Ask Me Stuff

Yes! Ask Me Stuff is back after a lengthy hiatus. If you have a burning question about the games industry, leave it in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer it this afternoon.

I'll be doing this every Wednesday from now on. (Hopefully.)

Now, fire away with those questions.


    Hi David, do you have any idea when PlayTV is supposed to hit here?

      I believe it's early next year. Definitely not in 2009.

    Every interview I've seen with people in the current game industry said its hell to get into. Truth?

      You mean development? Yeah, it's tough. I've heard from some local studios that you'd need a degree and a killer portfolio just to get into QA. But that's probably at the extreme end.

      Of course there's nothing to stop you making games yourself...

        I work in the industry, and I don't know anyone who had a degree or 'killer' portfolio before getting their job. In fact, I'd suggest that having any sort of portfolio puts you ahead of the vast majority of applicants.

        Wrong. Anon summed it up perfectly. Also having a folio would probably nab you that important interview, in which you can impress the employers with your personality and this matters, a LOT. No one wants to work with the awkward sounding guy, or the recluse who can't even look at you in the eye.

        That said, don't let this dampen your creative juices!


          Not sure how it can be wrong when I’ve heard it from several local studios. I looked into this topic last year for a feature article published elsewhere and the overwhelming consensus was that you need a portfolio to show you can do the job.

            By "local", do you mean Sydney or Australia? I would be very interested to learn which studios you actually talked to.

            A polished portfolio would certainly be necessary to secure a specialist art role, or a senior position, but it sounded as though Marty was asking about breaking into the industry as a junior.

              I spoke to studios in Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane. My questions and the article were specifically about breaking into the industry and the potential benefits of a degree.

                Perhaps what Marty can take from this then is that different people will tell you different things. Certainly, a portfolio will put you in good stead, but I'll repeat that I don't know anyone in the industry with a gamedev degree (including studios in Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane).

                I think that you'd be better off spending the same 3 years building a portfolio. Grab a book, read it. Download an open source engine, play around with the NWN toolset or an SDK for a Valve game. A piece if paper is far less impressive or important (to any developer I know) than a mod or prototype you've created.

                  That's basically what I learned, too. It's the portfolio, not the degree that will get you the job. However, a degree will provide an opportunity to build a portfolio.

        Dreams crushed.
        Thank you for replying David.

    In your opinion would you recommend Forza Motorsport 3 or Dirt 2? and why?

      Forza 3...

      Having completed DiRT 2 to 100% ingame, it doesn't have as much variety as you would be hoping for.

      DiRT 2 is likely to be considering more 'fun' that Forza, but by the time all the locations were open in DiRT 2, it did start becoming a grind.

      An example would be the Japan Events, there are about 10-15 of them, some are multiple races (max 3)... but there is only 1 track... it can be raced backwards, but it's still the same, no major course alteration. So you end up with a event which you race Regular, Reverse, Regular...

      It's still worth a look, but not at full price, Forza I feel will offer just alot more freedom, in car choice, customisation and lasting appeal.

      Do you want a dry authentic sim (Forza) or something with a bit more personality and fun (DiRT2)? Neither one is a bad choice.

    whens episode 3 coming out ... /thread

      Dexter Season 4, Episode 3, is already out.

        Episode 4 was much better however.

        Cliffhangers, Nooooooooooooooo

      This also comes down to can you take Ken Block speaking crap every 5 seconds to you :)

    i just entered the boarderlands comp but i posted todays reply on yesterdays was this bad :(

      It's only bad if you didn't actually want to win.

    What do you think is Rockstar Games 'secret ingredient(s)' to its success? A broad question, but I'm curious about your opinion.

      In my opinion, Rockstar are so successful because their games are quite unique - no-one else hadn't tried what they did back when they did.

      And of course, their games are so god-damn-FUN.

      GTA III was an amazing game, a true generational leap. And one that made Rockstar an awful lot of money. They smartly followed it up with two genuine sequels that both expanded the gameplay and also felt fresh in their distinct settings.

      I get the feeling that while a lot of what Rockstar does is quite calculated in terms of pushing the envelope to court controversy, at the same time there's clearly a real passion for the medium of videogaming at the heart of everything they do. And that extends to their subject matter, too.

      Rockstar treats it games seriously and I think that influences the games media and gaming community to take them just as seriously.

        To add to what you've said...

        To highlight how serious they treat their work, I've noticed (and no doubt a lot of others have) that Rockstar invest a great deal of time, effort and money into content research. Their attention to detail is truly benchmark material. You only need to consider their GTA series to see how effectively they capture the culture, fashions and style of a period in time. They can delve back into the 1980s with Vice City, but bring it to life in such a cutting-edge, 'now' manner that appeals to gamers of that vintage and those that weren't even born at that point. They don't do things half-arsed, which is what separates them from so many other game developers; a testament to what you're saying about how 'serious' they take things in terms of their body of work.

        Also, it's interesting to think how they made such an impact in game design; taking gaming into a open-world, sandbox, direction.....What could be next? And I'm not talking about incorporating something like motion-sensing technology.

    Hi David,
    As a sound designer for short films and features i was wondering about how to cross over into the sound area of gaming industry? Are there jobs available here in oz or would i have more luck in the usa?

      You'd more than likely have luck in any video game career in the US.

      While there are certainly jobs here, there are far fewer audio jobs in game development than, say, art or coding. Australia's already a small market, so it's only smaller for that kind of role. Looking overseas - not just to the US, but Asia as well - seems a smart bet.

    Hey David

    Why is it that the Zune marketplace aspect of the upcoming Xbox360 dashboard update hasn't been more prominent in the Australian gaming press? Everywhere I look, it's only all about Facebook and Twitter. Even though Microsoft has confirmed the Zune Marketplace WITH HD MOVIES is coming to Australia (, nobody seems to care. I would've thought this news was pretty big for Australia. Am I weird or something?


      This is all about broadband speed and caps. Unless your on a top notch connection you wont be getting 1080p. Heck you wont even be getting 720p. The service scales how quick your connection is so if your stuck on 1500 like a lot of Australians then your screwed.

      Besides, we have to pay over $80 to get a decent amount of data on our broadband plans at least. We wouldn't have enough to get more than a couple of movies a month and not do anything else otherwise.

        Yeah sure, but this should be a bigger deal. Just because our internet sucks doesn't make this 'non-news'. After years of this type of functionality being available for US customers, the fact that Australia is finally getting something similiar shouldn't be something I accidentally stumble across while browsing Wikipedia.

      We've chatted to Microsoft about it

      I think there's a healthy amount of scepticism around the service and we're really waiting to be able to test it out for ourselves before getting too excited. Of course, it's great we're finally getting on demand movies after years of missing out on the Video Marketplace. But I'm also concerned about how my poor internet connection is going to cope.

        Thanks David.

        Considering I'm with an ISP that has unmetered Xbox Live, I'm hella interested in this update. I'll wait for your hands-on test. :)


          Bear in mind that iiNet's unmetering doesn't include any paid-for content you purchase over Live. All the XBLA games, DLC, Games On Demand and Movies On Demand you buy will still count towards your cap.

            Yeah, I know. That's why I'm with Westnet.


              It's the same deal though, only free downloads and online gaming is unmetered. Paid-for content still counts towards your cap.

                That's strange. Westnet have told me flat out that wasn't the case. Over the phone and via their website.

                "Whilst the actual download of data is not counted, some sites and content may require you to pay for the item you are downloading. The item download is not counted in your quota."

                  Interesting. The way it's phrased here - "Enter the ultimate social entertainment experience as you create your own avatar, download game demos, trailers, arcade games and console updates without it affecting your monthly quota." - is almost identical to the way it's described on iiNet. Have you asked Westnet whether your upcoming 7GB HD movie downloads via Zune Marketplace will be unmetered?

    just a heads up david the street date for forza 3 has been broken

    GAME and dvd crave have been shipping already

    check the to confirm sorry i have limited access at work :(

    Hey David

    May not be able to answer this but your educated opinion would be good. Do you think with all the new features coming to consoles in places like the US (Netflix, games on demand, etc) now starting to come to AUst. Do you reckon that our ISP's here will be more inclined to start adding networks like XBL to their unmetered? I know of one ISP doing it however if i was to switch from my current plan to their priced equivalent i will go from 21gb (offpeak + peak) to I think it was between 2 and 4gb which isnt practical. I believe we get much better speeds here on some of the cable/adsl 2+ etc but do u think any, not pressure but movement from the games industry could bring such changes about faster?

    Secondly, recently got a full HD tv etc I am using my xbx360 on component.. the shops say there will be alot more benefits if i buy a HDMI cable.. info I have read on the net seems conflicting. ANy personal experience with this or maybe another reader can help me - is there much difference between component v hdmi (personal experience?)

      I can answer the HDMI one and the answer is most probably yes. Going to Component means your going Digital to Analogue and back again which will effect your signal, how much depends on the quality of the conversion at each end ie the Xbox scaler and your TV. HDMI is digital all the way, and because of this, the cheapest cable will work as well as the most expensive, assuming it works at all. Don't buy Monster or other such rubbish, if you gat a dud $10 cable you can get another one for $10 and you'll still be $180 better off.

      Unmetering is a really tricky issue. There is a basic technology problem, for a start. Few ISPs have the tech to be able to identify the relevant data as Xbox Live or PSN or whatever, and it's not cheap tech either.

      Then there's how Microsoft or Sony or Nintendo can make it attractive for an ISP to partner with them. Obviously iiNet figured it was smart to be the first to offer unmetered Xbox Live, but it's less attractive for each new ISP that joins them.

      And do the major ISPs really care all that much about getting a few tens of thousands of hardcore gamers to sign up to their service?

    Do you like chocolate waffles, or are original more your thing?

      Original, thanks. Send them to the usual address.

    Any suggestions of places to look to improve one's writing of reviews etc?

      Simple: read good writing, especially writing that isn't game reviews. (Look at how film, literature and music critics tackle their subjects.) And then practice your own writing, every single day.

    hi David
    whats the meaning of life?

      There is no universal meaning of life, jimmy. You need to find your own meaning of life, such as helping the poor, or sitting on your ass all day playing video games. (That last one is my choice)

    Are Activision trying to kill PC gaming??

      Maybe. All companies are greedy, one way or another, from banks to yes, distributors.

      No, I assume Activision are trying to make as much money for Activision as they can. And I also assume they realise if they killed PC gaming they would make less money than they do now.

    'jimmy barter
    October 21, 2009 at 10:19 AM
    hi David
    whats the meaning of life?"


    In Operation Flashpoint- Dragon Rising is there are way to stop bodies disappearing before you can strip them of equipment?


    In response to recent developers bitching about the price of selling games on Steam. Does anyone actually know how much it costs to sell games on Steam?

    I would have thought compared to using a regular distributor it would be fairly competitive since there is no physical box/media to build/ship.

    When will we hear about the result of the L4D2 plee? I know it doesn't get seen to until tomorrow, but generally how long is the process?

    Hi David,
    Is there any news on iView coming to PS3, or the trial for that?

      iView the ABC thing? It already works on your PS3 through the browser. Only thing is when I last tried to use it the PS3 couldn't decode it quick enough and it chugged like S***.

        Yeah that's what I meant, apparently they're going to have a trial so it actually works... instead of being like 1 fps chop fest.

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