A semi-daily chronicle of my life as a musician, a family man, and a citizen of Oregon.

Mar 5, 2007

Being tired and game manufacturing

Today I was very tired all day. If I were being honest I would say that initially when I woke up the shock of the waking event was sufficient for me to not recognize my tiredness, a condition that was prolonged by my consumption of coffee and then a Snickers bar. In the case of my honest divulgance (new word) I would further continue that my chemical assault on tiredness began to run into trouble around early afternoon, coinciding with the realization that if I were ever to hope to stop this state of being tired I would need to halt my constant consumption of chemicals in order to sleep tonight.

But since I'm not being honest I'll say that my mind was like a thick fog for the entire day, entirely restricting my ability to do any work. At all.

In my absence of productive energy I fooled others into thinking that I was working by seeking out coworkers and asking them about the things that they work on. Since people are uncomfortable with this question they either fake a hernia or find ways to steer the topic of conversation towards their personal lives, at which point I'm home free. Eventually people have to pee and will leave my desk. If I'm at their desk I stay until I have to pee.

This is how I avoid work when I'm tired but don't want to waste vacation days sleeping.

Towards the end of the day I challenged myself to either delete, file, or ask for more information about items in my work email inbox. This is not different from what I do when I'm not tired, though.

Hopefully tonight I'll sleep better.

A few days ago my friend and I had a talk about the people who manufacture games. Board games and that kind of stuff, not so much whiffle ball games or things that require physical activity to enjoy. Also, nothing that requires a computer or video console. Maybe a diagram would help.

I was imagining the life of the box engineer, whose job it was to package the games that were developed by the game designers. More specifically, in my imaginary game manufacturing concern, the box engineer needs to package the components of the game-piece engineer. The two need to work closely together as a team. They probably have "team days" where they learn how to better appreciate each others flaws.

I don't know whether the title of "game-piece engineer" is what they call it in the game manufacturing industry, but that's what I call it. If I ever meet a game-piece engineer and he or she says that the actual title of the position is game-figure engineer I'll still call them a game-piece engineer no matter how many times they correct me or how snotty they get about it. I don't care about stuff like that.

I imagine that there are probably a lot of conflicts between the box engineer and game-figure engineer. At the beginning of the month the box engineer gets some ridiculous game set that he's supposed to magically fit in a 9 and 1/2" by 11" box, three inches deep. Because that's the size of box we're getting from China right now.


You can bet that they don't pay him or her enough to put up with the kind of crap he or she deals with. And god forbid the game-figure engineer should make the tiniest change to the game pieces to make life easier on the box engineer. But that's just the way it is. You need to know your place when you're in the game industry.

People don't buy games for the boxes, they buy the game for the game play. Unless people buy the game because it has a really cool box, but in that case the game usually sucks.

Maybe the best day of a box engineers' life is when he or she gets a real crap game to box up because then the suits don't even care. They just let you do whatever you want cause it's a crap game to begin with and the suits know that from the test marketing results.

All of a sudden the box engineer has a lot more options. Reliefs of dragons on the box? Cool. Cool decals with sayings like "Too Legit!" and skulls and stuff? Yeah, that's fine, whatever. Whatever helps us sell the 1,500 copies of this crap game that we're under contract to unload.