Dear Diary: The excellent game Psychonauts has finally passed milestone #11, and Double Fine, like the Donner Party, has survived. For the most part. We did loose all of our oxen, some artists, and a small piece of our humanity that we weren’t really using anyway. But now, it’s time to relax, eat the bodies of our fallen party members, and re-install Warcraft III on my machine.
Speaking of relaxing, I watched a LOT of Mtv over Labor Day weekend, and let me just tell you—some things are going to change around here.
After taking in the VMA awards, a couple “Diary” episodes, and a “Making the Video” or two, I’ve spotted a big flaw in the Double Fine business plan. Not nearly enough of what Double Fine does is geared towards impressing the recording artist P!nk. I feel that much more could be done in this very important area of our business. In case you haven’t seen any P!nk videos, just know this: she is very cool. She can ride a skateboard, and do back flips, and I think we should all be trying harder here to impress her. The first step, of course, is to get better at Warcraft III. I know I should be better at it, and I’ve resolved to many times, but this time I have P!nk’s opinion of me to consider, and I think that will motivate me.
Second step: I noticed in one of her videos, is that there’s this mohawk guy, and she licks his stomach. I don’t understand why, but who am I to question P!nk? Needless to say, I’m having my stomach professionally flavorized, and I’m finally going to cut those big mats out of my stomach hair. Just in case.
Hi. Sorry to bug you, but you left your sweater here at the office. It’s a small, fleece sweater with three blue roses on it. Don’t you miss this cozy garment? It will be hanging up by the door, waiting for you. You don’t even have to come inside to get it, if you’re embarrassed. You can just reach right through the gate and grab it. Just make sure you don’t have any shiny rings or bracelets on that hand, because shiny things drive the guard monkeys crazy.
The big Double Fine XBOX Naked Lady Giveaway has its first taker! One very lucky customer sent in his receipt proving he bought an XBOX, and so I am drawing him not one, but two naked ladies. Right now. With my left hand, as I type this with my right. The pictures are going to be great. I don’t want to give away too much, but let’s just say that coal mining has never been HOTTER.
The one strange part about all this is that our second winner is the same as our first: “Martin M.” from Holliston, MA. First he bought Official XBOX magazine, and now he’s bought an XBOX. Drawing one lady for Martin was funny, but as I work on my third, I’m starting to feel like I’ve become Martin’s personal %#$@&!. Is this my new job? How did I get to this place in my career? In my life? For this I studied Nuclear Physics for 18 years? Nothing against Martin, of course, but doesn’t anyone else out there care about art? Now is a great time to buy an XBOX! 8:30! Before the stores close!
Anyway, there is no news. Please don’t read this page. Oh, except this: did you ever see our new preview in the October issue of EGM? Not the one with that same old screenshot of Raz in the campgrounds. The NEW one with the NEW screenshots? Well, it’s killer. You should check it out. Yeah, you heard me. KILLER. Seriously. It actually enjoys killing people.
Double Fine is HOT-T-T!
Go buy the September issue of San Francisco Magazine, because on page 79, you will see that Double Fine Productions is right there, as one of the “Hot 100.” I’m not sure who else is in it because I’m way too busy to read any paragraph that doesn’t have my name in it, but I think it’s cool.
They call us “Cyber Artists.” Which is appropriate, because we are always wearing these rubber BioTech suits around the office. They have lots of tubes and wires and a big, red light that hangs where one of our eyes should be. We don’t have to wear them, but we are all such huge, huge Billy Idol fans, you see.
You’ll notice that the Princess Bride is on the cover of that very same magazine. Her and Spicoli lived in San Anselmo back when I lived in San Anselmo and they never once said hi to me. I would see them and yell, “Hey, Princess Bride! Spicoli! I just got some tarragon beef kabobs at Andronico’s. Wanna come over? We could play Risk!” And then Sean would punch me out and that was it.
I have a feeling that’s all going to change now! For one thing, we are in the Hot 100, but Sean is NOT. Robin’s bound to notice that. And for another, our Cyber Suits have lasers and jetpacks and then next time Sean touches me I am going to go OFF on that mother.
Okay, Double Fine has two new best friends:
1. Someone named only “Numble,” for finding the Easter egg hidden with in this site. The very site you are reading right now. I was wondering when someone was going to notice that. In case you haven’t found it yet, here’s a hint: when you find it, you’re going to say, “Oh, man. That’s dull.”
2. Martin M., from Holliston , MA , for actually buying the Official Xbox Magazine with the Psychonauts article in it, scanning his receipt, and sending it in as part of our Naked Lady Giveaway.
As promised, I drew a naked lady and sent it to Martin. I hope you like it, you perv. Maybe I should have warned you—I can not actually draw. But if you understand fine art, you should be able to make out that she is holding a hammer and some nails. I imagined she was working on a house somewhere, like in the South, where it’s hot and people are naked a lot. Also, I hope you appreciate the fact that I drew it on a post-it note so you don’t have to worry about expensive hanging devices—it’s ready to hang right out of the envelope!
Piece of advice: get that post-it note insured. Once Psychonauts comes out and the world recognizes it for what it is—not merely the greatest game ever made but easily the most significant document produced by mankind—and they burn the Mona Lisa and they smash Michelangelo’s David because no other work of art is worthy of sharing the same planet with something as beautiful and true as Psychonauts—and after they rip the Constitution of the United States out of it’s class case and replace it with a copy of our game—when all of that happens, you are going to be able to put your kids through college with that naked lady, my friend. Hell, you are going to be able to BUY your kids each their own college. They could have a summer college, a winter college, a college just for your dogs, and a college out by the pool that they just use to change in and out of their swimsuits.
But—you’re never going to have kids, Martin M., if you don’t shake your addiction to %#$@&! and go find a real lady. That’s the real lesson here today.
I put some press stuff up on the products page. But shhh—here’s the secret. It’s not really new! Ha ha! Those articles have been up for a while, but I was just too lazy to post them until now! Those suckers who just read the products page will never know. Ha ha ha! Oh, man. Those guys are dumb.
Go there now to if you want to see the following words: “rabid skunks” and “sexy.”
This is sad news: Our friend and expert environment modeler, Lydia Lu, had to move back to Taiwan. She had to leave us on important family business, and now we are all really sad. It has only been two weeks since I put that tiny picture of her over there in the left margin, in the pile of dead mice. Back then we were laughing and laughing, and it was all fun (except for the horrible gash on her foot from the mouse trap). And now she’s gone, gone, gone. It seems kind of weird to have her picture over there now. I’d take it down, but I know she liked it. I mean, I think she liked it. It’s not like I ASKED or anything. What kind of touchy-feely boss do you think I am?
Anyway, if you’re still reading the news page Lydia, hi! We miss you! All mice killed from this day forward are killed in your honor!
I wonder if that little box of dead mice over in the margin is haunted. Hmmm… All I do know is I’m not putting any more staff over there, in the haunted box. Unless they do something really, really bad. Do you hear that, beloved team? Do not mess with me or you go in the box of haunted mice!
Mouse update: I thought they were all gone, but programmer Wilson Hom spotted one the other day, peeking out of Dave’s trash can. The cocky little mouse was doing that thing where he’s flipping you off, but he’s holding his hand below the trash can lip so you can’t see it, but you can tell he’s doing it because of the way he’s holding his arm, and the smile on his little face. You know, like mice do? Ahhhh! I hate them.
Trap deployment efforts are redoubled.
But none of these, of course, will affect the big, KISS-boot wearing rat that lives in the ceiling above my desk. Gene Simmons, the God of Thunder—he never comes down. He will scamper forever. And if he tripped one of our little mouse traps he would just stick out that long tongue of his and laugh and laugh.
Our friend Chris actually mailed in a king-sized rat trap that I think would do the trick. But I’d have to cut a hole in the ceiling to get the trap up into Gene’s house. And to do that I’d have to stick my head in the hole at some point, and what if when I’m doing that I turn on my little coal miner’s headlamp and I see a million rats coming at my face, just like Bill Paxton saw in Aliens, and what if I still wore head gear like I did in junior high? And what if my head gear got caught on the wiring up there and I couldn’t pull my head out of the hole? And what if the rats kept bearing down on me while I was screaming and screaming, and then they jump on my face and start eating my cheeks and my eyes, and what if everybody from the office heard me screaming and they came running up and tried to pull me down, but my head gear is stuck and the rats keep eating my face until they eat so far through my neck that it just gives way when everyone pulls on my legs, and my head pops off and my bloody body falls down and the rats carry my head off and lay eggs in it and roll it around and what if the team keeps working on the game even though I’m dead, but some times when they work late there will be a little drop of blood on their desk and they’ll look up and see that the rats have eaten a little peep hole in the ceiling and have pushed my decomposed head through to make it look like I’m spying on everyone from above and the rats snicker and imitate my voice and make my head say, “Ok, everybody get to work!” and what if one of the team looks at the rest of them and says, “Well, no big change there!” And everybody laughs? What then?
Okay, this silence has gone on too long. I’m just going to have to say something, before things get awkward between us. But, actually, one of the things I’ve always liked about our relationship is that we don’t HAVE to be talking all the time, you know? Sometimes we just hang out, and we’re quiet together, and its okay. It’s nice. It shows that we’re comfortable with each other. That we can just be together.
Like, when you’re asleep, or unconscious for some reason. Or when I have an deafening ear infection, or when I’m just choosing not to hear you because I don’t like what you’re saying. These are the special times that tell me that we’ll be together forever, or for a short amount of time that just seems like forever.
I appreciate this quality of ours the most at times like these: when I have nothing to say. No real Double Fine news. To tell you the truth, nothing really goes on here at Double Fine, except for the relentless creation of quality, the unyielding extrusion of excellence from our doors. The unstoppable “clang-clang” of creativity from the anvils of our… uh… radiating from the red-hot horseshoes of… Man, how many cups of coffee is this going to take? Let me try again.
I mean, is it news when the Moon orbits the Earth, when the Earth orbits the Sun? No, and yet these are momentous events without which our lives would end. Just like Psychonauts, they are a cosmic certainty. Was I going somewhere with this?
Oh, I hear the garbage guys out front! That’s news! That doesn’t happen every day. It only happens once a week. On Tuesday night. Wait a second, it’s not Tuesday. That can’t be the garbage men. Who’s messing with our garbage?
That reminds me of some news: I replaced the trash can in the upstairs bathroom. Oh, and also: We ate Chinese food tonight on the ping-pong table in the conference room. Milestone 11 is due tomorrow (or today, since it’s 1:30am). The team is working late. I think I’m going to go downstairs and find out what they are up to, and come back here and REPORT on them. Like a snitch. Okay, here I go.
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(Imagine Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass playing.)
* * *
Okay, I’m back with a snapshot of activity at Double Fine Productions. Here’s what the graveyard shift is up to:
Paul Du Bois is trying to make characters in the game not stick to each other.
Steve Chen is making a demo room to show off the new collectibles.
Kjeld Pedersen is putting objects in Dr. Loboto’s laboratory.
Brian Christian is building the Lungfishopolis com tower.
Paul Zinnes is applying textures to the outside of the insane asylum.
Geoff Soulis is texture-mapping the battlefield under the lake.
Gaurav Mathur is hooking up the sublevels of the asylum.
Joe Ching is creating collision geometry for the—no, wait. He just booted up Battlefield 1942.
Chris McGee is wiring up the exploding train puzzle in Lungfishopolis.
Lance Burton is fixing the “spline motion sending people off into infinity” bug.
So there you have it. The wheels of productivity, guided by love and deadlines, powered by sweet-n-sour pork.
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This week, in the free press: There was this whole International House of Mojo article on Double Fine, but I’ve been afraid to mention it because sometimes they post news items on their site about news items I post on our site. So if I post a news item about one of their news items, and they post an item about that news item, this cyclical-posting could start a feedback loop that grows and grows and creates a deadly harmonic capacitance which could blow up the entire Internet, and destroy all the goodness it contains. Hopefully, it will be okay, but just to be safe, right after you read this do what I’m about to do: turn off your computer and leave the country immediately.
The excellent game Psychonauts also appears in the new issue of another magazine, but I'm not going to say which one until they
send me some dang free copies. Why can't they just send me some like-- Hey, wait a second! Official XBOX didn't send me any yet either! Don't these people realize how poor Double Fine is? They think we're rich because we've got this flashy, world-class internet destination site here? Hey--I'll have you know I'm typing this web page out on a Timex-Sinclair 1000 I built myself in 1982! I don't even have a monitor! I'm just guessing at what it looks like! I've been lucky so far, but send me free magazines!
Oh, but everybody else, you go out and buy a copy at the newsstand. We have to support the free press in America! Other countries don't have it so good--In those places the GOVERNMENT chooses what games appear in print. The state sets the review scores. Cheat codes are tightly controlled by the secret police.
Here's a motivator: If you buy a copy of the August Official XBOX Magazine
for its coverage of the excellent game Psychonauts, you will also get to read an article in there about nudity in video games. That's right. NUDITY. So GET MOVING. Of course all the actual nudity in the magazine is censored. But I'll tell you what. If you buy a copy and send me your proof-of-purchase, I will draw you a picture of a naked lady myself. And if you go out and buy an actual XBOX: Two