Ron has posted up three new blogs in the past day. Here are some excerpts from each:
Back from the GDC
Last week I had the privilege of being invited to speak at the annual Game Developers' Conference in San Jose and I have to say, it was an eye-opening experience. I haven't been an active gamer in a long time, and it was startling to see how the industry has changed and matured.
I grew up in the Classic Atari era, when a row of quarters on the Asteroids machine carried a great deal of credibility down at the bowling alley where I and the few video denizens of Chowchilla plied our trade. I had the first home consoles as well, but after college I pretty much dropped out of gaming, with periodic forays into the burgeoning computer game market over the years. My last effort involved buying an XBox a couple of years ago with the determination to get back into the game (pun intended) at last. A week spent in frustration over my inability to master the multi-buttoned controller finally put to rest my dreams of mastering Max Payne and Madden NFL, and as Terry constantly reminds me, the XBox sits beneath the TV table in my office gathering dust.
That may have to change, however, after spending a few days at the GDC getting to know the people in the gaming business. I was impressed, first of all, by the sheer brainpower which permeated the event and second of all with the maturity and seriousness of the business itself. To put it succinctly: these are seriously smart people, doing seriously smart things with a deadly seriousness of purpose. When I walked the convention floor, I was struck by the intensity of the attendees as they browsed through the various booths and displays. I'm told the event itself had discouraged the "babe booth" mentality long ago wherein scantily-clad women beckoned to the hormonally-challenged, and sadly, I saw no such relics from this storied past. Instead, I found a lot of intense concentration and discussion of the latest software applications and character-building tools, upwards of ninety-five percent of which went sailing over my head.
Q & A
"The plot twist [of the finale] seems to share allot in common with the DeSanto Galactica continuation story, where the humans think they are safe from the cylons and revolt against the military by deciding to give up on Earth and to colonize another place called New Caprica. Were you at least partially inspired by this earlier concept? "
No. I can honestly say that the idea for our finale was entirely home-grown. I had lunch with Tom DeSanto a few weeks back and we talked about the struggles we both went through trying to get our respective versions of the show off the ground. As he talked about his pilot concept, I shared many of the plot details from our finale and we both remarked on how some notions and ideas are simply either "in the ether" or have a certain inevitability to them. It's reminiscent of the "Babylon 5" vs. "Deep Space 9" questions I used to get. I was there when DS9 was being created and I knew for a fact that neither Michael Piller nor Rick Berman had any knowledge of the B-5 material, but when you're doing a series set on a space station, there were bound to be certain paths that writers found attractive (like having a female second officer, for instance). In terms of Galactica, the idea that the people of the rag-tag fleet might one day come across a planet and decide to settle down permanently, is an idea that would probably occur to anyone approaching the material, and it's really a question of how you execute that idea which is key.
"What happened to Adama in the season finale to change him so much? Why would a man who spent decades of his adult life standing watch for the Cylon return suddenly give in and allow the military to stand down? How could he convince himself that the Cylons weren't coming back after 1 year when the last time they waited 40 years? He knew settlement was wrong so why didn't he offer any resistance? "
I think people have a remarkable ability to convince themselves of just about anything. Adama, like everyone else in the fleet, had been constantly on the run, constantly under stress, and constantly in danger of losing his life for months on end, with virtually no break from the metal walls surrounding him day in and day out. When, finally, the people decided to end the long sojourn and settle on New Caprica, he had little choice but to comply with the results of a democratic election which hinged on that very question. And as the days turned into weeks, and the weeks into months, people began to relax, to believe that maybe they had really turned a corner, had really found a place to lay down their burdens and start a new life. Adama was just as vulnerable to that attractive idea as anyone else, and as the men and women under him began to clamor for a new life, as the political leadership of New Caprica began to demand more and more military resources to support the civilian population, there came the point where Adama began to believe in the mirage too. He's not perfect. He never was. He couldn't bring himself to leave his ship, but as age and fatigue began to set in, he started to let down his guard just a little -- not all at once and never completely, but just enough.
There were also practical considerations. He was entirely alone out here. No Admiralty to call for reinforcements or intelligence, no Justice Ministry to prosecute soldiers who simply never came back from the surface of New Caprica, and no friendly ear in the office of the president to get needed resources for the military ships maintaining their lonely vigil up in orbit. He was alone and he was tired. It's almost as simple as that.
I remember one of my most vivid memories from the immediate post 9/11 period was opening up the newspaper and reading about a physical confrontation in the streets between members of the New York police department and the New York fire department. It was heartbreaking, it was infuriating and it was illuminating. People are people. Enormous events happen, history pivots around us and we tell ourselves that everything has changed, that we're irrevocably different from this day forward -- until the next time everything changes. Adama made a mistake. They all did. And as he is wont to say, they will all have to live with it.
"What is up with the pudgified Apollo? Too much chunky munky B&J? "
We're going to hint at some of the reasons for Lee's physical, er... changes in the first few episodes, then deal with it in more detail later. Overall, we're going to be hinting at a lot of things that happened in the intervening year over the first few episodes, then do more stuff with it later, as the season progresses.
Wanted to let you know that there's now enhanced material available on the podcasts, courtesy of SciFi.com, which consists of artwork and other images now associated with the last few podcasts.
Also, there's a new podcast available which was originally recorded last summer in the writers' room, featuring discussion of a few of the episodes from the second half of the season, including "Scar" and "Sacrifice." There are a couple more podcasts in this vein I recorded as well last season which with probably get posted at some point, so keep checking the downloads page. I'm also going to try to do some podcasts between now and the Season Three premiere, possibly with Mrs.Ron and other guests in attendance.
Okay, that's three blogs in one day. You can't say I'm not trying.