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.