Half-Life: NightWatch

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Development Diary

31st January 2003 - by Andrew "KungFuSquirrel" Weldon

I ordered the chains extra short this time. The shackles came in the ‘proper’ measurements, but unfortunately this company runs a couple sizes small. I groaned. I’ll be bandaging ankles for weeks before the legs finally grind off. I was most pleased with the new shipment of whips, though, and a couple new team members gave the perfect opportunity to try out the spiffy metallic beads on the ends. The dirt path that packs under my team’s feet as they slowly stumble around the mill had smoothed from days of constant motion. I noted that I’d need to replenish the supply of razor-sharp rocks to keep their bare feet moving. Through it all, the TVs in every corner repeatedly airing Ishtar kept their eyes upon the task at hand and nothing else, not for the love of the task, but instead for fear of the horror on the screen at every turn. Nightwatch was going to do well that month, I could tell.

Although I do my best to not be the evil oppressive overseer during Nightwatch development, I know I’ve already overstepped my bounds a time or two. Leading a team of this size is no small feat in the first place – not to mention leading a team of this size on such a tight target timeframe. We do not have an easy task ahead of us if we are to match our ideal release, which we have every intent of doing. As much as I want to be able to just flat-out say, “Give me this at time X or be removed from the team,” I know that in amateur development, that just doesn’t work.

The biggest complication is the number of other projects that our team is working on. If we were in a development studio, my job of divvying out assignments and deadlines would be infinitely easier – but that’s sadly not the case. I believe I take the crown for being the most split up, dividing my time between Nightwatch, Natural Selection, Half-Life Rally, school, an upstart 3-piece punk band, etc. etc. Ferret’s been cranking on dod_toulon lately, Ken is splitting his level design time between Nightwatch and ns_powerhouse, Ekaj is also working on ns_shaft alongside his NW work, and a majority of the team is still pursuing an education or working a full-time job in some form or another.

It gets worse. Emergencies of course arrive from time to time, ranging from sudden unexplained family situations to illness to damaged body parts. Just the other day, BadMofo contacted me informing me that he, in a Tae Kwon Do test gone horribly wrong, caused some rather nasty damage to his hand while attempting to break a brick. (Yes, not only does he do level design, concept art, and textures, but he also flips out and breaks things!) Even more interestingly, over the last couple weeks, at least 5 different team members have fallen sick with what appeared to be almost the exact same illness – definitely not the first case of a virus being transmitted over the internet, but perhaps the first time a biological agent has managed such a feat! Maybe I’m better just locking everyone and their computer in a padded and sterile cage...

Previous diaries:
28th March 2003 by Andrew "KungFuSquirrel" Weldon
21st March 2003 by Mohammad "BadMofo" Alavi
14th March 2003 by Matt "Chalupamonk" Michelson
7th March 2003 by Ryan "Professional Victim" Desgroseilliers
21st February 2003 by Adam "WhoMe" Foster
14th February 2003 by Dan "coil" Johnson
7th February 2003 by Francis "DeathWish" Woodhouse
31st January 2003 by Andrew "KungFuSquirrel" Weldon
24th January 2003 by Mohammad "BadMofo" Alavi
17th January 2003 by Ryan "Professional Victim" Desgroseilliers
10th January 2003 by Ken "ken20banks" Banks
3rd January 2003 by Dan "coil" Johnson
27th December 2002 by Francis "DeathWish" Woodhouse
20th December 2002 by Andrew "KungFuSquirrel" Weldon