Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Texture Pop: Episode 12: Project Hate Zone

Sam was busy for this recording, so he had to miss out. At the same time, Garrett had some things to do, so he was a little late to the record. This left Chris and I to start the podcast by ourselves. If it sounds a little quieter than usual, that's why.

Also, the reason this podcast is as short as it is is because we were trying to cut out podcast down to a more manageable length. As a result, each of us only had a time limit of roughly 20 minutes for our respective segments. I really like this, as both a participant and viewer (after all, I have to watch the episodes myself to write the annotations), because it forces us to talk about our big topics first, streamlining the whole production. At the same time, there is more than enough room for our usual shenanigans.

0:00:00 Introduction
In which I teach Chris about geography.

0:03:25 I wanted to discuss GamerGate, because I felt like we had to.
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Honestly, I haven't much more to add to this whole thing. It's getting extremely ridiculous, and destroying the image the industry has spent years cultivating. I really don't know how it's gained this ability to persist as long as it has. We'll probably all be better off when it's finally over.
That said, I do regret my choice of the words "tag and bag" though. That wasn't the kind of image I meant to convey. I think the jerk deserves to be punished for terrorist threats, but that was an unnecessary hyperbole on my part.

As for discussions regarding ethics and games journalism, it is a very complicated issue. The thing that people do not seem to understand is that when the industry is so small, everyone knows each other. While this does leads credence to some arguments regarding game journalists and insiders getting too buddy-buddy with each other. At the same time, when those relationships go too far, it is extremely obvious. Fluff pieces read like fluff pieces. Anyone with a critical eye can detect them.

0:15:55 Chris has a bone to pick with Ubisoft.
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I think the problem with that story isn't that Ubisoft was running Unity at 900p, 30 FPS. The issue was that they used such a bullshit excuse for it. I think Chris would have been much less angry if Ubisoft just said "We can barely pull off 900p at 30 FPS, we can't do 60 FPS". It's not the technicality, it's the blatant disregard for the obvious truth of the matter.

0:21:35 We discuss Civil War in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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The Civil War will be coming to the Marvel movies. Whether or not you liked that plot line, it is hard to deny that it sold well. I personally loved it (even if I only learned about it via talks with friends and wikis), but Chris did not.

I think that kind of highlights an interesting discussion that could be had about how different types of audiences respond to the same stimuli in different ways. Chris, from what I gather about our conversations regarding Superman and the Marvel Civil War, really enjoys when comics are black and white, with easily distinguishable good and bad guys. I, on the other hand, love moral ambiguity in my fiction. I love scenes that show how somebody might think they are the hero, but fails to realize that the consequences for their actions make them out as villains to others. I love stories where everyone means well, but their actions result in a shitstorm that needs to be dealt with. Those are the kinds of stories and characters I like, because I kind them much more interesting.

We then discuss Marvel vs. DC in terms of movies, which is always a sad discussion to have, because DC sucks with regards to movies.

0:30:45 I have, after what seems like an incredibly long time, FINALLY beat Project X Zone.
An impressions piece on the game will be posted on this blog on Saturday, for those of you who want a more detailed write up on my opinions. Until then, I've think I said all that I wanted to say on that subject for now. Aside, of course, from the fact that I did not like this game at all.

And leave it up to Chris to mention Destiny in this discussion, somehow.

0:42:40 I am playing Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne.
On some level, I understand where all the talk about Nocturne being difficult stems from. At the same time, I think much of that talk is unwarranted. While it definitely does not hold your hand, the game can be made easy if players are smart about the demons the recruit and fuse to the party.

It's not so much hard as that it gives players a lot of room for customization, and counts on them being smart enough to use that room to make a well-balanced party. Otherwise, the game will punish them for poor decision making. The Press Turn System, which I elaborated on in my Digital Devil Saga pieces.

So far, I've really enjoyed the game so far. Expect an impressions piece when I do eventually finish it.

It is only in hindsight that I realize that I took entirely too long to say my points. So by the time I finished, we needed to move on to somebody else.

0:55:45 Garrett does some programming in his game design class.
Again, it's interesting comparing Garrett's classes with my own. He is going for a dedicated game design degree. I, on the other hand, am going for a generalized Bachelor's of Science in Computer Science.

As a result, we learn a lot of same material, but it different ways. I didn't really get into the nitty-gritty of planning out systems and mechanics until later. For me, the coding came first. But for Garrett, the opposite is true. I've not much to say on the matter, but it could be worth further study by academics as to how each style affects the student being taught.

0:57:45 Garrett reveals his inner Japan/Korea-ophile.
In particular, we talk a bit about Gantz. I remember that I had a couple of friends from high school loving that series. I would only learn about it later by browsing TV Tropes. Seems like an interesting series, but like most manga, I do not have the time to decide to catching up.

1:08:30 Chris talks about upgrading his desktop.
The bottom line is that one should not cheap out on PC components. Just go whole hog and get the full upgrade. At that point, it'll save you massive headaches later.
Learn from Chris's mistakes as I intend too when I eventually have to go through this.

1:19:50 Chris talks about his internet troubles.
In which Chris and I pool our shared internet knowledge in what could be called the most informative segment we've ever had on this podcast.

1:25:00 We wrap up.
We'll a strange bunch, for sure.

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