For the upcoming dreary and grey Vancouver fall and winter, I’ve decided to spring into action. I think all of us have felt kinda “bleh” when it’s all rainy and dark on the west coast. While moving to Hawaii would probably solve that, I’ve decided on a cheaper alternative.

I’ve decided replace the lighting at my desk with a full spectrum light bulb. While I don’t think I fall under the classic definition of suffering from SAD, there are some days when I only feel like eating one doughnut because of the lack of sunlight.

If you think about it, modern human beings are outside a lot less compared to our early ancestors. In the winter, we get up before the sun has fully risen and spent all day inside at work. When it’s time to leave, the sun has already gone down, and we arrive at home in darkness. That can’t be good but here in Vancouver, we do this months at a time.

So, as an experiment, I purchased a 15W full spectrum bulb which gives off the equivalent amount of light from a regular 40-6oW bulb. These type of bulbs are said to closely recreate the same lighting conditions as if you were outside at noon on a clear day. Such bulbs also emit light that covers all wavelengths of the visible spectrum.

The first time I turned on the lamp, it was amazing how white the light was. I’m not talking about brightness but just how pure the light was. Looking around, I was shocked at how “yellow” the lighting was around the studio. In sharp contrast to the full spectrum bulb, everything else was bathed in this “yellow” glow.

The benefits of using this new bulb are supposed to be less eye strain, more attentiveness, better emotional well-being, and better sleep patterns at night. That’s quite the list for a single bulb but it certainly can’t hurt to try.

Of course, the bulb burnt after the second hour it was on, well short of the 10 000 hour rating. I phoned the distributor and they’re sending me a replacement in the mail. Today, I had to go back to my regular lighting which seems quite different now.

I’ll let you know if I become the cheeriest guy at the studio.


At least in North America, today was the first day that the general public could buy Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground. Even though, at least in my opinion, skate. and THPG come at skateboarding in completely different directions, both the media and the gaming public have pitted each game against each other in some fierce competition. In reality, I hope there is room in the marketplace for two skateboarding games, one offering a more realistic experience while the other goes for a more over the top style.

It’s interesting to note however, that there has been very little marketing for THPG. Behind Guitar Hero, I would guess Hawk has been Activision’s best money-maker. Given that, you’d think that Activision would have cranked up the hype machine right up to a feverish pitch to coincide with this week’s release date. At least to me, this appears to have not happened. There is the obligatory web site but that’s standard. Activision also released a demo (which didn’t include a lot of anticipated features). They apparently aired one commercial during the Monday Night football game. A few web sites got to play THPG but these previews were published at the tail end of the summer. It’s actually almost eerie how quiet things have been in the Hawk camp for the last several weeks. For something that’s the perennial blockbuster, why go silent for weeks before and including launch?

It’s possible that Activision is trying something new and keeping the hype to a minimum and just letting the game (and the demo) speak for itself. I’m not a marketing guy but something tells me that’s not the reason.

The most interesting thing about all of this is the lack of reviews for THPG. The standard operating procedure for game development is to release review copies of a game to web and print publications days or even weeks in advance of the launch. The reason for this is to have these reviews ready for consumers to read on or before the big day. So if on Tuesday, I read that game XYZ got seven reviews with 9/10, I’ll lean towards getting XYZ since reviewers have played it and liked it. It’s usually a good idea to get your game out early to reviewers because for the most part, it will help sales.

So back to THPG now. As of early Wednesday morning, there are no reviews of THPG anywhere online. You can check Metacritic and GameRankings but neither site has anything. The word on the street is that Activision did not send out any review copies to any reviewers. Now they might have but embargoed the reviews until later this week. I really don’t know what this means and all I can do is speculate which I won’t do here. Is this a good sign or a bad one? Who knows at this point?

All of this could be moot by next week however. If seven days pass and THPG sells 100K copies on next-gen then no one will really care about reviews. Or the reviews will come in (and they will) and nothing but praise will be showered upon THPG, thus leading to massive sales.

What happens, this is a very interesting week and I look forward to every twist and turn! In the end, I hope there’s room for everyone up top.


After finishing the fantastic BioShock, I’ve put a new game in my Xbox 360. Entitled The Darkness, you start off as a low-level mobster trying to make sense of a hit gone bad.

Early on the in the game I acquired an Xbox achievement worth ten points that was unlike any other achievement I had seen. Achievement points are awarded in every Xbox 360 game and are given for completing specific game tasks. They usually are handed out for passing a level or killing a certain amount of enemies.

This time around, however, was different. Early on, your avatar visits his girlfriend at her new apartment. Jenny gives you a message left by a friend of yours and you’re to call him. After you read the message, Jenny motions for you to sit on the couch with her because she wants to watch some TV. If you sit down with her it turns into a fairly realistic simulation of what it’s like to sit on a couch and watch TV with your girlfriend (or so I’ve been told… ha!). You start off sitting side-by-side but as time goes on, she’ll lean over and you guys hold hands. Then she’ll put her head on your shoulder and she’ll give you a kiss.

Now all this time, you’re able to press the “A” button to get up and leave. Now if you remain on the couch, however, Jenny will eventually mention how tired she is and she’ll fall asleep on your lap. Aww… cute. Anyways, once she’s asleep, you’ll be awarded the “Romantic” achievement, worth ten points and described as “real men stick around for their ladies”. If you get up early, you’re just a dork and you’ll get no such points.

I’ve received hundreds upon hundreds of points for winning car races, killing Nazis, discovering treasure, and all sorts of crazy stuff but this is the first time I’ve gotten points for just being a good boyfriend.

Incidently, the TV watching portion is pretty neat too. When Jenny turns on the TV, she puts it on a channel that’s showing To Kill a Mockingbird with Gregory Peck. Because this movie is in the public domain, the developers were able to include the entire film with the game. So, it’s entirely possible to watch the whole movie in Jenny’s apartment.


So what you’re seeing above is the signage for my chain of lobster restaurants in the fictional city of San Vanelona, which is the setting for the game skate. In the early summer, one of the artists came around asking some of the programmers if we wanted our names emblazoned on some city signs. I said yes of course.

We couldn’t choose what our names would be associated with but we were able to give suggestions. I think I chose some sorta fruit stand for whatever reason. That seems pretty stupid now. I’m glad they gave me a lobster restaurant instead because I love lobster. I also like how it’s simply “the place for lobster”.

So if you’re ever skating along the cobblestones of the Old Town district, keep an eye out for San Van’s best place for lobster!


Two interesting things happened at work today. The first was that a whole tray of chocolate cupcakes with frosting was delivered to out kitchen area today. The second was my employer decided to purchase two game studios for a total of $855 million. Those cupcakes were delicious! They weren’t as good as the ones you find those cupcake stores but still not bad.

So yeah, EA decided to buy Bioware and Pandemic. Of course, gamers instantly assumed the worst and predicted that EA will run both companies into the ground somehow. Maybe they have a point but maybe they don’t but I’m going to think positive. From at least a personal point of view, this is good because I’m assuming I’ll be getting cheap Bioware and Pandemic now. Mass Effect at discount! W00t!

In keeping with the personal theme, I guess this makes Zoe and I coworkers again. Zoe and I worked together on Sonic Rivals. I took off to work on skate. Zoe just recently took a job at Pandemic down in Brisbane.

The cupcakes were all gone by the end of the day.


In recent days, the Internets were all a-tizzy about the 21 foot scale model of the X-Wing that actually launched in the air with the aid of rocket motors. It got a lot of attention for something that flew for all of about three seconds and then promptly disintegrated so much like Red Leader.

What most people don’t know was that there was also a Y-Wing present at the same event and its launch was much more successful. If you look at the high quality video of the Y-Wing launch on this page, you’ll a much more impressive display. Yes, the Y-Wing did lose its nose after liftoff but it flew higher and longer. It even had time to deploy its parachute, ensuring the majority of the Y-Wing landed somewhat safely.

Give props to the Y-Wing guys!


In an earlier post, I mentioned how all the washrooms (except for one) on the floor that I work on were undergoing renovations. That meant that close to a hundred people had to wait on a single washroom that served one person at a time.

After over a month of reno time, the washrooms were re-opened today. Keep in mind, over the course of the last four weeks, about two of them went by where no work was being conducted. As I stepped into the men’s washroom for first time in nearly two months, it was very evident they could have most likely done the same work in about a week and a half. They changed the floor tiles, painted the ceiling white, and added a new light in the stall area. That’s all the work they did. Everything else was the same. How does it take nearly two months to do that?

As a reminder that things have changed, a tile near the door is now jamming against the washroom door, so when anyone opens it, the door makes this loud screeching sound. Awesome.

Good job Cadillac Fairview!


Though I probably fall into the perfect demographic, I actually don’t watch the NBC show Heroes. It’s interesting to see, however, that actress Kristin Bell is now on the show for a few episodes. Bell is coming off Veronica Mars which was unfortunately cancelled last season.

The picture above is from filming last week where Bell and Hayden Panettiere were in a scene. More pictures can be found here. There’s nothing special (no spoilers) about the pics, except for perhaps one where the two actresses look like they’re about to make out.