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OluseyiMember Since 13 May 2001
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Topics I've Started
07 November 2010 - 08:04 AM
First, we have to accept that G4 is not a gaming channel. It's sole remaining gaming-oriented show is X-Play, and many appear to criticize that for the lack of depth in its coverage. Code Monkeys was canceled 6 episodes into its second season. Attack of the Show is simply an internet/nerd/college culture variety show, with very little true gaming focus. The rest of the channel's line up consists of reruns of Cops, Cheaters, Unbeatable Banzuke, Ninja Warrior; new shows Campus PD, It's Effin' Science (what?); and junk like The International Sexy Ladies Show. Given this assemblage of late night slackervision trash, it's unsurprising that DIRECTV called out G4's status as "among the lowest rated networks based on the latest Nielsen data."
I'm not a gamer. I play video games, but not very many. I am fascinated by video game development technology, but I am not a game developer, either. I work as a software developer and I contribute to an open source project in my spare time, but my real passions are with media. So this news got me to thinking, What would a sustainable gaming-oriented TV channel look like?
In the comments on Joystiq, someone mentioned video blogs like Rocketboom, and, indeed, this is where I would start. However, I would deviate significantly from the accepted model and start by targeting game developers, particularly independents and aspiring professionals, and hope that the proven pros would come along for the ride, too. I would prepare a series of video podcasts on technical, design, artistic, ethical and political issues pertinent to game developers, reasoning that all game developers are gamers to some degree and most gamers look up to game developers and would want to know what they think and how they do their jobs - how they create the games they play. Editorially, I would focus on commentary rather than news, since a video resource is virtually bound to be less timely than pure text plays. For instance, having a Charlie Rosen-style show where game artists, software engineers, producers and executives speak, occasionally in panel or round-table format, on the peculiar technical, artistic and ethical challenges and rewards of their discipline and industry, and retrospectives on social, cultural and technological shifts and breakthroughs that have had significant consequences for the industry.
High production values. Non-didactic staging (these are not "tutorial" shows). A preference for philosophical perspective, mining areas of rich debate. Absolutely no reviews or previews.
That's right, no game reviews, or even hardware reviews. Instead I'd have in-depth discussions of specific attributes, features or design decisions of a game. There are already an abundance of excellent review resources, including video reviews. The objective here is not to compete with suppliers of services for needs that are already being met but to fill in the gaps where content is lacking and to develop a sustainable business model to bring that content to the widest possible audience in a mature fashion.
For the web, the revenue model would be advertising and subscription, with subscribers seeing few/no ads. Once proven, the initial attempt to migrate to TV would rely on On-Demand service. Rather than launching as a general-purpose channel and hoping the various cable and satellite providers decide to add us to their Basic Cable tier, I'd launch as a $3 to $5 monthly on-demand package. Having this small, focused audience with specific revenues and likely much higher levels of engagement (especially if content quality is world-class) should provide an abundance of high-value feedback on what works and doesn't, allowing for refinement of the product before attempting to launch as a Basic Cable package.
That's my pipe dream this afternoon, and I figured I'd share. Back to lurking... [smile]
15 June 2010 - 03:39 AM
When he looks at video games from a critical distance, Bissell is concerned mainly with their lack of narrative meaning. Games ask us to save the princess, save the country, save the world, save ourselves—but no one plays games to achieve those ends. We play for the puzzle, for the physics, for the sense of being embedded in a fully realized world. Indeed, for me, the "story" usually seems like filler, even in games like Grand Theft Auto and RDR [Red Dead Redemption], whose stories are smarter than the rest of the video-game pack. RDR begins and ends every mission with cleverly scripted movielike "cut scenes" that provide some explanation for why your character is doing what he's doing—but the game also lets you skip the scenes, which I usually elect to do. Thus I can't really explain why my character is doing what he's doing. The real answer is he's doing it because I am making him do it, and I am making him do it only because I am having fun.
"This is one of the most suspect things about the game form," Bissell writes. "A game with an involving story and poor gameplay cannot be considered a successful game, whereas a game with superb gameplay and a laughable story can see its spine bend from the weight of many accolades—and those who praise the latter game will not be wrong." What's the solution to this quandary? Should games invest more in story, in an attempt to bring us narratives that are on the level of those of the other popular arts? Or should games abandon story—is the video game, as a form, simply incompatible with traditional concepts of narrative, and must game designers instead find other ways to invest their creations with lasting meaning?
I happen to feel that narrative is typically awkwardly shoehorned into games, with elaborate backstories provided for the character you're supposed to be playing and an on-going plot for the conflict you're embroiled in, but none of which is necessarily vital to play (in most games) or viscerally experienced in and of itself. In fact I've argued that games should have little more than bare premises, leaving the players to create their own emergent narratives - and there's evidence to suggest that this is precisely how tons of people play sandbox games like the aforementioned Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption.
Ultimately, though, I must admit: the (already little) time I spend sitting in front of a computer or television playing video games (or watching TV in my case, although not movies) does feel wasted. Not so much because I think the activity is inherently wasteful as because it's ridiculously inefficient: apart from the fact that I could be "getting things done" (including socializing), there's the fact that your classic video game is structured around repeated failure before advancement to the next level, although titles like Joe Danger (PSN, Hello Games), among others, allow you to advance in any order and to retry areas/levels at your whim. My PS3 sees way more use as a DVD/Blu-Ray player and Netflix client than as a game console.
19 May 2010 - 02:42 PM
I have an application which currently has a primitive plugin API. We're looking to make it considerably more robust, which has me thinking about how to best structure the application-plugin data bridge, particularly for rich types with associated behaviors. In a previous incarnation of the application, a dynamic link library containing the object code for all "core" types had to be linked against each plugin, guaranteeing the availability of all implementations. This... smelled to me, for lack of a more detailed technical objection, and I refactored that out. However, that introduced a number of constraints on the nature of the application-plugin bridge: now plugins could only be defined in terms of pure abstract types, necessitating some reworking of various types within the application core to express the correct interfaces. Is this wise? Is this idiomatic? Does this potentially introduce more problems than it solves? What is the most robust strategy for implementing a plugin architecture with the ability to communicate reasonably rich (POD) types? Our application is built on Qt, and all plugins must link against Qt anyway so we can use a number of Qt types with value semantics (and/or pointers to them) for data exchange; is it that much better than linking against our own DLL/SO and directly using our rich types? What do the SDKs for plugins to, say, Photoshop or Office do, if any of you know? I'm starting to think that removing the "core types" DLL was a mistake, which I have no problem admitting if so. Any insights, pointers and advice are all very welcome. Thanks.
08 May 2010 - 01:40 PM
19 August 2009 - 01:09 AM