The Automattic Four-Year Laptop

Next week, I’ll be celebrating four years of working at Automattic, which has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional life. One of the perks of reaching your four-year anniversary is being given a MacBook (Air or Pro) model of your choice, with the WordPress logo customized onto the top cover.

As it turns out, the laptops are customized/branded at Colorware, and I asked before ordering mine if I could also have it painted. The answer was yes. :)

I went for a glossy red for the main piece, glossy white for the hinge, and matte black for the top and bottom plates. So far, the consensus is that it’s pretty sweet-looking:

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It even looks pretty boss with the hinge closed, due to the fact that the main plate also covers the sides of the construction:

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Red and white mixed with black has become a bit of a color scheme for me since I started working at Automattic. When you start here, you get a bag with the logo embroidered on it:

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Originally, I’d gone this route because it matched these guys:

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And it happened to match these guys, too:

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But then at some point, it kind of turned into matching this guy/girl, which dawned on me when I bought this:

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That’s of course not the only thing I have that matches the scheme, like my iPad in black with a Product Red case:

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And my 3DS, which is in red and black:

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And my wallet, which is the image of the grandaddy of them all:

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But this new one is my favorite.

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I’ll say more on the actual anniversary, which is next week. :)

Minecraft Mass Effect Mash-Up What Now

I’m fairly certain this is targeted specifically at me.

I’m also fairly certain I will end up buying it.

This is a great idea—something that differentiates the 360 version of the game and does something fun with it. I can only hope it will also end up on One.

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I have a new piece of chill-out wear. I don’t know what material this is made out of, but it’s pretty great.

Mass Effect Trilogy

BioWare:

We are very excited today to announce the Mass Effect Trilogy coming to PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. All three award-winning games from the series will be available together in one premium package, complete with foil box and exclusive artwork. Mass Effect Trilogy will also mark the long-awaited debut of the original Mass Effect on the PlayStation 3 console!

If you have a current-generation console of either stripe (or a PC, for that matter), and you are a science fiction fan, this is going to be a great buy. The Mass Effect series is one of the better sci-fi settings and stories of the last decade in my opinion and if you have missed out to this point you owe it to yourself to give it a play through.

No other game in recent memory has provided me with characters that I cared about so much and events that felt like they had real storytelling impact. I may have been disappointed by how they chose to conclude the series, but the ride was totally worth it and the value proposition of all three of these games for $60 is just too good for me not to recommend it.

Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut Soundtrack

I hope you are paying attention.

You do, if only for tracks like this:

(One of the few pieces of music from a game that has actually moved me to tears and still triggers an emotional response when I hear it.)

Another great set of work by Sam Hulick. I’ve enjoyed his work on the Mass Effect series and though I hope he gets the chance to do more there, am looking forward to what he does next.

The Doctors on Mass Effect 3 (and a potential MMO)

Ben Kuchera interviewing the “doctors” at Bioware for the PA Report:

“I just finished an end to end playthrough, for me the ending was the most satisfying of any game I’ve ever played… the decisions you make in this game are epic,” Dr. Muzyka promised. “The team has been planning for this for years, since the beginning of the Mass Effect franchise. Largely the same team, most of the same leads have worked on this for years and years. They’ve thought about [the ending] for years and years. It’s not something they’ve had to solve in a week or a month even, but over the course of five or ten years.”

The time investment in playing the game series hasn’t been as long for me as some as I did not run through the first game until around the launch of the second (after a couple of false starts), but I understand this feeling from the other side. I have been waiting a long time for this story to conclude and I’m happy to read that many of the people making it have been on the same team for even longer.

I asked about the popular fan rumor of a Mass Effect MMO. “Now that we’ve learned MMOs are really easy to make, and simple to run after the fact, we’re on it!”

“When you deliver a game, and you deliver it for a player, you have to capture what they think is the possibility space. You need to let them do everything they think they should do, and you can’t block them from doing anything they think they should be able to do. You have to nail all the features and content that should be in that possibility space.“ He paused for a moment.

Mass Effect is a big possibility space.”

As interesting as a Mass Effect-based MMO might be, I’m not so sure I want to see it happen. It’s a fascinating universe that I would very much like to continue playing in, but a huge part of the appeal of the series has been the huge amount of player agency afforded by the narrative. Granted, it’s still within the rails of a branching story, but actions that you take as Shepard create pretty big swings in the events that play out, moreso as you get closer to the conclusion.

Part of the structure of an MMO is necessarily that player actions can’t create large changes in the universe (unless you do some sharding of the experiences maybe). Without that kind of agency I’m not sure such a game would really be a Mass Effect.