The Sunday Papers

By Jim Rossignol on September 30th, 2012 at 10:23 am.


Sundays are for celebrating the birthday of previous Sunday Papers editor, Kieron Gillen. Happy birthday, old chap, we raise our morning mugs of tea to you and your vital way with words. Speaking of words…

  • VG247 interview Valve’s Chet Faliszek: “I’ve funded a lot of things on Kickstarter. I figure 60% of these projects will actually create something by the end, and I’m fine with that. It’s going to be interesting for projects that take a long time, for teams that aren’t as experienced, seeing what people think, and to see what’s going to happen two or three years from now. Are they actually going to deliver and come through with it? So yeah, that will be interesting to see. But I do hope that it maintains being a viable way, because I love being able to see people saying, ‘yeah, I’m just going to do this project.’”
  • Why you can’t hide in the shadows in Dishonored: “”As we are a bit perfectionist, we wanted it to work as in Thief and very realistically. With these two notions we got crazy and decided to eliminate the light parameters, because it was too difficult to have both.”"
  • Edge’s Why I Make Games is a bit lightweight, probably thanks to being a repurosed magazine article, but there’s nevertheless got some stars in there, talking about their motivations. Harvey Smith: “Ultimately, the reason I make games is that I still find it fascinating to explore the dark, the potentially threatening or hostile space; it’s thrilling to me to solve problems under duress, to fight monsters in the metaphorical sense. And I want to do it myself, expressing my own desires and quirks. I’d rather be there as an active agent in a truly dynamic, changeable situation, and games do that better than film or literature.”
  • Steve Gaynor ponders on the possibilities for a non-violent immersive sim: “Can a “non-violent Immersive Sim” even exist? For us, it comes down to extracting the specific definition of “simulation” as it applies to the games that inspire us, and applying that to the context of experience we’re presenting in Gone Home. Because “simulation” in our case is not a literal term. It’s not virtual reality or the Holodeck (or even Jurassic Park Trespasser.) What it means is allowing the player to do whatever their character might logically do within the game’s context, and ensuring that the gameworld reacts in the way you expect. The design challenges in pursuit of this goal involve deciding what to abstract away from literal simulation, and how best to accomplish it.”
  • Kotaku Australia’s 30-year saga of a game’s store/museum: “In their store in Penshurst, The Gamesmen built a museum. It has every console you can imagine set in chronological order. Above it is a timeline, charting the progress of video games: where they’ve come from, where they are at this present point in time. Throughout the last 30 years, among the most the most pivotal turning points in gaming’s history, The Gamesmen have been present, “rolling with the punches,” as Angelo Jr puts it.”
  • Some thought experiments for the apocalypse: “The game quickly becomes muddy as you work to strip away your conventional thinking. Would that homeless guy really be so bad to have around when you suddenly need to live rough? Is a criminal even a criminal anymore, or just a really good scout? Is that older fellow with the kindly face going to do anything besides break a hip in a crisis?”
  • Tom Francis’ posting about Guild Wars 2 has almost made me install it. But right now I am busy with Mechwarrior and Planetside…
  • Don’t forget to watch Quinns’ and Paul Dean’s boardgame show.
  • And then maybe head over to Flash Of Steel for some strategic thinking.
  • This is an interesting read, with a console gamer suggesting that gamers are ready for a “digital only” world. As a PC gamer I rarely get physical media anymore. I was surprised to receive a Carrier Command disc in the post from Bohemia this week. It’s so rare that anything is physical, and it’s been like that for a couple of years.
  • The Skulls Of The Shogun programmer chap on deciding which platforms to plump for: “Small developers like us (3 people for a while, now up to 5 fulltime) face a daunting task – not enough resources to build cross platform titles for launch, and so many platforms to pick from. You have to at least make enough to survive on the first one to port it to the others. The shifts in platforms can feel like a rollercoaster ride – and not one of those polished Six Flags coasters, more like a rickety contraption in a traveling carnival run by a guy with one arm and an eye patch.”
  • I love that the Guardian ran a piece just on Dishonored’s concept art. They also made sure they spelled it ‘Dishonoured’. Well done.
  • What Battlestar Galactica got right about naval combat in space.

Music this week is one for Gillen.

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132 Comments »

  1. fiddlesticks says:

    Happy Birthday Kieron. Party like it’s 1873.

  2. Gap Gen says:

    The Foreign Policy article is kinda interesting, and a point I was thinking about recently (i.e., what space combat would really be like N years into the future). He makes a good point, though – Battlestar *is* basically modern America in space, carrier combat, politics and all (with some polytheism, apparently). It’s not really trying to extrapolate a future, or be realistic. It’s more of an allegory. Also, manned fighters – obsolete within a few decades on Earth, never mind space.

    Also, Foreign Policy magazine itself is fascinating, what with most of the editorial board being ex-Bush-administration people.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      If Foreign Policy is staffed mostly by Bush allies and followers one has to wonder what they’d make of BSG’s views on why people become suicide bombers.

      Good to see they mentioned Babylon 5 though.

      • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

        Foreign Policy is actually quite an interesting forum, the opinions expressed range from stunningly candid and honest analysis of U.S. policy to purely ideological bullshit incongruous to reality (heavily moreso the latter). That being said, in either case it used to be a revealing insight to the thinking of elite policy-makers and prevailing thought amongst them… as you might notice from this article, it has become less of a scholarly review and more of a popular publication, especially since the utterly reprehensible Washington Post Company purchased it.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I think the author missed a few things. One being that as our robotic and fabrication techniques get better, we’ll need less and less people on a ship (although there will still be some). Another is that space is absolutely massive and constantly moving. Supply lines get a lot harder when you’re working in three dimensions, and if you don’t have FTL than you’re spending longer than the average tour of duty just to get to most places.

      I don’t think the part about lasers making close range combat obsolete was necessarily right either. Getting lasers to hit in space is pretty hard. It seems like it would be easier to just build a bunch of drones with engines, or maybe even just shoot a ton of random crap at the enemy. At the speed of space travel every moving thing has a huge chunk of energy behind it.

      • ReV_VAdAUL says:

        Well thats the problem with realistic space combat, accelerating a bunch of scrap to a good percentage of the speed of light and sending it in the general direction of your enemy is quite a potent weapon in space but boring as heck to watch / read about.

        • Baines says:

          Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series has “grapeshot” as a mainstay weapon. Grapeshot being classic grapeshot, namely a bunch of ball bearings that they shoot at enemy ships. That series also deals with fractional light speed combat issues, such as having to account for transmission time delays when dealing with formations, and knowing that what you are seeing might have already have happened minutes or even hours ago. (The series doesn’t use available anytime FTL travel, but rather fixed jump points between systems. No FTL communication, either.)

      • LionsPhil says:

        Ooh, is it time for Project Rho again?

        It’ll be a sad day if that site ever falls off the ‘net.

      • Scrooge says:

        As long as we’re asking those annoying realism questions, would space combat be affordable? Unless space travel becomes significantly cheaper you’d be spending billions of dollars on spacecraft that might never return.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          Wasteful military spending is not something that world governments concern themselves with. If there were a way to build deadly pew-pew space fighters, I guarantee you we’d have them right now.

        • Zenicetus says:

          The military concept of “high ground” applies here. Whoever has the high ground, has a tremendous advantage. Read Niven/Pournelle’s “Footfall” novel, for example. All you have to do is throw big rocks, if you control space and the other faction doesn’t.

          I think the main reason we don’t have a major arms race in space right now (aside from the covert stuff, like anti-satellite weapons research), is that we’re in a lull where it’s just too expensive to develop major space combat assets. That will probably change when the tech gets affordable for asteroid mining, because once you can move big rocks around… well… you definitely don’t want to be the only nation with that capability.

          Eventually there could also be entire societies that live a completely off-world existence — inhabiting scattered asteroid bases, or living in large ships. In a scenario like that, any combat would by definition be space combat.

          • Nate says:

            If I may be permitted to offer my respectful disagreement:

            “High ground” is not a valid analogy. If high ground was some sort of military trump, we’d see military bases in the Himalayas. The reasons we don’t are for much the same reasons that we don’t see military bases in space.

            Ground based defenses (including things like aircraft, which are maintained on and launched from the ground) have nearly every conceivable advantage over space-based defenses. Those include advantages in maintenance, camouflage/stealth, heat dissipation– and even, what most people seem to forget, mobility. It is very handy to have a large supply of matter around against which to accelerate, it leads to a more unpredictable position.

            It’s possible to make great big weapons that can be deployed from space, weapons that can level cities. What people forget is that modern military powers already have weapons that can level cities, and they are quite a bit cheaper than spacecraft. Any advances that might reduce the cost of spacecraft, or to improve access to spacecraft, are likely to result in even cheaper or more accessible ground-based weapons of mass destruction. Plus, there is very little profit involved in leveling cities.

            The aggressor in an interplanetary conflict would act at a severe disadvantage because of the strength of ground-based defenses. To take one planet would require the military force of more than one other planet. The costs associated with moving that much material from one planet to another would be so extreme that there’s no chance of them being recouped in one lifetime. Stellar nanofactories or any other technologies that might possible change this equation would mean much larger things than the potential for war (like for instance, the elimination of scarcity to begin with.) Because there’s no remote chance of economic gain, interplanetary wars would likely be slow, dull wars of extermination (maybe even involving the rock-dropping you mentioned, but maybe not– ICBMs really are very elegant things).

            Space-based defenses have, as far as I can tell, a single advantage over ground-based defenses. They can see a very long ways. That shouldn’t be surprising, because that’s exactly what we use satellites for now– communications and sensors. Any space warfare with forseeable technology is likely to be about shooting down satellites, but the cheapest defense against that is likely to put up more satellites. When Pirate Bay gets a satellite up (maybe in ten or twenty years?), we may finally get to hear a little bit about what the major military powers have been working on with regards to this. In the imaginary situations of a WW III, there are simply too many satellites up by too many powers, and they’re too small and too cheap. Taking one out would be more expensive than launching a new one, and if you took enough out, the debris would probably take out your own satellites– worse, not just your own, but everybody’s, and next thing you know, you’ve earned the enmity of every neutral nation as well as large numbers of giant corporations. Doesn’t seem like a smart move, strategically or diplomatically.

            And, no– a space-to-earth laser simply couldn’t compete with ground-based defenses, many of which do not rely on that kind of direct fire anyways.

          • MacTheGeek says:

            @Nate:

            In the Footfall example, the invaders don’t have guns big enough to vaporize cities. Instead, they have the ability to pull asteroids out of their current orbits and drop them down Earth’s gravity well. A small rock, only a few meters in diameter, can wipe out a city. And the invaders have more than enough rocks available to annihilate the human race.

            It’s that gravitic perspective that the “high ground” metaphor references. People or beings in lower-gravity environments (read: orbiting the Earth or other bodies in the solar system) are on the “high ground”, while people or beings on the surface of those bodies are on the “low ground”. Doesn’t matter whether you’re on top of a mountain; if someone can accelerate an asteroid down onto your head, and you don’t have a gun/platform big enough to stop them, they win.

        • Gap Gen says:

          Sure, the government already spends billions on fighters. Plus UAVs may decrease unit costs.

          I think space warfare in the near future will probably be satellites and ground missiles trying to shoot at each other and take pictures of stuff on the ground. Further into the future, I imagine that if mining in space takes off or if space-based solar energy becomes economic, controlling Earth orbit and beyond will be rather crucial, much as everyone’s currently jockeying over the South China Sea.

        • InternetBatman says:

          If we see a lot of space travel, we’ll see space combat. The incredible value of military satellites already assures us that if two major powers were to fight, a small part of it would extend to space.

  3. phelix says:

    I’m glad the Guardian knows their language.

    Also, that apocalypse-game-article is bloody brilliant.

    • Gonefornow says:

      They called Deus Ex a shooter….

      @SuperNashwanPower: Hilarious (puntastic) cannibals, you mean.

      @Gap Gen: Well I’ll be damned.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      I am going to play Last Stop: Apocalypse with RPS commenters. I have myself down as a worker as I have few useful skills and I am not good at fighting. I’d like to think I was an expert because that is a bit higher status and I might get more action, but truth be told I am distinctly average. Just please don’t eat me, you hideous cannibals.

      • Lone Gunman says:

        I like to think I have a good fitness level so I might make a good scout since I can get about quickly.

        Although said fitness would probably diminish if I had a lack of food and water. But that is where the forages come in. Everyone has apart :)

        • SuperNashwanPower says:

          Forage me a kipper, I’ll be back for breakfast

          • phelix says:

            Oh man you just reminded me of that genius episode of Fawlty Towers where a guest dies in bed and Basil has to cope with it. Can’t remember the name though…

      • Arglebargle says:

        Baboon troops regularly support their elderly. And use them as scouts in dangerous situations.

        Their experiance may help them see that hidden leopard. And if they fail…..oh well.

    • InternetBatman says:

      The apocalypse article was written by a sociopath. The game is basically “I like to imagine a lot of people dying so I can entertain my hatred of humanity. I stereotype people and mentally condemn them to death because in my real life I am powerless and pathetic, but in the fictional apocalypse that I’m creating I am the judge of life and death.”

      The slightest bit of analysis shows it to be absolutely vile.

      • Gonefornow says:

        And then again, shooting people in the FACE, virtually, is a grand pastime.
        The same goes for taking part in fictional worlds, via reading or watching, that revolve around murder and violence.

        So are we all sociopaths? Nope because those things aren’t real. Just like thoughts about the apocalypse.
        You even said it yourself:
        “.., but in the fictional apocalypse that I’m creating I am the judge of life and death.”
        Why the hell not. It’s a fictional thing in the authors head, which without further evidence hasn’t affected the “real” world a bit, apart from making boring commute less so and writing the article.

        • PopeJamal says:

          “So are we all sociopaths?”
          Yes. It’s very much a continuum, and most people fall on it somewhere.

        • Gap Gen says:

          This is why I loved Spec Ops: The Line. It posited that if you’re shooting everyone you see, chances are you’re not the good guy.

        • InternetBatman says:

          There’s a difference between shooting a doll on a monitor and wishing that someone you’ve never met should be eat by cannibals because they have a blue shirt with a white collar and they’re yuppie (which is coincidentally a sign of a certain amount of wealth and virility).

          Another huge difference is that a lot of fps’ have far greater narrative distance than this. In UT and others the announcer constantly reminds you its just a game. In CoD and most other shooters the player is reminded through cutscenes that they’re just playing as someone else. This author has a not so secret yearning for other people to die so that he can be superior to someone, so that he can own the world:

          It may not be safe and it may not be easy, but at least I saw you all burn first, right? I survived. The math of everyday living is easier without you. Now it’s my world to mess up or save, as I want.

          That is just pathetic.

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        InternetBatman – thats a bit dark dude. You could read it that way, but I don’t think it was coming from that place. If your experience of life is that people are evil, sure it can be read that way. Any type of humour has a target, but my take is this is in the realm of safe fantasy. Like when you say “I feel like punching someone’s face in” when a friend asks you how your journey home on London Underground was. You aren’t REALLY going to punch anyone.

        I’ll be honest – I go thorugh phases of hating the world too and when I am in one of my black moods, yeah. I might have that reaction too. But today the sun is shining, I dont feel shitty and, yeah. Its all good. Bunny rabbits.

        Maybe its denial :)

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        I see nothing wrong with any of it, simply because humanity is a putrid, slimy little thing that is going to be deservedly wiped out sooner or later.

        U mad bro?

        • InternetBatman says:

          If you have such a negative view of humanity, I guess the question is, are you doing anything to make it better? It’s not really hard. The hardest part by far is getting out of a depressive cycle and the hole of negativity, basically getting out of your room.

          And I’m not mad at all, just a bit disappointed that this was posted. It isn’t a unique thought; you can find a bunch of sad men running imaginary empires all over the internet. It just needs to be pointed out as the cancer it is and then ignored.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            Humanity has been a slow downward spiral since we slogged out of the water. It’s in our genes to kill, rape, and destroy, even more so than it is to create and build. What we need is a paradigm shift in the way we view our world and those around us, and one person is going to have absolutely no effect in that regard. We can only temporarily hold off the inevitable.

            So no, I won’t bother doing anything about it. We deserve our fate.

          • JackShandy says:

            “Humanity has been a slow downward spiral since we slogged out of the water.”

            Provably false.

            http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_the_myth_of_violence.html

          • InternetBatman says:

            We deserve a negative outcome only if we let indolence and inertia prevent us from doing what is right. We live in an age of wonders surrounded by amazing inventions and daily reinterpretations of the world. Letting negativity blind ourselves to humanities’ achievements is just as naive as unfounded optimism.

      • Gap Gen says:

        He got through the entire thing without mentioning Ayn Rand, though, so he should get at least some credit.

        But yes, he comes across as pretty unpleasant. How dare an old man be too polite to ask someone for a seat?!

        Oh, also, anyone who thinks the apocalypse would be awesome should probably watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrGg8PfkbZw

      • Muzman says:

        I think he’s speaking metaphorically and I think he’s right, up to a point. What plenty of people (males, almost exclusively) entertain in the apocalypse scenario is their rugged individualist fantasies about themselves. But also a stripped back and simpler world free of all our social complications.
        It has unpleasant implications, but I think that’s true all the same. It’s why the scenario continues to be popular. And I suspect this will only increase as our lives get more and more interconnected and complicated to navigate.

        Patrice O’Neil (a black guy) once described Fight Club as ‘White men, the movie’. I think it’s true of this too. Obsession with the ubermench and primal destruction run deep.

        I think it’s mostly harmless as long as it stays fantasy, of course.

        • wodin says:

          What a racist comment by that Patrice..Blacks are well more tribal than whites..check Africa and the gangs in Western Cities…nobhead..not you that Patrice bloke..

          Love it the way blacks can be racists allday but whites would and do get jumped on from a big height..

          • Muzman says:

            What’s tribal go to do with it? Or Africa for that matter? Fight Club and Apocalypses are about the individual (in this context. That’s not all they are about obviously)
            His point was pretty good I thought. There are certain cultural hang ups that white Westerners have more than others, that’s why he couldn’t relate to the movie at first. It’s not to say black American culture doesn’t have its own macho bullshit (which he has discussed as well).

  4. Cinnamon says:

    So are the Skulls of the Shogun dudes going to be able to port the game to Windows if the buzzkill version sells enough?

    • borut says:

      That’s one thing I didn’t get a chance to cover in the article, since I was swamped with work when I was finishing it.

      While nobody ever gets rich “selling out” to a publisher for a deal to distribute your game, the best you can do is get enough money to help finish your game – but that can make it a *lot* easier to port (especially if it’s something like going from one phone platform to another, b/c it can be a lot of work to implement a touch interface in a controller/mouse+keyboard game).

      Although that still comes with drawbacks, as Sean Murray from Hello Games talks about here: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-09-26-joe-danger-2-coming-to-ps3-has-10-hours-of-extra-content

      So that’s about all I can say right now for Skulls.

  5. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Hello RPS people. The mention of Gone Home up there triggered a half-remembered memory of an up-coming game, and am hoping someone might know so I can satisfy that niggly feeling when you cant remember something.

    The game is to be set in one day, and you spend the first half of it preparing to leave. I cant remember WHY you had to leave, but apparently the different things you did, people you spoke to and preparations you made, all affected how the game played out. I am pretty sure it was non-violent. Has anyone got a scooby what on earth I am talking about? It might even have been a Greenlight or Kickstarter game. Thank you dearest hivemind.

  6. Gap Gen says:

    Also yes, I haven’t bought a boxed game in ages. It’s kinda cute to see someone proposing a download-only future, although I guess they’re proposing something more like streaming content than downloading an executable to “keep”.

    • Lone Gunman says:

      Whilst I download so many cool indie games I still like to buy a boxed copy of something if I can. I like having a physical copy if I can hold. Same reason i will always buy a physical book over an ebook.

      Also the though of only being able to stream games is horrible O.o

      .exe everyday

      • Randomer says:

        Pretty much the only reason I am still tempted to buy Diablo 3 is that Blizzard packages awesome manuals in with their games. I keep the old D1 and D2 manuals around simply because they make a great light read. The story/fluff in them is epic!

        • Skull says:

          Well, I will spare you the disappointment and inform you the Diablo 3 manual is nothing compared to how they were.

  7. phenom_x8 says:

    For the high rank PC elitist, here’s your read :
    http://www.digitalstormonline.com/unlocked/article.asp?ID=25

    • Crugath says:

      The person who wrote that article/infographic needs to read up about the Megahertz Myth http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megahertz_myth

      The main argument made about how PCs are considerably more powerful than consoles is based on the fact that PCs have more megahertz. So right from the beginning, this article is full of shit.

      • AndrewC says:

        But PCs have more graphics, Crugath. More of them!

      • pepper says:

        Its a easy comparison, put the numbers together and see which numbers outrank the other. To actually make a meaningfull comparison requires a deeper understanding of the different kind of architectures found both in hardware and software.

        I suppose its the same with cars, some of them may have a higher horse power, but that doesnt mean it has a better track performance. Or for that matter, anything that has a direct comparison.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          psshhh big words
          All you have to do is look at the same game on two systems to see which runs it better

      • Pindie says:

        I do not like how the article is written. Besides you could just post screenshot comparisons and that would get the point across better.

        Consoles have a couple of specialized functions they can do better.
        For example you can pass rendered stencil frame from GPU to CPU with just one frame delay which allows to use it for cheaper face culling.
        However these are quite marginal gains and memory restrictions put an upper cap on any attempt at graphical fidelity.

        Having shared memory would be awesome if not for the fact any modern day PC has more GPU and RAM memory separately than console has in total.

        This is the worst time possible to buy a console. It’s the end of cycle.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          Yeah, especially considering the price will drop significantly in 2013

        • Steven Hutton says:

          It’s not a good time to buy a PC either. Given that it’s the end of the console cycle were about to have a year or two of very fast PC hardware advancement which will stagnate again when the new consoles arrive and all the big games are cross platform again.

      • derbefrier says:

        killer refresh rate dude.

    • InternetBatman says:

      That lists “setting-up and tweaking PCs can be rewarding” in user-friendliness. Most of the consoles have an online system equivalent to Steam. And they don’t mention the reliability of PC parts, just that they can be replaced.

    • njursten says:

      Must be some “Idiot’s Guide to Gaming”, lots of generalizations and generally weird stuff.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Its insulting to pretend that the TRUE PC elite would enjoy that article, as the guy clearly is one of those low-end “PC magazine” educated losers that has no sense or knowledge of history and arching development, and just threw together some common facts, that, although true, are very relative(more expensive game prices, e.g.).

      Anyone who has lived through ISA, VESA, PCI, PCI-X, PS/2, COM and LPT vs USB, DSUB vs component vs DVI vs HDMI vs link, socket abcdefghijklmnop and so on and so forth will know that pretending a PC is in any way truly “standardized” or “upgradeable” is just making attempts to grow their nose past Pinocchio size, pants ablaze. Dito for the OS, btw(DirectX legacy, driver support and so continually on the upgrade game goes).

      Consoles still are shit, but they are so for what shaping effect they had on the development of games and interfaces in places NOT-console, and for letting us miss the option that at some point PCs got efficient and small enough to be able to 1:1 replace them if one just wanted to. Not for being a subversively marketed money scam or whatever.
      (What I mean: A console as a console in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. Its more the effects and decisions elsewhere that come from developments around it that gives your a plethora of reasons to wish that crap wouldn’t exist / that things had gone differently and consoles remained platforms where people only play stuff like tennis, bowling and mario).

  8. povu says:

    Don’t worry about the Dishonored comment, the shadow system isn’t completely out. Dev quote from the forums:

    ‘The AIs have several viewcones. The main one ignores light and shadow. Peripheral and long-distance cones however do take shadow into account. ‘

    Just means that if you’re in the shadows and someone is staring straight at you from two meters away they’ll be able to spot you.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      I have you down as a ‘scout’ in Last Stop: Apocalypse. Good info. Now go find me a shotgun. Please :)

    • LionsPhil says:

      Cool; that was always a bit of a silly nod to gameism, and if they’ve managed to make it still stealthy-fun without it that’s a nice bit of progress for the genre.

    • Thirith says:

      Very glad to hear that – and it sounds like a smart way of handling it, a reasonable compromise between realism and fun.

      • Vorphalack says:

        I remain unconvinced that compromising fun for realism is something games should be striving for, especially if your game allows you to posses rats and use the force.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          Exactly. I want that balance between game and reality to begin to fade as I run the executable… hopefully gone after the five logo splash screens before the game menu.

          Anyway, not worried about the shadow thing in Dishonored, just a little concerned about the development process of this game. Perhaps it was once a great idea, but now has been tweaked and focus grouped to death? We’ll see in about a week, huh?

        • MikoSquiz says:

          Just the other day I saw someone describe realism as a tool to help players understand game mechanics, and only that. It’s probably the cleverest thing I’ve heard anyone say about realism in games. I wish I could remember who it was.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Thing is, a guard staring right in your face and not seeing you because you’re in the dark kind of shatters immersion because it’s out-of-kilter with the rest of the world running on basically normal physics whereby you can make out things in shadows up-close. And that peturbs the fun.

          If they have a good way to fix that without just breaking stealthy-sneaky hijinks entirely, that is a Good Thing.

        • povu says:

          The fact that you can use blink to teleport all around, and possess enemies, and use all sorts of other powers and powerful weapons means it’s much easier to get around than in Thief. I don’t think you need that extra bit of help to stay hidden by making shadows super effective.

        • Muzman says:

          Someone like Garrett has a fictional backstory that covers that particular mechanic (in an vague sort of way). Dishonoured doesn’t so you can’t hide in shadows the same. Presumably it does have one that covers the summoning of rats. It’s not how realistic it is, it’s how internally consistent it is.

  9. KauhuK says:

    I still buy my games usually from retail because they are cheaper than digital ones (especially new releases) That’s about it.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Forager

    • Magnusm1 says:

      ..What?

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Completely wrong.
      Or are you being opposite man?

      • MikoSquiz says:

        I just ordered Borderlands 2 from Amazon for £27 because I didn’t have the spare money to buy it on Steam. I also bought Skyrim from my local supermarket on release day because it was £10 less than on Steam.

        • Gasmask Hero says:

          If you can’t afford £2.99 extra when buying a game, you shouldn’t be buying that game at all.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Maybe it’s not a question of “can afford” maybe it’s a question of “Same product cheaper = why would I be so stupid as to buy the more expensive one”

          • AndrewC says:

            Why promote the creation of hunks of plastic in sweatshops and the transport of them across vast distances just so you can access information that you can also get just by pressing a button in your room. But hey, you saved £3, so priorities, right?

          • DiamondDog says:

            If you were that bothered about hunks of plastic and the transportation of goods around the world you wouldn’t be using a computer, for a start. But then it’s easy to moralise about something that involves no sacrifice to your every-day life, and still get that nice warm glow of self-satisfaction.

          • NathanH says:

            And that’s before we remember that the purchasing strategy of an average person isn’t going to make any difference to the grand scheme of things. It’s all about whether a sense of smug superiority is worth £3 or not.

          • AndrewC says:

            These are very defensive combacks. Also the argument seems to be ‘well what i do won’t mean much, so I just won’t bother at all’, or perhaps ‘others are doing even worse things, so this justifies me doing this smaller bad thing’. I am not swayed by these arguments.

          • NathanH says:

            It’s usual to make defensive comebacks against aggressive and stupid comments.

            You’ve slightly misread my argument, but never mind, because even if you read it properly you won’t agree.

          • AndrewC says:

            Aggressive and stupid now, too? Well, OK, you win.

          • Dilapinated says:

            Ah, and “poor people shouldn’t want nice things” rears its ugly head.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Oh, they should want them, so that their aspirational energy powers the nation’s industry. It’s just hard to balance having them know their place while also keeping them thinking that if they just work hard enough they might get to move up from it.

            Bloody plebs.

          • DiamondDog says:

            I’m not being defensive, or justifying anything, or trying to sway you. I’m just pointing out the flaw in castigating someone for purchasing a boxed product when you clearly enjoy a hobby that involves the same issues. It’s called being a hypocrite. It’s called driving your petrol guzzling 4×4 to the bottle bank.

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            Are some of the replies in this thread being podcast from a Tory conference?

          • AndrewC says:

            The solution is not to stop going to the bottle bank. The arguments become complex*. You are demanding perfection from me before you accept any argument I am making, yet do not hold yourself to those same standards. No-one, not in the western world, lives a perfect life. Why should the onus of proof be so overwhelmingly on me, save for the cognitive error of always assuming one’s own position is right until proven irrevocably wrong?

            When faced with limited options, which all of us are, right action can only be defined by what choices we *do* have. Not buying physical copies is a small one, but real nonetheless.

            The original argument is about what whether this marginal saving in buying physical is worth ignoring all other considerations. I’m arguing that other considerations beyond brute price factor in to consumer choices, and that ignoring all else in favour of the pennies is not an attitude I want for myself.

            *not least because it can be argued that recycling sadly achieves nothing.

          • DiamondDog says:

            I’m not demanding anything from you. And whether I hold myself to those same ideals is irrelevant because I wasn’t the one making a sarcastic comment about someone else. Being concious of these things, and doing what you can, is no bad thing. I never said otherwise. I just don’t like seeing someone being talked down to on such a trivial point, as if not buying boxed products puts you above someone looking to save sometimes not inconsiderable amounts of money.

            There was no original argument, there was just you being an ass.

          • Phantoon says:

            I want old RPS to come back.

            You know, when everyone was gentlemen. Even the women.

          • AndrewC says:

            I am an ass as well. I’ve quite the list of things I am.

          • JackShandy says:

            Andrew C, be reasonable. You started the argument with aggressive rhetorical questions, and acted shocked when you got aggressive answers. Assume that the people you’re talking to are cool dudes and you might have better conversations.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @AndrewC

            “Why promote the creation of hunks of plastic in sweatshops and the transport of them across vast distances just so you can access information that you can also get just by pressing a button in your room. But hey, you saved £3, so priorities, right?”

            I’m sorry, do you have some evidence to support your assertion that DVD’s and CD’s are packaged in sweatshops? The only problem I could find in the packaging of optical media industries is that the process is automated and government grants are being used to buy machines not provide jobs.

            But unsubstantiated claims that (insert job or industry here) in (any country westerners generally don’t understand properly ) is a sweatshop are all the rage these days.

            But even if they were being packaged in sweatshops, how would buying the product via a different medium do any good. You would need to boycott the product completely and make sure the company knows why you are boycotting the product.

            As for £3 being a tiny saving, I have – after a rough count on my steam library – 340 games I know I bought on release day that would count as full price releases (£25 or more). 340*£3 = £1020

            A grand in savings. A grand. I bet we could all do with an extra £1000 right now, I know I could! You know how the average first time house buyers age is 35 years old, compared to my parents generation of 22. I wonder if that is in part because they were thriftier than us and didn’t turn their noses up at a 10% saving.

          • derbefrier says:

            I know its terrible buying boxed copies. All those poor people working in those factories getting paid, putting food on the table for their children and roof over their heads. The epitome of evil in this world am I right?

          • Gap Gen says:

            Bjorn Lomberg’s work is fascinating (he’s written in favour of growth and rethinking environmentalism). One thing he mentioned was that recycling paper in some cases retards the growth of sustainable forests, as well as using up man hours sorting it, and thus may be worse for the environment than just throwing it away.

      • NathanH says:

        In the UK, it’s often cheaper to buy physical copies online for new releases. Steam is usually relatively very expensive for a new release. High Street is usually slightly cheaper. Buying online and having it delivered is generally cheapest.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          That’s most certainly not the case if you live in the US, simply because our retail options are so limited these days. Nobody with any self-worth is willing to go to Best Buy just to pick up a video game.

  10. RedViv says:

    All this buzz about Windows 8 just makes me wish for more talent pouring into Linux. We’re almost there, people. Almost.

    • gschmidl says:

      …and have been “almost there” for the last 10 years. Maybe W8 will be the final push.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        SUSE was supposed to be “almost there” in 1994. I bought into it then and I’m still waiting.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Linux itself is almost 21. X is 28. UNIX is a 43-year-old design.

          I’d hope it’s pretty obvious by now that “just more time” is not the factor missing here, but sadly the big unco-ordinated mass of developers working on various parts of what makes up a desktop Linux system only does introspection piecemeal, and usually with lots of shouting down; it’s hard to get enough inertia from it to stop, step back, and not only work out why it’s been missing the mark for decades, but to then actually do something about it in a project of that size with nobody above the lowest tier of management.

        • Gap Gen says:

          I’m amazed Ubuntu works as well as it does, without any management oversight. Although going by my experience of some managers, it’s a miracle commercial software works, too.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      I have nothing but respect for the hard work Linux contributors have put into the OS but the mention of “almost there” conjures up in my mind the image of a stereotypical fat nerd as Jek Porkins in Starwars and just as Linux is about to break into the mainstream the nerd’s PC explodes.

      Perhaps because W8 machines pew pewed it, I dunno.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        Cute, it’s like you get your world from cartoons

        • Phantoon says:

          And you get your snootiness from Berkshire Lane, Oxford, 234006.

  11. AndrewC says:

    What I like about the Armageddon scenarios is that they remain fantasies. They are more fun and exciting to think about than more likely collapse scenarios – like a slowly falling quality of life as rolling brownouts and scarcity start biting, and all the while we still have to go to work every day. Massive sudden horrific destruction is more fun for us to think about.

    It makes you think! And in the apocalypse I shall be a sexbot, thank you very much.

    Here is a film I saw at a film night last month, recently uncovered, it is introduced as an Australian public service film detailing how to survive the apocalypse, titled: Ducked And Covered: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyvgO8JKe8o

  12. DXN says:

    Oh, Grauniad. Never change (or learn to spell).

    • Gasmask Hero says:

      Technically, they’re correct. At least in terms of British English.

  13. Foosnark says:

    Guild Wars 2 really is excellent.

    My main is a human shortbow/axe+warhorn Ranger . I could see going axe+torch though; to be honest the #5 skill for warhorns that makes you run faster is what makes me use it, though the birds-eating-your-enemy’s-face #4 skill is also a good one.

    Mesmer is also quite spiffy and shiny, but it’s a more tactical thinky class than ranger and not as tough. Staff is the way to go with them though, and maybe scepter/pistol.

    I’m mostly playing Borderlands 2 — game of the year 2012, 2011 and 2013 — and getting in enough GW2 to pick up the daily achievement on my main.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I’m finding a lot of fun to be had with my Mesmer character wielding a sword and torch and a staff as backup!

  14. Phantoon says:

    I got into the beta for Planetside 2.

    I’m not going to play it until it’s not a beta. It’s just too unbalanced to the point of being incredibly frustrating. I’m sure the design choices will pan out better when things are more worked on, so I wouldn’t want to have a poor experience of an unfinished game when it won’t be representative of the final product.

    That said, if this IS how the game is going to play, that was an incredible waste of money, because SOE has no other games I have any interest in.

  15. Rii says:

    Must really be scraping the barrel these days if that Guild Wars 2 piece rates a mention. =/

  16. Shuck says:

    I’ve read that perhaps a third of (contemporary) consoles have never been connected to the internet. That indicates that a downloads-only future for consoles is not going to happen for a while, and certainly not in the next generation. (As appealing as it might be to publishers feeling they’re losing too many sales to used games.)

  17. pilouuuu says:

    I liked the Gone Home article. I think PC gaming needs more non-violent games. Or at least more games that give you real choice, that let you decide if you want to find a violent or diplomatic path.

    That’s what I hated about Skyrim. It’s not a real RPG. It’s a hiking and killing simulator.

    Back to Gone Home, I like the idea of having a game where you can search the story, through interactivity. It’s also a great way to be able to tell a story, not with cut-scenes or even with dialogue, but with what games have that other media don’t: interactivity. Be able to search the place and look at the objects to find out clues about what’s going on. Like a more advanced, less restricted, non violent L.A. Noire crime scene investigation.

    I also like the fact that they are innovating, thinking about new ways to convey the story and interactivity in a game. Hopefully it’ll be at least something refreshing and interesting.

    Really, violence is fun (in games, not in real life), but now it’s damaging and limiting all the amazing possibilities games have as storytelling devices, as artistic expression and as fun media.

    Adventure games have been good for telling different stories, but I think all genres could benefit from reducing gore and action and making a more balanced experience. Grim Fandango is a great cinematic experience that had humour, action, drama, suspense, etc, etc, etc. And a bit of violence, surely.

    Why must all games be shooting and fighting all the time?

    Non-violent games are the way the future of gaming should go. Portal is a great example of a game with minimun violence, great storytelling and gameplay and very fun.

    How many non-violent games can you think of?

    • NathanH says:

      Games involving violence are always going to be pretty important, particularly in the immersive sim and RPG genres, principally because it is something involving interaction with other people that can easily be adapted to a not-too-abstract system that satisfies a fundamental standard of the genres: the player has the choice from a large action space of all (or most—designers aren’t superhuman) plausible actions at that moment. There aren’t a lot of other areas that allow this. There are sports games (where there are lots of external rules imposed by the sport itself) and management sims (where interactions with other people are somewhat abstract IRL anyway).

      You can see a clear manifestation of the problem in dialogue in immersive sims or RPGs. At best, these will be reduced to choose-your-own-adventure games, with a very small action space arbitrarily restricted by the whims of the writer. It’s an example of the sort of human interaction that currently cannot be abstracted to a system that allows you a large range of the plausible options without abstracting it too far into something soulless and overly gamey.

      The developers of the game in question seem to have taken a sensible route in not troubling themselves with human interaction at all. This seems a sensible choice to me.

  18. Chaz says:

    Regarding the naval combat in space, personally I don’t think any of the TV shows/films/games are anywhere near what a advanced futuristic space battle would be like. For me thge book The Algebraist by Ian M Banks had a more realistic view of what it might be like. Super fast darts carrying highly destructive exotic weaponary that speed through a solar system deploying their weaponary in the blink of an eye. Why bother with fighter craft and carriers and dreadnoughts etc when you can zip past your enemy and fry them all in a split second with a super nova like smart bomb? Would big confontations in space even be possible or viable anyway? The days of amassing huge fleets and then taking pot shots at each other doesn’t even really exist here on earth any more in this present time, as the technology has outgrown that type of warfare. The last big naval battles took place in the second world war and the last big tank battle is generally acknowleged to be the Battle of 73 Easting during Desert Storm.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Depends what you mean by space, or rather when. The Culture books happen in a very advanced galactic society with physics that Banks has acknowledged are largely made-up.

  19. Remnant says:

    Oh man, that fucking Kotaku piece… that store is about 15 minutes from me. Great place, it’s one of those few gaming retailers that still have a “feel” to them. Most are just carbon-copied EB or Game retailers. That place is still huge, still has an unbeatable array of older games – not just PC, but the old consoles are still well-represented there in a way that no EB would ever try to match.

    I bought Deus Ex in that place. Bloody hell… I can’t believe it’s so old.