Thursday, July 20, 2006

Im done with story based games bitches!!!


I am feeling kind of scattered today...So I decided to do another daily breakdown of my day…mostly because I wanted to see where the hell most of my day goes each day. It seems like I blink and it’s already 9pm. It's a little long...and in truth it may be boring as shit to most people…but hey that has never stopped me before. So check it.

10:30am – Arrive in the office a little hung over from the night before and check some email. I do a quick scan for all the emails that can be responded to in as few words as possible so I can get those done first. This way I can get to my first meeting on time. I am checking out some sound tests for the voices of one of the Sisters of Fate and some other Voice over sound tweaks.

10:38am – Checked my voicemail to find a message from Paul the PR guy. He wants to talk about one of the answers I gave in a written Q&A I did yesterday. I was behind on a bunch of Q&A’s so I decided to bang out a bunch yesterday thinking “Oh this will be easy.” Man that is a freaking full time job…it takes forever. So I imagine in my haste I did not go back and edit out some of the objectionable content that usually pops out of my head when I go into the stream of consciousness writing thing I roll with.

10:45am – Found out the question from Paul the PR guy…my answer was none too sweet. That’s what you get for trying to rush through those things. But I will try and carve out some time later in the day to give it another go. That is why I like the phone interviews more. They take less time and my lazy ass doesn’t have to do all the writing.

11:35am – Just got out of the audio meeting with Phil (Sound Masta’) and got some great stuff done. I think the stuff is going to work…which is a massive relief for me as I have been really concerned that some of my choices were going to come back and bite me in the ass.

12:00pm – Going to a cinematics meeting with Jackie (Cinematics Lead) to check out the latest work for some of the scenes. We are a lot further along now so things are really starting to take shape. The animation is looking great too. I love the prep work, but seeing the game really take shape like this is so freaking exciting.

12:40pm – Cinematics meeting done so now I go to an impromptu meeting about the Barbarian King boss final mini-game with Mehdi (Lead Animator), Sean (Animator) ,Derek (Combat Designer), and Angie (Animation coordinator). We were trying to all get on the same page as to how we were going to kick it up a notch and make it freaking awesome. After much discussion it seems like we have a plan and I walk away with confidence on that one. I pass Nate (Designer that I am tuning the game with) and tell him we should take some time to tune today for the upcoming playtest. Need to make sure I have no more meetings. Steve (Producer) has just asked for ten minutes to have a meeting. Gotta go.

1:24pm – Just got out of the meeting that turned out to be with Stig (Art Director), Steve (Producer), Ken (Art Lead), Aaron (Design Coordinator), Michael (Level Design Lead) and Joel(AP). The meeting was about some more level art overages in our schedule. I am having a lot more of these meetings the closer we get to alpha and we realize that there is just too much stuff and too little time. But I have cut so much out of this game already so the meetings are getting progressively harder, since I really can’t cut anymore out of the game without really hurting it. This one was not as bad as the others though since the solution that Stig and Ken were able to come up with allows us to keep a really great sequence in the game, which made me super happy. I made the call to go ahead with not cutting…it is a riskier plan and if I am wrong I might fuck a few things up…which as we all know is never good. It is in fact really bad, since we will burn even more days trying to finish the sequence and if we come up short and don’t end up finishing it…other things will suffer in the game. Not an easy call to make, but I weighed the options and I feel pretty strongly about the sequence so I made the call to keep it. I hope we can make this work! I have a 2:30 meeting with Adam (Combat Designer) to generate some animation lists for the characters I am going to be animating. I am taking on three characters in order to prevent them from ending up on the cutting room floor…which would just make me sad. So it is going to be some fun nights and weekends fro the next few months. I gotta order some food now otherwise my fat ass will just wither away. Still haven’t sat down to tune the game with Nate, I really need to do this. Where does the time go?

2:09pm – I am sitting here racking my brain to come up with a creative way to acquire one of our relics. I am writing an email explaining each of the relic acquisitions and I have gotten to the one that has completely changed…and I got nuthin’. I want it to be something cool, but it is a pretty small space I have to work with. These are the tougher parts of the job…when I have a limited time to work with and I have to come up with something really cool…like NOW! But still…nuthin’. Ok…enough slacking. I am going to just write the idea I have even though it sucks…perhaps the act of writing it will shake some sort of brilliant creative idea loose in my head. Doubtful…but nice to hope for I guess.

2:29pm – Okay finished the write up for the relics…I put a couple of ideas in there…the one I like will most likely freak everyone out. But it will be cool. Well at least I think so…but what the hell do I know? My 2:30 is supposed to start soon, but my lunch has not arrived. Boo for me. I won’t be eating until later now. Oh well. Still no tuning of the game… to the 2:30 animation/design meeting.

4:23pm – Just got out of the lengthy animation/design meeting for the three characters I am going to be animating on. I think we have a good plan for them and the animation doesn’t look all that difficult…so that is a relief. It is still going to be hard finding the time for the animations while trying to get the maximum amount of tuning time for the game. I still haven’t been able to sit down with Nate and get any tuning done. Another meeting I was supposed to be in at 4pm was cancelled while I was in the animation/design meeting. Sweet…more time to get other stuff done. But alas…I am foiled again. Aaron just came up to tell me I have a meeting to brief one of the designers on the functionality of this combat puzzle for one of the hallways. Ok, off to do that now.

4:53pm – Just got out of the debriefing thing which did not go so well. I am feeling very frustrated today and Eric (Lead Combat Designer) and I got into it a little. We do that sometimes…we fight like little bitches, but we end up making up. I chalk it up to the stupid AC being broken and it’s hot as hell in this office, but tensions are a bit high right now. Oh well…we will hug and make up in no time and move on. I think I might actually have some time to sitr down with Nate and do some gameplay tuning…sweet!

4:56pm – DAMN!!! Paul the PR guy just reminded me about the rewrite on the interview questions…I should really finish that up before I go to the tuning so I can be uninterrupted for at least a few hours. I think I am just going to refer to him as Paul the PR guy from now on. It’s like a superhero name. Well ok…maybe it doesn’t sound like a superhero name…it actually sounds like a name that would be laminated to the side of a Van or something…like a plumber or something like that. Back to writing.

5:05pm – Finished my lame answer. I am not all that happy with it but I really don’t have much left in me to put into that. I need to break away and get some tuning done. The playtest is in less than a week and a half. And alpha is in…oh god I don’t even want to think about that. I need to medicate myself now or I am going to snap at somebody today…or they need to fix the air conditioning. Eric and I are cool now…so I go that going for me today.

6:26pm – Played through a few areas and discussed the fights with Nate, but only got about 30 minutes of actual tuning in before I had to head off to a daily review of one of our levels early in the game. It has really shaped up nicely…the big thing is to get it in front of Stig to make sure that the projected number of days to do the art is still valid. The level is feeling great so I hope I don’t have to cut anything out of it.

6:35pm - Tried to give Dave (Jaffe) a call today to talk about some stuff but I was so busy all day that I only got a chance to get on the phone a few minutes ago so I think I missed him. Nate just stopped by and said to come over and check out the latest fixes he did so I think I will go do that. I ordered dinner tonight. There really is nothing sadder than eating dinner at work. It’s totally necessary sometimes to get what we need to get done, but that doesn’t make it any less sad.

8:08pm – I Just got finished with a good tuning session where I was finally able to play through the entirety of one of our min bosses. We still have some more work to do, but man that was fun. While we were playing through one of the cinematic animators we were interviewing came by to say hi and tell me that I was a ‘legend’ around his parts or something like that. That was weird cause I seriously was like…really…for what? I don’t think that has ever happened to me…so it was simultaneously sweet and strange. I am sure I am going to be getting shit for it but oh well. We should definitely hire that guy…he’s got good taste. :) I am going to head back to play through a bit more and try and tweak some stuff. Hopefully all my enemies will work tomorrow. Eric is doing an overhaul on the reaction system for the creatures some a lot of them are broke which makes it hard to tune the fights. But Eric is the man…even though we fight like Jan and Marsha Brady. He’s Jan of course.

Oh I got to see some of the new bloom FX stuff Tim (Lead programmer) did….it is freaking sweet. Chris (Level Artist) and Timo (Level Artist) added it to their levels and it just looks gorgeous. I have said it before and I will say it again…we have some of the best fucking artists in the business.

I was just able to use a Mod Squad reference…the day is shaping up nicely. That’s the old school mod squad not that Claire Danes crap. Word.

8:30pm – I m going to go back to tuning, but I really don’t feel like coming back here and finishing this up when I am done so I will just cut it off for now. All in all a fairly productive day…but I think I could have gotten more done. Need to spend less time writing my blog. :)

Monday, July 17, 2006

A...B...C...Always be closing...ALWAYS BE CLOSING!

So much to update today. The SpikeTV game head show about God of War II and Sony Santa Monica aired this weekend. I didn’t even find out until this morning, so I missed it. That is pretty much par for the course for me when it comes to anything but game production related stuff. It’s like everything else that is not related to getting this game done just falls to the back of the line…waaaaay in the back. I don’t know if that is so good, but its how I roll.

So hopefully they will air it again so I can check it out…though some people are saying I seem so serious and sleepy. I was definitely sleepy, I don’t think I had more than three or four hours of sleep the week that they came. Not so swift, got to get better at getting more sleep.

The show had the first look at one of our bosses…The Barbarian King. You might recognize him from one of the cinematics in God of War 1…he was the guy that had his head cut off by Kratos when he made is ill fated deal with Ares to become the ‘ultimate’ warrior. So now he is back under some pretty crazy circumstances to try and get some revenge against Kratos for you know…taking his head off and all. It’s pretty freakin’ sweet. So if you haven’t checked out the game head thing…check it out.

We are about two weeks off from our next playtest/milestone so that is kicking us in the ass a bit. We are growing closer…in my mind too close…to the alpha date. I came in today feeling like we still had a ways to go until alpha but in the leads meeting this morning the reality of our alpha date really hit me. Man we got to kick it up a notch. That is the thing about game development…even when you get more time…there is never enough time. There a like a million things to get done and each time you do one thing, you discover ten more things that need to get done. It’s nauseating really. But somehow in the final hours we always manage to pull a freakin’ rabbit out of our hats….I suppose that is a true testament to the fact that this team is absolutely unfreakinbelieveable!

I have been looking to buy a house for the last year or so…it takes awhile since I don’t have much time to actually look…and am constantly disappointed as the absolute ridiculousness of the housing market in L.A. I just don’t understand how anyone can afford to live here right now (well ‘buy’ here right now) unless you are willing to buy really far out or in the freakin’ ghetto. I really don’t want to do either of those things so I am looking at totally over inflated prices on these houses. The only thing you can do is suck it up I guess…but man it is going to hurt. I just spoke with the finance guy today to get an estimate of my monthly commitment (mortgage, taxes, ins..) and my heart just sank. I mean the place is barely 1k square feet. It’s nice, and the area is great, but it is no mansion or anything. But I guess that is the way it goes here in L.A. The only way you are going to get something that fulfills everything on your wishlist is to leave…or to just be freakin’ rich. The latter is a much tougher proposition, which makes me sad as well but I don’t think we will go into that right now.

Ok…enough about my sad housing hunt. Thanks for the feedback on the strategy guide everyone. I am still mulling over which way I am going to with the guide but your feedback gave me some good food for thought.

Someone mentioned something about the movie…about whether or not we would be involved. I would love to be involved…but I know for sure that will not happen. Dave and Shannon have some involvement I think…I don’t know the specifics…but the studios really do not have much need for game designer input on a film project. I can’t say that I wouldn’t love to be involved though but I have my plate full with God of War 2 and my Webster vs. Diff’rnt Strokes PSP game!

And finally today I leave you with a couple of screenshots showing our first God of War II boss battle (well not first in game layout...just first announced) which you afre free to use for good or for awesome. This is still fairly early stuff so it is not 100% represenative of what it will look like in the final game.

You get to fight him on horse back...

...and on foot...but he grows freaking HUGE! Why you ask? Well you will have to check out Andy and his crew of fucking 'rock stars of the gaming mag world' over at Game Informer in thier September issue for more info and screens.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

We ain't found shit!

Word up. Things in development-land are going quite well these days. We have another playtest at the end of the month and we are cruising through a large chunk of work that needs to get done for it. We should have our first boss done…well not DONE done...but ALPHA done…by the end of the month which is good as we have many others to get through. There are more bosses in this installment, but because of that there is an exponentially larger amount of stress for us as well. Bosses are a tough nut to crack. Especially when you are trying insure the greatest variety in the gameplay and prevent the whole cookie cutter mentality that some games fall prey too. But in the end I am sure it is going to make the game feel so much more epic.

Dave is on the blogging again talking about his love of iChat. I hate iChat. It works really well…and it is pretty simple to set up….so my hatred is not really all that rational. Well maybe it is rational to me, but it does not stem from iChat being poorly designed. I just hate using it. I like the face to face meetings. But it seems to serve us well for the production needs so I will suffer through it and bust out my +3 ‘I Don’t care’ card.

I have been looking at some mock ups for the GOW2 strategy guide. I myself do purchase many strategy guides…not because I am hardcore or old school or anything like that…far from it…mostly cause I am too lazy to read them. That and I usually just go on to gamefaqs and grab the quick hint if I am stuck. I have picked up a few but mostly if they have an accompanying art book or a large section on the art of the specific game. The signature series MGS3 guide Brady did was freaking awesome. The art book they included had a wealth of great concept stuff complete with the art notes. I love reading that stuff, it is that kind of material that makes it worth the purchase for me…but maybe that is just me. I would be curious to know what would make any of you purchase a guide if you normally do not get them.

Ok I need to head out to a cinematics meeting to check out the latest renders form the high res cinematic house.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

It's a sledgehammer!!

I’m not going to write much now except to say I am a total fucking idiot. For the last few weeks I have been posting and thinking…”hmmm…no one is commenting on the posts…maybe I am finally so trite and boring that I have lost the three people that read it?” But I was at dinner tonight with my sister and parents…my mom said “I posted on your site but you didn’t publish my post.”

And I was like “What are you talking about? It just like…goes up...right? I don’t have to do anything.”

And she's like "I don't think so...cause I posted a while ago and it didn't go up. Its probably something you have to set."

Then…as if the sky opened up and a bolt of lightning suddenly rushed down from the swirling storm clouds and split my head open...I suddenly realized…I clicked that moderate comments button when I was fooling around with the blog a while back…at the time it didn’t appear to do anything so I just left it. But oh boy it did…So went on tonight to see if it was possible that I could be that stupid and under the moderate comments section there were 30 comments waiting to be moderated. IDIOT!!!

That is how I fuckin’ roll... sorry about that y'all...such a noob.Schooled by my mom no less. Thought I was keepin it real yo...but she was keepin it realer!

Anyway, I will write some more later and respond to the comments throughout the day tomorrow.

It was quite and emotionally trying week for me at work...but I will get into that later...right now it is time to take some xanax and pass the hell out!

YEAH!!! That is awesome...I am typing this blog entry in word…and word has a little ‘you misspelled this’ squiggly line under xanax…the suggested correction…anal. Ok…not even close. Bill Gates is weird.

oh...and this is the link to my myspace page...its still pretty lame but feel free to add me as a friend so I dont look like a complete internet loser. Actualy adding me as a friend will do nothing to change that fact...I will still be a loser...but I love it!!!!