Saturday, May 30, 2009

While my blog gently weeps...plus E3

Hi kids! So, yeah, another two weeks. Ah well. Would it help if I told you that it was two weeks of complete insanity? And that the net result of said insanity is going to be some cool stuff coming up for me, and, by extension, you? Yes, I have been scheming and planning and have some things in the works, none of which are quite official yet, which means I should shut up lest I jinx it all.

So, to get bidness out of the way first, the blog header refers to the fact that THIS blog is going to weep just a little bit longer for the next bunch of days, because the big E3 convention is coming up starting Monday, and I will be there with the proverbial bells on (and nothing else), and doing some blogging there, for employer, Electronic Arts, right here. I have an entry up there already for your infotainment, and, as you can see, I have to be a little better behaved there than I normally am. But only a little! We'll see how much nonsense I can inject into that page while still maintaining employment. Feel free to leave comments there, too! Show them that you're reading it!

I'm super excited about E3, I have to admit. For a good long while there, it looked like I wasn't going to attend. Most game developers, in fact, do NOT go to this show, because they far too busy--as my team is--doing the actual work of getting the games made. E3 is a humongous distraction and mostly irrelevant to the real work that actually matters. It's a media event, mostly, a way for the companies to get their games exposed and publicized before the upcoming holiday season. And while we did have that recent couple-year period of angst, where the usefulness of the convention itself--as well as the resource and cost--was put into question--everyone's finally back where we started: The acknowledgment that it's a "necessary evil," as well as just a spectacular, media-grabbing celebration of the industry as a whole.

So the work for a game company at E3 is that their new games need to be shown and demo'ed to the hordes of media and retailers and other attendees. I've been on the other side of that demo for a whopping 13 E3s in a row now--just crazy--but this year I'm going to be one of those booth monkeys myself, showing MySims Agents over and over again to anyone who comes up to talk to me, for three days in a row, with full knowledge of exactly what is going to be going on in the journalists' heads as I try to hold their attention. (Mostly: "Shit, if this dude hurries up with this fuckin demo, I'll have time to bolt early, grab a brownie in the press room, and then meet my pals for beers!")

But I am honestly looking forward to it, and think it's gonna be a blast. Life is just one long learning experience. My transition to EA has been anything but easy, but I'm still loving all of it because I am getting to experience all sorts of things I never have before--like seeing E3 from the other side of the fence. How many people get to see it from both sides?

So, I'll be blogging about that experience over at EA.com, and on Twitter, but do not worry: This blog remains active and there is hopefully more to come from me as soon as there are any actual beans to spill.

And about Sims 3: It comes out this coming Tuesday, and, yeah, we're all excited at the label. The extra time they took to polish the game was sooo damn important. I can tell you that I was an early critic of what I saw back in October/November, and all indications now are that the final result is fantastic. And I can also tell you, in all honesty, as brownnosing as it may sound given that they pay me, that were I not going to E3, I'd be home playing Sims 3 myself all next week.

Anyhoo: More to come. Meanwhile, while waiting to hear from me again, go buy yourself the new Grizzly Bear and Fever Ray CDs (or be like me and download them--LEGALLY I MEAN). Two of the best records I've heard in a long time.

kisses!

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've said it elsewhere, but I kind of regret (already) not going to E3 this year because it could be my one and only chance to ask "How many levels? How many weapons?" and know exactly what the rep is thinking.

Does EA have a policy about slapping idiots into submission holds and making them take back questions like that?

Jeff Green said...

"Does EA have a policy about slapping idiots into submission holds and making them take back questions like that?"

I think we get a bonus if we do that!

Jon said...

Will the bells be attached using hooks or adhesives?

Zenin said...

GRAMMAR NAZI HERE!
You're missing the word "are" in the second sentence of paragraph three. Other than that, I'm fairly excited about things to come.

Troy Goodfellow said...

You guys couldn't wait one more week before releasing Sims 3? I won't get a chance to touch it until the Saturday after E3.

Brian Perry said...

Any idea some of the areas your going to be at E3? I'm going to be attending and would love to stop by and say hello.

ctznpain666 said...

Ah...for the first time in four years I wish I were going to E3, if only to drive you insane

Alex said...

I think it's cool you're diversifying your blogging persona; to be honest, I just read Greenspeak to keep abreast of the latest news on what you had for dinner last night.

Spaghetti?! Looks like Green is playing it safe this week...

Anonymous said...

Having been playing Sims 3 for the past three weeks, I can say it's by far the best game in the series. For a Sims game sans expansions, it has a surprisingly large amount of fun content. I already have a pool of money waiting for the release day, at which point I will be purchasing three copies, no less.

Sean said...

EA would have been foolish not to send someone with your background to the largest gaming press event of the year. Hope it all goes well for you.

So, the news that Steve Harris had reacquired EGM and would be rebooting the magazine broke this week. There has been a lot of murmuring online about returning editorial staff. There have definitely "been some things in the works" eh?

Erik said...

I'm more inclined to purchase Sims 3 with you whoring it, but I have to say that recent EA purchases have been very disappointing (Sim Societies and Spore). Invasive DRM didn't help.

I guess what I'm saying is ... your employment at EA has made me 50% more likely to buy a $50 game. So that should cover $25 of your salary.

Don't spend it all on Jolt cola and Twizzlers, k?

Ken in Irvine said...

"How many people get to see it from both sides?"

More importantly, will you get to see the booth babes from both sides?

Anonymous said...

Jeff, will you be blogging at all about The Sims 3 - I'm wondering, in particular, what changes to The Sims 3 were made between the time you wrote your in-house review and when the game was gold-mastered?

I'm incredibly excited about this title.

As I've been saying at some of the forums (almost nobody seems to agree with this): I'm just plain tired of all the killing that takes place in games.

The Sims 3 is the last bastion for gamers who want to play a game in which you get to create, and celebrate life in an abstract fashion, rather than kill, kill, kill.

I can't even name another triple-A title in which you can play without killing stuff. Not one. (There are some games out there that don't involve killing, or destruction, but they're not triple-A titles, and that makes all the difference, really.)

I'll be back to let you know what I think about The Sims 3. Right now I can't wait for Tuesday night to arrive.

I'll just add that my one disappointment with The Sims 3 (based on the screenshots I've seen) is that Redwood didn't build an engine with the Enthusiast market in mind - it's pretty obvious that Redwood was told to make certain this title works on a broad range of computers.

My one wish would've been that the visuals might've been enhanced just a little bit more than what they were. When you've got a Core i7 and a GTX 275 you tend to want the software to push it - which is reasonable, although I realize that most people don't have that kind of hardware.

Violet Son said...

Hi Mr. Green! Have you heard of Karin's (Fever Ray) other project, The Knife? I think if you like one, you'd like the other. Silent Shout is possibly my favorite album ever.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=617ANIA5Rqs

Phil said...

Bah, EA's site needs you to register to post comments, and I'm far too lazy for that, but hope all goes well, and remember to keep that wiimote wriststrap on - you're a rolemodel after all!

Anonymous said...

Whoa!

The Secret Of Monkey Island, with updated graphics AND the voice of Guybrush Threepwood himself!

Really unexpected.

And what's all this nonsense about The Secret of Monkey Island being 20 years old? It's not 20 years old... wait, is it?

I can still remember buying the original EGA 16 color version of Monkey Island at Super Software, and then, later that same week, reading Johnny Wilson in CGW (writing with a brown paper bag over his head) explaining that LucasFilm (as it was known back then) would be releasing a 'souped-up' VGA version of Monkey Island. The color palette of this new version would be a whopping 256 colors! So I put the game on hold and got my order in.

My new one-thousand dollar VGA monitor stood on my desk, awaiting this newer version of the game.

And then the discs arrived in the mail - I used to order from Bulldog a lot - but this time it came straight from LucasFilm, as an upgrade. I think the game was on a half a dozen 3.5 inch floppy disks or something like that.

I was completely 'blown away' by the amazing 256-color graphics, and felt 'as though I were actually in the Caribbean itself'. LOL! In particular, I remember the area down near Stan's used-shipyard. I can remember the awesome looking cobbled road, and the sea, with the moon reflecting in the water. I used to walk Guybrush back and forth across the docks, just taking in the scenery. God what an utter waste of time. (Am I doing the same thing now in Fallout 3?)

I remember that there was a lot of disc swapping in that game as well.

Anytime I entered a certain part of the starting island (I've forgotten the name of it - was it Melee Island?) I had to 'insert disc number three'.

There was a great joke in the game, in which you had Guybrush look into a stump, and see a ladder leading down. At that point the game informed you to insert disc number 114 (or something like that) - I remember that some people actually thought that there was a disc number 114, and didn't get the joke, and actually wrote in to LucasArts. LOL!

I'm not sure I'll be buying this new version though.

I have such fond memories of the original that I wouldn't want to destroy those memories by re-visiting them from today's perspective.

You CAN undo these things.

Just try re-visiting your high school if you don't believe me.

Cliff said...

PC Gamer gave this a 92%. Well it looks good. I have an 850mhz wonder if it will run it. I hope that there are more towns than just one. With Jeff working on it then it should be a great game. PLUS it has two hot babes making out in the PC Gamer review! Super. I'm on it.

Hey Jeff where would you recommend going to check reviews of games? Maybe PC Gamer or Gamespot? Not oneup, right?

Ari said...

Jeff, just looked at your bit on the E3 blog and flipped up to the segment with Paul Barnett above it. Man, did he not like that huskyHog chap!

Anonymous said...

A+ on your music taste.

Stephen said...

I picked up The Sims 3 CE solely based on PC Gamer's raving review of it. Played it yesterday for probably 8 hours. Can't get to first base with any sim, either gender. And the oven burned to the floor because my sim left the waffles still cooking when his carpool ride showed up for work.

Awesome!

Anonymous said...

Jeff, we were hoping that you might be able to shed some light on this: me and a colleague have been playing The Sims 3 these past couple of nights, and although we both have pretty beefy systems (Core i7's with GTX 285's) we both experienced major stuttering while moving around through the town.

We've got our settings maxed-out, and we're playing at 1680*1050.

It doesn't matter what we do - whether it's lowering the resolution, or decreasing the settings - nothing seems to stop the stuttering from occurring. If we run our sims down the sidewalk, say, the game will sort of hiccup, or seemingly get caught for a split second. (My colleague described the look of this as being like the animation of the television character Max Headroom).

We've been on the internet about this, and some people are saying that the game is silky smooth - yes, for us it is smooth, when we're in our homes, but as soon as we move outside, the stuttering gets pretty severe. (FRAPS is informing us, by the way, that our FPS is around 180-200, so it's definitely not a frame-rate issue.)

We can't figure out if this is a subjective thing or not - maybe the stuttering just doesn't bother some people? On Utube, for example, one person had commented on their video that this would be a demonstration of The Sims 3 running perfectly with all the options enabled, and at their fullest - and yet you could clearly see that the game was stuttering quite severely.

Is this normal for The Sims 3?

You've played it at work (and I'm guessing that you're now playing it at home) - are you seeing minor stuttering when your sims are moving through town?

It's a major annoyance, because with our sims standing in place there are times when we can't even swivel the camera around 360 degrees without major stuttering. It's almost as though there's no cache in place, and the textures are constantly having to re-load?

If this is normal, we can live with it - but it would be nice to know if we CAN be playing the game without any stuttering. It's really difficult to tell whether or not we're experiencing a glitch, or if this is just how the game is?

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Green,

Goose, here.

After playing The Sims 3 on the weekend - and not doing much of anything else (I had to pause, however, to take my neighbor to the hospital, because he had fallen down the steps and broken his ankle; a terrible inconvenience, really) - my one comment about the game is this:

(Are you ready for it? Get ready for it, Green. Quotation of the month, coming up here.)

Where The Sims 2 was a sandbox.

The Sims 3 is a beach.

(How about that, eh!)

How incredible that from simply touching the spacebar, I can move from one sim at home (taking a bath, say), to another sim in town (maybe playing checkers at the gazebo), to another sim across the street (watching t.v. with the neighbors), to yet another sim, fishing down by the river.

No load screens!

I can move from one sim to another within the space of one second!

In just four seconds I can cycle right through my entire family of sims and see what they're all up to, even when they're all scattered about the town.

Impressive. Really impressive.

Oh but wait - not all is right with the world, where's all the stuff that we had from the expansion packs in The Sims 2? You mean it's not there? Well I'm just going to go over to the corner and pout, and suck my thumb then, and cry like a little baby. Some people are actually complaining about this game. Incredibly... laughably, really... they're saying that the game, because it's missing the stuff that was provided in the expansion packs, isn't as deep as The Sims 2.

Who are these people? They think that this game isn't deep - it's outrageously deep. My one concern, before I had played this game (and I think justifiably), was that we were only going to be given a half-a-game. No way, this is a complete experience - but one that has room left to grow as well. A wonderful balance there.

These people who are whining about the missing stuff are morons. I'd have to say that these people are kind of stuck in the past - like the people who will advance the idea that Planescape Torment is a much better game than Fallout 3. You know what, get down on your knees and suck me.

What's the name for these people: Retronauts? God they can all got to hell.

Goose, out.

Maurice said...

Thank you very much for the music! I've been listening way too many to both albums on spotify, but they are worth buying.

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