Gone to Texas (Redux)

Austin skyline by v-tek

Funny ole world, innit? In 2005 I was given the opportunity to move from Toronto, ON to Austin, TX. I went to work for NCsoft as the Community Writer for City of Heroes, and ended as the writer for about 60% of the slate of NC-games. It was a good year, despite some personal and professional challenges, but in the end I decided Toronto was where I needed to be.
Returning to the Great White North, I spent some time resting and recuperating and trying to figure out what to do next. I went on safari. I did some freelance work. I wrote a script (well, the first draft at any rate). And I managed to catch the eye of the people at Ganz, the makers of Webkinz.

I worked with several teams at Ganz – on some Webkinz projects, on some top sekret prototypes, and eventually on the recently announced Tail Towns. (Also see: Tail Towns Insiders for some actual shots of product and things for the game). I met some amazingly talented people there, who I hope to work with again.

But last summer I made another big decision and elected to stay home and take care of our daughter (then 18 months). I snuck in a few freelance projects (“dad-by-day, freelance-crimefighter-by-night;” which is to say I also managed a bit of Batman: Arkham Asylum).
Work included:

• An essay for The Bones.
• A world bible top sekret projekt.
• A chapter for the Smallville High School Yearbook.
• A script for an indie short.

I could wax on about my experiences as a Stay-at-Home-Dad, but that probably requires its own entry. Let it be said that the seven months I stayed home were some of the most fun, and some of the most taxing, of my life.

And Now You Are Two. Merry Xmas. Also, We Are Moving To Tejas.

My daughter was born right before Christmas (‘08), so I have learned (and will continue to learn) how stressful-crazy-OHGOD the December build-up is. This year was complicated by a major job offer. A “can we upset everything in our lives (again) and do we do this” offer. A “I don’t think I can say no to this” kind of offer. I said yes. R said yes. Our daughter said yes (actually, she probably said, “Mama and Dada and A-nana go to Circle Time,” but she was supportive). I would go back to work, and R would stay home and take care of A.

Once again I was moving from Toronto to Austin.

It meant pretty much all of our energies were being spent on packing up the house, planning for A’s birthday event, and somehow squeezing in a bit of Christmas cheer. Oh, and while my Mom was around and being a tremendous help, she was also in the process of separating her stuff from our house and moving it to Montreal. Hectic is nowhere near strong enough a word. Three-fingers of 12-yr Cragganmore was almost potent enough.

And so it came to pass that I broke the news to the inner circle in early January. I didn’t want to distract people with our fuss while they were in the midst of their holidays. But damn I had a lot of people to try to say goodbye to in Toronto. I regret missing a bunch of you, but it gives me an excuse to do better next time I’m up north, or you come down here, or we meet in San Francisco or Berlin or Shanghai or Ulan Bator – wherever the next GDC-franchise happens.

I flew down in late Jan to look for an apartment. Or as A started to say at the time, “Dada in AustinTexas to look at swimming pools.” Zipped home, finished packing, and returned on Jan 31st to start working on Feb 1st, at KingsIsle Entertainment. My car is somewhere between Buffalo and here. The apartment is chock-full-of-boxes. Work is already starting to build. But man, this is going to be a helluva ride.

NOTE: The awesome photo above was supplied by my new colleague, Mark “v-tek” Vittek.

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Posted in General on February 18, 2011 by Jesse
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Jesse Scoble

Jesse Scoble is a writer, story editor, and game designer in no particular order.

He has won awards, written a Western Horror script, worked on computer games & pen&paper games, contributed to more than 30 titles, and makes a mean mojito.

Currently he is a freelance writer in Montreal, QC.