And Further More, I’m Working on Halo 4

Game Development, Gaming 6 Comments

A while back Halo 4 was announced. As you might have suspected, I’ve been pretty busy working on the game. It turns out the campaign for a Halo game requires a pretty intense amount of effort. Who would have thought. I guess people are pretty into Halo or something.

I was actually the first designer hired at 343 Industries, but at the time the studio didn’t have a name. It was called something generic like “Halo Internal.” Woooo. In any event, I was the first designer to take the plunge (there were other designers that had come and gone, but they were pulled from other parts of Microsoft).

I didn’t start as a lead either. I was just coming off a crazy amount of Treyarch crunch (which if you ask around, is some of the most legendary crunch known to mankind) and was looking to get down on some level building, scripting and prototyping. You know, hitting reset on the ol’ work life balance button. However, after working at 343 for a bit, they asked me to be a lead, and being a lead on a Halo title is not something you tend to turn down. Don’t worry, I like to stay pretty hands-on with the tools in addition to having an outlook calendar full of meetings.

> – – – Read the rest – –

ASCERNITY

Stories, Uncategorized No Comments

“Six Nineteen. Ascernity Administer on approach.”

“We have you now. All signs read clean. Welcome back, Ripper.”

He waited patiently at the door. For all they had learned and understood about The Universe, they still hadn’t figured out how to create personal teleportation devices.

Doors. Just like us. They always end up making doors of their own.

Sure, they could teleport planets across systems and use asteroids as their own personal weapons against would-be invaders, but small scale objects? Impossible. Well, at least until someone figured it out. It was only a matter of time, but the lack of personal teleportation was getting annoying.

And time was still a one way street. A tough nut to crack.

> – – – Read the rest – –

The Door

Stories No Comments

He sat at his desk, sifting as usual.

Data, data and more data. Nothing but piles of code to sift through, stacks of people’s personal lives that at one point he thought would be interesting and exciting. Two straight years or seeing that everyone else was just an human as he was. Two straight years of peeking behind the curtain to see a naked overweight fifty year old woman with serious allergies to whey, an addiction to QVC and an unhealthy obsession for Dancing with the Stars.

The sifter was the lowest of the low on the digital totem pole. Associates sat squarely on top of them, pushing and hounding them for certain patterns and asking out-of-left-field questions.

“Any spikes in the apple market today?”

“Do you mean Apple Computers or apple, like in… apples you eat?”

“Apples you eat!”

Questions like this were common. He had to sit and think back on the Record, truly considering if he had really seen what the Associates were looking for.

> – – – Read the rest – –

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 – –

Time Statue

Life, Stories No Comments

He had traveled across ten galaxies and had finally came to the end of his quest. He found it. He had finally found it.

The Time Statue.

He approached the two story, stone oracle, located on a remote, but seemingly habitable world. The planet was strangely devoid of life, although he was unphased by this.

The traveler opened his mouth to speak, but the Time Statue’s eyes opened and stared down at the traveler. The Time Statue’s mouth began to move. A booming voice cut through the thin air.

> – – – Read the rest – –

Zero to Half-Marathon in Under Two Months

Life 3 Comments

I don’t consider myself to be an athlete. I’m not an athletic person. I’m not in great shape, even now. I play a lot of video games. I’m 30 years old. I sit at a desk all day.

So how is it that I can run 13.1 miles is under two hours? How is it I can run a half marathon and post a decent time, when less than two months ago I nearly passed out after running a single mile?

I did almost no research before deciding to run. I’ve never read a book about running (until over a month after starting anyway). I just decided to go for broke, and learn as I went along.

I get a lot of questions on how this is possible at all. I’ve been called “weird” for attempting long distances without “proper training.” So I figure it’s time to give away all my secrets.

I’ll describe my unconventional methods. Try these at home, or not. Maybe they’ll work for you, but I’m not promising anything.

However, I think anyone has the ability to do what I did. I don’t consider myself to be special at all.

> – – – Read the rest – –

Asteroid

Stories No Comments

He knew it was coming. He saw it trillions of miles away. He had seen it foretold. He knew that’s how it would be. No other option.

Millions of miles away. The future impact any moment now. All calculations were precise. All i’s dotted, all t’s crossed.

But wait, what’s this? Something else? A moment of faith. A brief fraction of a small time segment. That’s all it was. Flushed from memory- but it had happened. Gone as soon as it arrived.

Maybe he wouldn’t crash there. Maybe it wouldn’t go as planned. Maybe it would be different this time somehow.

That brief moment of faith was all he could think about as his systems took over. That one brief moment in time. Just for a moment, he saw a different future. Perhaps, just this once, events wouldn’t unfold as predicted.

> – – – Read the rest – –

The Girl in Your Ear

Game Development, Gaming 2 Comments

Oh yeah. Tell me what to do.

I have this conversation fairly regularly. You know. The one about The Girl in Your Ear.

Come on. It happens in plenty of games. The sister of Girl Hacker, another ever-present game character stereotype. Sometimes, they are one in the same.

“Girl in Your Ear” is a character you can picture in most games. She’s as cliched as red barrels and wooden crates.

  • Cortana from Halo.
  • Guardian Angel from Borderlands.
  • Navi from Ocarina.
  • Minda from Twilight Princess.
  • Lucy from Assassins Creed.
  • Alyx Vance from Half Life 2.
  • Elena Ivanova from Vanquish.
  • Anya Stroud from Gears of War.

> – – – Read the rest – –

« Previous Entries