GWJ Conference Call Episode 195

Conference Call

Singularity, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, Elemental - War of Magic, Pinball, Questions With Shawn, Your Emails and more!

This week Allen, Julian and Sean Sands talk pinball, new games and buckle under the pressure of Shawn's hard hitting questions. 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

The Amethyst Caverns - Shatter the Official Video Game Soundtrack - http://sidhe.bandcamp.com/ - 0:27:24
Freon World - Shatter the Official Video Game Soundtrack - http://sidhe.bandcamp.com/ - 0:51:48

Comments

Deus X has been copied and improved upon and wholly surpassed many many times.

Diablo 2 has been copied. Diablo 2's clones have had unique and more advanced features but they have also always missed key ingredients. These features are unanimously asserted to be improvements initially but end up breaking down after the clone's initial play through.

So I am comfortable in the idea Diablo 2 has never been duplicated on more than a very average and superficial level. It certainly has never been wholly surpassed so it has never been replaced. We still love its style and atmosphere despite heavily dated graphics.

Brilliant show.

I've finally been able to experience the agony and ecstasy of a Steam sale (Props to Valve for adding Macs to Steam and, more importantly, for not charging Mac owners a premium for older games.) I bought Osmos and the Tales of Monkey Island games for a ridiculously low price. Both are looking like wise investments :).

My burning desire now is for Left 4 Dead on the Mac. Any day now it'll be here.... any day now...

I can't say I'm proud to be a gamer in the dictionary definition of the word. I'm pleased/proud (the feeling is somewhere between the two) that I'm not put off by the current social attitudes towards gaming and continue to pursue a hobby that I enjoy. I'm also pleased/proud with my ability to maintain, most of the time at least, a good balance between work, life and gaming.

I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but,

fangblackbone wrote:

Deus X has been copied and improved upon and wholly surpassed many many times.

*Record scratch*

I'd say the individual components of DE have been surpassed, but they were never as good as the leading examples at the time anyway. There were better shooters, better RPGs and better character interaction in other games by 2000. What DE really did was make the whole greater than the sum of the parts, and becomes something unique.

One thing I have been wondering is what's the 'core' of Deus Ex. What's the component that makes that game and it's sequel/prequel. Is it the themes of transhumanism, the conspiracy theory fun park ride, the character interaction, the RPG systems, multiple approaches through the levels, and so on. What is/was the 'seed' that grows into this revered game.

That got me thinking about whether Eidos Montreal have worked out the solution for their game (I think they have), and why hasn't anyone else transposed what made DE awesome into another game. For example, if BioShock is the steampunk relation to the cyberpunk System Shock, where is the steampunk version of DE, as that would seem to be a fairly easy design to make, let alone transposing the formula onto other settings. The Thief series seems like a close relation, but is it's own distinct game (and Thief4 being developed by Eidos Montreal again makes me happy).

Quick note: the original Prince Of Persia was not on the Xbox.

Scratched wrote:

I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but,

fangblackbone wrote:

Deus X has been copied and improved upon and wholly surpassed many many times.

*Record scratch*

Um, yeah.

Anyway, I'm downloading the podcast now...

Alex_V wrote:

Quick note: the original Prince Of Persia was not on the Xbox.

IMAGE(http://img96.imageshack.us/img96/1143/princeofpersiathesandsor.jpg)

I never really notice field of view stuff in games. The half-life games never bothered me. I did, however notice that when I got in a jet in Just Cause 2, the camera went to a very wide angle.

Certis wrote:
Alex_V wrote:

Quick note: the original Prince Of Persia was not on the Xbox.

IMAGE(http://img96.imageshack.us/img96/1143/princeofpersiathesandsor.jpg)

And here come the arguments about what the "original" Prince of Persia game is...

mrtomaytohead wrote:

I never really notice field of view stuff in games. The half-life games never bothered me. I did, however notice that when I got in a jet in Just Cause 2, the camera went to a very wide angle.

Nor do I. I think a lot of it is to do with the type of game, and the demands on the player. If you need to be aware of the environment all around you as in most twitch shooters then a wide FOV is good, but if you only ever encounter enemies in front of you as in a 'corridor/rail shooter' then it's less important. The only game I remember making me sick was Wolfenstein 3D, which was a rudimentary 3D shooter by modern standards.

Well, Certis is only about 12, so he probably does think that's the original.

Certis is correct. Prince of Persia 1 and Prince of Persia 2 were unlockables in Prince of Persia: Sands of Time for the original XBOX.

Now if that is what he meant by his post is another question. But you could say he has all his bases covered and is correct regardless of what generation of 'original' is being asked about.

Actually its almost recursive in that the original is in the original which holds the original which is in the original and so on.. and so on... and so on. Get it?

I hope you find my take on this original.

I said "The original on the Xbox" to make clear I meant the reboot, not the horrible Prince of Persia 3D or the original rotoscoped game. Gee willikers.

Speaking of which, this is kinda cool.

Hang on a second.. I've got to confess (wrong thread, I know) that I haven't played Deus Ex, but from what I hear, many of the nifty features in it were around in System Shock 2, which came out a year earlier, right? I thought I heard someone say in the podcast that System Shock 2 had been influenced by Deus Ex.

They share some common traits, and I'd be surprised if there wasn't some common 'developer blood' between Ion Storm Austin, Looking Glass Studios and Irrational Games. For example Warren Spector was behind System Shock 1, developed by Origin, owned by EA, and SS2 was by LGS/IG, yet Spector went to ISA. There's probably a zillion examples like it in other games.

An aside for us programming geeks, I have to agree with Pyroman's argument that cross platform development is unfeasible with C and OpenGL alone. Developers have had access to these tools for years now on the PC but it hasn't lead to very many cross platform applications between Windows and Linux for example. History shows that developers need more tools to reasonably achieve cross platform support, and it's these tools that Apple has recently forbid developers for their system from using.

In theory there's no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.

Certis wrote:

Speaking of which, this is kinda cool.

That is cool. I'd heard about that, but never thought to look for the footage.

Just thought I'd pop in and say that I like that you keep using the music from Shatter. It's interesting to see what portions of the songs you guys pick (Jonathan picks?) because it doesn't usually match up to the stuff I would've necessarily chosen.

Speaking of sound, is the sound levels jacked up more than when Rob edited the show? The music is setting off my subwoofer.

Latrine wrote:

An aside for us programming geeks, I have to agree with Pyroman's argument that cross platform development is unfeasible with C and OpenGL alone. Developers have had access to these tools for years now on the PC but it hasn't lead to very many cross platform applications between Windows and Linux for example. History shows that developers need more tools to reasonably achieve cross platform support, and it's these tools that Apple has recently forbid developers for their system from using.

In theory there's no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.

One of the revolutionary aspects of the App Store was supposed to be the low barriers for entry. But then when you intentionally make cross-platform development harder, you're negating that advantage. The idea that anybody with a little code and a few hours can make an app becomes completely impossible when you want to go cross-platform. Adobe was trying to make that a reality and from most accounts they succeeded until Apple blocked them.

Great episode guys - had a lot of fun listening to the intimate Questions with Shawn. I propose that every 20 episodes or such, you let another podcast member run their own Questions with segment.

Also, Red Dead Redemption is one of the few games that makes me proud to be a gamer.

Another good episode. Allen has been a great addition.

Rabbit's trek into NH to go to Canobie Lake Park inspired me to shout-out Funspot in Laconia. It's a lot further away, up near Lake Winnipesaukee, but it has a ridiculous collection of classic video and pinball games.

Dr_Awkward wrote:

Another good episode. Allen has been a great addition.

Agreed.

If Deus Ex received half of the glowing praise that it's recently received at the time of its release, I'd wager that we'd consider it one of the most overrated games of all time today. It's an interesting and ambitious game, but I would agree that most of its "innovations" were done better -- and earlier -- elsewhere. (e.g. the System Shock games)

Similarly, the other "half" of that discussion didn't really do much for me. I hit the level cap on two different classes in Diablo and enjoyed that game so much that I actually pre-ordered Diablo II, but I never got the same sense of enjoyment out of the sequel. Though I appreciated the skill tree and expanded class sets, they all seemed like decorations on top of the same mouse-destroying gameplay that I had experienced in the first game, which also happened to have much better atmosphere, IMO. The jungle levels, in particular, seemed like a very public shrugging of the shoulders by the designers; it's just there.

Also, all of the loving reminiscence for Diablo II seems to forget the seemingly-endless delay that prefaced its initial release, which ended up launching with a number of problems anyway, including memory leaks and wonky balance changes. I know that the practice of "nerfs" through subsequent patches is understood and accepted in online gaming today, but Blizzard's first experiments with the process in Diablo II were incredibly punitive to players at the time.

As somebody who was a huge Blizzard fan at the time, I came out of Diablo II having a good time, but also feeling a very strong sense of disappointment. It's admirable that they've continued to support it for all these years but, even with all of that, I still think I'd consider it the weakest game that Blizzard has ever released.

PyromanFO wrote:

One of the revolutionary aspects of the App Store was supposed to be the low barriers for entry. But then when you intentionally make cross-platform development harder, you're negating that advantage. The idea that anybody with a little code and a few hours can make an app becomes completely impossible when you want to go cross-platform.

Apple's not obligated to make it easier for developers to take their applications over to competing phone platforms, are they?

OzymandiasAV wrote:
PyromanFO wrote:

One of the revolutionary aspects of the App Store was supposed to be the low barriers for entry. But then when you intentionally make cross-platform development harder, you're negating that advantage. The idea that anybody with a little code and a few hours can make an app becomes completely impossible when you want to go cross-platform.

Apple's not obligated to make it easier for developers to take their applications over to competing phone platforms, are they?

Since when is saying something is bad for developers implying an obligation on Apple's part? If you advertise "ease of development", but actually make it very difficult for a certain type of developer to develop for your platform, it sucks. If you want or need to develop for another platform for any reason, developing for iOS just plain sucks. I wasn't implying Apple should do this or Apple owes me that. Simply stating a fact, Apple has made it very clear they're willing to go to great lengths to make cross-platform development that includes iOS a pain in the ass.

fangblackbone wrote:

Deus X has been copied and improved upon and wholly surpassed many many times.

I'm calling shens.

The only full-fledged copies that I can think of turned out to be seriously broken. Individual elements have certainly been successfully used and improved upon, but if any game was ever greater than the sum of its parts, it was Deus Ex.

BTW. Great show guys.

OzymandiasAV wrote:

Apple's not obligated to make it easier for developers to take their applications over to competing phone platforms, are they?

The way you phrased it no, they don't have to make things easier. But from a moral or ethical standpoint they are obligated not to make things worse for their clients, which includes developers. From a practical standpoint they're not obligated and can do anything they can get away with. Legally it can fall under anti-competitive business practices. There were rumors of Adobe filing a lawsuit back in April but I guess nothing has come of it.

I think this is an interesting perspective on open/closed application platforms for mobile devices...

http://www.quartertothree.com/game-t...

It's fashionable and probably justifiable to beat Apple up over some of their policies around the app store. But it's also important to not be under some illusion that it's all dasies and ponies everywhere else.

Also, I like Diablo 2.

I find the idea of being proud to be a gamer very strange because I feel that pride implies accomplishment. I'm no more proud to be a gamer than I am proud to be a moviegoer or a home coffee roaster or any other hobby. I might be proud to get a particular high score or that I supported an indie movie that needed it or that a particular batch of coffee turned out well, but proud that I happen to have an interest? I don't see it.

I have the same problem with the concept of being "proud to be an American." To paraphrase Chris Rock, falling out of a woman on one side of a border is not an accomplishment.

hbi2k wrote:

I find the idea of being proud to be a gamer very strange because I feel that pride implies accomplishment. I'm no more proud to be a gamer than I am proud to be a moviegoer or a home coffee roaster or any other hobby. I might be proud to get a particular high score or that I supported an indie movie that needed it or that a particular batch of coffee turned out well, but proud that I happen to have an interest? I don't see it.

I have the same problem with the concept of being "proud to be an American." To paraphrase Chris Rock, falling out of a woman on one side of a border is not an accomplishment.

I think it's a counterpart to the far more common feeling of being ashamed to be a gamer. I'm at a point somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between the two; I'm proud of certain accomplishments of mine as a gamer, but I also know that beating a Rock Band song on expert won't necessarily get me praise outside of my fellow gamers.