GWJ Conference Call Episode 335

Conference Call

Tomb Raider, SimCity, Sword of The Stars: The Pit, Jeff Cannata's Kickstarter, Games as Service, Your Emails and more!

This week Shawn, Elysium, Julian, Rob Zacny and Jeff Cannata talk SimCity, games as service, Jeff's new Kickstarter and more!

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.

Chairman_Mao's Timestamps
00.01.19 Kickstarter talk
00.08.04 Tomb Raider
00.21.31 Sword of the Stars: The Pit
00.25.02 Twilight Struggle
00.31.27 Sim City
00.46.17 This week's sponsor Audible.com's book recommendation: A Memory of Light: Wheel of Time Book 14!
00.47.42 This week's topic: Gaming as a Service!
01.12.55 PAX GWJ panel updates
01.15.07 Your emails!

Jeff Cannata's Kickstarter
Tomb Raider
SimCity
Sword of The Stars: The Pit
Twilight Struggle
Raph Koster Blog

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Analytics - SimCity - http://www.simcity.com - 47:13

Population = 1 - SimCity - http://www.simcity.com - 1:12:27

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Comments

To continue to abuse the long standing car analogy, if a manufacturer puts out an unsafe car and it fails for whatever reason, isn't is usually from that point on a made part of safety regulations in any country they want to sell it in that such a design has to avoid that flaw? And that goes for entertainment products and pretty much anything else.

I guess what I wonder is where's the industry best practices. There's (currently) no regulator to smack the publisher around the head if they do something badly, so I have to wonder how much sway a distributor (Amazon for example) has when they're dealing with enough returns that they feel they need to stop selling a product.

Yeah but you look at the reasons for car recalls:

here[/url]]BMW is recalling almost 570,000 cars in the U.S. and Canada because a battery cable connector can fail and cause the engines to stall

Or

Toyota is recalling 907,000 vehicles, mostly Corolla models, around the world for faulty air bags and another 385,000 Lexus IS luxury cars for defective wipers. ...

Or

- Honda is recalling more than 870,000 minivans and SUVs worldwide because they can roll away even though drivers have removed the keys from the ignition. ...

By your analogy, if a car company puts out a car without working safety features like working breaks or airbags then you think people would cry foul when other companies are doing the same thing.

You know what? We ALWAYS cry foul. It's whether we get heard or called whiners that's the difference.

[edit]

isn't is usually from that point on a made part of safety regulations in any country they want to sell it in that such a design has to avoid that flaw? And that goes for entertainment products and pretty much anything else.

No, Scratched, you'll find that even proven and legislative-defined measures are still failing. I mean, frick'n airbags!

Having worked in a QA-driven industry I'm perhaps more aware of this than most. QA and laws don't ensure that faults do not happen, just that it requires testing for specific things that do not slip through the nets.... You cannot make your product 100% safe regardless of how much time you put in - similar to the "there are no bug-free games these days" argument.

Like I said before: These are all separate projects that are potentially and probably firewalled from each other and - like Elysium said on the podcast - they have no sharing of information or statistics or firefighting skills. They all just work in a vacuum. You cannot predict which games will work well or which will have big problems just because other online games have or have not had problems. There's just no logic to the argument.

[edit] You know what? I can't see where my formatting has gone awry!

[edit2]
Okay, fixed it!

When and where were all the PAX East panels? I'm not going but I want tell some friends that are about them.

I can be found at:

Friday:
2:00 PM "It's Dangerous to Go Alone -- The Take This Panel"
6:30 PM "Dorks vs. Sports" along with Rob Zacny and others

Sunday
12:30PM "Gamers With Jobs -- Why We Game" with Justin McElroy and Jeff Green

Elysium wrote:

I can be found at:

Friday:
2:00 PM "It's Dangerous to Go Alone -- The Take This Panel"
6:30 PM "Dorks vs. Sports" along with Rob Zacny and others

Sunday
12:30PM "Gamers With Jobs -- Why We Game" with Justin McElroy and Jeff Green

I've never been one for cons (actually never been to a gaming/geek one at all) but 3 for one person from a small gaming forum site seems like a lot. How many panels are there total at PAX East? Wasn't it last year that a single dedicated panel was uncharted territory for the GWJ crew?

mrtomaytohead wrote:
Elysium wrote:

I can be found at:

Friday:
2:00 PM "It's Dangerous to Go Alone -- The Take This Panel"
6:30 PM "Dorks vs. Sports" along with Rob Zacny and others

Sunday
12:30PM "Gamers With Jobs -- Why We Game" with Justin McElroy and Jeff Green

I've never been one for cons (actually never been to a gaming/geek one at all) but 3 for one person from a small gaming forum site seems like a lot. How many panels are there total at PAX East? Wasn't it last year that a single dedicated panel was uncharted territory for the GWJ crew?

Nah, last year was the first official GWJ panel, but members of the CC crew have had panels previously. Also, PAX is freakin' huge - there's a lot of panels:
http://east.paxsite.com/schedule

I am going to cop to a big man-crush on Jeff Cannata. I discovered the Totally Rad Show only a couple of months before it ended, so if this ressurects at least some aspects of that show, I'll be happy.

March was a totally horrific month for my gaming budget. It took me by surprise - Simcity, Starcraft, Bioshock and Tomb Raider (the effusive praise heaped on it in the podcast pushed me over the edge).

warranty of merchantability
Definition
war·ran·ty of mer·chant·a·bil·i·ty
NOUN
1.
implied warranty of quality: an implied warranty that a product will be of a quality suitable for sale

So Julian, did you ever try playing Left 4 Dead Versus with your kids? Or are they not FPSers? I ask because the way you described being nigh invincible at League of Legends together also very much applies to the competitive modes of the Left 4 Dead duo: a decent team is generally much better than a dumb herd of decent players. Of course, you'd really need one more kid to be truly effective. (Wife or GWJer)

indy wrote:

I am going to cop to a big man-crush on Jeff Cannata. I discovered the Totally Rad Show only a couple of months before it ended, so if this ressurects at least some aspects of that show, I'll be happy.

March was a totally horrific month for my gaming budget. It took me by surprise - Simcity, Starcraft, Bioshock and Tomb Raider (the effusive praise heaped on it in the podcast pushed me over the edge).

Seconded. I too was late to the TRS party... but had listened to Weekend Confirmed from the beginning. Jeff's one of those guys that is positive and genuinely excited about games, movies and tech. His was the first Kickstarter I ever supported.

This is what I said about games as a service last year to SixteenBlue:

As the market shakes out, it will become increasingly clear to game companies that of all the features a game can possess, smooth experience will matter the most. I think Onlive is coming to grips with this realization painfully, even as we speak.

A game is most valuable when you can access it any time, anywhere, on any machine, and have it be a smooth, seamless experience. The "cheap" graphics Ragnarok has isn't just because Level Up is working on a shoestring budget, it's also so that the experience will be nearly identical whether you play it on a netbook or a PC.

A smooth, seamless experience - almost as if the game were offline - matters the most. Doing well here means that the game becomes "magical" - the same order change that distinguished Apple's iPad from previous tablet solutions.

No queues. No waits. No server messages. You boot the game and it just works. The entire online side is invisible except for its benefits.

There is a counter example to EA's SimCity. It's Blizzard's Starcraft. Not the current crappier version - the orignial awesome one.

One of the benefits to a game as a service is that it gets updated regularly and dynamically, usually in response to customer feedback. Blizzard provided this service side to Starcraft 1 continuously until patch 1.16.1 in 2009, some 11 years after the release of the original game. Eleven years of essentially free service is why Starcraft 1 and Brood War had such phenomenal value. In addition, you could access all the essential online functions and still play offline and in LAN networks. All the perks, none of the downsides.

Just use a bike, that's what I do.

StewiesLoveChild wrote:

Quick question on Twilight Struggle...does the game truly take 8+ hours as mentioned in the podcast? BGG states 3 hours?

Just checking...

Unelss you are playing VERY slowly indeed there is no way TS should ever go over 4 hours, and even that is with new people. After 4-5 plays you will easily be down to a 2 hour maximum