Hawken at E3
It hasn't been as long as the last gap between posts, but still too long. With some prodding (encouragement?) from Mirae, I'm finally getting to it. Most if not all of my time has been spent on Hawken. We've been crunching hard to meet our strict schedule for convention builds and alpha/beta milestone builds. This Friday was the last day of our second alpha phase with a much larger pool of testers, and the "play against the devs" event to close it out was a blast! I had a lot of fun talking to players in matches, answering some questions, and giving it my all in some frantic mech action. It was sort of comical to see ALL the players jump to the opposing team to get the chance to kill a dev. Sometimes I would switch to their team and the ENTIRE TEAM would switch right up, making for a bit of a lopsided match, but all in good fun nonetheless!
Minecraft PAX Party
Hawken PAX Party
Nick at our PAX Booth
So a lot of those intermediate builds were to prepare for the varios cons throughout the year. E3, Anime Expo, PAX, and Indiecade all had some degree of Hawken presence and the reception has been super positive and very encouraging! Those venues were pretty much the first time I could directly interact with people playing the game for the first time, which was so valuable, and a really good morale boost in this final stretch. I have to say, I really enjoyed PAX the most. The vibe was super fun all throughout downtown Seattle, our booth was very crowded every single day, and being open to the public meant it wasn't just industry folk mingling with other developers. I lost my voice from talking to people all day, but all those conversations are what I remember the most. I've been in a bit of a bubble for a very long time, so it was great to meet sound designers and audio geeks from tons of different studios and talk shop! Everyone is a fan of each others' work and it feels like one big team working towards the same goal: Make Fun Games. Since I switch hats between sound and UI, it was pretty humbling for me to get props from the Deadspace UI guy for the Hawken visor UI! I'll definitely remember PAX the most out of all the cons this year - it felt exactly like what a gaming con should be. Some other tidbits: League of Legends is HUGE (seeing all the costumes and the live tournament was super fun), and the Minecraft party was out. of. control: a huge concert venue with open bars for thousands of people all night. Also, Primal Carnage is both addicting and hilarious. I was waiting in line for a while waiting for the guy in front of me to finish playing, until I finally realized it was Khang. We were hooked.
A couple of weddings came and went. First off, congrats to Salim & Tammy - I don't get to see him very much, and it was the first wedding that I've actually been *in* as a groomsman. Getting a chance to talk and catch up reminded me how similar everyone is to how I remember, which is very comforting. It was a fun reunion of sorts (I haven't seen the rest of their family in ages), and best wishes to their future!
Chris and Maurene's Wedding
Secondly, Chris and Maurene got married at a super cool venue in Jalama just north of Santa Barbara. I've known them both for almost as long as they've been dating (and live with them!), so it was a pretty special day. Jamie and I and a couple of Maurene's friends played a live song for their first dance, and it was fun to rehearse it... reminded me of the old band practice days. Hopefully I can find a recording/video of that! Congrats guys, here's to an awesome future full of wonder and merriment!
Kinekt Gear Ring
My birthday came and went, and I was pretty surprised by a couple of amazing gifts this year. Mirae surprised me with a Gear Ring from Kinekt Designs because she remembered me mentioning how cool it was. The funny thing is Maurene also got me one! Poor Kinekt must have thought business was exploding, but alas, one had to be returned.
Bill Nye Hosting the Curiosity Landing
The second surprise was a ticket from Danny to attend a live viewing of the Mars Curiosity rover landing at the Pasadena Convention Center. The event was filled with exhibits from NASA and JPL, as well as tons of presentations from the science community. Bill Nye was our host for the evening, and we also had a great talk from Ann Druyan and Seth MacFarlane discussing the new Cosmos series. Ann was particularly affecting - she's super eloquent, ridiculously passionate about science, and brilliant. Her words about Carl Sagan were very moving, and I wish more people had their character.
Polar Bear at San Diego Zoo
A couple of shots from a couple of local trips Mirae and I took: San Diego and Huntington Gardens. We've been together over a year and I'm super grateful for all our time, but I do wish we could see each other more than once a week. :( Soon... soon!
New Studio Gear
On the music/sound/geek front, much of my recent work has been focused (understandably) on Hawken, and as we've been ramping up I've been expanding my home studio a bit. Gear-wise, almost everything has changed over the last couple of years including my reference monitors, microphones, preamps, and MIDI controllers. One purchase I mulled over for quite a while was a Mackie Control Pro. I've been snubbed by Mackie in the past with my Onyx mixer which lacked any modern OS X integration (and silence on their part), but I just couldn't find a good alternative at this price point with motorized faders. I debated getting an iPad and TouchOSC for its flexibility and cost (and I do use TouchOSC on my iPhone), but I just can't get into touching glass to control faders. I need the tactile feedback if I'm not looking while adjusting values. Anyway, it works pretty well, though I had to modify the Ableton python scripts that interface with the MCU Pro to make the digital scribble strip readout work properly. If anyone's interested in those scripts, let me know and I'll send 'em to you. We just finished up building a Whisper Room at work (pretty fun to build, and amazing that this product exists today!) and I've pretty much replicated my home studio in it, at work. It's a weird parallel dimension, but at least I can work on identical gear at work and at home when taking projects back and forth.
Lastly, this is from our front yard (though the audio is from a recording of rain a while back). I would like some more time with my 7D to experiment with short videos.