The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for sitting in a pristinely clean office. For the first time ever. And now, on my clean keyboard on my clean desk in this clean room, I sit and – with my dirty mind – compile a list of interesting game-related reading from across the week, while desperately resisting trying to link to Falco Ex-McLusky’s new single.



  1. Chris Evans says:

    Hmmm you say your office is clean, but you leave out an important fact that you twittered last night!:

    Office clean. Also, curtains for first time. Daily Relaxing Masturbation less disturbing to neighbours.

    Deary me!

  2. Matt says:

    Gratuitous Space Battles is sounding good. When I saw the screenshots I thought that it might be an RTS and I rarely enjoy RTS games. This looks more relevant to my interests.

  3. Jay says:

    McLusky were the tits. What’s this new single like?

  4. Half Broken Glass says:

    She had video game music played on her wedding. Seriously.

    Somehow, this is so nerdy it’s pathetic. And I am a nerd. So I should accept stuff like this with open arms.

    But somehow it’s just pathetic.

  5. Jay says:

    Huh, guess I probably should have read the whole post before chiming in. Still, good stuff!

  6. Matt says:

    Half Broken Glass, why is it pathetic? Just because it’s video game music doesn’t mean it’s not proper music or something? The Prelude song from Final Fantasy is a great classical piece, even if you’ve only ever heard it from a SNES.

  7. AndrewC says:

    I really like that song, but the band does know how silly a song it is, right?

  8. Jhoosier says:

    “She had video game music played on her wedding. Seriously.

    Somehow, this is so nerdy it’s pathetic. And I am a nerd. So I should accept stuff like this with open arms.”

    It’s actually quite a nice song, especially played on piano like the youtube video she linked to. Go listen if you haven’t already.

  9. qrter says:

    The Prelude song from Final Fantasy is a great classical piece, even if you’ve only ever heard it from a SNES.

    Yeah, if your idea of great classical pieces stops at something on Best of The Classics..

    I’ll get me snobby coat.

  10. Kieron Gillen says:

    You know the important thing about your wedding? It’s *your* wedding. Stop being judgmental.


  11. Theory says:

    Jason Schklar plays with the idea of a Dungeon-Mastering Co-op game, with Left 4 Dead as a model. I’d play this.

    Meanwhile, modders have actually created it. Behold the Human Director!

  12. The Hammer says:

    Hardcasual added to my bookmarks. Long overdue!

  13. Ging says:

    The move of Mr Croal from journalism to development was indeed what sparked my question, I would have clarified in the tweet, but it was a bit much for 140 characters! :D

  14. Markoff Chaney says:

    Maybe I would be further ridiculed for not only having video game music at my wedding (We used the Elwynn Forest incidental score as our sit the hell down music. Not only was it beautiful, to us, but it gave our gamer friends in the audience on both sides of the aisle something to smile about when they picked up on it) but we also went with us walking back down the aisle right after we got married with Billy Idol’s White Wedding. Then it was all 80s for the music from there on out, except for our Dance. HUZZAH!

  15. Xercies says:

    Well i want Aerith’s theme tune from FF7 at my funeral so I think its cool…

    And i think instead of the furor of Reviewing games starting from Mirrors Edge it should have started from people trying to review The Path, because I actually think this kind of game is unreviewable.

  16. Chris says:

    Thanks for the link!

    @ The Hammer
    Thanks for the bookmark!

    Also, if peeps haven’t read it already, Margaret Robertson writes an excellent column at Offworld called One More Go.

  17. Kieron Gillen says:

    I saw a friend do her first dance to Weezer’s Buddy Holly.


  18. BooleanBob says:

    Hardcasual, eh? Bad satire is easy to identify: the writer usually makes the joke in the headline, which the reader immediately gets. The actual article is an awkward series of reiterations of the headline’s concept, and therefore totally redundant. Despite boasting a staff of three, HC manages to half-bake an update every couple of days, usually an unreadable mess of an attempt at vidja game ‘parody’. Hence, no one ever leaves comments, which gets the authors all riled up to the point where they take a whiny, ‘satirical’, passive/aggressive shot at a) video games journalism b) themselves c) blogosphereoculturetardism in general. Said pieces are actually usually fairly entertaining, get a link and preening response from the games hack they name-check, feature in the Sunday Papers and generally garner enough attention to keep hardcasual’s position in the minds of the wider gaming public as a witty, incisive and generally in-any-way-relevant publication.

    Moan moan moan! But for some reason, as with most things I never do owt but complain about, it’s in my bookmarks and I check it at least once most days. So fair play to them, I suppose.

  19. BooleanBob says:

    Can we also all agree that the best composer working in games at the moment is Jeremy Soule?

    The Kuldahar theme from Icewind Dale never fails to give me chills.

  20. Dinger says:

    On the DM thing. In a sense, something like this has existed before. Since the dawn of Air Warrior, the MMO flight sim folks have had DM-run (or rather “GM-run”) events involving hundreds of players. The GMs’ role is of arbiter and to resolve issues that arise. On some of the more complex events, you might get as many as 4 GMs running the show.
    ‘Okay,’ you might argue, ‘but there’s a huge gap between a DM-team-in-the-loop and a L4D-style asymmetric battle,’ and you’re probably right. L4D uses more of the BLUFOR vs. OPFOR model found in full-on wargames/training exercises. Most of the training aims at teaching the friendly units how to operate together (BLUFOR), so the other guys (either knowledgeable in how the “enemy” units operate or just the mortar squad) often play a smaller force or the head of an abstracted force. L4D uses a similar model: Survivors are simulated at 1:1 (you play Louis until you die), while the Infected team members usually play several units during the course of a level.
    So, my initial impression is that Mr. Schklar has confused two different phenomena: Player-as-designer/arbiter and player-as-asymmetric OPFOR. And he’s basically stated as much himself. There is something to be said for both roles, however.
    When working with OFP and VBS, we wrote a debug console that worked in multiplayer sessions. You could remotely poll values on all machines, execute commands and scripts and the like. We also had a system (Command Engine) whereby one person (or a small group) could control a huge group. And I understand the BI folks built an instructor interface that allows a training director to intervene directly in a mission in a DM-like way.
    Now, mission design is a time-intensive process: that’s why there are very few TF2 maps, or any other system. You can throw an idea down, but it takes lots of playtesting to get the bugs out and to understand how players are going to interact. The result is that, in OFP, ArmA, or anywhere else, by the time a mission is stable, it’s stale. You know what’s going to happen, and it’s been tested to death by the same people, so in itself, it holds few surprises or dynamic events.
    But what we found was that even something as simple as a debug console could help. If we had the time and motivation, a full “DM-system” would allow a mission designer to take an idea and turn it into a viable coop or adversarial experience without extensive playtesting. So, someone could write a “mission briefing”, set up a basic map, and let players do their thing. A versatile DM could react to the players in a believable manner that would create a gripping experience.
    In short: having a human in the loop (Player-as-designer/arbiter) reduces the need for extensive (and expensive) multiplayer playtesting, shortening the trek from idea to reality. An OPFOR model is one of the best tools in asymmetric adversarial games.

  21. MetalCircus says:

    Marriage is not lovely.

  22. Arathain says:

    I think the FF Prelude is a lovely choice for a wedding. It’s a beautiful piece of music.

    I enjoy the insights into development (in this case environmental and AI development). Although… there are two parts of me. The one that is interested in how things work, and the part that wants to be fooled.

  23. undead dolphin hacker says:

    I try really hard not to be ashamed about my hobby, but video game music in a wedding is pretty pathetic.

  24. houseinrlyeh says:

    You know what’s pathetic? Moaning about the songs people play on their wedding as if your opinion is relevant there.

  25. Feet says:

    Then you’re doing it wrong. Marriage is lovely.

  26. Gap Gen says:

    I guess I’d give marriage about 78%. It’s pretty OK, but let down by frequent bugs and cost issues.

  27. Mister Hands says:

    @undead dolphin hacker
    I don’t really see why. It’s as valid as any movie soundtrack, or any other composition, really.

  28. SteveHatesYou says:

    But if we’re not judgmental towards other people’s nerdy tendencies, somebody might think we’re nerds! On a video game blog! Imagine what the neighbors would think!

  29. undead dolphin hacker says:

    I guess I find the whole story kind of pathetic because, well, in the end she’s ashamed of her own wedding. I mean, the saccharine narrative already sounds like the self-important, slightly unstable girl’s Fiction 101 Workshop entry, so already I’m too embarrassed to do anything but skim the first part as it’s essentially a cinematic overhaul of a diary entry.

    But it gets to the second part, the finale, and there’s dad, drunk, now with the balls to come up to his daughter and ask if she played video game music at her wedding. He’s ashamed now, and he was ashamed smack in the middle of the wedding. And she’s too ashamed to come out and say yes daddy, that was from Final Fantasy. A grown woman, probably in her thirties, who just got married can’t look her father in the eye and say “Yeah, what of it?”

    I feel uncomfortable about the music itself because of my own prejudices due to what my mental image of a wedding (the actual ceremony) is: ultra-traditional, regal, deathly serious. I guess I see references to popular culture, or worse, marginalized culture, in a ceremony about what’s supposed to be some eternal pact kind of… tacky. I blame my Catholic mother.

    However, if she’d sounded more confident and conversational about the whole thing, and hadn’t succumbed to shame in the end, I probably wouldn’t feel so bad about it. She played Final Fantasy music at her wedding and had no problem with that, sweet.

    But that’s not the story we got.

  30. Psychopomp says:

    Music is music, no matter where it comes from.
    If someone decides they want Megadeath at there wedding, WHY THE FUCK NOT. If Megadeath is your favorite thing, what should stop you from playing it at the most important day of your life? Some misplaced sense of tradition?
    This is an event focused around two people, what everyone else wants or believes is irrelevant.

  31. BooleanBob says:

    @Gap Gen: I like where this is going. Can we do a joke about the unpredictability and questionable decision-making of the partner AI and his/her NPC friends, the long-term shortcomings of co-operative play, and the bizzare stipulation that you can’t change up the party roster, despite a plethora of exciting and interesting alternative characters?

  32. dartt says:

    The co-op DM game immediately made me thing zombie master, especially as he uses L4D as the example. It’s rough around the edges but a lot of fun to play with buddies: Each round, one person is picked to be the ZM and controls the spawning and movement of the zombies (RTS style), he can also trigger environmental hazards the map designer has placed. Meanwhile , the survivors have to either get from A to B or complete some map specific objectives like collecting parts for an escape vehicle or activating a lighthouse to signal to rescuers.

    Unfortunately the lead developer has downed tools on ZM and it is no longer being updated but the mod as it stands certainly performs well as a prototype for the style of game Schklar describes.

  33. dartt says:

    Goodness, what happened to edit! I certainly ‘thinged’ zombie master but I also thought of it.

  34. ascagnel says:

    Future of the Left – Win. Now I wish they’d put out a damn single so I can give it radio play.

  35. Larington says:

    I’d be tempted to do something similar, but, not with a Final Fantasy theme. I somewhat doubt it’ll ever happen though.

  36. gbarules2999 says:

    “Can we also all agree that the best composer working in games at the moment is Jeremy Soule? The Kuldahar theme from Icewind Dale never fails to give me chills.”


  37. Robin says:

    I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with having video game music played at a wedding but… Jesus. Perhaps they could have followed it up with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘Kill the Wabbit’, to really get that authentic opera-style ambience.

    Personally I’d go for the Deus Ex theme, or something original by Jesper Kyd.

  38. Xercies says:

    Deus Ex theme would just not work at a wedding…

  39. Gap Gen says:

    As long as the vows aren’t “This was a triumph / I’m making a note here: huge success”

  40. Rei Onryou says:

    One has to consider what Kieron would have at his Wedding…

    Some great articles there. I’d like to see a DM mod for L4D where a 5th player replaces the director. Deciding when and where to spawn a zombie horde, or where the Tank should appear etc would be as much fun as Versus, if not more. It’d also be a more personal challenge and victory for both the DM/Director and survivors.

    The AI article gave useful insights. Scripting is becoming more complex. I wonder how long it will be until someone attempts to implement a Neural Network trained from multiplayer game sessions. Ultimate decisive opponent!

    Also, Gratuitous Space Battles FTW!

  41. Heliocentric says:

    Halflife wedding.

    Do you take this freeman to be your lawful wedded husband? Time to choose!

  42. Corbeaubm says:

    Given that description, I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life for Gratuitous Space Battles. A chance to build a fleet in detail, then watch the fireworks? Yes please! I’ve been wanting that since I first bought Master of Orion 2.

  43. Tei says:

    @Dinger: Your comment is very interesting. ( I wonder how has ben lost in the stream of other comments ). Playing L4D make me wonder, If in a real combat situation there are “ragequitters” and “tk” guys. And If people in real combat play more like newbies, orlike pros. I doubt people play like pros, because to be a pro, you have to play (and die) several times. In real time you die forever the first time you die, so you never (my theory) left the newbie status. And newbies are, totally and on all levels, horrible players.
    I suppose training exist for that.

  44. Taillefer says:

    Red Carpet Extend-o-matic as the bride rolls down the aisle, crushing all guests. Obv.

  45. Paul Moloney says:

    I don’t see what’s particular bad about using video game music in a wedding. I mean, give me the real emotion of Jeremy Soule’s “Wings of Kynareth” (link to over a Bryan Adams song any day.


  46. Arathain says:

    Music is music. Who cares where it comes from if it evokes emotion in the listener? Honestly, to say anything else is pointless snobbery.

    Mr. Moloney, that’s a very pretty track. Makes me want to play Oblivion more than anything else so far!

  47. apnea says:

    Seems shame is infectious.

    Anyway. “Marriage – what is a-good for”, etc.

  48. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Her choice of music was enough to give me shivers listening to it. I say this was a victory of good taste more than anything else.

    Beats Pachelbel for the umptillionth time.

  49. Jason Schklar says:

    Re: Co-op DM’ing and L4D, here’s a link to an article that preceded mine: link to

    It’s laid out much more clearly than my musings and I think is well worth reading.



  50. Lewis says:

    Cheers for the mention!

    I wavered with The Path between really, really loving it, and being a bit frustrated with it. In the end, I settled towards the higher end of my opinion-spectrum, but it could have gone either way. I suspect it’s one of those titles that’ll receive radically different write-ups from a variety of publications.