Thursday, May 28, 2009

fight the light

hallo hallo. what's up? didn't i wite in this thing very recently? i don't even remember..

things are alright. I am slipping into the phase where "i don't have a job so the hours I keep are all crazy," that means it is 5am and I am up typing in my freakin' blog. should just be asleep like the rest of the world (well, on this coast).

I am okay, stressing a bit lately but I guess my nerves can handle it. my money is officially --all gone-- and that really makes everything more difficult - as usual I am doing the best I can to scrape by, many of my friends have been pithing in to buy me beer and food here and there (for which I am very grateful). It makes me feel like a shitty deadbeat though, and I really hope things will turn around for the better pronto. Hope only goes so far-- anyway applying all over (local) for jobs right now, but it's such a shitty time to be looking for work that i nearly feel like it's useless - though of course, it is NEVER useless!! On the bright side, some things with my "side projects," wichI guess would be considered my "front ad center projects," are developing at an appreciable enough pace that I don't feel utterly pointless and frustrated, in fact it sort of isa weird situation now - I kind of feel apathetic about drifting back into my industry in the same capacity i'd been, in lieu of the "bold new direction." That's a tough path though, but hey - all the damn paths are tough!

Anyway on the bright side of that, and I know I repeat myself - my creative side is working overtime in expressing itself, I am getting a lot of very useful ideas for projects to do under these new developments. If I can swing it, and the timing works out - and a little luck never hurts - then I might find myself in a pretty nice position. But hell, at this point in my life I've learned never to expect such things. Youjust do the best you can and try your hardest to make the odds and ends all match up, keep tabs on everything, and try as best you can to cover your back for when a big chunk of things eventually fall apart anyway..

A crazy lady in the Walgreens started talking to me this afternoon. It was sad and strange - living in Hollywood I gotta say I am not a stranger to such things, but it's unusual enough that I can mention it in my journal, here.. Anyway we talked a little, I could tell she was A. either on something or B. her brain was just generally fried from too many years of already being on PLENTY of somethings. I looked in her eyes, something you generally wanna avoid doing withthe crazy people (but we were both waiting in line, and I was humoring myself) and it was creepy, she just had this dead emptiness.. that spark that most people usually have was pretty long-since glazed over, at least in my unprofessional opinion (though I think anyone who is reading this can probablysurmise where I am coming from). Anyway we didn't get into it, when I was younger I might be more fascniated by the crazies but these days I'd generally prefer to be left alone. I could tell that one time, long ago, she was probably pretty hot back in the day.. I love Hollywood, but it's a gnarly and dreary place to a lot of people..

E3 next week! God, just get it over with.. at least I can eat some bacon-wrapped ghetto dogs...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pre-E3-itis, Second Verse

It is so funny to watch the game websites and forums in the week following up to E3. All the big studios drop all their big plans in the weeks (and final days) before the actual show itself, seems to be the trend - isn't this one of the big reasons why the show's format got altered in the first place, supposedly (competing with one another for attention in the midst of overstimulation?) With that in mind, it's notable that there doesn't seem to be a lot of hubbub for anyone to be raving about. Sega and EA both have (relatively) lackluster showings. Nintendo seems pretty tight-lipped, I guess we can expect to see some semi-interesting Wii titles from them next week but I doubt anyone's expectations are so high (as noted in my last blog post, "things are rather quiet these days..") Unusual to hear about High Voltages upcoming games (it's been awhile since they made some noise?) Activision dribbled out a couple of early tracklisting morsels for their Guitar Hero franchise, but really is anyone THAT thrilled about some new tracks (in this age of DLC) - as well, the new Tony Hawk game's been getting a little press, though it's more of a lot of "what? they're thinking wa-what?" when considering their new balance-board remniscient peripheral and lofty (rumored) price-tag. The new DJ Hero Turntable popped up as well recently, no surprise there, I think a lot of folks are waiting to get their hands on it at E3 (any chance?) before it gets written-off as "too late to the Beatmania party.." Well, we will see.. Anyway, they got Call of Duty, which will sel no matter what..

But, yeah, all is quiet. I don't think anyone expects to see much noteworthy out of DS or PSP, and I doubt there's much more expectation for Sony to come strong with (potentially powerful) hype for MAG (I love that name!) XBox is getting long inthe tooth now, if anyone's got a chance of showing up with somthing crazy I guess it would be them - but they always leak their stuff notoriously early. All we got in our sights is the HD Zune - which is a lot, mind you, but it's still gonna play second fiddle to iPhone if you ask me, unless they do something particularly clever and outrageous.

Yeah, I may be full of a lot of hot air, but I have been watching these markets for awhile now. Again, it's a tight economy and the release slate for this year is scant - also lots of previous big players (like THQ and Midway) are getting spanked badly, while guys like Microsoft, Sony and even the all-powerful EA have been closing shops and letting people go quite a bit in the past years' time - include the already-wilting Sega in that list (and I am a Sega fanboy, mind you!), it's a telling sign if there's not a few more half-assed Sonic games showing on this years roster (yeah, there's a Winter Games one, but otherwise..). And does anybody remember a company called Atari??

So I am declaring this, the E3 where it supposedly returns to it's former glory, the Year of the Casuals. The year of the Stifled Development. Expect to see a lot of gusts of smoke and disappointment. So hilarious that they pulled in the reigns for E3 just as the whole industry was getting incendiary, Wii and PS3 and 360 were raging in their freshness and youth and money was being poured full-bore into development everywhere, studios were overambitiously augmenting their team sizes ("why make 2 hits when we can just as easily churn out four?!!")

Well, we'll see some interesting iPhone stuff. Anyway don't fret, as the economy buttons up (I hope!) we'll see better conventions in the future. For now, just enjoy the love-in.. Hopefully, I will be able to find a still-existing Kentia Hall, where I can play Paperboy and Galaga (and Scramble on the Vectrex!) while listening to 8-Bit Weapon. Sounds good enough to me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Hot Damn Applesauce, how did THIS happen? It's excatly one week to go 'till the Electronic Games Expo once again descends upon our horrible, innocuous town..

It's a shock really, I've known it was coming for some time now (waiting for it with baited breath) as it's quite a symbol for many things in my life. A deadline, certainly - but also a true milestone, in each of the years since I have moved out here (nearly 10, now!) E3 was effectively put on ice for the last couple of years, reduced to less than a pathetic shadow of it's former grandeur, as it were - I am quite surprised to see that it's supposedly going to be a huge mosh pit of videogaming madness once again, I have to admit.

I am actually - NOT really looking forward to it, as opposed to my usual attitude. Right now is not really a god time for me to be participating in such insanity, I am really really busy and also really really broke. In fact, I am feeling quite antisocial as well - if it were up to me, I wouldn't mind if they could somehow postpone it for another month or two (that'd make so many things SO much easier). But, of course, the world seldom works that way, so too bad right?

Anyway E3 is usually a celebratory time for me, when I get to go out feeling like "Mr Cool Guy" and getting recklessly drunk in public and making all sorts of scene. This time it will be different, I am sure I will knock back a few at the bar, but really what I want to do is scour the landscape, document as much as I can, I am much more business-minded these days then I was several years ago. With games, the proof is in the pudding, and there will be a whole lot of pudding on display in a few days. It's overwhelming and exhausting to think about, in advance. All I can hope is that some good comes of it, for me..

Things have been tremendously busy for me in the past months. I have been working on several plans with a few different groups of people. Much of it has been back-and-forth-nebulous, but enough of it has powered me to keep going forward. I'll spit some of it out into the world shortly, to whatever consequence.. I am very looking forward to that point, when you cut something loose and truly "get the ball rolling." It's so hard to build up to that initial point, it sounds quite doable on paper but the reality is often that there's so much middling BS to mind as well that things tend to get a little messed up here and there. At this point in my life, in ANY project, I really come to expect it. Still, without speaking too whispy, I will say that I have been exercising my creative muscles quite a lot lately and it's making me feel quite competent. Now, so long as my nerves can hold out in the meantime..

The game world is - well, it's there. This has been a rather quiet spring, leading up to a customarily quiet summer. There's no huge tentpoles sticking out for the other ass-end of the year, 2009 is such a wash compared to an oversaturated 2008 (itself an orgasmic followup to an also hectic 2007). Hell year-on-year it's been this gargantuan, unstoppable, quite ridiculous really. And now here we are at the plateau - gears is behind us, resistance, rock bands and guitar heroes, halo this and that, whatever else it is that sony makes - wii is following up with decent titles these days but their luster has finally worn (no mario kart or zelda these days!) What do we get this year? GTA DLC, Bioshock 2 and.. um. I guess Modern Warfare 2 will clean up at the end of the year. No slouch, but something punchy is missing. A LOT is missing.

I have taken my usually-keen gaze away from the console arena a bit and I've been watching the downloads, the mobile stuff.. not that it's all wacky, but it's at least a little noteworthy. iPhone is the big catchphrase these days, it's no surprise, it is still trying to find it's way as a unique platform (more than enough support is there, it has it's own crazy market, the tech is quite formidable) but the "gamer" market is not quite absolutely embracing it just yet, it's still sort of a glorified Gameboy. I am waiting for someone to come and clean up shop and take over, they are really sitting on a goldmine (and I wonder how long they'll be able to fly in the face of the competitors, specifically Microsoft with it's endless deep pockets and eyes set squarely on "taking over the world of ANY KIND OF OS and INTERFACE DEVICE")

Man, I am so tired. So much thinking, there's a lot of things on my mind these days. I can no longer just sit back ad let some higher-up make the decisions, and hope that they don't trickle down and ruin my life (again). I am trying to be much more proactive, it's a necessity. I will always feel like such an outsider in this spiteful industry, I guess there's something to that then.. Anyway, back to work.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

up ahead

4:30am. no good reason to be up. not being very productive. hell i should really go to sleep.

i am in the middle of 30 things right now - is it bad if i leave all of them behind and just drive until my gas tank explodes?

washed my car, found a (precious) parking spot - walked in the door and I immediately got sent out for McDonald's. That was pretty much the deep end of the evening. Also my girlfriend and I spent awhile "discussing our relationship" (isn't it always fun?) I am supposed to be editing sound files right now, but I think I am going to just wrap up and get some sleep instead - after all, tomorrow is another day..

surfing around facebook when you've got no job/money/direction is not a happy thing..

it's not true, i DO have a direction. Actually in the past two days, I put together a decent new idea for an iPhone app - I roughed it out in my head while lying around, and today my biz partner and I discussed it and essentially filled in the blanks. I can't wait to mock it up and get it of the ground - I think this one's got some good potential!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

the chase is on

what's up whirled.

ron here. still plugging away. life is alright, i don't really feel like journal-entering much these days but i feel it's important - as usual, for my own edification, at least - to dip in and out.

times are tough lately. it's been nearly 4 months since i have been out of work. Fortunately i am receiving an unemployment check every couple of weeks, but it's so close to the wire that i can't maintain my minimum lifestyle on that alone - i need a job! I do have expenses beyond rent+utilities+food, i have lots of meetings every week which requires gas, meals, and a a little petty bit of money for this equipment or that. (it's terribly petty, but still worth mentioning). in spite of things i have been EXTREMELY busy, and quite prolific in that - i think i have mentioned it recently. when i am out of work and stressed i definitely get so "gosh-darned creative" and my imagination cranks into overtime, which is definitely a usefl thing. must find a way to funnel that!! I am working on it..

in that vein, i am definitely pouring out my energies into a lot of avenues (some may accuse me of being too unfocused, and they wouldn't be necessarily wrong). It's a hard time in my life to maintain focus though, but really i am trying the best I can. it feels good to have many irons in the fire, i never like operating with all of my eggs in one basket (if there's any more metaphors out there which i have missed, please forward them to me). anyway i have got to just keep up and doing what i do..

after spending an inordinate amount of time concentrating on indie efforts, i have turned my attentions back towards securing fulltime work with some studio or other. right now i am not being so picky, so long as it pays (more than margnally) better than unemployment and can help me secure things with my short-term financial issues, then i will feel relieved. i definitely had some very promising opportunities which have passed during this period, that was a choice i made - of course i wish they were still on the table (i am not stoooopid!) but i can't beat myself up for not bending over backwards for every half-decent thing that comes down the pipe, there's only so much a single person can do.. anyway i maintain that my work/attitude is good enough to land me somewhere that my talents can be appreciated and well-utilized, it's not necessarily got to be "the very next gig" but i would like to see it happen sooner rather than later. it's been a long time coming, eh? Anyway it's up to me really.

i started sending out my cover letter and resume to a few places once more. I sent one over to Blizzard, king of kings in the games biz these days - they seem to be hiring lots of people for positions lately. i don't particularly expect to hear back from them, but it certainly never hurts to send out a message. I can see myself sitting down at the table with a lot of them for some grinding interview, we get three questions in and they start asking me insane tech stuff about WOW and i come up short - it's a little too late to play catch-up with the hardcore - but hey, maybe they want a little of that, you never know! Whatever, I have plenty of insane tech stuff about this/that/the other thing floating through my head all day anyway.

Also sent an application to the guys who share a building location with my previous employer, there's a hilarious proposition. I have no idea if i'd get a call from them, but it would certainly be hilarious to work only a few flights up from a bunch of my old buddies.. I am sure they have their reservations about hiring people who worked with their neighbors, but you never know.

Still would love to get back into film, i can completely picture in my head what i'd need to do to make a splash on that side. MAN that would be nice. A guy can dream! When things cool down I'll likely start pouring my heart and soul into that end of things.. trying to be careful not to split my time and energy between too many projects these days...

what else to say, as usual there's a billion thoughts racing through my head. it's a tough time in my life, a good time and bad time simultaneously - i feel pretty numb about most of it, i have really been through this cycle so many times by now that it just feels so perfunctory, so normal. i used to wake up in the morning, years ago, when i didn't have a paid gig and i'd just stare at my feet sticking out the other end of the bed and listen to all of the traffic outside, all the people outside rushing around, delivering things, meeting people, making deals, couriering shit. It made me feel so out of the loop, so useless, kind of pointless, hard to motivate - directionless. okay you get the point. These days, every day, I bound out of bed, I have TONS of things to do, leads to follow, designs to plunk down, assets to art, meetings to schedule, ego's to juggle, plans to setup, my social life to keep from falling apart - there's so much to do, it's so busy, i still haven't had a day to really sit on my ass and just chill the hell out. Hey, do I sound like i am on CRACK?

Friday, May 01, 2009

hello from the great beyond

well, it has been ages since I have posted on my "game industry blog," how's that then? Things are alright, it's been a few months that I am out of work now. All things considered, overall it is not bad. I am exceptionally busy, probably as much as I usually am during the thickest of it - trying to maintain my nerves as there's just so much volume to deal with lately. I feel like I finally understand how a producer feels, in some regards - just spending the day on the phone with this guy or that fellow, trying to see where everything is at, trying to keep some cover on the documentation of everything, trying to plan backups for A, B and C, and essentially trying to be the glue that holds everything together in some fashion. And, trying to be creative and productive on TOP of that (and also take out the trash, do the laundry). Hey! Yesterday I went to the gym! It was the first time in weeks.. sigh..

Despite my frenetic pace, I am in a good place. There's a lot of progress going on, it's not by any means smooth but I am certainly getting a lot of things taken care of. I am feeling ridiculously creative right now - since I am no longer quite so pigeonholed (and feeling powerless in that way), my brain is free to spit things out in a forum where it's actually useful for a change. I am getting a lot of valid ideas on the table, some useful, others which lead to usefulness, in some ways. It is very invigorating. Sure, I am broke and stressed, but at least I feel happier for a change..

The game world is pretty mellow these days, unsurprisingly. Not much new is out, not much is on the horizon. No surprise for this year, truly an in-between year in the Annals of Game History. I played the demo for Bionic Commando last night (the next-gen version) - they put out a multiplayer demo. Not my thing, but then, I am no multiplayer combatant. Seems fine for what it is, and some people like it. I think when the full game releases, it will look alright!

I am spending a lot of time watching the iPhone scene lately. very, very interesting market. Man, Apple are such stalwarts, everything they do is always so zigzaggy and stubborn but - damn them, they ALWAYS figure it out somehow!! I have much to day about iPhone.. for now I gotta get a move on..