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fullicide-SD's blog

Webcomics...and I'm not dead, at least not yet...
1:41 PM on 06.01.2013
Sadly not launching this month due to fair use and images...
10:07 PM on 03.06.2013
The Seemingly Insurmountable Challenges of the Ouya and Steam Box
2:54 AM on 02.13.2013
Cram session: What the Fu-Beta?! Why Bungie is Awesome, and patent law.
6:01 PM on 01.29.2013
When is it Ok to Quit a Match?
12:08 PM on 01.28.2013
There is Certainly a Silver Lining to ThQ's sad circumstances...
1:48 AM on 01.24.2013





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Community Discussion: Blog by fullicide-SD | fullicide-SD's ProfileDestructoid
fullicide-SD's Profile - Destructoid






About
Writer, artist, and one man army of Fullicide.net. Fullicide launches before summers end.

Have been taking the time to really refine everything I want to express with FE since the last road blocks prevented launch.


Hi! I'm Scott, a far from normal guy from Ohio. I have pretty high aspirations for myself and the site I've been working on for over three years now. I am an avid consumer of all things entertaining and would like to do what I can to make the industry all the better. Don't be afraid to comment, question, or even email anything to me. Hope to hear from you sometime.
-SD
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PSN ID:chaos-SD
Steam ID:chaos5221
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Hey guys, long time, here are 5 of the 11 images I have finished (9 left to complete, hopefully hundreds to follow).  Can safely say I'm launching before summers end.



So this was really THE first comic conceived for Fullicide.  When me and my perverbial brother, Marc, used to spend hours in game we’d talk about everything.  Mostof the time it was down at his apartment with a couple of beers.  When I finally told him about this kinda quirky idea I wanted to strive for it seemed on queue that he soon after made the joke about gaming ondrugs.  All credit for this idea, and honestly much thanks for making it to site launch (if or when), goes to him.

In all seriousness though, I’ve had friends who’ve gamed after smoking or what have you, and it’s always just 
kind of sad :\.  Hell, I’ve even done some gaming after a night of drinking.  It’s sloppy, and really not much fun.
The best gaming experience comes from being at your most aware...to me, drugs suck.

I’ve felt some pride in these art pieces as I feel like I’ve grown in skill with the software, sketches, and the comics as a whole.  The one thing I still lack in is the dialogue, but I want to say part of that is learning to write the piece as I’m drawing it up.  Here’s hoping to continue improving in all these things.



This was a bit of an odd one.  Initially I had written this piece while in the drawing process, however, once Iwent into photoshop the dialogue didn’t really feel like it fit anymore.  So this is the writing I wound up settling on, I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either.  Eventually I had to decide to come down on somethng that would only be ok because I spent too much time trying to reword this.  I intend to do better moving
forward.

I do like the art though, especially panel two.  It turned out better than expected and it was with this one that I began to strive for a more elaborate background.

The topic covers something I’ve always felt, a certain lack of logical steps in horror films.  Not to say that logic or reasonable moves are
entirely required but it makes the actions much more believable.  I always feel like the next smart step is to just go by a gun instead of staying in the home or location where the deadly element is...but then of course it wouldn’t be a horror film.



I know there are ways for a person to receive the nutrients they need to live without ingestion through themouth, but really?  Did anyone else ponder this same thing?  Does Bane take the mask off and stuff his face real quick like, while screaming in agony? :P

The biggest challenge I set for myself with this one was making the food look delectable, maybe even makingthe viewer/reader hungry.  I think I came close for art that isn’t meant to look real to life.

I could have done a little more with the background, adding a little more color, or another layer of color. Still, as far as writing and art are concerned this is one of my best starting comics.



This was the first Review Art I completed.  My intent was to portray the sense and feeling of the story behind BioShock Infinite.  I thought the story was the best part of the game and was capable of making up for any issues one could find.

After the other Review Art peices I’ve done, I wouldn’t call this one my best, but I still like it...I liked the challenge of all of the different directions of the image, the concept of “light facing dark, dark facing light”.The execution for this art was done decently, with some minor faults that were experience and skill based; I’ve already improved upon them now.

As for the game itself, I don’t think it’s perfect.  Extremely good, but I don’t think it’s worth declaring game of the year, not yet.



Also known as “Lessons in Dirt and Blood”, going into Photoshop with this one I initially didn’t like what I had.  I had a shocking amount of difficulty in drawing this piece, for some odd reason, even though it’s not that complex.  

The problems I had with the sketch were Lara’s dimensions.   I felt I hadn’t done well with her proportions by comparison to the images I find online I use as a basis to do my works.  Her hips are a lil too small, waist a lil too long, etc.  Yet, after the completion of this piece, it’s turned out fantastic. 

I’ve had some great compliments on my skills with shading, and I really feel the layer of dirt and blood/grime I used in this image really helped it to be a cut above the rest.  Oddly enough this was initially an easy one to do.   I say initially because I then lost half the work Ihad done when my computer took a shit :P.  Normally this wouldn’t bother me but I had been saving through most of this piece and suddenly, the work I knew I had saved was lost.  Lessons.

_________________________________________________________________________

As for life, well...since I've come home from college I've been having health issues that I don't really like to share.  However, I feel like I'm on the right track to getting better.  PT is doing wonders by comparison to how I felt before.  Stress was effecting my body in some rather harsh adverse ways.  

Originally when I was pouring everything I had into getting these images done I was able to do three to four a week AND typing up a review.  At the request of my family, for the sake of my health, I agreed to do a more regular 6 to 8 hours a day of work.

At the current pace there should be no issue with launching before the end of summer.  Sadly, I don't see the time to return to blogging with launch, or not on a regular schedule.  With the inability to use images from the entertainment I use in reviews, there seems to be a need to push into the next stage of the site.  So, aside from all of the work that will be put into the site, behind the scenes I'll be prepping for live content.  I really want blogging to be a central part of my day/week, but there never seem to be enough hours in a day...

If you'd like to share any critiques on these pieces, please, feel free.  I take criticisms seriously, and always consider how I can make my work better.

Thanks for your time, hope you enjoyed a couple if not more of these pieces, and have a great day!
Photo Photo Photo








For those few of you who may be wondering, Fullicide.net is NOT launching this week (sad face). In fact it's not launching this month. The site was well on it's way to completion, and it really had a bumpy start. Working with CSS in Dreamweaver, when you haven't been taught anything about such mechanisms can be incredibly frustrating. But I got over that road block...what is going to make me miss my launch window is a legal issue. Basically it has to do with images.

I like images to accompany my writings, and for some time I was under the impression that the images I was using were under fair use/creative commons/public domain etc. I was wrong. The settings in my advanced search were disabled at some point and a majority of the images I was using are truly in a grey area that could land any person in a legal battle. Obviously I don't want that. With fair use search methods engaged, my imagery options very limited now :\

I was thinking about using a single image in the header for reviews but after speaking with an IP attorney today, that doesn't seem like a valid option either. I would prefer to have some kind of colorful imagery accompanying reviews until I can get into some unique plans for video.

I appreciate those few of you who are reading this and waiting, patiently, in anticipation of this work I've talked about for some time. This month I have to restructure all my written work, figure out the picture situation, and wait for a new launch window, which will likely be at the end of the month. I truly appreciate those of you who have payed attention to this page with keen interest in my on goings and the launch of FE. Please, be patient a little longer.

In other news, really liking Tomb Raider, SC2 HotS is next week (SQUEEEE ), learning some curious figures about income for streaming, and my best friend is actually visiting this week. That wouldn't seem like a big deal for most, but I actually haven't spent time with a friend in over three months haha.

Seriously aiming for launch at the end of the month.

-SD

PS- If you're lost to what I was talking about, take a gander at the top section of my previous blog...








Hi guys, it's been awhile and I just wanted to stop by and ask for your help. I've been extremely busy with not only working on the website but typing up a blog for debates in another community. However, the dtoid community, you guys (and girls :P), have honestly been the best at giving incredibly thoughtful critiques and responses which means a lot to me. I hate the idea of posting the same blog in multiple places unless it's something simple. I worked on this piece for three days though, and while it's not entirely reflective of my own personal opinion, it still means a lot to me because of all of the time I invested in putting it together, so for those of you who read it, you have my deep appreciation.

The blog follows below the line but there are a few other things I wanted to share with all of you. First, how are you guys?! Occam, Phil, Elsa, Strider, everyone, how are ya! I've felt very restricted with how much I've had to focus on lately, it feels nice to give my brain a rest tonight. For the next month and a half I'll only be floating around in comments until the site has it's grand opening. Need to make sure everything is done properly and in a timely manner. Once it launches there will honestly be more time to join you guys in discussion online. Sadly, til then, gotta make sure I have a paying job and soon!

I'll probably be able to throw together quick snipet blogs about lil things I wanna talk about here and there but nothing major like I prefer...ummm, other than that, Dead Space 3 was honestly really good. I think a lot of people were deterred from it because of the microtrans and less horror more thriller theme but as a big Dead Space fan, it's still great. Gotta play the Coop before I can write up a proper review. Finally finished the walking dead game and holy hell...that's all I'll say about that. I also have to get back to practicing StarCraft if I hope to improve...Hope to hear from you guys!!


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

***NOTE: This is three blogs worth of content. If you feel like it’s too large a read, it’s divided into three sections that are each a blogs worth of reading.***

The premise of this blog was to debate which console will potentially thrive in the eighth generation of hardware, with a focus on the Ouya and Steam Box. I volunteered to write for the potential downfalls of both systems.

• The Overall Problem

No matter who plants their flag as a member of the eighth generation of home gaming consoles, they face an uphill battle, one that is already weighing heavily upon Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. Console sales are down across the board, and while it’s easy to blame the unusually long life cycles of the Playstation and Xbox, Nintendo isn’t so lucky. The Wii U had a release year that could be likened to more of a muted thud as opposed to a clap of thunder, which an anticipated product launch should have. Even though sales for all three consoles rose over the holidays, those numbers didn’t reach the same figures of years past. Since 2012 began, there seems to be an over spoken momentum going against any company who would like to war over your living room.

Much of the doubt came out of a rather compelling argument from DICE 2012, delivered by Ben Cousins. In his 26 minute presentation, Cousins gave several pieces of data backed evidences showing major declines in the console industry and major rises in other mediums such as free to play, social, and mobile gaming. The mobile side of things is not in Nintendo or Sony’s favor either; their divisions have taken a hit as well. Even with the release of the powerful and alluring 3DS and PSVita, customers aren’t buying into the products like they used to.


[Controlling interests of the industry are drastically reshaping...]

One powerful theory that has helped us determine the trend of when people purchase a product is the Diffusion of Innovations theory. It is a bell curve that shows when specifications of types of people buy a product and where products experience peak and declining sales. According to said scale, there are five distinct groups that a consumer of a product falls into: innovators, early adopter, early majority, late majority, and laggards. For this piece all we really need to focus on is the innovators, the early adopters and a new reference by many referred to as “the chasm”; the rest are just ninnies (they’re not actually ninnies, they just don’t serve a purpose for the theory…and I really had an urge to say ninnies).



The chasm is a new variation, proposed by a few, basically stating that there is a large gap of early adopters, plus innovators, that is required to boost the new tech into larger sales. Now, whether or not you want to buy into the reference of a “chasm”, what’s important to note is that there is a shift in the number of people who buy a new tech early in its life cycle. Obviously these references to products and tech directly correlate to anything like the PSVita, 3DS, WiiU and any consoles that have yet to come with this generation.

It’s unclear whether there has been a lack of innovators purchasing the new products or if more early adopters are required these days for a product to reach a peak where the majority of people start buying in. What is clear is that more people are hesitant in putting their money into new technologies, and all consoles are on the losing end of that cautious behavior.

No matter what your preferred price is, we all already have a lot of technologies at our finger tips, and more are being announced and released every year. We’re being told that the new announced techs are highly innovative, yet most aren’t. It’s no wonder this would give many pause before purchase, even swaying some from their early adoptive tendencies. Worse yet, while the challenge the big three faces seems to be growing larger, it undoubtedly makes it harder for Ouya, the Steam Box, or other new entrants, to find ground to stand on.


[These guys have a massive challenge ahead of them...]

[Fun Fact: Call someone a Laggard as a counter insult. They’ll probably think you’ll be referring to lag, but you’re just calling them a person who buys a product super late. Chances are they’ll just start firing insults out of frustration, and you can just laaaaaugh.]

• The Ouya’s Challenges

This will be the first console that will have a yearly hardware update, and it could be that one detail that breaks the console’s sales. Ouya owners won’t be required to purchase every new console as each will be able to play the same games. The purpose of the yearly life cycle is to continually update the hardware to allow access to better processing power and graphics if players desire it. Eventually though, all things are outdated. Some of the games that will be available for play will likely stop being available for lower end consoles, but how fast could such a trend take effect? 3 years, 5 years? Not every Android game works for every Android phone. After all, Alex Rubens of PC World said it best, “Android OS is known for being very picky about the specific type of hardware that the user has. An application might work perfectly on one phone, but not at all on another, simply because of the onboard video card.” There has been no evidence contrary to the point to suggest that these problems wouldn’t persist for the Ouya platform as it upgrades its hardware (or in general), and some games could require a system upgrade if you really want to play them.


[Their supposed "Cadillac of Controllers" looks pretty awkward.]

The prevalent issue of the Ouya’s hardware doesn’t just stop with constant upgrades. There has been much debate on whether the specs are worthwhile or [url=]http://www.lazygamer.net/general-news/why-the-ouya-will-fail-according-to-kevin-dent/if they’ll lead to the Ouya burying itself[/url].

No matter what side you land on, no matter if you interpret the internals as bad or good, there is a particular issue to them. There is a specific time when specs matter and ways a lack of power can be compensated for.

When the headliner consoles of the seventh generation launched roughly eight years ago, there was a big debate as to which console had superior hardware, Xbox 360 or Playstation 3? The PS3’s initial titles were fairly unimpressive by comparison to those that launched within the 360’s first couple of years, making the 360 an easier sell for those first few years of the generation. Eventually the PS3 was able to turn things around with developers becoming more able to tap its powerful hardware, and the two kinda stand on equal ground now (at least in sales). Yet, power late in the game, even though it has caught the company up from being behind, doesn’t really matter this late in the game. It mattered when one console threatened to knock another out of the competition, and that’s the launch window Ouya has placed itself in.

By comparison to the rumored specs of the next Xbox and Playstation, the Ouya is severely underpowered which would make it incredibly easy to show up at the beginning of a console cycle; the ideal time for any competitor to be shoved aside. While hardware specs have often not mattered in circumstances between the PS2, GameCube, and Xbox, and the aforementioned PS3 and 360, these examples have always occurred when every system’s internals were on par with one another. The situation the Ouya will create for itself will have few, if any, considerably new games. None of those games for the first version of the console will be able to compete with next gen games that we’ve already seen like Watch Dogs, or 1313.


[Yes dear, you can have Minecraft, but only if you're good!]

The reason the Wii was not only able to compete, but thrive in comparison to its little brother’s of the industry was due to its uniqueness. Even without beefy specs, Nintendo’s previous console was a tremendous success because it brought something COMPLETELY NEW to users. Ouya does not. It’s offering to bring in games that we’ve already seen on consoles, games already offered on phones, and Minecraft, which is on PC and 360. Making matters worse, some of these games aren’t guaranteed!

“Amassing enough demand to warrant porting Minecraft to Ouya will be an uphill battle to climb, too. The Kickstarter has surpassed 35,000 backers, a portion of which are developers. Even if that number continues to grow before the Kickstarter ends, that is not a particularly large install base for a console. This leads to a chicken or the egg-type scenario: a console needs games to sell itself to gamers, and a console needs a large audience for developers to be interested in making games for it. While we don't know the details on what other funding Ouya has, it turning to Kickstarter to help fund development of the console and some first-party game development doesn't suggest it has the capital needed to pay developers to bring games to its platform at launch. And if it can't do that, it may be dead on arrival.” (Chris Periera of 1up.com)

With the idea of uniqueness, some would fall back on the Android based consoles open structure. However, open structure which allows for modding and homebrew also allows for piracy, and it’s nothing new. It was one of the major theorized issues that plagued the PSP in its early years, and developers hate having their s#!^ stolen. The Ouya’s creators have made some broad claims that piracy won’t be a problem as “all paid content on the device would require authentication, there was an extra element of security integrated into the platform to help prevent piracy.” To many, that answer simply won’t be enough, and the issue of piracy has yet to be rebuked. Many enjoy Android games on their computers now and soon, they may enjoy any exclusives the system will have.

The Ouya relied on Kickstarter because it couldn’t front the money of its own accord. This is a one shot deal, and if (or when) it fails, it has failed permanently.

• The Steam Box’s Challenges

Much like the Ouya, the Steam Box also presents a first for high end tech consoles. VALVe’s Gabe Newell informed the Verge that the Steam Box will have three varying hardware specifications for their hardware:

“Newell also tipped Valve's hand on target pricing for Steam Boxes built by partners, saying that the company sees three tiers of hardware specifications: "Good, Better," and "Best." He says the goal for a "Good" platform is a free device, but that one would probably start around $99 and eventually come down. Newell says a midrange device should cost around $300, and that the top-tier is only limited by how much someone is willing to spend.”

This is a decision that is reminiscent of when Sony and Microsoft announced that there would be variations of the consoles. The differences for the PS3’s and 360’s were only in aesthetics and digital storage capacities of the consoles; everyone knows this. What may have been forgotten was the initial question that came to mind: “Will there be a difference in processing or graphics for each unit?!” The swift and comforting answer that followed soon after was that there would be no difference, but it didn’t end for those who worked in retail.


[Holy hell, options?! But we've taught the world to be indecisive!]

I spent a lot of my early twenty’s working in retail, and of course, part of that was working in the electronics section. One of the questions that customer’s constantly raised with concern was if there was substantial difference between the consoles? It was easy to just explain the differences, reassuring them and helping them with information or into their purchase. These were fairly obvious instances of consumers who could be considered causal gamers, parents, or those who were just getting into gaming. Whether you’d like to accept it or not, a statistic from The National Gamers Survey 2010, preserved through Gamasutra, states “33 percent, or 46 million, of casual gamers play titles on all three platforms.” Whether you hate the classifications of gamers or if you don’t mind them, it’s the casual market that helps push console sales even if they don’t help game sales.

That casual side of the market is pertinent to helping a console reach critical mass in sales, as that consumer group consists of some early adopters, early majority, and a lot of late majority buyers. Making it harder to choose which version of hardware to buy is a major deterrent, making it even more difficult for the Steam Box to reach that casual crowd.


[Most who enter a store and ask questions about different electronics generally don't know what they want, making it more complicated for them is generally poor strategy]

The lowest level, “free”, Steam Box will likely be underpowered in comparison to eighth gen hardware and potentially some seventh gen hardware. Unlike the Ouya though, the Steam Box isn’t offering anything considerably different. Ouya at least offers the ability to bring Android power to your Tv, even if it faces a plethora of issues. The Steam Box is bringing Steam to your Tv, which is nothing new if you know of the overabundant number of ways to connect a computer with a Tv. What does this really make of the varying types of Steam Boxes, especially since the system will likely offer no physical games?

“How is Valve going to sell the Steam Box? If it’s sold solely through online channels, that’s a tall order for most consumers. Purchasing a new computer online is harrowing enough, even having a rough idea what to expect. However, trying to convince customers to spend $1,000-$1,500 dollars on device without really getting a chance to use it (or even see it in person) seems a bridge too far for mass market consumption. The Steam Box as currently thought is going to be so unlike anything on the market it doesn’t seem likely that the mass appreciation for it will come without it being available in stores like GameStop, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy. Those retailers might not have a reason to carry the hardware if accessories (typically the highest-margin items available for a console) are nonexistent. It’s even less likely to happen if it winds up being a digital-distribution-only device (the odds of which are 99.9%), as retailers would basically be cutting themselves out of the market by selling the Steam Box.” (Mark Price, VGRevolution)

While received with certain dismay, the next Xbox will supposedly allow players to play games during game installs. With Steam, the user has to download the games before they can play them. There's no word on physical options, so if retailers will sell the Steam Box in store, it will be significantly less appealing sitting next to other consoles with libraries of games that can be played as soon as the system is connected to a Tv. Of course all of this only speaks to those who would consider purchasing the product in a store.

Steam, the software itself, has amassed quite a following of roughly 50 million users, and around 5 million concurrent active players. Those are big numbers, but when compared to only one generation of two consoles, it’s fairly unimpressive.

Account Name | Date Launched | Number of Downloads versus Consoles Sold:

Steam | September 12, 2003 | 50 Million
http://www.pcgamesn.com/article/steam-has-50-million-users-5-million-playing-concurrently

Xbox 360 | November 16, 2005 | 76 Million
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_360#Sales_by_region

PlayStation 3 | November 11, 2006 | 77 Million
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_3#Sales_and_production_costs

Both systems have exceeded steams number of downloads in less time, both topping it’s downloads by more than half. Moreover, Steam is a free download, while you have to pay for almost all of the games Steam has to offer, consumers are required to purchase the Microsoft and Sony consoles for a substantial amount of money, and the prices of games aren’t cheap. All three current console’s games must be played on their dedicated systems, but Steam is already on PC, giving little need to purchase the physical console. It makes the idea of the product seem like a luxury item.

I respect Gabe Newell and all he has to offer in this industry, but it seems unwise to be underestimating the current leaders of the console industry for a company that, technically, isn’t participating yet.


[Worrying about Apple now is like worrying about everything that could happen to you in an RTS all at once. You lose your concentration, you forget what you should be focused on, and you often, just, lose.]

What about the controller that could potentially reshape the game?

“Valve wants to give gamers something different than the motion controls that Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony have raced to create in recent years. Newell told us that he’s not particularly impressed with motion control, and that Valve wants to take advantage of advances in technology that can allow games to respond to your body in deeper ways, like adjusting the flow of a game based on your emotions.”

That’s all well and good, but it means absolutely nothing until it’s proven. We’ve heard the same story from patents for controllers, the Move, the Kinect, sensors that you could wear on your head, and many more. All excited the masses, and very few have had success, and that really depends on what you call success. Worse yet, what’s VALVe going to do, divide their customer base?

There will be customers who won’t have interest in purchasing the Steam Box, but would still like access to all of the great games the service has to offer. So does VALVe allow the controller to be compatible with computers, or will it be exclusive to the console, with any games that require the controller’s feedback tied to the hardware? Either way there is a loss. Do you force consumers to buy your console which could be a $300 and up purchase? How much will the top-tier console be? If it’s supposed to be comparable to high end PC’s, why would you force someone to make another investment like that? If there are no exclusives to the console, then you’re also shooting yourself in the foot! It’s hard not to see a win-lose situation in all of this.

If sales of the Steambox don’t flop, the console stands to make its way into the industry much like the original Xbox did. It was super powerful and with a few, very notable exclusives, the original Xbox was able to place Microsoft’s flag as a member of the industry. To do so however, Microsoft had to invest millions, taking a substantial loss just to get their stake in the business off the ground. Phil-Harrison, a truly powerful and intelligent member of all things in gaming said:
[i]
"Entering the hardware business is a really tough business," he said. "You have to have great fortitude to be in the hardware business and you have to have deep pockets and a very strong balance sheet. It's not possible for every new hardware entrant to get to scale.

They can be successful at small scale. But it's very rare for a new hardware entrant to get to scale, and I mean tens or hundreds of millions of units. There are a very small number of companies that can make that happen.

And it's not just having a great brand or a great software experience. It's about having a supply chain and a distribution model and a manufacturing capacity and all the things that go with it. It's a non-trivial problem to solve and it takes thousands of people to make reality."[/i]

Harrison went on to express his respect for VALVe as a company, wishing them the best of luck and no ill-will.

• Wrapping Things Up

Every console that will ever be really should watch its step. This is a truly volatile industry, and underestimating the competition, or being over ambitious often creates a successful formula for being bitten in the ass.

It’s worth noting that the content of this article does not fully reflect my opinion on any of the consoles or company’s situations. I tend to be more positive in analysis but I wanted to help out with this debate, so, for those purposes, these were the conclusions I was able to draw with information sources I weeded through. Honestly I’m normally not one for conjecture on these matters. If anyone desires, after the debates are over, I’ll gladly disclose my full beliefs on the current state of affairs for all industry leaders.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Again, thanks for your thoughts and opinions, and tell me how you guys are doing, and if it's your first time commenting on my blog, lets chat, tell me about yourself...

-SD
Photo Photo Photo








Alright, seriously can we just start calling it the Pre-Game now? Every game seems to have a Beta lately and while some games like SC2 are truly making attempts at wonderful changes to balance or create more competition, others literally just say "here's a beta, have fun, we might change some stats." To me, examples of this include the recently passed Medal of Honor, where the beta seemed to give no benefit to the final release of the game. Another, while I don't have a problem with it, is Crysis 3.



It's roughly twenty days away from the games release, and the Beta was just released today. However, the quality of the series has never really been in question. Even though there are always minor tweaks or a bug to fix here and there, Crytek makes very high quality games that, to most, are really hard to question. It's highly doubtful that with the release of today's beta that there will be any huge changes that follow because of it. Therefore, can we just start calling most of these Pre-Games.

Other Fun things to check out from the week thus far:
If you haven' seen it yet Bungie just showed us why American companies still can be at the top of the class. The video on Kotaku or YouTube is hilarious and I really recommend checking it out:

http://kotaku.com/5979384/bungie-replaces-a-defective-disc-it-didnt-manufacture-for-a-game-it-didnt-make

NewEgg is now a site I want to shop with more often because they have super balls, not just regular balls. When a sue-happy patent troll began to sue massive companies like Amazon, Victorias Secret, The Gap, and even NewEgg for using the shopping cart icon and coding, the company was the only one to not only stand up to the troll, but slew it, throwing its body down on the ashes of battle, spitting on its corpse. Seriously, NewEgg is awesome:

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/01/how-newegg-crushed-the-shopping-cart-patent-and-saved-online-retail/



I said today's blog was going to be a little more personal, but I wanted to keep this blog short. By the end of the week I'd like to cover that more optomistic approach that most I've mentioned it to disagree with and maintain a somewhat cynical look at not only our entertainment industry, but ya know, stuff in general... As always, hope to hear from all of ya!

-SD

Sidebar: What does Destructoid have against Willem Dafoe? or for him if I'm reading it wrong...

Another Sidebar: Disqus is down again...woo!
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Never, some will answer. You shouldn’t leave a game until it’s over, some still declaring the strong, proud, and timeless motto of “Never give up! Never Surrender!” In fact, this is often a belief held by many skilled players, some who even seek to obtain a professional rank. Yet not everyone submits to this shared mentality, and it does have exceptions to some.

If you have a sick kid or pet, if you have to go to work, if you’ve burst into flames and might die, or if you find a pressing matter that forces you to be pulled away from a game, all seem to be decently reasonable for most to step away from a match. When I began typing this article I knew it had an expressed purpose that I wanted to convey, but I was unable to flush it out my first time. It was with the help of you guys, in the Destructoid community, that I was able to construct the much more fluid, purposeful article that follows.

One night this past January, two of us were playing split screen on Black Ops 2, with the our two teammates connecting from across the state. By most accounts, the match we had entered into was terrible, with bombs dropping on our spawn locations and the team’s deaths more than doubling the number of kills. There was no purpose to staying in that arena, and leaving could allow the lobby to merge with one that would have given the opposing team a challenge. Upon leaving however, I was signed out, and on signing back in I received the message featured below, taken with my phone.


[This was shocking, even for a game that’s frustrating at times.]

Even though I was one of three players in completely similar circumstances that night, I was the only one struck with a probation notification. Looking further into the odd circumstances, I wasn’t able to find any particular known rules as to why probation is given. I could only assume, for me, it was because of some unfortunate circumstances with my family’s wonderful, now deceased Collie, Woody.

Our dog lived fourteen years, which is a really good age for a Collie, but at the end of his years he couldn’t stand on his own. We weren’t entirely comfortable with putting him down, and so long as he wasn’t in pain and seemed to be happy, we were content with helping him stand up when he needed it. Still, as he continued to grow older the threat of what we might have to do began to loom over our heads. While I was home over the holidays the thought was pretty persistent in my mind, and to help release the stress of it I would frequent Black Ops 2 matches. I still had to keep an eye on Woody though, and in the middle of many matches I’d have to get him up, watch him to make sure he didn’t fall down, and inevitably leave matches. After so many quits, I can only assume that was the reason for receiving such a message.

While there are some who might suggest not playing, or at least playing against bots, I ask you: do you find not playing in public matches as stress relieving as doing so? I prefer my public matches for the reason of competition and at times taking my mind off things. Whether you find these circumstances valid or not, they raise two very important questions.


When is it Ok to quit a match?

Before we move forward with analyzing this question I would like to clarify: I quit matches when I don’t have circumstances pulling me away, and I don’t condone people constantly quitting matches just because they feel like it. For me, there is a time and proper reason for leaving a game.

Since I began practicing to improve my play in StarCraft 2’s multiplayer, I have taken many of the readings on etiquette to heart. “When you know you have lost the game, you should leave. Dragging out a game by not leaving is both annoying and rude to players and observers.” Even though this applies to StarCraft and matches that are dependent on the surrender of a team, I’ve always held similar interpretations for other kinds of games. It has to do with a sense of priority in gaming. Pros know when they have lost, and know when to secede from “fighting the good fight.”


[To many, you gotta know when and how to call it quits...]

What made this kind of mentality transparent to me came with days, possibly even weeks, that I invested into playing Modern Warfare 2. Even though the game was fairly balanced there were clear situations where one team was simply walking on the other. The game was hacked, team members seemed to have no interest in accomplishing the objectives, or worse yet the enemy had so many killstreaks lined up that no matter where the game spawned you, you would instantly be killed. Yet none of these reasons alone were substantial explanations to leave a match, not until one can truly understand when a match is lost.

The odds can clearly be stacked against one’s team, and yet they can still manage to walk away with a victory. Moreover there are also personal wins for players, so even in loss, if the player net a substantial amount of points, attained a killstreak they had not yet reached, sought to support a fellow team member, or having a rewarding K/D ratio, a match can still have a sense of victory. The same even applies to StarCraft. If a match is an obviously loss the player can still take solace in personal improvement or accomplishments such as sniping down certain, powerful units that would have caused the battle to be lost sooner. Therefore, if one can really justify leaving, there has to be no opportunity for success.


[That awkward moment when you question what it all was for.]

If you agree with such a mentality, or see the plausibility behind these ideas, you’ll likely be of the same opinion that situations where there is significant lag, host disconnects, hacked matches, or even matches that display qualities of a total loss can validate leaving. For matches like these in Black Ops 2 and other Call of Duty games, the situation often consists of an overwhelming score deficit, with scores similar to: 40 to 160 in Domination, 35 to 85 in Team Deathmatch, or any substantial score to a minimal score in a match type that requires a team effort. Under any of these circumstances, with an inability to find some shadow of success, it creates a formula for one to leave and find a game worth fighting for.

There will be those who do not agree with this mentality or likeminded ideas. Some can even be angered by such a thought process, with a stalwart attitude that there should be no quitting. Still, games like these are meant for a mass audience and their varying beliefs on how to enjoy the experience. Until games begin to implement measures that prevent the player from leaving a match, the members of the community are forced to live with the diverse mentalities (some, unhappier than others). This evidently brings us to our next question.

Is it Ok for games to be implementing measures like probation?

At both extremes of the argument there will be staunch yes’s and no’s. The point’s that I’ve set forth thus far really don’t defend or negate the idea of employing such systems. All I’ve really defended is what I feel are suitable circumstances to quit, leave, tactically retreat, accept the loss, what have you. So, I feel what it really comes down to is how these systems are implemented, and how well it’s done.

Halo 4 is a good example of a system that has had success while experiencing some consequences. If a team mate kills you, you are given a prompt to kick them from the game. However that same system has also given some incentive for players to grief others. In certain match types (Flood) a Spartan can force another from an ideal position without the use of a weapon, if the player who is being encroached upon stands their ground it might end with said player killing the griefer. This type of trolling abuses functions of the game, functions that are meant to be helpful, creating instances where these systems backfire.


[BF3 satiated most of it’s players needs with user hosted servers.]

Other titles that have had luck on this matter are server based games where the admins can set the rules. But much of the success of these systems is also based upon the quality of the games match making system, or it’s hosting methods and quality. In CoD, players are often thrown into games that are clearly at a loss, have a significant imbalance in team strength, or have a tendency to lag. While I’m not claiming that those issues should prevent the Treyarch team from attempting something like probation, there are clearly other things that need work before such a system can be properly implemented.

Initially, when Black Ops 2 was released, there were certain bugs that caused disconnect from so many matches that players were being given probation. With patches that problem has supposedly been fixed. Yet none of it really answers the question at hand, and probation seems to be the next step above kicking players for team killing, or actions like it. There really is no right or wrong answer to this issue but we all come down on some side of it. For me, it just creates a deeper line of questioning, one that really begs: When is it ok for games to dictate how we play, and what measures are acceptable for the games to create order? Feel free to join myself and others in discussion on the off-site forums with your thoughts on this issue.


For anyone wondering, yup, this is the infamous return of the CoD probation I posted when I first arrived here at Destructoid. Tomorrow I'll be posting what can be considered a far more personal article, mostly about an optimistic look at society today, it's upward trend, patent law, and why Bungie is friggin awesome if you don't already know. So if you like those kinds of things I hope you stop by. As always, I hope you've enjoyed this read, if you have any questions comments or concerns, you know where to put em. I know this could be a hot button topic to some, so if you feel I was wrong, take a deep breath, express what you would like to say, and I hope we can have a thought provoking discussion on the topic.

-SD
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This most definitely is a sign of the industry and potential things to come, but it's a good sign, even with such sad circumstances. I was hoping I'd be able to articulate my thoughts further upon this matter but it turns out this blog is relatively short by comparison to the length it should be or deserves. Obviously, as many have read and many have posted, the company of ThQ is at it's end. All of it's assets and subsidiaries are being sold off, but in the companies dismay there is clearly good.

As our sources for the industry are pointing out, most of the company's properties are being purchased by other gaming companies, and those that haven't been bought up yet still stand a decent chance of said fate. Moreover, the majority of those who worked for the company and it's divisions are likely to be given jobs; or at least this is what we're told. While there are those who have lost their jobs, and a once great company has reached its end, today the industry spoke up. It said, in a unison, we will not let these great works and the talent of a company go by the wayside. If there are pieces of our gaming entertainment and community that fall to the ground then we will pick them up and make them whole once more, with aspirations of giving those works the potential to become even better. In a time when our beloved industry is under the microscope of scrutiny and disapproval, today many of our finest came together to ensure that the work of a fallen brother will be continued.

We live in a world of business and competition, where many would be happy to see their oppositions share burn to the ground, with a sympathetic look, and a joyous heart. While some may argue that said companies purchased ThQ's assets for their own personal gain, I will adamantly protest that sentiment. I hold to the belief that these competitors came together to not let our shared appreciation for art and expression die. It is in their efforts, a gesture that the whole of the video game industry won't let go easily, we won't sit idly by while the circumstances of the world threaten to harm us.

-SD

(These words of passion are brought to you by NyQuil! Need to realign your sleep schedule? Try NyQuil and wake up twelve hours from Today!)