GWJ Conference Call Episode 310

Conference Call

Planetside 2, FTL Launched, Torchlight 2, Madden 13, The Impact of Steam Greenlight, Your Emails and more!

This week Shawn, Julian, Cory and Allen talk Steam Greenlight and games!

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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Audible

Chairman_Mao's Timestamps
00.01.23 Planetside 2 Beta
00.08.46 FTL
00.11.11 Madden 2013
00.14.17 Alan's Slap & Tickle
00.17.56 Black Mesa
00.24.46 Torchlight 2
00.36.15 This week's topic: Steam Greenlight!
01.01.41 Donation Drive Update!
01.07.21 Your emails!

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Freestyle - SGX - http://sgxmusic.com/ - 35:48

Kick Your A (DDR) - SGX - http://sgxmusic.com/ - 1:01:13

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Comments

Older players/game player's time:

I used to do the bit where i'd buy pretty much everything that released that i was remotely interested in. I've come to the point now where i'm only buying the games that i know for sure i'll be spending a significant amount of time in.

edit:

As for avg time spent. 5 years ago 30+hrs a week. Now 20hrs a week.

On launch of a game i really want to play. I'll schedule time specifically to dump into it which can skew the avgs some.

Alan is right about the old Steam submission process. Based on what I've heard about it anecdotally he was actually being quite diplomatic. Personally I'll take the AppStore over getting onto the platform that has 90% of the PC DD market being at the whim of a few individuals and their personal tastes. If you're surprised you see all these games on Greenlight then that's good because it highlights the problem with Steam being so dominant in the marketplace. Digital distribution has the potential to lower the barrier to entry and I don't think we need a gatekeeper artificially maintaining that barrier.

Just to be clear, I am just the maker, not the designer so some links to the designers work.
BSG Express
Scott's Dune redesign

I should request BSG Express at my next gaming session. Our group tried it once and weren't as enamored with it as Alan was. It's possible we missed something in the rules but it fell flat with us. Not sure if it's because some of us haven't watched BSG yet (I'll leave my Geek Cred card at the door on my way out) or we had a different set of expectations going in. Which is kinda weird because we seemed to like normal BSG except for the time commitment. Maybe the dice conspired against us or the rules/design changed between now and when we tried it months ago.

Interesting chat about Greenlight this week. The way I see it they're basically using it as a way to catch all the games that the curation team either overlooked or initially rejected. That's why we're seeing games like Pinball Arcade (Steam's curation team denied Farsight and Zen Studios because they didn't think pinball games would sell on the service) on Greenlight and why companies like Wadjet Eye or Spiderweb Software took a very long time to reach the service through the curation team. I think Valve is acknowledging that there's gaps in their coverage because they don't have enough people to properly curate the service. Because if sites like PAR and RPS complain about the sheer volume of "check my game out. I have a kickstarter!" emails then I'm sure Valve must have a mountain of inquiries they need to filter. Greenlight seems to be their attempt to crowd-source the games the curation team should be looking at in addition to whatever games are being shopped around by more established players.

In addition, from what I've seen posted by indie developers like Edmund McMillen, Jonathan Blow, and Introversion, once you're on Steam you get a lot more leeway with the curation team in terms of what you can list on the service. Getting in the door is the hard part.

Coincidentally, they announced yesterday that the next batch of Greenlight approved games will be announced 10/15.

EDIT: Just to make a liar out of me, looks like there's finally some pinball on Steam. Hopefully that means Pinball Arcade is in the 10/15 batch of games.

MonoCheli wrote:

Just to be clear, I am just the maker, not the designer so some links to the designers work.
BSG Express
Scott's Dune redesign

Dude, this is brilliant stuff. Thanks!

Thanks for leading off with our 2 hour foray into Planetside 2 Beta from last week guys. Just to add a few things.

#1. Yes its beta, there are bugs but its very playable and it is much more playable than when I first started. SOE has done a good job of smoothing out the engine so that large battles are no longer a chug fest.
#2. I am one of the guys who just uses the in game chat. Its pretty stable and I can't tell the difference from Vent.
#3. You guys were being *very* diplomatic about our ability to conquer and destroy.

5 to 6 hours to play Battlestar Galactica, minimum of 3? you guys must suffer from some serious analysis paralysis when playing that game, I would say in my experience the maximum time is 3 hours and the average is closer to the 2 hour mark.

onewild wrote:

5 to 6 hours to play Battlestar Galactica, minimum of 3? you guys must suffer from some serious analysis paralysis when playing that game, I would say in my experience the maximum time is 3 hours and the average is closer to the 2 hour mark.

This is true if every single person playing has played the game at least twice before. That never seems to happen. It also assumes you just play the mechanics, and not the people, and there's minimal backstabbing/negotiation/accusation/subterfuge. Or Alcohol.

Man I would hate to be in one of your groups if it ever tried to play TI3, it would take 7 days
I agree about new players but we still have never failed to finish a game in an evening so 3 and a half hours at the most, even with new players.
We have got to the point now where we have achieved burn out on it and the humans pretty much always win because we know which tests we can just afford to fail, it is a game which benefits from having no experience and thinking you have to pass every test and then you pass it by loads and therefore cards become rare resources.
Although I did like the time we got the chance to execute someone on the very first test, that player was the admirial, we thought we might as well and he turned out to be a cylon.

I think everything you can get out of the Battlestar Galactica boardgame that is novel and interesting you can get out of "The Resistance". Fantasy Flight does seem to have a habit of just layering on more and more mechanics to muddy a game up.

Valmorian wrote:

I think everything you can get out of the Battlestar Galactica boardgame that is novel and interesting you can get out of "The Resistance". Fantasy Flight does seem to have a habit of just layering on more and more mechanics to muddy a game up.

I think Resistance came after BSG, but that's a decent comparison point if you're only talking about the voting mechanic.

shoptroll wrote:

I think Resistance came after BSG, but that's a decent comparison point if you're only talking about the voting mechanic.

It did, and was one of the main reasons I got rid of my copy of Battlestar Galactica. The traitor/voting mechanic is the most interesting thing about BSG. After all, if you took out the traitor mechanic and just made BSG a simple co-op game about surviving cylon attacks, it wouldn't really be that notable.

My only disagreement there is that Resistance just doesnt have enough information flow to make the "is he a traitor" dynamic worthwhile. I find Resistance kind of dull, unless its more of a drinking game.

I would really like to hear a talk comparing Torchlight 2 and Diablo 3 if you guys could manage that after next weeks conference call.

rabbit wrote:

My only disagreement there is that Resistance just doesnt have enough information flow to make the "is he a traitor" dynamic worthwhile. I find Resistance kind of dull, unless its more of a drinking game.

See, here's where I disagree and why:

In BSG, it is often the case that a human player is forced to make a bad play because of the hand of cards he/she has. This means the mechanics are getting in the way of the psychological evaluation as to why a particular play was made by a player. To me, the psycological evaluation of your fellow players IS the dynamic, and any game mechanic that detracts from that evaluation harms the game.

In The Resistance, if a particular mission fails, you KNOW that someone made it fail on purpose. There is definitely a traitor on that squad, and now it comes down to figuring out which player it was. In BSG, if a particular event failed, it could have been a traitor, or just a bad hand for all the human players involved. Furthermore, BSG also piles on a space combat element that is unnecessary and is only there to pad out the "feel" of the show.

EDIT: Basically, I think Resistance has a better flow of information about who is a traitor than BSG, because BSG has a large number of systems that get in the way and just pad out the game time.

Doesn't BSG also toss a random card into the mix for each vote?

After playing Resistance for a couple weeks with the regular gaming group I think we determined that while it's fun to yell and call each other spies over drinks, there's really not enough information provided to really "solve" the game. Which I find frustrating since I'm terrible at reading people (but I enjoy forum based mafia where I can examine vote histories which doesn't really exist in Resistance).

However, this was the basic rules. I don't think we've tried the advanced version which hands out some information gathering roles.

You get two random cards into the mix in BSG unless someone plays a card to stop it.

According to Raptr, I play about 17-20 hours a week. Surprises me a bit, but the past two weeks it's been Ratchet and Clank with my 4 year old, and Persona 3 Portable. The first one is 1 hour a night or so, the other is 1-3 hours a day spread out whenever I find myself waiting for someone with my Vita in hand.

5 years ago? About the same, maybe slightly higher.

10 years ago? Much higher. 30 hours or so. I didn't need to study much in college to keep going.

As for 4k, I've heard that they'll support it on the next playstation, but I imagine it'll be about like the 1080p support on the PS3 now. Most games will be targeting 1080p, while only a handful of games will bother with the larger resolution and the system won't be able to handle really nice graphics at that high resolution. Even a 7670 PC card could handle resolutions up to 4096x4096. They can handle 3 monitors right now. There's little reason to not support 4k in hardware, but very little reason for game developers to target it.

I am an "executive gamer" for iOS games. I've bought so many, yet played so little.

I blame iOS 6.

Wow, the e-mails sections of the last two podcasts have had a couple really condescending answers. I feel bad for the people who wrote in and got a lecture instead of having their question answered.

I wish I had a more condescending answer to that. I'm much better at judgmental.

Hrmm. Maybe flippant, non-answers. I'm not sure I we were condescending. We didn't say "you suck at games" or "your tastes are bad" or anything did we?

rabbit wrote:

Hrmm. Maybe flippant, non-answers. I'm not sure I we were condescending. We didn't say "you suck at games" or "your tastes are bad" or anything did we?

You're right that condescending is probably too strong of a word for this past week's answer about games journalism, but the guy who wrote in 2 weeks ago who said he played over 20 hours a week and asked how much you guys played definitely got talked down to (didn't someone actually say "f*ck you" to him?). I didn't get the sense that he was complaining about his ~20 hour gaming, but was more wondering about how little he'd be able to game in the future.

I normally wouldn't post something like this, but both times I talked out loud to my radio (yeah I'm that kind of person) saying, "come on, the poor guy just wanted his question answered."

CatsAkimbo wrote:
rabbit wrote:

Hrmm. Maybe flippant, non-answers. I'm not sure I we were condescending. We didn't say "you suck at games" or "your tastes are bad" or anything did we?

You're right that condescending is probably too strong of a word for this past week's answer about games journalism, but the guy who wrote in 2 weeks ago who said he played over 20 hours a week and asked how much you guys played definitely got talked down to (didn't someone actually say "f*ck you" to him?). I didn't get the sense that he was complaining about his ~20 hour gaming, but was more wondering about how little he'd be able to game in the future.

I normally wouldn't post something like this, but both times I talked out loud to my radio (yeah I'm that kind of person) saying, "come on, the poor guy just wanted his question answered."

Yes, that would be me, and I believe I was quite obviously laughing when I said it. And unless we misread the email (we often have to edit way down for space, so we may have had context that wasn't read) there was definitely a "I can only play for 20 hours these days ..." lament in there.

TO which I would reiterate the f*ck You, with tongue firmly in cheek.

I normally wouldn't post something like this, but both times I talked out loud to my radio (yeah I'm that kind of person) saying, "come on, the poor guy just wanted his question answered."

To the overall point, though. That's fair. I've had a couple of times where I felt like I had crossed a line or two.