GDC2011: A Fabulous Drift, Part 3

Game Development, Games for Fun, Gaming, Life No Comments

Part 2, found here in case you missed it.

Thursday morning was all about recharging the batteries. With some sweet sessions lined up and some awesome parties later in the evening, it was time to take ‘er easy.

No Cliffy!

Industry Lessons Learned and Applying Them to the Road Ahead presented by Cliff Bleszinski of Epic games was first up on the docket.

CliffyB gets a bad rap with the haters, of which there are plenty. When I walked in, a group of 40-something media types were already starting with the negativity, sitting in the back corner of the room as I walked in.

“Oh, what’s he wearing? His hair looks douched up.”

And so on. Everyone all aboard the CliffyB hate train, right guys? Cause that’s cool!

Anyway, I thought Bleszinski gave a really great talk, one of my favorites from the entire conference, actually. I felt like he was being honest and just speaking from the heart, and really that’s what I want to hear from people at GDC.

In essence, his talk was all about being a “Power Creative” and how to create and control your IPs. He basically said all the things I wanted to hear from someone in his position, and I think also confirmed in my mind why I think he’s as successful as he is (see: speaking being honest and speaking from the heart, above).

> – – – Read the rest – –

GDC2011: A Fabulous Drift, Part 2

Game Development, Games for Fun, Gaming, Life 2 Comments

Mr. Iwata makes me sleepy after a night of heavy drinking.

GDC2011: A Fabulous Drift, Part 1, found here.

The previous day put the hurt on me. The thick drapes were drawn tightly and not a single photon passed through my 25th floor window. All the better, because any amount of noise of light would have made me throw up anyway.

8:45 am. Time to roll out of bed and see what Nintendo has to offer.

Clothes on and I’m out the door, my roommate whom is equally hungover is stumbling along with me. I vaguely recall telling him the keynotes are generally skipable, but he really wants to go as it’s his first GDC, and I decide to prove to myself, and him, that I am capable of doing this.

> – – – Read the rest – –

GDC2011: A Fabulous Drift, Part 1

Game Development, Games for Fun, Gaming, Life 1 Comment

Pixel Wall at GDC

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is one of those events in life I look forward to every year. When people ask me “What is GDC?” I always tell them the same thing:

“GDC is a lot like college. You pay a bunch of money to learn a bunch of stuff, you meet a bunch of awesome people, then you go to parties at night.”

My love for thinking and talking about games, meeting other people in the games industry and having a good time with them afterward has no bounds.

After GDC, I make sure to spend time exploring the city. San Fran is a fabulous place with so much to offer and so many great adventures to partake in. For me, GDC and enjoying SF go hand in hand. My advice to all would be game developers (and everyone, really) is something you’ll hear often, and not just from me: Don’t draw the inspiration for your craft only within your craft itself. Why? Because your medium becomes derivative and lacks innovation. People need to inject creativity and be inspired from outside sources to keep things fresh.

My solution? Go create your own real life adventures! Have fun. Put your self in places and situations you wouldn’t normally go into. Go people watching and explore all the city has to offer. Study the world at large and at the very least, you’ll have a good time and see something new.

> – – – Read the rest – –

Pennies for Points, one year later…

Games for Fun, Games for Points, Gaming 2 Comments

Remember this?

From a tweet in October:

  • Just donated $193.33 to Child’s Play and Microsoft is matching. Total: $386.66. A penny for every gamerscore point I earned this year. #give

So there you have it. I donate and do charity in other ways too, but donating this way is a fun mini-game for me. 19,333 gamer points from January to October, nearly a year.

> – – – Read the rest – –

Pennies for Points

Game Development, Games for Fun, Games for Points, Gaming No Comments

This year, on New Years day, I made the resolution to donate a penny for every point I earned getting achievements on Xbox Live. I really want to do some charity work, but I’m busy with games day and night. I’m in a fairly time demanding line of work, believe it or not. However, I feel pretty lucky, so why not do something nice for everyone while doing something I love?

So, Pennies for Points. Eventually I’ll get a more proper site up and running so people can track my effort a little better. Maybe I can get a few other people to join in. For now, you can check the side of my blog and watch the number get bigger.

I started at a gamer score of 101,467. Now I’m at 106,952. The months not over but the total gamer score increase since Jan 1st is 5,485. That means $54.85 in total donations thus far. Did I mention I’ll donate through Microsoft near the end of the year so they match my donation? One more cool thing about working for MS is that they’re pretty good about charity donations and giving back to the community.

Where does all this go? Most likely Child’s Play since it’s one of the best charities for gamers I could find.

So that’s it! I set up a new years goal and it’ll be fun to stick to it.

Seven Steps to Boost Your Gamerscore

Games for Fun, Games for Points 2 Comments

Points are fun too!

Last time I wrote about why I like getting achievements. This time, I want to give some insight on how I go about getting those ‘cheeves. A few people I know keep prodding me to write about this, so here we go!

1. Play games you enjoy – This probably sounds dumb or obvious, but you shouldn’t play games you don’t really like. You’ll notice I have some games like Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2009 (that’s everyone’s favorite to pick on so I point it out in particular) that I’ve 1000pted. Guess what? I actually like playing those games… rag-dolling animals is fun for me and I don’t get to do that in any other game. By contrast, I wasn’t feeling the recent Harry Potter game (too long and involved), Deadliest Catch (too repetitive), or Dead Rising (terrible save system) so I stopped playing them. I will admit I will put up with a mediocre game just to get achievements though, since playing a bad game is more fun for me than watching a decent TV show. I think it’s really up to the individual player, but as long as there is enough “fun” to keep me interested I’ll stick with the game.

2. Find the fast points – This goes against #1 in someways. You’ll see I’ve 1000pted a hockey game which honestly I didn’t think was that fun (I’m not a big fan of hockey in general, nothing against the game itself). However, early sports games for the 360 are some of the easiest to get achievement points in. Avatar: The Last Air Bender is everyone favorite example of quick points. You can get all 1000 points in under three minutes. For someone who is into getting achievements, getting fast points is fun by itself. If I can play one game of NHL 07 and get 1000 points, it’s pretty freaking fun to see that you’ve unlocked 26 achievements for 1000 points in a match or two. Getting back to Harry Potter; I wasn’t having a ton of fun playing the game and it was long, so the investment in time for points wasn’t worth it.

> – – – Read the rest – –

A Treatise on Achievements

Games for Fun, Games for Points, Gaming 3 Comments


I get a lot of flak for having a huge gamer score. Part of the problem people have is that I play games to “boost” the score; games I probably wouldn’t play otherwise. For example, I probably wouldn’t be playing Lost, the Cabela series, and a few other games if it weren’t purely for achievements. Also, those people never look at all the AAA games I’ve played, or point out that I’ve played the same or more (both in amount of games and achievements in any particular game) of any game they’ve touched. Haters!

However, here is where I take a stand. On the Internet! Every game I’ve played, even Cabelas, I’ve been able to take something away from. Before achievements, I’d stand around a Best Buy, look at the back of the box and laugh at the value games, then buy my copy of Halo, Gears, whatever.  I was a game snob. Now that I play these kinds of games, in addition to the AAA titles, I fully appreciate a good game when I see it. The difference is huge. I remember growing up, when I thought all games were good, mainly because I could only get one a year.

> – – – Read the rest – –

Indie Games Galore!

Game Development, Games for Fun, Gaming 1 Comment

Going to GDC always inspires me to go on an indie game bender. A few of us are sitting at this big award show hosted by the Independent Games Festival (IGF) waiting for the Game Developer’s Choice Awards and feeling guilty that we’ve played 0% of the games they’re calling out. Between the bunch of us we only heard of like three games they talked about…

So, within the next week I start getting games from Steam, downloading them for the PC or getting them for my iPhone. The one thing I found about a lot of these indie games I’m interested in is that most of the nominees (and some of the winners) haven’t even released their game yet. How does that work exactly? Does this happen in the movie industry too? “Well, no one has seen this movie yet, but here’s your award, I’m sure it’ll turn out great.”

Anyway, after getting back from San Fransisco, I went on my yearly indie game binge. Here’s a quick run down of the games I played:

> – – – Read the rest – –

An Oldie But a Goodie – Halo: Combat Evolved

Games for Fun, Gaming No Comments

Halo: Combat Evolved XBox BoxYes, that’s right. The first Halo. I recently finished played though it again (on normal, which was difficult enough) since I had never done a proper play through back in the day. I played sections of it at friends houses, played some multiplayer here and there, but I never played it from beginning to end. Shhh, don’t tell anyone – I never owned an original Xbox.

So how does Halo hold up over all these years? It’s interesting. Some parts of the game hold up really well, while others make you wonder why it got above a 90%. I guess combat has evolved over the past few years.

What stands out the most is how solid the game is in general. Even today, there aren’t many shooters that have such varied and interesting weapons. There’s enough different types of enemies and vehicles to keep game play interesting and the story and presentation are very well done. Another suprising thing is that you don’t come across many bugs or unpolished features.

> – – – Read the rest – –

Real Life Treasure Hunting: Geocaching

Games for Fun, Gaming 3 Comments

Where's the cache?I’ve always wanted to get into geocaching since I heard about it years ago. If you’ve never heard of geocaching the premise is simple – people hide stuff out in the real world, and other people try and find it. Sounds easy, but once you start throwing stuff like puzzles, encryption / decryption, nano and microcaches and muggles, the hunt becomes much more challenging and interesting.

A perfect storm occurred in order to get me hooked on geocaching. Like I said, I had always wanted to do it, but you really need a GPS device to go hunting for caches. Luckily, I recently got a iPhone with GPS hotness. The Appstore happened to have a holiday sale going on for the app ($3, down from $10), which helps you find nearby caches to your location, shows them on Google maps, and so on. I was at my sisters place in Oregon visiting, and my brother in law had taken my niece geocaching a few times and wanted to go again. We were bored, and there happened to be a few within walking distance, so it was on.

> – – – Read the rest – –

« Previous Entries