Welcome back to the stage of history!

Sunny Koda is a concept artist from Australia who went to the US filming a Documentary about Gamer Culture. He went from Sand Diego to Vancouver, from Comic Con to PAX. Now he's following his dream of working in the daunting US Games industry. Will he make it? I hope so. Because I am that guy.

Monday, May 24, 2010


At some point today, the sun went down. My cat ate it's food and I think it rained. People were in my house, but they're gone now. I know these things through pure observation; it's dark and wet outside, the lights are on and the cat's bowl is empty. But I haven't seen anyone or noticed anything, so engrossed was I with my work. The whole day is spent and I'm suddenly very cold and hungry.

I've done much the same lost in a video game, but I find painting or any digital work (website in this case) to be absolutely engrossing, to the point where I realise that I've had the same cd on repeat all day. I've heard this track maybe ten, twelve times. It's DJ Shadow though so I can still get into it.

The fruits of my labor:

Love to Play: USA

Now to send the emails out before monday morning rolls around to America! First maybe a pizza to celebrate another victory over sloth. I'm going to buy a camera in the next couple of days after consulting with a bar full of film graduates. No, it wasn't really a coincidence, it's precisely why I was there. Running low on money, but getting everything done and lined up. Called a friend of mine who will be in LA and is rooming with me during Comic Con, he's super excited and his determination revived my flagging spirits. In all the planning I nearly forgot how insanely fun every moment is going to be. Originally Comic Con was my entire reason for going! Could be a friend in San Fran at the start of August too.

Now before you go saying that I've been so pre-occupied with this documentary that I've forgotten what gaming is all about, I blew my entire weekend in a marathon Warhammer Online session that was both epic and probably the most fun I've had on a computer. They revised their City Seige, what is supposed to be jewel in the end-game-content crown and now it finally sparkles as the best experience the game has to offer. Ridiculously fun! I was thinking of taking a break to play some other games like Lost Planet 2, BlazBlue and the Dragon Age expansion (after I finally got into the game), but with no job I can no longer justify buying them or anything but food and electricity.

Gonna check out League of Legends on the advice of a friend from Warhammer who I will be meeting in California in a couple of months. He promised to take me to Medieval Times! That in itself will be worth the $2k air fare.

Well my thought for today was a bit about gaming culture. I'm on the cusp of proving my hypothesis based on community reaction to my website and appeal for aid and I'm thinking good and hard about whether that culture really does engender a sense of community. I know I certainly feel it. The people who attend PAX each year look like they do, but is that enough to say that it does? If I hear someone drop the reference "You spoony bard!" and our eyes meet for a moment does my smile appear knowing or bizarrely unwelcome? Can we celebrate that bond, or must we be discreet? Are you more likely to trust someone, or at least to feel a connection if they have shared the same virtual experiences as you? One way or another, I think I'll be too afraid to check my inbox this week for fear of that knowledge.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

C-C-C-Combo Breaker!

Finished my flashy video appealing for hosts in august! Now to put it up on a splash page and contact EVERYBODY. Time to cross the fingers and see if this monkey flies.

The success and validity of my trip really hinges on this. If I can't find benevolent gamers to stay with untill PAX then I can't afford to stay untill PAX. But that is sort of the hypothesis of this experiment; gamers are cool people and by and large will let me hang out with them based on the knowlege that I too am a gamer and therefore a 'brother in culture'. I'm also Australian and fortunately we are famous for our easy-going friendly nature, rightly so :)

Progress continues on the folio, my results are never entirely satisfying but then this pushes me to improve. It's very hard to gauge whether I'm good enough for a job internationally, but it's not like I'm trying to start at the top. Any studio that understands english and are willing to have me would be fantastic. I figure if I have to ask, I'm not there yet but when I do something and it makes me grin with satisfaction it will be the proverbial "shit".

Reading information on the U.S. Embassy website it seems that yes, the most appropriate way for me to go about getting work overseas is to travel on a temporary 90day visa and then apply for work/attend interviews while there. If I am then offered a position I must return to Australia and attend an interview for an E3 visa for specialists from Australia working in the U.S. which I can only get if I have a job offer. I am concerned that prospective employers may be reluctant given the process but at least there is a clear possibility and I know how to go about it and that's a lot better than uncertainty.

Nervous, working hard, uncertain, excited.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Spent this week prepping assets for the website and recording the video which will hopefully convince people that I'm a) serious, b) legit and c) only the good kind of crazy.

It features a guest appearance by my brother who is helping with editing the whole thing once I return from America in October. I like to high-five. We also did about twenty takes of each line as I'm not a professional actor and I just wrote what I was going to say that morning then tried to memorise it off the computer screen. But that's all part of the fun of documentation. These things I am saying will become clearer when the site goes up.

Being prematurely unemployed has given me too much time to spend playing Warhammer Online. My main toon (character) is now rr62 (rr80 being the highest level) with full warlord gear (second-best gear) ready to equip when I hit rr70. I'll be able to make a formidable dps (damage per second: class that does damage as opposed to healing or tanking) build around rr65 with 900 strength (soft cap (the point at which any further bonuses are x0.33) is 1050, strength determines main damage output) and +20% Melee Crit. (increased chance to score a critical hit which does damage x2.00) which isn't bad with their AA+ (auto-attack speed increase, in this case 50%) and various debuffs (attacks which reduce defenders stats such as armor, toughness, wounds, chance to crit, run speed, healing). I've also been grinding scenarios (arranged contained objective based skirmishes) for emblems (token system) to buy the sweet glaive that will ice this hate-cake.

See what I mean about playing too much? Oh and on the off chance that anyone reading this actually plays WAR, my toon's name is Valeigra Valentine, of MoC (formerly of Scion, formerly known as Scion of Anlec) and I play on Volkmar (formerly Ironrock, formerly Anlec). So /wave me or chat to me in-game if you feel compelled.

The great thing about a MMO is the social gaming opportunity it offers. Playing with hundreds of other people from all over the world and working together from the comfort of your own home. Zero risk social activity. This is great for obvious reasons, but can also lead to feelings of obligation and inclusion/exclusion that could have your friends and family worrying. But it's no different to being in a sporting club or a gang, the same social onus applies. Australia is a country where it's perfectly normal to spend every waking minute toiling away for your local cricket club, but giving the same dedication to a virtual club of gamers will have you soon facing an intervention. Personally I prefer the one that doesn't champion the excessive consumption of alcohol and encourage competitive abuse.

I really do love being in my guild and playing with a regular group of people. We use Ventrilo to chat to each other and play most nights. Last year when I was living alone and working they became my regular social circle, as I rarely had time to go to the pub and weekends were spent in the countryside with my fiancee (the fact that she plays too is one of the reasons I kept going). Lately what with being in a state of unemployment I've had more time to balance with other friends (whom I've missed!) but the friends I've made online are friends I want to keep. I was planning on making Warhammer the first and last MMO I ever played (because I feel that, as a hardcore gamer, I must play every genre at least once) but if the guild moves to another game (that doesn't suck as much as Aion) then I will follow. From this appreciation has come a huge piece of art I've been working on for way too long. I hope my guildies enjoy it as much as I've enjoyed spending my time with them. To that end I present you all with a huge illustration project I've finally finished; Scion of Anlec >:D