BloggyXmas? Thieves, all of them!

I’m getting this whole THEY STOLEZ MY IDEAZ!!! rant in before it’s too late, just so that when I post on the 11th I won’t have to open with it. I probably will, mind you, but this way I have a choice.

You can find the bloggy advent calendar here, and in the sidebar, probably until next July because it’ll take me that long to remember to remove the widget. In case you’ve never had an advent calendar before, click on each day to reveal adventy bloggy community goodness. And chocolate.

Oh wait, no, that’s only if you get a REAL advent calendar. Silly readers.

I was going to include the daily links for the supremely click-lazy but I changed my mind, because like Mr. Burns I am unpredictable and fickle. And also because Syl deserves much click-love for the idea.

And now for something completely different: a baby platypus. Happy holidays!

baby platypus

Gimme some beta

Because I’ve never complained of having burned out on beta testing and I’ve never said I wouldn’t jump on hype-wagons anymore. No sirree. Anyway, that was a long time ago and I’m pretty sure the opinion statute of limitations for blogs is about 15 minutes.

So. The Elder Scrolls Online now has a beta application page, here.

If you’ve never played any of the single-player RPG versions, a) you probably won’t care about this and b) have you been living under a rock?! I sank a jillion hours into Skyrim most recently – actually no, I wanted to sink a jillion hours into Skyrim and kept getting stymied by work, but I did play as much as I could for a while and lots of fun it was too. (Apart from the fact that PC players got their bug issues addressed and Xbox players like me just had to suck it up and STFU).

Gamers have been clamoring for a multiplayer online version of TESO for centuries (in blogging years), so here it is. Come be part of the development and help make a kickass game. Or, if it’s going to be an FFXIV-type of bust, at least you’ll know ahead of time.

I appear to have only one problem right now. Clicking the “COMPLETE BETA APPLICATION” button makes it go from blue to brown, but otherwise appears to do nothing at all. I sure hope they haven’t just received 4 5 7 versions of my beta app…

EDIT: Well, I hope you have better luck than me. None of my browsers do anything when I click the apply button. According to one wiki it goes to a confirmation page. Bah humbug.

Kickstarting Pathfinder Online

I really shouldn’t spend money when my 2012 Q4 taxes are due, but I did it anyway.

Bill Murphy must have hit just the right button on Facebook because I read his post, clicked through, and pledged $35. I liked the possible benefits if this project ever comes to fruition.

However, since I’ve only just heard of this game and haven’t acually read anything about it yet, and because said tax payment cheques have to be in the post today and I’m about to go out… I’m an ignorant dork who just pledged some money.

If you’re also a dork who likes sandbox MMOs (ignorance is optional), consider pledging. There are 9 hours to go and the funding goal is almost reached.

Click here to find out more.

PS: There’s even a token woman in the long list of dungeon designer geeks on that page! Go tokens!

Game Trailery Goodness – Cyberpunk 2077

I’m not usually much of one for trailers but ohhh, this is different. This is Cyberpunk – specifically, a teaser for Cyberpunk 2077. More info here. I so wish this could be an MMO, but there are lots of reasons why it’s better not. Even so.

DO. WANT.

It’s dark, it’s disturbing – but not in-your-face disturbing, which is even better – and in a short space of time asks one of the central questions of the Cyberpunk genre: Humanity is perfectible (by machines), but at what price?

And the soundtrack is awesome, which I’m not prone to saying about soundtracks in general.

I’m going off to do an Animal impression.

animal-muppet1

Survey: Avatars

Another email. I actually got the first one a few weeks back and forgot all about it (work having been what it is) other than spending a couple of minutes checking credentials. Even a little blog like this one gets some weird monetization or advertising requests – I dread to think the crap the big blogs have to wade through.

Anyway, this appears legit and could help someone’s research project. I’ve not done the survey myself yet but I enjoyed taking part in Nick Yee’s Daedalus project work a few years back and hopefully even provided some useful data at the time.

Dear Ysharros

I am involved in a psychology project at Charles Darwin University, in Darwin, Australia. We are looking for male and female participants to take part in a project exploring avatar use, in particular – why people do or don’t choose avatars of the opposite gender. In gaining participants we were hoping that you could possibly put a post up on your site regarding the study, along the following lines:

“We are conducting an Internet based psychological study at Charles Darwin University and are seeking male and female participants who are over 18 years of age, are able to read and write in English fluently and who use avatars. The study will examine participants’ identification with their avatars as well as explore why people may use, or not use an avatar of the opposite sex. The study will examine psychosocial functioning in the real world, personality factors as well as sex role identification of the participants’ and their avatars, and will take around 20 minutes to complete. Please go to http://cduhes.asia.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_brQ0uYKeagINqo4 for more details. You are not required to provide any identifying information in order to participate. All information given will be anonymous and protected. Ethics approval has been obtained for the conduct of this study. Thank you.”

[snip – query email addresses]
Thank you for your time.

Kind regards

Amalia Badawi, for Dr. Jon-Paul Cacioli

 

I draw the line at posting people’s email addresses, but if one of you reading this would like to mail the people involved for whatever reason, leave a comment and I’ll forward the relevant info.

A little light reading

From Rampant Coyote’s “Why the AAA Games Industry is Screwed” – an always-interesting blog with a link to a fascinating article.RC’s post itself is short and to the point, but if you don’t have this blog on your radar, you probably should.

The article linked is long but well worth the read if you have even an armchair interest in the industry, as I do.

Death March: The long, tortured journey of Homefront

“There is an expectation,” explained one producer, “that if you spend eight months developing a demo for E3 that does really well in the press, then that’s eight months well spent. Because you just sold another 500,000 copies of the game. It comes down to this very, very bizarre math. … No other industry would actually let you work like this. … So a lot of people are abused in the gaming world. Especially for marketing and things like E3. And I think that’s a business problem.”

I won’t comment – partly because it’s way too early in the morning, I’m under-caffeinated and I only just read it, and partly because it’s one in a long stream of “OMG how can an industry with so much potential get like this?”.

Well okay, maybe one little tiny comment. As a player and not a developer, I don’t necessarily care who makes my games (actually I’d rather it were smaller studios, since I have a cynical dislike of any megabusiness, even in gaming), but if the giants are screwed, will the indie studios be good enough to pick up the slack? There’s some amazing stuff coming out of indie studios and I’m not implying they’re not capable, but there’s a certain level of… glitz and glamour, I guess, associated with the humungous productions which – as it does with Hollywood blockbusters (whether they’re good or not) – does contribute to the buzz, anticipation and pleasure that flies around AAA game releases.

For me, gaming these days is almost as much about the anticipation for a game as it is about the game itself (which might be worth pondering further). While I decry the hype-wave fairly regularly, I also don’t shut it off completely because sometimes it’s fun to jump on.

Hype doesn’t make the game, of course, as we well know – I won’t even name names. But still… I’d miss the glitz if it were to vanish. On the other hand, I’d gladly ditch the glitz if developers and studios were able to feel a little more stable and not work psyche-breaking crunch hours. I’m not the first one to float the ridiculous idea that a little job security and a little less insanity in the workplace might make for a better industry in the long run.

Maybe part of the problem is that game studios seem to be run like Hollywood studios?

Auction Houses: Pandering to those who hate crafting

This. Elder Game’s The Case Against Auction Houses.

But I mean, what are you gonna do, not have an auction house in a modern MMO?

Sure! There’s no reason every MMO should have an auction house. Lots of MMOs implement it unthinkingly, because they believe it’s a mandatory back-of-the-box feature. Few MMO developers take the time to think about the ramifications of the feature.

I’ve got a lot to say on the subject myself, as a self-professed crafter before anything else in MMOs, but having ignored most of my work over the weekend I’m now forced to actually do some in order to pay the bills. Bah humbug.

Also: I miss SWG. The whole crafter/merchant/harvester thing did sort of turn into a second (and sometimes third) job, but it was the most fulfilling crafting and selling in any MMO, evar.