Mark and I are launching our own studio via the Execution Labs incubator. You can read more about it here.
[Update: Sometimes it seems like our policy makers put political agendas and corporate interests ahead of the interests of their citizens - especially when technology is concerned. However, I feel that this perception is due to two things:
- We're not as loud as lobby groups. Lobbyists present politicians with legitimate problems that require solutions. The lobby groups sometimes help draft the proposed solutions (in the form of bills/acts/agreements). On the surface, many of these proposed solutions seem like good ideas but...
- Politicians aren't necessarily technical experts. The devil is in the details and the ramifications of new legislation aren't always obvious.
I began writing this post with two simple objections to ACTA - what ACTA is and my objections are explained in the post below. However, as I did more research, the more insidious the whole thing seemed. My country, Canada, has already signed ACTA. It now needs to pass legislation that makes it enforceable. There are two pieces of proposed legislation paving the way. While I read ACTA and large portions of the proposed bills, I relied too much on the internet to interpret them for me. Now that the post has gone up, I'm taking a step back and updating it in an attempt to differentiate between the fearful responses and the realities of the bill (as interpreted by me). Updates are surrounded in square brackets "[Update: the update.]“. and I have
struck out parts that I feel are inaccurate. I still feel that ACTA and the proposed Canadian legislation are dangerous and I hope that this post is as informative for you to read as it was for me to write. These updates are ongoing, so be sure to check back in the days to come.]
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a multi-national agreement for the purpose of establishing international standards for intellectual property rights enforcement. -Wikipedia
Before I discuss ACTA, I would like to take a moment to outline my stance on copyright.
Q: Is creating a counterfeit product stealing?
A: I believe it is.
Q: Is it stealing to duplicate and distribute a piece of commercial digital content without compensating the creator?
A: If fair use does not apply then, yes, I believe it is stealing.
Q: Does piracy hurt content creators?
A: I believe it does.
Q: Should rights-holders be able to protect the intellectual property upon which their livelihoods depend?
A: I believe they do.
Q: If you believe all of the above, what’s the problem with ACTA?
A: That is what I will attempt to address below.
I’m very pleased to announce that EA Capture has earned two Best Technology nominations at this year’s Canadian VGAs. The first is for FaceForward: our new facial animation technology that made its debut in Battlefield 3. The second is for our wireless director’s camera used in Madden NFL 12.
As a software engineer in Electronic Arts’ worldwide motion capture studio, the systems I write and maintain touch many of our games in small ways. It’s not often that I can point to a feature in a game and say “I did that.”
Battlefield 3 is different. We built the facial animation pipeline used for the interrogation scenes and I’m rather proud of what we accomplished. EA Capture was small studio with an aggressive timeline to create a new technology for one of our company’s biggest titles. And we had to do this while maintaining the same workload and quality for our other game teams. It was an incredible experience and if I had to do it again… I would do many things differently. Though, that shows how hard we were pushing our limits and how much better this technology will become. It’s next generation technology used for the current generation of games.
I’m finally at the point where I can watch the cutscenes and see how good they look, instead of seeing the things I want to change. More than anything, I’m excited about what our creative talent will do with this in the future.
As much as I want to celebrate the achievement of my team, I am in awe of the wizards at DICE who actually got this stuff working in Frostbite. You can see the fruits of their labour below.
If you can’t view it on YouTube, check it out on GameTrailers.
For the past few months, I’ve been working at Playdom as a Jr. Game Designer on a “top secret” project. Today, I’m pleased to finally announce Secret Agent X! It is currently in public beta internationally and should be available in North America later this fall. It’s also the very first publicly announced title that I’ve ever worked on (as a designer), so I’m that much more excited to finally have something I can actually show to family and friends.
Mark just sent me a very cool short directed by Bo Mathorne, presented by the Animation Workshop, with music by Sons of Perdition. It’s about fear, hubris, misplaced trust, and the dangers of letting other people do your thinking for you. If that doesn’t interest you, then you should watch it for its striking visual style and be sure to check out the making-of posted below.
It was quiet in the office when Mike – our technical artist – said aloud, “Take a look at Apple.com”. With the recent release of the iPhone 4S, I was sure that he was talking about that. So, in poor taste, I loudly guessed “Steve Jobs is dead?”. My heart sank when I turned to look at his screen.
Despite his ailing health, the news of Steve’s death was not something that I expected. The man who conquered the world with functional elegance is gone and my deepest sympathies go out to the loved ones he left behind.
In his 2005 Stanford commencement address, he left us with several musings on life, death and happiness.
“If today were the last day of my life would I want to do what I’m about to do today?”
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.”
“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking that you have something to lose.”
“Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
RIP Steve Jobs