Well, it’s now the beginning of December and I guess the news about Bizarre Creations is finally sinking in. My mind has been fairly chaotic for the last week or so, I think this is the first night when I have finally had a chance to just have a bit of time to myself.
The UK has been below freezing most nights with some snowfall… and amongst the chaos I had to fix a frozen condensate pipe from our boiler using boiling water and a towel. Ford Prefect was correct, a towel apparently is the most important thing you can own! Boiler is currently working and the house is nice and warm.
Of course I’m not sure what I can or can’t say, so I’ll limit myself to just my own personal thoughts. Obviously massive sadness because for some people at work, friends and even relationships could very well be divided. I guess that’s just the nature of business, but it is of course sad.
I do have a large pile of free Activision games sitting in the cupboard, as yet un-played, a random Guitar Hero, the latest Spiderman, GoldenEye, Black Ops. I played up to the Vietnam level of Black Ops in the days before the announcement, but since the news I haven’t played any further. I can’t quite explain why… I guess part of the enjoyment I was getting from the game was the fact that Treyarch, a company which I felt put a lot of effort into the CoD franchise and were getting an unfair amount of flak from gamers players, were finally having their long-deserved moment of recognition. I’m sure it’s a great game but it just doesn’t feel like I would enjoy it currently. I still reckon Treyarch are a bunch of talented guys, it’s just that in my head I now associate the game with the bad news at Bizarre. Strange how the mind works…
I haven’t really been keeping up to date with how Kinect has been selling either, but I do hope it does well. For me personally, the device was blu-tacked to the top of my TV for a couple of days, then I took it into work (the day before the news I think!) and since then it was in a cupboard for about a week. Poor Kinect, for a moment it started to look more short-lived that the Wii! But we had visitors over the weekend and it’s now proudly on top of the TV again, peering over our lounge.
Absolutely loving the various hacks which have been cropping up on YouTube videos of course. I am finding being the lazy sod I am I’m using the voice control much more than the actual depth sensor. “Xbox Kinect!” “Xbox Play Disc!” – delight that we could play DVDs with our voice, but then disappointment that we couldn’t control the DVD player with our voice, only start it up. “Xbox – Pause! Pause! Xbox PAUSE! Xboooooox! Oh…”
There is about 100-150 ms of lag when playing the games, but as far as I can tell this lag is actually in the software – as I understand it the cameras return colour and depth information pretty much instantly. I’m guessing it’s whatever smoothing is applied in order to feature extract bone positions which introduces the lag. I guess we’ll find out if lag gets reduced with future games.
Anyway, back to Bizarre – we have of course been looking at the events of other companies in the UK, Free Radical, a company I very nearly worked for, Realtime Worlds, etc. I remember reading Luke Halliwell’s blog and thinking “I really must make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to us!”, and now here we are in a similar situation.
As a final note for tonight, I thought it might be as good time to write down the various blogs I know of from Bizarre peeps:
- Not a blog as such, but Mike is one of my best mates and is now the Technical Art Director at Bizarre, or ‘TAD’ as I like to refer to him. He also knows more about Maya than God. Here’s his website: http://www.michaelbibby.co.uk/
- Neil McWilliam: http://tomatovinejesus.blogspot.com/
- Ste Tovey (nonchaotic on Twitter) is the guy who got me blogging. He’s not strictly a Bizarre peep anymore as he’s now a Sony peep in London, but his drinking habits make him Bizarre forevermore in my mind. He has two SPUs embedded into his brain just below his hypothalamus, and ‘thinks’ purely in intrinsics: http://www.spuify.co.uk/
- Pete Collier: http://www.petecollier.com/
- Martin Linklater: http://www.95percentchimp.co.uk/