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.

Now, fire away with those questions.


    Hey Mark, I asked this of the Goose but that was the week before he announced his retirement as editor so it kinda got lost in the shuffle.

    I'd be really interested to talk to any and all members of the game development and journalism industry about what their 'dream graduate' would be like. If they could customize a university degree program, what would those students know about, and know how to do? This probably goes a little beyond the purview of the Ask Me Stuff thread, so perhaps shoot anyone interested in talking my email address and I can take it from there. Of course, I'd be intrigued to talk to yourself about the journalism stuff...

      Actually - I really like this idea. Might be worth doing a feature about breaking into the industry.

        Yes! Please do! I'd love to learn more about how one goes about being a programmer in the game dev industry.

        There are practical reasons I would like to have such information. /tap nose.

          You are a program director at a university for game dev school. /tap nose

            AhhhH! Stalker! FLEE!

              lol, you cannot flee from google. however i look forward to browsing Artefacts and Tropes: Measuring Gameness, the title is catchy

    Mark Serrels!

    Plastic instruments a-plenty are flying in for the arrival of Rock Band 3!

    Will you import? Will you buy locally? Am I asking the wrong person?

      The consensus was that it was better to import...

        For certain specific instruments, I would recommend importing.

    In the UK Medal of Honor was rated 18
    In Oz it was rated MA15+

    Is importing a copy from the UK technically illegal as 18 rated games are banned here?
    Can the lovely chaps at customs intercept and prevent the importation on this basis?

      There should be no drama, the game was rated here and the games are identical.

      The issue only arises if the game has previously been Refused Classification in Australia, and if we get a edited version. Importing a version that has the material that causes it to be banned would be an offence.

      as someone who has imported the so called banned games plenty of times

      iv'e yet to have one get caught by customs and very much doubt it would occur on a game that is legal in our country

      you'll be fine, its only an issue if its 'RC' (refused classification) thats the only reason games are 'banned' cause there deemed too darn evil to be seen.

      As I thought, it should be OK.
      I was just starting to wonder as its been 14 days since it was despatched from Ozgameshop in the UK. Maybe I'll drop them a message and see what customer care has to say.

        they usually take about 2 weeks with their deliveries. It will turn up.

          Its averaged between 5 and 10 days in the past from the UK in my experience. Its just typical that when I order a new release that it gets held up in the post for whatever reason. Frustrating but not the end of the world :-)

    I remember asking Wildgoose this, but I am interested in what you have to say Mark.

    What are your thoughts on Brink? Is it on your radar? Have you had a run with a demo at all?
    Right now I'm fair excited for its release but am not familiar with the developer Splash Damage. Should I prepare myself for disappointment?

      Splash Damage did Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory.

      But they also made Enemy Territory: Quake Wars..

        I am suddenly 0.2% less interested in Brink.

      I liked what I saw of Brink at E3, which was the last time I saw it. It's innovative, and I love the way some of the mechanics work. I wouldn't say it's at the top of my most anticipated list, but I am hankering after it.

    I'm sure there's plenty of people out there that know the answer to this, but I figured I'd ask here anyway.
    I have 2 ps3's.. one fat and one slim. Been using the fat one for a while and only just setup the new slim in my lounge room. A while ago, I won a copy of Scott Pilgrim and Wildgoose sent me a download code. I downloaded and installed it on my fat ps3 when I got the code, but now that ps3 is in the bedroom. Does the ps3 store game 'purchases' like xbox live? Can I just download it on to my slim aswell? Or is it tied to that one machine until I remove it? Also if I can install on my slim, is there a way to transfer the save game?

      I *think* you can download the game a maximum of 5 times. You have to activate your slim via the PSN Account options, and then you should be able to download it again. I *think*. I'm probably wrong.

      Usually I answer these in the afternoon - but I can tell you quickly that if you know your log in and password, it's possible to create a new account on your new PS3 that's linked to your old one. You can re-download the game by doing that, then heading to previous downloads in the store.

      You can do this with up to three PS3 I think? Someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong here... it used to be more, but they limited it with a recent update.

      The only issue you might have is with the fact that it was a code and not a proper purchase. I had a problem with not being able to redownload Bionic Commando Rearmed when I had been given a review code.

        Yeah, they did announce they were going to drop the license for sharing down to 3, but I can confirm that it hasn't happened yet, it's still sitting at 5.

        I've got a few close friends where we share content from time to time. I have 2 PS3's, and 2 friends also have my account of their consoles. We also share a US account as well.

        Just signup and use the existing PSN ID option and you are good to start downloading any existing content you have purchased.

        Although, Singstar Content is the only content that I am aware of that can be activated on only one machine at a time.

        Way back when, Sony did cause anger at restricting games like Warhawk and Gran Turismo Prologue to the ID that bought it, so my girlfriend would technically have to buy the game herself even though the game was already on the HDD, same for sub accounts, which are techincally linked the master account in the first place. All that have been removed though, as it was rather unpopular.

        Mark, on the subject of your Bionic Commando Re-armed, the fact it was a review copy is probably the reason why it was only allowed to be downloaded once.

        Or potentially the review content was removed from the servers and replaced with the actual consumer version, thus not being able to download it at all.

        Thanks for the reply. Sounds somewhat encouraging. Hopefully it'll all work well. I have yet to register/activate my psn account on the slim, but I assumed I would just use the same details I did for the previous one. Whatever happens, I'll post back here with results for future reference if anyone needs to know :)

          hey just to clear things up, its STILL five, and the three activations limit only applies to videos, and was a typo. Doh!

      I have two PS3s, both connected to my PSN account. I've got loads of games on both so grabbing Scott Pilgrim again for your 2nd PS3 shouldn't be a problem. Once your account is set up go into your download history in the store and you should be able to download it again.
      I've always had trouble porting savefiles though as they tend to be locked to the console whereas most other things are locked to the profile. This has been extremely heartbreaking when our PS3s have died and despite having backed things up individually in addition to as a whole, a lot of our saved games were unable to be reinstated.
      I'd also be interested to know if there's a way around this.

      I'm pretty sure you can redownload an infinite number of times from your psn account, but the caveat is that you can only have your psn account (which ties to dlc and downloaded games) stored on a max of 5 playstation 3's.

      Seeing as you can sign in from any ps3, some people, share a couple downloadable titles with friends, or in your case, across multiple ps3s, this way.

      And, if you ever end up selling or throwing out one of your PS3s, make sure you deactivate your account on it, as it uses up one of the five aforementioned slots.

      @mark I hadn't heard about that, does anyone know if they implemented such a change?

        So what do you do when you YLOD?
        My FAT PS3 died for the 2nd time so waiting until the Chrissy Sales for a new one.

          Ring Sony directly and ask them to reset your PSN account, because the old one broke and you have bought a new one...

          1300 365 911

    There are plenty of rumors floating around about Gran Turismo 5 being delayed because SCE mandated SDK 350 on all games releasing after October. Have you heard anything regarding this from Sony?

      I spoke to Sony about this when that rumour broke. They said they'd heard nothing about the firmware thing, and said it was just speculation. The official line was Polyphony Digital were just adding polish.

      That said, there's no smoke without fire - but there were numerous rumours regarding reasons for the delay.

    What's with Dynasty Warriors 7 being a PS3 exclusive?

    I always have a question Thursday and by the time Wednesday happens I've forgotten it,

    I really should write these things down.

      A few of the others have used the talk amongst yourself thread for this purpose. There is always some nice perso willing to help out if you don't make the wednesday deadline!!! Just a thought.

    Do you know much about the upcoming music game 'Power Gig'? Do you think it'll make it to Australia?

    Hi Mike,

    Are the competitions coming back and if so, when. I really miss the awesome competition and entries from everyone here... and the chance to win free stuff.

    Perhaps I have just missed them or perhaps this is the calm before the xmas storm???

    Also, I am assuming that there is a HUGE pile of crap (gaming goodies, stubbie holders, stickers, games, that old DJ Hero set up...) that have been piling up over the past few weeks (I could assume wrong). Is there any plans to link this to the kudos thingy (like the Kommunity Service Awards) or do you have other special ideas?


      Competitions are coming back - and sorry about the delay with the Dead Rising stuff, I'm trying to sort that today. Just a bit of confusion during the handover between eds. Sorry about that.

      One thing I always loved about Kotaku was the comp entries - we have a couple in the pipeline, but if you guys want more we can always chase them?

        Gaming is an expensive hobby and the competitions have always been a fun way for us to all interact, be funny/goofy/embarassing/sick etc. Chase Chase please.

        Bit of a late reply, but hells yeah. Loved the competitions at Kotaku, especially the quirky ones. Plus, free swag helps fuel our collective habit.

    Do you honestly believe in your heart of hearts that Australia's place in the video game industry will one day become half decent? What with overpricing, publishers not telling us crucial information unless we ask, online servers being garbage and a dogs breakfast of a classification board, do you think its at all possible that we can overcome our troubles one day and no longer be treated like an afterthought? I mean, we're not Venezuela here you know?

      It's a complicated question. Digital distribution is going to change a lot of things. The R18 issue is a matter of when not if.

      As for servers, that's an altogether trickier question - we may always be a step behind just as a result of our location.

      Vague answer, but it's a big question!

        Thanks. It's just frustrating to see no real end to the international video game industry viewing Australia in a negative light. And even worse when Australians try to fight that view with poor retorts such as "We got iPhone developers! And studios in Brisbane! Wait, that studio just went broke because nobody in Australia cares! But we got them iPhones! Wooo!"

    Why do you hate RPGs?


      I don't hate RPGs, my wife hates RPGs.

        Just plonk Mrs H Squerrels down in front of Fable III and let the magic begin.

          The magic happens elsewhere in our marriage...

          In the magic store.

            You've gotta pay that.

    I had this in the Talk Amongst Yourselves area, but I do need to confirm...

    can you check with EA and confirm that Dead Space Extraction, will be included with Dead Speace 2 for PS3?

    As the Collectors Editions have been updated on the EB Games & GAME website, but neither of them confirm if Extraction will be included.‘s+Edition

    Thank you!

      Last time I spoke to EA this was definitely happening. I might try and treble check next time I speak to them!

    It's 3DS launch night - which 3 games are you gonna pick up the console and why?

      1. MGS3: Snake Eater
      2. MGS3: Snake Eater
      3. MGS3: Snake Eater

      Because I want to sleep in a bed with a pile of Solid Snakes.

      (Chances of me editing this comment later: v. high)

        MGS3... they're all naked snakes...

        even better...

        ...why isn't there an edit button for us?!

    Are you one of the only people in the world who can use the excuse, "I was just doing work" if the boss catches you playing games?

    Also, do you have a console and tv or gaming pc to play games on at your desk?

      Yeah, but I still feel bad sitting on my kaboosh in Halo Reach matchmaking at 10am looking for matches. For about 10 seconds.


    Would it be possible to do a short series (maybe one article a week) on various roles in game development? I mean, people only seem to know of "modeler", "programmer" and "writer"...

    Maybe getting people in those specific roles in the industry to explain what they do and how they do it?


      That's kinda what I'm trying to achieve with the We Want Your Job series...

        I'm an idiot, forgive me. Those seem perfect!
        I never noticed those articles before though...

        By the way, you seemed to like the old adventure styled games. Right now you can get 21 telltale games for $30 right now. I bought it today and I know I will not be able to finish them all for at least the next 5 months, lol!

        Cheers for the heads up in regards to that article!

          We plan to have a bunch more - I want to do one per week, but it's a matter of convincing enough people to answer the qs!

    Many people imported Rock Band 2, but since it was never released here officially, any word on whether we will get access to the song export?

    Also, why do Dani California and Black Hole Sun (from RB1) not work with RB3? :(

      I've no idea - I'll have a look into it - but I'm far more gutted about the lack of 'Anyway You Want It'

        Oh definitely. I was prepared for AC/DC and Metallica not making it across, but no Journey is a travesty.

        I guess I still have Don't Stop Believin', but it's not the same...

          My only beef with Don't Stop Believing is that the mad solo section at the start is a huge difficulty spike compared to the rest of the song. It's too easy on Hard, but a little bit too tough on expert...

            Hehe, I usually just scrape through that opening part, and then enjoy the rest of the song.

            Anyway You Want It also had ridiculously hard solos in comparison to the rest of the song, but it is no doubt the superior song.

        I guess if we're on the Rock Band questions, can you find out what's happening with the Rock Band Network in Australia? I know it relies on the XNA creators club, is there still no word on either of these from MS/EA/Harmonix?

    Uh hmmm...

    Any word on..?

    I only ask because it wouldn't be a Wednesday without it.


      It took me two seconds, but then it clicked. I truly cannot wait for that day.

        What day would that be..? do you have a release date?

    Hey Mark!

    Does Kotaku have any interest in non-electronic games? The recent releases of tabletop RPG classic "Dungeons and Dragons" have many people discussing the videogame influences which have been incorporated into the system, and I'm wondering if you or even any of the staff at KAUHQ (That's Kotaku Australian Headquarters!) have any interest in, or even play any tabletop RPG's!

      Personally I've never been into playing Tabletop RPGs, but I'm a big fan of Settlers of Catan, and I'm shit-awesome at Monopoly!

        Me and my mates -swore- we'd never play Monopoly ever again. The last time involved absolutely brutal insider trading, alliances, tax avoidance, and ended up being a stalemate between two conglomerates who had the entire world owned and Hotelled.

        This was after the two factions each independently decided to merge all their assets and properties with one Chairman player in order to have less turns on the board which might land on enemy tiles.

        In short: Monopoly's rules are absurdly ill-defined; there's no rules governing turn structure or player priority. Horrifically unprepared for a group of powergamers with experience at TCG's and RPG's.

    Here's one that's always confused me - the average age of the gamer is almost always reported at around 30, both here and in the US. I was looking on the ESA's website the other day about some of the statistics, but I couldn't find any information about their methodology - how do they get the statistics from which they generate this number? Because it seems kinda bullshit to me to suggest that there's a near-equal amount of people over 30 playing games as there are under 30. I know averages don't work that way, but I still don't buy that number as the mean age of the gamer. Do you have any idea how these figures come about? Do they define gamer as someone who's played a video game, ever, meaning one 30 minutes on Wii Tennis figures you into the equation or what?

      I think this is worth investigating, but I'd almost certainly say that the answer would be really old gamers, that play Minesweeper or Patience on their computer, or popcap games, will be skewing that number older.

      As someone from the 30-40 age group, I can tell you this age group is full of gamers. Most of us grew up with games as a big part of our lives and still play when we can.
      I can absolutely see the amount of over-30 people being similar to the amount of under-30 people still playing.

      Assuming the numbers of above and below age 30 gamers aren't similar is like assuming elderly people don't have sex. Just because it's not something you want to think about doesn't mean it's not true. :P

    when's that sly collection coming to aus? All i could find was "november", any concrete date or pricing?

    Also, any whispers of star wars battlefront 3 or a new jak and daxter game?

    Another RB3 question...

    Any news on if the Squier RB3 Strat will retail in Australia?

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