Great recount of one of the highlights of PAX. Each time I’ve been to PAX East (’10, ’11 and ’13), the final round of the Omegathon was extremely enjoyable. Being part of the crowd for the reveal, the twists and turns during the event, and ultimately, the celebration, was enthralling. (Challenges on 5 classic games in a row, ending with Contra, and giant Jenga). Giant Jenga was particularly enjoyable. It might sound silly, but when the tower wobbled, the tension was palpable.

If you go to PAX, you have to go see the Omegathon.

Behind the scenes of ALIEN

ALIEN is one of the best horror/science-fiction movies ever made. Don’t argue with me on this, you’d be wrong.

Here are some behind the scenes shots, mainly of the models used in the film. They look stunning.

It’s a shame that movies seem to be moving to CGI wholesale, foregoing the distinct effects you can only achieve with models.

Moon is the only picture that comes to mind that has used models in recent years. I don’t think Duncan Jones could have got the atmosphere of the film as spot-on if he had used CGI.

Pixar are wizards

I saw Pixar’s latest film, Monsters University earlier this week. It was good, not Monsters Inc. good, but good all the same. However, the most impressive thing was their new short, The Blue Umbrella. It looks incredible.

Pixar sounds like an amazing place to work too, reminds me a lot of how employees describe working at Valve.

Creators in the public eye

There seems to be a feeling that because you are an ‘indie developer’, that you are more like ‘us’, the ‘regulars’. Therefore, making you more approachable, especially over social media. The news about Phil Fish is just the latest example of the vitriol that creators in the public eye have to deal with.

I’ve always liked Phil Fish, and like many, I was looking forward to FEZ for a long time before it came out. While his opinions were often polarising, they were always just that, his opinions.

Did I agree with his comment that Japanese games "just suck"? Nope. Did it bother me or make me like him or respect him as a creator any less? Of course not. I’m sure he wouldn’t agree with every one of my opinions, and why should he? The reaction to his obvious quip that "PCs are for spreadsheets" was startling.

Here is a man being chastised (and that is a horrifically polite word for what has been happening to him and others), not only for creating and releasing something to the public, but for the audacity to share a bit of himself with us. To actually interact with the ‘fans’ directly, and not present a ‘PR-friendly’ version of himself. Other developers have spoken out on the type of treatment they receive, just for being active on social media.

Every time I have attended a PAX East, I have been dumbstruck at the atmosphere. It’s so friendly, so accepting, so inclusive. I come away thinking that my community of gamers is more socially advanced than the rest of society. Then you realise that this ‘community’ is much larger than a PAX East, it’s much different in person, and it’s full of the same idiocy and hate that is, unfortunately, still abound in society.

Then you are ashamed to be a part of this ‘community’.

If Phil doesn’t reverse his decision, we have not only lost a sequel to a brilliant game, but possibly a very creative mind from the gaming industry.

Google Reader’s Shutdown

There was a time not too long ago (like when the shutdown was announced), that this would have had me screaming foul play, but things are different now.

I have been set free.

Only in this post-Google Reader world can I see what an albatross round my neck it actually was. Checking it every day felt like work. If I was offline for a day or two, I couldn’t face attempting to sort through the mess that would await me. Yes, I subscribed to too many high-volume feeds, but even managing the feeds I subscribed to was daunting. It’s part of the reason why I still have accounts in a number of Google services, I feel tied to the legacy I have within them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very much in the ‘pro-RSS’ camp, and to that end, I couldn’t be happier with my switch to Feed Wrangler.

I won’t be doing a full review, there are already comprehensive reviews out there, you should read them. It’s actually a casual pleasure to browse my RSS feeds now, innovations like ‘Smart Streams’ are the kinds of forward steps that we would never have taken (the royal ‘we’) without the fall of the all-conquering Google Reader.

Like Marco, I am very optimistic about the future. I can’t wait to see what our community comes up with in reponse to the next beloved service that Google decides to sunset.