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Obsidian Entertainment

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I’m happy to say that, as of February 11th, I’ll be working at Obsidian Entertainment as an Associate Sound Designer on their upcoming project, The Outer Worlds. This first week has already been fantastic and it’s amazing being given the opportunity to work in a highly renowned game studio and be part of the Obsidian audio team full-time. The studio is known for RPG games such as Fallout: New Vegas and South Park: The Stick of Truth.

You can watch the announcement trailer for The Outer Worlds here, as seen on the Game Awards 2018:

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Reviewing 2018

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What a year and journey it’s been.

It’s been quite a while since I posted an update, and this year has definitely been an important one in my life. It feels like not much has happened and yet so much has happened.

Here, I’ll show all the different things I’ve been involved in this year.


Sony Santa Monica

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On April 20th, God of War shipped to the world. I wrote a blog post earlier in the year regarding my experience with this game. There’s not much to add other than the fact that there’s no way I could ask for a better QA team to be on. Not everyone is in this picture, but here’s a QA group photo taken by Kiyomi, and also a picture from one of our get-togethers.

As you can see, we make sure to have fun while we work. :)

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The QA leadership team also took the time to write up a blog post that talks about how QA worked on God of War!

Here’s a bug video that my lead Tim put together as well. Some of these are beautiful gems:

God of War went on to win big at the 2018 Game Awards, winning Best Direction, Best Action/Adventure Game, AND Game of the Year!!

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This project and my experience with it has definitely been a huge part of 2018 for me. I am still astounded at and so happy with how good of a team culture and environment Sony Santa Monica Studio has. Not only are my coworkers in QA incredibly smart and talented people. They are super kind, and I’m proud to call them friends. I’ve become stronger every day thanks to this team, and couldn’t ask for more.

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GDC

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On March 21st, I got to sit alongside Lindsay Peck, Tina Kalinger, Rosstin Murphy, and our moderator Brian Choi to talk about how stories getting over financial and mental challenges to achieve opportunities in the industry. Our panel was called “Breaking In: How To Deal With Limbo and Proactively Wait”. I was really happy with how honest all 5 of us were. We made sure to talk to each other to get to know each other, our stories, and what we were comfortable sharing. We each had challenges in our career journeys that could have absolutely prevented us from moving forward, and we kept trucking through. It was information that I really hope helped the audience who was there to listen to us.

One thing that was nice and interesting was that the next session that was supposed to happen after us never happened. I can’t remember exactly what happened, but we ended up being able to have a Q&A session without time limits, so any question people had, we were able to stay and dig deep in giving answers.

This felt very good to do overall at GDC. For starters, this was my first speaking opportunity at GDC. This was also an amazing way to give back to the industry and the people aspiring to break into it. I have ALWAYS asked people many questions and have gotten tons of supports from friends and mentors, and it felt good to give back with this panel.

This is something I continue to pay forward, by the way! So if you are reading this and you have questions about getting opportunities or getting a job/gigs in the industry, feel free to reach out and talk to me.

Here’s a Renaissance-esque post I managed to get of Damian and the game audio community during one of the Sightglass meetup mornings.

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Visiting Beantown

Pamphlets from Boston FIG Fest 2018.

Pamphlets from Boston FIG Fest 2018.

On September 29th, I had an awesome chance to visit Boston and takes pictures at the Boston Festival of Indie Games! It was a great way to volunteer and give back to the festival, and also a chance to see my friends, some of whom are active working on projects of their own in the Boston area.

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My friend Emma was kind enough to let me stay at her place while I was visiting, and I had a chance to catch up with her and many other friends that I still keep in touch with. I had lunch with friends from Harmonix, got coffee and hung out around Boston with tons of people, and visited my alma mater, Berklee, and answered questions for students in one of the video game classes that my college professor Michael Sweet was teaching one of those mornings.

I wish I took so many more pictures of everyone I got to spend time with outside of Boston FIG Fest, but I can tell you that I was thankful to see almost everyone I wanted to see in Boston. Wish I could have stayed longer to hang out more!! Current plan is to come back next year, hopefully, for Boston GameLoop. We’ll see if I can make the time for it. Fingers crossed.


Game Audio LA

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Time flies. It’s been a whole year since the local game audio meetup LA has gone under the name Game Audio LA. This is a group originally started by Fryda Wolff, and with her blessing, I’ve been continuing the meetup along with co-organizers Ange Muscariello and Megan Carnes. This group would NOT be possible without their help. Together, we made an attendee policy, a website, personal goals and tasks we want to set to define the group, and aside from missing a couple of months, we’ve managed to make a consistent meetup that meets once a month in the LA area.

The main goal was to make sure people also working in game audio have a space to talk to each other and hang out, and it’s been amazing that people are having fun and feel comfortable. Hoping to keep things active in this direction for the meetup!


And more!

Currently, on the sidelines, I’ve been editing audio for Ultimate History Quiz, and for Contigo Games, I’m making sound effects for their magical girl co-op game, Starcrossed.

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Here’s what music I listened to the most this year, according to Spotify:

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A large chunk of this year also involved focusing on spending free time with friends and family when I could. If I wasn’t focused on working and freelancing, I wanted to relax and hang out with people. With Super Smash Bros. Ultimate now in my hands, I’m definitely hoping to do more hangouts at my place after Christmas this year. I’m already excited for 2019.

2018 was pretty amazing for me. I was able to grow as a game developer, I discovered my limits and challenges as a QA analyst and continue to build upon them, and I gave myself more time as a human being to spend free time with coworkers and friends. My career life is going well, and I have a tendency to focus on just that, something I aimed to improve on in the second half of this year. I had a lot of moments where I didn’t spend time with friends, and my energy this year absolutely shot up positively once I decided to give some focus in my social life. I’ve gotten to spend time with amazing people this year, and I’m thankful that those moments make up a huge chunk of this year as well. The year will end with me and my family on a cruise for Christmas that we’ve been saving up all year for.

I’ve made this year a good year, and I hope I’ve been good to you in return.

I’ll leave you with many pictures and short descriptions of what else happened this year.

Actually! Before I leave you, one cool thing: October 17th marked once year since my appendectomy surgery last year. I think I tend to overlook that and not realize how lucky I am that I am OK today.

Chilling at the hospital on October 17th 2017.

Chilling at the hospital on October 17th 2017.

So what better way to mark the one-year occasion than to hike up to the Hollywood sign?

Chilling on top of Mount Lee on my birthday, October 28th 2018.

Chilling on top of Mount Lee on my birthday, October 28th 2018.

2018 was a blessing for me. I truly hope it was a good year for you, too, and I hope that I was good to you.

All right, I leave you with pictures. Hasta luego.

Selfie with Sunny Suljic, aka Atreus in God of War, at the God of War studio wrap party.

Selfie with Sunny Suljic, aka Atreus in God of War, at the God of War studio wrap party.

Audio QA selfie with Morgan, Tyler, and also Laila Berzins, the voice actor who voiced Gondul, the Muspelheim Valkyrie!

Audio QA selfie with Morgan, Tyler, and also Laila Berzins, the voice actor who voiced Gondul, the Muspelheim Valkyrie!

My sister graduated high school!

My sister graduated high school!

Parents visiting the studio.

Parents visiting the studio.

Hangin’ with some Berklee bros.

Hangin’ with some Berklee bros.

XPL selfie at E3. :) (We were part of the exploration [XPL] team of QA)

XPL selfie at E3. :) (We were part of the exploration [XPL] team of QA)

Selfie with Mega64 at San Diego Comic Con.

Selfie with Mega64 at San Diego Comic Con.

Richard Gould was kind enough to give us a tour of Skywalker Ranch.

Richard Gould was kind enough to give us a tour of Skywalker Ranch.

At Universal Studios with my girlfriend for the Christmas/winter season.

At Universal Studios with my girlfriend for the Christmas/winter season.

Hey Anand, quit texting and driving at E3. I think there’s a zombie in the car…

Hey Anand, quit texting and driving at E3. I think there’s a zombie in the car…

Saw John Williams conduct his music at the Hollywood Bowl.

Saw John Williams conduct his music at the Hollywood Bowl.

The Funko Pop crew that keep me motivated. (including a custom-drawn Kratos by a super kind co-worker. Thank you again!)

The Funko Pop crew that keep me motivated. (including a custom-drawn Kratos by a super kind co-worker. Thank you again!)

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God of War - Shipped!

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As of April 20th, God of War has now shipped all around the world for PlayStation 4. Working on this game has been an incredible experience.

For this game, I was able to use JIRA to report and document issues along with testers from here in the studio and also with Sony World Wide Studios. I used Wwise to check the game's mix and for any mix errors/issues. This was also my first traditional QA opportunity where I made sure the game was in tip-top quality from any aspect: gameplay issues, loading issues, animation bugs, combat tweak necessities. I learned how to truly analyze a game and find any possible variable of an issue occurring, and this made my skills in being a detective for bugs become even stronger than ever.

Something I truly appreciate is that the leads constantly strived for us to be as proactive in communication as possible. If we saw design issues we weren't quite sure about? Check in with a tester or lead. Can't find a bug on JIRA? Ask a tester, or a lead. And if anyone isn’t sure, ask other developers in the studio. Everyone created a culture that allowed us to comfortably talk to each other, ask questions, bring up issues, bring up anything we didn't have an answer for and bring up our thoughts with design choices, all with the purpose of making the quality of God of War as absolutely high as possible.

Seeing the attention and acclaim that this game has already received has been quite stunning as well.

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The game also would not be in the amazing state it is in now without the entire QA team I was able to work this. These people, seen below, are the behind-the-scenes magicians I was blessed to sit next to during this project.

Thankful to have worked on this project and to have met these amazing devs. Yes, “developers” include the QA testers as well.

Thank you, SMS.

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God of War

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Happy to say that I'll be contracting as a QA Analyst at Sony Santa Monica Studio for the new God of War. 

Single-player action has been my favorite genre recently, and it's a huge pleasure to be able to test an action game of this scale. I'll be testing music, sound effects, and most importantly, gameplay and working together with the QA team to make sure this game is shipped amazingly. It's going to be a busy few months, but I could not be happier. It's a great place for myself in my current career state, and I'm excited to help the team out.

Here's the recent E3 trailer showcasing some of the story and combat of the game. 

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Game Audio LA

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Really happy to be organizing Game Audio LA, a monthly meetup focused on building the game audio community in the LA area. We'll meet on the last Saturdays of each month and switch between Sherman Oaks and Culver City each month. Our next event will be Saturday, Sept 30th 2pm at City Tavern in Culver City.

Angela Muscariello will also be co-organizing!

If you're in LA,  interested in attending, and have thoughts on what you'd like to get out of the meetup, you can also take this short survey. I'm trying to see what the community would like most in this meetup as it grows. The meetup does focus on game audio, but devs of any discipline/skill level are totally invited.

 

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