Career Blog Part 27

Year 11 2010 (continued)

As I begin work on the Blackwater project, I make the concerted effort to NOT critique the game to the extent that I did for both SAW games. Going through and meticulously analyzing the game's design when, in reality, it wasn't my job to do so, was causing me unbelievable stress. To give myself a break from the gnashing of teeth, I did my work and didn't analyze a thing. I was given the assignment to create all of the weapons in the game, something I've not had a lot of opportunity to do before, so I took the assignment happily. Unfortunately, Blackwater wasn't a First Person Shooter, so there was no need to get too detailed. The weapons would all be seen from a relative distance, from a third person perspective. So while I would have loved to dive deep, making crazy detailed weapons, the time constraints weren't there to allow it. On average, I spent about 2 or 3 days on each weapon. For larger props, such as an enormous anti-aircraft gun, I got a couple weeks to detail it out, so that was fun.

Throughout the rest of the year, I never even played Blackwater.

Year 12 2011

Wow, 2 Christmas's in a row where I've kept my job! Woohoo!

Blackwater is still in production and it's the beginning of the year. Time for employee evaluations. I've not mentioned evaluations before simply because they've been uneventful for me. To put it briefly, despite my reputation as being a "negative nancy," I'm praised for my work ethic and dedication to quality, regardless of the actual results. This time, I'm working for a new producer who, of course, has heard of my reputation. He, along with my previous producer, meet with me for my evaluation.

Their biggest complaint? That I haven't been commenting about Blackwater! Funny enough, I always thought my opinions were something these guys hated about me, but turns out they like to hear my opinions because I don't just say something "sucks" without giving at least a couple suggestions for making it better. They even admit to the fact that, they might not implement my suggestions due to lack of time, budget, or manpower, but they've always appreciated my honesty. And now, my new producer wants that same honesty for Blackwater!

While I'm happy to think that my reputation isn't quite as bad as I originally thought, the idea of delving back into the design of this game and critiquing it full blast makes me remember how unhappy I've been at work these last couple years. Since starting work on Blackwater and ignoring the game, I've been able to actually enjoy the challenge of creating the weapons and vehicles I've been tasked with, completely divorced from the game itself. I've not even played it yet!

But, I make the promise that I'll try to meet them somewhere in the middle and make arrangements to play the game on one of the Kinect systems we have. To my surprise, or at least, to my lowered expectations from my experience with SAW, the game is actually kinda decent! I'm not a big fan of the Kinect idea, or anything, but if someone were to own one of these things and wanted this kind of gameplay, the game wasn't too bad. It wasn't Modern Warfare or anything, but of course, we have a fraction of the development team and an even smaller budget then those guys. Not to mention less then a year to do it in.

Encouraged by this, I start making mild suggestions here and there. Nothing like the lambasting I used to give SAW I or II on a regular basis, but enough that I feel like I'm contributing. Some of my suggestions are even done, which is always nice.

Later, around mid-Spring, we start talking about achievements and the desire to use the Blackwater identity more within the UI and such. They ask us to look into it and give any suggestions.

For the first time, I actually look up who Blackwater is. I am not pleased with the result of that Google search... Until now, I had no clue who they were or what their reputation was... just figured it was a semi-famous PMC that must be known for something. Little did I know.

And here I was thinking that I'd be working on something less controversial now that SAW was over with.