Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Long overdue update

My writing has been sparse for the last several months and it's time for me to explain. When I left Nintendo last year I spent my time enjoying the summer, catching up on games, doing interviews, and learning various technologies. I also begin filling this space with my thoughts. Towards the beginning of fall things started getting busier and my list of potential topics grew without a corresponding burst of inspiration. Then I began working again.

I'm now officially a designer at Cranky Pants Games/THQ where I am working on an incredibly fun, super-secret title. I was looking at different companies for a while and I'm glad I hooked up with the talented group over at CPG. I've been working full time since November and it's been a great experience so far. The game is looking great and I get to work with awesome people every day.

While my title has changed I'm leveraging my background as well. While working at Nintendo I did a lot of gameplay programming on Mario vs. Donkey Kong and Metroid Prime Hunters. I worked on areas such as player control, gameplay objects, enemy AI, and boss development. These days I'm not programming so much as prototyping and experimenting. In addition to writing design documentation and thoughtful discussions I look forward to being hands on with the game as much as possible. That's the approach that worked best for teams I've been on.

I'm happy to have firmly established myself in a design track. Engineering is an amazing discipline as well but ultimately I decided that I needed to love engineering for the sake of engineering to truly excel. I didn't get jazzed about new shaders,APIs, and algorithms in the same way as my colleagues. I was always much more interested in getting the controls of Mario down or making the enemies feel right. I also preferred to use tools that were more abstract than the programming languages I'd become accustomed to. I definitely enjoy design for the sake of design. In fact, when I go to GDC my tendency is to mostly attend design talks with a smattering of production and engineering lectures. I'm looking forward to bringing some great gameplay to our super-secret title. And to updating my blog..