Burned out

October 24th, 2016 by harold

Seriously: it has become impossible to know for sure if a thumbnail picture is real, if it’s from the last big game or if it’s photoshopped. All options being totally viable. That’s really weird.

Twine progress

I’m ALSO kind of crunching on a Twine game, yeah I know. Even with a decent scope, even on a one-man team, even on a short Twine game. You have to do it. You have to polish it and shape it until it’s good. I did a normal, average reading walkthrough and it clocks at 7 minutes. Seven, lucky number I’m going to land an amazing job soon. It all makes sense.

What is going on behind the DDOS attacks? I’d love to know what the hell is going on behind the routers and ISPs and stuff. Guys, it’s real life Patlabor shit going on.

Winter is coming and I’m pumped. “Is winter OK?” Yes, it is OK in Cali.

Nintendoo Switcheroo

October 21st, 2016 by harold

Nintendo Switch

Shitty title aside on a first impression, I really like it! Then I think of the business side and I can’t help but think that it’s not going to work.

Media and news will never show you that but it’s easy to understand why third-party developers don’t do much on Nintendo’s consoles. The best-selling games on those machines are Nintendo’s. Overwhelmingly. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at games that sold at least 1M units, Nintendo has:

SNES: top 3
N64: top 13
NDS: top 14
Wii: top 17
3DS: top 10
Wii U: top 14

Those tops represent hundreds of millions of games (Wii Sports, 80M. 80M units). ALL NINTENDO.

So good luck for anyone else to invest millions of dollars in a system where you are pretty much guaranteed to not sell enough to break even. Considering the past ten Nintendo years, very tough sale.

Good luck going back to retail with game cards, delays and what about DLC so pervasive now? They’d better not region-lock nothing because hello 2TB microSD card game cards.

The concept and the hardware are cool, way more attractive that this WiiU thing they did in the past. The same challenges remain though.

Cultural habits

October 17th, 2016 by harold

“Dear US, you have an extraordinary bullying culture that you praise as much as you despise.”

“Dear France, you have an extraordinary avoiding culture that you praise as much as you despise.”

I tweeted that and I kind of feel like it’s damn true. People bully each other a lot here, the cause being good or bad doesn’t matter, people truly enjoy going at it, going after it. Like American football. In France it’s more like the opposite where people avoid confrontation a lot more because it’s kind of stupid, the outcome is never good. Like European football. The problem though is that at some point, it explodes and it explodes big time. And we’re all very conscious about it. US folks denounce bullying all the time and French people often criticize the lack of action, pointing at the terrible inertia. Yet, we continue.

Just observing our cultural patterns and paradoxes.

Crunch through history

October 14th, 2016 by harold

We always go back to talk about gamedev crunch without talking about its history. There is a history.

Back in the 80s when I was a kid trying to put my hands on magazines with pictures of game machines, Japanese game developers were working hard. Extremely hard. We’re talking months at work. People would not go back home (what’s the point when you finish working at 2am?). Meanwhile I was playing European and American games and all I could see was that they were so often vastly inferior in their polish.

A lot of my friends and people around that time started to fetish Japan but all I could think was HOW. How are they so much better, the attention to detail, the gameplay, the screen title everything demonstrated that Japanese game developers were serious about computer games.

The answer is clear now: they were simply killing themselves –literally- making those games. Outside technical reasons (Japanese machines had more game-dedicated hardware) the reason Japanese games were more fluid, more beautiful, had the best ideas and best designs was simply that those teams crunched and crunched and crunched until there was no bugs left, until the game felt right. I kind of knew that, but didn’t think it would be at that scale: apparently it was just the norm. There’s some sadness in that but also those designers and engineers didn’t quit. If you quit it won’t happen.

And yes, we all still do crunch regularly. For every game made someone or a full team is going to give everything they have at some point. Technology and tools are a thousand times better and easier than the 80s ones but we still crunch because we have a billion times more things to put in one game. Game developers have never been really able to catch up with what people want. People want more, all the time. And we game developers, always want the game to be what it should be.

Which is why IMO there’s no debate to have about crunch, it is not a matter of good or bad: even with seasoned professionals and money it just happens when you make complex things. Even a tiny bit. No one cares that rocket engineers crunch to send a satellite up in space or that smartphones engineers have to churn out a new, superior phone every 10 months and that for that to happen, they probably will not sleep enough or enjoy some family time. We don’t value Play and Games as much as we value getting a new phone or more DirecTV so crunching is bad. Yet people want 200hrs of awesome gameplay.

The only solution is for all of us to hold up and slow down our progress but yeah, won’t happen. Or WILL IT

Thanks Barack for real

October 5th, 2016 by harold


I will probably never see another left-handed black man at such a prestigious position, unless I become president too (I’d be perfect for France tho). I randomly gathered those pictures but man, they perfectly illustrate my memory of his 2009-2017 tenure. Outstanding wife, humor, work, kids laughing, vacation, that left-hand writing –such a classic, stiff hand position-, Barack in the paint fighting for the basketball I mean… It’s going to be another painful moment this year.

Very disappointed in what he probably couldn’t change anyway which is a weird, confusing feeling but what isn’t confusing in 2016 amirite.

I’m a little afraid for the family’s safety after November to be honest.

Super Nintendo Prince

October 3rd, 2016 by harold

Prince, live from a 1992 Super Nintendo System. Real Music 4 Real Music Lover.


October 3rd, 2016 by harold

Great article on e-waste. One thing though:

“Who is to blame? Consumers certainly have a role to play in the increase of e-waste—they’re buying the goods, after all. But manufacturers have given people fewer and fewer viable ways to keep older electronics functioning effectively.”

Un-true. Weak. We update devices when they’re perfectly fine, we don’t have to. A few days ago I charged my 2011 dusty phone, it works like a charm. I just checked the battery, the phone is still on with 60% of juice. We lie to ourselves as much as manufacturers plan obsolescence, let’s be honest.

You still can text and tweet with a Blackberry and you will get the same results. Technologically speaking the world runs on old ass protocols and low-level things that haven’t changed in decades. We do not need to update. We do not need to upgrade. 5 year old laptops are still powerful enough to do just fine with 99% of what people use computers for. Millions of computers less powerful than your little sister’s phone are running our world without sweating.

Yes, it will be a tiny bit better with the freshest silicon available but in the big scheme of things, it’s not important. Outside the existential question about what happiness is (is it a new device every 12 months?), how much we waste is a bigger issue and again if you have some kids you’d better curve your upgrade habits down a bit because at this rate well, I kind of feel like we are destroying everything right now at a wonderfully fast pace so… We’ll see.

GTF Off your damn phone

October 1st, 2016 by harold

Ian was writing four years ago about the cigarette of this century.

The point is not whether technologies like smartphones actually make us more or less connected to one another–that’s a cheap, pat question whose answer is best left to trade books and TED talks. The point is that technologies like the Blackberry change our social fabric in ways that we often cannot see, and therefore cannot fully reason about. McLuhan argued that technologies can never be fully grasped in the present, but only after we establish some distance from them.

I am doing that as much as I can. It annoys me because it’s easy to not have your phone around you to look at and yet, I struggle. Which is weak. There’s always something to look at right? No. That’s what completely scares me: we often look at our phones for no reason, pulling to refresh some content we already saw etc. We’re completely in the slot machine psychology here.

Recently I forced myself to have dinner without looking at my phone, without having it with me in the kitchen. It’s weird but it’s fantastic I actually enjoy my food far more. I feel much more satisfied.

Someone might say that reading books does the same disservice to your neck except that we don’t read books and never did for hours everyday like we do with phones. The convenience is right here, one minute that becomes five minutes at a time.

Like smoking, I’m not against it but let’s have some self control/respect.


September 29th, 2016 by harold


Bandcamp is the shit. Just when I’m cleaning up my account, they announce that you can pay with any credit/debit card now. Yup (probably because they didn’t want to get in bed with banks but hey, that was a big issue).

So cancel your Spotify sub and get on that Bandcamp goodness. This is how music should have been sold online since 2000.



September 28th, 2016 by harold

Last week we get killed in the streets

On debates we’re a bullet point, a statistic

Yesterday we still get killed for no reason

While some people are all over a Mars mission

It’s hard sometimes.