Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/caligirl/public_html/wp-settings.php on line 399

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/caligirl/public_html/wp-settings.php on line 414

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/caligirl/public_html/wp-settings.php on line 421

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/caligirl/public_html/wp-settings.php on line 456

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /home/caligirl/public_html/wp-includes/classes.php on line 576

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output) in /home/caligirl/public_html/wp-includes/classes.php on line 576

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/caligirl/public_html/wp-includes/classes.php on line 576

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /home/caligirl/public_html/wp-includes/classes.php on line 576

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_PageDropdown::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/caligirl/public_html/wp-includes/classes.php on line 593

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /home/caligirl/public_html/wp-includes/classes.php on line 687

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output) in /home/caligirl/public_html/wp-includes/classes.php on line 687

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/caligirl/public_html/wp-includes/classes.php on line 687

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /home/caligirl/public_html/wp-includes/classes.php on line 687

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_CategoryDropdown::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/caligirl/public_html/wp-includes/classes.php on line 710

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class wpdb in /home/caligirl/public_html/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 58

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/caligirl/public_html/wp-includes/cache.php on line 99

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Object_Cache in /home/caligirl/public_html/wp-includes/cache.php on line 404

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/caligirl/public_html/wp-includes/query.php on line 21

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/caligirl/public_html/wp-includes/theme.php on line 576

She’s alive!

November 18th, 2012

I haven’t made any time to mingle on my personal sites all that much let alone hang in MIRC, but there are plans to revamp both of my sites. I have made some progress with the mingling lately! Hopping on XBL and Steam more frequently in the past week.

Until I can get a better routine, and widgets on this site, you’ll want to check my other sites listed on the navigation menu for the time being. Updated them with the latest!

A few things to note since my last update:
- Sync is no more. I wrote a blog about it on GameSpot a while back It was an awesome experiment but since then I’ve had more time for other things, including gaming!
- I have made time this year to finish more games than normal, so that’s been a nice change. Some of my favorites this year include Journey and the Walking Dead. Yes, these games don’t take that long to finish! Other games I’ve been playing more recently include: Starhawk, Black Ops 2 Multiplayer and Dishonored.
- My Smugmug album is still around and I got a new camera earlier this year so I’ve taken some photos I need to add there. I’ll update this blog as soon as I add some more photos.
- My Youtube account is something I truly miss updating and I keep getting requests to make more I’mma Hotline videos. I’m not sure this is something I’d like to continue as the only series I do, but I sure do love dressing up and doing stupid stuff. My last one this year was Miss Burn. eek.. :)
- Instram is one guilty pleasure, so you might see random photos on my account there, xpcaligirl.


Sync up!

April 17th, 2011

It’s been a long time, visitors! I’ve been updating my GameSpot blog with most of the latest happenings, but I haven’t posted something here in a while, To make sure I don’t lose in touch with you, here’s a quick update about some exciting changes.

First up, let’s talk about my job. Work has assigned me on a new project called GameSpot Sync, a daily segment about things happening on the site each day. As you might know, GameSpot editors help with the other shows, they travel a lot more than I do, or they have to meet deadlines as writers of everything from features, previews, and reviews. Why not have me get everyone up to speed about what’s happening on GameSpot? ;)

Next, if you’d like to keep in touch, I have a new Facebook page. I’ll also upload some older images from the events I’ve attended over time. I also have a twitter account that has had a name change to GSJody to make it easier to find me.

As for personal projects, I would love to bring back a couple of videos I haven’t done in a while. Making another music video like this one is something I really would like to do, although I’m trying to figure out which song I should sing. I also want to make two more Imma Hotline videos this year. At the moment I only have one idea for a gal. If you have any ideas for a future Imma Hotline lady, feel free to let me know via Twitter or the Facebook page.

Lastly, is currently under construction with a new design and format. If you want to get access to the older data, you can get there by adding /ladyhunt to the back of the url there. The artist I’m dealing with right now is making me two new female characters for the site, which I can’t wait to reveal.

I hope you’ve been doing wonderful. Please don’t hesitate to keep in touch with me. I love hearing from all of you old school Quake, Unreal Tournament, and C&C gamers! Don’t be strangers!


GDC 2010 Journey Index

March 21st, 2010

- GDC Starts Early & Free Lunch?
- Accel Partners Party & Old Gamer Buds
- Gieger Brings The Funcom
- Sunshine in a Fog?
- Me Wants Level Design Tutorial

- Original Sessions Planned
- Session: OnLIVE
- Keefer Katchup!
- Yik Yak Salad
- Sony Sith Move
- Women in Games Gathering

- Original Sessions Planned
- You Ready? & Australian Cookies
- Variety of Aliases Have Meaning
- Session: Community 2.0
- Session: Women in Games
- Yo, Bro & ShowFloor!
- It’s Calbear!
- Downsides of the Day
- GDC Awards Take Aways
- MP4 Failures

- Original Sessions Planned
- Skipping Sessions
- Raining On GDC Parade
- Session: Borderlands Art Style Change
- Flake in the Wind
- Video: Game Developers & Sleep Deprivation

- Original Sessions Planned
- Friday Night & Saturday Morning
- Video: The Walk to GDC Conference
- Session: Leveraging Your Data
- South Hall Wanderer
- Session: Ongoing User Engagement
- What’s with the line?
- Session: Game Renaissance Art History
- The End of GDC 2010
- Dinner with Bioware
- GDC Resources
- Desire to Understand Development

- Reggae Mon Cab
- Brunch Time!
- Starchy Goodness
- Car Scratch Attack
- GDC Afterthoughts
- What’s next, CaliGirl?

Forewarning: I don’t write for a living so if you find any typos or grammar errors send them my way and I’ll fix them up! :)


GDC Wednesday

March 21st, 2010

Original Sessions Planned
Sessions I planned to attend but understood I might flake on…
- Anatomy of a Social Gamer
- It’s OnLive!

Session: OnLIVE
Today went actually quite smooth for the first day checking out GDC. Civilization V and was super excited to hear about that announcement. I later headed to the OnLive! session, which was mainly about how to get games with the cloud-based game service, but I never had a chance to see it in motion as I did today. That’s probably the coolest change with gaming to date even if I am a little suspicious about how it might work in the real world, but the few second loading screens for Red Faction: Guerrilla alone had me noticing its woah factor.

Keefer Katchup!
After the Onlive session over in the North Hall I thought about going to the Metreon again to grab something to eat prior to heading back to the office. You see, the area where I work has tons of places to eat but I have exhausted majority of them from eating at these places for so many years.

As I was getting ready to head up the escalator I heard my name being called out to find an old pal I used to work with at GameSpy, John Keefer. We caught up real quick on what we were doing to date and it was great seeing him again. He’s such a talented writer. I would love to master words like him some day.

North Hall

Yik Yak Salad
I once again headed over to the Buckhorn Grill but this time I tried the Yik Yak salad, which was actually the most unique salad I have had in a long time. The salad is a bit on the asian side with sesame dressing, but it’s layed out on a spicy seasoned tortilla. Talk about wow, kicks up all of the flavors a spicy food fan will adore.

Sony Sith Move
The Anatomy of a Social Gamer was during the the TOTS live stream for the Sony press event so I stayed at work to mingle with you all in the chatroom. I also could have attended the show live but it kind of more fun being able to chat about it with other people in a live chatroom.

Watching Sony reveal PlayStation Move press conference and the little commercials reminded me of the Star Wars dark side of Motion controllers. It was as if the Sith came to take over the light! You know, the colors match it too. I have to say, I have always liked the Sith and how mysterious they are, so naturally, I liked seeing the PS Move action.

Women in Games Gathering
After finishing some things at work I headed out to the Women in Games International gathering. When I arrived the line was outside the door, and it took quite a while to get in. I didn’t see that many people who I thought would have attended. I did meet some new people. Jason Della Rocca came up to me while believing I was another friend of his and apologized. He apologized and promised the back of my hair looked like a friend of his and I was short like her. Then he tried to show me on his iphone but I already knew people complaining about iPhone reception in line outside so I was quite certain he wouldn’t get any internet in the building.

There was also another incident with a dude asking if I wanted his drink stub, which I didn’t. I told him I rode my scooter in that day and he told me that it was a sport in Canada to run over beavers on a scooter. I told him that sounds like fun and it sounded like a video game. hah. If you are Canadian, was there any truth in what he said?

Stan was also at this event and he introduced me to a person that worked with Quakecon one year. Talked to his friend for quite a bit and headed back to work.

No Metric for you!
Headed back to work to check the latest scoops on the internet, including the peeps I follow on twitter. I was reminded of the Metric concert while reading people’s tweets which made me sad. I wasn’t invited to that party. :/ *sniff* I headed home and played some Borderlands before I passed out.



GDC Thursday

March 21st, 2010

Original Sessions Planned
Sessions I planned to attend but understood I might flake on…
- The Musical Recipe of Emotion
- Community 2.0
- Starting Something New - Women in Games
- Are Women the New Hardcore Gamers?

Almost Ready & Australian Cookies
Totally flaked on the The Musical Recipe of Emotion. I slept in! Hey, I have to work late tonight for the awards show; don’t be calling me a slacker, yet!

Next up! Heading out to get in some PS Move action. My brother text’d me that he arrived at the Moscone center about an hour before I headed over to the conference.

Did I mention Randolph Ramsey from GS AU brought me 3 boxes of Tim Tams cookies all the way from Australia? He finally gave them to me this morning. I put it on my desk for staff to eat and 8 hours later 2 boxes were eaten. I am leaving the second box of cookies for tomorrow. :D

Variety of Aliases Have Meaning
I bumped into Jonathan Wendel on the way to the Community 2.0 session. I have known him since he was a little dude [hah, dont tell him I said that, he was young though]. I was busy rushing to my session but then I heard my alias yelled “CaliGirl!” I looked around to find him waving. I didnt have much time to catch up with him. I’m sure we’ll see each other at another game event soon enough. I realized today that my different aliases have a radar for me now. CaliGirl or Cali means people who knew me for Quake and older generation of gamers, calitia and calithrae means people who knew me in MMO games, twitter, and youtube peeps. Jody means people I might work with and JodyR will more likely be people who are GameSpot members. Quite interesting to determine this all because Jon called out my older alias. :)

Session: Community 2.0
I thought i was going to be late for the the Community 2.0 session, so I was unable to meet with my brother prior to the session to check the show floor right away. While the Community 2.0 session did not share any new information from my stand point it was definitely interesting to hear things from the developer side of community management. The speakers were quite knowledgeable about the way community functions. I actually found some people posting @ symbols via twitter so I was able to track some of the people who spoke.

I briefly talked to Chris Arca after the session. If you remember the two Tournament TV broadcasts we had with Guitar Hero in it, he was one of the judged in both of them. Anyways, he is knowledgeable about community management side of things, and I was quite impressed with what he had to say. Rock on, dude!

Session: Women in Games
Starting Something New - Women in Games session was mostly about where women developers thought gaming was heading, which in their opinion it will become more about social/casual gaming. While it offered different perspectives and humor I kind of wished they allowed the lady who was new to the industry have some time to talk about her perspective. Seems like she would have offered a fresher outlook of game development. Either way, it was an interesting session that was more about social gaming so naturally I wasn’t offered any adrenaline rush when I came out of the session compared to other sessions I attended. Social games don’t make me excited yet.

Yo, Bro & ShowFloor!
I had a conflict with one of the sessions and another community session so I missed out on any other sessions today. I met up and his web developer friend, Davide Bianca from . I took some video footage of the showfloor to offer a perspective of what it looked like this year.

Sadly, I need to upload another format of this video because I tried using an HD format and not only did it take forever to process and upload, it also came out as much smaller footage than my actual video.

As you will see in this video there is an interesting virtual sphere on the showfloor, but my brother kept laughing at people in the sphere because they kept tripping so it was pretty much fail in his mind. Once I started recording video footage a guy did quite well in the sphere so it’s not a complete fail sphere.

It’s Calbear!
The only person I stumbled upon at the showfloor was Bob Calyco whom many of you loved for his Hardware work at GameSpot, but he now works at Blizzard. I used to work with Bob at and he later started to work more on news (branch off from same dudes at That means I still call him by an alias he no longer uses. He shall always be referred to as calbear in my mind. hah. :)

Downsides of the Day
AThe downsides of the day? I didn’t get to see Carter Lipscom or Cliff Bleszinski today, but my brother did and they said hi. I’ll wait to bump into at E3 this year.

GDC Awards Take Aways
Back to the GDC awards show, Farmville was the shocker, yet not. Really? WHY! Well, I can’t say much as I haven’t played the facebook game or application or whatever it is. But it just causes me to wonder how much social gaming is truly changing. While I can’t cast the what were you thinking judgment, if non-gamers can become gamers over it, go for it. Farmville is probably the biggest thing on my Facebook friends list, and while I’d love to not care about what they are doing in the game every 5 seconds I do know that many of them dont play gamers. If they are having fun, why not be happy for them.

I guess I need to play Uncharter 2 because well, why is it better than many of the games I have loved? And, some of those indie games looked awesome. I need to re-watch the replay this weekend and purchase these indie games online. :)

MP4 Failures
My Flip camera hasn’t been tested that often since I got it last Christmas so I should have known that I would have problems converting the files or needing the install CD at work, I was silly in thinking that the mp4 format would be fine to import to adobe premiere pro and windows movie maker. I kept getting failed errors and didn’t understand what the problem was. I tried downloading some freeware on and that gave me failed errors too. The footage I took of the two sessions still need to be converted. I’ll update this article once I have some pictures of video highlights to share.



GDC Sunday

March 21st, 2010

Reggae Mon Cab
At around 11:45 am I headed out for the 12pm brunch It was time to chill for a bit from all of those GDC parties, dinners, and more. I think most of the people who showed were former GameSpot employees. Out of about 15 people who showed about 5 people still work at GS.

I had to grab some cash before heading out and for some reason this cab driver noticed me looking around frequently while at the ATM so he turned around. I jumped in the car and he had a reggae accent telling me that I should wave down cab drivers if I need them. I actually didn’t notice him right away because he was a white SUV. He starts pointing at different women waving him down. I told him those women look way too excited. lol. The funny part about the cab drive was how he told me he asked mother nature to put the rain on hold. I told him I guess that’s why the rain only came for one day, huh? He said yes. :)

Starchy Goodness
Nice starchful breakfast and fun times had. This is my second time attending the Pig & Whistle for a late breakfast. While the breakfast brings a variety of flavors with 3 kinds of starch (beans, potatoes, toast), 2 kinds of meat (sausage, ham) I plan to go the meatless route next time. Dan’s girlfriend, Joy, had cheese on her eggs and no meat on her plate. What does that mean? More English beans and potatoes! mmm.

The last time I was there it went for hours because this place is a bar. This time we hung out for about 3 hours. Some of the cool topics was the latest games that people were playing like Toy Soldiers. This game is so much fun. [English Brunch photos]

Car Scratch Attack
On the way out I noticed a car with a not so nice scratch on the hood. I was in disbelief, but then I started to think about all of the reasons why someone would do this. Did this person really piss another person off by cutting them off? Taking their parking spot in front of a resident place? I was keyed at my old neighborhood for parking in front of a territorial resident before. The person also went through the trouble to give me a flat tire. How does that make any sense? I could have left that vehicle there longer from having to have a tow. People just need to start using games as a way to get back at someone through a good old humiliation pummel or something.

GDC Afterthoughts
Compared to the years I attended GDC this one was packed with awesomeness. I do notice that the show floor seems to be less about the tutorials that I used to see and the career isle has expanded more than ever before. I also met some new friends on the way, caught up with old friends, attended a variety of parties, and uncovered a few old passions of mine like creating skins for character models. I will now close the book on GDC 2010 in hope of an even better E3 2010.

What’s next, CaliGirl?
I am hoping to continue these old style journey articles because I love sharing stories about my life and sharing these experiences with my friends. I used to repeat the same stories verbally and realized back in the day that it would be nice to share my thoughts via a journal style article, which I called Journeys.

I stopped doing these articles back in 2005 [I believe] and I have missed a piece of my life for not being able to re-read those experiences I once had. I mean, I can read all of my older journeys but there is a gap I am missing for those years. I do have some notes for quite a few of events so maybe I’ll eventually get around to some of them.

So you want to know what is next? I’d love to share stories for this year’s E3, Quakecon, and Comic Con. I may also attend PAX and Blizzcon this year, but two events aren’t for certain just yet.

GDC Inspired Song
I wanted to do something different in this year’s journeys. I’d like to share a song that reminds me of GDC this year. This song reminds me of the future games. The Sky’s the limit…

Band: New Concept [myspace profile | official website]
Song: Sky [youtube |]



GDC Friday

March 21st, 2010

Original Sessions Planned
Sessions I planned to attend but understood I might flake on…
-Online Gaming Communities
- The Psychology of Game Design

- Borderlands and the 11th Hour Art Style Change
- PR 101 for Developers

Also invited to 3 different parties this night but considered strategically attending all three.

Skipping Sessions
I was unable to go to 2 sessions this morning due to trying to render the GDC video from home earlier today. The PR 101 session happens was too close to the TOTS show. Plus, I got about 4 hours of sleep. I had some stuff to work with today, but there was no way I would miss out on the Borderlands session.

Raining On GDC Parade
So little time to do much GDC’ing today and it is raining like crazy outside. Not the typical sprinkle or mist rain that San Francisco normally gets. Texas big drops of rain came off and on. I was wondering just how awesome Monday through Thursday was and recalled ease dropping a lot with people out of town talking about how wonderful the city was compared to the rain or cold in their city. I kept wondering if I should interrupt people to share the truth. It rained a lot more this year and we’re only in March! If they knew how much it rained for almost 2 weeks in a row they would not be saying such statements. The past few days has been gorgeous with clear blue skies.

Now… it’s was awfully difficult to walk to the Moscone center without having wet socks in my tennies and a wet purse or jacket. I didn’t bring my umbrella today either. Thankfully, I had a person rescue me in my little green jacket with their umbrella for a few moments today.

Session: Borderlands Art Style Change
I attended the Borderlands and the 11th Hour Art Style Change session, which was much more awesome than I imagined it would be.

I noticed that Tor Thorsen was in on the session writing notes, so you can check out a news perspective here. He explains it better than I would, but I enjoyed seeing how the original Borderlands might have been and the changes of what we see in the game to date.

Flake in the Wind
That evening I was itching to level up my Borderlands hunter and to try some co-op, but there was still a lot to finish at work and the 3 parties were in the back of my mind. If I did finish up things at work I wanted to get in some game night and flake on the 3 parties. Plus, my energy level with the lack of sleep was quite low already. after chilling with the GameSpot peeps for a bit I headed out to attempt the second party, which had a crazy line of people outside the doors and it was pouring rain. I drove by with my truck, which I brought to work that day because a bus ride on a rainy day stinks in San Francisco. The window fog up and well, people are mean from it being stuffy. lol. Not half bad though, 1 out of 3 little gatherings isnt too bad.

Video: Game Developers & Sleep Deprivation
I probably should have just went to sleep but I wanted to share my GDC reactions for the day before I missed anything worth sharing. You know how it is a day or so after something cool you lose the minor details worth being said. Okay, maybe it’s just us women that love sharing the gory details. I am super tired sharing my story so please forgive me for dropping the camera on you all. I hope none of you jump so listen to forewarning now.. at some point camera falls. You also get to see my eyes all red from nearly crying about my deprivation. :P

UPDATE: Just a quick update about this video. Oddly enough, while I might have been totally rambling in this video, Youtube featured it on one of their pages. I was wondering where all of the hits were coming from and to be quite honest I don’t like getting attention from people who don’t know me because they are less forgiving of my bad habits, if that makes any sense. The people who know me ‘endure’ my videos so I was expecting numerous jerks in the comments, but it hasn’t happened for days. Thanks for overlooking my flaws for now. Rock on YT’ers!



GDC Tuesday

March 21st, 2010

GDC Starts Early & Free Lunch?
Day one started on Tuesday for me because I went down to get my badge that day. After picking up my fancy badge and a GDC bag full of goodies I went to the Metreon to grab a salad at the Buckhorn Grill and take back to the office. I have a bad habit of working through my lunch hours. The line wrapped around the place due to the noodle and firewood cafe not being in service for the week during GDC. While standing in line the people behind me noticed that there was a sign about receiving foods in 5 minutes or you will get your meal free. They were thinking the same thing I was. There is no way this food can be done in five minutes. There are so many peoples in line. To my surprise, the line kept moving quite quick and by the time I ordered my Krispy Chicken salad, it was done in 2 minutes. I twittered about this, but man, just ease dropping what people had to say about their games, iphone applications and such alone, I was definitely in game developers bliss.

Accel Partners Party & Old Gamer Buds
I attended a party tonight that had a variety of Raptr dudes there. The funny thing about this scenario is that I have worked with some of these dudes when I worked at Gamers Extreme (they later changed the name of the site to in 2000). It was nice to see my old pals as I used to play Quake with some of them. Now, don’t get me wrong here, I never played against Dennis Fong (aka Thresh) and I had my reasons for this; he was in a whole other element of understanding the multiplayer aspects of shooters at the time and I played for fun. He might have played against me while being undercover as many LPBs back in the day used to do this on the kitty1 stanford Quake servers. I recall coming to servers with ingame names being vegetables to candy bars to other cute names only to notice all of them had an extreme low ping. I knew immediately I would be owned not just because of skill, but because my internet connection was quite loggy aka I was an HPB for a while there. I did play with Patrick Li (D2-B2 back in the day) and a variety of others later on though.

While at this party I did come across some old GameSpot, GameSpy, and Mplayer peeps I worked with among a couple of other peeps I have met over the years at Quakecon and E3.

Where’s CaliGirl in this photo?

Stan happens to be one of the people I met at Quakecon years ago. I honestly don’t think I can go to a game event in San Francisco without bumping into Stan. Here is a collection of photos worth sharing.

2007 - - - 2009 - - - 2010

Gieger Brings The Funcom
Aside from hanging out with other people that brought smiles and laughs I think the highlight of the night was hanging out with my old pal, Kurtis Buckmaster (aka Gieger). I met Geiger in person back at Professional Gamers Leager (PGL) back 1998. He also worked at GameSpot for a little while as my manager. Kurtis just has this charisma that causes anyone to desire to hear everything he knows about gaming and life. He loves sharing old school CaliGirl stories with other people so it’s kind of like he’s my Quake ego boost each time he introduces me to people. :P He did remind me that Quake is no longer the big deal and I need to get over it. I refuse…. I REFUSE….

Kurtis was kind enough to introduce me to a couple of Fundom people that were simply awesome and full of character. One of the guys was like a comedian and the other reminded me of one of film producer, but he wasn’t all stuffy. I have to say the comedian was full of character and had some awesome jokes worth sharing. Definitely need to see if he’s going to E3 this year because he’s going to bring some awesome comedy to any party this year. Wish I took pictures of us chatting it up but at that time I was getting ready to head out but I noticed Kurtis on the way out and stayed there nearly an hour without realizing time passed. It was nice catching up with him again.

Sunshine in a Fog?
The cute thing about this night was when I went to leave the club. The person who checks driver’s license the front door of the Harlot and stamped my wrists for drinks told me that it was foggy outside, and from a distance he saw someone with red hair. He said I was like sunshine on a foggy night. Nice line, dude. :)

Me Wants Level Design Tutorial
The downside? I would have loved to attend the level design in a day tutorial. I used to fiddle around with Quake 2 maps when I was younger, and my brother used to make the maps. I was always better at making skins for Quake 1 and Quake 2 models, but level design has been one of those mysteries I would love to unveil. I have made some real time strategy maps before, but being in a 3d environment is much more complicated. If I had planned it right I would have taken a day off from work to attend this tutorial. However, there is so much to do as a community manager during a week like this on GameSpot. :)



GDC Saturday

March 21st, 2010

Original Sessions Planned
Sessions I planned to attend but understood I might flake on…
- Console Wars Revisited
- Pushing the Boundaries of Music Licensing
- Five Ways a Video Game Can Make You Cry

- Leveraging Your Data
- Ongoing User Engagement: How to Listen to Your Community
- The Game Renaissance: Art History for Game Devs

As you can see, I was interested in a variety of conference sessions!

Friday Night & Saturday Morning
Last night I passed out not long after catching up on uploading photos and checking out the happenings with other peeps. I will have to share the pix in my final blog. Went to bed at 12:30am and then got up at 7:30ish. Not too bad for a game event week! :)

I left home around 8:50am taking the Muni bus because my scooter was at the office in the garage. I had plans to ride my scooter home tonight. I grabbed an iced latte at my favorite place that makes them called the Roastery near work and also picked up an apple oatmeal from Jamba Juice. I looooooove steel oats now, and probably wont be able to go back to instant oatmeal.

Video: The Walk to GDC Conference
I did get a chance to record a video this day! The following video has me talking a bit about GDC and the walk to Moscone center from work. Beautiful day with clear blue skies. The video shows the little band that was outside the front door of the office as they were warming up for the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Session: Leveraging Your Data
At around 10:14am I headed out for the Leveraging Your Data session, which sounded like it would be quite boring. I ignored my expectations and I am glad I did! This session was quite more scientific than I imagined. The most interesting parts was how data was shared for massive multiplayer online games from different aspects that only harm games such as farming and hacking, but what made it even more interesting was people who encountered issues in the game and the areas of a zone or map that caused the disconnects could be checked into. Definitely something that any game developer should at least tune into for a positive ingame experience.

Some statistics that shared whether or not people are likely to stay with a game based on their relationships with people in the game. One of the more interesting discussions happened during the questions after the presentation was over. One of the men asked how the female gamer behavior was in certain games. Dmitri Williams shares that women who were introduced to the game by a family or loved one tended to be more social in interaction of the game as they enjoyed discussing with others, while the women who came to the game on their own were KILLERS! He emphasized this, which caused everyone to chuckle in the crowd. I have to admit I have much more of a killer instinct in the game because that’s the goal, to play the game how it is intended to be played. I actually kind of get annoyed when people want to chit-chat during a fast-paced action game like Unreal Tournament 2004 or Quake Live. Why are we chatting when we’re trying to accomplish a goal to win the match!

South Hall Wanderer
Today was the best day to take photos because the hype from those who attended the show already died down and I wasn’t in any rush since I had today off from work. After taking at least 600 photos (I take dups automatically through camera settings, which results in sharper photos) the end resulted in 82 GDC show floor and booth pictures.

I headed over to the GDC store near the entrance of South Hall to check out any 2010 merchandise they had for sell. I purchased a white long-sleeve thermal shirt, GDC bear, water container and other little items to share the experience with GameSpot members in the community via Today on the Spot after GDC episode. I also grabbed as much schwag as I could to add to this little bundle giveaway so there were magazines, company or game branded pens, bag, and more to give away. Sophia and Kevin host the show and you can see the schwag in this episode of the show after the news portion beginning at timecode 3:22 and the trivia session near the end at timecode 23:15. There is no need to send me compliments about how awesome I am. I already know I am sweet. :P

Session: Ongoing User Engagement
The Ongoing User Engagement: How to Listen to Your Community session was an interesting perspective about iphone/touch applications and how they deal with community interaction. The spokesperson deals with an iphone game called PocketGods.

Bolt Creative hosted some creative contests that were shared like having people dress up as a pocket god and have a picture of them posing. The other contest requested for wallpapers to be created, but there was a catch; the entrants also had to install the wallpaper at their local apple store and take a picture of the wallpaper on a store computer. One of the other cute stories was about a 7 year old girl who sent the developers of the game feedback about the pocket gods needing to be much more mean.

When I first heard about it I thought he said 9 years old, but this little girl was 7 years old. Thinking back now, I think I might have thought funny things like this for cartoons at 7 years old. I was an avid Road Runner and Wiley Coyote fan.

What’s with the line?
Not long after getting out of the last session I was wondering what the big deal was about a huge line for a session and was concerned that it was my next session so I checked to see what the next room was for the Game Renaissance Art History session. I was happy to find it wasn’t my session and skimmed the room’s session name but the name of the session was vague. I found out later that Wil Wright was in on the session.

This picture doesn’t do the line justice, but you should know that this line looked like it went underneath the hall that takes you to the South Hall. Might as well go out with a bang, GDC! Last session of the year with a popular industry figure!

Session: Game Renaissance Art History
I am obviously not a game developer but the description for this session intrigued me. Before finding a seat I bumped into John Romero near the entrance of the session and he gave me a paper weight of a business card; it’s quite awesome to be honest. I felt like I received a medal award!

After sitting down I bumped into a friend from work who was talking to Robin Mayne from Bioware. I joked with Robin doing a type of worship gesture raising my hands up and down in honor of his work with Mass Effect 2, a game I finished a week prior to attending GDC.

John Sharp

The Game Renaissance: Art History for Game Devs took on a whole other meaning for me because I took a college course last year about Humanities and the Arts. I honestly do not believe I would have understood the background of what was explained in this session if it wasn’t for taking that course last year. John Sharp was full of interesting history but he also used some humor so it never touched the boring surface. There was also a lot of comparisons between what people define as art and design. A funny part about the open question session was how people were asking what to do with the future, but Sharp pretty much is a historian so he told them it was up to them, the game developers.

The End of GDC 2010
The crowds were leaving the North Hall and I while I was getting some video footage of people jumping on the escalator I bumped into Jason Della Rocca and we chatted it up for a bit about the GDC award show and his mix up with me and another red head at one of the parties. Always nice to meet gamers who remembers Mplayer and someone who has been working in the industry for so many years. I found out later that we both know a variety of the same people.

Dinner with Bioware
After this I headed back to the office only to hear my phone ringing… who could it be? One of the Bioware guys wanted to know if I wanted to head out to dinner for the last day of GDC and so we all met at the statue near Union Square not long thereafter. I had a chance to meet with some other Bioware leads that made Mass Effect 2 and Helen Stuckey, formerly Australian Centre for the Moving Image & now with the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Helen shared her experience briefly about the transitions of games and film. She was unable to stay for desert because she had a flight that evening.

We walked up quite a few hills to this cute little French/European place called Cafe De La Presse near Nob Hill district. I took some pictures of the food and dessert I got there, and definitely need to drop by there again soon. Armando at the table was actually teasing me for taking photos of my food, “Look at you taking pictures of your food; are you a food critic?” [Maybe I will be someday. LOL]

The highlights of the night? Men and women were wearing dresses were all over the streets so we were all wondering what that the deal was when people kept coming inside the restaurant to go to the bathroom to the walk around downtown [found out later it was a Brides of March in San Francisco]; Zoolander [film] expressions by one of the Bioware guys; discussions of the Chocolate Rain song was also stifled in the breeze [hahah]; meeting a developer of the original Baldur’s Gate game; talking about some of the older generation of PC games; and lastly, these guys were the coolest people you will ever meet in the game industry. I kid you not. I kind of wished I lived in Edmonton, Canada from how awesome they were from humor to personalities because well, it’s hard to deal with people after a long week of GDC or E3.

This group was well-spirited for having a long week [some of them hosted sessions] at GDC to roaming the crazy things that happen in downtown San Francisco. Thanks for having me guys!

One of the lowlights about the night was finding out a day later that they actually hung out with my old pal, Tom Ohle after dinner. I had plans to meet up with Tom during the week, but it didn’t fall through. There is always this E3!

GDC Resources
If you ever want to see what it is like to watch GDC sessions, there is 2009 and 2008 sessions on GDCVault - check this page. Free education and experience from other people in the industry can never be a bad thing to discover! Maybe the 2010 sessions will display after GDC Canada and GDC Austin happen this year. If you have a way to attend GDC it is well worth the expense. Check the website for further details and either see if you can save up for next year or attend the Canada and Austin one later this year.

Desire to Understand Development
I have always had the desire to create mods, levels and skins for games and while I have dabbled in creating skins for Quake 2 models, level designs in strategy games (FPS shooter maps were difficult, but I did give it a try; brother was much better at it than I was), and a little bit of voice acting in a modification for Quake 3, I believe today’s games don’t allow people to test the tools like they used to. Seems that the communities lasted much longer for the games that did allow this. I have to admit that I was actually really good at Quake 2 models, which is basically adding a texture to a model in the game back then. The tools were quite easy compared to the Quake 1 skinning. I would be interested in taking courses for this aspect of game development, plus, my brother enjoys taking photos of textures so it’s not like I don’t have a source to go to. LOL

My desire to understand today’s game development was nurtured this year when I attended these GDC sessions. If I had to pin point a session that ignited the flame it would be the Bordelands session. Finding the best art to go with pretty much blew my mind on the amount of things it takes to consider an art style to stick with.

Seems like if I work in the media aspect of games there should be better understanding of what it takes to make games these days. I have to give mad props to Stevie Case for diving into game development many years ago along with Carrie Gouskas who now produces games for EA Mythic. Both of these ladies took a leap of faith to understand what it takes to make the games.



The Best Music in U.S. of Tara

March 7th, 2010

A while back I watched the United States of Tara pilot knowing that I enjoyed it enough to watch the full season. Obviously, there were numerous other television shows that I wanted to catch up on first so it took me some time to get through them all. As of recent Netflix sent me the two discs of the United States of Tara. Here is a list of the songs I enjoyed the most in Season 1, which is based on an extensive list found in this United States of Tara blog.

Order of Episodeness

Episode 1 - Souljacker Part I by Eels [ clip]

Episode 2 - Flyswatter by Eels [music video tells a story - surfer nun, skateboard nun, and undercover clown featured. LOL]

Episode 3 - Straight Lines by Dawn Landes [myspace clip]

Episode 4 - Lucky by Kat Edmonson [music video with cute children rainbow drawings in it]

Episode 5 - Fine is Fine by Peasant [myspace clip]

Episode 6 - Second Chance by Liam Finn [music video is creative with the camera work and such, singer is McHottie, and the flowers in it are just gorgeous; much like a dream. This song is so good with for this show. Interesting dance moves too!]

Episode 7 - Tricycle by Psapp [adorable music video about trying to get to a teddy bear]

Episode 8 - The Wolves (Act I and II) by Bon Iver [music video is scenery in the mountains, bonfire and other stuff that happens when camping in nature.]

Episode 9 - Keep Your Eyes Ahead by The Helio Sequence [early on this song reminded me of Explosions in the Sky. The music video made me feel like I was watching the band on the streets, and you can never go wrong with Christmas lights on people and their instruments while rocking out on a platform that moves around on wheels. LOL]

Episode 9 - That Knot Unties? by David Karsten Daniels [song reminds me of an old boyfriend, so naturally, it's awesome. The music video is mainly scenery, which brought back some memories of a trip I took to Texas last year.)

Episode 10 Good Morning Heartache by Billie Holiday [linked to clip - can never go wrong with the classics]

Episode 11- Arms of Harm by Haley Bonar [linked to myspace clip - it's a weird song as it starts off as almost a Christmas song, then it gets better after I got over the Christmas vibe.]

Episode 12 & Episode 1 - Love of the Loveless by Eels [linked to clip - this song is at first nothing to me, but after watching the show it becomes an okay song to listen to. Not a favorite among the others, but definitely a nice melody]

Order of Awesomeness
This is my list in order of preference.

1] Keep Your Eyes Ahead by The Helio Sequence
2] Flyswatter by Eels
3] Second Chance by Liam Finn
4] Souljacker Part I by Eels
5] That Knot Unties? by David Karsten Daniels
6] Tricycle by Psapp
7] Fine is Fine by Peasant
8] Lucky by Kat Edmonson
9] The Wolves (Act I and II) by Bon Iver
10] Good Morning Heartache by Billie Holiday
11] Straight Lines by Dawn Landese
12] Arms of Harm by Haley Bonar
13] Love of the Loveless by Eels

By now you should understand why I enjoyed the music on this show. If you have not, we don’t have the same music taste buds, and that’s a true shame. To get my taste buds you must lock yourself in a closet with ONLY these 13 songs in your mp3 player and listen each of them 5 times each. This is the only method that is known to unlock awesome Jody music taste buds.