Sunday, January 30, 2011


So after my crazy crunch hours earlier this month I suddenly found myself with a lot of free time.  I was used to the bustle of always having something to work on, so looked for something to fill all this new free time with.  I found Minecraft.  I’d been hearing about the game for months, but never understood the appeal.  It was only 15$ so I decided to give it a shot.

I quickly understood why this little indie game has sold over a million copies.  I’ve been a proponent of emergent gameplay for ages.  And this game is just that.  Emergent gameplay is when the fun of a game is generated by the user and not scripted by the developers.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a well written single player game.  Hell, I’ve worked on a few I’m very proud of (so go buy Dragon Age Origins, and pre-order Dragon Age 2!  Wink wink).  But there’s something exciting about emergent gameplay.  When something happens in a game and you know it wasn’t “meant” to happen, it becomes uniquely yours.


The idea behind Minecraft is simple, but genius.  The world is procedurally generated, so no 2 people get the same level.  It starts out as complete wilderness.  Hills, lakes, cliffs, beaches, etc.  And the game is infinite.  If you were to walk in a straight line forever, the game would just keep generating new content.  All in a charming blocky aesthetic, as though the nostalgic era of 8 bit were given a third dimension, and nothing else. 

There is no tutorial what-so-ever, and the player is dropped alone in this wilderness to figure things out.  It isn’t long before the player realizes he can dig up blocks, and place them elsewhere.  Essentially the world is built of lego and the player can rearrange the pieces however he sees fit.  At night enemies come out so he has to build a shelter to survive the nights.


Soon after the player realizes the game has a crafting system, and 2 of 1 block and 1 of another can create a new block with new properties.  Many of these blocks can only be found deep underground.  If the player digs deep enough he can find intricate cave systems with underground lakes, lavaflow, etc.  He ventures down into these depths to collect rare blocks to create a cooler world back up on the surface! 


And from here the player is able to create all kinds of structures, limited (almost) only by his imagination.  I’m sure many of you have seen the amazing things that can be created in Minecraft, including recreations of major world landmarks, or entire levels from other games. If not, I suggest simply typing in Minecraft at Youtube.

I had a lot of fun with it, but I found the one thing lacking was sharing.  Emergent gameplay leads to amazing creations and amazing stories, and these are the kinds of things people want to share.  So I looked into multiplayer.  Long story short, for such a simple game, hosting a server is rather hard on a typical machine.  But I found server hosts for as little as 15$ a month, so I figured I’d give it a shot and paid to have a hosted server.  It’s less than I paid for WoW for months, and this was a lot of fun.


I convinced Chad and Brett to give it a shot, and soon we were on every night, building structures and showing them to each other.  Over time our structures began to merge together into a community of sorts.



I made a wooden house circling a mountain, with a bridge to a cliff with a farm on top of it.  I made a water-themed night-club (built into a cliff behind a waterfall) too!  Chad is making a huge rooftop atrium with trees in it, and Brett made a tower that nearly blocks out the sun.  Super fun.  Like being a kid again, with a new set of lego!


A fantastic game I’m quite addicted to, and love logging on to build, and check out what my friends have built.  If you’re looking for a creative outlet, a new game, or just want to understand what all the hype is about, I strongly suggest picking it up.  Like I said, it’s only 15$.  And if you do get it, contact me for my server address and come join us!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Sky Is Calling You


A new playlist!  This one includes the song Tim wrote and Brett, Linda and I did backup vocals on!

  1. Pepper Rabbit – Older Brother
  2. Mother Mother – The Stand
  3. LCD Soundsystem – I Can Change
  4. Starfucker – Julius
  5. Home Video – I Can Make You Feel It
  6. Athlete – Bulletproof (La Roux Cover)
  7. Tim Redford – The Sky Is Calling You
  8. La Roux – Fascination
  9. White Lies – Bad Love
  10. White Lies – Bigger Than Us
  11. Rise Against – Help Is On The Way
  12. Sun Airway – Oh Naoko
  13. Home Video – The Smoke
  14. Broken Bells – The Ghost Inside
  15. Sun Airway – Put The Days Away
  16. Parov Stelar – Booty Swing
  17. Grafton Primary – Hold Her
  18. La Roux – Bulletproof (Chrispy Dubstep Remix)
  19. White Lies – Come Down

As always you can hear it on grooveshark or just click play to the right!

81 Hours

That’s how many hours I worked last week.  We’re in the final stretch, so there were some pretty intense hours.  I managed to work 2 weeks in 7 days!  My new record for longest day is 20 hours!  But Longtail lets you bank overtime hours as vacation and all the overtime I’ve been working these past few months has earned me an additional 2.5 weeks of paid vacation on top of my normal 2 weeks.  I could also take the hours as an end-project bonus, but I think I’ll stick with vacation hours!

Very nice that the project is all but done.  The atmosphere at work is one of relief.  After today I’m taking 2 days off to recuperate from last week.

Oddly enough, I didn’t mind the hours too much.  It’s nice to be working a job with responsibility.  I stayed late because important tasks relied on me.  It’s a long way from the zero-responsibility jobs I used to be content with.  That being said, I’m glad the crazy hours are done and I can get back to having a life!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Winnipeg Trip Video

Just finished uploading the collection of videos I took while in Winnipeg.  I love that this video was shot and edited on my iPhone 4, and all the photos from the trip were taken on it as well.  It’s better than the point and shoot camera I used to use.  Technology has come a long way!

Good times!  Was a great visit.

Winnipeg Trip 2010-2011

I’m back from my Winnipeg trip.  It was great!  Moving to Halifax, while it worked out in the end, was one of the hardest times of my life.  For the first few months out here I felt completely alone and overwhelmed.  And even though things were a lot better by the time I left for my trip, it was still a much needed return to familiarity.  If nothing else, a reminder that home was still out there.

Lots of great things happened too.  My Dad proposed to his girlfriend, my soon-to-be Step-Mom, Andrea!  Which means I’ll also have a new step-brother soon too, Andrew!  Their wedding is on April 30th.  I can’t know for sure yet if it’s possible, but I’m going to try to make it back for the wedding!  All the overtime I’ve been working is paid back as vacation hours, so I’ll have almost a month of vacation by the time this project is over!

Wrapping Up Simba!

Had a great Xmas.  As per tradition we all went to Christie Road for extended family, then back to my Mom’s place for presents between her, my uncle, brother and I.  I bought my Mom what ended up being possibly the worst gift idea of all time, but it was funny, and I replaced it with something she liked a lot more.  Great times!


I also reconnected with Brett, Tim and Linda on this trip.  I hung out with them once last year, but we were all still figuring things out, but this trip we’d all completed some major transitions, and the timing was right for us to get back in touch!  Was great hanging out with them again, felt like old times.  Funny how some friends you can see after 2 years of not talking, and you can continue like no one missed a beat.  One of the first things we did was record a song.  Tim had been working on it for a while and he had us over to record backup vocals.  The song has since been completed, give it a listen!  I’m legitimately addicted to it!  Tim did an awesome job!

The Sky is Calling You by timredford

Chad and I got to hang out a lot as well.  It was kind of surreal.  We hadn’t seen each other since Edmonton, so for both of us to meet up in Winnipeg where we grew up together, but live in two completely different cities…  It was confusing!  At times it felt like we’d never left, and at other times Winnipeg felt so foreign.  It was great to see him again.  Sad I may not see him again until next time we meet up in Winnipeg next Xmas.

Sadly I also had a bit of a tough time with Kristina.  Our friendship has been in a rough patch for a few months now.  I don’t want to get into the personal details, but I guess we’re just at different points in our lives.  I'm hoping we can work things out, but sometimes people need to take some time apart to see things clearly.  She's a good person, so regardless of what happens I wish nothing but the best for her.  We had a pretty big fight while I was there though, and as a result I didn't get to see her as much as I would have hoped.

Despite that sad development, I had a lot of great times over the 2 weeks I was in Winnipeg.  Recording the track with some old friends reconciled, traditional Xmas Eve with the Furutani’s at Christie Road, meeting up with Bill and Tia (also first time seeing them since Edmonton) and the rest of the Perreault side of family, playing Little Big Planet with my brother and Dad while sleeping at his place, a good ol fashioned family night with Gondola pizza and a movie with my brother, uncle and Mom, seeing Tron, a night at the casino, eating at Sal’s (the restaurant Chad and I worked at when we met), New Year’s Eve with friends, brunch with Ashley, lunch with a very pregnant Nikki and her now-fiancĂ© Scott, and lots of Scrabble! So many great times.  One of my favorite things though, was just laying on the couch watching tv with my Mom.  It’s something so comfortably home, and that comfort is something I really needed.  It was like letting my guard down after having it up for 4 months.

Camera Roll-885
Xmas 2010

Years away has made me really appreciate family.  My Mom and Dad have both been so supportive over the past few years, and helped me several times when things got tough.  I really appreciate the time I have with them whenever I visit.  My brother is all grown up, which is scary sometimes.  I would not be surprised if one of these visits soon he’ll be getting married.  And my Mom will be visiting me in Halifax some time this spring/summer, I can’t wait for that!  Will be cool to show her the life I’ve been living out here!

It was great to be home again, and I had a lot of fun.  I’ve been back in Halifax for 2 days now and I’m already back in the groove of things.  We’re wrapping up our project at work, so it’s crazy busy right now, but I love the rush, and the camaraderie of everyone staying late and working hard to get it done.  My first night back Ryan and I grabbed some food and told each other about our Xmases and New Years.  Glad to have made such a good friend out here.

IMG_2169Visiting home was exactly what I needed.  When I moved to Halifax it was so abrupt and so foreign I felt like I could never go home again, I felt lost.  Seeing that it’s still there, spending time with family and friends; it helped me find my way again, like a guiding star.