I Wonder If I Should Press Enter

I wrote a tweet.

Didn’t publish it just yet.

I’m thinking if I should press enter.

I have this dilemma about “where do I draw the line”. Humor is a tricky beast and one might wanna consider different cultures.

So far I’ve made it a habit not to publish stuff that has politics or religion. Those topics just lead to endless debate and annoys the dragon. If you make jokes about religion, people might take these two popular stances on the subject. One opinion is that “thou shall not make jokes about religion” (that’s side #1) which is viewed as “you old farts don’t understand humor & there’s freedom of speech” (that’s side #2). Both of these might lead to some sort of conflicts.

I sort of think jokes are okay (#2) but one should consider not mocking others (#1). Which can be difficult to balance.

Maybe I just delete the tweet.

So, I Went And Bought NHL 11…

There’s one funny thing that happened.

I almost didn’t purchase the game since earlier I told that I wouldn’t purchase NHL ’11. Come to think of it, it would be silly to not to change my mind just because something that I said in the past.

Strange how we human beings are constructed so that we want to be consistent with our speech and actions.

Since I said in the past that “I’m not buying this game” (in this public blog), this somehow made me think that I shouldn’t buy the game. Not even when I can see that it’s terribly fun after winning the Stanley Cup in the demo over and over (and even though it costs 43.44 euros, and not 20 euros). In reality, +24 euros doesn’t make any difference. The bottom line is that the game is terribly fun, and all people who played NHL ’10 online have moved to play NHL ’11 online (yes, that’s a sad thing for some players – but quite cool fact from EA’s money department perspective), and that these new features are cool enuf to justify the purchase.

Also, it’s something that’s quite family friendly and something that I can play even if my baby girl is in the same room (learning hip tackles is perfectly natural thing to learn at the age of 6 months, but I don’t want to teach her how to steal cars (GTA) or shoot cops (Kane & Lynch) or smash object with your head (Mario Bros) – those are too bad things for her age).

So, GOG Gets No Strike 2?

It’s easy to judge.

GOG made a stunt where they made announcement that made people think that “they are closing”. Which they were not. And people felt sorry for this and showed sympathy. Later… they pretty much communicated that “oh, but we are not closing (never planned!”).

There’s tweets raving around the net judging this PR stunt where they fool people.

It’s easy to judge them. They point out that they are a small company and need to generate buzz in any possible ways. That sounds like a lame excuse in comparison if they would have simply said “we ****** this big time, sorry folks.”

Yeh, it’s easy to judge.

Luckily, they are somewhat knowledgeable on how to apologize.

Here’s what PC gamer reported them to say:

First of all we’d like to apologize to everyone who felt deceived or harmed in any way by the closedown of GOG.com

Apology accepted from my part.

I think GOG has made terrific effort in digging good old games from their graves, shined the plates and got us to play these wonderful classics.

Sure… they might have missed the target for this “we might close down” PR stuff, but hey – it’s people who work there. People make mistakes you know.

I don’t see much point in judging them.

That’s strike 1.

In baseball you are out after 4.

How about giving these guys a break?

I’m Almost Seriously Consider Joining the Pirate Party

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from those zen books (including almost must-read books such as Zen, Hardcore Zen, The Zen of Zombie) is that resisting something might not be the optimal answer.

Often, a better approach instead is accepting the (attacking) force and then gently leading this force to somewhere. Anyone who has trained any martial arts knows that this is the basis for many moves.

A pretty recent news is that GOG.com is offline now. They are coming back “but not in their current form” as they say. I hope they keep all the classics there, but we’ll see.

I recently saw one of their tweets, stating:

Sometimes it’s really hard being DRM-free… hard to keep things the way they are and keep management and publishers happy :(

GOG.com is a place where I bought games that I had bought or pirated in my childhood. Looking around in the internetz makes me feel that people aren’t pirating GOG games. Maybe they are but I feel that there’s tons of good vibes towards GOG and people want to buy these old classics.

And I can almost bet my left hand that it must be tough to try stay DRM-free. Traditional management and publishers are so pro-DRM that it’ll be easier to travel back in time than it is to convince them that DRM is a (somewhat) bad thing.

Which gets me to my next point. Maker of Minecraft blogged about piracy and said that he is voting the Pirate party of Sweden in the next elections. He had written a blog post that you gotta check out. One quite interesting quote from it:

To people who want to get paid for their digital works, myself included, that [sharing free copies] is a bit of a problem. All of society and economics is based on an old outdated model where giving something to someone would rid the original owner of their copy, so everyone who wanted a copy had to buy one from someone else who would lose theirs, and the only source of new copies was you.

I’d like to summarize my own pirate days:

  • Before I made my own games, I pirated everything
  • After I started making my own games, I pirated nothing

That’s quite accurate statement and almost true as well.

Anyway. I feel that piracy is somewhat a problem. I don’t know how big problem it is, but it can be a problem.

And here’s the second problem that piracy causes. The words we use to describe piracy is “problem”. Anyone who has read anything about business knows that “problem” can be “opportunity”.

Now, how could piracy be an opportunity?

I have trouble solving this issue:

  • Pirates (not Pirate Party necessary, although I don’t know what they want) want to share copies away free without paying a dime.
  • That’s indeed cool and the value of the stuff increases exponentially when everybody gets to use it for free.
  • But on the downside, the developers get nothing. Perhaps leading need to shut the shoppe. And then nobody shares nothing no more. Or at least something else.

That’s how I’ve rationalized why piracy is a bad thing, but I cannot ignore the fact that piratism could be an opportunity. People want to share things, and perhaps our economical system just isn’t modern enough to handle sharing.

Sure, we could think of ads and stuff like that – but pirated versions just take away ads so that also doesn’t work.

Or perhaps we simply need systems that work. Perhaps piratism is a statement against DRM, against non-easy sharing, against all the policies that make it difficult for users to consume games (or music/movies etc.).

But we soon get to the point I made earlier: what could be the new model? I’m not so convinced that just sharing everything pro bono between everybody is the answer, without thinking the developers and publishers, and for this I’d like to get some ideas and answers.

I’d also hope to get answers from people who aren’t just big time pirates (or members of the pirate party), I’d like to get answers from developers and publishers who are big time pirates & pirate party members.

Zen-wise, it might actually make sense to me to try join the Pirate Party and try and get answers from inside. I’m not saying that I would be supporting pirating in any form – heck no. I just want to get some answers.

Couple of things to note:

  • No, at the moment my stand against piracy remains: I don’t accept piratism in any form (I don’t consider buying a game and then copying it/finding pirate copy for your own use in any way you want in any platforms you use to be piratism – but that’s just me).
  • I hate DRM.

I think I need to first change my own image about piracy. If I keep describing piracy as a problem, I’ve already mentally labeled it to something bad.

Pissed Off People, The Driving Force

Continuing with the “annoying things” theme here.

Some days ago I started to feel pretty annoyed about the fact that there was some dust and sand or whatever on the floor. When I walked over it – bare feet – those small nasty lil things felt annoying under my feet.

In fact, this was so annoying, that I just had to do some vacuum cleaning right away.

It’s not the first time this has happened, and probably won’t be the last time.

In fact, I can see this same phenomenon happening everywhere. People are getting pissed off about something so much that they spend tons of time improving it. Just to stop the annoyance.

Refactoring happens quite often due this. It’s not that we really always need to clean the code… it’s to stop the annoyance that we feel when facing the unclean code. At least sometimes.

Care to give me an example from your own life (gamewise or other) from this phenomena? Don’t tell me that this has never happened to you.

Small Annoying Things

Yesterday I didn’t make a blog post. I coded my game system instead and sort of lost track of time (or pick some other reason). The fact that I didn’t post an article bugs me.

Two days ago, I posted a blog post with 2 polls. Currently first poll got 64 votes, and second one 63. That annoys me big time. (Damnit, that one dude could have voted in both polls you know!)

Something to do with consistency (and promises). First thing I will “fix” by writing 2 blog posts on some other day (to keep my 1 post per day average running) which sounds a pretty damn foolish if I think about it.

But nothing that I can do for that poll thing.

Therefore the question remains: why are these small annoyances so annoying? Rationally thinking, one poll having 64 and another 63 votes should not mean nothing.

“200 New Features”

I’ve played the NHL ’11 demo a few times, and I had some mixed feelings about the whole game – and thought how “new versions are made in the big world”.

One major difference to indie world is that if NHL ’11 would be done by indies, it would have been published as a patch or as “an expansion pack” (or “paid upgrade”), and it wouldn’t be a new game that costs 50 euros (or whatever the new AAA games cost).

To me it looks like NHL ’11 is the greatest ice hockey game in the planet, and I’d give it 90+ points if I was to write a review…

…but I’m still not buying it.

Why?

  • As cool as the new hip tackle (and other tackles in the whole games) is and no matter how cool is to see broken ice hockey sticks, it still feels an upgrade to the previous version. I would have no problem paying 20ish euros for an upgrade, but since I’ve already got NHL ’10 I feel that I’m not getting this new version – I’m waiting to see NHL ’12
  • Plus: from game developer’s perspective I’m almost guessing they haven’t improved the online multiplayer version in certain ways that I’d want – but of course that’s left to see (since couldn’t test that in demo). I’m talking about making it impossible to take away goalie (since people can ruin the game by randomly taking it off), more balanced matchmaking (based on ranks or something), possibility to change position mid-game (for example, if somebody leaves the game, you could take his position), even balancing the game to favor the losing side (I’d make it so that the team who is losing would get bonus for goalie skills, or perhaps to losing side player skills would be somewhat improved). If technically possible, I would make it so that people could join the online game during the play, and also would make so that players could turn ON a “bot mode” for a moment (if they need to stop playing for a moment). I know some of these are big design decisions and something that won’t be easy to accept, but for example balanced gameplay wouldn’t perhaps be “realistic”, but I’m very certain that it would be more fun.

I think EA has done a great game. I think they’ve made some great improvements. The physics change is a biggie for example and the game just feels (once again) more polished that it’s a no-brainer to get it (unless you already own NHL ’10).

They have put 200+ new features.

They’ve made the world’s best ice hockey game.

Yet, it feels like an “upgrade” to me.

I’m about 110% certain that EA will make tons of more money this way (selling it at 50ish eur price point instead of 20ish eur upgrade), but In the indie world things would be different.

Indies would give those 200 features for free (or as an add-on pack), and people would be amazed about this.

Not sure if that would be sensible for indies. This is just some food for thought.

What you think?

25 Things That I Like In Game Development

On top of my head:

  1. I like create something
  2. I like to draw things
  3. I like to show my creations
  4. I like it when people like my game
  5. I like coding
  6. I like planning
  7. I like designing gameplay
  8. I like writing about developing
  9. I like using English
  10. I like physics in games
  11. I like online multiplayer
  12. I like to blog about my game development
  13. I like to network with other developers
  14. I like to make videos about my games
  15. I like to post screenshots about my games
  16. I like to see my games in gaming magazines
  17. I like the feeling of earning donuts from my games
  18. I like the unique challenges that game production presents
  19. I like upgrading my computer in order to boost my development
  20. I like to discuss about my game development
  21. I like to learn from my mistakes in game development
  22. I like it how game development poses ethical questions ranging from “this demon’s logo looks like Turkey flag” to “what kind of humor should I have” to many, many other
  23. I like buying new games and learning from them
  24. I like participating in game development contests
  25. I like having direct discussion with the people who like my games

What kind of list you have?

Why Seeing 03:27 In a Timer Bugs Me?

We have this fridge magnet that has timer in it. You can set up minutes and seconds and start/stop (and reset) the timer. Today at some point I had stopped the timer at 03:27. Later I saw the number again and it slightly bothered me but I didn’t press the reset button. Yet.

But the next time I just had to reset the timer to 00:00 and was like “phew”. Now things are in shape again and I can enjoy my orange juice in peace.

I’m no control freak but like to keep things organized.

Still, it’s a bit of a mystery to me why humans (or at least one of them) are designed this way? Rationally thinking, there’s no need to reset timer from 03:27. Reseting takes like half a second of my time so it’s okay to leave it there. It doesn’t hurt anybody.

But annoyed me enough that I had to do the reset after passing by it couple of times.

Pretty crazy. Kind of.

Humor, It’s a Tricky Beast to Handle

I hadn’t heard earlier about Achmed the Dead Terrorist, and after watching one show (which by the way has 117 million youtube views, cough, 117 million) I started thinking how difficult it is to do any comedy stuff – if you don’t want to offend anyone.

If you have a character called “a dead terrorist” who talks this and that, chances are you are insulting somebody.

If you make jokes about different countrymen… you’ll mock somebody.

In fact, unless you are mocking yourself with jokes… chances are you are offending somebody else. Possibly.

One indie developer is doing game about private parts. That will most likely offend somebody. There’s all sort of humor going on in games (and inside game dev teams).

Some people think that “hey, if you are offended by this – go to other room”. It’s like everything should be tolerated… since “it’s just humor”. But is it so? Is it so that everybody should tolerate the guy who makes the worst jokes in a game dev team?

Is it okay to present offensive stuff and make jokes about it? How offensive is fine?

Where and how do you draw the line?