GWJ Conference Call Episode 170

Conference Call

Darksiders, Bayonetta, Borderlands PC, The Hunter, Our Amazing 2009/2010 Predictions, New Music By Ian "Podunk" Dorsch, Your Emails and more!

This week we shake things up a bit for 2010 with new music and some format tweaks! Brace yourself as Podunk rocks your face off. 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!

Sponsor
Good Old Games

  • 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/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

"Washaway" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 0:36:12
"Carving Away Stone" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 1:10:39

Comments

I love the new music too. It's the kind of music that fits twenty ten, it being the future and all.

Your 2019 predictions were interesting too! Yay iPhone app!

I'm going to jump in here with Ozymandias and say that I also think Bioshock 2 will come as a pleasant surprise to many. What gives me this hope is that: a.) Bioshock was hardly a flawless game, and b.) Bioshock 2 doesn't seem to be eager to attempt to ape the things that Bioshock got right.

Consider the first game's very memorable descent into Rapture. It was rightly lauded as an incredible bit of video game stagecraft and stands as one of the game's most memorable sequences. Bioshock 2, by comparison, has a more in media res opening that quickly dumps you into the action. I haven't played the full game myself, or even a demo, but that kind of disorienting opening can be used to great effect (cf. System Shock 2). There's more potential there than there would be if Bioshock 2 attempted another slow descent into the city.

Hot Scoops and his connection to Bioshock 2 is the only reason I hope the game isn't a flop. Otherwise, I'm not really interested in Bioshock 2 with or without multiplayer.

Rat Boy wrote:

And do you guys watch television anymore? Have you seen the Sony commercials with Generic Commercial Guy trying to push PS3s on families? How about the Microsoft ones starring what's-her-name from Glee hanging around with a random family playing Rock Band and streaming Netflix? They've tried, but they obviously hadn't gotten any traction.

Also, Xbox had the bundle with Kung fu Panda and Lego Indiana Jones. I don't think that was aimed at young professions.

A few other comments:

1. I agree that serious facebook games will not catch on, no matter the quality. I think you can look to the Wii and Iphone for examples. The Wii has some great "hardcore" games, but they don't sell because people have better options. If I want to play a shooter, I go to the systems that give me the best experience, an xbox or a PC. The same with the iphone. It has some great games, but the most popular are the ones that fill a niche, which is usually bite sized experiences that I can play when I have short amounts of down time. If I want to play a game that require more investment I turn to other platforms because it's a better overall experience. Sure there are huge facebook games, but they caught on because the fill a niche. Casual experiences that appeal to people who don't have or aren't interested in other options. Once facebook games try to compete with other platforms they will fail.

2. I agree project natal will fail. It reminds me of Spore. It will have a lot of hype, will be covered by a lot of non-traditional gaming press, like USA today or Time magazine, but will leave everyone with a feeling of "meh". I think Sony's motion controller could have promise. It seems to have the fidelity that the Wii is missing which makes playing a lot of games on the Wii frustrating. I also think Sony has some failed experiments in the sixaxis and eye toy to build on. If they learn from their mistakes and from the progress and experiences of Nintendo, they could produce a worth while product.

garion333 wrote:

Hot Scoops and his connection to Bioshock 2 is the only reason I hope the game isn't a flop. Otherwise, I'm not really interested in Bioshock 2 with or without multiplayer.

With the way Hot Scoops talked about Uncharted 2, it doesn't inspire much hope in his taste in gaming. Well, in regards to my taste in gaming, that is.

One thing I think about with statements like "natal will bring new people into video games" (probably not an actual quote) is that we've been here before with the wii, and that if MS expects a big new audience of people buying their hardware and games they might be underwhelmed. Chances are they will get a bunch of people buying it initially as it's the 'hot new thing' for christmas, but it's whether developers and customers stay with it over the course of years and buy things they wouldn't have from a standard console that will mark it as a success or failure for me.

PCs might be farther along, but console graphics still have a long way to go.

1. Better draw distances. Uncharted 2 is one of the very few games I've seen that pretty much draws as far as one can see.

2. Textures maps are still relatively low res. It's something not too noticeable in the heat of the action, but I think people will notice when they get sharper.

3. Textures can also get a lot more texture--they still artificially smooth in many cases, especially at extreme angles

4. Clothing--this might fall into the physics category, but they're still not really designed separately from the bodies wearing them.

5. volumetric fog/smoke --even in MW2 this looks like 2d crap.

6. in the same vein, badass awesome explosions. Most still look like 2d crap as well.

7. 1080p 60fps - Nextgen consoles will have to be able to accomplish this

8. Better antialiasing

9. a 3-4 fold increase in polygon count.

10. And... 3D. Sony's already said this is coming on the PS3, and one can only assume all nextgen consoles will have this as well. I'm not a big fan of this, but I guess it's inevitable.

Prediction: games will be looking way better than they do now in 2014. Today's games will look very outdated.

Honestly, I think tessellation in DX11 is pretty cool. I don't know when it'll become viable in games, but it really adds a lot of detail to things. Things don't look so flat.

Here's a few static images to look at. No more flat looking ground!!

Grubber788 wrote:

Your 2019 predictions were interesting too! Yay iPhone app!

And this is why I hate that bonus content is being provided only to the buyers of the iPhone app.

Hollow promises that we'll all be allowed to hear it all some day are really no comfort.

And no: I'm not buying an iPhone just for these extras; but I loathe missing them.

Hollow promises that we'll all be allowed to hear it all some day are really no comfort.

That's incredibly insulting, consider my feelings hurt. We do 170 free episodes and here you're accusing us of being disingenuous? Ouch.

Certis wrote:
Hollow promises that we'll all be allowed to hear it all some day are really no comfort.

That's incredibly insulting, consider my feelings hurt. We do 170 free episodes and here you're accusing us of being disingenuous? Ouch.

He's got a point. Releasing it immeadiately after the release of the podcast just seems so premeditated. I could understand it if you released it two or three weeks later, but I feel like you're just cheating consumers with this and promoting Goodjer fanboys buying anything you have to sell regardless value, quality or its compelling nature.

For shame!

garion333 wrote:

Honestly, I think tessellation in DX11 is pretty cool. I don't know when it'll become viable in games, but it really adds a lot of detail to things. Things don't look so flat.

I see the promise of tesellation as the new 3d race. It'll remain a gimmick for a long time until they can get reasonable performance with tesellation enabled though.

Grubber788 wrote:
Certis wrote:
Hollow promises that we'll all be allowed to hear it all some day are really no comfort.

That's incredibly insulting, consider my feelings hurt. We do 170 free episodes and here you're accusing us of being disingenuous? Ouch.

He's got a point. Releasing it immeadiately after the release of the podcast just seems so premeditated. I could understand it if you released it two or three weeks later, but I feel like you're just cheating consumers with this and promoting Goodjer fanboys buying anything you have to sell regardless value, quality or its compelling nature.

For shame!

Of course it's premeditated. They provided an App that people could buy to help support the show. In return, they hopefully get something of value, which is access to little bits of extra stuff (what that stuff is, I don't know since I don't have an iPhone). We'll all get access to that stuff eventually, but what they're paying for is access to it now.

I think something like the 2019 predictions wouldn't be as interesting or valuable several weeks after the podcast where they talked about their 2010 predictions (which is the whole reason AndrewA is upset because by the time he gets it, it won't be as poignant).

I would love access to that stuff. I would pay for it (and people have). I don't have an iPhone, so I'll wait patiently for it to be released. It's like a PS3 exclusive. I might really want that game, but I don't have the system. I would normally have 2 options, buy the system or don't have the opportunity to play the game. Certis is giving us an awesome 3rd option: wait around for a while and we'll just give it to you for free.

Some day, we listeners will do a podcast for you guys, how about that? Somebody get on that. I'll contribute, but am too busy to run the damned thing. Is that fair?

harrisben wrote:

I see the promise of tesellation as the new 3d race. It'll remain a gimmick for a long time until they can get reasonable performance with tesellation enabled though.

I'd say that's the same of a lot of new techniques when they first get used. At first the few trailblazers do bad performance hogging implementations and overuse it in places where it shouldn't be used (see: bloom) and it goes onto being refined and used properly. If anything you need the technology available to develop with through the lifecycle of your game so that you can design it into the game properly and not just bolt it on as an afterthought.

Tessellation has been done before too. What this method seems to be doing (I haven't read up) is taking the height information that is there in displacement maps and turning it into geometry of varying complexity when the camera is close enough that it would make a difference, instead of a shader effect to give the illusion of depth on a still-flat surface.

Podunk, I love the new tune, but I am really going to miss the old one! I always listen to the Conference Call in the car on the way home, and that vague (maybe only in my head?) resemblance to the theme tune to the Hitchhiker's Guide theme tune is like someone saying "It's OK, you can relax now."

While our CEOs certainly don't need the likes of me to defend them, some people are being extremely unreasonable regarding the iPhone app extras here. These guys give up a hell of a lot of time to provide us with some top rate informative entertainment, free of charge, not to mention the best gaming forum online, and you are being rude to them? In what way to they owe any of us anything at all?

It's great that you love the podcast enough to want more, but don't love it so much that you start to hate our gracious hosts!

Grubber788 wrote:

Just an FYI. I was in no way being serious with my previous post. Remember the Dragon Age DLC debate? It was supposed to be a satirical compari-

I suppose any joke requiring an explanation is a failure. Sorry! :-D

Just an FYI. I was in no way being serious with my previous post. Remember the Dragon Age DLC debate? It was supposed to be a satirical compari-

I suppose any joke requiring an explanation is a failure. Sorry!

Edit: and to be very clear, the GWJ app is very useful. Thanks to the overlords for releasing it.

Grubber788 wrote:

Just an FYI. I was in no way being serious with my previous post. Remember the Dragon Age DLC debate? It was supposed to be a satirical compari-

I suppose any joke requiring an explanation is a failure. Sorry!

Edit: and to be very clear, the GWJ app is very useful. Thanks to the overlords for releasing it. :D

Oh! Thanks for the clarification.

*calls off the hitman*

spider_j wrote:

These guys give up a hell of a lot of time to provide us with some top rate informative entertainment, free of charge, not to mention the best gaming forum online, and you are being rude to them? In what way to they owe any of us anything at all?

Quoted for emphasis, and to throw my thanks heartily in their direction!

(p.s. when my husband is in town, and still asleep, I steal his ipod touch and sneak off to the other room to listen to tasty little nuggets of extra content and a little drop7 fix. Thanks for that, too.)

I see the promise of tesellation as the new 3d race. It'll remain a gimmick for a long time until they can get reasonable performance with tesellation enabled though.

It is revolutionary. Although its pretty much subdivision surfaces which have been around since 97' or so. The one thing that is awesome is its done on the GPU.

Also, I wonder if they are tessellating based on the normal map or converting the normal map into a displacement map in real time or they are using displacement maps that were preprocessed from normal maps.

realtime converting of normal maps to displacement maps is impressive.

The using of using of displacement/normal/bump maps to re-topologize and tessellate a flat plane on the fly is potentially industry changing for content creators. If I can create a high poly model and basically box model over it ( box modeling is basically a 3d stick figure) and then the hardware will tessellate the important areas based the model from normal map without re-topologizing, then the modeler doesn't have to retopologize. That can save 30-40% of the man hours in creating game assets. It can perhaps save even more time when you consider main assets like characters and critical scenery locations will go through several revisions. It can either cut the number of revisions down or reduce the time it takes to revise or both.

So tessellating has been around forever. And in fact, ATI had hardware tessellation about a decade ago with its technology that nobody used called Truform. There weren't enough polys in the models at that time so it made the models looks too blobby. The real innovation is tessellation and topology based on a normal/displacement maps. Oh man, if you can save off a file of the tessellated model at the different levels of tessellation... I think I'd faint.

Depending on how well or how long it takes tessellation to take off, MS and Sony may have to bring their new consoles to market sooner than expected. At which point, Sony may have the advantage since it would probably only take a firmware upgrade of their cel based architecture, whereas MS will need new hardware to support DX11. Sony would obviously have to create hardware tessellation but its easy to re-invent the wheel than to come up with it from scratch. And as I've said, SDS or tessellation has been around for a decade.

From what I've read they are tessellating from displacement maps and ditching normal mapping altogether.

Hmm, and I'm guessing its not vector displacements (essentially a combination of normal and displacement map technology) since those are even more computationally intensive. Still, it would be cool to make a cave or cavern that folds in on itself. Then with this technology you could model a plane over it so that all that resides in memory is a plane and a displacement map for a reasonably detailed section of very organic terrain.

Well, we probably aren't there yet but its probably coming in the next 10 years, easily. The faster tessellation is the norm, the faster it'll be replaced by this. Oh god, I can only imagine randomly generated levels using stitched together vector displacement maps... The future looks bright!

Grubber788 wrote:

Just an FYI. I was in no way being serious with my previous post. Remember the Dragon Age DLC debate?

If it makes you feel any better, it worked perfectly on me. I did the classic "wow, this guy's being a bit... why am I suddenly hearing this in Rob's voice? Oh!"

Chairman_Mao wrote:

List of graphical shinies

Some very good picks in there. I'd also add in improved physical interaction between different models (people picking up an object, two characters hugging, that kind of thing).

Oh and all in-game graphics will be ray-traced in real time in 2 years. You heard it here first!

I don't dislike the new music, but can you imagine 'Cagney & Lacey' changing their intro music? Or 'Hill St. Blues'? Or...'Airwolf'? Unthinkable!

Change bad.

Chairman_Mao wrote:

Oh and all in-game graphics will be ray-traced in real time in 2 years. You heard it here first!

Maybe not that far off!

Switchbreak wrote:
Chairman_Mao wrote:

Oh and all in-game graphics will be ray-traced in real time in 2 years. You heard it here first!

Maybe not that far off!

I didn't understand half almost all of what Carmack was saying. But he mentioned voxels, which happens to be the hottest word ever!

I wouldn’t say there’s anything that Intel has shown, even if they network a whole room full of PCs and say “we'll be able to stick all of this on a graphics card for you in the coming generation,” I don’t think they’ve shown the win. I don’t think they’ve shown something people will say “my god that’s 10x cooler” or “that makes me want to buy a new console”.

This is actually what Rob was getting at on the 'cast.

Oh, and Carmack doesn't like tessellation. Boooo.

Great show guys, I like the new intro music and new format but it will take some getting used to.

The first voicemail made me think back to when I played the Cod4 campaign. In this day and age a lot of us almost forget about the kind of world we live in. Despite the unrealistic bits, it was definitely a reminder that a lot of the things that happen in the game have actually happened and are happening everyday. It renewed my respect for the soldiers over there risking their lives every second.

Oh, and Carmack doesn't like tessellation. Boooo.

Yah, boo!

But to be honest, he's not an artist. The most exciting things I see about it are from an artists perspective.

It does make me wonder about collisions though with tessellation enabled. There are some immersion busting minuses whether you go the route of colliding with the reference polygons or whether you decide to use the tessellated mesh (the lowest resolution mesh) for collision. The former will be like invisible boxes. The later will be much more computationally intensive and may cause instability with fast moving objects, small objects colliding in the cracks, or collisions at glancing angles.