Archive for October, 2011

Status update

Stemming from Ben’s previous inquiry, I’ve decided to do a quick status update, especially since I don’t really update anything important on my Facebook. As some of you have already known, a little while back I started preparing my demo reel for my job searching. After my freelance gig had dried up, it was time for me to seek a full time position. Due to the current state of the US politics and economics, I wanted to find a job overseas. I returned to Taiwan to visit my girlfriend while still working on my demo reel.

It was during this time that a coworker of my girlfriend had a friend who worked in a small gaming company (Funfia) in Taiwan. After exchanging information, an interview was setup with that company. Ironically, I also setup another interview with a different gaming company for the same day. It was an interesting experience. The bigger company was actually quite big, big enough that they even produced arcade games. Interestingly, I already knew a few of the employees there from my previous time that Sony sent me to Taiwan for work. They suggested offering me a part time position as an animator to see if I wanted to continue working with them. Funfia on the other hand only had 7 employees at that time and offered me a full time position as a 3D art director. Salary wise would have been the same if I worked full time in either company.

I eventually decided to go with Funfia for several reasons. First and foremost, the position was higher, second, they wanted to get started right away with working on my resident visa, and third, they are keen on not doing any unnecessary overtime. My salary is quite low in comparison to what I could get back in the States, but is considered quite high in Taiwan standards. I’m looking at this as an investment/gamble. Despite my lower wage, I’m hoping that with this experience, it will lead me to more options than just being a 3d character animator.

Right now I’m working on two different games. One is a dancing game where they are already close to being finished, however, because they decided to switch 3d software and working with outsourcing, they’re having a lot of issues completing the game, so I’ve been busy trying to help out put out the fires. The other game is a verticle shooter. This one is still in conceptual stage and I’m enjoying this stage. One because I’ve learned a lot of new tricks in animation while working on a mockup, two because I’m using the time to think about implementing “out of the box” ideas. I should also mention that I’m the only 3D artist here, so it’s a little intimidating trying to help out with some issues that I’ve never had experience with before.

Another reason for my decision was my hope to improve my Chinese. After one year of studying, I felt being in a work environment would be more effective. Boy, was I wrong. Certainly I’m learning new words and terminology, but being at work is not an environment where you can just take time out and ask a coworker to explain new vocabulary/grammar. Still, I’m amazed I’m still working here (almost 2 months now), while using no English. I’ve already accepted my fate that I’ll never be fluent in Chinese, but I’m still impressed I was able to reach a certain level (I guess good enough that they were willing to hire me).

Beyond that, my traveling has now been put to a halt for the time being. Besides visiting China last March, the last trip I took was Korea last week. However, that trip was significantly different from my previous trips because I was visiting my Aunt who has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. So visiting my relatives (who I haven’t seen in over 30 years) meant I had no time to travel on my own within Korea. It was frustrating that they wanted to look after me every step of the way, but it was still nice to reacquaint them and reimmerse myself in trying to learn Korean.

MRI 2, the sequel

So, on the 5th, I had my second MRI as scheduled six months prior. I am pleased to report that the bulge in the blood vessel of my brain has not grown. However, the managing physician didn’t greet the news with a big grin and a “have a great day” attitude. He actually ended up passing me on to a neurologist. A neurologist. My first thoughts were of course: “should I be worried?”

The neurologist took me in for consultation immediately and it became apparent that while the MRI confirmed the existence of a lump or bulge in my brain, the MRI can not reveal any more details about it beyond that. The neurologist was very good in explaining that by professional standards, I am very much in a low risk group, but that doesn’t mean the chance of something happening to the bulge is 0 and we’ll only know for sure what my actual risk level is after a more detailed examination of said bulge or lump.

To accomplish this will require a CT scan. I’ve been scheduled for the 15th, so Kiko, I’d like to have your excruciatingly detailed account of what you feel when you drink that vile concoction; how difficult it might be to deal with its effects both during and after the scan, etc. I need to prepare myself for the experience so anything you can contribute to my understanding of the process would be greatly appreciated.

Anyway, “we delivered the bomb…”