Wednesday, November 28, 2007

FINAL FOCUS TEST + STUFF

Hey ya'll...



Sitting here in the Santa Monica Studios conference room waiting for our final TWISTED METAL:HEAD ON focus test to kick off. A few tech glitches are keeping us from moving ahead so I figured I'd take this opportunity to do a quick post. So what's up? Well...a few things:

#1- RATCHET AND CLANK LOVE
Ok, I just could not stay away! There was this longing to keep playing, this desire to feel- once again- just how good that game controls, to see the amazing graphics. I just felt CALLED to go back and keep playing, even though I was really frustrated by hitting 4 difficulty spikes in a row. I also saw alot of folks comment on this blog about how I really should not give up, as there is tons of cool stuff is waiting for me post dino island. So I'm back to playing it...and back to loving it! I never was a massive Ratchet fan before, but this thing has made a true fan out of me...so much so that Ratchet is my new wallpaper! Check it!



So I figured out where the game- for me- broke down. And it's not so much a design issue as it is a communication issue.

See, I had only played the earlier Ratchet games for about an hour or so each. I always respected them but they never engaged me to the point that I ever wanted to play for any other reason than to just see the game, get the idea, and then move on. And because of that, I never understood the importance of buying new weapons and powering those weapons up. As I played, I found a few weapons I dug and powered those up and then was like, 'cool, I got the 2-3 weapons I dig, I'm gonna pass on the rest'. And up until dino island- I forget the actual name- that served me fine; gave me a nice, even difficulty level that I was loving. But then the AI got tougher and since I had not bothered to power up more than a few weapons- or even bothered to ever really USE any of the 10-15 other weapons I had purchased (beyond an initial 'lemme try this out and see what it does' phase), I got my ass kicked and subsequently, lost heart and lost interest.

Thanks to many commenters on this blog for explaining that in Ratchet the multiple weapons and powering those weapons up are key to the game. For me, this was not made clear at all in the game itself- the only real flaw I can find in the title so far-and if it was not for your comments, I would have missed out on what is probably going to be my Game of the Year. So thanks!

#2- NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN

Saw this last nite at the fantastic Grove in Los Angeles. Here, check the place out...





I love how it was all decked out for the holidays with Xmas music blaring and people all bundled up (yes, even in LA) and shopping for gifts...man I love the holiday season and I love being back in LA!

So the movie was pretty good. Was not in the mood for a slow, moody, somber movie last nite but my brother indulged me and went with me to see THE MIST (loved it!) over Thanksgiving so I figured I should return the favor. Glad I did as I dug the movie alot and it really was not as slow paced as I feared it would be. I don't get the BEST PICTURE talk, though. I mean it looked great, acting was great, the whole vibe and pace of it was just fantastic...but as a MOVIE, as a STORY...it was kind of...just ok. Not bad, and I liked the metaphor of the story and the subtext of the thing alot...so there were TONS of AMAZING things about the film, to be sure...but these amazing pieces didn't all come together to make an amazing movie....it was more like a good movie with lots of AMAZING bits....does that make sense?

Anyway, it was a good time and I got to hang with my brother and with Cary, one of my oldest friends who I've know since I was...shit, what? 4 years old?!? Amazing! So that was great!

#3- 2 GIRLS, 1 CUP PART 2?!?
Well not really. Not as gross but just as funny to me. I fucking LOVE this! Check it out:

http://houston.craigslist.org/cas/457918279.html

I saw this yesterday and was laughing so hard! It's like, who the hell writes this stuff? I WISH I was 10% as funny as the writer of this thing! My fave line was this:

Obviously this is impossible and dangerous to attempt so I would be Ok with just JO looking at a tornado


By the way, I had no clue what JO was...turns out it's JERK OFF...so now you know :)

#4- WRITING


Saw this article on Gamasutra today...about writing for games...

http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=16397

They cite GOD OF WAR alot and it's really funny because I'm reading a book on screenwriting right now (check the right hand column for details) and so much of the stuff she's claiming we did in GOD OF WAR is stuff they talk about in the screenwriting book I am reading. Difference is, I didn't really KNOW about the stuff she was talking about when we wrote the game- at least in terms of specifics...I mean, instincts played a huge role but it's interesting to now read about the story of GOW in a more academic light and realize we were doing stuff we were supposed to do- according to the craft of story telling- without knowing we were doing it. I mean, Marianne prob. knew the academic terms and stuff...but if she did, she never mentioned them to me...

Anyway, just thought I'd share...good write up...give it a read.

Ok, things are starting up...gotta run...talk later!

David