aperson

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  1. A lot of what is lauded for being commentary or meta is pretty much just "it's a video game!" I know that video games often present the illusion of choice rather than actual choice, that AAA games have you shoot a bunch of dudes for flimsy reasons, that AAA plots often make little sense - I don't need other games to tell me this. I find it really strange that anyone gets kudos for these trite observations. I've always felt that it's best to lead by example. Instead of make Scream and illustrate how stupid horror movies are - something everyone who watches horror movies is fully aware of - just make a good movie. And while Scream is supposedly some sort of commentary it's really just a dumb horror movie in itself. The same is true of many of these "it's a dumb video game" games. Games are dumb - we know! I haven't played Spec Ops but from what I gather it feels like they at least tried to have some sort of point and it seems well-intentioned. Whereas with something like Far Cry 3 it's just "yup, this is super super dumb because video games are super super dumb and this is just a video game." You made a game - congratulations? The "commentary" is impossible to distinguish from the games played straight.
  2. BioShock Infinite

    You're right. I have no reason to read condescension into what sclpls wrote. I'm trying man! I spend a lot of time editing my posts trying to make them less confrontational. (This may be impossible to believe but it's true!) I am not a super positive assume-the-most-charitable guy by nature, but it doesn't help when someone posts literally just to point out that I'm awful. It's hard to read charitably after that. I invest a lot of time and effort into my posts - maybe they still suck and I'm an idiot and I suck. But I do put effort into them, and for someone to just be "ignore this guy he's trying to fight us" is dispiriting. Most of the time if you read condescension into my post try again as playfulness - that's usually more the spirit that it's intended. But you're right - I will try to stop accusing people of slagging on me. (And succeed!) And it would be nice if certain people would stop posting just to point out how awful I am. (I'm not talking about you)
  3. BioShock Infinite

    First of all the dripping condescension is really not needed. Second of all I'm not talking about "race relations" I'm talking about specific word choice. The idea of racist action that requires a power structure is a perfectly valid idea. Many forms of racist action do require a power structure. That's not what "racism" means though. That's not what it means in common vernacular or in a dictionary. There are good words to describe the concept you're advancing - systemic racism, institutionalized racism, societally-sanctioned racism. By redefining "racism" in a way that defies the common definition and that is popular only in some narrow academic circles you're preaching only to the converted. Other people can't participate because they literally don't know what "racism" means, by no fault of their own. Ironically the vast majority of black people are excluded from conversations on racism, as they aren't erudite enough to have read "Slavery in Massachusetts." Racism isn't what the vast majority of black people think racism is (and experience!), it's actually what white "critical race theorists" say it is? Pat Bidol and Judith Katz are the real experts! Black people are out of their depth - in discussions of racism. Really? According to Rasmussen: I don't put a ton of stock in Rasmussen, but I assume that 31% isn't actually 0%. And that's not "capable of racism", that's "are racist." (I guess Hispanics are really cool) It seems like rather than each person advancing their own definition of what racism is it's best to stick to what the word is commonly understood to mean. (And how it is in fact defined) Words having specific, well-defined meanings is important to communication, no? There's nothing wrong with the idea that some expressions of racism take power. That's a fine idea. Edit: The more I think about this the more it bothers me. Racism as defined by white academics. Here's Clarence Page talking about the aforementioned poll: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-07-10/news/ct-oped-0710-page-20130710_1_racist-blacks-whites He doesn't understand racism the way Judith Katz does? This is not meant to be taken as "black people are the real racists" or that "the real problem with racism in America is black people" or some shit like that. There's no "ah ha" here. Just let's use the well-understood definition of the word and not construct a discussion that is in itself exclusionary. The idea that you can't discuss racism unless you read Thoreau and went to an Ivy League is just...well. Not good. Let's leave it at that.
  4. Visual Art!

    I was going to say that your art looks a lot like the voynich manuscript.
  5. BioShock Infinite

    Edit: I take issue with this, but not enough to write a lot. This is an academic redefinition of "racism" that I think is only confusing.
  6. BioShock Infinite

    I think the problem you are having (don't let me put words in your mouth if this is wrong!) is that the idea of "unintentional racism" or racism expressed by a work but somehow not by the author is a very messy, poorly-defined idea. Personally I don't think it's a useful concept. The idea that something can be racist on accident contradicts what racism is - a belief. If I mean to write "I hate naggers" and make an unfortunate typo it's a typo, not unintentional racism. Intent is tied up with our everyday understanding of what racism is. What is racism without belief? Video games don't hold opinions. They don't believe things. What they appear to express is a combination of authorial intent, execution, interpretation, etc. To say that a game is "racist" is maybe useful shorthand (I don't think it's useful) but I think in longer discussions it's worth unpacking what that really means. If the authors are not racist but the game comes across that way that's hugely different from a genuine expression of genuinely-held racism. Lumping those two things together is not helpful. In the end I think concepts like "unintentional racism" are like "verbal rape", which was a popular phrase in the 90s - muddying concepts that water down the original. "Verbal rape" became popular because it piggybacked on rape to sound very dire, and stopped being used when people figured out that in practice it trivialized rape - rape is no longer something to get excited about when someone being mean to you is rape. The unintended message was "rape is not important." If someone who is not racist makes a game with no authorial intent to be racist and you interpret the game as racist when many other people do not it really trivializes what it means to be racist and flies in the face of what the word is generally understood to mean. Why not say "If you're going to engage imagery that has that potential, the onus is on the creator to be aware of that." (As N'Gai did) It's much more precise and meaningful. Claiming racism without intent is also a rhetorical trick - say that racism can exist without intent, knowing full well that people will interpret claims of racism as including intent. In other posts Tycho has made dismissive remarks about Ken and team making another racist game - if they aren't racist and the racism in BI was unintentional why would their next game also be racist? Accuse people of racism while maintaining plausible deniability. "Well I never said they were racist, I just said they made something racist and will continue to produce more racist work in the future." TL;DR - our understanding of racism is closely tied to intent, so you're right to assume that intent is implicit. Bjorn: In that case what purpose do you think it serves to characterize it as racist? It seems to me to be using the same word for two different concepts - a genuinely held belief system vs something that could be mistaken for that. It doesn't work well with how non-academic people generally understand racism and it puts people on the defensive. (And often it's used to imply that the creators are in fact racist.) If you google "unintentional racism" you get a lot of joke responses, like a TV listing for Oprah that says "an ape talks with humans." That's funny but am I supposed to get upset over that? Don't you think it's worth distinguishing these cases? In one the author has a genuinely held belief and is a shithead racist, in the other they just weren't conscientious or surrounded themselves with monoculture that let them get away with that. Those are two very different things! In one they maybe deserve to be attacked, in the other gently shown the error of their ways. It only weakens "racism" as a concept to link these two so closely.
  7. BioShock Infinite

    If you don't want to fight why don't you just...not fight? How about we talk about the content of my posts and not how much you do or do not want to fight with me? That sounds flippant but I'm don't mean it as such - I think this is an interesting topic. Can we discuss it? I apologize in advance if my posts come off as accusatory, condescending, or whatever else - sometimes I come across like that more than I intend. I try to post well-reasoned content. I like reading well-reasoned responses. It's really weak to say that something is racist and when someone points out a different interpretation or that you haven't actually played the thing in question to dismiss that as inflammatory. I get the temptation and I'm sure we're all guilty of judging things without firsthand experience. But racism is a serious charge that demands a serious approach and not playing the thing in question only serves to diminish the seriousness of racism accusations. Are you interested in a debate or in people taking turns exclaiming how bad and racist the game is? I'm not even particularly interested in debating whether or not it's racist, but at least experience it first before weighing in! I didn't mean to attack Bjorn on any sort of personal level, and while I did say that approach to criticism is intellectually lazy I didn't mean to imply that Bjorn is an intellectually lazy person in general. If you don't want the thread to be closed why don't we stick the content of posts rather than how awful I am? Ironically your post seems like an attempt to derail, under the guise of the opposite. So I'm not going to call you names or say something mean about you - just ask you to discuss the content of posts and leave out the other junk. You don't like me - I get it.
  8. BioShock Infinite

    "I think learning to make arguments without sounding like you think your interlocutors are idiots is a very valuable skill." Are you interested in discussion or point-scoring? Thinking that you can diving authorial intent is in fact known as the "intentional fallacy." (I know you guys love your fallacies...) And rarely does anything beyond Aesop's Fables have some easily divined meaning. Playing "Spot the meaning" while believing that you're uniquely qualified to do so, even for works you haven't experienced yourself (!), is very silly. Flannery O'Connor: Personally I think this is spot on. I this case we're not just talking about a reductive summary of the meaning of a work, we're talking about a reductive summary from someone who hasn't even experienced the work in question.
  9. BioShock Infinite

    And? That's racist because? You're trying to get the word "racist" to do a lot more work than it is capable of doing. Poor people can't be as bad as rich people? Black people can't be as bad as white people? It's not possible for an oppressed person to be as bad as an oppressor just without having the means to express it? Your way of arguing that the game is racist is describing things then saying "and that's racist", when the thing you're describing has no relevance to racism. "Anyone can be equally a shitheel" is not a racist message, it's a message that doesn't differentiate race at all. This message is racist because...it contradicts your hierarchy of evil? "And with the latest Burial at Sea, quite frankly the racism actually gets worse." What you describe is a simple plot contrivance. The "racist" element is what...that it involves a black person? This sort of contrivance is incredibly common across fiction involving all sorts of races, gender, etc. It's the same contrivance people pointed out towards the end of the Robocop reboot. When a very common plot contrivance occurs it goes from nothing notable to racist based on the race of the person acting in a contrived manner? Edit: I don't want to argue that BI is or is not racist - I think that's a very poor way of framing any discussion, and consequently the vast majority of "it's racist / no it's not" discussions are almost entirely worthless, and boil down to "person who finds racism in almost everything argues with person who never sees racism." Personally I don't like the idea of racism or accusations of it being treated flippantly - as a way to establish the moral high ground or lend weight to an opinion just using the power of the word. "I didn't like it" or "I thought the black characters in the game didn't have much agency and were secondary to the white characters" sure sounds namby-pamby compared to "it's racist!" But when you lead off with "it's racist" either people have to agree or they're cast in the role of defending racism. They agree or they're too stupid or racist themselves to see the obvious. It also ignores how wide open things are to interpretation - the fact that a guy on the internet finds something racist (often that guy is white!) doesn't mean a whole lot in itself. And when accusing a work of fiction it's a weird bit of anthropomorphism - a video game doesn't hold opinions and cannot express opinions separate from being written or interpreted. "Unintentional racism" is usually just a punchy way of saying "thoughtlessness." I think it's a lot more interesting to articulate what you do and don't like about the game, or any game, and let other people decide if that's racism or not, especially when your usage of the word is extremely broad and "racist" is often not the most precise term. If there is a plot contrivance involving a black character describe it and let me interpret whether or not that's racist. Plot contrivances are bad, the main black characters being evil or poorly formed is a thing. Is it a bad thing? Is it a racist thing? Maybe. If you watch Amnesia Fortnight how many black employees do you see? Is that racism? Walking Dead was created by some white guys and the black character is a convict. Racism? "It sort of reinforces casual racism" may very well be true. (See a recent study along similar lines) But I don't think that means the game is racist, or that debating whether it is or not is great idea. If you really want to lead right off with "it's racist" you have to bring your A-game. Bjorn, you're calling Burial at Sea racist when you haven't even played it. (At least according to an earlier post) You accusation is based on a third-party characterization, and rather than quoting from the game you're quoting from that characterization. Everything you argue is being filtered through that characterization, rather than based on the source. That is not A-game. Rooting accusations of racism in ignorance is an awful idea. Isn't this what religious right people do? Condemn works based on second-hand understandings of them? "Well I never played Mass Effect but it was described to me as an alien gay sex sim!" The fact that you're on the "right" side doesn't make this sort of reasoning any more logical, fair or intellectually honest. Wanting to be a good person or morally self-righteous doesn't justify intellectual dishonesty. Edit: Removed a lie
  10. BioShock Infinite

    Racists being right doesn't make a game racist - racists are right all the time. Life isn't so simple that racists are always wrong and evil. Sometimes racists are right, sometimes racists do noble things while still being racists. A racist person might still save a baby from a burning building or prove Fermat's Last Theorem or correctly predict the weather tomorrow. 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis were killed via machete over the course of a couple months. 10,000 a day. Sometimes black people are savages. Black people aren't always savages, no, and other races can be savages as well - that's why racists are wrong. Not because they are always wrong - that's pure wishful thinking. Is real life racist because the above real life event made some racist person correct? "That makes the racists right in the game, which unfortunately makes the game racist too" No, it doesn't. This is a non-sequitur. The racists being right doesn't mean racists are always right, and it doesn't mean the author believes that racists are always right. It means they were right in one instance in one reality out of an infinite number in a fictional story. "A racist person looked across the street at some black kids on the street corner. 'I bet those kids are doing drugs' thought the racist person. Tyrone looked across the street at an aging white guy staring intently at him. 'I bet that old white dude is a racist fuck' thought Tyrone as he lit up his joint." Incredibly racist tale? When racism is a white-owned store refusing to serve a black family and also a game in which black people are as violent as other people (isn't this nihilism?) or when racist people are right in some particular instance then "racism" as a concept doesn't mean anything beyond "involves black people." So then BI is racist...ok...but who cares? According to some white people BI is racist against them! It's racist against all races - cool. All this says to me is stop paying attention to accusations of racism (at least from some people) as they've become performative in function and serve mostly as a way for white people to congratulate themselves. I think this is an interesting read: http://multiplayerblog.mtv.com/2008/04/10/newsweeks-ngai-croal-on-the-resident-evil-5-trailer-this-imagery-has-a-history/ It's also worth reading the links contained in it, like : http://multiplayerblog.mtv.com/2008/04/08/black-professionals-in-games-tomb-raider-producer-morgan-gray-on-diversity-resident-evil-5-and-the-problem-with-cole-train/ Compared to the current discussions on race in games this looks like something from an entirely different era. It's not snarky or flippant, it's not just "lol so racist" with little else. Morgan Gray doesn't say "Gears of War is totally racist" he says "it sort of reinforces casual racism" which is a lot less splashy.
  11. Amateur Game Making Night

    I use Bitbucket. Works fine. There are suitable clients for Windows 7, older versions of WIndows and Mac. I do my python editing and text file editing in Eclipse, which has a restore from local history option.
  12. Amateur Game Making Night

    It seems like you are making really good progress and have an organized approach. The hardest part of making games is just working on them regularly - it's like losing weight. The majority of people fail because they don't stick with it. It's also easy to get bogged down in constant "improvements" that theoretically make the game better but in reality don't make any progress. (There's a thread on Neogaf about amateur game making, and one guy on there has posted about improvements to his UI code for like a year...) When I started making games it was like: You see werewolf 1: Run away 2: Fight it! My friend and I wrote an RPG that didn't use functions because at the time we didn't know how to use functions in Pascal. It was like...100 pages long. And just one function that was a huge assortment of loops and conditionals. So basically...the best advice you'll ever get is just keep at it. Quitters never win! (And winners don't use drugs, according to William S. Sessions)
  13. Oculus rift

    I personally don't care too much about OR so I'm not upset by this, but I do suspect that in the long run it will make OR a worse product. I expect in 6 months we'll hear about a number of high profile members of the team bailing for example. Facebook's gaming platform is kind of garbage - it constantly breaks for one thing. And despite talk of OR operations being unchanged that's rarely how these things work out. I do find the defenses of it on Twitter a little odd. Without using the word "entitled" it's basically a dismissal of entitled backers - you gave them your money, you got your backer reward, now pipe down. This seems to ignore that KS is fundamentally based on trust and a number of unspoken mutual agreements. If you give someone KS money to make Shadowrun and the game they make it 30 seconds long technically they've fulfilled their promises - so that makes backers entitled when they complain? Many KS are pitched such that the backers, while not investors, are made to feel like part of the process. The OR KS is one of those. To then ignore the wishes of the backers is obviously going to upset people - and I think it should. Most of the people defending this on Twitter are ultimately probably doing more harm than good, because in "educating" people on what KS is they are basically telling people that KS is for suckers. If KS is just about buying backer rewards that only have to technically meet the requirements then KS will die, because that's not why people want to give money to KS projects. That's just an overpriced store. If you read the backer rewards for the Idle Thumbs Kickstarter they only include pre-launch podcasts. In theory they could have taken all the backer money and never actually recorded a non-pre-launch podcast. (Or maybe just one, on which they discuss mandated topics) Somehow I doubt people would have been ok with that. Perceived betrayal of trust is very important to KS because trust is the foundation of KS.
  14. Amateur Game Making Night

    Serialization just means reading and writing things to a disk or other medium for long-term storage. For example when you create a prefab in Unity that is serialized to disk. It's turning in-memory classes and things like that into a saveable form. You can use text to serialize stuff but I wouldn't consider text assets by themselves to be examples of serialization / deserialization. http://docs.unity3d.com/Documentation/Components/class-TextAsset.html With a text asset you can create a text file (or a binary file...it's weird) and load it very simply, then access either the text or the bytes. From there you can split the text on line breaks or if it's in a more formatted style like XML or JSON use some package to convert it. StreamReader is a c# thing for reading streams and files and such, TextAsset is a Unity thing that simplifies that. If I were you I would maybe decide on a text format like the speaker position, followed by a comma, followed by text, followed by a line break. (Basically a CSV format - you could even maintain the file in Excel and export it when needed) Then you type in all the conversation data into that file. And maybe have a different file per conversation to start off with, or something like that. Depending on the size and scope of your game it may not be worth it. It's something that is eventually worth doing if you have a decent amount of text, but if it never becomes an issue I wouldn't sweat it. If you were writing say a whole visual novel though I would definitely figure out a way to separate out the text.
  15. BioShock Infinite

    It's definitely helpful in many ways (something most developers should do, if for no other reason than strictly building word-of-mouth), I just don't see how it's helpful for things like the betterment of working conditions.I'm not opposed to open development processes, I just don't see them as making games or the the process of making them better. It feels to me that a lot of the people with suggestions on how to improve game industry working conditions (and I'm not speaking about anyone specifically here) are well-intentioned but what they propose doesn't take into account what the main problems are - and probably the biggest problem with working conditions is that a lot of people, maybe even the majority, don't agree that their are problems at all. It's not uncommon to read threads (say on Neogaf) where a bunch of people are like "man, these guys have awful lives and really need unions" then four game developers post all saying that they hate unions and actually love never seeing their families. Great example of what I'm talking about: http://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/20ivqv/the_hard_realities_of_working_at_riot_games/ From the perspective an an older person this reads a little crazy, like Riot is some awful cult, but this guy is actually super jazzed about it. Reading this you'd think Riot was in the business of curing AIDS, but actually it's just an incredibly inefficient developer stumbling along trying to maintain their one product. "Riot has a mission that I believe in." Like...come again? IMO the biggest issues with working conditions stem from culture and demographics, not sexy problems like tyrannical bosses. And at this point that culture is strongly self-reinforcing. The same is true in things like TV production or the fashion industry. (Although it's probably worse there as those take less specialized skills) Lots of young people want to do it and consider it glamorous, willingly accept awful things, then get burned out and quickly replaced with a new batch.