Ask Me Stuff

far cry 2 screen 20090318.jpg

We did this last week to great success. So let's do it again. This is your chance to ask me anything about the games industry. Just pop your question in the comments and I'll reply - at some point today - with an answer.

I'll be leaving this post open all day today and Thursday as well. Oh, and enjoy another image from Far Cry 2.


    Hi Dave, thanks for this opportunity.

    My question: Do you think that a career in games is a realistic option for an Aussie. I looked at starting with QANTM College this year but decided against it after further scrutiny of both the college and the Australian games industry in general.

    It seems only one or two developers are making decent games (Such as Creative Assembly) and everyone else is scrambling for scraps (Such as the Brisbane firm that released the Wii and PS2 versions of Force Unleashed). I was interested in the industry not for money but for the enjoyment of creating interesting, original and worthy games. It seems liek the Aust. industry is just scraping by on selling B grade budget titles to 'Grandma'.

    Now I know my criticism may seem a bit harsh but it has been shown that indie developers can make incredible games (See: Braid, Darwinia and a heap of others) and these guys do so on very little budgets.

    I guess I'm just sad to see the lack of lateral or original thinking in the Aussie games industry I mean c'mon Viva Pinata? Deblob? Where are the block buster titles on the international market? Or better yet where are the interesting, original and creative niche titles that small studios can hit the jackpot with.

    Please give me a reason why young (and old) Australians should pour their life into an industry that seems to be floundering at best and producing horrid titles at worst.

    Why do publishers destroy all that is good in games :(

    Hey David.

    I mostly game on my Xbox 360.

    Anyway, I'm considering a PS3 to add to my arsenal. Mostly because I feel like it and think to myself I simply must have it; however, I can see a few genuine reasons to enjoy this piece of hardware.

    So putting money aside, in your opinion is this a console I should bother with since I already own a 360?

    Some thoughts of mine-

    1. My 360 turns my room into a heater in summer, even with a fan on it. So maybe a PS3 is a good summer system?

    2. There are some cool games, 'exclusive' to the PS3, that I'm interested in, such as, Killzone 2, MGS4.

    3. Blu-ray?


    The developers aren't hiding away locked levels that are already loaded onto the disc. The art assets required for new levels are already on the disc, as is all the functionality for interacting with the level. What you are downloading are newly designed areas and events that use pre-existing assets.
    Please don't accuse developers who work their butt's off to get this content out for everyone as devious money-grabbers. They want to get as much into their game as possible.


    Excellent point.


    What's "real" journalism? Obviously not every job is about saving the world. But games are important to a lot of people. If a games journalist is providing information about a form of entertainment or art that society views as important, then isn't that making a contribution to that society?

    what are your ten favourite games of ALL TIME??

    @Benjamin Djung

    Dismissing the majority of our development industry as "scrambling for scraps" is harsh. You're ignoring the success of BioShock, Puzzle Quest and De Blob, to name just a few recent Australian-made titles I'd certainly consider creative and interesting. Sure, you may not consider Krome's work on Viva Pinata: Party Animals or The Force Unleashed to be "worthy", but they're the kind of gigs that keep business ticking over.

    Expecting to walk into a development job on a hardcore, blockbuster project anywhere in the world will only end in disappointment. Anyone contemplating a career in dev should realise that opportunities to work on, for example, Half-Life 3 or the next Mario game are the exception. And just because you are working on a game you perhaps wouldn't be interested in as a gamer, it doesn't mean you're not using your skills in a creative and satisfying way.


    Immaculate conception, my friend.


    What areas of the games industry are you interested in? What skills do you have to bring to it?


    Played some Resident Evil 5 co-op last night, plus a bit of Gears of War 2 Horde mode.


    Unless money is no obstacle, I'd suggest waiting until the PS3 is cheaper. If you play online, you'll probably find yourself sticking to the 360 for multi-platform games, even after you've got a PS3, simply because you're already part of that community. Which leaves exclusives, of which there are plenty of worthy ones (I'd add Valkyria Chronicles, LBP, Uncharted and a bunch of PSN games to your list), but they'll still be there to play no matter when you buy the console.

    Blu-ray? Well, if high-def movies are important to you, the PS3 is generally regarded as the best Blu-ray player.

    Really, it depends on how badly you want those exclusive titles. Only you can answer that.


    Off the top of my head: Silent Hill 2, The Last Express, Thief, Planescape: Torment, the Ultima series, Psychonauts, Metroid series, Deus Ex, Outcast, GTA III, Mario Tennis 64, Castlevania series, er... that's more than ten already, isn't it?

    David, why can't you find any better FC2 images than those months old promo shots? Seriously, use any of the pics in my Flickr stream - anything to ward off those same-same promo photos!

    @Ben Abraham

    I don't think you know what you've just done...

    To those of you who keep asking about getting in games programming or design or anything to do with making games really. I graduated in 2000 (So I'm 26) and a mate of mine did a Uni course in it's first year at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, NSW. From what I understand it was a broad course that covered programming as well as design, graphics, sound, etc. The final year of the course was placement with a company. A bunch of them got picked up by Sony's Cambridge studio in the UK. My mate still works there, as a programmer, and I've seen his name in the credits for games such as Medieval (PSP), 24 (PS2), Heavenly Sword (PS3). He says the job has it's ups and downs. Pay isn't good and the hours are crazy (a lot of 7 day weeks with 14 hour days) but he says there are rewarding parts too. Just keep all this in mind, and check out the Charles Sturt Uni course if you are interested. You may not be as lucky as him but who knows!

    I was wondering what your thoughts are about the future of local area co-op gaming. This issue really confronted me with Left 4 Dead. I wonder how a game so aimed at having a very small group of players working together seems to focus entirely on internet play, not LAN (true, consoles do allow two players per machine). Though there are pros and cons to both internet and lan, what annoys me is how few games these days allow you to make your own choice, instead forcing internet use. Though this is usually for security (a very legitimate reason), once installed I feel the game should be free from mandatory downloads, updates, and especially being bullied into playing through an internet server. Of course, I am probably biased as my personal computer doesn't have internet connection (when needed, I run a cable to the other end of the house). But my point is, do we really need the internet to play games?


    Bioshock was not an Australian game, it was developed in Boston, with assistance from the Aussie team. I think you missed my whole point - I'm not interested in making the next half life game, this kind of budget is way out of expecations. I was more comparing a mob liek Krome to say Introversion.

    Both small teams (intro tiny) and both making VERY different games. On one hand you have well thought out highly original games, then you have a really cheap Mario party knock off. With uninteresting characters, mediochre gameplay and sold straight off the bat as a 'free bundle' or budget title. Seriously if that's the kind of games we are producing then I'm happy to stay on the 'hobbyist' side of the fence.

    I fail to see the attraction of the industry when no matter how much pride you take out of or effort you put into a title you end up with... Viva Pinata. I'm not having a dig at the individual developers, just the direction that the companies are going - which seems to be cheap, budget, contrived and mass produced material.

    Be grand to see some Aussie talent out there with the kind of attitude that Jonathan Blow etc. have.

    On the Far Cry 2 pic

    Why is it taking SOO long for them to come out with a new patch? Also why have they only done one DLC (for consoles only, why not PC)?


    Looking to get involved anywhere that deals with the people involved in the industry, maybe HR or Marketing in relation to games/companies etc, I am relatively intelligent and articulate and deal well with people, and as well have been an avid gamer most of my life. With a background in Psyc, I figured I might be able to bring an interesting perspective to such positions, as well as the people that I would work with. (Not to mention the organization and creative skills that where cultivated within the degree.) This is sounding a lot like a job application, but rather then the creation of games, or bug testing them (although not opposed to the latter) I was looking for something more in relation to the distribution, I even considered working for the Local EB which opened up about a week ago, but as they got some 100 odd job applications in the first day of business, it’s not looking good. Any ideas?

    @David Wildgoose

    Cheers for the response...

    When do you forsee a price cut? Given all the hoopla spouted by Sony they seem adamant that the console will NOT get one and that it'll always be more expensive.

    Also, generally, how much cooler is the PS3 over the 360?


    Rumours overnight out of the UK that there could be a PS3 price drop quite soon. I've heard nothing locally though. Oh, and significantly cooler.


    I still think you're being very unkind to the local industry. BioShock was a joint effort between the two Irrational offices, with design lead out of Boston and tech lead out of Canberra. You'll find more Australian names in the credits than Bostonians. Your handpicked comparison of Krome and Introversion is unfair, too, as no single studio is representative of a country's development output. Why not compare Infinite Interactive with, I dunno, Heavy Iron?

    @bob squiggles

    I wish I knew. I understand there are still issues with corrupted saves on the 360 version. Fixing that would be nice. Otherwise, what sort of DLC would you like to see?

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