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Nov 29

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If you look on the sidebar to the right, you’ll notice a new box at the top: “Twitter Updates”. So yes, I’m trying out this whole micro-blogging thing. You can also follow my updates on Twitter itself.

If you’re not a social media expert, you might be unfamiliar with Twitter. Essentially, it’s a place for people to post really short updates (140 characters or less) on what they’re doing, what’s on their mind, etc. So when you come here, you’ll read my last five short ideas I thought were worth talking about.

I haven’t been really good at updating this blog lately. Sometimes I don’t have the time to update; sometimes I just don’t feel like writing a long post. Often I think of something worth blogging about, but it’s just a simple idea that’s not worth expanding into a full post. My goal with Twitter is to update more often with quick notes regarding gaming: what I thought of the game I just played, interesting stuff I find online and ideas I think of.

We’ll see how it goes. Maybe I won’t update my Twitter any more than I update this site. Maybe I’ll become a compulsive Twitterer who writes everything that happens to me. Who knows? Anyway, it should be fun.

Are any other game developers on Twitter?

Apr 1

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So it’s been about 3 months since I’ve started updating 5 times a week. While it was a fun challenge and I learned a lot doing it, it has also taken quite a lot of time to write all of this. Doing the daily updates didn’t bring the boost in visits I hoped it would, but it has taken a toll on my personal life.

So I’ll be slowing down a bit, updating less often. I plan on updating the site every Monday still, so I’m not abandoning the  site at all. This will also likely improve the quality of my posts, since I won’t have to find something worth writing about each day.

See ya next Monday!

Feb 1

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So, with this post I will have been updating this blog every weekday for four weeks now. While this is no huge achievement, it’s way better than the occasional update I used to write. Since quite a few people have a hard time updating their blog regularly, here are a few tricks I use to stay on schedule:

  • Post only on weekdays. Updating 7 days a week instead of 5 days a week would take me 40% more work. Updating only on weekdays feels almost as good as updating 7 days a week, yet it’s a lot less work.
  • Write in advance. I’m writing this post on Monday night, but it’s scheduled to be posted automatically by Wordpress on Friday. Being able to write a bunch of articles at the same time when I feel like it makes it a lot easier to update regularly than if I had to write something every single day.
  • Take notes of possible blog subjects. I always carry a notepad with me. If I think of something that could make a good blog post, I take a note of it. That way, when I feel like writing something for the site I just have to flip through notes to find subjects.
  • Write short posts. By focusing on one single subject per post, the posts are shorter to write. If I want to write about a more complex issue, I split it in multiple posts. A lot of people prefer to read short blog articles anyway.
  • Use your calendar to keep track of your updates. I put a big X on my calendar on the days when I have a post. It’s fun to see the calendar fill up, and every time I walk in front of it I’m reminded of when the next post is needed.

Do you have any other tips and tricks for updating a blog regularly? Share them in the comments!

Dec 16

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Between traveling to Tokyo, starting a new project at work, attending the Montreal International Games Summit and preparing a presentation for an internal conference at work, I didn’t find the time or energy to update this blog in a long long while. Hopefully things will be a bit less hectic now so I’ll be able to write here a bit more.

What’s worse, there was a problem with my Wordpress installation that showed an error message every time somebody wrote a comment. The comment was still properly shown on the site, but it gave the impression it hadn’t worked. I’ve (hopefully) solved this problem today so commenting should be back to normal.

Jul 21

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My host had a power failure a few days ago and it screwed up the comments database of wordpress for this site. As a result, the comments didn’t work and I couldn’t update — but things are now back to normal. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Dec 4

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It seems spam filters have reached the point where they cause more problems than they solve. My ISP (Videotron) changed some settings in their spam filter it seems — I didn’t even know that thing was on — and it started killing every single email I received at my pagtech.com and gameideas.org addresses. Basically, nearly all the emails I was sent never reached me — and of course these morons don’t keep any back-up of the filtered emails.

SO, if you’ve tried to email me in the last month or so (or maybe even before) and I didn’t answer, it’s not because I snubbed you but rather because I didn’t receive your email. Please send your message again.
Now I really hate my ISP. I’ve been looking for a job and trying to start a business with non-functioning email. Not exactly conductive to success.

Oct 17

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I’ve started a new blog about new game concepts. Here’s the basic idea behind the site:

Athletes going to the Olympics train hard for hours each day; that’s what’s required to become world-class athletes. The same is true in any field: to become one of the best in the world, you must train at it a lot.

While I already have a few years of experience as a videogame designer, I’m not at a world-class level. I want to reach that level however, so I decided to train myself. A sprinter trains himself by running a lot; a game designer trains himself by designing a lot of games. This blog will hold the resulting designs.

Here’s how it works. At the beginning of each week, I choose a random theme (eg. “Space Race”) and a random platform (eg. “Nintendo DS”). I must then come up with an interesting game concept that fits the theme and is appropriate for the platform before the end of the week (eg. a game about a space race for the Nintendo DS). As the week progresses, I plan on posting some bits of informations about how things are shaping up. The end result should be a description of the main characteristics of the game, that give a good idea of the overall vision of the game — what’s called a “pitch” in the business.

I’ve already started my first design challenge, so go check it out and come back regularly! Don’t hesitate to leave comments if you like or dislike the whole thing. You can reach the site easilly at www.GameIdeas.org

Oct 11

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It seems that a few genuine comments have been recently filtered by Akismet, the Wordpress spam-filtering plug-in I’ve been using oon this blog. If that’s happened to you, don’t think it’s because I snobbed you — it seems Akismet is a bit too enthusiastic about getting rid of spam sometimes…

Still, considering that plug-in filtered over 1800 pieces of spams so far, I can’t just get rid of spam-filtering completely. I’ve thought about using a captcha instead of Akismet, but that wouldn’t prevent track-back spamming. Any of you got a good solution for the spam problem?

In any case, if you try posting a comment and it doesn’t appear on the site, please send me an email so I can bring it back.

Jul 14

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The last week has been one of the busiest in my life. It started last week-end, when I moved to a new appartment. A lot of work and sweat, but the new place is much better: it’s bigger, newer and located right next to a park. I took a day off sunday, before returning to work monday morning after two weeks vacations…

…Only to be shown the door before I could turn my computer on. Long story short, I took the fall for a project that was going badly before I joined it. My boss disagreed with the decision of letting me go, but the decision came from above. I didn’t really fit within the company culture anyway — I had considered quitting before — so it wasn’t too big a loss for me. It’s just too bad I won’t be working with the folks at the Montréal office anymore — lots of great people there.

On tuesday, I found a contract to work on: I’ll be contributing new contents on David Perry’s game development wiki. It’s still in its infancy, but the site is shaping up to be a great ressource for everything related to game development. Everybody can contribute to the site — just like wikipedia — so go in there and add links to your favorite game development articles or write your own! I’ll be writing a lot more for that site than for this blog in the next few weeks, so check it out regularly.

And so begins my work as a game development consultant. I’ll be working this way until I figure exactly what I want to do with myself. I like it so far, so I may continue this way if work is good. I’m also considering other possibilities, like continuing at a “regular” game design job or even making a start-up (I have a great idea, but I’d need funding).

If you have need of an experienced and talented game designer and programmer, permanently or for a contract, don’t hesitate to write me. I have 5 years of experience as a programmer and designer, and I’ve worked on 17 games (on mobile, set-top boxes, GBA, DS and PC). I can help you improve your game (from the earliest conception stages to advanced production) and your development process. Just tell me what you need and I’ll tell you what I can do — you have nothing to lose!

May 27

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As you can see, I’ve changed the blog and I’ve switched its host . The site is now running on a normal install of Wordpress, instead of the crippled version my previous host tried to pass as its own… It’s a whole lot better and lets me fix a bunch of nagging issues: I can use good looking themes, the comments support line breaks, plug-ins are available for every feature you can imagine, etc.

This is still work in progress so excuse the dust while I finish setting things up. If you have any questions, comments or insults, feel free to speak up in the comments!