GWJ Conference Call Episode 270

Conference Call


Not Playing Skyrim, Skyward Sword,Back to WoW, Infinity Blade II, iPad Boardgames, Better VGAs, What to Do With Franchises From Dead Studios, Your Emails and more!

This week Shawn, Julian, Elysium and Cory tackle your Twitter questions and emails!

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.

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Rocksmith
Zelda: Skyward Sword
The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
Skyrim Mod Thread
Infinity Blade 2
Scribblenauts
iPad Boardgames

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Final Wave Theme - Dungeon Defenders - http://dungeondefenders.com/ - 22:27

Spike in a Rail - Bastion - http://store.supergiantgames.com/col... - 44:27

Comments

Regarding Bastion and running native client applications in Chrome.

It is true that in some ways this code is similar to the Steam code but there are fundamental differences as well.

The biggest difference is that with Steam your downloaded application is executing on your PC as a normal program. It's the same as if you had downloaded it from the web or installed from a CD. This allows the program to make any system call you want it to do, so it can start accessing files on your computer as well as use DirectX/OpenGL/whatever to draw on the screen.

With the Chrome NaCl system the application can only access the system through the Pepper API which is implemented by the browser. This means your application has the same restrictions as the browser it is running inside and has no way to directly access your operating system.

The biggest upside of this is that your code becomes OS independent (it will run on anything which runs Chrome on X86) and secure (since it's locked down by the Pepper APIs).

Personally I think (and hope) that this could make for a big upswing for indie devs since they can target multiple platforms at once and make it very easy and fast to try a game. It's basically the same as running a flash game, but it's native.

IIRC there are upcoming proposals which will make it possible to use game controllers and stuff like that with these games as well.

EDIT: Just noticed I had missed other people commenting on this issue.

One thing I'll add (which I'd like to hear you discuss on future episodes): Can this be the new LAN party? Being a gamer with a job I have a laptop at work. And there are other gamers here at work. And plenty of people have laptops at home as well. So I'm thinking systems like Native Client could the lunch-break, late night at the office or even bring your laptop to a coffee shop an impromptu LAN party. I see a big potential for small, fast, games which are fun to play together for a short time and don't require a lot of computer power. Doom multiplayer in the browser anyone?

I've had the beta for Titan iPad. I can confirm it is awesome, I have played something like 50 games in the last week, this is 25x the number of physical games I've managed to play in my life to this day :p

If Bastion saves sync with Chrome, then it'll be the first Chrome game I've heard of that does. I was disappointed when Angry Birds didn't.

mrtomaytohead wrote:
I'm at the same point as Certis was on the CC, but not really feeling the nag. Then again, I've gotten here across 4 play sessions due to the little one keeping my play times down. Also, Fi's input seems to be a lot of, hey, this is all really new to you, type things so far. For those that finished the game, does the amount she tries to chime in drop?

I'm loving the multiple save spots in the dungeons, though. I don't think many people touch on this or many of the other small changes like this that really improve the game's overall experience over previous games in the series. IIRC, Playing a dungeon in Twilight Princess was an all or nothing experience.

It's hard to notice where annoying things aren't. Zelda as a series is strange in that it has wonderfully clean teach-train-test gameplay but some really archaic design elements at the same time.

Tanglebones wrote:
I'm conversing with my mom about games now. She's more interested in the social aspect than the man vs. machine, so I think Mario is right out. In terms of what equipment is currently available, there's a PC and a 360 in the house (my sister lives there, still). She's also not a fan of violence (in life, games, or other media), so anything gory is verboten as well.

I think, based on available gear and interest, she might actually get a kick out of Portal 2 co-op. If not, maybe something simpler, like board games played over an OS.

Sounds like you want a fairly simple co-op title. That should narrow things down, especially with it's non-violent.

Does it have to be a digital implementation? What if you started with Pandemic?

SuperDave wrote:
There is a good games show: the IGF.

YES.

What works for me won't work for everyone, but my wife isn't a gamer at all, and the first game I was able to get her interested in playing was Worms for XBLA. I'm referring to the original here, which is simplified enough to not be overwhelming.

She thought the worm voices were cute, she found the gameplay easy to pick up, the turn-based nature of the game prevented it from being stressful, and the only thing that required any real mastery of the controller was using the rope. Of course, we couldn't play against one another- she doesn't enjoy competing- but we had a great time playing pass-the-controller against the CPU.

re: gateway games... My non-gamer mom got really sucked in by Machinarium. She would call me at all hours asking for hints. Being in the niche "adventure" genre, I don't know how much it would serve as a gateway to other types of gaming. I had tried once buying her a DS with Brain Age, but I don't think she ever played it. I might see if she would be interested in one of the Prof. Layton games.

double

I'm surprised the Lego game were not mentioned as good gateway games. they are on nearly every platform. Their gameplay is simple, yet puzzlish. They also do a wonderful job of re-telling the story of whatever IP you might jump in on. The games work great as solo games or co-op. The art design is really creative and fun, and has really become great in the later games.

In many ways, they represent a lot of what video games have to offer. And there has to be at least one IP his mom might be interested in.

I feel the ability to run Bastion through Chrome is the precursor for Android's version of being able to run bigger games on the mobile space. Now that I just read that OnLive is coming on to the iOS, it just boggles my mind how fast and how far mobile gaming has come to providing the "quality" game experiences traditionally associated with the consoles.

The TouchArcade article talking about OnLive:
http://toucharcade.com/2011/12/07/th...

My wife, an admitted flash-game-type-of-player, enjoys puzzle games, word games, etc. Put a 360 controller in her hand and she turns her head sideways and looks at me funny, kinda like my dog would, because the dual analog sticks are something she has trouble with.

Arrow keys, WASD, all that's fine. She was even an avid PS1 gamer, but the current gen consoles provide little interest for her due to the technological familiarity required with the controllers. For someone like me, that's nothing, it just took a little getting used to for me. For her, it might as well be the grand canyon some days.

I think that's where the gateway drugs like touch-screens and Kinect are coming into play. I'm not sure if in another generation or two of consoles that we'll still have anything like the controllers we know today. Consider that could be 10+ years away, I expect to be crotchety and demanding my Luddite buttons of yore.

trueheart78 wrote:
I think that's where the gateway drugs like touch-screens and Kinect are coming into play. I'm not sure if in another generation or two of consoles that we'll still have anything like the controllers we know today. Consider that could be 10+ years away, I expect to be crotchety and demanding my Luddite buttons of yore.

I see it as a scale that needs to be balanced between what a game expects you to be able to do, and how many buttons the controller has and needs to have. One example I'd give in terms of 'optimising' this is the generic 'use key' that can share functions with other actions, although this can lead to things like opening doors when you want to reload and vice-versa. However many buttons you have, some people will want more, and some people less, but the designer has to make that balance work.

I don't get all the hate for Duke Nukem Forever. I bought it, played it, and liked it enough to play it again all the way through.

I don't see where it did anything appreciably different from Half Life 2: cantilever puzzles, set piece battles, etc. the main difference is that I enjoyed the vehicle levels a lot more in DNF than I did in HL2.

It wasn't revolutionary, it was just fun.

The sexual content struck me as pretty good satire on the games industry as a whole-- basically they stripped away the pretensions a lot of games have toward being artistic until only the boobs and explosions were left. Sometimes I wonder if the hatred directed at DNF was derived from the fact that Gearbox basically realized that we've all been entertained by bread and circuses, and made that fact obvious.

I think a lot of gamer-rage depends on how invested someone is with a game. It's quite possible to be either apathetic about a game and just forget it, and to be personally offended that the game ever entered your awareness at all.

As for the whole sexual content bit, I've noticed some people do get the bit between their teeth and rage over it, and some just acknowledge it and move on. Notable examples being Batman "bitch" Arkham City (which I find kind of interesting in the same community that doesn't get bent out of shape by Lara KaterinLHC "Bitches" Crigger), The Witcher, DNF and probably a ton of others. Rock Paper Shotgun is another one. My main concern is how out of proportion it seems in the context of these games.

Scratched wrote:
I think a lot of gamer-rage depends on how invested someone is with a game. It's quite possible to be either apathetic about a game and just forget it, and to be personally offended that the game ever entered your awareness at all.

As for the whole sexual content bit, I've noticed some people do get the bit between their teeth and rage over it, and some just acknowledge it and move on. Notable examples being Batman "bitch" Arkham City (which I find kind of interesting in the same community that doesn't get bent out of shape by Lara KaterinLHC "Bitches" Crigger), The Witcher, DNF and probably a ton of others. Rock Paper Shotgun is another one. My main concern is how out of proportion it seems in the context of these games.

I thought the same thing. Here we have a group of people who defend Bayonetta as being a female empowerment fantasy, or who went out of their way to import the uncensored version of The Witcher, but start crying misogyny when Duke Nukem acts like Duke Nukem. And the chief difference, content wise, seems to be that DNF makes fun of the people who play games for this content (kind of like Bravis and Butt Head) while He Witcher tries to justify it by dressing it up as Art.

I'm sure I'm being too glib or applying Occams razor a bit too closely, but that's how it looks to me sometimes.

doubtingthomas396 wrote:
I thought the same thing. Here we have a group of people who defend Bayonetta as being a female empowerment fantasy, or who went out of their way to import the uncensored version of The Witcher, but start crying misogyny when Duke Nukem acts like Duke Nukem.

Those aren't generally the same people, though there are some who are more sensitive to the Duke's more outright displays.

Side note: Do people really not know who Zachary Levi is?

wordsmythe wrote:

Side note: Do people really not know who Zachary Levi is?

He invented dungarees, right?

I don't see where it did anything appreciably different from Half Life 2

Yup, that's probably why you don't get the hate, then.

I, personally, don't see how you can even make a sentence like that, but we're obviously coming from totally different perspectives. From my point of view, you might as well have just said, "I don't get why nobody likes Jamie Kennedy as an actor. I don't see where he's doing anything appreciably different from Laurence Olivier."

doubtingthomas396 wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

Side note: Do people really not know who Zachary Levi is?

He invented dungarees, right?

He's the lead actor for the TV show Chuck. He's been showing up as a sort of TV spokesman for nerds for a good couple few years now.

wordsmythe wrote:
doubtingthomas396 wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

Side note: Do people really not know who Zachary Levi is?

He invented dungarees, right?

He's the lead actor for the TV show Chuck. He's been showing up as a sort of TV spokesman for nerds for a good couple few years now.

He also threw a giant nerd-party at San Diego Comiccon this year, site of this photo:
IMAGE(http://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lqm6pjpxzE1qbrwiro1_500.jpg)

Regarding the VGAs and awards in general, I must admit I don't get upset about the VGAs. Its the game version of the MTV Movie Awards to me. Its not any kind of analog to the Oscars or even the Globes.

My only gripe really is that I can't also watch the GDC awards. Well the whole trailers/shilling for future games does bother me.

On a unrelated note, I think you guys just sold me on Distant Worlds.

Elysium wrote:
I don't see where it did anything appreciably different from Half Life 2

Yup, that's probably why you don't get the hate, then.

I, personally, don't see how you can even make a sentence like that, but we're obviously coming from totally different perspectives. From my point of view, you might as well have just said, "I don't get why nobody likes Jamie Kennedy as an actor. I don't see where he's doing anything appreciably different from Laurence Olivier."

Maybe it's because I played both games on the PS3, but I found the controls on both to be comparable. The puzzle solving was very similar (oh, I have to move this heavy weight to this side of a thing on a fulcrum, and it lift up the other end so I can go to my next room full of enemies to clear). The level design wasn't all that different-- run around, shoot dudes, enter a room you can't leave until all the dudes are dead, get in a vehicle and drive until you have to get out and start shooting more dudes. I found the boss fights more enjoyable in DNF, especially that one with the giant eel.

Sure, the story and writing are different, but to be honest by the time I got to to the last third of Half Life 2 I was REALLY ready to be done with the game. Whereas Duke Nukem had me come back and play it a second time start to finish, and I never felt bored or frustrated with it. That's my own bias, though. I prefer games that don't take themselves too seriously. I'd rather play Saints Row than GTA. Anything that's willing to be silly gets bonus points are far as I'm concerned.

But it doesn't matter, because it's not like I'm going to change anyone's minds here. That's a statistical impossibility on the internet.

wordsmythe wrote:
doubtingthomas396 wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

Side note: Do people really not know who Zachary Levi is?

He invented dungarees, right?

He's the lead actor for the TV show Chuck. He's been showing up as a sort of TV spokesman for nerds for a good couple few years now.

Well that explains why I never heard of him. I don't watch TV. I have a pretty good collection of DVDs and video games, but no cable subscription and I pretty much never use the antennae anymore.

So this show, Chuck. Is it, like, about beef or something?

It's about projectile regurgitation.

You could probably dedicate a whole podcast to how to make a good televised video game awards show.

How to make a better VGAs, though? That's easy: drop "awards" from the title and stop pretending that anyone involved cares about honoring the creative people who make video games. Instead, be honest with the audience, and call it the Annual Televised Airing of Trailers and New Game Announcements Spectacular, since that's clearly what they care about, and that's fine. There's a place for that. It's getting that mixed up with a half-assed attempt at an awards show that causes confusion.

hbi2k wrote:
You could probably dedicate a whole podcast to how to make a good televised video game awards show.

How to make a better VGAs, though? That's easy: drop "awards" from the title and stop pretending that anyone involved cares about honoring the creative people who make video games. Instead, be honest with the audience, and call it the Annual Televised Airing of Trailers and New Game Announcements Spectacular, since that's clearly what they care about, and that's fine. There's a place for that. It's getting that mixed up with a half-assed attempt at an awards show that causes confusion.

I can get behind that.

They can call it "E3"

doubtingthomas396 wrote:
hbi2k wrote:
You could probably dedicate a whole podcast to how to make a good televised video game awards show.

How to make a better VGAs, though? That's easy: drop "awards" from the title and stop pretending that anyone involved cares about honoring the creative people who make video games. Instead, be honest with the audience, and call it the Annual Televised Airing of Trailers and New Game Announcements Spectacular, since that's clearly what they care about, and that's fine. There's a place for that. It's getting that mixed up with a half-assed attempt at an awards show that causes confusion.

I can get behind that.

They can call it "E3"

Which makes it more obvious that they're trying to solve a problem that already has a solution.

Seeing as everyone loves to compare video games to movies occasionally, it seems games lack for an equivalent to trailers before a cinema showing or on a DVD (in a form equivalent to trailers on a DVD).

Scratched wrote:
Seeing as everyone loves to compare video games to movies occasionally, it seems games lack for an equivalent to trailers before a cinema showing or on a DVD (in a form equivalent to trailers on a DVD).
Yeah, but I hate those.

wordsmythe wrote:
Scratched wrote:
Seeing as everyone loves to compare video games to movies occasionally, it seems games lack for an equivalent to trailers before a cinema showing or on a DVD (in a form equivalent to trailers on a DVD).
Yeah, but I hate those.

NFS: Hot Pursuit had an unskippable one for NFS: Shift 2.

People hated that

I'm not saying games need to force you to watch trailers before the 'main feature', but that they lack an equivalent way of getting customers aware of upcoming games. That said, when EA puts up a notice in Origin of a game they want to sell me I promptly close it.

There's always the Valve route of turning popular indie games into advertisements for your new product. People ate that up.