Default Tester

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Great question. If I only had one video I could play it would be this.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Issue: Games: Flip Tricks


A short time ago I came to John with a plan. The initial design sketches were written on a napkin, then on paper, and some may have still been in my head. I handed the crumpled papers to him and said, this is a basic idea of what it's about. He wasn't surprised by any of this, as he has known me for a while. He actually looked relieved that I managed to find paper in enough time to write things on it.

He shot me an e-mail a little later that said, "I like this one, I think I know a guy." I wasn't surprised by this, because I have known John for long time, and he is the type that always knows a guy. Have a leaky pipe, he knows a guy, want to smuggle a black market liver out of the country? You good. Need to know the RBI % of all game three's in all series' of ever? He's the guy. So I replied to him, "Well lets meet the guy."

You may have noticed Creanium's handle in the blogroll of this site and wondered what that's all about. Well Creanium is the developer and architect of Default Tester. He doesn't talk much, but holy hell can he code, not that I have to say it though, you will see soon enough. Dude is an old school head down dev, a gangster, and a gentleman. Anyone that has spent time in the game industry has a pretty good idea on the particularities of QA/Dev relationships, but my time working with creanium has knocked me on my ass.

A few highlights, that time I sent him a half baked hot pocket that he engied into a four course meal with desert, that time I got all bee in the bonnett to get our server off of go daddy, only to find out he was already migrating it. His reasoning, "It's the right thing to do." Oh yeah and not to mention that time that he built a video game defect tracking database from scratch mostly because he felt something like this needed to exist.

And I say all that to say this. Don't be coming to me asking about implementing site mods, that's on Creanium, and if you do decide to take that risk please be smart about it, avert your eyes, speak quickly, using logic, and do not eva eva eva interupt a dev while they have headphones on. Trust me on this.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Issue: People: Horsepower


A short time ago tested for one of the old guard companies. My hair was usually either a low fade or 1" buzz. I am not sure what people referred to me as there, because after a long time of working you start to filter out everything not having to do with getting paid or when you can go home.

I  landed at the old guard company after reaching the end of my time at another job along with the rest of the people working there. The end at the other job came one day midweek when the owners called in all the contract employees to a room to tell us we were fired. 

When we went back upstairs to collect our belongings the full time employes consoled and exchanged contact information with us before they were called into the same room and fired. So I went on vacation for a while, collecting unemployment, sending out resumes, playing games, this part of the life was always harder on Lyly than it was for me, at this point she had seen this process repeated exponentially and was worried about me. 

I calmed her down by promising her that the next testing gig I got would be my last one, it's the same line I feed her every time this happens, but she is always nice enough to play along. My bosses boss at the old guard place was a get it done lady who plucked me out of tester gen pop after seeing some bugs I wrote.

She called me into her office across the road in an area of the complex I had never been to before. I found my way there and knocked on her door. She waved me toward a couch, so I went and sat on the couch. We had a staring contest for a couple beats, her in her business casual suit, me in my sagging pants, windbreaker, and hat on tilt. 

She broke the silence by saying, "So you are the kid writing all the web bugs?" I said, yeah. Then she started bombing on me, I'm talking TRC questions, network functionality, "What would you do if." Shit was crazy, I held my ground ok here and there but for the most part I was stumblin' and fumblin'. I walked out of that office knowing I had screwed the pooch, and feeling like the dumbest human being on earth.  

I started work for her about a week later, It was tough at the start but got easier. After a while my bosses boss got promoted, and it was time to meet her replacement. She rode a motorcycle, smiled when she found something funny, and mostly wore her hair in a ponytail. She introduced herself and gave a speech about changes and revenue streams and whatnot. I rolled my eyes, it was all deja vu for me. 

A while later almost everybody except her and I reached the end of their time at the old guard company. The end came one day midweek when the owners called everyone to a parking lot to tell them they were fired. I assumed I was fired as well so I went back upstairs to collect my stuff, only to have my new bosses boss tell me I wasn't. I started yelling and carrying on at her, "Why am I not fired too?! How could you do this to people?! Stuff like that.

She just stared quietly and let me finish. I could see the tears in her eyes but I was just done, a lot of things came to a head that I had to get out, and she knew that so she just listened until they stopped coming out. 

A while later we were both called into a meeting with every bodies boss to have him explain what just happened to us, and she knew I would holler on him the second I saw him, so she stood right next to me the whole time ready to deal with whatever I was getting ready to do, lightly nudging me, and getting me to look at her instead whenever I got antsy. But there was really no reason for me to say anything in the meeting, as he looked broken up over it as well.

A while later it was time for me to move on to do my own thing by way of quitting, which was a new feeling for me. I expected a battle over being able to leave, as I was one of the few people still in the building able to do what I did there. But instead her and her boss sat me down in her office, thanked me for everything, and wished me luck. He shook my hand, she gave me a hug, and told me she was proud of me. It is now by far the best raise I ever received.

 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Issue : Games : Hubba


I landed my first gap a long time ago when I was a grom in the city. It was a two step flat two step outside of some office complex in a stretch of road called the miracle mile. An old buddy brought me down there once to shut me up, I would always pester him about where he skated.

I didn't have much else going for me at the time and he had a car and rode amateur for the local shop and had the biggest bag of tricks and all the other skaters would want to film with him and stuff. I looked at that guy and reasoned that he was around the same size and shape as every other skater, so it must be the spots that he goes to, or how he practices, or something.

So I decided to follow him around and take notes. I would frequent the spots he and his crew session but wouldn't skate. I would just watch them skating and shooting the shit with my board on my lap, some of them would give me shit for it, poser this and grommie that, or whatever. But others would teach me things when they had time, one guy showed me how to lay grip tape in a way that won't create air bubbles, another guy showed me how to  lean into slide tricks, that kind of stuff.

Then one day all of the sudden I got it in my head that I could ollie that two step flat two step because I had seen it done enough times to know what I was getting myself into. There must have been about twenty people at the spot, a good trick flow, not to many people falling or crossing up, so I skated over to the far end of the office walkway and cued up.

When I got to the circle of skaters they were talking among themselves and didn't notice me, so I spun around and started pushing mach ten toward the gap. I still don't know why, I just assumed the faster I went the easier it would be. I was going way too fast, and it didn't help that I was so scared that by the time I reached the event horizon of the stairset I had forgotten the trick I was going to do.

While in the air my body froze up in the shape of an ollie, so I just went with it. It was a clean pop and the board balanced well, but that landing. I used to do this thing where I would land tricks with my front foot too far back behind the trucks and I did that and the board snapped and I went end over end into a bush that I thought was only a bush but had a concrete divider behind it.

I was only out for a little bit but when I woke up there were office people hovering above me and sirens getting closer and whatnot, all of the other skaters must have bolted when the office people called the law. I had also rolled my ankle, so I was laid up in bed for a month or two, my mom was pissed. After everything healed I went back to the spot and threw down a backside 180 second try. It got a lot easier because I wasn't scared of busting my ass anymore.      

The Protoculture Mixtape V.52 Issue: People: Gaps

Monday, February 27, 2012

Issue: Games: Second (More Successful) Life


The last two weeks have served as a great reminder as to why I stopped playing sports games in the first place. The trend in games, at some point, went from "control your favorite team" to "create yourself in the game and just control yourself". That's all well and good, but damn it is addicting.

Why is it addicting? Because I feel like a success when I play the game. I'll give you my two most current examples:

  1. NCAA Football - I made myself a Running Back, signed with the Stanford Cardinal, and was scurrying my way towards a Heisman Trophy in my Junior year when I finally pulled myself away. 
  2. NBA 2K12 - Here is where the big problem began. See, I love watching football, but I was never great at playing football. Get me on a basketball court, and my sweet jumper and natural passing ability brings out the "ooohhhs" and "aaaahhhhhs". It was only natural that the first thing I'd do upon making this game was to create myself as a white Jeremy Lin that could set the world on fire.
The NBA 2K addiction has the added "I could actually be doing this!" feeling, which is part of the reason it's stronger than my NCAA or NHL addictions ever were. However, the biggest part is everything that happens off-the-court. 

If I have a good game but we lose, I go into that post-game press conference ready to blast my teammates. If I have a good game and we win, I give snarky, sarcastic responses to the questions. Before the draft, I told the Pacers GM that I didn't want to play on his small-market team because I'm a superstar. 

When I eventually got drafted by the Knicks, I toiled away on the bench for weeks while they lost game after game before being put into the starting lineup and immediately guiding them to 7 straight wins. Then what happened? Well, Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudamire decided that our entire offense should be "Give me the ball and get out of my way". The losses started piling back up, and I spent post-game press conference wondering why this team needed a PG to begin with. 

I eventually got frustrated enough that I demanded a trade, and was promptly sent to the wasteland that is Utah. In my first game, I was trying so hard to impress that I was forcing my game and ended up shooting about 15% from the field. Since then, I'm back up to around 50% and we've won 3 straight. Morale is good and we have a chance to go on a run and squeak into the playoffs.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because it feels real. While I sit on my couch, getting fatter and forgetting about doing necessary things (taking showers, brushing my teeth, washing dishes, going to work, etc.), I feel like a success. I feel like Jeremy Lin, the talk of the sports world. I'm imagining herds of short white kids going into sporting good stores in Salt Lake City asking when my jersey will be available for them to buy.

I spent most of a sunny, beautiful Southern California weekend developing Carpal Tunnel on my couch and don't regret a single minute of it. Because the John in the game, the one that the Jazz traded Paul Millsap for(!) and the one that is turning the team around with his silky-smooth jumpshot and natural passing ability, is a success. No wonder people get sucked into MMORPGs.

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