Ahhh....what a perfect Sunday afternoon.
Sitting in my office with the spring like March breeze blowing thru my window; oldest daughter is outside on the swing I just installed, being pushed by her grandpa. Wife is on the couch downstairs, reading a book.
Man, this is nice. I love that spring is almost here!
Speaking of spring, you know it's getting close when GDC rears it's head. And GDC is this week, as you may know.
I am on two GDC panels, so stop by if you get the chance.
Panel #1 is on Tuesday night- around 6 I think- and deals with the indie game scene. Odd they would choose me for such a panel as Calling All Cars, while being small, is hardly independent. From my understanding tho, they want me on to talk about bigger companies- like Sony- getting into the smaller game space (sort of like how big movie studios have their indie divisions like Sony Pictures Classics). Certainly I could/would/should never design an ultra indie darling like flOw or Dawinia, but I am digging the smaller titles so maybe I will have something worthy to say. Either way, I am excited as the first two days of GDC are devoted- in part- to the small/casual/indie game scene...a scene that I am very rapidly falling head over heels in love with! In fact, I have DEFCON's eerie music playing in the background as I type...thanks Steam!
Panel #2 finds me competing for the GAME DESIGN CHALLENGE crown against last year's winner Harvey Smith (lead designer on my top 5 all time fave game DEUS EX) and Alexy Pajitnov (he of Tetris fame and all around genius). In other words, I am fucking dead. And not just dead, but 'killed in front of industry peers whom I would like to impress as one day I may be knocking on their doors for a job' dead. And get this fucking challenge: design a game where the user interface is a needle and thread and a piece of fabric. Yeah, you read that right. A needle and fucking thread interface. Dead, I tell you! Dead!
But that's ok. I have an idea that I think is kinda cool, both theme wise and play wise. And end of the day, all you can do is pitch what you like and hope for the best. I'll let you know how I do!
I LOVE THE 80'S!
Me and the wife saw Music And Lyrics with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore last week and I've been in 80's love mode ever since. NOTE: I just re-read that sentence and it could mean two things. I PROMISE you, it means the thing you think it means...not the thing it would so cool if it meant.
If you have not seen the movie - and you like romantic comedies- go see this flick. It's really good. And if you were a kid/teen in the 80's and have a fondness for that time period, you MUST see this flick if for no other reason than to see Hugh Grant play an Andrew Ridgely style character who was one half of a WHAM! like duo. Check this out, the opening of the film:
Not ONLY does the song SOUND 100% autentic 80's but the fucking video is spot on! I LOVE the fact that the doctor looks like a GQ model...and the red flashing heart under Hugh Grant's shirt at the end is perfect! Totally 80's!
So yeah, I got the soundtrack on my ipod the day after seeing the film and was jamming like an idiot to it while driving to LA last week for our second to last CALLING ALL CARS focus test.
Our biggest issue with the game right now is that when the battles are close, the game is a BLAST! We get amazing scores and people are laughing ,swearing, and having a great time. But when we get mismatched players- as in any multiplayer game, video or not- the scores drop as both players get bored.
We are debating if we should put in some NBA JAMS style catch up code that gives players who are lagging behind a bit (like 10 points behind or so) a bit of a boost in various areas of the game. Not sure how we feel about this for a number of reasons. Maybe we put it in but give players an option to turn it on/off. We will see but I sure as hell ain't letting you guys know what we decide as I feel that would blow the magic of the experience.
But anyway, I'm in 80's mode, listening to tons of 80's music and dreaming about Alladin's Castle at Brookwood Mall again...the old, long gone arcade I used to practically live in. Ah, those were the days. Man, I've searched the net for pictures of that place for years and have never found ANYTHING. How I miss Alladin's Castle :(
So hey, have you guys seen this book yet:
What a great book to trigger those amazing arcade 80's memories. I wish it was a huge coffe table sized book but it'll do. And it makes me so excited to have a game coming out this month that really speaks to the love I have for those old arcade games...from like 1978 up to like 1993, there were some amazing games in the arcade that changed my life and molded me as a creative individual.... and while I probably will never make an actual arcade game, Calling All Cars, to me, has the soul and spirit of an arcade game and that makes me very, very excited, happy, and proud.
Folks will get to play Calling All Cars next week at GDC and then, in a week or two after, the game hits. We'll see the reviews, see player comments on the boards...it's an exciting but stressful time. I really want people to like the game but you just never know. I am very proud of it but who knows what gamers expect these days. Will the gamers be willing (or have a desire) to put on their 'arcade hats' and have appropriate expectations for a game like CAC or will they come to CAC expecting the same depth and breadth that they want to see in HALO3 or KILLZONE 2?!?!
I have moments where I feel we've made a balls to the wall blast to play that will keep people coming back for more and more...and then I have moments where I'm like: fuck! This thing is gonna give all the Jaffe haters all the ammo they need to just bury me.
Some people are like: dude, don't worry about it so much.
And they are right. And I've done this long enough that by this point- most times- it doesn't worry me. I know we did the best we could. But there are those times when you catch yourself hoping for the great reviews and the fan board praises....but it's key not to think on that too much, not to come to depend on that too much.
All you can do is your best and HOPE you and the team have done enough to guarantee folks that the game will provide the most important thing of all: a good fucking time!
Ok, I'm off. May update from GDC...if not, talk to ya'll soon after!
Take it easy!