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All posts for the month September, 2007

Tony Hawk 9: Proving Grounds for the PS2 has passed first submission! Hooray! Yeah yeah Halo 3 blah blah… Meanwhiles, I've been moved onto the next unannounced project, and was brought on full-time. Finally, I get a chance to be in game design from pre-production, and there's a heck of a lot of work to be wrassled.

While I did get a small breather, I realize that game designers are essentially busiest at the beginning and the end of the development cycle. First to make the stack of rules and concepts that will be made… then later on to corral the shards leftover by artists and engineers into a seemly, playable, lump of broken dreams. I'm just kidding, but you get the idea. In fact, it's extremely exciting to wrangle ideas to appeal both to our client, who's given us their IP, their baby, and our internal machinations for such games as go-for-broke developers. Learning exec speak, crafting proposals that we won't hate ourselves for later, "prototyping" UI ideas, and just trying to capture the essence of an IP I don't fully understand, these are the challenges I'm learning from everyday.

Meanwhiles in the rest of the world, you've probably seen the froth in the stock market when the Fed announced an interest rate cut of half a point. I was careful to avoid trying to jump in recklessly when I saw how that day rose on such weak volume, and since the rally it seems like the traders have lost much steam. Chances are, we'll see another rate cut by the end of the year. Helicopter Ben's strategy will be to pre-empt recessionary talk with offensive injections of liquidity. Stock markets will rally until the weight of a collapsing housing market pulls it down. I will try to profit from it all.

As Tokyo Game Show raged into the land of the rising yen, I tried to skim off of the abundant Dualshock 3's rumble rumors by buying Immersion Corp. (NYSE:IMMR) stock. It didn't pan out. I got in and got out with a 4% gain, never looked back. These kinds of speculative plays, while fun, are dangerous even for people who think they know everything in their own industry. Caveat investor.

There was a time I greatly respected Silicon Knights. Once upon a time they were a brave developer putting out the likes of the nuanced surival horror game Eternal Darkness, and the honest remake Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. And of course they made video game vampires cool with Blood Omen.

Then they drifted aimlessly on the aptly named title Too Human, unable to finish, only to blame the game engine the way a shitty gamer blames his controller. Silicon Knights is now suing Epic for lack of 360 support on Too Human. But get this, the part that really makes me laugh is that they are claiming Epic sabotaged their support to put their resources into Gears of War.

Waaah.

First, if the lawsuit is successful, a huge precedent will be set that will essentially damn future engine developers for things not within their control. The specific issue was that Epic hadn't gotten UT3 ready for the 360, which was because they got their own dev stuff late. So poor customer service due to the realities of console development is now sue-able. Well christ, let's start suing Microsoft and Sony for making things too next-gen, I mean it's breakin' our balls right?

Second… sabotage? Oh I see, because Epic has absolutely nothing to gain if Too Human had been released with amazing UT3 driven graphics. Or I know, Too Human having twice the development time as Gears of War means it's twice as important, right? This is going to be the most difficult thing to prove in court, as there is a fine line between an Epic Games sabotage, and just imcompetent support.

In the end, there's just a couple words that throw water onto Silicon Knights' disguise, melting the witches into the pool of bullshit from which they spawned. Bioshock. Stranglehold. Huxley. Mass Effect. Rainbow Six: Vegas. Fury. None are Epic games. According to Silicon Knights, they all want to sue Epic too, but so far they've been pretty mum. Guess all that praise from the press makes it hard to file frivolous lawsuits.

Let me summarize with just four words what the jury is going to say: shut the fuck up.