Week one is done for my new studio. Spent the week working a game pitch, running phone and ethernet wires, and generally getting everything set up at the office. It is extremely exciting and scary to not have “the man” telling you what to do every day. The success of the studio will be a direct result of the work of my co-studio head and I.
And I love taking BART every day. My commute time is about the same as when I was at EA and Sony, but now I get to read and relax with my iPod.
I made the leap. Today was my last day at Sony. It has been an amazing time there and I am truly honored to have worked with such talented people.
…but something came up…
I am starting a new game studio in San Francisco.
I have noticed an interesting way that I play games these days. Keep in mind, I have children and interests outside of the games industry.
On my home consoles (which include a PS3, XBox 360, and Wii), I tend to play games which are pick up and play, usually with no story. This includes Boom Blox, The Last Guy, Eden, and Braid. Basically, all games which I can play for 15-30 minutes and then turn off the console. Also, I don’t have to worry about remembering some involved story to get back into the game.
On my portables, I am playing the long, involved story games. I just finished Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and it looks like I’m going to get back to The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass soon.
The interesting thing to me is this is completely backwards to how people are “supposed” to play games. My pickup games are on my home system with the big plasma TV, while the long session games are on my portable systems. It reflects my life these days…I have very little time at home to play games, but when I travel, I’m trapped on an airplane for ten hours at a time.
I have implemented a task system for my brushing program. In many ways, it emulates a PS3 by creating 6 threads which sleep until told to do something. That “something” is a function which does a task and then exits. There are two issues with this that I am resolving at the moment.
- It is hard to debug the tasks when there are hundreds or thousands a frame
- I want to emulate the PS3 SPU local store, which means segmenting my memory space
To make each of these easier to deal with, all of the task entry functions take an argument. This argument is a pointer to a ClTaskArg class. Tasks are expected to derive from this class to get their arguments into, and potentially out of, the task function.
Continue Reading »
I just put up a post on the PlayStation blog about the PlayStation-edu program:
It is a program to get development hardware into the classrooms of universities and colleges.
I am giving a talk about it at the Game Education Summit next week in Dallas.
The soundtrack to the game PixelJunk Monsters has been released on the PSN Store! There is a great interview of Otograph, the group behind the music over on the PlayStation blog. I managed to find time to play a number of levels in the game…I probably got 5-7 rainbows before other things demanded my time. I would love to go back and play it some more. The amazing thing about the soundtrack is that it does not have any DRM. I can move it off my PS3 to my main PC (where I can stream it to my Roku Soundbridge) and to my iPod Nano for when I go running and traveling.
It is really nice that you can play PixelJunk Monsters via RemotePlay. I can sit on my couch and play the game on my PSP with headphones on, instead of taking over my main TV. The game works just fine and the music is even more addictive with headphones on.
One of the big things for games programming these days is dealing with multiprocessing. I have been working on a multithreaded renderer in my spare time to do interactive brush work. The previous movies for peduncle are all non-interactive. They actually render in faster than realtime, but they just run from a command line. First, I had to create the basic infrastructure, which is not much different than a game. This infrastructure means all of the usual subsystems like fileIO, memory, debug scaffolding, and rendering. I already had fileIO running in another thread. This evening, I got my multithreaded renderer working.
Continue Reading »
Stormfront Studios has closed its doors. While I have not worked there for a number of years now, it was my first games job…they took a chance on a strange music guy who had been focusing on image processing. I am incredibly proud of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. The tech that my engineering team and I created was truly some of best in the industry at the time.
Sunday afternoon…mostly nice day outside. I’m trapped inside working on my presentations for GDC. So many good things have happened over the past year with the PS3 that it is taking quite a while to put it all together. It does not mean that we are done improving it, but it certainly makes me feel good about the future.
The Game Developers Conference 2008 is next week. Suffice to say, preparing for it has been occupying most of my time lately. To the game developers who read this (and you know who you are :-) )and want to meet with Sony, let me know. Our meeting times are mostly booked, but we have a few left.