Thinkosium Mini-Footage

By Kieron Gillen on October 30th, 2008 at 11:41 am.

A Black Flag gig circa 1983 PC Gaming style

Alas, it seems that no-one recorded the full Thinkosium. This is the first snippet that emerged. It’s the first twelve minutes courtesy of Dartt before his arm got tired. Way to cast dispersions on PC Gamer’s fitness, Dan. It shows the venue as it was. As in, pretty much just plain black. It cuts out just before I actually went on a big rant about how lack of standards is one of the things which provides much of the PC’s virtues. Also, it’s before everyone started going on about World of Goo. A lot.


The Rock, Paper, Shotgun Thinkosium from Dan Trott on Vimeo.

Oh – new photos courtesy of Dave Green.

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23 Comments »

  1. Owen says:

    Heh. Well at least people can see just how damn dark it was! ;) Someone needs to go through that footage second by second and take grabs of the moments where there’s flashes…

  2. guardian says:

    Aspersions! Unless you’re some kind of wizard who can cast dispersions.

  3. Muzman says:

    I swear the guy changes hands on every occasion when some speaker is about to offer up really important information.
    “The code to the safe is mhrhbrahrmsbs. Now we are all complicit”
    “The meaning of life must be something like ksssmsmgbbmmmmmmnsghshs times Plank’s constant” *laughter*
    “In case of fire, whatever you do don’t hhhhmmdrrrrsss *guy next to him strikes up conversation on Microsoft testing* ok? Counter intuitive I know, but deviate from this and you’ll die…oh and someone’s laptop’s just exploded”
    All in the blue lights and random flashes of a Tron theme party.
    Sounds like a cheery little event anyway. Hope more appears.

  4. Pod says:

    How on earth did things get done in such a dark room?

    …oh

  5. Sideath says:

    I was there! For a bit. Got bored after a bit because of as Muzman pointed out, the feedback.

  6. Ginger Yellow says:

    “I swear the guy changes hands on every occasion when some speaker is about to offer up really important information.”

    Maybe it’s a Glados reference.

  7. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    It was probably me who made him stop, as the stairs were giving me a permanent crick in my neck. Sorry everyone!

  8. Aubrey says:

    Augh I am flying into Billy Elliot’s crotch. What the hell kind of adverts do they think we want?

  9. Larington says:

    Any chance that if another one of these is done you could plug some kind of recorder into the tech recieving and then outputting the microphone signals?

  10. StalinsGhost says:

    There I am. Immortalised in RPS history in photo once more. Alas, you can’t see me on camera.

  11. Rei Onryou says:

    There I am. Immortalised in RPS history in photo once more. Alas, you can’t see me on camera.

    I don’t think you have to worry. You can’t see anyone on camera.

    “I’m just here because you said it would be a good place to meet girls…thanks Kieron” – Amen.

    Can’t wait for the next event RPS. Keep up the good work.

  12. rod humble says:

    Thanks for this!

  13. Thomas Lawrence says:

    Well, absent Kieron’s own rant on the topic: of course the idea of standardising the PC is silly, and if that makes it harder to market games for it, well, boo-hoo for marketing.

    In order that the PC may move in sudden and unexpected directions with its merging of hardware and software, and be (for those who can afford it) on the bleeding edge of technology, standardisation is clearly The Enemy and must be stopped.

  14. Ninelives says:

    Nice kheffiyeh, Devendra Banhart

  15. Crispy says:

    I brought up the standards question and I think it got a bit muddied. You also can’t really see my attempt at clarification right where it cuts off but what I was trying to get at was the following:

    For me it is clear that compliance (a.k.a. standards, TCRs, TRCs and lotchecks) is impossible for PCs as far as componants are concerned.

    But on a software level there are various unwritten rules that really should be written down somewhere so lazy developers who’ve patently never played a PC game in the last 10 years can see how PC games work.

    Ed Stern asked “What is a PC?” Now, it’s clear that PCs vary in terms of chipsets, but in terms of interfaces they really haven’t changed much in the last, um-I-don’t-know: millenium? I can’t remember the last time I played a PC not in an internet window without using my mouse. And every game uses a keyboard and/or mouse as the basic or default format. So why is it that there is not a standard for:

    - ‘Escape’ is always the key pressed to access main menu screens whilst in-game? (not ‘Delete’ or ‘Backspace’ or any of the many other horrific things I’ve seen and crossed my fingers will be fixed for release)
    - Save games are always created in the same directory? (or at least a preference given)
    - There is an uninstaller option to delete Registry entries and save games? (I find it pretty crappy that a game that knows where it is programmed to install things won’t tell you where it put stuff and help you get rid of it if it serves no purpose)
    - There is mouse support for the main menu if a mouse is installed? (no I am NOT kidding)
    - The main menu does not say ‘Press START? (or if it does, it at least tells you which key is ‘START’)
    - Save games do not overwrite previous save games without seeking permission?
    - Save games ask first before writing to your last patch of disk space?
    - Where possible, the installer automatically defaults to the language that the PC is set to? (even if this language option isn’t supported in-game)
    - The installer doesn’t attempt to install if you don’t have enough space on your hard drive.
    - The installer gives you at least a rough idea of whether you can run a game? (something I know Valve are looking to tackle with games on Steam)

    I think a lot of you will agree that the vast majority of these are common sense, even if some are more idealogical and more of a personal preference. But the fact is, unless a game is ‘Games for Windows’, there are no standards for PC games, and even then if it looks like a game isn’t going to pass on all the GfW checks, the branding can simply be removed without a massive song and dance.

    I am 100% not saying that all PCs should have the same hardware or that games should be untouchable, self-contained units. These qualities are what make PCs exciting to use and also what are pushing technology ahead in games. But clearly there needs to be someone looking out for the PC to keep the quality of products made for it high, even if only on a very basic level.

  16. Crispy says:

    Also I would like to take this moment to apologise for my drunken “IT SAYS FRINGE ON THE FRONT” comment, which I think pissed off the event organiser. I don’t really know where that came from, but I think next time I might stand further away from the bar, or spend more time passing beers back and less time pouring shame out of my mouth.

  17. Alex May says:

    That was almost as long as what you said when you were given the mic :D

  18. KindredPhantom says:

    LoL Crispy, good question.

  19. Aubrey says:

    Many console games fail TRCs and still get shipped, and that’s with multi billion dollar oligopolists breathing down your neck. TRCs also add months of extra development and testing to a game. This makes it very hard to afford, especially if you’re talking PC development studios. Standards can also potentially thwart what the developer wants to do with a game. Blow had to fight quite hard to do a non standard menu, and many others, faced with the prospect of an uphill struggle, will simply bin potentially cool ideas because they don’t fit inside certain requirements.

    That’s probably not the best example here, since you’re talking more about making basic concessions to good software practices, which I can agree would be a good thing (PC games already HAVE guidelines and best practices if you care to look for them), but I can also understand why it doesn’t happen consistently. If you have time to set up what directory your save games go into, taking into account all the proper platform and user settings, chances are, you’d prefer to spend that time on making the actual game (rather than the packaging) better. I guess, ideally, you need more money to hire someone to take care of that stuff, but chances are, they’ll just be sucked into more pressing aspects of development.

    I think at this point, all you can ask is for PC developers to use common sense on that stuff, but any idea of forcing them to conform kind of defeats the point why they’re making games on a PC.

  20. Aubrey says:

    In other words, keep being a loud angry internet man about the issue, and people might listen, and packages might get slightly better.

    But it’s not really going to save PC gaming, is it? That’s the indie scene’s job, and corralling them into some kind fixed format will be like catching gas with a butterfly net.

  21. Crispy says:

    I think you’ll probably find that most of these things already come up in testing anyway… eventually. But a handy list for developers would actually reduce the time spent since the standards would be known while making the design. Most designers in games (including console) have very limited knowledge of the sort of standards that dictate Save and Load processes, setting up online games, achievements and so on. If more designers knew the standards in play a lot less time and money would be wasted on redevelopment of features in the late stages when it suddenly becomes clear that their design will not pass a given set of standards.

    I go back again to keeping the standards basic, though, so as not to encroach too much on freedom of design. And it would be nice if whoever did form this organisation was more of a committee with members from the industry than a ruling party. Compliance lists for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are huge because they are so exhaustive. They cover everything from whether you can write “The A and B buttons” or whether it has to be “The A button and the B button”, to under what circumstances messages should appear and how they should be worded, to a number of different things. Really the PC standards should be more of a ‘best practise’, agreed and conformed to by members of the industry for the good of the industry. And there is absolutely no need to be so invasive with the standards since nobody owns the PC brand, so half the standards you’d see for the console makers would not need to exist on PC.

    Creating the standards is only half the issue. The other thing is how they are enforced. Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo charge tens of thousands of pounds every time you send your game for submission to their set of standards. This would not be good for indie gaming at all. I think the PC could perhaps self-regulate. There was talk of the PC Gaming Alliance at the thinkosium in response to this question which I think most people scoffed at. But perhaps some sort of similar organisation that wanted to champion quality in games could be trusted to at least publish sensible guidelines. That way if it was clear that perhaps a standard wasn’t followed entirely to the letter, but the game was a lot better off for it and it didn’t impact negatively on the end-user experience, it wouldn’t matter.

  22. Fumarole says:

    Total sausagefest.

  23. Alonzo Harris says:

    I love the Turin Machine comment at the end, not because of the mocking of (actually a decent question), but because the idea of gaming on it is excellent.

    Also Rod Humble is here (?/!)