28 February 2008

The house has been sold!

Earlier this morning I closed the deal on the sale of my house. It had been a long process, even if it wasn't on the market for very long. In fact, I got and accepted the first offer which came in about two days after putting the house up for sale! The long and tedious part was getting it ready. Among the improvements I put in were ceramic tile floors in the bathrooms (which I installed myself with the wonderful help of Tommy, Tina, and Carrie), replaced the nasty green carpet, fixed a leaning over fence, updated some light fixtures, faucets, and shower heads, had the interior and exterior painted, cleaned just about everything, and did a whole lot of yard work. If you're having a problem with your toilet, I'm pretty sure I can fix it now because I had to learn about all the different parts and connections, and how each of them can break or leak. Overall, I'm really pleased with how the house cleaned up. One of the issues that I just learned to live with was a couple of broken window blinds which would not stay up. After taking one unit down and fiddling with the string catch mechanism for a bit, I learned how simple it would have been to fix the blinds five years ago!

The biggest problem I had was with the painters. I seriously recommend avoiding Low Cost Painting of Austin which is owned by Brad Jones. The workers he employed drank beer on the job and left empty bottles in the cabinets. They also used my microwave during the day but failed to clean up the mess they made inside of it. Cleaning must be a foreign concept to them because they didn't use any drop-cloths and left paint specs everywhere. The job was nowhere near been complete when they called me at work to let me know they were finished and for me to do a walkthrough to find any issues. Ha! Complete walls were unpainted. I found close to one hundred different missed spots. One of my newly tiled bathroom floors was left covered in wall compound. I could go on and on about their shitty work. I probably summoned them back to the house four or five times and they still didn't fix things appropriately. Surprisingly, they did a decent job on the exterior of the house. Nevertheless, now matter how cheap their bid is, I will never use Brad Jones' Low Cost Painting again.

For now, I'm off to get a new dishwasher for Carrie's house. I promised I would get a better one once my house got sold. I grew tired of washing everything by hand before loading them into the old dishwasher.

26 February 2008

Aspyr Media games

It has been a while since I posted anything about my day job as a programmer at Aspyr Media so I have decided to update the list of games that I have worked on.

There were a few Sims products that I helped ship, the rocking Guitar Hero game, and the Dungeons & Dragons role playing game Neverwinter Nights 2.

The Sims 2 Glamour Life Stuff pack ended up being the first Sims SKU to ship with all three applications (Body Shop, Package Installer, and the game itself) as Universal Binaries.

The Sims 2 Happy Holiday Stuff pack was a quick and easy project that only involved managing the game assets. If we did touch the source code, there wasn't much too it.

Then there was The Sims Pet Stories. With this laptop friendly game, I was the programming lead on porting it to the Mac.

Just recently I finished working on The Sims Castaway Stories.

Neverwinter Nights 2 is the most recent game that I have been working on. Development on it has gone on for a long time with several complicating factors preventing it from being released earlier. The good thing is that things are winding down and the end is near for this project. Hopefully the customers can get their hands on it before too long. (Actually, I wrote most of this post a few weeks ago and am just now posting it. NWN2 began shipping today.)

Guitar Hero III was by far the most fun and exciting game I've gotten to work on. In fact, it was just named one of the Best of Show winners at the recent Macworld Expo. Most of the people playing games around the office wear headphones, but with the special guitar controllers for this one, it became quite a challenge to ignore the repetitive clicks from the fret buttons and strums. It probably took a good month or so before it no longer bothered me.