chronovore: (Default)
 Beautiful World by Devo just came on, and I felt compelled to post in that LJ way, which is now the Dreamwidth way, and that's way good. 

"Makes me want to say, 'It's a beautiful world!' for you, for you, for you! It's not for me!"

Had a fantastic weekend out with a friend who is leaving for Tokyo soon, and another who lives in Tokyo but came down for BitSummit 5. So many inspiring people and experiences there. Stayed at 9 Hours again, for the win. It wasn't as cheap as previous times, but still a clean and relaxed environment to crash at. 

Here's an answer I recently posted on Quora about working in Japan:

It’s rough. I worked in US game development for 8 years at five companies, and then over 10 more years in Japan at one company, before returning to US game development. From nearly every angle, developing in America is more rewarding than in Japan.

The salary is lower in Japan. I took at 15% pay cut from my US Art Director salary to take a corporate Director position. Some friends have taken closer to 50% pay cuts when joining a Japanese developer.

The hours are consistently longer in Japan. In 20 years, I’ve worked crunchtime in a number of companies; Japan demands more. A non-crunch workweek was ~50 hours but, prior to delivering builds, 60–65 hours was common, and we would be in 70~80 hours a week across 7-day-weeks for the last several months of any project.

Consideration from the company for the individual is largely unheard of in Japanese dev. It is culturally normal to see one’s efforts as part of the group’s, and this mentality of course carries into the workplace. It is critical to get tacit approval from superiors, because one is making a decision for the company as a whole, not just on one’s own responsibility.

On the positive side, my Japanese teammates were consistently hard working, diligent, faithful, and consistent. They would deliver on promises consistently, and largely communicated well when things were not going as planned. As a manager, I never felt left in the lurch. 

chronovore: (sweater)
I work in Unity; my partner had me purchase Unity Pro so we had parity in working environment; we didn't want ANYTHING to bite us in the ass over version differences; little did we know, Unity is capable of fucking up ANYTHING.

My initial license is $75/month and doesn't cover iOS builds. Soon, Unity allows for iOS builds in non-Pro subscriptions, but with a splashscreen. My clients don't want a splashscreen.

I spend three weeks sorting out with Unity how to make this happen, because (a) the fuckers didn't respond to net inquiries through their site for 10 days, until I called them out on Twitter, and (b) the solution was actually right in front of me in a mail which allowed for a subscription upgrade... but Unity had not included any form of language in the offer about what is actually included. NONE. Not a damned thing.

When support finally confirms that the offer will get me splashscreen-free deployment on iOS, I proceed through payment. Despite Unity having my CC information on-hand for my existing subscription, it requires me to re-enter my CC info. This engages a new in-frame "Verified by Visa" step which requires another re-entering of the same data. After that, it wants me to establish a password for Verfied by Visa, which I do. After that, it drops me back at the Unity store page:

DECLINED

Not only declined, but as I found out today, nearly a week later, it had triggered fraud protection on my CC, so the other charges I've made since then were blocked without notification. I spent nearly an hour on the phone with the bank today clearing all that up.

My CC is again available for use. I re-initiate the process for buying the "new Pro" subscription for Unity, but now the price on the specified site (only accessible through my special offer mail), which is supposed to be $75/mo through 12/31 instead shows $125/mo.

I'm as mad as a cat forced to wear wet pajamas.
chronovore: (sweater)
The weather today is pretty great; I mean, it's grey as all get-out, and it's threatening to rain until sundown if the weather reports are to be believed, but right now there's no rain and the breeze is making me pretty happy to be alive and working from home next to an open window and screen door looking out on the deck and yard.

I'm putting in a little time each day into a couple things which are important to me. I'm either working out, learning Japanese, drawing, or training myself up in skills which other people have lately needed from me. The phrasing in that last part is pretty intentional; the database work I'm doing, I'm interested in but not really passionately pursuing.

The customer who wants the DB work done also wants it put on the web, as FileMaker has a web-ready feature which will theoretically allow me to post the Solution (front end + DB) on a web server and it'll "just work." I'm not convinced of that, but I'm hopeful that it won't be horribly painful. In the meantime I'm brushing up slowly on web skills I've let atrophy since 1999, which essentially means re-learning everything except "web sites are just a bunch of files on a server." Apparently the tools are all heaps better now, which is nice.

Crap, spent too much time dallying. I'm going to jump into work, but it's worth noting that the sun is out now, the breeze is still here, and the weather doesn't really get any better than this in ANY season. WOooooo~!
chronovore: (mouthy)
I'm just sayin'.

Yeah, I know it's likely just a formality, and they're feeling about as remorseful as the other times when "もうしわけございません" is used... which is not particularly rueful. It just boggles my mind that these notes and, by extension, going home on time is such a rarity.
chronovore: (Default)
EA MMA's AI is not up to the task of exposing the depth of the gameplay. I guess that's true of any fighting game. EA MMA has a fundamentally different model of the sport than the UFC game. I'm not ready to say better or worse, but I will say the game deserves to sell better than it has. I've played 30 career matches, and an online 4-fight card today versus a friend in Enn Zedland who has also played a mess of UFC with me. He took the time to school me on some of the subtleties, and I'm newly appreciative of its systems.

There is a clear rock-paper-scissors structure to the choices made between striking or improving position (including initiating a submission). There's a need for managing Stamina, because a fighter's current energy level directly affects striking power and likelihood of success during transition/submission attempts. No energy means -no- chance of transition or denying a transition. Or a sub, I guess, since they work to make them consistent.

So on the ground, when a fighter strikes for damage the targeted player can either defend the strike straight or with a directional parry which saps the attacker's Stamina. (Alternately the defender may interrupt the strike with a transition attempt, which seems identical to UFC).

Transition attempts are preceded by some telltale vibration in the defender's controller; it's pretty easy to deny a transition if it's just thrown without preamble. However, strikes landing also cause vibration feedback in the defender's controller. The attacker can use strikes to mask transition or sub attempts. It's possible to block a strike or deny a transition, but if you're denying a transition, a strike will get through. If you block a strike, a transition can get through.

And strikes seem to be a more strategically used element. It's pretty common to rock someone out of the gate with a single high-powered strike, and flash KOs from counterstriking are also standard. There doesn't seem to be a "wearing down" of the HP like there is in UFC. You can create momentary weaknesses in the stat pretty quickly, which can be overwhelmed, but if the defender gets to safety for any length of time, it appears to reset the value entirely. So individually landed strikes may count toward the final score if it goes to the judges, but it seems like there's no building up a weak spot for the duration of a fight.

Things I still don't like:
- Tiburon said "no button-mashing!" but the recovery from being rocked is a straight button-mash.
- Choke submissions are unfathomable. I'm never sure where I'm supposed to be pointing my stick. The sweet spot probably has some kind of behavior of its own which is further influenced by either fighter locating it, but I'm unable to discern its pattern.
- Presentation elements like non-interactive cutscene visuals and sound design are very limited, and what they do have seems sub-quality for an EA effort.
- Career mode gets boring after the top-tier championship is taken. It's less than halfway through the 40 fight run, if you're undefeated (and those first 10 fights are exceedingly easy), and from that point forward, there are no more big fights, no Special Moves to be learned if you're trained up. There isn't much to do.
chronovore: (furious)
At work we have fingerprint reader locks at the entrances leading to the building's common spaces such as the elevators and hallways leading to the building's restrooms. Unfortunately they are kind of a pain in the ass, because the registration of the fingerprint alignment is quite finicky, and the bond between the glass and finger does not work well if the proffered digit is overly dry, there is no user feedback from the lock while it scans (Is it reading now? Did that go through? Is it active, or is it warming up to read? Do I need to try again?), etc. I've joked that, if these locks were used in a horror movie where the main character is fleeing from the monster or alien, in movies they always open at the last minute but with these locks the character would just get eaten. They are really uncooperative locks.

So it's quite a stroke of when I'm returning from the restroom and someone else is leaving the dev floor. All they have to do is push a button and the door unlocks, but from the opposite side you have to go through Fort Knox procedures to get back on the floor to work.

Sometimes, however, there will be someone standing on the dev floor side, waiting... they can hear the beep-beep-beep of my employee number being entered, they can then hear the long delay after those beeps, while I fumble my finger around on the glass, trying to find a position that the lock accepts my fingerprint. They're planning to open the door, but they're waiting for me to do it. WHY? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? PUSH THE FUCKING BUTTON AND OPEN THE DOOR. DO YOU THINK HANS GRUBER IS OUT HERE WITH A BAND OF TERRORISTS, ABOUT TO KICK IN THE DOOR? DO YOU THINK HANS FUCKING GRUBER IS GOING TO BE WAYLAID BY A FINICKY FINGERPRINT LOCK? OPEN THE GODDAMNED DOOR FOR ME, JOHN McCLANE.
chronovore: (Default)
I've finally had an occasion to look up and embrace the differences between unfunctional and nonfunctional.
chronovore: (furious)
Sometimes I'm stunned by how much music affects my mood. I've got a whopping plateful of bugs and emails to respond to, and I was feeling the need for a cuppa joe, which I've prepared -- but more than caffeine, sitting down and having DREAD ZEPPELIN playing is energizing me to get through all this today! Their reggae-Elvis stylings of classic Led Zep songs never fail to bring joy.

Plus, Tortelvis cuts the same august figure as Santa. Ho-ho-ho.
chronovore: (Default)
Report: US industry employment count rises marginally // News:
Employment within the US games sector has risen slightly on last year thanks to the opening of a number of new games studios dedicated to social and online gaming, research has found.

A census of North American gaming companies found that employee numbers have risen from 44,400 in 2008, to 44,806 in the US. Of that small rise, many come from an unusually large number of new studios, particularly social and online ones, which have sprung up to counterbalance the closures felt throughout the rest of the industry.

Meanwhile Canadian companies have seen "explosive" growth throughout the year, said the report, with the establishment of new studios and the expansions of existing ones contributing to a 30 per cent increase - to 12,480 - in the region's employee count.

The findings come from the third annual Game Developer Census compiled by Game Developer Research.

California remained North America's heavyweight area, with 20,815 developers employed there (46 per cent of the US total). Washington was the second most popular with 4500 employees, and Texas third with over 2600.

However, anecdotal evidence uncovered by the research indicated American game development was becoming less clustered around urban centres.

mma~ wha'?

Nov. 17th, 2009 10:34 am
chronovore: (Default)
EA Sports MMA First Look Preview for Xbox 360 - VideoGamer.com:
The whole concept of parrying is something that was largely missing from UFC: Undisputed, and EA reckons its inclusion will greatly add to the authenticity of the fights.
Missing? WTF? Countering-to-grapple, countering to Muay-Thai clinch, countering-to-submission, major and minor counterstriking based on strike interception... Which game was this guy playing? At least he calls UFC 2009 "superlative."
chronovore: (mouthy)
Pretty long day. I'm tired. I know I'm tired because I'm going back through documentation and thinking, "Oh, hey. That was a nice catch. That's really smart. Who came up with that? Oh, it was me. Hey, I'm pretty smart." 

This is, of course, equivalent to being drunk and hearing a joke that's kind of funny, but due to the alcohol it sounds incredibly funny. Except fatigue doesn't really give much of a buzz.

Too many ad hoc meetings in Japanese today. I'm fried like tenpura, very crispy.

mma

Jul. 28th, 2009 04:30 pm
chronovore: (furious)
Cheick Kongo-Frank Mir rumored for UFC 107 - ESPN:
According to MMAJunkie, Frank Mir might meet Cheick Kongo at UFC 107 on Dec. 12 in Memphis, Tenn. If so, Mir may well get the sharpest striking test of his career to date.
No, no, no. Round 1 submission. Kongo on the ground is a fish out of water, and Mir's submission game is tight.
chronovore: (Default)
Oh, man. What were they thinking? MS Word, in an ill-advised attempt to make itself more accessible has converted all of its previous menus into nested, tab-like palettes of buttons. I've never seen anything like this in any other program... and I'm pretty sure I know why: it sucks!

If anyone else has been trapped into using this for their work, please show me your best "Office 2007 for people who have used computers for over 25 years" tutorial sites. Handy mnemonics, even.

AND EVERYTHING IS BLUE. What is up with that?
chronovore: (Default)
Some good news: my next-term contract talks went well today. There was a huge buildup where I thought they were going to tell me they couldn't hire me, but it was about how they can't give me a raise. I hadn't even asked for a raise. I've never received a raise since accepting this position. The Japanese economy has been recessed since my arrival, and is in the middle of tanking, pulling a tragic wingman-follows-the-lead-fighter-into-the-ground maneuver in sync with the USA. (Note: I do not believe we are doomed.) Anyway, between their historic reticence to provide a raise, and the economic environment, I'd not planned to ask for more money -- instead proposing more flexible hours and possible work-at-home time. They seemed open to both suggestions.

They also wanted to reinforce that they like me, but the barrier between contractor-style and employee-style relations needs to be respected, which I had to hold myself back from nodding gleefully at, since it allows even more leverage to get the flexible hours and work-at-home / offsite clauses to be integrated.

Anyway, in short, it looks like I'll be employed here for another 2 year period (though I may request 1 year, and then renegotiate), maybe with more personal freedoms than at any time in the last 8 years.

The mediocre news is that though that went well, it had looked like I might get tomorrow afternoon off to cool my jets in Namba with [livejournal.com profile] aalfonso and maybe even my first two-day weekend in a while, but we have [DESCRIPTIVE TEXT DELETED TO COMPLY WITH CORPORATE SECRECY POLICY] so I'll be here on Saturday and Sunday, leading directly to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...

rawk out !

Dec. 18th, 2008 01:22 pm
chronovore: (OMFG)
After months of scraping together 2,000 and 7,000 fans, and occasional epic sessions resulting in 30~40,000 fan increases in Rock Band (1) at Medium, then Hard difficulty, today at lunch we cleared 1,000,000 fans and the resulting in-game Achievement. Immediately afterward we tried a make-a-2-song set on Expert and gained an additional 51,000+ fans. We should have been playing Expert sooner...
chronovore: (Default)
UFC 91 Video: Brock Lesnar, Randy Couture Talk to ESPN's Mike and Mike (via MMA FanHouse)
chronovore: (mouthy)
I'm getting typing dyslexia something fierce today. What the freaking freak-freak is up with this?
chronovore: (furious)
EA Chicago vets sign with Activision // News:
Development veterans behind the Fight Night and Def Jam series for EA Chicago have formed a new studio and signed with publishing heavyweight Activision.

Robomodo was formed earlier this year following the closure of EA's Chicago outfit, and is lead by director Josh Tsui, who has previously worked on Mortal Kombat titles for Midway and Fight Night Round 3 for EA.

"At Robomodo we are dedicated to doing it right, from the way we approach game design and art, to the methods we use to manage our projects," commented Tsui.

"Our culture is focused on enabling game designers and artists to innovate, while providing them with proper management oversight and technology support."

The 35-man team has already inked a deal with Activision to work on one of its key franchises, although further details are still under wraps.

"Activision has embraced our vision and agreed to give us a shot with one of their IPs. We are fortunate to be working with the largest publisher worldwide, and we are looking forward to collaborating with their team on one of their upcoming games," added Tsui.

Joining Tsui as partners of the studio are David Michicich who takes on the role of CEO, Nick Ehrlich as COO, Peter Sauerbrei as CTO and Richard Ho acting as motion director.

Tsui, Michicich, Ho and Ehrlich all first worked together at Midway, and have since gone on to work on titles including Tao Feng for Microsoft, Wrestlemania 21 for THQ and Def Jam ICON for EA. [emphasis mine]
No offense, but JESUS GAWD, no wonder they were dropped. I am officially giving up hope for whatever they're working on. Fight Night Round 3 and Def Jam Icon LOOKED great, but FNR3's Total Punch Control is an innovation in search of a need, and everything that worked right in Def Jam Vendetta gameplay can be attributed to AKI.

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