The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for quietly sitting down at your PC, putting on some music, and drinking a cup of tea. Perhaps, as you sit there, you might consider some of the week’s events. Do they really matter to you? Are they really significant in the scheme of things? Maybe not, but The Sunday Papers is here to say that taking an interesting in random ephemera is sacred, and will always be so. Let’s see what we’ve got this week.

  • Gosh, I know the reaction to E3 this year was largely “why were there no surprises?” But Keith Stuart takes it a few steps further to ask whether it might actually signal the end of gaming as we know it: “The apathy shown by some of the big players toward the exhibition hints at its demise, but that will be a death knell not just for a ludicrously noisy show, but for a whole way of thinking about games – as epic, landmark events. Some see the dripfeed of marketing information naturally transmogrifying into the dripfeed of content.” It’s an interesting point, but I think the rise of DLC is actually a more significant marker for that. No game will be complete, everything becomes about what comes next. Troubling indeed.
  • Here’s the most in-depth analysis of Metacritic scores I have seen so far. It contains a few little treats, in addition to the painfully obvious stuff: “There are a staggering number of smaller publishers who are doing well regardless of my never hearing of them. Congratulations! I retroactively bestow upon you my blessings. In many cases the lesser experienced, often first time, publishers are outperforming the industry veterans. The little fish can outswim the big fish.”
  • Story of the week, in industry terms, was probably the one over Duke’s reviews and the PR agency that went too far. The pressure on PRs to “secure” high review scores can sometimes be huge, which perhaps explains some of the more “innovative” responses like this one. I’d advise making better games, and also taking life less seriously.
  • Our Evolve chums explain why they are the solution: “PC gaming has a big problem. It’s not the hardware. It’s not piracy. It’s not the games. It’s how PC gamers are forced to play. The environment is far too fragmented and siloed. As a result, the PC gaming experience is isolated, dissociative, and falls short for a generation of gamers raised on Facebook and Twitter. These social barriers are the biggest obstacle to the survival of the PC as a gaming platform.” Now if they can just figure out a way to bypass GFWL and fix entirely broken networking in games like Hunted, we’ll be on our way…
  • Lewis Denby tells us about what happened when a gaming zombie apocalypse happened for real in Bristol: ““Cocktails! Cocktails!” the zombies moaned. We tried to lure them up then run around the other side, but it was no use; they might have been drunk, but they weren’t stupid. It seemed like an impossible task. But then someone in the crowd shouted “Cocktails are that way, girls – two for one!” and the most majestic, wonderful thing happened.”
  • Eurogamer talked to John Carmack. He explained one of the things that is holding the PC back, and explains that he’s getting the various major parties to deal with it: “That is still one of the cool things about being able to work with OpenGL extensions on there. As soon as we can present a compelling case to these guys, which is basically, look, this $200 console is playing smoother than your $2000 system on here, you need to fix this and here’s one of the steps you can do there, and they got it done. That’s still a good thing.”
  • While we’re on programmer stuff, here’s a call for a simpler programming language, and a lot of responses from programmers in the comments saying that “C is just fine, thanks. Leave us alone.”
  • Here’s another response to the Matt Findley RPGs stuff, my favourite point from this is simply: “Games are not “supposed” to be about anything.” Quite so.
  • What does downloadable console game Stacking really mean when you take over another doll’s body? Infinite continues asks the project lead: “An idea that was never fully explored in the game was that the normal mode of behavior in this world was that larger dolls could stack smaller dolls inside them. This idea came from one of the first images of Stacking I had, which was of a mom unstacking her children while dropping them off at the train station to go to school. This idea was incorporated as the lost German family, who you do see unstack in their silent film play, and rejoice that they have been reunited.”
  • The most amusing part of this article on the most recent Bilderberg group is the guy in the comments who insists that there is nothing going on with so many powerful people meeting in secret, because otherwise he’d have heard about it. Good point. Must be nothing.
  • Sounds like this game is going to give me a reason to switch on my dust-entombed PS3.
  • Watch RPS chums from BERG explain why Mary Poppins should be viewed as a speculative film about the possibilities of technology and a time-traveller from the future.

Music this week is Pianoscope by Alexandra Streliski, which should allow you to sit about the house pretending that your life is a quirky French movie wrought with existential irony. Works for me.


  1. battles_atlas says:

    This vision of the incomplete game, ever being added to by drip fed DLC…. isn’t this just the rebirth of the ‘episodes’ idea, but much less ambitious?

    • thegooseking says:

      I’m just not sure about the “never complete” point. I was thinking about this earlier in the week, with the BF3 stuff going on, and someone said that people who don’t pre-order don’t get the “full game”.

      And then I thought about Apocalypse Now. The three-hour-plus Redux is obviously the “complete” or “full” version of the movie. But it’s shit. The shorter versions? Way better.

      And I wonder if and how that translates to games. Is more content always better? Obviously the BF3 case was different, because the contention was that people who didn’t want to pre-order were being denied the choice of having that content. But on the question of DLC in general, I think it’s a more useful question.

    • Delusibeta says:

      The obvious example would be Team Fortress 2, as you’ll find plenty of people who will complain about how Valve changed it.

    • Jahkaivah says:

      Though people tend to think there was something of a “peak” with TF2 updates.

      The updates did do alot of good for the game, I wouldn’t go back to the old TF2 where the Pyro was only good at spy-checking and you could count the decent maps on a blind butcher’s hand.

    • Rii says:


      I prefer the Redux version. So there. :P

    • MadMatty says:

      Apocalypse Now Redux is great as i see it, superior to the original.

      There is some bogus going on, that every succesful film MUST have an editors cut to scrape cash off the fans- sometimes failing-

      I´d say that Alien Editors Cut is such a film, and director Ridley Scott has infact admitted so himself.
      The Editors cut of that included extra footage, which impacted the logistics behind the Alien and its functioning, making it less realistic, for instance.

      Anyway, tastes vary and so on. I got some good kicks from the new scenes in Redux.

    • Oozo says:

      And don’t even get me started on the director’s cut of Donnie Darko, which exposed that given enough time, what looked like a Lynchian vision of an enormously gifted director was, in fact, a lot of second-rate sci-fi bs that was lucky to have been saved by a lot of cuts in exposition and dialogues. It scarred me enough that I still launch myself in rants in comments section where it’s broadly off-topic, so sorry, and blame Mr Kelly.

    • Baines says:

      I thought the regular version of Donnie Darko exposed all that when you took a few moments to think about things. The director’s cut was worse?

      Pan’s Labyrinth’s lost some of its magic when I listened to the audio commentary and found that the ambiguous stuff was never meant to be ambiguous.

      As for DLC specifically, we are already at a point where many games are released incomplete, with specific DLC already planned before the game is pressed. People probably wouldn’t notice if more titles went that route, because it is already common.

      I don’t see it going the route of episodic content overall, as it seems too many companies still find it more profitable to just release new “full” games every year. Sure, EA could release a base Madden game and then just DLC roster updates each year, but they instead release a new game. THQ does have DLC for its wrestling games, but again releases a new version each year. Call of Duty makes a ton of money on horribly overpriced map packs, but still releases a new game each year. Koei is now doing DLC, but they’ll probably keep releasing new Warriors games. They might even keep releasing retail expansions like Empires, rather than turning them into DLC. (I wonder which path is more profitable for them, as you can play the retail expansions without buying the base game, but the main audience is still the people who bought the base game.)

    • Jerricho says:

      j o r d a n s f o r k i n g or j o r d a n s’ f o r k i n g ?

      Scott would be the first to admit that the cuts in Alien were necessary because those scenes ruined the pacing. The re-release, while indeed a money grabbing exercise, was generally packaged along with a copy of the original cut. So the silly long version was just something interesting for fans already overly familiar with the film and I didn’t think it was generally marketed as a surperior version. There were no “How it was meant to be seen” tags on it. Now Aliens on the otherhand, thats a whole different movie in the Directors cut.

  2. gavintlgold says:

    I think the issue with games not being ‘interesting’ anymore might have more to do with the fact that so many games are being targeted towards the casual gaming crowd, which doesn’t get excited for relatively obvious reasons. I mean, when someone says “look, you can bowl with this game, like in REAL LIFE” I don’t think the majority of people would consider that AWESOME.

    Gamers who truly get excited about games are doing so because of the storyline, the gameplay (not the graphics) and the immersiveness. At this point casual games like Kinect and Wii are just not interesting enough to get excited about (at least for me).

    Now if HL3 were to be announced….. well that’s another story. I know it won’t be, for a very long time, and I can wait.

    • gganate says:

      I think you’re right that as gaming becomes mores accessible, it also becomes less interesting, at least to older gamers. We can’t get excited about another military fps like Call of Duty 3 or Battlefield 3 because, hey, we’ve been playing shooters for ages and it seems like every thing’s about shooting these days. Developers are afraid to take risks and create anything that’s not a sequel. As long as the industry keeps regurgitating the same games and genres, I think the older gamer’s interest will keep waning.

    • Maktaka says:

      I think part of it is there are a ton more genres than there used to be and far fewer AAA players in each genre. Think back to the late 90s/early 00s. The FPS and RTS genre were kings on the PC, with a neverending stream of new titles coming out all through the year. Now? Half the FPSs never even hit the PC and most of the remainder are multiplatform (which more often than not are third person instead). The RTS genre is pretty slim outside of SC2, with CoH, DoW2, and Men of War the only big players there. There’s a massive rise of indy games nowadays (which is fantastic, to be sure), but even those that try to play in the RTS and FPS genres aren’t going to make a title that competes with StarCraft 2 or Brink for a booth at E3.

    • Jools says:

      A big part of the problem is that AAA games almost always fall squarely into basic genre definitions. It’s not uncommon to see indie games that defy easy classification – stuff like Fate of the World, Starfarer, or Atom Zombie Smasher, just to name a few random examples – but it’s a lot less common to see that kind of stuff in big budget titles. Sure, Bioshock 3 may have a fantastic art style and it may do all kinds of fun and exciting things, but at the end of the day it’s still going to look and play like an FPS. It’s the curse of genres and good game design. Following the rules and making a good game almost inevitably means that you’re making something we’ve all seen before, mostly because the rules of good game design are based squarely on what’s worked well in the past.

      I think this is why so many people pine for the 90s PC game market. It’s not that we’re forgetting about the shitty games and only focusing on the good ones. We all remember shelves lined with shovelware. It’s just that developers took chances more often because the “rules” hadn’t been nearly as well established yet and the stakes weren’t as high. A lot of the best games from that decade could legitimately be called pioneers of their genre, either because they were the first to make a particular style of gameplay popular or because they polished it to a point so close to perfection that we’re still just playing incremental improvements on the same formula a decade later.

    • UnravThreads says:

      Maktaka; How can you have a Third Person FPS? That’s a contradiction.

      There’s a lot of interesting games out there, you just need to get away from the “mainstream”, as it were. If you go to publishers like Kalypso and Paradox Interactive, you’ll begin to find games that are PC exclusive, fun, challenging and so forth. I would take Drakensang: The River of Time over Dragon Age: Origins any day, because I find it a more fun game. It’s harder and less accessible, yes, but in my opinion it’s a much better made game. For all the money BioWare spent on DA:O, it felt very poorly made and lacked a lot of polish. And it was brown/grey. Yawn.

      Heck, despite their DRM methods, even Ubisoft are arguably champions of the PC. They’re still releasing Heroes of Might & Magic, Anno and Settlers games exclusively on the PC (Although those three series do have some console versions floating around).

      No-one gets excited about E3 because we know about everything already. Saints Row 3, Assassin’s Creed 4, etc etc. We’d heard about them before E3 happened, so of course they weren’t surprising.

  3. kenoxite says:

    Wait, no mention of the Notch interviews Todd Howard (and the other way around)?
    Or maybe it was mentioned in RPS and I wasn’t paying attention. Anyway, it’s quite interesting.

    Enthusiastic guy with a hat vs evil mastermind. Just talking about their looks there. No other implication.

  4. Tei says:

    Simpler programming language:
    This is like asking for a simpler english language. It will have the effect to reduce what you can say. A complex enough language ( for programming or for humans to talk to each another ) lets people express ideas with few words, and withouth ambiguity.
    Theres already “kits” and systems that make programming easier, but has the effect to limit what you can do, and how fast will be. Anyway some invisible limit is lowering, and we have already games written in Flash en Steam (machinarium), and others written in .NET +XNA (Magicka?, Terraria, Solar 2…). So programming is getting easier, with a level of power enough to make good games.
    The thing that is fundamentally changing is available power. And this has to do more with how much concentrated circuits are on a computer. The number of transistors.

    I have way more problems understanding humans than computers. With computers No mean No, Yes mean Yes. Not yet mean Not yet. We have a problem here means We have a problem here.
    For humans No can mean a variety of context-sensitive significates. Sometimes No mean Yes, others Not yet, others you must solve the problem.

    So we don’t need a new programming language to talk with computers. This is a solved problem. We need a laguage to talk with humans, a language where No means No and Yes means Yes.

    • Spinoza says:

      +1. Also ,we need new humans.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      It is a terrible article. Honestly, it sounds like someone who hates programming, doesn’t understand programming, and shouldn’t be a programmer. Yes yes, C is annoying; I hate rewriting common data structures from scratch every time. But there are many good languages. Python is wonderful. And C is not bad for the reasons claimed; it’s certainly not “complex”.

      No (powerful) language obviates the need to understand how a computer works. It’s the nature of the thing. It’s the whole point.

      Anyway, some of the comments on the article are quite good. I shan’t ramble on, so I’ll leave it with this: “This is the classic case of someone with a very superficial understanding of a problem, thinking that it is unnecessarily complex”

    • skurmedel says:

      Plus the fact that Objective-C is like C with lots of additional stuff bolted on, that doesn’t follow the syntax of C. It isn’t the simplest language to start with. But as already mentioned, there are others, who abstracts a lot of stuff for you. An example would be the Lua library Löve.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I actually agree with the author in part. C is an outmoded language that should just die already. C++ is where it’s at if you want a low-level language. C++ has “tomatoes”, if you are prepared to go “shopping”. But natural language programming hasn’t been adopted for very good reasons: link to
      The commenters are quite right to point out Python. Python is a very nice language on many levels, and even professional games are written in Python (with the fast stuff done in C++)

    • steviesteveo says:

      C is fairly easy to learn (I’m not going to lie and say it’s easy) and you can tell that reasonably objectively because look at the number of people who have managed it.

      The hard thing is getting C to do something impressive and that’s not because of how you type it out. It’s because it’s hard to make impressive stuff.

    • Colthor says:

      He’s actually wrong when he says he wants a simpler language. C is a very simple language. Assembler is even simpler, but I don’t think he’d get on well with it. He’s actually asking for a vastly more complicated language that does most of the work for him, that is easier to learn and less effort to use.

      There’s nothing wrong with that – it’s up to the programmer to pick the appropriate tool for the job; sometimes you just want to throw something quite straightforward together quickly and easily, damn the consequences, and other times you actually care what’s in this register or that memory address.
      But complaining that you bought a jigsaw and it makes a crap sawmill is rather pointless.

      I think the fundamental problem he’s having is not that learning [x language] syntax is hard, it’s that he doesn’t understand how programming actually works. You need to know that just as much in Ruby or Visual Basic as you do in C or assembler.

      Something vaguely related (I think linked in a former Sunday Papers or its comments) is that, apparently, not everybody can even learn to program:
      link to

      @Gap Gen: C and C++ are quite different animals; there’s a world more complexity and overhead in C++ that some devices just can’t handle, and that some applications neither need nor want.
      Also, C is far more beautiful and elegant, so should never die.

    • steviesteveo says:

      I’m not sure it’s a troll article but I’m going to bet money that “Recently I took on the enormous task of learning Objective-C from the bottom up” probably means ‘I downloaded Xcode 5 minutes ago and don’t understand it’.

      Edit: Reply fail, meant for a different comment on the same article.

    • TenjouUtena says:

      Also, as correctly pointed out by the comments over there, there are many ‘easier’ languages than Objective-C. On top of scripting languages like Ruby, Python, etc. there are domain-specific languages that are even easier; ALICE comes immediately to mind.

      Also, since he said Objective-C, perhaps his complaint should be ‘I wish Apple didn’t force me to use Objective-C to make stuff for iOS’.

      Though, I admit, that after I read he was an experienced HTML/CSS ‘developer’ my eyes glazed over and I scanned the rest of the piece.

    • ShawnClapper says:

      “Chinese should be easier to learn, like picking up ingredients for a recipe at a grocery store”

      That reply on the programming article made my day :)

    • Gap Gen says:

      Colthor: Yes, I guess embedded devices and things probably don’t need to have huge applications running on them.

    • Dreamhacker says:

      Of course C shouldn’t die! The Linux core was exclusively written in C, in fact, today’s technology is dependent on C!

      …However, I’m not saying it’s good for anything remotely high level :P

    • lightswitch37 says:

      In regards to the point concerning the over complexity of human language, I strongly disagree. Subtle, intentionally obfuscated communication is by far the most enjoyable. It’s far more interesting to say something without actually saying it than just laying it out there. One need only watch a James Bond movie to see what I mean. I recommend you pay less attention to the specific meanings of words, and pay more attention to context (namely characteristics of the person/people speaking) and body language, which actually a makes up significant portion of communication. That’s why phone conversations are so incredibly empty. Fortunately, gestures and posture typically carry the same meanings for most people, even across cultures, so it is a learnable language, just like any other form of communication.

      At any rate, a world where I only had one possible way to say no and one possible way to say yes sounds like a bland, lifeless world to me.

    • Tei says:

      @lightswitch37 I get really frustrated wen the levels of ofuscation of the humans languages get in the way. Wen a simple NO is understanded as something else. Very often, on these ofuscated channel theres not way to communicate a idea that will be understanded exactly how or what you want. Since the language is a tool to communicate, this render the verbal language in a atrocious bad system.
      I would feel liberated if where a way to remove all these levels of ofuscation. Using the human language is like going to a war with a blade made of plastic, Is ridiculous. I demend less subtelitelly, and more clarity in human language.

      Wen Yes is No, and No is no. The world is even more dull than the one you fear.

    • jamesgecko says:

      @lightswitch37 Your praise of the subtleties of body language in no way undermines the statement that language[1] is complex.

      Additionally, Gestures and posture are most certainly not standardized across culture. Gestures viewed as innocent in some cultures are considered insults in others[2]. Postures can be interpreted differently based on the culture you grew up in [3].

      Finally, programming a computer by gestures is somewhat ridiculous. It works alright with some types of robots which perform repetitive tasks, but it’s not great for the complex decision making processes which most computer programs entail.

      1. Presumably written language, since we’re talking about programming.
      2. There should be a citation here, but I’m lazy and this is common knowledge.
      3. link to

      Edit: Actually, it appears you’re only talking about body language for part of the comment? In that case, talking about the subtlety of language only reinforces the point that language is complex.

    • Tacroy says:

      As always, XKCD is apropos.
      However, as to the article itself: as far as I can see, this guy is just complaining that Objective-C is not exactly the same as Javascript, the language he’s already familiar with. I mean, he said that C’s syntax was “repetitive and purposefully obscure”, while bragging that he can “glue enough javascript together to solve almost any problem that has presented itself”.

      Big problem with that: Javascript pretty much borrowed C’s syntax outright. The only major difference is that Javascript is more weakly typed, whereas C is more strongly typed.

      I mean, look, here’s an example of the same function written in both Javascript and C:

      function factorial(n) {
      if (n == 0) {
      return 1;
      return n * factorial(n - 1);

      int factorial(int n);
      int factorial(int n) {
      if (n == 0) {
      return 1;
      return n * factorial(n - 1);

      The only differences are that in C, you have to explicitly state what arguments the function takes and returns, and that you sometimes have to declare a function prototype (that bit with just the name and the return value and the arguments) – you don’t have to declare one if the function is defined before it’s used. Beyond that, there’s almost no difference between C and Javascript in this example.

      So yeah. Objective-C has syntax that is significantly different from Javascript or C, but that’s all it is – different. Once you learn a couple of different programming languages, you (hopefully) come to realize that under the skin there’s only a few different classes of programming languages, and most people never go beyond the procedural ones.

    • Consumatopia says:

      If C ever dies, it will be because it got replaced by something either lower level (e.g. assembler) or something much more complicated (e.g. a dependently-typed programming language like ATS ). Speed requires complexity–either the low level complexity of machine code or the higher-order complexity of logic.

      On the other hand C++ and Objective C are doomed. The OOP paradigm in general is a mistake (inheritance is anti-modular) but at least other OOP languages (python, Java) have enough training wheels that they’re usable for simple programs.

      However, although the original article was badly written, I do object to the “we have Python why do we need any more simple languages?” I think there is a great deal of unexplored territory here, of new languages facilitating new ways of creating programs. Inform 7 is great example of that–I wouldn’t want to use it as a general purpose programming language, but for writing interactive fiction it’s got some really amazing ideas.

      EDIT: I really hate that XKCD comic Tacroy mentioned. There’s already a programming language that frees you from the burden of clarifying your ideas. It’s called the English language, but the only existing device capable of compiling English into machine code is a human software engineer, which is kind of expensive and somewhat unreliable. To take the point of view of the wishing well is to deny the Church-Turing conjecture and claim that human can compute things machines cannot.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      C++ fills a rather important niche which includes most 3D games, and it will likely continue to do so for quite a long time with C++0x. It’s got all the native code advantages of C, but much more usability.

      It’s fast, it’s compatible with a massive library of existing code, it can do everything that C does and much much more.

      Oh sure, it’s an ugly, outdated language that badly needs replacing.
      But the only serious candidate out there is D, and it’s been a flop so far. Besides, if you tiptoe carefully around all the terrible features that no sane person wants to touch (template madness, multiple inheritance…) and patch it up with Boost, it’s actually quite pleasant to work with. Unlike C. Shhh, don’t tell anybody.

    • lightswitch37 says:

      @jamesgecko: Indeed. My point was, in fact, that we’re better off for having complex languages. Not to contradict the assertion that language is complex.

      I don’t see any reason to presume that the original comment from Tei was referring to written language.

      In regards to gestures, I stand by my original statement. What you’re talking about is more or less hand signs, which have specific meaning. Of course those meanings won’t remain constant any more than a specific meaning for a certain string of syllables would. Body language, however, largely stays the same. Table 8 on page 16 of the article you linked illustrates this pretty clearly. Just for example: the way women tend to adjust their hair when they see a male who they find attractive. Obviously not entirely universal, if only because in some cultures the women keep their hair short, or perhaps it’s always covered. Regardless, it’s a widespread behavior that I can identify even if I don’t speak the language. Perhaps the most obvious example of universal body language is smiling. Confidence tends to be expressed the same way in most cultures via upright posture and direct eye contact. So while thumbs up may have dramatically different meanings in various sections of the world, I would argue that the majority of body language will tend to carry similar meaning throughout a significant portion of the rest of the world.

    • Consumatopia says:

      @TillEulenspiegel, it is true that AAA games development has some unique demands that narrows the list of suitable languages. An intolerance for garbage collection delays is chief among them–that rules out many programming environments immediately. Games are kind of a weird domain in which it’s sometimes more acceptable to crash after several hours of usage due to memory leaks than it is to delay a frame by 50 ms every couple minutes. (The memory leaks can be fixed later in patches.)

      But, honestly, C++ is still used in so many domains where it’s clearly inappropriate that it isn’t even worth arguing over the narrow set of circumstances when it might arguably be useful. One can certainly write fast C++ code, though it you want to be as fast as C code it’s generally going to either look as ugly as C code (this is definitely true in the language benchmarks you linked) or link to C code, which many other languages are capable of doing. I suppose it is possible that despite C++ itself being terrible that no other language will ever catch up to its infrastructure and code base, and therefore this horror will always be with us until the post-singularity refactoring of all human-written code.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I think you’re seriously underestimating the amount of things that need to compile to native code. Want to do anything interesting with the OS? Yeah.

      I’ve been involved in a lot of technical debates, but nothing baffles me more than the hatred for C++ as compared to the love for C in a large segment of the community. I rather suspect that very few have used both in large projects.

      For the record, here’s some high-quality C++ code which is actually in quite a different style from my own:

      link to

      It’s a relatively new project, run by an absolute bastard who knows what he’s doing and tolerates no substandard work. It’s C++ largely because it needs to do complex operations on a large pile of data relatively quickly.

      By the way, I used to write code with a lot of memory leaks. Then I learned how to stop screwing up (read Effective C++, etc) and later used the magic powers of shared_ptr. Magic which, of course, is entirely unavailable in C.

    • Consumatopia says:

      Well, high level languages like Python (EDIT: RPython, I guess), Java, Caml and Haskell can be compiled to native code. I guess what you mean is that sometimes developers need fine grain control over the code that is produced.

      However, C++ code that actually exercises such control tends to look at least as ugly as the equivalent C code. It doesn’t really make much difference to me whether people want to write C code or C++ code that just looks like C code to do low level coding. What’s ridiculous is people coding high-level applications entirely in one of these languages. (And if you want to mix a low level language with a high level one, C is probably preferable as more languages have foreign function interfaces to C than C++).

      “Stop screwing up” is equivalent to “stop being human beings”, and shared_ptr doesn’t find cycles. You might be able to pull off the Stakhanovite feat of building an entire project without screwing this up, but the overall unreliability of today’s software indicates that we can’t count on programmers in general having this.

      If you have real-time requirements, or if you have a great deal of legacy code, C++ might be the best option. But simply wanting faster performance overall (or to do “complex operations on a large pile of data relatively quickly”) is not itself a good reason to put your entire project in C++. GC causes a small delay every once in a while, but it doesn’t hurt overall performance very much.

    • seattlepete says:

      Here’s how I pay the rent:

      link to

      Pity me? Actually, I love the efficiency of it, but it’s impossible to translate. The XKCD strip is really appropriate. M is so loose that without clear and concise comments, you’re completely lost. At least I don’t need to declare anything, or learn anything new. Also, if I ever end up traveling back in time to WWII England, I might actually be able to help.

    • Baboonanza says:

      Crap programmers write ugly code, and the problem with C++ is the way people have historically been taught to use it. The STL is actually a major culprit here, any code that uses the STL looks like a hideous mess, and things like using ‘new’ and ‘delete’ in application code and a lack of respect for OOP principles are also major problems. But any language can be ugly in the hands of a clutz, Java especially with it’s lack of operator overloading and it’s poorly thought-out type system.

      I don’t deny C++ is harder than other languages to master though, it certainly gives you more room to hang yourself. But the rewards are worth it once you get there, even something like C# feels constrained in comparison (and don’t get me started on scripting languages, nothing weak-typed can ever be a replacement for a proper language).

      But I’m perfectly happy for everyone else to move on to JITs and scripting since that will mean I get to earn mega-bucks working on legacy systems in 20 years time :)

    • Quirk says:

      Original article: clearly nonsense. Comments are entertaining though.

      With that out of the way… the huge problem I find with people who’ve only ever learned to write in Java or a similarly high-level language is that they frequently don’t understand how the computer works at assembly language level and therefore don’t understand which operations are expensive. Being forced to learn the distinction between using pointers and deep copies puts you in places where you can mess up and make a program crash or leak; however, what it does do is leave the programmer with a very explicit understanding of what is going on, and gives them clear pictures of what is happening in memory when their code is executed.

      Java written for benchmarks is frequently even more twisted and strangely written than C++ or C is. It is not written in the way most people learn to write Java. The naiver implementations are often horribly inefficient.

      One of the things that isn’t a problem with Java is its lack of operator overloading. Operator overloading is a great tool for writing completely unmaintainable nonsense. It can be used sparingly and wisely, but all too often my experience of it has been:
      1) Huh, he’s using an XOR here? What’s he XORing?
      2) He’s XORing 2 vectors?
      3) Ahahaha. Been here before. What vector operation has he mapped to XOR?
      4) Go read source/docs.
      This takes vastly longer than reading a line containing something like, “vector3 = vector.dot_product( vector2 )” which is immediately obvious. This only gets worse if operator overloading is being used for something that isn’t a straightforward operation on a very basic data structure. It gives bad programmers a lot of power to write terrible code, usually starting from some misguided notion of shortening the amount they have to type.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I love how this comments thread has become a discussion about the merits of C++.

      I’d love something like Java but with the speed of C++. Generic programming/templating should be, in theory, as fast as C, messy though it is in C++. I don’t particularly get the comment about the STL – the container classes are rather good, I think, and one of the problems in C++ is people jumping straight in with pointers and C-style arrays. I agree it’s easy to abuse the STL though – it’s certainly not bug-proof. And I agree that a major problem of C++ is that it’s too cumbersome and easy to break (no language should need the “explicit” keyword, for example).

      Out of interest, Consumatopia, where do you see programming going after OOP? I don’t particularly see the problem with it (inheritance is only necessary in C++ to enable dynamic polymorphism, and is evil in all other cases) but I understand that there are objections (including by the guy who wrote the STL in C++). It’s possible that C/GPU code will become dominant and all infrastructure written in Python-alikes, but I still don’t see how C provides a better interface to Python than a simple set of C++ classes.

      EDIT: Quirk – yes, I’m torn by operator overloading. Again, C++ is easy to abuse and you need a good coding standard. But then Java programmers apparently use get/set all the time (Eclipse even has a refactoring option for it), so swings and roundabouts.

    • Consumatopia says:

      @Gap Gen, without inheritance, I suppose object-oriented programming is just modular programming, which is fine. There are languages with better support for modularity (various dialects of ML), but the problem with OOP isn’t that it’s impossible to write good code as that it’s too easy to write bad or at unmaintainable code. In the short term, it might be easier to solve that by disciplining the programmers not to use the bad features than by redesigning languages to remove the features.

      In the long run, though, languages are going to be redesigned. Parallelism is becoming more important, and functional programming better facilitates parallelism than imperative programming. Further down the road, I hope that programming languages that can mechanically prove that programs fulfill specifications become more viable.

      I would avoid using classes or other C++ features in any code that’s meant to be called by languages other than C++, because the other language might not support those things. If you have a specific high-level programming language in mind, perhaps C++ works fine, but as others have argued, I find that once the goal is maximum performance that all languages quickly become just as ugly as C.

  5. McDan says:

    Oh wow, that 2.8 hours later zombie game sounds amazing. I will do whatever it takes to be in the next one! Also that Journey game, along with the HD re-releases of Ico and Shadow of the colossus are seriously tempting me to buy a ps3…

    • JB says:

      2.8 Hours does sound like a lot of fun. Well done on almost making it to safety, Lewis Zomby ;)

    • Navagon says:

      Maybe we need to organise an RPS 2.8 Hours?

    • Chopper says:

      That Journey article is severely over-egged though. Puppies and dolphins my arse.
      You should totally get a PS3. Demon’s Souls is worth the price of entry alone.

      EDIT: I’m not especially favouring the PS3 as a gaming platform here; I’m saying that Demon’s Souls is close to the perfect game for some, and if you have the means, you shouldn’t deny yourself that experience.

    • McDan says:

      An RPS 2.8 hours game would be insanely good, except we’d all pretend to be Bill… And Demons souls is another reason to get a ps3, I totally would if I had the money to spend on it, but I’ve already got a 360 which I don’t use that much anyway, because y’know pc gamer. But I’m sooo tempted… Also awesome music today, or did I already say that?

  6. djtim says:

    From the Evolve article:
    “PC gaming has a big problem. It’s not the hardware. It’s not piracy. It’s not the games. It’s how PC gamers are forced to play.”

    Damn right, but just not for the reasons the advertorial claims. I personally am sick of developers and publishers forcing social connectivity on me in all games. Why is there an assumption that everyone seems to only play games these days as a inter-connected, community activity?

    I play games to relax and unwind – after I spend hours and hours with friends and colleagues at work, at sport and out and about. If the good old fashioned book I’m about to read tried prompting me to share my favorite paragraph on Facebook at the end of every chapter, I’d throw it through the window.

    • Axess Denyd says:


      On the bright side, Evolve seems like an optional addon as opposed to something publishers require. I’m rather tired of telling Need For Speed I have no interest in Autolog every damn time I start the game, then having it warn me that I won’t be in Autolog.

    • Rath says:

      Speaking as someone who has recently been the victim of identity theft, I am extremely weary of anything that lets the world at large know that I spend X hours of my day pursuing Y activity through Z service.

      I’m a generally careful person, no two passwords alike and such, but the more social networking infiltrates virtually everything I enjoy, I feel like certain companies are handing out binoculars to people who are intent on watching us for openings on how to obtain our information, and disguising said binoculars under the veil of increased user fun.

    • gganate says:

      Ditto. Gaming is not a social experiences for me anymore. It was in high school, back when we had unreal tournament LAN parties, but nowadays, I want to relax in front of an immersive single player game without bloody GFWL rearing its ugly head. Likewise, I don’t care if Mass Effect 3 has multiplayer, because every game doesn’t need multiplayer.

    • Kittim says:

      [Posted here to keep all the Evolve comments together]

      OK, I’ve read the sales pitch. And I think it’s a bunch of twaddle.

      They’re right; PC Gaming does need to change.

      Publishers need to stop treating PC gamers like second class citizens. Draconian DRM and lazy console ports are common. Major publishers always want to go the “tried and tested” route drowning any hope of innovation from developers. Consoles have become a millstone around the PC gamer’s neck. On the PC we are lucky enough to have technology several iterations beyond current consoles but is it getting used? Not much, if I was to count the number of DirectX 11 or OpenGL 4 games currently available, I doubt I’d have to take my socks off. As for 64-bit, I’d be surprised if I used up one hand.

      I’m old enough to remember when Wing Commander came out, that game did more for sales of 386 PCs than any business app at the time. True, we are seeing smaller increments in technology, but most of it seems to be going unused. We should not have to wait for Microsoft to make the next gen along from the 360 simply so we can start enjoy features we have today.

      As for the software being touted, ooh goody another “Social” app. So what data does this collect about its users? Who will they be selling that data to? What guarantees are there that more data won’t be collected in the future, under the guise of more “features”? Who owns the content posted by its users? Them? Us?

      I know the above is a bit of a rant, but come on, they got off to a bad start by choosing to quote Frank Gibeau from EA. Of course he’s hoping that the PC will become their biggest platform, EA are in the process of shoving a digital distribution service down our collective throats and making their games “Exclusive” to it.

    • Stochastic says:

      While Evolve does seem to have some interesting features, there also seems to be a lot of redundancy between it and Steam. What compelling reasons can Evolve possibly offer to gamers spoiled (I mean that in the best sense) by Steam, a relatively non-intrusive DRM platform that largely offers the functionality of Evolve, has a very well established playerbase, and consistently offers significant discounts for high-profile titles? I know that Evolve is a different sort of service and it does some things Steam doesn’t, but it just doesn’t seem to be enough. I don’t think many people are going to be attracted by the “social” features Evolve offers now that people are getting fatigued from reading their narcissist-laden, spammy Facebook feeds.

    • Veracity says:

      It’s not as if only Steam has tried this stuff before – it’s just the currently dominant thing that already addresses nearly every “problem” Evolve claims to solve. I can somewhat see the appeal of making these features external and optional, but I doubt Valve or much of the army of folk it’s convinced voluntarily to lock themselves in to its version that happens to come bolted to a shop with daily limited time promotions would agree.

      I like video games because they’re isolated and dissociative, as much as for any other reason. They’re something I can do in my basement in my pants without worrying about the pesky interaction with other human beings that infests most other stuff I can get up to.

      Yes, I have a basement in my pants.

    • Dozer says:

      I don’t care two hoots for Evolve, but

      Yes, I have a basement in my pants

      Meme get!

    • InternetBatman says:

      Absolutely. I’m tired of this assumption that because multiplayer games are played longer, single-player games need social aspects. They satisfy two entirely different appetites.

      I wish the article would load so I could read it. But if they really wanted to make a useful service they would offer a way to fix the netcode already in so many broken games or an engine that would make working netcode and multiplayer experiences for developers, instead of a vlan and social integration platform. I’ve bought more than one game to play with friends only to find it ridiculously hard to set up online, and then to only barely work once it is up.

  7. Zogtee says:

    I don’t really understand the whole “apathy at E3” thing. Nintendo were cheerful and enthusiastic about their stuff. Microsoft went all in with Kinect this and Kinect that. I wasn’t really feeling Sony and was almost shocked by their flippant attitude to the hacking disaster, but hey, two out of three ain’t bad.

    I think it’s more about the consumers, actually. We’re jumping up and down in anticipation of the next fix, the next big thing, the next technicolor explosion, and then go “Boo, nothing’s happening. Game over, man. Game over!” when we don’t get exactly what we want or what we’ve been trained to think we want. For example, the Kinect stuff isn’t for me, but I still see the effort they put into it.

    I think all the good stuff is right there in front of us. We’re just not seeing it. That said, could someone ffs give Jack Tretton a new suit and a makeover. He looked like they pulled him out of a box, stood him up on stage, and barely bothered to blow the dust off him.

    • Stochastic says:

      I definitely think there’s truth to what you’re saying. As gamers, we have grown accustomed to seeing the ante being pushed higher and higher each year. It is the expectation that we will be wowed. Inevitably, a time will come when this level of annual one-upmanship can no longer be maintained. However, I think the larger concern being expressed by the author is that the games industry has become overly predictable. Rather than fully explore the potential of the medium, publishers keep hashing out sequels to the same games without making substantial changes. I have nothing against sequels, I think they suit the medium quite well, but I would also like to see a greater breadth in the types of games made. For veteran gamers, “men with guns” has lost some of its luster. Perhaps it’s time to try something new.

  8. Freud says:

    The big advantage of Metacritic is that they don’t allow a single review to shape your view of a game. Or rather, Metacritic is a way for us to access lots of reviews.

    I remember I walked around thinking Starcraft was decidedly average after PC Gamer UK (I think) gave it 77% or something. Then much later I found out that the rest of the world loved it. Glad I back then knew that Stuart Campbell was obstinate so I could ignore his review of Magic Carpet 2. More of a lust murder than a review.

    These days Metacritic makes it easy to sniff out these outliers. Crazies giving The Witcher 2 a 6/10.

    • drewski says:

      Yep. It’s far more useful as an easily accessed summary of available reviews than it is determinative of the quality of a game.

      I remember the local Australian PC gaming mag gave the original GTA a pretty mediocre score, so I was astonished at how fun it was when I played it. Ever since then I’ve not really trusted game review sites – I find them interesting, but I always try to form my own opinions.

    • bill says:

      Same happened to me with Deus Ex.. I read a detailed and well written review about how it was overhyped, the steath was broken, and the skills like swimming were useless.. so i didn’t play it for a few years until i somehow ended up with a dirt cheap copy. I suspect nothing he said in that review was wrong.. yet he was totally wrong. (except he wasn’t, as his opinion is equally valid)

      Same happened to some extent with NOLF and Longest Journey, which both got called boring by whichever UK PC mag i was reading at the time (don’t remember if it was PC gamer, PC format or something else..)

      And my parents base all their musical and movie choices on the Sunday Times reviews.. which can be spot on, and can be totally of the mark (imho).

    • MD says:

      Deus Ex is one of my favourite games ever, but I can totally understand why some people simply don’t enjoy it. (And I’m not implying they’re idiots or philistines or anything like that.) But man, I cannot understand how anyone capable of enjoying single-player FPS games could have considered NOLF ‘boring’.

  9. Symitri says:

    On the point of E3 being representative of the gaming industry entering a sort of decline, I’m inclined to disagree that this is a result of the transition to more subscription-based models.

    Expo’s as a whole are largely becoming an outdated idea whether it’s for games or any other large industry. They work for smaller niche communities because it allows them to gather and connect with others in person who share a similar interest that might be hard to find in those directly surrounding them. Think furries or hardcore knitters – where I suppose the physical interaction with others would be a change of pace to experiencing it alone.

    But with gaming in particular you would expect people to be more technologically savvy, although not always, and therefore have a stronger online presence and perhaps more inclined towards being involved in some kind of online community activity to do with their interest whether it’s replying to RPS posts or attached to a Steam group. Not to mention that most games now, for better or worse, come with a multiplayer option attached – there’s no need for that level of social connection in person. And when you can find all the information you want or need online, why travel?

    We’ve long since exited the era of public demos being an important part to deciding whether you’ll purchase a game simply because we can now gather information on the title from a variety of sources. We used to have to trust the one or two game mags we subscribed to for our information and therefore having a demo allowed us to see whether they agreed with their opinions. Now we can read up on ten or twenty different opinions as well as checking up live playthroughs of demos by other people that we have no means of obtaining ourselves.

    Every year I think to myself, ugh the upcoming gaming year is looking dull. But then I play through the games and I’m always surprised. I don’t see that stopping anytime soon, regardless of the shifts in how the games are consumed. So long as we avoid another Ubisoft debacle, I’ll live.

    • bowl of snakes says:

      I agree with this, E3 just feels like a relic

    • Stochastic says:

      “Every year I think to myself, ugh the upcoming gaming year is looking dull. But then I play through the games and I’m always surprised. I don’t see that stopping anytime soon, regardless of the shifts in how the games are consumed.”

      I’ve experienced the same myself. Here’s hoping that that pattern will continue into the following decade and beyond.

  10. jon_hill987 says:

    Really liking Pianoscope.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      Me too, sounds good and fits a rainy and stormy afternoon like today’s.

  11. Astalano says:

    Why would I want a single piece of software controlling all online activities on PC? The STRENGTH of PC gaming is customizability. If I don’t want to use this “evolve” and would rather use teamspeak, ventrilo, steam, etc., why should that action be demonized? I just want to play how I want. We’ve already seen the massive downsides with publishers that make their games compulsory to use steam, making you unable to play a physical copy without connecting to the internet. Why should it be made worse?

    • Thants says:

      Yeah, the problem is that each publisher seems to think I want my life to revolve around their one social network. It’s not for the benefit of the player, it’s for the benefit of the publisher.

  12. Rii says:

    Why were there no surprises at E3? Because everything about PS Vita and Wii U was leaked in advance, duh.

    “The PC gaming experience is isolated, dissociative, and falls short for a generation of gamers raised on Facebook and Twitter. These social barriers are the biggest obstacle to the survival of the PC as a gaming platform.”


    • Thants says:

      The PC experience can’t fall short of Facebook and Twitter. PC is where Facebook and Twitter are!

  13. Jumwa says:

    I can’t help but sympathize with the Duke Nukem Forever issue. Now, don’t get me wrong. First, let me lay out a few things: 1) I don’t own DNF and I don’t plan to any time soon, 2) by sympathize I don’t mean I think the reaction was proper or just, I just mean I sympathize with their feelings; I use specific words for a reason.

    More and more (or perhaps I’ve just been looking more closely at reviews lately) I notice that reviewers engage in shady tactics. I see them complaining about a game for doing something they don’t do, docking a game points for saying it should have a feature it already does have. Heck, on the Escapist the other day I read a review of a new 3DS game that docked it points because they claimed the L-button on the 3DS was in an awkward position, despite the fact that the button is not a part of the game and is located in a completely standard and comfortable position regardless.

    I see reviews where completely subjective issues of taste are treated as hard objective fact. I’m not asking for pure objectivity here, but the absence of attempts to even try and lay out the reviewers personal slant bothers me. I remember Nintendo Power would list with each reviewer a series of genre-icons, so you’d have some idea where the game reviewers tastes lay and how that might affect their review. Say what you will about Nintendo, but NP used to do some pretty hard but fair reviews (I’ve no idea what they’re like in recent years so please don’t waste your breath assaulting me if they suck now).

    Another disturbing element I see a lot are reviewers who seem to not even play the game they’re reviewing. I could go into this in great detail, but one example–since it was also brought up in the Sunday Papers–is the much maligned Hunted: The Demons Forge. A perfectly fun and polished 2-person co-op game with a great deal of similarities to Resident Evil 5, from all I can tell. The reviews however, have been mostly negative, and I’ve seen people rage about minor points, subjective issues, but most of all I’ve seen people rage about blatantly false topics.

    As someone who’s played through the title twice now, I have to baffle at the complaints that say the characters are cliched, that E’lara does nothing but talk about explosions (granted she does mention it a few times, but 3 times in an eight+ hour game is hardly incessant), that (as Yahtzee put it) Caddoc whines about his dead parents the entire game (he never mentioned any such thing throughout as far as I could tell, I never even knew his parents were dead–if indeed they are). Other reviewers complained that you could only carry one main weapon at a time–a hindrance you only have at the beginning of the game.

    As far as I can see, certain games are pre-judged by the reviewers and gaming community before they ever launch, and no matter the end result will receive scathing reviews. Hunted was doomed because the publicity was, admittedly, awful and the image of a scantily clad elf seemed to insult and enrage male game reviewers. DNF, from what I can tell, seems to be another case. I’ve not played it to see, but from people I trust to not BS me, I’ve been told “It’s just fun”. What I did see first hand was a desire to want to hate this game for a myriad of reasons that seems to have pre-determined awful reviews.

    • RobF says:

      DNF is definitely shit.

    • Rii says:

      “Other reviewers complained that you could only carry one main weapon at a time–a hindrance you only have at the beginning of the game.”

      Hey, if GTAIV can be crowned one of the greatest games of all time based upon the first couple hours of the game, then it’s only fair that other titles be damned for their initial shortcomings! Consistency!

      As for Yahtzee: he can be entertaining, but anyone taking his reviews seriously has rocks for brains.

    • Tei says:

      link to

      What this with horror and amusement.

    • Jumwa says:

      Yes, on the issue of Yahtzee, I realize he goes for comedy first and everything else second. But would it be too much to ask for him to not blatantly falsify complaints about games? It’s not the first time I’ve seen this, just the most recent. A good comedian doesn’t need to invent things to make fun of.

      And I don’t mean to come off too harsh here on reviewers, and–though I shoul’ve been clearer about it and written more effectively–I was intending to be a bit over dramatic at times. “Shady tactics”? Yeah, that sounded a lot funnier in my head than it reads.

    • Jumwa says:

      Where does the horror and amusement come in? Aside from them unable to figure out the first method of reaching the epic weapons at the beginning (that was a bit cruel, took us our second playthrough to get it). I’ve played through the game twice now and found it a solid experience.

      All I can see is “I didn’t care to do the tutorial, don’t know how to play the game, and don’t like this type of game, total fail.” They didn’t do the tutorial, they put it on a higher difficulty level, and it’s the games fault that they die and don’t understand basic stuff like “I don’t have another resurrection vial”?

      If Resident Evil 5 gets an 86 on Metacritic I don’t see why Hunted is getting so hated upon. It does everything RE5 did, but better.

    • Tei says:

      link to

      Watch the next video. See how the consoley mechanics completelly murder any fun to be had in the game.

    • Jumwa says:


      Or perhaps learn that playing a game really poorly will make anything look bad? Since the Metacritic article brought it up, I could play Ocarina of Time and fumble around without knowing what I was doing, improperly pressing buttons and screwing up abilities and make it look awful.

      I played the game. Twice. I certainly didn’t find the fun to be murdered.

      All these videos do are pick on mundane trivialities. The game paused for a split second at the beginning of a new chapter? Whoa, stop the presses. Caddoc called “They’re shooting at us!” and that’s hilarious? Just like that other awful co-op title, Left 4 Dead. “Spitter goo!” ROFL like I don’t see that! “He’s riding him!” DUH! I can see that.


    • Tei says:

      link to

      To be fair, playing different levels / alone, make the game looks different.

    • Jumwa says:

      Yeah, after watching the second video I can safely say that was great evidence of how playing a game really badly, on a higher difficulty setting, without even knowing the basic functions of the game that are taught in the tutorial, can be used to make it seem worse than it actually is.

      Was real informative. I guess?

      Once again, more of what I was talking about. I’ve never watched these people before, I don’t know what their deal is, but as a review the video was a joke. Yes, let’s refuse to even try to understand how a game works, set the difficulty high, then rage that it “doesn’t work” and it’s too hard when we really just don’t understand the basic premises of how the game plays.

      What a load of rubbish. This kind of crap is exactly what I was talking about in my original post.

    • Tei says:

      What I don’t understand Is why the human and the elf follow Seraphine guide. She is a demon, is written in the wall that she will betray then.

    • gganate says:


    • Jumwa says:

      Well in the game itself the characters only really have to be following her advice once–when they finish their first job to gather some liquid for a former employer and Seraphin tells them of a new job awaiting them in Dyfed. After that point, whether the characters are following Seraphin or whether they’re following the Mayor’s job with a very real promise of massive payment is up to you to discern.

      At that point in the story Seraphin is just acting as someone with information on their job for the Mayor. They don’t need to believe her to still believe the mayor will pay them; and in fact, E’lara doesn’t believe her and consequently warns Caddoc against believing anything she says; and it becomes up to you to trust in Seraphin’s words or not. My partner and I trusted her in our first play through, then didn’t in our New Game+ playthrough for different story results.

  14. lurkalisk says:

    “…a generation of gamers raised on Facebook and Twitter.”

    I found that particularly amusing.

    • DainIronfoot says:

      but alas not nourishing.

    • karry says:

      I must admit, i dont really understand why would a sane person out of his/her teens willingly use Twitter or Facebook. I dont want even my closest friends to give me their life in bite chunks every half an hour, much less some complete strangers.

    • lurkalisk says:

      Well that, and how in the world were any gamer be raised on such things (no matter what you mean by “raised”)? They’ve only been around for a few years.

    • Thants says:

      I must admit, i dont really understand why would a sane person out of his/her teens willingly use Twitter or Facebook. I dont want even my closest friends to give me their life in bite chunks every half an hour, much less some complete strangers.

      Why would you add complete strangers on facebook?

  15. noom says:

    From another article about DNF on the arstechnica site:

    In another scene, a woman sobs and asks for her father. You see, the women in the alien craft are being forcibly impregnated by the aliens, and during your journey, you hear a mixture of screams and sexual noises. After I accidentally blew up a few of these female victims in a firefight, Duke made a joke about abortion.

    If DNF really is as offensive as that, I consider myself pretty much vindicated in showing concern about its level of humour.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      You know, I enjoy low brow humor, ranging from Serious Sam’s lame puns to Shepard’s cheesy one-liners. But this… how is this even funny?

      I’m really curious about what was going on in their heads when they thought this up.

    • Durkonkell says:

      That’s… Pretty horrible. And because the theme of this comment is “understatement”, I’m going to call the writing in DNF “ill advised”. Actually, that could go for the whole game it seems…

  16. Jason Moyer says:

    That metacritic analysis would be a lot more interesting if he didn’t ignore user scores. I’d like to see the same charts for those, as well as the standard deviation between the user/pro scores overall and based on where the pro scores lie on the 0-100 scale. I’m sure the results would be just as obvious (i.e. games that fall between 90-100 have user scores with a standard deviation from that of -5 or something). Otherwise the results seem obvious to me, and I chuckled at his conclusion that major publishers were raising the overall game scores with their quality products when in reality it probably has more to do with their higher marketing budgets and (shhhhh) payola.

    Also, it’s a travesty that Out of the Park is rated the same as HL2. OOTP is a much much better game.

    • Wisq says:

      I would not be surprised if the user scores were actually more divergent from the game scores the higher or lower you get. As soon as a significant portion of the fanbase feels that the media is “getting it wrong”, there seems to be a substantial push to “set things right”, with people who hate a highly-rated game or people who like a badly-rated game being far more likely to vote versus everyone else.

  17. Daniel Rivas says:

    Bilderberg is the Guardian’s “Who Killed Diana” obsession, and Charlie Skelton is a tiresome conspiracy theorist. I’m inclined to agree with the comedy commenter. If the Bilderbergers are running the world, we would have heard about it. Similarly, decent evidence would have appeared by now to prove that the moon landings were faked, Kennedy was killed by the CIA, Eisenhower knew about Pearl Harbour, and that it’s the Jews running everything (this last one quite often goes hand in hand with the Bilderberg theories, though usually not in cuddly-jumper-guardian-land).

    David Aaronovitch was quite good on this recently: link to
    He might have been even better in the Times, but of course we’ll never know.

    Regarding simpler programming languages, start with Logo or something and work your way up.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Oh for God’s sake. The issue isn’t whether they are “running the world” in the conspiracy theorist Giant Lizards manner, only idiots are taking that interpretation of it – Skelton says as much in his article – it’s why the press pays so little interest in a giant, secret meeting of the world’s most powerful people, and why so many of them don’t want to be identified. Even if you take the meeting’s publicly-revealed agenda at face value, it seems in our interest to know what was said because so many of them are publicly elected officials.

      Saying “we’d know about it” is nonsense, too, since you don’t know what was discussed, you can’t know whether it has been expressed in public policy around the world. Perhaps it has, you can’t tell.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      I say “we’d know about it” because all of those conspiracies I mentioned require hundreds or even thousands of people to be sworn to silence, and we are as a rule so monumentally crap at keeping a secret that I don’t believe it.

      No. They meet up, they chat, they wine and they dine, they share ideas and opinions. So what? They do this all the time. People do this all the time. I’m sure they have email, for that matter, but Bilderberg is special; Bilderberg is where we indulge our suspicions that actually they all act in concert, and that they plot to control us, to nefarious ends. Skelton remains a conspiracy theorist, for all his not-suggesting-anything-just-want-the-facts-isms. And last time I checked, Jim, politicians were allowed some privacy.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      And all those conspiracies are ridiculous gibberish. Please get away from worrying about Bilderberg being associated with daft conspiracist stuff for a moment. It is a real thing.

      “They meet up, they chat, they wine and they dine, they share ideas and opinions. So what?”

      When there’s a major summit of influential people it’s is *always* a major news story. I don’t see why this should be any different.

    • Aedrill says:

      Jim, you’re not allowed to think that unless you want to be considered conspiracy theory freak sitting in the van with an illegal radio station recording gibberish about space lizards and Iluminati.

      It is fairly obvious, that intelligent person doesn’t ask questions. If something unusual is happening, intelligent person shall shrug and forget, this is the only civilised way of life.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      “When there’s a major summit of influential people it’s is *always* a major news story. I don’t see why this should be any different.”

      This is the crux of the issue, when the G20 meets up it is major news and no one questions then why the foreign ministers don’t just arrange things by email or whatever.

      This is a meeting of very powerful and influential people who hold sway over the lives of most people on the planet. You can ascribe insane views to people who question why the meeting is secret but in so doing you have to state that everyone who likes the use of Hansard in the UK or CSPAN in the US to bring transparency to the discussions of influential people also are completely insane. Meetings with this much influence over people’s lives cause people to want them to be transparent.

      To compare this to the anti-Semitic assertions like the Jews run the world with a shadow government is simply farcical because while there was never any evidence the Jews did meet up to run the world the Bilderberg meeting occurs every year and we have tonnes of physical evidence it does.

    • Keep says:

      I think a certain level of curiosity about what’s going on when groups of powerful people meet up is eminently sensible.

      I think trying to refuse that curiosity by tarring it as conspiracy theorist nonsense is bad.

      Of course there’s no hidden cabal, no world domination, no puppet mastery going on. But a good democracy runs on information, and there are a lot of our ordinary publicly-elected officials going to a less-than-ordinary secret meeting. I think it’s healthy to dislike that and to want attention drawn to it.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Hansard is for when parliament is in session. We don’t get to see transcripts of every conversation a politician has, and nor should we. There’s no coverage of Bilderberg because the only coverage to be had is photos of glum-looking men in red waterproofs. That’s the point. I won’t begrudge them a private meeting, though I was a little indignant when I saw the bill to the Spanish government for the security last year. (I’m British, but whatevs.)

      I said Bilderberg often goes hand-in-hand with anti-semitic conspiracies because it does, in the same way Hamas seem convinced that the Freemasons and the Rotary Clubs (!) are in league with the evil Israelis. It was just an aside.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      Hansard reports on when a large group of influential people in Britain meet up to discuss policy. Parliament is an organised meeting of powerful people just as Bilderberg is, not some private meeting between the odd person. When you have so many powerful people congregating in one place with a large security apparatus protecting them there is just as much reason for people to want to know what is going on as when Parliament meets.

      Also some people opposed to murder are also paedophiles. It is just as stupid and pointless to draw a link between opposition to murder and raping children as it is to mention belief in Zionist shadow governments whenever someone supports transparency for summits involving large numbers of very powerful people.

      If you have a solid argument against summits of very powerful people having proper public scrutiny please make them. Do not however bring up fringe beliefs or bogeymen like Hamas or whatever else for that rather suggests you don’t have any actually substantive arguments.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Parliament is where politicians go to represent the constituents who elected them. Bilderberg isn’t. Similarly, votes in Parliament are open, but an MP doesn’t have to tell you who they voted for at a General Election, or when electing a party leader/treasurer/whatever, or what they ate for dinner last night, or what their wives/husbands told them last night in bed.

      The Bilderberg conspiracies tweak the same suspicions as the Lizard or Jew varieties, in slightly different ways. Have you noticed that an awful lot of bankers are Jewish? And newspaper bosses and movie directors. I’m not saying anything, but we have to look at the facts. If anything it’s more sensible to be agnostic about this sort of thing. And there’s this pamphlet just made its way out of Russia, a transcript from a secret meeting… it seems awfully damning. And it’s only the Spectator paying any attention to it, which in itself is bloody suspicious. They’re the only ones worth listening to.

      Compare/contrast with the Bilderberg comments on that guardian page.

      Meanwhile, as I said, do we suppose that they just sit in a lockbox for the rest of the year?

    • steviesteveo says:

      This is a remarkable defence of the Bilderberg group. Yes, Jews have been involved in banking (particularly in Europe) for a long time. I just don’t get why that came up.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      It really does rather worry me you can’t make a single post without about 50% of it being innuendo or allusion that anyone who holds suspicions about a meeting of very powerful people has to hold some deeply unpleasant views that allows you to dismiss them out of hand.

      Your allusion to the protocols of the elders of zion being regarded as similar to the Bilderberg is as I said before pure farce. A single pamphlet of dubious provenance versus a known meeting of powerful people that has had notable attendees photographed for several years running. No matter how you try to massage your innuendo about those you disagree with those who want greater scrutiny of the Bilderberg Group have far more evidence on their side and far more reasonable motivations.

      You seem unable to grasp the similar nature of Parliament to Bilderberg meetings so I am going to lay this out for you. However if you can’t provide a response without again making innuendo about negative beliefs detractors have I wont dignify you with a response.

      Here goes:

      The Bilderberg group is a meeting of a variety of very powerful people including elected officials, financiers, military leaders, retired statesmen and others. This gathering of people each year allows for policy to be formulate and ideas to be discussed. This is exactly the same as when legislative and other bodie,s which now face public scrutiny, acted in the past when the public had far less knowledge of what those who ruled them did. It is, in the opinion of those pressing for greater transparency for Bilderberg, wholly reasonable for the public to want to know what is going on in these secret but large scale meetings. While even public figures have certain rights to privacy in this specific case it is reasonable to assume that decisions of enough importance and wide ranging impact on average people’s lives are being made that a demand for public scrutiny is reasonable. Just as the public pressed for greater scrutiny and oversight of various bodies that had influence over them throughout the C19th and C20th.

      On the other side of the coin it is a general rule that when one’s actions are not open to wider scrutiny, whether it be from your friends, the wider community, the electorate or whatever one will likely tend to act in ways that are beneficial to oneself and negative to other, whether it be sneaking an extra chocolate biscuit or stealing millions from the public purse. Thus a meeting of such powerful and influential people if not left open to scrutiny is likely to err towards further the interests of only those in attendance.

      This is of course the moment when one trots out the accusation of a conspiracy theory but allow me to pre-emptively retort. While the term “conspiracy theory” now holds a deeply pejorative association with a number of deeply unpleasant things you have repeatedly mentioned in an effort to discredit those who disagree with you it is silly to dismiss all theories about conspiracies. To provide a couple of examples from recent history. 1) The 45 minutes claim: link to senior officials in the British government conspired to at the very least “give undue prominence” to a claim that WMDs could be deployed with 45 minutes by Saddam Hussein in order to convince the public to support the invasion of Iraq. 2) The Parmalat Scandal link to in which a large, long established and apparently successful company fell apart when it came to light that it had conspired to commit massive amounts of fraud and money laundering. 3) The Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme link to in which an apparently trustworthy and reliable financial advisor conspired to, and succeeded in stealing tens of billions of dollars.

      If one had theorised about any of those actual conspiracies before the full truth came to light you would not need to be either insane or the holder of deeply unpleasant views. Some conspiracies are real and can be reasonably theorised about. The Bilderberg group bringing together so much power behind closed doors means it plausibly could be engaging in all sorts of very real conspiracies. They may well not be doing so but arguably the potential is strong enough that requiring greater oversight of them is wise.

      Thus a case exists that just as Parliament acting behind closed doors is undesirable because it wields so much power and influence the Bilderberg group requires greater transparency.

      If you can offer a counter-argument to this that argues against the facts and assertions I have presented feel free to offer it. If on the other hand you feel the need to dismiss them by asserting I am a communist or I believe in UFOs or by stating that the comments section of a news page is representative of anything just don’t bother.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Why would I call you a communist? Your Marxism would be a bit confused if you thought capitalism needed secret cabals to function. Not that I think that’s what you think (say that ten times fast), but you did accuse me…

      Parliament is a seat of democratic power; Bilderberg is a private function. Elect (or don’t) your politicians on what they say and how they vote in parliament, and don’t deny others their right to free assembly. Though, as I said, they should pay for it.

      I pointed out that there were similarities between anti-semitic and anti-bilderberg conspiracies because there are. Both are an obsession with secret cabals who secretly dominate us. And if we could only get rid of them… When I mentioned the protocols I was referring to things like this which tend to come from the right of the political spectrum. But fine, strike it from the record. I hardly think my argument stood upon it.

      And I brought it up first as a mild ribbing at the Guardian, and then said as much in my next post. I don’t think you’re a mental or in Hamas, okay? So fuck off on that point, basically. And don’t take things so personally. :-)

    • Mattressi says:

      It confuses me that any sane person could believe that these powerful people would take time out of their busy schedules and ensure absolute secrecy and privacy, just so that they could go to a pool party with other like-powered people. These people aren’t best of mates meeting up for some drinks, they aren’t related nor work for the same company. The only thing they have in common is power. If the key to getting in were money, there’d be several people there who wouldn’t be there (especially politicians).

      So, quite obviously the link is that they are the most powerful and influential people in the world. Now, either they really just enjoy partying in absolute secrecy with other people (like some odd power orgy), they are having an international power meet and great where they talk about how nice it is to be powerful, or they’re talking about using their power. Now, maybe all these people really do just love to party, but somehow I doubt it. And I can’t imagine it’s a motivational conference telling them that they can be anything they want. It doesn’t seem like any stretch of the imagination to conclude that they’re pretty damn obviously talking about the use of their power.

      But, obviously, me saying that means that I think they’re lizard people who want to harvest our minds and are discussing what the best and latest brain cultivations techniques and equipment there are.
      I’m ok with powerful people meeting (in that I don’t think it should be outlawed – not that I feel fine with it), but when you’ve got governments footing the bill, there absolutely must be public oversight. If governments don’t foot the bill, but current politicians attend on a tax-payer funded bill (whether it’s their flights or during time in which they’re paid to work), there must be public oversight (why should we pay for politicians to attend a secret conference?). One must question why a politician is attending, if not to discuss matters which will affect the public. If a politician is invited because they’re a great guy/girl, fine – but it seems pretty friggin’ unlikely that that’s the reason they’re invited. If they’re being invited because the public has given them power and is paying for their power, they should not attend or it should be viewed as a meeting which requires public oversight.

      Then again, this is why I wish that we all had limited governments, where politicians couldn’t adversely affect our daily lives (especially by jumping into bed with corporations). I’m an Aussie, btw, so I’ll have none of that nonsense “teabagger” name calling.

      Also, for the record, not believing in conspiracy theories and thinking that governments aren’t looking to control us and dominate the world/eradicate us is the same as when the German people thought that Hitler was a decent bloke and that everyone who thought otherwise was a nutter. See what I did there?

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Yes Mattressi, we saw what you did there, you invoked Goodwin’s Law.

      Though honestly, the Bilderberg meetings do make me raise an eyebrow.

    • rayne117 says:

      Daniel, I think people like yourself are much more insane than someone who believes Jewish Wizard Lizards run the universe.

      While these people are throwing numbers at a wall to see what sticks, you’re putting your fingers in your ears and yelling “LALALALA EVERYTHING IS FINE”.

      In short, conspiracy theorists are looking for what they perceive to be the truth and you’re twiddling your thumbs.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      The comedy commenter’s nickname is “madeley” which is a typo for MANDERLEY


      Now try to convince me there is no conspirancy behind all of this ! :-D

    • MD says:

      Get PILLS, against my orders. Get moving!

    • James T says:

      Why control it? ‘Scool.

  18. mrjackspade says:

    Evolve sounds great. Oh wait…it sounds exactly like something I ALREADY HAVE to manage all my games in one online library, talk to my friends, group chat in clan rooms, voice chat in huge groups, post silly things on other people’s pages, organise events and tournaments, share in game stats, achievements and screenshots, back up all my save games online ETC ETC ET F***KING C.

    I think they’ve missed the boat a bit there. And also, I’ll be damned if I’m installing *two* in game overlays.

    Happy father’s day.

  19. FunkyB says:

    Your summary of the programming article is a little harsh on the replies. His main point is that languages need to be ‘simpler’ but that programmers won’t do that for fear of devaluing their own knowledge. This the part people are taking umbrage with.

    His statement is borne of his inexperience in the field, so whilst entirely understandable, it is not the case. Lives and property are lost due to poor software, and poor software exists in part because of the inherent complexities of creating large-scale systems with the languages and paradigms that we currently use. Thousands of researchers like myself are working in universities across the world on this problem every day. We’re trying our best! In fact, up until ten minutes ago I was actually working, but I stopped to procrastinate on RPS. Therefore, Jim, you are the direct cause of this problem and should apologise profusely. ;)

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      It is my fault, but I’m not sorry.

    • Lacero says:

      It reads like a troll article. The mention of C etc. being PhD languages is the kicker for me, PhD languages are most like the author claims he wants, and they’re unusable.

    • steviesteveo says:

      I’m not sure it’s a troll article but I’m going to bet money that “Recently I took on the enormous task of learning Objective-C from the bottom up” probably means ‘I downloaded Xcode 5 minutes ago and don’t understand it’.

  20. Rii says:

    Develop magazine recently presented a list of the ‘best game studios in the world today’ based upon Metacritic data. By their criteria 2D Boy (creators of World of Goo and, umm, that’s it) is the #2 developer in the world lagging only Nintendo’s EAD.

    This sort of absurdity wouldn’t be notable amidst all the other nonsense on the internet except for the minor detail that Develop is a freaking trade magazine.

    For your amusement: link to

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      It’s hilarious how Treyarch made it to the list, but Valve and Bioware didn’t.

      Thanks for the chuckle.

    • drewski says:

      Civ V has sold 9 million copies?


    • timmyvos says:

      When you bribe every reviewer out there you’re bound to get good reviews. And Bioware did have some lesser games (Jade Empire, Sonic) so maybe those games dragged them down. I can’t explain Valve, all of their games have been huge critical succeses and apart from Left 4 Dead 2 have all gotten higher than 90.

    • Monkey says:

      Did Valve even release a game in 2010?

  21. bill says:

    For me, games have already stopped being “events” a long time ago. It was a combination of the increase in number of games and the reduction in my gaming time.

    It used to be that I felt I could keep up with all the big releases and play every one… and i kind of could (except the few genres I had no interest in). Back then you never had to admit you hadn’t played a big game, cos you could play them all.

    But these days I can’t even play 10% of big games.. in the same way that I can’t watch every tv show, listen to every album, read every book or watch every movie. And (after a transition period of having a huge pile of “to play” games) i’m now fine with that and don’t even try.

    It seems like fair number of RPS commenters still manage it, but lord knows how. And mentioning you haven’t played a big game still gets you insulted in many corners of the net – but usually not on RPS.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I would hope that the average RPS readers realises that most people do not have the time or inclination to play all the big releases. I hope RPS serves to get people to the games they are actually interested in, which is in itself a serious task.

    • Rath says:

      Gaming has grown as I have, and has changed as I have.

      There was a time when I eagerly looked forward to the latest iteration of Super Star Wars and would rush down to Electronics Boutique on the day of release to hurl the money I’d saved for months at them and rush home to enjoy the 16-bit goodness.

      Then I became a young adult with a job and more disposable income than I’d known before, and suddenly I had more gaming going on than I knew what to with, and before long I’d burned out a Radeon X300S with what amounted to ridiculous overuse.

      Now, I’ve become a 26 year old burned out husk of my former self with back problems, having been in the same job for over 8 years and the workload of what was once a team of three people but is now just me due to The Economy, and a girlfriend I have to travel to see and have to arrange my leisure time with, not to mention less disposable income due to increased bills. The gaming that was once one of the few activities that I pursued has now become a special treat that I look forward to when I can claw some time back from wherever it all seems to disappear to nowadays – oh fuck, I’ve somehow become a person that says ‘nowadays’…

      And that Electronics Boutique isn’t even there any more. Steam and Amazon are there instead.

    • Navagon says:

      “I hope RPS serves to get people to the games they are actually interested in, which is in itself a serious task.”

      That and getting me interested in a whole slew of games I’d have otherwise not even heard about.

  22. TillEulenspiegel says:

    2. Action-based gameplay does not require more skill
    It’s currently vogue to define RPGs as games where character stats, and not player skill, determine the outcome of in-game challenges. However, as a longtime fan of both RPGs and action games, I find the frequently bandied-about skill-based distinction between the two somewhat arbitrary.

    Missing the point slightly. The distinction between character skill and player skill is not talking about the game in its entirety, but rather the individual actions within. When my character swings a sword, fires a gun, rides a motorcycle, attempts to decipher some runes, tries to jump between rooftops, bribes an official – is that based on character skill or player skill? In an RPG, the player skill comes in at a level higher than the individual actions. The player chooses the actions a character will take, but character skill determines the execution.

    It’s an important distinction, because the focus of player skill fundamentally determines what kind of game you’re making, what kind of challenges you present.

    • Craig Stern says:

      “The distinction between character skill and player skill is not talking about the game in its entirety, but rather the individual actions within.”

      From the article: “It’s currently vogue to define RPGs as games where character stats, and not player skill, determine the outcome of in-game challenges.”

      I believe the article is talking about what you’re talking about.

  23. kwyjibo says:

    Tom Bissell takes an interesting look at LA Noire, a decent read whether you agree with him or not.

    link to

  24. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    Some quite good articles in there, it must be said, but, It’s time to go to bed instead. :<

    • Tei says:

      Where are you from? New Ozland? is 5:00 pm here.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      I’m with the convicts in Ozland. It’s 10:00pm here >.> and I have to start work at 6…

  25. OrangyTang says:

    Ugh, so many things wrong with that “article” on wanting a simpler programming language. Where to start…

    Firstly, the “C” language is a completely different thing to “Objective-C”. He mixes the two up so much that it’s impossible to tell which one he’s actually talking about. I’m going to assume he means C (since that’s what he uses most) but the problems with his rant are the same regardless.

    I’m going to avoid pointing out all the factual inaccuracies, because otherwise we’ll be here all day, so let’s just get to the thrust of his argument:

    1. C is too hard because programmers want to keep programming hard (“Shield of complexity”)

    2. C is too complicated, when I just want to deal with the high level stuff (“Code grocery stores”)

    3. C’s syntax is too complicated (“Libraries aren’t enough”)

    It’s important to get some historical perspective here: C was originally created in 1978, and Objective-C in 1986. These are *old* languages, designed for a different era. An era where computers were slow, memory was scarce, only geeks owned computers, and compilers were made out of wood. You might as well complain that Shakespeare is inaccessible because it doesn’t use modern english.

    We’ve had 30 years of development since then, to the point where only people who *really* need to still use C – those of us still lucky enough to be writing device drivers, or code that runs on extremely limited devices (ie. games consoles, and even then not always: see XNA or any game with a scripting language).

    To exclaim that programmers don’t want ‘regular’ people programming is to ignore those last 30 years. The entire history of programming languages has been an advance towards more expressive, easier to use languages, allowing more to be done with less. Ruby, Python, Java, C#, Lua, Javascript, to name but a few. Some do a better job in some areas, but unless you’re in one of a few specific fields (hint: the author isn’t) then *any* of these is a better choice.

    To make a horrible analogy, the author is trying to make a table by going into the woods with a saw, then complaining it’s too hard. Meanwhile the rest of the world is going down to Ikea and putting together a flat-pack. (The old-school programmers however are heading to B&Q because they want a table with three drawers, damn it, not two).

    Frankly it’s offensive that he thinks that computer science has been sitting on it’s hands for the last 30 years. It’s even more offensive that he thinks that his rant is in any way original or interesting, or even relevant.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      I would argue that having to wrestle with Java is enough to turn anybody off, but yeah.

    • jalf says:

      Frankly it’s offensive that he thinks that computer science has been sitting on it’s hands for the last 30 years. It’s even more offensive that he thinks that his rant is in any way original or interesting, or even relevant.

      ^ What he said.
      It’s not that “C is just fine”, because it… well, it’s ok in some cases. But in most cases, it’s a pretty awful language, which is why most programmers don’t use it.

      Two things really bother me about the article:
      – why does he care about C at all? Can’t he write his apps in Python, C# or some other modern high-level language? Does he think it’s too hard to become an architect too because of all the work involved in creating the steel, concrete, bricks, mortar, glass and other materials involved in building a house? Sure, it’s hard if you do everything from scratch, which is why people typically don’t do that. And the same is true for programming. Writing everything in C is a lot of work, which is why the rest of us don’t typically *do* that.
      – he’s barking up the wrong tree. Anyone can learn C in, I dunno, a couple of months. That’s not the hard part. The hard part is writing a complete and unambiguous description of your program. That’s hard *no matter the language*. It’s hard to do in English too. Inventing a simpler or more “natural” language doesn’t solve that problem. If I could wave a magic wand and create a compiler that understood plain everyday English, programming would still be just as hard as it is today, because the programming language was never the difficult part. If he (or anyone else) has got ideas for solving the *real* problem, that describing what you want your code to do is hard, then *that* would be interesting. But saying “Programming language X sucks. Give me a better one” is missing the mark.

    • Wulf says:

      Damn. Beaten to anything I wanted to say.

      It’s all about tools for the job, isn’t it? In most cases you can use a more modern tool that makes the job easier, but in a few very select cases you have to use a more primitive tool because the modern ones just don’t cut it. The author isn’t applying the practise of applying the best tool to the right job. This is something that every handyman and self-taught programmer (me!) has known since the dawn of time. You figure out which is going to give you want you need, and you go with it.

      I think the problem is is that the author of the article hasn’t bothered to teach himself any other languages, which is a massive downfall. Myself, I’m a huge fan of Python, PHP, Javascript, Lua, and Java for a vast majority of things. Though I’ll say that Java is by far and wide the biggest pain in the arse, whereas Lua is by far the most lovely I’ve ever used but is also limited in what you can use it for. (But when I can use Lua, for anything, I will. Lua has the most intelligent parser of any parser that’s ever existed. It will tell you how to code.)

      You can also pull off all sorts of optimisation tricks with Lua due to its design and that makes me happy, all in all Lua feels like a very expressive language in and of itself, and using Lua well is almost like an artform. But that’s the artist in me talking, and that pours over into the coding, I like my code to be both pragmatic, obsessively efficient, and aesthetically pleasing. Lua tends to give me that in spades. Yes, this is a love letter to Lua. Deal with it.

      But really, it’s amazing how pretty you can make Lua code when you’re not forced to use parenthesis and semi-colons, or specific line-breaks. You can do clever things with the layout of code, you can even make it read almost like English without any form of commenting. Lua is a clever, clever clogs.

      But yeah, as I said, I’m also fond of Python (Python has a lot of Lua’s clever, and has wider applications), PHP, Javascript, and Java. Java is anti-Lua, it’s ugly and hateful but it probably has the broadest range of things that it can be used for. I suppose that’s the nature of it, really. Where was I? … Oh! This reminds me that I really need to pick up C# too. But I fear it, I fear it like I fear Sauron’s ring. I fear that it will be so lovely that I’ll limit myself to using it for a lot of things and thus lock myself into Microsoft’s satanic hold.

      Perhaps when Mono is a bit more advanced…

      Perhaps I should just learn Mono’s C#.

      I’ve completely lost focus with this comment.

      But yeah. Right tool for the right job. And some scripting languages are just wonderful, and even Java is much friendlier than C, and since C has so few applications these days it becomes less and less worth using it. We have these powerful computers and they’re sort of beginning to make C obsolete in the same way that more powerful computers made writing in assembler itself rather pointless. It’s great for performance if you need scary amounts of performance, but otherwise there’s just no point in it.

    • Dreamhacker says:

      To be fair, C was developed in 1973, Objective-C and C++ followed in 1986 and C# way later in 2001.

      But aside from that, the Leaves of Code guy is wrong about almost every point, and he should immediately offer an apology to E.W. Dijkstra’s family for trampling on all of his life’s work.

      I’m a programmer. While I freely admit that programming can be hard, I cannot at all condone the idea of “code grocery stores”. To make a long argument short: Programming is not for everyone. It takes analytical thinking, a good grasp of mathematical concepts and logical problem-solving, among other skills, most of them theoretical.

      What I believe is his real argument, is that while tech gets better, the usability of tech lags behind the raw processing power. This is a complex problem, which can only be solved by making programmers cooperate with a wide(r) variety of designers and artists, to enable the cross-discipline thinking that can lead to better user interfaces and usability.

    • Wulf says:

      That’s a great point, Dreamhacker, it really is. That’s also true of mods, too, if you think about it. Oblivion is not a good game, really, in my opinion. I’m sorry to Oblivion fans, but it isn’t. It lacks the lore and setting of Morrowind, the interesting stories told by the people and books of Morrowind, and the fascinating gameplay concepts that were introduced, again, by Morrowind. By contrast, it was a dull, tepid, plodding experience that vastly paled compared to its brother of ’02.

      However, by contrast, the Oblivion construction set is far less of a headache than the Morrowind one, and thanks to patches and the continued support of Oblivion the construction set for that game has kept toe-to-toe with that used in the Fallout games, there’s really not a lot of difference at all (trust me, I know). I’m kind of hoping that OpenMorrowind will result in a more modern construction set for that game too, really, but I digress.

      Anyway, the point is is that the easier something is to use, for all people, not just programmers, the more frequently it will be used. And the construction set can be used well by artistic people with only the most basic grasp of coding. The Morrowind one is a little more limited and generally is better when it’s helped along by both MWSE and the Morrowind Code Patch (check out the 2.0 beta of the MCP, it’s amazing stuff, and also check out the Morrowind Graphics Extender XE edition, which can all be found at the Skunk Works page on TES Nexus). But the Morrowind construction set still feels dated.

      For that reason I tend to use MWEdit a lot instead of the CES because despite it being buggy (so buggy) it’s much easier to use. Much, much easier to use. So much easier. So when I’m making changes to mods (which I cannot play a game without doing, especially when it comes to mods that have obvious errors, either in coding, practise, or even spelling errors) I’ll just use MWEdit. Though I would love, so much, for the Oblivion construction set to be available for Morrowind. However, it’s just not possible without a complete engine overhaul of Morrowind.

      But consider, despite what a bloody dull game Oblivion is, what other people have done with it. The only part of Oblivion I really liked, I’ll be honest, were the thieves guild quests and the dark brotherhood stuff, the rest was a snorefest, and the quest and region mods for Oblivion rise high, high above it. The Lost Spires, the Deserts of Anequina, Ruined-Tail’s Tale… those three alone are so beautiful, wonderful, and simply awe-inspiringly amazing that they make Oblivion a worthy entry for me.

      This is because Oblivion, whilst less of a game, still has a better construction set. This construction set makes it easy for people from all careers and walks of life to just drop into it and knock out some content. It really is easy. Honestly. Pick it up and try a tutorial, it’s ridiculous how easy it is. Then once you’re done with that, grab a few mods and dissect them, look for new/changed entries and see how simple those mods are. Once you’ve done that, it begins to dawn on you just how much power is tied to elegant simplicity in that construction set.

      Bethesda might not make the best games, but damn, they make the best bloody kits for making games, by far, and they provide a decent-ish backdrop to do that with, too. I think they’ve even headed more in that direction with Oblivion than they were in Morrowind, because in Morrowind you had an eminently better game in every possible regard, but you had a construction set that was also more limited.

      It just goes to show you that if you do take the time to make something accessible to a broader group of people, it pays off, it pays off in spades. And the payoff with Oblivion is the mods. This is why I’m likely going to pick up Skyrim anyway, because within days of its release there’ll be a mod which rewrites how animal behaviour works in a more elegant, algorithmic, and believable way, and within months there’ll likely be a beautifully, captivatingly written mod that will offer a different approach to dealing with the dragoons rather than just killing them. (See: Great House Dagoth for Morrowind.) And if the playable races aren’t all there? That’ll be sorted in under a year. In fact, what’s there at launch will simply depend on when I buy it. Of course, this all relies on the construction set for it being at least as powerful as Oblivion’s.

      (Oh, and I will say again like I’ve said a hundred times in the past that if you haven’t played Ruined-Tail’s Tale yet, then you should. It is a reason for owning Oblivion. And it is, perhaps, one of the most memorable gaming experiences I’ve had in the history of gaming, all created by one clever person… so very clever. As clever as the keepers of secrets who walk the sands.)

      Where was I?

      Oh yes.

      I do feel that accessibility is important at the end of the day, but I think in some regards this is already happening. You have construction sets like this one, you have SDKs, you have stuff like XNA which allowed for the creation of Terraria (I’m betting that the underlying code of Terraria is deceptively simple and very easy to read, understand, and update), and really you don’t need to get into grittier stuff unless you’re doing a specific task.

      So I don’t think we need to work so much at this because we’re already there. All I hope is that we keep getting better in this regard, and keep making things easier for people who aren’t so technologically inclined, because, again, doing that allowed for things like Ruined-Tail’s Tale to exist.

      I might not be the biggest fan of the game designers at Bethesda, but… the people who created that Construction Set? I want to meet them and shake their hands, and buy them whatever sort of beverage or alcohol they prefer.

      (Though I feel the same about the loremasters of Morrowind, too, to be honest. Whomever wrote the lore for that game I would like to meet so that I may tell them how wonderful of a person they are. It’s a shame that Oblivion was so much less in that particular regard, but what can you do?)

    • malkav11 says:

      Apparently I didn’t get a wide enough exposure to programming languages when I was in college, because I found Java elegant, sensible and enjoyable to work with (if nowhere near as platform independent as supposedly is the draw). C, on the other hand…ugh.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Java uses a lot of verbiage to do pretty simple things. That’s the badness. It’s decent for teaching OOP, since everything is explicitly defined and the inheritance model is hard to break. But using it for real work is annoying.

      For the experienced user, Java doesn’t really do anything that C++ (with Boost, especially shared_ptr) can’t do better, besides run on the JVM. In any case, you’d better have a good excuse for not using Python.

      Still, I agree…Java ranks way above C in terms of usability. I cannot wait to finish writing this Windows device driver.

    • Meat Circus says:

      His essential claim is balls, i.e. that programming is hard because programmers deliberately keep it so.

      He may have had an argument if he’d claimed that several of our languages of choice are badly showing their age and impose substantial incidental complexity (as a professional Java programmer, I see Java as highly guilty of this particular sin), but in the end, programming is hard BECAUSE IT IS HARD.

    • Meat Circus says:

      Some of Java’s more egregious misfeatures: classical inheritance (fragile base class problem), shared mutable state (a disaster in the presence of concurrency), no identity/state management, checked exceptions, non-reified generics, no first class function types, declaration redundancy (no type inference)…

      Now, C# has fixed a number of these flaws, but some of them are innate in the design on Simula-style OO and simply cannot be fixed.

  26. Koozer says:

    One of my numerous pet hates is, as the article on C writer calls it, the “shield of complexity” argument. It goes hand in hand with an inherent distrust of “scientists” (there’s more than one flavour Mr. news reporter, care to be a bit more specific?). Academics (in my experience) don’t own such massively inflated egos they purposely choke the progress of humanity to make their certificates look better.

    It’s also infuriating when I hear people deriding science for sticking doggedly to certain conclusions and being close-minded, while simultaneously complaining about them constantly changing their minds about global warming and if coffee gives you cancer.

    EDIT: his argument of wanting to start large and work his way down sounds pretty childish, for want of a better word too. It’s like a kid wanting to paint the Mona Lisa and sulking when all he sees from his first efforts is a purple splodge with wiggly bits.

    • Wulf says:

      Don’t bite my head off here, but there’s a logical flaw in your post born of an assumption.

      If I may?

      “It’s also infuriating when I hear people deriding science for sticking doggedly to certain conclusions and being close-minded, while simultaneously complaining about them constantly changing their minds about global warming and if coffee gives you cancer.”

      You assume that these ‘people’ are all the same ‘people.’ Personally I’m for scientists being open-minded and there’s nothing I love more than a bit of fringe science. The reason for this is because of how much imagination is involved in science innately anyway, and how many imaginary numbers are involved in theories as par the course. You need to be a clever dreamer to be a scientist in the first place in my opinion, or you’ll never figure anything out.

      So I tend to see those who never challenge any of the old conventions as old and particularly not clever farts, because they never ask themselves any interesting questions, they assume that everything is the way it is and that can never change. It leads to fringe science being dismissed despite the fact that it has a worrying frequency for turning out to be right. (One of my favourite examples of this was how someone figured out the nature of earth’s tectonic plates generations before anyone else, and was ridiculed for his theories. Then, after his death, everyone found out that, oh, hey, he was right.)

      Some of the craziest of the old, dismissed ideas are turning out to be right, and there’s a problem here. Reality is turning out to be this huge, ugly mess. Many of the more limited scientists want it to be a clean, tidy thing. They want the unifying theory to be something more graceful than string theory (even though it’s looking that string theory might become the unifying theory in many regards), because string theory is such an unholy mess.

      So I’m not a fan of scientists that limit themselves to existing conventions, because when they do that they’re often wrong, but those that ask the interesting questions often turn up with the most interesting answers, and they’re the ones that advance our race. So I’m happy to let them be indecisive about things, because while they believe that they don’t have the ultimate knowledge about something, we’re still progressing in that field.

      So what might be infuriating you is your belief that two entirely different groups of people are the same people, which is this sort of over-generalisation issue which does get to me. (All hackers are malicious no-lifers who live in their parent’s basement because LulzSec likely fit this description.)

      Again, don’t bite my head off, but I saw me in one part of what infuriates you, but not the other.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      The point of science is that the orthodoxy changes when confronted with strong evidence and ideas. What (to pull an example out of the air) climate change deniers tend not to like is being told they don’t have strong enough evidence or ideas to overturn the orthodoxy.

      What there isn’t is a conspiracy to make science “too hard to understand,” any more than there is in programming.

    • Wulf says:

      I agree with all of that Mr. Rivas. My only point of worry really is whether there should be any kind of orthodoxy in science, since that directly implies belief. To be honest, I tend to view this like my dislike of the word ‘possible’ and its direct antonym. I strongly dislike that word. I prefer probable instead and that everything exists within a scale of probability.

      To say something is either possible or impossible is so binary, but with probability you have a scale which goes from highly improbable to highly probable, which includes neither possible or impossible, which means that when the scale is poked with the right thoughts and proof, the scale can be inverted for certain ideas. When the impossible becomes possible, that’s ridiculous, and why I dislike saying that anything is impossible. Rather, at the most, highly improbable.

      The only sort of scientists I dislike are those that take the orthodoxy too far and take to the binary mindset of possible versus impossible rather than the less binary and more fuzzy fields of probability. It’s much better to say that something is highly improbable than it is impossible, because tomorrow someone could just as easily prove that your impossible is entirely possible.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Well, the orthodoxy is the sum base of knowledge thus far accumulated. It’s fine to have beliefs, as long as they can be overturned if evidence comes along. I don’t think there’s a God, but if he appears in my bedroom I’ll probably think differently.

      Though Occam dictates that I’d probably just be a bit mad in that case… ;-)

    • Koozer says:

      *bites head off*
      My point was written with two specific people in mind who do show both attitudes at different times, I didn’t mean to sound as if both views are mutually inclusive in all cases.

      Also, I’ve got a degree in Geology and Planetary Science, I know all about Alfred’s ideas. :)
      The same uncertainty and denial is applicable to many ideas throughout time, suck as Darwin and evolution to pick the obvious, or Galileo with his telescope. People’s reactions are perfectly expected though; imagine if a lab announced that they had discovered the secret to time-travel – no-one would believe them, it’s too outlandish and shown to be ridiculously improbable. In 100 years when we’re having an RPS meetup in 1873 we can look back(forward?) with 20/20 hindsight and deride the 21st century scientists for laughing at the idea.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Ow. Wrong head.

    • Wulf says:


      Oh, fair enough.

      And yeah, I remembered you being geology guy from my past ramblings. That’s why I used that example! I tend to not forget these things, and I use relevance where I can.

    • steviesteveo says:

      I think you have to be slightly careful about open mindedness and throwing away accepted orthodoxy. The accepted orthodoxy tends to be there because decades of experiments point that way and if it’s extremely revolutionary it’s probably wrong. It might be a paradigm shift or it might be off the wall.

      I’ve heard it said that all you need to make a revolutionary theory is two grad students and a bottle of wine. For every Einstein there’s 10 people who think the moon is made of cancer causing cheese.

  27. Burning Man says:

    I like this round of Sunday Papers a lot. All the articles I read were engrossing and informative. A far cry from the usual crap gameindustry mails me, which is usually stuff I knew days ago. Maybe I should unsubscribe.

  28. Teddy Leach says:

    I LIKE an isolated, dissociative experience! I don’t like Facebook!

    • V. Profane says:

      I can’t think of anything I want less from video games than “social” bullshit. For me that’s like inviting a load popcorn swilling bell-ends into my front room every time I watch a DVD.

  29. phenom_x8 says:

    this article by david wong was hilarious and make me worried (and laughed at the same time)! It looks like indie gaming was the only savior that can get us all out of that kind of situation. I get the link from the 1st article Jim wrote, check it link to

  30. Shodex says:

    The solution to ending gaming’s “downfall” is a lot simpler than people make it out to be.
    In the golden days, games were harder, they were original, they put gameplay first and graphics second. From this they spawned a incredibly giant and rabid fan base. Gaming is the fastest growing entertainment industry of all time.

    But now they’re catering to make games easy and casual. Nobody asked for motion controls, nobody asked for easier gameplay (aside from a couple noobs), nobody asked for “realistic” cover based shooting.

    I started off my PC gaming career only buying big name titles. When I got my Xbox 360, I played big name titles. But lately I’ve been buying more and more little known games. Mount & Blade, Minecraft, Terraria, Trine, etc. Why? Because they give me what I want.

    If a small time developer can give me what I want in a game, then that should be proof enough that my demands are not high. Gamers play games for gameplay. We want fun and challenging gameplay, not flashy particle effects and high resolution textures. I’m not anti-graphics, if you can take a great game and improve the graphics, do it. But don’t make that you’re only priority.

    If developers started doing this, they’d find that this “end of gaming” is nothing but a bunch of nonsense.

    • Harlander says:

      I agree entirely with the second half of this post, but I’d like to distance myself as far as possible from the get-off-my-lawny grognard grumbling of the first half.

      If nobody asked for those things, who’s buying them now, by the way?

    • Thants says:

      With all due respect, Shodex, you’re completely wrong. There have been games that put graphics before gameplay for as long as they’ve existed. People did want motion control, look at how popular the Wii has been. And you’re clearly just mistaking your own preferences for everyone’s. Modern Warfare isn’t unbelievable popular because people don’t want it, are you going to claim that it doesn’t have a incredibly giant and rabid fan base?

    • JackShandy says:

      You praise old games for their originality, then complain that no-one asked for the new things that recent games are doing. These bits really don’t go together.

  31. vanarbulax says:

    With the growing consensus in metacritic article. We just showed that games are 7-9 ranked, so it’s no suprised that for something to score a 90 almost all the reviews have to be 90. It just takes a few differing voices to drag the overall score down, I’ve seen very good games get 70s because they are novel, with some people giving them 90s and 80s and others giving them 50s and 60s. It’s not that good games don’t get differing opinions but that by taking an high average mark as “good” you have now defined good as “game without differing reviews”.

  32. MadMatty says:

    mmm thx Jim one of the better Sunday Papers- i laughed a bit at the tone in the Bildenberger article :)
    listening to some dark DnB radio over my coffee, been in a sour mood all week.
    link to
    Last night i shot 3000 zombies in L4D2 , which helped a wee bit.
    Considering doing a few more today.

  33. DJ Phantoon says:

    Huh, Meet the Medic must be soon, if you click on the pigeons on the TF2 site, it has pictures of a hospital and the insides and stuff.

  34. malkav11 says:

    My reaction to E3 wasn’t “Why are there no surprises?” It was “Oh god, this nonsense again.” I really don’t need to hear about games that aren’t available for me to play, as a general rule. Mountains of prerelease coverage will make no difference to what the game itself actually turns out to be like or whether it is any good. Furthermore, I -really- don’t need to hear about awesome stuff that turns out to never see the light of day.

    So I hate E3 and events like it, because they’re basically a switch that turns gaming sites I normally enjoy spending time reading into a flood of useless prerelease nonsense for the better part of a week, rather than any coverage of stuff that’s actually out, or at least being sent out for review.

    • Vinraith says:

      Oh good, I’m not the only one that has this reaction. Pre-release coverage is the least interesting thing a games journalism site can do, IMO, so E3 is inevitably something of a crap week IMO.

  35. Baines says:

    On a completely unrelated note, am I the only person who thinks RPS’ multiple page comments thing doesn’t work? I’ve noticed it with other articles, where I’ll read a comment on one page, click to see the next page, and see the same comment again. At first I thought it was from replies in earlier posts pushing a later comment to the next page, but that isn’t it.

    For example, currently malkav11’s comment (with Vinraith’s reply) about hating E3 is the bottom-of-the-page comment on Pages 1, 2, and 3.

  36. Acorino says:

    reply fail.

  37. MadTinkerer says:

    “And if E3 can’t excite beyond the specialist press, it is not working as an event” – quoted from that E3 article.
    This is bullshit. I went to E3 in 2009, and I made the observation that there are actually two E3s going on simultaneously: one for the press, and one for the developers.

    Many developers are at E3 because it is a trade show, a show where only those in the industry are allowed to get in, in the first place. But exhibition badges are not the same thing as press badges: for most of the people at E3, those press conferences might as well be taking place at another show.

    Instead, for those not exhibiting or doing press conferences, E3 exists primarily as a gathering place for developers. The free loot (mostly T shirts) are the icing on the cake, and you’ll notice loud events happening over the general noise of the exhibition hall, but past the sound and fury displayed for the press are thousands of fellow developers to talk to. If you are a developer (who isn’t exhibiting or doing conferences) and you don’t spend most of your time at E3 just talking to other developers and collecting business cards, you’re wasting the trip. Pretty much everyone in the industry goes to E3, which means as a developer the most valuable thing you can do is network: you can’t enjoy the Nintendo orchestra because you’re not even allowed on that floor, so you might as well network.

    There is some crossover, however. Even if you’re just an indie and/or student developer you will find someone in the press and/or with a weblog who is interested in what you’re doing. This is very nice indeed. I was interviewed by Edge magazine, though my story didn’t actually make it in. (In retrospect, our game was just a regular sucky student game made by people still learning the ropes instead of one of those rare gems of brilliance, so I don’t blame them for not including it in the pages of Edge.)

    Anyway, even if the press are underwhelmed by this years show, I’m sure behind all the circus acts a lot of business cards were exchanged, so at least E3 is fulfilling it’s actual main purpose adequately.

  38. alilsneaky says:

    Tiresome as much as troubling.

    Making an informed decision about a purchase has become a huge chore, it’s hard to feel confident about it when you can’t get any straight info or terms about things anymore.

    Since this is supposed to be an entertainment industry, these feelings have no place in it.
    I for one will not take part in it anymore.

  39. Sunjammer says:

    There are tons of simpler programming languages. The things you can do with C++/Objective C, you can not do with simpler programming languages. This is the way of life; Sometimes you actually need to drive stick to be a better driver.

    That whole article was pointless.

    • Meat Circus says:

      In a very deep sense, this is completely untrue. C, C++, Objective-C, Java and all mainstream general purpose programming languages are all what are known as “Turing complete”, meaning that each of them is able to compute everything which might reasonably be considered computable.

    • GallonOfAlan says:

      The reason people use C++ is because it’s a higher level than pure assembly and the tools have advanced to the point where they can probably produce faster code anyway. You might not be able to get the same low-level control of the iPhone using, for example, the Corona SDK and Lua, but usually that’s only as a result of the wrappers for the relevant APIs not being implemented.

    • Baboonanza says:

      I can sort of see the root of his argument, his expression of it was just awful.

      I think what he’s saying is that at some point people will want to be able to create simple natural-language based programs quickly and easily. The prime example of this would information retrieval from the internet – imagine if instead of trawling through web-pages looking for what you want you could just give a brief explanation to the search engine and have it do the work for you. This sort of thing is a well-used Sci-Fi concept and in general I think he’s probably right.

      What he misses is that this natural language programming thing will probably be written in, yes you guessed it, C++.

  40. Baboonanza says:

    But the downside is, despite a high-end PC being ten times as powerful as the consoles, we suffer a lot from API overhead. Because of the way id Tech 5 works, where we’re breaking it up into so many texture pieces and uploads, on the consoles we’re just like, I’m going to stick this in that memory right there and we just go do it.

    While on the PC, OK we’re updating this one page here, which turns into a 1×1 tech sub image update. If you’re a programmer and you single step through what happens when you issue that on a PC it makes you want to cry. It’s so much extra overhead.

    Finally! After all the baseless discussion on this quote we finally found out what Carmack actually said and…it makes perfect fucking sense!

    Basically he’s trying do do something the API wasn’t designed for and is hitting a performance barrier because he has to hack a non-optimal solution, where on consoles he can write directly to the hardware.