The Sunday Papers


Sundays are for wondering why the mysterious shoulder injury you somehow picked up in the week has not been fixed by two successive nights of boozing. Has ale really lost its magical healing properties? These thoughts are of grave concern. But oh well, you don’t need to be able to lift heavy objects to collect some of the more interesting bits of videogame commentary from across the interworld. Let’s see if any of those have healing properties…

  • Kirk Hamilton is writing his own novelisation of The Witcher 2. It features exciting events from the first part of the game, as well as herbal lustiness. “Also, I threw in a “sex” as a verb just for you guys,” he explains. Thanks, Kirk.
  • Comrade Abraham points out that Ian Bogost’s output has been pretty strong this week. Firstly there’s this: “Arguing against a stripe of neoconservatism in games that paints certain forms of design as aberrant and others as natural, academic and developer Ian Bogost examines the very nature of creativity and art and offers up an analysis of how the medium can move forward with a rich palette of choices.” And then there’s this: “Why Debates About Video Games Aren’t Really About Video Games.” These are both in the category of Essential Reading. Bogost strong! Bogost smash puny internet!
  • In Challenge Everything Miodrag Kovachevic examines videogame difficulty: “It often boils down to the actual difficulty of the challenges you faced. Did you find a particular section hard? Was the game too easy? Is the CPU a cheating bastard? Achieving proper difficulty is hard. The more elements you include in your game, the harder it gets to stay fair towards the player.”
  • Ars Technica explains how PC ports can get all fucked up: “This is something that continually drives me crazy, and it’s only getting worse. You sit down at your computer, log into Steam, launch the game, and then you need to set up another account or log into another service before the game launches. You better set up a dedicated password for each service, as well, because it seems as if everyone in the world has either been hacked or is about be hacked. Everyone wants your personal information, and it seem as if no one has a good way to keep that data safe.” Combine this article with John’s guides for PC developers, and it should not be hard to create a PC version of your game.
  • Epic talk to CVG about the PC and some other stuff, like the PC having changed: ” Everyone quotes World of Warcraft as being the obvious one, but there’s a massively thriving community of hardcore gamers on the PC still. The way they get their games is different where it’s nearly all online delivery, so you’ve got the likes of Paradox, who do a variety of niche content but it’s all massively hardcore and serves that audience. You’ve got the World of Tanks guys who have something like a million concurrent users or something stupid like that. That is not a platform that is in trouble. It’s just different, it’s changed.”
  • Some dude called Alec Meer was interviewed by MCV. He has this advice for aspiring Alec Meers: “Go your own way, be proud, don’t let yourself be locked down somewhere where you’re treated like disposable meat who can be replaced with someone younger, cheaper and keener if you don’t toe the line. If you’re good, you’ll be able to attract the attention of someone better. Don’t compromise. Find what works for you, not simply what you can work for.”
  • Splash Damage get profiled in The Telegraph, ooh fancy.
  • Hilariously-named Australian outlet Crikey writes about gaming as a spectator sport: “Last month, 87,000 people watched the livestream of the grand final of the popular DreamHack Summer tournament, 5000 more than attended the 2010 NRL grand final in Sydney. While the television audience of more than 3.1 million for the rugby grand final dwarfs the audiences for any StarCraft II match, the 3.2 million registered players worldwide for the game suggest the potential viewership is not far behind the domestic competitions.”
  • Mr Harris has been producing more works of photographic wonder at Dead End Thrills. He is some kind of professional screenshotteer.
  • This is how many buttons the space shuttle has. (Had?)
  • This post by BERG’s Matt Jones on “The Robot-Readable World” is fascinating and awe-inspiring.

Music? Well you’re probably already listening to the Bastion soundtrack. I love that game. Can’t wait for it to land on PC. (Just a couple of weeks!)

Don’t forget you can email me link suggestions to the email from my name in the header of this post. Also, it’s a good idea to follow me on the Twitter and tweet links at me on there.

116 Comments

  1. TsunamiWombat says:

    The Bastion Soundtrack is aces, glad I spent a tenner on it. The narrators voice is still pure sex.

    • Similar says:

      yeah, that is really rather excellent.

      And Dead End Thrills makes me want to get Brink just so I could walk around and see the environments.

    • DrGonzo says:

      It is fantastic. But I still hate that I have to pay for something I think I already own.

    • LuNatic says:

      @tsunamiwombat: Really? His accent is the only thing holding me back from buying, it grates on my nerves.

    • povu says:

      I looooooove this soundtrack.

  2. celozzip says:

    interesting article in the telegraph… seems they had the perfect setup to make a decent multiplayer fps for pc but wanted to enter the console market so badly they hired a bunch of new people with console dev experience and look what happened!

    “With the success of Brink, however, which found favour with critics and audiences alike Splash Damage can happily focus on moving forwards” no comment.

  3. Muzman says:

    The Discovery’s chairs! You don’t need comfy seats in zero G, but come on.

    • Mana_Garmr says:

      Do the people actually use all those buttons, or are they cosmetic and everything’s secretly done using the laptop back-left? I don’t think I could even remember what that many buttons do, let alone when to use them.

    • Chaz says:

      It all looks very 1980’s doesn’t it. I don’t suppose they have to remember what every button does. I’m guessing during certain missions only a certain amount of them would come into play. And then I expect they would have practiced what they were going to do over and over again, and even during the mission they would be following a check list telling them exactly what button to press where and when.

    • Lukasz says:

      They definitely need to know every single button. They probably don’t use it everytime or sometimes ever but i doubt that a button is there without a purpose.

      It’s not different with airplane pilots of jumbo jets. Also hundreds of buttons and they know what every one of them does but they hardly use them all.

      They are also marked you just need to know how to read the marking.

    • westyfield says:

      I like the lurking man down the hatch to the left. He is watching. Always watching.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I’m surprised the laptop is a Dell, not a ThinkPad. The latter have shown up in quite a bit of NASA/space photography, like on the ISS.

    • stahlwerk says:

      I think the deluge of buttons in the space shuttle is to give the astronauts and pilots a sense of control, based on 70s/80s mistrust of artificial intelligence (wargames, terminator etc.). They could have easily made the most common use cases into computer sequences and then exposed them as buttons as in “Init launch sequence”, “deploy cargo” etc. I believe to have heard the shuttles had a kind of “trust-based” multiple redundancy in their computer system, with the main system trusting the processors whose results matched with those of the most other processors. So a computer error would have been extremely improbable, far less probable than mechanical failure of shuttle and booster components (sadly).

      Yet NASA trusted the more error prone human pilots to rattle off the checklists in correct order and at the right time. Tells you something about how perception of AI and human psychology has changed over the years, that we now value ergonomics and simplicity over “checks and balances” via buttons and levers.

    • meatshit says:

      The Space Shuttle was a multi-billion dollar machine on which 5-7 people’s lives depended on working right every launch. When you’re engineering that kind of machine, there is no such thing as too much caution. You build in backups for every system and backups for the backups.

      The actual flying bit was handled by a computer. It was a quadruple redundant system that used processors that make 386s look fast, but were extremely stable and resistant to the harsh radiation of space. The last thing you’d want is for a stray cosmic ray to flip a bit in the memory register that controls nozzle pitch or anything else. That system had an independently programmed backup so that no software bug could cripple them both. In case both failed, every single system could be controlled manually using those hundreds of knobs and switches.

      Also keep in mind that every astronaut is backed by a small army of engineers telling them exactly what to do.

    • Torgen says:

      Remember, the Shuttle was designed in the 1970s. Also, robustness to cosmic rays, as already mentioned, was a very real priority, as was resistance to the G forces and extreme vibrations of launching.

    • arghstupid says:

      I suspect the laptop has more to do with taking fancy 360 degree photos then keeping the shuttle in the air.

      Oh, and also: SPAAACCE

    • pepper says:

      Lionsphill, you are correct on the thinkpad thingy as far as I know. But it may be so that its a engineers laptop that is working in the cockpit. I doubt that laptop went up in space.

    • dragonhunter21 says:

      From my in-depth experience with piloting space shuttles (That is, 45 minutes spent trying to find switches in a simulator), the dirty little secret is that nearly all maneuvers are completely computerized. Astronauts use the keypads in the center and on the right aft panels to punch in maneuvers. The ascent to orbit is entirely computerized, along with any orbital maintenance burns. Pilots have to manually pitch the craft for re-entry, but beyond that it’s basically all computers. Now, there’s still a metric assload of switches to flip manually, but that’s mostly de-orbit prep- pulling in the antennas, getting the life support systems switched over, that sort of business.

      If you’re interested in this sort of thing, I highly recommend the Space Shuttle Mission 2007 sim. It’s very much a study simulator- although I haven’t yet found out what happens if you start mucking about with life support, I suspect it’s very bad.

    • Muzman says:

      By the way, if you want to see this space in action (in…uh space)
      link to youtu.be
      It goes very well with a soundtrack. Try setting this playing after about a minute.
      link to youtu.be

      (yes, I realise it’s not actually the Discovery)

  4. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Re: Space Shuttles

    There should be

    only .. WAN .. BUTTEN!!

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Yes, with “FLY INTO SPAAAAACE” written underneath it.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Rimmer: Step up to Red Alert.
      Kryten: Sir, are you absolutely sure? It does mean changing the bulb.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Kerbal Space Program players know that the only important button is space.

    • Burning Man says:

      just BEACUASE

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      I reley dont wan to say this. But I have to now.

      BLLLAMMM this piece of CRAP

      love from axman13

  5. Tei says:

    Wait, the space shuttle is powered by a dell laptop? oh, this explain everything!

  6. billyphuz says:

    They have a space shuttle on display at the Udvar-Hazy museum near DC, you’ll be relieved to know.

  7. McDan says:

    Yay more dead end thrills, always a good thing. The bastion soundtrack has also been listened to by me quite a lot this week, which is odd for a soundtrack. That Alec meer fellow should just stay where he is, he seems alright. Twitter is for the weak Jim, and obligatory: Spaaaaaaaaaaace!

  8. Arvind says:

    That Witcher 2 novel has the best fight description in possibly all of literature.

    • Lambchops says:

      “Ploughing whoreson”

      It’s spot on that piece is. The Witcher is fun but write down exactly what happens and it is gloriously ludicrous. Also loved how Geralt carries out any action that isn’t fighting “lustily.”

    • Kaira- says:

      I really liked the part where the kid asked yet again “Does he tend to lose them?” I swear, if I just could smack that damn kid around…

    • sbs says:

      Born to roll.

    • JackShandy says:

      “Friscalating dusklight” made it for me. I haven’t even played the thing.

    • SpiderJerusalem says:

      Good old Royal Tenenbaums.

    • Giaddon says:

      Wes Anderson reference +++

    • Sarkhan Lol says:

      ROLLING on the floor laughing.

    • Dreamhacker says:

      Does he even realize the Witcher was originally based on a series of novels?

      As for the prose… well, he might even be a good writer some day. Maybe.

  9. Muzman says:

    I’ve thought for a while that Team DM and so on would make pretty good viewing. The trouble is you’d really need to do a proper sports televising of it, just like the real thing. Which would require 20 “cameras” and good direction to switch between them, commentary to help people follow it etc. The fields of play being so complicated and variable makes all this even more important, but it could be done I think.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Andy_Panthro says:

    Related somewhat to the bit on PC ports, people seemingly just don’t like making accounts for various services that they may only use once.

    link to uie.com

    For those who don’t want to click through, the gist of it is that when people use a website and get to the checkout, if they have to make an account a large proportion will just abandon that purchase completely, rather than make an account.

    Similarly, gamers don’t want multiple accounts on multiple services to play their games. An example of this would be all the folks who will only buy games through Steam. The convenience of only having one account outweighs the potential savings they could make by using the other services available.

    Now in terms of say, GTA4, the registration issue (required Rockstar social and GFWL?) would be after the person has paid for the game, so the abandonment rate would be far lower, but I certainly saw a lot of anger about it.

    • bill says:

      I have done exactly that a few times. Registering for lots of things is dumb.

      I wish more websites were like cd-wow in that respect, who give (still?) the option to “register or just check out and go’.

      Infact, although i do have an account with cd-wow, i mostly just use the check out and go option.

      And it took me 4 weeks (and a big need) to bother signing up to the new RPS forums.. didn’t want yet another account. (which i’ve now forgotten the password of anyway..)

    • Premium User Badge

      Andy_Panthro says:

      I suppose the RPS issue is that you register twice, once for commenting here and the other for the forums. I must admit, I haven’t been on the forums in quite a while.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Yes, the integrated forum solution didn’t really work, but we do need to come up with a better overall login solution.

    • The Sentinel says:

      If that solution were to involve kittens, Jim, it would automatically be better.

      I hate the multiple logins, too. They’re a blight upon the internet which should be as easy to buy from as it is to walk into a shop without giving the cashier your email anfd home address. It’s only by adopting something like Lastpass that I’m now able to track the logins I use whereas before I’d just tut in disgust and leave without purchasing. I’ve done that ‘what’s my f****ing password!?!?’ rigmarole more times than is good for my blood pressure. It’s also why Amazon is so good – just one login and they generally have most of what you’re looking for.

    • Koozer says:

      Quite a lot of the time if I’m browsing an online shop and just want to check shipping or like and it asks me to register for the privilege, I’ll take my business elsewhere.

    • The Sentinel says:

      The only problem I find with that attitude, Kooz, is that the practice is so widespread it’s very hard to avoid.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      It baffles me that more sites aren’t using OpenID and OpenAuth. Click the big friendly Google button to sign in with your Google account. It’s really easy for the user, quite secure, and it automatically gives you my name and my (implicitly verified) email address.

      It’s absolutely insane that web businesses who live and die by metrics like this (eg, how many people leave the site when presented with a registration page) aren’t removing every possible barrier between my money and them.

    • LionsPhil says:

      The problem with federated login is not only that it’s a technical problem, but a huge privacy and security one. It’s as insecure as using the same password for everything (Someone gets your Google password? They now have your e-mail, your video sharing, your calendar, your “cloud” documents, your social networking…), plus is absolutely glorious for marketing types to definitively and trivially tie your identities together so they can build a really, really solid profile for you (see: Google, for all of the above plus any searches you make while remaining logged in).

      Slightly more on topic: I refused to buy GTA4 even when it was stupidly cheap on Steam recently precisely because I am not signing up for three different online DRM systems to play it. One is already too many and pushing the limits of what I will with up put.

    • jalf says:

      The problem with federated login is not only that it’s a technical problem, but a huge privacy and security one. It’s as insecure as using the same password for everyone

      Not really, because:

      – it is up to you whether to use the same OpenID (or whatever) everywhere. Nothing is stopping you from creating a separate OpenID for every site.
      – the attack surface is smaller. Instead of being able to get your password by hacking any one of 50 different sites, you can only get the password by hacking the OpenID provider. Which, presumably, is reasonably secure.

      absolutely glorious for marketing types to definitively and trivially tie your identities together so they can build a really, really solid profile for you (see: Google, for all of the above plus any searches you make while remaining logged in).

      Kind of true, so pick an OpenID provider which is not Google, and which does not see your searches.
      But apart from this, the OpenID provider sees which sites you log in to, but not what you *do* on those sites.

      Honestly, it seems like such a backwards argument. Federated login gives the user the *option* of reusing the same account, but it doesn’t force it, so if you’re paranoid, you can do like you do today, only with the difference that crappy PHP website #42842 never gets to see your password, which in itself is a huge improvement security-wise. And if you trust your OpenID provider, you can use the same account across a range of sites, saving yourself a lot of trouble as well.

      I really don’t see what the problem is. At worst, the situation is no worse than it is today, except that fewer incompetents get to see and store your password. At best, it allows users to retain their sanity when faced with a login prompt. *as well* as improving security.

    • LionsPhil says:

      it is up to you whether to use the same OpenID (or whatever) everywhere. Nothing is stopping you from creating a separate OpenID for every site

      “The way to avoid the security issue of using the same login for everything is to not use the same login for everything.” Uh-huh.

      But apart from this, the OpenID provider sees which sites you log in to, but not what you *do* on those sites.

      …except that that’s probably public, and you’ve established a trivially machine-processible association between your user accounts on all these services, as well as informing your provider which services those are.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Those are semi-reasonable* nerd arguments against federated login, but they’re not even technical issues. And they’re definitely not a business case for those who run smaller e-commerce (are we still using that term?) websites.

      So the bafflement remains.

      *If someone gets my email account, I’m already fucked thanks to those helpful “reset password” links on every website in existence.

    • LionsPhil says:

      That’s why I said “not only that it’s a technical problem, but a huge privacy and security one”.

      E-mail’s a weakpoint anyway, yes, but a calendar wouldn’t be, a video sharing account wouldn’t be, a social networking acount wouldn’t be—except that they’re all the same as your GMail account. Get your password from you logging into any one (it’s a larger social engineering attack surface if nothing else) and get access to all.

      As for “small e-commerce”, why do you even need a mandatory account system? Take my payment details, generate a receipt ID for if I have issues later. (And never demand Verified by Visa, the most scum-suckingly awful misguided self-defeating security idea to ever be “optionally” forced upon people I’ve seen.)

    • Jake says:

      Using LastPass does help reduce the frustration of a million log ins. Plus it can automatically fill in forms and generate secure passwords.

    • Tacroy says:

      I would have bought Section 8: Prejudice by now, if it didn’t have GFWL. I don’t want to make an account on that service (or actually, try really really hard to remember the password for the account I already have).

    • The Sentinel says:

      @Jake: Yes, thank god Opera 11 finally opened up to extensions. Lastpass was one of the first ones through that door when it opened and what a breath of fresh air it was!

      @Lionsphil: I can play GTA IV just with fine with only Steam and GFWL. You only need the Rockstar account for video and online features, and I didn’t care for those.

  11. Sinnorfin says:

    Shuttle: They got a laptop with ‘Austronaut’s Custom User Friendly Interface for Console-junkies’ Total conversion Mod for Space Shuttle 1.32 ON..

    They just use the Joysticks for having fun playing Xwing over LAN.

  12. Lambchops says:

    I’ll bite on e-sports this week, having decided to keep my mouth shut last time they cropped up in the Sunday Papers as I don’t particular like being negative.

    However I just don’t see its value as a spectator sport. It’s faceless and lacks the human drama of competition (I always contend that multiplayer games are only at their finest in the same room in front of a console seeing the look of anguish as you beat someone or unleashing a torrent of abuse at whoever just fired a blue shell at you in Mario Kart).

    Undoubtably there’s technical skill involved, I’m not questioning that. Plus there is of course the barrier of understanding the nuances behind whatever game is being played and I’ll conceed that perhaps I’d enjoy things more if someone took the time to explain it to me. Certainly that was required for me to start enjoying the Tour De France, a sporting event I previously just didn’t appreciate for the riveting tactical spectacle that it is (the impressive physical aspect of it is obvious to anyone!). But I just don’t see e-Sports as being able to deliver those sort of mind games and perhaps most importantly characters to get behind and be absorbed by.

    eSports largely strips the human element away in favour of just appreciating a game. Which is fine to some extent but without the background stories, rivalries and so on being in the forefront it loses the potential to compell.

    Also most of the commentary is fucking excruciating. I can’t take anybody seriously who says the ‘word’ “ownage” without a single trace of irony. A lot of it seems horifficaly dry as well, though thankfully there does seem to be a few (in the limited Youtube clicking I did) that actually do show some of the enthusiasm and engagement commentators require.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I think you have to be very into the competitive play of the game in question to appreciate it. I can’t watch Starcraft matches, but when I was heavily into Quake III i was quite happy to watching competitive games of that, precisely because I could appreciate the skill involved.

    • evilhayama says:

      While I agree that having some involvement in the game you’re watching is necessary, I heartily disagree about there being no human drama in e-sports. The main problem is most broadcasts are very amateurish at the moment.

      The most professional you’ll see is the GSL starcraft competition. The Team League has lots of celebration and drama between games. You can see parts of it for free, but you have to pay for the full deal. The commentary is quality (apart from the filler segments, which are just OK)

      Better than that is fighting games. I challenge you to watch this compilation of last week’s Evo2011 final moments and say there’s no drama: link to youtube.com The community is full of characters, upsets, comebacks, and general “hype”.

    • bill says:

      I was also surprised by the huge apparent popularity of the RPS post of pro-starcraft streaming.

      Watching people play games, in every circumstance I’ve ever encountered, is just dull and uninvolving. It’s one of the main reasons it’s so hard to get non-gamers to take them seriously. Without the control/feedback element they are mostly uninteresting.

    • MD says:

      I don’t think the human factor has to be absent. I’ve been following the Quake Live scene over the past year or so, and there are plenty of distinct personalities, rivalries and dramas. This weekend’s QL tournaments at QuakeCon were great fun to watch, for me as someone who plays the game but is rubbish at it.

      I find in esports the quality of the commentary makes a huge difference, as of course does emotional investment in one or both of the players involved. Even if you’re not a full-on fanboy or hater, it still makes things more interesting when you feel like you sort of know the people behind the keyboards.

      Familiarity with the game can make a big difference, of course, but I think a relatively shallow understanding can be enough to develop an interest, and hopefully improve your knowledge as you go.

    • Mark says:

      I watch TotalBiscuit’s StarCraft 2 streams fairly often, and I enjoy his style of commentating, even though I’m fairly sure it’s a bit of an acquired taste.

      I don’t generally watch any other eSports, but these competitors do have histories that you can follow and styles of play. It’s up to a good commentator to give that kind of background. I also think SC2 works for the same reason that Texas Hold ‘Em works on the TV: bluffing. Seeing the entire situation while both players are working with limited knowledge makes it part psychological warfare and part luck, among other elements. You also don’t need to be a pro to appreciate the level of ability on display; you only need have a fundamental understanding of the basic concepts of the game, and the commentator should fill you in on the importance of what’s going on at any given time.

      P.S. Is it possible RPS to build in a function to allow commenters to receive e-mail updates when someone posts a reply to their comment? I love this feature on other blogs because it allows me to be lazy.

    • Xocrates says:

      Interesting. I’ve never considered the “human drama” as part of the reason to watch sports, and in fact it’s something that takes me out of it. When I watch a sport, any sport, I do so because I want to see skilled play of something that I find interesting, this is also the reason I find rooting for a particular team or player to be silly (though I have no issue with people having favourite players and teams).

      Right now I believe one of the main impediments to making e-sports a spectator sport is that there are fairly few games with a small number of focal points, meaning it tends to be hard to follow a match unless it’s a 1v1.

    • Lambchops says:

      @ evilhayama

      I’ll give you that one, it certainly put a smile on my face at least. Especially “OOOOH JUSTIN WOOONG!”

      @ Xocrates

      There’s much to be said for entertaining, technically well executed sport and it’s definitely the main factor in enjoying it. But take something like tennis (possibly my favourite spectator sport). I’ve always enjoyed watching it but it’s miles better currently than it was in the years when Sampras mostly dominated. This isn’t only because the level of the top 5 or so players is so high but also because of the brilliant rivalry between two of the best players the game has ever seen. This added subplot makes things even more tense and exciting. All the more so now that Djokovic has stepped up to their level. The side show ramps at the drama, all tennis is really lacking is a top quality player who is a bit of an arrogant dickhead that fans can love to hate. Cliched perhaps, but it’s entertaining and doesn’t (in my opinion anyway) detract from just enjoying the game on a tactical/physical level.

      As long as it’s real of course. Script it like WWE and it can still be entertaining and impressive but it isn’t sport and it isn’t my cup of milk.

    • BooleanBob says:

      It helps if the scene is collated in a hub site, like Team Liquid or Gamereplays, with everything interlinked to comment threads and forums. That really helps create a lot of the human interest aspect as players and viewers interact and personalities arise. Obviously the drama isn’t as immediate as on TV, where close-up slow-mo reaction shots and talking head punditry/interviews are the norm, but if you go looking for it a lot of interest can certainly be gleaned. E-sports just need to find ways to make such stuff more immediately accessible, which would admittedly be a challenge.

    • Xocrates says:

      @lambchops: Well, one could argue that the only reason that’s not the case in e-sports is because the players are a lot less known. Heck, ask starcraft 2 fans for “a top quality player who is a bit of an arrogant dickhead that fans can love to hate” and names like Idra are sure to come up.

      I find your argument that e-sports remove the human drama disingenuous, since when spectating any sport you won’t be aware of it either unless the camera zooms on the specific players. This makes me think that the problem isn’t the lack of drama in e-sports so much as the lack of coverage.
      It is not without reason that the big e-sports venues tend to have cameras pointed at the players. Heck, some SC2 streams have the player’s faces superimposed on screen for the duration of the match.

      Though personally, I still object more to the point that the human drama matters, mostly because if I want drama I prefer something with writers and decent actors. But I guess that’s human nature, so *shrug*

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I’ve never considered the “human drama” as part of the reason to watch sports

      Without the drama, football is just some men kicking a ball around a field, with lots of other people watching. From the transfer rumors to the promotion/relegation battles to the great underdog success stories to lifting the cup, it’s all about the drama.

    • Azazel says:

      I used to watch the top Quake matches back in the day as well.

      If you understand the thing enough to appreciate how out of this world the top players skills are then you can get enjoyment out of watching it.

      I suppose it’s one of the ‘issues’ with e-sports in general. Anyone can look at an athlete and appreciate (even if the sport doesn’t particularly interest them) what it must take to be physically *that good* at something.

      Knowing exactly who will get to the red armor first based on spawn location? Ehm. Less so.

    • Carra says:

      I quite enjoy watching SC2 matches. Two players, evenly matched and only skill counts, no randomness. He who plays best wins.

      Having played a few matches I can say that I’m mediocre at best. Knowing that it’s a pleasure to see how these pros handle the game. Launching double pinned attacks, doing drops while being attacked, the way they counter tactics, the way they mix their units… it’s great to watch.

      I never liked regular sports but these thinking sports are more my thing. Cleverness is just more important to me then physique and these games deliver in that department.

      There’s also definitely a human element to the game. Players have their own way of playing and even their own fan clubs. Idra is known to be a terrible looser. TLO is known for his very innovative play. So is Huk. The human element is also often shown by including two cams of each player.

      E-Sports is only just starting but it’s something that I’d like to see grow huge.

    • Torgen says:

      I don’t play Starcraft, so those matches don’t really hold an interest (I did watch one, where one fella got blindsided by another, but whatever.)

      Natural Selection spectator mode made me physically yearn for being able to watch matches without taking up a slot and unbalancing teams. The tension, the adrenaline. it really was thrilling. I will remember forever, watching two Marines go down a dark corridor, when an alien drops on top of them out of the pipes above, kills them both, then skulks back into a vent with a hissing laugh. I yelled and jumped half out of my seat.

    • Lyndon says:

      Go to link to reddit.com

      Notice how the front page alone has multiple threads hyping particular players. Naniwa, Boxer, Destiny, Catz, Whitera. For people into the scene these guys are all stars, the “human” element you seem to think is missing is most definitely there.

    • Lambchops says:

      I think people have raised good points regarding coverage. With e-sports being a fairly new thing a lot of the coverage is either amateur or hasn’t quite found the right way of portraying the games and that’s perhaps something I’ve underestmated. I’m sure must F1 fans would agree that the past 2 seasons have been vastly aided by the superb coverage on the BBC and I’m sure most football fans would agree that the absolutely dire channel five coverage means that you have to really want to watch a game to tolerate it (or just mute the nonsense!). It’s something that will undoubtably improve over time.

      Anyway for now I’ll file e-Sports in the drawer with test match cricket, baseball and American Football as one of the endeavours that just don’t quite appeal to me. Maybe I’m trying too hard to rationalise why but it always tends to irk me when I don’t enjoy something with sport in the title!

      @ Carra

      I never liked regular sports but these thinking sports are more my thing. Cleverness is just more important to me then physique and these games deliver in that department.

      May I recommend snooker. Or to a lesser extent F1. Both very strategic, both entertaining. The likes of football and tennis are very tactical too and it’s that combination of strategy and physicality that’s a major part of making them both so popular.

  13. Premium User Badge

    Andy_Panthro says:

    Since Sunday is the day for linking, I feel I should share an interesting blog post about RPG features.

    link to crpgaddict.blogspot.com

    The rest of the blog is well worth reading, the CRPG Addict is working his way through every PC cRPG ever made!

    • Alphabet says:

      Is it Wizardry?

    • Lambchops says:

      Thanks for flagging that one up, I found myself nodding in agreement with quite a few of those (particularly the one about tempting players towards evil).

    • JFS says:

      “… through every PC role-playing game ever released” – if it really is Wizardry, that’ll be quite a short journey.

    • westyfield says:

      @JFS –
      Genuine lol, thanks for that.

  14. DougallDogg says:

    Jim I whole hartedly agree with you on the mythical powers of booze as a cure for all aches and pains some what losing its healing properties. Either that or I’m being a big girls blouse after aching head to toe from just sanding down the kitchen cabinets, might just be the advancing years *sigh*

  15. The Sentinel says:

    Excellent papers this week. Loved the Arstechnica article but itsn’t it depressing how we’ve been saying this stuff for literal years and none of the big boys appear to be listening? On the DRM situation, I’d love Ubi to release sales figures of their games with DRM and those without, especially before and afters if a game has had it’s DRM stripped off post-release. It may be reducing piracy but is it also damaging sales?

    “Possibly we should separate .ini files: some encrypted, some (visuals, mouse, etc.) open to rape. Oops, I mean edit.” (Adrian Chmielarz, People Can Fly’s creative director)

    I’d never heard that comment before. Rape?? Seriously? You, sir, are an arsehole.

    If you want to be depressed, go to Google and simply type “PC version delayed,” and you can see how often this happens.

    I did. And I was. :(

    I loved the CRPG Addict’s piece, too. As someone who dips into RPGs very casually (it’s usually only the Bethesda ones I bother with now) I have to admit I’d be thrilled to see some of these features make their way into games. Setting fire to everything especially, as long one match doesn’t burn down the entire game world, a la earlier versions of Minecraft.

    • lokimotive says:

      Yeah, I saw that “rape” comment too and was rather astonished. What a ridiculously stupid thing to say.

  16. Napalm Sushi says:

    Beautiful as the dusty gem of Brink may be, the third screenshot of the gallery in that Dead End Thrills article just made me cringe. Any concept designers or friends of concept designers reading this page (particularly the people who designed Starcraft 2’s Banshee, Red Alert 3’s Twinblade, Oil Rush’s Osprey-alike and now, it seems, Brink’s transport helicopter), take heed: If a helicopter has two main rotors, in any configuration, a stabilising tail rotor is completely superfluous. Seriously, just Google Image search “coaxial rotor” and tell me how many sideways-facing tail rotors you see. Apologies if I seem horrifically pedantic, but this fact seems so universally unknown by game designers that I just couldn’t pass by it it any longer.

    *breathe*

    And now I need some camomile tea.

    EDIT: Oh, right. On closer examination, the example on the Brink helicopter is one of those forward facing tail rotors that provides extra thrust, which is A-OK. The other examples still stand though, off-topic as they now are…

  17. Rinox says:

    MCV will always stand for Mobile Construction Vehicle for me.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Unit lost.
      Unit lost.
      Unit lost.

    • Rinox says:

      Building…
      Unit ready.
      Building…
      Unit ready..
      Our harvester is under attack.
      Mission Failed.

      EDIT: as a bonus, the horrid rackety sound the GDI early defense towers make..PRPRPRPRPPRPRPRPPRPR (sorry)

  18. pakoito says:

    I follow you on twitter and send you links. YAY!

  19. JackShandy says:

    Link-day: Little surprised not to see RPS mention Murder Dog IV: Trial of the Murder Dog. Surreal injustice simulator by the guy who made Space Funeral. I don’t know what to make of it, the irony-shield’s too thick. Discuss!

  20. Alexander Norris says:

    In Challenge Everything

    Am I the only one who can’t read this without reading it in the EA logo announcer’s voice?

  21. Monchberter says:

    The Ars Technica piece on shoddy PC porting could have done to mention the reverse issue of naturalised console games being ported to PC with keyboard and mouse for input, but WITHOUT the option to support gamepads!

    Especially annoying when you’ve got a HTPC and someone’s gifted you Bad Company 2 or (shamefully) Modern Warfare 2 and you can’t play them ‘as intended’ with an Xbox pad.

    Stupidity abounds.

    • stahlwerk says:

      Yup, the Mass Effects (and I believe most other Bioware games like Jade Empire, which was an XBox exclusive for the longest time) have also fallen victim to this.
      Scanning planets in Mass Effect 2 makes me want to throw my mouse against the wall for not having tactile feedback, also having to swipe it across the whole desk for a scan across a longitudal line. Some things are better left to analogue sticks… on the other hand there’s the aiming aspect, which I wouldnt want to trade the mouse in for.

    • Thants says:

      What? You mean that someone would choose to play Bad Company 2 or Modern Warfare 2 with a gamepad? Madness!

  22. BooleanBob says:

    I was frowning deeply the whole way through Bogost’s Kotaku piece – and it was only in small part because I’d found myself on Kotaku.

    It felt a little condescending (he labours over a very obvious point as if he doesn’t expect his readers to have worked it out for themselves), and more than a little self-serving and circle-jerky (here is why the writer that bigged me up in a newspaper is great and the one that didn’t is terribad), and I really wasn’t sure where he was going with the subject as we staggered toward the 1500-word mark.

    But with the last two paragraphs he pulls the whole thing together like some kind of beautiful and intricate knot. Whatever you think of a game X, be it a political game with a message to sell or an FPS with no greater agenda than rolling forward the frontier on spinal chord polycounts, it has a greater value in what it adds to gaming as a wider context. The idea of gaming as an eco-system is a compelling one, and his call for gamers and developers alike to recognise the value of diversity in that system is a valuable message to take away.

  23. westyfield says:

    Music-wise, I’ve been listening to M83’s new track, and the Shattered Horizon Soundtrack.
    Both are awesome, and combined with the fact that I’ve been playing Sins of a Solar Empire and Shattered Horizon, and reading Redemption Ark, have made for a very spacey weekend indeed.

  24. bigtoeohno says:

    As a few have already mentioned great papers this week. just felt the neemd to give alec meer an honourable mention for an inspiring piece for anyone regardless of thier pursuits. i dont always see eyeto eye with your opinios, gaming wise at least. Nonetheless a great interview with a good amount of truth and honesty. peace

  25. phenom_x8 says:

    The witcher 2 novelisaation trully nice! Its perfectly describe everything I feels when playing The Witcher 2, especially that little girl that asked you many times about the same question, sadly there’s no raining part there. I think seeing people running away to make him/herself clear from the rain is quite obvius because sometimes they just running around all the way they like without finding any places to stay away from the rain pour !

  26. felisc says:

    i have one sundaypaper to submit, that comes with a single question : what is the deal with british game journalists and cats ?
    >> link to tomchatfield.net

    • BooleanBob says:

      I always thought it was the result of a thousand lonely, cynical bloggers taking cue from memories of Ed Rearden’s Week.

  27. firefek says:

    Hey guys, I tried Brink on the free weekend thing and was thinking about buying it since it actually seemed fun. However, I was a bit disappointed by the lack of servers with good ping ( managed to get one). Does anyone know if they have any Asian servers or something? Also, could anyone enlighten me on how well populated the game is normally? It honestly seemed like the community is dying and almost all the people I met were from the free weekend deal.

  28. Hoaxfish says:

    Why does the shuttle have a Canadian flag on a panel?

  29. Bilbo says:

    “While the television audience of more than 3.1 million for the rugby grand final dwarfs the audiences for any StarCraft II match, the 3.2 million registered players worldwide for the game suggest the potential viewership is not far behind the domestic competitions.”

    No, it doesn’t suggest that at all. That’s basically the point.

  30. Frank says:

    Yeah, Bogost’s commentary on the games discourse is pretty good. But critiquing the discourse on games seems like a waste of time. Marketers be marketers and pundits be pundits. Instead of believing that “each of these creators offers his own particular take,” I tend to think “each of these [salesmen] offers his own particular [angle]” before making his pitch.

  31. Premium User Badge

    FhnuZoag says:

    I literally recoiled from my screen at the advert that popped up when I went to read the Crikey article. Dude, if you are creating a subscription email news service, don’t call it the ‘Daily Mail’.

  32. Giaddon says:

    Diablo 3 isn’t a PC port though, surely?

  33. dragonhunter21 says:

    Oh god, the space shuttle. I tried Space Shuttle Mission 2007 just this week, and good LORD was that a mother and a half to do. So. Much. Switch flipping. It’s not hard, just tedious trying to find the right switch. Plus the maneuvering controls were really weird.

    Still though, it’s really good, and if you love your shuttles, there’s no better simulator. (Or should I say, there IS no other simulator.)

  34. MajorManiac says:

    Yes. I also like the line – “In many cases companies take a giant, virtual dump all over the PC versions of their games, and then feign innocence when they’re asked about why gamers don’t buy PC games in large numbers.”

    Given how many people complain on the internet, you’d be hard pushed as a Dev/Publisher not to notice why your game is upsetting customers.

  35. MajorManiac says:

    I love the shuttle pic. I imagine this is what Tim Stone’s computer looks like.