GWJ Conference Call Episode 285

Conference Call

TERA, Angry Birds: Space, Watching Starcraft, The Hard-Core Casual Movement, Street Fighter X Tekken, Journey Spoiler Section, Your Emails and more!

This week Julian, Elysium, Cory and Allen talk about how hard-core casual games are getting. There's also a Journey spoiler section after the credits with Julian, Lara and Karla!

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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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Comments

Journey spoilers.

Spoiler:

Something you might have missed:

The sequence at the end of Journey you call the 'Heaven' sequence is actually a little summary of the whole game you just played: first you fly across 4 pillars like the broken bridge, later you go 'skiing' for a bit, then later you float up to a top of a big tower like the temple, and so forth.

As for those sequences meditating by the statues, I think the first few tell the history of the people in the white robes, they seemed to either have made or found the red cloth creatures, but then fought over them and destroyed each other in machines (there's a fairly clear depiction of them riding the snake machine things). The final 360 degree thing at the top of the temple depicts all of the stages you just went through, and then the final ascent you are about to go on.

I think GWJ has a new tag line:

"It's phenomenally ass hat free."

Snadzies_McSnadz wrote:

Any episode with Lara in it is an automatic failure.

Not to feed the troll or anything, but why do you feel that way? *Edit* Never mind the question. Bye.* I find her different point of view a wonderful addition to the show whenever she is on, and I wish she kept more up to date with the latest releases so that she could be on, and contribute more, more often.

I don't listen to the spoiler sections, so I don't know what she said on this episode.

For what it's worth, The Protomen aren't a chiptune band. They're progressive rock. Think Rush, if Rush was obsessed with Mega Man.

Demiurge wrote:

For what it's worth, The Protomen aren't a chiptune band. They're progressive rock. Think Rush, if Rush was obsessed with Mega Man.

Yeah, for a bit I thought Rabbit was talking about I Fight Dragons which is a chiptune band and they're pretty great as well.

I completely recommend The Protomen, but I'm also borderline obsessed with them so FWIW.

On the other hand, if you want a Mega Man-themed chip tune outfit, I couldn't recommend enough Mega Ran, aka Random. And if you aren't into Mega Man per se, try his Forever Famicom (various SNES games), or Black Materia (FFVII) albums.

SurprisedMan wrote:

Something you might have missed:

The sequence at the end of Journey ....

Might want to spoiler that stuff.

GWJ Q&A Mentions
During the listener-questions segment many games are discussed. Since these aren’t included in the show summary on the web site, here are the games mentioned in this episode.

Question on character connections and Bastion
Mass Effect
Final Fantasy VII
Heavy Rain
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Journey

Question on Guild Wars 2

Question on game scores
Shadows of the Damned
Bastion
Kirk Hamilton scoring for Mass Effect
Diablo II
Bioshock
Planescape Torment
Megaman 2
Protomen (band)

Question on Journey
Portal
Rock Band

Question on changing endings and ME3
Fallout 3

Demiurge wrote:

For what it's worth, The Protomen aren't a chiptune band. They're progressive rock. Think Rush, if Rush was obsessed with Mega Man.

Fixed, thanks. Good description.

Spoiler:
SurprisedMan wrote:

Something you might have missed:

The sequence at the end of Journey you call the 'Heaven' sequence is actually a little summary of the whole game you just played: first you fly across 4 pillars like the broken bridge, later you go 'skiing' for a bit, then later you float up to a top of a big tower like the temple, and so forth.

Goddamn, you're right. Nice one.

gorilla wrote:

I think GWJ has a new tag line:

"It's phenomenally ass hat free."

How appropriate that someone would come into the show thread and try to change that, and be banned.

So glad (Cory?) mentioned Planescape as a great soundtrack... it's one of the few I've actually bothered to acquire and listen to outside the game. Another one that sticks out in my memory is Alpha Centauri, which had this groovy, peaceful futuristic vibe going on. I had looked at the files and they were layered on top of each other procedurally - whenever you built a base a new layer was added to the track and then faded. It was nice to have more subtle responses to your actions than a "ka-ching" style sound effect.

Padmewan wrote:

So glad (Cory?) mentioned Planescape as a great soundtrack... it's one of the few I've actually bothered to acquire and listen to outside the game. Another one that sticks out in my memory is Alpha Centauri, which had this groovy, peaceful futuristic vibe going on. I had looked at the files and they were layered on top of each other procedurally - whenever you built a base a new layer was added to the track and then faded. It was nice to have more subtle responses to your actions than a "ka-ching" style sound effect.

If you liked the Planescape soundtrack, you may also like the Fallout 1/2 soundtracks by the same composer, Mark Morgan. He's also been tapped to do the Wasteland 2 soundtrack.

Padmewan wrote:

So glad (Cory?) mentioned Planescape as a great soundtrack... it's one of the few I've actually bothered to acquire and listen to outside the game. Another one that sticks out in my memory is Alpha Centauri, which had this groovy, peaceful futuristic vibe going on. I had looked at the files and they were layered on top of each other procedurally - whenever you built a base a new layer was added to the track and then faded. It was nice to have more subtle responses to your actions than a "ka-ching" style sound effect.

If you're looking to learn more about this sort of thing, an Aussie named Ben Abraham has done some academic work as well as some blog writing about procedural music in games. I think his undergrad thesis was on Halo.

wordsmythe wrote:
Padmewan wrote:

So glad (Cory?) mentioned Planescape as a great soundtrack... it's one of the few I've actually bothered to acquire and listen to outside the game. Another one that sticks out in my memory is Alpha Centauri, which had this groovy, peaceful futuristic vibe going on. I had looked at the files and they were layered on top of each other procedurally - whenever you built a base a new layer was added to the track and then faded. It was nice to have more subtle responses to your actions than a "ka-ching" style sound effect.

If you're looking to learn more about this sort of thing, an Aussie named Ben Abraham has done some academic work as well as some blog writing about procedural music in games. I think his undergrad thesis was on Halo.

If you get access to the GDC vault, there's probably several powerpoints on it. Also, GANG is a great resource for information about this sort of thing.

wordsmythe wrote:
Padmewan wrote:

So glad (Cory?) mentioned Planescape as a great soundtrack... it's one of the few I've actually bothered to acquire and listen to outside the game. Another one that sticks out in my memory is Alpha Centauri, which had this groovy, peaceful futuristic vibe going on. I had looked at the files and they were layered on top of each other procedurally - whenever you built a base a new layer was added to the track and then faded. It was nice to have more subtle responses to your actions than a "ka-ching" style sound effect.

If you're looking to learn more about this sort of thing, an Aussie named Ben Abraham has done some academic work as well as some blog writing about procedural music in games. I think his undergrad thesis was on Halo.

Ben's an Aussie? Huh. I always thought he was British.

monkokio wrote:

I've finally registered account after about 3 years of listening because Rabbit, Lara, and Karla just about brought me to tears during my walk to work yesterday.

I was a designer/programmer on Journey from start to finish and working on it was a roller-coaster ride. The reception since launch has been kind of nuts too, but I've been mostly ignoring it because I'm already deep into my next project.
When the Journey spoilers section came up in this weeks episode I actually started to feel anxiety and debated on turning it off (GWJ Conference Call is the only gaming podcast I listen to, and it was a bizarre worlds colliding moment). Listening through it brought me to a stop in the middle of my walk so I can maintain my composer. It's insanely validating to know that details and ideas that we spent (what seemed like) way-too-long on weren't lost in the final game.

Sorry if I come off as rambling. It's just really overwhelming and rewarding to hear such positive words.

The love extends to the whole, crew BTW. I don't mind that Journey doesn't suit most of your tastes, that's fine. But you all are the most thoughtful (and thought-provoking) gamers I have the pleasure of listening to. Serious thanks for the great podcast.

(not sure if this should have been an email or a forum post or what, but I figure I'd like to make a move towards joining the community)

Welcome!

You worked on a gem of a game. Thank you!

Thanks for updating us, and congratulations on the launch and reception for Journey. I can't think of a better introduction to being part of the community. Can't wait to see what you're working on next!

I've finally registered account after about 3 years of listening because Rabbit, Lara, and Karla just about brought me to tears during my walk to work yesterday.

I was a designer/programmer on Journey from start to finish and working on it was a roller-coaster ride. The reception since launch has been kind of nuts too, but I've been mostly ignoring it because I'm already deep into my next project.
When the Journey spoilers section came up in this weeks episode I actually started to feel anxiety and debated on turning it off (GWJ Conference Call is the only gaming podcast I listen to, and it was a bizarre 'worlds colliding' moment). Listening through it brought me to a stop in the middle of my walk so I can maintain my composure. It's insanely validating to know that details and ideas that we spent (what seemed like) way-too-long on weren't lost in the final game.

Sorry if I come off as rambling. It's just really overwhelming and rewarding to hear such positive words.

The love extends to the whole, crew BTW. I don't mind that Journey doesn't suit most of your tastes, that's fine. But you all are the most thoughtful (and thought-provoking) gamers I have the pleasure of listening to. Serious thanks for the great podcast.

(not sure if this should have been an email or a forum post or what, but I figure I'd like to make a move towards joining the community)

monkokio wrote:

I've finally registered account after about 3 years of listening because Rabbit, Lara, and Karla just about brought me to tears during my walk to work yesterday.

I was a designer/programmer on Journey from start to finish and working on it was a roller-coaster ride. The reception since launch has been kind of nuts too, but I've been mostly ignoring it because I'm already deep into my next project.
When the Journey spoilers section came up in this weeks episode I actually started to feel anxiety and debated on turning it off (GWJ Conference Call is the only gaming podcast I listen to, and it was a bizarre worlds colliding moment). Listening through it brought me to a stop in the middle of my walk so I can maintain my composure. It's insanely validating to know that details and ideas that we spent (what seemed like) way-too-long on weren't lost in the final game.

Sorry if I come off as rambling. It's just really overwhelming and rewarding to hear such positive words.

The love extends to the whole, crew BTW. I don't mind that Journey doesn't suit most of your tastes, that's fine. But you all are the most thoughtful (and thought-provoking) gamers I have the pleasure of listening to. Serious thanks for the great podcast.

(not sure if this should have been an email or a forum post or what, but I figure I'd like to make a move towards joining the community)

Oh, man. I'm just hiding my head in shame, now.

Demiurge wrote:

Oh, man. I'm just hiding my head in shame, now.

Shame? That's an emotion, right? You feel them? Since when!?!?!?

monkokio wrote:

I've finally registered account after about 3 years of listening because Rabbit, Lara, and Karla just about brought me to tears during my walk to work yesterday.

I was a designer/programmer on Journey from start to finish and working on it was a roller-coaster ride. The reception since launch has been kind of nuts too, but I've been mostly ignoring it because I'm already deep into my next project.
When the Journey spoilers section came up in this weeks episode I actually started to feel anxiety and debated on turning it off (GWJ Conference Call is the only gaming podcast I listen to, and it was a bizarre 'worlds colliding' moment). Listening through it brought me to a stop in the middle of my walk so I can maintain my composure. It's insanely validating to know that details and ideas that we spent (what seemed like) way-too-long on weren't lost in the final game.

Sorry if I come off as rambling. It's just really overwhelming and rewarding to hear such positive words.

The love extends to the whole, crew BTW. I don't mind that Journey doesn't suit most of your tastes, that's fine. But you all are the most thoughtful (and thought-provoking) gamers I have the pleasure of listening to. Serious thanks for the great podcast.

(not sure if this should have been an email or a forum post or what, but I figure I'd like to make a move towards joining the community)

Amazing job on Journey. You and everyone at TGC really made something special.

You should check out the Journey thread, some great impressions there as well.

Thank you for the roll you played in the making of Journey, monkokio!

Gah, gotta play Journey so I can listen to this.

I would gladly trade in the 2.5 hours I spent grinding ME3 multiplayer to nebulous benefit last Saturday for a run-through of Journey! I'll rectify that this weekend.

Thanks for popping in, monkokio. Since recording the spoiler section with Julian & Karla, I've played the game through once myself, and watched it through another three or four times as others play. I've yet to become even the least bit tired of it. Quite the opposite: My passion for it has only grown with more playthroughs.

Truly, this is almost as close to a perfect game as I've ever played, and some of the most efficient storytelling: Nothing extraneous, nothing wasted. You and the rest of the team really created something special, as BNice said above, and you deserve every ounce of praise being heaped upon you.

Monkiko: Many thanks for your part in sharing an awesome game & experience with the rest of the world.

gorilla wrote:

I think GWJ has a new tag line:

"It's phenomenally ass hat free."

This demonstrably false. I am a member of this community and I have several hats for my ass.

I am astound that nobody brought up the Alan Wake soundtrack during the score question in the email segment. One of the best soundtracks I found in a video game in years. Very cinematic feel, and also very diverse. I like it a lot - but meh, maybe it's just me.

Grimmi Meloni wrote:

I am astound that nobody brought up the Alan Wake soundtrack during the score question in the email segment. One of the best soundtracks I found in a video game in years. Very cinematic feel, and also very diverse. I like it a lot - but meh, maybe it's just me. :)

I like it too, although it's not something I've listened to all that much at the moment because I still need to finish the game.

More thanks for the work you and your colleagues did on Journey, Monkiko. It's pretty remarkable, and I'm excited to share it with friends.