This afternoon I went to the CIBC branch below where I live to deposit a cheque. I slid my debit card into the ATM and punched in my PIN. The ATM said my card had expired and my card came sliding back out. I was surprised but as I looked at my card, the ATM was correct. My card had expired on the last day of August. We are in the middle of September. I normally don’t use my debit card very much. I pay for almost everything through credit cards that offer me rewards. So, this was the first time I had to use this card since it expired.
Since the bank was closed, I had no one to ask for help. Usually, a bank sends you a new card weeks before it’s supposed to expire but I had received no such card in the mail. I began to wonder if someone had intercepted such a letter and took my card. I recently had examined my bank statements online and saw nothing out of the ordinary.
When I returned home, I phoned CIBC to figure out what was going on. The bank representative was able to look at my file and told me that a “hold/stop mail” flag had been set on my file. It meant that CIBC has flagged me as a client that should not be mailed any correspondence whatsoever. This was a problem. I had not been told such a flag had been set. This flag also prevented me from getting a new card in the mail.
I was told I had two options: get the card mailed to me and wait two weeks for it, or, go to any branch during business hours and get the card immediately. I decided I’d get the card in person. The bank rep also was nice enough to remove the flag from my file so that I would be getting mail from CIBC again. They couldn’t tell me how long my account had been like that, so I’m curious how much mail I’ve missed from CIBC. How very odd.
Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville has been out for about a week now and I’ve been reading a lot of feedback online about the game. Anytime you read something on the Internet about some you made is probably inviting pain to visit you but I can’t help it.
The good news is that everything I worked on has been either praised or not mentioned at all (which is sometimes as good as praise since it means it’s not broken). I spent a significant amount of development time helping the single-player or PvE areas and so far, the response to that from players has been almost universally positive. In the multiplayer areas of the game, I worked on the end-of-round logic, which decides who were the best players after the round, and who did the best on each team. The funny thing is, there’s actually a pretty serious bug with some of that logic and it won’t get fixed until next month but it doesn’t seem like anyone has noticed it or complained about it.
Most of the criticism about our game is in areas that I don’t work in, mostly to do with character balancing (some characters are perceived to be too powerful or not powerful enough). That’s a tall order for our designers to get perfect right out of the gate but they’ve been busy trying to improve things.
Overall, I’m super pleased about the reception to our game. I’ve had some bad games come out, which people hated, so I’m relieved to have a good one for once.
After working hard all summer and putting in a bunch of OT to get Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville out the door, I was told by management that I get a week off at the end of this month. This “comp time” as it’s called is never equal to the amount of OT you put in but it’s better than nothing.
Since I was just told I’d be getting this time off, I don’t really know what I’ll be doing during that time. My initial thoughts are that I just want to do nothing for the whole week. So many of my co-workers are just exhausted from the effort of getting the game done. It’s that exhaustion that can’t be overcome from just a weekend or even a long weekend. I would welcome a whole week of just sleeping in, naps, Netflix, video games, and junk/fast food.
The sky was grey and rainy when I woke up this morning. It rained on my way to work. I wore my rain jacket for the first time in many months. It felt like fall was upon us for the first time. I didn’t mind though. This summer was quite mild, so the transition didn’t seem as harsh or will be as harsh.
I will need to get new shoes soon. The pair of shoes that I’ve worn all spring and summer have holes in them. When the rains return in earnest, with the mini-rivers on the sidewalks, my feet will get soaked. For some reason, I feel like going to get new shoes at an outlet mall somewhere south, where the weather is warmer.
Now that the game I’ve been working on is now done, I am thinking about taking a trip somewhere to relax. I look forward to the beginning of fall.
This week was the first time I was able to use my new vacuum in a real comprehensive manner and it did not disappoint. It sucked up a ton of dirt and dust, so it obviously succeeded in it’s primary function. The machine is just so well engineered though. It’s quieter, lighter, and all the bits and pieces, and buttons are put in logic places. It’s easier to manoeuvre around furniture and it doesn’t make me feel like I’m trying to steer a massive hunk of metal, like my last vacuum did.
All the filters are washable and they’re all easy to access as well. I didn’t really maintain my last vacuum that well but this one, it’s just easier to get that done. I wasn’t the biggest fan of vacuuming before, but this new machine makes the job really palatable.
The game that I’ve been working on for the last three years, Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville, was both simultaneously announced and launched today. This is the first time in my career that I’ve had a game be publicly revealed on the same day it was released. In old days of game development, you’d release a trailer or screenshots a few months to a year before launch, let the public get hyped, gamers would form inaccurate assumptions and unrealistic expectations, and then your game would be mildly received.
We did it differently this time around. We didn’t let the public speculate and make rumours about the game. We let them know the game exists and they could play it immediately. Of course, the Internet being what it is, it didn’t stop a few people from making inaccurate statements about our game, but that’s gamers for ya.
On a personal note, I feel like I had tremendous amount of professional and technical growth while working on this game. I took on a bit more responsibility and learned a massive amount about how the Frostbite engine works. Specific to this new game, I wrote the conversation system that allows players to speak to NPCs in the game. This conversation system will respond to the player differently, depending on what you’ve done in the game. I also wrote the tools that allowed our writers to craft dialogue for the characters in game. I was also responsible for extending the existing system that determines which players did the best in a multiplayer match and then awards them specific boasts at the end, eg. the player with the most assists, healing, or who played the objective the most. I also did a ton of other smaller things in the game.
I’m very proud of my work on this game and I hope that people will derive great joy from playing it.
Tomorrow is a highly anticipated day for me as the project that I’ve been working on for the last three years will have some details released to the public. Over the years, I’ve gotten good at not mentioning the details of the things I work on but it’s tough sometimes, as I want to share the details of what I helped make or what I’ve done.
After tomorrow, I’ll be able to share more of that, so I’m looking forward to it!
A former co-worker of mine, James, (the first designer who I worked with) is currently in Japan and just embarked on an audacious and remarkable journey. He is attempting to hike from Osaka to Tokyo. His route is over 1,500 km.
I am both envious and amazed at his will to do this, as he doesn’t know much Japanese and I’m pretty sure he’s never tried anything this challenging. He is blogging his entire journey and you can follow along with James here. I look forward to seeing every new post.