Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

Indiecade day 1

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

An excellent day of networking at Indiecade. Link dump time so I don’t forget these people…

First was the guys from Rust presenting their experience making The Museum of the Microstar.

Then I hung out in the rotunda meeting interesting folks, having thought-provoking discussions and playing some cool games.

Then I went to a Diversity round table chaired by the estimable Jane Friedhoff of Code Liberation. A great discussion that seemed much too short.

Finally game tasting: post-session socialising and trying out some games in the rotunda.

  • Stuart Jeff with a fun little stealth game of being an animal rights activist and setting bunnies free.
  • Brian Handy with Cubior, a nice little tower-climbing puzzle game with friendly cubes. Some good potential for co-op gameplay in this one.
  • Joe Rothenberg with Ping, a fun variation on Pong (versus mode with missiles)!
  • Crystal Catacombs by Super Fun Games.
  • Dan Holbert who was wearing his game around his neck (on an iPad) – looked like a cool little action platformer where you rotate the world by walking around curves.
  • Grave by Tristan Parrish Moore.
  • Lens, a first person puzzle exploration game.
  • Ruratae, a physics-based musical instrument crafting game. High frequency physics sims!
  • Dub Wars, an interesting geometry-wars-inspired dubstep-synched shoot-em-up.
  • Particle Mace, a fun asteroids/geometry wars mashup with indirect “elastic nanite cloud” weaponry.

Last but not least, conversation with Haitham Ennasr, Nina Freeman, and Brian Handy.

Home from GDC

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

I’m home from the 3 day tour of GDC, and it was very worthwhile. A non-stop maelstrom of recruitment, attending talks and catching up with old friends and colleagues.

Talks I attended:

  • Video Games Turn 25: A Historical Perspective and Vision for the Future by Satoru Iwata (Nintendo Co., Ltd.)
  • Fighting Real Time by Jacky Mallett (CCP)
  • Forensic Debugging: How to Autopsy, Repair, and Reanimate a Release-built Game by Elan Ruskin (Valve Corporation)
  • Classic Game Postmortem – ELITE by David Braben (Frontier Developments)
  • Classic Game Postmortem – OUT OF THIS WORLD/ANOTHER WORLD by Eric Chahi (Ubisoft)
  • 1000s of Zombies, 1000s of Problems: The DEAD RISING 2 Multiplayer Experience by Dee Jay Randall (Capcom Game Studio Vancouver)
  • Classic Game Postmortem – POPULOUS by Peter Molyneux (Lionhead Studios)
  • The Game Design of STARCRAFT II: Designing an E-Sport by Dustin Browder (Blizzard Entertainment)
  • HTML5: The New UI Library for Games by Chad Austin (IMVU)

The standouts were the classic game postmortems, which were excellent.

I also met up with folks from my former lives, including Doox, Dimitar, Ben B, Will L, Simon C, Peter M, Demis, Cathy C, Ofer, Zak, Mike B, Mike C, Neil M, Thor, Michael S, and many besides that I said hi to.

I have to go check the GDC vault to see the talks that I missed which are recommended to catch up on. In closing, San Francisco is a nice town, but has far too many sushi restaurants.


Friday, March 4th, 2011

Quite a few people I’ve met at GDC told me they read my blog. Now that I know that, maybe I’ll update more! Anyway, last day of GDC – have seen lots of old friends and colleagues and attended a few good talks. Stay tuned for more of a report when I get back.

Blizzcon 2010 with friends

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

This year once more I was really looking forward to Blizzcon. Although there wasn’t a new amazing announcement since StarCraft II is out, Cataclysm is imminent and Diablo III has been announced for a while, there was enough going on that was cool to celebrate for a couple of days. Also, Skye and her son Paris (StarCraft II fan) stayed with us over the weekend, and her sister Courtney (WoW fan) was also in town for Blizzcon. So I was ready to show them all the cool stuff at Blizzcon and introduce them to some Blizzard people.

I always like the opening speeches and this year was no exception. Chris Metzen’s “Geek is…” speech was really cool and set us up for the whole show. And finally everyone got to see the new playable Diablo III class, the Demon Hunter.

Once the openings were done, we headed for lunch at the Hilton. Randomly we ran into J. Allen Brack (Production Director for WoW) outside the restaurant and I took the opportunity to introduce my guests, which was cool. After lunch we went to a couple of panels about quests and lore in WoW and StarCraft II, and I swung by recruiting where I talked to some potential hires. Then the costume and dance contests, and the Fruitdealer vs SlayersBoxer StarCraft II match. That was an incredible match! We scoffed some pizza for dinner and headed home at a reasonable time.

So on day one we’d covered a lot of panels. On day two we wanted to mooch around the show a bit more and see the third party booths and other stuff. But we started by getting in at 9.45 ahead of the general crowd and playing Diablo III. A lot of fun! Once we were done with that, we headed to the cinematics panel, which was great. It was really interesting to see how the Cataclysm cinematic was put together, and to see the Worgen level 5 cutscene too.

Shortly after that we were wandering the show and headed to the art gallery area. Skye, Paris and Courtney were busy looking at some art together while I was looking at something else. I turned around and saw Mike Morhaime there, so I introduced myself (he can’t be expected to know everyone at Blizzard) and then went over to my guests: “Come over here, I want to introduce you to someone…” To Skye’s credit, she managed not to be dumbstruck and complimented Mike on the show and his opening speech. We chatted for a minute or two before his PA had to drag him away.

We got some time to look around the show and do a couple more panels and a bit more talking to recruiting folks. After watching the StarCraft II tournament finals, we decided to skip Tenacious D (weren’t really thrilled about it) and take the time to see a bit more of the show while the crowds were watching the concert. Then we chilled out at the Hilton for a while, regaining our strength. Then dinner at Coco’s and home to bed.

Skye and Paris headed to Skye’s dad’s house on Sunday. Then on Monday, before flying home in the evening, Skye, Paris and Courtney visited me at the office. Once again I was able to show off! I actually took some hours of PTO to give them the tour so that I could do it properly because I knew they’d want to take everything in. We took a tour of the World of Warcraft team area, where they got a demo of some cool behind-the-scenes tools that the WoW developers use, and got to see some nice animations. But just walking around the office and the dev areas is a pretty cool experience anyway. There is artwork everywhere, both framed prints of stuff and just in-progress art for the Diablo III class armour sets, for example. Like a lot of games companies, we decorate our dev areas with all kinds of geek stuff too.

So that was that. We finished the tour at my office and had a twenty minute rest and chat before they were picked up for the airport. And that’s it for this year’s Blizzcon. Roll on next year… I’m sure we’ll have a bunch more cool stuff to show off then!

I’m still alive – here’s the latest

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Hi there, so much to report since the last update.

First, we had the single-car garage (which was being used as a junk storage space) converted into my office/cave. The contractors did a really good job for less than we were expecting. I uploaded some flickr photos of my new cave. You can also see that I got a new monitor, a Dell U2410. I flipped my other monitor to portrait mode for the extra height for text applications.


Next, mini-Elbeno and I took a trip to London! (Leaving Mrs Elbeno and micro-Elbeno at home). We had a flying visit (Thursday to Tuesday) for my sister’s wedding. It was great to see all the family and have a good time. The chap dealt pretty well with jet lag, and we just took things at our own pace as far as bedtimes. Of course we were partying the night of the wedding and in general the jet lag worked in our favour, keeping us up into the night.

The ceremony itself was pretty traditional Anglican: 1 Corinthians 13, Pachelbel’s Canon and Ave Maria all made appearances; and I’m sure ministers are required by law to start by saying that Jesus was a guest at a wedding (in Cana). Mini-Elbeno was the ring-bearer and I ushed, which gave me a good chance to hobnob with old friends and fam.

While in Blighty, we also got to visit some old friends in Brighton, ate fish and chips and “proper” Indian food, and finally met my brother’s GF who we’d only seen before on the webcam. The flights were long of course but we got by with the in-flight entertainment (e.g. Outnumbered and Playhouse Disney) and the food was actually edible, even quite good! Air New Zealand – would fly again.

Soon after we got back, the next event was the school social: the annual get-together and campout that mini-Elbeno’s school does. Each family is invited to do a short skit, presentation or similar to tell everyone about themselves and what they did over summer. Our chosen effort (old movie fans that we are) was a rendition of Make ‘Em Laugh, that tour de force from Donald O’Connor in Singin’ in the Rain. Here’s our take on it.

That’s about all I have to bring you up to speed on today except to mention that it’s October again and that means the Interactive Fiction Competition is underway. I’m enjoying the first one I tried although it went in a different direction than I first expected.

More soon. Blizzcon is nearly upon us, and it’s going to be awesome. Plus, I have a special keyboard coming to me by mail; I’ll let you know all about it when it arrives.

StarCraft II Launch Event

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Last night I went down to Fry’s in Fountain Valley for the local launch and signing event. Here are some photos (sorry about the quality). A great time was had by all. Really cool to see all the fans and feel the energy of the occasion!


Sunday, February 14th, 2010

I sometimes play Boggle at work. I usually lose to the resident Boggle players who are more experienced (at least lately) and have the 4-and-5-letter-words in L1 cache.

But sometimes I get to pull out a good word. Often a Britishism which sometimes passes muster with Merriam-Webster, our official arbiter. The other day I spotted monad which scored, and prompted quizzical looks from my competitors. When they said, “What’s a monad?” I of course said matter-of-factly, “A monad is a monoid in the category of endofunctors.”

IFComp ’09

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

The 15th annual Interactive Fiction Competition is underway. This year there are 24 games to get to grips with, which gives me a chance of completing a fair percentage.


Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Today was mini-Elbeno’s first day at school! He actually went in yesterday for an hour with Mrs Elbeno to get a feel for the place, but today was the first real day being dropped off and spending the whole morning there. He had a great time!

In other news, Mrs Elbeno picked up The Beatles Rock Band today, and since we didn’t have all the instruments already, we got the big pack with drums, guitar and mic. It’s pretty cool and mini-Elbeno stayed up a bit later than usual playing with us. The family was singing while I played guitar. Haven’t got around to drums yet. Fun!

Blizzcon 2009

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Blizzcon was awesome. Last year was cool, but this year as a Blizzard employee it was amazing to be buoyed by all that positive fan energy. It was sensory overload in the coolest way possible. During the opening announcements and trailers the hall was literally shaking with sound at times; it was a physical experience as much as an audio one. The energy of the crowd was overwhelming, especially in the reactions to things like the new Alliance race, the Worgen, and the news of flying mounts coming to the old world. During the Diablo 3 trailer, there were gasps and expressions of awe around me when the monk did his various special attacks. Some of the new StarCraft II and news items also drew cheers and whoops.

In between times I was able to chill out at the recruitment booth (talking to potential hires) and in the signing area (chatting to fans and signing stuff), to walk the halls admiring costumes and soaking up the atmoshere, and to attend some of the lower energy panels (like how to break into the industry). I picked up a bunch of stuff at the store on Saturday morning, including a couple of plushy baby murlocs and some colouring books for mini-Elbeno. So he is very happy about that.

In summary, Blizzcon really energized me to make the best games I can for our incredible fan community, and I’m also stoked, as a player and a Blizzard fan myself, about all the cool stuff that is coming down the pipe!