Thursday, June 28, 2007
You must admit- yes?- that this ranks as one of the greatest images ever created?
So get this: here is a post some anon (naturally) made to the comment section of this post:
That's a really g'ay poster, man.
Now I mean, really?!? Fucking really?!? In 2007 there are STILL stupid motherfuckers out there who actually use gay as a derogatory term? I wonder if they realize how insanely dumb they look now, let alone how dumb they will look in 10-20 years when they look back and actually realize they were so stupid. It's like being a racist in the 60's against African-Americans and looking back at how dumb you were, some 20-30 years later. Anyway, this just floors me how people still toss around the gay thing in a negative light. Hell I was on LOST PLANET multiplayer the other day and all the voice chat was all 'fag this' and 'fag that' and it just strikes me as so fucking sad that people are still so ignorant. I mean, what is that anyway? Why are these supposedly straight boys/men so concerned about cocks going into male assholes? I mean, it's not something I think about cause you never hear me commenting on it. But man, these guys are thinking about dicks in male anal canals a whole hell of a lot. What is up with that?!? So fucking sad, dude.
Unless the poster meant the Flash Gordon image was gay in the sense that he means that Ming and Flash look like lovers and the poster was pointing out that the content of the poster dealt with homosexuals? Or that he meant gay in that 1920's kind of happy way?
But somehow I doubt it.
Anyway, there ya go....back to work! :)
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
I was at the movies over the weekend, checking out 1408. Not a great movie, but a really damn good one, to be sure. So nice to see a well written, well made horror/ghost movie, versus more of this dark, serial killer, inches-away-from-being-a-snuff-film that passes for the horror genre these days (Hostel, Saw, Captivity,etc). Not that I'm opposed to those movies, but they lack the creativity of a great horror film, like Poltergeist or The Shining. And while 1408 is not in the league of those films, it's still a fun, creepy ride. I'm also really digging the various theories about the ending of the movie; it's open ended so we may never know but each time I hear a new one, I'm like: 'oh yeah! That must be what the ending is about!'
I was in LA for Monday night- meet with Scott and Kellan from Incog for some design meetings- and let me tell you: checking into my hotel and going up to my room freaked me out just a little bit. I mean, after about 2 minutes, I was over it, but damn if that movie didn't change the way I look at hotels.
Oh, and it's so great to see John Cusak back on the screen. He was great in this movie!
Anyway, not much to write about at the moment. Deep in design phase as we just decided the game we want to make next so I got a document to write. Also need to figure out the right concept art to commision for the title so the powers that be- when they see it- will get on board with what we want to do next. Hope it all goes well.
Hope you're doing well! Chat with ya'll later! Gotta get to work!
Thursday, June 21, 2007
So I skipped out on work, took a PTO day, and went to see a Padres game with my father-in-law. Padres lost to Baltimore 6 to 3. Not a huge sports fan but I like to watch a game from time to time and this was just a great summer day, perfect for heading out to the ballpark. So I dug it alot.
Watching this game got me thinking that it would be sweet if real life sports had some sort of way of applying the fudge factor of a game like Calling All Cars or NBA JAMS, where the game is designed to do some minor cheating in order to keep game scores closer. That would be cool cause every game would be a nail biter. But it would also be cheating.
I also thought it would be great if all umpires were hot women dressed in skimpy outfits. I mean, who is going to argue with a hot woman umpire dressed in a sexy costume? You'd feel like a total ass in the stands yelling: 'Hey Ump! Are you freaking blind! Open your god damned eyes!' Because somewhere in your primal mind- assuming you are a man or a woman lovin' woman- you'd be thinking- deep down: she may be going home with me if I play my cards right and no way in hell am I fucking up my chances!
Been doing alot of work the last few weeks, lots of design stuff that I'm real happy with but has required lots of concentration and focus...so I was just feeling a bit fried. That's probably why I'm blogging so much today; just can't get my head around the next big design task in front of me after having just completed my previous big design task. I think it's important to recharge between challenges; you just know when you need to step back and chill. So that's what I did today. And it was great! I thought I'd come home and be all ready to work again, but now I just want to take a nap. I'm tired.
I'll hit it hard tomorrow!
THING #1- What happens the DAY I post about how Nintendo does not like to let people peek behind the curtain of their game making magic? I pop open the latest copy of GAMES(TM) and see an article showing off the recently opened Nintendo museum in Japan. The exhbit chronicles the history of Nintendo, mainly their video games. And what is sitting there on page one of the article? Sketches from Miyamoto himself, behind the scenes, rare ass sketches of Mario and Donkey Kong from 1979, 1980. These are sketches that Miyamoto did showing how the characters should look and move in the game. So once again, just goes to show: I know nothing. But still, with the exception of that event, I stand by my point that Nintendo- by holding the behind the scenes stuff pretty close to the vest- manages to create stronger, more loved characters/franchises.
THING #2- I was 'dark' when Spidey 3 came out so I didn't get to post this. By the way, 'going dark' to me is a Vegas term for when a show is not playing on a certain day. As in: 'Cirque is going dark on tuesdays starting next month'. Lots of people assumed I was trying to sound like a spy or something when I wrote I was 'going dark'. But I wasn't. So I wanted to clear that up. Cause that would be stupid. But now that I've written this, I am wondering which is worse: trying to sound like a bad-ass spy when, clearly, I am not...or using Vegas show terms to describe my hiatus from blogging. :) Anyway, so I saw this and I loved it:
I mean, that's as close to a real world Spidey encounter as I will ever have. I was at the drive thru at Burger King and I look up and I see this. It's a little small for Spidey, not sure why they didn't go life size. But it was still very cool and I really sat there for a few minutes imagining what it would be like to glance up and there's the real Spidey, staring around, looking for bad guys and whatnot. "Toss me a fry, true believer!" he would say. But it struck me as how- if you saw Spidey in real life- how creepy he would actually be. In the comics, even tho it's an aspect of how others treat him, visually it never came across to me. But seeing him here, I was like, "man, now I know what JJ. Jamison means when he calls Spidey a menace!"
THING #3 (NOTE: I knew I had 3 things to say but I could not find a picture of thing #3, so deal with it)- Finally, Next-Gen.biz had an amazing write up yesterday on games needing to get more meaningful before they are given respect by anyone other than gamers. I thought it was great and thought provoking. I chimed in on the comments section in hopes of getting some other opinions and advice from other designers on the subject but I think I killed the thread (either that or simply no one posts on the next-gen comments section...heck I didn't even know they had one till yesterday). But I thought what I wrote about story in game and emotion in game really nailed my feelings and struggles on the issue. So I 'reprint' it here in hopes that maybe someone has some insight into what I feel is the biggest problem with story and games...oh, and here's where you can find the great next-gen story (I would link but the blogger link Icon is not appearing):
and here is my response to it:
Great article and as someone who has struggled with this issue before (as a designer with my own games and as a player: a game like Facade comes to mind as something I've played that has set its sights on the lofty goals you suggest we pursue), I can tell you that many designers have the intent and some of us lucky ones even have the freedom to puruse the goal of making games matter more than they currently do. The biggest issue I've come up against- besides my clear lack of talent- is the inability to convince players that the fiction matters. Unless you- as a player- make a clumsy self-conscience effort to force yourself to buy into the fiction, you are always aware that the game world is meaningless in any context other than the surface goals given (i.e. get thru the door; kill the enemies). So in Facade, instead of caring about the fate of this young couple's marriage, I just went around and either started messing with things to see what would happen (kissing the man's wife was the very first thing I did, ignoring the fiction of the scenario alltogether because I wanted to see what would happen), or I just focus on how to 'win'. It's not because I don't WANT to care about the story and scenario. I love character stories and political drama and all sorts of 'mature' subject matter when I see it in movies and read about it in books. It's just that- in a game- I simply don't care about anything other than my goals. Until we figure out how- if it's even possible in an interactive experience- to make players suspend disbelief and really buy into the wolrd fiction (while they are playing, not by watching a cut scene), then all of the effort that would go into making players care for characters and situations will be wasted on all those other than the few willing to force themselves into buying the fantasy...and I don't think that is close to even 5% of the folks who go into EB and buy the latest hit title.
Again, loved the write up. It was great and thought provoking. But I would love to see someone address what I feel is the real problem with this issue versus simply telling us designers that the solve is coming up with characters we care about and scenarios more involved than: kill the bad guys! We get that, and some of us have even done it. It's just not working.
Ok, gonna drop the kid off at pre-school then get to work. Talk to ya'll later!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
So Sony Playsation has their very own blog. If you have not dropped by, please do so at: http://blog.us.playstation.com/
Man,I just love it.
I think it's a fantastic idea to get voices from all areas of the company speaking directly to Playstation fans. One day it's a producer, the next day it's a junior tester, and then a few days later, you're leaving comments to the head of the freaking company! That's just cool, man. And I love how even though Playstation is this very large division within this very mega corporation, the blog just feels so intimate. To me, it makes your relationship with Sony Playstation alot more cozy and personal. I'm a big, big fan and am eager to see how the new site continues to grow.
But it's got me thinking about how much access we- as game creators- should allow to the players.
Not in terms of the kind of stuff Sony is doing with the blog, or even the kinds of stuff that I do here. I'm talking about concept art and behind the scenes videos showing how the titles get made.
Now I love that stuff; loved watching the 'making of' movie stuff as a kid and I am sure lots of players today love the 'how games are made' docs that are all over the place now.
But do you think it ruins some of the magic of the final product? And if so, how much?
Think about this: You NEVER see concept art or behind the scenes footage from first party Nintendo games. You never see wire frame models of what Princess Zelda's castle looks like, or voice recording footage of the actress playing Peach. Or if you do, it's very, very rare. And it's one of the reasons- I feel- that the Mario and Zelda characters almost feel real, alive, and magical. Granted, much of this comes from the fact that they are just amazing characters who inhabit amazing games. You can't deny that part, to be sure. But I think they are on to something when it comes to how they- as a company- protect those characters and worlds; like how you never get to see the actors changing out of the Mickey costume at Disneyland. It's an illusion that pays off big for them.
So while I think direct access to players and fans is the way to go and what is so much fun about life with the internet, I am starting to wonder how much access we should be giving players when it comes to revealing how we make the games. Shouldn't some tricks stay secret? And even if they are not secrets, aren't Kratos and Sweet Tooth and even the criminals in Calling All Cars (or the seals in SOCOM or the hero from UNCHARTED) stronger characters if you only ever see them when they have thier make up on, costumes fitted, and are lit just right?
On a blog like this, I get lots of readers who want to be in the biz one day. So I can see those guys/gals wanting all the access they can get (just like I, as a wanna be filmmaker, used to love to watch how movies were made). But assuming your goal is not to work in the biz (or even if it is,put those thoughts aside for a moment), tell me this: if the end goal is a strong game and a much loved franchise, do you think it makes the product stronger or weaker to allow players even the tinniest peak behind the curtain?
ps. sorry I can't give any more info on those pictures I posted. I'll have some updates on that space very soon. But to answer a few of the comments:
a- those pics are from a space in Utah
b- thanks for the industry vet and his well wishes/luck wishes. I know it's a tough biz...let's hope we both get lucky, eh?
pps. I know Nintendo has given some press to Charles Martinet, the man who does the Mario voice. I see him at trade shows from time to time, doing the voices and doing the PR thing. I am not sure why Nintendo does this as it seems to fly in the face of all the other 'keep it secret' decisions that I am assuming are intentional. Maybe because it's trade shows, Nintendo doesn't feel the info gets out to the majority of the public so it doesn't affect 99% of the players. Same with the recent Zelda deconstruction that went on at GDC; I mean, most folks are not going to find information on that unless they really seek it out and that is a small % of the players. I don't know, just wondering.
Ok, gotta get some work done. Talk to ya'll later. Nice to be back blogging!