GWJ Conference Call Episode 230

Conference Call

Men of War: Assault Squad, Dark Spore Beta, Bulletstorm, Friction Between Social & Traditional Games, Gameification, Your Emails and more!

This week MeYou Health game designer (and good pal) Bill Sabram joins the show to stand up for social games and gameification. Julian, Elysium, Rob Zacny and Shawn are kicking around in there too.

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

CastMedium
Game Thing Daily
Good Old Games

MeYou Health
Men of War: Assault Squad
Bulletstorm
Dragon Age 2
Dark Spore
Helsing's Fire (iPhone)

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Span - http://sgxmusic.com/ - 22:01

And All That Between - http://sgxmusic.com/ - 51:59

Comments

Oh man, I didn't realize Twitter was a game. I suck at Twitter.

Can't wait to hear about your takes on "social games"....a term about as meaningful as "web 2.0".

/listens

I really like when Zacny's on the show. Dude is smarticulate.

Was the Dead Island trailer more innovative or imaginative than what you find in a good movie or book? Certainly not. But I think its importance lies in that it's more innovative than what you find in any game trailer or on YouTube in general. I think it going to push the medium a bit, and I hope we'll see more interesting and innovations in the near future.

A minor request, but can we limit the Dead Island discussion to the comments for the other show. I'd prefer not to have 2 separate conversations going at once on the matter.

angramainyu wrote:

Was the Dead Island trailer more innovative or imaginative than what you find in a good movie or book? Certainly not. .... I think it going to push the medium a bit, and I hope we'll see more interesting and innovations in the near future.

I find it worrying every time something that is going to push the gaming medium is, at the same time, apparently playing catch-up with other media -_-

God, I've started this whole DI thing again, haven't I >_<

Edit: yes I have, and so I shall now stop.

Slumberland wrote:

I really like when Zacny's on the show.

I certainly liked his appearance here, largely for his comments regarding the Dead Island trailer. The responses to that thing have had me bewildered since it first landed and I've had some trouble trying to figure out why - how do people consider this artistic? It's far too slickly commercialised and somewhat in line with a road safety advertisement; have images of dead babies on my homeland's cigarette packaging desensitised me to the shock I should be feeling?; do I actually know anything about the game? -, and yet Rob just cuts to the chase and nails the issue on the head.

Sooooooooooooo glad you managed to get people to play Men of War finally, Certis. Finally. Such a great series.

Now, shall we get them to play Demon's Souls?

(Clockwork, please insert beating a dead horse gif. Thanks.)

Certis' whole spiel on sneaking around and shanking dudes that are completely unaware of his presence? That's me.

And sniper rifles too. Fun.

garion333 wrote:

Sooooooooooooo glad you managed to get people to play Men of War finally, Certis. Finally. Such a great series.

Now, shall we get them to play Demon's Souls?

(Clockwork, please insert beating a dead horse gif. Thanks.)

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/lWqAz.gif)

Thanks.

Brenda's talk from GDC:

Rob Zacny is the smartest man.

kashwashwa wrote:

Rob Zacny is the smartest man.

You forgot dead sexy.

I'm with Elysium: Kill 10 Wolves quests > Kill this boss (not counting all the trash to reach him) > Collect 10 wolf pelts.

The mechanic that always gets me, physics puzzles. I love experimenting to see what kind edge cases can still work. Anything that allows a truly complicated solution to a trivial problem is great.

Similarly, hold-the-fort scenarios coupled with tactical planning and physics are too much fun - think the prison in Half-life 2 with the sentries. Has to have a tactical part - just 'survive x waves' suck.

I haven't made it through the whole podcast yet, but here's a video of General Chaos (Sega Genesis), in case you're curious about the game that Certis mentioned in comparison to Battleheart (iOS).

GC played as a real-time tactics game in single player, but also included an incredibly fun multiplayer mode that allowed you and a friend to jump into direct control of the characters in a cooperative campaign.

garion333 wrote:
kashwashwa wrote:

Rob Zacny is the smartest man.

You forgot dead sexy.

I don't know, I find him pretty condescending and off-putting, all while agreeing with his opinions.

What does that say about me?

General Chaos was ahead of its time. Awesome!

Nice show, all!

As a person who works in health care, I was very interested in some of the stuff presented by your guest this week. Thanks for including this information on a form "gameification" as a way to change behaviors in ways that promote better health.

Thanks!

OzymandiasAV wrote:

I haven't made it through the whole podcast yet, but here's a video of General Chaos (Sega Genesis), in case you're curious about the game that Certis mentioned in comparison to Battleheart (iOS).

GC played as a real-time tactics game in single player, but also included an incredibly fun multiplayer mode that allowed you and a friend to jump into direct control of the characters in a cooperative campaign.

Certis wrote:

General Chaos was ahead of its time. Awesome!

Holy crap. I've played that game. We rented it one night I was staying over at my friend's house who had a Genesis. We got that and Boogerman.

Veteran units in Company of Heroes. Dammit man, now I feel like playing Company of Heroes again.

Certis pressuring Hedgewizard and Rob into Men of War via Twitter was a funny conversation to watch. Also the fallout since.

Interesting to have Bill giving his perspective on social and mobile gaming. I'm not a fan of social games as they are now, but the reactionary ummm reactions from the 'hardcore' crown seriously sticks in my craw.

It's an immature medium so pronouncements on long term sustainability and ramifications based on prejudice and feeling threatened are pretty irritating.

The small apps Bill works on sounds pretty powerful for their intent.

My favourite game mechanic of the moment is chasing couriers in Assassin's Creed II. I don't care what mission I'm on, if I see a courier I have to run him down. Epic rooftop chases ftw (It's also fun when they run around a corner and practically impale themselves on my sword.)

OK, I want to hear more *facts* about rabbit's transformation into an old-school, spartan warrior. I haven't had the pleasure of making his acquaintance, but one can hear it in his voice: "(Potential) Killing Machine."

j.

gt: onticdreamer

Higgledy wrote:

My favourite game mechanic of the moment is chasing couriers in Assassin's Creed II. I don't care what mission I'm on, if I see a courier I have to run him down. Epic rooftop chases ftw (It's also fun when they run around a corner and practically impale themselves on my sword.)

That's one thing I love about AC2 over AC1, they give you so many things to do all over the cities that you can always have variety to keep you from getting bored.

I'll admit: I'm still a sucker for story. If the mechanic reinforces the story, all the better.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
garion333 wrote:

Sooooooooooooo glad you managed to get people to play Men of War finally, Certis. Finally. Such a great series.

Now, shall we get them to play Demon's Souls?

(Clockwork, please insert beating a dead horse gif. Thanks.)

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/lWqAz.gif)

That is an apt gif because that's exactly what it's like playing against the damn, dirty cheat of an AI in Men of War: Assault Squad: you get spanked. Repeatedly. And then it flogs your lifeless corpse.

Also, I am Demon Souls proof.

Great podcast, I really enjoyed the discussion of social networking games. I totally understand what Bill Sabram was talking about with the psychology of it all, but to me that is the perfect example of the problem I have with facebook type networked games- if you are coming at the issue from the psychological angle what happens to the most important part of a game - the fun?

Re: in-game hints, that's one of the things that's driven me a little crazy about Bioshock 2. Overall, I'm quite happy with it, but I can't get it to stop giving me hints. I don't mind the tutorials for learning how to do stuff like the drill dash, but I don't need, for example, Sinclair popping up on the radio after a few minutes of exploration to remind me that I need to go take pictures of a brute splicer. This wouldn't be a problem except that I went into the options menu and explicitly disabled the game's adaptive hint system. If I've turned it off, I expect it to honestly be turned off and not merely less intrusive.

re: guily pleasure mechanics, I like something that's second cousin to Certis' stealth killing: pure stealth. By that I mean that I'll play a level in Splinter Cell again and again until I can sneak through the entire thing without killing anyone, without knocking anyone out, and without ever once being spotted. It's a challenge, and I've been assured that it's boring to watch, but dang if it isn't satisfying when you pull it off.

My other guily pleasure mechanic is looking for collectibles that offer in-game rewards; this is especially true if the game lets me know how many of that type of collectible there are. I don't get too worked up about not finding all of the intelligence documents in something like Modern Warfare, but I'll compulsively hunt down all the heart pieces in Zelda and the missle packs in Metroid.

Boy, that Zacny is a handsome-soundin' fella.

Also, my email was read out! Yay!

I think Stacking got it pretty right when it comes to in-game hints. The system is entirely opt-in and accessed through the menu, and each puzzle has three hints of increasing levels of specificity. Each hint beyond the first is locked behind a (relatively short) timer, so if you get the first hint and don't immediately cotton to what it's trying to tell you, you are forced to take a second to ponder it before you are allowed to move on to the next hint.

I think the only thing I would add to it would be a fourth hint level in which it actually gives you a breadcrumb trail to the specific doll that you need next, because sometimes I know which doll I need, I just don't know where the eff they've hid themselves amongst the often large, crowded, and convoluted levels.