Thursday, November 11, 2010

Six days until Trivia Golf

Six days and counting until the release of Trivia Golf on

Sunday, September 26, 2010


BWA HA HA! Mark Brooks has some issues apparently.

Horrifying and cute.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Game companies should not have programmers

Use somebody else's engine. Game companies and their employees should be focused on building content: writing, graphics, sound effects, music, level design, etc. At the end of the day nobody who played Call of Duty said to themselves "That rendered much more smoothly than Medal of Honor".

What sells games is content. What's important is shooting a bunch of civilians in a Russian airport, not how many civilians the game engine could render--as long as it's comparable to the competition's civilian killing rendering engine.

I came to this realization while writing my own input pipeline for an Android proof of concept. After hours of tearing my hair out over a performance issue I finally found the relevant issue described on a blog. After a short exchange of pleasantries with the author I had my solution--but it was his solution. I was solving a problem that somebody else had already figured out, and all that effort wasn't going to sell one additional copy of our game.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Job e-mail

I just got this in my new inbox:

Welcome to Xxxxx Mr. Xxxxx. I am sure your stay with us will be productive and exciting.

I remind you that we have a strict anti-harassment policy. You already have one instance in your file. I must of course protect the accuser's identity, but the complaint is "Walks around with no pants". Please be concious of how you dress, for while we have a fairly loose dress code, it does include "must wear pants".

Have a great day,

Xxxxx Xxxxx

The man is keeping me down.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Travel stuff

United just started a new policy of automatically requesting upgrades for elite members on domestic flights, which is immensely useful for someone like me who otherwise wouldn't bother. I've been bumped up to the first class cabin two times in a row now since the new policy kicked in, and there's a good chance that I'll continue to get upgrades as long as I pick and choose my times to avoid the heavily traveled flights.

That first class ticket also gets you into the first class security line, by the way, so you don't have to mix with the proles.

Which brings me to the much maligned CRJ's. They have a bad rep since the seats are smaller and standard sized roller boards won't fit in the overhead bin. Luckily, I'm not a giant lard ass and since I fly regional all the time I didn't buy a roller board'. Since everybody else is gate checking their carry-on's I usually have plenty of room to stow my bags overhead, including the one that's supposed to go under the seat.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why Video Games Suck

Do you watch movies and play video games, or do you just play video games?

Because if you belong to the former category you're likely to be a little puzzled by the praises being sung for the writing in games like Mass Effect 2 and Heavy Rain. Destructoid nailed it in their review for Heavy Rain: "Less demanding players may be tricked into thinking the game is telling a brilliant story simply because it's not telling the kind of story that gamers are used to seeing, but make no mistake: its naive conclusions and impossibly weak characters would get Heavy Rain laughed out of any serious film festival. " Translation: just because it's new to you doesn't mean that holds true for everyone outside of your parents' basement.

For the record I'm playing Mass Effect 2 now and enjoying it, but I've long since developed a protective reflex that allows me to play games with "stories": whenever I hit any really terrible acting or writing I just ignore it until I can get back to blowing stuff up real good. Much like a nictitating membrane this reflex protects the soft tissues of my brain from the permanent damage that might result from the "dialogue" one could be exposed to in video games. It's served me well and only failed occasionally--most notably for the last Oblivion game where Patrick Stewart mumbled some garbage so insane that I was convinced that whoever was chasing the crazy old bat was doing so with the intention of putting him in a nursing home.

So while I enjoy Mass Effect 2 I don't delude myself about its shortcomings. For instance, whoever provides the voice acting for the main character (Shepard) gives such a wooden reading that I'm always tempted to charge the enemy in firefights to see if they can put down the living dead. And many of the game's heralded elements only serve to demonstrate just how far video gaming as a genre has to go before it can catch up with classics like, say, "The Dukes of Hazard" or Jim Varney's "Ernest" movies. Take, for example, the so called "romances". Movie critics debate things like chemistry when it comes to two actors, video game writers are apparently still trying to figure out how to write dialogue that even comes close to convincing you that two characters might actually sort of, kind of like each other. I decided to romance Jack (aka Subject Zero) because I wanted to see if Shepard would break out a condom before bedding the crazy, drug addled bitch. That would be the only safe thing to do. That and stock up on hepatitis vaccine. Needless to say I found their interaction to be unconvincing. Shepard spends the game telling her to stay off drugs and get her high school diploma and for some reason she decides he's the best thing since sliced bread. He sounds like a high school guidance counselor, for Christ's sake, the kind of person you would imagine a character like Jack would ignore while she was shooting up on heroin. Even I hated him so much after his preachy, white bread sermons that I would run him into the enemy in the next firefight so that they could turn him into swiss cheese. But did he ever learn? Noooooo. I mean, I happen to know tattooed, violent women in real life and as far as I'm concerned the more likely result would be an ice pick to the brain rather than any kissy face.