GWJ Conference Call Episode 33

Conference Call

Odin Sphere, Calling All Cars, Elysium Hates Puzzle Quest, New Music From Ian "Podunk" Dorsh!, Demos and Betas, A Surprise From Rob, The Contest Winner and more!

We have an action packed show for you this week! Sean "Elysium" Sands is back, Rob treats us to a special new segment and we cover a few news bits along with a quick E3 update, the beta debate and lots more. We also announce the Liongames.com contest winner!

Big thanks to Ian "Podunk" Dorsh for his awesome new segment music, Benoit Casey for his usual greatness and adelunsec.net for providing Rob with background music. Read on for show notes and links!

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined.

Sponsor
Liongames.com

The Links
Odin Sphere
Calling All Cars
The Hidden Source
Del.icio.us Grab Bag o' Fun

Thread of the Week:
1) When did gaming become so complex? - armedbushido

  • Subscribe with iTunes
  • Subscribe with RSS
  • Subscribe with Yahoo!
Download the official apps
  • Download the GWJ Conference Call app for Android
  • Download the GWJ Conference Call app for Android

Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

"Fallen Idol" (Benoit Casey) - 0:19:18
"Dragoon" - Provenance (Ade lun sec) - 0:47:29 - www.adelunsec.net
"Los Pistoleros" Ian Dorsch - 0:53:30

Comments

I loves me some Podunk music. Awesome.

Wait, Elysium hates Puzzle Quest? MUST DOWNLOAD SHOW NOW.

I think we should revoke his CEO status.

Yes, Fran, I know what time it is, but I'm looking at the Wenis, and I'm not happy!

I hate myself a little for recognizing that quote.

Oh come on now, there's a little Friends in all of us.

Wenus Edition

Xbox360 Box - you do remember that there is a huge holiday weekend in there, right? I ran into it last year at the same time. I did the same thing with loading up the reference numbers because they thought I might have to replace my power brick, too, and so they set it up. Worked out great and chopped four days out of the lap to get that tested, too.

Puzzle Quest - you better watchit, fella. It makes a great new twist for me on Bejeweled because it totally changed all my tactics. My usual process of setting up these huge devastating chains got totally derailed when they added in the opponent who can happily take advantage of my largesse in the middle if I'm not very careful.

Odin Sphere - I have to wait for the Penny Arcade Newspost Effect to die out. You can't get your hands on this in this neck of the Woods. After a little backdoor dealing involving chocolate chips I may get it tomorrow. I pre-ordered "Biker Mice from Mars" to assuage my distress at the wait.

Blu-ray finding - Wow. Only one? They're all over here. It pissed me off because they moved the anime section all the way across the store to make room for both of them. They're head to head right next to each other.

FFXIII - not this fiscal year? And MGS4 even later too? Greaaaatttttt.......

I knew this was going to be bad when I saw the date they shipped their final dev kits. There was no way in hell they were going to get stuff done.

My Phone Ring - mine rings like, uh a phone?! I know. I'm a Luddite, but it's funny too. People kind of freak when they hear it. Though if I could have the Final Fantasy Victory Fanfare I would so do it.

Demo/Marketing Ploy - No, they're not screwed. Sadly, we are buying the broken games whether it's alpha'd, beta'd or zeta'd. I buy games without demo/beta all the time. Halo 3 is the first one I've played in a very long time. And people have been immitating Microsoft Marketing and totally not getting it right for years in just about every arena. So I'm waiting for someone else to try this and shoot themselves in both feet at the same time.

E3 Marketing Trend - Well, how does the news about the Consumer version of the show moving head to head with PAX next year give you context? From where I sit, the IDG is sort of flapping around like a beheaded chicken. And I agree, all these Gamedays this month are a hold-over from the old marketing ways. They don't chop and change. I don't expect it to really settle down until a whole development cycle is done and they've got that knowledge to apply to the next one.

Rob's Surprise - Kewl!!!!!!!

Thread of the Week - I think it's a lot of things. This is a topic I've whined about multiple times.

I am a meat popsicle even with the Goodgers, too. It's amazing that they put up with me and I'm really grateful, but it really feels bad sometimes. It doesn't help that you suck and you know who you're playing with. You feel even worse because you're holding back people you actually care about. And playing with random people isn't a solution. I already did this crap on the playground once standing there waiting to be picked.

As far as the "game isn't made for us" thing, well, that sort of thing will only get you so far. There are only so many hardcore guys. But there is an endless font of newbs. If game developers want to keep limiting themselves only to that one specific group they're going to keep hurting themselves. The Wii is living proof that this old way of looking at this equation has some huge frickin' holes in it.

As far as the choice, and how old are the children is a big one too. Or percentage of gray in your hair/MPB tonsure surface area/brand of hair dye.

Email - The Witcher was my first thought there, as well. Another one with some of this would be the original Abe's Oddysee. It was a little more simplistic, but the end game support you had and the end game choices all depend on how many of your people you saved and and aggregate of many little choices you made going through the game. There were several branches along the way and they all mattered for the ending.

The different branches sucking is one vulnerability to this. Having a decent percentage of the end goals being worthwhile is another. Bad example here is FFX-2. The "default" ending didn't include getting the two of them back together. After spending 80 hours working on that and having the game not do was absolutely infuriating. You can only get bit so many times that way before you just flip the whole concept the Hawaiian Good Luck Sign. A lot of games have enough troubling coming up with one ending that doesn't suck.

As far as the totally dynamic game, you're starting to sound like a pen-and-paper roleplayer.

Contest - Saving Throw against Geekness obviously failed with that 4

Honestly you know I'm very surprised that HD-DVD hasn't already won in the market or at least taken a lead. With the abysmal release of the Blue-Ray PS3 and Blue-Ray players it would seem that HD-DVD would have at least pulled ahead. I think the only thing saving Sony at this point is it's huge sway it has in Hollywood. I'm talking about movie releases more than strictly game releases.

----

Final Fantasy is a game I just don't play. I'm an avid watcher of the game. In that I always just watch someone else play the game and I interact with it that way. Metal Gear Solid was always a cool game to me. I played the first and second but once again only watched the third. I guess it has gotten to the point where these games are really pretty but I can't be bothered to actually learn to play them and when I did I just didn't enjoy it as much. I like watching, it's like game voyeurism.

Ringers: I've bought two. "I'm turning Japanese" which is my default ringer and "Super Mario Brothers" which is just a must have for any gamer.

Madden War. The game looks cool I have to admit but they using Madden Football as their analogy was just retarded.

------
Betas the new Demo:

Elysium is spot on with his outlook on demos vs betas. Single players as demos and Multi-players as betas. Makes a lot of sense. It is indeed a pass to suck and not be criticized for sucking. However the possibly downfall is because the company should now be taking input from fans and then fixing the problems. So if their actual release of the game still sucks then the fans will be even more pissed off than before especially if bugs that were reported during beta are not fixed before release. The level of expectation of a game is raised quite a bit if there is a public beta. So there better be a shut down time period between beta end and game gold release.

As for companies being expected to release a beta before releasing the game I don't think it would be a big deal but the company has to have the reputation of putting out a decent game. If we know the company has an awesome closed beta team (in house or invite only) I won't worry about it too much on gold release. However if a company like DICE puts out Battlefield 3 without a public beta of some sort I would be very suspicious of it's quality because they are notorious for bugs. Any large MMOG (RPG or FPS or RTS) pretty much requires an open beta at this point if not only to test the massive network needs.

I really hope that packaging betas with other games doesn't become normal because it plainly a ploy to advertise a crappy or slow selling game or to simply make money. It's a cheap capitalistic ploy and does not have any of the fan's or customer's best interest in mind, only the dollar sign.
-----

E3: The sad thing about E3 is was the only place where an independent company could really release something that was special and people would take notice of it. Even though they didn't have the money to advertise and have huge huge prime floor displays, the fans really picked them out of the crowd and they got very good publicity for free. Games were voted on by the people at E3 as what was good, bad or disappointing or surprising. Now it's being run by a more corporate mind sense. He who has the most money and glitz will win at E3. What independent companies really need to do is use viral video or fan forums to really bring notice to their games. I think they can beat the big releases with good internet advertising.

Robs Voice Acting: Way to go Rob! To me it kind of sounded like a multiplayer F.E.A.R combined with Half Life 2 and maybe a little S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
---------

Thread of the Week:

Multi-player games that are specifically rank or level based is where free time and game play have conflicts. If going up in level or rank was not something that mattered then it wouldn't be an issue. Trying to play with your guild and trying to stay with them level wise is stressful. So it might be better to get used to grouping with pick up groups or joining foreign squads in multi-player games. That way you can play at any time because you are not waiting for anyone or timing anything. The only other option really is single player only games.

As for segregating ranks of players to similar skill levels, Battlefield 2142 does that right now. They have a flag that does not allow anyone above a certain level to play on a server IF and only IF the server admin sets the flag. However skill vs. time spent in the game was brought up on the podcast and the solution really is easy. It's the player choosing their skill level. If a really crappy player chooses expert and gets his ass handed to him then that's his own fault for choosing an expert skill.

----

Good vs Evil in games:
It's pretty much been said good enough in the podcast. The more choices your give the player the more complex you get with the exception of one thing. Faction points and categories. The ability to talk to an NPC in an MMORPG is determined by your faction. So be too evil and you just can't talk to them. And that's completely based off a positive or negative integer. When playing against other humans then that faction number might make you PvP enabled vs. good players who have a positive faction. It really just comes to a simple number and how that number interacts with the world. And when you have certain categories and only about seven portions of good and evil then you have enough complexity and gray area where you feel more personalized. The way that faction number interacts with the world becomes more and more complex as code and hardware gets more advanced.

-----

Congratz Dr. Awkward. I guessed completely wrong.

Good show guys.

Damn you Elysium! You killed rabbit!

Also, "Los Pistoleros" FTW.

Elysium wrote:

I loves me some Podunk music. Awesome.

LobsterMobster wrote:

Also, "Los Pistoleros" FTW.

Thanks, dudes.

You can grab a high res version here.

It's just a teaser from what will ultimately be a full length song, hence the somewhat abrupt ending.

Yeah, Odin Sphere is brilliant (in terms of visuals, gameplay, and story) but the slowdown is atrocious. Also, I've found that playing with the Japanese voices was more conducive to enjoying the story than with the English ones, but check the thread about the game if you care to read more about why this is the case.

Certis, which Block Buster were you at that carries Blu-Ray? My friends with the PS3 signed up to zip.ca for their blu-ray movies because they couldn't find a rental place in Winnipeg that carried 'em. They're really not happy with zip.ca so finding a store locally to rent them would make them very happy indeed. Maybe Movie Village might have them too?

As for Blu-Ray at Best Buy, both the one on Regent and the one on St. James have a ton; they're right at the front of the store, behind the new releases shelf.

Rob: Excellent radio vignette! What made you decide to do it? I'd suggest that you submit it to the Fringe Phone Plays thingie but I don't know that much of the Fringe audience would "get" it.

Elysium wrote:

I hate myself a little for recognizing that quote.

Then I feel like I've legitimately accomplished something today.

Loved the show guys. Bravo to Rob for his cool reading and for the cool story.

I have to say though, not to knock Podunk's music, that i didn't like it. It didn't jive with the previously jazzy themes of GWJ and the GWJ theme tune.... i miss my saxomaphone..

Duoae wrote:

I have to say though, not to knock Podunk's music, that i didn't like it. It didn't jive with the previously jazzy themes of GWJ and the GWJ theme tune.... i miss my saxomaphone..

Well, there's no saxomaphone (or jazz) in the Conference Call theme, so you ain't gettin' it from there either.

Los Pistoleros wasn't written specifically for the Conference Call, but I offered to let Rob use that snippet because I promised him some more music for the show. I think my exact words were, "you don't think it's too aggro for the Conference Call?" So whatev. It's not like they're paying me.

Sweet, thanks Podunk.

It vaguely reminds me of the Angry German Remix of the old show, which I loved. I like having the blend of the various styles.

Man, going back through the Podunk archives, I forgot how much I love the Podunk Stomp. I still deem the new music awesome.

Yeah the new song is fantastic, if I could find more good instrumental music that I could use I would be throwing new stuff into the mix way more often. The problem is finding stuff I can use.

Rabbit, I for the life of me can't remember if I sent this to you already (I know I was going to for another article) but your die roll reminded me of this story over at a friends livejournal (not linked as it was a locked entry):

A while back Monte Cook wrote an article about gamer-sign. It's pretty fun and more or less relates finding evidence of gamers left around them much like worm-sign from Dune by Frank Herbert. Needless to say my uber-133t netdogging skills (/sarcasm) couldn't find it.

But... I have my moments of it too...

I was heading into the store the other morning and somehow, even without a physical game right now, I managed to have a shiny red d20 dice in my pocket. I discovered this when crossing the park to work by pulling my keychain from my pocket... and sending the little die shooting across the rotunda.

Dodging the partially dismantled Christmas Trees I couldn't quite catch up. The little crimson hellion sped right toward the store where my openers were patiently waiting. As it crashed into gate of the store it stopped with a clatter, and without missing a beat both of my employees stooped and bent to see what it was. I began to dread explaining the situation because I had no clue why it was in my pocket, as many gamers will agree, that sort of thing just happens.

Before I could say a thing...

"He got a 17!" my fiction supervisor intoned in hushed tone.

They both turned and the shelver looked at me and said in a officious DM mock-baritone:

"You have successfully opened the store."

I was giggling all morning...

Trachalio wrote:

Certis, which Block Buster were you at that carries Blu-Ray? My friends with the PS3 signed up to zip.ca for their blu-ray movies because they couldn't find a rental place in Winnipeg that carried 'em. They're really not happy with zip.ca so finding a store locally to rent them would make them very happy indeed. Maybe Movie Village might have them too?

As for Blu-Ray at Best Buy, both the one on Regent and the one on St. James have a ton; they're right at the front of the store, behind the new releases shelf.

Rob: Excellent radio vignette! What made you decide to do it? I'd suggest that you submit it to the Fringe Phone Plays thingie but I don't know that much of the Fringe audience would "get" it. ;)

It's just off Fermor in ... Lakewood? Lakeshore? Check Blockbuster.ca for the Winnipeg locations, you'll see it.

It's just off Fermor in ... Lakewood? Lakeshore? Check Blockbuster.ca for the Winnipeg locations, you'll see it.

Hmm... a wee bit far out for them to travel to (they're in the West End) but hopefully this is a sign that Blockbuster will be carrying more in the way of Blu-Ray and HD-DVD sooner than later.

Gaald: You've never seen a gayer game? I beg to differ.

Re: Beta. ZOE1 had the MGS2 demo. Yes ZOE1 was pretty much ass. ZOE2 on the other hand was three levels of awesome.

That song is pretty awesome. Gimme!

I think there's a very real problem with trying to quantify good/evil and "reward" actions based on it. Give me choices and let the ending change based on that. It'll certainly make me think more about what I'm doing and why. I certainly don't think we need to fight for better graphics when there's the option of having more interesting game play. I'd bet that tracking whether or not I killed the butterfly pre-flap is easier on the hardware than making water look wetter.

Podunk wrote:

Thanks, dudes.

You can grab a high res version here.

It's just a teaser from what will ultimately be a full length song, hence the somewhat abrupt ending.

Awesome! IMAGE(http://www.3000ad.com/ubb/graemlins/jam_on.gif)

Podunk wrote:

Well, there's no saxomaphone (or jazz) in the Conference Call theme, so you ain't gettin' it from there either. :)

I meant the interlude saxophone - or is it some sort of clarinet? The one that's normally in the conference call but not this one.

Los Pistoleros wasn't written specifically for the Conference Call, but I offered to let Rob use that snippet because I promised him some more music for the show. I think my exact words were, "you don't think it's too aggro for the Conference Call?" So whatev. It's not like they're paying me. ;)

Yeah, i don't have a problem with the song. It's just the mix of styles (i often view the GWJ conference call as an aged port or whiskey, refined in its taste when compared with other podcasts which include more "gamey" music) grates against me.
But alas, i am one man and in the minority.

Was Rob trying to channel Max Payne (albeit with a Canadian rather than New York accent) when he was reading that story?

Great episode, guys! Excellent material, Rob and Podunk included.

Twisting my Wiiness.. I almost spit out the coffee.. good times

ok, I'm a bit of a newbie on this forum but I had an account ages ago and I've been listening to GWR and the conference calls for sometime now. I know this is a random event to urge me to post, but I thought it may prove to be ammusing.

Allow me to set the scene

So I get back to my flat, generally naff day at work so I make some food and fire up the laptop to check my e-mails and do the usual website checkup. I set the GWJ podcast to download and decide to get a big o'l slab of bread and cover it in chocolate spread. I melt into the sofa and release a sigh of relief, fire up the podcast and get ready to take a huge bite of my chocolatey bread treat. only to hear "I am Incontinent Phill, I leave pooh in my pants" Niiiiiiiice

Rat Boy wrote:

Was Rob trying to channel Max Payne (albeit with a Canadian rather than New York accent) when he was reading that story?

All I know is that he was trying to do it "quickly."

So I get back to my flat, generally naff day at work so I make some food and fire up the laptop to check my e-mails and do the usual website checkup. I set the GWJ podcast to download and decide to get a big o'l slab of bread and cover it in chocolate spread. I melt into the sofa and release a sigh of relief, fire up the podcast and get ready to take a huge bite of my chocolatey bread treat. only to hear "I am Incontinent Phill, I leave pooh in my pants" Niiiiiiiice

It's always the weird stuff that drives lurkers out of the wilderness. Welcome!