NO REASON TO SLEEP OVER

Last evening, a coworker and I were on the patio on a break, enjoying the view of North Vancouver. One of the security dudes joined us before his shift started. As he lit up a smoke, he told us a few days ago, they found one of Need For Speed guys sleeping in the 19th floor lounge. They told him he wasn’t supposed to be working that hard and sent him home for a full day of rest.

It’s true, no one should be working that hard. Granted, if the game has to go out the door on Monday and you find a crash bug on Sunday night, that might call for last second heroics. Keep in mind though, that happens maybe once or twice a project. NFS isn’t even supposed to be shipping soon, so was there really a need to sleeping at the studio? Maybe there were some details I wasn’t privy too.

Even though I put in crazy hours, I always go home at night to my own bed. I never think about staying the whole night to work nor do I think it’s even a remotely good idea to sleep on a couch somewhere. Plus, where exactly would I sleep actually? The one couch that I can think of is right in front of the security desk. Look at the pictures of the studio, there’s nothing that even resembles a bed!

THE FIGHT FOR CABS

It never ceases to be interesting working for a large video game company that is located in downtown Vancouver. We’re almost done skate, we’ve got good press, the rest of the company is behind us (and that starts from the CEO all the way down), and we’ve already got a lot gamers onboard. As such, we’re putting in the final bits of OT and that includes working pretty late on weekends.

Tonight was the first fireworks night on the weekend and downtown was jam-packed. Two designers and I went for a slice of pizza just before 10pm and it wasn’t too bad. It was a different story after 10:30pm. From about 11pm onto about 1am, there was a line-up for the Skytrain at Waterfront Station that extended probably at least a long city block. That was just to get inside the station.

At 1am, three of us realized we’d probably would need to start calling for cabs now if we wanted to get home anytime soon. Jordan got a jump on us and snagged a cab first. That left Arnel and I to wait in the lobby. Arnel’s cab came next and he got in right quick. About 10 seconds behind his cab was another one, which I thought was mine. This guy was just about to pull in front of the building when for some reason, he pulled a quick turn and went to the corner across from me to let this other couple in. I got annoyed and I ran out to the cab against a red light. By the time I got there, the lady had already gotten in. I yelled at the driver.

“Wait, what are you doing? This is a corporate account. I called you guys twenty minutes ago. Why did you pick up a flag fare?”

The driver just shrugged and pointed at the couple who were now firmly entrenched in his cab. He drove off, leaving me to think he was probably an idiot that preferred Deer Hunter games anyways.

I crossed the street back to the lobby and sat on one of the armchairs in the waiting area. I was going to have to call for another cab but it had already taken me 20 minutes of being on hold to get the first one. It was then I noticed a group of about four or five young people who had sat down on the steps outside the building. They were probably in their late teens. They sat quitely, chatting amongst themselves. They also didn’t appear to be drunk, which was really suprisingly or perhaps I’m just old and cranky now.

Anyways, it took me another good 10-15 minutes to get through to the cab company. When I did, I didn’t mince my words.

“Your driver picked up a flag fare right at my corner. He left me here.”

“He didn’t pick you up? Geez… he is going to suspended. Ok, I’m sending you another cab.”

The dude then asked me for my name but he didn’t ask me where I was going. I looked up and the group of young people were still sitting on the steps. At the intersection, a cab with its light on was slowly rolling up. It wasn’t the company I was looking for, so I didn’t care. The group on the steps saw the cab and started waving to it. They got up to go to the corner. Unfortunately for them, the cab didn’t stop but they remained on the corner. Crap, they were waiting for a cab… right on the corner where my cab was coming. I was hoping this wasn’t going to be a problem.

Five minutes went by before I saw the Vancouver Taxi stop at the light. He was in the left hand turn lane, so I knew he was going to drive by the building. The teenagers started waving at him. I exited the building and tried to make eye contact with the driver. The teenagers all had their backs to me so they didn’t see me behind them.

The light turned and the driver made his turn, slowly pulling up to the curb. I began to walk to the curb, about 15 feet down from where the teenagers were. The kids really thought he was going to stop for them. He glided slowly by them and I got to the curb at exactly the right moment.

“You Erwin?”

“Yes, I am.”

I got in and leaned out the window.

“I’m really sorry. I’m just trying to get home from work.”

I must have sounded like the most insincere sumbitch but it was the honest truth. I mentioned to the driver that I had just finished a 14 hour day. Ok, so it was more like 13 hours but who’s counting?

He pulled a u-turn and as we passed the kids, he yelled out at them.

“He just finished a fourteen hour day!”

He laughed and one of the kids said something back that I didn’t hear but it didn’t sound mean or angry. I felt really bad. They did seem like some decent folk who were just trying to get home after fireworks. The fact they didn’t seem drunk made it worse for some reason. I couldn’t care less about some drunken morons trying to get home from the bar but these people weren’t like that.

He already knew I was going to Port Moody, which was weird since I didn’t tell the operator guy where I was going. Did they have my info on file now?

Anyways, my cabbie turned out to be an interesting guy. He’s been both cocaine and heroined addicted. He also freely admitted to having procured prostitutes in the past. He also told me about the women he sometimes meets on the job. You have to take everything you hear with a grain of salt, but I kinda believed him. We even talked about the video game industry for a bit. Suprisingly, he even knew the biggest flaw that most junior designers have when they first start out… and if you mail me $19.95, I’ll tell you what that is.

The dude was so interesting that at the end of the ride, I tipped him an extra $5 outta my own pocket.

I can’t wait to battle it out for a cab next weekend.

WEDDING CRASHERS

Interestingly, I’ve never seen the movie referenced by the post title. Anyways, here’s a little piece of advice, never ever try to prepare to attend a weddng while finaling a game. In little pieces of half-hours at a time, I’ve managed to buy a suit, take it for alterations, and pick it up. In similar chunks of time, I’ve managed to buy shoelaces, a wedding card, and wedding gift. I even managed to speak to the groom on the phone while on break on the 19th floor patio.

So my suit hangs on a coat rack near the physics programmers area. My shoes, belt and dress shirt are coming with me from home when I go to work tomorrow morning (today if you’re reading this late). The card and gift are at my desk.

Sometime around 4pm tomorrow, I’m planning on putting all that together, then heading off to a friend’s place in Yaletown where we’ll make the 1.5 hr drive out to Chilliwack.

I know I’ll look haggard to everyone when I get to the wedding. Oh well.

JUMPING SPIDER MATING RITUAL

I know many people find spiders icky but this video was too interesting to pass up. It shows a male jumping spider participating in an elaborate mating ritual. He is attempting to impress the female so that she will allow him to mate with her. Apparently, the audio has been enhanced to allow us to hear the sounds he makes during his “song and dance”.

LIKE TAILOR MADE

I got my suit back from the tailor’s today after dropping it off for alterations. I tried it on and it fit perfect, like they had made it to measure. I’ve never owned a suit that fit that well and like I said before, it’s night and day compared to the frumpy thing I bought in 1997. It’s actually quite ridiculous how bad that old suit is. Maybe one day, I’ll take pictures of myself in it.

A COMMENT ON CHOCOLATE

I should really be sleeping right now. Oh well.

I’ve stopped eating milk chocolate. Not that I really ate a lot of chocolate anyways. Guys don’t really eat chocolate in the quantities that women do, at least that’s what Cosmo (the magazine, not the seemingly racist neighbour) would have you believe.

No, I’ve switched to dark chocolate because people keep telling me it’s healthier for you. I used to think dark chocolate was too bitter but my aging body has developed a taste for it.

And that’s my comment on chocolate.

I'LL CELEBRATE WHEN IT'S DONE

IGN named the game I’m working on as the best sports title shown at E3 this month. While it’s nice, it’s only one website’s opinion, albeit it’s a pretty well-read one. If you looked at Gametrailer’s “best of” lists, they named Madden 08 the sports game of the show. According to IGN though, we beat out not only Madden 08 but another game called Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground. It’s nice to get recognition but the real big prize is how the finished game does in the reviews. No one remembers E3 awards, it’s the game that we put on the shelves that counts. To put into perspective again, one game I worked on was given the title of best mobile RPG at E3. Shadow-Born never saw the light of day.

One final note, the Xbox 360 demo for skate went out the door this week. It’ll be a few weeks of certification, then if all goes well, it should be available for download in mid-August.

COPS IS FILMED ON LOCATION

What a late night at work! I left just before midnight and there still lots of people still at the studio. In a bit of consolation, there was a bit of junk food being passed around and a producer was giving away skate clothing.

Anyways, on the way home, my cab passed by an accident scene just outside of the downtown core. A van was sandwiched between at least six police vehicles. Some were behind it, others in front, and still more from the side. It was clearly the site of the end of a police pursuit. The front of the van had been bashed in, no doubt having contacted the front of police cars at some rate of speed. All the windows of the van had been broken, either by the crash or by police means.

I bet it was a crazy scene when it all went down. I bet the police drew their guns when the van came to a rest. I would have liked to have seen that. It probably looked like this.

SUITED

Well, I now own two suits, both from Banana Republic. Before we go on, let’s acknowledge I probably paid more for a suit than I should have. If I had the time, I probably could have shopped around and found a similar looking suit for less money. I work crazy hours as you know, so the fact that I was able to find, try on, and purchase a suit in about fifteen minutes is quite impressive. I don’t recommend such a tight timeframe however.

The suit kinda looks like this. In fact, I think that might be the exact one. Anyways, as soon as I put on the 40S coat, I knew it was going to be a better fitting suit than my old one. Man, that old thing made me look like a clown. It was, for a lack of a better term, a clown suit. It was just way too big for me.

This new one is much slimmer in fit and I think for the first time in my entire life, I might actually look good in a suit.

To end this post, I’ll make a cryptic comment. I have made very indirect contact with Tracy Tang. No, not my sister. If that confuses you, I’ll explain soon in another post. Strangely enough, my sister will understand. Tracy, she knows about us!