Business Lunch in Bangkok Turned Awesome

Recently I went to Thailand to meet an old friend & colleague for lunch. Long since we started as Junior Artists in Britain he’s worked his way up to a big-shot management position. Now he wants me to join his evil corporation, but I want him to apply to us in China. Would my arguments win him over or would my vacation that followed make me fall in love with Thailand? Check out the pictures and see!

evil manager sneakishly selling the idea of how awesome it is living in thailand Business Lunch in Bangkok Turned Awesome

Somewhere in a Bangkok Skyscraper my former colleague is trying to convince me to join his evil corporation. Would my short stay be so amazing I couldn’t bare to leave Thailand?

There was a strange feeling of Déjà Vue to meet my old colleague again after all these years. Always eating lunch together back in UK, here we were again 8 years later like it was a regular workday. But there was nothing ordinary about this lunch, instead of complaining about British food in Dundee we were praising delicious Pat Thai in Bangkok!

How he came to work in Thailand is a journey I know well because I once had the same dream myself. Every lunch we would fantasize about making games in Thailand, but as the years went by I brushed it off as unrealistic day dreaming. It came as a shock the day he revealed his no-return ticket, I assumed it was an elaborate joke but could tell from his smile he was 100% serious!

Since then our only contact had been over Skype, but now it was time to meet again. Tho the flight was short it wasn’t short enough for just one lunch, so with an extra two days to look around I was worried I would experience a vacation so awesome I would be tempted to stay. My worries were not unfounded.

Click to check out my pictures!

Winning Free Buffet at Chengdu’s Finest Hotel!

Recently I was lucky enough to win a free buffet in a contest. Not just any buffet, but at one of Chengdu’s finest hotels. Obviously I took plenty of pictures so I could mercilessly tease those who didn’t win, check them out!

niber tries chocolate dessert at shangri la preview Winning Free Buffet at Chengdus Finest Hotel!

The quality of this buffet would have made it a healthy meal if only I could resist the dessert bar with its chocolate fountain!

The marketing department at my workplace has started a fun little guessing game. For every new title we release we all make guesses as to how well our product will sell. For the release of Hoopa City (a game which I didn’t have time to blog about) I just happened to guess exactly right!

The price was a buffet for two at Shangri La, one of China’s most luxurious hotels. Apparently it’s so fancy that it was the hotel of choice for the Obama family on their visit to Chengdu. But was it good enough even for someone of my status?  Read on to find out!

We made it all the way up QingCheng Mountain!

Recently our company went to climb the great QingCheng Mountain! A normal person would take this opportunity to bond with their fellow colleagues, but I saw it as yet another chance to brag about my new camera. But as our 3d lead showed up with a camera rumored to cost 16.000$ and the skills to match, I wasn’t going to make anyone jealous with the 700$ camera I was still figuring out how to use. My only chance to seem artistic was to take pretentious black and white photos. Did it work? You’ll be the judge!

old chinese village at qingcheng mountain preview We made it all the way up QingCheng Mountain!

It was a seemingly quiet night, but all the amazing Chinese decor made me worried a kung fu fight might break out at any moment!

It was a usual busy Friday afternoon, but instead of heading home, we were heading to a coach carrying boxes upon boxes of sodas and snacks. It was time to go hiking at QingCheng! A local mountain which is apparently “amongst the most important centres of Taoism”, whatever that means! icon wink We made it all the way up QingCheng Mountain!

As we arrived to our hotel I was expecting the usual “boring but good location” type of hotel you’d usually pick for hiking, but was surprised to arrive at what looked to be a set for a new Jet Li movie. In the west I would expect a really hefty price tag for such a thematic hotel, here, I have no idea weather it was thematic or just a regular building.

Click to read on and see my pretentious black and white photos of our life-daring journey up QingCheng Mountain!

Celebrating Toto’s Release with Gourmet Burgers!

With the release of Toto’s Treehouse we decided to celebrate with something fancy for lunch. I was highly skeptical when someone suggested such western food as burgers, but when they told me it was located at the top of Chengdu’s luxury mall I grabbed my camera and said “let’s go!”. Check out these amazing burgers!

niber eating gourmet burger at ifs preview Celebrating Totos Release with Gourmet Burgers!

Despite my vegetarian ambitions I couldn’t resist celebrating at the fanciest burger restaurant in Chengdu!

IFS is the go-to mall for overpriced luxury goods that you can’t afford, therefore it sounded like the perfect place to eat now that the company was paying.

Only once before had I been to IFS and it taught me a valuable lesson regarding price; When the customers of a juice bar looks like they are all mistresses of oil tycoons, you should realize that the price of your orange juice isn’t going to match your local farmers market.

True to my previous experience, the prices at the restaurant had us gasping for air. Unlike most Chinese restaurants whose menus doesn’t have pictures or even English translations, these burgers were displayed on huge A3 pages with fancy design and photographs, but with a matching price-tag!

But then we came to the realization, that although these burger would be 8 times the price of my normal lunch, it would STILL be cheaper than a Big Mac in my home country! With this in mind we released our caution and explored the menus for the fanciest burgers we could find. Tho I may have gone vanilla with my “original burger”, Jack picked out something way more awesome, check it out!

Click to read more and see what amazing burger Jack dared to try!

Dr. Panda & Toto’s Treehouse Released!

We at Tribeplay recently released our a new game, Dr. Panda & Toto’s Treehouse, and I was especially excited to see how this title would be received as the game design resonates with me, and because I took some risks pushing the boundaries this time. What risks, you ask? Read to find out!

dr panda and totos treehouse released preview Dr. Panda & Totos Treehouse Released!

The moment I heard that our new game will be played in a treehouse, I knew it will be a big success. What child doesn’t wish he had a treehouse?

All too often in the games industry we’ll receive an uninspired design document with the explanation that some other aspect (like graphics or marketing) will make it great. Most of the games industry has yet to learn the wonderful motto of Hollywood; “If a movie requires perfect execution to be interesting, then it’s just not a good screenplay”. So I was very happy to see a design document that could catch my interest with only few words. “Take care of a baby turtle living in a giant treehouse”.

Since I saw such potential in this game, there was one experimental aspect, outside of my usual duties as Technical Artist, that I wanted to push for…

Click to read about my experimental contribution!

Amazing Photo Opportunities in the Rain!

After planning the purchase for years, my dream camera finally arrived at the worst possible timing. Right amid the crunch time for Toto’s Treehouse there was simply no time to give it a try. But then one evening as we were out for our overtime dinner, fate intervened with heavy rain, stranding the team from going back to our office. This was the perfect time to take it for a spin. Check out the results!

stalking yi from a distance preview Amazing Photo Opportunities in the Rain!

My colleague Yi walking around the flooded mall, waiting for the rain to pass.

The arrival of electronics is the guilty pleasures that turns this wannabe minimalist into a gadget geek. I’ve even been known to apply for vacation days for “when my new computer arrives” in the date box. But this time upon the arrival of my new camera I could barely give it a glance before having to return to my tasks at hand.

So when the rain stranded us from returning to the office, it was the worst thing that could happen to our project’s deadline, but perfect for my selfish desire to try out my camera! As the team could do nothing but stand around waiting for the rain to pass, it gave me a solid half hour of time with a group of reluctant colleagues as perfect test subjects.

My luck increased even further as time went on. The Lan Kwai Fong Mall, apart from hosting the restaurant where we were eating, is known in Chengdu as the nightclub district. So as the rain started leaking into the interior mall, the floor lit up with beautiful reflections from the nightclub’s many bright LEDs. It was the perfect training ground for a photographer in training!

But did I get any perfect beginners luck shots? Click to find out and judge for yourself!

Choosing the Perfect Camera for my Photo Blog!

That’s right, you heard me, a photo blog! Having lived in China for so long I have stories that can last me a life time, but without pictures to back them up my  friends wouldn’t believe the half of it! It’s time to get myself a camera, but which camera will be good enough to be blog-worthy, yet small enough that I’ll have it on me when the situation calls for it? Read on to find out!

what is the best camera for blogging Choosing the Perfect Camera for my Photo Blog!

What mystery camera will be worthy of capturing all my crazy Chinese adventures? Read on to find out!

Too many times have I cried out “I wish I had a camera” upon leaving something awesome go un-captured, but no more! It’s time to acquire one! The problem is, I’m notoriously picky. I come with the following demands:

  • Price: It has to be expensive enough to produce professional quality, yet cheap enough that I don’t have to protect my camera bag like a mother bear protects her cubs.
  • Form & Size: It must be large enough to produce top notch quality, including Depth of Field (so all smartphone cameras are out of the question), yet small enough that I can carry it in my bag at all times.
  • Quality: If the images will only come out 20% better than the newest smartphone, then it will be hard to justify carrying a dedicated camera around when I could just have a slim smartphone in my pocket. But no, quality difference must be so vast that it’s like comparing the amazing Photoshop CC 14.2 with the godforsaken Photoshop CC 14.0!

By now any reasonable man would smack me in the face then shake me back and forth pleading “You have to be realistic, man! Such camera does not exist and never will!”. But calm down, the Messiah of cameras has arrive. Low and behold…

…the ultimate blogging camera! But which one is it? Click to find out!