Thursday, May 29, 2008

damn you, rotten blog! Out! Out I say!

Phewwwww, but it has certainly been a long long time since I have written in this thing, wouldn't you say? As usual, the culprit is honestly just OT - lots and lots of OT. I have been banging the crap out of the neurons and dodecahedrons in the back part of my brain, as I have been overloaded with orders to "produce -- produce -- produce." I am really well exhausted these days, staying late at work night after night after night (weekends too). Ah, but so it goes, such is the lamentable life of the exhausted level artist. Hey, someone's got to build the world! Anyway, this is not new, it just ebbs and flows. Hopefully it will cool off sometime soon (in a postive way!) It's a double-edged sword - working like crazy gets some of the best work out of me, especially when I get into that groove - but it also makes me sort of miserable since I devolve into a kind of subhuman, incapable of complete thoughts, and regularly entertain fantasies of tossing myself over a bridge or something, ah well.

Anyway, in spite of my whining I am proud of the caliber of work I have been putting out lately, I sort of wish I could post it in here. It'll have to wait, though I hope we will have some more screenshots to show in the near future..

Other than work draining my vitals, absolutely, things are alright. Kind of a quiet pre-summer for games, in a way. GTA has been out for a bit now, and really dominating of course, but -- maybe it's just me, it feels like people aren't quite so sucked up into the whole hype megamachine for it like they were the last few go-rounds. Sure, it's making uber-bucketfuls of cash the world over, but it's sort of.. calm, for lack of a better descriptor. It landed and that's that, people are playing it but that's just it, they are playing "another sequel to a game that changed everything, some years ago." And the media is taking it easy on them, all we hear about is how the voice actor for the lead is pissed about lack of royalties (it's going to be hard for guys like him to get sympathy from dudes like ME, alright?) but that seems to be the worst of it. No hot coffee, no sexytime minigames, what-have-you. Put it out to pasture already. Actually, the game seems to be frying several people's consoles, that's SOMETHING, right?

Haze came out, plopped out rather, yeah this from the Goldeneye boys.. well, a lot of time has passed! I watched the dudes at work demoing it, it looked all well and good.. a little silly.. but competent. Not my thing, but then, WHAT IS, har har har? Seriously, the game is getting a lot of flack, and looking at the thing (from my admittedly limited P.O.V.) it's hard to wanna come down on those guys. In thiese post-Halo3, post-Gears days, it's just damned hard to put out an FPS by honesstly ANY company and not feel like sort of a weiner compared to the mega-powerhouses. I mean, you've got games like Unreal III, Crysis, things with serious 'recent' pedigree (not to take away from the Haze guys) and even THEY'RE sort of coming out with little more than a wink and a nod to show for it. Well, competition is good of course, and it's good to see standards are high - but at the same time, games are still early enough that it makes sense to expect these relatively B and C level contenders will have their place in the world as well. Do I encourage their persistence? Well, they need to make money if they wanna try to do different projects, I understand the business end of it. Anyway, if you can't really get something released that's at least feeling on a level of competency with Resistance, then you are probably bound for the bargin bin..

A strange season this time, the doldrums of summer usually but there's a little product this time, Coming of a ridiculously busy holiday season and a quite crowded spring, there seems to be a bit of hubbub to go on about in the coming schedule. Wii fit has just launched, of course, and true to it's heritage the thing is already sold out everywhere, and likely the case to be for sometime. I wanna buy one for my girl, also my parents.. looks like everyone's gonna be having to wait for a tad.

Of course the gorilla in the room is MGS4, which is out in.. what, 2 weeks, is it even that far off? That thing's been years in the making, I am sure it will make for some interesting times. Unlike the review bloats of GTA, I predict mid-to-high 8s. I think the thing will be fine, but it's getting old. We'll see.

Wow. Tired.. I must wrap this up, I have lots more to sya but it'll have to wait till next time. I need to talk about Boom Blox (which I picked up, haven't played yet - but looking forward tt it, sounds pretty fun!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

i have traveled from the future, to unburden your mind

blogsketeers, how goes it. another late, lonely night for yours truly. as usual, all my bloggsses go neglected of late, with good reasons (i suppose) and i have found myself in possession of a few brief moments, with which I shall enlighten. Truth to be told, i should likely sped the time doing something more productive, but my rags are feeling pretty ragged, if you understand my drift.

Things are alright - life, she is plodding along as per usual. I am tremendously busy - well, to say that feels like an understatement, but you know. I am honestly as busy as I have ever been, work is dominating my mind and life and thoughts, there's certainly good things about that in some ways but it's also bad - really, as usual I am appreciative of my job but by jove, I want my life back a little more! I feel like I am sinking deeper and deeper into it, working around the clock with only that stuff on my mind "production - production - production" yields some -- err -- interesting results, of course, but you do forget how to be a human after particularly long sessions of it. As usual, I will wrap it up saying "my choice, this industry" and of course it's still worth the payoff, I love what I do (still.. for real!) but hey, I am ground down.

I have put a lot of other things on the shelf, pretty much across the board. Extracurricular activities, exercise, even HELL partying mostly - though true to form I will dip in and out of that as my rhythm dictates, and though I say I may not have too much of a choice in that matter, I have definitely shredded it down to a shadow of what that used to be (again, probably a good thing, and it's been so long since it was any kind of a regular thing in my life, that it almost feels very foreign to me.. almost!) Still, I manage to do some base things to keep in check (get some kind of sleep, get fed, keep my apartment from turning into a pig stye, spend some quality time with my significant other here and there..) Of course I try to drop in on my friends when I can..

The summer is upon us, in about a month really. As usual, I will slip into cliche and say "time is really flyin' Ma!" and it sure is, and as usual (also) it does bother me.. I get grief from some people "you always complain about that!" But you know, I do feel like it's a valid arguement - in many ways, I feel like I am questioning a lot lately, he values that have been instilled into me, the ideals I hold - the point of this life I have been leading. I am really feeling like work is something of a big waste of time, a lot of running around in circles, throwing the dice in some ways. I spend more and more time paying attention to the little details, maybe that's what's getting me thinking this way - that's a big feature of my personality though, I am a pretty detail-oriented guy in a lot of ways, like it or not I live my life through that prism. I pay attention to the details of where I am in my career, what i have got/stand to get from it, how that all adds up - I always say "well, I can't quit now, I don't know what else to do" and leaving wold be a different kind of pointlessness. I think once I get on some kind of a better streak, get some more leverage in my corner, my confidence will be up and I will feel more like the things I spend time on/decisions I sweat over will actually matter more. Patience, patience is a bitch, right?

The world is all crazy these days. It's always something. The pre-election stuff is quite goofy to watch. Four years ago I had some choice words to say. Now I just feel like it's the Ultimate Reality Show, this whole carnival. Oh well, at least it's not completely stodgy. It's becoming more and more like a sport though (that, or the Reality TV thing, choose your own metaphor). Also all this stuff with Cyclones and Earthquakes - it's permeating the news, but as we are in America, it kind of takes a back seat to things like Iron Man and LV bags, sadly. Or unsadly? Are we better off not dwelling on the macabre - so long as we are not ignoring it? I say, this could be a whole different avenue of philosophy (which I have considered before) which is sort of a self-defense mechanism.. anyway when tragedies happen in this country, I am sure we'll be more sullen about everything, at least for a little while. I am sure it's somewhat the same all over the map, to degrees, really.

Getting back to my work, I want to say that I am pretty proud of the fact that, in spie of my burned-out-state, I still seem to pump it out rather regularly. I am happy with what I produce, I can look at what I have made and feel like I didn't just shoot it out half-assedly. Sure, there's gonna be careless moments here and there, but after all these years (not to many, admittedly) I still take a fair amount of pride in what I do and spread the love in my work. Yeah, that's detrimental in some ways, too..

Half of 2008 still lies ahead. Nothing is really perking up this year for me. I have a couple things, work and personal-life-wise, that are of note - I'll likely move to a different project at some point, I will likely get out of debt shortly, my girlfriend will be out of school VERY shortly, stuff like that - but otherwise, in the grand scheme, there's nothing intimidating, on the positive or negative, on the horizon. No vacations, no big plans, no wild and crazy trips. Just back to back working and waiting for things to even out. Yeah, there'll be some good times in there to keep me smiling.. there's liable to be some pain-in-the-ass bullshit to keep me whinin' --- so life goes. I feel like it's coasting a little now.. well, for the time being.

Oh yeah hey! I got a speeding ticket last night, it's been almost a year and a half since the last one. 80MPH on the freeway at freakin' FOUR in the morning. 55 MPH limit (yeah, no one drives <70) I was so close.. That'll set me back a good two bills. Whatever, we all get nailed for that garbage sometime.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

write away

jeez, feels like ages since i have visited the ol' blogosphere. Honestly, must be at least two weeks since i have put anything of any relative worth in here, but I would say it feels like it may as well have been at least 6 months (and that's feeling extremely generous). I have to mention it gets harder to write in this thing, knowing that people actually read it - and the whole reason I write anything in a public place is to prevent myself from sort of going off the deep end with a journal (by virtue of me having this thing, this long, it would only be a matter of time!) Anyway I have certainly felt the urge to put a lot of words down lately. but for numerous reasons I have kept mum. The troubling thing is, I feel like that's my overall problem about communicating in my life in general.

In spite of that tone, things in my life are generally okay. I am always going to be haunted by whatever the hell it is that's always around me, and anybody else could always say (or feel) the same, I am sure. We all have thos things in life, our crosses to bear, the consequences of our decisions, and we make do with what we've got. In the end it's all really our own machinations which have produced whatever is going on in one's adult life, and our regular rhythmic process is just how we deal with that, whatever it means to anyone (whether it's a happy thing, or not). I guess that's how it goes in life, sometimes when you are dealing with the things in your life it's a battle, sometimes it's a cakewalk, and for different people they could be the exact same things. I am starting to sound like one of those cheesy metal songs that prides itself on fulfilling lyrics about how everything is a paradox al the time, so i will just cool it now.

Work is alright, I can feel it wearing me down lately. So funny, when I don't have a job then the one thing I want more than ANYTHING ELSE just a freakin' job, I want it so bad i can taste it. Then when I have that one thing, I clutch onto it for all I am worth, I wrap my life/personality completely around it to the point that I don't quite know where I start or end, and then I just start getting contemptuous of the whole rotten thing. I am not totally sure how that happens, if it is a circumstantial thing or more like "just another facet of getting old." I have mentioned so many times how the older I get, the longer I work, the more it just gets really tired, but to be honest I talk to everyone else who does work like I do and I feel like nearly everybody is just so damned tired of it as well. The weird part is that all that said, I still find the weird OCD-specific part of my personality that loooOOoOOooves to get wrapped up in the particular supertechnical/abstract minutiae of what I do for a living, and rather than just putting down markers on a freeway I feel like some weird heavy frog frantically hopping onto increasingly more awkward lily pads that are so close to sinking (that one was for my own benefit, pardon the weird imagery).

So back to the paradox then...

Anyway, work has always been a battle, it will continue to be that way, and the way I look at my relative "elders" for this specific gig, it's always just coming and going that way pretty perpetually. It's funny. A bonafide blueprint for having a nervous breakdown? Would I ever be capable of doing anything else anyway? Aren't we all in some crazy big race? It could be worse, I could be working in the Japanese version of the industry.

Other than work, I feel like a lot of my life has kinda shriveled up lately. I live in this weird wonderful place, endlessly interesting and happily expressing all these opportunities for good times, to the point where even traveling anywhere else in the world almost seems (a bit) redundant.. almost.. but in spite of my being firmly planted smack- in the middle of it, I feel like i have tread such a well worn path of an incredibly defined space. I feel like i have memorized all the little nuts and bolts of every tiny little aspect of the area in which I traverse, to the point where I just wind myself up and go through all the motions as the time goes by. Fortunately, there's a failsafe in there somewhere that yanks me out and occasionally throws me into some weird madness here and there, just to keep it interesting, but it really feels like a decidedly double-sided coin now. To the point where even the aberrations feel almost as well planned and forethought.

All these things I go on about make me think about my (no-so-recent) flirting with picking it all up and starting over, and the over-under on that is that somehow that might not have been the great savior I was hoping it might be. Getting back to where (and when, and how) I live now, all the tools I need are pretty damned well spelled-out in front of me, and have been for awhile.

I think one of the reasons I am losing my mind is the fact that I sit in a desk making videogames all day long. Especially considering the nonsensical nature of that, compared to the "real" things that happen in the world (and are quite newsworthy) pretty regularly. The thing that makes me nuts is that so much of our society is steadily drowning in that very ridiculousness, just worshipping all this pointless bullshit that does not seem to matter. Attaching all this importance to things that are terribly irrelevant (I am staring straight at all the pop culture BS right now). And the great part of it all, is that by paying so much attention (and capital) to this unimportance, it actually DOES become important, it becomes the MOST important! That's one of the weird things which I am struggling to get my head around. Honestly, Care Bears and Thundercats are more important/influential than I will ever be! Well not just me, but actual smart-smart talented people. And this has been proven over so many times that it's not really leaving any room for argument.

I can't dwell on it too much, culture has it's place and it's really one of the most grandiose of contributions that we as a species can make back to the otherwise blank-slate nature that spawned us. Every weird little abstraction and market-researched bullshit idea (and all of their knockoffs) are all so deeply important and alive, at least conceptually, that we'll never really truly fathom any of what we have created, or it's implications (see: the Internet. Or, the Book). As I type that, a few hairs raise on the back of my neck thinking "ahhh, nature begets nature!" Yeah, nothing is more unsatisfying than an unintentional god, right?

These themes have certainly been explored several times before, in several forms.. and I am sure with much more clarity than I do them the disjustice of lacking (hell, it's pushing on 3am, give me a break!) As I ponder it, I realize people smarter than me have spent their lives pondering it before, and others before them, it's got it's own well-worn culture already as well (but such is the nature of human thought, to be curious, analytical). The stupifying part for me is the ultimate dead-end I always reach, and the fact that that is the only logical result anyway. "So what, who cares!"


I have developed this strange new fascination with space stations lately. As usual I am too dumb to understand some of the deeper complexities of how such things work (and have happened), but I can at least sensibly work out why they happened and what led us to where we are today. Remarkable to me how no one else seems to even give a thought to such things, the notion of existing in a tiny wiry tube over the planet we were born for months at a time is one of the absolute nightmare craziest things I believe I have ever heard (another one being that "anyone with money can own and drive a car!") I guess it's just my inner caveman freakin' out again, but not for nothing, come on! It's late and my eyes are already bleary with sleep as I type this, but there's so much I would love to get into about the strangeness of how the space program (space race) developed, how it wasn't so long ago that it's primary purpose was honestly so that people could be able to kill each other, in all that's happened in technical marvels over the past century we've got nothing more impressive to show from it than how completely superior we are over any other organism bred of this Earth as far as being able to kill them all, and ourselves, nearly effortlessly and easily. Will we be able to beat out program in time? Will we kill ourselves with junk food and junk thought and junk love more meaningfully than we could only physically, with just mere stockpiles of nuclear weapons?

When I was young, I grew up in a time where I sensed that - even at a young age - a lot had happened in society at large, very recently, and it had spun the world up pretty good, but now it was "over" and things were settled and business, as usual, was transpiring from that point on. Everything was under control, by virtue of an establishment having occurred and enough systems already were in place (in society) to sort of follow through in expected fashion. Hey, the United States were already pretty well-figured out for like a couple hundred years already, right? Languages were all good to go, we had people to translate between enough of them.. anybody could get anywhere by car, plane, or if necessary, boat (and hey, can still walk to, for the short distances). TV in every home, computers were boxy and nerdy and mysterious but everything of a higher need utilized them all quite well for some time now and there didn't seem to be any need to worry about a deviation from the path. yeah, there were 3rd world countries, and yeah there was a cold war, and people on the other size of the world still seemed kind of poor and barbaric, but they were coming along and it was only a matter of time until everyone caught up and we'd all be on the same page and "it would just all be done, " all that building, renovating, adjusting.

Well, now I am like 15 years wiser since thinking such things, I have had enough time to go over it in my head after sort of subliminally hearing that all preached into my deeper consciousness for so long. I have seen thins with my own eyes, of course (always comes back to this) I live in a weirder cutting-edgier place where some of the raw stuff hasn't quite got filtered out and disseminated yet. College did a number on me as it opened me up to the world but also let me see how the world was opening up - MORE - to itself, in spite of it thinking (as noted above) that everything was just "all freakin' set."

As usual, it's hard for me to build up to a real point with these rants, it's sort of just a cross-section of the slutty sloppiness that sails through my thoughts as I commute back and forth to and from the office everyday, and it's not really mean to pique, so much as it is to express. In the end, I am just a simple animal like everyone else, and I want litlle else than they do.. maybe less (maybe more!)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

buzz binz

sigh, so much to say, so little time. as usual right now, i whine "sorrrry guys i haven't been keeping up with my game blog!" What can I say. It's 10:42 on tuesday evening and I am still at the office, that should give one an idea of the shape of things. So I am a workaholic, what else is new, so long as i apparently have picked the right career, eh?

Well, as noted, a lot is going on. All over the place, really. Rahter than try to sum it up and extrapolate it all down, I'll just binge and purge, so to speak. Work is very busy, our project is moving forward as usual. I have my hands in several things right now, with more coming. As usual, trying my damnedest to do a good job while still applying the L-O-V-E wherever and whenever possible. Next gen is gorgeous but such a pain in the ass, this spells so much headache for the future! In some ways, I miss the low-tech days, damn it..

A friend of mine got fired recently, I am sad to see him go. While I don't completely agree with the circumstances of his termination, I can't say I don't see where his superiors are coming from. Like they always say "it takes two to tango," and they are often right. So that sucks, but then, this is not the most unusual thing in this industry (take it from a fella who's been fired a good few times his own damned self..!)

On the other side of that, the bosses at this place are generally being pretty cool lately, as I have stated before (trying to not sound like a suck-up, but then, I am sure NONE of them read this blog - trust me, I watch the numbers, I know of what I speak!). Yeah, this place has it's issues and problems, like ANY company in this wretched godforsaken industry, but I still hold it to be true that the people in charge of this place, they are actually nice people, they make you feel like you are appreciated, if you are workin' hard for them.. that's more than I can say for some other places I have been at.

Listening to gaming industry podcasts all day long (surely it has contributed to my general floaty headache I have got goin' on!), I try to use those things to keep up with the trends, and generally very helpful (and entertaining) - though too much of it can be overstimulating/bulldozing, certainly. Listening to them talk about an online mod for the PC version of GTA San Andreas, very interesting - sort of a hint at what the coming future would be like when we finally are graced with a full on GTA-style MMO. As I write this, it makes me consider "I should drop what I am doing and get myself hired at Rockstar!!!" if for no other reason than to get myself in on the NEXT BIG THING. Yeah, we all want to get in there, don't we. Anyway, the point of bringing this up, it highlights my general disdain/disinterest in such things, that being MMOs, or honestly online co-op play in general (call it what you want). I enjoy playing videogames with other people, but I feel like I don't care if they are not actually in the same room, physically, with me. Something about chemistry, or something.. I just enjoy that social aspect of it. Yeah, I am a dinosaur.. Anyway, in spite of my lack of interest in that arena, I maintain that it's deserving of (a great deal of) attention as it is obviously quite a powerhouse force in gaming - and it makes me realize, actually, how out of touch I am with my fellow man. I mean this - people are BORED!!! I tend to forget this, as I have an extremely active and busy life, (though not necessarily of the sort that "most would be envious of,") but i mean - I have my career, I have my social life, I have my relationship, and to whatever other extent I have my hobbies (such as they are). All these things eat up so much time, that there's not a lot of time for me to really sit around and ponder how "tiiiiime is a-waaaaaastin'" But, yeah, the more I talk to people/pay attention to the world around me, I get the sense that so many people are just honest-to-goodness freakin' bored a good deal of the time. They have hours and hours of their lives that they just need to kill. Now it makes a little more sense to me how people can get so fixated on BS like World of Warcraft.. it's insta-gratifying substitute social life that leads you by the hand, plug-in-and-play, that doesn't require more than sitting down at one's desk, tokin' up or what have you, and just turning down the lights and clickety clackety the keyboard for a bunch of hours. Yeah. This stuff is just getting started, folks.. yeeeesshhh..

Lots of other stuff to say, Played the Bourne and Iron Man demos. One good, one bad, I will let you figure out which is which. Right now, I gotta get back to work. Also I would like to bang the chick in the new Mirror's Edge game. See you on the flip side...