Gavin Pugh - A Videogame Programming Blog

New domain, new game, new book…

18 November, 2010 at 10:05am | Life, My Games, New Games, Work

Music To Make Games By... Is No More.

Well, my posting on here has hit a bit of a lull. Overwork isn’t my excuse this time, since my last post things have been pretty crunch-free at my day job.

I think I’ve just chilled out a little more at home, not so much coding. Been actually playing games a lot more than usual; enjoying “Fallout: New Vegas” right now, and played a ton of “Dead Rising 2” as well. To hark back to an old blog post I made here about Dead Rising; I can confidently say that Blue Castle Games did a great job on it, you guys do indeed rock!

Recently I did just move my blog to a new domain. I felt the old website name “Music To Make Games By…”, and it’s really long domain name wasn’t to my liking. The original aim for my blog was to talk a lot about the Guitar Hero games I’m working on. That sort of thing is pretty difficult to do though. For obvious reasons I can’t talk about games that aren’t announced yet. Also, to talk about anything with any sort of meaty ‘behind the scenes’ content I’d need to run it by Neversoft first. So yeah, all that fell by the wayside and I mainly ended up covering my foray into XNA and C#; with a few distractions on the way.

New Domain

So yeah, this site is sitting at ‘‘ now. Plan to continue it in the same vein, still plodding along the XNA-path when I code at home. Likewise I definitely intend to write some more articles about the more esoteric areas of C# and XNA, as I was doing previously.

Releasing the source code to “XNACPC” is still on my agenda too. A little after XNA 4.0 was officially released, I managed to get audio working in the emulator using the brilliant new DynamicSoundEffectInstance. Was really awesome to hear those old games chiming away their little 8-bit tunes. 🙂 Even back when I worked on this emulator in plain C many years ago, I never got round to getting the audio working before.

So for this site, it’s pretty much business as usual then. Slightly new paintjob; shorter URL. The thing I’d really like to change next is my frequency of posts!

New Game

The last game I worked on: “Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock” was released a couple of months ago now. It did okay at retail, nothing spectacular. The sales are like night and day compared to around the time our studio started working on them. “Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock” sold numbers in a different league. Across all the SKUs it actually broke $1 billion in sales. Apparently it is the “first single game ever to surpass $1 billion in sales”, whether that is still true I’ve no idea. It has an advantage over most other titles though in that they very likely count the hardware bundles in these sales figures.

Anyway. Since that game is finished now, I’ve been working on something new.

Looking forward to Christmas, hopefully it’ll be a good time for game sales across the board. For all companies. “Black Ops”-aside it seems like we’re all hurting a bit right now.

New Book

I’ve been enjoying reading industry-related books as of late. Not technical books, but more stories from the trenches. I recently finished a very good one, it’s not specifically gaming-related though but it’s not too far off. “Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days” contains interviews with founder members of various notable startup companies. Actually there is one gaming-related reference in there; Steve Wozniak is interviewed and talks a little about his early work at Atari.

Founders At Work

It’s very good. There’s a ridiculous span of different companies covered. From “Hot or Not” through to the guys who wrote “Visicalc” back in 1979, the very first spreadsheet app. A spreadsheet app from 1979, how is that interesting to read about? Yeah, I thought much the same. It was back to back with a chapter about “Lotus 1-2-3” as well, I thought I was in for a bore-fest. However, it’s riveting stuff. Reading about the highs and lows of these companies as they developed through the years was surprisingly fun. What was also news to me was how incestuous the ‘regular’ tech company world is, almost to the same level as the games industry. So much cross-over where competing startup founders are ex-colleagues.

Definitely one worth picking up if you like inspiring stories. The vast majority of them are generally about coders being part of the initial startups. They detail the problems they faced in a decent bit of detail too. One common thread was scalability, that “Oh shit” moment where everything has gone a little too well and the servers aren’t coping with the demand. Usually some interesting stories on how they dealt with those periods.

There’s the odd one or two that read as “everyone else is doing the startup thing, so I thought I should to”. Which seems a pretty tenuous reason to go for it. But those from what I remember tended to be more the management-school grad types; family with connections and money. They almost read a little like it’s just a plaything, to give them something to do. If it works out that’d be cool, but they’ve got a nice parachute to escape. Been a while since I put the book down though, I think this was only isolated to just one or two stories max. Despite the glistening silver spoon, they did still have some interesting stuff in those too.

Me, a class warrior? Never. 🙂


  • Juliette says:

    LOVE the new look!

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *