Man, Schindler’s List was Fun!

Game Development, Gaming No Comments

Written shortly after Call of Duty: World at War was released (2009ish), but decided to clean it up and (finally) post it.

When we interview designers, one broad (but very important) question we ask them sometimes is “What is the most important aspect of design to you?” 99% of the time, the reply will be some form of “It has to be fun!” Everyone will look at each other, nod and agree, and move onto the next question. However, I’m beginning to think that isn’t necessarily the right answer. In fact, I think that answer points to a bigger problem with the medium in general – the name.

A common problem I see from the news media or people not familiar with video games is that people generally associate games with a toy or something only children and young people should “play with.” I think there’s still a fairly heavy stigma associated with post college-aged people playing games, especially if they’re hardcore gamers. I think a large portion of society expects people to “grow out of games” as they age and entertain themselves with more “serious” forms of media. I can’t really blame anyone; the word “game” is right in the term “video game” so it has to be fun, right? Isn’t that what games are all about? Playing and having fun?

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Living the Dream

Game Development, Life, Seattle, Stories 6 Comments

I wrote this a while back but never posted it. It’s a bit of a noir / gonzo take on game development, so take that as you will.

8:45 am. A combination of rustling coming from the bathroom and the repeated squeal of the cell phone alarm going off wakes him up.

Groggy, he pulls the cover over his head. Sagan puts his nose up over the edge of the king side bed, saying good bye to his dad. Tail wagging, Sagan wishes he could see more of his pack leader, but daddy has been really busy lately.

“Common! Sagan! Yes… I know. I miss him too. We need to go.”

Sagan won’t leave the side of the bed and has to be dragged away.

“Love you hon, have a good day… when did you get in last night?”

“Not sure, 2 I think…” he gurgles out from underneath the comforter.

No response that he can remember. Shuffling of feet and paws and slamming of doors and vehicle engines. He’s home alone again.

Gotta wake up. Shower.

Rolling out of bed, he holds onto the wall, still sleepy and shaky on his feet. He turns on the shower and goes back into the bedroom to pack his running gear for later in the day. He imagines the brief period of about an hour where he can just run, uninterrupted. The music is nice too.

Back in the shower, the water is hot. Too hot. Nearly scalding, he turns it down. Once behind the pure glass and metal stall, he slowly turns the heat back up. He’ll repeat the same scalding mistake tomorrow.

Cleaning himself, he thinks about the day before. A level needs to run faster, the frame rate is still suffering. If it’s not taken care of, his boss and their bosses will be upset. They’ll go into meeting rooms and talk about him. He knows that people are working on the problem and it’s a high priority for the team to fix.

Ultimately, it’s out of his control.

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Space Pioneer Chronicles #1 – Resources

Stories No Comments
Future US Flag

During the acquisition of 2776, this new American flag was drawn up to represent Earth at the center of the New Planetary States.

He sat swiping his hand across his PC.

Patiently waiting for the drives to spin down and begin the atmospheric breach process, he stayed mentally detached from the series of events about to unfold. The entire song and dance was a mechanical procedure he’d been through tens of times before. Scared? Nah. He’d gotten to the point where it might as well be a trip to the head. Luckily, there were no “snakes” on this trip.

Two boring months of travel and a year or so of hard labor, but the pay was worth it. Land on the asteroid, establish basic living quarters, gather up as much ore as possible and return home.

Except this time it wasn’t ore and it wasn’t an asteroid.

The ExxonMobilShell corporation, after developing it’s own ship fleet hundreds of years ago (along with many other companies), began sending out mining vessels to local system asteroids:

“For the sole and express purpose of seeking rare universal materials in order to ensure the security and future existence of the human race.”

Once those ships could travel between the stars, all of those rich, deposit-filled asteroids were theirs for the taking. Pure profit, especially if they were partially funded by the government.

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Captains of Industry

Game Development, Jokes, Life, Stories, Uncategorized No Comments

The sun was trying its damnedest to press through the thick clouds above Megalocorp.

Deep within the corridors of this titan of technology, two game designers solemnly walked into a small conference room and slid the heavy glass and metal door behind them. Mismatching, cast away chairs from various cubicles haphazardly circled a small round white table. Cardboard boxes from an office move years ago were still piled in the corner. Definitely a place where birth is given to creative inspiration. Definitely.

The two plopped down and signed nearly simultaneously.

“So, we never really talked about what happened,” he let the words hang in the air for a moment, hoping the other designer would carry the thought forward. When his counterpart didn’t, he pressed on.

“How do you feel about what happened? You know… how it all went down?”

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