Yeah okay I'm back.
Right now my patented TypePad List Of Posts is littered with the half-formed abortia of various points I had wanted to get across between now and whenever it was I finished Portal and Call of Duty 4, and started playing Assassin's Creed. It was kind of a watershed moment for me, frankly. But apparently I was too euphoric to complete whole sentences and hit the Publish button.
But inevitably, my brief honeymoon with the beanstalk-like Stack Of Games Next To The 360 came crashing to a close at the same time as the Christmas holidays. I had started my time-off giddy, or maybe actually just dizzy, from the announcement that FarCry 2's release date would be pushed from the March end of fiscal Q4 to... sometime I'm not allowed to talk about publicly yet (but soon).
The end of holidays also brought with it the sickening - maybe even self-loathing - realization that I had made sweet singing fuhbleep-all by way of progress on my talk for GDC. Presenting at GDC is one of those rituals that, by virtue of the stress-junkie personalities that populate the game industry, has been inflated into a mammoth and solemn responsibility not to be taken lightly, or even reasonbly, but as some kind of professional scourging ordeal. Like Rat Month at VMI, except with fewer uncomfortable Confederate military connotations.
A week into the new year and the hard-working marketing team packed me off to CES in Las Vegas, essentially in order to be able to attend a two-hour presentation (but the right two hours, as it turned out); so naturally I didn't get any work done on my talk.
I was just about on the edge of full-blown panic when superstar (and more recently, award-winning) writer Susan O'Connor suggested that I check out Garr Reynold's web-site and book Presentation Zen. Not only did reading this turn out to be as soothing as its title would imply, but I realized that it was advocating an approach towards presentation design that was a polar-reversal of the process I'd relied on for my last few talks. Which is to say, it slapped me across the face and said "hey dumbass, do you remember what you used to do for a living say, ONLY FOUR YEARS AGO?" and I realized that just a few short years spent in what is - let's not kid ourselves - a software development shop can result in a slightly warped view of how Microsoft products should be used.
So, in other words: No more Death By Powerpoint.
I'm pleased to report that the late-onset recovery of design sense did what it was supposed to. Sure, I had a few sleepless nights. People stared at me funny at work when I unrolled the big sheets of paper plastered with multi-colored Post-Its, as though this whole time I'd been going to school nights to earn an Education degree. And I probably didn't enjoy the first few days of GDC as much as I would have if I'd arrived, shall we say, actually done with my talk; but on the whole, it went off way better than I had anticipated. And way better for that matter than my previous talk...
So anyway. What I'm now procrastinating from doing by writing this entry is the adding of useful annotations to my presentation doc so that I can post it here and actually have it contain parsable information instead of just eye-catching imagery and punchy diagrams. But I've started.