Zen Of Design

The design and business of gaming from the perspective of an experienced developer

Category: Behind the Scenes (page 1 of 3)

Operation ZenRescue Completed

During my time off, I have been devoting a fair amount of my time and energy to rescuing my old blog content – a couple of years ago, I had an incident with my hosting that resulted in me needing to start over with a clean state, which put about 8 years of content in limbo.  I’ve spent the last few weeks in my spare time rescuing that content from purgatory.  Of particular note:

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Updated ‘Breaking In’ Page, Added Presentations Download Page

I’ve updated it, so it has working links, and now has a section that talks about watching your social media footprint.  Here’s a link.

I’ve also readded all of the presentations that I’ve made over the years (well, mostly. I think a couple have been lost to bad thumb drives and whatnot).  Here’s a link to that.

In The Process of Trying to Find a More Comment-Friendly Theme

I’ve changed the theme to be more readable than the previous, particularly in the reply chains.  I’m still looking for potentially better layouts, particularly for comment threads.  If you have feedback, or better ideas on WordPress templates (keep in mind, I am disinclined to do more than hit the ‘install’ button on one), then the comment thread here is where to give feedback.  Once I find something that I (and or whoever comments) likes, I’ll then replace whatever key art is in the template.

Also, I’ve been importing my old blog posts from my old blog into this one.  I am now up to late 2007, otherwise known as ‘the last round of console wars have entered full flame’.  Also, it was right before the first round of post-WoW MMOs came out, so you can still taste the optimism.

It seems like there’s a lot more to go, but my blogging really slowed down in around 2010 or so, so I’m pretty sure I’m through the worst of it.

Mining for Buried Treasure

Since I finally have time to do so between gigs, I’ll be going through my old blog archives and trying to import stuff that is still relevant and/or interesting to my new blog over the course of the next few days.  Interested parties will discover that, for example, I’m certainly not going to be confused with a Social Justice Warrior.  (In fact, the biggest thing keeping me from making my dream game is the fact that Apple Cert doesn’t allow NC-17 stuff =)

Also, I’ve started up an Ask.fm site, which you can access here.  You can ask me any question you like here, and I’ll respond to them.  The best ones will likely become zen posts in the long run.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Today was my last day at BioWare: Austin.  It was a distinct pleasure to work at one of the finest game studios in the world for 8 years of my life.  In particular, shipping Star Wars: the Old Republic has been the highlight of my career.  It’s hard to leave, and I’m leaving some incredible talent behind, but for me, it’s the right thing to do.

Oh, and I’m pretty happy about all this. Continue reading

In Which I Acknowledge and Apologize

About a month ago, I wrote a post about Milo that, by happenstance, discussed a lawsuit in Brad Wardell’s past.  At the time, it didn’t catch fire.  Simply put, no one cared.  I think it had 11 comments as of last Thursday, and I’d forgotten about it entirely.

On Friday, Brad spoke up and condemned the article.  I happened to be on top of a Mayan temple at the time (no shit), but when I got back to my laptop and saw the twitterstorm, I immediately edited the article to include links to his side of the story, as well as my quick takes on the issue.  I then reached out to him on Twitter, and we talked a couple of times that night – at length.  The talks were actually surprisingly pleasant and open. Continue reading

On Being Doxxed and Third Party Shitheads

Yes, I was doxxed -kinda sorta (we’ll get to that). I’m safe.  Wife is rattled but fine.  It was clearly the act of a third party shithead.  Other targets by the same guy in theory included Adam Baldwin (literally, the father of the #gamergate tag) and Patton Oswalt.  Which is pretty weird company to have insomnia and wake to find yourself in, all told.

One of the other supposed targets (Mark Montag, whose portrait suggests he is pro-gamergate, illustrating the ‘third party shitheads’ emphasis I want to make here) had this to say. Continue reading

Radio Nero and other Quick Hits

Just a few random snippets.

Radio Nero

I will be appearing on Episode 3 of Radio Nero tonight.  The topic of discussion will be on the idea that #gamergate members should form a consumer advocacy group.  You can read about the original proposal here and but be sure to also read the clarifying statement here.

For what it’s worth, I’m withholding final judgment until the interview airs, but Milo was a very gracious and accommodating host in the interview, and he bent over backwards to be fair and let me air my point of view.  Given that I’ve been, let’s just say, pretty harsh, critical and perhaps a tad unfair to him in the past, I will say that he was more than fair to me in response, and has earned a great deal of respect from me in his attempt to forge some sort of outreach.  I do think that outreach is crucial to getting the industry out of this quagmire.

As with everything I write on this blog, all opinions stated in my interview with Milo are mine and my own, and should not be interpreted as speaking for Electronic Arts, BioWare, our partners at LucasArts or Disney, or any other game developers, pro- or anti-gamer gaters, other human beings, or small fuzzy animals.  I am a unique and beautiful snowflake, I don’t claim a side, and these thoughts are my own.

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How GamerGate’s Right Wing Nutjob Heroes Are Betraying a Hidden Ideological Purge

#GamerGate diehards insist that the current discussion has nothing at all to do with politics and that they are, in fact, trying to keep politics and ideology out of gaming.  Which is stupid – Bioshock, the Sims, Call of Duty and Civilization are all games that have a lot of message and ideology – but yeah, you could ignore all that and stick to that broken point of view.  And a lot of #gamergate fanatics have – in a display of hypocrisy which has now become everyday in this hashtag, #GamerGate has anointed as their champions two right-wing nutjobs desperate to insert their own ideology into the discussion in an apparent successful attempt to be instant patron saints of the Movement.  Hilariously, both have admitted to not really playing any games, something that was considered high treason when it was inferred to be true about Anita, despite the fact that her stuff appears to be mostly very well researched and, uh, for the most part, to have problems but contain some pretty good points. Apparently this isn’t a problem if you’re willing to just take #GamerGate’s side although kudos to whoever suggested that Hatoful Boyfriend should be Milo’s first game).

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Reclaiming ‘Gamer’ and Defending Our Tribe

In the movie Office Space (a film that should be required viewing for anyone who work in games), the unfortunately-named Michael Bolton is asked why he doesn’t go by ‘Mike’ if he resents sharing the name with the famous grammy-award winning singer. His response was simple and eloquent. “Why should I change? He’s the one who sucks.”

This comes to mind after reading last week’s flood of people attempting to disavow themselves from the ‘gamer’ identity or declare it dead.  Screw that.  Most gamers don’t suck.  Most gamers are pretty awesome.  A tiny handful of gamers suck.  Why should we be the ones who change?

I am a gamer. I am a proud gamer. I have been for years of my life. So much so that I’ve dedicated my life to making games, writing about games, and speaking about making better games. And I love gamers. I love going to SWTOR Cantina events, to Magic Gamedays, to ArmadilloCon, BoardGameGeek.con, to E3, and to PAX, and seeing all sorts of gamers of all shapes, sizes, colors and creeds come together because we love games. And good games are social. So you see people talking, teaching and sharing with each other, because it makes the games better, and it makes the communities that play them better.

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