Lots of things to talk about…

October 17th Banner

…and not enough time to do so. Here’s a list of the things on my mind this past week or two (all of which would make good blog entries):

Half Life 2 – First Impressions (Yeah, I know – I’m the last person to play it). Annoyingly, it is as good as everyone says it is. Probably better. (Thanks Corwin!)

Goldeneye 007 Postmortem — Just a few days ago I found this fantastic postmortem by its producer Martin Hollis. Though sometimes underrated (tsk, PC gamers), Goldeneye is definitely one of my all-time favourite games. As an added bonus, the website also includes a detailed analysis of the puzzles in Zelda Ocarina of Time (including game structure, dungeon/puzzle layout, etc). There’s also a short comment on Super Mario World, as well.

Beowulf and The Uncanny Valley – Coincidentally, I discovered both of these recently, and entirely separately (both by accident). Beowulf looks great (apparently polarising the CG communities), and sure to inspire a whole new wave of Angelina Jolie renders in the Poser community (just kidding ;P). The Uncanny Valley is a truly fascinating theory (with many applications and implications), and something I should have been aware of before, as it crosses a whole range of areas that I’m interested in (art, computer graphics, psychology, film, games, etc…). Furthermore, I found a fantastic blog/journal by Stephanie Gray, who is studying the area for her PhD thesis. It’s always something I’d been unconsciously aware of (“this doesn’t look right, but I can’t put my finger on it”); but it’s reassuring to know that there’s a tangible theory out there and people are studying it in detail.

Agile Game Development and Agile Teams — two (separate) areas of game production that I’m considering examining for my dissertation. Of course, one of the main reasons I’m interested in the Agile Teams angle is because Remedy’s Lasse Seppänen has been talking about it in a number of talks and interviews this year. It also (loosely) ties in with the concepts of Focus and Positioning, frequently promoted by 3drealm’s Scott Miller, and of course Al and Laura Ries themselves.

The TRW Poll – Should the regular Max Payne enemies be reskinned to Matrix ones? There’s some other TRW stuff I’m working on as well, but that’s the main thing I’m interested in right now. Obviously, I’m expecting people to have very different opinions on this, so I won’t be able to cater to everyone. Still, it will be interesting to see what people think.

Last but not least:

-Early bird catches the worm… – that’s right, I’ve got up at 5am two days in a row so far. Prompted by the articles “How to Become an Early Riser” and “…Part 2” by personal development guru Steve Pavlina, I thought I’d give this a shot. An early start to the day seems like a much better compromise than pulling all-nighters (which invariably ends up with a broken sleep pattern, and minimal productivity – for the same reason why crunching is a false economy). I’ve got to say it’s extremely satisfying to get all your work done before most people have had their first caffeine fix for the day. See, I even got this post written before 10am (along with emails, forums, etc).

NB: It still means getting the necessary 7-8 hours sleep a night, which most experts recommend for maintaining both a healthy lifestyle and optimal work performance, in the long term.

That’s all folks.