Citizen Kane of Video Games

Everyone knows I love the Prime series, and recently some ABC News report named it the Citizen Kane of Video Games.

More interesting, however is Mark Pacini's (Director behind the series and one of the founders of Armature studios down in Austin, post Samus) response today.

Definitely worth a quick read.



The story

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine a few weeks ago that struck a fascinating chord. Somehow we got on the topic of dating and first dates and the awkwardness of the last moments. At one point after a sip of margarita he said, "I don't know - I'm just not the kind of person to kiss someone on the first date." Curious, I asked why. Very frankly, the shrugged slightly and looked me square in the eyes and said, "That's just not how the story goes." A few weeks earlier I had a drink with an old female friend from college who mentioned that she doesn't enjoy romantic comedies at all. Why? "Because they're so unrealistic."

Over the last few weeks it led to more introspection over a topic I've thought much about over the years - how much we fall in love and chase after ideals we've found in movies and fairy tales. To be totally curt on relationships: do you fall in love with the girl or with the story? The story varies by person but usually goes something like this: work hard in school, find love, graduate, find the job of your dreams, get married, buy a house with a white picket fence, a dog and a few kids, and they lived happily ever after. The steps may be slightly different and include other steps or in a different order, but I bet you've heard the story at least once before.

It's interesting to see how many people (including myself) have fallen into that - falling in love with the story they hope they can achieve in their current situation and letting that infatuation totally overpower the realities that are present. I think in a lot of cases it's what causes you to do things for seemingly unexplained reasons. Why do so many people work towards being an engineer or a pharmacist when they really wanted to be an artist or a photographer? Or date people that don't match them at all because one quality is exactly how they imagined? Usually because they cling onto the fairy tales they want out of their lives so much that they're not willing to do the hard work to mold the hands they've been dealt into something they may love even more.

I realize I'm not being as astute as I would want, but sitting here in my perfect little house with a perfect little Christmas tree and a perfect fire roaring in the fireplace, it all makes sense in my head how much this is just half of my fairy tale. So I'll go ahead and stop trying to articulate and end on the final words that came out of my tv from an episode of How I Met Your Mother:

Robin: How do you do this Ted? How do you sit out here all night, in the cold, and still have faith that your pumpkin's going to show up?
Ted: Well, I'm pretty drunk. Look I know the odds are, the love of my life isn't going to magically walk through that door in a pumpkin costume at 2:43 in the morning. But it just seems as nice a spot as any to just ... you know, sit and wait.



Flower is another game that has jumped up to one of the best "experience" games I've ever played. Some other ones: Portal, Braid, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. Just amazing to play, and games that I almost literally said... "WOW" at the end of. Absolutely would recommend, and in the meantime, check out this link with an interview with some of the developers and their attitudes. Very awesome. Bravo thatgamecompany, bravo :)


Subtractive design

I recently went back to an old issue of Game Developer to read an article I on the concept of subtractive game design. I'll let you read it and form an opinion, but at the least I agree that the games that have ascribed to a simple and strong focus have delivered some of the best and most memorable experiences I've had in the recent past. Check it out here.



I've posted about Passage by Jason Rohrer once before and recently discovered that it has since been released on the iPhone. For anyone with an iPhone and interested in art, I would strongly encourage you to download it (only $0.99). Consider it a donation to view a piece of artwork. If you don't think it was worth it after playing it, I will happily send you a dollar for your trouble.

Additionally, to tack onto this post, an interesting article about building a game by yourself, an article listing some of the best indie games of the year, and a link with some of the best quotes about the indie games space. Totally inspirational. :)


Sexiest Woman Alive

I always figured it would be a cold day in hell when I posted something from Esquire, but I just had to here. Esquire named Kate Beckinsale the sexiest woman alive. And I agree so much with that statement that it just had to be stated here.

Oh that's right - not only is she crazy sexy in her own right, she's acted as a vampire, she's in one of my favorite cheesy romantic comedies (Serendipity), she has that crazy cute English accent, she's actually a mother that spends time with her kids, and she's a nerd! She's an Oxford grad, and is fluent in French, German and Russian. Bravo Esquire, bravo.

Additionally, it's a tech post! Her "OMFG she's so sexy" montage Esquire shot was done with the crazy awesome Red Epic 5K, which is a digital video camera that shoots at such a high resolution that photographers can now get the same quality of shot in video as they could with a still. Which literally means that (to quote the Gizmodo article):

This makes it a lot easier on the photographer since he doesn't need to know, intuitively, when the best few seconds are to snap a stream of shots—he can just point the thing and tell Kate to be sexy.


The guy in me is turned on by the crazy sexy Kate Beckinsale, and the nerd in me is turned on by the crazy sexy camera.

This is clearly the best news post mankind has ever created.


Awe inspiring

You absolutely must check out this story about a Malawian boy who taught himself and helped out his small family community. Absolutely amazing, and really makes you think about how different the world is in different places. Not everywhere is iPhones and the internet. Very, very cool. We need more people like this in the world.


A soul made of Austin

I made a trip out to Austin this weekend for my sister's 30th birthday (Happy Birthday Neesha!) and happily spent the rest of the weekend catching up with friends and all around soaking in Austin yet again. I'm not really sure why - maybe it's the familiar sights, the people, memories of the first twangs of independence, or just straight up nostalgia for everything I felt while living here, but I feel like a totally different person here. Different priorities, different focus, different actions. Better? I'm not sure. But certainly different.

I got the chance to catch up with my cousin, who came from LA to surprise my sister at her party (which was awesome, because she never saw it coming). Always an interesting experience, my extended family are as close to me as my immediate family, so it's always good to have a long catch up session to see the state of life we're each in. We're members of a large family, of which we (myself, my sister, my cousin in LA and his younger brother) are the final four of our generation to jump on the married-with-kids bandwagon. Needless to say, a few drinks and a nice night outside often leads to introspective life-goal conversations.

Which brings me to my (if you're poked around this blog ever, you'll recognize immediately) self-introspective point of the post. So if you check up on this for the sillier posts, just click on one of the non-personal labels on the left and look at something like 1-Ups made out of radishes.

Edit: post finished 10 days later, on 09/22/09, 12:58am.

Well, insert a ten day gap here, after becoming distracted by various things. The point I was attempting to get to is an existential one (of course). That is - as we grow up, it seems to be increasingly more difficult to focus and make decisions (or at least for me), because of all the factors that weigh in. Should I go out tonight or stay home and work? Should I get another cat? Should I sell my house? Should I drop everything and travel the world? Certainly lots of valid thoughts, of wide variety.

But really (and maybe this is the programmer in me), it seems that we should be able to fixate on one heading - some direction in which to frame what we're doing, right? Otherwise, we're just doing things for the sake of what you feel like doing at the moment - does that get us anywhere? In the world of only immediate gratification (to take a line from a friend here in Dallas), the most effective method would be to shoot up heroin all day until you died. You'd be damn happy in the process, right?

But of course (or maybe not, depending on who you are), there's more to be desired. But what is that? I sat out underneath a light sprinkle and muggy weather in the Austin night and posed the question to my cousin - where are you going? In a perfect world, where do you want to see yourself in 5 years? 10?


Huhn. Absolutely valid, certainly. But is that the only focus that it takes? Can you plan out what you want in the future, or rather what you think your future self will want to be happy? Surely there are some things that can be stated for sure - "I want to grow up and have a family", "I want to create the great American video game", "I want to help people and leave a positive impression on the world", "I want to have the ability to laugh at life until the day I die." The programmer in me wants an end goal that I can work towards - some level of focus that frames the actions that I do on a day to day basis. Something that when I'm sitting trying to figure out what to do becomes a beacon for where you want your life to go, "Is this helping me to _______?" Answers and focus must be a good thing, right?

I wonder, though (not that I necessarily believe it, but an interesting concept nonetheless) if it is the case that you simply can't predict accurately enough what your future self will want? When I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than to be an Astronaut, then a fighter pilot, and a Karate instructor, an artist, a husband, a father, a creator of video games, a musician, a college orientation advisor, a volunteer. So many different things that have shifted focus around. Can we really predict ourselves well enough to pick one thing to focus our actions around? Or is the moving target just too fast? Does the volatility of our mortality make it worth the effort, or should you focus on the smaller victories?

I don't know, but being on a blank canvas surrounded by inspiration is both extraordinary and gut wrenching. There are still days when I want to be something specific:

A creator
A husband
An inspiration
A father
An aide

For now, I think I'll work towards happy and see where it takes me.


The ultimate costume

Check out this post for the step-by-step creation of the best Big Daddy costume I've ever seen. With matching little sister O_O


Windstorm Studios

My friend from Ensemble (Dusty Monk) started Windstorm Studios after the closure at the beginning of the year, and just released two concept pieces from the game he's working on! Holy awesome! Go check them out!


Super NES: An era of greatness

Screw Attack has an awesome two part list (top 20) of the best Super NES games.

Part 1
Part 2

If you consider yourself a gamer of this generation, and you haven't played every single one of these games, you need to leave your computer, go download them on Wii virtual console, buy an SNES right now, or go get them on an emulator and play them right this minute. This list was such an encapsulation on my childhood that I got shivers from seeing each of the games on the top 5 again. Awesome. :)


I am totally making these next time I have people over :)


Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there...

With open arms and open eyes, yeah.

Have you thought about what drives you? It seems like a pretty easy question to answer, right? For many people it's money, fame, success, spiritual journey, or maybe even just pure selfishness. But it's usually there and fairly evident. The interesting thing, I think is how that can evolve over time.

Often I'm reminded of a conversation I had with a close friends where they liked to express the various stages we go through in life as chapters in a book (a metaphor I've used before, in some post on here). But the interesting part starts to come in when you think about what each of those chapters entailed. I guess it's just really an extrapolation on "What did you want to be when you grew up as a kid?", but applied at more times.

I find myself caught in these moments of introspection when I come back from spending time with old friends who knew me growing up. In the last week or so, I've spent time with people who knew me well during multiple different distinct chapters of my life: from the fellow artist / crush when I was a kid in elementary school, to the close friend and martial arts buddy as a nervous boy in middle school, to the friends I spent every waking moment in high school (split into two distinct chapters, actually), to the roommates in college, all the way to a now mom that I became closer with in my years post college.

It's certainly nice to have connections strong enough to go so far back, but every single time, it makes me realize one thing: they all know a very different version of me, depending on what chapter they had a supporting role in my own personal life book. Not one of which is exactly the person that I am now. Now, I certainly understand that we change over time, we adapt to our circumstances, our surroundings, and our experiences. It's that versatility that makes us interesting creatures. Regardless, the scope and contrast of those changes is so apparent that there are times when it seems almost impossible that the face in those photographs from years ago is the same one sitting in his bedroom, typing away on a netbook with a cat sleeping in the corner.

To bring it back to my lengthy and belabored point, I think a lot of it comes down what my drive was during those chapters. There was certainly quite a variety: to find and overcome challenges, to make the world a better place, the invoke awe and inspiration into people, to simply - and selfishly - have fun (I would hope anyone who has been a kid could list that one), to find the love they talk about in fairy tales, to make myself a better person, to have a family and make their lives better, to help make the people I care about succeed and be happy, to get to make video games that people love, to be financially successful myself. Clearly, there's a lot of them.

The crazy part is that for virtually every one of those, I can think of a specific and iconic moment in my life where I feel like I achieved that - in the moment, I could mentally "check that off" as an experience I had. Even though many were fleeting, there's something very educational about actually getting something that you strove for and idealized. Sometimes that moment is educational as you realize how much it had been put on a pedastal, and sometimes it's more astonishing than you could have expected. Either way, it's a necessary and enlightening thing to have happen.

So what's different about now? What's the need for this conversation? In the past, at any given point, one of those aspirations stood above the others - maybe because I had accomplished enough of them, or had temporarily put them aside, but there was virtually always a clear and distinct drive that was easy to get behind. I find myself standing among a huge amalgam of successes and failures on each of those topics, and am therefore burdened by the multitude of goals that remain unfinished. It's clearly not possible to be working on them all at once, but is the right approach to pick one and dive headfirst into succeeding at that before moving on? After all, many people spend their lives just trying to accomplish one thing as broad as those that I've listed. Or do I focus on many at once and see where it takes me? There's certainly the unfortunate realization that is necessary: you can't do everything.

There's certainly not a point to my little rant here, no lesson to be learned. Just a little thinking aloud. It's something that often bubbles up in my thoughts when I catch up with old friends and remember how passionate I could be about any single topic, and how often and easily I would dive headfirst into taking it on. Maybe the fact that all of these goals are standing in front of me, none fully solved and craving attention has nothing to do with my particular story and is a part of getting older: the more time passes, the easier it is to realize that it is finite. After all, that portion is certain - there is only so much time in life, so you better find out how to move in a direction that takes you where you want to go, whether you get there or not.

g'night, thanks for listening


Shadow Complex

OMG So totally can't wait for this. Especially since Super Metroid is on the top of my "Best games of all time" list (it fluctuates with Shadow of the Colossus depending on how nostalgic I'm feeling), it's amazing to see a game that is inspired by it. Can't say the art style is doing much for me in these still shots, but I have high hopes for the gameplay. Can't wait! Especially since it's an XBox Live Arcade title, hopefully it will be a game that has a small identity that it adheres to. Get excited!

Halo Wars Dev Blog!

Leader powers part three and four are mine: part three is up now. :)



It's been quite a while since I posted on here, and this isn't a meaty post. More of work related, actually - it was just publicly announced that we're using the Vision engine here at Robot. I'm actually quoted in the article!


The Hangover

The Hangover was damn crazy funny - my wisdom-toothless-jaw hurts like mad because I was laughing for two hours straight. :p



New Metroid game announced moments ago at E3!

I was skeptical when Prime came out, but that knocked my socks off, so I'm going to think positive and hope that this reinventing turns out to be equally awesome :)

Also awesome - Secret of Monkey Island remake:

Cannot wait!


The Ensemble Studios Phoenix

Pretty awesome to see more news come up about the studios from Ensemble - always interesting to really sit back and reflect on how much that changed things for the people I worked with. I would love to see all four studios kicking ass in four years :)



Another great video online. If you find 10 minutes to spare, absolutely watch it. Very cool music, and a really interesting take on communication. Thanks to Lee for sending it to me!


Suuupeeer slooow moootionnn...

I-Movix SprintCam v3 NAB 2009 showreel from David Coiffier on Vimeo.

Very cool video of a variety of things in super slow motion. Interesting to see all these simple things in a slower perspective.


It shouldn't be this hard

Picture provided by Flickr

We walked into the restaurant with quite a grim tone about us. Venting and trying to work through a recent frustration the day brought us, eventually covering the table in an air of defeat once the food came. Silence.

One of my coworkers, who I highly respect (much as I do all the people I currently work with) broke the silence while staring down at his plate. "It shouldn't be this hard." Taken a bit by surprise, we all looked up and didn't have a chance to respond before he continued, "I mean, I take that attitude in my life in general, but have noticed it much more when it comes to work. It shouldn't be this hard."

It was an interesting moment for me, both because I realized how little I knew about him outside of the workplace, and also because it certainly boiled down my feelings on the situation (and many other situations, both in and out of work) so well. It's such an troublesome concept also: to understand that trials of challenge also provide the most fulfilling rewards, but also to accept the fact that the most difficult path is not always the best to follow. I know it's a mistake I've made myself plenty of times.

It's been an interesting few weeks, to say the least. Aside from trudging forward with work, my family has had a rough time in the last few months. Having just recently lost my Grandmother on my mother's side at the end of last year, the notion of our own mortality and how to spend one's time has been rich each time I speak with my family. How difficult then, to have another loss in the family: news that a very close family friend (family in every sense but blood), in India, a woman who had a huge part in raising my mother as a child, past away.

I got the news on a late-Sunday night drive home a few days ago after an otherwise flawless weekend of fun. My mother and father got the news of her passing while in the airport, planning to catch a flight to India to be with her while she wasn't well. Speaking with my mother about it, for the first time in as far as I can remember did I really hear the struggle in her voice with it. I knew it was there when my Grandmother passed, and I saw it again here, but she would never show it to us. Listening to her advice (as parents always give), the one line that stood out in her conclusion, "Don't do anyone wrong." A very simple statement, but combined with the behaviors in which I was raised, it spoke volumes. About how to treat others, to respect your fellow people, to openly love those you care about, and to simply not do others wrong. It's something I've strove for, but I am certainly far from perfect.

So what's the point?

Nothing really - just to think about, to try and appreciate the times that we have. I've spoken, quite literally in the past, about not taking things for granted. I suppose the only point that really comes out of this is to not take difficult situations or the good people we run across for granted. It's not easy, and gets harder as we compile more pieces into our lives, but its something that also becomes more necessary. After all, the time we have is limited - I want to be doing things that I'm proud of now, and will be proud of years from now.


Laughing at my drive in

Here's the playlist I had on the drive on (from hopping radio stations):

Black Eyed Peas - Boom Boom Pow
Incubus - Nice to Know You
Jason Mraz - I'm Yours

I think my musical taste has a multiple personality disorder.

Also, I need a new helmet for my bike (suggested by Lee):

I've always wanted to make a Samus one, but this Ironman one is pretty crazy awesome too. lol


I'm not sure if...

it's because I caught up with one of many friends I haven't kept up with over lunch, or because I finally got a chance to do some tech work instead of sit in meetings at work, or because I got to witness one of my friends proposing to another friend over the weekend, or because I cleaned my house on Easter, or because I stared at the ring on my finger and remembered why I wore it, or because I watched as my cat fell asleep and dreamed instead of working last night, or because I randomly heard from a friend who I haven't talked to in years on IM today, or because I decided to put the top down on my car halfway through my drive home today, or because I started to actually remember what it was like to really be passionate about work again, or because of a million other mini-moments in the last few days...

but things seemed different today. The world revealed itself in a new way, that left me wanting more - not worrying about the little nuances life provided, but instead appreciating the little experiences that came up day to day. Doing whatever I can for the people I love, and enjoying every minute of it. Just being grateful and happy about the moments I have :)

I'm not sure why.


Hahaha - just beautiful :)


On human nature

I challenge you to look at this video and not smile :)
Very cool idea, and certainly leaves me more optimistic about human nature :)


I am without words

I simply can't describe how sad this makes me.


Taking it for granted

Taking a five minute break between a million meetings, writing documents, looking at technology and writing code, I stumbled through the stacks of articles on cnn, falling onto this one about parenting. As grim and specific as the tone is, it's an interesting reminder about how easy it is to follow the status quo, all the while not realizing the great things you come across in life. It's not always something as specific as a marriage or a friendship, I think. Those are just the easiest to see. An excerpt:

But it's too little, too fleeting. We spend so much of our lives passing each other on the way somewhere. ... What's gone is the pure selfishness that brought us together. Something that belonged only to us, that was unique to us and part of us, has gotten lost.

But isn't this what happens in life -- that what I remember was a time, not a thing, and we can no more recapture those versions of ourselves than we can travel to ancient Rome? That a normal part of becoming an adult, of raising a family together, is leaving behind treasured swaths of the love affair that got us here -- the mindless lust, the inside jokes, the laughter? Perhaps. But even so, selfish though it may be, I miss my wife.

Maybe it's the optimist in me that pokes his head out at just the right time, but I think he's wrong. It's not just the normal course of life and being an adult, appreciating the people / beauty around you that brings you joy (in this case his wife). I just think as more and more things come up that try and distract us, it forces us to work harder to focus on those things that bring you happiness. Difficult is not the same as inevitable.



Having a crazy busy or stressful day? Take a minute and thirty four seconds and check out this video - very cool.


To directly contradict my last post

As I often do sadly, but I found myself at a nice wine bar last night, chatting with the bartender (who recently moved to Dallas for the mountain biking - go figure), talking about how much he enjoys it there, finding myself wanting to fill out an application to work part time in the evenings there. How interesting it would be to learn about wines, and be able to people watch all the kinds of people coming through day to day. The friends coming for a relaxing glass of wine, the people on a first date, the lone person who just needed a drink. I imagine it would be fascinating everyday.

But of course, even considering signing up for yet another responsibility when I'm already struggling to take care of the responsibilities I have now would be preposterous. That certainly doesn't keep me from thinking about it, though. Hmm...


Well, one thing's for sure:

No matter how hard you try, you can't do it all. So what's the best way to decide how to spend your time? Looking at the next couple years and all the things I want to do, I wish I knew how to pick out what bubbles to the top.


Family is absolutely priceless

... in its hilarity. No matter how much time passes, there's this familiarity of ridiculousness that pervades. I say this because after an insane day of work, I'm aimlessly wandering a giant Indian food store, while my sister (who drove in from Austin, got lost and called me 6 times while I was at work) takes pictures of spices, my mother and father (who drove in from Houston last night and spent the day solving problems around my house), the former of which is reading a paper aloud, the latter of which is buying a stack of crackers he used to eat as a child. It reminds me of how comfortable people can be when around family. Now, that's not always a good thing, because often we get a touch too comfortable and can get upset with each other quickly. The phrase "we only hurt th.. Oops, I've been spotted - now they're curios why I'm poking away at a little computer. Gtg!



Just got done watching The Pursuit of Happyness, which, even though it wasn't particularly well reviewed, it certainly got to me. Maybe it's because of the acting, or the story, or just the thoughts of how little I've really had to struggle through, but it got to me.

I mean seriously? How ridiculous do I feel when the stresses that I deal with on a daily basis aren't how to keep a roof over my head or what to eat, they're on the order of "I need to pay a lot of money to get one of my cars repaired", or "I've got to sort through all the useless crap I've accumulated". How quickly and easily we forget just how blessed our lives are. I was lucky enough to grow up with enough money to have nice things, go to good schools, have supportive parents and not even worry about college. All of it was handed to me on a silver platter. And what's even worse is that only one generation back (my father) was struggling when he came to this country, fatherless, working three jobs to pay his way through school and sending back money to India to support his mother and brother. How close and yet so far away.

The hardest part I really found were the sections where the sections where Will Smith was so mentally stressed by the situation that he snapped as his son. Even the thought of the "real life" nature of it, where someone has fully altruistic goals, (in this case to have a good life for him and his son) deal irrevocable damage to the people you're trying to help. Especially when it's a child, is just hard to see. Harder still for me to see in a father-son relationship. I know if / when I do have kids, I won't be a perfect father - nobody is. But even just considering the thought of hurting my child makes me a little sick to my stomach.

(if you haven't seen the movie, potential spoiler alert in the next section)

Which, I think is why a little part of the ending actually seemed bittersweet to me. Throughout the movie, there are allusions to Will Smith being so stressed that he begins to hurt his relationship with his son in the pursuit of this job (to get the money to live). Then, the end pre-credits-text has a happy-go-lucky note about the fact that Will Smith's character sold part of the company in a multi-million dollar deal (the movie was inspired by a true story). Going in a few seconds from struggling to find a place to live to becoming a multi-millionaire just seemed to rub me the wrong way, and think about how much all that work by Will Smith's character must have hurt his relationship with his son in the long run. How weird is that?

(end spoiler)

It absolutely makes me think about, and often reconsider what I do on a day-to-day basis. Surely there are better, more effective ways to leave this world a better place. I had a discussion with a coworker who recently got a Tesla that started on the topic of whether he was keeping his old car and somehow ended up on the goals he has about how he wants to affect the world. To summarize a long discussion, we were talking about his goals (something we share) to help people - the benefits over helping a single person by day-to-day actions, or whether to succeed in other ways (financially as an example) and then try and help more people en masse - by donations, by volunteering, etc. The end goal being the same, which is the "most correct" solution? It was an interesting discussion that left me with a new respect for him, and of course reconsidering what I have done, am currently doing, and want to be doing with my life, on a day-to-day basis and a long term basis.

Totally devoid of answers, here I am - thinking, trying to figure out how to help. Trying to figure out how to progress forward myself as well as anyone I can help. Far too often we need a reminder as to how much help we've already received in life, and how much we should be giving that help to anyone we find that could use it.



Alright, this is just hilarious - and I must say happens when you just spend time around geeks, you don't have to be married to them :p


I always turn the car around

Well, it's almost time for another new start. Just around the corner are a new job with new experiences, new goals, new challenges and new attitudes. In times like this, my mind always wanders back to a comment a close friend of mine, Michelle said during one of our many desert-laden multi-hour talks. (I think this when I was dealing with some particular stresses in my life) She said something to the effect that life is split up into Chapters, often much more explicitly than we usually realize. Over time, I've certainly realized that to be very true, and can almost visualize the book of my life, closing a chapter, moving the red silken bookmark to the next page and getting ready to start another. Maybe it's because each of these changes are usually so large in scope or attitude adjustment, or simply because I've already gone through so many chapters in my life, but ever since then, that image always surfaces in my mind. And for some reason is pretty darn comforting.

Lots more to rant about, from reminiscing childhood happiness randomly, to a incredibly relaxing month of February, all the way to what the overarching story of this book of my life may even be. (Just waiting for the characters to develop a little more :p) But for some reason my head is all over the meetings I have tomorrow instead. So maybe more manana, but definitely more this weekend! A new company will have started, Watchmen will have come out, may have gone to an Irish festival and even a pajama party!

Have a fun week!


I found God on the corner of First and Amistad

Haven't posted in a long time, which is strange considering that I haven't been working this month. Plenty to say, but not enough time or energy to do it. However, I did recently stumble across this website: Portrait Photos, combined with Flickr's Interestingness provides a near constant stream of tickling my photographic muse. Anyways, I stumbled across one such pic that was so gorgeous, I couldn't not post it:

Happy Tuesday, all.



So what happens when you introduce the Settlers of Catan board game to a few fellow game players who have never heard of it?

Why, you stay up playing it until 6am, of course :p

Ok, time to pass out. -_-


Halo Wars Demo is Live!

The Halo Wars demo came out this morning, and it's being received remarkably! :) If you have a 360, go download it!

"It looks great, plays great and it really might be the first great RTS for consoles"

"I had no difficulty in learning the controls and dishing out Spartan justice."

"If you’re a Halo fan, I don’t have any doubts this one will be a must buy. For me, I’ll be picking it up day one."

"I honestly believe Halo Wars gets the console RTS done right for the first time. The combination of Halo Universe, easy game play, great visuals while actually on the field and not just the cut scenes, and story are really shaping this game up to be a generational classic."

"From the moment you start up the demo you get this strange feeling of excitement. Just think back to the moment you picked up Halo 3 and you will understand what I mean."

"Halo Wars is without a doubt, the best strategy game I have ever played. Even if you don’t want to call it the best strategy game of all time, not one single person will be able to exclaim that it isn’t the best one on console."

"For the RTS and Halo fans and also the non-RTS and Halo fans, this is a top notch game that most will enjoy and be surprised by. It’s everything and anything a Halo fan or gamer looking for fun would want."

"Those who thought this was just another game with the Halo name tacked on to make Microsoft more money think again."










The Cat is Out of the Bag

Sort of - I can't say anything really specific about it - but look for more information from the new job:

Robot Entertainment

It's going to be an adventure! :D


The Last Tour

Gamasutra has a great article regarding the last days of Ensemble, specifically highlighting the cultural ideals and some of the projects that didn't make it. I enjoyed reading it, but I certainly have a little bias :p

Ensemble Studios: The Last Days

And now for something completely different

It was recently brought to my attention (thanks Mike!) that the commenting service that I used to use on this blog, YACCS was finally shutting down its service. This is because this blog was set up back in the stone ages, when blogger wasn't owned by google and comments weren't supported by default, so you had to use another service to set that up.

Anyways, I digress - in order to get comments setup, I needed to overhaul the blog to get all the template changes from google - so... there's a new look! Very much in potential transition, and it emulates the older look for the most part right now. Bear with me during the change. In addition to this, I'm hoping to start making this blog more diverse, including new technology, gaming, interesting information as well as my random musings. Which will hopefully mean more updates. We'll see how it goes.

Additionally, this sadly means that all my old comments are purged from the site - I'm looking at seeing if I can import those into the new comment system, but that's a work in progress.


And that's all she wrote.

The day is here - and it somehow managed to sneak up on me. The last day of Ensemble Studios.

It's certainly been a crazy trip - I wandered around the virtually empty office one last time before leaving, recounting the first time I walked through those halls, during my final stage of interviews. Almost three years to the day. And for the first time during this whole mess, I started to feel nostalgic regarding the place. It's (or rather, it was) by far the best place I've ever worked - but I've been so preoccupied with something every moment of every day that I honestly didn't have a chance to realize what I had found there. Completely by accident, at that.

I remember coming for that on site interview - knowing that I would never move up to Dallas and leave Austin, but was entertaining a friend who really wanted me to at least see the place - fine, at least I can see it, know that I had the knowledge, and go back to Austin. Things never seem to go how they expect, huh? I remember walking in and talking to the programmers on the team I was being interviewed for, seeing the studio, and my attitude immediately changed to, "I have to convince these people to hire me!"

I always said that Ensemble was going to be my last job - that I had found the top of the ladder when it came to game studios. I'm sad that wasn't true - but also thrilled about what comes next.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.