Wednesday, June 24, 2009


sigh. i never have time to blog anymore. where to begin? it's 5am and i have to really, really, really go to be like... ASAP (really).

things are okay. it was a good, although quite long day today. kind of took a day off and just went and moseyed about town with some friends doing random, dorky stuff. good for the head and the heart to get outta town a little bit. we saw the new Transformers movie tonight (yeah, I shouldn't spend $$ at that stuff, but my friends and girlfriend wanted to go, so, ya know). Don't think I've ever gone to a midnight showing of ANYthing before... and man, it was long Like 2+ hours I think!??) but yeh, nice to get out of my mind and reality for a little while (not just partying for a change, that is) I have kinda laid off boozin' it up since E3, which - granted, it's been only a couple of weeks, but for me that's awhile, haha. After being sober for more'n a couple weeks, the desire to go there does kind of fade though. However as reality crushes at you over longer periods of time, it does return with some force..

Working quite hard with my projects, as usual I've got a lot on my plate and trying to manage them all competently. It's hard, but it is getting there. Overall I feel like I am on a good path with what I am up to, just trying to measure it all and keep my decisions solid. That's not always easy, especially as things get more frustrating/tighter as time goes on. With the type of stuff I do, it gets quite demanding and really the only way to get something close to cinching is to reduce all my background noise and concentrate, really, on a single thing. However with what I do, it proves quite valuable to have may irons in the fire, as they say, so I am not too keen on just letting everything else fall completely by the wayside. You can't have it both ways; there's got to be some compromise. The trick comes in balancing whatyou can sensibly, and cutting the rest before it starts to wreck your overall gameplan. It's tough...

Not much else to say really. A lot of stuff in my head as usual - after today's break, I know it is imperative to get down and dirty with the work I need to do and so look forward to living and breathing my work for the next week+. I will do the best I can, it's good to have things to pour myself into. Though at 6 months out of work, I am finding I really need some kind of compensation for the things I have been putting my efforts into (a lot of efforts!) Here's hoping for some good news soon - I don't have any amazing expectations, but I will keep fighting the good fight..

Thursday, June 18, 2009

sullen sunday evenings

hello bloggery bloggnesstification, what the devil brings you here today?

getting on 2 weeks since i visited this place and figured it was time for an update--

so it's past mid-way thru June 2009, that's a little remarkable. If you'd asked my brain where it was, or when rather, it would have sworn there's no way it was later than the 12th. It's a little remarkable, in a bad way, how time is passing quite quickly. I feel like I am somehow in a sort of suspended animation, or whatever sounds like that -

Late mid-June means it is time to think about coughing up for rent and bills, didn't I just do that already? As I am out of work for several months now it is getting harder and harder to manage that. I have some prospects to get some money down the road, I hope, but not sure when or exactly how it'll float since jobs aren't exactly banging down my door. The sad reality is that i must seriously think about moving out of my apartment soon, since it's just getting too expensive to maintain this status of lifestyle on merely an unemployment-funded income (and that money source is due to expire in the not-too-distant future as well). Few things rattle me more than considering giving up my apartment, it's definitely one of the few status symbols I have to show for my decade of killing myself working in this truly godforsaken industry - but hey, that's the way the cookie crumbles. I will have to decide this stuff soon.

Despite my somber tone, things aren't too bad - the economy and job market are ripped to shreds of course, but I am doing the best I can not to take it personally. Still working quite hard and lining up whatever business I can get my hands on, when it's sensible. That's actually a tall order, as there's a lot of BS business that one can so easily get wrapped up in as well. Still, trying to point straight and proper to get myself a little better situated. One thing I am devoting much time to is organizing this whole iPhone thing, it's a burgeoning new(er) market than what's typically been for videogames but it's also right stupid - I mean - there's a dearth of quality software on there, but what there is, is mucking around at "something for almost literally nothing" prices. It's basically likea lottery system these days, and I can't say for sure whether or not that's a bad thing considering. Anyway, it's all I have got right now, so get on it.

I have been spending uber-amounts of time not only designing and arting for apps, but setting up much of the administrative backend as well. Part of the whole iPhone market scheme is the actual new market itself, and all the rules and tools that involves. I am a pretty grassroots guy in this, meaning I haven't any money (at all) to invest in marketing dollars, so in order to get any kind of eyeballs on my product it's gotta be a whole bunch of DIY and guerilla marketing, no small feat in that. Basically I have spent umpteen hours grazing around on social networking sites like myspace, twitter, and youtube, just digging around and trying to get my shots in where I can, and this with nothing to even show yet, really. It's absolutely been an experience, and a strange one at that. I feel like the cybernetic equivalent of an indie-band manager or something. It's getting a little momentum, for whatever it's worth - by the time the apps are ready to roll out, I will hopefully have the possibility of a good couple thousand connections in some degree or other, maybe twice that, maybe 1/3 of that, it's hard to tell - but with just time invested, not a fat wad of cash. So we will see, it's an interesting experiment and a lot of upkeep to be sure. Every step is crucial.

In all of that, I have been spending an inordinate amount of time sitting right here in front of my PC, I would say even more than normal - even after all these years, it's having a dramatic effect on me, I can feel myself subhumanizing in some ways, it is getting kinda gross. Thankfully my mood's not in the crapper, but I do feel less like a "normal person" when most of my activities get relegated to just dealing with sending I/O back and forth over the screen. Is that all the future holds for us really?

Anyway, bottom line is that, as expected, 2009 was obviously gonna be a strange yeara dn right here, at just about the halfway point of the year, it's damned true...!

As the next couple of months roll by, I remain hopeful that things will lighten up a little, come to fruition, what-have-you. I a not the sort who believes in karma or divine retribution or some such, so it's all just luck really with a degree of taking care of the backend support from my side. We will see what happens.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Dash - bored...

Siiiigh, so tired, so tired. What's up gentlemen and gentlewomen? What's new? Tell me, tell me, because.. no one says anything...

It's been some pretty busy times for me lately. Life has definitely been a lot of ups and downs, lots of thought - lots of stress - lots and lots of activity. I have been working extremely hard across all of my projects, they are going well enough for the most part but as I get further in I keep finding more pieces of each to unravel, more aspects which must be dealt with. Kinda one of my more enjoyable parts of - anything, actually, but it's humbling to constantly be facing "now figure this out, now figure THIS out, etc etc." It makes me feel smart, sometimes, as I deal with them, but then I also come to the realization that I am not a mountain, as they say - there's only so much I can bat back at you, until my resolve starts to poop out..

But for all it's worth, I am happy with where I am at, and the results have made me proud. It's still a sloppy trip and taking a toll on me, and consequences are starting to pile up (it's getting extremely hard to balance my checkbook!) and so that means things are actually at stake. I guess I have a love/hate relationship with pressure, really, and that's not news..

In spite of it, been partying some lately, though more out of necessity in some ways (I know, "boo hoo") than merely of being wound up and having to go do bad things. Well, the game convention was front and center in town last week so it's impossible to brave that and NOT end up on my ass, really.. and so that all led up to some really memorable moments in my life, to be honest.. but now it is time to really settle back down and deal with the business at hand. Though to be honest, it was nice stepping out of reality for a few moments there.

Some tough nights, bad dreams - my ego is a little bruised lately, and spilling out from my subconciousness during those off-hours, I wake up the next morning feeling anything but rested, in spite of my "pressure cravings"I really do look forward to taking the edge off. Sigh, once in awhile I kind of come out of the fog of my life and things feel so clear about what to do, and I actually start down that path. But then, being a person really means you are good at seeking out what will make things more difficult, and so I tend to slip back into that side of things as well (I really feel for anyone who reads this, it sounds like I am some Heroin junkie who's got an unbelievable jonesing gnawing at them...) Yeah okay, my problems aren't quite that colorful. But they really are pretty normal, which I'd have no matter what at this stage of life.. Money. Women. Love. Career. Losing some weight. Not downing that pair of Jager shots. Keeping my car/apartment/etc. all from falling to pieces. Maintaining some normal exercise. Yeah - all pretty normal stuff I guess, and there's not much wrong in that light (especially these days). but I am getting older, and there's some things that I am just damned tired of, some things that seem like they should be so outrageously simple to figure out, and logically it's cake but in the real world it's just a freakin' mess, man... Ah well. Welcome to mid-thirties. At least everyone else I am surrounded by, is goddamned nuts as well...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

E3 2009 - day one

9PM, sitting at home for a couple of hours now, here's the wrap-up.

It's been 2 years since I've attended E3 (since many have!) so I was kinda looking forward to the Return of the Spectacle. Well, long story short - it was really meh, is all I have to tell you. Yeah, there were some interesting announcements, take your pick (Team Ninja doing a new Metroid, all the fancy new Xbox 360 and PS3 peripherals, Mario Galaxy 2 announcement, etc). But overall, just kind of a feeling that "man this would have been a lot more exhilarating a couple of years earlier!" I am sure there's a few things to it (not to get all into it, but yeah like I said it's not the same mood when you are job-hunting at E3 as opposed to just taking it in and relaxing, catching up with friends, and so forth) - really I was surprised that the attendance was much smaller than I had expected, you could actually get through the halls fairly easily and there weren't insane lines all over the place to see things from my POV. I guess it's sort of what I'd called in my previous post - things are pulled back these days, you're not really seeing a lot of impressive innovation, everyone's just trying to put out tried-and-true product that will ensure money coming in. But damn, so dull. Hey look ANOTHER Need for Speed! Sure it looks nice but who cares? PGR looked amazing 4 years ago! Another Shaun White. More cooking games. Yawny McYawnerstein.

Anyway, what did I actually look at?

-GI JOE - as was evident from the screens released months ago, this looked like a poor (very) last-gen game. The action and such didn't look so bad, but not noteworthy and the visuals were just very blase. Come on, we have Unreal Tech, why show us this?

-Need for Speed - see above.

-TMNT Smash - I didn't really look at it or play it but it looks like they are trying to follow the Smash Bros blueprint. Is that license still viable though? Stuff gets old.

-New Super Mario Bros. Wii - This sounded interesting to me. I could still sit down and play through a round of good old SMB. Unfortunately, the game was not exactly captivating. I never played New Super Mario Bros. (on DS) but I imagine it felt like this. This was not what I want Mario to feel like, to play like! It's all floaty now with the LBP-3D feeling, but not in a good way. Honestly I would much rather stick with the fanmade levels on LBP at this point. I am not a naysayer against new Mario (Galaxy etc) but something about this just didn't feel like I could wrap myself around it. I ran out of caring after beating a round. I don't like how it handles the 2P simultaneous mode, feels like an afterthought/frustrating.

-Zombie Apocalypse (PSN) - played excatly how I thought it would. Yawn.

-Pixeljunk Shooter - I knew this would be fun. These guys have that certain something that makes weird little titles fun. I would download this. Maybe just demo, but ya know.

-Wii Sports Resort - I wanted to try the new MotionPlus, but got bored watching the guy in front of me shoot hoops. I think the fencing might be alright. It's hard to get psyced about Mii stuff at a scene like E3.

-Transformers - they showed vids of it on the big Activision screen. I can't say much for the gameplay but they really nailed the visuals - it looks like what you'd want a Michael Bay Transformers game to look like. Hopefully they can put the pieces back together following the previous rushjob installment.

-Tony Hawk Ride - I was pretty tempted to try this out, with the new skatboard peripheral. I actually got pretty far in the (admittedly short) line but got bored waiting for the guy ahead of me to practice the simple maneuvers - also the screens they were showing didn't look very appealing at all, graphically. I will say this though, I can see why they decided to make a new board rather than use the Wii Fit board - skaters can grab the deck in their hands and get more of a "skater feeling" if that makes sense.

-DJ Hero - this is so tough to tell. They had a big demo where they really broke it all down and showed the nuts and bolts of the game - the thing is, with these types of games it's really hard to tell how it feels just by watching someone play it. It could be really fun or just very complicated and confusing. I applaud them for going out on a limb and at least, trying something a little unorthodox (such as it is). I will reserve judgement, it's definitely going to be a harder sell than Guitar Hero in some ways..

-Lego Rock band - saw this there, it was exactly as you'd expect. Rock band, with Legos, yawn. I make fun of it, but I think we'll probably pick this up cause Rock Band doesn't seem to age that badly. I don't like looking at the Lego avatars though, I wish they had a reskin with the current Rock Band? Or just release all the same tracks for us, same price? Please?

-Rock Band Unplugged (PSP) - this reviewed fairly well on IGN recently. I don't think there's anyway to say it's good or not after playing it at E3, it's reduced down to it's simplest formula (watching bars and hitting buttons) - and you can't hear the audio at all! So, don't ask me.

-Motorstorm PSP - looked alright, a little crunchier like PS1. I just donnnn't like PSP, what can I say.

What else did I see? Um.. Steve Wiebe was there playing Donkey Kong (OG) to try and recapture the world record, that was funny. People would cheer as he cleared rounds - it was odd. A little hypnotic to watch for awhile, but ti was getting late and we had to move on. I wish Billy Mitchell was there!!

There was a little "indie area," actually I wished this section was bigger. It was fairly anemic, but kudos to them for representing. Not much to really yell home about, but a couple of the games were actually pretty impressive! They mentioned there's some indie game fest due up in... October, I believe, I wanna say it was gonna be in Culver City. I'll check back on that, definitely would like to check that out.

It's hard to judge E3 by the same standard I usually would. It's one of those strange things that really seems to pop up in the more unusual times of my life, and now is not really any different. I can't say it's really the ideal time for me to be indulging in that madness, so I can't expect to have such a great time as I often do (and sometimes it's just been REALLY GOOD DAMNED TIMES!) I blame that on circumstances of life more than just some convention however (and not like my life is even bad, at all, it's just not as... innocent and rambunctious as it'd been in the past). There's obviously something to attending the show when you are a bigshot dev on a cool project vs when you are just a scrub lookin' for work.. hahaha. Ah well, time to hit the bar...

Monday, June 01, 2009

Kick me out of E3!! AGAIN!!

What's up Mouseketeers. It's about 6:30 Monday evening, I just got back from downtown. Yeah, E3 isn't open to the masses until tomorrow, but I wanted to beat the madness and get a badge holder one day early - as opposed to waiting in line with 20,000 smelly nerds for a piece of plastic. I mean, I will wait with those same nerds all day long for other things I am sure..

It was funny walking in there. I was able to breeze Downtown from Hollywood in a flash (surprised!), parked for free (surprised - ALSO!), walked around the entire building the wrong way 'cause I am a moron, found my way to the South Hall Entrance where they were still setting up the most ginormous Rock Band Presented by Pepsi display I have ever seen, strolled up to the front of the line with my bade and presto. Actually, it felt like the end of E3s' past, since it was generally quite mellow with the occasional straggler here and there, and most folks seemed bored and sleepy. Soon, soon. Tomorrow will be a different story.

I am reminded of the last time that I was attending E3 without a job - that was back in 2001, I was freshly out of work from the collapse of 3DO (and my division, New World Computing). Working frantically to get my portfolio into some presentable state, and hurrying to get business cards printed until the last-last minute, I had been out of work long enough that I didn't have proper credentials for my own badge and so my programmer buddy from Neversoft lent me his ('cause he didn't care anyway!) For some reason, Matt put "Matty" on his badge - and I got randomly screened, after one hour, while entering an exhibit hall. "Is your name really 'Matty?' Let me see your ID!" I tried to call their bluff, but of course my Driver's License don't lie, so they stripped me of the badge and kicked me out, with my biz cards, portfolio samples and resumes - all I wanted to do was a find a job! Sob, sob. Pathetic, I know! I'd been 4 years in the game industry already - and now, a convention full of fat smelly nerds was rejecting me. Ah, the irony.

Well, that was (ulp) eight years ago. Sadly, I guess I may not have come so far, here we are at another E3 and I am still scrounging for work, same old story. In fact after I wrap up this entry, I need to bring my new business card template down to Kinkos/FedEx/whatever the hell they call it now and print up a bunch for my partner's and my new iPhone game venture. At least this time if I get kicked out of the show, it's 'cause I was doing something particularly unruly, not just crappy luck!

News-wise - lots of info already spilling out from the pre-show, Microsoft had their conference already earlier today. To tell the truth I've not done more than give a cursory glance to all the goings-on, what with running around and sending out bill payments and cashing checks and then all the admin setup for my new website, figuring out how to do MIDI capture and editing (I am 30 years too late, I know), and trying to give my girlfriend a moment of attention here and there... Anyway something about "Microsoft full-body movement control sensor," PSP GO (PSP GO AWAY!) .. they just don't understand... More Halo's (what's an ODSF?) Trailers for everything, I was proud to see a giant spectacular ALPHA PROTOCOL wall display inside of South Hall Section K.

The next couple of days will be a migrain, hopefully I can shmooze my way into some E3 party or other (yeah, yeah...) Good luck troops..