Knocking the dust off. (And projects that fell apart.)

I think it’s time to start doing this more often. More personally, probably, so also probably less interesting to people in general. So if anyone still reads this, feel free to unsubscribe.

One thing to do, however, is link a few tiny projects that I’ve worked on. Some succeeded, some did not, and that’s okay. This will basically be a longer format of the pinned tweet from my Twitter account.

The last mentioned was in my prior post, Ghosts of the Living Dead, a legal fanedit. Before that I’d mentioned I’d messed around with ScreenLook, which I did a few times in effort to see how much work it would be. Turns out a lot. The response ratio to emails sent to independent creators was abysmal. Finding and emailing enough creators to fill a 30m block was pretty time intensive for someone with a job. Then when my job picked up, I put it on the backburner, from which it has yet to return. And that was 2016ish, I believe.

Crate Hunters

In May of 2019 I’ve took at stab at a more traditional “gamer video” with Crate Hunters.

In the game PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds, teams of players compete against others. Occasionally a crate full of nice gear and good weapons will fall from the sky into the map at a random location. Securing these crates are intended to give you a leg up. Especially a good helmet. With a few wins under our belts, my brother and cousin, with whom I often do most of my online gaming, decided that chasing these crates were “spicier” than competing in a typical way. I recorded a game in which after a certain point we decided to go for every crate we saw, and though only I could record my perspective, I decided to take a shot at adding a tiny bit of production (read: color-coded-to-each-player words on the screen and throw in a cheap gag or two,) to make it a little flashier. I also played around with a few potential openings. The song, which is great, is ANGEL FACE (2) by the Van Buren Brothers. It wasn’t included in the above video because this video was intended to be a placeholder. I waited a few days for the artist to reply, and then made the video showing the options. (I’m big on permission, and they were all for my using it.) But within those few days, that’s why my brother and cousin both decided they didn’t want to play PUBG anymore. Though they also felt the music was too chill. It’s a shame. Regardless it was clear Crate Hunters was dead before it was born.

Baby Driver: Purple Paint Job

Around July of 2019 I finally decided to follow up to an idea, I always wanted to do, a fanedit of Baby Driver, a film whose editing is driven by its music. (See what I did there?) I came up with Baby Driver: Purple Paint Job.

It’s a “5 minute opening clip” because before the film released, the studio released “BABY DRIVER – 6-Minute Opening Clip” to give people an idea of what the film would be. It was a smart move, though I don’t know how well it worked. (I also used a promotional still that was a vertical poster with originally a pink background, squared up and made purple.) I’d initially wanted to re-edit the entire film with a musical theme. I’d considered a general metal theme, Baby Metal (Driver), Southern rap (as the film is set in Atlanta,) and some that now slip my mind. But I did have an idea that stood out. Prince. Of course, that’s a big no-go on YouTube. You get dinged for copyright violation instantly. So Vimeo did the job. The reason it’s ONLY that opening clip, however, is the same reason the sound effects run out very early into it. It’s pretty difficult to source good effects without music already drowning them out. And it’s impossible to remove parts of audio from film. I used a few I could find, but then called it quits before I decided to spend actual money on sound effects completely re-doing Foley effects on the whole film.

The Midnight Son

The Midnight Son is a film trailer I wanted to make (I didn’t want to make an actual film, just the trailer). Sadly that didn’t happen, but I did end up making storyboards for it back in May of 2020.

The name is a play off the summer daylight during the nighttime hours in Alaska. But it was really just an excuse to film Dave, my TV sports anchor that I worked with at the time, in this role. He literally looks like he IS a detective from a noir film. There’s just the small fact that he’s almost always smiling, is a very polite family man, and loves wearing Aloha shirts. Actually, the Aloha shirts thing still works, I think. Especially for that shot of him driving down 4th Avenue at the end. I didn’t have a strong plot in mind. I really just wanted to hit the noir tropes as they’re available in Anchorage, Alaska, and I think that’s very doable. If filmed at night with a heavy blanket of snow and some ice on the ground, with some falling (especially at that scene of the person approaching another to grab their shoulder, which would’ve been filmed at the docks with shipping containers behind Dave with his arm outstretched approaching the camera…) Well, I really think it would’ve worked. Sadly the TV station we worked for was purchased and we were all laid off toward the end of 2020, before it snowed, and before I could make this happen. Shame.

My (Production) Problem with Pro Wrestling

Somewhere in all of this, around 2017, I kinda began to watch pro-wrestling again. It’s a stunt person stage play, it’s great, and I will not be taking questions, unless you’re asking what to watch, when, and where, in which case I’ll gladly help you out. Pro wrestling is better than most other things, but I do have a problem with it. The production. So, I made My (Production) Problem with Pro Wrestling.

The video explains itself really, but in a nutshell the major US wrestling promotions, WWE and AEW, do a poorer job of their TV production than Japan’s NJPW does. With a single Reddit post it got 34.7K views on Vimeo (as of this writing), which is neat. I contest that if I’d been able to upload this to YouTube I’d have gotten well over 100k at launch, and more by now. The reason I wasn’t able to use YouTube is because I used a clip from New Japan Pro Wrestling, and they’re very overbearing about copyright. Now, you might be thinking “but Jeff, this is a clear case of fair use, given its purpose is to compare and contrast with similar production styles (in a favorable light,) as criticism/comment! It’s also only just over a minute of footage from a match that lasted for over an hour, and it betrays no substantial information from this match which could affect other market exploitation of the work! Hell, I’d argue it could only HELP them, given I praise them!” Yes, you might be thinking that, but New Japan Pro Wrestling are, in my assumption given their reaction, not caring about that.

I uploaded it on March 30th of 2021, and New Japan Pro Wrestling had a copyright takedown against it before I even hit “Publish”. So I used Vimeo, like I did with the Baby Driver trailer above. I submitted a counter-claim immediately, and YouTube sent the reply to NJPW, which was supposed to have some set time to reply. About two weeks I believe. They did. The site tells me that. But YouTube has still yet to issue a ruling, over six months later. Sigh.

/edit: They did eventually clear it! On October 29th, 2021, seven months later! Whew.

This Blog

So, that’s a few ideas I’ve kicked out. I’ve got a list of about 30 more things I’d like to make of varying sizes, budgets, and viabilities. Games, things to write, podcasts. Who knows. But one thing I’d like to do is write more in general, and that’ll include blogging/journaling. So this place will likely be getting a lot more personal. I don’t expect anyone to read it, and that’s fine. But I do want to write it. I think taking the time to process it and getting it out will help me, and that’s what this is for. This, the writing, is for me.


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I want a new, good, wrestling game.

tl;dr in bold.

I don’t remember what started it, but I’ve been thinking about wrestling games a lot lately. It started before I even saw the highly entertaining video from Max Landis, rebutting the bewilderment of people who don’t enjoy wrestling, citing wrestling isn’t real. I haven’t watched wrestling in over a decade. But wresting video games? From Nintendo Pro Wrestling, to WWF No Mercy for the Nintendo 64, they were fun, especially with friends. And especially in later games when you could team up with your favorite wrestlers to wreak havoc on other players. But after a few duds, I stopped playing them. From the reviews I’ve found of recent wrestling games they haven’t progressed as I would’ve imagined.

It’s important to note that wrestling games have one are in which they’e always reigned supreme – character creation. From early N64 games allowing combining of different wrestler’s body parts and palette-swapping, to more modern wrestling games giving in-depth cutomization and flair other games only dream of. Many of them even allow general move sets and highly specialized moves (akin to Mortal Kombat’s finishing moves.) But the fighting isn’t the most important part. The character drama and plots, the key parts Max Landis touched on, have not been made more interactive. From the reviews I see of recent wrestling games their “career campaigns” have become heavily scripted, giving a near-linear story experience, scaled back from previous games.

We’re in the time of Shadow of Mordor; games should at least have a fraction of the procedural storytelling found in an Elder Scrolls games. What, you want to complain about dealing with data? Crusader Kings 2 has a huge amount of data. Thousands of NPCs have constantly evolving opinions on each other and the player based on several metrics and attributes. That game is often played at several-updates per second, with major changes happening in any update. And the players are rarely of any of those opinions, much less the changes that result in them. But a wrestling game? In this proposed kind of game whose primary draw is drama is predicated upon character attributes that are changed once every ten minutes or so isn’t heavily mapping that data in a way to facilitate more dramatic and interesting gameplay is a crime.

Players (as a new character or an established wrestler) should go through a couple of events (broadcasted shows) a week, each one offering the player an established fight schedule, and the opportunity to interact with other wrestlers. In interacting with other wrestlers, the player’s actions should generate friends and nemeses which leads to plots for the night and generally larger character arcs for them.

Like Crusader Kings II, give each wrestler a data table that indicates how they currently feel about other wrestlers. Add in a popularity meter with the faux audience, and how good/bad the audience views them, and this provides a lot of options for procedural storytelling. Add in the physical traits, and even personality traits to tag the player with that only matter behind the scenes, and things could get even more interesting. If you create a quick, small, luchadore-style wrestler with a zen attitude, the game can trend toward different angles of other wrestlers that you fight against.

The player can be given easy onscreen cues about these things. Presented as a TV show, you can have announcers say another wrestler’s name, talk about their character, standing (good/bad) and have the audience sheer/boo to show his popularity (100/-100). Players should be able to attack, insult, honor (press X to pay respect), challenge, offer to help, or ask for help. But to make it less of a random jump by button pressing every chance you get? Only let a wrestler initiate with another wrestler if their target is 10 or fewer points above the initiator, or 30 points or fewer below the initiator. You could expand this range by raising your popularity, and accomplishments like winning the title. A champ might get a larger group of on-comers and a wider berth to mess with others.

Help a bad guy? You trend from good (face) to bad (heel). Become a champ and help a good guy with low popularity? You could lose some poplarity, but the neophyte gains more and that person starts to like you. If you’re in good standing with someone, offer to create a team or stable of wrestlers who often work together! Or for no reason than to cause drama and maybe raise your notoriety? Stab them in the back!

And if you liked wrestling games in the past, or can just imagine fun fighting? Imagine being able to do that with four players, or even online. I can easily imagine a pay-it-forward style of gameplay in which playing A finishes their match, then player B, then player C, etc. for a large number of players. Even let them schedule it at a certain day/time like a real wrestling event, so they could all interfere with each other. There’s no reason you couldn’t run an entire federation full of players if you want to go turn-based (except for matches between players) with a few slots for spectators.

The big secret to this? In TV, when someone makes a big deal about airing something completely unrelated to the Super Bowl during the same timeslot, and makes a big deal about it? It’s called “counter-programming”. You don’t compete; you go completely against the people your opponents are going for. I think WWE has made such a big deal out of their roster (whom I respect) that this game doesn’t have to be about the roster. This doesn’t have to be a WWE game. Honestly, if a new Tecmo World Wrestling* was released with a bunch of fun characters, customization tools, fun wrestling, and a robust career mode? I genuinely think they could run a good “counter-programming” campaign, and rake in some cash.

*Also acceptable: Nintendo Pro Wrestling, Saturday Night Slam Masters, or entirely new IP. Imagine a Capcom or Square-Enix wrestling game. I can.

Armchair Quarterback
Gaming's future

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Casual game developer Phil Steinmeyer

Phil Steinmeyer? I’m aware of him… Weirdest. Spam. Ever.

Ask me anything


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