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Random quick GDC comments - Blather, Rinse, Repeat
March 26th, 2004
08:27 am

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Random quick GDC comments
I've been mostly out of touch for the past week, as I've been absorbing inspiration and information at the Game Developers Conference.

"Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask 'how', while others of a more curious nature will ask 'why'. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information." -Man Ray

I saw John "Doom/Wolfenstein/Quake" Carmack talk yesterday. It's cruel to say, but his verbal tics me of Professor Frink from the Simpsons. "With the terabytes and the gigahertz and the flavin and the developing Wolfenstein on my Apple //c heh." Aside from that, he's a bright guy who doesn't take his unusual position in the game industry for granted (he commented that he was able to make predictions about graphics card technology over a 5 year period, and if it happens that they come true, it's more likely that nVidia and ATI listen to him than that he's a good futurist).

At dinner with some coworkers last night, I was left in a job-insecurity antsy mood. You know how much fun that always is.

I've been stealing random moments here and there to work on Switch 2000. People really seem to dig it. Mostly, they're my friends, so they might not be the most objective audience. But still, I've been able to polish the game for the past few days, and each hour I find to work on it makes an incremental improvement on the look and feel of the game. Watch this space for more details. The teeming millions of shareware players out there are beating a path to my door, I know.

Samurai Jack, that game that I worked on for the past year-plus, is out. Unless it's not. Look on the shelves near you. My own recollection of our ship date would indicate that we should have been on shelves by this past Tuesday, for Gamecube, PS2, and XBox. Now it sounds like predictions of XBox sales are so low that they're not sure that there's going to be an XBox version. I appreciate that there's a lot to do after the game is done, but it amazes me that a finished game might be so expensive to sell that it's not worth doing. There's a reason I'm not in marketing.

Oh, while I'm talking about SamJack - it looks like the reviews are... um... yeah, not so much of the happy-making, positive, appreciative, um, "good" variety. More of the "this game looks like it was made with old technology so you shouldn't buy it" variety. Which is disappointing. I understand the value of the reviewers' service, but I'm saddened by the poor numbers. There's a reason I'm not a critic. Well, a professional one.

And on Monday, I get to return to the saltmines to finish the translation tasks for putting this game into Europe. I'm glad to have had the past week off, but I guess I don't feel nearly as recharged as I would have liked. You know, to make a samurai that nobody's heard of speak in German subtitles on old technology on three platforms, unless they decide not to do all three.

Leaving this on an up note: I say a demo of a Japanese game that was crazy and weird: Katamari Damaci, by Namco. You start out as a 5cm tall hero (roughly two inches), rolling a small ball around the various levels. If the ball rolls over something smaller than it, it absorbs the object and becomes a larger ball. As you go along, the ball gets larger and larger, and the levels increase in scale - so you might be absorbing chess pieces and silverware now, and later on be absorbing cars and then buildings. Odd, weird, and yet charming. Don't expect it to be translated to the US right away, sad to say.

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