Ewin10

March 28th, 2017 by harold

Speaking of Windows. I recently tried Win10 and it was the worst Windows experience since Windows ME. At least Vista was bringing security and quite some stability. This doesn’t bring anything but trouble.

Win10 is the worst UI/UX sandwich I have ever seen. The focus on the right side of the screen is annoying. All those notifications, gross. Using the desktop with touch is tedious. Unlike Win8 where you could thrive on the start screen with your fingers, you’re stuck with floating windows and small icons here. It sucks.

I see exactly how Win8 start screen could have become a dope ass launching deck on big screens and 4K monitors but they had to freak out at MS. Win8 is, was the best route. Many things that felt kind of off at the time it came out make a lot of sense now. Like having only 10 tabs allowed in the browser.  Search, find, pin down/save, get the fuck off the computer instead of hogging its memory with 40+ tabs for no reason, what’s wrong with you? Tons of little things that were simplified and that was awesome. It just needed a few UX adjustments and some robustness tweaking. It needed MS to not listen to power users but to step up and say “y’all, we’ve been making operating systems for a while now. We have a pretty good idea of how people use those damn computers, don’t tell us how it should be. Grow up or stay on 7 and STFU.”

Instead they forced Win10 all over the place by giving it up for free. It’s not a good sign when you give things for free, in a way. And after trying this bad OS for a week uh, yup.

Native Soft

March 28th, 2017 by harold

It’s a weird time for software too. Take the example of audio listening. I haven’t changed anything in many moons. Same Foobar, same interface since forever. Same keyboard shortcuts since Winamp 2, 17 years ago at least. ’bar can play absolutely anything. No new type of audio files since forever and we probably will never need new ones.

Technically there’s really nothing to add. the piece of code is probably as efficient and stable as possible already. It deals with absurd sizes of content, way bigger than I ever will be able to remember. They released a version 20 days ago, fixing a bunch of minor and ultra specific stuff. That’s it.

Witnessing the actual stop of growth, iteration needs for main software –audio, video, word processing- but also creative software –pro audio, image processing, 3D- is an interesting time because software always has been connected to “the future of” and now it’s really the past. It feels like the past 10 years were like, “hold on, maybe we can improve those?” and now it’s like “OK, not really man”. Only game engines and real time-procedural-whatever still have quite some room to grow and mature.

Having said that, I still can see where the UI could be more unified and streamlined. Fuck floating windows.

Care bear

March 24th, 2017 by harold

Man,

Watched the main dude Dave Chappelle’s last stand-up online. There’s a bit on Care Bears and it got me triggered. Talkin ‘bout youngsters:

It’s easy to not care for you,

but for us, we’ve been TRAINED to care. We were raised that way.

I think my/his generation –Gen X- should be way more vocal. It feels like it’s the only generation that gets mad at or doesn’t give a fuck about the right things, at the right time. Everybody else: y’all are off.

We talk about LGBT rights, older people freak the fuck out. We cool. We talk about not being a sheep, younger people don’t get it. We cool.

It comes down to living through those super pivotal 70-00s years man. Look at it this way: we were babies when computers were basically rooms, at 20 we had Playstations hooked up on TVs and at 30, we got smartphones. We have lived Change like no other. Going from landline with operators to Skype and shit, we know how to pace ourselves. We know how to be patient. We love to be positive and confident. We can be cold as fuck and very cynical but it’s because we like realness and ultimately, we always care.

I had a Care Bear, the brown one. I loved that lil dude.

Gen X was raised after WWII, after reconstruction, when families were like “now: you guys need to build a better world. Benetton ads “We Are The World” and all that shit, go on son.” Greed decided otherwise. We forgot that people were living for a much longer time than before now and that they also would keep the blanket and not really give a damn about the rest of us because they’re fearful little bitches. Which is why some of us became fearful little bitches too, and almost as gross as the Boomers. It’s a mess.

Humans ain’t shit but that’s all we have. Us. Not even together, it seems. Weird! Makes sense!

That’s some dumb ass shit

March 12th, 2017 by harold

The idea is to tax automation to slow down automation so that us humans, simply struggle and burn out a bit longer on jobs that will disappear even faster than we thought.

This is dumb, Bill. And I suspect you know this.

The thing that needs to happen right now is not automation taxes, it’s UBI and redistribution of wealth. We have a lot of wealth in this world. Wealth is created by all of us from direct work, wealth transfer or through tax breaks. We all pay for wealth in some way, from taxes we pay when we could use that money, to defunding systems that we need and will cost us, like Planned Parenthood. We’re all together in this and it’s always the same people who are affected that is, most of us. That needs to stop.

Some people have so much money they will never go through it in their lifetime, even by living lavishly, even with their families. Some people truly don’t even know what to do with their money besides buying the dumbest shit like gold-plated cars and 300 room houses.

And then you die and that money just sits there. It’s wildly inefficient.

We need to redistribute wealth and automate everything at the same exact time, full speed. By slowing down those inevitable processes and making them work against each other, we fuck everything up. We create a terrible political bed of us VS tech, which is idiotic. Yes, Redistributing & Automating at the same time means that we highlight the absurdity of the current state of affair which is that people get in massive debt and burn out on more or less shitty jobs.

I’m fine with showing what we all know.

GDCEnds

March 11th, 2017 by harold

Wellll,

The GDC happened and it feels like I got hit in the neck repeatedly. So. Much. Shit.

520am everyday –just making sure I’m on time- to make it to the game audio meetup at 7am. Meeting your pairs from all over the world is something, man. You can dive in a second on very specific topics that you can’t talk to to anyone otherwise and for a week, you can. I had a memorable discussion with a sound designer working at Konami, she was awesome and I still think about what we exchanged. GDC is dope as hell.

SEGA 4 LYFE

Mad props to my dude Damian for being such a profound and dedicated game audio catalyst through the years. And Matt M joined him in building a nice community online and at that carousel on 4th/Howard in San Francisco for the annual CarouselCon™. It wouldn’t be the same at all without their efforts and dedication.

Untitled

Six years ago I wrote a few blog posts about how MIDI should be back and kind of central in games and in 2017 I saw that everywhere: Unreal has it, Wwise was first a few years ago, Elias followed and made it really good. So happy to see they based their sampler format on .sfz, as planned in my head! I feel like Da Vinci designing the parachute. Close, close.

Anyway we really do have great tools today. To make a difference, to enhance game audio is all about budget and will now more than ever. The hardest part to change amirite?

There’s a lot of talent in this community and I think it’s stifled, it’s not getting the attention it deserves. Game developers when thinking about sound switch to “safe mode”. They are already dealing with complex issues on other sides, they don’t want to wonder if that sound effect or that music are working or creating an interesting dynamic within their games. is it action-y? Put some “epic music”. Is it melancholic? Put some fragile piano drenched in reverb. Colorful game? Music needs to jump in your face like buckets of paint thrown at you. Very safe and predictable. IMO it’s part of the blandness people are talking about and experiencing with computer games these days. Things are just super predictable and thus, forgettable. We need to shake them up!

Inside was the game of the year from an audio point of view to me, not so much for the fact that it has fantastic sound design but because the game listens to its audio and truly becomes something else. Timelessness is triggered. Devil Daggers is another great example of beautiful fusion when Audio, Visuals and Input are together in such a way that it elevates the experience ten fold. In the first 30 mn of the new Zelda Breath Of The Wild almost everything is communicated through sound design and musicality. Very sparse voice over and music. It’s wonderful. Look, Listen, Do. Listen, Do, Look. Do, Listen, Look. And on.

GDC17 unofficial shirt

My journey through game audio continues. So. Much. Shit.

GDC17Commences

February 26th, 2017 by harold

I first heard of the Game Developer Conference mid 90s, in a monthly magazine called Joystick back in France. Articles about the GDC were all written by the same woman, who much later on became a friend but anyway, every year I couldn’t wait for the March issue.

Her GDC articles definitely are in part responsible for where I am now. It really made me intensely want to tackle the audio part of game development. I always wanted to be in that middle.

#GameAudio

I did it all mostly alone covering, understanding, training myself on every single point of this diagram. I never went to the GDC and I’m going in two days. I look at my archive blogging 1,000 words on the GDC 2005, trying to read as much information as possible… I didn’t cover the last two. Too busy and exhausted by side gigs.

Lots of feels right now. I’m going to meet people I’ve had game audio and game development conversations for a decade online. T-shirt printed. Business cards almost done.

I’m good. I’m anxious. I love this shit. I’m excited. I’m scared. I’m eager.

Baldwin

February 18th, 2017 by harold

I saw I Am Not Your Negro the other day.

It starts with James talking about how living in Paris, he didn’t miss anything about the US but one thing: black people.

I know what he felt now more than ever: I’ve never had as many black folks in my life as of now and damn.

Damn. You have no idea.

That sweet love and beautiful connections I experience interlace with this harshly divided world. Black people after the past years of watching ourselves die in real life in HD, after NOT voting for that motherfucker are so fed up. My white France is missing me. My France doesn’t care about its black population, never did.

Division has intensified. People don’t understand the weight and test of time, especially when they don’t have to care about it because they’re on the easy side. Being in the middle is more isolating, more strenuous than ever.

That intersectional shit is cutting deep and fast man, I’m trying to navigate it like Spike in his Swordfish II in the middle of an asteroid field. I’m going to the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco, this micro world where less than 2% of people are black. And I’m probably going to stay in Oakland where as Dave Chappelle jokes “you put all of them niggers on the other side of the bridge huh?”.

It’s this weird bag of very high adversity, straight up hostility on one hand and complete comprehension and cultural acceptation on the other hand. Every minute of my life, I witness and experience things you only read or hear about.

It’s so corrosive. I wish it would stop. I know it won’t. I guess it also makes me feel alive like nothing else.

The media question

February 17th, 2017 by harold

The media amplifies anxiety, and then offer programming that offers relief from that anxiety.

It’s been shown repeatedly that watching TV increases the perception that other places, particularly cities, are far more dangerous than they are.

The media likes events and circuses and bowl games, because they have a beginning and an ending, and because they can be programmed and promoted. They invite us into the situation room, alarm us with breaking news and then effortlessly move onto the next crisis.

They train us to expect quick and neat resolutions to problems, because those are easier to sell.

They push us to think short-term, to care about now and not later.

And now they’re being gamed at their own game, because the artificial scarcity that was created by the FCC has been replaced by a surplus and a race to the bottom, with no gatekeepers and with plenty of advertisers willing to pay for any shred of attention.

Intellectual pursuits don’t align with the options that media would rather have us care about.

It’s a good read. Reduce your daily media intake. Read articles on how to make some stuff you were wondering about. Avoid the fuck outta Twitter. Read about the transfer of that player to that other team.

And don’t forget about your local life.

Stop the bundles

February 14th, 2017 by harold

I mean, I get it. We all get it. Charity, good vibes and unity.

But that’s too much. ACLU just got six times the money it receives a year, in one month. It’s got so much sudden money, they felt like they should join Y Combinator to help manage the enormous wealth –$24M received in one weekend- they got. That’s awesome, good for them. Good for us.

So why game developers feel the need to double down by completely eroding games value a few weeks later? $30 for 30 games –$600 worth at full price- is absurd. We already have such a hard time to make people understand that $19.99 is not expensive for a few hours of enjoyable entertainment that sending them the message that they can get that game for virtually nothing sometime in the future, is not something we should do or encourage. At all.

We already have such a hard time to get enough money to make great games, we cannot afford those ridiculous bargains. Developers who already made more than enough can afford it but it’s such a selfish way of looking at our craft, I don’t really get it.

It’s like no one is interested in sustaining our world, setting up an economy? Other entertainment businesses don’t do that. There are no $1 movie tickets, $2 music albums. Bandcamp run a charity thing recently too but people paid the music full price, Bandcamp just redistributed all the money to charities. There are already tons of cheap or really not expensive entertainment.

There’s no need to bargain our absurdly-hard-to-make craft like that. I think it needs to stop.

IT

February 12th, 2017 by harold

Can we talk about Isaiah Thomas. I know, I can’t be a fan because he plays for the Celtics and when you’re in LA you can’t be for the Celtics. That’s wrong and common sense. And those Lakers are dope and promising.

But my boy is ME: left-handed, 1,75m. You should not possibly be doing that well in a forest of big ass 2m trunks. He looks like a kid playing with adults on the court. And yet he’s crucial to Boston, scoring like the mailman. Clutch af. Making it rain from the perimeter. It’s absurd.

You have to understand, after the 90s and the Bulls the 2000s were definitely about the big men: Shaq, Duncan, Garnett, the 2004 Pistons. These days a lot of small players have a big impact but THAT small and THAT impactful I’m like “nah, this isn’t supposed to happen”.

Isaiah does it though.