Monday, July 30, 2007

suckered again

Continuing my ever-susceptible streak of being suckered into partaking in Flash-based advertising, I've "simpsonized" myself at a Burger King site called As far as I can tell, their UI sucks and it won't actually save your character or export it correctly. I was able to email it to myself and snap a quick screen shot of it with PrintScreen.

Anyway, this is how it turned out. Not too shabby.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

the thin line between expanding your mind and becoming a total cook kook

Today is the 4th day in a row that I'm staying at work until the wee hours of the morning crunching towards the finish line for me on Thrillville: Off The Rails. I've been listening to the new PARK Radio tracks for hours upon hours, looking for the digital audio version of needles in haystacks: pops, clicks, corruptions from Pro Tools bounce errors, FTP transfer corruption, volume balancing snafus, etc.

Anyway, after listening to the same radio shows in 5 different languages for 4 days straight, I'm starting to go a bit nuts. Rather than stare off into space or watch waveforms scroll past me in Peak for days on end, I've been reading stories online a bunch while I listen to material.

Tonight's online journey began by digging around on Google Earth and typing in the name of world-wide monuments into the address bar. My favorite was the Statue of Liberty who is shot from above (duh, it's a satellite) but whose shadow casts the iconic image we're all used to of Lady Liberty. I also checked out the Great Wall of China, Mount Everest, Stonehenge, and Zero.

After that, though, I dug into Wikipedia and somehow got to a page listing all of the conspiracy theories detailed on Wikipedia. At the moment, I'm reading all about The Philadelphia Experiment, time travel, and the use of anti-gravity technology by alien spacecrafts.

Hopefully I won't find myself sitting here with a tin-foil hat by the end of the night.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

a brief history of the color red

I found this very amusing.

Monday, July 23, 2007

I'm feeling like Mike Rowe

'Cuz today I'm doing little else than cleaning up everybody else's shit.

Developing a game that's going to be released world wide in at least 5 different languages makes you reliant upon a few things. You end up particularly being reliant upon translators and the level of anal-retentiveness held by audio engineers in foreign studios. If I don't speak the language (which I don't), then I can't know whether or not a German line of dialogue has been delivered correctly. The only thing I have to go off of is the hope that the correct German file has been named the exact same thing as the English file.

Today I've been dealing with a gigantic clusterfuck that came from at least 5 completely unrelated problems that have derailed all of the languages for a game. One language was hosed by a careless mistake in a French recording studio. Another was hosed by a slow production team in Spain. Another language was botched up by careless transcription errors on the English side of things. German and Italian have both been struggling from a mixture of errors plaguing all of the other languages.

None of it is anything that I've had to deal with before. Somehow on this game I went from Music Supervisor to Audio Lead in the span of about 2 weeks. Lucky for me, I'm now serving as Audio Lead on this game while simultaneously being Music Supervisor still for everything else I'm working on.

I'm not having a very good week so far.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

in the wake of E3 ...

I finally get a chance to clean up my office today. It's been about a year since I last did this and there are documents, papers, notes, resumes, and CD-Rs everywhere around here.

I'm finding my implementation notes from LEGO II, my lyric writing scribbles from the first Thrillville, and more doodles than I can count. In fact, I'd had me recently wanting to start scanning in some of the better ones and starting a doodle gallery. Maybe I'll get to that.

The other big news is that I woke up this morning to the news that LucasArts had won an award from GameSpy for Best Trailer at E3 for the work we did on the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed trailer.

That was a rough trailer to do. We did so many versions of it trying to craft it just right ... I worked some long nights on that thing. It's nice to see it get some recognition.

My favorite part of GameSpy's write-up was this:

"watch the trailer again and pay attention to how well the sound communicates the action"

Sweet, blissful critical acclaim ...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

the great delusion

Someone please explain this to me ...

As the world slides further and further into despair, war, conflict, and poverty, the US stock markets continue to set record breaking numbers and make insane profits. They don't seem to take any notice any more to the flailing status of the US Dollar, the failed war strategy, or the looming threat of inflation.


What the hell are they paying attention to? Doesn't the economy have to be tied to something stronger than a simple wish for it to be doing well? Isn't this dangerous?

I honestly don't understand it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Either someone at Google Ad Sense has hijacked the liberal blog or there's a serious malfunction with their keyword target marketing software this morning.

This is a screenshot of what the sidebar of Crooks looked like this morning:


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Happy Birthday

Today is the birthday of my good friend Seth. He's an ancient 31 years old today. So, in honor of his being 31 today, here's a video for him of Jean Claude Van Damme having an uncomfortable moment and getting laughed at on Brazilian television.

Happy birthday, hombre.

Monday, July 09, 2007

so much for the poetry of songwriting

Working on another Thrillville means working to license another set of music from record labels. While I can't get into which songs we're licensing, I will say that I've been busy over the last few days with my absolute least favorite part of music licensing: transcribing lyrics for submission to the ESRB.

You see, the ESRB (or Entertainment Software Ratings Board) are the people who figure out if your game is rated E for Everyone or M for Mature. As such, they have to scrutinize any and all content that goes into the game, including all of the lyrics to any songs found within.

So, it falls on me as Music Supervisor to make sure that anything and everything that can possibly be construed as a sung syllable gets reported, lest the ESRB hears something that they're not sure they can identify and delay the rating process. What makes the whole thing a bit frustrating is that their guidelines for E for Everyone content states that they're looking for "Soundtracks that contain profanity or adult themes, including edits or 'bleeps'." Pretty vague. Profanity can vary depending on your country. In the US, there are plenty of people who don't regard "hell" or "damn" as profanity, or at least as extremely minor profanity. In Canada, however, French-Canadians curse by saying things like "Chalice!" or "Tabernacle!," because they have a religious tone instead of a sexual tone. So, I have to transcribe absolutely everything and let them (the ESRB, not the French-Canadians) figure out if it's offensive or not.

Anyway, what the hell does all of this mean. It means that when I do this task, I have to first see if someone has typed up the lyrics online, then listen to the song while I scrutinize the online lyrics and make sure that they're right, then lastly add in and correct all of the stuff that the online versions leave out.

The one thing this has taught me is that absolutely no one knows what anyone is saying in any song. Ultimately, this means that the material the songwriter is trying to express rarely seems to get through to the brains of the listener. If the listener then tries to learn the lyrics off of an online lyric sheet, they're memorizing someone else's jumbled mistranscription and the whole thing perpetuates more misunderstanding.

For instance, this happened to me when I did the first Thrillville. The song "Emo Skater Girl"'s lyrics can be found on my MySpace page. Regardless of that, however, at least one version of the lyrics popped up online on a lyrics forum and is a garbled mess of what I actually sing in the song. For instance:

"You think I'm not/
I tried to hang but couldn't hack it"

is transcribed as:

"Think I'm not/
A try to hang the food and hacket"

Then there's the chorus:

"I'm just a nerd/
Lost to the world/
'Cause I'm in love with an
Emo skater girl"

Apparently ended up online as:

"I'm just a dork/
My stupid world/
Who fell in love with an
Emo skater girl"

And it's generally like that for every song I'm trying to transcribe the lyrics for. Today I found a song where "and it goes by like a bullet" was written as "and it can fly like a burden."

I don't know why lyricists try. It seems like a losing battle.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

off the rails

Well, it's official. Today LucasArts announced that we're going to be putting out a sequel to Thrillville this fall and I can finally say that I've been working for the past few months on said sequel.

Thrillville: Off The Rails has been keeping David Collins and I in the studio working on new songs since about March or so. There's some work here that I'm very proud of and I'll make sure to share it as soon as I can.

If you're interested, the info on the new game is here.