Last week I said the Portal 2 protesters made no sense and had nothing to say, but since then a few people have articulated thoughtful objections to the day-1 DLC. (I still maintain that the review-bomb was like firebombing a McDonald’s for overpriced coffee while there’s a perfectly good Starbucks right across the street.) But here is my response to the people who genuinely object to day-1 DLC. This is my longest column to date, and is the first time my column went over 1,500 words. I could probably have trimmed it down. (For the record, my window is between 750 and 1,500, which is actually very generous. I know a lot of freelancers working in print would LOVE to have that kind of latitude. Ah, the joys of working on the web-o-tron.)
Of course, the same day the column went up, there came news that Valve is giving away free Portal 2 DLC later this summer. No news on it yet, but my guess is that they’re going to try and come up with some sort of activity to keep multiplayer Portal 2 active. The entire premise of their hat store depends on it. I’m sure they’re looking to re-create the money mill that is the Team Fortress 2 store. You’re more likely to buy a hat if the game keeps you coming back. You’re also more likely to buy one if you see them on other people. They just need to give players something to do to make Portal 2 multiplayer an ongoing concern.
If it was my job, I’d be looking for some sort of co-op gameplay that didn’t depend on a constant flow of new test chambers. Not fighting zombies, mind you, but something self-sustaining along those lines, where people can experience the same environments again and again without getting bored. You can only solve a puzzle one (or twice, if your memory is as bad as mine) so the focus would need to move from puzzles to something else. Combat. Strategy.
Actually, if it was my job I’d go about trying to make procedural test chambers. It might be impossible, but I think it’s far less impossible than most people would expect.
Project Button Masher
I teach myself music composition by imitating the style of various videogame soundtracks. How did it turn out? Listen for yourself.
The Loot Lottery
What makes the gameplay of Borderlands so addictive for some, and what does that have to do with slot machines?
Quakecon 2012 Annotated
An interesting but technically dense talk about gaming technology. I translate it for the non-coders.
Starcraft: Bot Fight
Let's do some scripting to make the Starcraft AI fight itself, and see how smart it is. Or isn't.
Why I Hated Resident Evil 4
Ever wonder how seemingly sane people can hate popular games? It can happen!