Friday, December 22, 2006


Sweeet! God of War 2 is officially beta now. I searched on google images for the word beta and this image came up in the top three…so this is now the god of War 2 Beta mascot…beta the kitten. Don’t be fooled by the innocent exterior this is actually most vicious kitten to ever live. It has already killed 57 people including a local orphan boy that looked at it funny. You don’t mess with beta…ever!

We are burning some discs for everyone to take home over their holiday break and play. So it will be a God of War 2 Christmas for some…hopefully they will all come back with a ton of good notes and we will spend all of January fixing up and polish the game to make is super mint!!! I can’t wait to finish this thing and get more people playing it.

As for the idea that we pushed back so why don’t we add some levels…we pushed back to make sure everything we have now is as tight and clean and fun as it can be. We are using that extra time to make the game solid not to add more stuff to it and release a buggy game. So no luck on that….and for the special edition…I think it would take way more than a few weeks to do that so I don’t see that happening right away.

As for the demo we are still looking to finish that thing up in Jan. as well so I will keep you posted on the status of that and make a big post when the demo’s get shipped out to everyone. It will be friggin’ sweet.

Ok I am out to lunch now.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006 Monkey's in Space.

Well here we are on Beta day…things are moving right along but we are still tracking down some progression stoppers on the disc. Hopefully we will be able to iron out these latest bugs and get a disc burned that is super clean. I think we have until Friday to ensure we have a really clean disc, this way we can get a solid playtest over the holidays.

I am really looking forward to the next playtest since we really haven’t had a playthrough that has been bug free enough to have players use the same saves the whole way through. I need to see how players are upgrading and what they are getting at what point in the game to get a good snapshot of the overall item placement and economy. I am feeling pretty good about the pacing right now, but that tends to change from playtest to playtest. But with this one I think we will be much closer to what the “entire” game needs to feel like, then it will just be a matter of polishing and nitpicking several little elements and fights. This is the fun part of the game’s development. The part where everyone on the team gets to playthrough what we have been slaving away on for the last two years and see the fruits of their labor. It is always good to get the notes from the team as well in regards to what they liked, what was too hard or too easy or just plain not fun. January is going to be a tough month, but I know we will pull it together and come out on top with a freaking great game!!!

But right now I know we are all just looking forward to our holiday break. The team is exhausted from this last push. I feel like a freaking zombie most of the time and I definitely need the cool down time to recharge the creative juices…cuz seriously right now I am hanging on by a thread.

Oh the holiday party was really good as well. I drank a little too much and luckily made it home thanks to the super sweet L.A. cab system. It was a rough next day…even though we were able to come in after 1pm.

Got a PS3 recently, but haven’t really been able to check it out much. I hooked it up, but after that I only had the energy to check out the first level of Genji and then go to sleep. The game looks great, but it really doesn’t feel as good as I was hoping. I will have to give it another go over my break…but first I wan to sit and get some time with Gears of War and see what all the hubbub is about.

Well I need to get back to work but first I will try and answer some of the numerous questions you posed in the last post:

Will Icarus wings be in the game?
Hell yeah…that is how we roll…Daedalus style.

Will the Icarus wings be remodeled?
What we now is final and looks freaking sweet. Not sure what you saw but it was most likely older.

When will the full website be up?
No clue on this one. I can find out but things are so busy that I am sure I will forget to ask about that.

Barbarian Hammer…info on the weapon?
This will be a weapon that Kratos will take from the Barbarian King if you can defeat him. I can’t say too much now, but I can tell you it is pretty sweet. Granted I am fairly baised. I can tell you that when you take these weapons from enemies, you keep them for the rest of the game.

Is it true that you are in fact Bionic?
Yes. This si not something I normally talk about but yes I am in fact bionically enhanced to rock the fucking house. While my bionic enhancements were far cheaper than siz million dollars they still cost a pretty penny. I also make that cool nahnahnahnahnah sound when I walk, run, jump, and climb stairs.

Is there going to be a Chimera in the game?
Sadly no…we worked on that one for awhile but in the end we found that we just did not have the time to get many of the characters we originally planned for the game up to the level we wanted them…and when we needed to readdress the scope of the game a while back it really did not seem sensible to have so many enemies.

Ok…so there you have it….a little informal Q&A for y’all to tide you over a few days until the next update when I shout from the mountaintops “WE MADE BETA BITCHES!!!!” I could not answer all the questions since some of the info is still unreleased…so sorry if your question did not get answered.

Aight’…peace out.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

GOW2...tightening up the graphics on level 3!

8 days to our beta disk and things are shaping up rather nice. We are still scrambling to get things together and "tightened up" which is causing us to put in some more late nights but the good thing is we have our company Christmas party tonight so the team will get a little break from the grind to toss a few back and eat some good food.

Today Nate and I went through and tuned the last of the fights based on our last playtest noptes and then wnet through and did all the save point names and area announces. That stuff seems simple but man is it hard coming up with short names for locations of the game. I had a handful in mind already but there were a few that threw us. We were doing a lot of the old "shift-F7" in word trying to find clever words for things. But we got it done so I can cross that task off my list. New week I need to go through all hte in game messages and make sure they are all good to go. Not the most exciting part of the job, but it is none the less important.

We had a big breakthrough with our Pegasus stuff this last week as well. Eric and Thomas put some stuff in that really locked the melee combat. I mean it is like a billion times better than it has ever been so I am eternally grateful to them for thier perseverence on that stuff.

Well this is not much of an update but I got to go start getting ready for the party since cocktails start at 6:30 and I am not one to ever be late for cocktails. Though I don't imagine I will be telling anyone to go fuck themselves in the grotto tonight.

I will see what I can do about getting that video up but I can't promise anything as I am sure I will get caught up in so many things and forget to do the legowrk on the video when I sit down to do my next update I will do so empty handed.

Oh one other thing regarding the whole release date far as I know the game releases in North America first and then europe but from what I understand the time in between releases will be REALLY short. Not sure exactly how long but it I don't imagine it being months or anything.

allright...for real this time. I got to get ready because I really don't want to be late for the opening band they have playing tonight...based on my last posts and fascination with swedish rock bands of the 80's sony has gotten the all swedish rock cover band "Fjords!" They play songs from Europe, Ace of Base, Abba, and Hoven Droven! Maybe Dave will get up and bust out a keyboard solo?



Monday, December 04, 2006

It's the fiiiiinal countdowwwn!!!

Ok so today is December 4th and we go beta in 16 days. We still have a lot of work to do, but nothing I don't think we can't complete. It is going to be a rough next few weeks, but there will be a nice mini break for the holidays to recover from the final rush to the "almost" finish line. After the holidays we will be doing the final gameplay tuning and orb/economy balancing as well as finish up any last minute stuff we were unable to get to for beta. We still got a wild ride ahead of us.

But as for now...the game is looking great. We had another full game playthrough last week and the gameplay time was a little higher than last time. In fact the playtesters did not even finish in the alotted time we had for the playtest. The grouping we got this time was more leaning towards the casual players. I thoiught they were going to be a bit more fo the casual hardcore players, but it didn't turn out that way. But there was still a lot I learned from watching them play and work through the various combat scenarios and puzzles. the good thing is we are pretty locked on all the games puzzles...there really isn't much we need to do with them besides finishing up the final implementation and art...which is sweet since there is still many combat scenarious that are in need of some attention to get them to 100%.

Let's see what else is going on...amidst all this chaos of making beta I had to move into a new apartment. I was bidding on a townhouse but the deal just went south and I decided to cancel it and go with the renting for a year or so more. The market out here still sucks anyway so it is for the best. The only problem was I had to find an apartment, pack and move in basically 24 hours. That...freakin....sucked. But in the end it got done and now I don't have to worry about it. Though I am feeling like I rasn myself down so much last wek that I am getting sick this week. I feel the beginings of a cold...that drowsy stuffed up thing. I hate that.

Ok enough about that boring crap...more about God of War 2. Ariel edited together a collection of footage from God of War 2 for the Sony gameshare show in London and we screened it for the team on Friday. She did the thing in a night and it looked freaking great. It really did a lot to fire the team up for this last push. Well at least I hope it fired the team up since it got me psyched. We used a piece of music that was recored over in the chezch republic (or something like that) last month. Very cool live choir and orchestra...really gives a sense of power to the movie.

Saw some more progress ont he GOW Kratos figure last week. They sent the painted version of the sculpt which looks great. We are getting pretty close to finish it up. Hopefully it will be comepletely done by the end of the month so I can show off some pics.

Finally got to play some Gears of War this weekend. Not for long mind you, but at least I got some time with it. Spent about 30 minutes playing and it does look good, but I am not totally sucked in yet. I am sure it will get better, but it feels a bit generic right now. Could just be that I really didn't get to sit and focus on playing it though, or it could be the whole prisoner who has to save the world thing is a bit too Tango and Cash for me. Ok well maybe not Tango and Cash...I was just looking for a way to force a Tango and Cash reference in there because Tango and Cash RULE!!!! I do like the idea that you can choose to skip the tutorial section...that is really sweet. I also really like the one button cover system though...clean and simple. Seems many of the designers hate it because they never know what you are going to made sense to me though. After about 5 minutes I felt fairly comfortable with it. The Grenade throwing thing is a little odd for me though. I keep throwing them short. Anyway...hope to get to play some more. Probably after this game ships. :)

Also...just a reminder for the other who commented...the demos will not be out until the end of January at the very earliest. We are focusing 100% on making the game great right the demo will be the first task when that is done. But I think it will be worth the wait though.

aight...gotta get to work now.


Europe rocks...I was in a tribute band before I was in the game biz...this is a recording of one of our more rocking shows. We rocked that county fair like nobodys buisness. Asses were kicked. Thats dave Jaffe on the keyboards kickin the mad solo. hahahahahahaha...

Monday, November 13, 2006

The unbearable lightness of Beta...

I am alive muhuhwahahahahahahaha!! So after a little blogging hiatus due to an increasing amount of work on the game I have decided to stick my head up for a minute to give a little update on the progress of God of War 2.

First…sorry about the lack of clarity on the demo’s…those will not be going out until we finish the demo…which will not be until late January at the earliest. So keep an eye out for a post that will let you know when the demo is done and ready to be shipped out.

And now on to the updates about the game….we had our first full game playtest recently which went pretty well. Our average playtime was somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 hours…so that is good. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done to polish this thing up, but seeing it in it’s completed from was really good for us. I got to see a lot of the areas that felt good on their own, but in the context of the whole game they felt a little off…so lots of good tuning notes. This was also the first time anyone has played through the game and experienced the entire story, so I got a lot of good notes on clearing up loose ends and reinforcing things that were a little unclear.

Nearly all the game art is in the game in some form or another and is looking fucking fantastic…now the artists are working to finalize and optimize everything. It is a tough time for everybody, but it is also a very exciting time in the development of the game since everything is finally coming together and starting to look like a real game as opposed to the small fragments we have been working with for so long.

We are working pretty long days from now until the end of Beta (end of Dec) so my updates may not be as frequent but I am sure you all will understand.

I got to listen to some of the entries in the God of Noise battle fo the bands thing…pretty cool stuff. I haven’t listened to them all yet, but I think I will have to get on that since the selects need to get made soon.

We are also getting closer to finishing the sculpt for the Kratos action figure…which looks freaking sweet! I can’t wait to see them finished. Not sure when that one will be coming out but imagine it will sometime near the games release.

Also about the guest speaker…he was going to do something last week but due to our schedules getting more hectic it did not happen…I am sure he will do something soon, but I don’t have the time right now to arrange it. So it will just be a random surprise.

All right I need to get back work now.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

High fives

So we have done it! The God of War 2 team has made alpha and now, after Sensi Steven Segal went around the office in the "high five" pose (pictured to left) and congratulated everyone, the team is enjoying a few days off to relax and recharge for our push to Beta and finally Gold. It was cool that Steven decided to take a break from his rigorous touring schedule with his band Thunderbox to stop by and give us "High fives". We like "High fives" and especially like reciving them from the ass kicking hand of Steven Segal. We are forever indebted to the 'mojo priest' as he is referred to in some circles of the music world. I believe that Clay Aiken and the last surviving members of Menudo also run in those same circles. I probably shouldn't say anything bad about him as he can kick my ass up and down the street six ways to Sunday.

Anyway, the alpha build went smoothly, much smoother than our alpha build for God of War 1...Though I am not sure if that means anything. I am sitting down today and playing through the game as whole...So that should be fun.

I once again ran around the office with my sweet cam...Though I still didn't get to get as many pictures as I wanted to...That whole alpha thing kept getting into he way. So here is some random images of the team on Alpha day!

This is Jason. (Tech Artist) What can I say about Jason that the Weekly World news has not already said? He is the guy we call when the game breaks and we can't figure it out. He and the other tech artists do their damndest to make sure everything is running smoothly with the tools. I imagine that sometimes that is not always the most fun job. As seen in the picture Jason's passion for peace is only rivaled by his love of unicorns. They are pretty much his favorite animal, mostly because of thier prefferred skill being magic and all. Jason likes Magic. But not that creepy movie about the dummy...that movie scared him as it scared us all.

This is Adam (combat designer) and Joel (AP) discussing why Night Elves suck and the benfits of "Magic Missle". Actually they are probably scrambling to get one of the creatures or bosses to work on the alpha disk.

This one is a little far seems I try to keep my distance from everyone when taking photos because I half expect them to grab the camera like Sean Penn and clock me one in the jaw. So anyway...this is Wade (Effects guy) and Artak (cinematics animator) arguing over who they think will be americas next top model. Well that and making sure our Alpha presentation of cinematics is the best it can be. In the foreground is Tim (animator) who was misatkenly said to be the lead animator on a DMC board in response to my last post about him and Jason playing DMC3. A post that made me laugh since they used the word pwned or pwnage or something like that. I still can't understand why people who like DMC hate God of War so much. I personally am a fan of DMC...though the begining of the first one had some horrible camers in first room of the castle...and that whole slide on the bodies thing ala Legalos in DMC3 is kind of lame. Otherwise it is a cool game...can't we just all get along?

This…is the empty desk of one of our designers Johnny. Johnny was unable to be in the office during the alpha push because he got in an accident...on his 'Big Chief' edition scooter. Yeah I think now is the time to say that we have some bad luck…or dare I even say curses going on with this project. Since we have started several designers have gotten into automobile accidents, which only seems to compound my stress with this project. Johnny has a leg/ankle broken in three places and has to have some crazy surgery. His presence was missed. Sweep the leg Johnny! In the background you can see Jo (designer) feverishly working on some level implementation and psychically sending her thoughts of healing via the power of crystals to Johnny.

This is Michael (Lead Level Designer) Nate (Designer with the pink shirt) and Fabrice (Programmer and all around french guy) troubleshooting some problems with the build.

This is Chris (Environment Artist) and Lois (Environment Artist whose name I most likely got wrong or spelled wonrg...because I suck) working on tightning up the graphics on level 3. Now that right there...that was really funny...but only if you have seen the dope commercials for Westwood college school of game design. This is by far the most realistic depiction of game design I have ever seen. Seriously, it is scary. It was like they put a hidden camera in our office and then just aired the resulting footage. If you go will go far...and have tight graphics on level 3.

This is a shot Mark (Camera guy) scrambling to get the millions of things he has on his list done for the alpha burn later int he day. He along with Paul (designer) are the only ones doing the camera for this game, which is a massive task for them to take on. Big ups to them.

And here is what all of our hard work and sacrifices have yielded...the sweet ass alpha disk you see here. What you see is not only important because of the year and a half of blood sweat and tears this team gave, but it is also the alpha disk of my first game directing experience. Big milestones all around. Here's to me not fucking it far that is.

We still have a lot of work to do in order to get the game into shape for all of you to stay tuned for more updates on the progress. I might even post some videos...if I can figure it out.

ok...I am going to go play the game now.

Oh one last thing...I will be having a guest speaker on the blog in the next few days so keep an eye out for that as well. I think you might have heard of him it should be an interesting post.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hey Hey Hey...

Is that Alpha I see? SWEEEEEEET! Yup...3 days away...just 3 days away from alpha and a nice, albeit short, break for everyone. You can't see it, but right now I am doing the Rerun dance...and surprisingly I am really good at it. I got the moves.
Things are shaping up nicely I think. There were a bunch of us in yesterday trying to get the last of the content finished for the deadline. So I figured I would go a little nuts with the phone cam this weekend...but most of the pictures I took were crap...which leads me to believe that it must totally eb the camera. Since I really can't be that bad of a photographer. Perhaps I will break down and purchase a "real" digital camera so I can continue to do the photo updates as they are fun for me. I think rerun would agree that the purchase of a digital camera would be a good thing.

It is a little hard to take photos of myself I just took one of Kratos. I know what you are you ever do any "real" work around there? To be I mostly talk...and since I really don't view talking as real work...I classify myself as a sorta worker. On sunday Nate and I were trying to polish up the last of the enemy placements in the game...getting those last minute brilliant ideas in the game. It sounds so much better when I call them last minute brilliant ideas. Let's hope they turn out to be brilliant. Most likely I will be going through and changing every fight post alpha, when I get more people playing the game all the way through.

This is James (animator) and Derek (combat designer) hard at work on a sunday. These are some dedicated guys whom I give mad props to for doing what it takes to make this game great! James is actually showing off his "crane technique" to Derek. Unfortunatly my camera is really slow at the picture taking and I missed James accidentaly doing a Steven Segal on Derek's head.
Actually they are working on the final boss encounter here and from what I have been seeing it is coming along great.

This is our art is images that fans have drawn and images of that cominc Dax the Destroyer...a charcter who bears a striking resemblence to Kratos. This is where we go when we want to be inspired or remeber why it is we are working so much...we do it for the guy in the lower left of the image...yeah....we do it for him. This one's for you!

This is Tim (animator) and Jason (combat designer) hard at work playing DMC3. After that they were doing little things like finish a boss, fixing creatures, and genrally making sure all the stuff you are all going to play next year is freaking AWESOME!!!! These guys are the magic men...the music makers...the dreamers of dreams. Yeah...going a little overboard on the quotes today...but thats how I roll.

This is another shot of the art wall...with my favorite image of all time...Kratos about to stab Sora from Kingdom Hearts...cause Kratos is crazy like that. He will kill anyone. Someone else sent in an image of Kratos battling Peter Jennings. I framed that one and it now resides in my private collection.

Seriously though...I think fan art is awesome. I used to draw a bunch of stuff and send it in to the magazines hoping they would publish my ode to whatever game I was into at the time. Alas I was a really really bad I got no love on the fan art. But in the immortal words of my friend art is "where it's at."

This is Eric (combat designer) He doesn't like photos...something that I can relate took a photo of his dope Herculoids collection. Eric really doesn't have anything decorating his desk...and if you knew him you would know that is normal for him. So we were all surprised when his full set of Herculoids toys arrived, granted he did not buy them to decorate his desk...they were a gift. Though it wasn't surprising that the show they were modeled after was seen by like 14 people, Eric is super OG like that.

I had never heard of the Herculoids before...but the rhinocerous and the gorilla I am a fan now. Eric was in getting all the cool stuff sewn up with the hero. I was able to see and play with some of the new specials and moves for Kratos this weekend. I was worried about being able to get all the things I wanted to get in the game...but I should have know better than to doubt Eric or Bruno. (The animator working on the Hero)

This is Todd...he is a sound guy. He was also in a boy band many years ago that went horribly wrong...he still will break out into a boy band pose every once and awhile as if to punctuate a really important point. Right here he was telling me that everything he is doing is already "alpha!" There is actually some cool soudn stuff going in now...but traditionally most of the sound work doesn't get going until we get into the "Beta" phase of the project. Which is no good for the sound guys as they get slammed with a TON of stuff at the last minute and end up killing themselves trying to get it all in and perfect. This is probably why todd's boy band never really got off the ground.

Well that's all I got today. You should chjeck out the God of War myspace page with our God of Noise contest on it. If you are in a band...or know someone in a band you should defintely check it out as the prize is getting your track on the soundtrack of the game. Should be some pretty good exposure...that is unless I fuck up the game.

Which I don't plan on doing. But who plans on fucking up though right?

ok...time for the leads meeting.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

roundhouse kick to the alpha!

ALPHA!!! YEAH!!!! Well...we are not there yet, but this image (to the left) is a depiction of how much ass we are kicking right now. You see we, the team, are chuck norris, and the's the wolf. (Ok so its probabaly a dog, but wolf just sounds cooler) And rigth now the wolf is getting a front kick the chest. Sweet. Not that I advocate violence against animals or anything. But we are kicking the wolfs ass right now.

So I thought I would do something a little different today and give you a little pictoral walkthrough of alpha. Well not exactly a walkthrough, more like a bunch of photos I took with my crappy phone camera that serve as a rough throughline for my blog post today. I am sure it will be fun. Plus it gives me a chance to use my totally overpriced phone with its lame built in camera for a second time since I purchased it last year. The quality is pretty bad on the pics so you will have to use your imagination on this, but I will do my best to narrate this journey. So without further little bit of insight into our

This is an attempt at taking a cool photograph by putting the PS2 controller in the forground...not a very successful attempt though. It is also an attempt to tart up the crash screen we see a lot...make it prettier. Not sure that worked all that well either.

This is the screen we see a lot during the development process. It's the crash screen or as I like to call it the 'Time to take a break screen.' sometimes it gives you helpful information as to why the game refuses to work. Then other times it just says "????" Those times...are the sweet times.

This is the back of Nate's head. Lately I spend most of my day here at his desk tuning the various levels of the game. So I basically spend the whole day looking at the back of his head. Saying things like "what if we add this guy...and then spawn three more of this guy" or "wouldn't it be cool if we..." Then he sits there cursing me and watching videos on you tube, like that sweet David Hasselhoff video "Jump in my car". He fucking loves that video. I think it is because he identifies so completely with the "Hoff." This is probably because at one point in thier lives they both had cars that talked to them. I'm pretty sure he hears the song in his head even when he is not watching it, which is like all the time. Just kidding...he doesn't curse me.

This is a shot of the studio as everyone is in high gear finishing up the game. I got to see the final boss level in the game the other day, which has nothing to do with this picture but I thought it looked prety freakin sweet so I figured I would bring that up. I wish I could show you a screenshot of that, but alas then you would have nothing to open up on Christmas day. and I don't want to ruin Christmas. Well not exactly we are releasing several months AFTER Christmas...that was just a metaphor.

This is another shot of the various craftsman hard at working making God of War 2. I know what you are saying...those all look like normal people. I though God of war 2 was made by a workshop full of elves in funny little felt costumes with bells on them. But alas that is only our european games that use the elf workshops. though I have always thought that Hot Shots golf was made by elves. Elves with big heads who eneter every room running and sliding like a figure skaters on crack...the faint sounds of applause always follow.

This is Todd...or rather the back of Todds head. You might be noticing a pattern here. You might think that most people are ignoring me...and to be quite honest you may be right. But I would like to think of it as the rest of the team "pacing" thier interaction with me. That just sounds better. But seriously, Todd is another guy I tune the game with. Right here you can see we are tuning a super bad ass section of the game that is so freaking exciting that we had to pause it so we could take a break and recover. And so Todd could watch videos on youtube. He loves the bollywood video with Little Superstar bitchslapping fools. It rules.

This is a shot of the final boss in the game...I got a little excited while taking the photo so you can't make out the details, but trust freaking rocks. It makes me say "Next gen who?" Not that I am not excited to check out some next gen stuff...but I think the stuff we are doing is great...great like whipping out the proverbial "Legendary Creature" card!

Ok enough with the Chuck Norris's old now. Well maybe not totally old for me. It still makes me laugh. But I am simple and easily amused...and I still believe that Chuck Norris's Tears can cure cancer....but he never the world will never know.

Maybe tomorrow I will take better pictures that even include peoples faces. That would be cool, though it is pretty dependant on people not telling me to go away when I whip out the super bad ass photo phone!!!

'Aight...going to go playthough the game and make some notes.


Saturday, October 07, 2006


Hello blog. It’s been awhile since we last spoke. Things have been hectic as usual; we are less than two weeks away from our alpha date. This would definitely qualify as one of the tougher times on the project to date. We have to have everything that is going to be in the game done to about 50-70% completion. Sounds fairly simple, but it is soooo not. The good thing is we are in a better position at this point (in relation to alpha date) that we were on God of War 1…so we got that going for us. But unfortunately that news does little to ease the pain of the long hours. Actually I may be over dramatizing it a bit…the hours are long but not terrible. It is more the amount of time we have been putting in the hours that wears you down. In the end though it will all be better for the game so it is worth it.

We had a nice early night week last week. Everyone got to go home at a decent hour and recharge for this last push to alpha. This really helped, but it also gives you that taste of normalcy, which really makes it hard to go back to the late nights.

SO let’s see…what is the haps. I got everyone’s emails for the demo and I have a running list. Not sure about all the non-US peeps, but I will see what I can do. I am all about sending them, just got to check with the “man” and make sure I can do that. Anyway…new with the game…we are working on a few bosses simultaneously and getting those into tip top shape. The one cool thing about the last few weeks to alpha is that every single day I am seeing something new get in the game in a close to final form. That is truly what keeps me going through all of this.

I have been doing some fight tuning with Nate the last few days, though I haven’t been able to do as much as I would like due to the numerous interruptions for meetings and last minute documentation and such. But we were working on a fight that would take place late in the game yesterday so I started bringing over people to test it out and make sure it wasn’t too hard. After the first few people we started getting a large group of people stopping by and trying the fight out. Now at this stage it is hard to get the exact tuning of a fight since we don’t have the final tuning on the blades, weapons or magic…but right now I am just trying to get the right vibe for each fight. The vibe for this specific fight was to make it hard, but also to engage you enough to want to go back and beat it if you died. Now it was crude, with several annoying little bugs, but in the end I think we achieved that. It was also great to have a group of people, who have been slaving away on this game for the last year and a half, sitting around and laughing and challenging g each other to finish the fight. It is moments like those that say something about the work we are all doing…that even though we should be tired of this game…we are not. I just hope this will translate to all of you as well.

Another cool thing to see was the further implementation of one of the weapons. Eric (Combat guy) had some great ideas for control mapping on the weapon and I finally got to see how other people would use it while they play. I think this new addition will really add a lot to the weapon.

I have been working with Charlie, our Visual development director, on the box art for the game the last few days. I think we have found a really good direction to go in so now he is going to go in and take the thumbnails to a more finished look.

I have also been working with Ariel (Editor and AP) to fine tune our cinematics and trim out all the unnecessary fat. This is hard. Because when you write the script for the story you think you are only putting in what is absolutely necessary to tell the story properly. So going in and trying to find ways to trim the movies down, after having already trimmed them down like 20 times before, is tough. That is the beauty of having an outside opinion of a good editor. They can look at the material that you are so close to and give you an objective opinion on what is really there and what is needed to convey the point. Though she is not totally an outside opinion since she also did some work on the script with me and the other writers…but hey beggars can’t be choosers right?

I met with Jo (level designer) and Michael (Lead Level Designer) about some last minute tweaks to some puzzles in one of our levels. It was good to finally see these puzzles get worked out. We had designed the areas such a long time ago, at a point where we were creatively drained, so there were a few puzzles that we just said “Ahh…we will figure this out later.” In hindsight I realize it was not the best of ideas, but both of them came through in a pinch and put together a couple of pretty cool puzzles. I also got to see Jeremy’s (Level designer) implementation of a puzzle in his level. It is something that Michael pitched to me a week or two ago and it sounded pretty cool, but with these things it is so hard to tell if something is really going to be fun from just a pitch. Finally getting to see it and play it proved that it is going to be fun. We just need to work out a few details about it and then it is ‘in there like swimwear.’

I saw the first rough sculpt of the action figure and it is coming along really nicely. I can’t wait to see the final product…and for all of you to see it as well. I think you will be pretty psyched…if you like that sort of thing. If you don’t, well we have God of War handguns as well…maybe that’s your thing? Or how about our God of War Flamethrowers? The kids seem to love this one.

Well it is Saturday at 9:20am and I got to start getting ready to head into the office.

Thursday, September 21, 2006 got a little Arzt on you.

Sep. 21st 2006.

Man, where the fuck has all the time gone? Only a few more weeks until this baby is alpha and I am just sitting here at my desk going over the millions of things we have done and trying to make sure I haven’t missed anything. That…and wishing I had more time to put in a few more cool things. But to be honest I think I was able to get everything I wanted in the game. Even with the stuff that I have cut through out the development I still look at what we do have and realize that this really is the best of the ideas. At one point we were going to do an Atlantis level, which actually had some cool ideas in it but in the end it just really cluttered things up. Who knows…maybe if we do get to do another game the level, or some of the ideas from it, will appear?

The Video Games Live show is tonight at the Hollywood Bowl…and I really wanted to go. I was set to go for a few weeks, but we have a drop on Friday for our Monday Tuesday playtests so I gotta be here tonight. Damn. I missed that show last year because I was prepping the game…so that bummed me out. And now this year I was gonna’ get to do the red carpet/meet and greet thing they do before the event…which would have been freakin sweet. Lots of people there who were instrumental in some of my favorite games. Would have been nice to hang out and chat with them…but alas this is the reality of game making. Not much time for the ‘fun’…waaaay too much work to do. But when the game is done there is a little time for fun…so I guess I got that going for me.

We are working out the details of our demo right now…what it will be and when we will get it out there. I will try and keep you all posted on that.

Yesterday was pretty exciting…I did a redesign on our Final boss encounter to spice it up a bit more and really make it hit hard. I think it is definitely in a much better place now. Still got a few more things I want to do to it, but it feels like it is going to be far more epic than its original incarnation. Nothing like switching it up in the eleventh hour of the eleventh hour…hmmm…that really doesn’t even make sense.

Well I have a playthrough of all the playtest content this morning…hopefully all that goes well and it…well…works. If things look pretty good today then we are in good waters…maybe I might even get to duck out and go to the show tonight. But if they doon’t go well this morning then it will be a rough road to Monday. Keepin my fingers crossed for the goods to come through this morning.

The producer just dropped off some marketing samples of the Audio CD covers and packaging materials. Sweet stuff. I like that we are going to release an actual CD of the soundtrack instead of just going solely with downloadable. Even though I Download a ton of stuff from itunes it is still cool to have an actual physical product every now and then.

Ok…I’m out. I am still working out how we are going to do this whole demos for the OG blog readers thing. Maybe just have everyone who wants in on the demo send me you name and address and credit card number (just kidding) to this email address. I will keep a running tab of this and when the demo’s are ready I will have ‘em sent out. Now I am not sure how many I can send out so if I get a thousand emails I might not be able to send a demo to everyone. Who am I kidding…there aren’t a thousand people who read this blog. Anyway…I know the handful of true OG readers so I won’t leave you all high and dry. But like I said we still don’t know when the demo is going to be available so you will have to keep checking back here for the 411.

So send the deets to this email:

yeah...before you say...that is a fucking dorky email. Like one step away from 1amDarthV8d3r or trans4mrzR00L or some shit like that. I am a dork. I know this.

speaking of OG...I wonder how the hell Grandma hardcore is doin. I think I will go check her site out and see what she is playing.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Time is ticking away...

God of War 2 is just below a month and a half from Alpha so the pace has picked up considerably around here. A little crazy...but a controlled crazy. A healthy crazy if there is such a thing. There is a whole lot more art going in and the game is really starting to take shape. This is the hardest of times, but also the most exciting for me because everything is finally coming together.

We have been plowing through our first level of the game the last few weeks and things are shaping up there nicely as well. I got to see a few more areas with art in them yesterday and they look great. There is definitely a lot of pressure, both self imposed and external, for us to top our first level from God of War 1 (the hydra level) and I can honestly say that after seeing the pieces together last week I am confident we are going to top it. It will be sweet! But what do I know...I am incredibly bias. We will have to wait and see what y'all think. Not 100% sure yet, but we might do this level as a demo level. So as I promised earlier all the hardcore peeps that have been following this blog from the beginning...the OG...will get a copy of the demo. How's that for freakin' sweet?

Kratos new abilities and weapons and nearing their alpha level of completion as well, pretty soon he should be complete and ready for us to tweak and tune. It really is fun to boot up the game and find a new move set or ability checked in the game. It's like Christmas...only several times a month.

And the animation...oye vey the animation. I am a tough critic on myself, and pretty tough on others as well when it comes to animation. My recent foray back into the world of animation did not yield the greatest results right out the gate...but that's how it goes when you step away from something for too long. But fortunately we have an incredible team of animators that are working their guts out putting together some of the best I have have ever seen. The animation in the last game was pretty decent, but the animation in this game is just amazing.

My lead level guy Michael just finished up the design/layout of our last level the other day, which I am sure is a major relief for him. This last one was a tough one for us as we wanted to do so much with it. But thankfully Michael wwhittlee to widdle down our ideas into a solid cohesive level. If everything goes according to plan this should be a really cool experience a really good finale' to the game. Well from a level perspective that is because right after this level you have the final boss encounter of the game which Derek, Nate and I have been working on. We got a solid base with it, now all we need to do is work out the final details and I think we will have a great epic ending to the game.

I did a write up the other day about our bonuses section detailing out the progression, menu screens, unlockables, enemy placements, etc. Not the funnest part of the job let me tell you, but the end result will be fun so it's all good I guess. I am also working out my global game tuning document which is a MASSIVE help to really tracking everything I am doing with the gameplay progression. I should have started this document sooner, but the structure of our level WAD breakdown was not complete so it would have been fairly rough. The WAD breakdown will still most likely change, but it is definitely fleshed out in greater detail now. I am going into work today to try and finish up the paper layout and start absorbing the games fight progression as a whole. Until now I have had my rough overall plan as I have been tuning individual levels. But now thanks to the miracle of this thing called 'planning' I will know it all!!! Strange how that works out.

I was going to post a screen shot, but I am writing this from home since I almost never have a free minute at work to do this. But when I get in if I can drum up something new I will post it.

'aight...lights out...time too work.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Playtests, Euros and Caps oh my...

We have another playtest today; we are testing the first third of the game. Unfortunately we are not testing the complete first third, but it is close enough so I should be able to get some good info out of this playtest. The game is moving along nicely but the alpha deadline is steadily approaching…relentlessly even. I am confident we will make it, but we are cutting it close. I guess it is not to dissimilar to the first God of War. We really cut that thing close.

We had a bunch of folks European press in the other day which was a good time. Appearently God of War is huge in Spain....sweet! I got to show them the latest stuff we are working on. Well not the latest, what they got to play was actually two or three months old. It is definitely hard for me to let people play the game when I know what we have is so much better. But the old builds were the only stable ones so it iwas best to let them play that. I did a little presentation beforehand…a presentation for which I was woefully unprepared. We were so busy working towards our milestone and playtest that I did not take the time to properly prep for it. It didn’t go horribly…most likely due to the fact that the euro journalists were jet lagged and probably couldn’t follow my speedy americanspeak.

1up show was also in the studio so I got to hang with Matt a little and chat about the game. Not sure when it goes up on the site but keep an eye out for that one.

I am turning 31 tomorrow. Wild. It is not that I feel like I am getting old or anything, but I have this sinking feeling of “where the hell did all the time go?” I feel like I should have done so much more by now. But I am very happy with where I am now. I love the work I do and I would love the city I am in if it were a little freakin’ cheaper to buy a house. You can’t have everything I guess. Life will be even better I think when this game finally goes out the door…at least it will be a little more relaxing for me. I feel like my heart rate is up from the moment I get up to the time I finally fall asleep at 2am. While it is stressful I don’t think I would want it any other way. I think I would go crazy if I wasn’t constantly being creatively challenged. But who knows…maybe I will be done with story based games in a few years? :) Just kidding Dave.

I picked up a copy of Saints Row the other day...actually one of my few pre-order experiences. Still not a fan of the going to the game store thing, but I have to admit that it was quite painless. They gave me a call the day before to let me know I could come in and pick it up, which was sweet. But I would still rather download a gamestraight to my system as it would be a hell of a lot more convienent with my hectic schedule. At any rate I am hoping we get out of work early today so I can come home and pop a few caps...or in true Saints Row style...pop a fuckin' few motha'fuckin' caps. Wow...It is amazing how I seem to continually surpass the level of nerd I think I am. Oye...

All right I need to get dressed and get into work so I am not late for my own playtest. I imagine that would be a bad thing.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Once more, with feeling.

Let's see...since the last update we were in the recording sessions for the last of our VO. That was Thursday and Friday of last week. I had what could only be described as a moment of geeky happiness. It is not all that big of a deal, but for me it felt like I had achieved something cool or made another step, albeit a small one, as a director. I realized this momentary feeling of accomplishment when I was directing one of the actors – breaking down the story behind their character and explaining what I wanted out of the gameplay moments. Now I am a fan of the guys work; I have seen several things he has done and have always been impressed. Not saying he is pacino or deniro impressive...but he's good people. Anyway It really isn’t that big of a deal, but for me it was a great moment of accomplishment. Here I was giving direction to an actor that I totally respect about a game that I am directing. It was pretty damn cool. I am sure to most other directors it is really no big deal, but to me it was a cool moment…a moment of really doing something. There have been a lot of cool moments….a lot of firsts for me….but I had not had one in a while so that one really helped pick me up and get me 'back into the game' so to speak. The performance turned out great too, I thnk it will really add a lot to the gameplay his character is involved in. At first I brought him in because I recognized him and was a fan of his work but I was a bit worried that I might be making a similar mistake that I made early on…going with a 'name' without knowing whether or not they would work out or be difficult to work with. Trust me when I say...that sucks ass. Not only is it diffcult when doing the work...but you look like the biggest asshole int he world for pushing to get this person. Just all around bad times at ridgmont high. But thankfully…and that is a BIIIIG thankfully…like massive weight off my shoulders thankfully…it all worked out. He rocked. So keep an eye out for future updates when I can actually tell you his name, and the names of some of the other peeps we got to do the voices.

I also got to relax a bit and watch a few things this weekend that really got me thinking about the concept of the creative visionary – the rare person who is able to see the complete picture before they ever start working on something. Watching some of behind the scenes stuff about Joss Whedon really cemented the idea to me that he is a creative visionary. I mean this guy has created some really great work.. I was watching season 6 of Buffy…for the first time, I never watched the show on TV…when I got to the “Once more, with Feeling” episode and was blown away. He wrote the script for the show, the music and the lyrics…and performed on the demo CD. CRAZY! It really made me feel lazy. I know I have a ways to go before I will have that kind of creative clarity. There are some things with the game that I see the whole picture…that I know exactly what I want and I am able to convey that to everyone. But then there are still other things that I do not have the perfectly clear picture, and I kind of have to feel my way around in the dark a little before I see the whole thing. I know I can get better at that…and I know I can get to that point where I see it all clearly in the very early stages of production. That will be a good day.

Thanks for all the feedback guys…we are moving forward on the action figures. Not sure as to when they will be released or anything, but we have a collection of some great ideas we are working with now so stay tuned for more updates on that. Maybe I can get some pics posted of the early molds or something…that would be cool…kind of a work in progress sort of thing.

Gonna go into an iChat with Jaffe in a few minutes to talk about various aspects of the game so I am just killing a little time before that. I have a pretty full day today since I was out yesterday at another of our V.O. sessions. I got back in the office at 7:30pm last night and was running around trying to meet with as many people as I could, but still there is much that did not get done due to my absence yesterday.

I am also going to a Gamestop managers show at the end of September to show off the game…so that should be fun. I actually like demo-ing the game and getting to see the excitement on peoples faces when I rip off someone arm or stab minotaur in the head. I guess that says something kind of scary about me…and I the rest of society….but whatever. But it’s just a game, no matter what that no talent ass clown Jack Thompson says.

“Nobody shoots another person in the face unless they are a hitman or a video gamer.”

What an idiot. At any rate it will be nice to be able to show off the latest after having worked so crazy hard. The only downside is we are going alpha shortly after that so missing those two days will most likely have me working like mad to catch up. Well…not much of a positive outlook for my sleep in the near future.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

"You mean Coitus?"

Ok so after a long few weeks of being a little bithcy...well more than a little bitchy...a lot bitchy....I feel better now. Not fully recharged, but at least in better spirits.

So whats new on the God of War 2 front? Well let’s see…I am almost finished with one of the characters I am animating…wish I could say who but we are holding off on revealing him until later in the year. It is nice to be doing a little animation now, but it is definitely overwhelming to be worrying about the rest of the game all day, then take three or four hours each night and try to focus on animating. I definitely wish I did not have to do it, but I suppose it is less painful knowing that the only alternative was to get rid of the characters…and that is no good.

I am going into the recording studio a few days this week to do the final recordings or all the voice actors. We have working feverishly to ensure that what we record now will cover nearly everything we need to support all the cinematics as well as the in game puzzles and such. It is amazing how much you don’t think about when writing the script for a game. Well maybe it is just me who forgets all the little details that are needed, but next time I will be a lot more attentive to that stuff.

We are doing a playtest at the end of the month for the first third of the game..which is something we desperately need to do. We have been planning, building and rebuilding the first third of the game over and over in an effort to make it perfect…and I think we are finally getting closer to what we need. It should be a pretty crazy beginning if everything goes off the way I am planning it. The first 45 minutes of the game need to be turned up to 11 in order to really stay true to our desire to have that action opener a’la James bond or Indiana Jones. This is a great thing to have, but man the pressure of trying to live up to that is definitely a lot bigger than I had originally though it would be. But I see a dim light at the end of the tunnel…I see the work coming together, even if only in rough form…and I am now more confident that we will have a really great experience.

I had a meeting about potentially getting some God of War 2 figures, which seems pretty freaking cool. Although I really don’t purchase figures all that often so I am not sure how others will respond to the idea of God of War figures….what do you think? Would you guys buy ‘em? Which character would you like to see?

Anyway…not much of a post today…I am a little hazy from exhaustion right now so I am going to just get back to work and do a little tuning with my buddy Todd Papy...sweet!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Sad day

Okay…so I am going to go in a different direction today, so roll with me. This is not going to be a game post today…just not feeling it. I just found out today that one of my friends died almost a year ago. Man that really threw me. Not only for the fact that I am so completely out of touch with most of the people I know, but also the fact that he was only 29 years old. My friend Russel Foltz died in a motorcycle accident on August 14th, 2005…and I am just finding out today. I can’t even comprehend the level of suck I have attained. So I am just going to type a little and see what comes out…maybe help myself feel a little better about it.

I met Russ when I was living up in Northern California working at 3DO. I moved up with my girlfriend at the time, a girl whom I had only known for three weeks when I asked her to move up to SF with me. I wasn't exactly that strong in the sound judgment department...but in retrospect if I had it to do all over again I would have made the same choice. We met a desert party called Dune. It was a crazy Rave way the fuck out in the desert…we found out later that a kid got a little too messed up and walked off a cliff. His body wasn’t found for a week and a half.

So anyway, we set off on this adventure into the unknown. I had just left the movie biz and was beginning anew in the games biz with a company called Cyclone Studios. (owned by Trip Hawkins now defunct 3DO) We looked for a place up there for a month and just when the corporate housing was about to run out we decided to rent a three bedroom house in Foster City. It was nice…more than we needed and definitely the wrong neighborhood for us…the a-typical suburb environment. At first it seemed to be all good. My girlfriend got a job at a beauty supply place and I went to work on my first game. We would go out to some parties here and there and eventually ended up with a small circle of friends, mostly from my girlfriend’s new friends and co-workers. They were all really good people but it was a crazy time. The really sad part is I can’t exactly remember how we met Russ. I am pretty sure his friend Burl started dating one of our friends. We all went out and partied, tore things up a little too much. We all went through a lot together…many good times and many bad times. I know for a while there I was in a pretty dark place and Russ was always there to pull me out. He was a solid guy. He never asked for anything and was always willing to do anything you needed. If you had a little too much to drink and you are 45 minutes from home? Even if it was four in the morning he would jump in the car and come get you. And not once would he get pissed or try to hold that over your head. He was freaking great dancer too...I know that sounds gay...but whatever. That guy could freaking pop and lock like rice krispies. It was cool to watch, it was like his bones were liquid. Okay...a little too far with the trippy woodstock feel...but for real though...He was doper than Napoleon Dynamite.

At the time we were all kind of self-absorbed jackasses…well maybe that’s a little harsh…but we were just all about enjoying life. I remember I got this new video camera and was getting into video editing a little so I took a ton of footage of everyone hanging out, spinning records and such, then edited it together with a bunch of music. I remember when I showed it to everyone Russ said…’man we are a bunch of self absorbed jack asses…sitting around watching videos of ourselves.’ It was mostly cause I missed doing something film related…but I did find out I am a pretty lousy editor. Not that great of a camera man either. But it was a cheap ass camera so whatever. Even though it was totally lame I still kept all that footage on my computer. Now I am glad I did.

I worked like crazy, but when the weekend came we all went out and cut loose. It got to the point that we never really asked if we were all going to hang out…that was pretty much a given…it was more like “What are we going to do?” We would have a bunch of people over at the house spinning records until 4am…or until the cranky old guy next door threw something at our window telling us in a not so subtle way to keep it down. I don’t blame him though. He thought he was getting this whole leave it to beaver quite suburb life, and then the dumb ass raver kids moved in next door and screwed it all up. Even when things got really bad with all of us, the core group of us still stayed together. Russ even drove down to L.A. with me when I had to move.

I rented a big ass Uhaul and he and a few other people helped me pack everything up. The grumpy old guy was throwing a fucking party the day I left. Then he drove this behemoth while I drove my car. I was too freaked out to handle that beast and he was totally cool with taking the helm the whole way. And that thing had no AC and only AM radio. Now that is a fucking friend I tell you…cause no AC in July is booty out here. I didn’t have an apartment in L.A. so we had to find a storage space and unload all my crap into it. I remember when we found the place it was like 105 degrees or something crazy like that, and he never complained once. I was bitching like a spoiled girl about how freaking hot it was. But the whole time he was keeping positive.

He told me a story once about when he was driving home from a friend’s house one night. He was crossing over from the east bay on the bridge…it was like 3am and no one was on the road and he comes up on an overturned car. He said it looked as if the accident just happened. There was no one around so he pulled over and went over to the car. There was a woman in her thirties in the car, she was conscious and in shock. He called the cops then talked to her for a bit and reassured her, then helped her out of the car. She seemed to be okay minus a few cuts and bruises so they went over to his car and waited for the cops to come.

Now I am sure most people would have stopped when they came across that sort of thing, but I know that with him he never even gave it a second thought. IT was freaking automatic with him. He was just a good person. And it’s sad that he is gone, because there is a shortage of really good people. I know everyone says that their friends and loved ones when they die, but it is true…for me at least.

I lost touch with a lot of my friends after I left SF, mostly because the last few months there were really tough, and part of me wanted to just forget about all that. But now…after having found out about his death nearly a year afterwards…by email…I really wish I had chosen a different path. I wish I had stayed in touch with all those guys and at least gotten to tell him how much he helped me. I can only hope that when he passed he wasn’t alone, that someone else just like him stopped and was there with him. Even if it was just so that he heard someone there with him before he died.

Ok. I think I am all done with that now. Rest in peace my friend.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Fear does not exist in this Dojo DOES IT??


So no more E3 huh? I know it is a bit late but hey…things have been pretty busy here. I was a bit sad to hear of the demise of E3. I am not the biggest E3 fan when I am actually there…it is loud, slightly nauseating and often times smelly. But there are a ton of cool games to see and it is always great to catch up with old friends and drink a little bit too much. But I am still bummed that I didn’t know that this years E3 was the last one…if I had I would have tried to enjoy even more. Oh well…such is life. I am sure there will some other event that will allow us all to get together and share the horror stories of development and drown our sorrows in booze. :)

Anyway…enough of that crazyness. We just finished up another milestone and playtest. It went really well I think, though I am still a bit despondent that we keep getting focus testers who want to work in the games biz. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against people who want to get in the industry it’s just they do not really represent our audience completely. We do internal playtests with the people that work here, which provides great feedback…but from a designer/industry angle. The main thing I am hoping to get out of the playtests externally is how the average gamer, one who loves to play games but is not necessarily looking to design them, responds to the game. But there was still a good collection of feedback that helps us fine tune various aspects of the game.

We are in the full ‘crunch’ for our alpha push. There is a ton of work to do, but I am confident that we will be able to get it all done before our alpha date. I am about halfway through on of the characters I am animating on right now. It is definitely a lot tougher than I expected…working all day and then trying to get a few hours of animation done at night. I am trying to make up some time on the weekends, but it is definitely exhausting. I don’t know how long I will be able to keep the pace up, but I can seek solace in the fact that the animating part will be over in a month or so. I used to miss animating but under these conditions I don’t think I will be missing it for long. It is hard to change tracks so quickly with my brain but it is definitely a lot more relaxing than the rest of my day. I like being able to sit down and put my headphones on, crank some massive attack and just shut out everything else and work. When I write it is hard to listen to music, and since writing was the only real reason to work on the computer for this project I have been missing that ability to shut everything out. It kind of recharges me a little. So I guess in that respect it is pretty damn sweet. Man I am fucking rambling on like Joe Pesci in JFK. "Who did the President, who killed Kennedy. Fuck, man! It's a mystery, it's a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma! The fuckin' shooters don't even know, don't you get it?! Fuck, man!!"

I love that movie, and many days I find myself getting worked up like Joe Pesci. That can't be good for my health.

Not much else going on. Well that isn’t entirely true. There is a ton going on but most of it is either boring or I can’t talk about it. I know that makes me sound self important…so take heart that most things fall in into the boring category. Though I can say that I think I am becoming a bastard…well maybe not a complete bastard. Maybe a partial bastard, though regardless of whether or not it is partial or's still not a good thing. I am sure there are many members of the team that want to hit me over the head with a bag of hammers these days....which is probably not a good thing. It could just be the sleep depravation taking its toll…but I am sure there is a little truth to me getting more cranky. Perhaps I am ‘manstrating.’ That was dumb. It seemed funny in my head…but it just sort of fell flat when writing it. Perhaps I should delete it. Nah…that wouldn’t be keeping it real.

Thanks for all the well wishing comments from everybody…and don’t worry about all the mentioning of cuts. Cutting things is a natural part of the development cycle. Even with the little things I have to drop here and there the game is still going to be nearly everything I wanted. Sure there are a few little levels here and there that had to get trimmed out to place a larger focus on other things, but for the most part everything is in tact. I just hope everyone gets a psyched about it as I am when they play it. I have no idea if we will get the same response as we got with the first game but I do know that we are going even further with everything this time so here’s to hoping it all works out.

One of the combat designers…Derek Dangles…wrote a funny post comparing game designers to porn stars. It made me laugh…mostly the fact that he compares Jaffe to Tara Patrick. It’s simultaneously hilarious and frightening. I shutter to think what porn star I would be compared to. I hear what he is saying though. I think it stretches beyond just game design though. I think there are so many talented people involved with Film/TV/games/etc…that work like crazy but don’t get the recognition of the chosen few. I mean think about the sound guy for the porn shoots…I am sure he gets even less recognition that the unknown porn stars. I have no clue what my point is….at this point I think it is safe to say that am incoherently babbling. I think I need to take another Xanax (Is that how you spell this…hmm…no idea.) and go look at some concept art. Sweet.

Oh…and I am through with video games. I am going to move to Tibet and raise Al Paqua and write a book of poems about toast. Perhaps I will also seek out a Sensi (maybe the sensi from Krate Kid. He rocked) and train in the ancient art of Breakdance fighting. That would be so freaking sweet. I can just imagine kicking ass and looking slick at the same time…like busting out some flares and combo’ing it into the kick worm into some crazy moonwalk jabs…sweet. I would so take Chuck Norris down…him and his thighmaster!!!

Sweep the Leg Johnny!!! Ok well maybe that isn't the right scene for that quote...but its a funny line so whatever.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Im done with story based games bitches!!!


I am feeling kind of scattered today...So I decided to do another daily breakdown of my day…mostly because I wanted to see where the hell most of my day goes each day. It seems like I blink and it’s already 9pm. It's a little long...and in truth it may be boring as shit to most people…but hey that has never stopped me before. So check it.

10:30am – Arrive in the office a little hung over from the night before and check some email. I do a quick scan for all the emails that can be responded to in as few words as possible so I can get those done first. This way I can get to my first meeting on time. I am checking out some sound tests for the voices of one of the Sisters of Fate and some other Voice over sound tweaks.

10:38am – Checked my voicemail to find a message from Paul the PR guy. He wants to talk about one of the answers I gave in a written Q&A I did yesterday. I was behind on a bunch of Q&A’s so I decided to bang out a bunch yesterday thinking “Oh this will be easy.” Man that is a freaking full time job…it takes forever. So I imagine in my haste I did not go back and edit out some of the objectionable content that usually pops out of my head when I go into the stream of consciousness writing thing I roll with.

10:45am – Found out the question from Paul the PR guy…my answer was none too sweet. That’s what you get for trying to rush through those things. But I will try and carve out some time later in the day to give it another go. That is why I like the phone interviews more. They take less time and my lazy ass doesn’t have to do all the writing.

11:35am – Just got out of the audio meeting with Phil (Sound Masta’) and got some great stuff done. I think the stuff is going to work…which is a massive relief for me as I have been really concerned that some of my choices were going to come back and bite me in the ass.

12:00pm – Going to a cinematics meeting with Jackie (Cinematics Lead) to check out the latest work for some of the scenes. We are a lot further along now so things are really starting to take shape. The animation is looking great too. I love the prep work, but seeing the game really take shape like this is so freaking exciting.

12:40pm – Cinematics meeting done so now I go to an impromptu meeting about the Barbarian King boss final mini-game with Mehdi (Lead Animator), Sean (Animator) ,Derek (Combat Designer), and Angie (Animation coordinator). We were trying to all get on the same page as to how we were going to kick it up a notch and make it freaking awesome. After much discussion it seems like we have a plan and I walk away with confidence on that one. I pass Nate (Designer that I am tuning the game with) and tell him we should take some time to tune today for the upcoming playtest. Need to make sure I have no more meetings. Steve (Producer) has just asked for ten minutes to have a meeting. Gotta go.

1:24pm – Just got out of the meeting that turned out to be with Stig (Art Director), Steve (Producer), Ken (Art Lead), Aaron (Design Coordinator), Michael (Level Design Lead) and Joel(AP). The meeting was about some more level art overages in our schedule. I am having a lot more of these meetings the closer we get to alpha and we realize that there is just too much stuff and too little time. But I have cut so much out of this game already so the meetings are getting progressively harder, since I really can’t cut anymore out of the game without really hurting it. This one was not as bad as the others though since the solution that Stig and Ken were able to come up with allows us to keep a really great sequence in the game, which made me super happy. I made the call to go ahead with not cutting…it is a riskier plan and if I am wrong I might fuck a few things up…which as we all know is never good. It is in fact really bad, since we will burn even more days trying to finish the sequence and if we come up short and don’t end up finishing it…other things will suffer in the game. Not an easy call to make, but I weighed the options and I feel pretty strongly about the sequence so I made the call to keep it. I hope we can make this work! I have a 2:30 meeting with Adam (Combat Designer) to generate some animation lists for the characters I am going to be animating. I am taking on three characters in order to prevent them from ending up on the cutting room floor…which would just make me sad. So it is going to be some fun nights and weekends fro the next few months. I gotta order some food now otherwise my fat ass will just wither away. Still haven’t sat down to tune the game with Nate, I really need to do this. Where does the time go?

2:09pm – I am sitting here racking my brain to come up with a creative way to acquire one of our relics. I am writing an email explaining each of the relic acquisitions and I have gotten to the one that has completely changed…and I got nuthin’. I want it to be something cool, but it is a pretty small space I have to work with. These are the tougher parts of the job…when I have a limited time to work with and I have to come up with something really cool…like NOW! But still…nuthin’. Ok…enough slacking. I am going to just write the idea I have even though it sucks…perhaps the act of writing it will shake some sort of brilliant creative idea loose in my head. Doubtful…but nice to hope for I guess.

2:29pm – Okay finished the write up for the relics…I put a couple of ideas in there…the one I like will most likely freak everyone out. But it will be cool. Well at least I think so…but what the hell do I know? My 2:30 is supposed to start soon, but my lunch has not arrived. Boo for me. I won’t be eating until later now. Oh well. Still no tuning of the game… to the 2:30 animation/design meeting.

4:23pm – Just got out of the lengthy animation/design meeting for the three characters I am going to be animating on. I think we have a good plan for them and the animation doesn’t look all that difficult…so that is a relief. It is still going to be hard finding the time for the animations while trying to get the maximum amount of tuning time for the game. I still haven’t been able to sit down with Nate and get any tuning done. Another meeting I was supposed to be in at 4pm was cancelled while I was in the animation/design meeting. Sweet…more time to get other stuff done. But alas…I am foiled again. Aaron just came up to tell me I have a meeting to brief one of the designers on the functionality of this combat puzzle for one of the hallways. Ok, off to do that now.

4:53pm – Just got out of the debriefing thing which did not go so well. I am feeling very frustrated today and Eric (Lead Combat Designer) and I got into it a little. We do that sometimes…we fight like little bitches, but we end up making up. I chalk it up to the stupid AC being broken and it’s hot as hell in this office, but tensions are a bit high right now. Oh well…we will hug and make up in no time and move on. I think I might actually have some time to sitr down with Nate and do some gameplay tuning…sweet!

4:56pm – DAMN!!! Paul the PR guy just reminded me about the rewrite on the interview questions…I should really finish that up before I go to the tuning so I can be uninterrupted for at least a few hours. I think I am just going to refer to him as Paul the PR guy from now on. It’s like a superhero name. Well ok…maybe it doesn’t sound like a superhero name…it actually sounds like a name that would be laminated to the side of a Van or something…like a plumber or something like that. Back to writing.

5:05pm – Finished my lame answer. I am not all that happy with it but I really don’t have much left in me to put into that. I need to break away and get some tuning done. The playtest is in less than a week and a half. And alpha is in…oh god I don’t even want to think about that. I need to medicate myself now or I am going to snap at somebody today…or they need to fix the air conditioning. Eric and I are cool now…so I go that going for me today.

6:26pm – Played through a few areas and discussed the fights with Nate, but only got about 30 minutes of actual tuning in before I had to head off to a daily review of one of our levels early in the game. It has really shaped up nicely…the big thing is to get it in front of Stig to make sure that the projected number of days to do the art is still valid. The level is feeling great so I hope I don’t have to cut anything out of it.

6:35pm - Tried to give Dave (Jaffe) a call today to talk about some stuff but I was so busy all day that I only got a chance to get on the phone a few minutes ago so I think I missed him. Nate just stopped by and said to come over and check out the latest fixes he did so I think I will go do that. I ordered dinner tonight. There really is nothing sadder than eating dinner at work. It’s totally necessary sometimes to get what we need to get done, but that doesn’t make it any less sad.

8:08pm – I Just got finished with a good tuning session where I was finally able to play through the entirety of one of our min bosses. We still have some more work to do, but man that was fun. While we were playing through one of the cinematic animators we were interviewing came by to say hi and tell me that I was a ‘legend’ around his parts or something like that. That was weird cause I seriously was like…really…for what? I don’t think that has ever happened to me…so it was simultaneously sweet and strange. I am sure I am going to be getting shit for it but oh well. We should definitely hire that guy…he’s got good taste. :) I am going to head back to play through a bit more and try and tweak some stuff. Hopefully all my enemies will work tomorrow. Eric is doing an overhaul on the reaction system for the creatures some a lot of them are broke which makes it hard to tune the fights. But Eric is the man…even though we fight like Jan and Marsha Brady. He’s Jan of course.

Oh I got to see some of the new bloom FX stuff Tim (Lead programmer) did….it is freaking sweet. Chris (Level Artist) and Timo (Level Artist) added it to their levels and it just looks gorgeous. I have said it before and I will say it again…we have some of the best fucking artists in the business.

I was just able to use a Mod Squad reference…the day is shaping up nicely. That’s the old school mod squad not that Claire Danes crap. Word.

8:30pm – I m going to go back to tuning, but I really don’t feel like coming back here and finishing this up when I am done so I will just cut it off for now. All in all a fairly productive day…but I think I could have gotten more done. Need to spend less time writing my blog. :)

Monday, July 17, 2006

A...B...C...Always be closing...ALWAYS BE CLOSING!

So much to update today. The SpikeTV game head show about God of War II and Sony Santa Monica aired this weekend. I didn’t even find out until this morning, so I missed it. That is pretty much par for the course for me when it comes to anything but game production related stuff. It’s like everything else that is not related to getting this game done just falls to the back of the line…waaaaay in the back. I don’t know if that is so good, but its how I roll.

So hopefully they will air it again so I can check it out…though some people are saying I seem so serious and sleepy. I was definitely sleepy, I don’t think I had more than three or four hours of sleep the week that they came. Not so swift, got to get better at getting more sleep.

The show had the first look at one of our bosses…The Barbarian King. You might recognize him from one of the cinematics in God of War 1…he was the guy that had his head cut off by Kratos when he made is ill fated deal with Ares to become the ‘ultimate’ warrior. So now he is back under some pretty crazy circumstances to try and get some revenge against Kratos for you know…taking his head off and all. It’s pretty freakin’ sweet. So if you haven’t checked out the game head thing…check it out.

We are about two weeks off from our next playtest/milestone so that is kicking us in the ass a bit. We are growing closer…in my mind too close…to the alpha date. I came in today feeling like we still had a ways to go until alpha but in the leads meeting this morning the reality of our alpha date really hit me. Man we got to kick it up a notch. That is the thing about game development…even when you get more time…there is never enough time. There a like a million things to get done and each time you do one thing, you discover ten more things that need to get done. It’s nauseating really. But somehow in the final hours we always manage to pull a freakin’ rabbit out of our hats….I suppose that is a true testament to the fact that this team is absolutely unfreakinbelieveable!

I have been looking to buy a house for the last year or so…it takes awhile since I don’t have much time to actually look…and am constantly disappointed as the absolute ridiculousness of the housing market in L.A. I just don’t understand how anyone can afford to live here right now (well ‘buy’ here right now) unless you are willing to buy really far out or in the freakin’ ghetto. I really don’t want to do either of those things so I am looking at totally over inflated prices on these houses. The only thing you can do is suck it up I guess…but man it is going to hurt. I just spoke with the finance guy today to get an estimate of my monthly commitment (mortgage, taxes, ins..) and my heart just sank. I mean the place is barely 1k square feet. It’s nice, and the area is great, but it is no mansion or anything. But I guess that is the way it goes here in L.A. The only way you are going to get something that fulfills everything on your wishlist is to leave…or to just be freakin’ rich. The latter is a much tougher proposition, which makes me sad as well but I don’t think we will go into that right now.

Ok…enough about my sad housing hunt. Thanks for the feedback on the strategy guide everyone. I am still mulling over which way I am going to with the guide but your feedback gave me some good food for thought.

Someone mentioned something about the movie…about whether or not we would be involved. I would love to be involved…but I know for sure that will not happen. Dave and Shannon have some involvement I think…I don’t know the specifics…but the studios really do not have much need for game designer input on a film project. I can’t say that I wouldn’t love to be involved though but I have my plate full with God of War 2 and my Webster vs. Diff’rnt Strokes PSP game!

And finally today I leave you with a couple of screenshots showing our first God of War II boss battle (well not first in game layout...just first announced) which you afre free to use for good or for awesome. This is still fairly early stuff so it is not 100% represenative of what it will look like in the final game.

You get to fight him on horse back...

...and on foot...but he grows freaking HUGE! Why you ask? Well you will have to check out Andy and his crew of fucking 'rock stars of the gaming mag world' over at Game Informer in thier September issue for more info and screens.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

We ain't found shit!

Word up. Things in development-land are going quite well these days. We have another playtest at the end of the month and we are cruising through a large chunk of work that needs to get done for it. We should have our first boss done…well not DONE done...but ALPHA done…by the end of the month which is good as we have many others to get through. There are more bosses in this installment, but because of that there is an exponentially larger amount of stress for us as well. Bosses are a tough nut to crack. Especially when you are trying insure the greatest variety in the gameplay and prevent the whole cookie cutter mentality that some games fall prey too. But in the end I am sure it is going to make the game feel so much more epic.

Dave is on the blogging again talking about his love of iChat. I hate iChat. It works really well…and it is pretty simple to set up….so my hatred is not really all that rational. Well maybe it is rational to me, but it does not stem from iChat being poorly designed. I just hate using it. I like the face to face meetings. But it seems to serve us well for the production needs so I will suffer through it and bust out my +3 ‘I Don’t care’ card.

I have been looking at some mock ups for the GOW2 strategy guide. I myself do purchase many strategy guides…not because I am hardcore or old school or anything like that…far from it…mostly cause I am too lazy to read them. That and I usually just go on to gamefaqs and grab the quick hint if I am stuck. I have picked up a few but mostly if they have an accompanying art book or a large section on the art of the specific game. The signature series MGS3 guide Brady did was freaking awesome. The art book they included had a wealth of great concept stuff complete with the art notes. I love reading that stuff, it is that kind of material that makes it worth the purchase for me…but maybe that is just me. I would be curious to know what would make any of you purchase a guide if you normally do not get them.

Ok I need to head out to a cinematics meeting to check out the latest renders form the high res cinematic house.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

It's a sledgehammer!!

I’m not going to write much now except to say I am a total fucking idiot. For the last few weeks I have been posting and thinking…”hmmm…no one is commenting on the posts…maybe I am finally so trite and boring that I have lost the three people that read it?” But I was at dinner tonight with my sister and parents…my mom said “I posted on your site but you didn’t publish my post.”

And I was like “What are you talking about? It just like…goes up...right? I don’t have to do anything.”

And she's like "I don't think so...cause I posted a while ago and it didn't go up. Its probably something you have to set."

Then…as if the sky opened up and a bolt of lightning suddenly rushed down from the swirling storm clouds and split my head open...I suddenly realized…I clicked that moderate comments button when I was fooling around with the blog a while back…at the time it didn’t appear to do anything so I just left it. But oh boy it did…So went on tonight to see if it was possible that I could be that stupid and under the moderate comments section there were 30 comments waiting to be moderated. IDIOT!!!

That is how I fuckin’ roll... sorry about that y'all...such a noob.Schooled by my mom no less. Thought I was keepin it real yo...but she was keepin it realer!

Anyway, I will write some more later and respond to the comments throughout the day tomorrow.

It was quite and emotionally trying week for me at work...but I will get into that later...right now it is time to take some xanax and pass the hell out!

YEAH!!! That is awesome...I am typing this blog entry in word…and word has a little ‘you misspelled this’ squiggly line under xanax…the suggested correction…anal. Ok…not even close. Bill Gates is weird.

oh...and this is the link to my myspace page...its still pretty lame but feel free to add me as a friend so I dont look like a complete internet loser. Actualy adding me as a friend will do nothing to change that fact...I will still be a loser...but I love it!!!!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Video games in da house!

"Seriously the house of represenatives is filled with insane jackasses."

John Stewert is great...I love that guy. Good story about how utterly stupid this whole legislation of video games is getting. Just nuts.

playtest is going well today...finding a lot of stuff that needs fixin...and that is a good playtest. But is still stresses me out and makes me sad. wierd how that works.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

you want a toe? I can get you a toe dude...

Today is Thursday June 22nd and we are 1 day away from our next playtest. I think I have a pretty good handle on this whole playtest thing now, so it is not as stressful as the others have been…the playtest part that is. There is still a bunch of stress related to the finishing of this game. We are still months from alpha, but it is not far from my mind. It is pretty hard to get far from my mind as I am reminded of our dwindling number of days every few hours by various members of the team. :)

So the playtest….we are putting two new levels through the ringer as well as on of our bopss encounters…the first to be play tested. It is actually a pretty big deal but since it is the first time it will be played I am not expected anything too great. Bosses usually take a few passes to really hone in on the fun. We worked on the Minotaur boss for like 5 months or something crazy like that…it might have been more but the last project is getting a little foggy…difficult to see through the haze of GOW2 stress. Anyway, the team has been putting in some hours getting the levels ready. It’s funny how things work in games. You spend a large amount opf time before a deadline feeling like you are just treading water, it seems like things are getting done but the game is still in pieces. Then…like a college student cramming for a final…the team works a mad week before the deadline and everything comes together and all is right in the world. Now that isn’t to say that people are not doing anything the whole month…far from it. They are making all the pieces and the last week is everyone putting those pieces together. I think no matter how many times I go through it…I will still get freaked out the week before the deadline thinking we are never gonna’ make it. ‘Me of little faith’ I guess. Sometimes I think I feed off the feeling of working without a net or something.

Heard some more music this week and that got me pumped. I can’t wait to start hearing some of the tracks in the cinematics as well. That is still a ways off I think, but I am looking forward to it. Speaking of cinematics I sat with the cinematics dept. yesterday to go over the VO that was placed in the scenes. It was better than before but it still sounded different than when we recorded. I was on a conference call listening to the playback of the sessions…not the ideal conditions for hearing the nuances of a performance. The good thing is I know we have what we need to make the scenes work, so that is a slight bit of stress relived.

I am heading off to do the final tuning on the levels for tomorrow so that is all I have right now.

And steph…you are crazy with the myspace accounts…I love it. Stella the diabolical beta rocks. Oh yeah, I set up a myspace account…its dorky I know…but that is how I roll. And thanks to Steph I have lots of friends and a whopping 104 viewings of my profile. Man…I really am a popular guy. Sometimes I have to remind myself not to let the fame go to my head. Ha!

Holy shit...MCHammer has a blog...that is so dope. And he has pictures of him and Mr. T on it. SWEET! I am all over this one! He signs all his blog posts off with --hammertime.


I am going to rock out like that too.


ok that actually sounds really gay...I won't do that anymore.