Saturday, February 13, 2010

My wish is my desire

April is the new fiscal year in Japan.. and here I am once again struggling with work. It's contract renewal time !!

So far things aren't that good. I don't know if people above go to some sort of school of containment, but this year it started pretty low (as "don't you even daaare to think about the word 'raise'").
The positives were considered the norm, my salary is "too high" and getting to work every day 13 minutes late shows that I'm not a very good worker..
Well well well.. how about that.. an intelligent and very motivated worker that doesn't want to be just a cog in the machine.. unexpected ! (never mind that I stay in the office 10, 11, 12 hours... per day)

I think that work is 90% social BS and 10% actual work.. if you factor in all the meetings and the moods and the antagonism..

I'm glad for what I've gotten so far and for all the people that believed in me, even those that believed in me as long as they saw me useful to them but not one minute longer.
However I can't fall for the trap of "be content, you make more than XYZ".
I'm not a poser.. ohhhh.. and there are posers in the game "industry" !! I didn't meet too many in Japan, but America is filled with those MFs. Scum people that have a big mouth but no skills.. the more meetings they have, the more meetings they take.. and all along they pretend to be engineers... disgusting !! Some you'll find on stage at some conferences.. because they have a name and probably never really had to work for real.. GET, A, JOB !

Japanese are overall more low key. The non-motivated are just low-key non-motivated.. though manipulation is still an issue. In a world of low-key people, it's easier to be a lion.

My goals for now.. first of all, graphics made for games has become uninteresting. A lot to work on, but generally it's about hacking around some hack that someone heard it's a good thing. And forget quality..
People that are doing deferred rendering.. I guess they are doing the best they can, but they are also wasting a lot of time.. stop the nonsense, with the fake anti-aliasing.. please !!!

And then there is DX11.. it's a work in progress, but most game devs have no idea, because they never really saw graphics from the quality point of view. DX11 is the poor version of REYES.. ..perhaps REYES is not the future.. but DX11 definitely has an inferiority complex when it looks at REYES.. DX11 is another bastard child of NVidia and Microsoft.

So.. my future isn't in game graphics development, not unless I have some influence in it.
Movie production seems more interesting.. but only mildly so.

My ideal would be to pause work for 1-2 years and simply study physics and the mathematics related to it. I'm not sure I'd be able to do that without going back to programing.. but it would be worth trying.. and one thing doesn't have to exclude the other.

I'm not poor, but I definitely have to work to live.. especially in Japan, where I have no family to rely on. And of course, I want to stay in Japan.. it's not as civilized as I wish, but it's probably the most civilized country, and that's why I live here.

I have to find a solution.. to live a comfortable life in a country that I like and to study the things that I want to, at my own pace (no "wizkid" scholarship of sorts).

..the important thing is that one shouldn't ignore his/her dreams.. especially not if they are about growing as a human being.

How philosophical !!!


  1. ...I'm not very good with stuff related to economy.

    I remember a few years ago a coworker was really into it.. he made his own stock prediction program.. he was such a game developer that the (simple) graphs were done in DirectX 8))

    It seems that he eventually gave up at the time.

    I guess times have changed a lot now.. but the easier is for you, the easier is for everyone (?)

  2. I want to clarify about "Movie production seems more interesting.. but only mildly so": it can be very interesting (and difficult), but the downside is that it's not interactive, so it's not fun in that sense.

    Game development can also be quite interesting.. but the graphics programming portion of game development is generally pretty sad.
    Fighting to get high framerate is stimulating, but can also be frustrating and limiting (as I said already anyway 8).


  3. Well, well, well ... you've finally reached that "point" I had been mentioning to you about on and off over the years. 8P

    I guess there are non-game industry programming jobs over there in Japan, but I've never looked into what they are (and if the working environment is "bearable"); I'll be interested in learning from you what you find out ... at the rate things are going with me, I can't write off the likelihood that I'll be in a similar situation (back working in Japan) at some point in the future ... not necessarily the near future though! 8P

  4. Dear Father Ragin,

    I think I reach this point at least once per year 8)
    And so does everybody else, I suspect.. ..however I would be naive if I were to disregard the whole game dev field... as the alternatives out there aren't much fun.
    I did only a little Java+SQL+web and it wasn't that great (though web as a whole nowadays offers some potential excitement).

    One thing that I don't want to do for sure is stuff like CryTek does.. or stuff that one reads on GPU Gems or ShaderX26... that whole field of "engine and shader programming trixx" has bored me and I'd rather do anything else... though it's unlikely that I'll be able to detach from it.

    I'm just so glad that I put so much effort into ribtools.. because as infant as it still is, it may well be my best chance at breaking the monotony of my otherwise linear future... woooo!!

  5. Dear Beloved Son, Kaz,

    I can understand how you feel. I more or less feel that it's going to be an incremental version of 'more of the same' for the next 5-10 years in game development and frankly it's all starting to get a bit boring. I suppose it's because (nowadays) everyone's trying to outdo the other person on the same things rather than doing something different; I believe this is how it was before game development became a "mainstream" occupation.

    I think (for the long term) ribtools is definitely something to do/focus on as you'll probably learn a lot of new and different things that most people aren't learning or doing right now and (eventually) those things will become relevant (I think it's going to move in that direction anyway). Keep your eyes on REYES (I wonder if there's a near-real-time implementation?).

    I hope things work out with your employer. \(^o^)

    This should help distract you from your worries for the time being: The 'McItaly' burger row

  6. Kaz,

    Question you have to ask yourself where do you want to be and what do you want to do 10 years from now?

    Seems like you want the freedom to work only on what is of specific interest to you with no external pressure, and the only thing that currently stands in your way are the finances?

    Somehow I dont think that staying a programmer is going to get you that freedom, even if you keep getting a $10k raise every year.

    So you need to come up with some alternative plan. Either move somewhere with very low cost of living so that you can live on whatever savings you have for a few years, or find a new source of income. Those are the 2 solutions that I see for achieving your particular objective.

  7. Gotta agree there with you Paul. I was actually going to suggest to Kaz to move to the country-side in Japan in my previous message (since the cost of living is much lower), but I'm not too sure if he'd enjoy living in such a place.

    As a foreigner in Japan, the alternate source of income (if possible) is generally the better way to go ... especially as one gets older. Depending on where one works (and how badly one is needed) it can potentially become harder I think. That's actually one of the factors that influenced me to leave ... though it looks like (sometime within the next 10 years) I may end up moving back ...

  8. ummummmummm ...I think that living in the place you like and living in reasonable comfort is too important.
    Even if I don't go out that much, I like living in a big city.
    I certainly don't want to be back in Italy holding on my walled in the subway because it's chock full of thieves.

    Taking a break to "get rich" is not that easy (no kidding !).. the best way to do that is to invest into some development such us iPhone/iPad/Websomething ..but that requires a lot of effort a lot of trial and error, a lot of dedication in general.. and then it's still all more and more effort into managing things.. all the things that I'm not interested in.

    Surely trying to do some hit mini-game is easier than getting deeper into the more involved side of computer graphics.. I mean, in the time that I write a renderer, I could probably write 10 mobile games 8) ..and the renderer would only be a starting point for something more real anyway.
    ...but programming CG is more interesting to me and while it doesn't get me rich, it does pay well.

    I agree that I should take some more drastic measures than hoping to becoming a splendidly paid coder.. because to reach a certain level, again, you have to be more fame than skills.
    For one thing I'm not going to undertake the path of the poser.. I don't have the charisma and I just couldn't forgive myself for being a fake.. 8)


  9. Even the 'splendidly paid' coders, dont make enough to have financial independence. A lead programmer on a major title at EA, Sony or MSFT might make $170-180k a year, which is nothing compared to what people with similar responsibility make in other fields.

    Also his time would be fully occupied with has job and the moment he quits and decides to do something on his own he will quickly start running out of money.

    Seems like programmers really dont get paid much considering the amount of time and mental effort we have to spend on our work.

  10. Kaz-graphics-man,

    Maybe (if your company allows it) you should try writing 1 or 2 mobile games ... even porting your KazRacer and $elling it on iPhone/iPod touch for a small fee could generate some revenue for you ... even if it's negligible, it's still better than nothing ... and I know it wouldn't take you that long. Once it's done and out there in the wild, you can resume your graphics-coding stuff. I do understand that it can be a hassle though. These are things that run through my mind ... my present employer doesn't allow us to write games though ... other kinds of apps (non-game related) seem to be all right.

    I think financial independence is (somewhat) a double-edged sword. Depending on one's life requirements, if one's willing to live without certain things, it may be possible to make $170-180k a year (provided you don't live in CA!!) and survive comfortably. But you are quite right in that there are other fields that pay roughly the same, but require less mental effort.

    I guess as programmers, we're suckers for the pure joy of doing what we do so we put up with non-so-ideal conditions.

  11. If you need to contact people in Pixar/Dreamworks I could help, but you will need to go back to the $tates...

  12. Ragin,

    It seems like Mr Kaz wants to live in an expensive area and have enough free time off work to pursue his interests and some healthy personal life I assume too?

  13. > Paul,

    Well programmers don't have that much responsibility.. I mean, not on paper.
    Getting on management instead puts you in a situation were you are mostly responsible for other people, so I guess it's more risky in that sense.
    I guess a programmer doesn't risk as much because doesn't deal money directly.. maybe more challenging intellectually, but I guess as a programmer one risks less.
    ...I guess that that's the thinking.

    Not having to wake up "early" every morning would be an improvement in my lifestyle.
    It's obvious that I work best during the night.. so more freedom in that sense would already spare me from mouth sores and whatnot 8)

    > Ragin,

    If I can get freedom from my employer, I'd rather get freedom to do next gen. Mobile games I can do by myself.. though not with the company's IP.. but that would be hard anyway.

    > Freddy,

    Thanks but of course I can't picture myself living again in the US. It can be quite comfortable to live there, but it's also not too exciting.. those zzz Californian afternoons 8)

  14. Kaz,

    Ah so we are moving towards more realistic expectations now?

    From studying physics and math for 2 years to waking up later in the morning... This is a lot more achievable =)

  15. 8P ...I meant to say that even if I had more free time, I'd probably still keep myself pretty busy ..but with the benefit of not having to abide to a schedule that doesn't suit me.
    That's pretty much how I lived as a teenager whenever I was on holiday.. and I still do during holidays and weekends.. though it's good to have a reasond to see some sunlight from time to time 8)

  16. By the way I found a book here at work called 'Calculus with Analytical geometry', by Leonard I Holder. Started reading it.

  17. Nice nice.. I'm going forward with the relativity book I mentioned some time ago: "The Mathematics of Relativity for the Rest of Us" ( ).. a humbling title, but definitely not a for-dummies book.

    ..very cheap and immediately available on Kindle ($10 - 1c), but as I progress it's getting a lot harder to follow with practically no random page access 8(