Diecast: GDC 2014

By Shamus
on Mar 28, 2014
Filed under:
Diecast

Double Diecast this week! Chris attended the Game Developers Conference, and he’s returned with tidings and folk wisdom. Stay a while and listen.


Direct download (MP3)
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Podcast RSS feed.

Hosts: Josh, Chris, and Shamus.

Show notes:
0:00 GDC is expensive.

5:00 Oculus Rift and VR in general.

24:00 The Steam controller.

30:00 IGF/GDC awards.

For the curious, the winners are listed here.

41:00 GTA is “Ugly”.

Just to avoid any potential fan-rage, let me make it clear that I’m not talking about graphics. When I say GTA is ugly I’m talking about the nasty heart of the game, which seems to hate everything, even its own despicable lead[s].

45:00 Project Greelight is being discontinued, and replaced with anarchy.

Here is the Errant Signal that Chris made about Greenlight when it was introduced back in 2012.

47:00 Lost levels

A couple of Lost Levels moments: Professor Oak Dance-Off and A History Of Jeff Goldblum In Games, and a Talk by Ric Chivo

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From the Archives:

  1. Groboclown says:

    Can you double check the files you posted? They look like jpg files instead of audio files.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Was Lori Singer there to promote VR?

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Tanks.Thats the solution for movement/looking.Plenty of games that have tanks have movement separate from where you are facing your turret(head).Which makes tanks the perfect first person game that you could make in VR.

    • Torsten says:

      Tanks or pretty much any vehicle. It is not very far off of the simulators that already exists, there are flight clubs that have build flight simulators using Microsoft Flight Simulator and replacing windows in a plane chassis with lcd monitors.

    • CannonGerbil says:

      Just about any game in which you pilot a vehicle can be made into an effective VR game. Most people are already comfortable with the idea of not having your line of vision tied to your heading while driving a vehicle, so Flight sims and such are least likely to cause motion sickness.

      Plus, alot of modern flight sims already have an in game cockpit, so most of the work is already done.

      • utzel says:

        As I’m playing Arma with a TrackIR since 2006, it’s hard to not think of the additional camera control as a solved problem. I never understood why someone would want to control their body and gun, not just the head with the headtracking and why they even tried. Well, I tried myself 8 years ago, but for fun in the same way I once tried SW Rogue Squadron with a wheel.
        It boils down to playing a human tank, kind of. I guess it’s a bigger problem for a TF2 or Quake style game, but as a mostly sim player I’m hyped.

        I also played with three screens for the big FOV and will soon be able to dable with Nvidias 3D stuff, but I’m very curious how it all works right in front of your eyes. I don’t have aproblem with motion sickness in games, but sometimes easily get sick reading in a car. Really wonder how I will react to VR.

    • ET says:

      Mechs similarly avoid the issue, by also being a mech/tank/robot-simulation-style game, where you don’t have a…”sidestep” movement.
      (i.e. The AD of classic WSAD.)
      However, its still a thing that needs to be solved if you want to have non-tank/mech characters in games.

      Me personally, I’d do the movement like this, for a human-style game:
      The Oculus controls your viewpoint, the mouse (or right thumbstick) aims within that viewpoint, and WSAD (or the left thumbstick) moves relative to where your viewpoint is.
      This is already functionally very similar to how movement works in some 3rd-person games, like Prince of Persia: Sands of Time.
      i.e. WSAD/left-thumb moves relative to the camera (aka viewpoint), not relative to the character’s current facing.
      Heck, I think this might be how most 3rd-person games have done it, starting with friggin’ Mario 64.
      So, if it was framed as an extension of the controls from older 3rd-person games, I don’t think it would be too hard for people to migrate to 1st-person, head-mounted games.

    • 4th Dimension says:

      Would love me some Warthunder in one of these with a good joystick.

      That being said, I think tank games are not excatly fully suitable to VR since if you tie the turret to your head, the problems start when you are trying to rotate it backwards an CONTINUE rottating past 180 degrees point.

      A solution might be to do like in World of Tanks where the pointer and the gunbarel/turret are loosly coupled. You can turn the pointer anywhere and the turret/barrel tries to follow as best as it can as fast as it can. So now you couild turn all the way left, but since you can not twist yourself further you quickly turn all teh way to the right. Since the turret can not move instantly it would not have mooved too much from where you left it.

  4. straymute says:

    Have you watched Hackers lately? The big bad guy has a baby walker VR thing that looks just like the Oculus Rift one. In the year 2014 1995 has finally come to pass.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Interesting,I had the exact opposite impressions of spelunky and risk of rain.I love risk of rain,and how unique every character feels,and its gameplay feels much more tight and fair than spelunky.

    • ET says:

      That’s what I feel too.
      Like, in RoR, you always at least have a fighting chance, before being overwhelmed by monsters.
      Spelunky sometimes just has you die, to random bullshit that was off camera, or which is a noob trap.
      Like, the boulder; In the original PC game, you could deal with the boulder in various ways.*
      In the remake, there is basically no way to get the gold idol, without either being killed, having it kill a shopkeeper, or destroying an altar.
      So, its purpose in the game is now, to just trick people who know not to touch it.

      * Some of those ways were too easy, and maybe needed to be balanced.
      Like, when you use explosives or digging to remove the platform which holds the trigger, it should still go off half of the time, and not let you just get off scott-free with the gold idol.

      • Eldiran says:

        Whatcha talkin’ bout? It’s not hard at all to get away with the Golden Idol. It just takes planning (only grab it if you’ve already seen a Shopkeeper above the idol, or if you’ve checked the rest of the level first), and then to avoid the boulder you just get to a platform 3+ blocks off the ground.

        Spelunky is quite fair — except those rare cases where an arrow trap is offscreen and exactly at walking height. I hate that.

        • ET says:

          It’s possible, but by the time you have enough gloves/ropes/luck to safely grab the idol, you don’t need gold anymore. :|

          • Eldiran says:

            I suppose that’s true. It’s certainly not worth going for unless you find a good setup, or are desperate for cash. But at least it is fair — all the risks can be mitigated once you know how.

  6. StashAugustine says:

    What’s up shitty phone buddy!

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Hes not your buddy,friend!

      As for the phones,Im probably never going for the smartphone,because I simply hate touch screen technology.

      • Groboclown says:

        Us “flip phone hipsters” should stick together. I still regret getting rid of my old Qualcom phone from 1997.

      • Tse says:

        I hate it, too, especially when I accidentally dial someone when trying to scroll through my contacts.
        EDIT: @Groboclown (seems we posted simultaneously):
        I still have my previous (and first) phone, a Panasonic VS6. Over 8 years old and it still works and makes better pictures than most cheap phones. Problem is, it needs a SIM card to make pictures.

    • krellen says:

      My phone still has a cord.

      Also, get off my lawn.

      • Shamus says:

        In my capacity as judge: Unless someone has a phone with a rotary dial, I’m going to have to declare krellen the winner here.

        • venatus says:

          I have a relative who still has a rotary phone, and I do use it occasionally. does that get me an honorable mention?

        • Gravebound says:

          I have a pea green ’70’s rotary that I still use for my room phone. The damn thing’s older than I am, but it still works. The bells for the ringer are loud enough to hear anywhere in the house.

          • Aitch says:

            And the big bonus with a phone like that – it will easily cave in the skull of any home invader with a satisfying “chung” since it has an actual bell in it… and probably weighs close to 15 lbs.

            Also, I totally miss the feeling of dialing a rotary phone.

          • Groboclown says:

            I am mildly surprised that they still work, and that the phone companies haven’t required everyone to move to a tonal phone.

            • Raygereio says:

              A lot of systems still support pulse dialing for backward compatibility. Though it is steadily being phased out. There sollutions for converting pulse to DTMF however.

              Also I have a 1951 rotary phone I use as a landline. Bakelite baby!

              • Shamus says:

                We no longer have a landline, but if we did I’d pay good money to be able to use a classic black rotary phone. I can still head the sound of dialing a zero in my mind.

                • Bryan says:

                  https://www.sparkfun.com/products/retired/287

                  (Of course things like this are available in a bunch of other places too…)

                  Not that I have one. Wish I did.

                  • I have both a rotary and push button phone from the old baby bells (these things are HEAVY) that I’d like to do some kind of “casemod” to. However, the biggest modding problem I encountered was the fact that when I tried to look up the wiring diagrams for these phones, the majority of the results were how to install a GSM card reader, battery, and cell phone innards in older desktop phones. Thus, my art projects remain incomplete.

                    I used to have a really obnoxious desk phone (rotary) from a company called “Deco-Tel.” It was a faux leather-padded box with simulation wood trim. When you opened the top, a felt-lined interior held a sleek, black receiver, chrome dial, and coiled cord with contact-paper wood accents. It looked like something off of Adam West as Bruce Wayne’s desk.

        • ET says:

          Does anyone have a phone which was built before people had actual numbers, and before operators existed?
          My dad used to tell us that when he was a kid, the phones were all basically a party hotline:
          Anyone could listen in, or talk on the same conversation.
          So, it was just honor that kept people from spying.
          Also, you basically had to invent yourself a set of morse code, to use as your ring.
          e.g. Long, short, long, long, or whatever. :P

          • Groboclown says:

            My understanding was that the original phones were just a direct connection to the operator, who then directed your call to another phone with the big plug board.

            Now, my family had a “party line” when I was a kid. The phone would ring in your own home for you, but there’d be the occasion that you’d pick up the line and hear your neighbor on the phone.

            • ET says:

              It might have been a regional thing too.
              Dad grew up in a remote area, so I doubt that the phone company would have spent the money on an actual operator and operator’s room, at least early on.
              Big cities might have started with the more advanced kind.
              Good to know that at least one other human knew about this style of phone; Dad wasn’t making stuff up! :P

              • Mike S. says:

                Party lines were a frequent plot device for movies and other stories in the early-mid 20th century, where misdirected and overheard calls made for much comedy and some drama. (See, e.g., Rock Hudson and Doris Day in “Pillow Talk”, where they used split-screen to show parties entering and exiting the call.)

        • 4th Dimension says:

          Had to replace one in my grandma’s house recently because telephone companies no longer support them if you want to get fany cable TV. Now that was a phone you could bludgeon someone to death. I would like to see you kind use your Iphones in selfdefence. Whith this thing even the seadset could be used as a makeshift morningstar.

          That all being said, phone manufacturers need to realise that eldery need phones too, and they simply can not use newer fancy all in one good at nothing solutions. It’s getting problematic to find modern phones with nice BIG buttons that are nice and heavy.

          • ET says:

            This is half of why my mom doesn’t really use her Android too much;
            All the buttons and text are designed for young people, whose eyeballs can still focus up close easily. :|

            • False Prophet says:

              You would think a phone whose front surface area is almost all touch-screen with minimal bezel could have touch screen “buttons” adjusted to any size, colour, and brightness you wanted. But no.

              There might still be phone options for seniors.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              What about i(and other)pads?

              • ET says:

                That’s not a phone, though.
                The problem really, isn’t the hardware; It’s the size of the icons and text on the screen.
                It’s all made, assuming you want more than a dozen things on the screen at the same time.

                Looks like there’s at least one app/loader meant for seniors, but it’s paid software, and I have serious problems paying for services which should be free.

              • 4th Dimension says:

                The problem is that most of the elderly want to use their phones for only one purpose, and want the interface to be simple. They want a phone that is allmost entirely teh same as the phones they are used to. They don’t want to swipe, or read on screen instructions. They want two BIG buttons for open line and close line and similary large keypad for typing in the number. Anything on top of that will more likely confuse them os strain their eyesight.

        • Steve C says:

          My phone also has a cord. Same with the phone I use in my car- it has a cord too. Do I get bonus points for a car phone?

          • Torolf says:

            I have you all beat. I just don’t have a phone at all. I’m a curmudgeon that way. It does mean that I can’t fill out a lot of forms on the internet if the phone number line is both required and doesn’t let you put in a text or a bunch of zeroes, though.

            • Shamus says:

              I always use (local area code) 555-1212. In the US, that’s the number for the local time & temperature. This means it’s a valid number, and you can feel safe that any spam calls won’t be bothering a real human being.

              • Mike S. says:

                Nit: Ditectory Assistance, unless that changed at some point. (Which, given the decades since I’ve used it, it may have. I even remember when 411 was introduced as a shorter alternative.)

                555 used to be reserved for phone company use, which is why so many TV/movie numbers start with it (or the alphanumeric equivalent, KLondike-5). Because people will call numbers they hear, as the unfortunates who had 867-5309 learned to their regret back in the 80s. (Calls for “Jenny” got old real quick, and there was more than one news story about people having to change their number to make it stop.)

                But 555 was mostly released for general use when demand for numbers skyrocketed, with 555-01** still kept specifically for fictional use.

        • Pippin says:

          My work colleague recently had her typewriter confiscated by our manager.

  7. Abnaxis says:

    Re: VR Complexity–You need a really, *really* fast framerate for it to feel smooth if you snap your head from side to the other (and when I say snap, I don’t mean “whiplash-inducing,” I just mean “turning around when someone taps your shoulder.” At least that was a big issue I was trying to deal with when I worked on it like 8 years ago.

    I wonder how much motion blur tech helped with this?

  8. StashAugustine says:

    That GTA5 joke certainly got me laughing.

    • kdansky says:

      Yep. GTA 5 is one of the worst things around, and it’s super successful, precisely because it is vile in topic, full of utterly disgusting characters, and completely devoid of objectives and mastery that would give it lasting appeal to anyone who isn’t a teenager any more. It has all the bad parts of Skyrim, with none of the good ones.

      It’s telling that all my classmates who I think are assholes loved it, and all those that kept in contact hate it.

      • kanodin says:

        Yeah I was really hopeful they’d move more in the niko bellic direction with serious stories but they took the opposite approach and went back to their horrible ugly cynicism that’s supposed to be funny.

  9. Blov says:

    1. I own an older phone than Shamus.
    2. Valve getting rid of the QA/greenlight stuff for Steam seems mad to me.

    • ET says:

      Well, Greenlight as it exists now, basically just walls off Steam to a bunch of people who either can’t afford the cost of entry (i.e. countries where their currency doesn’t buy as much as USD), or who can’t afford the time to hype up their game, and advertize enough to get votes from people.
      As for keeping the garbage out (or at least at the bottom of the lists), I’m pretty sure there are better systems.
      I mean, don’t the voting systems of Apple and Android’s app stores do this reasonably well?

  10. Abnaxis says:

    “Your font size is too goddamn small!”

    Oh lord, yes, Paradox games and Total War Series suck for this. I have my PC hooked to my TV, and I always have to pull a chair up if I ever want to play these games.

    Civ is pretty bad about it too, but not so bad as others.

  11. PAK says:

    So, I don’t think the announcement had come out yet during GDC, but now that the Facebook purchase of Occulus has been publicized, do you guys have any thoughts? What are the implications? Is the Rift still a PC gaming peripheral, or are we going to lose it to BS social media applications? Chris, did you sense anything weird from any of the devs at the expo?

    • Chris says:

      Oculus clearly had some venture capital funding already somewhere along the way – they had a very large booth with room for something like 10 two-player Oculus stations. And like I mentioned in the video there were already a number of companies acting as hangers-on with their interface and technical demos. So it’s clear they’ve been getting funding and have been in contracts with third parties for a long while now. So the fear of “OMG OUTSIDE MONEYS FROM KICKSTARTER” is a little late (though I certainly wouldn’t mind a bigger-scope discussion about what exactly Kickstarter is for, since it makes “supporting a small company you believe in” and “investor without equity” a blurry as heck line).

      That said, I mean… it’s an acquisition by a publicly traded company. It doesn’t mean that they won’t be allowed to operate more or less autonomously (by all accounts they will) but it means that they are beholden to the obligation of increasing shareholder value where they weren’t before. There’s going to be pressure to put something out where before there was simply the old Facebook approach of “We don’t know what it is yet, we just know that it’s cool! Let’s not monetize it ’till we know what it is!”

      So I think you’ll see a faster drive to bring it to market backed by more capital than they could have dreamed, and this might be a net-zero for the Rift – fans will get a consumer level device faster, but it might suffer from the pressure to be cost-effective or have market penetration over something like the Morpheus.

      At the end of the day, though, it’s a waiting game. Right now Facebook is pouring literally billions of dollars into the company and that capital can probably only attract more and better people to work on the thing. Long term? Who knows, but it’s probably for the worse. When Facebook starts wanting to see a profit returned for the lowest amount of effort? When new executives start wanting to see synergy between the Oculus brand and their Facebook brand? Then we might see things start to fall apart, and all the people that decried this purchase years before will then go “SEE I CALLED IT ALL ALONG.”

      So I dunno. VR’s got bigger problems to overcome than which faceless megaconglomerate owns the most popular headset. My attention’s on those things until there’s a reason to think Facebook will do anything – good or bad – to the Rift. I dug Leigh Alexander’s piece on the whole situation.

      • Aitch says:

        Anyone else find Sony calling its VR “Morpheus” kinda creepy / sinister?

      • ET says:

        Actually, the whole “investor without equity” thing is what irks me the most, much more than the slim chance that they’ll screw up the Rift.
        Could situations like this mean that, Kickstarter has to add to its policies, so that projects need to openly state at the beginning, what happens in the event of a buyout?
        That’d be pretty reasonable, I think.
        Like, project X states “We will refund all money in the event we’re bought out.” and project Y is “We will offer stock to all people who kickstarted us, in the event of a buyout.”

        • False Prophet says:

          Kickstarter is very upfront and aboveboard about not being responsible for any promises or deliverables from the projects and campaigns it hosts. They’re an intermediary only.

          I don’t see them altering those terms of service unless some burned contributors take KS to court and win, there are enough high-profile failures on KS to sour a significant or vocal number of contributors on the whole process, or enough of either incidents pushes governments to regulate crowdfunding more strictly.

      • The Facebook buyup will probably only (at first) change how the manufacturing of the consumer device will go.

        Now they can potentially build their own factory (or re-purpose/re-tool an existing one).
        And not to mention bulk order high quality panels for the Rift.

        That is assuming the previous owners of the Rift funnel some money into the company again (in the form of a capital investment).

        The landscape is changing, with Valve suddenly doing hardware. It’s no odder for Facebook to do so as well.

        I’m betting Zuckerberg (sp?) knows that Facebook may not always remain in it’s current form. After all Twitter is sort of leaning towards some Facebook features now. So investing all that Facebook cash in tech that will help pioneer the next step in VR is pretty smart.

        The Rift and Sony are the only two now, the companies that have been doing this stuff (with head tracking etc.) are now suddenly left in the dust. They owned the market and now they lost it, there is no way they can compete with Facebook/Rift and Sony.

        With 1080p the quality/resolution is around that of high grade medical/military VR gear, but at much lower cost.

        Who will win is another matter though.
        Sony vs Rift, this is almost like Beta vs VHS or Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD all over again.

        Sony is doing a more traditional VR gear, Rift is breaking new ground.
        With Facebook behind the Rift they should be able to take on Sony.

        Sony will still succeed I predict, but mostly as a VR gear for the PS4, as I assume the Rift will be price competitive (or even cheaper) and thus more desireable for PC users.
        I’m guessing Microsoft will make the Xbox One support the Rift later (not sure they’d be keen to support Sony’s VR gear).
        IR dots on the Rift would also work well with the Kinect camera I assume, so there is that too.

        • Alexander The 1st says:

          The thing that I think distinguishes Morpheus from Rift is that Morpheus has access to Sony’s other content producers, not just third party games. Whereas both the Rift and Morpheus will probably launch with the “There are none/so few things for this device, and nobody’s making things for it because nobody’s buying it because nobody’s making things for it.” problem endemic to a lot of devices now – but Sony can pull a WiiU/Vita with Morpheus and bull-rush their own content through. Not just for games either – if they wanted to do a movie theatre idea with the VR and joining multiple people across the world into one theatre – Sony *owns* a movie division. Pair the movie division with, say, Playstation Home, tie it into Morpheus, and they’ve already branched out of just video games. And that’s a start, not even getting to loss leading the thing. Or even using their first party teams to help third party developers develop for Morpheus.

          I think that’s what gets everyone so angry over the Facebook acquisition of Oculus. Whereas Sony has all of these complementary departments that can help…Facebook can add a distinct minority of things it can do for Oculus – mostly monetary support, communication and advertising technologies, and…advertisements. They don’t have a whole lot in the way of what people typically want in a VR setup, and even for gaming content, they have third parties mostly, like Zynga or King. Which is why everyone makes the joke about how the VR setup will have Farmville or Candy Crush. Oculus has been sort of relying on Unity development for the Rift from what I can tell, and developers are noticeably annoyed with Facebook’s constant changing of their APIs. Facebook *can* potentially acquire developers to develop for the Oculus or movie licenses and such, and they *can* support Oculus from a communications standpoint, but the Facebook acquisition of Oculus is a bit like putting an egg on a frying pan without having the stove turned on. Facebook is not hot iron for Oculus to strike on, and the Oculus Rift is not a “Instant marketshare expansion just add money” deal for Facebook. While Facebook do have a large userbase, you really only need to look at, say, the 3DS/WiiU or PS3/Vita number comparisons to realize having users in one field won’t necessarily instantly convert to an different one just because they are there for one product. Or for relevant comparisions, Google search/Google Plus or Microsoft Windows/Bing. A larger userbase does not equal a large converting userbase.

          It’s a bit like watching Tetris where Oculus is using a L-block instead of a line block to try and clear a few lines of an 8-line empty area. It solves some of the problem, but there are options that are less limiting. Like, you know, if John Carmack had stayed with Id and just gotten ZeniMax Media to acquire Oculus – they could test the Horror genre of games with the Rift with Doom, Shooters with Fallout, Racing with Rage, RPGs with Skyrim, and MMORPGs with ESO. As a start.

          Sure, with the inevitable bugfest that comes with Bethesda’s code it’d possibly be like using a square instead, but that can be worked around, and would be preferable to the short-term goal Facebook acquiring Oculus solves at the expense of not being able to really solve the deeper goals anytime soon.

          • Alexander The 1st says:

            (Oh man, I forgot to mention this – sorry, wrote it on an initial draft, but then refreshed and lost it, so re-wrote this one. Feel free to merge this with the upper post if you’d like.)

            In a sense, reminds me of OnLive and Gaikai – one basically did their merger so that they could sustain their monetary flow, the other…actually got used in a different way as a result of the acquisition.

          • You forgot one thing, there are games on Steam today that support the Rift (I believe Team Fortress 2 is one of them?)
            I have not heard of anything supporting Sony’s Morpheus yet.

            • Alexander The 1st says:

              True, hence why I did say “There are none/so few things” as the problem – the perception is a lot smaller when you actually search for it on Steam – 68 games by searching for the term “Rift”, and that’s the largest search on Steam’s catalogue of “Oculus Rift”, “Oculus”, and “Rift”. Maybe I’m a bit behind, but I’d feel comfortable saying that Final Fantasy 14 probably isn’t a Oculus Rift game, even though it shows on Steam with the search term “Rift”. So from a perception wise…Especially since they seem to be losing Minecraft now…It could fall the way of the Ouya, WiiU, or Vita – that the perception is that it isn’t supported by a lot of games.

              Especially, as has been noted in the past, Facebook often updates their API and breaks things a lot, so you may end up with outside developers leaving the Rift.

              As for Morpheus, it’s only recently been announced, and outside of Killzone/COD/Battlefield/Gone Home/etc., I’d expect a lot of the games currently out not being able to support it.

              But in either the Rift’s or the Morpheus’s case, the Morpheus can be supported internally by Sony if it doesn’t catch on by outside developers – Oculus can’t say the same if developers flee them because of the Facebook acquisition, that I know of. They’re about as reliant on Team Fortress 2 as the Ouya is on Towerfall.

      • ET says:

        I think this is why Facebook introduced the “acquaintance” list.
        i.e. So that you still show up on their friend list, but their inane status updates don’t plague you. :)

  12. Chris says:

    I really liked this writeup on Lost Levels by Brendan Keogh.

    And Maddy Myers is doing a fabulous day-by-day writeup on GDC as a whole over on Paste.

  13. Bloodsquirrel says:

    I think another reason that VR went away for so long was that it was just easier to push boundries with rendered graphics. There was enough new wizzbang in more polys and better shaders to overshadow what VR could do.

    About half way through last generations, though, we started hitting diminishing returns pretty hard. Even the new generation of consoles isn’t blowing people away, and pushing boundries has become far too expensive.

    Motion controls were supposed to be the great new frontier, but nobody figured out what to do with them. So now they’re looking to VR for new technological ground to break.

  14. kdansky says:

    There’s a talk and paper by Michael Abrash about “Why Virtual Reality Is Hard”, and it’s very much worth reading if you care about that.

    Some examples: There are many big issues that make it hard, including some that we have completely solved for non-VR, like input latency. For example, 30 Hz is not enough, and since you have to render two screens, you have to render upwards of 100 frames per second at the very least, and you need good resolution or else the player can see pixels, and you need a very fast screen (or else the delay makes everyone motion sick). And that didn’t even touch on precision, or calibration, and the stuff that Chris talked about.

  15. Thearpox says:

    By the way, Shamus has a better phone than I do. We just have home phones, two of which are rotary phones, which are really obnoxiously loud.

    PS: I’m having weird flashbacks that I already posted this exact same thing. If so, please delete this. (If not, then not.)

    • Adrian says:

      Where on this planet do you live? I live in Eastern Europe and I haven’t seen a rotary phone in over a decade

      • Mike S. says:

        Depending on where in Eastern Europe, your phone infrastructure may average newer than ours. IIRC, there was a big buildout in many countries post-1989, to make up for lagging and obsolescent deployment under Communism.

  16. I have a solution for movement (at least partially).

    Provide a pedal device, with the right pedal being forward, and the left being backwards.

    If forward and backward is pressed at the same time then it will act as a break,
    if both are pressed down equally then it could act as a handbrake in a driving game for example.

    For a first person game though you would still need left and right strafe mapped to something (maybe some form of shoulder buttons on a controller, or just use a dpad or stick and ignore the forward/backward).

    The issue with the gun and it’s relative position could be solved by devices like Sonys erm “stick”, or a gun or glove.

    Thing is, it’s not difficult to figure this out, the issue is providing a complete package for the player that “out of the box” works ok for the majority of customers, specialized “guns” for this will be third party addons.

  17. On the controversy/message of “Papers Please” it kind of drowns in comparison to the Snowden leaks. Real life is creepier that most games now.

    I wonder how conspiracy games are going to be in the future now, how can they top real life?
    Will the instead be documentary games? (is that even a game genre at all?)

    • ET says:

      I get a bit sick every time I think of large intelligence agencies breaking our cryptography software.
      Back in the 90s it was purely tinfoil-hat level of crazy, and now it’s reality.
      The really bad part is, even if those agencies break this stuff trying to catch criminals, the software is still broken for everybody.
      Like, this is the same software that keeps my banking data safe. :|

      On the topic of documentary games:
      I think that’s a good possibility, that we might have more games which are showcases of real life.
      Things like I Get This Call Every Day.
      Games where we really get to understand and sympathize (or at least empathize) with the people who have to work inside of large organizations.

  18. Steve C says:

    I had never heard of Gorogoa before. I looked it up and watched a gameplay video. I can’t believe how much I would hate that game. I see why it won. It’s different and interesting and I think this community would like it a lot. For me though I can’t imagine playing it. I would be frothing at the mouth yelling obscenities at it.

    • ET says:

      It’s got a cool idea, but looks (From a gameplay video I watched.) like it’s a very scripted, non-interactive type of game.
      Like, all the boring one-solution puzzles from traditional point-and-click games, but now with the added horribleness of a mystery meat interface.
      Cool artistic aesthetic, though. :)
      I’ll play the demo, and see what it’s like for myself.

      EDIT:
      OK, yeah, this concept works poorly for what is essentially a point-and-click adventure game.
      Too much confusion and random clicking to really feel like you’re actually solving any puzzles.

      I think it’d be a lot better if you either play up the ‘huge mysterious world’ aesthetic, and made it a film, or if you doubled down on the player interaction, so that it was in some kind of open-world-ish, or sandbox-ish type of game.
      Like some bastard child of Skyrim, and Myst.
      With these perspective-usage tricks.
      That’s the only tech demo I’ve seen which uses perspective to re-zoom anything, although it is limited to single objects.
      You’d have to mash it together with Portal’s..portals, to get the full effect shown in Gorogoa.
      Obviously the graphics level would have to be somewhere between Majora’s Mask and Wind Waker, in order to keep the budget down. :)

  19. Daemian Lucifer says:

    What if we were to give awards according to the budget(modified by the number of people working on the project and the time the game was in development)?So a big studio employing hundreds with millions of dollars would not be competing against small indies with 10 people and pitiful budgets.

  20. Benjamin Hilton says:

    That Ric Chivo link was amazaing.
    Best advice for an indie:

    “BE A STRAIGHTER WHITER DUDER!!!”

  21. Phantos says:

    The GDC awards are pretty much this industry’s answer to the Oscars:

    A bunch of unimportant, untalented people hopelessly out of touch with the world, and with the common man choosing the game that will make them seem the most progressive, enlightened and Better Than You, The Unwashed Masses.

    Even though they don’t have time to play games, or think of them as something juvenile and disposable, or just vote for whatever the big AAA companies made.

  22. Adrian says:

    I have a good feeling for Oculus. I can’t wait for it to come out so I can buy it. It sounds like a really cool gaming device. It will probably take some time for it to find it’s place on the gaming market, but I’m still excited for it.

  23. Pat says:

    About the Moscone Center: It’s pronounced “moss-CONEy.” Named after George Moscone, a mayor of San Francisco who was assassinated in 1978 by former city supervisor Dan White, who also killed supervisor Harvey Milk moments later.

    This has been your weekly San Francisco history lesson. Join us next time for an explanation of who the hell Emperor Norton was.

  24. Naota says:

    “-running as hard as he can, waving his head around like he was being attacked by bats or something.”

    So… the perfect control method for a Castlevania game, then?

  25. abs1nth says:

    I think the reason VR demos don’t present player movement has less to do with it requiring a fundamental design shift and more with it requiring the player to get used to a different way of controlling a game. In a short demo something like that would probably leave a bad first impression because your brain is preoccupied with figuring out how the controls work instead of getting why VR is cool. I don’t think VR will need new genres like mobile, I see anything except like a twitch Quake-style shooter working well with a VR headset.

  26. wererogue says:

    The questions I always want to ask people who have used the Steam controller are:

    1) Is it better for mouse input than using a thumbstick controller?
    2) How does it stack up against a thumbstick controller for console-y games?

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