pools out

So there’s no pools in Sims 4! People aren’t entirely happy with this.

I always come back to Raymond Chen on these issues:

Every so often, a component of the UI will get a major overhaul. When that happens, every other feature starts out at -100 points—even features that already existed in the old version.

This concept of -100 points was originally explained by Eric Gunnerson when discussing why the C# language has some features, but not others. The principle generally applies to any product design process. Every idea for a feature starts out with an imaginary deficit of -100 points. That means it has to demonstrate a significant net-positive effect on the product as a whole in order to emerge as being truly worthy of consideration.

Of course, a new game isn’t always a new version of software; Doom 2 is just Doom 1 with new levels and a (totally awesome) extra barrel on the shotgun. But sometimes it is. Certainly EA’s excuse is along the lines of “but look at all this other cool stuff!”

I myself am in the new features exciting, old features boring camp.

Something Awful forums are on the fritz. Attack from the enemy?  Snafu?  Upgrade to 21st-century tech?  Nobody knows!  (Somebody knows.)

But I’m reminded of when Jeff Atwood stopped by on his quest to make forum software that doesn’t suck.

Something Awful forums are on the fritz. Attack from the enemy? Snafu? Upgrade to 21st-century tech? Nobody knows! (Somebody knows.)

But I’m reminded of when Jeff Atwood stopped by on his quest to make forum software that doesn’t suck.

animator’s creed

Oh, god, the Assassin’s Creed kerfuffle. I’ve sat through so many versions of that argument. If there’s an easy way to do male and female skeletons and anims (at a quality level your animators will let you get away with) I haven’t seen it; we’ve always done it the hard way. Ok, the medium way: manual copy & paste with some amount of cleanup.

It’s worth doing! But that still means you have to do it.

I’m really not very professional at all, but there is one thing I take seriously: your assessment of how difficult something is should be distinct from your assessment of how worthwhile it is. Don’t say something’s too hard just because you don’t think it should be in the game. (As a programmer you find yourself saying “we can’t do that, it’s too hard” a lot; as a power, it can be abused.)

This is almost certainly not what Ubi’s tech director is doing in his role as PR guy, of course; he put the wrong thing on the list of potential features to eliminate so the game can ship, and now he’s trying to spin his way out of it. Or he’s being honest but he can’t come right out and say this guy notwithstanding the tools and tech he’s responsible for creating aren’t very good and everything takes more effort than it should.

transistor!

it’s out! need to make sure I bring my xbox controller home from work.

lolol

It is playoffs time again! :DDD

ocular

"Hey Mike! Make us an Oculus demo!"

We’ve had a devkit lying around the office for a while, but I’ve finally got an excuse to try it out.

The head tracking is good! I’m so used to motion controls that are sluggish and spongy and inaccurate, but it’s solid. I can’t quite say that it generates the feeling that you’re inside another place, but a decent facsimile of looking through a binoculars into a not-quite-real place.

You’ve got to wear it right (straight, close to the face), and there’s an eye separation to calibrate that I didn’t bother with but should have. It feels a lot like wearing the wrong glasses, and after a day of coding and testing I’ve got the same kind of headache. It’s not just wearing and calibrating; while I’m testing I’ve been running it as a secondary monitor, which causes frame rate problems and horrible tearing, and running the game in a window, which squishes everything a tiny bit. But I’m going back and forth so often that anything that slows the process down isn’t worth it.

I’m definitely looking forward to the next version. It’s less obvious than I’d expected that it doesn’t catch head translation, but if you pay attention you wish it was there.

Foxes and Hedgehogs, Angels and Hacks: Oh, the humanity!

John Holbo takes issue with Nate Silver’s analogy:

I myself have hedgist sympathies. You’ve got one trick, but the trick is it’s a good trick. Certainly, my reading of the 2012 election is that the technique for predicting the results basically boiled down to STEP ONE: read the polls STEP TWO: trust the polls, and the reason that Silver was very slightly outdone by Sam Wang because he used a less straightforward poll aggregation.

But It’s a trick that relies on having enough data, and that limits its domain to areas that actually have that data. Going outside of those areas won’t get you a fresh look at stale concepts, it gets you nothing! False information!

Strider (2014)!

It has a the same feel as Super Metroid: a sort-of sequel, done with all the graphical and game design technology (color-coded minimaps! an overabundance of buttons!) of the new era, but with some of the quirks and rough edges that gave the earlier game its charm lost in the process.

The early game is kind of stressful and not particuarly successful as a Metroidvania. It strongly urges you along the path, and you don’t quite have the tools to just shrug off the enemies that it throws at you; exploration is discouraged in favor of dashing for the next checkpoint before you eat too many weak but hard-to-avoid attacks. But you eventually power up and the world gets somewhat more open.

It never does feels like a real place. In the service of contiguous walkability they’ve narrowed the setting from all over the world to Kazakh City and its somewhat implausible video-game-level districts (the military base, the sewers, the gravity research lab, etc., etc) and I just don’t buy it. It’s pretty as hell, though; kudos to their artists.

The combat’s fun, and feels good. It lacks enemy variety—you will slash a lot of soldiers—but they give them a good selection of weaponry, and it makes you adjust your tactics slightly. But never too much to prevent running through and slashing everything. The core of the game stays what it is.

noirlacsourced:

Tactics Ogre by Quest

Oh my grid!  (though trying to play it in the post-FFT era you want to rotate it so bad)

noirlacsourced:

Tactics Ogre by Quest

Oh my grid! (though trying to play it in the post-FFT era you want to rotate it so bad)

(Source: noirlac)

Picked this up for the iPhone when it was on sale a while back, finally played it. It’s fun! Full of Rube Goldberg machines and sleek flat polys. The animators must have had a blast.