January 01, 2009
I have a new blog/website: anthonycastoro.com
February 07, 2007
I feel a Heatwave comin' on... (holy cr4p, what have I done???)
The past two or three weeks have been incredibly busy and because of the nature of that bustle, I really haven't had much opportunity to talk about what I'm up to.
Last month, I blathered on about how I was going to make some big changes and things are going to change. I was serious.
Last Friday was my last day at Codemasters. I've started a new company called "Heatwave Interactive, Inc.", as a vehicle to bring great games to the masses and "right" some of the "wrongs" in the games business. Currently, Heatwave only has a few employees, but we've already landed our first contract for a major client. What are these great games you ask? How about those wrongs? And can I really do anything about them?
I'll get to that. But first, let me give you a little context for what my life is like in this transition.
Codemasters & England. My family and I really are very sad to be leaving England so soon. We firmly expected to be there at least three years. We've had an amazing time. We've travelled all over the UK and parts of Europe. The kids have been exposed to a very different way of life, and as a family we've had to adapt to some pretty significant lifestyle changes (family of six with no car for 5 months...). The people at Codemasters are fantastic. Along with some great professional contacts, I've made what I hope are lifelong friends. In particular, the Codemasters Online Gaming (COG) division are an inspiring group of people, weathering very difficult conditions for a vision they believe in (not to mention holding up the banner for online gaming's "forgotten continent").
I'll miss you guys.
Heatwave & Austin. So, as of Friday, I've been phoneless and computerless. That's been rough. Particularly since I've been travelling quite a bit in the US. At the moment I'm in Austin, Texas doing a little house shopping and getting some fundamentals set up. Over the next month or so, I'll move the family and get into the groove with our new client. Also, we've got some corporate branding coming along, and of course a website (the current domain is purely a placeholder). I've got a great partner in a gentlemen named Donn Clendenon, who I've been working with "virtually" for a while. We've also got some very talented folks working with us on various parts of the business. I can't wait to tell you a little more about that in the near future. So far, it's been one of the coolest experiences of my creative/professional life.
Over the next week, I'll address the "rights" and "wrongs," the reason for choosing Austin as our base of operations, the motivations behind the name "Heatwave Interactive," and other various topics as they arise.
Anyway, this is just a quick update to say, I'm dead serious. I'm a man with a family of six with a good salary and I just quit my job. Serious coolness will result.
One last thing, I'm considering doing some "reality blogging" about what it's like to start a new company, or more specifically, a new game company. There are a lot of implications to consider, but very few people have an idea of what it's like to start a business, much less a game company. Am I crazy enough to let the Intarweb vote on our company logo? What about which game project we should do first? Is that pure insanity? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts about that.
January 21, 2007
Return of the MadToad
I've added Todd Bailey's blog to my l33t list at right. I was there when he sold a cigarette to Richard for 100 bucks. It's all true.
January 13, 2007
Well, it looks like I need to have my hosting service move my account to a more updated platform in order to upgrade the site. That might delay things a week or two.
Basically, the version of Perl that valueweb is running on my account's server is from the 20th century. How quaint. As a result, I can't upgrade to the latest version of Movable Type.
As many have noted, my blog is full of trackback spam, and the manual delete process is a pain in the you-know-what.
I really really miss being able to ssh directly over to a shell account and power edit. I HATE having to ftp files back and forth. It drives me nuts. Really.
Okay, done whining.
December 29, 2006
Too close to home? Doubtful, I wasn't aiming at you...
I listed this entry under "site news," because the original post was about my site and the poor content frequency (if not quality). I feel the need to respond because someone I respect a great deal has considered taking offence (although I doubt he really takes offence).
As I didn't intend for this to become a snipe fight between myself and other people in this segment, and as I don't intend for it to devolve into such, I'm going to briefly make two points and then move on:
A) The post was about my failings on this site, and the contributing reasons. Yes, I made references to other blogs, but
I didn't call out anyone specifically because that wasn't the point. The point was that there are a lot of pressures that make posting both interesting and brutally honest articles about our industry difficult for me.
B) Scott, you only referenced one of my reasons, you left out the lack of personal time. To your point that there is room to comment on things you don't directly work on, or that are not projects your peers work on, I don't disagree, but I haven't had the time to assimilate all the data tertiary to my everyday dealings and then form a useful (and entertaining!) blog post about it. I leave that to you.
I suppose it is an interesting idea to poke the nest and see who reacts, but that wasn't my goal. Scott, I respect you perhaps above all when it comes to commenting on the universe of online games. I imagine that it is your critical nature that makes you as incisive as you are but also contributes to your own inner criticism. For anyone else tempted to take personal offense from my internal criticism, ask yourself why you assume I was talking about you. Is it because you have a popular blog? Or because you secretly suspect your site is unworthy? Either way, consider your reaction before you decide to take offense. I'm not going to get into it any further.
WTF is with SunSword's Website?
I know, I almost never post. And when I do, it's either about family stuff you couldn't care less about or some boring alert related to work that you could've gotten off of a corporate news site or press release.
So, you ask, WTF? What happened to the guy who use to "tell it straight" and talk to the players like they were real people? What happened to the straight dope?
Ready for some honesty? Click to keep reading...
The first thing that happened? I worked my way up the corporate ladder to a point where my position was important enough that everything I said was under intense scrutiny, but I wasn't high enough on that ladder to be able to say what I wanted and survive.
Now, there are some people at the producer-level and up in the industry who really say what they think in their blogs, but I've found that the most active/interesting posts are by people who aren't directly responsible for the kinds of things they comment on.
Most of the really interesting blogs out there are by people who are independent of censorship, either because they're at the very top of their organizations, or because they aren't directly responsible (or aren't generally perceived to be) for the kinds of things they comment on.
And of course, some of the most popular and respected bloggers in the online game industry don't even deal in reality. Most of it is academic bullshit and spin. Which is understandable, because again, if people dealt in reality, they'd probably get censored by their organizations. Unfortunately, it means that most of the audience for this kind of material is having a very confused discussion fueled by misinformation, hype and guesswork.
The second cause of my silence is purely my availability. In the last 5 years I've had three kids, moved from Texas to California and from California to England. Life has been crazy, and I'm a family kinda guy, so I tend to prioritize family happiness over career and personal computing time. Those of you that have had kids know about the post-birth parental coma that lasts about 9 months. Those of you who haven't had kids have no idea what I'm talking about, really. I can't explain it, but I've been in it for about 4.5 years.
It is only in the last 48 hours that I've realized what a price I've paid for the hectic but amazing life I've been living. For the past 6 months, I've averaged about 5.5 hours of sleep a night. Since the holiday break, I've gotten 8-12 hours of sleep every night. I had no idea the toll lack of sleep and stress have been having on me. When I woke up on boxing day (the day after Christmas for my fellow Americans), I felt refreshed in a way that I honestly cannot recall.
It felt like waking from a dream that had lasted 6 months. All my ambition and energy returned in a rush. I realized that despite myriad crazy/cool things I've done in the last few years, I've been treading water professionally and creatively.
What the hell? It's about to be 2007? People are still rehashing the same ol' MMORPG format? Shit is about to change y'all.
So what does that mean in reference to this post? Well, sunsword.com is going to change quite a bit. I'm going to separate the personal from the professional. I'm also going to take a new tact with the professional, to be revealed in January. I'm also considering bringing the forums back, let me know what you think about that. I found forums to be a more satisfying, interactive experience than blogs and comments.
On a personal note, I'm also going to start prioritize sleep. And on that note, see you in the AM.
June 22, 2006
Tidying up a bit
As the desire to blog has returned, and the dust has settled from my transatlantic transplant, I've unpacked my desktop PC and taken a look at my poor forsaken website. Time to kick the tires and change the oil!
Updated some of the links to the right. About to upgrade to the latest and greatest version of Moveable Type 3.2.
Whilst unpacking, I came across some items that hadn't been unpacked since the LAST time I moved, including an original Star Wars Galaxies game design draft (back when we called it "SWO") and even earlier, a pitch for a web-based online game set in the Ultima universe. Suprisingly that one still seems to hold up...maybe I should post it here? :) Hmm...EA lawyers vs. SunSword. Perhaps not.
March 21, 2005
Here we go again...
All of the forums are currently down because the H4xx0rs keep finding new ways to abuse the them. I suppose I'll have to drop some cash and purchase a professional solution. I sincerely apologize to all the community members for the interruption.
March 15, 2005
I'm using new forum software. You can check it out HERE.
March 07, 2005
SunSword.com forums down for an upgrade
So, obviously the entire site has been down for a few days. I won't go into a long rant about my hosting service, but suffice it to say... if there's a security problem with some software on my website, and you want me to fix it, TURNING OFF ACCOUNT ACCESS MAKES IT REALLY HARD TO FIX.
5 days for some yokel at valueweb.net to flip a bit...*sigh*
December 01, 2004
Well, I've managed to reconstruct the blog
Upgrading was a pretty huge pain, and obviously I still haven't gotten the style-sheets and templates back the way they were, but all the data is here, the back-end interface is working properly, and the new comment system is up and running. If you don't have a "TypeKey" account, and you comment without logging in, your comments make take a while to appear because I'm manually reviewing them...too much spam.
November 28, 2004
My site is kind of borked. Time for some overhauls. I'm going to start by reinstalling MT, hopefully by exporting everything up to this point, I won't lose over a year's worth of blog...not that there was anything particularly critical for people to read...
Then I'll update the Forums, which may prove to be a bit trickier...and then FINALLY, I'll actually update my site's whole look and feel...Gee aren't I feeling productive?
I have mixed feelings about returning to work tomorrow...I've rather enjoyed having 5 days off with my family. I played with my kids A LOT. I let Kimberly sleep in A LOT. And I played through Halo 2 A LOT.
On the other hand, Monday marks a major milestone for UO development with a new team structure as we begin working towards a very important milestone right before the holiday break...plus there's a lot going on a the studio management level that's particularly linteresting...so I'm torn...
But I'm sure as usual I'll find myself at work tomorrow bouncing from meeting to meeting watching the team doing kickass work and thinking to myself..."How'd I get so lucky?" At least the holiday break is only a few weeks away :).
November 23, 2004
Oh Dundee has a blog at a new location...
Umm..this is really old news, but I've updated his link to the right of the page. And here's the direct link! http://mythical.blogspot.com/.
You go, Jeff. Congrats on JTL!
October 31, 2004
It appears to have worked...or at least not totally busted...
I'm CRAAAAZY upgrade man
Time to upgrade moveabletype. If the site disappears shortly, I failed.
October 07, 2004
Forums back up!
The SunSword.com Forums are back up!
September 29, 2003
Several people have expressed interest in getting some sunsword.com gear, such as t-shirts, caps and mugs. I've posted a poll so you can tell me what you think.
It might actually be a good fundraising idea. Now all I need to do is commission some real artwork for the site. A logo would be good, eh? :)
September 06, 2003
Welcome to Moveable Type!
Well, I've finally gone ahead and plugged in moveable type as the primary index page for the site. Obviously, I'm still not an artist, and there's plenty of work left to do, but this will make it easier for me to keep the site updated. Comments welcome!
Oh and by the way, the navigation to the forums and other sites is now on the right, although that could change at any moment.
August 19, 2003
I've decided to join the 21st century and start using some decent blogging software to update my site. MovableType seems to be very popular and was relatively easy enough to setup. Kudos to them!
Now, I know I haven't been updating the site regularly. Things have been pretty crazy ever since I took the new job on UO. I'm hoping that a nicer set of tools will make it a simpler process, and that will yield more frequent updates. Whaddya think? Perhaps not? We shall see...