I’m a fan of Tim Schafer. Quite apart from the fact that his Wikipedia page shows him lovingly holding a jar of Marmite (good man), he’s been a writer/designer/coder on some of the funniest, quirkiest games in history: Monkey Island 1 & 2, Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango and Psychonauts. How can you not love this guy? It’s a terrible tragedy that Psychonauts didn’t sell better - sure its platforming was a little ropey at times and the game was padded out in places with uninspiring sections, but buried within this game were some of the most original, funny and bizarre ideas ever to grace the medium.
I’ve been branching out with my hobbies particularly in the last year or so, mostly because my back problems now prevent me from spending every waking hour hunched over a PC, coding. In a way that’s a shame - I lament the sudden drop-off in coding time and hence productivity - but it’s also good to broaden my horizons a bit. I’m 36 now after all, and spent the vast majority of my spare time in the last 8 years on Ogre, so maybe I deserve a break 😉 After all, I get to work on Ogre a bit as part of my day job now anyway, if not as much as I’d like.
I’ve basically ignored Bayonetta for the last 12 months, because it never struck me as something I’d be interested in - I was never that impressed by Devil May Cry and similar games which to me just felt like random button mashers, and Bayonetta seemed to be relying far too much on how much leg and cleavage its main protagonist could show in any given screenshot. I’d pretty much written it off as a cycnical attempt to recycle old ideas but to tap into the frustrated teenage male demographic with guns, kung-fu, the occult, blood and cleavage - clearly a winning formula in that market.
It’s now almost a year since I decided to try using Twitter, specifically to post about Ogre development work I’m doing and other Ogre-related things (well, most of the time anyway). Seeing as I totally deride the concept that it’s a good thing to share the inconsequential, tedious minutae of your life with the internet and view it as the absolute pinnacle of sad, narcissistic behaviour, joining Twitter was a hard sell.
Like most members of the male species, and particularly the geekier types, I love gadgets. Complex ones are great, but sometimes the greatest satisfaction can come from simple things that just work really well. Here’s a couple of recent buys for me that fall into this category that I thought I’d share. Joby Gorillapod When we’re on holiday I often spend time trying to find places to put the camera so we can do a timer shot with us both in the picture, and when you’re in forests and up mountains finding a level spot is tough.
I never seem to have very much luck with couriers. I remember the very first time I ever had to have something delivered by courier, it was in fact my very first PC from a company called Multiplex (long since deceased), in 1991 - the days when you really had no choice but to mail-order to get a PC. It was a searingly sexy 386 33Mhz with 14″ CRT VGA monitor (take that EGA / CGA losers!
I took up playing the guitar a couple of years ago, after almost 2 decades of not touching any musical instruments and forgetting just about all the musical theory that I’d learned. I’ve enjoyed it; despite not being that good yet, it’s nice to pick up a new skill and I discovered I still like music despite abandoning the study of it years ago. So I have 2 guitars in the house now, one accoustic and one electric.
The last 12 months have been a big adjustment for me. Just over a year ago, I almost lived at the keyboard of my PC - work, hobbies (mostly Ogre & general coding, but some PC gaming too). It was not unusual for me to spend 12 hours in a day sitting in front of a computer, coding away. I had a bit of RSI (addressed with low-profile keyboards and less mouse use), and some back pain on occasion, but I carried on because I loved what I did, and with always a huge list of things to do (and that I wanted to do!
Penny Arcade tends to divide a room much like Marmite, but I like both. I was pleased this morning, therefore, to see Torchlight, a game deep within which little gears of my own construction are happily spinning away, featured as the news and comic of the day, and in a very positive fashion. [Penny Arcade tends to divide a room much like Marmite, but I like both. I was pleased this morning, therefore, to see Torchlight, a game deep within which little gears of my own construction are happily spinning away, featured as the news and comic of the day, and in a very positive fashion.
There was a time when patents represented innovation. Thanks to the relaxing of patent rules as championed by the US patent office in a blatant attempt to curry favour with dubious business interests, and make a bit of money at the same time, those days are gone. These days, patents are a tool for those who have no business model other than litigation, either because their primary business model failed, or by design because filing patents and hoping a lawsuit or three will stick (or rather, be settled out of court) is easier than actually building something good.