By Graham Smith on March 16th, 2014 at 11:00 am.
Sundays are for trundling around a small village in Germany, picking up and dropping off passengers in the wondrous, mostly fixed OMSI 2, using my new Logitech Driving Force GT steering wheel. As I park at the terminal, waiting for the beginning of my next route, why not join me in perusing the week’s best (mostly) games writing?
- Relevant to my interests, creator of QWOP and GIRP Bennett Foddy takes to Polygon to explain why you don’t want an online version of Matt Thorson’s Towerfall, or other, similarly local multiplayer-only games. Basically, laaaaaaaag: “As a game designer, if you want players to be able to dodge an arrow at the last second, or to stomp their enemies on the head like they do in TowerFall, you’re designing a game that won’t play well even over a LAN, much less over the messy, noisy collection of networks that make up the internet. There’s literally no way to eliminate the effects of lag, and you’ll wind up with game-breaking problems like Dark Souls’ infamous PvP ‘lag stab’.”
- Kotaku’s Surpisingly Real Talk From A Top Man At EA is full of frank examples of the ways in which businesses think, and the pitfalls of being unable to see the people-forest for the metrics-trees. “We watch our forums a lot, because we care what our players have to say, and [on] some of those forums we’re responsible for, one of the things we have learned—especially in the free-to-play space is [that] the people who spend the most time complaining happen to be the people who spent the most money. So my attitude is: “If you spend enough money with me, you get to complain.” If that’s what makes you happy is to go on the forums and complain, you get to complain.
The reason they’re doing that is because they are establishing their place in the social hierarchy on the forum. It is not about our product—it’s about their relationship to the other players. And if I get all twisted up based on what they’re saying, I’m actually going to build a product they don’t like.”
- Keeping with Kotaku for the moment, Jason Schreier talks to Peter Molyneux. As a title, “The Man Who Promised Too Much” suggests this is going to paint the one-time Bullfrog founder as a tragic figure, but it leaves just enough of the door open for people to consider him instead as a buffoonish P.T. Barnum as well. Still though, remember Dungeon Keeper? Cracking game, that. “And at 54, Molyneux has no plans to call it quits. “I’m not retiring—I’m just gonna die,” he told me. “I don’t know what life is without making games.” He has no plans to stop saying ridiculous things, either. In an interview just a few weeks ago, Molyneux lamented his tendency to keep getting in trouble with overambitious promises, then vowed that Godus will be able to support up to eight million simultaneous users.” Actually, what am I saying, I love Molyneux for his outlandish claims and public persona as much as for his games.
- Gamasutra’s Mike Rose chases down the gunrunners of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive; the people more concerned with trading and profiting from virtual weapons than playing a videogame. “Another weapons smuggler tells me that gambling is a huge part of the CS:GO gunrunning experience, and once you grow accustomed to it, can put you at a huge financial advantage. Some betting occurs within the game, as you pay small amounts of cash to open weapons cases that could potentially contain an expensive, rare weapon… or quite the opposite. However, there’s also a whole additional level of gambling that’s hiding below the surface.” Our own Rich Stanton also got into that betting a bit.
- Brenna Hillier gets in good with 27 observations of the Need For Speed movie over at VG247. “6. Aaron Paul’s character and backstory is discussed at length by a rich eccentric who runs a secret, illegal race and hosts a live radio show that everyone listens to and yet somehow he remains beyond the reach of the law. Yes, you can tell a video game was involved in the writing process at some point. 21. I’m enjoying identifying which Need for Speed game is most appropriate to each sequence. Like, this bit is Hot Pursuit. This bit is Rivals. That bit is Most Wanted. Most of it is The Run, unfortunately.
- Daniela Capistrano’s mini guide for women working and thriving in the video game industry is full of solid advice, quotes from experienced designers, and inspiration for those not sure where to begin. “All the women interviewed for this article agreed that newcomers should start – right now – by creating or contributing to video game projects through game jam events or other independent collaborations, as a method to build skills and to network. If you just thought “but I don’t think coding is for me,” don’t let that deter you; there are still plenty of opportunities to volunteer on game projects as a community manager, marketing lead, music composer, artist, project manager, QA tester, or any number of important roles.
- The Not A Game Podcast is a games podcast, and recently recorded an episode with Simon Parkin and Keza MacDonald. Worth a listen.
Music this week is the wonderful work of Calum Bowen, whose upbeat, Nintendo-ish game music I haven’t been able to stop listening to since I discovered it via Thief Story at the beginning of the week. Start here.