The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for rounding up the week’s best writing (and videoing) about (mostly) games, while trying to resist the temptation to link to your own gaming podcast. Shall we?

  • Over on that Kotaku, Nathan Ditum wrote about the challenges of introducing women footballers to FIFA 16, and how those challenges of simulation act as a strange mirror of structural sexism.
  • In fact there were lots of things that needed to be fixed or finessed in order to introduce women to FIFA. Ponytails and braids were another. “There aren’t many players in the men’s game with longer hair, so we didn’t feel the need to animate it,” Channon says. “It would be a hit on framerate, and hitting 60 frames per second is crucial for us.” Other things that were addressed include small differences in cadence as players walk, jog and run (“We mo-capped a female player”), dozens of lines of male-specific commentary (“He shoots!”), and a ratings system which exists in isolated parallel to the men’s game.

  • Randy Pitchford’s keynote at this year’s Develop was talk of the town when I popped over on Wednesday, for the comments about their audience, for the magic tricks, for the analogies. Keith Stuart wrote it up for the Guardian, with a focus on the comments about audience – specifically:
  • “If you’re making entertainment on a grand scale, if you’re reaching millions, there will be tens of thousands of people who absolutely hate us, and some percentage of those will take it upon themselves to let us known how they feel,” he said.

    “I read it in this way: we moved those people, we touched them – even the person who hates [your game] so much, you’ve affected them. That’s why we fight, we’re creating emotion and experience – and some people thrive on that type of feeling, some people are sadists.”

  • This is a little older, but someone linking it in the comments this past week was the first time I saw it: over at PC Gamer, Chris Thursten writes about wizard hats, capitalism, and – the controversial bit – gaining enjoyment from both.
  • We talk about exploitative business models, pay to win, and so on, but rarely about the simple satisfaction transmitted by paid participation. It’s nice to gather things. It’s nice to buy gifts for other people. It’s nice to earn the gold borders and the badges and the levels, because all of it basically translates to ‘I care about this thing and I’d like to show that’. My trepidation about my Compendium stems partly from the knowledge that it’s uncool to care, particularly in the Dota community, but that is the least of my concerns.

  • At the Guardian, Richard Stanton and Keith Stuart write about Satoru Iwata, his passing, and how he changed the industry. This is full of detail:
  • Just over five months later, Brain Age: Train Your Brain In Minutes a Day! was released for the Nintendo DS. Rather than being an instant smash, Brain Age (renamed Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training in other territories) was a slow-burner, spreading by word of mouth and gradually attracting a whole new audience. The simple but personable style was charming, the daily structure of tasks was compulsive, and finding out your “brain age” at the end of exercises was fun. Over the coming years, Brain Age would sell just under 20m copies, with its sequel close behind. Iwata turned a maths game into an industry phenomenon, and he knew and cared enough about the project to see it through personally.

  • I was initially dissatisfied with the Satoru Iwata obituaries I had read and so I typed “satoru iwata simon parkin” into Google on the off chance he had written something. Lo, here he is in the New Yorker.
  • “I remember him as being very actively interested in everything you had to say, and always talking about the technical aspects of making games,” Dylan Cuthbert, a developer in Kyoto who once appeared on the series, told me. “He’d even translate techno gobbledygook to people around him without a technical background.” Iwata’s knowledge of programming—he worked on some of Nintendo’s best-loved games, including Earthbound, The Legend of Zelda, and the Animal Crossing series—made him sympathetic to the rigors of imaginative game-making. “I never sensed that he thought he was more important, smarter, or more powerful than me, although he was all those things,” Martin Hollis, who has worked on many Nintendo titles, said. “I never felt he was my boss, or my boss’s boss. I felt he was a friend who was trying to help me in my projects. There isn’t another person like him in the world.”

  • At PC Games N, Steve Hogarty writes about how buying a new PC has made him a better and more attractive person.
  • What is the most beautiful and precious thing in the world? Is it a baby’s first step? A winter sunrise? The laugh of a newborn fawn? The entire cast of Evita, smiling and waving to you from a sinking ship?

    No, it’s computer graphics. The most important thing in the world — the thing we must all strive to attain at any cost and to the exclusion of all other things — is better graphics and more computing power inside of our PCs. To this end, I have just purchased the best gaming PC on the planet. It’s probably the same kind NASA uses to play The Witcher 3.

  • Katherine Cross has played Black Closet, and uses it as a entry to thinking about random number generators in games over at Gamasutra. I am just happy that more people have played Black Closet.
  • Hanako Games and Spiky Caterpillar’s latest visual novel, Black Closet, has an interesting take on the use of digital dice that shows how to make a game compelling without putting players on a rapacious stat-acquisition treadmill or subjecting them to utterly merciless randomness. Hanako Games and Spiky Caterpillar are no strangers to the RNG; the independent developers specialize in visual novel/RPG blends, from the relaxing Magical Diary to the numerical bullet-hell of Long Live the Queen. But unlike the latter, whose skill-checks and deployment of stats were somewhat opaque, hidden behind a richly ornamented veil of dialogue and story, Black Closet puts the math front and center.

  • Always fun: indie designers think about how they would re-design and rejuvenate a classic game. Over at the Guardian, Jordan Erica Webber asks the question about Duke Nukem.
  • Dan Pinchbeck, The Chinese Room (Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, Dear Esther)

    Make it funny. Duke Nukem was really funny to begin with. It was fucking hysterical. It wasn’t this ponderous, horrible, awful, cynical shitbag that it ended up being. In a similar way to the stuff they’ve hopefully gone back to with Doom 4, make it really, really fast, make it really funny, stick your tongue in your cheek as firmly as it’ll go, and just make something that’s just big and stupid and fast and fun, because that’s what it’s supposed to be.

  • Friends At The Table is a podcast that records the playing of tabletop games, with Austin Walker, Jack de Quidt, Ali Acampora, Art Tebbel and Keith J Carberry. I’ve started listening to them playing MechNoir.
  • There’s a new Every Frame A Painting, this one on Chuck Jokes, producer of many fine Looney Tunes shorts. It made me think about Spelunky.

Some of you know that I’m one of the proprietors of the Crate & Crowbar podcast. We’ve made over 100 episodes now and, to help cover our growing hosting costs, have set up a Patreon. Any money that’s left over after we pay our bills will be fed back into the podcast, either to make more video series or to buy new microphones or to lay siege upon the noisy birds outside Marsh’s window. Thansforsupportin’errybody.

Failed.

Music this week is Done by Frazey Ford. The whole album is on Spotify but I haven’t listened to it yet. Tell me if it’s good.

108 Comments

  1. amateurviking says:

    2 hours of The Crate and Crowbar per week is not enough. I need moar lovely game discussions in my earholes.

    • Vandelay says:

      I have just spent the last hour watching the first couple of their Dark Souls videos, despite never being able to get into it myself. It has now made me redownload Dark Souls to give it a third attempt to get into it. Could this be the time I finally figure out what everyone sees in the game, and not be put off by irritating enemy placement and, what feels to me as, clunky controls? Even if I don’t figure out what the fuss is about, I at least have this Let’s Play to watch.

      I’ve only listened to a few episodes of the podcast, but it is great. Would highly recommend anyone that does not already listen to it to give it a go. There recent hundredth episode was particularly entertaining, as they were clearly getting steadily quite drunk across the course of the couple of hours.

      • Gessen says:

        Not to harp on it, since I’m sure you’ve heard it all or read it all before, but Dark Souls is all about dying to learn about the enemies and dying while mastering the controls. I would play with a controller. But beyond that, you’ll start off awkward and by the end feel totally at home. It’s part of the charm of the game for me at least.

  2. Lacero says:

    I have an account here and not at c&c so I’ll witter here.

    I totally thought you layered a birdsong soundtrack over your recording to hide the awful microphone hiss that started and stopped every time someone spoke. If that’s not that case, please keep the birds around. They’re way less annoying than you think.

    I guess you could have bought a shiny new microphone that fixes the hiss but can now hear the birds too. It’s been a few weeks now, 4? 8?

    anyway c&c would be a permanent feature of the sunday papers were they called the sunday grammarphone so anyone not listening should. I will patreon, promise!

    • Lacero says:

      Also, if the rest of the rps folk weren’t so utterly awful you could be talking about the rps podcast. I men it can’t be your fault it doesn’t happen you already do one.

    • thedosbox says:

      I wish they’d move from a single mic for the entire room to individual mics. It’s sometimes difficult to make out what is being said without jacking up the volume to 11.

      • Premium User Badge

        Graham Smith says:

        New microphones are one of the likely uses of any money we receive through the Patreon. We’ll have to see how it shakes out in a month or two, but fingers crossed.

        As to the RPS podcast: the team is splintered across too many UK cities now, I fear, and recording podcasts remotely tends to come with a whole set of problems that stop it being worthwhile.

        • malkav11 says:

          While I think there can be no question that recording all in a single physical location prepped for the occasion is the preferable way to do podcasts and that VOIP sessions are rougher technically, I don’t think it follows that the latter is not worthwhile. Some of my favorite podcasts are done remotely, and sure, sometimes there are technical hiccups, but that’s preferable to not getting to hear those people talk about those things. I would absolutely listen to an RPS podcast regardless.

        • thedosbox says:

          re: microphones – that is excellent news.

          For clarity, I hope the C&C podcast continues to be conducted in-person while the participants are indulging in adult beverages. The dynamic between all of you really works well.

        • Robstafarian says:

          Is anyone involved with The Crate and Crowbar knowledgeable about audio equipment and engineering, or would you like some assistance with your overhaul budget?

        • dontnormally says:

          It’s more likely your sound card than the microphones that is creating the hiss.

    • caff says:

      I like the birds. It lends the podcast a seasonally avial feel.

      • Premium User Badge

        particlese says:

        I second this, sound unheard. I haven’t listened to C&C much only because I haven’t reserved time/attention for podcasts in a while, but the prospects of hearing inconvenient chirping and retaliatory miniature trebuchets laying miniature siege has piqued my interest.

  3. subedii says:

    Another weird thing that happened this week:

    There’s been this “thing” happening recently where people demand 60FPS minimum (no ifs or buts), and so have now put together a Steam curator listing all the games that specifically don’t adhere to this ‘standard’.

    So there was a bit of a kerfuffle this week when one of the devs behind Guild of Dungeoneering blocked the curator (since you know, having that negative curator derping over their 30 FPS lock doesn’t even make sense, it’s a 2D animated game). Really, curators are supposed to be for recommending games, not trying to shame them or something.

    link to steamcommunity.com

    Got spammed with angst until he put it back up. At which point they STILL kept hitting their forums, partly because the game devs are stupid for having a 30 FPS lock, and allegedly because the devs are vile and into censorship (grief that word gets thrown around a lot with no understanding) for having blocked the curator from their Steam page (even though they acquiesced to the angsty and re-instated it).

    link to steamcommunity.com

    link to steamcommunity.com

    Oh, and the devs started receiving threats. Over 30 frames per second.

    link to twitter.com

    It’s just nuts. People are acting ridiculous over this.

    • Wulfram says:

      The “FPS Police” curator is a good idea. Getting into a tizzy because someone blocks it is silly. If you’re that interested in frames per second. you can just follow the Curator and it’ll still show up

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        Its TotalBiscuit afaik.

      • RedViv says:

        It would be a good idea if it were handled completely differently by different people.

        • Sarfrin says:

          Indeed. If you must be pernickety about framerates to the exclusion of all else, at least curate games that meet your standard instead of a whiny list of ones that don’t.

          • pepperfez says:

            Gotta protect PCmasterracialpurity.

          • pepperfez says:

            …which, as we all know, can only be done through whining.

          • Distec says:

            I dunno. If you’re artificially gimping your game on the PC, maybe you should be called out?

            The platform has endured years of this kind of dumb crap. Now that there are measures to address some of these issues (via refunds and curator groups in this case), now people are just being whiny? My, how times have changed.

          • RedViv says:

            Don’t forget to whine and loudly shout and threaten devs at the same time. Only then are you a true FPS Policeman.

          • Wulfram says:

            Listing games that don’t have a cap would be impractically long

        • magos says:

          So a curation that doesn’t involve a focus on FPS, run only by those you have pre-approved against thought-violation?

          I’d say it’s odd that my leaving this site roughly correlates with your appearance, but it seems clear that the stench that draws you in is one I find repellent.

      • PancakeWizard says:

        Not that the dev in question deserves that level of vitriol, but it was textbook Streisand. It’s not as if other devs with games at locked 30 are getting harassed.

        Frankly, while I appreciate the idea behind the ‘framerate police’ curator, I think creating a curator that lists games at 60fps and beyond would’ve been far more positive a move instead of expecting objectivity to rule the day in an emotionally volatile medium.

      • Baines says:

        It is TotalBiscuit, who having decided that the didn’t like the way Valve was handling Steam’s Curation system, decided to use it for pretty much the exact opposite purpose than it was created for. (When you consider TB’s stance on framerate, he pretty much is using Framerate Police to trash games. In his promo video for the group, he also hoped that Framerate Police would get enough subscribers to make it become the displayed review for games.)

        It’s a shame that Valve couldn’t give ****-all for Steam. Both for letting Steam Curation spiral out of control almost immediately, and for putting people into a situation where they’d decide that they needed to twist Steam’s functions such. (TB mentioned that he’s done this because you can’t use Steam Tags to mark a game as 30fps. Though TB comes off as rather defensive of Valve’s decision to nuke any tags that any publishers thought might be perceived as remotely negative.)

        • Hobbes says:

          Well to be fair the level of information placed on Steam games is terrible. Adding more information would be a useful thing to do, however I’m not sold on TB’s method of doing it. At least, however misguided as this might be, it’s a start. If it gets more information into the hands of consumers and stops publishers relying on hype and marketing to sell half finished tat, I’m all for it.

        • pepperfez says:

          Has that guy ever done anything that isn’t counterproductive, self-aggrandizing bullshit?

          • Distec says:

            I think you’ll believe him to be that no matter what, just because he is popular and that his actions leave a wake regardless of intent.

            TB does have a fucking ego, but the hate train on him seems to serve nothing more than massaging his detractors’ egos.

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            to be fair in one of the links Complete Cracker defended the developer’s right to remove the curator and tells his “followers” to calm down. The problem is like so often manbabies’ ridiculous fear of not being heard/ being powerless.

    • AriochRN says:

      I noticed that “Ronin” popped up on the list, a game where most of your time is spent looking at a static screen trying to figure out what to do, followed by about a seconds worth of action. The creator made the mistake of saying he’d tried 60 fps but it didn’t look good (meaning the 30 fps animations) so he stuck with 30 fps.

      Predictable responses ensued.

      Right, I’m off to flash up the old ZX Speccy emulator to play a bit of Driller, Chaos and Laser Squad. Check out ma frameratez!

    • James says:

      That curator exists for one thing and one thing only: to tell users if there is a 30fps lock. This may come as a shock, but some PC gamers care about performance (myself included). If the smoothness of a game is artificially limited I kinda want to know.

      And the curator system is not for recommending games. It is for curating. That could mean recommending games, it could also mean conveying information. Two examples are the group you are talking about (which just lets people know about framerate locks) and one in-progress in /r/PCmasterrace that aims to rate PC ports according to quality (accounting for things like proper keyboard support, framerate locks, resolution support etc.) – so whilst the curator system is mostly used for recommendations, that is only a part of what it is for.

      And the actions of nutters on Twitter and on forums cannot be blamed on a box with the number 30 in it. People can be stupid, selfish, self-aggrandized and generally an arse, irrespective of the number 30.

      • trn says:

        Totally agree with James. The idea behind TB’s curation list is solid. I get sick as a dog playing some 30fps games – especially FPS and 3rd person adventure games. I mean it – sick as a dog. Like having to lie down after about 20 minutes and wait for my head to stop spinning.

        TB’s list gives me an immediate signal while browsing Steam that I may want to take caution before buying a game, because now I can see at a glance that it is locked at 30fps. It ain’t a ‘master race’ issue, its a ‘I don’t want to throw up playing a video game’ – as was my experience with Assassin’s Creed Black Flag.

        Just because someone has a good idea, though, doesn’t mean the internet isn’t a megaphone for morons.

        The problem lies with twitter mobs not with sufferers of simulation sickness. Just look at this week’s responses to ‘#Ask Randy’?

        • thedosbox says:

          The problem lies with twitter mobs not with sufferers of simulation sickness.

          That’s somewhat disingenuous when it’s steam users leaving negative reviews on games that get branded with the 30 FPS scarlet letter and spamming the devs steam forums.

          • wengart says:

            Which is a result of that dev poking the internet.

            As far as I can see the 30FPS curator has existed as a largely benign curator. It wasn’t until the engineer dev tried to hide it that any traction was gained.

          • RobF says:

            No, it isn’t. The idea that you should display 30FPS on your store page is utterly ridiculous and no-one in their right mind should be demanding that anyone does.

          • Cinek says:

            Devs should release games without any FPS locks in a first place. Following that common sense rule would avoid any stupid discussions like the one you guys are having here.

          • RobF says:

            For many reasons, that’s not as reasonable a demand as it sounds.

          • Baines says:

            Then framerate caps should probably be mentioned in system specs.

            Framerate is as much an aspect to report as display resolution, not that publishers like to advertise when their console ports have very limited resolution options either. (Like being capped at 1080p or only supporting 16:9 resolutions or worse.)

            Yes, for some games it doesn’t matter. Yes, some games actually wanted a capped frame rate, like ports of fighting games. Yes, some people can go rather excessively overboard about framerates, like TotalBiscuit has done in the last year.

            But you also should consider that this is information that some publishers prefer remain hidden from a store description. Some publishers do not want consumers to have that knowledge readily available when making a purchase. That in itself should be an indication that maybe the information should be public. Not through a perversion of the nearly pointless Curator system, but as a full-fledged store page element (user tags, spec field, whatever). If a game has an imposed framerate cap, then that cap should be revealed.

          • wengart says:

            I was speaking to the interaction between the dev in question and the 30pfspolice.

            As far as I can tell they don’t go around brigading review sections of games. It seemed to be largely the result of the engineering guy trying to hide them.

            As far as wanting to see a FPS cap. I don’t see why it is a bad thing to display that. I started following them as soon as I heard about the group at the start of the whole thing because it seems like information that might be useful. I generally don’t care about the whole 30 or 60 debate, but sometime I might. I can definitely see why some people would want that information. I don’t see why it is uncalled for to want to know that and the 30fps group lets you know in an easy and repeatable fashion.

            As far as the Engineer game not needing 30 FPS. Sure that is true, but it makes more sense to mark all games and let the individual consumer decide whether they care or not. Otherwise you get to the point where the curators might not care but customer A does care for a particular game.

          • Distec says:

            It’s an objective fact about the product. Is it artificially locked at 30 FPS or no? Or let’s just cut out the “artificial” part. A number of commenters here have noted that 30 FPS actually makes them feel ill, and that information is certainly pertinent to them. Maybe it doesn’t need a Steam tag, but it should be mentioned somewhere.

            I don’t understand the defensiveness, or the No True Scotsman fallacies. If you can explain why your game is capped at 30 FPS, then do so. Yes, some people will still get pissy about it. What’s the alternative? Release it without saying shit so you can entertain an even larger mob that’s gotten fed up with game companies playing loose or outright suppressing this information until they’ve gotten your sixty bucks?

          • Emeraude says:

            The idea that you should display 30FPS on your store page is utterly ridiculous and no-one in their right mind should be demanding that anyone does.

            As someone that doesn’t really care one way or the other, am I missing something ? Why is it ridiculous that customers demand from product sellers that they specify basic technical information about how their products perform ?

            This is not some trade secret they’re asking for.

          • RobF says:

            “Why is it ridiculous that customers demand from product sellers that they specify basic technical information about how their products perform ?”

            Ah, this is an awkward one to explain but only because of how weird the discussion around frame rates has gotten, but roughly because use of measuring a frame rate is kinda contextual and 30/60 the same. Games are not cars and treating them as a product in that way is a madness.

            You see this flaw writ large in Silly Hat Man’s list where he’s got old games that you should probably be grateful they ran at more than 25fps to begin with in the list, he’s got quiz games and card games and the like. It is mainly useless information by itself and not even that much of a useful measure of how a game performs either. It’s why Digital Foundry test many things, not just framerate, yeah?

            For some, yes a lower framerate in combination with certain camera techniques and design decisions (some of which can be mitigated against so again, contextual) can cause motion sickness. This is something that’s known. It’s also known that there’s certain UI elements and how they move that can do the same (see the iPhone/iPad for an example). What’s needed here isn’t “this is 30/60” but more intelligent, smarter discussion around performance that a simple tag like this can’t provide. Because you -can- have games that run at 30 that won’t cause people to hurl their dinner up and so on. And as anyone industry side knows, actually most people do not give a shit as long as the game is good and that’s the majority of the audience for games, PC or console or mobile or anywhere else.

            But also, and this is kinda my biggest point, running at 30fps is not something to be ashamed of or something caused by “lazy” developers or whatever else tosh is going round at the moment. Making games is a trade off and a lot of the conversation around framerates hinges around “well, I have a beefy PC so let me have the power to run at…” and that’s a fundamental misunderstanding of how games work. There’s a lot of things that can be tied into how and why framerates drop, a lot that can’t just be solved by throwing more processing power at it (and also a lot where relying on throwing more processing power at it will make it worse for more people because it ups the specs and the amount of people with high spec PCs who buy games is smaller than those without).

            Yes, a nice smooth 60 (or 120 if we’re in the realms of VR) is preferable any day of the week but making games is so hideously complex now both due to the sheer amount of time and manpower that need to go into these things, the demand for the best and the brightest graphics so ever present and the whilst at least this generation we’re seeing the gap between hardware narrow a bit (no weird outliers like the Cell), there’s still a lot of stuff that might be done on a console that gets into a pickle on the PC that’s so embedded into the code -just to make sure the game runs at all- that it’s a massive ask for developers to work towards and work only towards 60 or to flag up 30/60 as problematic.

            I guess some of it comes down to often you can either have the nicest shiny graphics or you can have 60fps. We don’t have a market that’s pleased when you drop or downgrade either. But performance isn’t just about graphics and that gets forgotten often. Collision detection, garbage collection and all these other bits of making games can all have an effect. It’s a fat mess.

            It’s why I’d sooner celebrate those that run at 60 and run well with a list than flag or mark any others. And if, as posited elsewhere that the list will be too big, then that’s something else worth considering that maybe, all this isn’t quite the issue it’s made out to be. (Although I’d guess that for big box/AAA where they concentrate primarily on hitting a steady 30, someone maybe should stop writing off the why as ‘lazy developers, short sighted publishers’ and ask if maybe there’s a better, more reasonable reason for this happening and try and understand that instead but hey, internet etc…)

          • Emeraude says:

            Thanks for taking the time to write all this.

          • Hobbes says:

            Except Hardware is about to go into high gear again, which will lift -all- hardware capabilities. This whole VR thing will effectively cause a new arms race hardware side to some extent, and will finally force Intel to get on with their next “Tock”, which means DDR4, (InGaAs) Processors, Pasacal/HBM Dram on the GPU Die, etc, and that’s going to cause Moore’s law to kick in rather hard.

            Meanwhile the software dev tools are now *maturing* which is good, but I doubt we’ll see too much in the way of an arms race on the non-VR side as there’s really a finite limit as to how pretty you can make things without incurring too much of a man-hour overhead. That said, I do think TB miscalculated the whole 30FPS thing and probably should have looked at making a curator for games that lock to 60 as a badge of praise, rather than one of punishment so meh.

          • Baines says:

            Hobbes, I doubt TB actually wants a 60fps cap either. From what he’s said in the past, he’d rather not have a cap at all, but will grudgingly accept a 60fps cap.

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          30 FPS makes you sick like a dog? Then you don’t watch TV, the vast majority of which is below 30fps. You don’t watch cartoons, all of which are below 30fps. And I guess you don’t watch movies, the vast majority of which are below 30 fps and none are 60fps or above. And, no, having a TV with a 60Hz refresh doesn’t magically make a 24fps medium suddenly 60fps.

          • Emeraude says:

            You’re saying this as if saying you don’t watch TV is some kind of incredible, unbelievable proposition.

      • PancakeWizard says:

        You’re right, but as I’ve outlined above I think it was naive or possibly disingenuous of TB to assume the great unhosed are smart enough to use this as intended. Once it became apparent what was happening, he should’ve pulled the plug and tried something more positive.

      • Baines says:

        Steam’s Curation system as implemented *is* entirely and only for recommending games.

        The only option that Steam Curators have is to “recommend” a game. If you add a title to your curator list, then you have recommended that title. Steam will count it and display it as a recommendation.

        You can write text about that game, but the Steam store page will only display the text for the top rated curator, and that will only be an abbreviated version. Everyone else is just another number added to the “Recommended by Curators” count. If you aren’t in the top seven, you don’t even get your icon displayed.

        The people who use Steam Curator lists to post both positive and negative reviews are misusing Steam Curators, just as TotalBiscuit is misusing Steam Curators with his Framerate Police group.

    • Vinraith says:

      Frame rate snobs are pretty much the new audiophiles – it’s as though they don’t have enough real problems so need to make up imaginary ones. Honestly, this just makes me want to buy Guild of Dungeoneering.

      • TillEulenspiegel says:

        I’ve spent a lot of my life playing games on underpowered hardware, so I’m not obsessed with graphics or anything. I’m typing this on a laptop with a crappy Intel GPU.

        But have you watched, for example, Hearthstone videos on YouTube that are 1080p@30fps vs 1080p@60fps? The difference is huge. Even a “2D” game can look so much better when the animations are twice as smooth.

      • Geebs says:

        I don’t buy that.

        a) there is literally nobody as misguided and pointless as an “audiophile”
        b) differences in frame rates are actually detectable by the human visual system
        c) 30 Hz frame locks are sometimes associated with terrible nonsense like having physics tied to screen refresh, which is a symptom of a dev that doesn’t understand how to code for either consoles or PC; this does in fact affect the feel of gameplay and isn’t just graphics wanking.
        d) even the extreme overclocking types who run benchmarks are learning by dicking about with technology, instead of getting it all backwards like audiophiles do.

        If anything, the 60 Hz list is marginally less stupid than the “why isn’t Unity ashamed of itself” brigade. Not that this isn’t just another excuse for the great minds of Twitter to set up another us-vs-them figure-8-jerk (i.e. two nearly identical circle-jerks, side by side).

      • malkav11 says:

        It’s not quite as completely made-up as that – see the poster above who apparently has a physical reaction to low framerate visuals – but I for one have never noticed a difference and am perfectly happy to get a consistent 30-ish FPS.

      • Hobbes says:

        Yeeeeah, and when you’re playing a first person shooter at sub 10 frames a second I bet you’re really feeling the “Cinematic” experience aren’t you :)

        I’ll stick to my rig, at least by and large with the few exceptions of things like ARK, I’m getting a stable lock of 60FPS or better at 1080p with all the shiny on. An upgrade to a 980Ti later this year will solve -that- little problem too.

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          Well, considering cinema is 24 frames, that’s not even cinema. 10-15fps is standard for web-based animations, though.

          Riddle me this: what technical basis does TB have to assert that there is “absolutely never any reason” for a games to be locked at 30fps? Well, other than it being the year 2015. (imagine how embarrassing it would be if it were the year 2016!)

        • Hobbes says:

          Unity 5 unless horribly optimised will generally allow 60 fps, UE3 is so well known that unless you pull an arkham knight it’ll manage 60FPS+ on most machines that have been built in the last five years.

          The argument stems from the fact that hardware is still accelerating, whereas software and particularly software development is now -slowing down-. Which is good because the toolset is beginning to mature, and it’s becoming easier for developers to get into (even if this results in a lot of babbys first game horrors on steam), games these days rarely push the hardware envelope because not being funny, but modern PCs are generally bottlenecked in other ways. Getting full utilisation needs *effort*.

          With the wave of VR headsets, we’re poised for another generational leap in hardware, with NVIDIA transitioning to Pascal and AMD moving to HBM DRAM for graphics cards, motherboards uprating to the new DDR4 now it’s coming on stream, and Intel swinging into the “tock” phase of its’ development cycle as it marches steadily towards the sub 10nm barrier (and that means goodbye to silicon and hello to indium gallium arsenide processors). You’ll see hardware accelerate once more by another massive leap.

          We’re not done with Moore’s law yet, not by a long chalk.

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        Frame rate snobs are pretty much the new audiophiles

        And like most audiophiles, most of them don’t actually have any real understanding of what they’re talking about.

        It’s hilarious to see people that rip their CDs at 96 KHz and bend over ass-backwards, vainly trying to justify their fetishism with urban myths and outright fabrications.

    • Michael Fogg says:

      It’s also really irritating how some parts of the indie scene/writers are scoffing at the very idea of 60 fps. ‘Screw your technofetishism, games are about THE ART, man!’, bleh.

    • GWOP says:

      TB complaining about a card game being locked to 30 FPS?

      He should next create a curator list of games with pixel art that don’t have anti-aliasing.

    • SomeDuder says:

      Yes goddamnit and I have no idea what the idea is with this latest “trend”. I can only assume it’s so that the Youtube crowd can upload videos that are actually 60 FPS. Who gives a flying crap!? As long as it’s above 30 FPS, your “gaming experience” will be fine. What, do people complain about movies, where 23 FPS is the standard? Look at the Hobbit movies, where “high framerate” versions were introduced – they looked like absolute shit! Framerates can rise or drop, that’s the beauty of videogames on a complex platform like a personal computer…

      This, plust the whole 720p // 1080p crap – most of the people who played games on PC before this whole multiplatform gaming experience saga seem to have stopped caring or have moved on with their lives, but in the old days, you had more than just 2 resolution settings.

      I keep saying this, but this really is the worst generation. I can only hope I’m dead before the next comes along.

      • Baines says:

        Films are designed with 24fps in mind. There are various things you have to do in regards to restricting camera movement and action to not make 24fps films look terrible. That’s part of why Ubisoft’s claims that 30fps was more cinematic was complete bull.

        Fallout over The Hobbit was for various reasons.. Some people complained that they got sick. Of course you also have people who complain that low frame rates make them sick. Whatever you do, it is going to bother someone. People complained that it looked too real, where a more blurry image would have held more fantasy. That is something that directors will adapt to. It is also something that people will adapt to. If enough films go to 48fps, then people will start to see 48fps as the new standard, and will come to see 24fps as inferior.

        Besides, the big issue with The Hobbit wasn’t the frame rate. It was that they did a shoddy job of blending the CG with the live action. This was made worse by direction that appeared to assume that the blending would be better. Watch scenes where live actors and CG characters repeatedly move towards and away from the screen, and notice how the focus depth is too often at a different depth for CG characters versus live. Watch scenes where CG characters interact with the real world without leaving a trace of their presence. For all its hype, The Hobbit was made by people who either didn’t understand the real limits of either their ability or CG in general. (In some ways it is like Star Wars Episode III, where Lucas didn’t account for how restrictive heavy greenscreen use could be.) I think at least some of the 48fps fallout actually came from the film’s poor handling of CG, with people just blaming the framerate because it was the obvious whipping boy.

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          No.

          Film has 12 still frames and then 12 composited frames. Basically: still frame, composite frame, still frame, composite frame, still frame, etc. It has nothing to do with angles or camera steadiness or any of that. It has to do with the composite frame blending, which is why the cinematic excuse is absurd. Because games render flat, full frames and do not have composited images like film does.

          Fallout over the Hobbit at 48fps is because the movie looked weird to many. Soap operas use cameras that film at 30fps. Home movie cameras film at 30fps. Neither use composite blending. That’s why the look of 48fps reminds people of soap operas and home movies.

  4. Gap Gen says:

    I agree that the person should have been called Chuck Jokes.

  5. AngoraFish says:

    The Nathan Ditum/women footballers in FIFA 16 piece looked like it was going to be fascinating, but as it turns out the article went more or less downhill after the paragraph quoted above, largely repeating the same lines about gender politics already vented in depth in dozens of other articles about the same game.

    I would love to read someone actually tease out the specifics of the technical challenges, however, and how they were solved (did they end up animating long hair? what specifically is it about the player’s movements that differed from men?). Sadly, that’ll be left for another day. Perhaps someone at RPS might be interested in undertaking such an analysis? :-)

    • SuicideKing says:

      Well, Bohemia Interactive also complains about manpower and funding shortages, and some of the Arma player base rabidly argue about hitbox differences with female characters…maybe BIS could offer insight?

      Though I’m hoping some of the “new characters” they talk about with the Tanoa expansion next year are female, let’s see.

    • PancakeWizard says:

      Honestly I think the lack of female leagues (not players) in FIFA and their sudden appearance is everything to do with popularity and not really much to do with equality. Women’s leagues are more popular and in the public eye now than they were, so it makes sense as FIFA games don’t even have every male league or players in their games.

      What we have now of course, is the usual types complaining that the female players aren’t playing in mixed teams because ‘it’s just a video game so why should it matter?’ missing entirely the point of why games like FIFA are popular (hint: it’s not the same fanbase as Mario Soccer or Blood Bowl).

      • cbayley says:

        To me that doesn’t make a lot of sense, since primarily they’re implementing women’s football on a national level within FIFA ’16, and women’s soccer has been around for quite a bit, and, at least in America, it gained a load of popularity after we won our first World Cup. I don’t know how much the USA buys FIFA games relative to the population (I think I heard Latin America actually buys a large share of the title, which surprised me because video game prices are incredibly inflated in many LA countries, including popular football loving countries like Brazil), but I still think it’s long overdue.

        I think the idea of mixed teams is a bit silly, but I also see it happening some time in the future. I haven’t played the FIFA games, but in the Madden games, there is all kinds of silly shit you can do, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s implemented some time down the line. *shrug*

        • PancakeWizard says:

          To prove my point, look at rugby and cricket. These are primarily male sport, but try and find a decent video game for them.

          We are largely at the whim of American trends (FIFA is a huge expecting because football has always had global appeal, even when the US didn’t care for it), and right now with the MLS and America winning the Women’s World Cup, female soccer is popular enough for inclusion.

          Hell, even outside of video games when England won the Rugby World Cup suddenly everyone in England was a Rugby fan.

          It takes broad appeal for publishers to take notice.

          Regarding ‘mixed teams in the future’ I’ll have to confidental say no, never going to happen.

          • PancakeWizard says:

            expecting = exception. That was weird.

          • cbayley says:

            I disagree that women’s soccer is ONLY popular in the US. Canada, Japan, and even Britain all showed strong report. To bring up one of your earlier points, almost every big EPL team has a woman’s side as well.

            That said, rugby is just not popular enough around the world, I think, to ever get a big expensive video game series about it. However, there have been a few cricket games already coming out (although most along the simulation side of things) and I think if the market for video games in places like India and the West Indies expand, it’s very likely a play based Cricket 20XX game could start.

    • Geebs says:

      Fundamentally, long hair is super-difficult. Pixar were incredibly proud when they managed to include long hair in the Incredibles, and that was off-line rendering. Every strand of hair has physics, hair is translucent and self-shadowing, and aliasing is inevitably a huge problem, meaning that after huge effort, you end up with something that looks terrible and tanks frame-rates.

      They could of course solved the whole problem by setting the women’s leagues in the 80s, when hair had no physics at all beyond electrostatics.

    • SomeDuder says:

      Yes but what about soccer players who sexually identify as a spastic glowworm going through a Led Zeppelin phase while pursuing a study in rhetorics?

      THIS GENDER DISCRIMINATION HAS TO END, CIS SCUM!

  6. SuicideKing says:

    Randy Pitchford seems to be affected by #AskRandy at the moment, I have no clue what it’s about but looks like a shit-storm of sorts.

    • James says:

      He tried to do a Twitter AMA for PR. Then people noticed and asked questions about Aliens: Colonial Marines – since then he’s gone a bit further out of touch with reality.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Its probably the extended fallout from the topic Jim Sterling discusses, which you can watch by following this link to youtube.com .

  7. LionsPhil says:

    I thought Dan Pinchbeck seemed to be the only one asked who actually got why Duke 3D was good, until I read the second paragraph.

    It was also a really good FPS. All the macho comedy and world interaction was layered on top of a fast, fluid shooter with a wide range of imaginative weapons. DNF did not fail because it was some outdated ’90s relic; it failed because it was a mechanically unfun two-weapon waddlefest and utterly missed the mark on being big, brash and ballsy, instead being ugly, smug, and purile.

    Also because they decided to take the vine-bound levels and turn them into The Hive, in an act which should probably win some kind of award for tone-deafness as Duke wisecracks along to the background sound of crying women and holy shit how did that bit with the twins actually past enough people to make it to release.

    Anyway. If you want to poke at the character, Manly Guys pretty much nails it, as always.

    (Yes, I know, Dan’s second paragraph is not entirely sincere.)

    • Geebs says:

      Dan, meanwhile, is still trying to figure out how to implement a jumping mechanic….

    • Emeraude says:

      Same. Though I do like Jennifer Schneidereit’s idea more than is reasonable.

      Gave me old Prodigy’s Smack my Bitch up video flashback and I would totally love to see a game pull that one.

  8. Wulfram says:

    The “how would indies do X” articles mostly remind me why indie types can be very annoying.

  9. RobF says:

    Yeah, the Frazey Ford album is bloody great. September Fields is one of my fave things from the past year or so of music, even if it’s a bit uncomfortable in how much it borrows from that sort of Al Green vibe.

    It’s nicely different to Obadiah too, so it’s nice to get that sort of contrast for a change.

  10. DaceX says:

    Thanks to the link, i rewatched most of Tony´s Videos (again).Not a bad thing,though, they are pretty educating.Changes the way you watch movies.

    And how did I miss the podcast for over 2 years now? Heard about 5 Minutes of the 100th Episode, and I think i´ll follow this now. First gaming-Podcast on my slowly growing list i can actually hear during walks and stuff.

  11. eclipse mattaru says:

    Pitchford’s delusional justifications have gone from “infuriating” to just “fascinating”. After #askrandy he seems to have built a parallel universe of his own. Now it turns out Gearbox puts out shitty, broken games on purpose because pissing customers off is a way of creating “emotion and experience”? Way to go, Major Tom!

    Seriously, RPS, we need one of those interviews where you make him cry, Molyneux-style.

    • Sarfrin says:

      “Hi Randy! Are you a delusional egomaniac?”

    • Muzman says:

      He’s kind of right though, in the end, depressing though that may be. The complainers are a small percentage of the audience; if the lawsuit falls apart he kind of has been vindicated; and image, confidence and unflappability go a long way to making people feel like investing in you.

      Really I think it’s easy to weather the storm put about by any given mob of Game Justice Warriors. There will soon be someone guilty of Public Feminism to distract the most passionate of them and the rest will simply move on with their lives.

      • Baines says:

        Didn’t Gearbox get out of the lawsuit by saying that they had no control over stuff like advertising, despite Sega saying that Gearbox *did* have say in it?

        • eclipse mattaru says:

          The fact that they can get away with that bullshit pisses me off to no end. I clearly remember (maybe in this very website) a hype piece for ACM -back when we were all stupid enough to believe all that crap- in which Pitchford himself talked up the game, giving a lot of very specific details. If memory serves, he even said something along the lines of ACM’s story redeeming the awful nonsense of Alien 3 somehow –and now he didn’t have a say in the game’s advertising?

          Randy Pitchford is a piece of lying shit, and there’s no other way about it.

        • Muzman says:

          Getting off on a technicality counts as a win. Kind of. I imagine all the contracts are drawn up just so in order to make blame difficult to truly assign. So, victory lap. Not that this is a good thing, mind you.

          There’s a lot of “You’ve won this round Pitchford, but we gamers have long memories!” kind of talk. To which I say “eh, probably not”. But we’ll see I guess. It’d be nice. But at the same time, if the next game is alright it’s unlikely very many people will pass it up on principle.

          • Baines says:

            Gamers might have long memories, but Pitchford knows that they’ll buy games anyway.

            Borderlands 3 isn’t going to lose many sales from all of this. Heck, Gearbox might could even turn a profit on Aliens: Colonial Marines 2 if they just say the right things.

          • Muzman says:

            Exactomundo.

  12. ephesus64 says:

    There was a desire for the integration of women in a FIFA game, but integration was difficult because there are structural differences between groups which are being integrated. That’s not structural sexism, that’s system dynamics. It required extra work to get around new issues, plus humans naturally resist change, but it happened nonetheless. Shouldn’t this be applauded as an example of being progressive in a way which is not dismissive of inherent difficulties in the process, rather than being labeled as sexism?

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      As mentioned in the article, the structural sexism comes from the fact that the game was literally built for men, to model male bodies. Which in turn we can blame on the popularity of the men’s game. Which is affected in no small part by more than a hundred years of sexism going back to the beginnings of football’s popularity.

      This is the structure in structural sexism.

    • cbayley says:

      While I disagree, and do see the matter as structural sexism, I will admit that I see more complaining about the implementation of women (from people who push for more women in video games) than I see positivity. It would be silly to not keep pushing for change, but I do think that people need to do a better job of saying, “Good job! Now, continue on in this fashion.”

    • Premium User Badge

      Phasma Felis says:

      The new FIFA is absolutely a victory for equality. It does highlight how the last 21 of them were defeats, though. I can certainly believe that the modeling women effectively requires additional work, and that the developers would have liked to put in that work some time ago, but the fact that the paymasters didn’t think it was worth the money until now does highlight the historical and ongoing sexism in the industry and in the fanbase.

      Also, note that doing new mo-cap and all the other things required now costs a lot of money, but the original FIFA game looked like this, and including women at the point would have required no more than the sprite designer putting in a few extra days of work tweaking the sprites. RAM wouldn’t have been an issue, since you wouldn’t have male and female sprites on the screen at the same time; they could be stored on the cartridge and swapped in as necessary.

  13. Laurentius says:

    Here is my take on certain matters. If playing games on PC with 60 FPS became unbearable for you, is causing you distress, feeling of shame, or simple you just don’t care, just send me your GTX 970 or 980 and I will take that burden from now on. Heck, I can even send you my card although I can not guarantee that it won’t actually play some games at 60 FPS.

  14. cbayley says:

    I found the Duke Nukem article obnoxious. No one took the question seriously, and I find myself questioning if most of these people have ever played Duke. I think the IP deserves another look (development hell did not suit poor Duke), especially with successful reboots of Wolfenstein, and coming soon, Doom. I just wished the devs would take it more seriously instead of spouting off answers that easily allow people to dismiss it as “indie bullshit.”

    • Distec says:

      I know it was mostly meant in humor, but then a lot of the suggestions aren’t even particularly funny. “lol what if Duke was washed out and had to listen to a prostitute cry about her life”. Fortunately there the good ones make up for it.

  15. Sunjammer says:

    Iwata dying really hit me hard. I’ve always maintained that if you wanted the best of games you’d get a good PC and whatever Nintendo was doing, and a big part of that is just the kind of stupid joy and playfulness they were capable of delivering under during Iwata’s reign. That man’s responsible for an outrageous amount of joy and he deserves to be remembered fondly by anybody who loves video games.