Monthly Archives: November 2010

Last day as Game Developer

Slightly odd day as this is my last day making games. I’ve worked on some shovelware, worked on some crazy projects and even the odd ok game (though sadly the best of these will never see the light of day).

I will not miss Unreal’s appalling lack of documentation, multi-week crunches, bouncing TCR/TRC bugs that require 10hour code marathons to fix, the gibberish that some QA engineers write in bug reports, the stand-up arguments about key game features right before Beta deadlines, quixotic publisher demands, junk food lunches, being tired for months, perforce emergency maintenance or any of the other thousand cuts that wound during the final months of development. However, I will miss the people, the quick-thinking genius solutions that come in the middle of the night, the buzz of not only solving a problem but doing it with ingenuity, the camaraderie, the joke trash talking, the thoughtfulness of others during the hell of submission, the bad rock-band parties, that one and only beer to celebrate submission at 6am and really the challenge of it all,

People thinking working in video games is fun. But its really like many other jobs, you have to put your time in and at times you might need to change your definition of fun. Like many other careers, its the people around you and the connections you make, that really define how you walk through the fire.

Good times

The way of … well, posting a story that conforms to your theme rather than facts

I appeared recently in the Chicago Reader, in this ahem fine article that featured Dr Tae, whom I recently worked with at Robomodo.

It was pretty exciting to see a friend’s face poking out of the cover in every pile of Chicago Readers and the article is a great window front for Tae’s skills. Both of which are great because someone needs to utilize his many unique talents.

However, the article makes it out that I somehow impeeded his work and even hints that I was responsible for the mess of Tony Hawk: RIDE (While I was a tools engineer on this project I had nothing todo with gameplay or controls).

In reality, after starting on controls for Tony Hawk: SHRED I quickly realized how much work it was going to be fix the controls so they were reliable and fun. Then I discovered we had a Physics Professor on staff. We met and started collaborating, first by fixing the rigid body physics simulations in the game and then progressed from there. I really valued Tae’s input on everything and often lobbied for control changes that were disruptive. We might have disagreed on a few small things but but we were both working flat out to make this game, the game RIDE should have been (although I’m a little sad I never finalised my CTRNN controller networks for this game – they were supposed to be used in the next game, but the series was cancelled by Activision).

Its a little odd to put so much time into a game, which is then just dumped into the marketplace (even TNA Wrestling had more advertising and PR behind it than SHRED) and then to get slated for your contribution in what little press coverage there is.

I’m not too sure why I care, but somehow I do. Somehow this feels personal. So please hire Dr Tae he’s awesome and please, don’t let your devotion to a sexy article theme get in the way of the dull facts.

First free weekend without any Cyclocross because living a car free lifestyle means that you sometimes depend on the kindness of others to get out to races early on a Sunday; it doesn’t always work. Instead Beth and I spent some time playing with our new camera, starting the long road from point-n-click newbies to f-stop/light meter, all manual-masters.

Its six weeks to go to until Kenya; it currently seems far away and dangerously close. Nevertheless, Chicago has been basking in some beautiful crisp and bright late autumn days, which make you want to be outside all of the time.