GWJ Conference Call Episode 146

Conference Call


Demon's Souls, Madden 10 Demo, Shatter, Our Live Three Year Anniversary, Revisiting Game Violence, Studio Audience Questions and more!

It's our three year anniversary and we did a live show this past weekend to celebrate! This is an edited version of that event, so sit back, relax and enjoy. If you want to submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563.

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. You can also submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563!

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

"Washaway" (Ian Dorsch) - 0:27:53
"Carving Away Stone" (Ian Dorsch) - 0:51:05

Comments

Congrats on three years, guys.

A minor point, but what's the contradiction between HD quality graphics and really really nice 2D art? can't a game be both?

Gratz on 3 years!

I think unrelenting bleakness is in the eye of the beholder. Fallout 3 is no bleaker, and no more unrelenting, than many other games. Doom, Quake, Bioshock and Left 4 Dead aren't exactly life affirming explorations of the lighter side of life. As always, it comes down to what clicks with the individual and what turns them off.

Scanners is awesome.

In fact I might have to go rent it now...

For everyone enjoying monkey island, go check out the Space Quest collection on steam.
I swear I'm not a Sierra plant.

Higgledy wrote:
Doom, Quake, Bioshock and Left 4 Dead aren't exactly life affirming explorations of the lighter side of life.

Hello new sig, I was wondering where you were.

Great show, wish I'd had time to watch it live.

About episodic games: I think it really depends on how you define 'episode'. Wipeout has effectively gone episodic on the PSN, releasing a new campaign after 9 months (hopefully they'll keep doing it). Plus there's DLC for full games: Fallout 3, Prince of Persia, Mass Effect and so on have all had DLC packs that add another few hours of gameplay, which is close to an episodic model.

Missed the live show, but great job as always. I've been listening to some other podcasts (Idle Thumbs, Giant Bombcast, Escapistcast and others) and the GWJCC is just the best. Great sound: I'm never fiddling with the volume because one person is louder or softer than the others, great format: you keep things tight and don't wander (much), and great topics.

Re: the last show, I have but one question:

When will we start to see discrete VPUs (Violence Processing Units) for high end gaming rigs? I think unloading the processing of in-game violence features would really help my frame-rate.

Chairman_Mao wrote:
A minor point, but what's the contradiction between HD quality graphics and really really nice 2D art? can't a game be both?

I think there's a psychological disconnect in that 2D is perceived as an "old technology" whereas HD is "new." 2D art is relatively easy to display in HD since it's just a picture, but unlike 3D models that can be created and easily animated, 2D art needs to be essentially recreated for every frame. It strikes me as a tremendous amount of work to make a well-animated 2D sprite that is so detailed it benefits from HD. I'd imagine the result would be very impressive, though.

Rabbit, I missed this during the live show, but you can use L1 and R1 instead of L2 and R2 in Shatter. Much easier to control.

What's more of a concern than anything else to me, is that it seems like violence in games has severely hampered creativity...

What Sean said is true - that violence is essentially a game mechanic at this point, but one that the majority of games hinge on.

It just seems like there's got to be a triple-A game made that isn't a shooter or open-world kill sim (and isn't Madden or Rock Band).

rabbit wrote:
Higgledy wrote:
Doom, Quake, Bioshock and Left 4 Dead aren't exactly life affirming explorations of the lighter side of life.

Hello new sig, I was wondering where you were.

rabbit wrote:
Higgledy wrote:
Doom, Quake, Bioshock and Left 4 Dead aren't exactly life affirming explorations of the lighter side of life.

Hello new sig, I was wondering where you were.

You ran out of room, lad.

I really loved the MMO discussion toward the end, prompted by that question about the "Planetside Model." Since this is a potentially deceased horse (with some minor beating) I have added my thoughts to the more appropriate thread here so as not to clutter your collection of accolades.

For a live show, you guys had a really clean sound with very little screwing up. I know that lots were likely edited, but it still sounded much better than I would expect in my mind's eye.

Anyway, happy 3-year anniversary, you guys. I wish I had been here from the start; then I could more fully appreciate your metamorphosis over time.

All the best.

Kudos to Rob for fixing Julian's feed. Kind of wish we could have had the chat transcript to go with it to see all the comments going on with the podcast.

Rat Boy wrote:
Kudos to Rob for fixing Julian's feed. Kind of wish we could have had the chat transcript to go with it to see all the comments going on with the podcast.

First of all what was wrong with Julian's feed during the show? As for fixing it, no fixing was necessary as what he records locally is always 100 times better than what you get through the internet.

Gaald wrote:
Rat Boy wrote:
Kudos to Rob for fixing Julian's feed. Kind of wish we could have had the chat transcript to go with it to see all the comments going on with the podcast.

First of all what was wrong with Julian's feed during the show? As for fixing it, no fixing was necessary as what he records locally is always 100 times better than what you get through the internet.

Only that his feed sounded dead quiet over the UStream feed at least until the first break. I don't know, I was about as drunk as Cory during the show.

Rat Boy wrote:
Gaald wrote:
Rat Boy wrote:
Kudos to Rob for fixing Julian's feed. Kind of wish we could have had the chat transcript to go with it to see all the comments going on with the podcast.

First of all what was wrong with Julian's feed during the show? As for fixing it, no fixing was necessary as what he records locally is always 100 times better than what you get through the internet.

Only that his feed sounded dead quiet over the UStream feed at least until the first break. I don't know, I was about as drunk as Cory during the show.

No, his volume was way down, but Rob used the stuff they all recorded individually (like usual) and not the stream from UStream. I think Certis made mention of it before they went live. Anyway . . .

Why do you all pronounce gibs as "jibs"? That's incredibly stupid. It's technically short for giblets. Hard G, assholes. F this podcast and F Brian.

I'm kidding. I'm not really angry. The podcast is good. Just get it right next time, old people.

dictionary.com wrote:
gib⋅let
  /ˈdʒɪblɪt/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [jib-lit] Show IPA
Use giblet in a Sentence
–noun
Usually, giblets. the heart, liver, gizzard, and the like, of a fowl, often cooked separately.

kashwashwa wrote:

It just seems like there's got to be a triple-A game made that isn't a shooter or open-world kill sim (and isn't Madden or Rock Band).

The Sims? Peggle sells like a triple-A. Just about everything on the Wii is nice and clean. All big racing games... all big sports games...

I don't think that violence and creativity occupy the same space in a game. I don't think that a design team will slack off on the creativity just because they know if they put a lot of blood in it as a crutch. If the people who do market their games on gore were forced to take the gore out, they'd just make a crappy game WITHOUT gore in it.

And just as a game should not have gore put into it for the sake of it being gore, a game should not have gore taken OUT of it just for the sake of not having gore. Then it's just distracting.

OzymandiasAV wrote:
gib⋅let
  /ˈdʒɪblɪt/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [jib-lit]

Really? I've never heard anyone pronounce it that way. Do I live in a retarded part of the country? I don't think I've ever spoken either work out loud. Good thing, right? Ha, that would be embarrassing.

I guess you learn something new every day.

I've never, ever heard it pronounched "Giblet" always "Jiblet."

Yup, jiblets (phoenetic) is the only way I've ever heard it. However, in all fairness, I pronounce gibs with the hard G so it sounds manly instead of like something I might do on a boat.

The thing with Fallout 3 is that the violence isn't cruel
People don't get injured in combat, they don't limp around, they don't lie on the ground in pain. Something about the way they explode is comedic and for me that's totally different from chainsawing someone in GoW or, poking eyes out in the other GoW because those games relish in the violence.

Gibs isn't the same as violence
People exploding is just visual feedback. It's like colours in geometry wars.
Same thing in Quake 3

Great podcast yet again and solid work for being a live broadcast! Your 3 year experience really shows nicely.

Some thoughts on this weeks topic.

What bothers me a bit with videogame violence is the fact that it's taken so lightly by the developers. I mean they dont see the potential to use it as a way to get you involved. There's great potential to shock with violence (and not in a disturbing way like Manhunt) in videogames but gore on some random group of grunts isn't the way. The violence many times has no "soul" or a deeper purpose. It's makes no impact because it's not about anything. We have to love/hate the characters atleast a little bit to care about the violence aimed towards them. Too many times there's no clear antagonist in the story - or the antagonist is so underdeveloped as a character - that it's hard to get involved about your mission or revenge or what ever the story is about.

Gore alone gets quite boring after a while and isn't needed to get you involved with what's happening but it can be sometimes used as a way to boost some already serious situation. I had totally forgotten this but Prey (and i dont wanna spoil too much) is a game where nearing the end of the game I remember really thinking strongly: I'm gonna kill every single one of these bastards! I had a good reason for it and a clear target for my anger. Yes the game has an insane amount of gore but it's used quite well to back up the story. During the 1st half of the game it succeeded to lay down the ground work for the characters so that it's at least a bit shocking what happens later in the game. Also the game had a fair amount of profanity - and it was in the right places - and that made it feel a lot more real. Talking about Prey like this, is actually a bit weird cause the whole tagline for the game - FPS with native Americans and Aliens! - seems over the top camp'ish and silly. Still the game felt a lot more serious to me than many of the "trying to be dead serious" games i've seen.

Having said all that, I definitely still think there's room for these fun action movie style violent games like Gears of War and God of War that are just rollercoasters and the violence is an everyday activity in their world. The other side of the coin is a game like Alan Wake or Heavy Rain. I expect to take their violence and horrors more seriously and give me something to think about. We'll see how it goes.

EDIT:

Still going back to Prey. Of course the protagonist and his relationship to other characters needs to be also developed enough to care about the violence and it's motivation. This I think was done adequately in the game. Also the reactions of the main character were believable so that it grabbed the player and at least for me the reactions were pretty much the same that I would have had in the same situation.

I can see myself going way deeper in to this and that's a post for another topic, so im gonna stop me mumblin' now.

LobsterMobster wrote:

The Sims? Peggle sells like a triple-A. Just about everything on the Wii is nice and clean. All big racing games... all big sports games...

Those are good examples of non-violent games that are popular.
I don't think they're creative though (I'm not saying that the Sims wasn't originally).


I don't think that violence and creativity occupy the same space in a game. I don't think that a design team will slack off on the creativity just because they know if they put a lot of blood in it as a crutch. If the people who do market their games on gore were forced to take the gore out, they'd just make a crappy game WITHOUT gore in it.

I'm not sure if I agree with that. As I think about it, I don't know why we've never seen a game with a huge budget like GTA 4, or Fallout 3 been made where violence is a minor part of the gameplay. Believe it or not, it could be done - and I think amazingly well - it just hasn't.

And just as a game should not have gore put into it for the sake of it being gore, a game should not have gore taken OUT of it just for the sake of not having gore. Then it's just distracting.

And I agree with that - if a company wants to make a shooter that's fine.

Something that I noticed after looking at the "Best of" on the 360, PS3, and PC from Metacritic for the last three years, is that 26 of the 41 games are outright shooters. I'm not stupid - companies are out there to make money. Obviously people do still want them. It just seems like there is an extremely large untapped market available.

Elysium wrote:
Yup, jiblets (phoenetic) is the only way I've ever heard it. However, in all fairness, I pronounce gibs with the hard G so it sounds manly instead of like something I might do on a boat.

Ludicrous gibs!

I don't know why we've never seen a game with a huge budget like GTA 4, or Fallout 3 been made where violence is a minor part of the gameplay

admittedly I only played a couple of hours but I would say that the violence is a minor part of the gameplay in mirrors edge based on my limited experience of it. It looked like a game whose budget would have been in line with most AAA games.

superslug wrote:
I don't know why we've never seen a game with a huge budget like GTA 4, or Fallout 3 been made where violence is a minor part of the gameplay

admittedly I only played a couple of hours but I would say that the violence is a minor part of the gameplay in mirrors edge based on my limited experience of it. It looked like a game whose budget would have been in line with most AAA games.

Haha... that is literally the one game I had in mind that actually did break out of the shell at least to a degree. I beat it and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was essentially a linear platformer played in first person, so is still a ways off from what I think can be accomplished, but in my opinion it was in the right direction.