January 12, 2007 - 02:46
I woke up very early the following day to prepare some questions for the interview that I would do with the devs on the same day or in the following day (what I didn't know was that I would interview them the following day). Also, I've paid my visit to the business room to check the survey on PPM again and check random stuff. This time I was there when they placed people on cabs to go to EA. The people from my cab talked too much french and I couldn't understand a word of it. The day was clear and my body was surprisingly more adapted for the temperature.

We've waited a few minutes outside EALA waiting for everyone's taxi arrives and Predator arrives at his Celica as well. I took the opportunity to take some pictures of the campus. There were big words at the entrance: Electronic Arts. On Hexetic movies, the entrance looked bigger than it really is. People made a lot of jokes while we were walking in the entrance of the EA campus, including "Building Captured!".

Then, there was the 'No Alarm door'. For me, it was impossible to not remember Hexetic's BfME II Fan Playtest movie whenever I've passed through that door, especially because I was bringing a hell of a bag in my back. It could have a C4 to explode EA and capture the source code of TS #Tongue... this 'lovely' story seeing in many TS modding discussions, especially when someone plans to use the magic tag CanMakeUpStuff=true that is supposed to do everything.

We went straight to the EA cafeteria (called EA TS). That place rocks. On the first day, I ate pancakes, in the second, Burrito. Burrito is definitely much better. I loved burritos, but I don't know why they get this name... I mean, 'little dumb'? WTF? Anyway, that cafeteria had an absurd amount of options for drinking, chocolates and even ice creams.. all paid by EA. That certainly twisted my breakfast, that and a considerable amount of chocolate (Toblerone) and even Häagen Dazs ice creams (unique opportunity in life Laughing).

People loved the Leninade, which is a kind of a communist lemonade with a big soviet symbol on it. That might have inspired the people who tried to start Red Alert 3, but never got anywhere with it. Predator gave GDI and Nod t-shirts for people, based on previous choices. Of course, mine was The Brotherhood of Nod.

Then, the real action started. If you live in Australia, I really feel sorry for you, but that's the wallpaper they've used for the computer from the presentation room. Mike Verdu started talking about the game and the aliens. Some designers also had some good words, followed by fan questions as well, on many aspects including vein holes, cyborgs, etc... During their presentation, we saw they playing a GDI mission against the Alien faction that was also featured in some magazines later. Two lucky attendees were chosen to play a GDI vs Nod battle. The GDI one was Hypnotist, from CNCNZ, while Nod was Assassin, from CnC Source. Both played horribly bad and Assassin could look at Hypnotist's view on the big screen, with everyone helping and tipping. He still managed to lose the game. A failure for the Brotherhood. We could also meet on the 4th floor and we could talk to everyone there. We've even visited Predator's cabin and Verdu's as well. Interesting note: there was not a single mention of the word Scrin anywhere there. The studio has several posters from many games, from Tiberian Sun, Red Alert 2, The First Decade and much more. Many concepts, posters with unit data, progress from many divisions and drafts for everything. If you have the Battle for Middle Earth II Collectors Edition, you'll see similar things in the Behind The Scenes part, except that this time it is for C&C 3.

There was a pause where we could eat some sandwiches, drink some random soda and visit the EA store while some attendees were interviewing the devs. I started to miss something called 'food'. Because a sandwich isn't food, it just fills your stomach, but that's how people over there eat. For me, food is rice, beans, meat, eggs, flour... ok, ok, ok, there was a salad. Unfortunately, I don't like salad. I've eaten some potato chips from Lays. It isn't hard to get used to American food, but Brazilian food is much better. But for their standards and considering that I was in a company, not in a restaurant, the food there was good. I liked their sandwiches. The EA store had very cheap PC games for $10 (+ taxes). I've bought BfME II expansion and Sim City 4 Deluxe Edition. I had the chance to buy Fifa 07, but I've refused to buy it. Fifa 06 sucked too much. There was a Wii for sale there, but unfortunately, many employees wanted that Wii, so my only chance to buy a Wii on that trip was vaporized. There were several EA t-shirts and other random EA stuff. There was also the Gaming Room with several arcades, an Xbox, a computer, PS3 and probably another video game. On the second day, I've played Age Of Empires 3 there Laughing.

After the interval, we've also watched a presentation from Richard Taylor with the awesome cinematics from the game, including a special trailer that is in the pre-order box. He replied to several questions about Joe Kucan and he loved all actors, bla bla bla, etc etc... I was impressed with the movies I've seen... for me, "Oh My God! That's Command & Conquer!". One of the good things from this game is that it's up to the player to choose the faction with the best ideology, instead of BfME where you choose to play the good and the evil. Then, we went upstairs again, this time to listen to the guys who 'photoshop' the movies (although their tools are better than Photoshop). Their work is really awesome. They give life to scenes and movies. Truly awesome stuff.

The best presentation came right after that, with Dragon Dronet, from Renegade Effects, who made the costumes, weapons and other details that you'll see in the movies. These guys have an amazing curriculum and they've bought a big box, more like a pandora box. I thought it was the missing Tacitus, but it wasn't. The box had GDI and Nod helmets, weapons, and stuff from other movies like Star Wars, Star Trek, The Mask, Batman, among many others. And we could touch all that! That was definitely a fun time! There was AK-47 for everyone! And not only AK-47, but masks, and all other objects we've seen. Can you recognize some of them in the pictures below (Unfortunately Webboy managed to cut my head on most of the pictures)? During the presentation, he also showed a video of the studio he works at. After seeing that, it raised my self-esteem concerning my bedroom. You know, compared to that studio, my bedroom is very organized and clean. We've also watched a movie with Batman fighting against Alien, Predator and something else. And, then, after the presentation, we took a bunch of pictures. GDI fans with helmets, The Nod group, GDI capturing Nod, Nod capturing GDI, Nod together with GDI... fun time, definitely!

In the middle of that process, my bag was upgraded with a Nod symbol, since I was the one who had the second-longest trip, only behind the GameReplays guy who came from Australia. My 19 hours of flight + airport was worth something. During the trip, some people questioned me for carrying that 12 kilograms bag everywhere.. the fact is that the bag had a dictionary, camera, mp3 player and whatever I needed for the most problematic situations. It was hard to simply drop them with the other bags in EA and simply keep it in my room, in the hotel, but in the end, I had to do it on several occasions. Anyway, here's my upgraded bag:

After all these photos, the blah blah blah time was over. It was time to play the game. They've asked us to play a 1 vs 1 game with someone else. We've played it in the training center, which was close to the main discussion table. GDI vs Nod only. My victim was Hostile. I'm not the kind of person who likes playing against another human player, because my stress levels grow a bit too much. Hostile doesn't seem to have much fun when playing a 1 vs 1 game either. But it was still fun to play with him. A lot of nVidia uber powered computers there that gave us the impression that the game was going to be lagless at home, even with full quality (I still have my doubts on my computer here). The version we played was presentable, although had its limitations. The EA guys allowed us to play two tournaments (also known as, symmetric, uncreative, predictable and, therefore, boring in my opinion) maps, although we've played another one too, that had a lot of bridges and was symmetric too (3 bridges per base). The maps were very detailed, offered some cities for garrison purposes and, of course, tech buildings. From the games we played, only one was completed, when Hostile accidentally sold his remaining buildings after I wipe almost every building from his base. For some reason, I've rushed much more than what I do against the machine. I'm usually turtler, especially when I'm a newbie in the game. There was a second game that I've even sent a nuke at him and he wiped a group of 7 avatar mechs with one grenadier that I was going to crush when I was crossing his bridge, however, a few minutes later, the game crashed. The final release will be much, much more stable than that, guys, don't worry. Then, we went outside to take some air (the game is intense, fast fluid and fun as they say) and talk about the game and CnC3.net. After the playtime was over, we went to the discussion table to throw our conclusions on the game. From what I can say, everyone enjoyed the game a lot, which includes myself.

After that, we had some pizzas to eat (Is that dinner? Bah... ok, I'd better shut up here Wink) and there was a surprise that was coming soon. All I knew is that we would take a bus. I wondered if the bus would have an nVidia skin, but this time, they didn't do so much. I was tired when I entered into the bus, but I had to be awakened since it was my only opportunity to know a bit of Los Angeles. Hostile and I thought about doing a phone call to Mastermind, but in the end, he gave up and I depended on him since my cell phone was only useful to know what time is it. That's the price of having the cheapest cell phone from the shop, that only accepts one band (900Mhz), against the 1900 Mhz from the operator from LA.

After one hour of the trip (or more), the bus arrived at the Ultrazone. It's a gaming house that was totally reserved for us. It had a lot of arcades, games and a laser tag game. For the laser tag, EALA Predator wanted to split us into two teams (GDI vs Nod), but the idea didn't work very well and we had 3 teams that constantly mutated. The laser tag game from there is cool, it has somethings I haven't seen in a laser tag game, such as mines and it was a hell of a maze with two floors. But, nothing was perfect. Some people took broken lasers. I had this 'luck' in my second match. Even with a broken laser, I've played better than in my first match, when I tried to defend the green base and brought some thousands of negative points for my team, although prevented them from doing much more, my team still lost with negative points. In the laser tag game, if you wanna do good, you need to be offensive, which was what I tried to do in the second game. I was playing in the red team and when I was inside the green base, ready shoot at the green light, my laser refused to fire. Until I've noticed it wouldn't fire and I had to run. This broken laser kinda made me move into some other games, such as a racing arcade there where Hexetic basically ruled. Webboy was also a great player there, although I've somewhat managed to do better than him. I've also played air hockey where EALA Predator simply pwned everyone there. Phoib played that game very well and managed to beat me after a hard match, but it was simply impossible to play well against Predator.

After a very fun night, we've returned to the hotel totally exhausted. The following day would be a very long day, like this one and we needed to get ready for it.

Go to the Next Part -> Part 3: The Last Day...