The Sunday Papers

By Jim Rossignol on September 15th, 2013 at 9:17 am.


Sundays are for urrrrgh. Or bleruuurgh. And some hnnngfh. And then back to bed.

  • An interview with Dan Pinchbeck, of The Chinese Room (writer and designer on A Machine For Pigs): “I think as a writer I’m interested in ambiguity and the slippage of meaning, in the nature of reality and our illusions about our sense of self and consciousness and being in the world, so I think that’s something that is kind of hard wired into our games because of that. And Jess has similar preoccupations as a composer, she’s obsessed with the notion of truth, or beauty, of what is means to be an emotional creature. So it’s less a striving, more of an inevitability I guess.”
  • On Euro Truck Simulator 2: “One day soon, my son is going to ask why we never park the truck in Euro Truck Simulator 2 (SCS Software, 2012) and I will explain, nay confess, that it is because it is bloody difficult. Having to get the truck into a precise position, like boarding a wagon for the Eurotunnel Freight Shuttle at Folkestone, freaks me out.”
  • True PC Gaming on “honor codes” for gamers: “There are numerous examples of tactics that are almost universally frowned upon by gamers. For example, in multiplayer FPS, four of the fastest ways to lose respect are to, in no particular order, spawn camp, dolphin-dive (Battlefield games), bunny-hop, and circle-strafe – a special thank you to Counter-Strike for immortalizing the last two. These actions are especially reviled if the game in which they are used does not implement some sort of combat trade-off for using them (i.e. lower accuracy while hopping/circling or a firing delay while diving). Granted, the presence of such trade-offs usually relegates these tactics to ineffective panic-button reactions. There is some debate as to the merits of these tactics and others, as more than a few people claim it takes considerable skill to be effective with them. If you’d like to Hadouken those individuals, please take a number.” Hmm. Well, personally I miss Quake III.
  • On the reporting of stories about videogame violence studies: “It’s well-known among psychologists that there’s a bias in favour of publishing articles that predict a difference and then find it, rather than those that either don’t discover what they set out to find or cast doubt on the veracity of earlier findings. There’s even a website called Psych FileDrawer that exists as a corrective to this by collecting the null results that do occasionally get published. For instance, a search through their archive shows a 2011 paper in the Australian Journal of Psychology in which attempts to repeat an earlier experiment suggesting players of action games had improved attentional capacity failed to repeat its findings.”
  • US Gamer can’t tell if Peter Molydeux’s design school is a joke, but I sort of hope that it isn’t.
  • Two Gone Home-inspired pieces on PCG, one with a bit of classic New Games Journalism from Philippa Warr, and another from Yang about “the mansion genre”.
  • Mike Bithell on Blitz: “Blitz was also well known for its outreach to students and graduates generally. The open days were things of legend (that’s how I came into the company, after a design manager who will remain nameless got me rather drunk on an embarrassingly small amount of cider). It is exciting that this attitude and approach lives on with Kim Blake’s move to UKIE, but it’s a shame to see a company who did so much for young developers leave the market. The remaining big studios have a big gap to fill.”
  • Odd that I found a copy of Viewtiful Joe in the garage, and then Stanton should post a retrospective about it: “Viewtiful Joe takes place in movieland, after Joe’s girlfriend Sylvia has been snatched from their local cinema by an on-screen monster – and Joe gets pulled in right after. The story’s enjoyable hokum but the setting is far more; this is a game that is built mechanically and visually around its cinematic metaphor, a production about putting the player in charge of a production. This is why Kamiya is a special designer; Viewtiful Joe isn’t a game about being stylish. The style is the game.”
  • The horror.
  • Oh, Mr Cage. I can’t even tell if you are serious anymore. If you are: No.
  • Jackie Chan is important.

Music this week is At First Touch by The Sight Below.

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150 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Anthile says:

    Somebody posted this on the forums: http://orteil.dashnet.org/nested

    • Yosharian says:

      Errr I wouldn’t click on this

      • Premium User Badge

        Jackablade says:

        It would appear to be a legit link although I’m not entirely sure what it is that I’m looking at here. Some kind set of nested links that go from the infinitely large (universe) to the infinitely (subatomic).

      • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

        Care to elaborate?

        • subedii says:

          Short vague message that could apply to any context, followed by a link.

          The implication being it could very easily be a spambot (or person) with a link to either ads or malware. Under such circumstances I wouldn’t click it either.

          • realitysconcierge says:

            Although I can assure you that it isn’t.

          • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

            But it’s absolutely nothing like a spambot link – it’s not using URL shortening, and it’s linking to a domain that, while obscure, is hardly unknown and easily checked. I’ve no problem with being cautious about random links, but I find it a bit silly when people just go ‘Err, no’ for paranoia’s sake.

          • bill says:

            And it’s posted by one of the forum moderators…

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            Counterpoint: It’s not hard to provide context for your links. It’s only polite.

      • Premium User Badge

        cqdemal says:

        It’s perfectly safe. This is one of Orteil’s weird “games.”

    • identiti_crisis says:

      It’s genuinely brilliant!

      Love the “explanation” of the origin of the hashtag…

    • RitaSingleton says:

      my neighbor’s step-sister makes $61 every hour on the laptop. She has been out of work for 5 months but last month her paycheck was $15080 just working on the laptop for a few hours. my response… http://www.day37.com

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      RPSiverse

  2. LionsPhil says:

    bunny-hop, and circle-strafe

    I take it this is some new generation of whiners who missed the Q3A/UT era.

    Spawn camping is griefy because it actively suppresses other players’ fun: it crushes out their ability to participate at all (and it was also solved way back when with spawn protection). Dodging is playing the game, to the extent that UT2003 gave you new ways to do it.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      Yeah, I did not quite see the issue with most of that. Clearly spawn camping is not fair play and maps should go out of their way to make it difficult or impossible., but everything else mentioned seemed to be playing the game better.

      Unintended mechanics can be fun. Would you remove stacking neutral camps from dota because it was originally a glitch? No? They why should you expect people to stay still when you shoot at them in an FPS.

      As you mentioned UT2003 even added in extra ways to move about and it made UT2004 one of the best arena shooters of all time. Warsow take this even further to the point that if you are running on the ground you are doing it wrong.

      • HadToLogin says:

        “Unintended mechanics can be fun.”

        Rocket Jumps from Quake or Tribes Skiing comes to mind…

    • rei says:

      I found that strange too, but then I haven’t played online shooters much since Q2; I guess the young’uns can have their own honor codes. I’d say charging straight at people is more dumb than honorable though.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      Glad I wasn’t the only one thinking along those lines.

      Not to mention the fact it took a fair amount of skill to pull off some of those dodge moves in UTk4 (it was certainly beyond me), if you saw someone moving insanely fast it’s probably because they took a boosted jump of an elevator combined it with a wall jump and then did some swanky dodge move at the end. Annoyingly good bastards? Yes! Cheaters? Absolutely not.

      As for circle strafing, again surely it was a key skill.I didn’t play much multiplayer in those days but I couldn’t have imagined completing something like, for example, Serious Sam, without liberal use of it.

    • WrenBoy says:

      Circle strafing in Quake 1 is exactly what turned me into a mouse and keyboard gamer. Unbelievable that such a basic technique is frowned upon. Can any gaming babies confirm this?

      • subedii says:

        Hasn’t been frowned upon as long as I’ve been playing, at least not as far as I remember.

        Closest I can remember is some comments from friends when playing Goldeneye with gamepads on the N64. A game where you can’t snap your aim to a target easily because you’ve got a set max turning speed.

        Even then I don’t believe they were complaining. Heck it was even an “official” tactic in the Goldeneye game guide. Which struck me as funny because until then it never occurred to me that someone could still be considering circle-strafing “new and innovative” as a tactic.

        • Koozer says:

          Strafing is pretty much the only way to aim a shot reliably in console shooters for me.

        • The Random One says:

          IIRC circle-strafing in GoldenEye actually is an exploit, because it allows you to move twice as quickly (that is, your forward/backward and sideways speeds are calculated separatedly).

          • Premium User Badge

            DrollRemark says:

            All the true Goldeneye players knew to run diagonally everywhere.

          • Eddy9000 says:

            Just a small point for the sake of accuracy: You do not run twice as quick on the diagonal in Goldeneye, you run slightly quicker because of the way movement speed is calculated. Every ‘click’ of movement is calculated across a minute square of distance, you move at the same speed across the longer hypotenuse than you do the shorter x or y, making you cover longer distances at the same speed over the diagonal.

          • Tendentieus says:

            In the Doom community, that’s codified Law. SR40 SR50, strafe running techniques so important that playing without them will seriously limit you. If you thought that Quake was fast, you’ve never seen Deathmatch with SR40 and SR50.

          • Josh W says:

            Yes, running diagonally, constantly looking at the floor so that your opponent cannot screen watch you, relying on your memory of the floor textures and level layout being better than that of your opponent. No holds barred goldeneye is odd.

      • Snargelfargen says:

        I’ve never encountered any complaints, but I can see it being a big issue in games with combined console and pc multiplayer. Controllers don’t allow for the same speed and accuracy of movement as a mouse and keyboard.

      • Graerth says:

        Oh god, the days of being only one in my school class to utilize mouse and keyboard in fps.

        I’ve never been and never will be as overpowered in any game again.

        • Premium User Badge

          Martel says:

          Hah, I got to experience a short lived FPS god status in my group of friends for the very same reason. Sadly they were all bright enough to switch shortly thereafter, but it was fun while it lasted.

    • Ansob says:

      You could bhop in CS, but I don’t think you could ever do it for longer than v1 in CS:S and it’s certainly not in CS:GO (which is ultimately to both games’ credit, since it looks daft and is so necessary to traversing maps quickly that the people who don’t know how to bhop are at an inherent disadvantage).

      No, nowadays the term is misused by all kinds of silly people to mean “jumping so you throw off my aim,” which isn’t bhopping at all. It’s just… jumping.

      • ix says:

        I think it was patched out in v1.3 (that’s when I started playing, and this was just after the bunny-hop era).

    • Radiant says:

      Spawn camping is glorious.
      In team death match and there’s a bunch of guys standing in your spawn your team has really messed up.
      But that fight out of your spawn and the gradual imposing of your team’s will on the map to the point you are spawn camping them?

      Is god damn beautiful.

      Other wise what’s the point of team death match?

      • WrenBoy says:

        For example in UT the Face level had camper points in your own base which gave clear shots on enemy spawn locations. Not much fun when playing against a ranking whore happy to exploit it and the level was redesigned in later versions iirc.

      • MasterDex says:

        Spawncamping is glorious? Sure, it’s so glorious to ignore the objectives and make a beeline (with a Tank if you’re playing BF) to the enemy spawn and lock them in so that they can’t contribute to the game. The glory of ruining someone else’s experience by denying them that experience is awesome,

        Spawncamping is plain douchbaggery and a good, reliable way to empty a server. After all, what’s the point of staying in a game you can’t actually play because the enemy team has decided to lock you in to a small confined area which they make their own personal kill room?

        This is where the idea of honour comes in. Hell, fuck honour, let’s call it common courtesy. Whatever about bunnyhopping and circlestrafing, spawn camping has a real, observable negative effect on both a game and the players playing it. While Tom, Dick and Harry are all laughing themselves hoarse and screaming “We’re so pro!” while they spawncamp, the rest of their team is sitting around twiddling their thumbs because they’d rather meet the enemy head on than shoot fish in a barrel, and the enemy is getting annoyed that they’re locked in a spawn-die cycle without even having the opportunity to defend themselves.

        No, spawn camping is not glorious. Spawn camping is nothing more than a contemptible tactic enacted by people lacking the skill or courage to face their opponent on the field of battle.

        • KDR_11k says:

          Games where the maps spawn teams on opposite sides can end up with one team pushing the other further and further back, at some point there’s only the spawn area left. IMO that’s when the game should end and call the pushing team the winner rather than complain that it’s unfair towards the pushed team. The battle was decided on the field and the result was a landslide. Probably better to end the round, shuffle the teams and start with a clean slate.

          Of course there are some games where flaws in the design encourage spawn camping but flaws are flaws.

          • dE says:

            Oh god, this brings back memories of Nuclear Dawn, a game I so much wanted to love. But matches always ended up in the spawnarea of the other team – well you had to wipe out their spawn.

            But with the spawnrates and the buildings you had, this almost always ended in a complete grindfest with one team unable to clear out the spawnarea and buildings fast enough and the other unable to break free because the other team had better weapons and structures.

          • MasterDex says:

            You’re right, flaws are flaws and that’s where the concept of honour and common courtesy comes in. If the game reaches a point where one side is so overwhelmed that they are pushed back into their spawn (likely with many more minutes on the clock), the honourable thing to do would be for the attacking side to move back and allow some semblance of competition to reassert itself.

            Of course, expecting this from some of the children and assholes that play competitive games would be naive but that’s where a server admin comes in handy – to act as a referee in such situations.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          Well said, MasterDex. Spawn camping has helped ruin many a good game, from Battlefield to Homefront. I despise the douchebags that think it’s a valid tactic in any multiplayer game.

      • Baines says:

        Play the brokeness that is Modern Warfare 3 and try to praise spawn camping. MW3’s spawn system was so poorly designed that you could almost spawn camp in 1v1 matches on Aground. (You actually could briefly trap if you caught your opponent spawning in the right spot.)

        Mind, that was a spawn system that would spawn two players in the same location in a free-for-all match. And where you could run spawn loops on some matches, running a path killing the same player over and over as he respawned in different locations. Where the game felt it was perfectly fine spawning a player directly behind a sniper in a sniper spot, or on top of your fresh corpse. And which “fixes” basically toggled between the game spawning a guy right behind you or right in front of you.

        Yet not matter how broken it was, there were still people who defended spawn camping in MW3’s domination mode. Crouching in a corner two feet behind an enemy spawn was “unethical,” but shooting at a spawn from 40 foot away through a gap that the enemy can’t target in time was fine? There was no complaint that the optimal strategy in Domination was to capture only two points, not all three? (Capturing the third point would flip the spawns, which would pretty much give the other team a free flag, and possibly completely reverse the situation with the other team being able to trap you at the bad spawn. Because of course the maps weren’t balanced, with there being a “bad” spawn side that made spawn trapping really easy.)

    • Hematite says:

      I don’t know who these kids on my lawn are, whining about circle strafing and bunny hopping. I would guess they’re from the ‘modern military shooter’ crowd – as you say those are completely valid and skillful tactics in the UT/Quake tradition.

      I think the difference is that the modern military shooters claim to provide a serious military experience while UT and Quake were bombastic gib-fests with sci-fi weapons and … colours. Circle strafing and bunny hopping might require skill, but they break the ludonarrative harmony of modern military shooters regardless of their utility as a mechanic.

      Incidentally, that’s one of the things that annoys me about DotA – the mechanics make no thematic sense. Gaining experience just by being near creeps when they die and last hitting your allies make no sense in any kind of combat theme, even though they create interesting game mechanics and skill tiers.

      • LionsPhil says:

        But if unrealistic tactics work in a “realistic” shooter, isn’t that just bad game design?

        I mean, if you fire from the hip while running and jumping in CS, I’m pretty sure it murders your accuracy. Stamina systems are also a way to combat this kind of thing. Both have been around for well over ten years.

        • Mario Figueiredo says:

          Indeed. That’s perhaps what was missed in that article, especially considering the article was a call to discussion.

          Instead of engaging in a player proposition, this issue of so-called under-the-belt game tactics would make a much more interesting debate if it was centered on game design — The only place where I see it being worth of debate; The technical hurdles to develop a game that doesn’t offer these tactical elements, or the laziness in case those technical hurdles do not exist.

          • Baines says:

            One other issue with game design is the possibility that players reject a change.

            For all the people that hate bunny hopping (or just the ease of jumping in general) in “realistic” FPS, there are players who call it a skill, or instead see it with a “man up and learn to deal with it” attitude.

            Take quickscoping in Call of Duty games. It exploits certain game mechanics for an unrealistic result, but there are diehard supporters of quickscoping. Both people who use it and people who see wannabe quickscopers as easy kills. Treyarch wanted to remove it, but received a vocal backlash. MW3-era Infinity Ward pretty much openly embraced it, because removing it might have hurt game sales and keeping it kept the free publicity of all the YouTube quickscope montages.

            People can argue against things like stamina systems as well. They might want some realism, but not “too much” realism. They will point out other unrealistic parts of a game as a defense, where something is unrealistic either for player convenience or coder convenience.

        • The Random One says:

          To speak of realism, I doubt that a soldier carrying over half his weight in gear would be able to jump very well at all, let alone do the 1-meter high, 2-meter long super-hops videogame characters are known to do.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I was thinking the same thing, and the comments on the article seem to agree. Maybe the writer is just mapping his own views onto the entire community.

    • bill says:

      Yeah. I obviously don’t play enough shooters because I thought the entire genre was built around circle-strafing, and I can’t quite see the problem with it.

      Bunny hopping was indeed rather annoying though. If only because it looked so stupid.

      How do kids these days play shooters then? Without circling? Standing still? Running straight at the target? Genuinely confused.

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        FhnuZoag says:

        Well, to err, defend the attack on circle strafing a moment, one explanation is that people want to play a different sort of game to the one that the circlestrafers want. For example, on the more open mapped and team based games, awareness and map control is more important. Coming at the enemy from a direction they aren’t expecting, creating a killzone by good use of cover, etc. I think that is what these players prize, and it spoils the game for them if they get the jump on an opponent, fight with all the advantages possible, and still lose to superior manuever play. Especially if they feel, correctly or incorrectly, that your ping characteristics give you an inherent advantage with respect to that sort of tactics.

    • dE says:

      Depends on the game. In some, it completely breaks the finetuned balance of the map. For example in the old Counter-Strike, the maps were balanced so teams arrived at certain chokepoints at certain times. In cases where the map wasn’t an exact mirror (like you so often find them in UT or Quake), this meant one team had access to much more advantageous spots than the other team, even if both were using the same technique to perfection.
      The balance of the map was broken in favor of one team. This wouldn’t have happened if the maps were made to support that gameplay or were simply mirrored. But since they weren’t, it was a gamebreaking issue and thus shunned. In the mentioned Counter-Strike, it had to be patched out when it took full swing. It was either that or completely redesign and rebalance all of the maps to retain a level playing field for both teams.

      There, see? Has nothing to do with age or taste of the player but with simple logic.

      • WrenBoy says:

        I’m not sure what you’re talking about but it sounds like neither circle strafing nor dodging.

        • dE says:

          Strafejumping and Bunnyhopping. And I’ve used pretty simply words, so I’m unsure how I can make it any more accessible to you.

          • WrenBoy says:

            You have now. In the post I replied to you didnt.

            I’ve never been a counter strike player so maybe I’m missing something here. If both teams are using the technique perfectly surely they are moving at the same speed. If neither team used the technique they would also be moving at the same speed. How does one break the game and not the other?

          • derbefrier says:

            he explained all of that in his first post. read it again.

          • dE says:

            By having asymmetric maps. A round in counter-strike is essentially a round of team last man standing with additional objectives to give reason to the push. Each team spawns in their designated spawn area once per round. If you joined late (give or take a small grace period), you didn’t spawn until the next round. If you died, you didn’t spawn until the next round. So each new round was essentially a reset of sorts (not including weapon purchases) that put both teams back into their starting blocks.
            That’s the framing for the issue. Let’s say as an example, you found a way to hop onto a part that wasn’t intended to get to. With either continous spawns or mirror maps, this is a non issue and even a bit of fun to poke everyonce in a while. With fixed starting positions and teambased spawns as well as asymmetric maps, this means one team has a shorter route to the unintended spot than the other. So even if they’re equally fast, one team gets there just because its closer to their spawn.

          • WrenBoy says:

            What I was missing, if I now understand you correctly, was that it allows you access to unintended locations as opposed to just faster movement such as in Q2 where I saw it first. Unofficial banning makes sense in this context although patching it out seems a more elegant solution.

            Whats your take on circle strafing though?

            Edit: Dont really get this bit though

            “So even if they’re equally fast, one team gets there just because its closer to their spawn.”

            If its closer to their spawn why wouldnt that team get it first anyway? Ah because they wouldnt have access to the short cut. Nevermind.

          • dE says:

            Not just unintended locations, although they were part of the problem. Entirely different routes to the objective. Some were just better suited by let’s say having a small downward hill for example, allowing you to more quickly gain speed, while the other team had to go up convoluted staircases.
            So even if they have the same speed, they do not have the same route.

            edit:
            The circle strafing thing, why would anyone be against it? I’m thinking a lot of the confusion or discussion comes from how similar those terms are.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Ah different routes. I see.

          • dE says:

            Also keep in mind, Counter-strike is the game that first banned (to my knowledge) custom skins and custom sounds on a wide scale, when it was argued they’d allow unfair advantages (spike models and more noticeable pain sounds). It is also the very same game that banned changing your network settings or messing with your texture settings. I think CS was the first game where people got really obsessed about a level playing field and everyone having the same chances.
            Which is odd, because it’s also a game where the rich get richer (better weapons) while the already losing team has to make due with even worse weapons.

          • WrenBoy says:

            I never saw the custom model/skin problem in Quake 1but I saw it exploited and solved in Quake 2. Games could be configured to ignore anything but out of the box models and skins iirc.

    • derbefrier says:

      bunny hopping has always been frowned upon by a lot of players and has always been a divisive topic since I have been playing FPS’s on the PC starting with TFC, couterstrike in the late 90s. I always hated it. It was unnatural and completely changed the way games were played once it got popular, and not for the better in my opinion. circle strafing, however is a part of video games, i have never known anyone to claim that was an unfair tactic(maybe that comes from consoles?)
      Spawn camping has been despised longer than bunny hopping and most games I played it was always actively discouraged as “bad sportsmanship” by everyone, everywhere. Though sometimes a team was so bad it just couldn’t be helped :P.

      oh and camping is nothing more than tactical waiting but I have to admit its super annoying when you in a CS game and the last 2 guys alive are just sitting in a corner waiting for the timer to run out instead of hunting each other.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Especially with pseudorealistic games people will whine a lot about styles that don’t fit the one they think the game is about. E.g. in a CoD people complain if you do anything except use an automatic rifle with aim-down-sights, whether it’s shotguns, explosives, knives or any of the other mechanisms those games have. And then they declare aiming down sights as more skillful than shooting from the hip. Of course then designers pander to that with 100 weapons that are all the same and everything being about hitscan weapons (usually in an engine that handles hitscan with lag terribly, i.e. Unreal Engine 3). Well, I think my rants about these games are getting as repetitive as the games themselves…

      • Baines says:

        To be fair, COD’s knife has been insanely overpowered at times. Because of the way it was coded, knife attacks could make you invulnerable to bullets, kill before the animation even had the knife reach the target, teleport the attacker forward sometimes a substantial distance, and could kill people beside or even *behind* the attacker.

        It didn’t help that Modern Warfare code was sometimes glitchy, on top of lag-related issues, that would sometimes produce even more insane results like knifing someone from over 10 feet away without even having MW2’s Commando perk.

    • sinister agent says:

      I don’t even like those idiotic bouncing and sidestepping dancey shooters, but I had no idea I was so out of the loop, because I too had no idea those two things were frowned upon at all. Spawncamping is only ever done by idiot wankers*, obviously, because it’s unsporting, griefing, and worst of all, boring. But those two? I can’t fathom it.

      *outside games and contexts where it’s sometimes required, e.g. capturing bases in Planetside 2. And in those games you have other options anyway, so it’s tolerable.

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      Malibu Stacey says:

      I take it this is some new generation of whiners who missed the Q3A/UT era.

      Pretty much the “realistic” shooter crowd AKA CoD/BF fanboys.
      It’s getting worse though. I’ve given up playing CS:GO as I’ve had admin abuse because I don’t simply rush at the enemy when the game starts every single round. Apparently playing the game as intended isn’t even allowed now.

      Here’s some irony:
      spawn camp – perfectly legitimate in some games. Hell TF2’s map design is basically built around this mechanic on the push & attack/defend maps (as in goldrush/dustbowl which are the most popular on public servers).
      dolphin-dive (Battlefield games) – no idea never played Battlefield.
      bunny-hop – if the game engine allows it, it’s an intended mechanic. Considering it’s existed since Quake was released in 1996 game designers should be aware of it’s existence (or they need a new job title). The problem is a lot of people equate “jumping while I’m shooting at you” as “bunny-hopping” which are pretty far from being the same thing.
      circle-strafe – what? Moving & aiming simultaneously is verboten now? Someone tell the Scout in TF2 to retire.

      I’m glad I don’t play these so called “modern” & “realistic” FPS games because fuck me that’s a pretty sad state of affairs.

  3. PoLLeNSKi says:

    http://www.sirlin.net/ptw/
    The ‘How far should you go to win?’ and ‘What should be banned?’ chapters are pretty much the answer to the Honor Among Gamers article.

    Also I had no idea that circle strafing was frowned upon in FPS – that’s pretty much the most laughable thing I ever heard, at what point does a sideways dodge become a circle strafe?

    • MarcP says:

      Dang, beaten to that link. Hilarious to see a site naming itself “True PC Gaming” wouldn’t be aware of it.

    • Spacewalk says:

      Circle strafing was my bread and butter in the Quake days. How times have changed if it’s frowned upon now.

      • jon_hill987 says:

        Forget Quake, you needed it in Doom to survive past the first few levels of the singleplayer.

        • Spacewalk says:

          Oh It’s possible to get further than that before needing to circle strafe. I mean, you can beat single player on Ultra Violence with a keyboard and circle strafing is impossible on a keyboard so you can do it. Even if you haven’t learned the levels yet.

          • baltasaronmeth says:

            I circle strafed in doom all the time. I set better buttons for strafe L/R and never touched ALT again.

          • jon_hill987 says:

            You can CS in Doom with the keyboard. It may not be easy, and it ends up to be more of a dodecahedron than a circle, but it can be done. I was exaggerating when I said first few levels mind.

        • Mario Figueiredo says:

          Which is yet another thing that is bothersome about that article. Circle strafing is as old as Doom and hoping as old as Duke Nukem 3D and Quake.

          Counter Strike, really?

          • HadToLogin says:

            That could be because CS was first popular game that actually promoted todays FPS-gaming-style: camping over objectives and “shitting in the woods” shooting position (at least later games changed that animation into crouching, but in CS that looked funny) and general lack of mobility/slowness.

    • walldad says:

      Ehhh, Sirlin assumes competitive mindset where both competitors are putting in maximum effort to win, yet one side is undercutting their potential by imposing arbitrary rules on how to play. Not everyone who whines is doing that, or at least not exactly.

      I think the “playing to win” might not have a need address the social dimension of competitive games, but that’s a big part of where these rules come from. Don’t assume it’s pure resentment. In some cases it’s like the next logical step of “house rules”, you know? When someone uses the thing they don’t like, they (and likely the people they play with most often) have less fun. I guess what I’m saying is, it’s important to understanding the mindsets of these players who might otherwise benefit from a friendly explanation of why the mechanics they object to can actually be fun and worthy, instead of just telling them to “Get Good”.

      Also for what it’s worth I’ve never heard anyone in CS complain about circle strafing. My exp with the game tells me you’d be better off aiming your shot and controlling the recoil…?

      • Mario Figueiredo says:

        Isn’t house rules exactly what we should be against in a multiplayer game? These are places were vocal minorities usually get the upper hand, they are not democracies, much less majority representations. A House rule is exactly the type of system to avoid in there.

        Also, this sort of should put you on hold when you try to excuse arbitrary rules as being part of the social dimension of a game.

        • walldad says:

          I’m not excusing house rules or players placing arbitrary limits on what tactics they’ll use. I’m pointing out that people who read Sirlin’s article often broach the topic of scrubby house rules rudely and in a context that often does not exist (AKA these mythical people who are simply misguided yet putting in 100% effort).

          Making an attempt to understand the way these players think about multiplayer games will make it easier to explain to them why the tactic they dislike is actually a worthy part of the game. I don’t know how to word it more clearly.

          His concept makes sense taken alone, or as ‘self help’ for potential competitors, but it also autistic-ally omits how people interact through and with multiplayer games. Some tactics just aren’t fun to deal with until you learn to beat it, and oftentimes what you need to learn is counter-intuitive.

          So I guess if you want fewer people whining, you’ll take the extra step and explain why what you’re doing isn’t game-breaking or fun-destroying.

          Good developers will try to listen to a well-reasoned “here’s how you deal with X” rather than the chorus of complaints about it.

          (Of course, you also have companies like DICE that absolutely won’t, because they don’t even understand their own product to some extent.)

    • Radiant says:

      Please could people stop holding David sirlin as some kind of game guru.
      Or I’ll start pushing hdr as exhibit a.

      • Steven Hutton says:

        He is a really, really good designer. All of his games are very good.

        And I will defend HD: Remix all day.

        I never got why people had a problem with it.

        • Baines says:

          HD Remix was a development joke.

          It seemed like any mistake that you could make on the development side, they made. Terrible planning, creeping features, etc… Art issues didn’t help. Udon was completely out of its depth in producing art for animation purposes, and some of the early art (before a lot of complaints) was relatively bad. Mistakes with Udon most likely further cost the project money, such as how Udon was not capable of producing usable key frames for the overseas inbetweeners to finish the project. (It was officially claimed that Udon’s art was found to be too high quality with too much detail for the overseas studio to handle, but quite bluntly it was simply way too inconsistent with little usable as reference.)

          For the actual gameplay complaints that people have, that falls back to the changing ideas that were promoted during the project. The game started as a straight artwork upgrade with no balance changes. It became a rebalance project, and a rebalance project with new moves. It seemed every few months the game changed into something else, and previous statements were contradicted. The methods of rebalance themselves seemed inconsistent… Ryu got a fake fireball, but characters with worse issues didn’t get anything of that degree. A character that might be relatively balanced would get buffed due to a minor disadvantage in a couple of match-ups, but characters with extreme disadvantages might be barely addressed. Some requests for buffs were ignored because performing them supposedly put the whole game’s balance at risk, but all the other tweaks and changes apparently didn’t?

          Further, people started souring on Sirlin’s image. At one time, he was seen as a god of fighting game design. “Playing to win” made him a prophet to many, and he was seen as a guy that could do no wrong. But people were starting to turn on that image some time during the HD Remix project, and more people started deciding that his reputation was overhyped.

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        Malibu Stacey says:

        Sirlin is a massive douche & not exactly the epitome of a good game designer but his points on competitive gaming can’t be argued with.

    • KDR_11k says:

      All I can say to playing to win vs “playing for fun” is that game designers will design a competitive game assuming that all game mechanics are utilized by all players to their maximum effectiveness. For example no RTS is balanced around “20 minutes no rush”, some offer it as a rule but you can expect the game balance to be seriously distorted by that and a lot of game parts becoming useless as a result (e.g. units or skills designed for early harassment or smoother vs rougher tech progression). No doubt developers make mistakes but there’s a massive difference between circle strafing and finding a way to clip through walls. Besides, if you see circle strafing in a game about high lethality hitscan weapons that’s usually the result of shitty netcode because otherwise people would just shoot the strafer dead right away. Of course if you have to lead targets by an arbitrary distance because there’s no lag compensation… Well, most people won’t be able to hit a moving target and tactics start revolving around how you make the most of that.

  4. Premium User Badge

    daphne says:

    Another The Sight Below share on the Sunday Papers, and the same album to boot : ) You previously shared Without Motion, I think, which was how I found about TSB. Glider’s a great album.

  5. TechnicalBen says:

    When it comes down to most science these days, it’s failing (or is that “flailing”?). Some thankfully does succeed. By that, I don’t mean in “getting a positive” or “right” answer. But in doing actual science.

    A good example is the “Cargo Cult Science” lecture by R Feynman (I’ve not found an original post of it, but here is one http://neurotheory.columbia.edu/~ken/cargo_cult.html ).

    We need more looking not only to refine the results, but the way we test. They do well in space exploration and particle physics, but some sadly fall flat in biology or more “hairy” (scientific term) or “fairy” (layman’s term ;) ) subjects.

    • identiti_crisis says:

      I read that recently, and was the first thing I thought about when reading the above snippet about the issue of “gamer psychology” and “looking for results”. Feynman says it himself, though, the point of science isn’t ever explicitly taught – maybe that’s an issue. Or maybe funding and vested interests are the issue, I don’t know.

  6. AlmostPalpable says:

    I still don’t get what was so special about Blitz. All of the games they made were awful and we should be sorry to see them go? I’m sure they were all very nice people and yes, I am sorry to hear about a British games company going under and people losing their jobs but people are going on about them as if they were some kinds of heroes when all of their games were just well-made garbage. Now the Oliver twins were pretty damn special but they are still alive so I can’t miss them but Blitz? I don’t gets it, blud. It’s just one of many small games companies who pumped out a load of old shite for the lowest common denominator as far as I can tell. Feel free to call me ignorant but I value a company’s products over their “mythology” any day. This is why Honda gets away with having such horrendously cringe-worthy adverts because people buy into the mythology and the hype instead of judging the company based on what they do, that’s what companies do, you know? They do things, they do things for money and what they do is much more important than anything else when it comes to forming an opinion of that company.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      I would say even reading the quote from Mike that Jim includes in the Sunday Papers above would answer your question.

    • identiti_crisis says:

      Maybe it depends on how you define “product”. It seems Blitz weren’t content to just make games, they seemed to have wanted to enrich the industry in other ways, not just the marketplace.

      If you don’t want to appreciate that, I suppose there’s no harm. But this so-called “mythology” thing I think is a bit of a disservice, when the effects companies’ actions have are tangible, not ethereal and distant (like the word implies).

      Honda, for instance, have regularly “upset” the established thinking by taking a certain kind of engineering purism that has led to them “reinventing the wheel” at times. But this is with great effect, beyond just the “product”, and ripples (in terms of thinking and approach) are still lapping through the industry from some of the things they’ve achieved (they’re not the only ones, of course). This is all while hiding behind a “safe” or “dull” image that comes when engineering things to be practical – i.e. to do their job well (which is why their performance “products” might be “mythologised”).

      “Products” are one thing, but playing the long game and having a certain mindset when you approach a problem, no matter how mundane, are things that some people like and respect. I don’t particularly like “product-oriented” thinking, personally, because products are made by people. Then there is the issue of how the product is made – there’s no arguing that Apple make some decent products, but exactly how they achieve that has caused concerns (to say nothing of their business model in general). Equally, I don’t like the tendency to use image-promoting as marketing, either. But some of that marketing has a truth to it, at least.

  7. Tams80 says:

    I thought you meant Nicholas Cage at first! There is only one Cage.

    Jackie Chan is indeed very important.

    • Maritz says:

      The first person that came to my mind was Mortal Kombat’s Johnny Cage. Weird.

  8. Drake Sigar says:

    http://www.alwaysblack.com/blackbox/bownigger.html

    I think we’re obligated to mention that article every time this subject comes up. It’s always a good read. Nothing makes me think of a multiplayer code of honour more than the Jedi Knight series.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Oh man, thanks for reminding me of that game. I have to agree. I remember the first time I saw it. Multiplayer deathmatch, everyone’s shooting each other… two opposing players get together, you hear them both “zhoom” out their lightsabers… then bow to each other before becoming dancing tornadoes.

  9. Juan Raigada says:

    I don’t understand all this David Cage bashing going on. The guy has done some compelling (if flawed stuff) and knows what he is talking about. He is not talking about all videogames, but about the concept of narrative driven videogames. If anything, the idea of algorithmically deciding on the best visual representation for narrative/emotional impact points to a kind of games that is more emergent and less authored than what he is making right now (you don’t need algorithms for camera placement in something as controlled as heavy rain).

    Some might not like his idea of what games are, but many, many people do and made his last game a sales and critical success. Can’t we just allow games to be many different kinds of experience and admit that Cage is right when he refers to the kind of games he makes?

    Oh, and something quite related: People who only have worked in either the film or the game industry always try to attack the idea of “convergence” and any similarities existing between the two creative processes. People who have experience in BOTH industries do tell that the former is a misconception and that they are more similar than they look (not the same, but with similarities and convergences).

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Well said Juan. And especially your last paragraph. But in RPS one must not use the games and film industry in the same sentence. It’s some sort of fashionable holy war they are engaged in against anyone who even tries to come with the idea.

      You see, it apparently makes games and gamers look less important, or less creative. It seems. Go figure…

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        Thirith says:

        Yeah, as much as I like RPS, the writers are weirdly dogmatic on a number of things – sometimes to the point where, even when I fully agree with them, I find their opinions and (more importantly) how they’re stated less than conducive to interesting discussion. This is one of those things.

        • njolnin says:

          I agree. While I like RPS for (usually) embracing different game experiences, there are times when they have these dogmatic reactions that seem close-minded. The discussion suggests that not only does the writer dislike this thing, but that it shouldn’t be liked by anyone.

          In Dan Pinchbeck’s interview mentioned here, he mentions how he dislikes the terminology and territoriality that comes with certain games debates. In the interview, he comes across as broadly embracing many types of mechanics and ideas, and doesn’t seem to bring preconceptions the table when considering something.

      • WrenBoy says:

        I don’t think anyone denies that AAA game development has some similarities to Hollywood. Undoubtedly there are techniques which gaming can usefully borrow from cinema.

        These are not the type of innovations likely to result in the next Tetris though. Gaming shouldnt purely aspire towards cinema and when it does it is reasonable to criticize as it inevitably produces results which would make Michael Bay blush.

        Cage wouldn’t recognise emergent gameplay if it crawled out of his screen, ripped off its mocap suit and offered him the directors chair for a summer blockbuster.

        • Juan Raigada says:

          Good points, but it’s not only hollywood that the industry resembles. There’s an incredible amount of talent moving between the indie film and indie gaming scenes. It’s not only AAA and Desilets, there are also many Brendom Chung out there. And many boardgame designers also come with a background on film. And they don’t necessarily imitate films on the outside (I can’t see the relationship between Atom Zombie Smasher and films).

          Moreover, I don’t know if I want the next tetris. I love videogames, but I’m falling out of love with (pure) games.

          • WrenBoy says:

            I can see similarities with indie films and games but to be honest I always thought it was purely due to smaller budgets allowing for greater creative risk. I would be interested to know how much of an overlap there was in personnel.

            I would still guess that Cage is different though. He wants to direct a movie and therefore wants gamers to passively watch his video games as they would a film. A lot of games, even if they are inspired by movies, let you feel that you’re both directing and starring in your own movie. Just Cause is a good example.

    • DanMan says:

      Agreed. To me, games are a melting pot of elements from all the other types of media, and then some. So it makes totally sense to compare them to movies, as much as books, theatre, …

    • anark10n says:

      Or perhaps it has to do with the fact that he stated his opinion as if it were a matter of fact and that it was the only way games had to go if they were to be counted as significant contributors to media; but you know stating a thing like what he proposes is a future of gaming instead of the future of gaming doesn’t get him the attention he’s clearly getting for using the latter.

      As for what he says being applicable only to narrative-driven video games is also, at best, untrue. Video games being what they are, there isn’t one way of telling a narrative that is better than all the others; e.g Going Home tells it’s narrative without camera angles, whether that’s a good thing is up to the player to decide. And this ties into why he gets flak for what he says, what he proposes is something that gets in the way of the player experiencing a game for their self.

      I’ve not played his games, and most likely never will (this is due to their platform exclusivity and me not owning said platform), but what I’ve seen of Heavy Rain boils down to a lot of QTEs. And worse than any other implementation of QTEs, is that the game will go on without the player participating in these events, and I think that’s one reason why QTEs are so hated; the game will go on without the player doing anything; the other reason being that QTEs force the player to pay attention as opposed to drawing the player in. This is not fun.

      • Juan Raigada says:

        You think Gone Home language and narrative is not influence by film????? It’s a different approach, for sure, but it owes as much to film and literature as Heavy Rain does.

        • Premium User Badge

          RobF says:

          More TV I’d argue but it still delivers most of the game in the language of videogames. Terence’s safe is about a giant videogame nod as you can get and whilst it strips out the manshooting parts, it’s not trying to move away from the medium, it’s trying to move the medium on a bit with another pathway.

          That’s fairly distinct from what Cage wants and does with his work. Gone Home takes what we have, Cage wants to remove what we have and replace it with things that serve his want to make movies as games. Except he’s clearly frustrated by this, so we end up with him constantly advocating for more tech to solve it, more mocap, more polygons, more automation. It won’t work, obviously. The problem with David Cage’s games and stories is that they’re by David Cage and no amount of polygons can cure that.

        • anark10n says:

          Gone Home’s narrative is not presented in the form that Cage is pushing for. Yes, the language is like that of film, closer to TV than cinema, but the way in which player experiences it is not, and like you say, this language is present in most narrative media.

          And that’s what Cage is punting is that the future of game narrative presentation is to be like that of cinema, or at least the pre-eminent one. Cinematic experiences can be a nice thing to have, but they don’t leave a lasting impression in video games.

          • Juan Raigada says:

            I don’t know if I consider Heavy Rain inherently more “cinematic” than Gone Home. If anything, it is much more interactive and presents many branching points. Aside for irrelevant stuff like “camera angles”the presentation of the narrative in Gone Home (linear, voice over driven) is much more akin to that of cinema than the one in Heavy Rain (branching, non-linear).

            Both of them feature exploration of spaces. Maybe you should try Cage’s games before judging them…

          • Premium User Badge

            RobF says:

            Gone Home has a voiceover but I’d hardly describe it as voice over driven. It’s just one environmental storytelling tool amongst many.

    • HadToLogin says:

      I think he confused videogames and movies, because what he talks about sounds more like future of movie making.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lacero says:

      People who have experience of narrative cutscene heavy AAA development and the film industry, especially artists and script writers, will correctly see lots of obvious similarities.

      People who work on strategy games won’t.

      Cage’s bleating isn’t about “games” it’s about his chosen genre and he fight between genres is so much more bitter in games because they are much more different artforms than in cinema where they’re more clearly different expressions of the same artform.

      This is in part because narrative 3-act cinema won the genre war vs. musicals and abstract pictures of moths on film etc. It would be a huge shame if the promise of games were to be lost due to the cinematic game genre beating all others out of the mainstream. So yes, I’m glad people argue with Cage when he says things like this.

      • Juan Raigada says:

        Yeah, but that genre “war” is not a war, but a logical conclusion of a media becoming mainstream. At the end it’s the realities of the marketplace, or more precisely the cost of production versus revenue, what made films predominantly narrative 3-acts structures. There is still experimental film out there, and some of it is really good, but it does not warrant big budgets and marketing, since the audience is too niche.

        There are many hints that the main audience for games is also going to be narrative oriented (basically, it seems people have more a craving for narrative experiences than for other kinds of experiences). Games that are advertised as narratives tend to get more mainstream sales and non-gamer players than games that are advertised as systems, at least outside of the “casual” area, where pure games might thrive since these five minute per session games seem to fulfill a different craving.

        I think it all comes because the traditional gaming audience might be more evenly split (by this I mean that there are more people looking for “systems”and not narratives), but if games are going to become a mainstream art form (at the moment they are far from that in terms of audience) most likely they are going to become predominantly narrative. As long as that doesn’t make other kind of games impossible to make (and there is no reason that will happen) I see nothing wrong with that. Most of the criticism focused towards people who pursue a traditional narrative approach to games seems to come from a weird desire to defend other kind of games, but they are not being threatened, and I have yet to see somebody defending narrative games by attacking system based games (so the vitriol reads to me as one sided).

        • Premium User Badge

          Lacero says:

          Let me be more clear. I don’t want narrative games to win the mainstream.

          I don’t see it as inevitable that non-interaction (which narrative requires) becomes the dominant way people interact with media, and I think society and mankind would be better if the dominant art form was interactive, systems oriented. I’m not saying the systems need to be complicated, but a society that embraces the act of experimentation at the core of a game will be more successful than one that embraces the passivity of narrative.

          So yeah, big words and all a little overblown but I’m glad when I see kerbal space program so high on the steam best sellers list (ok it’s a sale).

          While the AAA products do sell I partly think this is a matter of the advertising for them being similar to the advertising for films and so able to be understood by the mainstream. Not due to an innate property they possess. There is significant evidence than people who play these games skip all cutscenes possible, which I take heart from.

          • Juan Raigada says:

            You are assuming narrative is not interactive, while I think it is (even in traditional book and movie form). Your definition of interactivity and mine differ, though, which is fine.

            That said, I agree with what you say (I think) but even if in an utopian ideal society system based media would be the ideal, I just don’t see it going that particular way. AND I don’t think it’s a bad thing, mainly because until designers of system based games get their act together, there is more to take from (from a humanistic perspective) in Heavy Rain -as bad a narrative as that is- than from the more successful system based games. At least from a “casual”reading of those games, since they do little to help the player interpret the human/emotional implications of those systems. Hardcore players can and do get more form them.

          • Premium User Badge

            Lacero says:

            It’s a valid critisicm in general, it’s interesting to think about what would be required to produce this kind of effect in a systems game. Certainly Prison Architect has achieved it. There’s the terrifying banality of the evils of colonialism in EU4 that breaks through the numbers too.

            Though you do need to look fairly hard to see these examples. Cannon Fodder had a very clear message with its graves on a hill, but even so these are all slightly impovrished compared to what can be achieved with narrative.

            (As an aside, I don’t think “narrative” really covers what I want to describe here. For me watching football is exactly as passive as watching narrative but they’re clearly different. (I am taking shouting at the TV as passive, yes we do likely disagree on this ;) It’s really a lack of control, of the narrative being decided by someone else rather than the actual presence of a narrative. I don’t seem to be able to describe it and I’ve not read an article giving it a name so that’s a weak point for me to end on here :)

        • Infinitron says:

          basically, it seems people have more a craving for narrative experiences than for other kinds of experiences

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sport

          • Juan Raigada says:

            Exactly, I know way more people who regularly watch movies/read books than people who regularly play sports/exercise. Exercise is seen as something you do for your health, while reading/watching movies is done for pleasure.

          • Infinitron says:

            Even if that’s true, I’m not talking just about playing sports.

          • Juan Raigada says:

            Right, but then you are talking about a passive point of view (watching) towards an interactive system (the sport in question). Which means maybe people would love watching games, but not necessarily playing them -and investing the time to do so proficiently-.

            Complex, time consuming experiences (I consider reading and watching films in this group) fill a different space than passive ones. And both are compatible.

            I personally have no interest in games as a sport. Specially as an spectator.

          • Infinitron says:

            I personally have no interest in games as a sport. Specially as an spectator.

            Neither do I for the most part, but the point is, you can’t say that “narrative experiences” are the pinnacle of human desire. It’s just not that simple.

            How many of those hundreds of millions of people who watch football matches also play FIFA at home, where the skill barrier is lower?

          • KDR_11k says:

            Also the Mario games (including Kart). Practically no story.

          • Premium User Badge

            DrollRemark says:

            Heh. Watching sport is massively enriched by knowing the narrative involved in it.

    • tnzk says:

      “People who have experience in BOTH industries do tell that the former is a misconception and that they are more similar than they look (not the same, but with similarities and convergences).”

      No, they are less similar than they look. You could point to similarities in the production pipeline (as you could with almost any creative industry), but apart from that… boy oh boy.

      My bread and butter is the film industry, and just this year, I tried to start some dialogue with the video game industry in New Zealand, as I was (still am) looking to produce an indie game. But damn, from fresh graduates to so-called professionals, there’s a reason you video game developers get fucked constantly by execs and other higher-ups. I thought it would be a stereotype, but a lot of video game developers are so incredibly introverted. It was actually really freaking exhausting for me to try liaise with individuals, and the ones which would talk to me were really, truly man-children.

      I’m starting to believe that the reason some developers are highly successful e.g Naughty Dog and Bungie, is simply because they have more than a couple of people in their team that are actually grown up. They know that video games are primarily a business, and they understand they need essential skills to succeed (and quickly sought after them). On the flipside, the stories of downtrodden individuals working in unbearable conditions at other places e.g Gameloft isn’t really a surprise to me. It’s a sad story, but absolutely no surprise. I have a feeling that this unbalanced workplace so common in the video game industry is one of the main reasons it’s seeing a massive transformation after many years of increasing AAA production.

      So to summarize, no, the film industry and the video game industry are not similar. The film industry is exponentially more mature than the video game industry. The next best place to learn humility and discipline after the military is on a film set, no bullshit: on your third day as a Production Assistant you’ll notice you’re a completely different person than on the first day. Very, very few industries can offer that sort of experience. Unfortunately, the video games industry is not one of them.

      • Josh W says:

        In fact, they are literally less similar than they look, because it is primarily their visual aspects that give that impression! The way they deal with time, the role of the audience towards the work, the time lengths over which they work, the number of sittings they are divided into, the nature of interactivity itself… These aspects are where the differences really kick off.

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      I’d just like someone to tell me which game that is that involves a digitized Willem Dafoe.

      EDIT: Oh nevermind, there it is in the image url. Beyond Two Souls.

    • Contrafibularity says:

      I hope many game designers would beg to differ with David Cage. I can certainly understand that a game designer who comes from designing adventure games takes much of his influence from cinema, and is aware maybe more than most designers that there is indeed a visual language which photography and cinema have pioneered and largely discovered.

      The problem many have is that he goes a few steps further than that in his assumptions, because he seems just absolutely incapable of understanding that the visual arts extend way beyond just cinema (many games in fact have more in common with the visual language of illustration and sometimes even sculpture than that of cinema for example) and that videogames are truly a new chapter in the history of art, not dependent on cinema as cinema was on theatre, for example. Cinema arises from and revolves around the camera. Videogames do not. Videogames arise from play and computers. Quite why he doesn’t get this I don’t know.

      No one will dispute that for ‘cinematic’ mo-capped AAA videogames more facial muscles and more polygons and more shaders and more tessellations and a higher skin pore density and more realistic beards and moustaches = more emotions. On paper. But that doesn’t explain why the uncanniest valleys of recent game titles often fail to elicit so much as simple emotions, let alone any real depth, as opposed to games with the most abstract or un-cinematic visuals or even first-person games that manage to stir up real emotions more readily. So it’s easy to take issue with the assumption that higher-defness is necessary for a broader palette, as opposed to just being welcome.

      It’s also a bit silly to be discussing a hypothetical algorithmic camera for a non-existent game which could supposedly mimic a cinematographer. Technically, it’s possible (it might have even been done already) but it just isn’t as interesting as he makes it sound. And given that videogames tend to be interactive and where frequently you control the movement of one or several characters, such a camera would only really be suited for cutscenes, I think. But Cage is welcome to program a demo of this, he could name it “The Future of Game Design” like in his article.

  10. povu says:

    I’m pretty sure there’s a well-known bias towards publishing articles that find any effect for anything in any science.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Faldrath says:

    Richard Cobbett’s Crapshoot this week is a thing of beauty. And laughter. More laughter than beauty, really: http://www.pcgamer.com/2013/09/14/saturday-crapshoot-quickies-week-ii/

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      When I saw the first image was from Fury of the Furries I was all ready to say how wrong Richard was to slag it off. Then he didn’t and I could breath a sigh of relief. I have fond memories of that game.

      Yeah that article was fun.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Urk, I played that Trolls game. Not as Trolls, mind you, so it was slightly more bearable but it was re-released on the DS as “Oscar in Toyland”.

      • Premium User Badge

        DrollRemark says:

        Holy crap. I have played that Trolls game, and I think I had suppressed all memory of it. The description, the screenshots, the box art, and the intro meant nothing to me, so I reckon it was probably just a demo I tried, but as soon as I saw the game in action on the video, that yo-yo, and the bizarre constipated death/jump animation, it all just came flooding back.

        I think I need to go and play some Call of Duty to calm myself back down.

    • LionsPhil says:

      This is an absolutely brilliant one, yes.

  12. Premium User Badge

    ffordesoon says:

    I have to say, the idea of a “Scorsese algorithm” is pretty cool.

    I mean, it would almost certainly never work, but as a bonkers pulp SF concept, it’s neat.

    I do think procedurally generated moviegames are going to be a part of gaming’s future, though. Maybe not soon, but at some point. But they aren’t going to be substitutes for authored narratives; a “Scorsese algorithm” is not Scorsese, for the same reason someone imitating Scorsese is not Scorsese. An algorithm can steal every one of the man’s tricks, but it can never truly understand his reasons for using those tricks, nor can it come up with new ones.

    Imitation is the slavish replication of an aesthetic without any specific creative intent. It will, at best, produce unoriginal work that is nevertheless quite solid.

    • Strangerator says:

      “An algorithm can steal every one of the man’s tricks, but it can never truly understand his reasons for using those tricks, nor can it come up with new ones.”

      I agree with the first part, but not the second. If you consider the process of natural selection to be an highly complex algorithm, it is in fact capable of producing new things because there is that potential for mutation. I think if a game incorporates both randomness and some sort of “selection procedure” that eliminates a lot of the nonsensical results, you can have a game that produces interesting novel content.

      I’d argue that procedurally generated narrative games are possible and could in fact be quite enjoyable, although of course certain elements like cutscenes and voice-overs would be difficult or impossible.

    • KDR_11k says:

      “Never” is a strong word but it definitely takes much longer for procedural generation of things to go past simply using a list of possible tricks and actually intelligently combining them for some effect. Think of the “AI Director”, that’s one form of procedural generation that aims at an effect instead of blindly combining valid elements to fill space. Kinda like knowing words and grammar but not their meaning. Too many games use procedural generation as a shortcut for “we don’t need to make content ourselves” which of course forgets that with random levels your actual content is only the rules and tools of your world generator, not the worlds it creates. Once you’ve seen enough versions of the things it generates it just becomes samey.

    • Josh W says:

      If he’s just limiting it to camera tricks, as I think he is, then what you have is a more subtle version of the various kinds of atmospheric screen shake that we’ve been familiar with before. Making them react automatically to the action in the game is an excellent idea, sort of the camera control version of reactive music. Maybe someone could solve cameras that fly inside objects at the same time, so we could have a nice AI cameraman to follow us around and consider our emotions.

  13. Snargelfargen says:

    Honour codes are just another kind of self-imposed limit. Adhering to them mindlessly is kind of dumb, but a lot of the time their purpose is to make gameplay more fun for the majority.

    It just so happens that there’s always a minority that enjoys experimenting with the game’s rules. They are usually the most hardcore players, dedicated to pushing the limits of what’s possible, or griefers (There’s often a very thin line between the two, just look at EVE for example).

    So a commonly agreed upon but occasionally flouted set of rules is a win/win situation, really.

    Enforcing those rules doesn’t have to be obnoxious either. I remember going on a lengthy killing streak against low-level characters in the very early days of WoW. After ganking one poor fellow half a dozen times, a max level rogue stunned me out of nowhere, shook his finger at me admonishingly, and disappeared in a puff of smoke. The message was clear, and I changed my ways (if only because defending newbies against other gankers was also quite a bit of fun).

  14. Strangerator says:

    We all know if that Peter Molyneux school was ever launched, the students would only be HALF-naked, the tunnels would be over-simplified, and the mountains would be far short of “vast.”

  15. MadTinkerer says:

    “Schools around the world that are teaching game design are failing our industry. Students are NOT being given the skills they need to become great designers.” – Molydeux University vid.

    A tragic bit of unintentional grim comedy in the opening lines of the video. Unfortunately, in some cases this is more true than Peter Molydeux probably realized. You know why I dropped out of higher education and am currently teaching myself programming? Because I was a Game Design major and the way the subject was taught… Was basically that it wasn’t taught. There was no lectures or support for the tech side of actually making the games work in the game design classes themselves.

    If you can imagine a combination of Harold Hill’s “think system” combined with that thing they do in business schools where they organize everyone in the class into an actual mini-business where the students get experience in actual business practices… Except the only thing anyone actually knows how to do well is write design docs because the programming team has only taken a couple of general introductory programming classes, and they have to learn a whole new engine while they are making the game. Oh, and good luck if none of the tutorials you are given explain a better way of combining code than cutting & pasting from what each other have done the previous week.

    Oh, and what’s really nice is when students are encouraged to blame each other (or just one scapegoat) for technical issues, and all the rules are thrown out at the end of the semester for a Lord of the Flies style “let’s vote the troublemaker out of the class” initiative even though that’s really, really not how things work. And then later the professor reveals that he told one half of the programming team to “cut off” the other half early on because that will get more done and won’t cause technical problems; are you seriously trying to blame the professor for your laziness? You deserved what you got!

    And that’s why I dropped out and never looked back.

    EDIT: Oh, and guess how you’re graded. I have no idea. I know for certain that it has nothing to do with the work you produce, because the professor never looked at any of my files.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lacero says:

      Any chance of a name for the school / course? I understand if you don’t want to give it but bad courses need to be known to be bad to prospective students and employers, and this is actually a good place to say it. Lots of devs read here and some may even be invovled in the school and be able to do something from outside.

      Not all courses are like this, but it’s true most are.

  16. Jason Moyer says:

    It’s sad that Jackie Chan’s mainstream English movies are so bad, because everything he’s ever done in Hong Kong is amazing.

    • Arglebargle says:

      I’d say most western directors don’t know the territory and how to use Jackie Chan well. On the other hand, the secret of a good Jackie Chan Hong Kong movie, is to make sure he doesn’t direct. He’s worse than Burt Reynolds with that smarmy mugging for the camera schtick.

      • Jason Moyer says:

        According to IMDB he directed the Project A movies, Operation Condor, Armour Of God, and The Legend Of Drunken Master, all of which are really really good (and sadly I haven’t actually seen either of the Police Story movies, but I can’t imagine they’re bad).

    • Contrafibularity says:

      Doesn’t really matter, though. Doesn’t make his many Chinese classics any less great, and only sad people restrict themselves to films in their native language (or worse even, dubbed films).

      PS. Rush Hour is excellent and I don’t care what you say because lalalalalalaaalalalalaalaaaaaaa ->’.'<-