Wednesday, November 26, 2008

your penguin has slowed you down

Thunderforce VI is a shooter (R-Type type of shooter, not Quake style of shooter!!) has released for PS2 in Japan, it's been nearly 1 month. This was one of my favorite series of games in one of my favorite genres of games, and it's been.. about 10 years since the last iteration released. I guess I only was a big fan of the first two, but I still enjoy the music and aesthetics of those series to this day. that might sound weird, a little, but if you know the games, you know what I mean. I am tempted to plunk down the dough for an import, or an ebay, but i might wait till i can find it sub-$50 - especially since it doesn't sound like the perfect "return to form" that some might have hoped, or expected it would be. I guess I have to be supportive either way, and it does sound fun, but honestly I have a billion gazillion other games i can keep busy with any event. If they touted it truly as a must-have then that would be one thing, anyway I know better than to expect to see high-tech shooters from anywhere in the world these days that are any kind of SERIOUSLY competent.. that's okay, they're a pretty forgotten game, and at least i will have the oldies always kicking around. Anyway, makes me feel old, sigh.

Though if Compile spat out something like a decent followup back from the grave, I would have to pay attention I suppose...

I downloaded the demo for the new Tomb Raider Underworld 360 - gorgeous game, in this post-Uncharted world I guess it would pretty much HAVE to be. Not as charismatic as that title from hat i could see, but geez - breathtakingly gorgeous. These games have raised the bar, this is history right here. We won't see too much able to measure up to game like this, at least aesthetically, not much more this generation I am sure (just because - is it truly worth the dev time/cost yet?) I am not saying I wouldn't love to see more beautiful games of this nature, I am just saying it's not what you could consider cost-effective, ad if someday we reach the point where that's the rule rather than the exception to maintain such a level of quality, then the industry will be run markedly different, I will say that.

Picking up with LittleBig here and there, a remarkable game - NOT without it's issues for certain, but a fine entry nonetheless and I don't think you could find anybody, really, who hasn't been piqued by it. Yeah, it's definitely NOT for everyone, and in fact I think it's one of those titles which both alienates it's target audience (cumbersome community system, heavy difficulty, tricky play controls) while those who would truly enjoy such a thing are probably turned off by it's cutesy aesthetic. Also the editor (for the meat of the game - the designing aspect), while powerful and capable, is kind of wasted somewhat due to the fact that most people just DON'T WANT POWERFUL EDITORS WITH WHICH TO DESIGN STUFF. They really just want to be spoon-fed things that are fun off the bat and play them right then and there. I guess it is one thing if there's not a ton of other worthy titles demanding the average gamer's attentions at the moment. Personally, I am excited to play with the editor some more, I have a few ideas I would love to play with, but at this point my time is kind of precious and limited for such things, but hey - i am in no hurry, it's not going anywhere.

It boils down to the notion that i would love to design some 3D platforming of my own, but as mentioned above "i am always too busy" - still considering my career choices, i think this would only do me a good service, and I intend to get on with it. At some point!

I picked up a Wii game, Shawn White Snowboarding - unusual for me in many regards, but we have a balance board here and interesting Wii games (especially of this nature) are certainly few and far between. Still this one got a good bit of press, and it sounded like it might be worth a look for a few reasons. Like anybody with half a brain I enjoyed SSX back in the day (though A. never got terribly far with it and B. never really moved on from there so much) but after skiing in Wii Fit, I was interested in going a little further via the motion-control setup for such a sport-game.. Wort picking up, though I must say after being Tony Hawkified those aesthetics and "story" trappings are kind of a drag for me - it's pretty downplayed so I can't really complain. I just miss when the Japanese games did this stuff all weird and differently styled (jet grind radioooooo) and Nickelodean style just doesn't measure up the same.

Things are alright up Obsidian - always a few things to say about that place! They got out a genuinely cool trailer for Alpha Protocol about a week ago, I believe it's at Gamespot or somewhere. Also we got a cover story with PSM that is currently on the stands. Nice to see it getting a little bit of press here and there, the things not been announced a whole year yet - I look forward to when they start letting the substantial stuff release a little more and how that all gels.

Aliens is going along, we are pretty quiet across the board and I am gonna keep mum as well. Suffice it to say I am happy on this project, one thing that must be mentioned is that I really like my team here as well. The people are really nice, friendly, patient.. it feels good to get good feedback as well, and I feel my work/capabilities mesh well with the rest of the folks over there...

Lots more to say as usual, I hope to update this thing much more often in the coming year. Stay tuned.

the babysitter’s dead - you heard what i said

wednesday morning/tuesday night. it is pouring out, all evening, looks to be much of the same the next several days, perhaps... we went out shopping for turkey day dinner last night after i got home from work, looks to be quite a feast! Hopefully we can make a det in it..!


cockroaches, dragonflies
being in front of people/center of attention
angry dogs
not wearing socks
being in an a place i don't know
my dad's belt
creepy old people
being stuck in a dark closet

long-term relationships
being stuck in the same location for an extended period of time
baldness, obesity
car accidents
annoying repetitive/tapping noises
not being asked for ID at bars and clubs
crazy women
expensive CC bills
blacking out
oversleeping thru my alarm(s)
nervous breakdowns
internet outage

--- this list was much more entertaining when i thought of it yesterday. perhaps i will do it again when i am feeling a little more creative.

Monday, November 24, 2008

a billion bullshit arti$$$T$$$$$

another weekend has dripped by, another November has nearly withered away into a bunch of more-than-nothingness, and again i am up past my bedtime in preparatuon for another week ahead. it'll be a short week, as it's gonna be thxgiving on thursday and all of that.

things are all right, as recently noted I have been making something of an effort to fly under the radar, stay outta trouble, keep on the DL, all of that - basically try to avoid spending shit tons of money and not get too drunk. I dd get out a bit more than i'd've planned since last writing in here (blame several people's birthdays) and for those reasons i have a few nights that exist only in the very vaguest of memories... but ah well, life goes on, doesn't it... this weekend, i stayed in fri night and didn't do much. saturday i hung out with some buddies in pasadena, we ate then talked (a lot) then ate again then watched the new bond movie (review:meh). Today, being sunday, I cleaned up the apartment/washed dishes/played some video games, that was about it.

called my folks this afternoon, as we spoke i heard a helicopter just overhead - midday, what the hell, is there a bad accident on the 11, damnnn that is annoying!! Off the phone later, I gt online and right there on the front page of yahoo, there was the news - bizarre, of course - some dude was brandishing a pair of samurai swords (!!!!!) and supposedly attempted to attack a security guard at the Scientology Celebrity Center up the street from my apartment - the guard panicked and shot the would-be samurai dead right there. So bizarre. Anyway, that place isn't even a half-mile from my apartment..! Sucks, anyway it made me sad... Life feels short, fragile, and pointless in a way, in times like that. I guess we are all just ants though, and designed to be destroyed, often at one another's hands.

For some reason I decided to look on the UMass Amherst Art Dep' website, I don't really think i have a good reason why. All these names (the chair-people) cae kinda foodng back to m as I saw them listed there, though to be honest I can't say 99 percent of them really ever had any meaning for me. I just figured they were all a bunch of elder uppity artists getting paid too much to not do much of nothing. hey, that's business, maybe one day I will be able to settle into a mega-cushy job and complain endlessly about THAT too (yeah, me complain? Hard to imagine)

It dd inspire me, once again, to get more of an advanced presence on the internet, at least art-wise - it would be the ultimate gallery, more so than just my "texture mercenary" thing i mostly have goin' on now, anyway - though i suppose the more one gets into that end of things, the more masturbatory it all becomes really. Well, whatever fills up the times of one's life, I suppose. I guess no matter what, you're just ultimately trying to sell something else anyway, until you reach the point where they keep bringing you cash nonstop for just being there to receive it. Well, not bloody likely...

Cold out, it's been hot, then cold, then warm, then cool, no one else seems to know or care, i guess it's kinda irrelevant but it does seem a little offputting.. i don't mind if it is a bit cold for awhile, just stick to something.. damned season!

How do I feel.. well, bloated, restless, sleepy, kinda sezzzzually frustrated, lazy, bored with the stable things in my life, so pretty much - business as usual. looking forward to getting into the office tomorrow so i can finish up workin' on a dor.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

no, no, no.. november...

hullo, and welcome to the column. It's a busy busy season, so let us jump right in. The irony is that I perceived this fall as being a pretty dull season, last spring (and even into summer) - I guess I was being a bit clueless then, as it is one of the absolutely fullest schedules on record! I thought last year could not be beaten, between Halo and Mario and Ratchet and Clank and Crysis, Portal, COD, a bunch of other things - man was I wrong! Right now we are looking at Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero IV, Resistance 2, Gears of War 2, Left for Dead, Saints Row 2 (to a lesser extent, but still!, Mirror's Edge, LittleBigPlanet, of course the new WOW expansion is out in a couple of days, I believe a new C+C just released. The new Tomb Raider game is looking fine as well. Motorstorm if you like that genre.. Whew. If you are a gamer, you are a busy guy right now. It sorta sucks that all this stuff releases at the same time, in some ways..

Surely there's a couple more I missed in there, but ya get the drift..

As for what I have been up to, well I did manage to get my hands on LittleBigPlanet, honestly the only game I have really had my eye on for some time. It's a hot little game, a very powerful engine in there and I think we are going to see some wonderful product from the fan community. So far much of the user-created stuff I have looked at has been pure drivel, but I can suspect that some amazing stuff is coming down the tubes. Myself, I have not made it terribly far through the tutorials, but what I have messed with has piqued my interest - when I get some time to do so, I will put it trough the motions. I will tell ya, as my job already is somewhat close to design, it is a bit hard to wanna come home and start cracking the book with this thin, though - but geez. What a canvas. My mind keeps racing, how I would have loved this toy when I was a kid, that would have been IT for me. Every aspiring game-maker owes it to him or herself to pick up this masterpiece! I mean, it's definitely limited, but they could certainly use this for college courses at the high-end, and prototyping at the low end...

I downloaded the mirror's edge demo on PS3, a gorgeous game - some things are off about it, but I appreciate the balls to put out a game like that. Hopefully it will fare well in it's reception. As with most things of it's ilk, I had enough from merely putting in some time with the demo, but I would say it's worth looking at, some very very good looking shots in that game. I'd like ot see them use it as a springboard, use that tech and those ideas to get away from this clean sterile city, make it alive and rich. Kind of swing halfway between this and a tony hawk game, or something - just a playground that you can pull amazing, adrenaline-dripping stunts out of, get that wonderful rhythm going.

Work is going alright, as usual there's a billion things going through my mind about Obsidian these days. I am on the Aliens project about 6 weeks now, I have learned so much in the brief period - getting chances here and there to express that, it's coming faster now. I have said it before, it is truly like working at a completely different company since I've migrated from the previous title, in some ways..

That should do for now, lots on my mind gaming-wise but as is often the case, I will have to get into it later...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

fast one

well, obama cinched it, the projections were right-on, and so a new day dawns at last. As i drove home last night and listened to his victory speech broadcasting over my little car radio, damn if my eyes didn't tear up a little bit as i had a feeling that better times may lie ahead. Yeah, there will be lots of hard work to unravel the mess, and surely there's gonna be tough times to weather in the meantime. That is life. Anyway it's always interesting to witness history as it is being made. hopefully the stupid racist haters won't do anything stupid to screw it up. It'll be interesting to see if the rest of the world likes America a tiny bit more, now...

got word that daft punk was gonna be playing a secret show at space last night, so called some buddies up and trucked out lickety-split. the show turned out to be not, but it was fun to hang out with my gang. sadly, i am well into my career as an alcoholic, and as often happens I blacked out a good chunk of the night. i am tired of this shit! i never thought it was great when people proclaim how "awesome it is to get wasted," the more of it i do them more pathetic it feels, in my own case.. i know it's not helped by where i live, plus my lifestyle in general, and just getting always kinda wound up by work and all of that and needing to release, to escape from my inhibitions for a little while here and there. i have long wanted to find a more productive way to do that, but it's pretty hard, so i don't know if i will ever do that. just have to wait until some consequences kick my ass I guess - that's some pretty depressing thinking though. At least I am not the kind who "needs to drink," it's only when i am out in that certain environment that i snap into mode though. come to think of it, that's how i behave in every situation (that i have bad habits), it's totally an environmentally dependent thing. I guess that's why picking up and going elsewhere has long held a novelty to me, being someone else, having different behavior, stuff like that.

things are alright though. i will always have some stupid things in my life making me miserable, i will invent them if there's nothing there otherwise to give myself shit to stress about, the older i get i just realize that I am the type of guy who NEEDS stuff to get worked up about for no good reason (and as I type this I realize that I am definitely not the first person in my family to behave this way). I like to think that I am not dramatic about it, i may talk a bit about all this in here (hey it is my release, after all) but aside from the occasional binge-drinking episode i really tend to stay away from a lot of the shit in this world that is truly "bad for you," and particularly readily and easily available at all times - again, particularly in the crazy city in which I live. Perhaps just being on the fringe of all that insatiable, crazy endless energy is enough for me - to just dip in here and there and get a little on me, to wander through a little bit here and there, to teeter over the edge just barely a little knowing that I too could fall into that pit if i was a little more reckless. it's the old yin and yang story - the order and the chaos, you need to have a bit of one in the other no matter what, and the sooner you embrace that notion the sooner you can kind of get on with your life...

feeling a bit creatively driven lately, somehow.. not sure where i am being pulled, or what is exciting for me, but that energy is also kind of getting up some interest in my head as well. i recently evaluated a lot of the work i've done professionally, over the past year and change, and i feel like i have got myself to a decent spot and can generate some pretty good output that i am proud of. i'd really like to augment that somehow, just get a little more prolific and make some stuff to show off what i got - get away from the more destructive/time-wasting stuff i have been kinda mired in. I guess that shit is important too, since it sort of fuels my creativity (that is what the ANGST is for!!!) Ah, I love how life works..

i need to get a space, i'd love to have a little studio or something. i have a little "nook" at home but it's very hard to concentrate there, i can't really ever get ANY work done there unless it's an absolute necessity, and this irritates me to no end. I need some place to just put MY shit, to have my freedom, to chill out and make stuff and be free to concentrate and get into my rhythm. i'd love to just rent a studio space or something but i don't really wanna pony up a few hundy a month for that right now, however that could certainly become a necessity. my Dream, ideally, would be to get a little spot downtown, just move all my junk there, TV and games and stereo, be able to blast that
stuff any time when I feel like it, go there and just make a mess - make some models, some drawings, hell some sculpting, SOMETHING, I know it would be a great time. Hell even if I had a basement then it would be alright! Ah well. Things to work towards. Maybe someday I will finally work out some kinda half-decent payday, if i am a little bit lucky, and turn this pretty simple dream into a reality. A load more hard work is gonna have to get poured out before I can get there! You'd think a solid decade of working in an industry like this would have made that easier, but there's never any promises of anything...

Anyway it is inspiring for me to realize that I do have some goal to work towards, besides 'just make money so I can keep buying stuff and gasoline and keep working, or else'