Ask Me Stuff

Every Wednesday I ask you to Ask Me Stuff. 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.

Now, fire away with those questions.


    The Steam sales are fantastic with plenty of great purchases but I often find myself asking how long can I rely on Steam hanging around. In 15 years do you think we will still be able to log in and remember what Half Life 2 was like? What would the consequences be if Steam shuts down? Do we actually not own the games anyway and kind of hiring the right to play them with our account?

      Valve has said previously that if Steam were to shut down tomorrow, Valve would flip a big red switch that would lift all DRM from your installed games. Then it is up to you to preserve the DRM-less data, much like you must avoid misplacing or scratching your retail CD/DVD games. You can't redownload them, sure, and I'm certain some people will complain about that fact. After you buy a retail copy you can't complain and request another if you lose the original, though.

        That though leads to major issues in the future where you may have hundreds of games that are not installed and would need to be downloaded to a storage device before the shutdown.

          yeah but its highly unlikely that there gonna just turn it off theyll be warning a while before they do for that sole reason

    In your view what are the chances that there will be (belated) console releases of Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3, given that a lot of other companies are shifting their focus to consoles with later PC releases?

      I was surprised Diablo 3 wasn't announced for console when it was first unveiled. Of Blizzard's three flagship franchises, it seems the best equipped to be played with a control pad - and Diablo was ported to PSone back in the day. Of course, it could still come to console, but I suspect if it were that announcement won't come until the PC version is done and dusted.

      StarCraft? No chance.

        Thanks for the reply.

        The main reason why I've never played any of the Diablo games is because of the controls.
        It's not fun moving your cursor over a monster and just press *click*click*click* and then clicking away to heal yourself. Doing this 10,000 times can be a bit b-o-r-i-n-g! That's just not gameplay!
        With a D-pad at least you have the feeling of making yourself dodge and parry the monsters kinda like the old 2D Zeldas.
        That is why I played the Dark Alliance series and the Xmen games from Raven Software instead.
        Come on Blizzard, bring it out to consoles!

    We're already seeing reviews for Puzzle Quest 2, though other information is scarce. What are the release dates for the various versions and how much will each cost?

      As far as I'm aware the XBLA release is this week. In Australia, Namco Bandai has the DS version set for release at the end of July.

    Any idea if Kinect is going to be available for PC? I'd love to get my hands on a devkit for it and start coding some apps for physical therapies and rehab.

      Not sure about Kinect at this stage, but you can develop XBox games on PC in the XNA framework--its all the same languages etc, just a matter of exporting. There would have to be a PC connection there somewhere. Might be a little while before they release it in the public SDK though.

      Kinect, as Microsoft has branded it, is very unlikely to come to PC. However, as we have reported, the technology behind Kinect could very well come to other platforms.

        Ah, that's very cool, didn't know that.

        Still, at some point one can envision being able to develop for XBox via the XNA framework if you really want to use a Kinect for your therapy games.

    Hi David, I was wondering if you might be able to find out for me. If I was to install a 500GB 7200RPM Hard Drive into my slim PS3 would that void my warranty?, I have found conflicting information on the net as to wether or nor this is safe to do. Thanks.

      It 100% does NOT void your warranty. I sent my machine in only last month for a hardware issue and didn't even include the 500GB hard drive which I'd put in it, and they replaced it with a new one (and gave me a new hard drive - whoops).

      Sony actually provide you with instructions on upgrading your own hard drive. It is isolated from the rest of the box, so you doing break any warranty seals.

      No, it does not void your warranty.

        I guess it was more about the speed of the drive 5400RPM Vs 7200RPM, as I heard the temperature of the faster drives, could damage the PS3.

    Tell us what your E3 embargos were...
    please.... :]

      Nothing I saw at E3 carried an embargo. If you're asking when you'll see more E3 coverage from me, my answer is over the next few months.

        I thought (good chance im wrong, if so, sorry) that you flew over to LA just before E3 and had a short list of embargoed... games/hardware? If you still can't talk about them, thats cool, was really interested in knowing whats embargoed and what isnt

          Ah, I know what you're talking about now. I attended EA's pre-E3 event where I saw a bunch of games they later showed at E3 itself. Embargoes for those lifted the first day of E3, but I'll be writing about them at a later date.

    Is there any word as to when me may be seing new Xbox's, Playstations, not just updated consoles??

      No. It's just speculation, but the consensus is we won't see new consoles even announced until 2012 or 2013 at the earliest.

    I may have totally missed the announcement of it somewhere in all the E3 madness. But wasn't there a guitar hero / rockband sort of game that was more aimed at teaching you how to actually play guitar? If you could point me in the direction of this, and give me your thoughts on it, that would be unreal.

      I didn't see them at E3, but I believe Rock Band 3's "Pro Mode" aims to more accurately simulate playing real instruments, as does Power Gig: Rise of the Six String, which we previewed here.

      [This ended up being much longer than it should have; the answer to your question is roughly in the first paragraph (and has already been answered by Dave actually). Read on for random info though.]

      Power Gig: Rise of the Six String, featuring artists such as Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews Band, and Kid Rock, whom no one is more authentic than.

      From what I've heard (my only two sources being Kotaku and Giantbomb), it's a little odd. It does indeed use a controller which doubles up as a real guitar; when you use it for the game you raise a block near one of the pickups which mutes the strings. Otherwise it's a normal (albeit probably low quality guitar) which plugs into an amp. I think the company behind the game is in the guitar business, so I wouldn't immediately dismiss it as a toy.

      What I would dismiss though is their drum kit. For all the effort they put into making a realistic guitar controller, they totally throw all of that out of the window for the drum kit. The drum kit is actually an air drum kit; it's four sensors placed on the ground along with a kick pedal. Using their custom drumsticks (which have sensors in them and are thicker than normal sticks) you simulate hitting the drums by hitting the air above each of the sensors. No feedback (save for sounds coming from the TV), no physical contact, no bounce back to help with drum rolls, nothing. It's like the Wii Music drum kit, only they expect you to do play real songs with this thing.

      That said you should keep an eye out for Rock Band 3. The makers of Power Gig must be poo-pooing themselves after realising that Harmonix is pretty much doing what they're trying to do, only with a better pedigree and a larger staple of songs (though no one is more authentic than Kid Rock...). RB3 introduces pro mode for all of its instruments. For drums that means adding three extra cymbals and effectively turning it into a 7-pad game (now you have to hit the actual hi hat rather than just the yellow pad). For keyboard it uses the entire keyboard (a total of two octaves).

      For the guitar, they're introducing two guitars. One is a Mad Catz that has six buttons per fret all the way up to the 15th fret I think it was, so it can technically register each fret and each string separately. What you really want to keep an eye out for is their Fender guitar (or rather "Squire by Fender"); like the Power Gig guitar, it's a guitar with strings and sensors embedded in the neck of the guitar (well that's my best guess at least) which can switch between being a controller and a real guitar.

      I don't know how Power Gig will handle difficulty, but I've heard that RB3 will do it well for its pro mode. Pro mode doesn't mean you immediately have to play the song correctly note for note; it just means you have to play strings and frets instead of buttons and clickers. You'll still have the gradual increase going from easy to expert, much like the drums, where on expert you're pretty much playing the song.

      All that said, I'm very intrigued by it all, but not necessarily interested enough to buy it (at least not for that price; I think the estimate for the Mad Catz RB3 guitar (the one with all of the buttons) is rougly $150USD, with the real Fender no doubt being more than that).

      Whether this is a good way to learn guitar is a debate saved for a totally different day. One thing I will say is that Rock Band and Guitar Hero made me a bit better at drums, and in a relatively fun way. However all it did was teach me how to keep a steady 4/4 beat (save for the whole bit about actually being on beat without having a reference), and at best showed me how to mimic some popular songs. It didn't show me how to improvise or play along with a band in different styles. If pro mode guitar follows a similar track then at the end of the day you'll probably be able to belt out a few chords, maybe get through some basic solos, but it wouldn't be anymore than mimicing a song at best.

    will the Crysis 2 winners be announced soon?

      Today, I hope!

    Whats the chances of doing some work experience at Kotaku? :) (I am like totally awesome at getting coffees)

      You will need to get Red Bulls and 2min noodles as well :)

      I'd welcome work experience students, but right now we simply don't have the desk space. Once we move into a bigger office, hopefully...

    What's your view on the 3ds?
    At the moment all 3d stuff just seems gimmicky to me, like the newest fad.

    I just don't know how to feel about it...

    Then again it probably doesn't help that there's already been a squillion versions of the DS, so that just adds to the difficulty of caring, even though i'm aware it's a whole new handheld..

      The list of titles alone for the 3DS makes me want it, with or without 3D.
      Plus a faster processor and better graphics and the cameras will make this my first handheld purchase since the lynx. I see the 3D as an added bonus, and nintendo have been pretty good in the past at really utilising the extra features on the DS range. People thought a stylus, touch-screen and dual screens were faddish when the DS came out. I'm hopeful they will do some really great stuff with 3D, but if not, the game line-up is solid enough anyway to make me buy-in. Plus I have time to save up for it!

      That reminds me of this thing I read somewhere:

      3D TV's and PS3 capability are released - "We hate 3D!"

      Nintendo announces 3D handheld - "WE LOVE 3D!"

      I kind of agree but at the same time it looks like Nintendo is trying to be innovative, not only using it as a gimmick, but to enhance the gameplay experience as well. Personally I can't wait to play the next generation handheld. What with Gamecube like graphics, reviving old IP's and an analogue nub!

      I was very impressed with the 3DS, not just because it works better than I had anticipated but because Nintendo and other publishers really seem committed to it.

      Based on its E3 showing rather than its name, I would consider the 3DS to be a brand new handheld, not just another version of the DS.

        Well seeing as you have actually een one in the flesh, i'll take your word for it no problems. The line up of games certainly does sound pretty damn good, it's just hard to remain optimistic these days, i mean the last thing i would want is to buy one with a bunch of awesome launch titles only to have shovelware thrown at me after the initial joyous blessings...

        Thanks for the responses guys :)

    Is there a planned Australian release of Darkstar One for 360... and if so when?

      Didn't this come out on PC about four years ago? I had no idea there was even a 360 version planned. Given Ascaron closed down last year (or the year before) I suspect that's the end of the Darkstar games.

        According to their website the 360 edition came out in the UK on the 25th of june of this year. And the PC edition came out in 2006, weird.

        Ascaron did close, and their IP's were bought by the guys that did Tropico 3.

        They remade Darkstar One for 360 and have released it, but I cannot see an AU listing for it.

    Thoughts on who will win the world cup? Personally, I'm rooting for a Netherlands Argentina Final, with the Netherlands winning.

      If Germany can beat Argentina then they will go the whole way.

        I hope Germany win, I drew them in our office pool and would like the dollars.

      I'm sticking with my original prediction of the Netherlands. But they do have a tough draw from here on in!

        Im hoping Spain with it.
        They look so lax and composed when they pass the ball, and then flick a switch and go on the attack.
        Then back to cruise mode when they have the lead.

    Should i get a steak and cheese sub for lunch. If so, with what cookie?"

      I'd suggest you avoid the heart attack and get a terryaki chicken sub, or chicken fillet with sweet onion sauce..

      as for the cookie... M&M... it's ALWAYS M&M... there are no other cookies...

        It would be a heart attack with salad, is that ok?

        Man, I was almost wlaking out the door to get one... oh well, rice paper roll it is.

        (Still getting a cookie though!)

          OK, so had no cash so ended up getting the chicken terryaki...

      Choc chip cookie! Had two yesterday... amazing.

      If I have to eat at Subway, I always get a BMT with lettuce, tomato, pickles and honey mustard sauce. And I never get a cookie.

        I hate Subway.

        It smells so good and yet when I eat their food, the only thing I get from it is mediocrity.

        That and a loss of $11 as the Chicken Ranch sandwich is the only thing I'd eat off them.

    I'm tempted to get an xbox 360, but there's a few things I'd like to clarify.

    -Does Xbox Live have separate regions like PSN?

    -Are the games sold on the Aus Live different from those on the US/JPN live?

    -Are the games bought from Live, region locked?

    -Do I need to pay for separate Live (Gold) subscriptions to access stuff from jpn/us xbox Live?


      Yes, Xbox Live Marketplace is split into regions. You'll need a Live account and credit card from said region to access its store.

      Xbox Live Arcade games are pretty much the same across regional stores - the only real exceptions tend to occur in Japan. The Games On Demand catalogue varies more between regions, as do the prices (but who buys them anyway?). Australia does not have access to the Xbox Live Indie Games channel.

      You do not need a Gold subscription to purchase any content from Xbox Live Marketplace. Gold is only for online multiplayer (and the occasional early access demo).

        I believe you must have gold membership to take advantage of the sales and deals of the week on Live but can buy everything at full price.


          Are the game disks region locked?
          Can I import and still have them work?

            It varies from publisher to publisher and from game to game. Always check if a 360 game is region-free before importing it!

    Did you get drunk during the E3? You seem like a very down the line dude but I could imagine you knock a few back too.

    Did you hear anything new at all about the Last Guardian when you were at E3?

      No, the Last Guardian had no presence at E3 whatsoever. When asked, Sony said we'd hear more on it soon. Expect it at either Gamescom in August or - more likely, to my mind - Tokyo Game Show in September.

    Anyone know if that annoying Red haired girl from FF13 is Australian? Her accent seems to change from scene to scene

      Yes, the voice actress for Vanille is Australian.

      If you don't "get" why Vanille and Fang have Australian accents, you haven't played far enough into the game.

        I havent played any of the game

          Seems a bit of a strange question if you haven't played any of it.

          By the by, I got up to Gran Pulse, and haven't had time to go back and play since. It does seem rather like the often touted '20-hour tutorial'...

    Hey David, any news of Yugioh decade duels release date for XBLA? I only see Q2 2010 and Q3 is in a couple of hours..

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