GDC was, as always, a great experience. This time it was different because I was both a presenter and actively looking for a new gig. In the past I’ve been willing to hear about opportunities, but I was always gainfully employed and mid-project. After a few months of contracting it became clear that working by myself on my laptop just isn’t my preferred way of doing things. The rapid exchange of ideas that happens on a team, the conversations, meetings, and arguments are all such a huge part of the game development process and my social nature. So I began looking for the next Right Thing, with an eye to traveling abroad if possible.
During GDC I was talking with studios from all over the world and had a lot of great leads, but as is always the case the HR process is either blindingly fast, or painfully slow. Studios that I really wanted to work with had plans change, staff free up, projects cancelled, all of the usual issues. One studio though was extremely straightforward, didn’t mess about, and really went out of their way to answer my questions and try to convince me to sign on.
So, two weeks ago I arrived in Wellington, New Zealand to take on a three month contract with Sidhe Interactive. I’m heading up the design for a new project that has a broad, extremely fluid brief and being encouraged to create something great for the studio. For the first time I’m tackling an original IP with some resources, instead of just skunk working it or doing it entirely on my own time. I’m thrilled to be working with an incredibly experienced artist who just got here as well, and the trust placed in us to deliver is a refreshing change. Before the three months is out Sidhe and myself will know if a long term commitment is the way forward. Again, great no fuss business attitudes.
Wellington is a beautiful city, very similar to Vancouver in more ways that one, although when the locals warn you that the wind is serious here they’re not joking. It’s quite compact, you can walk from one side of central Wellington to the other in 30 minutes. The hills surrounding the downtown core slope up and out steeply and remind me of San Francisco, but in places the houses cling to the hills in ways that make SF’s look positively tame.
As with most places in the world, people are friendly, but the hospitality here has a distinctly islander feel that I recognize from home and noticed in Hawaii as well. Business is serious, but with a minimum of bureacracy. (Opening a local bank account was a snap.)
The pictures in this post are from my first wanderings around Wellington, expect more soon . The Ghostbusters and the Warthog I bumped into at the Armageddon Expo, a local comic/game/anime/otaku convention. The Ghostbusters guys were great, super friendly and had taken a lot of effort with their costumes. The Warthog is just… wow. Weta’s attention to detail is simply unreal and if you’ve watched the Lord of the Rings extras and seen what their workshop is capable of then this piece of the Halo universe will come as no surprise.
With a regular schedule again I hope to post here more, including more information on Wikis and a few other odds and ends that have been sitting in my ToWrite box for a while.