David Crew is a gamer and web lover. Read my blog or else I'll throw a Bomb-Omb at you. Lighted. :)

Posts tagged “david crew playlist

The Best Season of Futurama Yet


Hey Everyone,

I know it’s been a bit since I’ve updated this blog, and you can blame that on college starting back up and now homework actually being assigned. No Gen Eds to actually take up my time this semester too, which is annoying.

Anywho, Futurama is a surprisingly underrated show, even today after having five glorious seasons and now going on their sixth. However, this year, Futurama has been pulling out every single stop as far as quality of writing, animation, and wit. Dealing with philosophical themes and issues of mortality and the continuum of time, Futurama provides some exceptional artistic presentation combined with the humor of the show.

I really can’t explain the intricacies of the current 6th season very eloquently, since I’m not a writer for Futurama and have that kind of superhero-type writing ability, but I definitely recommend episode 6, Lethal Inspection, and episode 7, The Late Philip J. Fry as episodes to watch that will both make you smile and laugh, as well as tear up a bit.

As always, stay awesome my friends,

-David Crew

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The Importance of Music in Video Games


So awesome. ❤

Hey Everyone,

I have always been very geek when it comes to music in video games. Even when it was the 16 bit sounds of my first Super Nintendo chiming away as I combated zoras in Link to the Past, stomped on goombas in Super Mario World, or blasted Mavericks in Mega Man X, I would always enjoy the little tunes that played during each game. It got to the point where I could easily tell what game my friend was playing in the other room simply by hearing the melodies.

The type of Music that’s in video games plays a pivotal role in how well a game communicates to a gamer and can either make or break many video games in development and on the market.

Why do you exist?

But why is the music so vital to a game? Why is it that the thumping drums and airy choral lines in the Halo games more fitting than techno music and banjos? (besides banjos being the most useless instrument in the world). It’s because music is an essential ingredient to building atmosphere within games and evoking certain kinds of emotions in gamers.

Music has a special ability to evoke emotions. The tone colors of certain instruments as well as the overall beat, rhythm, pitch, staff style and much more can influence what natural kind of emotion we get. The dissonant chords and fast strings in Dead Space put nerves on edge, the slow french horns and deep drums of Oblivion soothe you as you ride over luscious hills, and the airy sounds of Venice with the mix of human chatter make you really feel like you’re with Ezio in Assassin’s Creed 2. (Oblivion even won the MTV Video Music Award for “Best Original Score” through an international popular vote.)

Video game music even has grown to be a distinct genre. Take, for example, many of the classical bands that have toured and featured video game music such as the Gamer Symphony Orchestra at the University of Maryland. And those are just classical orchestras playing video game music. There are sites out there that feature remixes and compositions based upon video game music like OC Remix, which provides free tracks you can download that remix game compositions into, many times, utter masterpieces.


But overall, I will be forever geek when it comes to video game music. If you’re interested in some decent soundtracks of video games, check out Oblivion, Halo, Chrono Trigger/ Chrono Cross, God of War 3, and Legend of Zelda Windwaker, Final Fantasy VII and X,  and Metal Gear Solid on Amazon or through youtube. And also, here’s one of my favorite tracks from Ocremix:


Mono – Hymn to the Immortal Wind


Hey Everyone,

Slacker Radio is by far one of my favorite music services out there. Sure, Pandora is more popular, and Grooveshark has an enormous library and pretty competitive radio option, too, but I have always loved using Slacker to find new artists and songs that fit my mood.

On the station “ambient chill (non vocal)” there is one band that I stumbled across that I just have to share. The name of the band is Mono and they’re a group from out in Japan that do magnificent, relaxing instrumental songs. I recently picked up one of their albums, Hymn to the Immortal Wind, and I must say the music is simply fantastic. They’re tracks are long, ranging from a few minutes to a dozen at times, but if you stick around for the entire track, they usually culminate in a delicious buildup to a crescendo that is just gorgeous.

Check out more info on their band here, and for an example song of theirs, check out this track below called “Burial at Sea”.


Facebook Sued for Massive Majority Ownership Stake


Wow, what an interesting read. Check out this legal action brought against Facebook by web designer, Paul Ceglia. I wonder what will happen to Facebook if Ceglia wins this contract dispute. Article from Information Week:

Facebook Sued For 84% Ownership Stake

Web designer Paul Ceglia says a 2003 contract entitles him to majority ownership of the social networking site.

By

Alison Diana

InformationWeek
July 13, 2010 11:43 AM

Facebook has moved to overturn a recent temporary restraining order won by New York web designer Paul Ceglia, who filed suit against Facebook and company CEO Mark Zuckerberg, claiming an April 2003 contract now entitles him to an 84% ownership stake in Facebook.

“We believe this suit is completely frivolous and we will fight it vigorously,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement. Facebook and Zuckerberg have 30 days to respond, according to court documents.

On July 9, Allegany Court judge Thomas P. Brown; Ceglia’s attorney, Paul Argentieri of Hornell, N.Y.; and Facebook attorney Lisa T. Simpson of New York, spoke via conference call, according to the local newspaper the Wellsville Daily. During that conversation, Judge Brown continued a temporary restraining order that prevents Facebook from transferring assets while the case continues.

Simpson filed a “notice of intent” to move the case away from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York in Buffalo, according to the Wellsville Daily.

Under the seven-year-old contract signed by Zuckerberg and Ceglia, the designer received $1,000 and a 50% stake in the site which eventually became Thefacebook.com, according to the suit. The lawsuit also says Ceglia is entitled to “an additional 1% interest in the business for every day after Jan. 1, 2004, until it was completed.”

Terms of the work for hire contract state, “It is agreed that Purchaser [Ceglia] will own a half interest (50%) in the software, programming language, and business interests derived from the expansion of the service to a larger audience.”

In papers filed with the Allegany, N.Y., County Court on June 30, Ceglia seeks a declaratory judgment and relief in the form of monetary damages and 84% ownership — worth between $5.6 billion and $9.24 billion — of the social networking giant, based on Facebook’s estimated value of between $6.5 billion and $11 billion. Zuckerberg’s personal fortune is worth between $4 billion and… (Full Story)


The Personalities of the Workplace


Hey Everyone,

Beware of people: there are always different types of people that work at jobs, but never have I seen such a variety of workers, for better or worse. Here are some types of worker personalities that exist, not just in retail, but in many other work environments, as well. If you know of one that you want to add, comment below 😀 :

These people spout books of boring tales

The Story Teller – everything is a story to this person, no matter how ridiculously boring and idiotic the story may be. Many times, it’s just like those dolts on Twitter who should not be given a Twitter account, because no one in their right mind wants to listen to you babble about your boring life. Limit time with these people because prolonged exposure can induce sudden narcolepsy and steal precious minutes away from your life. Also, many times they’re loud and dammit they’re always the ones on their phones in the break room when everyone is trying to relax.

Have hopes and dreams? Enter ma belly!

The Depressed Sandtrap – many people who end up in retail end up working there for lack of anything else going on in their lives. These people have missed opportunities, squandered ambitions, and forgone any kind of will to continue onward in their lives. Because of this, they have shut themselves into a depressing sandtrap and will do anything they can to bring down other unsuspecting employees down with them, like a sarlacc from Star Wars. Much like an ant lion or quick sand. Careful with these employees as they can be very hazardous to your health, especially with their depressing bitter words that can suck the ambition and hopes right out of you like a horny dementor.

That Gorgeous Person – why is there a beautiful person with a great body, face, and many times a personality while they’re surrounded by employees who are missing teeth, dropped out of school, and had children while they were children themselves? I have no fucking clue, and it will always be a mystery. But man, are they great to look at. Be wary of these people though, many times beautiful people are given positions of power and influence because, well, they’re slamming, but they may be used to getting things their way and if you don’t give them what they want, it’s the gallows for tueth.

The Slowed – ever work with someone that is just completely slow and can’t even do the simplest tasks in a timely fashion? Meet the slow, a special kind of employee who actually is not clinically handicapped in any kind of fashion but moves like a cold bottle of molasses in half speed. Woe to the poor employees assigned projects with this person as it will either get done never, or get done due to the rest of the group busting their balls to do the work for the slow.

Us vs. Them Man – the permanent victim. The perpetual blamer. This employee always finds someone or some group to blame for the misfortunes at work rather than take responsibility for their actions. Backroom inventory screwed up? Must be the night crew. Get yelled at for being late to work? Blame it on your family not waking you up. Paperwork not submitted on time? The printer with the personal vendetta is to blame. These employees can try your patience and try to convert you to victimism, but be strong! These employees are rarely at one job for too long.

The Hardass – ever not give two shits about a job, but find ways to get it done still? Maybe you cut corners a little to make it easier and bend the rules to your advantage. Better watch out for the hardass. This employee or next in command apparently was born with a small feral badger in their rectal region because nothing is never right enough, and if it’s wrong, you better get the hell out of there. The hardass takes no excuses and many times winds up losing years off their lives due to stressful perfectionism throughout their daily routines. Many times this person can get ahead, but because of their vicious badger in the anus attitudes about work, upper management will not accept their super duper perfectisms.

The Clever – quick talking, fast witted, and quick to make a little quip, these employees are intellectually agile and tongue twerpingly acrobatic with linguistics. More suited to a hazy comedy club bar, these employees offer humor when it’s needed most. Sometimes this personality combines with the sand trap employee to make a giant arrogant asshole, but otherwise they are enjoyable.

The Offended – one of my most hated worker personalities is the offended. Ever tell a relatively racy or slightly unpolitically correct joke and had someone complain or bitch their brains out about it? Meet the offended. I have witnessed many a person not be able to take a joke or sarcasm and take everything as a personal assault on their livelihood. Because of an offended, I saw one of my best friends get fired from his only job that puts food on his family table because he ambiguously implied another person was of larger size. He is still unemployed, and no, it was not a woman that got him fired, but an athletically built man.

Run.

The Angered – another employee type I hate to stumble across, the angered. Usually found in he higher up positions because power has corrupted them, the angered employees are a ticking atom bomb and you’re a giant target. It can take something as small as forgetting to do something to losin a pen to set this insane firework of rageihol off. But fear not, the angered have shorter lifespans compared to normal people and will usually keel over due to being so angry at life all the time.

The Normal Person – [no information available, doesn’t exist.]


Colorado Trip


Hey Everyone,

Despite being the adventurous, and devilishly amazing person that I am, I have actually traveled very little in

D. Crew's car

comparison to my other friends. It’s not that I don’t want to travel and see the world, but I always seem to run into various barriers whenever I tried to go somewhere. When I was younger my parents forbade me from driving to New York to see family, later my dad

stopped me from doing a cross country road trip because my p.o.s. car wouldn’t be able to handle the miles, and every time I’ve wanted to study abroad or college friend’s college out of state, it seems my money dries up.

Gorgeous Colorado

That’s why I’m stupendously excited to visit some of my extended family out in Colorado this August. I was able to get the time off from work and actually have enough money to get out there.

I was really surprised at how expensive the plane tickets were, though. I always knew they were going to be high, even before I messed around with the departure times and days, the ticket still ended up being $730 round trip! Luckily I was able to bring it down to a more manageable $450, but still that’s pretty horrendously high.

Oh well, I know it’s worth it. The family that I’m seeing out there I haven’t really seen for 10 years. I remember one of my cousins when she was just a baby, and now she’s a teenager and has a little sister who I have yet to really meet.  I never actually felt old before, but it’s rather strange to think that a baby I remember seein is now at an age that seemslike I was at not too long ago.

Is catnip time now?

Well enough of that introspective stuff 😛 now I just have to decide what to get my little cousins as gifts.

Maybe I’ll give them my super nintendo or the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers. Oh, and from what I hear, cougars are really common out there and I hope I get to see one. Maybe I should drape myself in catnip and see if it works on the big cats =D


Lake Pictures


Hey Everyone,

I thought I’d upload some pictures we took of the lake while we were up there. If you can guess which lake I’ll be very surprised, and at the same time rather sketched out 😛

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Summer Gamer Woes


Hey Everyone,

I absolutely love summer. There’s always so much to do, so many people to see, and there’s no annoying classes and homework (unless you’re an overachieving college student). But at the same time, I’m a summer gamer. I don’t play too many video games in the summer, bun when does being a summer gamer really become a problem?

This past weekend we spent the entire time at a lake house. Every day our whole group would go out swimming, biking, kayaking, boating, hiking, and pretty much everything you could do that’s fun on a lake. It was an absolute blast and we had so much fun.

Yet, there was one kid with us who could not separate himself from the tv at the cottage. I don’t even know why he even brought the system and his xbox up but while most of us  were outside enjoying the great weather, he was inside glued to the tv screen playing a heaping mix of Assassin’s Creed 2, Modern Warfare 2, and Dead Space.

Now I’m not sure what’s worse, the fact that he even brought up his system when he knew he was heading to a lake for the weekend, or that he ignored his 15+ friends to play games he could always play at home when he got back. What  runs through a person’s head to make them do something like that? It was one of the few times that all of us could get work off and hang out together at such a sweet lake house, and yet this guy would only have memories of killin’ necromorphs or some other stupid in-game event.

It’s situations like that which help me understand what some of the critics of the gaming world bitch about. Most of what they spew is utter nonsensical idiocies, like Ebert from a couple months back, but I remember reading several stories on game addiction and my friend doing gaming all weekend and squandering his time at the lake really made me think back to those articles.

Now, I would understand his actions a little more if he had spent it playing newer games like Singularity, Transformers, and my personal favorite, Mass Effect 2, but to spend it playing old games he’s had for a while simply for the sake of gaming really makes me wonder about him.

Now let’s hear from you guys! Who else here is a summer gamer and comment back if you’ve had a similar experience.


What It’s Like to Work at EA – An Employee’s Perspective


Hey Everyone,

I stumbled across this little review of a person that has worked with Electronic Arts for over ten years. There’s a lot of interesting little information contained in their review that you may find fascinating, such as the development time and the politics of gaming companies:

Electronic Arts – “10 years of ea”

Electronic Arts Director of Technology

“Pros

EA is known for killing employees to ship games – on brutal schedules.

The deal is: employees also get a lot out of working for EA. I did, at least. There are lots of very talented people at EA, and (usually) opportunity to ‘craft’ your own career. Working on blockbuster titles, for the latest consoles, is fun stuff. Hardcore engineers (like me) love having access to the equipment – and the opportunity to make significant contributions to a high-profile product.

And, if you do make big contributions (the kind that are visible to upper management — like rendering features) it is easy to become a ‘top engineer’. Top Engineers are respected across the studio, and are showered with stock, bonuses, and promotions. For 5 years in a row, I got a promotion each year. My 1998 salary of 50k moved to 75k, then to 90k, then to 150k, and finally to 190k. While the promotions are happening, my stock grants are vesting – and I’m unloading them into e-trade for huge gains.

(employee buys nice house, and car with > 300 horsepower)

Is it a perfect company? Hell no. Does it have upside? OF COURSE. If it didn’t, people would leave. EA employees usually don’t have trouble finding work. They are vocal with their complaints – but are private with the upside (see text above). If the upside wasn’t there – everyone would walk out.

NOTE: In 2010, the state of ERTS is so bad, the upside discussed above has almost completely vanished. Now, it is just a horrible job. But- who else is hiring – at the same salary? It isn’t a fun place to be right now – but – in this economy – it is probably good that a direct deposit check is hitting the account every 2 weeks. Before the bottom fell out of the economy, everything I said above was true. And, it will probably be true again someday. But – so will the Cons. (Read below). Is it worth it? For some people. Usually, young – out of college, and un-married. As college becomes more distant, and marriage happens, the “upside” at EA isn’t quite as attractive. Depending on how high you were able to climb, it might be possible to get into a position where you can continue to pull your salary – and contribute virtually nothing. This eventually leads to depression, however. But, this is starting to sound negative… Go read Cons for more.

Cons

EA is known for killing employees to ship games – on brutal schedules.

Before I continue, I’ll admit that I am happy with my own experience at EA (see Pros). What follows is not sarcastic, but is an honest assessment of what I saw over 10 years of employment (at 3 different studios)

Read with a “just the facts” tone – and ignore the cynicism that creeps in (after 10 years, it is impossible to avoid)

EA does kill employees to ship games on brutal schedules. Seriously. The rumors wouldn’t be so persistent if there wasn’t truth there. Yes, many teams move into a mandatory 6 or 7 day work-week, with 12 hour days (with the occasional over-nighter). At the worst of crunch, I did several weeks of 14 hour days. With a 14 hour day, there is just enough time to get home, get enough sleep to stay alive, and go back to work. This *is* sustainable – for weeks on end, but isn’t much fun. All shipping projects crunch. This was true in 1998, and in 2008 – and every year between. Usually, this is assumed – and everyone (silently) knows that it is coming. Sometimes, when morale in the studio is low, management will hold an ‘all hands’ meeting to launch “new development practices” – and a “more efficient project management system” …. and a promise of a decent work/life balance, and short (or zero) crunch. Employees like the sound of it, but are very skeptical. But, over the next few months, the discover that the Management promises were true!! Sure, there was that ‘one big demo’ that required some late nights, but – otherwise – the work/life balance isn’t so bad!!!

I’m not sure why – but everyone seems to forget that ALL PROJECTS START THAT WAY. The problems start when the team is actually approaching Alpha. Suddenly, the team realizes that major systems – although planned well – have serious integration issues. Oh, and performance issues. Engineers are very quick to blame themselves. They work 10, 11… 12 hour days to work out the ‘critical’ and ‘blocking’ problems. Then, it is back to finishing features (but – uh oh – the Alpha date passed!!) … feature work continues into Alpha, and usually slips a bit into Beta. By this time, the entire team is working killer hours – meals are catered, and hundreds of wives are considering divorce. (Seriously, EA is not a safe place for your relationship). Anyway, by the time crunch arrives – everyone has LONG forgotten about the ‘new project management’ stuff. Who cares anyway?? The schedule is completely blown (because of multiple failures, it isn’t possible to “fault” one person – or one group). Most of the team feels half-guilty for letting the top-management down, and are convinced that they somehow brought this major breakdown upon themselves. So, mandatory 7 day week. We must finish this thing. We’ll learn from our mistakes. We know what went wrong, and we won’t repeat it. But, right now, we need to get this thing Gold – and shipped to sony and microsoft for approval. QA is still finding class A bugs — engineers yell at QA because the bug existed “since milestone 2!!” — why are we just hearing about it TODAY? But, secretly, the engineer also feels guilty for making such a stupid mistake, and works an all-nighter to get it fixed.

He looks like a hero, and management is pleased. Except – all he did is fix his own ‘one-liner’ bug, and it took him all night to track it down. Accomplishment? No. Paradoxical praise? You bet. (Pay close attention to what a company ‘says’ they value – and what they actually reward. EA rewards workers that kill themselves to get things done. Anyone that says differently is either hiding from that fact, or lying).

So, the game finally ships, and everyone goes on a week or 2 of comp time (resembling a coma). The game ships, sales are huge, game goes platinum, screen-shots and press coverage is everywhere. It feels good.

Management calls an ‘all hands’ meeting to discuss the upcoming cycle, and – maybe – promise some big changes. Will it ever change? Of course not. But, notice that EA employees will complain, but they don’t actually quit. Like crack, it is easy to complain about – but very difficult to walk away from. (Did you look at the value of your vesting stock? Holy crap!! I made more on stock that my entire salary last year!!!!) But, this is sounding positive, read Pros for more.

Advice to Senior Management

Oh goodness. I’m not sure what to say… Lean on the titles that make money – and try to get out of the other side of this “lost console cycle” – and economy hit. Maybe that $16 stock will start coming back up. If not, I’m not sure that “advice to management” is worth anything — because the head will be chopped off by the Board. EA needs to turn around soon, but everyone already knows it. If it doesn’t happen, the company will “re-org” again — call it (another) “reset” and lay down big plans for mobile gaming, online, and China. Oh – and replace all the top execs. (If your name includes SVP, you’re done).

EA will either pull off a Phoenix move – or collapse, like a dying star.

The really creepy thing? John R predicted this demise – in 2006/2007 – when EA was feeling fairly bulletproof. If you heard his speech on this, you know what I’m talking about. He gave examples of big tech companies that completely folded – and quickly. He cautioned ‘resting’ on the current business model – and said that it was a sinking ship.

The plans to escape the sinking ship (new business model) failed. Now, EA is doing a 180, and killing all new development. “Focus on the key titles – and build them” (Madden, FIFA, etc). But, how long can you sit like that – and not get run over?

Time will tell.

Good luck, ERTS.

Signed,
the guy floating away on a golden parachute (I traded in the golden handcuffs)

My advice to management: get one of these parachutes – and jump out of the doomed plane.”


Finals Suck


Hey Everyone,

Won’t be around for a couple of weeks with finals, but here’s a couple things to check out while I’m mia:

  1. Steam coming to the Mac with Torchlight and Portal on Wednesday (May 12)
  2. Microsoft’s Natal coming in October (link)
  3. Best selling games for Europe and America for 2010 so far (link)