The Sunday Papers

By Graham Smith on March 9th, 2014 at 11:00 am.

NO FAILURE.

Sundays are for manning a table at a local craft fair. But they can also be for reading pre-prepared links to the week’s best (mostly) games writing, while attempting to look the other way while the author again links to their own podcast.

  • Singularity was a jumbled mess when it was released, owing too much to its influences and doing little with its time-warping concept. Reading Keith Fuller explain what went wrong with the Raven Software game, based on his experience as a programmer on the game, it’s hard not to feel sympathetic. “For a day, the game was cancelled. Dates had been missed, and the project was nowhere near complete. So when the VP from Activision visited the studio and saw the true state of affairs, her assessment – while a shock – wasn’t overly surprising. She made it clear that she was going back to HQ to tell them to cancel Singularity.”
  • Polygon tell the story of the last years of Irrational Games. Most of the quotes in this are anonymous, which is a shame, but on balance it paints a portrait of Ken Levine’s exacting standards more than egomania. Also, that maybe Jordan Thomas is the best. “Sources say Thomas and Levine shared similar visions, and that Thomas helped to realize them. Thomas is described as someone who could take the many ideas and projects in progress and organize them into one vision. He could snap the studio out of the iterative cycle by creating a map toward realizing the ideas in Levine’s head.”
  • BioShock Infinite itself is of course back in the spotlight after Irrational Games’ recent semi-demise. Steve Anichini worked on the game and writes in detail about the game’s lighting art and tech. I love this kind of detail. “Doing a limited depth-only pre pass was still a win on the consoles, but we disabled it on most PC hardware. We only rendered a subset of potential occluders in this pass. Primitives in the depth-only pass had to be static (no skinning), cover a reasonable screen area (nothing small), and require no state changes (simple opaque materials only). The player hands and gun were an exception to the “no skinning” rule, as they always covered a significant amount of screen space and needed to be masked out in stencil anyway.The extra pass was rendered in parallel and was really cheap to do, and on the consoles saved much more GPU than it cost.”
  • Humble Bundles often clock up revenue in the millions, but it’s not always clear how that money is then split between the different developers who take part. Pocketwatch Games, makerse of Monaco, reveal the numbers behind their recent participation. It’s nice to get a developer perspective on how these things work out, even if this is more about the numbers than the words. “Monaco was a Beat the Average game, which means that not all HIB bundle sales resulted in a Monaco sale. Of the 493,000 bundles sold, 370,034 of them included Monaco. Of those, 270,677 have activated their Steam keys. Interestingly, this means three quarters of the Humble customers beat the average. (Remember that the average starts low and climbs as people beat the average).”
  • PC Gamer has begun a three-part series on the creation of Crown, a CS:GO map vying for competitive status and made by Shawn “FMPONE” Snelling and pro-player and mapmaker Sal “VOLCANO” Garozzo. Anything nitty-gritty about mapmaking, I like: “Volcano and I have slightly different perspectives. I dig Dust2 because it’s easy to play, is spacious, and has a warm-feeling aesthetic. Volcano likes Inferno because its layout is probably the best in the game for competitive play: teams have a large number of different strategic choices, and they never feel predictable.”
  • Ars Technica’s Casey Johnston interviews the maker of Manhattancraft, who is attempting to build the entire New York island within Minecraft using satellite imagery. “While generating a building or a single structure is tough but doable, the challenges of replicating an entire city composed of those building models are gargantuan. The buildings are an expression of a larger system that Mitchell is pulling together that he has termed “SparseWorld.” According to a paper Mitchell wrote for the magazine Technophilic, the system combines “orthoimagery, bathyspheric, and elevation data from the USGS EROS service, and 3D buildings from Google’s 3D Warehouse” to create models. In the case of Manhattan, it takes a server cluster with 300 cores and 200GB of RAM a few hours to render Mitchell’s current best version of a model of Manhattan.” Rendering time well spent.
  • How big is our solar system? This to-scale pixel representation suggests pretty big.
  • Splash Damage’s Ed Stern dives deep in explaining why a BBC report about a bird which makes fart noises is funny.
  • The Crate & Crowbar is no longer just a podcast. It now gets drunk while recording videos of games too, with a Dark Souls playthrough now underway. NO FAILURE.

Music this week is Architecture in Helsinki’s new single, I Might Survive. Although I don’t know what I think of it yet. Here it is on Soundcloud for those without Spotify.

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64 Comments »

  1. bigjig says:

    Please have Rich on the C&C podcast more often. That is all.

  2. Anthile says:

    That BBC tweet-of-the-day had me in tears. Absolutely fantastic.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      I wonder if finding farts funny is an evolved trait in humans. Maybe the SBD is likely to be de-selected for in the future – after all, you’re far more likely to feel murderous rage when your nostrils are anonymously assaulted by the smell of sulphur, than if someone lets rip with a jolly ‘parp’. It makes you chuckle and gives you warning / time to escape, which is far more polite.

      • Arathain says:

        Anecdote to support this: my son found fart noises funny from quite an early age, without any particular prompting from his parents. It’s inherently amusing, apparently.

        • rei says:

          I always get a little happier when you post because I get to see that piggy.

  3. Blackcompany says:

    The article on Irrational games makes me wonder how much longer AAA video game development is sustainable. Constant churn; layoffs following every release. Always one failed – or even underperforming – title away from going utterly, completely broke.

    How much longer can this industry continue to attract talent? As it is they can’t pull in a writer who can. Save for some truly rare exceptions, writers have too much potential for high income outside of this industry to bother with it, I suspect. But I wonder how much longer people will want to work in the industry at all, given the emotional price of doing so coupled with the constant position of being always on the doorstep of a studio closure or post-crunch layoff.

    Were I in school right now learning video game development, I would be checking into what I needed to do, and how much it would cost me, to learn something else instead. No matter the price, it would likely be worth it.

    • Pich says:

      Notice how the most acclaimed people in the industry started at least two generations ago.

      • Blackcompany says:

        You know, that never occurred to me. But its a fine point. I had wondered whether so called AAA development will have trouble attracting talent in the future, but perhaps that is a situation that is already upon us now.

        Which would be no surprise. You can study game development and work for a major studio. That means long hours; crunch time;the constant potential for layoffs after the completion of every project. All that, for a modest salary as one of many game developers working for a studio whose titles are intended for the 10 million or so combined consoles sold this generation, but each of whose games must sell 1+ million copies in order to pay back the marketing department for all those wonderful cinematic trailers.

        Or…you can development from home for mobile platforms. Which games are less demanding. Less costly. And will reach a potential audience numbering the tens of millions. And you can do this for so low a cost that you can do it solo from your living room or with a small group of friends in your spare time. No marketing team; no publisher; what crunch there is, would be self imposed if present at all. And your earnings from your game are yours, with a far higher ceiling than any salary from a major studio can hope to match.

        It really is a no brainer, when thought about that way. Why would talented developers go to work for a major studio in this day and age? Given the behavior of major studios in regards to their treatment of employees, and the rise of digital distribution on every gaming platform, the motivation to go to work for a large game development studio has got to be in decline.

        Good point. Really got me thinking about the matter.

        Edit: Just did a search on names like Molyneux, Levine, Romero, Carmack and Kotick, to name a few. None of them are under 40. Of the major game developers whose names I do know, only “Notch” Persson is under 40, and he is going on 35 this year.

        What does that say about the influx of talent – or lack thereof – into games development these days? Not that there are no talented, young developers out there, mind. Supergiant, Flying Wild Hog and CDProjekt come to mind. But of those 3, only one is located in the US, and even those guys are veterans of the industry for the most part themselves.

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          You’re comparing pioneers with businessmen – the guys who hack their way through dense undergrowth in order to find the ancient shrine, vs the guys that come along and set up and service the tourist trap.

          It’s always the same with tech- we used to have a few bright leaders who came up with inventions and new technologies. Now we have corporations or research groups. Frank Whittle VS Siemens. Unless you have a strong auter type person with a talent for self promotion, It’ll be about the company, not the individual. Combine that with the undergraduate system mainly servicing the needs of industry, the new talent tends to get anonymously absorbed into an entity.

        • NathanH says:

          Well, when you’re looking at the famousness of people in the industry you also have to bear in mind that a) major games used to be made with smaller teams so the project leader was probably more of a big deal and b) you don’t really get so many massively influential games these days but rather iterations on well-known ideas, so there isn’t such a sense of John Smith Invents Genre X any more.

          I suspect that working for major companies will remain attractive to many workers because most people tend to like a guaranteed salary, even if the jobs aren’t permanent or long term. Also there will presumably be plenty of people who know they’re good at a few bits of game design but bad at everything else. Such people will have more of a place within the larger projects.

          • Shuck says:

            Also, I know that some people who are famous in the industry got that way because they were visible faces, not because they were the driving forces behind anything. Studios without specific PR people would take some developer, ideally someone who was better at talking to the press than they were at developing games, and have them do all the PR work. If there’s only one name that’s associated with a project, people tend to credit that name with the project. I know of at least one “big name” who is popularly thought to have been a lead figure on a number of popular games that he either did no development work on at all, or had the most minor possible roles, but was the point of contact for the press. Being famous is all about being visible in an industry where most people are invisible.

          • Arglebargle says:

            Yeah, that’s really trenchant there, Shuck. More often the case than many’d like to think. Happens to the old guard as well. Sometimes they came up with a good idea or two a couple of decades ago, and continue to ride the rep — without having the lightening strike twice.

        • derbefrier says:

          “You can study game development and work for a major studio. That means long hours; crunch time;the constant potential for layoffs after the completion of every project.”

          welcome to the manufacturing industry. Be it construction or video games this is how these industries work. It sucks but what can you really do about it? You cant really expect these companies to keep paying wages for jobs that don’t exist for these people. Its unrealistic and unsustainable. there is nothing evil or insidious about it. its just how the industry works and always has. I don’t work with video games but i do work in an industry closely tied to new construction and jobs come and go here constantly. I worked for years under the threat of constant lay off when production got slow(specially once the economy took that nose dive) I have been here for a little over 5 years and have seen a couple layoffs(one only a few weeks ago) because business is literally dead. I busted my ass working 60-70 hour weeks for years when the opportunity was provided and got myself in a position were my job is fairly secure. I saw the opportunity and seized it, believe me though there were times i thought i was biding my time until i was fired, but i persevered and managed to come out on top.

          I don’t mean to say that these situations are always unavoidable because they are definitely not, especially for low skilled labor(what ever that equates to in the games industry) but its just a harsh reality of this kind of work. I am not an insider so i can only generalize but i do see a lot of parallels here that many people seem to miss or not understand. This is why I worked hard and moved up in my particular company as fast as I could and took every opportunity available while watching those who did the bare minimum come and go. I understand the frustration but its not something that’s going to go away anytime soon. If these people want that to change they cant wait around and hope someone does it for them. They are going to have to do it themselves.

          • klmx says:

            “welcome to the manufacturing industry. Be it construction or video games this is how these industries work. It sucks but what can you really do about it?”

            But doesn’t that just mean that large-scale production is not a sustainable business model? “It’s just the way things work” just leaves a foul taste in my mouth, society is not at a standstill. We’re living with a whole bunch of humanitarian problems because of that line of thinking, which means people will get mad, which means things will probably change someday. The games industry is pretty volatile, so we’re seeing the problems with this model much earlier.

          • Baines says:

            We continue to live with humanitarian problems, which is itself a problem. People care about themselves and what affects themselves.

            Unsafe working conditions, child labor, indentured servitude, funding criminals,… People don’t want to know, will say how awful it is when they do know (or how darkly humorous it is, when you get one of the weirder stories), and continue to buy iPods, Nikes, Chiquita bananas, and everything else.

          • Paul.Power says:

            “its just how the industry works and always has.”

            Pretty sure manufacturing’s only worked like that for the last thirty-five, forty years. “Job for life” was much more prevalent before that.

      • vagabond says:

        Or possibly it takes a long time to develop the string of successful games that makes you one of the most acclaimed people in the industry?

        For all that there is a list of people who have been making games since the Commodore 64 was cutting edge technology (Molyneux, Spector, Meier, and so forth) there is definitely a more recent tier of named developers (Clint Hocking, Jake Solomon and Jade Redmond spring to mind).

        Who knows, in 10 years time Brad Muir might be one of the most acclaimed people in the industry, but since AFAIK he’s been the lead developer on 2 things so far, it seems a bit early to be lauding him as one of the all time greats.

        Hell, look at the film industry. Some of the most highly acclaimed directors are dead, and they still go onand on about them…

    • klmx says:

      I think it’s more that the classical publisher model is outdated, rather than that the scale of games is too large. This whole argument depends on wether Star Citizen will be a success yes or no, but look at how Chris Roberts is breaking down his development cost. He’s making a game with easily the scale of a GTA V, but he’s making it for 1/5th of the cost. And Star Citizen is an overly ambitious project, Kingdome Come: Deliverance for example only needed a few million to be a full-scale RPG.

      What’s hampering development though, is that most of the tools are proprietary to a single publisher. This is changing, see: CryEngine 3, Unity, UDK, etc., but there is not a single engine that is perfect for every sort of game out there. I think your concerns about scale are very real, as most of these “indie AAA” titles come from smaller teams as well (would be interesting to see what that means for QA), but once the cataclysm dawns upon the world of the big 3 you’ll see more and more development tools becoming available to the smaller guys, making it easier to make a game of a much grander scale.

      • Chorltonwheelie says:

        I think you all need to reacquaint yourselves with Karl Marx.
        There’s nothing about working in the games industry that makes your relationship to your employers any different to steal pin makers in a factory. You’re still going to get fucked over.

        The longing for the mythical “Good Ol’ Days” of bedroom artisan programming is nothing more than Luddites trying to wish away factory looms in order to return to their living room weaving. Isn’t going to happen.

        The only way you’re going to avoid getting continually dicked by employers is to organise yourselves rather than whinging in the press.

        • klmx says:

          Your argument would have been a fine one 6 years ago, but those “good ol’ days” have already returned, no? Would you have thought that Irrational would go under, back then? Or THQ? There’s a only a handful of AAA-games that are still standing strong, and these are mostly just rehashes because guess what, starting a completely new project from scratch is too costly an endeavor for these giants.

          Marx thought communism would be the finishing line, but that was based on ideas from more than a 100 years ago, for a world that lived at a much different scale than it does now. Sustainability wasn’t even close to being a problem back then, and we now know that if the mass of an object keeps on growing it will eventually collapse in to itself.

          He was never made aware of the concept of a 3D printer, crowd sourcing/funding and open source development. (which doesn’t just mean software, btw) Why do I bring these up, you ask? Well, apart from just being cool buzzwords, these are tools that make artisanry development viable.

        • Blackcompany says:

          As anyone who has watched their town’s mining operation replace the bulk of its Union labor with unskilled temps who could learn the job in a day already knows, Marx was more dreamer than Economist. Don’t get me wrong; his ideas do work. In a world far more perfect than anything Voltaire ever dreamed of. Namely, one where Greed does not exist.

          In other words, if game game developers unionize, they had better ALL join the Union. Otherwise, the big studios will just go out and find the ones who didn’t organize with which to replace the ones who did. So long as everyone is on the same page, though, it just might work to protect them against abuses like the ones they currently suffer.

          Not that it will matter in the longer run. The entertainment dollar only exists in a world where employers are willing to pay the average employee enough to live, and so long as job seekers far outnumber available jobs, those days are looking they are on their way out. Perhaps we should all have listened to Marx after all.

          • InternetBatman says:

            You’re assuming completely fluid labor, which isn’t quite accurate. A. Game developers are skilled which means they’re harder to replace. Particularly if a game has developed an artstyle. B. Games have ship dates in a way that other industries don’t want, so they can cause quite a bit of damage by striking at critical times.

          • Josh W says:

            Actually, “marx” and “unionise” are very different things, their common starting point is the idea of exploitation in the workplace, which was basically available to anyone with eyes in victorian britain. People that focus on workers control via unions or employee engagement do have the exact problem you suggest, although you can look at the efforts of people trying to build a mutual or cooperative economy for examples of when that actually works. You can now buy vast amounts of your daily needs from fair trade or cooperative companies, where working people buy from companies that support their working people.

            In contrast the marxist attitude is actually that “unskilled temping” is precisely how people overcome exploitation, a vast percentage of the country starts to get a taste of being exploited, and being utterly interchangeable, and that common experience forms the baseline for common action to avoid exploitation, which they are all now intimately familiar with. Marx believed that this would come through people deciding that “ownership” was the problem and eventually replacing it with a better form of society, by fighting those remaining percentage of people who were not familiar with exploitation because they sat on all the rights and assets, and couldn’t be, because their happy lives depended on them remaining in denial of the source of their living conditions.

            Marxism is actually really weird, about doing philosophical judo on exploitation while setting up the conditions for mass insurrection, and part of the history of the early 20th century is people saying that the marxists might have a point, and some levels of social security and regulated markets may be a way to stave off massive civil wars.

        • WrenBoy says:

          The difference is that software developers essentially own the means of production, unlike the luddites. All they are potentially missing is enough capital to live on while they develop. This is a relatively small figure however and can be achieved via crowdfunding or personal savings.

          This is why you see a fairly large number of independent devs with AAA game experience. It’s like we are living in some sort of golden age of gaming.

        • Quirk says:

          Hah. Marx could hardly be less applicable…

          For a start, the vast majority of software developers in the gaming industry can easily walk into jobs paying 10-20% more. They have skills in in-demand languages. It’s a pretty buoyant market. Why aren’t they doing this already? Because they want to work in games, and want to work in games badly enough they’ll take the pay hit. This is not a market likely to unionise. Apart from anything else, one major reason games devs tend to be paid worse is that games companies tend to be high-risk endeavours, a couple of bad releases away from going under, and have to tighten the belt where they can; of the handful which aren’t in such dangerous territory, most have the option to pick up talent on the same terms as their more unstable bretheren.

          Unionising isn’t even something that’s likely to happen in software generally. Developers are mobile, choice-rich and can all too easily vote with their feet. Why would they go through the pain of starting a union when they can just start answering the recruiters’ emails? If they get into a startup early enough, they often end up with stock options. They control their means of production, they merely lack the capital or the ideas or the confidence to strike off on their own.

      • HadToLogin says:

        I’m pretty sure Star Citizen will “fail”. If not because people already start to expect messiah out of it, then because tons of backers will learn their 5-year old laptops won’t be able to start it (just look at steam hardware survey, most people still have less than 4 GBs of RAM and less then 3 cores on CPU).
        But I didn’t done my homework and maybe most of his money comes from $1000+ pledges?

        AFAIK, Kingdoms Come Kickstarter was just an “is there an interest for this” test made for some big publisher who will fund most or work.

        • Malibu Stacey says:

          (just look at steam hardware survey, most people still have less than 4 GBs of RAM and less then 3 cores on CPU).

          Which has any bearing on current software releases how? Almost every game released at present is a 32-bit application which is inherently limited to a maximum of 2 GB of addressable memory on Windows. Also show me a single game which runs on more than 2 cores simultaneously.
          My current gaming desktop which I built during the summer is an i5-4670K with 16 GB RAM & it’s not pushed even close to half load in either category by any modern game. Sure games will tax your GPU but even a moderately priced one is sufficient to run most modern games on high graphical fidelity without much loss of framerate.
          You can thank the currently out-going generation (and probably even the incoming generation) of consoles for this state of affairs & it’s unlikely to change as long as Microsoft & Sony want to sell boxes for the living room for under £400 & still make a profit off them.

  4. Ultra Superior says:

    Ace of base is back ! Duck in cover! Wait…. that’s architecture in helsinki ? :S

  5. SomeDuder says:

    Oh man it’s a post about space. I fukken LOVE space.

    Seriously though, massively enjoyed that endless scrolling adventure. Almost as if nothing what we do matters one bit.

    • nerdook says:

      REALLY puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? Awesome how ALL the people that ever lived would have only fit into the tiniest fraction of all that space. Gosh.

  6. phelix says:

    Nice article about the Bioshock lighting tech, though I personally disliked the lighting because they seem to have made everything either teal or orange, with very little colours in between.

  7. Kid_A says:

    No mention of the whole “Anita Sarkeesian stealing artwork from other people” fiasco, I see. Then again, RPS has never featured any of the very real, very accurate criticism of Sarkeesian’s work or the way she acquired the money for it, so that’s unsurprising.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      Oh come on, the whole “problem” with the fan art is ridiculous. I agree that her videos are not very good because they have a tendency to simplify issues, but they should be discussed on their own terms instead of trying to tangentially “argue” with them by means of scandal and other personal attacks born from gut-level reactions.

    • DrLeoWollman says:

      While I agree that misappropriating the work of others is a valid critcism I can’t fault RPS for not wanting to wade through the metaphorical sewer in order to find a decent article about it, let alone deal with the comments section once the floodgates had been opened. The sheer amount of misguided bile and rage surrounding anything to do with Sarkeesian means that even if you want to discuss a reasonable issue (albeit a tangential one) you have to work your way through a tidal wave of noxious bullcrap before you can dig out anything worthwhile.

      Not worth it.

    • RedViv says:

      She is imprecise since she comes at it from an introductory rather than an overnerding insider perspective, which in a few cases invalidates a few of her points.

      There, now all the relevant information is here. The rest is bile, and I can very much understand the hivemind if it does not want to attract even more of the verbal diarrhoea that already gets inevitably thrown any time John puts up a post containing the word “women”.

      • The Random One says:

        “Overnerding”, nice one.

        Ultimately I’m still waiting for someone who is to games what Lindsay Ellis is to movies. Someone who loves the medium, but isn’t afraid to call out its bullshit, but is also funny and has great screen presence.

        • RedViv says:

          Let’s face it – we need to find a way to pull Jamie Sterling out of the 63-verse.

    • dE says:

      Isn’t that what people wanted? They gave her money to highlight TVTrope Articles by the use of Youtube Videos. As is usual with TVTropes, the examples are always listed below the articles. The Video Creator goes and searches for the specific spots of chosen high profile examples and makes a video out of this. Basically a vlog style video-narration of TV Trope’s content with provided examples. A lot of people asked for this.

      What exactly does it change, that the creator isn’t using self-made content? The argument is neither strengthened nor weakened by this. Everything else is for the several content creators to decide, whether they want to follow up on this or not. No one else really has a say in this. Not the backers, they donated and got what they asked for. Not everyone else either.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      > *the way she acquired the money for it*

      I like how we’re still pretending that throwing a Kickstarter to do a thing and then doing that thing constitutes wicked fraud if you don’t like the thing.

    • Baines says:

      RPS has long avoided any stories or news that questioned Anita Sarkeesian, much less any that cast a negative light on her.

      It was pretty noticeable back when Sarkeesian was in gaming news more often, as RPS would cover stories favorable to Sarkeesian while ignoring the other side. Of course this was back when RPS was more blindly rabid towards the issues of women and games, so it unfortunately wasn’t a surprise to see that kind of biased coverage. (RPS can still be a bit biased, but at least it hasn’t pulled anything like the bad old days. Note that I don’t mind RPS covering such issues. It was the extent of blind and manipulative coverage that was bad.)

      More recently, I’d say that Sarkeesian has kind of fallen of the gaming news radar in general. Other than this story (which is pretty widespread at this point), I can’t even recall the last Sarkeesian news that I’ve read.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        Ignoring the other side? What other side?

        The ones who think she’s literally Hitler for making videos talking about how games are shit at dealing with women?

        • Baines says:

          As said, the “other side” was anything that even remotely questioned Sarkeesian’s claims or methods, much less was critical of them.

          From the beginning, there have been questions as to whether Sarkeesian had even played the games that she was criticizing. When she criticized games, her arguments would miss details that ran counter to her complaints. The most likely two reasons were that she either wasn’t playing the games or she was intentionally excluding anything that contradicted her arguments.

          Later, it was found that she’d been copying gameplay footage from other YouTube channels and Let’s Play videos for her Tropes vs Women in Videogames videos. (As with the recent fan art issue, Sarkeesian didn’t bother to request or even notifying the creators of this use, or to talk to them at all.)

          There were issues like how she started the Kickstarter fund rolling, by intentionally baiting certain forums which would attack her, which in turn would raise an army of money-giving defenders which would in turn spread the news across the web. Maybe it was naivety and coincidence instead of cold calculation, but news sites wouldn’t even ask the question or look at the details to even try to find out, probably because they were all defending Sarkeesian (as saying against against Sarkeesian at the time had you quickly labeled a hateful misogynist.)

          News sites would cover the vicious attacks that Sarkeesian encountered, but ignored that Sarkeesian would pick and choose the worst to make public issue with while ignoring any well written statement critical of her claims and videos. Sarkeesian shut herself off from receiving any complaint or counter-argument, and did it in a way that made her look like the victim. (And even if you could force a defender to acknowledge a flaw in Sarkeesian’s claims, it would be quickly dismissed as “irrelevant” to the “bigger issue”.)

          You couldn’t question Sarkeesian at the time. You couldn’t be critical of anything she said. You couldn’t point out her mistakes or inaccuracies without being immediately dismissed and attacked by her defenders. It was never a discussion, and was never meant to be a discussion. It was one person preaching her opinion, engineered in a way that no disagreement was to be allowed.

          • nindustrial says:

            In the spirit of civil dialogue, I would just like to point out that all these examples of the “other side” that wasn’t reported on are/were all just attempts to discredit her by attacking everything *except* her arguments. That casts doubt on your statement that people weren’t reporting on things that questioned her “claims.” Attacking a separate issue is not a valid retort to a claim, so no, they don’t really deserve to be reported on with an even hand. Are they worth noting independently for a discussion of the issues they raise? Perhaps. But let’s not pretend that when someone argues that Peanut Butter is terrible we should give an equal voice to people who yell about the pronouncer peeling the labels off the jars and not recycling the paper.

            The neutral reporting of the side that opposes an argument must involve reporting on actual opposition to the *argument*. Otherwise, it’s just as fair and balanced as Fox News.

      • Muzman says:

        I’d guess because criticism of her fell into the Ken Starr hatchet job mold of political attack rather than actual criticism.
        There’s really no point rehashing the motivated captiousness of anti-feminist dickheads who proscribe to her, with such passion, a standard that no one else is held to.

        She made videos of a mostly introductory nature about female characters in video games; videos of relatively marginal audience and interest. Occasionally she overdid some of the arguments and made the odd mistake and people posted blogs and videos disagreeing and making counter points.

        We’re about back to that now after a mountain of shit. You have to have a serious desire to trim some tall poppies in order to bring it up again.

        edit: I had to look this one up. Oh god what a stupid non issue. It’s between them. Why on earth would anyone report on it? Put the fucken axe down, gamer men, it’s ground down to a nub.

  8. welverin says:

    I liked Singularity, I wish it had done well enough to justify a sequel.

  9. Lord Morrid says:

    The to-scale representation of our solar system has put to bed any fears I may have been harbouring about getting hit by a giant asteroid. Chances seem pretty slim after that.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Do keep in mind that two of them have passed between the Earth and the Moon in our lifetime.

      I know that’s not confidence inspiring, but you have to be realistic about these things.

    • Koozer says:

      There currently about 11,000 near-Earth objects that we know about though.

      Sweet dreams!

  10. Trespasser in the Stereo Field says:

    “Rendering time well spent.”

    Is it?

  11. eclipse mattaru says:

    How exactly was Singularity “a jumbled mess”? Sure it felt derivative as hell and what little originality it had was heavily underused; but it was a fine, solid and responsive (console) shooter, and quite fun to play all the way through –which is something I wish more games in the genre could say. And that includes all the BioShocks we like to praise so much: As much as I love their style and their stories and what have you, they’re really, really bad as shooters.

  12. Lambchops says:

    That’s actually the first thing I’ve heard from Architecture in Helsinki since the debut album that I’ve liked (to be fair I didn’t give Moment Bends a chance as I disliked the lead single, it could have been brilliant for all I know). Not for the same reasons, this is a hell of a lot cheesier, but I like me a bit of cheese now and again.

    • yuramiah says:

      They’re one of those bands that seem to mix it up with every album. I think this will be the first time where they haven’t lost any members in between albums.

  13. The Random One says:

    Here’s an alternate song for this week: dude wot covers modern songs in early 20th century styles. Here’s a “Grandpa Style” Thrift Shop cover.

  14. Jupiah says:

    Never understood the hate for Singularity. I loved that game. Sure it didn’t break much new ground but it was fun and had solid gameplay. I loved the multiple shocking endings involving time travel too, especially the player’s ability to take a secret third option when presented with only two choices by the game.

    • bill says:

      especially the player’s ability to take a secret third option when presented with only two choices by the game.

      Ooh. I like that idea. I always like trying things that games didn’t intend.

      I don’t think Singularity got much hate, it just never looked that original or appealing, and got average reviews, and little marketing (at the time) and so it just kinda disappeared.

      I’m surprised by the number of people coming out and saying they loved it though.

  15. bill says:

    So, did anyone ever play the mutiplayer of Singularity? The article says they had a whole other team working on that bit, and I’ve never heard anyone mention it.

    I generally feel that most of these games are just wasting time and money by including a multiplayer component that no-one will be playing 2 months later. It just seems like checking a tickbox.
    They could have saved a huge amount, or focused those resources on either finishing the singleplayer on time, or making it better.
    Is that the case for Singularity?

  16. Muzman says:

    People get a bit sniffy about Polygon being too high-brow and so on, but seriously who else is doing articles like this? The industry is a black box and likes it that way. But its amazing how much of ‘games journalism’ is happy to leave it that way and stick to PR and reviews.
    All praise to the P for doing actual proper stories.

  17. MeestaNob says:

    I still don’t understand the negativity around Bio: Infinite. Aside from the poor difficulty level implementation (AI became overpowered bullet sponges), it’s a fantastic game with a great story. I’d go as far to say it’s one of the best games I played (and finished!) last year. The phenomenal end sequence actually felt like a reward for finishing the game, and it made people at my place stop what they were doing and crowd around the PC to watch. They’d been listening to me play the game for a few days and had a vague idea what it was about and the major plot beats, and the ending was great for them too.

    Singularity came and went without a whimper, and I cant help but think Activisions refusal to sell it digitally (i.e. Steam) outside of North America must have hurt it’s chance to make any money.

    • Bremze says:

      Because neither the game nor the story is amazing(I’d argue not even good), but got straight 10s from the majority of the gaming press.

      • basilisk says:

        And how does that make the game worse? Honest question.

        Not liking the hype and thinking the game didn’t live up to it, I can absolutely understand that.
        But holding the hype and gloating reviews against the game itself makes no sense at all.

        • Bremze says:

          Hype for a game turning into a hilarious backlash isn’t really uncommon, think Dragon Age 2. Hey, I didn’t say it was logical or reasonable, but the hate is likely people feeling cheated by the gaming press. Sadly it tends to drown out actual critique.

  18. yuramiah says:

    Not sure if you’ve ever seen Architecture in Helsinki live, but they really go off playing this sort of music. I wasn’t too sure about most of Moment Bends when it was released, but watching play a few years back was absolutely brilliant. This one sounds like it has more than a bit of Kylie in it.

  19. purpledoggames says:

    On Win7, using Chrome, shift and scroll wheel lets you scroll horizontally. In space.