Black In Men

January 17th, 2017 by harold

BIM

I forgot to post about it with all that.

I made this little interactive adventure back in November. I took a picture of Grace Jones and with my fantastic –terrible- visual skills, I made some “cover art” like Blue Note used to.

Overall it was quite a lot of work for such a small game. It’s a miracle big games even come out y’all. I hope you’ll have fun if you haven’t played it yet. I know everyone on this side of the planet did so, you’re missing out.

It’s really difficult to make something fun on a subject that we never talk about: black and brown people who are interfacing with white people all the time. It’s all good and all but from time to time we go through some shit, trust me. Like a white person yesterday told me “I think people are starting waking up about Trump”. I didn’t answer, I just continued what I was doing but the next day I’m still like “wtf man”. Too many wrong things in this stupid statement on MLK day. Have to move on though! And get back to work to make those relationships better.

Anyway thanks for playing, you can donate too.

Important point

January 14th, 2017 by harold

Laralyn stroke again with a great post. I’m going to focus on point #8:

Make the shift from “I make games I’m interested in” to “I’m interested in making games.” Love your craft. It makes you more flexible, more open to unusual games and opportunities.

That’s great wisdom. But that’s also not really how the industry hires these days. The industry does not just want you to make games you’re interested in, the industry kind of demands you to be an expert in those games. it is not rare to be asked which part of universe X you prefer or what’s your favorite moment in campaign Y when applying for a position.

The reality is it’s impossible to play tons of games, extensively. While having a job. While keeping up with technology. While having a life. While getting better at your craft. It’s just a number game.

SIMULATORZZ

This is a selection of very different games on Steam. As you can see, simulators are doing extremely well. You would think game developers are interested in developing other simulators, that we are all talking about this trend, right? Nope, not at all. Simulators –and to some extent, Firewatch is one too- are kind of laughed at as… Weak games? Strong games being the ones that are goal-based, with a hardcore mode I guess? I’m not even sure.

But what I see is that an order of magnitude more people are playing Democracy 3 than Thumper, something that probably a lot of developers don’t think is happening.

Personally in my sound design domain, Call of Duty is the top of the top: the craft and care taken in building audio and sound in that franchise are quite unparalleled. It’s maxed out in a way. On the other hand, so many games in genres that are not trendy would benefit a much stronger and consistent sound design. I love making sounds for any game, that’s the craft!

Anyway, making the switch from “I make games I’m interested in” to “I’m interested in making games” is I think, crucial. Not just for you, but for all of us to get better and foster ideas and innovation.

Shaken

January 12th, 2017 by harold

Information-wise, nothing has been the same since November 8th.

Too much sarcasm, too much butthurt, too much nonsense, too many people gaming search engines, news and social media.

The thing it does to people is that they forget about the past. They forget about history. There’s too much new data everyday to keep up with while remembering the important bits from five, ten, twenty years ago. Younger generations erase everything before 2000 and broadband internet. That’s a big issue.

People indulge in pouring oil on fires, it’s so easy online. A click, two clicks it’s off to dozens, hundreds, thousands, millions of people. People are addicted to that new power. Hyperconnectivity. We can say whatever about FB  and we had tons of debates about it but real identity definitely curves the fuck out of trolls. I’ve seen countless amazing and great conversations there. Twitter is pretty much dead.

There is so, so much noise. It’s very difficult to believe anything ever, which is a bad thing if you want to communicate, solve, understand. Which is what we need.

Damn I should be supreme commander in chief.

Patlabor Dadlabor

January 9th, 2017 by harold

Watching the OVAs

I watched the first OVAs. I have seen all the movies. It’s a different vibe from anything with mecha coming from Japan. Mamoru Oshii –Ghost in the Shell- is/was the director. Production backstory:

In the late 1980s, Oshii was solicited by his friend Kazunori Itō to join Headgear as a director. The group was composed of Kazunori Itō (screenwriter), Masami Yuki (manga artist), Yutaka Izubuchi (mechanical designer), Akemi Takada (character designer) and Mamoru Oshii (director). Together they were responsible for the Patlabor TV series, OVA, and films. Released in the midst of Japan’s economic crisis, the Patlabor series and films projected a dynamic near-future world in which grave social crisis and ecological challenges were overcome by technological ingenuity, and were a big success in the mecha genre.

This show is not about mechas. it’s a dad mecha world. It focuses on responsibilities and consequences of having giant robots working in cities, Operating Systems that can fuck up or hackers who are up to no good.

Patlabor Forever

It feels very real now that we have the first tests of giant robots happening. It feels like it’s here but I remember being a kid in 89 and being annoyed at that “serious” angle. When you’re a kid you want the fantasy mecha, flying at mach 2, 300 missiles shot at the same time etc. None of that in Patlabor (do you have 300 missiles launching money?). The unit that operates those police robots is under scrutiny, they’re broke, they’re trying to save money/keep their jobs. Their missions are mostly about heavy construction robots accidents and making sure they don’t damage the city when they operate. They are an elite crew of mechanics and pilots doing boring cop stuff.

There is just a tension, a melancolia in this universe that I haven’t felt in anything else with robots. It makes it unique, it makes me care more. It’s philosophy-based but not going all nuts like Oshii’s future work. It’s simpler: how can we balance our lives with technology? Is technology really that necessary?

It blows my mind that some guys were actively thinking about and designing that world in 1985 and on. Japanese culture is so absurdly good at the “what if” game.

Brodacre 2020 update

January 9th, 2017 by harold

I forgot something in my plans: tons of people live alone or will. Divorces, couples without kids, younger generations scared to love so they end up on their own for a long time… Plenty of social patterns that are not going to fill pretty big family houses anytime soon.

It’s OK! That just means that the subdivision would be smaller, which means a denser density akin to SoCal, but also less spread than the acre plan was creating. I can work with that.

Brodacre City 2020

December 30th, 2016 by harold

It’s simple. I think about houses and suburbs not just because of LA’s structure and culture but because of the state of the world.

We have got to have more space between us. Regardless of how you think “those” people should be or not be, the best way to nurture empathy and respect is to have your own space. When people who live a very different life and participate into a very different culture are 24/7 in your face, it creates anger and resentment, it is just a matter of time. When you have your safe space you think differently, you don’t feel attacked like when your upstairs neighbor is having a party on a week day. What I mean is that current politics and the entire human history are telling me that we need to flatten a lot of things, starting by cities.

Let’s spread out privilege to everyone. Let’s erase the “being in the good part of the city” or the “most convenient and hip 2017 neighborhood”. The idea is that wherever you live will be on par with anywhere else. For that, you need standards.

Bruhdacre
That’s too big of a lot. 1 acre is a lot of maintenance to do. 0.5 or 0.4 (1600m²) would be fine.

FLW’s Brodacre City was a good start. Except for the acre subdivision, that might be a little too much (that’s 4000 m²). People immediately lose their shit on the infinite suburbs promises like it’s bad but I just think it would be the best for peace and quality of life. It’s interesting that people want cities like the 19th and 20th centuries created, disregarding how much more diverse population is, disregarding the online and telecommuting possibilities. Those facts change everything about how to design and make cities thrive.

Franky Goes to Taliesin thought that people would drive around –the car was getting mainstream when he designed the Broadacre utopia- which was definitely the case but yeah, we went through the constant driving paradigm from the 50s to 2010s and I guess we are done with that.

Good news is that this ForeverDrivin’ issue has been solved, isn’t that wonderful? Imagine: you’re living in your cool little house with front and back yards, your kids, your pets. You get ready to go see your auntie who lives 150 kms away. You wait on the sidewalk, get in that vehicle that has panoramic views allowing you to look everywhere around. You sit there, listening to music, talking, reading while the vehicle moves you and your family to your destination. You didn’t even flinch or stress out, you are there in no time and the kids were able to do their homework.

You arrive and it’s another suburban house, totally different style and environment but it’s still the same. Your kids ride their bikes around and come back for dinner.

I think it’s the only setting that would suppress the rat race we’re currently living and change the paradigm.

WHAT ABOUT SHOPPING

Well, I think it’s going to be a lot of little stores that you will go to. Local stores. Everything else will be delivered. It’s already so much the case: people don’t want to move to obtain stuff unless it’s special stuff, or if it’s kind of an entertaining thing to do like going to a cool looking coffee shop and flirt, that’s good motivation.

THIS SOUNDS BORING AS HELL

Go live in a warzone tf? Batshit crazy NYC or Paris will still be around for a while, have fun. I’m focusing on what matters to me, you do you.

El Daderino

December 29th, 2016 by harold

It’s the holidays and I think about my dad a lot. It’s been a minute and I saw Christmas pictures of him and he doesn’t look happy but when I skype he’s always super joyful.

Thinking about the future, thinking about building houses, thinking about that independent gene that I have, I have so many memories of my dad and I doing things. Starting them, not really knowing what the fuck we’re doing and then completing them.

I remember him getting some pile of sand delivered to make concrete slabs for the family house. I was a kid so it seemed like an entire dune was sitting there on the patio. Of course the first thing I wanted to do what to run on top of it and slide down and scream and laugh. And dad would always be really calm and straight up like “hey, I need this sand to build something, if you jump on it it will get mixed up with the dirt and disappear in the ground, do you know how much that pile of sand costs?”

Woody wood pichol
Oh yeah we fixin’ that too. It’s easy. You just start doing it and then at some point it’s done.

Bam. He was right though. So I quickly became more serious about that, trying to help him out. I remember one day annoying the hell out of him like “can I help you please? I’m bored” and him being like “there’s a broom over there and if you could clean up this area that would help me a lot”. I remember being mad, thinking I’m worth more than that you know? But it taught me that everything is important when you build things and that you have to start somewhere.

We built/fixed/installed so many things I can’t believe it: tiles on the floor, radiant heat concrete slabs, full windows, doors, entire electric systems, full bathrooms, roofs that didn’t exist. Everything. I still remember back when I had just tasted California in 09 I was back home in August to goddamn replace 20m/65 feet of underground sewer pipes in the front yard with PVC pipes and two years later we had to fix a big ass roof, cleaning up every single tile. I mean. My bedroom didn’t exist and my dad was like “yeah it will be up there and I’ll install a small shower in your closet too” and I wasn’t happy about that because it seemed like it was too much, delaying my room –I had a good sense of the importance of getting shit done already- but he fucking did it anyway and it was dope as hell.

That’s his room now.

And that’s what I remember the most. His absolute and brutal persistence. This mental state of I Will Make This Work. Fast forward now and I’m like him, always surprised that most people are scared to do anything if they haven’t done it all their lives. My whole life is about going for it, going at it even if it’s pretty much unfamiliar. Scared, but not scared. Very useful for design stuff.

But also, it’s so insanely satisfying. Taking on a challenge, building something that didn’t exist and then it does! You use and enjoy it and it’s just one of the best feeling ever. You don’t feel like you need to buy shit. you don’t feel like you need to know what others are doing. You’re simply happy and proud. It’s beautiful.

I owned knowing that to my dad. I just wanted to honor him while he’s alive. Merci ‘pa, t’es le meilleur.

2016

December 28th, 2016 by harold

'morning

What. A. Year. First it feels like 2015-2016 has just been one giant, mad, crazy year. Janet Jackson had a new album out in fifteen called Unbreakable and it’s like well girl TOO SOON. A whole lot of things broke this year.

Bathroom Selfay

I DID NOT. I didn’t snap. I could have. Because of work, because of the heat sometimes, because of politics often. Holding strong, in the best shape of my life, my back hurts a bit though. I know why.

A lot of famous people passed away but I still can’t believe Prince is gone. The average speed of gentrification in my neighborhood is now over Mach 3. Yes, black-owned businesses and black tenants are the first to leave and layered with the rest –Philando to Barack- it hurts my god. So much love around though. Yeah, I keep it vague. We all do now that we know that it’s the only way to maintain something nice for a little bit, right?

So there’s that. Onward. Don’t forget to live because wow, things are fragile.

From BO to TNC and back

December 22nd, 2016 by harold

Barack and Ta-nehisi

As usual, terrific article. When Ta-nehisi describes the indescribable joy of having so much black excellence around, taking over the very highly symbolic White House (built by slaves if you didn’t know), it’s… It’s something very strong man. Like something that will never not make me weep a bit.

As beautiful as it is though, some things need to happen for a better world. Things that need to happen to a whole lot of people, not just one amazing family.

the president accomplished major feats. He remade the nation’s health-care system. He revitalized a Justice Department that vigorously investigated police brutality and discrimination, and he began dismantling the private-prison system for federal inmates. Obama nominated the first Latina justice to the Supreme Court, gave presidential support to marriage equality, and ended the U.S. military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, thus honoring the civil-rights tradition that had inspired him.

Actual, real world for most people out there:

– health-care? Still absolute trash and about to get worse.

– justice? Where?

– prisons? Nothing has really changed at all. Probably about to get worse too.

– Sonia Maria Sotomayor as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States? Great.

– marriage equality thumbs up? Great.

– military reforms? Sort of, great.

Those points don’t achieve shit for 99% of people. Nothing has changed because economic rules have not changed one bit. Banks can still do whatever the fuck they want, bailed out by governments. Companies get the fuck away from workers, automating as fast as possible and we love it as customers. Redlining and gentrification are happening, displacing people. Reparations –that have been scrutinized by the UN and validated- are not on the table of discussions and even just writing it down feels like an achievement to myself. Taboo af.

Nothing has changed. Besides one thing: black people are doing better than ever. So that’s annoying.

That’s where with all the optimism Barack Obama brings in and that I understand very well –like him, I by default trust white people- I share Ta-nehisi Coates pessimism on the future.

Because I know what’s happening: people are reaching for cover. When you reach for cover, you side with people who look like you, it’s probably some reptilian habits and some lack of courage/good ol’ fear. Many white people will side with powerful racists not because they want it but because ultimately it profits them. Survival requires as we know, to do whatever it takes. Asians don’t side with black people as minorities for those reasons, they don’t want to upset their better relationship with white people. They stay neutral (though it’s changing, which is good). Same with Mexicans (25% of y’all voted Trump, let that sink in).

It’s a trip.

The article wonders about what it’s like to be a black man growing up like Barack or Ta-nehisi. I grew up like both in the way that I was surrounded by white people like Barack but I was in a working class and upper middle class setting like Ta-nehisi. What I got from that is that if you look at yourself in the mirror and see a black person, you are black now and forever. It’s simple, not easy. Your environment will shape a lot of your style –that is, I definitely stand out as “different” in a sea of black folks- but you’ll always be black. You will lean black even if it’s only from time to time. Black things and black culture will titillate your senses in ways other things will not. Sometimes it will annoy you sometimes you will embrace it fully.

I guess it’s the same for all cultures and people like me who grew up in a non-traditional culture.

Anyway next time I’ll write about my solutions to all that.

Basically

December 22nd, 2016 by harold

BACK

Almost 40 emails to transfer a domain name I own since 2001 to myself. It’s probably easier to walk in the NSA building.