GWJ Conference Call Episode 389

Conference Call

Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, Infamous: Second Son, Warlock II: The Exiled, ArcadeCraft, Breach and Clear PC, Community Guest & Indie Dev Ed Ropple, Your Emails and More!

This week Sean Sands, Shawn Andrich and Allen Cook are joined by indie developer and community member Ed Ropple! We talk about game modding and the impact on indie gaming.

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
00.01.07 Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes
00.09.25 Warlock II: The Exiled
00.14.10 Arcadecraft Beta
00.17.29 Breach and Clear PC
00.19.59 Crusader Kings 2: Steam Marines
00.22.35 inFAMOUS Second Son
00.30.34 This week's topic: The role of modding!
00.47.15 Your emails!

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Comments

This was a lot of fun. Thanks guys.

The games Sanctum and Sanctum 2 are tower defense-FPS hybrids. I imagine a MOBA-FPS hybrid would be something along those lines. Death mechanics will have to be rethought. In general, you die a lot in FPS matches, less so in MOBAs, unless you're getting owned.

"Not quite as many people whose problems would be completely solved by actually talking to one another"

Don't play Bravely Default.

Great job on the podcast Ed!

I had to laugh about the discussion of little ones just getting into gaming. My wife and I often joke about how we spent hours watching our son play Zelda by just running Epona into a corner over and over and over again. Wish I had thought of Sean's controller trick!

Nice job Ed. Good discussion.

I think one point that was not brought up was how complex a lot of games have become, making it more difficult to do a full conversion. I think this is part of why we see fewer of those. If you are going to do something complex, might as well be using your own stuff. Especially with good dev tools so easy to get hold of these days.

Edit: oh yeah, Rajas of India for CK2 came out yesterday.

Random, today's Extra Credits seems a little bit relevant to the subject of kids and games, only from a designer's perspective. Really sinks in to what Sean was saying about what age they'll start to care about certain concepts.

I'd been trying to get my niece to play games when she was a child, but it's only recently that she's getting the point of objectives and such. It's funny, I recall "playing games properly" when I was a kid, but mostly just starting from the beginning because I figured I'd get good enough for the harder levels when I was older. I don't remember the sort of exploratory feelings my niece had at similar ages, where she sat down and wanted to just have the character go swimming (and thus Link in Wind Waker repeatedly drowned, and boy did that frustrate her). I don't recall having that, even in the first Zelda. I remember reaching certain screens and thinking "Nope, not until I'm older and better" and then going back to a section I knew I could handle.

Based on some of what Tim Schaeffer has stated about designing their Sesame Street game, it seems that more often than not kids are going to want to use a game to explore possibilities, which is the opposite of an adult coming in with years of experience and, most importantly, habit.

Super Monday Night Combat and Smite are the only two games I can think of that come close to the FPS/MOBA hybrid. I've watched Smite a few times on Twitch. I'm not really sold, but I've also cast my lot with Dota2.

One good RPG Maker Game:

To The Moon.

(But that does lead to another question: How do all these RPG Maker games make it onto Steam in the first place?)

22samurai wrote:

But that does lead to another question: How do all these RPG Maker games make it onto Steam in the first place?

Greenlight and an underserved market.

shoptroll wrote:

Greenlight and an underserved market.

While I would agree it's an underserved market, I'd like to know how many people who Greenlight the mass of RPG Maker games that are not named To the Moon (which, yeah, seriously, everyone should buy, it's worth it despite the hugely janky bits in it) actually buy them after they get Greenlit. Because many of them have been around, free or cheaper than on Steam, for a long time.

Ed, I thought you were an excellent guest-host. Your audio quality was really good too.

I just think that parents should be aware that children will likely emulate their parents's behavior a lot especially at the age of 3. So simply playing games that are kid-friendly is likely to inception a love of games into their lives.

One mobile developer whose products I'm likely to be interested in just based on the developer's reputation: Playdek, for iOS board game implementations, based on their outstanding implementations of Ascension, and more recently Waterdeep.

Game recommendation for 3-year-olds: Reader Rabbit Toddler (PC). It's an old game, but it plays fine on my Windows 7 PC, and it has a really fantastic UI which scales with your kid's capabilities. All of the minigames can be played by older kids using the mouse, but very young kids can also play the game by just banging randomly on the keyboard -- this sounds a bit odd, but in practice it works really well.

22samurai wrote:

One good RPG Maker Game:

To The Moon.

(But that does lead to another question: How do all these RPG Maker games make it onto Steam in the first place?)

Super Columbine was also built in RPG Maker.

Wanted to make a comment on that "English is easy" notion. That's an extremely commonly held belief, but it often leads people to fail to use an expert when it comes to stringing together words in a professional context. The final product of these assumptions is amateur work, and the difference from professional work is both vast and excruciating. I get that programming can be hard, and that it takes years of practice to get really good. Please trust me that reading and writing in an everyday way does not amount to practice at writing a game story, marketing copy, or a legal contract. Have a someone with experience in the specific task—be that a scriptwriter, a quest designer, a copywriter, an editor, a lawyer, or whatever else— at least look over what you're doing before you publish.

The writing in Shadowrun Returns is a bit heavy on the noir-detective slant but it struck me as writing that was crafted. The writing in a text-heavy game rarely sticks out to me but in that case I was genuinely impressed. I think competent and grammatically correct writing is attainable by most, but really great writing is not something to be taken for granted.

Michael wrote:

I think competent and grammatically correct writing is attainable by most, but really great writing is not something to be taken for granted.

I probably can't write to save my life these days, but I agree 1000x with what you and wordsmythe said. Good or even outstanding writing is hard to come by in anything, and when you do find it it's really freaking special. Like watching a supernova going off in your head without sunglasses special.

I've been spending a lot of time trying to have good writing myself lately, and then I go and read stuff that makes me feel like a hack.

Writing as communication is tricky. Anyone that's worked in an office environment knows that there are more than just basic levels of literacy to clearly communicate an idea. But to do so whilst setting the mind on fire with words? A talent, sir, and one that requires much time and practice to execute.

Great job on the show Ed, and I agree the voice quality was really good on your end.

ccesarano wrote:

I've been spending a lot of time trying to have good writing myself lately, and then I go and read stuff that makes me feel like a hack.

I think every games writer I follow has blogged or tweeted this exact sentiment at some point. So I think that's a normal feeling :p

shoptroll wrote:
ccesarano wrote:

I've been spending a lot of time trying to have good writing myself lately, and then I go and read stuff that makes me feel like a hack.

I think every games writer I follow has blogged or tweeted this exact sentiment at some point. So I think that's a normal feeling :p

This is a reason I greatly prefer editing to writing. (Also, I think I have more skill as an editor.)

shoptroll wrote:

Great job on the show Ed, and I agree the voice quality was really good on your end.

I should have said this. Sorry if I made you feel defensive, Ed. You did great!

Great job on the show, Ed. I thought you provided some really great insight and were very well spoken.

I missed something and haven't been able to find the comment in a re-listen scan-through. Ed mentioned a Shadowrun Returns adventure that he felt was well put-together - I think it might have actually been that adventure that prompted the discussion about properly crafting language. Any chance of noting that adventure title here so I can go find it?

Just wanted to say a quick thank you for mentioning the plight of us here in Australia and the god awful prices we have to pay for console games. $100-$110 for a new release makes it just about impossible for me to afford to keep up and therefore be a part of any discussion regarding the latest games. By the time I get round to being able to get a newish game, my brother in England has already played and completed it and we miss out on the multiplayer together because by that stage he's bored of it and moved onto something else. At least on Steam all I have to worry about is the conversion rate.

learn2speaklion wrote:

Just wanted to say a quick thank you for mentioning the plight of us here in Australia and the god awful prices we have to pay for console games. $100-$110 for a new release makes it just about impossible for me to afford to keep up and therefore be a part of any discussion regarding the latest games. By the time I get round to being able to get a newish game, my brother in England has already played and completed it and we miss out on the multiplayer together because by that stage he's bored of it and moved onto something else. At least on Steam all I have to worry about is the conversion rate.

Too true, cobber! I'm rolling in the Melbas since staying about a year off the pace, release-date-wise.

PSN prices are often as high or higher than bricks n mortar retail too.

Felix Threepaper wrote:

Too true, cobber! I'm rolling in the Melbas since staying about a year off the pace, release-date-wise.

PSN prices are often as high or higher than bricks n mortar retail too.

Ah mate, ain't it a drag!? My wife got me a PS4 for xmas which is so awesome but it's gonna be another 6 months until I can afford to get any big games for it (excluding the copy of Ghosts I got with it) when the price comes down. Until then it's PS+ all the way!

Felix Threepaper wrote:

Too true, cobber! I'm rolling in the Melbas since staying about a year off the pace, release-date-wise.
.

And who doesn't want to roll around in toast?

wordsmythe wrote:
Felix Threepaper wrote:

Too true, cobber! I'm rolling in the Melbas since staying about a year off the pace, release-date-wise.
.

And who doesn't want to roll around in toast?

Crumpets are better, but hey, I'm on a budget.