GWJ Conference Call Episode 367

Conference Call

Beyond Two Souls, Oculus Rift Eyes On, Magicka: Wizard Wars, Rocksmith 2014, Kerbal Space Program Careers, Extra Solar, Hatoful Boyfriend, Stanley Parable, The Wolf Among Us, Your Emails and More!

It's a full crew this week as we talk so many games we don't even have time for a topic!

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
00.01.04 Donation Drive Results!
00.04.15 Hatoful Boyfriend
00.10.43 Rocksmith 2013
00.19.59 Stanley Parable
00.24.30 Oculus Rift
00.38.41 Beyond: Two Souls
00.46.18 Extrasolar
00.50.17 The Wolf Among Us
00.57.53 Empire
01.02.08 2014 Football Strategist??
01.05.03 Terraria
01.07.43 Kerbal Space Program
01.12.21 Magicka: Wizard War
01.23.13 Your emails!

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Lonely Organ - Broke for Free - http://brokeforfree.com/ - 38:15

Building the Sun - Broke for Free - http://brokeforfree.com/ - 1:22:38

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Comments

I just got caught up on the podcast and wanted to mention my own experience with the Rift. I got my devkit back in August and immediately unboxed it and dove into HL2. After 30 minutes I was really disoriented and nauseous. I didn't play any more that day, and still felt uncomfortable the next morning for a bit.

....but then I realized I hadn't calibrated the thing beyond choosing the right lenses. They have some calibration tools included with the Rift that adjust the display based on measurements of your own vision. After I went through using those tools, I felt WAY better and was able to play for a lot longer. Still not like 6 hour marathon sessions... but longer

The tools show you one line after another that you drag until they're just on the edge of your visual field. Then you save those calibration values to a personal profile that the Rift drivers can use to adjust to you. And you can set up multiple profiles for multiple people. Games with built-in Rift support can use those profiles to adjust their display.

Regarding the "motion sickness", imagine turning your head and the world around you turns the opposite way you'd expect. That's kinda what it's like when you play HL2 and look around with both your head and the mouse at the same time. It's really strangely uncomfortable to experience. However I think there's a lot they can do to address this.

I think a higher resolution display will help a lot when they have that in the commercial version. I also think games can be designed to minimize discomfort. One thing that helps way more than you'd think is to have fixed HUD elements on the screen for you to focus on and rest your eyes on. Being able to see a cockpit around you goes a long way towards allowing your brain to separate the movement of the scene outside from the movements of your head. Strike Suit Zero was far easier for me to play in the Rift because of this. I noticed this as well in my (modded) copy of Skyrim. Just having a crosshair in front of me helped a lot since no matter how I turned my character, the crosshair was always right there.

RolandofGilead wrote:

re:

Why grim just works in video games?

Um, Mario, Rayman, and nope I'm done.
I think you all are forgetting about all the forgettable, and terrible grim games because you know better by now to avoid them.

I think this is a good point. Grimness in games, like physical violence in games, is easy to see as the natural result of it "working better" in the medium, but it may work better because development has spent an inordinate amount of time and money on grim and physically violent games. My presumption is that it's not a clean cause->effect relationship, but a self-reinforcing cycle, where the overabundance of games of a certain type encourages more of that same sort of game, because it's comfortable for everyone from VCs down to imagined "average" gamers.

I actually don't see a preponderance of "grim" in my gaming diet. Nintendo games certain don't feature "grim" prominently, and your typical time management game is pretty darn brightly colored. The match-3s, too. My newly-started third run of Galaxy on Fire 2 on Android is more swashbuckly than grim, and I'd say the same for Pirates! on the ol' iPad. XCOM is alien-creepy rather than grim, with a dash of superhero-y type action. Civ V is not grim. Sid Meier's Ace Patrol isn't. Both GLWG and GBWG are positively goofy.

About the only "grim" title I've been playing that I can recall offhand is Diablo 3.

I think that the 'grim' aspect doesn't really apply to games that are more about mechanics than character personality or story. Mario and Rayman are brightly coloured, but they're not trying to make you laugh.

I think Elysium's and the others comments apply specifically to games that are going for affect. It easier to do a story that is grim or creepy than funny. Trying to make it a comment on the industry as a whole is a misstep, imo.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

I think that the 'grim' aspect doesn't really apply to games that are more about mechanics than character personality or story. Mario and Rayman are brightly coloured, but they're not trying to make you laugh.

I think Elysium's and the others comments apply specifically to games that are going for affect. It easier to do a story that is grim or creepy than funny. Trying to make it a comment on the industry as a whole is a misstep, imo.

Right - that's precisely how I read it too. Which, as they pointed out, there are some games whose humor is genuinely funny and elicits laughter and/or delight, but more often those titles miss the mark. It *seems* easier to invoke feelings of dread, despair, grief and sadness, etc. Which isn't unsurprising since we're wired more pessimistically, and therefore have way more triggers for these sorts of feelings than the positive ones.

Heck, I feel like even Minecraft and Terraria get needlessly edgy sometimes.

My Oculus Rift Dev kit came. Does anyone read these old threads or should I find a better place to post my thoughts?

jrralls wrote:

My Oculus Rift Dev kit came. Does anyone read these old threads or should I find a better place to post my thoughts?

I'd say start a new thread in the Games and Platforms forum. A lot of people will be interested to read about your experiences.