game development

All posts tagged game development

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.

We are five days away from completing the PS2 and Wii versions of Tony Hawk's Proving Ground, and I've barely had time to breath. It will be my first real game title, that first important notch under the belt. I'm very proud of all the hard work our team has poured into the game, and yet there is still so much more to do.

It both amuses and distresses me to read players talking about these games before the release. There is so much laughable misinformation out there. At the same time, we're trying our darndest to fight down the limitations of the current systems, smash in designs meant for next-gen systems, and make the mess work. Possibly even make the mess fun. Because these forum kiddies are who our multi-million budgets are trying to impress.

Either way, I can say I have learned to appreciate how hard a "simple port" can be to develop. I will never underestimate it again. People like to ask, after a game comes out, what the developers were thinking. How about if they even are thinking? I know I'm not. With every waking hour taken up by work, more work, dreams of work, commute to work, commute from work, and more work, it's tough to take a step back and just play. The XBOX 360 Elite I just bought after the price drop is sitting in my living room right now without a game, its sad little drive light a monument to the cost of making rather than playing games.