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The Best of the Vanished Marvels
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OH YEAH, I HAVE A LIVEJOURNAL.

These are the recent significant events in my life:

  • We finished Rev.Eng, our senior game project. Theoretically, DigiPen will put it online in their game gallery at some point. All-in-all, things turned out pretty good -- the game was short, of course (if you know what you're doing, it's totally clearable in five minutes, haha), but the actual gameplay that's there is pretty fun! All the art and code managed to come together at the end, which is good, because having a final product that you're really proud of is so much better than the alternative.

  • I graduated from DigiPen. And by "graduated" I mean "walked across the stage in cultist-like robes and received a fancy little case that contained a document saying 'hey, if your grades check out, we'll give you a real diploma eventually!'" (spoiler: my grades checked out).

  • I am a gainfully employed respectable member of adult society. I took a[n awesome] job as a gameplay engineer at a studio in the Bay Area that is immediately besides the workplace of one of my two then game-industried friends, who is publishing a game for the employer of my other game-industried friend. Surely that's just a ridiculous coincidence. The email regarding my phone interview that arrived right as I returned to my hotel room following an interview at Bally, as I came to grips with the notion that there was no way I could really be happy coding slot machines, even just for a year or two -- also coincidence. The fact that our project happens to share a name with a little game I threw together in high school -- come on. I'm really liking the area, though I'm living far enough away from SF that public-transportationing to things is just a little bit more of a hassle than it was to go to things in Seattle. Actually getting a car of my own is something that I should really work towards eventually, but right now it's probably best to start with pouring money into student loans. srsly, starting Real Life off so many thousand of dollars in debt is such a terrible design decision. :/

  • I now own a wetsuit. This is important, because a year ago -- hell, three months ago -- I would not have considered myself to be the sort of person who owns a wetsuit. My, how things change.

  • In an attempt to fill the musical void in my life wrought by SHARKS BIGGER THAN SHARKS's tragic breakup (which I am going to pretend was brought about by drug and alcohol induced rages, instead of half the band moving far enough a way to make meeting up for practices rather inconvenient, just because it's a little more rock), I finally got around to picking up a [non plastic] guitar. My current practice schedule is a careful balancing act, between practicing enough to develop the necessary strength and skills, and leaving enough skin on my fingertips to actually engineer gameplay.



In conclusion: I can't believe we got jobs doing this. And my mom said I would never get anywhere with these games.
6th-Dec-2009 12:29 am - I am traveling on.
graphite's grand, sweeping semester summary left me realizing that I too have not really posted anything this semester (I realize that that the LJ user tag will be completely mutilated when this post is imported to facebook, but everybody knows that nobody actually reads posts on facebook so I find it rather difficult to care). I've been approaching the all-important task of documenting my life more often through photographs (if you can call the outcome of randomly mashing the shutter button that) these days, but words are pretty great, too.

So, I'm alive and quite well. This semester at school feels like it's coming along pretty nicely, but with how heavily things rely on projects and finals, there's always the possibility that the world could come crashing down at the last minute. Though, uh, that's the sort of thing I intend to do whatever I can to prevent. The sound synthesis class I took despite most of my friends being too terrified of the professor (dearest friends: if you are reading this, you should not consider this to be me taking about you behind your back, since I'm pretty sure I've made the same accusation to your face) to join me turned out to be really interesting, and my DS programming class and debugging/optimization classes have also proved to be worth their precious elective slots. My Cryptography class is pretty ridiculous and certainly not my favorite thing, but surely I will endure it emerge a better man. Or pick up another math elective next semester, if it all falls apart at the end!

I'm pretty pleased with how our game is coming along. This year is a complete opposite from last year's tiny team working towards a simple game, with a massive (in DigiPen terms at least) team of five coders and six artists working towards a project that's more ambitious than anything we've done before. Development has been a little bumpy at times (as if it could be any other way), and we're probably not on track to meet our initial "this is game we make with infinite time in the best of all possible worlds" goal, but it's still looking very good for where we are in the year. Last year felt like a continuous state of damage-control, so I'm glad that things are turning out better this time around.

I'm in a band now, and we're not terrible! I write pretty words on paper and sing them while some friends strum or beat on their own respective instruments, and sometimes it turns out sounding alright. A few weeks ago was a huge milestone for us in that we left the garage for the first time to play at DigiPen's open mic night, and while things were of course imperfect (my own biggest mistake was completely blanking on the lyrics when it came time to shout my favorite line of all those I have ever written), but all in all things went pretty well! We're going to try to get around to getting into a studio to record the three tracks we've really polished in the next few weeks (using a Rock Band microphone certainly lends our existing recording a very endearing sort of quality, but we would like to try out something just a little better), and from there, we can start working towards something resembling an album. Personally, I was happy with just working out the odd track as we went, but then a conversation that started off as a passing joke resulted in the phrase "concept album" being tossed around, and, well . . . if you know me well enough to bother reading this far, you probably know how I feel about concept albums. Anyway, my fascination/obsession with music has only been growing over the last few years, so it's neat to be able to approach it from the other side.

What I wrote in August remains true: the amazing ability to foresee the future I've had for so long suddenly stops when I look beyond April, which is still both unsettling and exciting. Talking about The Future with friends has let me start to get a bit of an idea of who's planning on staying in the area and who's just going to end up wherever they end up, making me quite a bit more sure in my belief that I'll probably still be okay if I end up moving somewhere completely new where I don't know anyone and starting over from scratch. I've done this twice before; surely I'm a pro by now.

Okay, that covers everything important? Of course not, but the Internet only gets so much. Say hi some time and we can swap the kind of stories that are far too thrilling to share when you're working to maintain a Sophisticated And Professional Web Presence. I mean, you can tell me those types of stories; I've got nothing of the sort.
This weekend I went to the Capitol Hill Block Party. To be honest, I was a little skeptical going in -- a lineup almost entirely empty of bands I knew (made worse by the fact that accidentally looking at last year's list made me initially think Girl Talk, Hold Steady, and Builders and the Butchers would be there), but it turned out to be pretty amazing. Highlights:

  • Mini dance parties, four-person mosh pits. I'm pretty sure a few people thought we were crazy.

  • At the end of They Live!'s set, at Neumos, they were getting people to dance up on the stage. We did. Dancing on the same stage I've seen Tilly, LC!, birdwatchers united, CSS, and Murder by Death perform was pretty amazing.

  • We went to a rave after Friday night. This was pretty exciting for me, since raves were one of those things that I was kind of aware of but had never actually experienced. By the time we stumbled out at 3am I was pretty much overwhelmed by fatigue, but that's okay because it was still amazing up through then! Need to do that again, but with advance notice so that I can bring a Silly Hat.

  • A slow start after the previous evening meant I only got to the Main Stage for Hey Marseilles's last five or so songs, but what I heard was pretty amazing. I already heard the cello + violin thing from Ra Ra Riot, but they up the ante and throw in an accordion.

  • The Thermals. For some reason I wasn't expecting a mosh pit to form during their set, but a mosh pit formed. I emerged thoroughly beaten, drenched in sweat, with stomped-on feet and broken sunglasses in my pocket. The most epic moment was during "Here's Your Future", when it started raining right around the point when he shouted out the line "Here's your future: it's gonna rain!". I know we were promised there'd never be another great flood, but it certainly seemed likely right around then.

  • Two bands covered "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun".

  • FREE POPSICLES. CLASSY FREE POPSICLES. (also: free Otter Pops)



So, uh, lesson learned: "I don't know most of the bands" doesn't actually translate to "there aren't any good bands", after all. Really really glad I dove blindly into this thing: leaving Seattle without ever experiencing this would have been The Greatest Tragedy.
2nd-Apr-2009 11:12 pm - it had something to do with the rain
I went to Game Developer's Conference last week, but I'm going to hold off on actually writing about that. I'm going to have to do a formal writeup for the International Game Developer's Association in the next few days as my end of the scholarship experience they gave me (which -- spoiler alert -- was pretty spectacular), so I figure I can just start from there, bloat it with boring details about the car rides down and back and what I ate over the course of the week, and call it a LJ post. Or maybe it'll end up like my writeup of last year's PAX, doomed to live out its days as a half-formed beast trapped deep in my "Notes" folder. The future's a pretty crazy place.

Someone with whom I hung out with at a few concerts over the summer, but moved away in the fall, texted me today to let me know she's local again and to see if I'd be at a show next week (most probably not D:). This got me thinking about that time -- end of summer, early fall -- and it somehow struck me that despite the work and stress and everything else I'd place in the "cons" box were I to carefully map out my life, I feel that I'm a lot better off these days than I was a year or so ago. It's kind of a nice revelation to make.

I finished reading Douglas Coupland's Microserfs today. Standard post-book sentiment: accomplished, but a little disappointed there's nothing more. I was already looking at his other books to figure out which one I'd grab next when I remembered that a) I had been pushing off a Terry Pratchett book to get through this one, and b) I really didn't have the time to read this one in the first place. Investigation led me to discover that Coupland is currently writing Generation A, which appears to be a near-future follow-up to Generation X. I really can't see any way that a combination of the philosophical tech-savvity of Microserfs and jPod slammed against the bunch of people sitting around telling stories of Generation X being anything short of spectacular.

This summer I will read and play games that I've been wanting to play and play games that I haven't but should play anyways and make a prototype of something neat. It's gonna be awesome.
1st-Apr-2009 12:16 pm - OH SHYT
SOMETHING DRAMATIC HAPPENED
Feeling a little swamped with assignments and stuff at the moment, but I should be able to get through in one piece. At least there's an end in sight.

The awesome left-eye-twitch I picked up in the midst of Ghaliing last semester has made its triumphant return. I'm going to have to kick out as much work as I can to make way for more therapeutic excursions to Grass Lawn.

GDC is in just a little over a week, and I'm still simultaneously excited and terrified. I've got my business cards ordered and set to arrive on Thursday, and am starting to plan out my schedule as far as panels and such go. It's going to be a really rough week, since there's interesting sessions early in the morning and there'll be parties to attend late at night, but I'll just have to wear myself down -- after all, I'll have an entire day after I get back to recover! I've still got a little bit of scrambling around to do to prepare, but I'm making my way through it -- just yesterday, I figured out how to tie a tie so that I could look presentable while ushering this!

Beta is next week. We seem to be better prepared than we were for alpha. Which is to say that it does not feel like existence itself is ripping apart this time.

Game nerdery: Sitting in front of the computer for extended periods of time while waiting for my raycaster to draw a scene gave me the time to collect all the Secret Reports in The World Ends With You. That game is really just a little spectacular. Also, Iji: Play it.

One week. Let's go.
27th-Feb-2009 07:25 pm - I could be a supervisor.
I was buying groceries earlier today when I walked by a woman who seemed to be talking to herself. She was saying something about how she had lost her daughter, but the moment we made eye-contact, she turned to me without missing a beat and continued talking. "You look smart. Sometimes you can tell if somebody's smart or dumb just by looking at them, and I can tell you're smart."

I thanked her and kept pushing the cart towards the checkout line. She continued: "You could be a supervisor, if you cut your hair. They hire people who look a certain way to be supervisors -- I was in business for 17 years before I became a stay-at-home mom -- and you look and carry yourself the right way that they would hire you to be a supervisor."

Guys.

I could be a supervisor.
So I won a Game Developers Conference scholarship.

In short, this means that I'll be attending the show with a full-access pass instead of the cheaper limited one I was going to. I'll be paired with a mentor from the game industry, and get to tour a local game studio when I'm in San Francisco.

Sometimes life is a little lame, but sometimes it's just kinda amazing.

Six weeks!
28th-Jan-2009 11:31 pm - HOURLY COMIC DAY
It's almost Hourly Comic Day! :D

Every hour you're awake on Sunday, February 1, draw a quick little comic about what happened that hour. You'll learn a lot about how you actually spend your day, and see if your life is actually as entertaining as you think it is.

Scan/photograph the comics at the end of the day, throw them online, and we'll read each another's comics and marvel over how exciting our days were.

John Campbell manages to pull it off for an entire month, surely you and I can manage it for one day.
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