Friday, August 31, 2007

It’s Getting Close

Check out this picture from the news section of Penny Arcade today (Aug. 1 2007) with the Fury booth right there in the upper right!
I think that might be me over on the right side of the booth. See the Fury 'F' logo on the booth endcap? I think I'm the guy right above that wearing the black shirt with the white blur on it (the Fury 'F' logo again) talking to a guy in a blue shirt.

There is a good write up of PAX 2007 as a whole at Slashdot with a big section on Fury.
I'll be honest: Fury came at me from nowhere. I'd read about it before coming to the show, knew that it was approaching an Open Beta, and that it was a free-to-play PvP title. That was just about all I knew when I sat down to play and chat with Fury's lead designer Adam Carpenter.

When you're trying to quantify Fury's gameplay type, it's better to think less about online RPGs and more about first-person shooters. Fury has essentially taken the swords and sorcery milieu and dropped that whole cloth into an FPS schema. In each match, players spawn in, rush out, and slam into each other in extremely fast altercations. Everything is fast; from character creation to combat can be just a few minutes. MORE
There is also some good coverage of Fury at the 2007 Cyberathlete Professional League Summer Event last week over at eSportsTV.

We are getting set up right now to have the servers up and running for tonight when the first paying customers of the game will be able to log in. The game is still beta but these will be the players who have pre-ordered the game. I also just found out that the 'Customer Service' button on the main screen links to a site that isn't connected to our CS Tool yet, so if you have any problems use the Customer Service link on the website, not the button in game. The good news is that the problem is already fixed in the latest build.

Remember there are just two weeks left till Fury Challenge. So get in now and get some practice in!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A tale of PAX 2007

PAX was awesome! We had lots of people checking out Fury. A seat never stayed empty for more than a few minutes. We were passing out Fury beta disks like… like umm… like we had brought enough for everybody at the show! At one point Tony and I headed over to the LAN room to hand them out and on the way over we passed the booth where Wil Wheaton was signing autographs and I handed him one as I went by. He looked up at me a little baffled, glanced at it, and then confusedly said “thanks?” So just remember when you are battling it out in “Fury Challenge” that could be ‘Uncle Willie’ kicking your butt.

Uncle WillieI have heard that Wil’s keynote speech was great, but I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet (actually I’m listening to it while writing this). I didn’t really do anything at PAX except work the booth. I walked around once before the floor opened and once again a little later. I bought some t-shirts and the first Bone episode: “Out from Boneville”. No, it’s not porn. It’s an adventure game based on an independent comic book series by Jeff Smith.

The trip on the other hand was a nightmare. Our flight out of Sydney was canceled because our pilot broke his toe playing tennis. So much for arriving a day early; I knew we should have flown Qantas! Then our computers didn’t arrive until about 2 hours before the show opened. We had to set up the computers, install Fury and create noob friendly Incarnations on all the characters. At one point I’m trying to hook up a monitor and I see a bright red blotch on the white table.

“Hey that looks like BLOOD! Hey it IS blood! There is blood all over! Hey somebody is bleeding! Who is bleeding?!”

The answer of course was me. I was bleeding. I must have smashed my cuticle while stuffing wires into the hole to where the computer was underneath. It was just a little cut but it must have been bleeding for awhile; because it was all over my hand and the table. So when we say we put our blood and tears into this game, we are telling at least half the truth. And if you don’t believe me I’ll cry.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Home Sweet Home

I am back from PAX. The show was great but I am exhausted. I'll do a full run down on the whole thing later, I'm just too tired to do anything big at the moment.

I did, however want to link to this interview on Grrl Gamer with the amazing Connie Hewitt.

Also I found this flash game called HEWITT.
One year in the making Hewitt is complete & is the most epic adventure game we have created since 'Griswold the Goblin'. Help Hewitt find a girl for the dance in this awesome adventure RPG
What did I ever do to deserve this?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Current Entertainment

I finally finished season 3 of Deadwood. I had heard that the final episode was quite the let down; but I was hoping that with such lowered expectations it would still be okay. But it was SUCH a let down I didn’t even realize it was the finale! There was still another DVD and I thought there were more episodes. I mean its building up to this big confrontation… building and building… and then nothing, it’s over! The final DVD is just extras. I thought I had missed a DVD and went back through the box.

It reminds me of the thing I didn’t like about the movie Gladiator. The whole movie they are building up my expectation of seeing the armies of the Roman Empire marching on Rome but then it never happens. If they do ever make the 2 movie length episodes to finish out Deadwood they better be EXPLOSIVE! …of course by then the momentum they built will have been spent.

I just started in on the third season of Entourage thanks to my friend James from work. I didn’t think I’d like it but I really do. I like the way they keep it upbeat. I like the way the writing moves it along. I keep expecting something really bad to happen to Vince’s career and there to be this dark turn to the series but it doesn’t happen. Sure things go wrong and there is the natural up and down flow, but it always manages to land on a positive note without feeling fake or like its undeserved. There are also lots of hot women flaunting their body in every episode.

Spook CountryI also just got the audio version of the latest William Gibson novel, Spook Country, from Audible, but I’m saving it for the plane trip to PAX. No direct flight this time – Brisbane to Sydney to San Francisco to Seattle. Same thing for the way back. I don’t know how I ever survived these trans-Atlantic flights without my Bose noise reduction headphones and unabridged audio books. But I’ve been meaning to try and track down a real email address for Audible to tell them their website layout sucks. Seriously if any Audible marketing people are scanning the web for mentions of their site, YOU WEB SITE LAYOUT SUCKS! Seriously give up the vertical columns and give the titles some room to breathe. I’m tired of having to click on each title to read about it. Do you know why if you click on the book to the right you go to Amazon instead of Audible? Because when I am browsing for what title to purchase, I have Amazon open in another window to read up on the book and see its reviews.

Oh and since I went on about Audible, let me go on about the Bose headphones. They RULE! ...except my wife got a better pair. When she went back to the states for E3/EIEIO I begged her to take my headphones for the trip but she was scared she would lose or break them or something. But halfway through her trip she went out and bought her own pair and they are newer tech and sound a little bit better. They also have a rechargeable battery while I’ve had to take stock in triple A’s. I’d steal hers but she got the ‘on-ear’ model and I prefer the ‘around-ear’ ones. It is probably a good thing she didn’t take my pair with her though, because she did lose her iPod on the plane. So if there is anybody from Bose people scanning the web for mention of their products, send me a new pair and I’ll pimp them from now till George R.R. Marin finally finishes the Song of Ice and Fire series… yeah THAT long!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fury Challenge - $1,000,000 Pre-Release Tournament

Fury is holding a $1,000,000 tournament as their open beta event. The tournament will run the last three weekends in September. Hop in, try the game before release, and hopefully win some prizes. read more | digg story

This is me testing's 'Blog It' feature btw. The Fury Challenge tournament was announced at the Fury Party in Sydney last Monday. There is a similar one in Brisbane tomorrow (Thursday) that I'll be going to. They are parties to show off the game (and our FHM cover model and 33rd most beautiful woman in the world, Fury Model, Siobhan Parekh (link maybe not safe for work.)) to retailers and some lucky fans who won tickets.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Hair Today

Joseph 2007I got an updated picture up. The problem I'm having is that I'm a funny looking freak!... but that is besides the point. What I meant to say was back when I first put this blog up, I set up the picture in Photoshop to have a drop shadow on a white background. I'm big on the clean white background with drop shadows, notice that I drew the Thottbot logo the same way. When I uploaded my picture to blogger it displayed on the blog with a black line around it. I couldn't figure out how to get rid of the line in the template right away, so took it out and then linked it into one of the text fields of my profile using HTML.

Unfortunately, Blogger no longer lets you have HTML in your profile text fields. It still works, you just can't save it anymore without it giving you an error message that the IMG tag is not allowed. Even if I open my profile now and try to save it without any changes, it gives me that error. I host that picture on my own site though so I just saved over the 2006_blond picture with the new one and viola new picture.

I have since found the HTML that caused the black line and figured out how to remove it. It will just take some work to undo all the custom hacks I've done to the template especially since I'm not really all that good with HTML and got it all working with lots of trial and error.

"Hmmm wonder what this line of HTML does? type type type... reformatting my AHHHH!!! Put it back! Put it back!"

I have thought about going to one of the new blogger templates since they make it much easier to add stuff, but again that will take lots of work. I'd have to save out all my links and figure out how to get the resizing code to work again. Notice how if you restore down (that's what that's called? The middle Window's button in the very top, upper-left of the screen between the 'minimize' and the 'close X' buttons. The mouse over tool tip says 'restore down'. I could have sworn there was another word for that.) and then shrink the width of the window the main text area of my site stops before it starts overlapping the blue, left-hand border. If you go to other standard Blogger blogs and do the same thing, their main text area will keep sliding over till it hits the left edge of the window.

Anyway, there is the new updated picture. As you can see I am no longer blond. You can also see that the dye used to match the bleached areas back to my natural brown is fading and that I am due for another session at Orb Hair, my hair salon. What was the end result of being blond? Did I have more fun? Hard to say, maybe if I wasn't in constant state of 'crunch time' at work and got out more I have better data.

Friday, August 10, 2007

PAX '07

Penny Arcade Expo 2007So I'm going to the Penny Arcade Expo later this month. Its the 24th through the 26th in Seattle. If you are going to the show be sure to stop by and say hi and play a few rounds of Fury.

By the way I don't have the blond hair anymore, boy what a bad idea that was. It just killed my hair. I was wearing it back in a pony tail on occasion and so much of my hair broke off it. Anyway, its back to brown and hopefully on the way back to being healthy. I really should update that picture over there.

Oh and we announced the subscription model:
The game will be available from both retail and online at standard retail pricing from October. It is free to play with regular free content updates, plus an option to subscribe for additional benefits. Importantly, all players, regardless of subscription status, have access to the most powerful items and abilities in the game. Subscription offers additional benefits, choice and flexibility.
You can read the full press release on our forums.

We got pretty well slammed over on Kotaku over it because they seemed to be under the impression that we said it was going to be completely free "end of story." When asked by the press we have always said that we were still working on the subscription model. Though there is an interview of Tony sometime around March where he let slip that it was going to be Free to Play with an optional subscription, but I couldn't find it with a quick Google. But seriously it is free, you can play the whole game without any missing features or abilities that affects your play/power in the Warzones in any way FOR FREE! There are just extras for subscribers who are willing to shell out a little money to pay for those servers, bandwidth and my paycheck. Its being talked about all over the forums so if you feel like discussing it the previous link above to our forums is a good place to start.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Magic Sign

There isn’t a Krispy Kreme in Brisbane. But they are popping up in some of Australia’s other major cities. When I flew back to Brisbane from both Melbourne and Sydney recently I saw multiple people on each flight with boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts. I don’t get that. I also don’t get the mini Krispy Kreme donuts that were starting to pop up in all the Casino food courts and malls in Vegas right before I left.

Krispy Kreme donuts are just donuts except… except when they are bathed in the magic light of the sign! Oh yes, the sign with those two special words: "Hot" and "Now".

The sign is turned on when the donuts are being made. It is when those little lumps of dough take that magic ride along the conveyor belt of happiness and are magically transformed into the Food of the Gods. It when you can press your nose against the glass, pick out an unassuming lump of dough and say, “that one! I am going to eat that one!” And then you can watch it travel up and down, around and about, under the waterfall of frosting and then out to the front of the store. You can point out your donut to the ultra cool chick-magnet of a guy who gets all the girls (because he can get free donuts) who will happily pull it off the belt and server it up to you. Personally I like a ice-cold carafe of strawberry milk with mine.

I remember a few years ago David Yee, who worked at Westwood having recently left SOE where he had worked on Everquest. He was trying to get his friend, whose name escapes me, hired on as well. We flew his friend out for an interview and after work we all took him out to dinner. Then we went over to Mary K’s arcade which my friend Adam tells me has since been turned into a pool hall.  Afterwards one of us got the idea to go to Krispy Kreme. The cry went up, “KRISPY KREME!” and we tumbled out of the arcade, arms waving and yelling our cry! We piled into the car and shot off across town. When we got with in sight we saw that the sign was lit! We screamed our joy and screeched into the parking lot, leapt from the car and ran into the store arguing over which sad little lump of dough was going to turn into the magical, mouth-watering, ring of godly pleasure we would eat.

He thought we were nuts.

We all sat at the table eating donuts in single bites while swigging down the moo juice. He sits down with a plate of 3 regular donuts.

There was a sudden silence and much confusion.

“What are you doing? You got the wrong donuts!”

“I don’t like plain glazed donuts.”

“They aren’t PLAIN glazed donuts! They… they’ve just been down… look the sign… KRISPY KREME.”


“Here eat this one, ill get another”

There was another silence as he took a bit. I don’t think any of expected anything other than what happened, but I can say there was an edge of nervousness on all our faces. We were in fact risking the fabric of our world if he didn’t just keel over and die of pleasure at that one bite. He did though. He literally swooned.

“Oh my God! This is the best donut that I’ve ever tasted! It’s like liquid sugar that is somehow still in solid form. It just melts in your mouth.”

I’m paraphrasing those second two sentences because he was busily stuffing his mouth at that point and it was a bit difficult to understand what he was saying.

I miss those late night Krispy Kreme runs. Drew sent me a link of some place here in Brisbane that not only claims fresh baked donuts but they also deliver. We haven’t tried them out yet, but I am not getting my hopes up.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Army Men

One of my earliest childhood memories must have been from when I was about 3 or 4 years old. It’s not my oldest childhood memory which is which has something about living in this house with a couch. I remember us having these tall thin glasses that were clear with a colored strip that wrapped up around the side kinda like a candy cane.

Back to the other memory which I think takes place before my bother was born and that would put us in either Ohio or Florida. I was at the Commissary (grocery store on an Air Force base) with my Dad.

I remember just being in some blah mood. We got up to the cashier and he asked me if I wanted a pack of gum and I said, no. He asked me if I wanted some other impulse buy item and again I said no.

Finally he asked me if I wanted a bag of army men. A serious bag ‘O 100 army men – one hundred – army men. Crawling guys, mortar guys, mind sweeper guys, radio guys, kneeling rifle guys, those guys their gun above their head (about to bayonet somebody or crossing a stream?) Oh oh oh, don’t forget my favorite, mounted machine gun guy. Oh yeah, I loved those guys. Army men are so much fun.

But again, I said no.

What the hell was I thinking?! I would have had a BLAST with 100 army men!

Why didn’t my Dad check me for a fever? I can think of no other reason for my behavior. I must have been sick, deathly sick. It was obviously negligent parenting. He should have checked bought the army men for me and rushed me to the hospital!

Every time I see army men to this day, over 30 years later, I still hit myself!

Friday, August 03, 2007

This just in... again...

Well I guess the announcement is out regardless that there was no announcement because the credit list for Fury went around the office today so everybody could proof-read their names. All the new promotions were in the credits so I guess I can put back the post I made before:
We had some promotions go around the office. Adam is now the Creative Director. Cameron and I have split the Lead Designer into Lead Content Designer for me (yay me) and Lead System Designer for him. Also Connie got promoted to Quality Assurance Manager.

I am doing what I’ve been doing; except now I am also responsible for more things. I am now the guy who gets blamed for the crap that sucks (like that wasn’t already happening) I also get to wade through the *Designer bug list and assigning them to the right people. I also have to get up a half hour earlier to be here in time for the Leads meeting. I’m serious… a half and hour EARLIER! You know I used to believe that mornings were something that happened to other people.

I would ramble on some more but I can’t actually see at the moment. I just got back from the optometrist and even with this zoomed to 500 percent I can barely read what I am typing.
In other news, this went out today:

Cyberathlete Professional League
Brisbane, Australia – August 1, 2007 – After a highly successful showing at Gamecock’s E.I.E.I.O. in California and a packed debut preview weekend, Auran, developers of the upcoming player versus player massively multiplayer online title, Fury, are excited to announce a partnership with the kings of competitive gaming – the Cyberathlete Professional League. MORE
And and the eyesight is fine now. I guess a few people misunderstood what I was saying. My eyesight was blurry because the optometrist put in those drops that dilate your pupils so he could shine can a really bright light into them and see the back of your eyeballs. They take about 3 hours to wear off. Loads of fun.

Speaking of fun, I actually chickened out today. An email went around that the profanity filter wouldn't working for awhile (though the CSR's are still on to BAN you if you get out of line so don't go getting any ideas) and I really wanted to reply to the email with just the word "FUCK!"

Thursday, August 02, 2007

This Just In...

Okay, so there are obviously quite a lot of you out there reading this as opposed to just Bughunter as the comment sections on each post would suggest. How do I know this you ask? Do I have a secret hit counter on the site? No, I’ve just had about a billion people ask or email what happened to the last post that I deleted even though it was only up for a few hours. The announcement email hasn’t gone out at work, so I took the post down till it officially goes out.

As an aside I’ve been wandering around the Petroglyph forums where there are quite a few threads about Command & Conquer and other old Westwood games. Of interest is the details about where the C&C story would have or was going with Westwood before EA’s C&C3. It even reveilles the shocking truth behind the C&C 1 UFO!!! I haven’t actually played C&C 3, still sticking with my EA boycott that I announced in regards to not buying Battlefield 2142. I do have the C&C 3 demo that is on a CD I got from some magazine but I haven’t installed it. I’m told it’s actually fun.

I just found out there is an article about Fury in Brisbane’s “City News” magazine. It’s the one that had the “Show Stopper” banner across the top, and the very cute Kelly Brightwell on the cover. So if you happen to be in Brisbane Australia and wander by a bus stop or convenience store, pick one up. It’s free.