Thursday, November 27, 2008

Interzone has been Nerfed

Game software development follows along the same path as the rise of a civilization. At first you have primordial ooze, followed by some signs of intelligent life which then start to form distinct groupings such as Art, Design and Programming. Soon after this they then begin to war against each other with escalating weapons of mass destruction.

Interzone Nerf WarsInterzone is no exception, luckily in game development our destruction power has been Nerfed. Dan's "Hulk Abomination Blaster" not pictured.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Small IZF magazine article

My friend Anthony also recently returned from the U.S. He picked up issue 12 of the British "Total PC Gaming" magazine in the L.A. airport to read on the plane. Why LAX is selling British magazines instead of U.S. magazines I can't say. While flipping through the pages, he stumbled on this small article: I will point out that it implies that Interzone Futebol is not "free to play" which is actually the plan at the moment.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I knew that was something I was forgetting. Right about the time I left for San Diego we announced that we signed Brazilian soccer legend, Romário, to sponsor the game. This in addition to it being scored by Paul Oakenfield.

Romário retired earlier this year after leading an amazing career which lasted into his early 40’s. He is credited with being instrumental in the Brazilian national team’s win of the 1994 FIFA World Cup and was considered one of the world’s best strikers. He was the FIFA World Player of the Year and won the World Cup Golden Ball in 1994 and was also named one of the Top 125 Greatest Living Footballers by FIFA as part of their 100th anniversary celebration.

Romário now has his own official blog hosted by Interzone, though being part of the Brazilian site, it is in Portuguese.

A few of us were supposed to meet Romário when we went to Rio. He had said a few days before the meeting that he was sick but assured us that he would be feeling fine by the end of the week when we were flying up from São Paulo. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. He did fly down to the São Paulo and meet everybody the next weekend, but I had already returned to Perth.

The only thing is, every time I say his name, this little voice in the back of my head says, "It's me! Romário!" You know, like Nintendo's Mario.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Traveling Man

I started working on this map last weekend, but I couldn't remember to use Paths in Photoshop to draw curves. I knew it had something to do with drawning the path, manipulating the handles and then using the stroke function, but I kept doing things wrong.

What can I say, I'm bad at stroking! Sorry, I realized that if I didn't do a "stroke" joke you probably would.

Anyway, something was going wrong, it would fill in the curve, or have the stroke option grayed out, etc. I asked Tim here at work and he said, oh that's easy but when he went to show me he realized he had forgotten as well. I finally went to Lisa, who in addition to having the power to make one last can of Diet Coke appear in the fridge when it looks like we've run out, also has mighty Photoshop powers and knew how to do it.

So finally here is a map of my recent travels.

Red: Perth to San Paulo
Perth - Sydney - Los Angles - Chicago for several days
Chicago - San Diego for a week
San Diego - Huston - Austin GCD for a few days
Austin - Las Vegas for a week and a half with family and friends
Las Vegas - Huston - São Paulo for about a month and a half

There was also a weekend in Rio right before we left.

Purple: São Paulo back to Perth
São Paulo - Huston - Chicago - Los Angles - Sydney - Perth

From the point I arrived in the São Paulo airport till I landed in Perth was 63.5 hours. Most of this was caused because my main ticket was a round trip flight from Perth to Chicago. There were a bunch of other separate tickets for the travel in between, for example I bought my own ticket from Austin to Las Vegas. This meant I had to fly back to Chicago first, then head back to Perth. Granted I also got to the São Paulo 8 hours before my flight, because Dan and Jack's flight was earlier than mine. There was also 10 hours between flights Chicago.

I was initially I had fun complaining that Dan and Jack were leaving 4 hours before me, but were getting back to Perth over a day before I did. But then while sitting in the Macaroni Grill in the Chicago Airport enjoying a nice bow-tie pasta, I learned their flight out of Santiago had been canceled and they were stuck. They still arrived in Perth a half a day before me.

At first I couldn't fathom how they appeared to be all nice and rested after the long trip while I was dead. Even noting that Jack went straight to São Paulo and Dan was with me to Chicago but then went to São Paulo from there; they were still too lively. Then I found out they got a night in a hotel in Santiago AND in Sydney because of the canceled flight.

Yellow: Perth to San Diego

Perth - Melbourne - Los Angeles - San Diego

Green: San Diego to Perth

San Diego - Los Angeles - Melbourne - Perth

This trip back to San Diego was a result of my work the previous trip. We arrived Tuesday morning and left on Thursday, spending about as much time in San Diego as we spent in transit. It appears to have gone well though, so that is all good.

Though I have to say Melbourne's airport sucks! When you get off an international flight you have to collect your bags and clear customs in that country. Normally, once you through customs there is a place where a guy will take your bags. Not in Melbourne. In Melbourne you have to go up as if you were checking in at the ticket counter and wait in a long line with the people who have used the new automatic check computers in to get their boarding pass.

So lets compare:

Normal - 1 or 2 people to collect your bags as you come out of customs, go right to your gate.

Melbourne - 6 overworked and stressed people at the counters, 1 person at the head of the line directing you to get into the line and 1 person walking up and down the line pulling out people who have been waiting so long that they have to be rushed to the front of the line so as not to miss their flight.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Profile Picture Library

I decided to create a post for various things instead of having them go out to separate web pages, because I can no longer count on the company hosting it. I'm starting with these previous profile pictures because I was about to update it but whomever is hosting my website now still hasn't gotten their act together. This way I can link the post on the sidebar, update it as I add new pictures, and people can even make comments about my receding hairline. I'll be doing this for my resume and history pages sometime in the near future as well.

So, here are the various profile picture I've used since starting this blog in 2004. Be kind in your comments, because words hurt.

Joseph 2004This picture was taken at the Brisbane Botanical Gardens in early 2004, shortly after I arrived in Australia.

When I used it as my first profile picture on the blog it had converted it to black & white because my skin tone was so washed out. I did try to restore the color in Photoshop but I wasn't happy with anything I was able to do.

Joseph 2006Here is what I looked like after I made the fateful decision to see what life would be like as a blond in 2006. Basically I looked like Lucius Malfoy, Draco's father, in the Harry Potter movies.

This absolutely killed my hair. It became really dry and all of the natural curl went away. I started wearing it in a ponytail and didn't notice that it was breaking off in the back making it look horrible.

Joseph 2007Here I am in early 2007 having dyed the hair back to my normal brown though you can still see the lighter ends. The curl was starting to come back, but it was still a mess especially in the back.

Joseph 2007 Hyper MagazineThis picture was taken in late 2007 right before Auran shut down. It is cropped from a picture taken for a feature in issue #173 of Hyper Magazine.

The games you can see on the monitors are Eye of the Beholder and the Original Command & Conquer.

Joseph 2008 GreeneryHere I am outside the Interzone offices in Perth Australia in late 2008. Note that it is a rare "smiling" picture not often seen.

The color looks really washed out in the this picture but it might just be this monitor. I might have to readjust the balance and re-post it.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Grim Fandango Design Document Online!

My friend Richard just sent around an email pointing out that Tim Schafer, founder of Double Fine Productions and former designer at Lucas Arts, in a "fit of Cake-induced Grim nostalgia," after a celebration of the 10 year anniversary of Grim Fandango, has posted the PDF of the original Grim Fandango Puzzle Design Document. To quote Richard's email directly, "OMFGHOLYSHIT!!!"

Richard and Baz just finished playing through the Legend of Kryrandia PC game and were complaining about some of the puzzles. I pointed out that they should play some other adventure games of that time period if they wanted to see difficult puzzles. To quote Tim's post, "People said the puzzles in Grim were super hard, and I’ve always maintained that this was due to a deep character flaw or mental illness on the part of the player. But now, reading this again, I’ve realized that holy smokes--Some of them puzzles were nuts. Obscure. Mean, even."

Monday, November 03, 2008

Australian versus Violent Video Games

Under current Australian legislation, people of all ages are being treated unfairly by an outdated video game classification system. Unlike movies which can be rated R18+, video games can only be rated as high as MA15+. Most of the problem can be laid at the feet of South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson who is even blocking debate on the subject.

To help with the campaign for a R18+ rating, my friend Tim has created an advocacy site to keep to up with the latest news on the issue and help educate people on the issue. The site is:, pass it on.

Now that is a completely separate issue from the Australian Government’s proposed legislation to censor the internet. The exact details are still being kept under wraps, which I believe would be illegal in the U.S. But it is basically yet another example of a government spending millions of tax payer dollars, 44 million budgeted so far, to turn Australia into a nanny state.

Internet providers and the government’s own test have already been proven to not do a very good job of stopping people from accessing illegal material and will slow Australia’s already abysmal internet speeds by an additional average of 30 percent!

The latest spat being their attempt to censor critiques of the system.

A good site to keep follow to keep up with what’s going on with that front and information about what you can do to stop it is:

Another site that mocks the whole thing with a parody type send up is: However I think the whole issue of how big, tough Australia holds up against violent video games was summed up best by GU Comics.