About this blog
The journal of a GDNet News Editor, IT Analyst and game programming simian.
Entries in this blog
My girlfriend and I got the keys to our first house on Friday. It was somewhat strange walking around the place and finding stuff the previous owners had left behind, which included, amongst other things: a hardhat, 300 cardboard beer coasters and a flashing blue emergency vehicle light that plugs into a car's cigarette lighter socket. We looked in the attic for the first time and discovered it was both boarded and carpeted, which was a nice bonus. I also learned on Saturday that going to DIY stores at the weekend is a special kind of hell.
Of course, now the future is filled with nothing but cleaning, painting, laying laminate flooring and carpets, assembling furniture, etc.
My incentive for finishing all this is that I won't allow myself to play Resident Evil 4 on our new 32 inch flat-screen TV (which is currently sat in its box at my parent's house) until it is all completed...
I've been asked to put together a large website at work. Microsoft Internet Explorer is the only target browser, and I've been asked to use C# and ASP.NET if possible. I'm thinking this sounds like a job for Microsoft Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition, but I've not used it before (nevermind the fact that I'm new to C# and ASP.NET [grin]).
Anyone have any experience with this application? What were your impressions? Any tips?
...about Nintendo's Wii. The console, the games, the price and the features are all looking very special. $250 dollars for a next gen console? Woot!
Today I reached a quarter of a century. Happy Birthday to me!
I think Pipo stumbled across his early Christmas present.
On a totally different subject, I'm really enjoying the work culture of my new job (I've been there 6-7 weeks now). In the past I've worked in positions that were very closely monitored (how you are spending your time, etc). But the analyst world I am now a part of is a very laid back one. Sure, there are crunch times and you are expected to track and take responsibility for your own time, but I could really get used to these days full of meetings, conference calls and the like.
Finally, just an hour ago I was signing some insurance docs that mean I am one step closer to having my first house. Apparently, the surveyors picked up the keys to the property today, so we should have the results of that early next week.
One of the great bonuses of becoming a staff member is that I get the GDNet+ membership along with all of its benefits for free. As I'd already paid up until August '06 that meant I had 4 or 5 months of GDNet+ time going spare.
A cunning plan formed: I contacted the guys in charge and asked if I could transfer this time to someone else on the forums. Mike has kindly obliged.
So, one lucky SOB is going to log on to GDNet to find themselves unexpectedly GD Plussed! [grin]
I've been a staff member on GDNet for 5 days and I didn't break it! Woohoo. Of course, if anyone wants to volunteer, I need to practise suspending and banning. I take my role in the Ministry of Propaganda seriously.
Strike back? In real life, the Empire strikes first...
We put an offer in on the house we like last week and it was accepted. On Thursday we applied for a mortgage and set the solicitor/surveyor wheels in motion. It's a big undertaking and a scary one too. Apparently it takes an average of 6-8 weeks to get from the mortgage application stage to the point where you can sign a bit of paper and get your hands on the deeds (most of which seems to consist of expensive solicitors taking their own sweet time). Despite our offer being accepted and a "sold" sign appearing on the property there is always the danger that they could try to raise the price on us at a later stage. They call it gazumping, but that seems far too cheery a word for something that is actually a fairly nasty thing to do.
Pity the poor fool who would risk my wrath...
Anyway, let's pretend the glass is half full: a fun part of buying your first house is trying to surreptitiously scrounge unwanted possessions from family and friends to use as a temporary measure until you can replace them. So far we have promises of bookshelves, a desk, beds, a side table, wardrobes, CD shelves, someone who will install phone lines/electrical sockets for free, someone who will install a fire for free... this is in addition to the stuff we have between us anyway of course.
In slightly more GD related shenanigans, my recent April fools gag is now listed on Wikipedia and in reply to Vampyre_Dark's probing/cheeky question I described what the News Editors do on a typical day.
Finally, I can't wait until I've got the website upgrade and the house hunting out of the way and I can get down to some serious game devving. It has been such a long time since I actually got a decent amount of code written. With this in mind, I'm trying to decide what exactly I should do. I'm currently an IT Analyst at work, with C++ knowledge from my spare time. There is a development team at work who are currently moving from VB to C#. So if I could get some knowledge of C# under my belt I'd be in a good position to get into the development side of things. Always thinking, see [wink]
Maybe some kind of C#/DirectX tomfoolery? Onwards and upwards!
Yesterday's April fools prank went down well for the most part. If you haven't already seen it then read the following news item: EA Shape the Future of the Games Industry.
I'd planned and written it well ahead of time, and then almost forgot to post it before I went to view the house I'm thinking of buying. Most people seemed to enjoy it and see the funny side, although if you examine the comments you'll discover that there are some really humourless readers out there. Perhaps they were suckered in, and then got pissed off when they discovered it was a fake? Ah well.
The GD Dev team really got into the spirit of things too. The copyright info was edited to read "GameDev.net, the GameDev.net logo, and GDNet are trademarks of Electronic Arts" and Michalson was using the EA logo as his avatar.
Speaking of Michalson, he also provided us with a fantastic new-look Forums listing too. I was quick to add a screeny of this to the EA article and claim that it was just one of the new changes... heheheh.
Of course, I'm in for a kicking when my girlfriend finds out I made her an "EA spokeswoman"...
Moving on, it seems I just can't leave my website alone:
The menu has moved to directly under the banner and had a slight colour tweak to help ease the transition between the dark purple header and the white page
The page itself is now slightly off-white for those people who complain #ffffff will burn their retinas
The links are now green (the previous blue looked out of place and I wanted to carry the green of the 1Up mushroom from the header into the page)
The background is now a sort of lilac colour which I think goes well with both the purple header and the white page
There are some slight shadows either side of the page, which help the site look a little less bland when you are scrolling and both header and footer are not visible
And to round it all off: a new favicon and a new 88x31 link piccy
I've spent the last 60 minutes becoming familiar with RSS, Cron Jobs and a WordPress plugin, appropriately named FeedWordPress.
The upshot of all this is that everything I post in my GameDev.net journal will now appear automagically on my website helidium.com. Yay.
During the Game Developers Conference, with about fifteen press releases to sift through every day, I forgot to post the rumour that Mr. News At GameDev has been approved a 7.3% loan. I do apologise.
Ah well, we all love Spam.
It seems the good people in charge have decided that the News Team are doing a good enough job to carry the mantle of GDNet Staff. Scamps that they are, they kept us in the dark until it actually happened! I noticed this morning when checking the News Team HQ forum that suddenly everyone in the "Topic Starter" column was coloured green. Luckily, no one was around to witness my rather uncool reaction of assuming that there had been a browser/css error and refreshing the page three times.
Anyway, the most important point I have to deliver is that because I now see a new set of icons, I can no longer use the one that has appeared next to all my previous journal entries:
I have decided to upgrade to:
My role as GameDev.net Minister of Propaganda (OK, "News Editor") is an interesting one.
Not only do I have an excuse to stay up to date on industry gossip, I also have a lot of responsibility for how it is presented here on our home page. The way you write a story seems to have quite a lot of effect on how it is received. I know this from reading the many, and varied, comments that they receive! Remaining neutral is sometimes quite difficult, but necessary nonetheless.
Last weeks Game Developer's Conference gave us a lot of work. The number of press releases absolutely skyrocketed as companies tried to catch the GDC wave. Often not very interesting press releases too. I lost count of the number of mobile phone companies that were touting "the next big thing".
So, as is the tradition, the week following a big event has started off fairly quiet on the news front. Everything out there in "news land" yesterday was really just a grab bag of things that didn't quite make the grade from the week before.
Global Launch of Revolution "Unnecessary" - was from last week's Nintendo keynote, but was originally overshadowed by the Zelda DS announcement and the SEGA Genesis games on the Revolution
NVidia Lands New Sony Contract - was actually a low-key, and previously overlooked, statement from last Thursday
Some of you may have noticed Tiffany's thread asking for more News Editors. If you are interested please hurry up and put yourself forward. The News Team are planning some changes to how things are done so let us know if you want to come and be a part of it.
And in other news: I'm still not happy with the menu on my website, still got some work to do there methinks; the house hunting continues, although the amount we have available has gone up unexpectedly which is nice; and finally, I recently bought some more movie soundtracks which I find are very good as background music when you are working: Finding Nemo, Once Upon a Time in the West, The Star Wars Trilogy and Blade Runner.
Roger and out.
Soooooo, 6 weeks on the GDNet News Team. Has anyone noticed a difference in the quality of news on the front page? I hope so, cos I've been putting in a coupla hours of work nearly every day. We had a News Team meeting this weekend, and we have some cool changes planned. Pretty exciting.
I also recently started an overhaul of my website. Its not quite finished yet, but the blogging system it uses takes a lot of the work out of my hands. I'm using WordPress in case anyone is interested.
I'm also searching for a house and sorting out a mortgage with the fiancee. Oh, and the new job has kicked in and I'm a lot busier there too. Bloody hell, where do I find the time to play games? [grin]
Talking of house hunting, it is really weird looking around other people's houses. You have permission to be there but houses are so personal that it seems like such an invasion of privacy. I find it kinda uncomfortable.
I'm really looking forward to having my own place though.
...back to work on the News Editor guidelines, I guess...
Gotta love that title.
I wonder how many people will get the reference?
I was offered two new jobs within the last week:
Firstly, I've been given a "Business Analyst" position working for the IT department at HBOS (Halifax/Bank of Scotland), so if your accounts start to bleed money you can blame me.
Secondly, and keep this under your collective hats, I'm also helping out on our beloved GDNet as a News Editor. Let the misinformation begin!
What were they thinking? Oh, the poor mad fools! MUAHAHAHAHAHA!
I am currently petitioning Kevin to put a Minister for Propaganda title next to my name. You can support this initiative by shouting loudly in his general direction. Thank you.
Avatar God somehow managed to get this surveillance shot of me:
I have to say that as I climbed to the top of the tower and began swiping my fists at the attacking goombas I experienced the weirdest sense of deja vu...
I made a few cosmetic chenges to my Task Inventory. The tasks are now in seperate lists for different areas and there is a front page that lists how many tasks there are to be completed in each area and also sorts them by importance.
You must read and agree to the terms and conditions set out in this document before continuing to peruse this journal.
This document describes the responsibilities of the reader whilst simultaneously absolving the journal author of any responsibilities at all. For the remainder of this document the reader shall be referred to as "villainous scum" whilst the journal author shall be referred to as "all-powerful being".
TERMS & CONDITIONS
1. The all-powerful being reserves the right to present lies as facts and pass off other people's hard work as his own.
2. The villainous scum shall never question the opinions of the all-powerful being.
3. The villainous scum shall not hesitate to help the all-powerful being, while remembering at all times their inherent inferiority to him.
By entering into this contract you promise that:
4. You will not copy, imitate nor think about the ideas you read about here.
5. You will wear yellow socks every third Tuesday of the month.
I, being a spineless, cowardly jelly, accept the terms and conditions set out above without question and with little regard for how demeaning they are.
I do not accept the terms and conditions set out above, and furthermore should I ever find the author of this document I will not hesitate to slap him with the first fish that comes to hand, be it cod, haddock or trout.
I just made the simplest Task Scheduler in the world. You can mock it, and my very existence, here.
I love the feeling of starting a new project. The well laid out directory structure, the empty bug list, the virginal source folder ... it feels a shame to actually put anything in there!
I bought a new heatsink and fan for my CPU yesterday and the noise level has fallen by about 60%. Woohoo. Motherboard Monitor reports that the average processor temperature has fallen by about 10 degrees Celsius too. Hooray.
In other news, I've also been trying out Mantis Bug Tracker. I don't have experience with any other bug trackers so I can't really compare them, but this one seems to be really good so far. It was highly recommended on most of the pages I found when I was researching them on Google too. Certainly a lot better than my previous method: the trusty text file!
PS, the new GameDev Store looks interesting, but where are the action figures? I want a Super Mutant Ninja Rhino with kung-fu kick action! And a Tiny Tearful Evolutional that wets itself just like the real thing!
Today I installed Apache, PHP, MySQL, MySQL Administrator and Mantis Bug Tracker on my XP Home system. Tomorrow I think I'll do something a bit more fun, like chewing through my wrist.
BTW, I got engaged last month to my girlfriend of over four years. Yay!
So, I'm quietly reading the free Metro paper on the bus this morning and what do I discover?
Got me a new job.
I'm still in a call centre...
...but I now have a computer based admin role involving fraud, money laundering, account transfers, etc, which involves no phone work and no contact with the evil entities known as customers.
*stabs eye with fork*