Ask Me Stuff

Ask Me Stuff
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I thought I’d try something different this afternoon. This post is your chance to ask me a question – any question – so long as it’s about the games industry. If there’s something you’ve been dying to know, perhaps there’s some piece of trivia you’re just mildly curious about or maybe you just want my opinion on something, here’s where you ask it.

So, go on, ask me stuff. Just pop your question in the comments and I’ll get around to answering it today.

And if you’re wondering why I chose a screenshot of Far Cry 2 to illustrate this post, then you really should know better by now…

UPDATE: To judge by the response, I should make this a regular feature. If I don’t get to your question today, feel free ask it again next week!

Comments

  • Oh wise lord Wildgoose, in your OPINION which television screen is better for gaming, LCD or PLASMA??
    That opinion can be, there isn’t jack of a difference with either, just as long as the screen is a minimum 50″

    (The bigger the screen the more you are to ‘compensating’ for)

  • I’ve always been quite good when it comes to sharing my thoughts or opinions especially in writing. Due to this I’ve often considered trying to become a games journalist. Entwining my love for writing with my love for games would be awesome to do in a job and to be frank I really am sick of my current job.

    Anyway my question is, would it be worth leaving a $90K (AU) job to get into games journalism? What are the chances of being able to make that money or close to that money?

  • My question is a little long so brace yourself, We are at a point now in terms of gaming graphics were its pretty hard to tell the difference between pre rendered cinematics and real time footage (in pre launch trailers, movies ect). What’s your stance on developers “faking” the in game look to wow people before the game is out?. I’ll give you a few examples. Firstly kill zone 2, The trailer at e3 2005 blew my socks off, but we now know it was pre-rendered. Although the game does look stunning to me it never really hit the high notes of the first trailer we saw. But the trailer did its job as everyone was talking about kill zone 2. Another example is the cancelled sony title 8 days. The trailer shown was clearly not ingame footage even though they did show a full HUD to try to trick people. They they scrapped the whole game for the most stupid reason ever.

    I guess what I’m asking is, Is it ok for these developers to give us eye candy if they can deliver in the end?

  • It seems that many publishers want us to believe that PC gaming is in decline, how to do you view the PC gaming market compared to it’s console brethren?

  • Guess I’m first cab off the rank.

    All the buzz over videogames in the movie industry has been pretty clear. Why do you think it is, that no respect, or rational thought, is actually given to being loyal at least in part to the source material, even with considerable money and i must say talent getting involved in game to film projects.

    Just to frame my question, I’m especially looking at Max Payne, a great choice for a film, bad choices all round handling plot, design, etc. I understand that adapting, means it needs to change from the source, but there’s a point when the change is just silly, not that it works better on screen. How is it more filmic to have the drug V, look like powerade, and not be injected for example.

  • @Kermit @Sean N

    Been meaning to do this for a while. It being a quiet day seems like as good a time as any to kick it off.

  • One more question from me. What do you think about Sony’s Mandatory installs?, I personally think they should be a thing of the past. I got my ps3 with the MGS4 bundle meaning it was the 40 gig one. And in just a few games I’ve already used up a huge chuck of that space
    MGS4 = 4.5 gigs
    GTA4 = 3.5 gigs
    Far Cry = 2 3.5 gigs
    Oblivion Game of the year edition = 5.5 gigs

    To me sony isn’t taking advantage of the blu-rays storage space, I heard in an article a while ago the dead space developers put all the game info on the blu ray disk twice because the storage allowed them to. This apparently made it load twice as fast. And that game has an install of less that one meg. I think more people should start doing this. There is no excuse for GTA4 running just fine on the 360 with no install when the disk space is only half that of the ps3’s

    Although the trend of large installs seems to be on the downturn. I think sony needs to do something about it now, what’s to stop developers going overboard and asking for ridiculous installs

    I would gladly go for longer load times if it meant I could fit extra stuff on my ps3

  • Hey David,

    This is a bit of a games Law question. Is it breaking a release date if my local games shop is selling a game that is released overseas now and not here? Of course the stock in question is import stock and not local, but does that matter when it comes to breaking dates? The reason i ask is i picked up res5 and ninja blade for my 360 yesterday at said retailer, while they aren’t trying to hide it i wonder how they can get away with it. They say it is due to the stock not being local and therefore nothing wrong with selling import stock anytime.

    Cheers

  • @Christian

    Consensus is plasma is superior, but of course LCD is cheaper. Screen size totally depends on how far you’ll be sitting away from it. Personally I’m happy with my 26″ LCD because it’s in my bedroom and I sit about a metre from it. My housemate has a 40″ screen in the living room, which is about ideal too.

  • @Antony

    Stick with your current gig, but try to pick up some freelance games writing on the side. There are very few full-time jobs in the field in Australia, and even fewer that pay well.

  • @ David:

    Also David, don’t you mean Plasma is cheaper? My experience is that LCD screens are more expensive then Plasma’s but also superior when it comes to gaming. Have I been wrong this whole time?

  • Burnout Paradise’s Toy Collection was release last Thursday at AUD16.45 (matching 360’s 1000MSP), then on Saturday it was $19.95 on PSN.

    Why the price hike?
    Why AUD3 more than 360?

  • Rock Band 2. Will it ever come out in Australia.
    It’s on the marketplace on all.
    Why do we have to wait for this game?

  • I fracking love that you love FC2.

    But I digress, time for another games writing question DW: How’d you get into writing about games? Have you got any tips for someone trying to break through the glass ceiling from amateur to professional (aka paid) writing?

    Cheers David, keep up the double-plus-good editorial work. You’re making a bit of a splash in the blog circles I frequent with your Sunday supplement stuff.

  • Hi David,

    Kind of mirroring Antony’s question, but what advice would you give to someone who wants to write freelance stuff?
    What are the chances that an unsolicited submission/ writing sample will actually be read?
    What kind of stuff is best to send to publications as a sample (features/reviews/ other stuff)?
    Is it best to send a resume as well to show that I’ve got experience/qualifications or is that kind of thing fodder for trash bins?

    Sorry, that turned out to be more than one question!

  • David,

    Do you beleive that Xbox Live Community Games will ever get through the Australian Ratings System and hit the shores down under?

  • When will JB have my copy of Street fighter IV? They said it would be in on Monday afternoon it’s now Wednesday afternoon.

  • whats the best advise you can give to Uni students who are studying games design/programming and wishing to get into the industry as soon as they finish?

  • @Andrew

    There’s nothing wrong with pre-rendered footage. The problem is when we feel mislead into thinking it’s in-game. I’d like to see publishers and developers be up front about it, tell us that this pre-rendered video is what they’re aiming for but it may not represent the final game.

    I saw Operation Flashpoint 2 at last year’s E3. In the demo, the guys were clear that the video was not in-game and it was intended to give me an idea of what to expect; they were honest about it and the video actually aided my understanding of the planned gameplay.

    Journalists too, bear responsibility to honestly report what they’ve seen.

  • @Akra

    I assume you’re talking about publishers complaining about poor sales. If you tally up revenue from digital distribution services such as Steam, as well as subscription-based models such as WOW, then I’m sure you’d see the PC games industry overall is very healthy.

    Publishers are struggling to adapt their business models to the dynamic PC market. What works on console – ie. a disc in a box sold at retail – doesn’t necessarily work, or work as well, on the PC any more.

    Piracy’s a massive problem of course, but the likes of Blizzard and Valve are demonstrating how to combat it. So next time you hear a PC developer or publisher whining about piracy causing their game’s poor sales, ask yourself if theye really understand the way the market’s changed.

  • Hi David,

    Quick question for you here, what game released over the past 12 months (any platform) has done the most to re-invent or revolutionise it’s genre? Having been a gamer for quite a while I’m starting to get a bit of a “same old, same old” mentality from titles being released at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, still enjoy playing them, but I’d be keen to get your opinion on one I could pick up which would help break the cycle.

    Cheers

  • Hi David,

    Why does Nintendo put so many forgetable and unwanted games on the virtual console service? As we all know there are so many good games that people want (SNES mario kart, Majora’s mask) those 2 games alone would make Nintendo a few more million $.
    How and who makes the desicions on what games get the virtual treatment?

  • @Andrew

    To be honest, mandatory installs are a trivial issue. It’s not really that much of a hassle to delete one of half-a-dozen games you’re probably not playing in order to install a new one. At least most PS3 owners have at least 40gigs to play with. I had to pick up a 120gig drive for my 360 after filling up the 20gig with XBLA games.

  • As a 16 year teenager, who hopes to work in the gaming industry, what courses should i pick for years 11 and 12?
    And how much does a 1st year game coder, artist, programmer etc get paid?

  • I always wondered: The games that are developed, do all of them always need special treatment before release dates in Germany?
    Or is that only for the games with blood & gore?
    Say for instance Mortal Kombat has their fatalaties faded out and green blood, or no blood.

    Would actually be funny if games like Kirby would be censored too

  • @Sarafan

    Import games are a challenge for the local industry, especially as more titles are released region-free. I suppose that if it forces local distributors to fast-track local releases – and, to be fair, we’re not typically lagging 3-6 months behind the US any more – then it’s only good news for us.

    One thing to consider about imported games though: who do you go to if you need customer support?

  • @Damian

    I don’t have an answer for that. Save to say, the MS Points currency conversion is fixed at 100 = $1.65. Perhaps the PlayStation Store, due to its real dollar pricing, can be more flexible as the exchange rates fluctuate.

  • @Angelo

    Unfortunately, EA’s lips remain sealed on this topic. I’m sure it will come out, but they will not say when at this stage.

  • @Ben Abraham
    @Sam Burnett

    I knew I’d get this question! My advice would be to create your own blog and start writing. Consider it practice. Involve yourself in the games blogging community and in doing so spread word of your own writing.

    Making the step from amateur to professional is tough because there are so few opportunities for paid work. Your best bet is to approach a publication with a sample article you’ve written specifically for them. Email the appropriate editor with an outline or the first few paragraphs. Also link them to your blog so they can see evidence of your ability. If they bite, great; if they don’t, try pitching it to another outlet.

    Finally, don’t look at it as a full-time career. And remember you have to be a writer first and a gamer second, so practice the former just as much – if not more – than the latter.

  • When will xbox live have download-able versions of retail games like Burnout Paradise or Lost Planet 2? Recently news broke that the download restrictions are now just recommendations.

  • @Mr Explody

    Late last year Microsoft were hopeful it would launch in early ’09. I asked them about it a few weeks ago and they did not have a timeframe for the launch of Community Games channel. Nor did they know when Xbox Live Primetime would launch. If you look in the “too hard” basket, you’ll probably see them lying next to Video Marketplace and Live Anywhere.

  • @Steve

    I love what Far Cry 2 did for the single-player FPS, bringing in an open world element that allows the player to approach the action at their own pace and with their own tactics. Going back to playing a linear, scripted shooter like FEAR 2 or Killzone 2 afterwards was difficult.

    Both Burnout Paradise and Test Drive Unlimited did similar things for the racing genre, as well as adding a real community vibe.

    LittleBigPlanet, Left 4 Dead, Braid, Wii Sports, Drawn To Life, to name a few more, have each contributed innovation to their genres in recent-ish times.

  • @Unicron

    I wish I knew the answer to this! My guess is that third-party publishers choose titles from their own back catalogue and submit them to Nintendo. These are then placed in a queue and released according to some inscrutable formula that takes into account potential sales, the format it was on, the genre, and whether the publisher may wish to tie it in to promote another full price release. And no doubt a bit of blind luck as well.

    I imagine that Nintendo would rather hold back such first-party titles as Super Mario Kart and Majora’s Mask because they know they stand to make even more money should they choose to re-release them on DS.

  • @Dr_Stef

    German censors are sensitive to the blood and gore you mention, but also Nazi references. Unlike here and in the US though, sex and nudity is alright with most European countries.

  • @Sneaky Otter Man/Woman

    Given the majority of 360 owners have only a 20GB hard drive – of which only 13GB is actually available – I’d suggest a future of downloadable full price games is some way off for now. However, with the 60GB console becoming standard, this will change.

    As a side issue, I’ve never understood why the 360 hard drives were so overpriced considering the only reason you need one is to buy more stuff from Microsoft…

  • Re: David

    If by customer support do you mean Msoft support telling my friend that his import copy of GTA IV from the UK is cause of his console getting RROD and that an Australian copy wouldn’t have done that? If so i think i can do without local customer service 😛

  • Re: David

    Ahaha i so agree i still give him a hard time over it. I did try telling him that it wasn’t worth importing GTA IV for the tiny difference in the first place so that was the icing on the cake for me 😀

  • David what is your favorite:
    1) Video Game (from each genre if you can’t pick just one)
    2) Anime
    3) Movie (same rules as 1)
    4) Gadget

  • can anyone tell me if it is possible to buy a world of warcraft frostmourne sword in australia I need it by friday any ideas

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