The Sunday Papers

By Jim Rossignol on November 4th, 2012 at 11:00 am.


Sundays are for waking up and peering out the window at unseasonable snow. Then perhaps to the Internet Parlour, for tea and manic page refreshing. Later there will be time for intriguing reports and opinions from far away lands.

  • Polygon’s piece on Kaos Studios is a fascinating read: “That summer, THQ and Kaos undertook an audit of Homefront. They looked at everything in the design document and pitch documents, everything that Kaos had promised since 2008, and then made careful estimates of how long it would take to deliver every feature. That’s when the full extent of the damage became clear.”
  • Read Christopher Livingston on Real Lives: “At age one, I’ve grown a baby tooth and learned to crawl. At age two, I’m walking and welcoming a new baby sister, Ritu. At three years, I try to start my own business, but the game tells me I’m not old enough. Lame. I also contract the measles. Ooh, genuinely lame. So, three years in, some victories, some losses. As this is an educational simulation, I’m given facts just about every time something happens in Dev’s life, and I’ll pass them on to you!”
  • How D&D helped solve a problem in the science of seeing stuff: “In 1998, Kingstone showed that people will automatically look where other people are looking. Other scientists have since found this gaze-copying behaviour among many other animals, from birds to goats to dolphins. It seems fairly obvious why we would do this—we get an easy clue about interesting information in the world around us. But what are we actually doing?”
  • The Ninth Life is quite the project: “Three friends attempt to complete each game in their entire PC games catalogue in alphabetical order, with only one life per game. Which games will they clock? Which will they fail miserably? Which ones will even install after all these years? One chance, one life, no mistakes.”
  • The Guardian on why James Bond games don’t work: “James Bond movies are, unlike many action flicks, utterly inseparable from the act of watching the lead character. Bond films are romances between Bond and the audience. Games have trouble exploring that because they make the central error of thinking we all want to be Bond. Some people do, perhaps, but most just want to watch him. And even if you do want to be him, the things you want to do aren’t those that games can adequately reflect or reproduce. You can’t press X to be charming and urbane; you can’t hit the O button to send a glass of Chateau Margaux 1985 across a Monte Carlo casino toward a beautiful heiress. Well, you could, but it’s unlikely to figure in a Treyarch tie-in.”
  • Eurogamer’s Richard Leadbetter review’s Microsoft Surface RT: “So is the Surface RT a nuclear disaster of a product with no redeeming features whatsoever? Not quite – clearly, there is some potential here. The Metro UI works really nicely, offering up a classy, visually rich alternative to iOS and Android with the context-sensitive icons and the “swipe from the sides” access for additional functions just two little elements that work really well. But a £400 tablet cannot be recommended on the basis of a collection of neat features, a nice UI and a decent browser.”
  • Tom Chick’s article on botters’ bears in Guild Wars 2 made us laugh, then sigh: “That it remains is a sign of ArenaNet’s negligence. I don’t use that word lightly. I don’t presume to know what goes on behind the scenes of an MMO, or how hard it is to keep bots out of a game. But I do know when the developers need to do more to police their game. The situation in Guild Wars 2 has gone long past this point. It’s affecting my experience, and I can only imagine what it’s doing to the player-driven economy. It’s a parade of bears and under-armored Rangers in honor of ArenaNet’s indifference.”
  • The Psychology of Tetris: “Many human games are basically ritualised tidying up. Snooker, or pool if you are non-British, is a good example. The first person makes a mess (the break) and then the players take turns in potting the balls into the pockets, in a vary particular order. Tetris adds a computer-powered engine to this basic scenario – not only must the player tidy up, but the computer keeps throwing extra blocks from the sky to add to the mess. It looks like a perfect example of a pointless exercise – a game that doesn’t teach us anything useful, has no wider social or physical purpose, but which weirdly keeps us interested.” (I’d argue that “tidying up” is actually one of the true genres of gaming. (Pet theory…))
  • A Mike Singleton obituary. Worth reading and remembering.
  • Eskil Steenberg was showing me amazing demoscene generative videos this week, this one stood out.
  • Oof, it feels weird to be posting two obituaries in the same SP, but here’s one for meteoric architect Lebbeus Woods, who was an inspiration to numerous game designers and level architects.
  • True PC Gaming did a podcast with, well, yours truly.

Music this week is from Fennesz’ last album, AUN.

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111 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    colossalstrikepackage says:

    Looking forward to reading these. Also, if anyone missed it, Gaslamp released a Halloween themed diary of their upcoming dwarf-forterss-like-game. Hilarious read: http://www.gaslampgames.com/2012/10/31/the-story-of-shiveringhope/

    • Premium User Badge

      JB says:

      This Gaslamp Clockwork Empires piece is well worth a read. And don’t forget to read the tags after the article!

      • Premium User Badge

        colossalstrikepackage says:

        Almost forgot about those! I’ve yet I see more effort expended on tags than at Gaslamp Games; all equally comedic.

    • The Random One says:

      Clockwork Empires! That’s the name of the game I keep forgetting!

  2. Cugel says:

    Rest in peace Lebbeus Woods. I sadly ‘found’ him quite recently, but his work is a treasure trove of amazing thoughts.

    • RobinOttens says:

      Yessir, his work is fantastic and inspiring to me in my own designing. Lebbeus Woods changed the way I look at the man-made world around me. He will be missed. Thanks to bldgblg for the great obituary.

    • Cugel says:

      Thanks for posting this!

    • The Random One says:

      Those are great, and the fact that they’re referring to it as Doritosgate without a shred of irony is even greater.

  3. Cytrom says:

    On a completely unrelated note… can we have a moble version of the RPS website pls? Would be sooo great.

    • Premium User Badge

      LTK says:

      I think RPS works just fine on a mobile format as it is. I much prefer the desktop version of RPS with text fitted to the screen over PCGamer’s ostensibly mobile-friendly site.

      • Premium User Badge

        RobF says:

        The “will it crash” lottery on iOS browsing isn’t great though.

        • Premium User Badge

          c-Row says:

          Either I am not invited to that lottery or I always win…?

          • Premium User Badge

            RobF says:

            Browsing isn’t too bad aside from the as noted resizing, commenting is generally pot luck for me though.

        • Pray For Death says:

          This means your device is running low on RAM. Time to ditch your 3GS/iPad1 and upgrade :P

          • Premium User Badge

            RobF says:

            Yes, I’m sure I’ll just spend out another £300-£400 just to make sure that RPS doesn’t crash the browser. That sounds very wise.

          • wcanyon says:

            Upgrade a device because an internet site is crashing? WTF.

          • Premium User Badge

            colossalstrikepackage says:

            Lol. That’s some pretty drastic advice.

          • Phantoon says:

            Welp, my nail is chipped. Better CUT OFF MY OWN ARM!

          • spectone says:

            iPad 1 has only got 256MB of RAM. I find it ok to read RPS most of the time but long comment threads can be a problem. Other sites such as the Verge can make safari crash. Embedded videos on websites also cause crashing problems.

      • Premium User Badge

        colossalstrikepackage says:

        Interesting. The site works fine on my iPhone; the only quibble is having to *always* resize the initial load screen, which is too zoomed in. However this site beats PC Gamer hands down on content and presentation.

    • The Random One says:

      I browse it almost exclusively from my Android phone (in case anyone wondered why I often mispell ‘it’ as ‘if’). The only lottery is that when you click the Opinion, Away! button you don’t know if you’ll succesfully post, reload the page or destroy all that you’ve written, but I think that has to do with how Opera Mini displays pages.

    • wcanyon says:

      Agreed. It sucks on a mobile device. See Massively.com for the way to do it right.

    • yrrnn says:

      I don’t know if an actual different mobile version is needed, but I would like to see RPS react better to the width of the browser in which it is viewed (a bit like Polygon.com, but I’m sure it can be done more simply with less high-tech voodoo). For thinner views such as those on mobile devices and smaller tablets, it would be nice to drop the column on the right and just have the main content filling the width of the screen. And for larger views such as the one I’m using now on my PC, I’d love to see RPS use the full width of the browser more effectively, with the main column resizing to fit the full width rather than having all of this empty space on the sides.

      • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

        Readability goes down when text blocks become too wide. That’s why most websites have a maximum width that doesn’t use most of the screen. 1920×1080 is great for gaming, but awful for reading.

        • yrrnn says:

          Sure, having a browser window maximised on a 1080p monitor is silly (partially just because most websites won’t fill that space very well), and no, I wouldn’t want text blocks to be 1920 pixels wide. But I think they could go a little bit wider than 650 pixels. With my browser window set to the size I find comfortable for most sites, that’s less than half of the width. At the very least, something could be done to better fill the empty space on the sides.

          I’m not saying I want the content to go from edge to edge; margins are good. Rather, the current margins are less margins and more vast oceans of blackness/ads that leave the site looking rather thin.

    • SominiTheCommenter says:

      Works OK in my S40 dumbphone, so if it’s worse in a smartphone, it’s time to dumb down you phone or to smartify the user…

    • bill says:

      Oh yes please. The fixed width is too wide for a small screen, and I keep scrolling sideways accidentally and getting off center.

      BBC News or Lifehacker are great examples on mobile. (though lifehacker sucks on PC, so that’s not the best example).

  4. lordcooper says:

    That Ninth Life project is a really good idea and I may have to give something similar a go. My Steam library is packed with great games that I may otherwise never even install.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      Someone I know is doing this: http://2012thechallenge.wordpress.com/ – i.e. trying to play every unplayed game in his library by the end of 2012

    • Casimir Effect says:

      I notice that two of the games they’ll be playing are VVVVVV and Super Meat Boy. With one life those will last all of 2mins.

      • gingerpembers says:

        That’s my list as well, so I’ll have to pad those ones out somewhat!

        Saying that, I’ve got Amnesia next which will probably freak me right into a coma, so it might be a while before my next post

    • The Random One says:

      I would only do it if I got to skip Amnesia.

      *shiver*

  5. Premium User Badge

    AndrewC says:

    Hmm, you can argue that all games are about the ‘tidying up’ but i reckon there’s a big difference between putting balls in pockets and making alive people into dead ones. Abstracting that out to both being ‘tidying’ actually only makes it worse.

    I would rather the healthily psychopathic excuse of purging one’s murderous lust on digital humans rather than the sociopathic excuse of these digital humans really only being representative of the chaos of life that I must purge from my perfect, empty existence.

    Also, if ‘tidying up’ were the real goal, then the reward would be having a walk around the completely empty level, enjoying the still silence, and possibly having a cup of tea. That most gamers really would not be interested in this (and that most levels end as soon as the last monster is killed) suggests that the state of ‘tidyness’ is not the purpose of the gaming action.

    So, in conclusion, you are completely wrong, technically evil and you make terrible porridge.

    • razorramone says:

      perhaps you should reread the page.

      (I’d argue that “tidying up” is actually—————> ONE OF <———-OMG L@@K—— the true genres of gaming. (Pet theory…))

      • Premium User Badge

        AndrewC says:

        OMG! GTFO! ROFLMAO! Actually Jim has mentioned this theory before in relation to violent, seemingly reprehensible games not being actually violent because what they are *really* about is tidying up.

        I am arguing that such abstracting arguments can themselves be a touch disassociative, and that they also miss the point for, if the abstract higher level of action were what we were *genuinely* after, most games would just be blocks like Tetris. That they are mostly concrete and specific things like orcs and soldiers and space-thingies undermines his point.

        Also, I’d argue that the emphasised part in his statement is ‘true’, and not ‘one of’.

        Of course he ends that quote with ‘pet theory’, which suggests a get-out clause of not really meaning it. This shameful display of flip-flopping led me to the conclusion that he is bad at porridge – the foodstuff that requires the greatest amount of rectitude.

        • The Random One says:

          LOLOLOLOL Ok seriously I think you’re approaching this from the wrong angle. I think ‘pet theory’ means ‘I haven’t actually done any sort of study on this, but doesn’t it sound great?’ Which is not sound science but good for sparking conversation, which is what is happening.

          I think that if you think that ‘tidying up’ in this concept means ‘imposing order’ then it’s much closer to their theory. There is no reason to walk through an empty level because once you kill all of the enemies the order is certain and you don’t need to look back to see it. The imposing of order is interesting, not the actual results of cleanliness.

          Then again, I think of Chips, that old game in which monsters already moved in precise order and you were the one spreading chaos by picking up chips and opening doors.

        • Eddy9000 says:

          I was thinking that too, was sure one of the RPS staff have talked about games being about tidying up, making people who are alive and shouldn’t be dead etc.

    • MOKKA says:

      Earthbound did let you run around the world after you defeated the final boss and I would really like to have more games have this kind of thing. I think this could be a nice way of showing the player the consequences of his actions in a much more impressive manner then just ending it in some kind of ‘epilogue’ sequence, or a cutscene.

    • kwyjibo says:

      Hotline Miami is clearly a game about tidying up, the answer phone messages reference this explicitly.

      And like all good tidies, there’s a remarkable stillness after every level allowing you to reflect on the quiet order you have achieved.

      • Premium User Badge

        AndrewC says:

        Hotline Miami! Yes! It is true!

        That said, Hotline Miami is demonstrably evil.

        • Ich Will says:

          I’m very interested to know what your definition of evil is, I mean if the player were unaware that he was playing a game, you could argue that he was evil – but this is important – no-one (sane) who plays Hotline Miami believes that they are really murdering people.

          • Phantoon says:

            The characters, he meant. You can’t kill that many people and be not evil, even if they totally deserve it.

          • Ich Will says:

            Even if you’re a soldier holding the line, or operating artillery or dropping bombs from a jet or a freedom fighter defending your family?

      • PleasingFungus says:

        And, of course, note the role the janitors play in the game.

        (What a wonderful game Cactus has made.)

        • Phantoon says:

          Wow, I never connected the bizarre faces to Cactus. No wonder half the people are so ugly- he does that intentionally!

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      Think in terms of mechanics, not theme. The thematic layer of ‘killing people’ has nothing to do with whether the game design is about ‘tidying up’ or creating order or however you want to phrase it.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    Thanks for reminding me of the name of Real Lives! Remembered it existed a while ago but couldn’t find it because I forgot the name…

  7. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    That Ninth Life thing is a really good idea which, annoyingly, is similar to but much better than a thing I’ve been thinking of doing. Damn you, Internet.

    • Jahandar says:

      Yeah, it definitely looks like a lot of fun. I wouldn’t dare try it myself though after looking at their spreadsheet. I reckon I’d have to play almost as many games as the three of them combined.

    • MOKKA says:

      I started a similar thing two weeks ago (it’s in German so I won’t bother you with a link), where I’m going to play through games with a selve-imposed ruleset which, among others, also includes a Permadeath-rule.

      It’s funny what happens with games which do not have a permadeath mode, when you play them as if they had one.

      • Premium User Badge

        BubuIIC says:

        Do tell. I’m interested. :-)

      • Xocrates says:

        Out of curiosity, how does one do that in games where “death” is either written out or incorporated in the mechanics even if a similar fail state is recognizable? (Prince of Persia 2008 being the best example, but this extends to the likes of Bioshock and Borderlands with their respawning mechanics).

        • gingerpembers says:

          Excellent question, when we’ve actually figured that out, we’ll let you know!

          I did wonder about that myself whilst doing my Alpha Protocol play through. All the guards in the opening level have tranquilizer guns, so if I was shot, and went back to the checkpoint at the start of the level, would that constitute dying, or just another escape attempt after waking up?

          Sadly, I got a great whopping ‘Game Over’ message, so it saved me the pondering

    • gingerpembers says:

      Blame Thom, it was his idea. Knowing him, he probably broke into your house at night and stole it right from out of your dreams.

      He does that :/

  8. The Visible Man says:

    The Guardian article is pretty much on the money, except for one small detail – there has been another great Bond game besides Goldeneye. It was called Alpha Protocol.

    • JackShandy says:

      I never got past the parts where you killed hundreds of mooks. Did it eventually become about navigating dangerous social environments in casinos?

      • tobecooper says:

        In between putting the mooks to sleep with your fists and tranquilizer darts (yeah!), you navigate dangerous social environments. Unfortunately there were no casinos, but bars, hotels and penthouses are OK too. Also, a lot of strangely designed ladies were involved. One liked when you talked rough to her and was old but hot in an S&M kind of way, and had a German accent but you met her in Russia. There were others too, but they’re nowhere as fun as SIE, my love of the second psycho playthrough <3

    • Baines says:

      If anything, Alpha Protocol only supports the Guardian article.

  9. Unaco says:

    That GW2 article will at least make this guy happy…

    http://www.toptiertactics.com/15083/an-open-letter-to-arenanet-regarding-my-guild-wars-2-ban/

    So much for all their promises at release, the bans for exploiting the economy and offensive names. Now the economy is being reamed and Goebbels and the KKK are running around. For shame.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      Holy shit, that guy is too much.

      It’s funny how some people just never learned the whole ‘introspection’ thing.

    • Bobtree says:

      ArenaNet have a serious anti-botting team.

      That “open letter” article is satire.

      I’ve played over 200 hours of GW2 and my biggest complaint is the camera collisions.

      • Unaco says:

        “That “open letter” article is satire.”

        Weeeeeeellll…. Slap my ass and call me Sally. You don’t say. Satire is it? Never would have guessed. Oh, hang on… no… I guessed and even mentioned it in a comment just above this. I know it’s satire.

        I’m guessing the Tom Chick article isn’t satire though. Which calls into question the efficacy of this ‘serious anti botting team’ of ArenaNet’s, and their actual commitment to keeping the economy legit (after their well publicised banning of people exploiting A’Net’s mistake in pricing something). (You did read the Tom Chick article, right?) It’s a shame that their level of commitment hasn’t continued… that it might just have been done at the start to keep the purchases going, until the Auction House/Trading Post thing was up etc., rather than being their philosophy and way of doing things throughout.

  10. SuperNashwanPower says:

    The 4k generative thing keeps crashing and making my computer unhappy [I followed the link from the YouTube description. Maybe I did a bad]. Am running Windows 7 on a gaming lappy i7-2360 QM and GTX460M. Anyone else struggling to get it to work?

    • Premium User Badge

      Hodge says:

      It’s working for me, on my laptop with Windows 7 and also on Linux/Wine on my desktop PC.

      Both have Nvidia cards if that helps.

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        Hmm same here. Did you literally just extract and run one of the exe files?

        • Premium User Badge

          Hodge says:

          Yeah, I just double clicked on them and they worked.

          Looking through the Wine debug stuff, these are the dlls it seems to be using (apart from the standard Windows stuff).

          MSVCR100_CLR0400.dll (from the MSVC 2010 runtime)
          d3dx9_37.dll (from Direct3D)
          mscorsvw.exe (from Dotnet 4)

          So if your system’s missing any of those then that might be the problem. Worth a shot :).

  11. JackShandy says:

    I really disagree that watching Bond scratches a fundamentally different itch to playing as Bond. James Bond games don’t work because Bond mainly navigates social obstacles, and games are currently terrible at that. A Bond Management sim wouldn’t capture the essence of the movies any more than the other tie-ins.

    Still, Gravity Bone and Thirty Flights of Loving are excellent Bond games.

    • belgand says:

      It does hit the nail on the head at one point though: Bond films are rarely about the shoot-out or the car chase. If I had to compose a list of notable scenes I’m pretty certain that I wouldn’t be able to name any off the top of my head all that easily.

      At the same time it also addresses the more obvious problem that these games are usually tossed to a lower-tier developer and probably don’t receive all that much in the way of importance. It’s a movie tie-in and there are very, very few of those that are memorable.

      What it doesn’t address, however, is why No One Lives Forever was good. In fact, it did a great job of globe-trotting and moving between different mini-games in a way that no Bond game has ever really managed to make stick. Hell, at a stretch one could even claim that Deus Ex did a better job at being Bond.

      The point about social challenges is key though and not only the problems of getting games to implement them well, but to give it a payoff. Where’s the visceral fun in only pretending to travel to exciting locations and sleep with exotic women? It tends to feel flat and empty at best in a way that watching a film doesn’t. Perhaps because of the greater player agency. You make all the right moves, but someone else is there to collect the reward.

  12. Lacero says:

    Top quality links this week, opened every one and read the entire lot.

    The Polygon article is fantastic work, although as the last line implies it’s depressingly normal. Great to see one case dissected in so much detail though.

    • arccos says:

      Agreed. Its impressive Polygon has quite a few longer articles, which is impressive given the nature of Internet advertising these days.

      • kwyjibo says:

        Vox Media can afford to do this, because they’ve raised over $20M of venture finance. When they start doing top-lists and galleries is when those investors start demanding a return.

        It’ll be good while it lasts though, some top talent there.

    • Shuck says:

      The last line is sadly correct – this is depressingly normal. I’ve heard similar (and worse) stories from everyone I’ve worked with in the industry, and I got a few industry-created PTSD flashbacks of my own, reading the article. The game industry is a complete mess, the AAA portion triply so. Rather than deal with the fundamental problems, the industry spits people out and replaces them with fresh young faces on a regular basis. Most of the people I know who have survived in the industry for any great length of time dream of doing something else, but only tend to stay because their skill-sets aren’t applicable elsewhere.

      • lordcooper says:

        Why don’t these people just go indie then?

        • LionsPhil says:

          You have to be a certain kind of crazy to take that gamble rather than a salary when you have a mortgage to pay.

          (It’s good that we have that kind of crazy around, but I can certainly understand it not being universal.)

        • Shuck says:

          The people I know have all tried it, but most games fail. When you’re indie, you’re personally paying for all those failures, so after a while, the savings run out, the mortgage needs to be paid, etc. (Kickstarter doesn’t fix this problem, at best it only alleviates it slightly.) In the US it’s even harder to go indie than it is in more civilized nations, as you’re having to pay health insurance costs out of your own pocket, and it can get expensive, fast. The sales numbers for indie games are orders of magnitude smaller than publisher-backed games, while selling for far less, so even successful games don’t necessarily make enough to support their makers. It’s rapidly becoming like being an author – for a few people it’s a profession, but for most it’s not something you do to make a living, it’s something you do on the side.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yeah, it’s a nice article.

  13. pertusaria says:

    Re. the Kaos piece, my last job forced us to put effort into the equivalent of the E3 demo (big boss / important outsider visiting the facility) at busy times, and I loathed it. I feel for those programmers.

    I enjoyed the Ninth Life so far, hopefully they keep the momentum.

    Edit: Having over-analysed their games lists to death, it’ll be really interesting to see how different each person’s take on games they share is when those start coming up. Each blogger has roughly 30% in common with one or another other person.

    I don’t play Guild Wars 2, but I’ve played a volunteer-run MUD and chatted with some of the admins, and I know striking the balance of good moderation is difficult. However, I would agree that when obvious bots are running free, someone isn’t doing their job.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      I wonder if the same thing with Homefront happened with MoH: Warfighter and its ilk, i.e. the entire thing being one big tech demo with no real gamey aspects. People keep throwing in features and the only way to stitch them all together is to make it a walk-through animation.

      • Premium User Badge

        RobF says:

        I don’t know how Warfighter compares with the last MoH but it seems vastly more a case of MAKE CALL OF DUTY (but kinda not so that we have our own Call Of Duty but aside from that make it Call Of Duty or y’know, we’re going to have to beat you to death).

  14. Serpok says:

    Early on, I ran across a character named Goebels. I reported him.
    Is being German constitutes a punishable offence still?

    • tobecooper says:

      He got reported for bad grammar. It’s spelled Goebbels.
      Get your grammar nazi documents up to date, Serpok! Or you’re getting reported too!

    • wodin says:

      Thought that was odd and petty myself…I wouldn’t give it a second thought..

      • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

        I can see it being viewed as offensive by some people, but I think many don’t have a problem with it. What’s relevant is in the end what ArenaNet:s rules are. The article mentioned several times that this or that was reported, but what are the rules? What is grounds for banning? If they simply allow names like Goebbels their failure to act is not that strange…

        I’d say a KKK guild is worse.

  15. Nick says:

    The thing about the bots is that there are several really obvious locations they frequent, a simple in game GM trip to each of those locations should be enough to insta ban them, or so you would think.

  16. Radiant says:

    The Guardian has clearly never got into a real fist fight with someone who selected Oddjob in Goldeneye.

  17. Citrus says:

    Some interesting links if you have missed (read=game “journalists” trying to bury the whole thing) the recent scandals in game journalism..

    RPG Codex Editorial: Games Journalism Scandal

    The GMAs: a warning from history

    But the mere specter of industry voting was enough to give some members of the press pause about the awards. “The games industry are the last people who should be voting for awards in games journalism,” said British game freelancer Kieron Gillen. “It’s a bit like the prisoners voting for who’s their favourite prison guard.” Gillen said he worries that the industry voting will make the award one “you wouldn’t want to win…. because it’s basically shorthand for ‘Lapdog Of The Year award’.”

    (Despite these comments, Gillen accepted a GMA that very year, and this month pocketed the “Games Media Legend” prize to bookend it with. He attempted to justify his instant U-turn the day after the 2007 award by saying “The awards don’t really matter. PRs are fine. They’re just people.” In a fine twist of irony he now pontificates at highbrow public events about how independent games journalism is of PR, and is also a judge in the “Games Journalism Prizes” awards, along with a number of other “concerned games industry types”, several of whom are also GMA winners.)

  18. Chris D says:

    The Kaos studio article is an exceptionally good piece of writing and a counter to any claims that there’s no such thing as real games journalism. But is it the best “Making of” article this week? I just don’t know. There’s strong competition in the form of Julian Murdoch’s piece on Secret of the Magic Crystals.

    http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/113538

    According to the comments it seems to have started out as something of a joke assignment but it’s turned into something genuinely worth a read.

  19. Bobtree says:

    The Kaos/Homefront article is excellent. What a brutally awful mess. Desert Combat was impressive, and I liked Frontlines:FOW, having bought it very late for the vehicle play, but I was dubious of Homefront well before release.

    In the piece: “a major studio with eye-wateringly expensive office space in Manhattan, paying salaries above industry average to compensate for the high cost of living in New York” … yeah. Ouch.

    • MistyMike says:

      >>>Kaos (…) even started rebuilding Call of Duty levels in Unreal just to recreate the feel of those games. They would check weapon characteristics and movement on these maps until they could almost perfectly recreate the Call of Duty experience.<<<

      Wha… how… ehhh? This is beyond the horizons of my comprehension.

    • Shuck says:

      Film, television, magazines, etc. manage to work out of New York successfully. But the game industry is trying to reduce costs so much that they’re constantly moving somewhere cheaper. EA has been moving jobs from the San Francisco bay area to Utah where the cost of living is lower (where presumably lower salaries would still be enough to buy a house, unlike in California*). Canada, where the per-employee costs are much lower than the US, has been a job-magnet for years. China and, to a lesser extent, India, are now where the jobs are being sent. It’s a race to ever-cheaper employee costs (while overall development costs continue to rise) at the expense of developer quality-of-life.

      *Except that buying a house is a bit foolish when working in the game industry, as most developers have to move around quite a bit to stay employed. And who the hell wants to move to Utah? The industry relies on people being willing to work wherever the jobs are, with the jobs themselves being the incentive, rather than any sort of life quality issues coming into play.

  20. MistyMike says:

    GOOD NEWS! Sandy flooded the servers of Kotaku! :D

  21. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    Oh man, the Kaos piece broke my heart. :(

  22. Kadayi says:

    Unfortunate about Lebbeus Woods. His drawings are pretty inspirational.

  23. Skabooga says:

    From True PC Gaming’s description for this week’s podcast:

    *Originally recorded September 24th, 2012. The reason for the delay was to ensure the new host and back-end code were stable enough to handle large amounts of traffic.

    Clever girl.

  24. NationOfThizzlam says:

    That Eurogamer review of the Surface is clearly garbage. The guy says the touch cover is ‘atrociously bad’, for example, and he claims that the kickstand makes it easier to use in your lap… but not on a desk. If you’re going to review a non-gaming product, at least make half an effort at it.

  25. LionsPhil says:

    I…need to get an ST emulator reinstalled and fire up Midwinter again.

    • wodin says:

      No need google it..PC version free online..

      • lordcooper says:

        I had a copy of that game for my Amstrad 464, but the damn cassette never worked (I picked it up bundled with something like 300 other games). Must have read that manual at least twenty times, trying in vain to load the game up after each time. Fifteen years later and I’m taking today off to play it.

        RIP Singleton, you made a kid dream of potential.

  26. Oathbreaker says:

    The Polygon article was great. Part of the reason I hate FPS’s is the modern industry of them.

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  28. Poliphilo says:

    Good selection as usual, “unfortunately” the obituaries were the most interesting.

    PS. please watch that demo for yourself here, it’s much better than watching a youtube recording:
    http://pouet.net/prod.php?which=55758

    Only 4K!

  29. squareking says:

    Man, you guys pretty consistently pick good music. I recommend Oren Ambarchi for the next go-around. :)