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february 2012 microblog digest
minutiae Posted 2012-03-02 00:59:43 by Jim Crawford
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Feb 01

  • If you're interested in knowing more about what was on the Commodore 128 disks from my youth:
  • TL;DR version: I was a terrible game designer when I was 12.
  • Like Watchmen, but wish it was just about beating up evildoers month after month? DC has you covered:
  • Good achievement design fills the same role as the friend sitting next to you, saying "Dude, that was awesome!" and "Hey, try this!"
  • Bad achievement design is the friend who says "Are you a BAD ENOUGH DUDE to find all 100 hidden orbs? I'll be at the bar."
  • @westquote Thanks! Yeah, that would've been fun, though I don't trust Jim-1992 to have been socialized well enough to be a fun D&D partner.
  • "Artist Mark Jenkins is fond of installing sculptures in public that hurtle you screaming into the uncanny valley."
  • Twitter's URL shortener has blocked Amazon's "Simple Storage Service" as unsafe. Real useful, guys. You might as well block "web hosts."

Feb 02

  • Here's a question that probably has to be refined before it's answerable: why do mirrors reverse images horizontally but not vertically?
  • @ExpiredPopsicle Feynman! This is about as good as an answer as I could possibly have expected. Thanks.
  • Computer vision camouflage:

Feb 03

  • @KayinNasaki That makes sense, thanks. A couple people linked me Feynman's explanation -- I can't imagine finding a more thorough answer :)
  • Billy Wilson's actual gravestone. I'm pretty sure that was Voodoo Extreme's logo back in the late 90s.
  • This is only going to get worse as long as there's corporate incentive to incarcerate more and more people.
  • Ubisoft is turning off all PC games you bought from them this Tuesday. Pirated games will, of course, keep working.
  • Russian scientists about to drill Antarctic, subglacial "most alien lake on earth" haven't been heard from for 5 days.
  • Cancel that! They're fine.
  • I haven't street-passed with anybody at Unknown Worlds game jam. Sad. I was counting on you guys to give me Mario 3D level times to beat!
  • RT @danbruno I overwrote this melody and now it has little 2+3 groupings everywhere. I have to cut that stuff out the way writers have to cut out adverbs

Feb 04

  • Overheard: "DJ Planned Parenthood."
  • Watch tourists recreate the Abbey Road album cover, live!

Feb 06

  • Alan Wake finally coming to PC.
  • Unknown Worlds jam went really well. Helped put together a game that's surprisingly fun and playable. Local multiplayer only, unfortunately.
  • Four-player only, in fact. I don't think I even have three friends, much less three friends in the same room at the same time.
  • TSA finds not-bombs; confiscates them anyway; next shift notices them lying around and calls the bomb squad.
  • For your consideration: a cat that laughs like Jeff Goldblum.

Feb 07

  • Is this Youtube comment evidence for or against the Oxford comma? "I remember these young coders, liked yogurt, and Christina Applegate."
  • @Vanther If you take out all the commas it becomes a sentence, but I'm pretty sure the guy was talking about his past self.
  • "Optimizing for Fan Noise." Code efficiency still matters, and multicore actually just makes things *worse.*
  • "After drilling through a 4km-thick ice crust, researchers have finally broken through to a unique subglacial lake."

Feb 08

  • RT @FakeCat_Fancy cat sheds her winter coat to expose a slinky tube top
  • Simon Parkin tells the story of Microsoft's acquisition of Rare, and its outcome.

Feb 09

  • Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer created a kickstarter to fund a Lucasarts-style adventure game. It was funded within hours.
  • RT @Greenspeak Double Fine managed to avoid about 57 meetings with publishing execs who would have told them that no one wants an adventure game anymore.
  • "Ender's Game" and "The Quiet American" as two opposing answers to the same moral question.
  • Robot vision.
  • RT @FakeCat_Fancy is your cat ready for the afterlife
  • Planning out the size requirements for the Frog Fractions music. Um, does anyone know if there's Flash-targeted S3M/XM/IT player out there?
  • @GameMusicBundle Would be great to have a "torrent all" button. I still haven't gotten everything from the last bundle because it's a PITA.
  • Re Flash module playback, Ian pointed me at this: -- looks promising!
  • RT @TimOfLegend $955k! Guys, I'll make you a deal. If we hit $980k I'll add RTS elements to the game! And if we hit $1M, I'll take them back out!
  • Indie game music bundle #2 is available. Jamestown and Sword & Sworcery soundtracks on there.
  • RT @ign_ebooks More of the same good at a slightly elevated price isn't anything to disregard
  • MIDI file format: sussed.
  • Overheard: "... in one foul swoop."

Feb 10

  • Man, remember the polish and perfectionism that Uncharted 2 exemplified? 3 is back to the ol' "rough edges and glitches everywhere" routine.
  • The world needs more cookies. This is a surprisingly hard problem to address, because every cookie I add to the world soon gets subtracted.
  • Waiting in line to save the world.
  • "Pinterest is spamming your Facebook friends' email with fake connection requests"
  • Web companies spend millions in legal fees successfully fighting off patent troll. The system works! Unless he appeals.

Feb 11

  • RT @ibogost Q*Bert was one of 26 lab-synthesized bipedal cephalopoda. A-P*Bert were deemed erroneous and euthanized. Nobody knows what came of R-Z*Bert.
  • Wait, there are apps that ask to OAuth into your Gmail? And people are actually authorizing them? Who are these idiots?
  • RT @ID_AA_Carmack Adding film grain, chromatic aberration, and rendering at 24 hz for film look is like putting horse shit in a car for the buggy experience.
  • Best part of Uncharted 3: being lost in the desert. Good contender for best game moment of 2011. Worst part: anything involving guns (tie).
  • In fact, I'm pretty much past firing projectiles of any kind in games. New means of conflict resolution pls. (New i.e. not melee combat.)

Feb 12

  • "Legalizing child pornography is linked to lower rates of child sex abuse"
  • @Satchamobob @aerothopter I hear both of those still involve guiding a reticule onto your target using the mouse. Welcome to the 90s!
  • @mrasmus @aerothopter @Satchamobob And pushing leaves around with a broom is really just melee combat. (So is hitting people with a broom.)
  • @ZenPsycho Being in an altered mental state can be just as frustrating. Hell, my *normal* state is of frustration at my poor decisionmaking.
  • @ZenPsycho Stimulus that the player receives can also alter the decision process. Too few games have experimented with lying to the player.
  • Wind-up AA batteries.

Feb 13

  • Hah, they really called it "Sandlantis" in the Uncharted 3 making-of.
  • It's official! Guiness World Records says Call of Duty: Blacks Ops has the best game ending in the
  • Can't personally vouch for the ending, but it does get the award for best interactive interrogation scene to make Jim queasily stop playing.
  • @KayinNasaki It's bad, but honestly, trying to objectively determine the "best game ending ever," you're kinda screwed from square one.
  • With this new data point, the whole "Who is Arcade Fire" thing is suddenly no longer interesting.
  • Only 50k people have backed the Doublefine kickstarter, but that's more regular customers than it takes to keep making 1993-budget games.
  • You can totally make a good living creating niche products, but I imagine it's hard to accept that role when you were top dog 20 years ago.

Feb 14

  • "I’ll bet more entrepreneurs model their behavior on Captain Picard from Star Trek than any nonfiction human."
  • Beek / ChrisJH just put out a new chip disk for the first time in about a decade. Is good stuff!
  • Figured out how to reconcile a calorie limit with unexpected dinner with friends: count the day as starting at 4pm.
  • RT @progrium Looking at re-watching Twister on Netflix. It's rated PG-13 for "Intense depiction of very bad weather"

Feb 15

  • "Fearing God, Fearing the Body: The Theology of 'The Binding of Isaac'"
  • Trying to get animation synced to music to to run smoothly in Flash. Might be futile twice: once for Flash development and once for PC.
  • Trying Darksiders again. Trying to look past the horrendous art design this time.
  • Presumably not every story/setting that looks like this is completely retarded. Just every one I've seen or heard of.
  • @MammonMachine I was *just* pulling up the Wikipedia page to see if I could blame him. Evidently he wasn't involved!
  • @MammonMachine An excellent point.
  • @robertashley
  • "(The extension of DIZ actually stands for Description In Zip)." -- Who'd've guessed that it actually meant something?
  • I hope that with the next generation of consoles we'll finally have enough RAM to keep both the game and the pause menu in memory at once.

Feb 16

  • What's wrong with the Zelda series? Pretty much everything since the first game in the series.
  • This affluent white american male has no privacy concerns or need for anonymity, so why should you?
  • "Researchers told him about a real-world random number generator that produced just seven different random numbers."
  • Of what use are moral convictions if you don't stand by them even when it makes you both dumb and an asshole?
  • Next MacOS update locks you out of non app-store software by default. Wait, they didn't already do that?
  • Picture a future where all electronic devices integrate with each other seamlessly. Sounds idyllic, right? There are two ways it can happen:
  • 1. Engineers finally get their standards-and-protocols act together. 2. A single corporate entity owns and controls all electronic devices.
  • (An Apple purchase, if I have to spell it out, is a vote for the monolithic corporation scenario.)
  • @KayinNasaki Google's the example that makes me sympathize with Apple users. Back when Google was trustworthy, I was totally an enthusiast.
  • This is eye-opening: Apple's Gatekeeper painted as a reserved first step towards a very desirable scenario.
  • Basically, the author and I agree on everything except whether Apple having dictatorial control over everyone's lives would be a good thing.
  • I'm wondering, now, how heavily the idealized one-world-government of Star Trek has influenced the politics of Apple users.
  • @mrasmus Among the Mac users informed enough to even have an opinion about it? I guarantee most users will never even look at the switch.
  • @mrasmus Which is the point: "95% of users" is kind of too big for any dev to ignore. They'll have no choice but to sell through Apple.
  • @mrasmus They'll see the scary security warning and hit "cancel," fast as they can. Whether that's "seeing the switch" is arguable, I guess.
  • Here's what it would take for me to trust Google again: they need to get more money from me than from people who want to advertise to me.
  • I AM ASKING TO GIVE YOU MONEY FOR YOUR SERVICES. Could I just Paypal $50 to or something?
  • @Eliot_L "If they won't take your money, you're more valuable to them as the product."

Feb 17

  • Remember truth on Wikipedia is ultimately judged by the guy with the most free time to revert edits.
  • Does free time dedicated to maintaining your pet article correlate with actual knowledge of the subject? Jimmy Wales sure doesn't care.
  • RT @shanesemler #DearEsther is a crappy game. Other crappy games: Slaughterhouse 5, Photoshop, my back yard, Venus Verticordia, looking at a sunset, bacon.
  • In case you had any doubt that depression is a biological phenomenon: "Blood Tests Can Accurately Diagnose Depression"
  • Pleased as I am with this console gen, no game quite matches the high of arguing on forums about which console launch was more disastrous.
  • I guess that's the closest I get to tribalism. I wonder if normal people feel this way about politics.
  • RT @stuartjeff Why isn't anyone designing game systems to incentivize experienced players to train/mentor new players? It's all about community.
  • @stuartjeff Too few examples. City of Heroes has "sidekicks." A Tale in the Desert actually formally requires you to mentor to advance.
  • On the shifting meaning of the term "gamer."
  • "If we're very fortunate, gamers will disappear altogether." And maybe then we don't need a word for "someone who listens to music," either.
  • The rhythm minigame for [spoilers] is now officially fun. Relief! I didn't think it would be this tricky; I'm stealing a mechanic outright.
  • This happens every time: a date is intrigued that I make music; I give her a CD; she never mentions music again.
  • (I suspect this is analogous to the whole "I wish that seeing you naked was as good as wishing I could see you naked" phenomenon.)
  • P.S. I actually like her more if she's up front about not liking my music.
  • @jonbeilin @dizzyjosh Challenge accepted.
  • Neat gimmick for the latest Humble Bundle: the games don't exist until Monday, and you watch them being developed live.

Feb 18

  • "Google caught circumventing iPhone security." -- Big surprise: they broke the rules to push Google Plus harder.
  • "How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did"
  • "Even if you’re following [privacy] law, you can do things where people get queasy." A spokesperson saying that kind of shit, for instance.
  • Boys don't try as hard under female teachers, because they think they'll be graded them more harshly. (They're right.)
  • @mrasmus All these are from my H1:
  • @mrasmus You'll need a windscreen too unless you want whooshing noises whenever you move it around. I just got this:
  • @mrasmus But you might understandably prefer this to the fro look:
  • RT @westquote Just received Jamestown fan art drawn by @ArtrsGrebstelis's 7-year-old daughter: Impressive!
  • Analysis of Apple's intent for Gatekeeper. TL;DR: even if every savvy user disables it, Apple still owns all Mac devs.
  • @mrasmus I haven't! Apparently they patched that in and I haven't updated the firmware yet.

Feb 19

  • RT @zarawesome "rule negotiation is a “consistent feature” of computer gaming. Total systemization is a myth; it is impossible."
  • Tom Bissell blows right past the "are games art" question and addresses a far more intriguing one: is Madden NFL art?

Feb 20

  • It's amazing how well GIMP rivals vim in ease of falling into mysterious corner states in which nothing works and with no obvious way out.
  • Dogs shouldn't move this way, and the f-stop knows it.
  • Dance Central is a lot of fun, but evidently even a daily run doesn't actually prepare you for throwing your arms around like a madman.
  • If you want to fight piracy, this is the first problem you need to solve:
  • RT @KommanderKlobb Protip: when tweaking things in a game, don't just tweak a bit. Really push it. Find out what the limits at either end feel like.
  • Remember when I gave Uncharted 3 shit for not being as polished as 2? Replaying 2 now, and damn was I ever rose-tinting it. Broken as hell.
  • @bfod The "AAA" game is a specific thing -- face-shooting, mostly -- for a specific gamer, and the "gaming press" caters to them explicitly.
  • @bfod The major commercial rewards for targeting adults definitely do exist and are mostly spoken for by companies like Zynga and Nintendo.
  • "Is Google circumventing the privacy preferences of Internet Explorer users too?" Yep.
  • Idle Thumbs kickstarter. If you know what those words mean, no need for me to say more.
  • RT @ign_ebooks Naughty Dog does not deny those with a predilection for different tongues and hi-fi sound a roaring good time

Feb 21

  • I'm sad I hadn't heard of the Code Hero kickstarter until it only had 60 hours left and $34k to raise.
  • Tim Rogers makes great game ads too:
  • I'm pretty sure that if pirated movies traditionally included commentary tracks &c., Hollywood would be out of business entirely by now.
  • RT @loresjoberg I know sometimes I'm probably not using the right word, but I forge ahead anyway, because I'm an optometrist.
  • Remember when Retro City Rampage was a NES game? I wonder if it's still written partially in 2A03 assembly language.
  • Code Hero made it to $100k after all! I'm sure they turned the corner when I mentioned it, rather than when Reddit did.
  • Is this the only time /r/gaming has had a non-imgur link on the front page, by the way? In any case, proof that it's possible.

Feb 22

  • @ForneusLex Be sure to bring up how hard it is to define "men" and "women." Even looking purely at biology, it gets pretty complicated.
  • "How to Remove Your Google Search History Before Google's New Privacy Policy Takes Effect"
  • This only works, of course, assuming Google respects its own privacy settings more than it does those of the iPhone and Internet Explorer.
  • RT @ScottChernoff I'm giving up for Lent.
  • "When a Venture Capitalist tells you what's good for you, check your wallet, then count your fingers."
  • RT @beekeepsta sweeeet. gonna do the soundtrack to a new game, "frog fractions" ..
  • Things I did not expect to improve my life as much as they have: fog-free shower mirror.
  • @ForneusLex @mrasmus We played the hell out of, IIRC, Subterranean Animism last time around.
  • RT @westquote When I judged in the IGF, I gave ~4-5 pages of feedback notes to every game. Three of them were horrific to play, but I felt it was my duty.
  • @westquote I kind of wish I'd submitted Futility Pong that year, to give you a challenge.
  • RT @auntiepixelante "no one is obligated to play your game," says AN IGF JUDGE WHOSE ROLE IS TO PLAY YOUR FUCKING GAME.
  • @westquote It would've been a challenge to write four pages of notes about :)
  • @Babylonian @MattThorson @tylerglaiel If the IGF didn't take your money, the "nobody owes you a fair shake" argument would be totally valid.
  • It *is* crucial to think about the player experience from the first second of play, and arguably even from them seeing the box shot.
  • But sometimes the best player experience is one that isn't obviously great at first, and shutting out that possibility, well, sucks.
  • Context: (Get up, get down, IGF is a joke in my town.)
  • @infinite_ammo So did every other judge in your position, leaving only the judges who didn't care about being diligent.
  • Also, IGF entrants are incomplete, and the "perfect intro" usually come late in the process, so expecting them to have it is unfair.
  • P.S. if you think it's dumb that the premier indie game award allows incomplete games to be entered, I AGREE. (Dumb and maybe appropriate.)
  • "Simplicity tracks truth because compression
  • RT @phylhrmnix Flickr: 7 years old, perhaps BILLIONS of photos, and I'm the only person who's tagged a photo with "macsturbation"?
  • Working on Frog Fractions with just one beard today. Let's see how this experiment goes.

Feb 23

  • Gameplay should be skippable. If you disagree, you are not just wrong, you're an asshole. I stand by this.
  • Maybe it's too much work to realistically make it skippable! Lord knows it's too hard for some devs to add a "skip cutscene" button.
  • But you don't sit there and say "I really enjoy activity X, and therefore everyone else should have to suffer through it too." Fuck you.
  • RT @jasonkill It would be awesome if the drug store was like the App Store and every product was touted as being the most addictive thing ever.
  • @halsted Multiplayer is a different story. I also don't think you should be able to just make up scores to go on leaderboards. (But, yes.)
  • @halsted As an end-user, I'm *constantly* wishing I could skip uninteresting action sequences in narrative-driven games.
  • Lars Doucet expands on the idea that convenience drives piracy, breaking down all the pertinent factors:
  • I always considered the "sound test" to be a neat bonus for the player. But I just built one for Frog Fractions in order to, um, test sound.
  • @Satchamobob If we cannot take joy in things that are merely real, our lives will always be empty.
  • @Satchamobob You'll always be disappointed by a mystery. Either it will turn out not to exist, or even worse, it will turn out to be real.

Feb 24

  • Oh no, it's #PirateKart weekend but I'm already busy almost all weekend. I need more notice about this stuff!
  • @RyanHugh I wonder how many Capcom testers would say the same thing!
  • The Lorax loves SUVs.
  • Orthography sanity check: how do you hyphenate "MILF-in-law"?

Feb 25

  • Introduced a mysterous bug into Frog Fractions causing entity positions to lock to NaN,NaN. Is it the monobeard? Back to two ASAP.
  • @Triplefox As true today as the day it was written.

Feb 26

  • "How Bots Seized Control of My Pricing Strategy"
  • I just realized, The Asshole Game is also a satire of bad morality systems in RPGs. Why didn't I think of this before?
  • 1. Find copyright-burdened sound you wish to use. 2. Upload to anonymously. 3. Download your newly CC-licensed sound!

Feb 27

  • Mårten Brüggemann's talk about Greg Janson, one of the unsung heroes of early-90s indie game development.
  • Spent 45 minutes clearing up the most egregious playability issues in The Kid and The Kid for the 2012 GDC Pirate Kart.
  • Can't-fail startup idea of the day: flipping off babies dot tumblr dot com.
  • Can't-fail startup idea of the day: baker's chocolate coins.
  • RT @virtjk Final FX4 NSFs exported. Mixing and mastering in progress. All hands to battlestations. (sirens going off across ship)
  • Sad story: while the Mario Galaxies are better crafted, I'd still prefer to re-play Mario Sunshine, because it has an actual sense of place.

Feb 28

  • To everyone looking forward to Diablo 3: the first step is accepting that there is a distinction between "addiction" and "actual fun."
  • RT @infinite_ammo Wrote this line of code today: if (fat.state == Fat.State.Fat) #AloneInDreams #ProGrammer
  • So I guess this is what LucasArts has been doing instead of making adventure games? I hope it's working out for them.
  • @zarawesome Unfortunately, being an asshole is an effective part of competitive play. An angry or embarrassed opponent is at a disadvantage.
  • @zarawesome (Or a laughing opponent, that works too.)
  • Capcom issued a faux apology distancing itself from remarks that sexual harassment is an integral part of the fighting game community.
  • But yes, Capcom, it *is* your fault. Looking at the Street Fighter art style, what other kind of community could've grown around that game?
  • Statistically speaking, the richer you are, the less ethical you are.
  • I love that "more likely to take candy from babies" was an actual experimental result. Good thinking ahead about the press release, there.
  • Add sleeping to the list of things you're doing completely wrong.
  • Poster-form representations of Atari 2600 game disassemblies.

Feb 29

  • Homeless mom sentenced to 5 years because she didn't "reside" in the school district she sent her kid to.
  • "Neil Gaiman on Copyright, Piracy, and the Commercial Value of the Web"
  • Seven years ago, I stayed in a hotel that had a complimentary waffle maker in the lobby. It was my favorite feature of any hotel ever.
  • Since then, I guess I've been in about five hotels, none of which had a waffle maker in the lobby. Can I report them to the BBB?
  • "TSA is one of the worst-run, ineffective and most unnecessarily intrusive agencies in the United States government."
  • Conway's Life simulated using Conway's Life:
  • My new favorite congressman:
  • My flatmate John just made a batch of this. Makes me almost wish I didn't already have the Twinbeard branding.
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