Thursday, July 29


It's no secret that I'm operating under fairly desperate parameters. But sometimes I really wonder about my luck. In case you are confused by the link, it seems that because of my circumstances (claiming three welfare payments and my University government loan) my tax return hasn't come through despite submitting it about a month ago. It goes on to say they supposedly have been processing them from the 20th of July, but then you can expect to wait a few weeks even without the massive backlog. I really wanted to have that money to reassure me before attempting the August leg of my trip (where I travel up the coast meeting american gamers and living with them). I don't really feel secure with only a few thousand in the bank. Even walking around Sand Diego without Luke was a little scary. It's one thing to be around the world with a friend and quite another to be there alone.

Luke seems to have epic luck. While we were in San Diego we found a cheap hotel on the day of Comic Con, trains left just after we boarded and lines were just long enough to get us into panels. I am hesitant to leave without at least a lock of his hair.

A message from my dad reads "It seems you are having a dream run. Make the most of it. It may be time to look for a job." You have to dig deep to find the heart; even on the other side of the planet he has me feeling guilty about my holiday, my state of unemploy and my lack of self confidence in regards to my art. My fiancee also pressed me about contacting games studios. I feel like listing my current feelings on the trip right now:

1) While I still have a few thousand dollars, I am really holding my breath for this tax return. Staying with Luke and Comic Con was initially the entirety of the trip: the vacation part. It has been so good I am hesitant to continue as I am welcome to stay here longer and continue hanging out with Blizzard people.

2) After going to Blizzard and then Comic Con I really got a sense for the level of artwork that will get me a job here and, although I feel sure I am close, I don't think I am quite there yet. I printed off a folio of my latest (and best) work which I am fairly happy with but didn't end up showing it to anyone. The only company doing folio review that I want to work for is Wizards of the Coast, and I know my work isn't ready for them yet. I also know what I need to improve on to get there and I have a contact when I'm ready.

3) Although there are supposedly many games companies around they are actually hard to locate/contact. They seem to make it their business to be immaterial, whether to avoid rabid fans or sad people who keep pestering them for a job. After seeing Blizzard and getting along very well with all the people there I'd love to go back to Australia and really push my skills for a job there. If I'm going to live in the US it'd have to be for a damn good job. Canada is another story, as that is where I'm hoping to find some work. But I'm not there yet am I? I'm in Irvine, without a car. The only things within walking distance are Spectrum Mall and Blizzard Studio.

4) Thus far my filming has been enthusiastic but amateur. I am frequently disappointed with the footage and frustrated by doing it on my own. I can't really put myself into the film the way I wanted because I have to operate the camera. Perhaps the most frustrating part is that I am having an exciting, interesting and successful trip but are failing to capture that on film. Cameramen must develop amazing intuition for what to film and when. My respect for documentarians has also risen.

5) Starcraft 2 just launched...

and it is completely awesome! So far I'm about half way through the story line and I am well impressed. Also a little excited to see that my speculation about the events may actually be accurate. Seriously, I should write these things. It's surreal to see Luke's art right there in the game too. Well done old chap! Well done indeed.

I also smashed out a bit of Alan Wake last night (while Chris struggles to devise a mono-black deck to face off against my Nemesis deck, which we have you to play with) and found it a little off-putting. Not because of the whole writer writing a story about a writer who is writing about the other writer, but because it is immediately tired and frustrating. I'm no fan of Stephen King novels anyway, but I don't think flailing about in the woods can be considered a core 'game mechanic'. I'm also going to go out on a limb and say he killed his wife and it's all more or less in his head but having such a pretentious premise, I'm sure it's much more convoluted whilst simultaneously no more satisfying. Maybe I was just getting frustrated so I didn't have to be scared? The game really does evoke that sense of a nightmare, where your actions seem futile and the lights seem so far away. But in reality I have no fear of the dark, so the games obsession with batteries (of the worst brand I have ever seen) and lights does little for me. I would almost say I'd prefer to watch it than play it, but that's not true.

Hopefully we'll play Castle Crashers again tonight, a game in which the fun is immediate and direct and the emulation isn't so obvious they mention it by name.

No comments: