August 30, 2008

Full Circle

Looking at my last post I guess it's been a while. I've been a heavy combination of busy and tired so I suppose the blog hasn't really been high on my list of priorities. A couple things at the beginning of this term have really reminded me of just how long its been since I got here. In truth, it hasn't been the long at all, but everything here is so densely packed that I think I've gotten like multiple years worth of experience in only a year's worth of time. Though maybe that's just because I haven't gotten nearly as much sleep as I would have liked for the last year...

So it's Labor Day weekend and that just made me think of where I was a year ago and how things have and haven't changed. I'm still at the Guildhall, though admittedly far closer to graduation, something for which I am incredibly grateful. I'm still working through the holiday weekend, though at a lighter pace than usual. Not altogether that different than last year, really. I also finished an abstract this week that was for a professor I haven't had since term 2, which just reminded me how far I've come. It's weird, I'm not sure I can adequately explain it, I guess it's just funny starting to experience "lasts" in my time here. Like the last time I'll see a new cohort come in or I attend one of the GH barbecues (not sure this has happened yet, buy I'm just saying).

Work is going well I'd say, and I think I am on a pretty good pace to finish everything I need/want to without too much pain. I may even have time to play some games this weekend, who knows! There's a lot going on this term with thesis, TGP, DFS, and our level design class which is giving us some exposure to Unreal 3 (Gears of War specifically). Still, it doesn't seem like that much all considered. I mean, I wish we had the opportunity to sit down and just focus on one thing for a second, but, hey, at least they keep us busy :). Anyway, that's pretty much all I have to say right now. I've just spent most of the last few days working on my DFS/thesis, with a little TGP thrown in for good measure.

It's been a long week and I think I deserve a little bit of a break, so I think I'm going to take it. I purchased a big fancy TV yesterday using the majority of my internship money, though it is currently being shipped to me as the Best Buy price just wasn't quite good enough. I'm also planning to pick up Mercenaries 2 tomorrow, though I haven't yet decided on which version. The PS3 typically has better image quality (in my opinion...please put down your torches and pitchforks) but the 360 has the benefit of achievements and frankly, I just know more people that have a 360 which gives me more potential multiplayer partners. *Shrug* What to do, what to do...I think I'll go play a little Mercenaries on my 360 (if it works) as a little appetizer for tomorrow. Later!

August 27, 2008

Too Much Time Awake

It's been a long couple of nights (hence the dearth of posts) and I am completely bushed. The professor for team game production said that's basically how it works for the game designer. I am crazy busy at the beginning (while the idea is still being worked out) and at the end (when we are doing all the testing) and then in the middle I get to be an average level of busy. Well, I guess that's something to look forward to. We've got the long weekend coming up, which is nice, but I'll probably have to use most of it just to get caught up on things most notably my thesis project. Anyway, I'm tired and I don't think I've had a good night's sleep since Saturday so I'm gonna do my best to get one now. Here's another screenshot for your viewing pleasure. Night!

August 25, 2008

Late Nights

I have an abstract tomorrow due that I am only now starting. I was underwater with work yesterday, so I couldn't really work on it, but I could have probably started it before now, instead I decided to work on TGP for an extra 45 min. and then I went out to dinner with some friends. Ah well, who needs sleep anyhow? For now, I need to get back to work, so here's another pretty picture for you all to enjoy.

August 24, 2008

Kicked Into Guildhall Mode

Working like crazy. At least I'm over my, "How Will I Ever Do All This" freak out. Now, I just need to work. Anyway, no time for posting, so here's a pretty picture I took for my portfolio. Enjoy.

August 23, 2008

It's been a while

It's been a rough couple of days, well, sort of. Anyway, I haven't posted over the last couple days for a variety of reasons. Thursday night it was the coma that occurred after I just barely finished my LDD on time after several nights of little sleep, Friday it was getting invited to play cards with friends at around 10:00 p.m. (meaning we didn't actually start until well after 11:00 and we didn't finish until after 3:00). I guess that's not really a variety but it felt like it had been longer since I last posted. Anyway, today I have been running around trying to be productive and mostly failing to varying degrees. Well, maybe not failing, but not being productive in the way I had hoped, usually getting my productivity tied up in other stuff, that, while important, wasn't what I had intended to do.

I was supposed to do all my Professional Development assignments today which were:
  • Revise my resume
  • Write a cover letter
  • Take 15 portfolio screenshots
  • Answer 39 mock interview questions
What I instead ended up doing was:
  • Slept in way too late, then waste da lot of time in the morning
  • Reformatted my resume and made some minor revisions
  • Revised the Dissonance GDD (partially, still more to do before Monday)
  • Worked with Dissonance leads to plan for our milestone on Wednesday
  • Updated Dissonance task list for this term
  • Researched what company I want to mock apply to
  • Ran a few errands
Not a wholly unproductive day really, but much less than I wanted to get done on a couple things. I've also been a little down today so trying to write things about how awesome I am (resume, cover letter, etc.) wasn't really working out. At this point, I'm just really tired, so I think I'm gonna write this one off as a loss and try to get things back on track tomorrow. The stress of getting the LDD done on time definitely kicked me back into Guildhall mode, but I think I'm still reeling from the transition. Alright, time for a little R&R, later!

August 19, 2008

The Thick of It

Too busy working on my LDD to blog much right now. The Guildhall has managed to make me angry and depressed very quickly this term. I am hoping the storm will break a little once I get over this current hurdle, but its a big hurdle...

August 18, 2008

Back to the Grind

Well, after sitting here desperately trying to get my head into writing mode, I decided I try warming up by writing a post. In actuality, I've been trying to write things for my LDD for the past hour or so, but very little has been coming out of it. This isn't really that unusual for the beginning of term or trying to write a large document. Much like anything of this creative magnitude, sometimes it takes a little while to get the juices flowing. At the same time, I've made the important decision to try and re-unite my DFS and my Thesis (as much as is possible) so I'm basically just trying to describe a level I've pretty much already designed at this point, which may be stifling my creativity somewhat. Not sure that even make sense, but I'll go with it. Ultimately, it should mean less work as the map is already basically designed (and drawn) and I have a lot of reference materials to work with. All I should need to do is go into more depth and I should be home free.

Unfortunately, I just can't seem to get my mind working along that line. It's like an old car that just won't quite start. You can hear the engine trying to turn over, but it can't quite get there, at least, not yet. I am hopeful that if I use what I have already done effectively and just throw myself into this I really shouldn't have any trouble finishing up the doc by Thursday, but right now I'm having a lot of difficulty doing that. Anyway, I am running out of breaks I can give myself, so I better get back to work. Later, all!

August 17, 2008

Last Meal

This is going to be a short one as I want to get to enjoying what little is left of the night before I need to get back to the GH way of life. I went out to dinner with friends tonight and decided to really treat myself as a sort of final farewell to this little slice of life. Today I've mostly been doing far less work than intended and constantly pondering what exactly it is I want to do with my DFS. Usually I don't have a lot of trouble thinking of something to do that fits within the game's universe, but for some reason I am having issue with it here. Maybe it's because there isn't a lot of well explained backstory in the Gears universe thus far. That's not to say it isn't there, because I think it is, more that Epic is keeping it very low profile right now.

Anyway, I intend to think about it for a little while more and then play a game before I need to head to bed. My current game of choice is System Shock 2 which I just managed to get working on my laptop after the Armstrong (the ship in Space Siege) reminded me so much of the Von Braun (the ship is System Shock 2). The game holds up surprisingly well and reminds me how difficult games used to be. I'm looking forward to the Too Human release this week, but by then I'll probably be too buried in work to see it until my Friday night game session. Alright, I'm off. Later!

August 16, 2008


I'm gonna miss this...

Now, before I go any further, I want to preface this post by saying that I recognize and am thankful for the many blessings I've been given. I have a wonderful family that loves me, respects me, and supports me. I have had nearly every opportunity in my life. The chance to go to college, to find a career, to find another career, all without fear of financial struggle and hardship. I've had my share of hardships, but they ultimately pale in comparison to many others. My life has generally been very charmed, and I am exceedingly grateful for that. Anyway, as I was saying...

I'm gonna miss this. I don't mean the job specifically, though I will miss the job and I will miss the people, I mean the life. Specifically, I mean having a life. There are a lot of reasons why the Guildhall is difficult, why it really stretches you to your breaking point, but I think the worst thing is the way it forces you to sacrifice your life now in hopes of getting it back later. I'm really amazed at the people who manage to start or even keep a relationship going here, I'm not sure if I could do it. I mean, I've watched relationships fall apart under the best of circumstances, and these are among some of the worst. The Guildhall basically requires that you sacrifice your entire life outside of school in order to succeed, and it only gets worse from term-to-term.

Your first term, you have to cut out a lot of the extra stuff you may have been used to doing. Hobbies or social activities during the week are the first to go, then maybe that job you were thinking of keeping one day a week, then maybe your weekly church service or volunteer time. Gone. After that, the next few terms start to cut out any social interaction with people outside the program. Forget going out on weekends or meeting new people, you don't have the time. On a weekly basis you'll sometimes be lucky if you even get a chance to talk to someone from your immediate family. I can think of a few occasions where Rick said I had "gone dark" for several weeks and he was just calling to make sure I was still breathing.

The next thing to go is your personal time, the things you do just for you, playing videogames, watching TV, listening to music, whatever it might be, it's either gone or relegated to a couple hours a week. The final and last sacrifice is sleep. When you've given up everything in your life and there still isn't enough time to get the work done, it's the only thing left to lose. Throughout my undergraduate and graduate education before now, I never once had to pull an all-nighter. Oh, I had my fair share of late nights, but never an all-nighter. Here it has happened more times than I can least, 10, maybe more. The first few times it was cool to be that passionate about something, but eventually it gets tiresome (literally) and your body just won't do it anymore.

I really feel that all these sacrifices take a toll on your spirit, and I think over the past few weeks I've managed to recapture a little of what was lost, but not nearly enough. I'm not saying this to gain pity or attention, just expressing what's going on in my head. Eventually, I'll just have to get over it and accept that that is the way things are right now. I may wish they were different, but I'm everyone does when things are bad. I have the benefit of knowing that this time can't last much longer, and, if I'm willing to accept the consequences, it can be over whenever I want. I've come this far and I want to see it through, but I need to rally myself for this final sprint.

The one thing I am endeavoring to do over the next four months is to take things easier on myself. Knowing myself as well as I do, I realize this will be a real challenge as I will need to overcome some serious baggage in order to let things go, but it's something I really need to do. I can't keep pushing myself as hard as I have, and I certainly can't live the rest of my life that way. My goal is to basically set work hours for myself (though something closer to 12 hours/day, 6 days/week) and try to adhere to them, so I can work at work and decompress after. Odds are the curriculum will not really support this, but I'm still going to try my best and try to accept what this may mean for my grades or timely completion of my thesis.

Anyway, I am going to miss this, and I am going to try to squeeze out as much joy from these last couple days as possible, then hit the ground running come Monday (though I may start revving up tomorrow). On that note, my games aren't going to play themselves, so I'm off...

August 14, 2008

A Little Less Talk, A Little More Action

I want to follow up my comments on Space Siege a little now that I have played it a little more (at least a couple hours). The first thing I want to say is I am really enjoying it. For all the arguable failings I can see, I have fun when I am playing it, I find it hard to stop, and I look forward to playing it again. There are generally signs of a solid game. While I do still hold that the character system is a bit shallow for my taste, I do have to give it credit for having at least some strategic depth and that is in the number of slots vs. the number of abilities you have available. It seems like there are about 30 abilities (including those unlocked from the skill tree) and only about 10 slots (which doesn't include the special abilities of the HR-V) with which to equip them (and even then, I find I can only reliably use about 6 of them).

Even though every character gets access to most of these skills (depending on the ones acquired from the skill tree) and they can easily be changed between encounters, depending on how you choose your skills and the abilities you have equipped, I can see the game being played a lot differently than I currently am playing it. The same goes for what weapons and equipment you choose to spend your upgrade parts on and which (if any) cybernetic parts you decide to use. For example, I have focused largely on engineering skills which means that I use an array of gadgets like fire traps, electrostatic grenades, and sentry guns and then follow that up with my heavily upgraded assault rifle. Against powerful ranged enemies however, I tend to sprint in close to use my magblade, shield, and bash ability (which comes with a number of cool melee animations) to quickly dispatch them where their ranged weapons are less effective.

Looking at the number of skills I haven't invested in and the abilities I don't use, I could easily see the game having a much different feel depending on how you build and outfit your character. Anyway, I think my review yesterday cast the game in a somewhat harsher light than it deserved so I want to give a bit more credit where credit is due. I think the game falls somewhere in the 7.0 - 8.0 range, but it continues to move up in my esteem as I play it. As I progress, the encounters get more challenging allowing me to see the additional strategic depth in choosing your investments in skills, abilities, and equipment. Good stuff. I hope that someone I know ends up picking it up so I can try out the multiplayer component, as it sounds interesting and fun.

In other news, I also received Haze in the mail today and I guess my initial reaction is rather tepid. The Nectar effects are nice looking, but overall the game isn't very graphically impressive, the dialog is just terrible, and overall it just feels very mediocre. I'm not writing it off yet (though the dialog is bad enough to make me not want to continue), but my initial reaction is to not waste my time with it. Finally, tomorrow marks the last day of my Gearbox internship and the end of my "break." Tomorrow the team is taking us out to lunch and then there's a party on Saturday that the interns have been invited to as well. It's been a really great experience, and ultimately I think we've done some really good work, though I suppose Gearbox will be the final judge of that. It's gonna be hard going back to the Guildhall, but I'm not going to worry about that right now. I've got plenty of time over the weekend for that :). Alright, I better get to bed as there are plenty of loose ends to tie up before end of day tomorrow. Night, all!

August 13, 2008

Sieging Dungeons IN SPACE!

So, as I think about it, I really must say I have mixed feelings about Space Siege, I'm not really sure what to say about it. On the one hand, I've just enjoyed playing it for the last few hours and I am itching to get back to it for a little bit before I need to get to bed. On the other hand, I think I can safely say it is my least favorite of the "Siege" games and I think it will really only appeal to a select few gamers (of which I think I gladly can say I am one). The problem is, they took the dungeon crawler formula and attempted to improve upon it by streamlining and simplifying many of the character development aspects that I think make those games so enjoyable. As a result I think more was lost than gained, but it is an ultimately dazzling and fun experience nonetheless.

Instead of picking up loot like the Helm of Courage or the Broadsword of Greater Boar's Constitution enemies drop generic "upgrade parts" which can be used to upgrade your weapons, armor, and robotic companion HR-V (pronounced "Harvey"). In addition, instead of awarding experience for slaying enemies and accomplishing objectives, skill points (which allow you to upgrade your characters skills) are awarded at specific points in the game. Weapons are received in the same way, and while I haven't gotten very far yet, there don't seem to be enough slots for the weapon set to be incredibly deep, though I would happily be mistaken. The skill tree isn't very deep and seems to allow for only very limited customization of the single avatar available to the player.

While I think it does make the game more approachable, I think that the character system is overall pretty shallow for the genre, which will alienate some of the more hardcore fans. In the end, the game has more in common with the Shadowgrounds games than the "Siege" games, though I'd say the production values are a bit better on this title (no offense, Shadowgrounds, I love you, but you're voice acting makes me cry). I enjoy the combat and using the different abilities in conjunction is fun and cool looking, I just wish the character system was a bit deeper.

The game really appeals to me, because as I have said, I love dungeon crawlers, and I also love sci-fi, and this is probably the best marriage I have seen of the the two concepts, but it feels like it could have been so much more if the developers hadn't tried to fix what wasn't really broken. I know it's dangerous to say you want something less original, but I think as far as the character system is concerned, less isn't more. I think the other original items like the cybernetic enhancements and sci-fi setting are welcome additions, and I hope that someone continues to work with this genre in this setting, even if Gas Powered Games decides to move on.

On a side note, a cursory glance at the internet has shown many people irritated by the game's controls, preferring that they be more like the Shadowgrounds controls (which are closer to an FPS controlled from a top down perspective). I just want to state that I disagree with that assessment, and think that that kind of change almost fundamentally changes the game being played, focusing even more on the "action" and less on the "RPG". I think that the fact that you can and do dodge in this game is an interesting addition, but I don't want it to be the focus of what I am doing which should be choosing targets and abilities, not dodging bullets. Just my two cents...feel free to disagree.

August 12, 2008

We all have bad days...

Right now there are a number of thoughts running through my head, so many it would seem that I can't seem to pick a single strand to write about. The Gearbox internship is ending and the Guildhall is fast approaching and I just feel like I am torn between new worlds and not really happy with either. This may all stem from the fact that I decided to stay up way too late playing games last night (hence no post) in order to somehow maximize my last remaining free hours. Ultimately, this just ended up with me feeling crappy physically and emotionally pretty much all day. It just feels like there are so many balls in the air right now, it's hard to keep them all up there.

There are several things at work that I want to think about and focus on, but at the same time I've got to start worrying about Thesis and Dissonance and DFS and my Portfolio, and finally I can use any remaining time to worry about my personal stuff. I just don't think I can keep that all in my head, but I am having trouble figuring out how to deal with it. The way I see it, there are two options: 1) I can just try to push through it and keep working on GH stuff despite how I feel about it, or 2) I can put the Guildhall stuff off to the side until the internship is finally finished and accept what sacrifices or damage that may entail. I have been trying to do the former to my detriment and I think that really only leaves me the latter.

If worst came to worst and I had to do my LDD in the first three days of term, I think I could. It would be pretty painful, especially for the first week of term and it might not be my best work, but I think I could do it. I mean, I pretty much did that with the last one and that turned out alright. I guess I'm just worried about digging myself into a hole too deep for me to climb out of. As I write this, I guess I've already made my choice, I'm just worried about what it means, but rationally I know that worrying isn't helpful or productive so I might as well get over it. Hey, that sounds like a pretty good plan...

I'm still settling on an idea for my Gears level, but I think I have it narrowed down to a few concepts/settings. I should be able to draft up the rough idea and a sketch map before the end of the week. If I could start the term with those things, I think I should be OK. Alright, so outside of my personal and professional problems, what am I up to? I'm really excited for the begging of what I will call "game season." At this point, it seems like the release of Madden marks the kickoff (pun intended) of the fall game releases. This week I am excited to pick up a copy of Space Siege (I'm a big dungeon crawler fan) and then Too Human comes out the following week (did I say I like dungeon crawlers?).

I am actually really looking forward to Too Human since I played the demo. I mean, I have always liked Silicon Knights for their stories (Legacy of Kain, Eternal Darkness), but I thought the demo had some really cool gameplay mechanics, and one of my favorite things in a dungeon crawler, lots of varied loot that are actually change your character's appearance. I don't know why more RPGs aren't focused on this, but there are basically two really easy things that can help me connect to a game: 1) letting me design a character (at least appearance and then skills/stats in possible) and 2) showing my gear on my character (and having it look different...I'm looking at you, Age of Conan).

Of course gameplay, story, visuals, and all that are important...very important, but it seems like those two things should be easy enough (maybe not both of them) and I think they really help players become their character. Anyway, that's my two cents, maybe you all agree with me, and maybe the art developers are cursing my name that they now need to make 500 different "cool looking" shields, but I think it helps make for a much more engaging experience. Alright, well, I'm going to wind down for the night. Later!

August 10, 2008

Living the Dream

Well, here we close in on the last week of Gearbox and my subsequent return to the Guildhall. I had every intention of doing some actual work this weekend, and I managed to accomplish at least some of it. I looked through the edits to my thesis proposal and addressed a few of them, I finished playing through Gears of War on the PC and now I have a few ideas for where I want to take my DFS, I looked a bit at some Dissonance materials as well. Ultimately it wasn't the least productive weekend I've ever had, but it still probably wasn't as productive as I needed it to be.

To be quite frank, I've just enjoyed having some time to relax lately, and it's been too hard to focus on Guildhall stuff along with work, it's just one too many balls to juggle. Admittedly, I certainly haven't been working nearly as hard the past few weeks as I do at the Guildhall, but I still don't think I've even close to fully recovered from the last year. I think the truth is it will probably take me about a year of having a normal life before I really manage to shake this place off, maybe more. I'm not really sure where I am going with this just a lot that's been on my mind.

I have an overwhelming sense of...I'm not sure what the right term is, it's like exhaustion or tiredness, but it's more than that, it feels less transient. Like, when you are tired, you just take a nap and when you get up, you feel better. This feels different, like a small part of my core energy has been sapped and my overall energy level has been diminished. Maybe I'm being melodramatic, but it almost makes me wish I'd done something else with my time. The Guildhall has meant a lot of sacrifices: time, money, relationships, health, and sometimes I don't know if it is worth it. I love the job I am doing right now, don't get me wrong, but, I don't know, it's this weird feeling I just can't shake.

I guess that's a natural part of the human condition: to wonder "what if," but it's just been hitting my pretty hard lately. All the major decisions I've made in the last few years that have led me to this point, questioning if they were the right ones. The truth is, if I was already on the other side, if this wasn't an internship, if it was a job, I think I'd probably be certain that they were the right ones. Unfortunately, the four months between then and now are...well, scary. I'm not sure really how to explain it, it just drains you so much and I'm not sure how much I have left in me. Anyway, as you can tell I'm all over the place which is probably a sign that I need to stop thinking about this and sleep or do something else.

I am excited for pretty much all my work over the next four months and if it was over the next six months I think I would be even more positive about it, but I just know it's going to feel like too much work in too little time, and I've grown to enjoy living without that stress in my life for at least a short while. Anyway, I just need to keep reminding myself that this, like most things in life, will pass, and I am sure that I really do want what lies on the other side. I just have to get there...

August 9, 2008

Life is Fun?

I think with the end of my internship and subsequent return to Guildhall looming on the horizon, I've become rather introspective as of late. Just thinking about where I am, where I'm going, and where I've been. I postponed some of the work I had intended to do today and didn't even finish the stuff I tried to do. I mostly played games and relaxed, which is how I feel Saturday's should be, but won't until I'm done with these next four months. I'm pretty sure it won't be as bad as I've made it out in my head, but I know the GH has managed to make me very angry, upset, unhappy, depressed, and a whole host of other negative emotions I gladly haven't really had to deal with for the past four weeks.

I had a good, fun, relaxing day today, a day that definitely wouldn't have been possible inside of term (at least, not without serious repercussions for my grades and/or sleep schedule). I guess one of the really amazing things about the human mind is it's ability to forget pain. I mean, the break between Term 4 and Term 5 was only one week, but by the time Term 5 started Term 4 felt like nothing but a bad dream. I guess my worry is now that I have forgotten the pain, it's going to hurt a whole bunch more to get "reacquainted" with it. Nevertheless, that time is quickly approaching, and I need to be willing to accept whatever gets thrown my way.

If it feels like this post is all over the place, that's an accurate reflection of my state of mind. I'm not sure how I feel about everything: the internship, Dissonance, my thesis, I have a bunch of uncoordinated thoughts about all of them just rolling around my head. I can't really seem to make sense of it all, but time keeps right on plowing ahead. Anyway, I don't think any of this is getting any clearer right now, and I need to get some sleep. Maybe it will all make sense in the morning...

August 7, 2008

6 More Days of "Work"

Well, the internship is (sort of) quickly winding down. We're all moving on to our final tasks and soon it will be back to the Guildhall for our last two terms. Then, maybe back here again, who knows? Tomorrow the LDs are planning to demonstrate what we've been working on to the rest of the team, but there are still a few bugs we need/want to work through before then, which doesn't give us a whole lot of time. Still, the team is eager to see what we've done, and with only a week left, it's definitely time for us to start showing something. I guess I'm not too worried about it, but there are a few things outside my control that I am holding my breath for.

I am hopeful that they will like what we have done, but if they don't I can accept that. I have enjoyed my time at Gearbox and would love to continue working on this project, but they aren't the only girl at the dance and I'm not going to freak out based solely on their opinion of me (for anyone who actually knows me, you'll realize this is a big step). That's pretty everything on the work front. I played a little Gears of War tonight as I think I am going to use that game for my DFS and I am trying to get a bit more familiar with the game.

I think my prior Unreal experience in addition to my work at Gearbox should prepare me to make a really amazing piece over the next few months. It will mean using a different editor for my Thesis and my DFS, which I have been heavily cautioned against by the faculty, but I've decided I think it will be better for me professionally and I am willing to accept the risks associated with it (namely that it might take longer to finish my thesis or I might not finish it at all).Anyway, it's been a surprisingly long week and I need to wind down and recuperate so I am going to go play/watch something before I head to bed. Night, all!

August 6, 2008

Sleepy Town - Pop. 1

Not sure exactly why, but this week has been really tiring. I've been getting to bed at a reasonable hour and work doesn't start until 10:00 so I can't really explain it. Anyway, I should get to bed as I am nearly falling asleep as I type this. For quick updates, work is good, things are proceeding a bit slower than desired and the leads are eager to see what we've done, so we are trying to get everything to a playable state (a state which we had actually already sort of achieved, but in a very hacked together way). Hopefully we'll be showing our work to the rest of the team tomorrow or Friday.

I organized a bunch of my tasks for school and I played with the DS a bit more, tonight it was The World Ends With You, which is really weird but seems pretty cool. I also played a bit more Chocobo's Dungeon which is still surprisingly well put together. That's really about it. The break has really gone by too fast, and I'm not ready to get back to the "real world" (or am I in the real world? I get confused on this point sometimes) but its coming whether I want it to or not. Alright, well I need sleep so I can really hit the ground running tomorrow, so I'm off to bed. Night, all!

August 5, 2008

Birthday II

Happy Birthday to me!!

Birthday presents from my family arrived today (actually yesterday, but there's a one day lag on when I can get them from the apartment office) so I've taken the opportunity to celebrate my birthday again. Really I'm willing to do just about anything that lets me avoid working on Guildhall stuff. I got a DS Lite, Phantom Hourglass, some clothes and a sweet Best Buy gift certificate which I used to buy a host of new DS games. Work is going well I think and I'm sad that it's drawing to a close soon. I wouldn't have imagined caring about a job so much, so I guess that's a good sign. Though it may be in part due to the fact that I would find most things preferable to returning to the Guildhall.

I guess I should apologize slightly for that comment as I don't mean to completely bad mouth the school. It is probably the best education you can get for this material, but I feel like the only word to describe my experiences would be...traumatic. Still, it's gotten me closer to what I want than anything else so I can't really slight for that. I guess I just feel a sense of real dread at going back. Like this break was the light at the end of an incredibly long tunnel, only to find out that it's a brief opening before more tunnel. Not to mention, since the internship started immediately after school I don't feel like I really got a chance to recharge so going into this next term is going to be nothing short of painful. I'm still very excited about the work I will be doing over the next 4 months and I hope the bright-eyed idealism of the new class will help bolster my spirits (though it seems to have the opposite effect on my classmates), but I'm still worried about returning.

Anyway, that's where I am right now. Trying to stay positive and happy about things while I can. I think the first couple weeks of Term 6 are sure to suck hardcore, but then my hope is I will get back into the swing of things and everything will settle. Ultimately, I think I've just reached the point where I am ready to move on, but there's still some work to be done before I get there. Either way, none of it is getting done tonight...

August 4, 2008

Looks Like Somebody's Got a Case of the Mondays...

I had to put this subject up, if only because the phrase came up not once, but twice, at work today. As for my lackadaisical posting as of late, over the weekend I basically tried to do some basic chores and errands and consistently avoided the serious GH work that I know I should be doing: Thesis proposals, LDDs, GDDs, and all that. The D&D session last night was fun, though a party of ~10 adventurers is certainly a bit unwieldy. I think a single round of combat typically took around 30 min. Still, Casey seems to be a very capable DM and the adventure was fun, and I got to level up, which is pretty cool. It seems like it would take too much time up during the semester, so I doubt it will continue much after next weekend, but I think it would be pretty cool if it did regardless.

As always, I can't really divulge much about work, but I can say it was kind of meh today. The LLD came to look at the progress the LD interns had made on our work, and gave us feedback on some things to improve this week. He didn't seem overly enthused or unhappy about any of it, which I suppose is ultimately a good thing, but I think the interns (myself included) were generally disappointed at the reaction. Probably just a case of the interns being a bit obsessive about our performance, and wanting to feel like we are actively contributing to the project, but I guess it ultimately made the day a little less exciting. Anyway, we are all actively working to improve our work and incorporate the lead's feedback for further review later this week.

I guess the last thing I should bring up is I am officially a professional game developer at this point (at least I think this is one possible definition): I got my first paycheck on Friday. I deposited most of it, but also decided to take some of it and purchase myself a little present, which ended up being Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon. Don't let the title fool you, this is a surprisingly strategic and challenging little dungeon romp in the Final Fantasy universe. I got to play it surprisingly little over the weekend (thanks to boardgames and D&D), but I basically came home from work today, popped it in and played it right up to writing this post. Good times. It's pretty late, so I should get to bed, but I'll try to go into a bit more detail about the game, in tomorrow's post. Night, all!