Monday, February 23, 2009


Oh, I feel dirty. It was bad enough when (gulp) I acquired an Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii all within mere months of one another. Worse, when I participated in some kind of online connections with each. But now-- NOW-- I have actually downloaded and installed Steam onto my PC. HEAVEN HELP ME - I KNOW NOT WHAT I HAVE DONE. Sigh. That's just for research. It can't have any possible bad repercussions in the future, can it? ULP.

Things are alright. I am busy as hell with all that has been going on. Learning lots of stuff. Running things thru my head, particularly business-wise. To be honest, it's nice sitting around at home and really I'd love to pull away from the PC and plant in front of the TV and just.. play some frickin' GAMES, man. Once in awhile I will look into my shelf full of software, longingly "soon, my pets... soon.." You know what - some of those discs have been sitting there for YEARS. Some of them have never even been removed from their cases, even - pathetic, eh? It's not laziness, it's just I don't have time to enjoy my hobby anymore! What used to be my hobby anyway.. Well, if I DID have time to indulge right now, I am sure I'd be further investing time into LittleBigPlanet - also Thunder Force VI which I picked up as a second-hand import. My friends gave me some Xbox points for my bday so I would likely check out R-type Dimensions, 'cause it looks so neat and trippy. Honestly, as mentioned earlier, I am anticipating the eventual release of Space Invaders Xtreme (or whatever they call it) on Live - that's probably my #1 interest in all of gaming, odd as it may sound (I still regularly enjoy rounds of the oldschool one - even all these years later, there's still something weirdly entrancing about it). Otherwise, hook my X-Arcade stick up to the original Xbox and go to town with Mame. Right now my idea of paradise, dorky as it sounds, is going through a 12-pack and a full day of no worries and just that..

I have a new PC running here at home.. it's a.. damn, I AM so weak with the tech... a P4 3.80 Ghz, 2GB of Ram. Some kinda video card in there too. In spite of it all, I am a shitty nerd so I don't know what that means so much, other than that it doesn't choke and kill me wen I try and run Photoshop, a 3D app and mayyyybe a game engine all at the same time. It might not be psyched, but at least it doesn't crawl. Also, unlike my old box, the thing hardly sounds like a damned vacuum cleaner when it is running. I like the future! And, more bonus, it doesn't take 35 minutes from powering the on-switch! Well okay that last one is likely my own fault, between age, viruses, adware, shitty uber-fragmented drives and what-have-you. Also, this is funny - i have an older (couple years) 500Gb USB drive, Maxtor, it was essentially my jukebox - that and a bunch of necessary data as well, it pooped out on me like a good 9 months ago or so. I tried the freezer trick. i tossed it around a bit (bad idea). I set it in the closet for.. oh, 7 months. One day I will have enough spare scratch, perhaps, to shuffle it around for resuscitation, oh I dunno if it is worth it even. But I did find a "hard drive repair" program which attempts to file through the partitions and see what can be salvaged. Sure, why not, it's just sitting in the damn closet anyway! Ah so it's been plugged in, and the app's been running. I launched it.. Uh.. a week and a half ago? Let's see where it is now (checks) 14%. Oh okay that's incredibly promising. So now it's what, almost the end of February? So sometime after July 4th then maybe I can see how much of my data got corrupted then? Sigh.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

business minded

it's been a wild week, kind of. lots of ups and downs - lots of things to think about. stuff that makes me happy, stuff that makes me depressed. stuff that makes me feel pressured - i guess it sounds like every other week in my professional life, right? anyway, it's good to keep busy, and there's a lot of directions that everything could go right now. today i woke up VERY late, after being grilled by the unemployment lady on the phone (that stuff is still up in the air - lovely!) Cleaned up my house a little, took a long walk thru hollywood - i like doing that, makes me remember i live in a world that exists beyond just my desk, fridge and toilet - had a nice burrito ultimo at baja fresh, contemplated hitting hooters next door for $2.50 beer specials (all day Thursday!) but, super-stuffed from my $9 Burrito (yeah,I need to not do that stuff right now!) i continued to amble on down hollywood blvd, westbound. They blocked off the main street cuz the academy awards are coming up and they have a massive show to prep - i rounded the corner on la brea then made my way back homewards.

got home, downloaded Noby Noby Boy for PS3 (by the dude who made Katamari Damacy) - messed with that a bit, then plunged back into learning a new game engine, i need to produce a self-imposed test to get a shot at a decent job that i am looking at. I know a guy over there, I don't know how good of an in it is (but anything helps!) - looking at their editor, it's a little cumbersome but not TOO bad so far, just trying to adapt my usual style and pick up like I always do (a lot of that in my life lately!). I am familiar enough of the theme they wanna see, so i am not to worried about nailing it at this point - hell, i have done it enough times before. just concerned "will i make it in enough time, before someone else snatches up that position?" and all the usual "what other limiting factors are gonna work against me?" But yeah, the course is always the same really. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I have my hands in lots of things right now. Perhaps a few too many - mostly interesting, some kind of outrageous. There's enough stress to keep me motivated to follow up as much as possible, well - between that and hope for a better future. One day it will line up alright! But yeah, good to be busy, and kinda nice to feel like i am kinda in charge of my destiny --- kiiiinda. As usual, i must remain humble, good to be confident but bad to lean on it, especially during these trying times.

Grab another beer and get back to work - now!

Friday, February 13, 2009

that weight has fallen

It was leaning against the side of my computer and keeping it from making the damn whirry "I am gonna explode someday, soon" noise.

Tonight I drove out to the valley, it was my friend's kid's birthday. it made me melancholy - i really dislike the valley (as many do) for several reasons, but i do miss working there. in my decade-plus career in the industry, I have to say that my time at Neversoft was definitely the happiest, in many ways. Yeah, there were umpteen million tony hawk games put out by the time I joined up, but it was still a labor of love for many of the folks cranking them out even after that many iterations - and there was still a long way for things to go. But, that's beside the point - that was one of those studios which had attracted and maintained such a potent staff of wonderful, talented people, not only in their own right but collectively. I always used to refer to it as "imagine if you worked at a company with all of your best friends," even some of the shadier guys who kind of were more standoffish at first ended up being really genuinely cool guys who were a blast to hang out with. Man, I knew people at that studio for ages, and for my reasons I avoided trying to get in the door, I suppose - when I finally came around, well - it was kind of late, but I was still there long enough to learn and appreciate what i have just relayed. And of course, time passed and things change, as they always do. Projects changed, people left, priorities changed. Obviously, since that relative lull NS has gone on to be an even bigger and dramatically more successful company (lightning struck twice, who would have thought) - but the point I am settling on now is irrelevant in that regard.

Hollywood, I love it here, I really do - but it's a damned dark place. Not dark like the Combat Zone, per se, but still dark and shitty enough that you see a lot of messed up things when you venture out for a good time with your buddies, you see a lot of stupid people doing asinine things. You see your buddies getting a little sucked up into it; you see yourself getting sucked up too. So, yeah, after nearly a decade of this, one tends to get kinda down and depressed I guess (plus, hey, I am getting old). But hell, tonight hanging out with my buddies, those of the gang I used to see every day, work alongside, man - they have things that stress them, but they just seemed HAPPY, you know? One of the guys from Neversoft, he and his wife just had a kid and we watched them unwrap her 1st Birthday presents with her. And it was really a good time - just happy people, happy being together. It makes me a little sad, thinking back to those days, when things just were a little less complex, when we were all wrapped up in this stuff together, that excitement and enthusiasm.

The future is still bright, and it still makes me excited. I have a mixed feeling about my experiences over the past couple of years, it's not my interest to get into it now very much - for my own personal reasons as much as others - but I will say that I am very proud of the strides I have made, the tools I have learned, the work I have done, the perseverance and fortitude I have displayed, if only for self-gratification. And also, very importantly, I have made other friends since moving on from "that dream job," every time that's honestly one of the brightest points of this whole deal, working in this industry. It's not a shitty competitive rat-race. It's a brotherhood, it's fraternity, it's respect and appreciation and admiration. Yeah, sometimes I have been betrayed to some degree, I have had stupid crap happen, that happens to everyone. You never get less bitter for it, but you learn from it, and you move on, and you must appreciate all the positives that come out of it.

It's a sad time for a lot of folks in the world right now, even in this blog I have been writing much of the layoffs at many game companies - yeah, well there's plenty of poor SOBs out there in the world who have nothing to do with the games industry who are getting the pink slips handed to them en masse as well, let's not forget about them either all right! Good luck to us all, steel up for some more shitty darkness, and hopefully something good will come out of all of this, soon enough.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

tough as nails

So, things are alright. 2009 has been quite an interesting year out of the gate, and it's barely even started yet. I have to say I was a little disappointed at the beginning "oh it will be another one of THOSE years" and now - well, it's gonna be something. Just not too sure what...

The world of videogames is evolving in difficult and strange, painful ways. I guess it shouldn't be shocking, and yeah "the salad days" as we knew them are definitely over. There's still a lot of exciting, fun times coming, but it's gonna be hugely different from PS1 and PS2 eras. The world shapes games, and they shape the world. It's okay - even from my jaded standpoint, things have been kind of stale for awhile and in need of a drastic kick in the pants. It will come - the seeds are there (xbox live!). Nintendo and it's juggernaut systems will keep sailing along pretty powerfully. I don't know what things will look like when the dust clears, the world will still be there though!

I am really busy with my website, I have spent several hours pouring over it the past couple of weeks - have a look! - those that have seen it before will probably think "oh doesn't look that much different really.." Well, with certain things you can work on them a lot over time, even artistically - and the changes will be nearly negligable to the naked eye, but when you're dealing with a, ahem, nitpicky audience, a little will go a long way. The point is I have been running my website, in one form or another (it's pretty much direct from the same source - it's always been a portfolio website!) and though it's been upended quite a bit over time, I have it pretty comfortably representing myself, professionally, at this stage. There's always more I could do with it - and some of the stuff up there is painful as hell to look at and must get resolved ASAP - but for what it is worth, I am proud of my work and how it is presented there. Let me take this opportunity to request any feedback (always!) on anything up there, the overall design/presentation/individual content, anything that anyone sees that looks like it should be revamped or removed or whatever, please let me know - any info is always welcome and useful.

It is a really busy time for me right now. I have so much to think about, and a lot of important things to deal with - I wish I could write more about it on this blog, I will when the time is right. I will say this much, it is exciting and stressful at the same time (but then that is how it usually goes). Either way, watch this space, no matter what I should have some cool things to show and interesting news to relay soon enough.