It’s August and that means it’s time to start the final prep work for Dragon*Con. I’ll be working staff again this year. If you are going, drop by the MMO Track (we own the Sheraton and can always be found in the Savannah room, but at other times will be in the various ballrooms of that hotel) and say “Hi!”
Speaking of the MMO Track, one of about a dozen reasons I haven’t been posting here lately is because I’ve been working on a series of posts for the track website all about what we have in store for the big weekend. The first post is up, six more will follow.
Going along with my last post, I was reminded that the Atlanta Radio Theater Company performs at the con each year. I’ve been having lots of fun listening to other radio shows recently, so I think I’m going to make an effort to see them.
In any event, last year I was sort of a deer in headlights. While I had gone to con for many years, however my first year working it I had lots of fun but I felt like I was always hyper-vigilant, trying extra hard to make sure I didn’t screw up too badly. This year, I know what to expect, so I can relax a little bit. I’m also incredibly excited about our line up. The Darkmoon Faire looks to be awesome, and we’ve got a couple of panels for The Guild (and a marathon viewing of all 4 -maybe 5- seasons). I can hardly wait!
And that isn’t just the title of this blog entry, that’s also the name of this game. Space Pirates And Zombies (S.P.A.Z. for short) is a top down shooter. It isn’t your traditional zombies, but hey, it looks fun.
Right now you can only buy it from Impulse, but hopefully there will be other options (like Steam!) at a later date.
You might have noticed that the last couple of weeks have been filled with half-hearted posts and automated reposts of things I’ve tweeted. Sometimes I just can’t think of anything worth saying, and other times if I think of something worth saying I just can’t find the energy to say it.
Still, at other times, I have something I think is worth saying, but I’ve said it so many times before that I’m running out of new ways to say it without repeating myself. This has been pretty much the reason for my lack of posting lately.
When it comes to game design, I’ve pretty much said the same thing over and over for years now. Games like World of Warcraft are fun, but they do not excite or engage me. I want more story (and by that I mean more put into the world for me to discover and use in my story, not to be confused with clicking through a story someone else wrote – or worse, sitting and watching cut scenes of stories where I don’t even get to participate – in my view EverQuest had more story that most current games), and I want grouping, and I want less focus on levels and gear and racing to the “endgame”, and I want a slower pace that allows me time to interact with other players while playing as opposed to button mashing extravaganzas where I have to stop playing in order to talk to people. And if a game needs to have voice chat it should be in the game, not a 3rd party tool (or ffs integrate some damn controls through your game’s UI so that I don’t have to alt-tab out to join chat with people).
At this point, my gaming talk will probably fizzle out and just be the random post now and again about a game I’m playing or something I’m doing (or if I win the lottery, the game I’m building), so I apologize in advance if the posts I do make don’t interest you. Since I’m no longer motivated to ramble on about game design, I’ve got to seek out other motivations…
I don’t like making predictions, but for fun I’ll make a couple now as I talk about the year to come…
2011 is going to be the best year ever … for someone, and maybe that someone will be you, so get excited at the possibilities!
2011 is going to be the worst year ever … for someone, and on the bright side with the likelihood that the world’s population is going to cross 7 billion at some point in the next twelve months, the odds are totally in your favor that it won’t be you, so get excited at the probabilities!
It’s going to hurt. This year will contain pain, both physical and emotional. From stubbing your toe yet again in the dark on the coffee table that has been in the same place for as long as you can remember yet you still seem to forget that it is there to the soul crushing defeat of realizing that you will be unable to get out of debt, for yet another year, 2011 will be filled to the brim with pains both big and small.
It’s going to feel good. Outside of all the pain, you’ll have a (fairly) happy birthday, and you’ll give some gifts to that make people happy which will make you happy which makes them happy and we will all spiral off into a happiness whirlwind. You will sing (probably when you are alone) and you will dance (probably when you are alone) and you will laugh so hard that you will pee, just a little, in your pants (hopefully when you are alone). 2011 will be full of joy and love and family and friends, and despite all your best efforts to sabotage it, it’s going to be a good one.
Most of all, though, 2011 is going to be a year. Three hundred and sixty-five days of being. I guarantee that at least one of those days will make you lose all hope and at least one of those days will make you feel warm and happy from the tips of your toenails to the hair on your head (or just to your scalp if you don’t happen to have hair on your head). No matter how good it gets, it can’t last forever so don’t forget to plan for rainy days, and no matter how bad it gets, it can’t last forever either so keep an eye out for rays of light.
For myself, in the new year I really don’t have much in the way of goals. I plan simply to keep on keeping on. I exercise a little each day, I eat (mostly) better than I used to, and I write. My only real plan is to just do more of the same. Looking back at last year’s first post:
I went the whole year without gaining back weight, but I didn’t lose any more. While an accomplishment of note, I do need to keep losing, so as I said more of the same. The plan is good, I just need to step it up a notch.
I did get a netbook, and I did write more. I won the NaNoWriMo (though was disappointed in the win). I do watch less TV shows, but it hasn’t really turned into more writing. I need to work on that last bit.
I didn’t finish any of my coding projects, but I made progress. Mostly, my business efforts in the last year resulting in redoing the website, fixing the forums and theme, and putting out the first draft of our first service that I’ve given absolutely no publicity to (I didn’t even blog about it). I was very nervous about that, hence the no publicity, but simply having it out there makes me feel better.
And I did clean up the yard. In fact, we plowed up a huge chunk of it and planted new grass, which has come in quite nicely. I’m no longer ashamed of my backyard. Also, we cut down one tree, and my next door neighbor is having a crew take down some others between our houses. It is inspiring enough that this year I might actually finish clearing the back yard.
As you can see, I really mean it. For the next year I just want to stay level or do more of what I’m already doing. No need to break new ground or start new ventures. No need to radically change my life. So I don’t have much in the way of resolutions this year except to make a concerted effort not to backslide.
Finally, as this first morning of the year approaches noon and moves on into late day and onward into the rest of the year, I leave you with this one piece of advice, the single best paraphrasing of the Golden Rule ever conceived: Be excellent to each other.
Each year at Dragon*Con, I like to think I notice things that can make the next year better. So, here is what I got from this year.
Costumes do, in fact, make things more fun.
I’ve been going to Dragon*Con, off and on, for … a lot of years. I know the first year I went was after high school (graduated in 1992) but before leaving college (graduated 1998). I’ve been about a dozen times and before this year the closest I’ve come to wearing a costume is to wear a t-shirt relating to something in fandom. This year, however, I put on a tattoo shirt, one of those mesh things that makes it look like you have a full chest, back and sleeves of tattoos. So simple, and yet it was the start of about a dozen dozen conversations. That shirt will be making an appearance next year, and I’ve resolved that I will have a costume for every day next year. I’ve said that before, but this time I mean it.
Food in the room doesn’t have to be crap.
In previous years, the wife and I have brought down snacks and sandwich stuff (peanut butter & jelly, cold cuts and condiments), but this year we had a George Foreman Grill and hotdogs. Next year we’ll probably expand that to burgers, both beef and veggie, and maybe more. The biggest revelation, however, was that we didn’t have to actually bring down food. There are two Publix stores within easy reach of the hotels that we could just hit up for supplies after getting downtown. Next year, when we get down there on Thursday, we’ll just make a store run rather than haul all that stuff with us.
Bitter people are going to be bitter.
Some folks apparently like to be angry. They’ve decided they hate something (even if it is entirely hypocritical) and not a thing you can say will change their mind. Once you have identified a bitter person who is entrenched in their bitterness, just walk away. And if you can’t walk away, try to steer the conversation toward something that will make them walk away or at least to something they aren’t bitter about.
Working staff can be fun.
I imagine that working registration and dealing with people who hate you because they blame you for the long line has got to suck. But working a track can be an absolute blast if a) the rest of the staff is cool, b) the track is something you are interested in, and c) you don’t mind missing large chunks of the con. Now, this may be my opinion and entirely biased, but the MMORPG Track staff is definitely cool. And I love MMORPGs. And I’ve been coming to con enough that I’m not really “missing” those chunks as much as I’ve seen them before. Besides, the con is practically 24/7, so there is always time to see the sights. Anyway, I had an absolute blast and look forward to working staff again next year.
Internet access is highway robbery unless you do something about it.
Every year at con, I always want to be able to check email or browse the net, or even post my blog entries. The host hotels typically charge around $12 to $15 per day for access. This year, I was pointed toward Boingo. If you happened to be staying in or spending lots of time in the Marriott Marquis, then signing up for Boingo’s $9.95 a month plan right before con and then cancelling it after is far far cheaper than paying the Marriott prices. I don’t know if there are equivalents for the other hotels, but I tend to always stay in the Marriott. I usually end up spending $60 on Internet access during con, so spending $10 instead was a nice savings.
And that appears to be all that I learned at this year’s con.
I loved the first film. I liked the second one a lot. The third one was fun, but I had some issues with it. I’d make a comment about downward trends, but who would I be fooling? No one. Of course I’m going to go see this movie. It’s zombies, it’s action, and it’s in 3D – and that’s all I need to know. Now, the only question is who will I go see this with?
Do I even have to say, “No”? I shouldn’t have to, but I will. No.
Charlie St. Cloud:
This movie isn’t getting good reviews. The few good ones call it a sentimental tearjerker, so if you are into those sorts of films, perhaps you’ll enjoy it. For me, I don’t mind the tearjerkers, but I’m not going to pay $10 for this. Someday the wife and I will watch it on Netflix.
Dinner for Schmucks:
I don’t think I could do it. If my boss told me to come to a dinner and bring an idiot for us to make fun of, I’d probably start looking for another job. However, watching other people do it? That’s comedy! To be honest, I went in to the screening I saw of this movie expecting it to be stupid, but it managed to be funny, heartwarming and creepy. At moments it was downright hilarious. You could easily find worse ways to spend your hard earned money.
I loved the original film. I loved the sequel. I even liked the two AvP movies despite their flaws. This movie just looks like a lot of fun. I like most of the actors, and Robert Rodriguez and even Nimród Antal. I’ve already made plans to go see this with a bunch of friends, which is exactly how you should see a movie like this. I have hopes that this movie will be great, but even if it sucks it will still end up being pretty good, if you know what I mean.
I managed to get a pass to a free screening of this movie. I took the wife and a couple of friends, and we all loved it. It was fun. It was heart warming in all the right places. It had kid humor. It had jokes for the adults (and better yet, the jokes were subtle enough that your kids won’t be scratching their heads because they don’t get it because they probably won’t even notice them). But hands down, the minions stole the show. Those little yellow guys make this movie totally worth the price of admission. This movie is available in 3D, and we saw it in 3D, but I’d say the 3D isn’t required. Only a handful of scenes really benefit from it and none of them would hurt if it was gone. Well, okay, there is one part that is worth the 3D. When the movie ends, stay, as there are a few scenes sprinkled through the credits, and they abuse the hell out of the 3D.