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Arrested Development: 'Hard News'

Semi-pseudonymous Game Developer magazine humor columnist -- and developer -- Matthew Wasteland discovers a hidden cache of news, from producer bug-tracking to Yuji Naka stalking and beyond.

April 15, 2009

5 Min Read

Author: by Matthew Wasteland

[Semi-pseudonymous Game Developer magazine humor columnist -- and developer -- Matthew Wasteland discovers a hidden cache of news, from producer bug-tracking to Yuji Naka stalking and beyond, and is kindly presenting it to Gamasutra readers.] Game Journalist Totally Hung Out with Yuji Naka San Francisco, CA — Area game journalist Benjamin Day recently hung out with Yuji Naka, one of Japan's top game designers, known for his involvement in seminal Sega titles such as Sonic the Hedgehog. “Naka-san is totally awesome,” Day enthused. “He's super cool and I'm really glad I got the chance to meet him.” At the most recent Tokyo Game Show, Day was lucky enough to be in a small group with some of the other guys from his work and some real-life Japanese people he knows, who said, “Hey, do you want to meet Yuji Naka?” And Day was like, “Of course I do!” Day and his friends were led to an amazing shabu-shabu place nearby, which is not on any tour books or anything, you pretty much have to be Japanese and know the area to be aware it even exists. The food there was just absolutely incredible, and you could never get it in America ever, not even if you had a Japanese girlfriend, which by the way would be totally sweet. After the delicious meal, Yuji Naka made his appearance. “I asked him a ton of stuff like, ‘What was Blast Processing anyway, and who came up with the idea for that term?’ And Naka-san was like, ‘Oh, I don't even remember, it was probably Tom Kalinske.’ We all laughed, it was really funny,” described Day. Afterward, the group headed to a kind of traditional Japanese bar known as an izakaya and totally just hung out, chatting about games, life in Japan, and the future. “He asked me what I wanted to see from him next, now that he's not at Sega anymore, and I told him, duh, make a real proper sequel to Nights! Not like that recent one for the Wii but a true follow-up, worthy of the original,” Day reported. Day has since resumed his study of Japanese by watching anime, and now knows the proper translation of “scary,” “cute,” and “sister.” Sound Designer in Marijuana-Use Shocker Santa Monica, CA — A sound designer was found smoking marijuana back near the storage area of a local video game studio, according to several reports. The man was not identified, but witnesses described him as having several days' worth of scraggly beard growth. He was heard muttering to himself about “stereo fold-down from a five-dot-one mix.” Local residents expressed surprise at the sighting. “As if there weren't enough uncertainty in these times,” said one. “Now there's talk of a sound guy getting stoned! How much more can our world be turned upside down? What's next, the Q/A department?” Local Producer Still Inept at Bug-Tracking System Boston, MA — “Hey, what do I click to close a bug again?” called out Robert Cardinal, 39, to anyone who might hear him, on a recent Thursday afternoon in the office. “Oh, crap,” he continued, “I think I just closed the wrong thing. Actually, did I delete it? I don't understand all these little icons. Christine? Christine, are you there?” Production Coordinator Christine Vogel, 28, entered the office and calmly explained the basics of operating the bug database, as fresh-faced as the first time she ever did it. “That's the ‘close’ button,” she said, pointing to an icon that resembled a green check mark. “Actually, I know that bug isn't closed at all—Frank just told me he hasn't looked at the caching code in over a week. You should keep that bug open.” Mark Weston, the studio head who hired Cardinal, says that he was primarily looking for people skills when conducting the search for a new producer. “Rob's good at a lot of things,” said Weston. “Maybe the nitty-gritty of operating the database isn't one of those, but what I really needed was a hard-hitting straight shooter who can tell it like it is.” Weston explained that one of a producer's jobs is to fully understand the status of the project at all times, and to be able to communicate it when necessary. “Who could I rely on but Rob for that kind of thing?” Weston posed. Rumors of Miss Vogel fiddling with her resume during after hours crunch are as-yet unconfirmed. New UI Code Created For All (non-German) Languages Warwick, UK — Ian R. Hoffman, a programmer at Flinty Bruiser Entertainment, recently finished work on a complete user interface system for his company's next game that perfectly sizes text boxes to match average English word length. The code, which Hoffman has dubbed BruiserUI, can handle both shell screens and in-game HUD elements. It includes support for multiple platforms and is fully double-byte enabled in order to support Asian languages. “I made extra sure to check the longest words we could possibly use in our game against all of the text boxes, and it all lines up perfectly,” Hoffman said. “Everything is readable and, best of all, there's no wasted space on the screen.” When confronted with the possibility of German translations being longer than their English equivalents, Hoffman responded, “Eh? I'm sure it'll be fine.” [Matthew Wasteland is a pseudonymous game developer who has a fairly common first name and who blogs at Magical Wasteland. Email him at [email protected].]

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