Monday, December 31, 2007

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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THE WINNERS (if you won more than once, I go to the next person in line):

Winner #1-nokage
Winner #2-tapion440
Winner #3-sol
Winner #4-rastor

Details on how to claim the game coming soon! Congrats ya'll! Thanks for playing! And again: Happy New Year!!!

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Welcome 2008! Here's hoping we all have the best year ever!!! Thank you so much for the support of this blog over the last year!

And now...free games!

#5,#10, #15, and #26 comments get a free copy of our first ever Eat Sleep Play video game:




Good luck! I will post the winners in a bit!

David

Time waits for no man...

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EDIT: NOT THIS POST! DO NOT POST TO THIS POST! Read this post....you need to comment to a NEW POST that is going up after midnite! Thanks!!!
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3:30pm San Diego time. Less than 9 hours till a brand new year. Amazing how times flies although I have to say, this year has been a great one. So much has happened that I am so grateful for and so much living - versus simply existing- was packed into the last 12 months, that for the first time in memory I don't look back and think, 'man, where did the year go?!?!' It really feels like I milked the shit out of 2007. I got no regrets, just great memories. And I'm ultra jazzed for what 2008 has in store for us all.

Ok, so I wanted to give those of you who are interested in the 'Win Twisted Metal: Head On: Extra Twisted Edition PS2' contest, some info:

I did not make the time to fill out the holiday cards. I got sick and that- plus normal holiday activities- just drained my time. So no cards went out and I doubt I will ever get around to sending them. I am very, very sorry for those who took the time to go to the yahoo account and enter addresses. But let me make it up to you...in two ways!

#1- Because I feel bad for being a slacker, let's give away 4 copies of the game, versus 3! So, there ya go: one extra chance to win a copy!

#2- Since I'm tossing the whole holiday card idea, it means more than 20 folks (the original number of cards I was going to send out) now have a chance to win now! So that's good(for those who didn't make the cut!)...

So here's the deal...at between 12:00 and 12:30am on Jan 1 PST (i.e. once us Californians get to see the ball drop in NYC Times Square) I will post a new blog entry. The folks who post to that blog entry's #10,#15,#20,and #26 comments will get a copy of the game. So it's like the old school radio call in contests ('be caller #10 to win a pair of tickets to the Duran Duran concert!')...but now there are 4 chances to win...not just one! You just gotta make sure your comment lands in one of those slots! And YES, multiple comments are ok!

So good luck! I will post the winners later tonite or first thing in the am.

NOTE: If for some reason blogger has an allergic reaction to folks refreshing and posting comments fast (and yes, the comments don't have to have anything written in them...they can be empty as long as blogger will take them)...but if for some reason, it doesn't work the way I think it is...I reserve the right to find a new way to give these damn things away :)

But let's hope for the best! I think it'll work great!

By the way, if you are from out of the country, I am more than happy to send you a copy if you win, but it is the NTSC version. Also, the games will go out- I THINK- around the week we ship. But it may be a bit sooner or a bit later, depending on when we get our copies from Sony.

Ok, so that's that.

Now I gotta go get ready. We are having a little kids New Year's party/play date that starts in less than an hour. I imagine the kids and their parents will not make it till midnight so it will prob be me and the wife ringing in the new year and then her hitting the hay while I update the blog and try to whip thru a few more Uncharted chapters (I am on chapter 18 right now) before I go to bed. My fantasy is to finish the game before the holiday officially ends tomorow nite. I'll let ya'll know!

Oh and look: if you are going out tonite, please be safe! Have a great time and Happy New Year! Looking forward to continuing to blog and chat with ya'll in 2008 (the year of Indy!!!)...

ok, gotta run...see ya'll...and good luck tonite if you are entering the contest!

David

Friday, December 28, 2007

NEW V-BLOG AND CHAT BOX

Doing some house cleaning on the blog, moving some stuff around...So hey, I put a new chat box in the corner...we'll see if this one works better than the last! Be fun to talk in real time with some of ya'll! This one is better than the last in that no one but me can post as Jaffe or David Jaffe or djaffe,etc...so if you see that name, it's really me...not some 12 year old Playstation hater trying to fuck stuff up for folks. I can also ban people so that will be good if people show up trying to screw things up...so we'll see where it goes...

Also I put up a video blog feature-real easy to do so I think I will use this feature alot if people don't get sick of seeing me in person! I know the audio drops out, video skips a bit, and the whole image is not shown. Will work on fixing/improving that for next update- not sure if there is anything I can do however. It seems pretty plug and play and what you see is what you get.

Talk soon-

David

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays!



The kids are asleep, the cookies for Santa are out, and there are so many presents under the tree that I vacillate between shame and excitement. As me and the family- aka wife, brother, mom, dad, mother in law, father in law, settle in to watch LOVE, ACTUALLY (love that movie!) I just wanted to say Merry Christmas to those who celebrate the baby Jesus, Happy belated Hanukkah to those who dance the Hora, and to my fellow agnostics, HAPPY HOLIDAYS YA'LL!

As a person who is pretty much a hedonist, me and the wife celebrate everything that seems fun. We lit the Menorah (cause I was raised Jewish, but no longer am), we have a tree (cause my wife was raised Christian but no longer is), and hell, if I knew anything about Quanza (including how to spell it) I'm sure we'd celebrate that.

But the main thing we celebrate is how fortunate we are to have family and love and health. I will update I am sure before New Year's but still: have a great holiday ya'll! Be safe and have so much fun!


David

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sick Ass Motherfucker...



12:30 am, up sick as crap :(

This is the worst sore throat I've had since I was in Vegas for the very first Sony Santa Monica Xmas party and I was up all night in the bathroom drinking tea from room service, sitting on the bathroom floor reading magazines so I would not wake up my wife.

This so sucks!

And you know it sucks cause I took Nyquil and this soar throat is so bad, the pain woke me up, even tho I'm drugged up on that shit...which I LOVE by the way!


Tea and Tylonol...what else can you do? My codine perscription- I forget why I have codine...some sickness in the past- is no longer valid. Mmmmm, codine would rock rite now....!

Oh, check this out:


Doing final Xmas shopping tonite and I popped into Radio Shack. Didn't know they sold PS games! And check it- The God of War games are for sale in there! Not that I have the skills as a writer, but if I had any energy right now, I'd attempt to write about how full circle-y it is that a game I worked on is for sale in Radio Shack. Radio Shack? What's so special about Radio Shack? Well, the Radio Shack in the Brookwood Village mall back in Alabama was the very place I used to 'program' fantasy adventure games on the TRS-80/CoCo in the back of the store while my parents were shopping at the mall....(if you can call my BASIC programming slop 'programming')...ya know...something like this:

5 CLS
10 PRINT "You are standing in front of an ancient Mayan temple."
20 PRINT "Vines cover the stone steps that lead up to the pyramid summit, some 200 feet above..."
30 INPUT "What do you do?!?"; A$
40 IF A$ ="Take steps" GOTO 70
50 IF A$="Look at Vines" GOTO 60
60 PRINT "The vines are slippery, wet. Is that blood on them?!?"
65 GOTO 80
70 PRINT "Are you actually still reading this shitty BASIC PROGRAMMING example that probably would not even run cause I think I've forgotten the proper syntax for how to do Input strings?!?!"

Ok, gonna try to sleep again...or maybe I'll play some Uncharted. Finished Ratchet finally yesterday...LOVED IT! Started uncharted and I LOVE the theme and the look of it...controls suffer in comparison to the buttery smooth Ratchet but the ambiance and spirit of the game keep pulling me back. I worry tho about how much shooting there is. I LIKE the shooting; it's fun and really well done. But I'm at this part- right after the UBOAT- where it's like damn: ENOUGH FUCKING SPAWNING THE DRONES! EVERY 10 STEPS IS MORE FUCKING GUNPLAY!

Man I dig this game alot but I hope it's not paced this way the whole way thru...with just one shoot out after another....is it?!?

Take care ya'll!

David

ps. God I hope I don't stay sick for long...my brother and parents are in town for Xmas and they tend to love movies as much as me. So many good flicks to see...I hope I'm well enough for us to all go out...I love doing that! And there's some good stuff to see right now...the Tom Hanks thing, Atonement, National Treasure, The Great Debaters...ok, gonna go to bed and try to get well...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Best Part Of My Job

A sharp as hell #2 pencil, a stack of clean white paper, and a big tub of diet coke by my side. Yep, I'm in brainstorm mode. And hands down, this is the BEST part of my job.

Doing doodles, sketching out ideas, working out mechanics on paper; seeing how one idea leads to another...and God, when you hit on a idea you just LOVE, ooohhh, that's a nice group of pleasure neurons that fire off and make you feel like a God! But THEN once you get one of those cool ideas, I tend to get all like 'ok, don't push it' and then I kind of sit for an hour with NOTHING coming cause it's like the Universe is like a) don't get greedy! and b) ok, YOU may like it but don't be an arrogant ass and assume anyone else will!

Ah ya know, screw it...the (a) above is totally true...the (b) is not. I never feel that way. I fucking KNOW when I've stumbled upon a sweet ass idea. I don't question it. I was just trying to sound humble :)

In fact, here. Check this out:



See? That says 'COOL!' and there is a big circle around it. I do that when I hit on something I really, really like so it doesn't get lost amid the many doodles on the many sheets of paper floating around. I also do it as a way- I guess- of expressing how excited I am. It just kind of comes out.

And the best thing is, this is the part where I- having come up with what I feel is a sweet ass idea, or having heard a sweet ass idea from someone else on the team-get the same charge players get when they play the game for the first time and see/experience something cool. Difference is, now that I've gotten the charge, the team still has to work like crazy the next 10-24 months in order to bring some of these cool ideas life and thus, give players the same charge we've had for over 2 years!

But whatever- that's the job part of it, right? No worries. Especially given the people I work with tend to take a cool idea and then thru execution, make it 50 times better anyway!


And all that aside- WHEN one of the notes/sketches/doodles that I've worked on gets made and then gets in the hands of a gamer and THEY light up and smile in the same way I did when I first sketched the thing 2 years prior...man, that makes it worth it!

Plus, fuck man, even if some of these ideas don't make it (and alot won't), I still get to sit here all safe from the cold outside, warm in my cozy office surrounded by cool pictures, neat toys, and all the latest and greatest video games and just be creative! Fuck dude...what did I do so right in my last life to deserve this?!?!

I'm a happy man.

David

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

GET HOLIDAY CHEER...AND WIN OUR VERY FIRST GAME!!!

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EDIT: And that's all she wrote. We're well past our 20 card limit so THANK YOU guys/gals for all the interest. I will be sending the cards out in the next several days so you'll have to wait to see if you made the cut :)

Gotta run get the kids out of the bath- chat with ya'll later! And thanks again for playing!

David

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Hey, wanna get a little Eat Sleep Play holiday cheer in your mailbox AND have a chance to win the very first EAT SLEEP PLAY game ever made?!?! Sure ya do!

So...check it out:





Here you can see our first evaaar Eat Sleep Play holiday card. I have 20 of these that I will send out to the first 20 people that send eatsleepplay100@yahoo.com a functioning snail mail address. NOTE: DO NOT COMMENT YOUR ADDRESS HERE....send it to eatsleepplay100@yahoo.com and see if you can get your hands on the card.

That alone-the chance to own what will one day be a small piece of classic gaming memorabillia!....err we hope :)- should be enough to get your ass rushing to your keyboard to enter your address! But if that wasn't enough...check this out:



There it is, the cover for our first game! I like it! Pretty snazzy, I think!

So here's how you could win a free copy of the thing!

The FIRST 3 people WHO HAVE BEEN SENT AN EAT SLEEP PLAY HOLIDAY CARD to comment on THIS BLOG (not at the eatsleepplay100 account) but THIS BLOG in 2008, will get a copy of the game!

So the steps are:

1- get a card by being one of the first 20 to send your address to eatsleepplay100@yahoo.com
2- IF you have a card AND you are one of the first 3 commenters on THIS BLOG in 2008 (SAN DIEGO TIME, BY THE WAY) you will win a copy of the game.

That's it...pretty easy, yeah?

As always, you need to be 18 to play and Eat Sleep Play makes the final rules and decisions about who won,lost,and why...no matter if you think you won or lost :)

So...hell...a free holiday card AND a maybe a free game! What the hell is wrong with you! Send us those addresses! :)

Good luck ya'll!

Talk soon!

David

ps. and don't forget. Don't comment here with the address...send it to eatsleepplay100@yahoo.com.

Thanks!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

LET IT SNOW!

Hey!

In Utah right now where it's cold and snowy...but I'm digging that! We never get snow in San Diego- and very rarely got it in Alabama- so I love it when it snows. I really enjoyed walking back to the office from lunch today as the white stuff started floating down. With the the snow and all the Xmas lights and decorations up and Christmas music coming outl of pretty much every speaker you go past, the whole day was really festive. I love this time of year!

But man what a long day! An early ass flight (up at 4am to catch the 6am) and then a long, but very productive- and very exciting- day of game design on our first new game for Sony! It's always best to sleep on the ideas of the day, to let the ideas settle before you get too excited... but I'm feeling pretty good that when I wake up tomorrow I'll still be really jazzed. We'll see :)

So hey, I'm dead tired. Gonna go to bed. But first...some pics before I hit the hay:


Check it out! This is what greeted me when I got up to the office today! Our logo on the door! Ok, ok, it's not that big a deal to you probably, but hey, all of us at Eat Sleep Play own the damn company so it's pretty cool to see your company logo on the door! This is the first time I've seen it on the window and door and I gotta admit, I got a bit of a thrill :)



Here is what I am eating for dinner RIGHT NOW! As in RIGHT NOW as we speak! Isn't that...boring? Yeah, I know, I know. But hell, I figured I'd share. Hey cool, it's like we're eating dinner together....err, sort of? Whatever. Die. :)



Tomorrow is our office Xmas party. That's the tree and some of the white elephant gifts we're giving out, wrapped in old bown bags (to make the gifts even more shitty) :)




And finally, the second of the Calling All Cars figures Scott likes to carve. Pretty snazzy, eh?

Ok that's it for me. I am beat. Was gonna stay up and type the design notes but I'm fried. Try to get to it in the am.

See ya'll!

David

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Step right up and win some crap...

EDIT #3:

Well that was fun ya'll. Man, I got real sloppy towards the end...rope a dope I guess! :)

So the winners are:

Tideas
Sirchoode
Rastor

Some really great games in there! Thank ya'll so much!

I will contact the three winners on PSN mail tomorrow and get the info we need to send out the prizes!

Happy Holidays ya'll! And thanks again for playing tonite!

David

ps. sorry for those who wanted to get in but did not...I wish there was a better way to gurantee that everyone got to play a round...next time!
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EDIT #2:

GAME IS UP:

name: eatsleepplay
pw: beckinsale

my mic is not charged :( So no voice for me!

Hope to see ya'll online!

David




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EDIT: Yeah, that is late...let's change it: It'll be 8:45 San Diego time...8:40 for the room and password post info

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...actually, not crap at all! It's our first ever EAT SLEEP PLAY holiday swag! Check it out!



It's a box full of...well, hell, I ain't saying...but it's good! Really good! And it's our holiday gift to many folks in the biz this year. And it's also our holiday gift to you, loyal supporters of this new endeavor we like to call EAT SLEEP PLAY!

Well, I meant to say: it's your holiday gift if you can kick my ass at Calling all Cars tonite!

Is it lame I'm so jazzed about doing this? Probably. Who cares! Here's the deal:

I will be online tonite at 10pm San Diego Time (that's Pacific, to all you 'No Child Left Behind' folks). I will create a room in the Chief lobby and password it. The name of the game and the password for it will go up at 9:50 or so on this very blog. If for some reason, blogger is down, I will post the info on neogaf.com forums.

If you are one of the first 3 people to beat me in a game of Calling All Cars, we'll ship you out one of these babies: Eat Sleep Play's VERY FIRST- in what we know will be a long line of- Hoiday Goodies!

So I hope to see you online tonite and I hope at least SOMEONE can kick my ass!

Oh, but first, a few rules:

1. This contest is not a Sony contest AT ALL! They have nothing to do with it.

2. Winners and losers and all the details of who wins is totally up to us at Eat Sleep Play. So even if you THOUGHT you won, and we say you didn't, too bad. Not that we would ever do that, but we have to say it so we're all clear.

3. All games will be async start, so you can drop in at ANY time to play...but if you want to win, I suggest coming in at the start of a game (joining with us as we all leave the lobby) so you have more time to rack up points.

4. If I come in 4th in a game of 4, then all of those folks in the game 'beat me' and they all win...unless we've already given away 1-2 boxes. In that case, the person(s) with the highest points, take the prize.

5. Finally- and this is key- IF you play a game, you must quit out of the game room when the game is over...wait about 2 minutes and then rejoin. You can play as many times as you want but you need to drop out of the game room to make sure others have a turn. If you play two games in a row and I catch you doing it, you're out of the running.

6.If for some reason, stuff gets confusing, check my blog. I will have my laptop next to me as I play and will update as needed.

7. Finally- if you are under 18 and you win, we will not send you anything unless your parent(s) call us and say it's all cool.

8. Oh, and also: if you win, shoot me a friend invite on PSN network with your shipping info (and your age!) and we'll get your prize out this week (assuming if you are under 18, your parents have contacted us)

9. If it gets too late and no one has won and my wife is like: COME TO BED! or if my kids wake up and start crying and I gotta take care of them,etc...I will post this info and what the next steps are on my blog (i.e. 15 minutes break, end of the contest,winners list,etc)....

I'm really hoping I get to play and meet you guys tonite! Hell, it may just be like 3 of us the whole night anyway given the number of folks who play online :) But still...I will try to hook up my headset (never done it at home before) so we can chat live. Looking forward to meeting some of you readers for the first time!

And many thanks go out to my partner in crime Scott Campbell and our producer/office head/not-really-sure-of-her-title-but-we'd-all-be-dead-without-her Angelic Quntana of Eat Sleep Play for getting these great gifts and helping me out with this here contest.

See you guys tonite!

David

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wow!

Sorry for the slow posting this week- not much time as both my kids were sick and I've been getting my head into new designs (which is nice, but take most of my creative energy....yes, these blog posts take creative energy, you ass! :)

Anyway, more posts this week but for now, I just saw this and Xmas came early...I'm sure many of you have already see it by now but I wanted it on my blog cause it's so fucking great!



Seen a few posts- and talked to a few folks- who say it reminds them of Temple of Doom. God, I hope the film is better that that. To be fair, TOD is a good, solid Indy flick and I think- if I may be the Indy geek that I am for a moment- that the Indy character in TOD is much more consistent with how he is in Raiders than how Indy comes across in Last Crusade...so I like that alot. The film has grown on me over the years but I think anything coming after the kind of masterpiece that was/is Raiders was bound to be a disappointment. Not in an AfterM*A*S*H sort of way, but still TOD was a bit of a let down.

Anyway, man this just brings me back to my childhood. So glad they made a good, old fashioned movie poster for this flick. I didn't expect less. In fact, it was exciting to hear Spielberg say that he was not changing his directing style to keep pace with more current action film techniques. I like that. I think Indy by way of Michael Bay- much as I dig some of Bay's work- would just feel wrong.

So I'm jazzed for this thing- can't wait! Gonna drive up to LA to see it in a giant theater with a fun crowd. Hell, maybe I'll fly back to Birmingham and see it in my old home town...that seems like the right way to revisit my childhood hero.

Ok, gotta get the day started. Talk later!

David

ps. I'm sure like EVERY summer, there will be 1-2 standout films and the rest will be crap. BUT if you look at the movies hitting this summer- and the directors behind them- it seems to have the potential to be pretty fucking great! Batman! Ironman! SpeedRacer! Indy! Shit, there's a few more I can't remember but still...I'll be there!

pps. had a good lunch with the producer of the GOD OF WAR movie a few weeks ago. Some big news COULD be coming on that front soon but nothing set in stone yet. But yeah, the project is still alive! And looking strong! BUT the funny part is, I was just sitting there kind of gushing over movies, what to go see, what was coming out, etc. Just being a fanboy. And he- the producer of the GOW flick and many other movies, including this summer's GET SMART, which looks really funny- was just so nonchalant about the whole thing. I mean, it's clear he loves the movies but it's also clear that- to him- it's a great job, but it's still just a job. And at first I was a bit disappointed. I wanted to grab him and scream: 'DUDE! You make the coolest fucking shit on the planet'! But then I realized that when something is your job, as much fun as it is, you tend to forget how cool your work really is. I have people come up to me all the time and gush over games, and get excited about new games coming out and I'm excited along with them but nowhere near as jazzed as they seem to be. And I think it must be the same thing. When it's your job, when you see games way in advance, when you get many games for free, when you MAKE the damn things...well sometimes you forget how cool your medium really is. So this meeting really made me stop and think and realize how amazingly lucky I am to do what I do, and how cool the medium I work in really is. So yeah, I'm very damn crazy excited these days about my work...and who can ask for anything beyond then when it comes to your job? I guess the best job is the one that does not feel like a job...and that's what I got! Ok, I'm rambling now...I really gotta run...see ya'll!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

FIGHT THE POWER!

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EDIT: It was just pointed out ot me that gamespot and 1up are not Ziff properties. If that is the case, I stand corrected...but the logic still holds...other than the fact that the 1up guys may be just as in the dark about this whole thing as the rest of us....and at that point, makes me think that Gamespot is even LESS evil....ok...carry on :)

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There’s a lot of talk on the net these days about the value, method, and integrity of professional game reviews. Heck, it’s something I’ve been thinking about as well. Just a few weeks ago, I put up an entry questioning the proliferation of 9 and 10 rated games and wondering why other mediums aren’t as quick as reviewers in the game biz to call something a masterpiece. So as a gamer and a game maker (who has gotten much love and a little ‘meh’ from game reviews in the past) it’s something that’s on my mind.

And the main thing on my mind is this: I DON’T THINK GAMESPOT IS EVIL

…at least I don’t think they fired Gerstmann because he gave Kane & Lynch a semi-poor review.

Look, Ziff is not only a company, but it’s a company in CALIFORNIA that does not want to get sued for terminating an employee without reason. In California, juries are notorious for sticking it to corporations in wrongful termination lawsuits. You don’t fire people in this state for stupid shit like, say, doing the job you paid them to do (i.e. asking a game reviewer to write a review) without expecting to end up in court. Now granted, there is the thought that- like WWF- the game reviewers at Gamespot are just putting on a show and were never hired to give actual reviews but to do whatever their editors told them (i.e. make advertisers happy) under the guise of being ‘actual game reviewers’…and then in that case, I guess you could fire someone who gives a review you don’t like, cause that is not what you hired them to do. Hell, if that was the case, maybe Gamespot ordered Gertsmann to write a glowing review but he did not and snuck in and put his review up on his own and THAT is why he got fired. In that case,while I would applaud Gertsmann, that behavior could and should get you fired. NOT that anyone has ever said that’s what went down…I’m just letting my imagination run wild at this point. ☺

I also can’t imagine Gamespot would be so naïve to assume that firing one of their most popular editors would not stir up some of the fan base. And I can’t imagine Gamespot would be so naïve to assume that firing an editor over a bad review would not hurt its reputation the way that it has. Hell, there have been times in the past that we’ve stressed over letting a junior artist go because we were worried about the morale ramifications the firing would have on the 3-4 guys who went to lunch with the dude every day. So if it’s on our radar, you have to imagine Gamespot had a damn good reason to let this guy go given that they must have known how it would look and how it would affect their reputation….right?

So to me, both of those things make it clear that Gerstmann had to have done something else that stirred up the hornet’s nest; something else to get him canned.

So yeah, I don't think Gamespot is evil. I don’t think- because of the reasons cited above- that Gertsmann was fired for writing the review he wrote. It doesn't hold water, it's not logical.

So we're done, right?

Well maybe.

See..,at the same time, there is the issue of this:



These are the guys from 1up showing up at the Gamespot offices to show support for Gertsmann and to make it clear they were not in favor of what went down. Ok, well these guys are part of the same industry AND the same company as Gertsmann…and they clearly are taking issue with something. I don’t know about you, but when people around me got fired in the past from time to time, I never liked it (cause I never want to see ANYONE lose a job) but I usually understood the reasons behind it. But here we’re got a whole gaggle of folks who seem like they should be ‘in the know’ and they are publicly saying, ‘this ain’t right.” So while my above theories about Gamespot not being evil SEEM like they are correct- at least to me- why are these 1up folks– who clearly know more of the story that I do-protesting? Anyone know if they’ve mentioned WHAT they were protesting? Did they come right out and say ‘we think Gamespot fucked up’? Cause man, if they DID say that and if they ARE in the know...then fuck. Then really just....just FUCK. Then man, Gamespot is total evil. And just scum as well. But I can't imagine it's as cut and dried as folks are making it out to be. It just can't be.

Anyway…so there’s that.

But hey, usually getting fired ends up being the best thing that happens to a person because it means it was time to move on and that they were no longer a fit with the place they worked. Getting fired is often the Universe’s way of coming along and saying: ok, you don’t have the balls to quit? No worries…I’ll help you out! And I imagine in Gertsmann’s case, this will hold true as well. So good luck Gerts...

…and good look Gamespot. If someone forced me to pick sides at this moment- going off NOTHING MORE THAN GUT REACTION- I would side with Gamespot, only because logic dictates that firing Gertsmann under the apparent circumstances would have no other result other than to make Gamespot look really bad (as it has). And that would be totally stupid.

…then again, this is the site that gave my last game a 6.7….

…so shit, maybe they are just a bunch of idiots….?



I KEED! I KEED! I honestly have NO FUCKING CLUE what went down...wish I did tho :)

David

Friday, November 30, 2007

Everybody wants to find Graffit Bridge...

...and I did! Check it!



Standing in line at Ralph's grocery store and I see this DVD sitting in a pile to my left. How freaking random is that? I mean, Spiderman 3 being sold at a grocery store, I get. Die Hard 4? I get it. Hell, even kid flicks like MY PRETTY PONY: HAVE A MINTY CHRISTMAS, I get. But this obscure flop of a flick from Darling Nicky's true love?!? What a surprise...and it got me thinking two things:

#1- This was a pretty cool movie for its time...looked cool and the soundtrack was really fun. NPG, bitches!

#2- Man, movies can travel thru time and space with ease. I wish the same could be said for games. Graffitti Bridge came out before it even entered my mind to design games. Since then I've had like 7-9 games released and with the exception of a handful, it's hard for folks to play them even if they COULD actually still find them in the store. That kinda sucks...

Ok, it's pouring rain here in San Diego (Nice! Love the rain from time to time) and pretty soon I gotta run get ready for a b'day party tonite...friend of my wife is doing a dinner and 80's dancing party! I can not dance to save my life but I LOVE 80's music, so I'm excited to hear the band! Gotta run and try to play thru Twisted Metal in hard mode before I shut it down for the week! Have a great weekend ya'll!

David

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

FINAL FOCUS TEST + STUFF

Hey ya'll...



Sitting here in the Santa Monica Studios conference room waiting for our final TWISTED METAL:HEAD ON focus test to kick off. A few tech glitches are keeping us from moving ahead so I figured I'd take this opportunity to do a quick post. So what's up? Well...a few things:

#1- RATCHET AND CLANK LOVE
Ok, I just could not stay away! There was this longing to keep playing, this desire to feel- once again- just how good that game controls, to see the amazing graphics. I just felt CALLED to go back and keep playing, even though I was really frustrated by hitting 4 difficulty spikes in a row. I also saw alot of folks comment on this blog about how I really should not give up, as there is tons of cool stuff is waiting for me post dino island. So I'm back to playing it...and back to loving it! I never was a massive Ratchet fan before, but this thing has made a true fan out of me...so much so that Ratchet is my new wallpaper! Check it!



So I figured out where the game- for me- broke down. And it's not so much a design issue as it is a communication issue.

See, I had only played the earlier Ratchet games for about an hour or so each. I always respected them but they never engaged me to the point that I ever wanted to play for any other reason than to just see the game, get the idea, and then move on. And because of that, I never understood the importance of buying new weapons and powering those weapons up. As I played, I found a few weapons I dug and powered those up and then was like, 'cool, I got the 2-3 weapons I dig, I'm gonna pass on the rest'. And up until dino island- I forget the actual name- that served me fine; gave me a nice, even difficulty level that I was loving. But then the AI got tougher and since I had not bothered to power up more than a few weapons- or even bothered to ever really USE any of the 10-15 other weapons I had purchased (beyond an initial 'lemme try this out and see what it does' phase), I got my ass kicked and subsequently, lost heart and lost interest.

Thanks to many commenters on this blog for explaining that in Ratchet the multiple weapons and powering those weapons up are key to the game. For me, this was not made clear at all in the game itself- the only real flaw I can find in the title so far-and if it was not for your comments, I would have missed out on what is probably going to be my Game of the Year. So thanks!

#2- NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN

Saw this last nite at the fantastic Grove in Los Angeles. Here, check the place out...





I love how it was all decked out for the holidays with Xmas music blaring and people all bundled up (yes, even in LA) and shopping for gifts...man I love the holiday season and I love being back in LA!

So the movie was pretty good. Was not in the mood for a slow, moody, somber movie last nite but my brother indulged me and went with me to see THE MIST (loved it!) over Thanksgiving so I figured I should return the favor. Glad I did as I dug the movie alot and it really was not as slow paced as I feared it would be. I don't get the BEST PICTURE talk, though. I mean it looked great, acting was great, the whole vibe and pace of it was just fantastic...but as a MOVIE, as a STORY...it was kind of...just ok. Not bad, and I liked the metaphor of the story and the subtext of the thing alot...so there were TONS of AMAZING things about the film, to be sure...but these amazing pieces didn't all come together to make an amazing movie....it was more like a good movie with lots of AMAZING bits....does that make sense?

Anyway, it was a good time and I got to hang with my brother and with Cary, one of my oldest friends who I've know since I was...shit, what? 4 years old?!? Amazing! So that was great!

#3- 2 GIRLS, 1 CUP PART 2?!?
Well not really. Not as gross but just as funny to me. I fucking LOVE this! Check it out:

http://houston.craigslist.org/cas/457918279.html

I saw this yesterday and was laughing so hard! It's like, who the hell writes this stuff? I WISH I was 10% as funny as the writer of this thing! My fave line was this:

Obviously this is impossible and dangerous to attempt so I would be Ok with just JO looking at a tornado


By the way, I had no clue what JO was...turns out it's JERK OFF...so now you know :)

#4- WRITING


Saw this article on Gamasutra today...about writing for games...

http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=16397

They cite GOD OF WAR alot and it's really funny because I'm reading a book on screenwriting right now (check the right hand column for details) and so much of the stuff she's claiming we did in GOD OF WAR is stuff they talk about in the screenwriting book I am reading. Difference is, I didn't really KNOW about the stuff she was talking about when we wrote the game- at least in terms of specifics...I mean, instincts played a huge role but it's interesting to now read about the story of GOW in a more academic light and realize we were doing stuff we were supposed to do- according to the craft of story telling- without knowing we were doing it. I mean, Marianne prob. knew the academic terms and stuff...but if she did, she never mentioned them to me...

Anyway, just thought I'd share...good write up...give it a read.

Ok, things are starting up...gotta run...talk later!

David

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Aaaaaaaaannnnnnnndddddd Scene!

Welp, that's it for me and Ratchet.

Best game I've played all year...so far.

But did I finish it? Hell no. Not even close.

A quick check at gamefaqs tells me I have 9-10 more worlds to go to/return to before I reach the end.

But sorry, Ratchet, old pal. Your game is back in the blu-ray case and I doubt it will ever see the insides of my PS3 again...unless it's for research.

Again- I loved this game. LOVED IT! I could not stop playing it for a while there. Need to dive into Mario Galaxy next but I've played MGalaxy for about 2 hours and my initial impressions are really good, but I like Ratchet way more so far. So I'm not dogging this game at all.

But man, they did the two things that kill most games for me (assuming I even like the game enough to play for more than 30 minutes...and hell I liked/loved this one enough to play for like 3 nights!):

a- they overstayed their welcome. 9 more levels?!? Come on! I played for like 5-6 hours so far (stopped playing on the dino lava planet...which looks AMAZING, by the way!)...but yeah, so after 5-6 hours I feel like I've pretty much gotten the point of the game, done most of the mechanics, gotten the gist of the thing's spirit....and now I want to be done within the next 30 min to 2 hours. Maybe it's just me but I want to be able to finish a damn story based game in 1-4 sittings tops...where a sitting= 1-3 hours max, not 6-8 hours at a time. Once I realized how much more there was to play, it only took the slightest thing to get me to walk away. Turns out the slightest thing was a huge thing...and that is:

b- STOP MAKING IT OBVIOUS THAT GAMES ARE GETTING HARDER AS YOU PROGRESS!!! Ok, there are probably several schools of thought on this, but here's mine...and I think it should be the standard line of thought for all story based games (hey, it's my blog, so I can be a game design bully if I want to :) ....so here it is:

FROM START TO FINISH, with NO deviation from this, games need to be hard enough to be engaging but easy enough so they don't get frustrating. This to me equals PLAYER ENGAGEMENT. And the goal should be for the player to feel ENGAGED 100% of the time. NOT CHALLENGED! NEVER CHALLENGED! Who the fuck wants to feel challenged?!? I mean, who is that fun for?!?! Unless it's a hard core skill game and it's clear that is the goal for the title (like Ghosts N' Goblins or something) a game should engage you from start to finish...and that is it!

And Ratchet did this beautifully until I got to the space ship boss battle (with it's crazy 'aim with one stick and move the ship with the other' set up). But I could live with that hiccup. But then right after they toss me into a robotron level of 'we're going to milk 30 minutes out of play time while we keep you in this one area and throw more and more bad guys at you'...by this point I was getting kind of tied of the thing but really wanted to finish it....but THEN right after, I'm on the dino planet where the giant dino enemies- who are not even bosses- take alot of hit points to kill and do you alot of damage....and that for me, was the killer, the nail in the coffin. I had 4 sections in a row where instead of 'semi-coasting thru the adventure/semi focusing on the adventure in order to move forward', the game took me out of the fast lane, out of the zen-like trance that a great game creates and suddenly I was WORKING.

Well fuck it, I already got a job. I don't want to work to play your game. So I'm not going to. I'm done.

And yeah, I know some folks think the game was ultra easy. Difficulty is subjective and good work is being done in some games today to adjust difficulty for players on the fly. But for me, the game got too hard. NOTso hard that I could not finish it if I really tried. Sure I COULD finish it with 3-5 deaths of Ratchet for each challenging area...but again, I'm not here to take a fucking test...I'm here to play. And after dino planet, I was no longer playing. I was dying-learning-dying-learning a bit more-dying-learning a bit more....ugh, fucking shit!

Much as I loved this game...and again, it's a GOTY contender for me...I just can't keep struggling with the thing.

I mean...if I may....ahem:

I DON'T FUCKING WANT TO BE CHALLENGED BY MY FUCKING ENTERTAINMENT. HERE'S 60 FUCKING BUCKS...ENTERTAIN ME GOD DAMMIT!!! FROM THE SECOND I POWER UP THE CONSOLE TO THE SECOND I TURN IT OFF, ENTERTAIN THE FUCK OUT OF ME OR GO THE MOTHER FUCK AWAY!!!! AND YES I GET IT, HARD CORE FOLKS: TO YOU BEING CHALLENGED AND PUT THRU THE WRINGER AND EMERGING AS A BAD ASS GAMER IS FUN...GOOD ON YOU! BUT IT SURE AS SHIT AIN'T FUN FOR ME AND I DOUBT IT IS FUN FOR MOST.

Again, I get that games should get harder as they go. But they should do it in order to keep the player in the engaged sweet spot and to compensate and adjust for the player's increasing skill...to the player, the increase in difficulty should go unnoticed...to the player, the difficulty should be the SAME feeling as it is in the final level as it was in the first level. But somewhere along the line, designers forgot the REASON games were supposed to get harder. Hell, maybe it was never defined like I am defining it...maybe alot of designers are just doing the 'games get harder as they go' thing from the old arcade days (where they had to in order to kick you slacker ass off the machine) and never really thought about the theory behind it....and just applied it to today's games when they really should not be doing so.

And before someone comments that by 6-8 hours in, I should have learned the skills needed so that the dino planet would not have resulted in a shelf moment and that this is what the makers of Ratchet were hoping for, let me say this...and this comes from 14 years of experience watching people respond- good and bad- to the games I've worked on: gamers are not developers. They WILL NOT use ANY mechanic they do not need to use. They will take the path of least resistance to get from A TO B. So just because the developer OFFERS a way to dodge bullets skillfully, and just because a game allows the player to slow down time and reverse it when things get tough (for example), the player- unless he has HAD to use those skills alot earlier in the game- will probably not call upon them 6-8 hours in when the developer presents the player with a situation that will be hard- and take him out of the engagement zone- unless he DOES use those mechanics.

And I know, I know...I've done it to players as well. Hades in GOW was a pain in the ass...not by design, just by not getting around to focus testing that level. Twisted Metal:Black was so hard we probably cut our audience for that game by at least 50%. And that game is a perfect example of us- as developers- assuming players would use mechanics we had given them without even forcing the player to make those mechanics second nature (75% of Twisted :Black players didn't even KNOW there were d-pad combo moves that let you fire ice, rear fire, drop mines, and activate a shield)...but we tuned the game assuming everyone would know those mechanics were there and- as importantly- have them ingrained as much into their play styles as us, the game makers. So yeah, I've fucked it up before as well....hell of alot worse than the new Ratchet in fact.

And maybe it's because- as a designer- I've been guilty of these sins myself that I know it when I see it and I HATE IT when I see it. Cause a) it pisses me off as a player and b) it reminds me of my past failures as a designer.

Man...if Ratchet would have just ended 2 planets past the lava/dino planet...and it would have stayed at the same level of engagement from start to finish, it would have been one of my top 5 games of all time...as is, now it sits between my unopened copy of STRANGLEHOLD for PS3 and my Atari 2600 copy of Custard's Revenge, gathering dust.

And yeah I know this post is angry. I know I'm coming down crazy hard on a stellar game like Ratchet versus some lame ass B grade game....Sorry about that...but I am so disappointed because I loved the newest Ratchet SO MUCH! It looks so amazing and controls like butter and just feels SOOOOOO right. And I was having SOOOOO much damn fun. And dammit, they took that away from me. So I guess I am pissed now...sorry...sure I will feel better in daylight :)

Ok...off to bed!

Hope ya'll had a great holiday!

Angry/Sad/Annoyed David

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

HAPPY THAKSGIVING!

Have a great one ya'll! I think we're gonna start pumping out videos and images from our new game next week, so check back...and heck, I may update over the break as well. Gonna be doing lots of Guitar Hero 3 battles with my brother as well as trying to check out some movies (Enchanted, Wonder Emporium, This Christmas, No Country For Old Men)...AND trying to finish Ratchet and Zelda. Oh, and spending time with the family too. Yeah, I'll get all that done :)

Anyway, thanks for stopping by over this last year...I'm always so surprised and so appreciative so many people read this thing. I enjoy doing it and am happy so many of you guys keep stopping by and posting comments.

As for my virtual Thanksgiving gift for you, here's a pic I found on the net...I love this...great message:


Ain't that great?

Ok, gotta get some work done today so I'm off! Be safe ya'll and have fun!

David

Monday, November 19, 2007

EASY/MEDIUM/HARD

The difficulty level on taking a piss in my house just went from Medium to Hard.



My youngest daughter is now officially interested in learning to use the toilet (versus using her diaper)...and thank God for that since these days her poops have been so bad that my wife has taken to saying her diapers look like the bottom of the Mississippi.

Good as that is, the little 'trainer toilets' we have atop the actual toilets in the house are turning taking a standing pee into a hell of a challenge. It's kind of like trying to fly Superman thru those damn rings in the first level of Superman 64.

Maybe the toilet will have mercy in an Onimusha style sense and if I miss too many times, it will give me a chance to drop it from HARD down to EASY mode :)

David

ps. Thanksgiving is coming! Sweet! I wonder if I'll even make a dent in my 'to play' pile...check it out:



I doubt I'll get to any of these since all my gaming time has been going to Ratchet PS3 (so so so so good! Best one in the series to me!) and Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (loving it but I have not gotten bored with the sailing yet, so we will see...but I'm hopeful it sustains my interest so I can finish it...have not finished a Zelda since the second one back on NES...almost finished LINK TO THE PAST but then got busy and never went back to it).

But man, I love seeing new games all stacked up like that. I know how lucky I am to have such access to such great entertainment. I guess that's one of the reasons I wish games were like 2-3 hours so I could actually tear thru 1-3 of these in a day and be done with it! But I know that's a rare view considering most folks don't get to play near as many games as I do. Have to be careful of that and always remind myself that my perspective of gaming in that sense is no longer the mainstream view of how they view games.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

COMIN AT YA!



Just got back from the greatest movie ever made...if I was a 14 year old kid and the soundtrack for the flick was by Queen or Led Zepplin. Beowulf really is the ultimate junior high school geek movie and I expect it to be this generation of 11-15 year old's HEAVY METAL.

As for my opinion as a 36 year old (and yes, those are the still-dorky-but-not-as-dorky-as-they-used-to-be 3D glasses in the pick above!)...

-the 3D was really well done but it was either used in gimmick shots so as to pull you out of the story (i.e. oooh, look at that spear aimed right at our faces!) or it was just there and after 5 minutes you got lost in the movie like any other story and forgot the thing was even in 3D. I really don't see this generation of 3D as the savor of Hollywood, as I've heard lots of folks saying.

-Someone working on this movie plays lots of video games. Including Shadow of the Colossus, God of War, and Lair. Ok, maybe not but man, some shots and ideas in this movie seemed straight out of those games. Not that I'm complaining. As my brother said when we walked out of the flick: Beowulf was the first real action hero. So if he wants to steal from us, who have been stealing from him for so long, go for it! :) And again, I doubt Bobby Zemeckis (sp?) plays games...it's just stuff I picked up on as a gamer.

- The story was yawn inducing. The action was pretty amzing and imaginative...but it was very find monster/kill monster/find monster/kill monster...over and over with very little else to get involved with story wise.

Anyway, a fun nite at the movies, glad I went. The 14 year old in me is jumping for joy. The rest of me is just tired and wants to go to bed. Driving home to San Diego early in the am (promised my kids I'd be home early enough to wake up with them and make french toast)...so it's bed for me.

See ya'll!

David

Thursday, November 15, 2007

2 GIRLS 1 CUP...

Ok...sitting here in Santa Monica doing some last minute play testing on TWISTED: HEAD ON....while we are waiting for a new build from the team in Utah, this guy I am testing with is like: dude, on your own time google '2 girls 1 cup'.....'

I'm like: why?

He's like: just do it...on your own time.

Well hell, I ain't gonna wait till I get back to the hotel so I just google it right here and now...

....oh fucking shit man!

Not sure if you've seen it...I am usually behind the curve on these things so this may be way outdated but it was new to me...and now I'm sick to my stomach...it felt like I was physically punched in the gut as I watched this thing....

2girls1cup.com

Man....just...just amazing.


Here's my first reaction...when the glass gets filled with...err...yeah...don't want to ruin it for you! :) But yeah, you know, at this point I was just like: OH MAN! That's so sick!



And THIS is when the girl vomits and I feel an actual physical reaction and I just have to GET AWAY from my computer!

Man I love having my buttons pushed :)

Ok, heading to the hotel! See ya'll soon!

David

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Back to the Salt Mines...

Thought we were done editing the Twisted Metal documentary that comes with the port of Twisted Metal:Head On.

Turns out i was wrong :)

We want the game to have a T rating given that we feel the game will appeal to both TM fans as well as younger players who are just getting a PS2 (either handed down as an older brother/sister has moved onto next gen, or getting a first game console as the price for PS2 keeps getting lower and lower). Because of our desire for a T, some of the content in the doc needed to be...pruned a bit? Bleeped...cut...altered...you get the idea.


Here's the list we were working from. The stuff in red is content we KNEW would send us into the M territory. Yellow was danger zone and white was bad language that we needed to bleep. Guess who was the biggest offender in that category. :)




Here are some shots of us in the editing bay at Sony San Diego Studios.



And here's me about 45 min ago, heading home after stopping at Best Buy to pick up Mario's latest! I'm so excited! I played for about 15 minutes cause I just couldn't wait for the end of the day and so far...I dig it! I always like my jaw to drop RIGHT when I first pop a game in and so far, not so much. But for the opening 15 minutes of a game (I am just now getting to the sling stars) it's pretty darn cool...and it's real nice to have Mario back in my life...I imagine most gamers feel like me whenever a new Mario game comes out; like a dear old friend has come for a visit. Dorky? Yep. But true.

So even if the adventure ends up being simply solid (and most reviews say it's waaaaaayyyyyy better than solid), I'll still be happy!

Ok, back to work! Talk to ya'll soon!

David

Monday, November 12, 2007

Are games JUST THAT GOOD?!?!

There’s something about game reviews that has bugged me for a long while. It’s something that until recently I’ve not been able to label or even understand. It’s just been this little splinter lodged in the back of my brain, this little itch that would act up whenever I watched the most hyped games- usually-end up with the most impressive scores (including games I’ve directed…so I’ve benefited from this phenomenon as well, to be sure).

But why are game review scores for games in general, and hyped games specifically, always so damn high?

And does it actually make any sense?

I mean, you don’t see this phenomenon in other media. Yes, every now and then a crazy hyped movie or album or book will meet with unanimously positive reviews. But more often than not, this is not the case. Usually really hyped media tends to be a let down and it’s the out of the blue stuff (ex: Matrix vs. Star Wars Episode I) that gets the accolades. Sure, certainly it’s sometimes the case for one (and MAYBE two) movies/books/albums to live up to the hype. But it’s NEVER the case that over 90% of the hyped up movies/books/albums end up with 90%+ review scores from 90% of the critics.

And IF by the grace of God it does happen, it happens once every 20 years or so…like a perfect storm of movies or books. But it certainly doesn’t happen every year.

But with games? Happens all the time. ALL the fucking time. And I want to know why.

For some comparisons, check out the reviews of the top 12 flix on Rotten Tomatoes: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/movies/box_office.php

The highest movie ranks 90%....the pretty hyped up Michael Clayton.

The NEXT highest flick is American Gangster coming in at 79%. Now this is fucking Ridley Scott and Denzel and Russel in a bad ass story/setting/genre. Can you IMAGINE if the game equivalents of Ridley,Denzel, and Russel got together and made a game in a hot genre? It’d be GOTY! posts and review scores from here to timbuckfuckingtoo! But in movies, not even close.

Why is it the movie reviews and book and record reviews seem like they are a little more…reserved? Honest? Broken? Who knows…

But now check out the rankings that are starting to spring up for the season’s biggest games from some of the biggest reviewers! Check out the scores so far for Assassin’s Creed (9.5/10, 10/10), COD4 (95% from metacritic), Mario Galaxy (9.5, 10), Mass Effect, Orange Box, Metroid, Ratchet, Uncharted, Guitar Hero III.

It’s like EVERY fucking game- score wise- is a masterpiece!

Are games just that good, or is something odd going on? And it’s not a one time event…this happens EVERY year.

Some theories? Sure! Here ya go:

1- Games, while being technically challenging to create, are easy to make from a standpoint of if you just spend enough time on it and hire good enough people (not geniuses but GOOD ENOUGH people), you’ll end up with a great game. Not a classic, but a great game. Maybe this is not the case with other media? And why not? Are other media harder to create because the end product has the potential to be so much deeper and richer and games are pretty much one note? Or is it something else?
2- Game reviewers- by and large- are not as experienced/mature/discerning as reviewers from other media? Lots of accusations that game media buy into the hype and review accordingly. BUT this can be countered by the argument that game reviewers are more like reviewers for consumer goods and if all of the boxes are ticked on the consumer product, then it gets a great review. It could also be argued that game reviewers are more passionate and less jaded than reviewers of other mediums and this is why the scores are so high so often…because they love the medium more than other media critics and are passionate about it. Not sure if this is a good excuse as to why the scores are always so high, but it’s hard to knock passion…so there you go.
3- Games are just better than the other mediums?

Shoot, I don’t know…I don’t have an answer. Do you?

And is it just me or do you guys/gals also feel this is an odd discrepancy?

David

Thursday, November 08, 2007

STUCK IN AN AIRPORT YOU CAN'T GET OUT OF...

...or something like that.

Finished the game pitch with Phil Harrison up here in Foster City and now I'm sitting around SFO waiting for my plane to board (about 2 hours from now). It's not so bad really, nice break from the last few days of rush, rush, rush. It's very quiet right now...a whole heard of people just got on a plane at the gate next to me...so I'm just sitting here on the floor, cup of coffee in one hand, surfing the net with the other....check it:


Ahhh, Kotaku! My sweet, sweet Kotaku. Never lets me down with the goods...


MMmmmm, Burger King! Well...not really. I used to LOVE the BK fries and then they changed them about 12 years ago or so and they just suck so much now. BK sucks...


Anyway...so that's SFO airport at about 1:55pm on Thursday Nov 8th. Or at least a little corner of it. My little corner....I feel like Tom Hanks in The Terminal...:)

So as for the pitch: I got the sense the powers that be dug what we were pitching, enough to let us keep moving ahead and exploring the vision. So that's always good. Plus, pitching is always fun for me and since I loved what I was pitching, it was even more fun! It's odd...the pitch was a big meeting room with Phil and then a bunch of Sony folks (all of whom I know, like alot, and have worked with for years)...but this time I was on the other side of the table, this time when we were done pitching, instead of getting to stay in the room and hear about the other games Sony internal was making, we (me and Scott) were asked to leave because we're not allowed to know about the unannounced titles from Sony 1st party anymore... For a moment it was a little strange because for 13 years I'd been privy to those sorts of meetings, to that kind of info...so yeah, for a second I didn't like that feeling. And then it passed.

And then I was like: OH MY GOD! I REALLY AM AN INDY DEVELOPER NOW!!! And you know what? I fucking LOVE it! LOVE IT! I LOVED 95% of my years at Sony, no doubt. No regrets...nothin' but love for you baby/Sony....but now, now THIS feels right...I am so greatful for this opportunity...and I love I still get to be doing it with Sony. So win/win, bitches! :)

So all and all...a good day! Now I'm just really fried, ready to get home. Taking the day off tomorrow to go to LA with my wife. We get to get Indian food from GATE OF INDIA!!! Man, that food there....it's like gold if gold were food...and if you could eat gold food....so it's like gold food meaning it tastes so great and we love it....fuck off! I am tired!!!

Ok ya'll...that's all she wrote for now...chat soon!

David

ps. just got an email from Drew, one of the producers on the TM:HEAD ON port. He's at a focus group for the new, TM BLACK levels down in LA. He says we're getting 8's, 9's, and 10 out of 10 ratings for FUN FACTOR (the only rating I ever care about)!!! Man, that is sweet! I have no clue how many people buy ports and who is still buying PS2 games (I hope alot!) but man I think we've all done great work on this title. Head On looks great, the Lost Levels- if I may say so- are really fun, and I love all the bonus content. I hope people give us a chance! But either way, I'm feeling really really proud of the game the team has made right now. Great news from focus groups are always a nice way to cap off a day :)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!!

I've been travelling alot these last few weeks. I'm in a hotel room in Utah as we speak. Been working with the team to final tweak the TWISTED METAL: HEAD ON port (and the new Lost levels) the last few days...tomorrow I fly up to Foster City (San Fran) to pitch a new game to Phil Harrison (head of SCE Production). Then- finally- back home.

A few weeks before I was in Los Angeles, then Vegas, then back to Utah.

So yeah, lots of trips the last month or so. And the one thing that keeps cropping up is...well, how to explain.

You know those WALK/DON'T WALK guys? The ones you see on street corner signs? Here, these?



So these ICONIC guys right?

Well it never occured to me how odd they would look drawn in different positions, especially positions meant to convey fear and terror. Especially fear and terror of the 'run for your life!' variety.

Well now I know.

And now that I am aware how stupid the Walk/Don't Walk guy looks in any other pose besides well, err, WALKING, I just keep seeing these 'so awful it's hillarious to me' examples all over the place. Here, check these out....these are from the elevators from hotels I've stayed in during the last month.



Now this first one is kind of basic, sort of what you'd EXPECT the WDW dude to look like when he's running. So I don't know why it strikes me as funny, but it does. Maybe it's because he's just so focused and poised about the whole thing. No drama to it, just getting the job done.




Now this one looksvery dramatic...like Lon Chaney or one of those other Universal Monster Movie creatures slowly creeping down the steps in a dramatic pose, more interested in the Nora Desmond like drama of decending the staircase than in the fire that is inches away from consuming them.



This one is like some Victorian Era Dandy slowly and clamly cascading down the staircse, looking around to take in the scene, interested in all things, including the fire that is about to destory him. He just seems to calm and collected and UNINTERESTED in the FUCKING FIRE THAT IS RIGHT BEHIND HIM!!!


And this one, I'm sorry is just....it's so strange...like the propostions of the guy are all out of whack, like the WDW guy got stretched out on the rack...and he's just kinda plodding down the steps all enthusiastic and the like...

I dunno...I dunno if these strike you as funny as well...I think they rock...maybe I'm just really tired of being away from home and am starting to go a little nuts :)

David

ps. Yeah, I knew about Cory leaving a few weeks ago. It's not my place to give any real details...that's up to Cory. But I'll say these two things (cause I've been asked alot about it since the news broke):

a- the GOW team is one of the best in the game making biz. Losing key members of a team- from any department- is always a struggle. But I have no doubt the team- being as amazing as they are- will shake it off and get back to work on what promises to be the best game in the series (assuming they follow the creative and tech ideas I've heard about so far).

b- Cory's moving on to some sweet ass stuff, from what I hear. I'm sure in due time he'll spill some beans. And when he does I'm sure you guys/gals will be as happy for him as I am...some neat things could be going down for our Mr. Barlog in the coming months/years...so stay tuned!

Ok, I'm done. Gotta get to bed early for the flight to SF so not even gonna reread this for typos and obvious spelling mistakes...hope it makes sense! See ya!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!



Happy Halloween everyone! As I sit at my desk, Tootsie Roll Pop in my mouth (stolen from our candy stash for trick or treaters...I've been good all week but I finally had to open the damn bags!), I just wanted to drop a line and say hey.

This is one of my favorite holidays of the year! I used to love it as a kid because I got to go out trick or treating. I still remember hitting our hilly, suburban neighborhood hard, my brother in his plastic Steve Austin costume and me in my Spidey outfit (same one every year) getting pillow cases full of candy. I have vivd memories of dumping the candy out and then crashing in front of the tv to play INDY 500 and Intellivision Football on the Atari 2600 with my best friend Cary. Ahhh, memories :)

Then as a young adult I loved it for all the horror themed props and movies,all the dark fantasy that- for once a year- seemed not only ok, but encouraged.

Now-as a dad-I love it because I get to take my kids trick or treating. I gave up a few years ago trying to force my kids to have fun and make great memories; that's out of my hands. But for me, I form my own great memories, watching them toddle up and knock on doors, watching them excitedly rooting thru their candy bags to see how many sweets they've collected. And then- once they are asleep- I love crashing in front of the tv and stealing candy from my kid's candy bags while watching shows on sci-fi and discovery about ghost hunting and real life spooky locations. Hell I may even stay up late tonight and pop in a scary movie. Or maybe not...we'll see.

Lots of work to do today, so I need to really hunker down and stay focused till about 3pm when my kid comes home and I take off early to help her and her sister get ready for the big night. So off to work I go...

...but if this is your holiday- like it is mine- have a great, safe time! Man, I'm excited!

Talk to you all soon!


David

Monday, October 29, 2007

TRIO OF INTERVIEWS

Hey, so a handful of net interviews I did a while back (start of summer) have just hit. Some interviews you do, you come off great, others you come off like an ass. But I'm really happy with all of these. Maybe I just got lucky or maybe I'm getting better at communicating my points. Or maybe these guys are just great at making their subjects come across great. Either way, I think these represent my ideas and positions really well. So give them a read/listen if you are into such things:

INTERVIEW #1: The first interview is with N'gai Croal from Newsweek. N'gai always scares me cause he strikes me as one of the smartest game journalists out there. With most other game journalists I feel like I'm on even ground, like I can go toe to toe with these guys/gals and have a decent chance of coming out smelling like roses. With N'gai, he's like Ivan in Rocky 4, like all it takes is some secret code word and he'll uncork with a flurry of big words and even bigger ideas and I'll be left stunned and staggered. That said, I thought this interview came out great. He also gave me the much desired chance to use a different photo than that awful, depressing green jacket picture that's been floating around for the last few years. You know, this crappy pic:




Yuch man...I hate that picture. So click on the link to not only read the interview but see what I hope becomes the new defacto Jaffe picture:

http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/levelup/archive/2007/10/22/the-complete-david-jaffe-interview.aspx


#2- Here is an interview I did with the online version of Playboy ages ago. Had totally forgotten about this one till it surfaced last week. This is about as clear as I can be when it comes to my whole issue with stories and games. Here's a link:

http://www.playboy.com/magazine/features/video-game-blowout/video-game-blowout6.html

Check out the interviews with other game makers in that same series. Some good reas in there.

#3- Finally, here is a phone interview I did for PlaystationNation end of last week. Audio is not great and I kind of ramble a bit but there may some stuff in ther you find of interest. Give it a listen at...I come in around the, I dunno, 15 minute mark if you want to hear me blab. But I recommend listening to the whole show. I'd never heard it before, but I dig it. Link is:

http://www.playstationnationpodcast.com/uploads/bb/gm/bbgmB25ipKiD_Z6nxn9_Og/PS3Nation-Episode-32-No-Trained-Monkeys.mp3

Sunday, September 30, 2007

HIYA ATUS!

Hey all...sorry the updates have been few and far the last 2 weeks. Just lots and lots going on. Hate blogs that don't update without reason so that's why I'm posting now:

I'm going on blogger hiatus for the new 2-6 weeks. I'll be back; always am. Still dig the blogging but just got lots to take care of the next month or so. So I'll ya'll back up around Halloween or a bit after. Take care, hope everyone is doing really well!

I'll miss ya...but I'll see ya soon!

David

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Movie Going Weekend

Just goes to show, I don't know shit. Cause this movie has a 98% fresh rating on rotten tomatoes:



Most depressing movie I've seen since the documentary on R. Crumb. This was not only boring and slow, it also made me sad. Me and the wife left the theater feeling down and depressed and just...grey. I mean, sure, that doesn't mean it was a bad movie (although it was- to me, at best- an average movie) but nothing in the previews made me think I was going to pay to see a real downer. The guy running around the arcade telling people that a Donkey Kong kill screen was coming up made me want to put a gun to my head and just end it. The only reason I didn't was I was rendered unable to move by the scene of the players stuffed into someone's 'cabin' (wtf?!?) and gathered around an old school Ladybug machine. These people are lost in time, detactched from reality, and sad as can be. I hope at least at least some of them are able to crawl out of this hell one day...but they probably don't even see it that way. Which- I guess- is all that really matters anyway. But for me, living in the world of King of Kong would be what going to hell would be like. I guess you could say it struck a nerve. I guess you could say it made me question: shit, I'm a geek...so how much would it take to make me as geeky as those guys?!?!

So that was King of Kong. Beloved by critics.

And then there's this, weighing in at 43% fresh on the tomato meter, it's the new Jodie Foster flick:



And I LOVED this movie. I thought it was soooo cool and entertaining. Previews made me think I was in for a downer and it was actually smart AND entertaining...how often does THAST happen? It's like what Batman would be like if he were real...down to the Alfred role being taken by an eccentric next door neighbor and Commish Gordon played by the amazing Terrence Howard. I thought this flick was just great.

Again,goes to show what the hell I know.

Ok, off to pack for my Utah trip...talk to ya'll soon!

David

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Shit...did he just say FUCK HALO!?!?


Here's a conversation on IM between myself and Adam Orth, designer at Sony who worked with me on TM:Black, Calling All Cars. He also worked on some of the Medal of Honor games over at EALA. Enjoy!

And Halo fans...my flame suit is on, so do your worst! Just read the whole fucking thing :)

David
++++++++++++++++

AIM IM with adamorth.
11:47 AM

Adam: give me a fucking break:
http://kotaku.com/gaming/tease/the-teaser-for-the-halo-3-teaser-299105.php?autoplay=true

Jaffe: It's a decent add I think. I just don't get HALO. I don't think the story is all that special, don't think the world or characters matter much. I don't know if I am simply not 'getting it' and it really is all that...or Microsoft has simply purchased rabid fan reactions for what is a great game but nothing more.

Adam: that ad is insulting
"belive"?
come on

Jaffe: Am I missing something?
What's insulting about it?

Adam: well, for 1, i think it's disrespectcful to actual veterans of real wars
and 2, they really expect people to become that invested in the halo story?
i guess i just really dislike halo and that ad aint helping

Jaffe: well that's what I mean about buying the hype. I don't dislike Halo at all and really liked parts of Halo 2 alot...I am in minority who felt single player halo 2 was better than halo 1 single player. I mean, I hear people talk about the flood and shit and I'm like: what? Who gives a shit.

Adam: halo = meh

Jaffe: As for disrespect, come on...like Medal of Honor has not been doing he same for a long time. They talk about how important the games are and they are so earnest about it but come on, they are shooters. If they really cared about doing it right, they would give the MOH teams 3 years schedules and make Bioshock meets MOH...in terms of story and character and production value. And they would make THAT the game Spielberg was directing for them.


Adam: respectfully, i'll totally dosagree with you there. MOH games take alot of care to not be disrespectful it's one of the things they do right


JaFFE: While I LOVED MOH:Underground (top 10 games of all time for me) and dug the first one on PS2, emotionally, the most moved I ever was by MOH was with the music and seeing it played likve over a montage of soldiers at Video Games Live.


Adam: well, i guess i have a different insight than you do having sat with veterans and taklked about their experience and how it relates to the games...


Jaffe: It's not an issue of disrespect to the troops. It's an issue of them riding on the sentimentality of people when they talk about how much they care and understand the sacrifice of the soldiers and then put out a sub par shooter that has nothing to do in the play mechanics or design with the sacrifice the soldiers went thru. It's all window dressing that shows either the team doesn't understand how to apply the history 'under the hood' and apply it to the play itself OR it shows that EA does not care about the message at all, and it's all a way to market the game./


ADAM: i agree that most of the finished products veer off from the original intent. it's big problem at EA for MOH


JAFFE: They can cram all the sappy music and interviews with vets on the disc they want...but the game, the product they are actually selling, does not make me feel any closer to the vets sacrifice than any other shooter.
Hey- can I post this discussion on my blog if I don't put your name>?


ADAM: you can post my name...

JAFFE: sweet- sadly it will rile up halo fans...hope they see that I DO LIKE HALO! I just don't get the religious fervor and feel much of the fervor has been purchased by Microsoft. But they'll still hate me


ADAM: fuck halo


JAFFE: well they don't have your name! You can say that! Anyway- ok, gotta go! See ya! And please, for the love of God: LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!!!!!


ADAM: actaully, i stand by what i said, you can print my name, just leave out "fuck halo"

JAFFE: shit really? Ok.


ADAM: ok, print it
fuck it


JAFFE: cool, you got it.


++++++++++++++++

So there you go...well hey, I thought it was fun!

David

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fucking Yeah, Bitches!




Love the title! Love that it's less than a year away! Love that my-....err, can't spill those beans, just yet! But one day! man I'm dying to tell somebody! Ah well...but nope! Lipz iz sealed! :)

David

Friday, September 07, 2007

THE DNA OF A GAME



Well, there it is! Our first new, non-port game for Sony!

Well...sort of.

It's actually the result of 2 or so weeks of me doodling on white boards and notebooks and on my Wacom tablet. All those scribbles- or at least the ones that I think matter- have now found their way onto sticky notes and onto my white board. Next step is to try to fashion the game core from these elements. They won't all make it...some will die out because of scope....some will die out because- while being cool- they don't fit in with the other elements all that well. Some will die out because they were stupid ideas to begin with.

From these sticky notes, I'll write a very high level design doc and send it off to the gang in Utah. Then they will have suggestions for new ideas and for killing some of the listed ideas for various reasons; we will haggle over this and that. And then it goes off to Sony where we hope they are digging it as much as we are.

So there you go: the first step on the long, hard road to fun! You gotta start somewhere, ya know?

Have a great weekend, ya'll!

David

Thursday, September 06, 2007

LEVEL DESIGN MIX AND MATCH

As some of you know, I was not involved in Twisted Metal:Black 2 while it was originally in production. I was tied up on God Of War at the time and could only watch from afar as Sweet Tooth and the boyz (yes, I'm kidding with the 'z') had another go. But for reasons to be revealed in the upcomming TM Doc, TM:BLACK 2 was canned and for a while, those levels just sat around, collecting virtual dust.

Well now we're bringing some of the coolest levels back to life and putting them on the port of TM:HEAD ON in a bonus game we're calling TWISTED METAL:LOST. Lost will have a handful of the levels (prob. 5) from the cancelled TMB2. And these lost levels are what I've been working on the last few weeks. Take a look:




So I sit here in San Diego- as well as the days I'm out in Utah- and we try to figure out how to get these levels to play great, especially in multiplayer. I send my little photoshopped images with my chicken scratch all over them out to the magic makers in Utah and then sit anxiously, waiting for a new built to go up on the network to see if I've guessed right in the changes I've asked for ...and they are all guesses, believe me! Sometimes we get lucky and it plays great...other times it's crap and we go back to the drawing board.





See those big red bars? Those are just placeholder- obviously- barriers thrown in to test out what reconfigurations of the maps could feel like. Sometimes they are just adding a little path to streamline things a bit...other times tossing up some of those giant walls changes how the level plays entirely.

NOTE: Lots of the art in these images is placeholder, like the ground texture which- clearly- is not finished. But you guys can handle some REAL behind the scenes stuff, right? Vs. the bullshit 'behind the scenes' stuff game co's usually toss out...this is the real deal, bitch! This is what game production actually looks like! Ahem....anyway....Just FYI :)

But if the game was so far along when it was canned, wasn't the play already established for these levels? Well, before the original game was canned, the levels were really just nice looking levels with cool ideas but not a whole lot of gameplay love given to them. So now we find ourselves mixing maps together, chopping out entire sections, and adding entire areas of gameplay to make them work. It's actually a really fun design exercise: instead of starting from scratch you're given a bunch of left over parts and pieces and asked to make it fun! And it really is a ton of fun doing it. It's great to see a level take shape before your eyes, to see one or two adjustments make the difference between crap and fun. I'm having a ball and really looking forward to player reactions to these new battlegrounds.

We're also trying to lock our logo down for the new venture. It's tough because on one hand we plan on doing these hard core Sony titles for hardcore and medium core gamers. And that seems to demand a specific kind of logo. But on the OTHER hand we plan on doing casual titles for more mainstream players...and THAT seems to demand a totally different kind of logo. I've been obsessing looking at game boxes from companies like Komami and Capcom where they put out casual and hardcore games. I wanted to see if the logos they chose could travel between game styles... and you know, you don't even think about it. It just kind of is and eventually, you just don't even think about it. Komani has Silent Hill and MGS but the same little red and white Komani logo also graces the cover of DDR. So it kind of doesn't matter.

And I know that...intellectually I get it: the logo matters only if the products matter. But when you own part of the damn company, suddenly it DOES matter....the trick is to be aware that it really only matters to you and some of the team and that gamers- end of the day- will only care about the logo if the products they get from you are amazing. So maybe that's my way of telling myself to stop obesssing about it, pick a fucking logo, and get back to working on the stuff that matters! Thanks Blog! I appreciate it! And cheaper than a therapist too!


Ok, heading to work (which means going to get a bagel and then coming right back here to my office to focus on Twisted Metal)...hope things are going well for all ya'll out there! Shit man, fall is coming! I'm so jazzed! Halloween stuff is already up at Rite Aid and I can sense the shift in the air....so great man! So ready for fall! Ok, see ya!

David