Thursday, March 9, 2017

Getting ready for the big demo.

Last week was the big Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. We sent two of our teammates there to pitch our game to 12 publishers. It sounds like we got a very positive response and now we are preparing to send a playable demo to those publishers for them to evaluate. If publishers like our game they may be willing to provide us with funding to increase the scope of the game as well as assistance with releasing and marketing the game. Right now we are working hard to get the game into an acceptable state to send to publishers. We intend to send out the playable demo on Monday March 13th. From there we will have to wait. Within a month we should have a good idea of whether our game will get picked up by a publisher. I've never worked so hard before in my life, but it feels good working towards a clear goal. It is also very motivating knowing that if we do well, good things will happen directly to us. I think everyone should try working on a small project like this at least once during their career.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Continuing to make video games for a living.

I'm continuing to work on the game as I settle in to my new life in Japan. I still haven't gotten my working visa (don't tell the government) so I'm still on a tourist visa, but that should get taken care of in the next few weeks. My working hours continue to make it difficult to photograph during the weekday. It's also been a while since I worked up the courage to go out and ask people if I can take their portrait. Though that kind of photography is a bit scary at first, the results have been my favorite photos so far. If you haven't seen my street portrait work, you can find it here:

In general I haven't been taking many photos recently. I've really been enjoying my work and I have a sense that if I put in the time to improve my skills I could go on to do more and more interesting things. It seems to me that most people in the video game industry are doing it because they love it and so are willing to work really hard to make their dream a reality. Because of this, to stand out in programming, or any other aspect of video game creation, you have to be really good at what you do. I often think about how many of these people could take their skills to other industries and make a fortune. But they chose video games because they would rather do what they love for a living than make lots of money doing something they don't care about. I don't think I could have imagined ending up in this position when I was a little kid playing games on my family's Power Mac. Every day I try to be thankful for the many opportunities I had the chance to take that led me to where I am now.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

For the modern Buddhist.

I see this rather large sign every day on my way to work. The main text translates to "A life with a Buddhist altar" It's common for Japanese households to have a 仏壇, a household altar. This company is advertising altars with a modern design. In fact the text in the red square reads "Modern 仏壇" Where there's a need, someone is bound to fill it.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

My Favorite View

One of the most noticeable landmarks in Amemura is a scale replica of the statue of liberty set atop a 10 story building. Though a meetup I was fortunate to meet a guy from Australia who rents out the top floor of that building. I get to hang out there sometimes. From his balcony you can see the main gathering spot in Amemura where I sometimes go to photograph interesting people. It would be nice if I could move to this area someday. This area is also fairly close to where I work. I really don't care for having a long commute.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Seeing a fat bike again.

Walking around Amemura the other day I came across a well-used fatbike. I remember they were popular the last time I was here 3 years ago. For that reason I bought my own fatbike  when I got back to the US. It was a real pain to use and eventually it got stolen, but even seeing one now, I must admit I think they look pretty cool.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Making Video Games for a Living

It's really happening. I'm getting paid to work on a video game while living in Japan. I must admit it feels good when I tell people what I do for a living and they immediately want to know more. It's definitely the most interesting work I have done so far. The sorts of problems I encounter on a daily basis are much more satisfying to solve than what I encountered working as a web developer. The other day I had to use calculus to solve a programming problem. This would never occur working on a web site.
The work schedule is a bit harsh. I typically leave for work at 9am and get home around 9pm. This won't always be the case. We have a major deadline coming up in the next few weeks and if we can make it, the chances of our game succeeding increase dramatically. I feel motivated like never before to push hard and do a good job. I have a sense that a little bit of struggle now could result in a lot of cool things happening to my career in the future. This certainly isn't the life for everyone. I'm currently making about 1/6th of what I was making in the US, but my daily life is much more enjoyable than it was back then. It kind of feels like I switched my life from easy to hard mode, but it's really thrilling.
I haven't been photographing much recently, but after the big deadline I should have a chance to catch my breath and spend some time on my hobbies.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Stay within the lines.

Recently I was in need of some blank paper for an art project. I decided to walk down to the nearest convenience store as they seem to have everything. I found they had an impressive selection of stationary, but what they didn't have was paper without any lines on it. They had all kinds of lined paper for various casual and official purposes, but not a single piece of free-form blank paper.
I went to another, slightly farther convenience store and found the same thing. I'm sure I'll be able to find blank paper somewhere, but I thought this was humorously symbolic of Japanese culture as a whole. Why would you need to draw outside the lines?