pretty cool little puzzle game," if my time lightens up soon I will possibly just get the whole thing. Nice job!

I know, I am supposed to be talking about game and watch.. maybe later. I am just sad for the forgotten/never-minded fathers of videogames...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

i hate this industry!

yeah, i am referring to the latest Activision Blizzard news. Does anyone else feel a chill go down their spine when they hear that name? I am not disrespecting either company, or the new combined entity, mind you - obviously, very successful, hugely hugely popular companies with remarkable earnings between all of their properties. Yet it is unfortunate to hear of what happens post-merger, specifically with a lot of the relative second and third rate companies under their collective umbrella, their future plans, their staffing situations - none of this was unprecedented of course, though it seems kind of harsh how surgically and coldly it is being carried out. It's one thing to kick out the cobwebs when you're dealing with bottom-feeder appendages of a larger company, but when you are dealing with interesting properties (ghostbusters, tim schafer's brutal legend) and pretty well-established dev's (radical entertainment) it feels a little like a slap in the face. It's really true, you are only as good as your last hit. It makes me think with a chill about some things from my own past, and again a little more nervously about the potential of the future.

I have gone on about these things before, either in blog form or merely conversationally, at length - we all want to get "bought out," we want to be at the studio when they get picked up for real by a publisher. It's only win-win for everyone - well, it was, not so much anymore. Now it seems rather than getting that cash windfall, you might get squat - and more than that, your job is now under a much
pickier microscope, there's more suits concerned with "eliminating redundancies." Truly, to reap the benefits of selling out, YOU had better be doing the actual selling firsthand, if you wanna make out - and let your subordinates hope for the best as they scramble for the crumbs.

As usual, the model is all over the place, and it's hard to say who wins or loses in all of this, in the big picture - what lessons can be learned and "what is the battle plan" to survive as a grunt-level employee as the giant metamorphosis continues to take place in the bizarre and fascinating creature known as the game industry. Every day I hear more and more news which startles and tantalizes me, also which makes me wanna kick myself "ooops DAMN i have missed my chance!" There's always chance, infinite chance - but one must be able to balance their own business, whatever form it may be in, on top of an already-demanding day job, and whatever other social life and obligations there are as well.

Work is progressing on the project. I am putting in a lot of heavy hours these days, a lot of late nights, a lot of weekends. I am sad to say my productivity is a little draggy as I am feeling the burn - it's been a long project and I am feeling the wear and tear of next-generation asset production (it's still "next generation" until a few solid seasons of working to this specification have passed, alright!) Everything looks so much nicer and tighter than ever before, our engine is quite capable and powerful, but damn if only we had.. like.. 5 years!! Whew. I do look forward to wrappin gthis game up and giving my portfolio a much-needed overhaul, i will certainly have a higher grade of stuff to flaunt, for the first time in too long!

Not much gaming lately. I downloaded the Too Human demo, haven't touched it yet. Last night I downloaded a demo of a game called Braid as well, I plan to fire it up after i finish typing this - also picked up Outrun 2 for Xbox, and NO haven't touched that business either. Man - I just wish I had a solid day, errr entire weekend, left completely by myself with nothing to do, just sit back and drink some beers and play some games. That actually sounds rater nice.

Okay my girlfriend is making annoying noises to let me know she is hungry, so no Braid for me right now - but never fear, I will be back shortly to discuss a little thing they call Game & Watch.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

ignore yourselves!!

Greetings from the front lines!!! It is Sunday evening, just about 7pm, and I am watching the last vestiges of the weekend wither away and give into the harkenings of, yes, another week upon us. This weekend I spent much time here in the office - playing some catch-up still,due to my vacation (yeah, it's been a month now) and my tempo has been somewhat reduced which doesn't help things, but ohhhh, ohhh, what are you gonna do. Anyway I need to save off some files for my fellow level artist who shares this particular level with me,and I wouldn't wanna disappoint - further hindering things is the fact that I have to show up for jury duty tomorrow and fulfill a civic responsibility, oh golly gee, oh greatest day! Well, I don' look on such things as much more than a drag, really, as there's work to do and I don't much fancy propping up in a stifling courtroom full of hooligans downtown during the heat of the day - so hopefully I will be able to get in and out in a jif. Sigh, if the gods should be so merciful.

Working on the weekend is nonetheless a drag as well, as it should be the "me time," instead of "their my time" - but again, a necessary evil. I am getting quite burned out on the concept as I have been sacrificing for I-don't-know-how-many-years, as of yet, and that's not too good- but I have my eyes steadfast on the prize, and keen that someday, the payoff will be there. It's been 11 years nearly, and I am still scrapin' on by - things aren't bad, but life and all it's trimmings are certainly expensive, so a little compensation would be a nice thing. It's not too much to ask, is it? Well, no expectations ever, really, but I will see what pans out - someday, somewhere. It's up to me ultimately, I suppose.

I am sitting here at my desk, managing the meshes, cranking the fan, listening to whatever I can stomach on the winamp. I like to listen to repeats of Loveline while I work, surely I have mentioned this before. During the week I will pipe it through my headphones, but as the office is nearly empty on the late hours and weekends, I like to give my aural canals a little relief and just plug into the little tinny-ass speaker on my desk instead. This isn't bad, but I get a little redfaced when people start walking by as the speaker s going on about "I have trouble getting an orgasm while my boyfriend sloppily goes down on me!" So I will close the door or switch the channel. No joke, some poor schlub walked through the office with his goddamned extended family today as the speaker was booming "do some fishing, beat off, go dockside to watchthe sunset, have at myself vigorously, etc etc" I guess if you don't know the show than I sound like some sort of reprobate - well you can think of me as you like, faceless reader, that stuff helps me get through the hours alright? And there's many of them.

I hate closing the door in this room, it's quite poorly ventilated and already hot and uncomfortable in here, which is almost a nice change from my opposing usual set-up (wearing winter jacket no matter what time of the year it is, as game companies LoooOOoove to blast the AC all hours of the day and I feel like a popsicle!) The latest thing which makes me insane is the designer who works in the room next to mine, he likewise has taken to coming into the office during the less-populated hours to do - well, whatever it is in god's name he does in there (working? world of warcraft? far be it from me to satisfy that curiosity). The dude sits in there and (kindly) plugs in his headphones, for which I am grateful enough, but as his officemates are nowhere to be found in the weekend hours, the guy LOVES ot hum along to his music. He hums damned loud, I tell you. It's annoying - and I do seem to be developing my nice share of neuroloigical disorders at this point in the game, it makes my crotch tighten up and my brow get all furrowed. I wanna yell to the hapless guy SHUTTTT UPPPP DAMMMMN YOU but of course he is minding his own business, who am I to ruin the party...

anyway that's what runs through a guy's head over the weekend in the office. If you'll pardon me, I have some bits of work to wrap up so I can get myself 45 miles outta here and back to my sweet, sweet bed for some precious shuteye, at some point. Mercy!