GWJ Conference Call Episode 156

Conference Call

Risen, New L4D Map, Scribblenauts, Chris Remo From Idle Thumbs Talks Mass Effect ... BITCH!, Tons of Your Emails and more!

This week we play catch up on all of your awesome emails and voicemails! We also announce the next live show coming this Saturday at 8PM EST. Keep an eye on the GWJ front page for Ustream details as we get closer to the show. 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

Pheonix Strike Audio E-mail - 0:36:56
"Washaway" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 1:00:33

Comments

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Rob, that game idea is Brilliant.

I vote you to voice act it in honour of dreaming it up!

Got a link to the Mass Effect trailer?

d3p0 wrote:

Got a link to the Mass Effect trailer?

Here is one:
http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Mas...

Great podcast, as always. Always fun to hear from The Weatherman at the beginning of the podcast, and the Chris Remo interview was a pleasant surprise as well. Can't wait to read the full e-mail from that QA Advice guy whose name currently escapes me.

Oh, and thanks for squeezing my audio e-mail in at the last minute! Much appreciated.

Okay, you guys have already voiced your utter abhorrence to Muramasa, but just to get it through to any one who might have been listening - Muramasa: NOT a JRPG.

That's all. Please return to your regularly scheduled American gun games.

Good show. A couple of things that occurred to me:

- Everyone always uses the "it's less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks" comparison for things like DLC. Is it not possible we're all just paying way too much for coffee? It seems like Starbucks has redefined what we consider too cheap to care about.

- In game leaderboards and achievements. Am I alone in thinking there are plenty of single player games where these have no place at all? I don't want popups telling me how I'm doing in competition with my friends in a story-based game - I'll end up hurrying through to compete, instead of just enjoying the game.

Chris Remo made a good point that Project Zero doesn't fit with the tone of the first game. Perhaps, if the same character was in Gears or Fallout, she wouldn't grate so much.

I liked the thoughts on vulnerability in games. Two moments from old games stand out to me:

In 'Dark Forces' one level started in a prison. All your equipment had been removed and you had to sneak around, avoiding guards, in order to find it. It turned out that your kit and weapons weren't far away but I found myself wishing they had extended the part of the level where you were completely weaponless.

In the Resident evil Code: Veronica demo there was a room you could only reach by passing through a metal detector. On order to stop automatic doors closing on you had to drop your gun into a steel box. I thought it was cruel but brilliant and it made me feel even more anxious than I was already.

It's funny that you guys say that you don't play the DS because you don't have a long commute, because I play the DS mainly at home, I find that the ability to do shorts sections of gaming that you can stop any moment to be great advantage over the gaming I do on the PC. I can play the DS while being able to interact with the rest of the family, while on the PC I have to be secluded in the office.

Great show, and welcome back to Elysium. Think of the kittens!

I'm intrigued by Rob's idea for a game. Obviously the big challenge in such a game would be coming up with an interesting mechanic (that somehow fits with the story/gameplay) to offset the constant loss of the player's abilities, in order to keep people playing to the end.

The Chris Remo interview was a nice bonus. While I agree that the new 'extreme bitch' doesn't fit with the tone of ME1, maybe that's the point. Maybe BioWare is going for a different tone with ME2. Whether that's good or bad is subjective and a topic for a different discussion, but I feel that Chris is being a bit too judgmental based on a single marketing trailer.

Elysium & Top Gear: I love that show! I've been watching it since season 3. Do you watch it via the shortened, edited BBC America version or the original BBC airings?

LarryC wrote:

Okay, you guys have already voiced your utter abhorrence to Muramasa, but just to get it through to any one who might have been listening - Muramasa: NOT a JRPG.

That's all. Please return to your regularly scheduled American gun games.

These days, any game with a sword in it = RPG. Any game with a sword in it and a Japanese origin or theme = JRPG.

We've already lost that fight.

Is "samey" next week's secret word?

The Chris Remo interview was interesting, but it seemed like it brushed by the real issue. Subject Zero is psychotic, no doubt about it, but since they are assembling the Dirty Dozen of the Mass Effect universe for that game, I'm not going to complain too much. At the end of the interview they just barely touched on what I think the real issue is...the marketing shift that I think is coming from EA. Its like BioWare's marketing is being managed by someone at EA who's only ever been responsible for shooters up until now. The BioWare guys say, "We need character introductions!" and he says, "Ok, that's a good idea, but faster and more intense, please." Everything is being filtered through this theoretical manager's own experience, and so it feels out of sync with what BioWare actually produces. I'm hoping someone at EA will figure that out before it does significant damage to BioWare's reputation.

I really wish you guys would play more JRPGs or talk about them less. These days you seem to use JRPG as a synonym for "bad," or at least "impenetrable."

LobsterMobster wrote:

I really wish you guys would play more JRPGs or talk about them less. These days you seem to use JRPG as a synonym for "bad."

But they're all samey, though.

Rat Boy wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:

I really wish you guys would play more JRPGs or talk about them less. These days you seem to use JRPG as a synonym for "bad."

But they're all samey, though.

Maybe so, but some can be quite compelling if you give them time and effort!

Hey, I still play JRPGs. Don't let rabbit's unrelenting racism and Sean's apathy paint us all with the same brush. I'm a renaissance man!

Oh and the game I've played through that I hated: Halo and even more so, Halo 2.

Certis, I was interested in reading the email about getting into the industry, etc. I'm not seeing it anywhere, though I could be blind.

Good show. Love the Rob rage and the creepy Elysium love. They make the world go round.

Gah, I knew I forgot something, one sec.

Hey GWJ crew

I'm about a week behind on all my podcasts as I took a trip across the great country of Canada and have been spending the past few weeks trying to catch up with the several podcasts I follow.

I just finished listening to episode 154 (as I write this episode 155 is downloading) and I heard that you get tons of e-mails from people asking how they can get into the industry or working in QA even. These days a lot of people think that if they just get a QA job, the chance to actually make games is just a couple steps away. It's actually a lot more complicated than that.

Getting a QA job is fairly easy for the most part, so long as you live in a city with a big game studio. I live in Vancouver and we have EA Canada here. They make most of the EA Sports games, some NFS titles as well as Skate and a few smaller things. Every summer they hire roughly 500 testers to go through and absolutely pummel their games.

It's not at all difficult to get one of these jobs. You have to show a fairly basic level of competency in writing and an interest in video games. Most places hire contractors now so if your sending resumes to the actual companies you probably wont get any bites.
It's recommended you try applying to Volt or QA Labs. They are fairly consistent in posting jobs for QA on CraigsList. At least around here.

Once you're in though you have to stay in. There is no shortage of people who want to do QA, and if you're not up to snuff, you'll get the boot. You cannot just play the games your testing, you have to actively try to break them. Granted when you first start testing a title that's not usually all that hard as they are fairly broken, but it's easy to get stuck in a rut and not notice bugs later in a project, especially after playing the same title non-stop for four to five months non-stop.

The other thing people should know when getting into QA, is that these days there are very few permanent positions. After the title is finished or close to being finished, the QA is the first to go. There is no need to keep them around if there is nothing to test. In fact most contractors have it in the contract that they can let go of testers any time they want for whatever reason. It sucks but a lot of people accept it because they want the job.

Before getting into QA I held a single job for four years. In the first two years after I quit and went into QA, I've had four jobs. The shortest one only lasting two months. You get really good at writing cover letters and updating resumes at that pace.

It's not all bad though. After all that I landed a job at a iPhone game developer (we made a few games that have been mentioned on the podcast) and I've been here for just over a year now. It's nice to have some stability for once. I also work very close with the development teams, since I'm the only tester. This is unlike other places where I was kept on the opposite side of the building where the development teams never bothered to come to.

As a step to making games, I've never been closer and have been told that I'll most likely be designing a small game sometime in the near future. It's a long journey though, and just like any career choice you're going to need to put in a lot of time and effort to get to where you want to be. A lot of people don't have the drive and end up stuck working QA for a long, long time. Granted if you get hired as QA lead in a larger company you're looking a huge pay hike and a much more permanent position. Though stuff like that doesn't happen until you've got around five or more years of experience.

Aaaaand this has ended up a lot longer than I initially meant it to. I doubt you'll read this on the show, but hey, the information is here if you want it. Hell, I could have gone into a lot more detail and this is easily half the size it might have been. I left out how tedious the job is and a few details of the general type of people who are testers. But yeah, maybe just do a cliffs notes version of the letter if you do plan on reading it.

Cheers

-Alex

That's just too long. Nevermind, I don't want to read it.

I kid, I kid. Thanks.

Top Gear is probably the best show on television anywhere.

psu_13 wrote:

Top Gear is probably the best show on television anywhere.

I wasn't going to say it, since aside I don't watch much of what's 'on television', but yeah, that's about how I feel too.

Hmm... The Subject Zero trailer seemed fine. She's a huge contrast to the other characters in the game and that is how she was protrayed. I didn't even know there was any controversy behind it. Personally, I welcome a female BAMF.

LobsterMobster wrote:
Rat Boy wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:

I really wish you guys would play more JRPGs or talk about them less. These days you seem to use JRPG as a synonym for "bad."

But they're all samey, though.

Maybe so, but some can be quite compelling if you give them time and effort! :D

Most genres are samey. I'd just rather play Generic JRPG X than Generic FPS Z.

mrtomaytohead wrote:
psu_13 wrote:

Top Gear is probably the best show on television anywhere.

I wasn't going to say it, since aside I don't watch much of what's 'on television', but yeah, that's about how I feel too.

Speaking of TV, big ups to Certis for speaking of "The Wire" and Shakespeare in the same sentence (around 85:00) when discussing stories in games. I don't care what Elysium says about you; you're all right in my book.

Certis wrote:

Hey, I still play JRPGs. Don't let rabbit's unrelenting racism and Sean's apathy paint us all with the same brush. I'm a renaissance man!

OK, fair enough.

And rabbit really needs to work on that. It's almost the Tens! ...Teens?

Hee hee, I'm one of the SoaSE regulars- and nope, no kids. My wife has pretty much accepted my Saturday morning absence as normal- but if we accidentally produce spawn at some point this will no doubt change.

The game that came to mind listening to Rob's idea is Eternal Darkness. It might actually suggest the kind of thing you could do to make a game like that interesting to people who still want progression:

Spoiler:

It was only one portion of that game, not the entirety of it, but it had something like this. Your character's body is decaying, but you still proceed through the section of the game as normal, obtaining items and spells to increase your capabilities. Your arsenal gets better, but your character grows weaker, mostly manifested by how slow he gets. You normally have the advantage of speed over most enemies in the game, but this advantage goes away as your character decays into one of them.

Compelling show guys. So much so that I was compelled to log into the forums just to post about it. Keep up the compelling work.

I wonder if people would have been less put off by the Subject Zero trailer if they hadn't already seen all the Dragon Age trailers beforehand.

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