Posted by MrTact on Jul 27, 2007 in Uncategorized
I got this email today:
Hi Tim – Just a quick note to let you know that although the polls officially close today, we’re confident that your submission will make it into the People’s Choice track. We have it scheduled for Thursday September 6th from 11-12.
Thanks to everyone that voted for me!
Oh, crap, now I actually have to finish the damn thing . . .
P.S. Also? My D&D; character came within millimeters of horrible, horrible death (was infected with zombie disease, knocked down to -9, had to stabilize within 1 round and was 5 rounds from standing up and attempting to mack on my group’s brains). Pulled it out of the fire, just barely, so woohoo, team!
Posted by MrTact on Jul 21, 2007 in Uncategorized
I wanted the final Harry Potter book; wanted it now, stamping my little foot exactly like Veruca Salt. But standing in line for three hours at midnight, surrounded by the berobed, bespectacled and be-wanded? Not so much. My dignity was at stake. I’m umpty-ump years old, and those people are nerds.
(For a movie? Sure, that’s an inherently social experience, and standing in line only adds to it. But standing in line to get a book that I’m then going to take home and read by myself is just moronic.)
Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem. I would just go the following morning when the bookstores reopened. I know they’ll have ordered eleventy-hojillion of the things, so availability wouldn’t be a concern. However, this wasn’t really an option. The morning of, we were leaving the house at 7 AM to go to SeaWorld for the day, followed by a Cub Scout overnight in the park. I resigned myself to having to go and do the midnight thing after all; no way was I going to wait until Sunday afternoon, allowing some jackass to ruin it for me.
Then I had an idea. It remained my plan up until July 19th: go to Wal-Mart. Surely there wouldn’t be long lines there — nobody’s that dumb! (Except me, I guess.) Only there was this niggling thought in the back of my head — too obvious. Sure enough, after the fact, I found out that (BIG SPOILER ALERT) it would have been a bad idea.
So I concocted a new plan: I learned that my local Randall’s store (a Safeway-owned grocery chain) would have copies of the book at launch day, and they would be open at 6. Ah-ha! I would get up early, go to Randall’s, buy the book and some dramamine, and read it in the car on the way to SeaWorld. Brilliant! I would get the book a mere couple of hours later than the schmucks who waited in line
The alarm went off at 6 AM. My wife, already awake (prepping for SeaWorld, remember) said “It’s 6:00″. Redundancy, that’s the key to a successful plan. I leapt out of bed; I am not a morning person at all but if a new Harry Potter book came out every day I’d never be late to work.
Drove down the street (more or less) to the Randall’s (drive drive drive), pulled into the parking lot and what did I see? About 5 cars. Yes! Brilliant! I jumped out of my car and ran to the door, and as I entered the store I saw that it was practically vacant. Brilliant! I crossed to the books area, up front near the register, and what did I see?
Not one copy of the book.
I am thrown by this, but not all the way off the horse. OK, it was early, I could see they were stocking stuff, maybe they just hadn’t cracked open their inventory yet. I decided to give them a few minutes to get to it before I started kicking someone’s ass . . . maybe my own. I went to grab the Dramamine. Inevitably it takes me ten minutes to find whatever I’m looking for in that place anyway.
Next stumbling block: no Dramamine. No motion sickness meds of any kind whatsoever. And I need it, too. When I was a kid, I could read Dune (the old paperback edition with about a 30 degree bend to the spine and little tiny cramped type) with my head bouncing off the metal frame of the school bus window. Nowadays? Read one article in the paper and bleaugh!
I was frustrated, as you might imagine. But undaunted! I had just made up my mind to go talk to someone about where the hell my book was when I spotted generic Safeway motion sickness stuff. Score! Then I had another genius insight: the door I came in was the side door, not the main one. If they were going to have a display of the book, they might have put it at the other end of the store.
Indeed, as I ran down there, I saw they had about 20 copies of the book in the middle of — get this — a giant castle made of Coke. As if I was going to look at the book and go “That’s right, reading is thirsty work. I better grab a case of Coke Zero.” I picked up my copy of the book, skipped the Coke, checked out and headed home.
Total round trip time: 30 minutes. I would call the plan a success. I read roughly the first 150 pages on the trip to Seaworld, grabbed a few pages here and there during downtime in the overnight program, and finished it reading by booklight at 1:30 the following morning, tucked away in my sleeping bag in the shark tank at SeaWorld.
Posted by MrTact on Jul 19, 2007 in Uncategorized
Ken wrote many episodes of MASH and is a cocreator of the series Cheers, among other things. His blog is consistently entertaining and usually pretty funny. His channeling of Sam Kinison knocked it out of the park for me, though, mandating a link.
Hey, linking to another blog with a short comment! I am is an REAL blogger!
PS, have you voted for my talk yet? What about your friends? Did you make them vote? Here’s that link again, in case you lost it. (Thanks to all of you who have, by the way! I’m keeping pace with Mark Jacobs, so maybe I’ve got a shot!)
Posted by MrTact on Jul 17, 2007 in Uncategorized
Killing two birds with one stone here — I am both responding to Speedman’s complaint that I haven’t updated in a while, and pimping my AGC talk.
I haven’t been updating because I had expected by this time to have something to talk about with Heatwave. Surprise surprise, there’s nothing to talk about yet. We’re still at the funds-seeeking stage; although we keep getting good referrals and having good meetings, nothing tangible has happened yet. Once we’re funded and able to start working on our own title, though, Anthony and I have discussed switching over to a collective Heatwave blog, where he and I (and maybe some of the other members of the team) regularly update on the process of development. We thought this would be interesting, particularly for folks who want to make games but are not in the industry. What do you think? Comment form is below, God (& Blogger.com) willing.
About my talk: I submitted a proposal to give a talk at AGC this year. The talk is called Dupes, Speed Hacks and Black Holes: How Players Cheat in MMOs. It’s a hands-on look at actual problems I encountered on Ultima Online, what caused them, and how we fixed them. The talk is not in the bag — they are doing something new this year, called “People’s Choice”. Instead of deciding what talks to feature at the show, they have set up an online poll to let participants vote. I applaud the idea, though I don’t think they’ve done a very good job communicating it (if I had read their newsletter, I would have known about it, but the TOC didn’t make it clear what this was and so I hit delete). So: if you’re going to GDC, and you’d like the opportunity to heckle me, go sign up and vote before July 27. Even if you’re not going to vote for my talk, you should still do it — help pick the lectures that you want to see at this year’s conference.