Bashing keys since 1987

Ratchet throws a (monkey) wrench

26th May

Sometimes projects end smoothly, without any problems or drama. But sometimes… there’s a monkey wrench thrown into those plans.



Kill Screens – End of the Line

25th May

Kill Screen. That’s pretty foreboding, eh? The name, a term that was coined in arcades in the 80′s, is actually a little misleading. This screen doesn’t necessarily ‘kill’ the player. In some cases, like Donkey Kong, that is a side effect, but the “kill” in Kill Screen better describes some unavoidable obstacle in gameplay, one that stops progress completely, one that commits the ultimate arcade sin — it “kills” your quarter.



Arcade Memories: Ticket Games are Trouble

21st January

I hated ticket games. They are annoying, loud, and they break all the time. Please, people constantly tried to cheat and steal to get prizes!



My Ten Favorite Fighting Game Moments of 2012

1st January

So 2012 is over! One of the highlights of the year was attending Evo, which is pretty much the “premier” fighting game tournament in the world. That trip combined with my recent work design work on Playstation All-Stars (a fighting game) has introduced me to the fighting game community and some of the most competitive and skilled players I’ve ever come across.

So! I decided to compile my ten favorite Fighting Game Moments of 2012, in no particular order



Arcade Memories: Unlimited Tokens

29th November

One of the best things about working at an arcade was the (basically) unlimited tokens. Whether I got them by repairing machines (the rule was simple – if a token didn’t hit the coin box you could take it), trading in free token passes included with each bi-weekly paycheck or just scooping (think of it as borrowing!) out handfuls from behind the counter, it would be hard pressed to find me tokenless any given day of the week.



Hoo Ah! Ha ha!

29th November

LAN parties are the source of some of the bestest multiplayer gaming ever (and I’m all about multiplayer). There are few things more rewarding than being able to shoot someone on your computer and hear, from a room down the hall, “Aw, what the fuck?!” Doubly so if you can hear the pounding of some mouse-on-mousepad frustration.



The Story of Lazer Vizion

28th November

I originally wrote this back on January 21, 2006 for The New Gamer. I’ve stuck it here for posterity, with some minor editing.

I got my first pair of glasses when I was in second grade. When I put them it on changed everything.  I can remember the first time I saw a tree from far away and being surprised at the detail – I could see individual leaves.

My eyes continued to get worse as I got older and I would get more and more powerful glasses to compensate. My optometrist enjoyed calling it “BIG E” vision because I was unable to make out even the largest E on the eye chart. I was pretty near sided — 20/400.

Note the “was” – I am glassesless thanks to Lasik Eye Surgery. Woo.

The had me take a tiny amount of Valium… just enough to keep you from going …



Why I share my ideas

1st December

I love telling people game ideas. Even game ideas I really like. Hell, especially those ideas. In my experience it is not a very common thing, and some people are generally shocked when I’m so open.



Size Matters commercials and posters

30th November

Once Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters started to get good reviews, the big marketing push was only a matter of time. Not only was the game doing well, but now we’d get to see television ads and giant posters with our game on it. It was extra special for me because, since Ratchet & Clank has always been about the gadgets, clips of what I had contributed to game were going to end up on TV.



Programmer Art

29th November

There was an imbalance in games.

A ton of games have ‘behind the scenes’ content locked away in them. In these games you can usually see concept art, assets cut from the game, beautiful backgrounds used as reference for the game’s environment, and much, much more.

What it was missing was programmer art.



The Blame Game – Part 1

20th November

During the development of a new game it’s not uncommon for a level or two to occasionally fail to load. Maybe there’s some outdated built data on someone’s machine or perhaps a change went in that hasn’t been tested in every level yet. There’s all kinds of problems, and if you are on debugging machine, you’ll see the callstack and be able to tell the right person that needs to fix it what’s up. But artists, they don’t have a debugger, they don’t use a callstack. They rely on the output of warning messages to help them know who to go to when a level fails to load.

And Ricardo, one of our programmers, was getting a lot of visits from the artists.

You see, it just so happened that the last message that was seen by the artists when a level …



Behind the Scenes of Phineas and Ferb

10th October

Hey, it’s finally out! Disney created a nicely produced Behind the Scenes video for Phineas and Ferb Across the 2nd Dimension.



Phineas and Ferb Movie Premiere!

3rd August

Today was Red Carpet premiere of the Phineas and Ferb movie. The “red” carpet was actually “Perry teal,” a pretty nice touch. It was great to see the final cut of the film. Because we were in charge of crafting the story and screenplay for the game we had limited access to the movie as it was being created.



I originally wrote this back on January 21, 2006 for the New Gamer. I’ve stuck it here for posterity, with some minor editing.

I got my first pair of glasses when I was in second grade. When I put them it on changed everything.  I can remember the first time I saw a tree from far away and being surprised at the detail – I could see individual leaves.

My eyes continued to get worse as I got older and I would get more and more powerful glasses to compensate. My optometrist enjoyed calling it “BIG E” vision because I was unable to make out even the largest E on the eye chart. I was pretty near sided — 20/400.

Note the “was” – I am glassesless thanks to Lasik Eye Surgery. Woo.

The had me take a tiny amount of Valium… just enough to keep you from going …


Gitaroo-Man, Devil of Pain

13th December

My pinky finger is killing me.

I don’t even use my pinky for Gitaroo-Man.



Game Design Idea: The Ultimate Racing Game

Okay, you know those cool navigation systems installed in cars that show you a map of where you are and can give you directions to any destination (the nice ones even have a friendly female voice that tells you when to turn)? I think that it’s a technology that is being wasted with it’s simple mapquest duties!




From the Blog!

Ridiculous true stories from the world of game development.


The names haven't been changed to protect the innocent because no one in game development is innocent...

Kill Screens – End of the Line
Kill Screen. That's pretty foreboding, eh? The name, a term that was coined in arcades in the 80's, is actually a little misleading. This...
Arcade Memories: Ticket Games are Trouble
I hated ticket games. They are annoying, loud, and they break all the time. Please, people constantly tried to cheat and steal to get prizes!