Ask Me Stuff

Today I'm asking 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.


    What's green, has 8 legs, and would kill you if it fell on you out of a tree?

      A billiard table

      A pool table

      Well either that or 2 Ninja Kermit the Frogs...

        pool tables have 6 legs

      Four tasmanian old growth logging activists.

        I lol'd.

        Is there really people still doing that?

        Oooh, I just thought of a way the Government could raise money... pay a certain amount, shoot a hippy.

        What do you think?

    Whats the best route to get in to game writing? I don't mean programming I mean the creative component, like the team of writers who work on a games storyline, dialogue etc. I currently have a degree in Creative Writing and am working at a small company as a Game Designer but was wondering what the traditional qualifications/career path is?

    I've been told about people's preference to move the Cheap$kate Gamer article to Fridays to take advantage of weekend deals. Doable?

    Also, what's the surprise you're sending me in the mail? lol

      Totally doable. Would everyone prefer that? All in favour say 'aye'.


        Now I feel thoroughly piratical.

          aye indeed! makes much more sense just before the weekend


          Oooooh, I'll sing you a song, a song of the sea!
          (Birdseye fish fingers)
          Quick and delicious, 'fer lunch or 'fer tea!
          (Birdseye fish fingers)
          Gold bars of goodness all crumbed and crunchy!


    Will they be returning?
    If so in what format?

    I always liked the limerick comps, anyone could enter and the answers were amusing.

    Whenever you make people do videos I never enter and can never watch them at work.

    The funny pictures were also good.

      There once was a man named Mark Serrels
      Who managed a game site for ferals.
      They asked for stuff
      He went off in a huff
      To don the brand new guise of "Beryl"!


      Competitions please
      Have you ever won?
      Free stuff is welcome

        I think the only correct response to this is I will seek out the competitions. We'll get more going!

      We've got the Marvel vs. Capcom one running now, but if you guys want more, I'll get more. Too easy!

        HOLY MOLEY!!

        I never even noticed that!!

        Man i suck at art.. but i NEED to come up with something.. I could finally own a PS3!

        ..alas i don't know if that will happen though :(
        *scrounges around looking for time and talent*

          You should still enter! I was worried that people might find this too intimidating, but I want to see entries from whoever. It doesn't matter how talented you are!

            Maybe they'll be nice and offer up a couple copies of the game as a "thanks for trying" runners up sort of prize lol

            Mine's pretty much done, just adding some spit and shine...

    Threaten, investigate, apologetic or headslam?

      I'd choose seduce by doing all of the above.

      Investigate your fine body, threaten you by saying that it we dont'make love now the world with end and ask you if you really want that on your head, then in our throws of passion i'd slam your head into the counter and then apologise for the 30 seconds that ultimately left you unsatisfied.

      I'd then cry.

      ...And possibly wet myself...

        I hear that if you can't satisfy people there's a nasal spray now... Ian Turpy told me about it.

      I think Fruit Loops has got this answer on lockdown.

    I have suffered a terrible bite from a zombie (see iPod fan) and i am now worried i will start to turn into one of them.
    With that in mind i was wondering if we'll be receiving our zombrex shots soon? hehe

    Also, the coverage for the R18 movement has been absolutely phenomenal (thank you :]), but how confident are you feeling towards the whole thing? Do you think there is a good chance the AG's will actually sit down and put a favorable vote on the thing? It seems like a fair bit has been going in our favor recently, although i still don't want to get my hopes up quite yet..

      I actually need to hack into Junglis'ts work account to get the addresses. I'll try and get it sorted this week.

      If you won, feel free to resend your address, I'll double check everything then send it off. Not ideal, but if you're a reg reader and you're waiting on the prize it'll help me get stuff off quicker.

    Hey Mark,

    Just wondering if you have any community events or projects for Kotaku Australia? Just curious if you have any desires for something like that.

    Also, do you know how much I hate you for having Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood before me? Oh so much.

      A couple of ideas have been thrown around. Maybe a LAN? Or maybe just more community playdates?

      What would you guys like? LAN would have to be in Syd probably...

    With GT5 finally coming out I wanted to find out what steering wheel was the best one to use. I'm not buying the game until I have one.


      The GT is still the 'Official' Wheel of the video game, so being the most inexpensive is also a bonus. This will certainly be enough to satisfy the urges.

      The issue will be, do you require a Clutch & Gear Shifter? If so, then the G25 & G27 are probably more your thing then, alot more expensive though. There have been some very recent rumblings/rumours however, relating to both these wheels. I'm not 100% on it, but PD had issues with the Clutch on both of them and wanted Logitech to amend the firmware for the wheel, so it would work better with the game.

      Logitech chose not to and so it might not be as intuitive as they'd we might like it.

      So if you are waiting it out, check the internet after it comes out next week and see if there is anything to the rumours and then make your decision.

    Hey Mark,

    What info/predictions do you having regarding Sony's next handheld(s)

    I do hope it's not 2 handhelds but from what I can gather it's gonna be a PSP2 and PSPhone:

    Bigger than a PSP, smaller than a tablet PC

    Can only play PSN games including PSN PSOne games and possibly PSN PS2 games (when Sony brings it to PSN)

      I honestly don't know. The PSP phone will happen. I don't know if it makes much sense to release to seperate products, unless they're both similar like the iPod Touch and the iPhone.

      I think that both Nintendo and Sony are going to have a hard time wrestling the handheld market away from Apple...

    Hi Mark,

    Here's my question for the gaming industry:

    Can you tell me when it became "legal right" to sell a half finished product? I remember the days of buying a game, installing it and playing it.
    I could play campaign mode or play online. Every now and then a bug fix was released for (dare I say it) 'minor' bugs, and most had FREE DLC (if available).

    The last few years have especially seen big name games being released with below average beta-testing, and many people being unable to play a game properly for a good 3-4 weeks, if not longer, either on or off-line.

    Bad Company 2 came out and the online support was so bad you couldn't even browse for servers. Friends lists never worked. Favourite servers disappeared without notice....the list goes on. It was almost a good 4 months after release when the game was, again, dare I say it, 'properly' playable.

    Recently Black Ops hit the market and we all went silly. We jumped online to play and......GAH! Shocking! Not really even playable. Forums and support went absolutely nuts and although we get the usual "yes we know about it" and a patch to 'fix' it (which didn't) I did notice one thing.... support for the developer.

    By this I mean that there were hundreds of reply posts saying "just wait for the patch", or "they'll fix it just be patient" and I got to thinking....our mentality has changed to 'accept' poor developments as 'acceptable' and we're actually expecting to wait for it to work properly.

    Why is this? Why is this becoming acceptable? If you bought a brand new car (of quality brand here by the way) and it shuddered when it drove, would you find that acceptable? If your new quality microwave cooked for a bit then locked up, would you be all like "it's okay, I expected that".... Hell no.

    It's amazing me to see that so many gamers now have the 'it's okay, what do you expect?' attitude, especially when you're buying AAA titles....and usually at top dollar too.

    So in summary, do you feel that it's becoming the 'norm' or the 'expected' to buy a brand new AAA game now and really not expect to play it 'properly' for weeks, if not months after purchase? If so, why? Why should we accept that this is the way of the gaming world?

    Do you agree or shall I be cast into the 'wingers and whiners' class for expecting to have the right to a 'quality AAA' product?

      I don't know if they've gotten worse, or if the reporting's gotten better. Years ago there wasn't the forums and blogs that there are now... it used to be the only way you found out if there were problems was if a mate had a friend with issues.
      Also, the install base has gotten bigger... so the chance for problems has become greater.

      But yeah, in the era of 60 to 100 million dollar games, there should be higher standards of QA.

      I think it's a combination of things: James is right about the increase of reporting on forums, internet, etc.

      But I think the scale of video game production has a lot to do with it. It's a lot more difficult to find all the bugs in a large scale, open world RPG than a 2D platformer.

      Also gaming as an industry has become a lot more high risk, because there is more money involved. Missing a deadline is a bigger deal now than before. That also may have something to do with it.

      It's a big question, but off the top of my head this is prob the best answer I can give.

      It's something I'd love to investigate further though.

        I'd like to know more, so if you do investigate let me know. I've spent countless pay packets on games and hardware over the past 20 years and watching gaming become a 'profit' driven industry (yes yes, I know it 'kind-of-has-to-be) where dollars come before satisfaction or QA is a real shame.

        Agreed James and SunSkorpion (sorry if it's a similar topic), and I know one person can't influence an entire industry, (because if I could, I would), but I think there's a lot of gamers out there who think and feel the way I do, although most will still buy a game anyway (*cough* MW2 *cough*)....

        Can I add my two cents? Well, I can, so there.

        In the pre-netted-console/cartridge/dialup-and-pre-dialup era, you wanted to be pretty damn sure a game was finished before you distributed it. Game-ending bugs pretty much meant the end of the game.

        Now with all sorts of easy digital distribution options, the pressure is off. You can use development time to develop new ideas and broaden the experience of the game, rather than extended beta testing and bug fixing. This can all happen closer to/after release, because hey, everything can be patched after the fact.

      I believe a similar question was posed a couple weeks ago. Not to put words in anyones mouth, but I think the answer went something along the lines of:

      If it's done to genuinely add content to increase the life of the product, it's ok.

      If it's done to correct aspects of the game that should have been right from the release, without really adding anything new to the game, thats bad.

      I concur.

      I think it has alot to do with a number of factors, firstly is this happens more with the PC, as its very evident that big releases are designed and marketed for the console hence most of the testing is done on these platforms.

      Secondly with the age of fast internet and an expectation of constant connection, updates and patches are easily rolled out usually automatically so problems are fixed eventually giving more time to finish at a deadline, a deadline which is very very important especially with the big publishers i.e Activision and EA.

      I like Valves approach with "when its done" and yes it may frustrate gamers to have an up coming title pushed back but it assures quality.

      I think its an overall expectation these days that big titled games are set to a date, have huge money riding on those dates and that plainly the console market is given preference, any problems with the PC version will be fixed with a patch.

    As I said on Monday in 'This Week in Games', I really enjoyed the First Hour of segment that Wildgoose used to do:

    I was wondering if you'd like to bring that back? I certainly enjoyed it and found it a good read. Or maybe you could do something along the lines of what GiantBomb do with their quick look, where they have a couple of guys playing something and they talk it through/goof around and stuff, and the video gets uploaded, with their commentary in the background. It'd be cool :)

      I cant agree more, this would be more helpful than a review for me when deciding to buy a game or not. I wanted one for every big release game coming out. was so good.

      Yeah I'd be keen - totally happy to do this. Good suggestion.

    I've started growing a mo for movember...
    It's red and bushy, but not a patch on the "General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett VC DSO KCB" I was aiming for. What's the secret of growing a good moustache?

    And, I'm going to be in Edinburgh next year, I'll be staying on "the mile", so... What's a good place to get paralytic in Edinburgh?

      I have a moustache. It's awesome.

      Be sure to trim it around the edges every 6-8 days, depending on your style. Let it get out of control and you'll start looking like those old dudes whose houses they raid on RSPCA Animal Rescue.

      That said, if you're after a Melchett, just walk around shouting 'Baaah!' a lot and you'll be fine.

      My moustache growing skills are miniscule.

      And about Edinburgh... man, I wish I could help you. But I grew up in Glasgow, that's my area of expertise.

      Take solace in the fact that it's very easy to find a place to get absolutely slaughtered in Scotland.

    Hey Mark

    I just watched Seamus on Sunrise and was blown away how well it went. Seamus's points were valid and the guy sitting next to him made a fool of himself without Seamus having to do anything. I mean, the guy actually contradicted himself. First he's against the R rating, then he's all for it?

    Most shocking of all, was Mel & Kochie. They were all for the rating which was a surprise to me.

    So my question is this:

    How awesome would it be if Far Cry 3 was set in outer space?

    Please indicate on the chart below:

    - Very awesome.
    - Dude, awesome.
    - Malcolm Reynolds awesome.

      Nothing can ever be Malcolm Reynolds awesome, except for everything Firefly.

      At the bottom of the awesome scale should be 'kochie's moustache awesome'. Which is about as awesome as leprosy.

      I'm going to go for Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit awesome.

    Is a Powers Rangers game likely in the future?

      Which version?

      Every time I turn on the tele there seems to be a new series... including one set in the Lord of the Rings, as far as I can tell.

    could we ever do online community playdates?
    as in, an official kotaku au steam group where we can organize to play games?
    the community here is so great that i would love to play games with them, it's just a bit hard to organise it, so... you do it!

    good idea?

      There's a Kotaku AU xbox live account.

      Is that what you meant?
      Also, Junglist ran a CS server whilst he was here.

        yeah, like what junglist did
        just a date to play a game with the kotaku au community (and mark, if he wants to)

        just make it a regular thing :)

        That I was not aware of. Have you got the GT James?

          I have not... and they won't answer my friend request... because nobody loves me. :-(

    Hey Mark. Not sure if you're playing Black ops atm, but there is a huge bug on consoles where a party/lobby with more than 4 people cannot all join a match. The game craps itself and kicks members of the lobby out and only lets a couple enter a match. It's near impossible to get more than 6 people into the same match.

    Do you know if Treyarch are working on a fix for this?

    Cheers dude

    Mark, I got distracted with exams'n'stuff and never ended up claiming my Vanquish prize - I sent you an email at the start of the week, but never got a reply. Is it all cool, or did I do something wrong? D:

    Hi Mark,

    Not a games industry related question, but...Will you be announcing the winner of the Reader Reviews from October?
    And is Kotaku still doing the Madman prize packs? I noticed you didn’t mention them in the recent CoD:BO review.

    Also, with the reader reviews, I’ve noticed lately that some aren’t adhering to the 500 word limit. So before I take this stick out of my ass, I’d like to suggest that these people be ineligible for the prize. XD

      Will announce tomorrow! And we're still doing the Madman prize packs!

    Oh, I just remembered the question that I was going to ask last week but forget but now I have remembered:

    Can you also bring back Kotaku Matchmaker and post one up for AC:Brotherhood?

    Here's the others:

    How much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?

      Probably not as much as Chuck Norris could just by staring at it...

      A wood chuck would chuck all the wood he could chuck, if a wood chuck could chuck wood.

        361.9237001 cubic centimeters of wood per day*

        *According to Wolfram Alpha.

    Hi Mark!
    I'm not sure if it's too late to get an answer, I honestly had no idea it was already Wednesday...
    I'm currently sitting on the fence deciding if I should study games design.. But it feels like every second day that I read about another studio closing and/or more layoffs. I'm putting my future in your hands! (Somewhat...) Is it foolish to try and get into the games industry in Australia at this point in time?
    Thanks for any advice. Note - Willing to take advice from anyone else who knows what they're talking about...

    I have encountered a game breaking glitch in Fallout 3, as I posted in the talk amongst yourselves. I would like to know if it is going to be fixed in the patch coming to the consoles, or if I should start a new game. Also an update on when that might be coming would also be good.

    Now other than asking you, and I imagine you probably can't help, can you think of any avenue's I can take to find if the bug I have encountered is going to be fixed? I mean I am considering emailing Obsidian and asking, perhaps even ringing them, or if I get really desperate and stalkerish, tracking down a developer and somehow contacting them.

    Mark is there any word on those tickets for the NFS: Hot Pursuit opening event thingo?

    I was told to ask you about the 3DS.

    Is the 3DS region free?

    706, dunno if you've heard of this but there's a trick that might save your fallout 3 experience, I know it did for me. If you have it for PS3 then I might be able to help you!

      Xbox 360 I'm afraid =(

      I have heard about the PC console cheats to help out with some glitches, and so I did consider getting my save file off the xbox, putting it on my computer, then using a save game editing program to try and change it. However I couldn't find the necessary values to change by myself and it doesn't look like anyone else has tried it.

      Even if I could for this glitch (going to Vault 11 before working for House) doesn't seem to be fixable even by PC console.

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