Sunday, January 31, 2010

The “BioWare Vacation”

So my first contract at BioWare has come to an end.  I’m officially unemployed.  My last day was nice.  The entire PRC team took Dave and I out for lunch (it was his last day too) at Boston Pizza for a 2 hour lunch.  The rest of the day was a lot of handshaking.  I’m re-hirable in 3 months, and I have 3 teams telling me to email them when my 3 months are up.  So I could either end up working on TOR for Zac, PRC for Jason or OTHER PRC for Dieter.  I feel very confident I’ll be back in 3 months.

In the meantime, as I’ve written before, I saved a lot of money, and have never used EI before, so I think I may be able to go the 3 months without getting another job.  I just can’t imagine working some crap job again, not after working at BioWare, doing something I love and am talented at.  On the other hand, sitting on my ass for 3 months like a bum may drive me to get a job anyway.  But so far I’m really liking it.  It feels good to have free time.  I’d been working some crazy overtime, only had 3 days off in the past month, and most nights went until at least 10:00 pm.

Yesterday I went for pho with Dann, then we went for an afternoon beer at Montanna’s and caught a movie.  Legion.  Meh.  Then I came home and played videogames.  It was a good day.

I’m contemplating driving back to Winnipeg for a week at some point during my 3 months off.  But money will be tight, and I was just there, so we’ll see.

Queen Of The Blackmarsh

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Om Nom

And for my first day off in over 2 weeks: pho with Dann!


Friday, January 29, 2010

History Of BioWare: Part 4

Unnecessarily Censored Moments



Working my last night of overtime.  Tomorrow I can’t do any because technically my contract ends at 6:00 PM.  I’m very sad that I have to take 3 months off, but after all the overtime I’ve been doing (70+ hours last week alone) I can use some relax time.  13 hour shift today.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010



I hear the eventual iPad nano might have a phone and camera built in, and works as a portable mp3 player…  Now THAT would be cool…

Monday, January 25, 2010


This comic just went up on Penny Arcade about the reality tv show where the winner gets to be a videogame tester.  I love it.  Click the pic for full size.770836278_VG7Cr-L 

QA isn’t an easy job, but it’s definitely a fun job.  I’d consider it a prize by no stretch of the word.  That being said, I think a lot of people see it as a bunch of lazy nerds who have no skills just playing games all day.  The reality is it’s closer to trouble-shooting software, and if you go the QA Design route then you need to know all the ins and outs of design, narrative, cinematography, etc.  So it’s nothing like sitting at home playing videogames and just getting paid for it.  You ARE however working on something you love, with awesome people for a fantastic company (who do more than just give you sludge :P).

I only have 1 week left at BioWare before my contract ends.  Because of the EA mandates I cannot be extended again without first taking a 3 month break.  PRC team tried to hire me on fulltime salary but HR had their hands tied because of the economy.  Sucks, but I can’t complain too much.  Had a fantastic 15 months doing an amazing job, and I’ll be back doing it again in 3 months, and get to try for fulltime all over again!  I’ve already been told there will be a position waiting for me, probably working on the Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO.

In the meantime I may not even get another job.  I saved a TON of money in anticipation.  I’ve paid off half my car and on my next check will have paid off all 3 months rent ahead of time.  I’ve never been on EI yet I pay for it off every check, might as well cash it in.  While I’m taking those 3 months off I think I will try to make a small mod using the Dragon Age toolset, so I can come back to work with some new knowledge.  And I won’t lie, 3 months of being lazy sounds pretty appealing after the hard work I’ve been doing.  I have only had 2 days off since I got back from xmas break, and last week I worked 70 hours.  I think I may sleep through my first week off.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Goodbye Conan

He has always been the best in late night to me.  With Letterman being a distant second, and Leno being an unfunny putz.  All this drama on late night has only solidified this opinion.

Friday, January 22, 2010


30 tracks in playlist, average track length: 4:24
Playlist length: 2 hours, 12 minutes, 6 seconds

1. Immaculate Machine - Broken Ship (3:33)
2. Vampire Weekend - White Sky (2:58)
3. Two Hours Traffic - Stuck For The Summer (3:07)
4. Beirut - Scenic World - Lon Gisland Ep (2:53)
5. Elbow - Weather To Fly (4:28)
6. Florence And The Machine - Howl (3:34)
7. Midlake - Roscoe (4:49)
8. City And Colour - Body In A Box (4:12)
9. Immaculate Machine - No Such Thing as the Future (3:07)
10. The Whip - Muzzle #1 (5:00)
11. Marvin Gaye vs. Gorillaz - I Heard It Through The Grapevine vs. Feel Good Inc. (3:41)
12. She Wants Revenge - ...And A Song For Los Angeles (5:01)
13. The Presets - Girl And The Sea (4:46)
14. 30 Seconds To Mars - Night Of The Hunter (5:40)
15. Florence And The Machine - Blinding (4:40)
16. Death Cab For Cutie - Grapevine Fires (6:17)
17. Aqualung - Good Times Gonna Come (3:53)
18. Immaculate Machine - Northeastern Wind (4:31)
19. Immaculate Machine - Old Flame (4:32)
20. The Knife - You Take My Breath Away (4:29)

21. La Roux - I'm Not Your Toy (Data Remix) (5:15)
22. Tears For Fears vs. Eric Prydz - Shout vs. Pjanoo (3:22)
23. She Wants Revenge - She Will Always Be A Broken Girl (5:22)
24. David Usher - Wake Up And Say Goodbye (3:07)
25. Immaculate Machine - No Way Out (4:36)
26. Hey Rosetta! - Tired Eyes (5:53)
27. Blackfield - 1,000 People (3:53)
28. Manchester Orchestra - Colly Strings (5:57)
29. Immaculate Machine - Blinding Light (3:42)
30. Noah and the Whale - Our Window (5:48)

Click play on the playlist on the right -->

Games To Play On My 3 Months Off

  • The Saboteur
  • Fable 2
  • Conan
  • Mass Effect 1
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Bayonetta
  • Dark Void
  • Bioshock 2
  • Dante’s Inferno
  • Splinter Cell: Conviction
  • Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  • Alien Vs Predator 3
  • Just Cause 2
  • Dragon Age: Awakening!
    If I have to take 3 months off, at least there will be a lot of gaming to be done!!!

If I hadn’t sold my PS3 I’d also be playing:

  • Heavy Rain
  • God Of War 3
  • Uncharted 1 & 2 (I know, I know…)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mass Effect 2 Launch Trailer

Epic.  Love the music in this trailer.  Two Steps From Hell – Heart Of Courage for those who are interested.  Less than a week till Mass Effect 2 is out!  Everyone look for my cousin’s name in it, Billy Buskell!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


This is my job!

History Of BioWare: Part 3

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Storm Before The Calm

Not much updates lately I know.  I have 2 weeks left at BioWare before my 3 month break, so I’ve been getting in as much overtime as possible, which has been a lot!  Late 3 or 4 times a week and coming in on weekends.  I’ve also been selling almost everything I never use anymore for extra money.  I’m hoping to be able to survive the 3 months without having to get some crap job.  I’ve never used EI, and it’s been deducted off each of my checks since I was 16, so I might as well capitalize on it.  I can’t even fathom the idea of working a job I don’t LOVE, or a job that doesn’t utilize a real talent, but instead just pays me to do something no one would do for free.  BioWare has spoiled me.

In 2 weeks though, I predict blog updates several times a day.  I plan on playing many games during those 3 months, and writing reviews on here for each one, to keep my mind sharp on critical thinking on games.  Plus I’ll just have a lot more free time to write in here.

ALSO I just switched to a cool chat client called Digsby (thanks Chad!).  Very neat.  And it let me add a widget to the far right that lets you chat with me when I’m online!  So feel free to say hi!  (Mom, Dad, this is a good way to get in contact with me, as I’m almost always online).

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Almost a year ago, when Reid first started working on Dragon Age and I met him, his gamerscore was far beyond mine, and I was just making the transition from PC gamer to Console gamer.  I swore that one day I would overcome his gamerscore.  Today was that day.

Mobile Photo Jan 17, 2010 2 08 24 PM

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Free Darksiders Figurine

Free with my copy of Darksiders.  Thank you Future Shop!

4269309159_b3b7c002b9_b (1)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Team Conan


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

History Of BioWare

An interesting watch.  It’s 5 parts, the first 2 are already out and I’ll post the rest as they’re released!

Red River Skating?

This picture just made me miss Winnipeg.


Charlie Bit Me (Auto-Tune)

It never ceases to amaze me that some “musicians” prop their entire career on this gimmick.  Videos like this prove it requires no talent to achieve the Kanye West / T-Pain sound.  And also proves that babies are even more funny when auto-tunes.

Monday, January 11, 2010

That’s Pat, Always Seeing The Bright Side


Dragon Age DLC?

I came in to work today and Cole had this link to show me.  Someone in the modding community made this hilarious (fake) DLC trailer.  The “Slap The Shit Out Of Morrigan” mode should be real, I’ll see if I can convince the designers…

Sunday, January 10, 2010

2004 Pontiac Sunfire

So here’s some pix of the Sunfire!  It’s kinda dirty, but there’s no point getting a car wash right now since all the roads are mushy.  I got a really good deal on the car, and am loving it so far.  It’s a significant upgrade from my Honda too!

It has remote start/lock, power windows/locks, air conditioning, air bags, anti-lock brakes, digital odometer, MP3 CD Player, etc.  I love it.

Winnipeg Visit

So here’s the collection of videos from my visit to Winnipeg.  Unfortunately I forgot to record most of the really fun stuff.  Andi got almost no screen time, or Kristina.  And New Year’s we got realllly drunk, video of that woulda been awesome.  Oh well, none the less, here’s what I did manage to record!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Video Game Nostalgia

I always look up old videogames from the NES and SNES era, but I forgot how many great games I lost many hours to in the PS1 days.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Catching Up

Been a busy week.  When I got back from my Winnipeg trip there was a ton of stuff I’d been putting off, and it was time to stop procrastinating and get it all taken care of.  My car had failed it’s safety inspection and wasn’t worth fixing (needed over $1000 in work), so I’d been catching rides to work with Bill, and had to live without a car.  I couldn’t stand it.  It’s impossible to be free and independent without a car.  So I started looking around and ended up making a great deal with my friend Reid for his 2004 Pontiac Sunfire!  He moved to BC and needed someone in Alberta to take the car.  He was visiting until after Xmas, so when I got back from my trip we took care of the sale.

It involved much running around though.  First I needed to get my Alberta drivers license, which I did.  Then I needed to get it insured in Alberta.  Auto insurance is privatized here so it was a bit of a hassle, but after 3 days of calling around, visiting different banks and insurance places, faxing documents back and forth between Manitoba Public Insurance, myself and RBC (who I finally settled with) it was completed.  THEN I needed to register the car and get new plates, which I took care of at lunch.  So the car is now officially under my name!  I also had to give the bill of sale and old plates to Reid’s Dad.

The car is great, a significant upgrade from the old Honda.  It’s 2004, only has 120,000 km on it (my Honda was 200,000), and is just fancier.  Remote start/unlock, automatic windows, anti-lock brakes (for better or worse), digital odometer, and just less of an eye sore on the road!  I made a deal with Reid to pay half up front and the rest in payments over the next few months.

I also needed a new bank account, and since I was dealing with RBC for my car insurance, and my Mom has been with them and never had any problems, I opened a new account with them and set up direct deposit through work, and pre-authorized withdrawal for the insurance.

My contract at BioWare ends at the end of the month, so I had to save as much as possible.  I still have quite a bit of money from my last check and my Xmas money, then I get paid tomorrow, and also got my GST check.  I also brought all my games in to work to sell and made over 200$ in 2 days from that, I put my camera and equipment up for sale, selling the Honda, etc.  Not to mention 2 checks left from BioWare that will have some major overtime on them.  So things are looking up, I’ll have enough money for the car, insurance and rent, long enough to either get a temporary job for 2-3 months or have EI kick in.

Speaking of my contract ending, I was getting kind of bummed about that.  Last month at BioWare…  And who knows how long till I’m back.  It was daunting.  But then I got some good news.  I came in to work on Tuesday, after working a 15 hour shift the day before (got home at almost 1:00 AM) and I had a meeting request from Zac, my old boss from before I got onto the PRC team.  I met with him and he asked me when my last day was.  I told him January 29th and he said “Ok, cause we want you back the day you become available!”  That really put my mind at ease.  Now I know for sure it’ll only be 90 days off.  I can handle that.  And it was really validating to know the company wanted me back.  It looks like I’ll be working on the Star Wars Old Republic MMO.  That will be interesting, to see how an MMO is made and QA’d.  I will miss the Dragon Age franchise though.  It will always have a special place in my heart.

So things are actually pretty good.  I finally have my Alberta drivers license (which makes me an official resident), have a car again, and a significantly better one at that, have Alberta plates, have a guarantee to be back at BioWare after my 90 days are up, I’ve been working out, etc...  I just feel in control of my life.  It’s a good feeling when you stop letting things get out of hand and just reel it all in.

I’ll post pix of the car soon!

Thursday, January 7, 2010



Dragon Age Origins: Awakening Cover Art!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Selling My Camera Stuff

So I’ve decided to sell my photography stuff.  I’ve only picked up my camera once in the past year, and I honestly need the money right now, to pay for my new car!  If you’re interested or know someone who might be, contact me on facebook or msn, or just call me if you know me!

Pentax K10D Digital Camera Body 10.2MP  -  450$
Battery, Charger, USB, TV output
Lens Cleaner Brush  - 5$
Pentax SMCP-FA 50mm f/1.4 Lens - K10D K20D K-7 K-x  - 170$
Pentax DA 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 Lens - 100$
Pentax DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED Lens - 150$
Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7 Lens  - 50$
Toshiba 4GB High Speed SDHC Memory Card  - 20$
PNY Secure Digital SD Memory Card 1GB (P-SD1G-RF3)  - 10$
Lowepro Rezo 120 AW Camera Bag  - 20$
Optex T165 Compact Photo/Video/Digital Tripod - 30$
Pentax Remote Control F - 20$
Pentax Lens Reverse Adapter  - 5$
Kenko Skylight 1A 49mm filter  - 15$
Hoya 52mm RM-72 Infrared Filter  - 20$

Prices listed are the average costs of what they go for used online, which adds up to $1065.  I'm selling this as a bundle for 850$ or best offer.

Some items of note:

Pentax K10D Digital Camera Body 10.2MP -"  - Review

Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7 Lens – Even though it’s one of the cheaper lenses, it’s my fave of all time, great for portraits!

Hoya 52mm RM-72 Infrared – Infrared photography is really fun and a great way to be creative.  Get photos like this:

Dragon Age Origins: Awakening

The project I’ve been working on for the past 6 months or so has finally been announced.  When I started at BioWare I was just a normal QA Term Tester, not a hard job.  But through persistence I managed to secure myself a QA Design related position (still as a term, sadly).  I had much more creative input and a more design-oriented role on this project, and had much more responsibility, so I am very proud of it!  Check out the trailer!  (WARNING, some minor spoilers to main-game)

Monday, January 4, 2010

I Have A Mother-Effing Boat On My Mother-Effing Shoes!

New shoes I bought while in Winnipeg.  I like em!

Mobile Photo Jan 4, 2010 10 17 12 AM Mobile Photo Jan 4, 2010 10 18 23 AM

Winnipeg Trip

My Winnipeg trip was a lot of fun.  It’s a shame it’s over.  When I first got back I felt really home sick.  The thought of going another year without seeing any of my family or Winnipeg friends makes me sad.  But I’ve readjusted and it’s good to be back in Edmonton.  Looking forward to hanging out with Edmonton friends whom I’ve missed!

The train ride back was cool.  I was seated with a guy my age, who was deaf.  We sparked up a conversation by passing back and forth a paper and writing on it.  He'd moved from Winnipeg to Saskatoon for a job, much like me, and this was his first visit home since he moved.  We chatted about how weird it was returning after starting a new life.  Cool guy.  Ended up adding eachother to facebook!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

All Packed


Every Day The Same Dream

I just played a game that had the same effect on me as a really well done short film.  Flash games are becoming a genre of their own, and I’m really starting to dig some of the more artistic ones.  I posted the game Small Worlds a while ago, and this is another one that shows what games can be when you loosen up the definition a little.

Every Day The Same Dream