GWJ Conference Call Episode 354

Conference Call

Euro Truck Simulator 2, Surgeon Simulator 2013, SolForge, Breach & Clear, Hotline Miami, Walter's Topics, Your Emails and More!

This week community member Walter Strapps (Tach) joins the show to talk about games, e-sports, things in games that drive you nuts 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
00.02.29 SolForge
00.07.05 Hotline Miami
00.09.09 Breach and Clear
00.11.54 Euro Truck Simulator 2
00.19.57 Rogue Legacy
00.23.45 Surgeon Simulator 2013
00.26.38 Bioshock Infinite
00.35.42 This week's sponsor: Indie Con DC
00.36.57 This week's topics, answered by community member Walter Strapps et al!
00.55.18 Your emails!

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

The Great - Broke for Free - http://brokeforfree.com/ - 34:05

Nothing Like Captain Crunch - Broke for Free - http://brokeforfree.com/ - 53:12

Comments

Le0hart85 wrote:

It sounds like I could make some spare change by inviting some of you fine GWJ folks for a ride along/do my job for me!

Now seriously, if you could teach me how to properly use a godforsaken range-splitter gearbox, I might actually take you up on that!

Jayhawker wrote:

Le0hart85, do kids still signal truckers to blow their air horns? I remember doing that back in the day, but that was when my dad still brought a CB with him on all family trips. We were tuned into trucker culture in a way that I'm sure my daughter is not.

Yea! I'm not the only one. My dad would make us listen to Ch 18 when we headed out in the family truckster on our summer vacations. It must be a 1970's mid-west thing.

Over and out good buddies!

Jayhawker wrote:

Le0hart85, do kids still signal truckers to blow their air horns? I remember doing that back in the day, but that was when my dad still brought a CB with him on all family trips. We were tuned into trucker culture in a way that I'm sure my daughter is not.

Yup, most definitely get that about once every couple days! I oblige as often as I can (unless in a city, or somewhere with a noise ordinance). The CB tho, that's not much of a thing anymore, I feel like for most drivers (or maybe just more myself, I can't tell). Only turn the CB on anymore just if there's congestion/stopped traffic. Just to see what's going on.

gore wrote:
Le0hart85 wrote:

It sounds like I could make some spare change by inviting some of you fine GWJ folks for a ride along/do my job for me!

Now seriously, if you could teach me how to properly use a godforsaken range-splitter gearbox, I might actually take you up on that!

Haha! That's something that seems to be going by the wayside, but still a fun little quirk of tractor/trailers with 10+ gears. A lot of trucks are going automatic. But I'd love to show people about the high/low splitter and double clutching or just straight up floating gears!

Yeah...

/endTruckerTalk

With the distaste of cutscenes I to ask this question: How do you prefer the story to be delivered?

Unless you're not into story in games, it has to be delivered somehow. Open world games (Elders Scrolls) have story that is almost completely delivered through optional dialogue. This is the worst form of delivery but is the least intrusive. Another method that’s been around for a long time is the in game cutscene, where you have complete control of the player0character but you have to listen to some npc yap until he says what he needs to say. I suppose this gives you the most control, but for me it seems like the biggest “time waster” as most games (Half-Life) I’m just running around and jumping on things. I think some games do deliver this well (Metro) in that you both want to stay in character but you don’t want to get killed by messing around when you should be paying attention to something important. For story heavy games, I’d say this is the most desirable. However, I’d say that cutscenes are more than welcome in a variety of cases, particularly when they’re well done. Final Fantasty XII, No More Heroes, and Ratchet and Clank all benefit from having cutscenes. They’re all very different games, but all have story elements which either couldn’t be delivered or wouldn’t be as powerful without custscenes.

In general, I have a difficult time understanding why someone who is invested in the story would want to skip through directed scenes as quickly as possible, but I am open to trying to understand that mentality.

TrollheartBlue wrote:

In general, I have a difficult time understanding why someone who is invested in the story would want to skip through directed scenes as quickly as possible, but I am open to trying to understand that mentality.

For some people, the gameplay IS the story. Cutscenes for some are simply the developer pretending to be competent filmmakers, and usually producing material that wouldn't be fit for a movie of the week on cable TV.

I don't mind cutscenes if they're short and skippable, but I prefer the story to be given to me organically, in conversation with characters or through the game play itself.

*edit*

Oh, and on to Euro Truck Simulator 2. I too can't really explain what it is I found so compelling. I tried the demo based on chatter in the thread and decided by the end of my first run I'd buy the game as soon as the price was right.

gore wrote:

One thing that bothers me on loading screen? Stupid tips, especially stupid tips I've seen a million times already, especially when they seem to span multiple load screens since I guess I load so fast that the game thinks maybe I didn't have time to read them.

"TIP: did you know you can press A to jump?"

Yeah, what gets me is when loading screen tips come to be a bad replacement for doing a decent tutorial or the missing manual, so I find out something kind of important 10 hours in.

Mini-games drive me nuts. Unless it's a game full of mini-games just leave those damn things out so I don't feel obligated to try your half-assed card game or whatever.

Keithustus wrote:

So...people complained last week about the bleeps? ....really? Everyone didn't think it was hilarious? If you didn't think it was hilarious, was that because you wanted to hear the actual language or because you think this is a family show and people should only use sanitized language?

Bravo, GWJer crew, for mixing it up and leaving me in stitches. Last week goes down with the retro '98 ('97?) episode as unforgettably fun.

I wasn't complaining but I did notice that they missed one "bullsh*t"... I didn't, however, write in about it though!

Elysium, about the e-sports stuff...

Do you think it's really a structural problem with the leagues as a whole, or really just a North American problem?

It's interesting that the events/leagues that are really in trouble(for both LoL and SC2) are really US centric, while the events that seem to be making money(or, at least, getting really good mindshare) are in Korea or the EU.

Valmorian wrote:
TrollheartBlue wrote:

In general, I have a difficult time understanding why someone who is invested in the story would want to skip through directed scenes as quickly as possible, but I am open to trying to understand that mentality.

For some people, the gameplay IS the story. Cutscenes for some are simply the developer pretending to be competent filmmakers, and usually producing material that wouldn't be fit for a movie of the week on cable TV.

This. This right here. At some point I saw a montage of game cutscenes that was just characters going through doorways, but I can't find it now.

And the "look at all the fabulous things I can do in this cutscene but you can't do in game!" is actually kind of offensive to me.

When I play a game, I want to play a game, not watch a movie or TV. If I wanted to watch a movie or TV, I'd do that. I can totally understand that some people want to watch cutscenes, which is why what I ask for is not "no cutscenes", but skippable ones.

For me it's similar to the talk about "enhanced" books, where there are links to youtube videos or something (there was a lot of talk about how tablets were going to deliver this "experience"). My response was: who the hell wants that? If I read a book it's because I want to read a book.

Would the neon-ish looking game that Breach and Clear got compared to be Frozen Synapse?

No discussion of the Dreamcast is complete without mention of Samba de Amigo. Before there were plastic guitars, there were plastic maracas.

And. It. Was. Awesome.

Shawn nailed it. Ooga Booga was a fantastic multiplayer experience on Dreamcast.

Tach wrote:

And the "look at all the fabulous things I can do in this cutscene but you can't do in game!" is actually kind of offensive to me.

An excellent point. This infuriates me as well.

Tach wrote:

When I play a game, I want to play a game, not watch a movie or TV. If I wanted to watch a movie or TV, I'd do that. I can totally understand that some people want to watch cutscenes, which is why what I ask for is not "no cutscenes", but skippable ones.

Completely understandable, but I guess what I was more driving at are games like Final Fantasy which rely on cutscenes, or is that type of game just not something you're interested in?

Tach wrote:

For me it's similar to the talk about "enhanced" books, where there are links to youtube videos or something (there was a lot of talk about how tablets were going to deliver this "experience"). My response was: who the hell wants that? If I read a book it's because I want to read a book.

Again, another excellent point, and I think an excellent analogy for what you're driving at. I can see exactly where you're coming from now.

TrollheartBlue wrote:

With the distaste of cutscenes I to ask this question: How do you prefer the story to be delivered?

In general, I have a difficult time understanding why someone who is invested in the story would want to skip through directed scenes as quickly as possible, but I am open to trying to understand that mentality.

Because cutscenes are a somewhat ham-fisted and artificial way of building a story into the game.

These days I demand a good story. But that doesn't mean it has to be discrete from the game-play.

Take for example "Badlands" (IOS). There is no story being explicitly told. However you can put together in your head the gist of what is going on, and how things came to be. And I didn't have to get tortured in between loading screens to figure it out. I put it together by playing the game, moving a mutating alien organism through his despoiled planet.

Not down with implicitly told stories through art, game design, and mechanics?

Okay, take Bastion. No cut scenes. And sure, there were parts of the story in which I lost control of the character. But they were rare and very brief. The story was largely told as I was playing it by the narrator. This was story telling that was explicit but didn't take control of the game away from you, nor did it interfere or break away from the actual play.

Storytelling in games needs to evolve and move in these directions. Story should not be a discrete block separate from the gameplay. Let the gameplay, art, mechanics, and level design weave together with minimal text and perhaps some voice as needed, to tell the story.

The viciousness by which your character attacks an enemy can communicate quite a bit:

desperation? rage? reluctance? game developers can and should program that into the game.

Personally, I loved the cut-scenes in Pac Man, and I believe they were unskippable.

I dropped a lot of quarters into that game just to try to see more of the cut-scenes.

Walter doesn't like competitive gaming because "the game is going to change"? Might I recommend the fighting game scene- they have been playing Street Fighter for 20 years. This years' EVO finals were unbelievable, in each game.

drew327 wrote:

Walter doesn't like competitive gaming because "the game is going to change"? Might I recommend the fighting game scene- they have been playing Street Fighter for 20 years. This years' EVO finals were unbelievable, in each game.

Just to be clear, I never said I don't like competitive gaming, I said that I have no interest in it, possibly because the game is going to change. I wanted to hear discussion about competitive gaming from people who have expressed considerable interest in it and whether the changing nature of the game was a consideration for them.

And wow, they've been playing Street Fighter for 20 years! That's crazy, I may actually have to check that out, because I played a lot of Street Fighter (20 years ago :))

KimJongIl wrote:

These days I demand a good story. But that doesn't mean it has to be discrete from the game-play.

Yes, this is the way I feel as well. I find cut-scenes a distraction from game-play. I am currently watching the cutscene/story gameplay videos of The Last of Us on youtube because I'm interested in the story. In that case, after listening to the spoiler section of the most recent podcast, it sounds like the gameplay got in the way of the story (at least for Master Banks).

I've was playing Sleeping Dogs over the weekend and there seem to be a lot of (skippable) cutscenes. Needless to say, I'm skipping them, but I'm still able to figure out the story (such as it is). It's about a karaoke singer who wants to be a cop, but keeps getting dragged into shenanigans, right?

KimJongIl wrote:
TrollheartBlue wrote:

With the distaste of cutscenes I to ask this question: How do you prefer the story to be delivered?

In general, I have a difficult time understanding why someone who is invested in the story would want to skip through directed scenes as quickly as possible, but I am open to trying to understand that mentality.

Because cutscenes are a somewhat ham-fisted and artificial way of building a story into the game.

These days I demand a good story. But that doesn't mean it has to be discrete from the game-play.

Example: I can't think of a time I played Oregon Trail where I didn't feel that I was participating in a compelling story.