Deathblow!

or, Ben Cousins was Too Gentle On Wednesday of GDC, Ben Cousins of ngmoco delivered easily one of my top talks of the show, “When the Consoles Die, What Comes Next?”  This succinct talk painted a clear picture of the collapse of the Cinema relative to TV and a similar collapse of Arcade relative to Console.  Cousins’ hypothesis stated that a transition is already underway; Console is rapidly giving way to Mobile, and in the […]

No One’s Better than Cloning

On the first day of GDC, I was introduced to a designer from a venture funded, Bay Area mobile/social start-up interested in BioWare Social.  I recognized the studio name from one of the dueling sets of recruiting billboards adorning the 101-N, and its top performing iPhone App.  When I asked why she wanted to change companies, she said “All we do is make clones, and I’m better than that.” “No one’s better than cloning,” I […]

Game Production Hotline

On Sunday, I moderated a panel at the 2012 Flash Games Summit on the life of flash developers.  I was joined by some of my favorite developers: Andrew Sega (Mytheria/Armor Wars), Dan Stradwick (Monsters’ Den) and Sean McGee (Thing Thing Arena/Endless Zombie Rampage).  During the panel, and in discussions throughout the day, feature creep, difficulty finishing games and not knowing when a game was complete were frequent topics.  For instance, Dan has been working on […]

Dragon Age Legends Road to 100k Likes

Here are the slides from my GDC Online 2011 talk, “Dragon Age Legends Road to 100k Likes”. Talk description from the the program guide: We live in a new world where borders between game developers and their players have broken down, where a Like can be more valuable then an ad campaign and where your fans can literally reach you 24 hours a day. In this metrics driven talk, Dragon Age Legends’ producer Ethan Levy […]

I Made a Song with Scrum

When I was 15, I received a free copy of Acid Music Studio while skipping out on Third Eye Blind at an alternative music festival in Chicago.  I spent weekends in the basement with my friends, arranging pre-made loops with delusions of being the next Chemical Brothers.  For my 16th birthday, I convinced my grandmother to buy me a Roland MC-505, leading to hours spent with the Groovebox sequencing bass lines and tweaking filters.  I […]

Scrumification of Music – Day 5

Day 5 began with my second trip to Guitar Center of the week.  I picked up a Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 usb audio interface and rushed home to record vocals.  Setup was quick and easy, multiplying my regret at wasting most of the previous day trying to set up my outdated Mbox 2. I closed the door on my bedroom and slightly embarrassedly began to record the vocal takes for “One of Us”.  Listening to the […]

Scrumification of Music – Day 4

I attacked day 4 with a renewed energy that quickly evaporated in the angry heat of hardware issues.  My momentum point from the previous train wreck of a day was writing the vocals, so began day 4 attempting to burn down the 3 hours estimated against recording a scratch vocal track. My first attempt was to get a microphone working with the mic-in jack on my laptop, since this take was solely for arrangement purposes.  […]

Scrumification of Music – Day 3

Day 3 was a disaster; completely unproductive, creatively bankrupt and frustrating.  It is an inevitability of creative work.  Despite the setbacks, the day underscored why using the scrum process to write music was a powerful idea. On day 3, I watched tutorials and then left for a doctor appointment and visit to Guitar Center to pick up some audio gear.  I had been making progress with only Ableton and my laptop so far, but I […]

Scrumification of Music – Day 2

I began the second day of my scrum experiment by watching more tutorials to learn the basics of Ableton.  After watching enough videos that I felt comfortable feeling my way around the production environment, I began writing drums.  I had not purchased a midi keyboard or audio interface yet, and drums were the best place to start with only a mouse and laptop keyboard for input. Historically, drums had been my biggest weaknesses when writing […]

Scrumification of Music – Day 1

I began the first day of my Scrum experiment by writing a one page work brief.  The brief’s purpose is to set a clear intention and give a tool to measure quality of the end product.  Writing a brief is a standard part of my game production process, but is an exercise I had never applied to music.  The brief laid out a concept for the song I wanted to write, as well as an […]