Sunday, September 30, 2007


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!


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 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 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 to ya'll soon!


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 flame suit is on, so do your worst! Just read the whole fucking thing :)


AIM IM with adamorth.
11:47 AM

Adam: give me a fucking break:

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
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 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 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!


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! :)


Friday, September 07, 2007


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!


Thursday, September 06, 2007


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 great man! So ready for fall! Ok, see ya!