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Servant of the Lord

Member Since 24 Sep 2005
Online Last Active Today, 02:36 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Is this concerning or just laughable?

Today, 01:30 PM

More to the point, do we have much reason to believe that people wouldn't happily enjoy games just like the current standard "guy rescues damsel in distress", but with the genders flipped?

I think that'd be enjoyable; I'd enjoy playing them if they're done well.

While we can't find many (or any?) games that are a direct reversal of one specific trope ("damsel in distress"), that doesn't automatically mean no games cater to females. Obviously there are some dumb games like "Barbie vs Hellokitty Shopping Adventure!" (not a real game), but those games likely don't actually appeal to females unless they are under 10 years old. What I mean is, there are genres that are popular with women that are targeted at women. So the industry as a whole aren't completely ignoring them - it's the >$100 million AAA games that are (mostly) ignoring them (despite women also playing those AAA games).
 

It's interesting that so many guys, young and old, have watched My Little Pony. Myself included, though not fanatically. The reason for this, I think, is because the characters, while seemingly cliched on the surface, are actually richer and deeper than most, so they stand out amidst the a lack of creativity elsewhere.

Honestly, I've read and watched alot more children books and shows recently, because it seems to me there are a new generation of writers who, unable to get multi-million dollar budgets given to them for mainstream movies and shows, are able to get the funding for writing children's shows, and putting real creativity into those worlds and characters.

 

I'm not saying all cliches should be avoided either (anymore than tropes should be avoided - they are tools to use), but that a cliche on its own, does not make a character. At least, not a very deep one.

 

You point out the fantasy of "heroics" and "getting the guy/girl at the end", but, even excluding non-heterosexuals, are men not capable of enjoying gender-flipped versions, and might women not share in such fantasies?


Absolutely - I'd enjoy playing more good female protagonists, and I'd be willing to play even romance-focused ones. I've read, and enjoyed, several of Jane Austen's novels (and the better movie versions) - which are female protagonists falling in love with, or winning over, the males. What I especially loved about those, is all the characters were flawed in different ways. The men and women all had human flaws, even the side characters, most also had good strengths as well, and the characters weren't stereotypes or cliches. Pride and Prejudice was especially good at that and, in my opinion, even sets you up and then reverses the flaws in the female protagonist and the male she despises who, "against my better judgements" has fallen in love with her - it's done really well (she seems prejudiced against him, and he's prideful and snobbish, but as it develops you realize she's prideful and snobbish and he's prejudiced against her - or rather, they are both equally prideful and prejudice, but it swaps the focus of which of their flaws are in focus).

That's what we need in games, IMO. Richer characters, all around. Once we have a wider variety of richer characters, instead of two-dimensional cookie-cutter characters, I think it'd naturally occur that greater diversity in character ensembles, protagonists, and antagonists, will come out of it.

There are some interesting characters in games, but it's usually the interesting characters in the midst of a cast of cliches, and even the interesting characters often lack depth.

In Pride and Prejudice, every side-characters are also fantastic and made real (but not defined by) their flaws and strengths. And the characters you hate, you love to hate. They aren't annoying, like some videogame or movie characters, they are flawed, and you love to hate them for their actions that result from their flaws. I think almost any character in a show or game or movie that annoys you, as the consumer, is bad writing. If a character is annoying, the character should be annoying to the other characters within the game, but not annoying to the player. The player should be able to enjoy every character, the villains, the protagonist, the party-members, the plot characters, the side characters, everyone.

To clarify, when I said "gender-swapped" earlier, I was derogatorily meaning when someone takes a male character and, without changing anything, just copy+pastes the entire character into a female, or vise-versa. Gender-flips can be done very well or very poorly. Just taking an entire character and saying, "Uh, but now she's a guy" without actually revisiting the nature of the character, can result in flat characters (no changes). But if you revisit the nature of the character, it can either result in stereotyped characters (cliched sexist changes) or it can result in much-desired deeper characters, because it forces you to think about the character's history and background, and how that has defined the character's personality, nature, desires, and skills.

 

Doesn't have to just be gender swaps either. Could be ethnicities, cultures, occupations, or anything else that, in real life, adds to and influences someone's character. If the differences are ignored entirely, or cliche'd up, it can ruin a character. Or, it can be treated as an opportunity to revisit the nature of the character, and make the character richer and deeper. 

 

 

The only thing that I might quibble over is that I don't much like setting a genre at the outset either, if for different reasons: I'd say to write a good story, create good gameplay, etc., regardless of what genre (whether gameplay, story, or whatever) it might fit into. For one thing, setting a genre at the outset can constrain one, causing one to miss paths that might have produced a better game by virtue of following the path laid by the chosen genre. Further, as a general principle of development, I'm inclined to worry about genres becoming ossified by virtue of becoming the starting points of game designs, rather than (as I feel is more appropriate) post-hoc categorisations.

 

Yea, I definitely agree with that. Leave the classification of the game to the players, journalists, and (to some extent) your marketers.


In Topic: Convenient approach to composite pattern in C++

Yesterday, 03:39 PM

Just write some templated helper functions, if std::for_each() doesn't do what you want.

 

Feel free to take mine. The header needs to be cleaned up a bit, but meh.

ForEach(array, DoSomething, 17, "Text"); //Global functions, functors, or lambdas.
ForEach(array, &Element::DoSomething, 17, "Text"); //Member functions
ForEachPtr(arrayOfPtrs, &Element::DoSomething, 17, "Text"); //Vector of smart pointers.

If you really wanted to, you could probably cobble together something that looked like this:

ForEach(array, &Element::DoSomething)(17, "Text"); 

Or this:

ForEach(array).(&Element::DoSomething, 17, "Text");  

...but I don't think this is possible:

ForEach(array).DoSomething(17, "Text"); //Not possible.

Not in straight C++ anyway - with the preprocessor you could do:

#define ForEach(container) for(auto &element : container) element

ForEach(arrayOfObjects).DoSomething(17, "Test");

[ideone]

 

You'd need a separate macro for const iteration. I'd stick to the templated functions, though.


In Topic: Is this concerning or just laughable?

Yesterday, 01:44 PM

 

To me, the damsel in distress is actually a combination of two separate desires: Heroics (and recognition of said heroics), and 'winning the girl'.

 
And that's fair enough--but isn't it about time we expanded our uses of that trope such that the fantasy caters to people other than heterosexual men? What about having the male hero be out to "win the guy", or a female hero out to "win" either "the guy" or "the girl", etc.? At the moment the fantasy is given a rather limited scope, it seems to me.

 

 
I was breaking down the 'damsel in distress' cliche to show that it's actually two separate desires (or four, if you break it down to include the sub-genre of 'recognition' and 'winning the'). Though I can't think of any 'dude in distress' games, once it's broken down, you can actually find reverses of it that cater to other demographics. There's whole genres built around them. As mentioned, mostly that particular genre is 'girl winning guy' (or rather, 'girl window shopping from a half-dozen guys to choose who she wants'), but as that wiki article points out, there are even sub-genres targeted to, "guy winning guy" and ones that are targeted specifically at women who want "guy on guy" scenarios (probably analogous to how some men have fantasies of girl-on-girl sex).
 
If you're looking at the specific trope of ([Targeted to males] + [Male protagonist] + [heroics] + [[guy] [wins] [girl]]), it's hard to find examples (unless someone is trying to intentionally invert the trope). But if you're looking for examples of [Girl heroics] you can find a few small examples, and if you're looking ([targeted to females] + [[girl] [chooses (or wins) the] [guy]]) you can find whole genres. ([targeted to homosexuals] + [[guy] [wins] [guy]]) subgenres exist. If you're looking for ([targeted to females] + [female protagonist] + [heroics]) you could probably find a few examples if you looked, but that's where the real lack is.
 
It's the lack of ([targeted to females] + [female protagonist] + [heroics] + [not romance related]) that is underserved, and that there is probably a significant market for - it'd appeal to many men, myself included, to play decent female protagonists that aren't sexualized.
 
Metroid's Samus Aran is one example, but that one's targeted at males, and is mostly just a gender swap - or rather, as a silent protagonist, Samus's individualities and strengths as a female aren't explored. And in the two games they made her talk in to explore her character, they fell back on stereotypes and made the character uninteresting and bland.
 
Discussing this with my hardcore gamer sister, she actually disagrees that games should be "targeted" at any particular demographic, but rather targeted at niches of genre/gameplay/story/whatever, and not make assumptions about what demographics enjoy those niches, which I thought was a good point. Though I still think we ought to, while targeting non-demographic niches, keep in mind different demographics to make our games more appealing across demographics, and to remind us to make games deeper in, say, character interactions, character development, and plots (using this as an opportunity to make richer characters and plots).
 
You asked about whether it's time we "expanded" our use to cater to non-heterosexual men. Not only does such genres actually exist, but we were talking specifically of the 48% (more like 40%) mainstream female gamers. Now you switched to the 3.8% of the total USA population, which includes bisexual, homosexual, and lesbians (three separate groups who likely aren't interested in the same games except as a show of solidarity), and who knows how many of that already-small 3.8% are actually gamers? That's a small niche, which can be served by niche games. Yes, I'm sure they'd love to be served by a few >$100 million games, but until that niche is economically viable, it's unlikely to happen unless as a publicity stunt, or to get non-members of the niche to buy just to support the niche.


In Topic: Is this concerning or just laughable?

Yesterday, 01:40 PM

[Self-removed so as to not derail. Sent in PM, instead]


In Topic: Dynamic Memory and throwing Exceptions

02 March 2015 - 10:41 PM

std::unique_ptr and std::shared_ptr are both 'smart pointers', just to be clear. They serve similar purposes, but are used in different circumstances.
 

This may seem stupid, but are there alternatives to writing a minidump through window's api?

 
Write better logging output, possibly use custom asserts.

Currently my stack-traces aren't working (I'm using a third-party library, and I think I configured it wrong - MinGW doesn't make this easy), but I output as much 'automated' details as I can, and also provide more contextual details when asserting. Currently I output to .html files with some embedded CSS. It's all really sloppy and duck-taped together, but provides a good first-approximation at figuring out what problem occurred.

Here's some example output:

Spoiler

All the data except the last three lines are auto-generated using information provided either by the compiler, or by myself in other parts of the code.
 
Once the work is done behind the scenes and wrapped up neatly (or less-than-neatly, in my case), the higher-level code to output that is as simple as:

Log::Message(MSG_SOURCE("ConfigFile", Log::Severity::Error))
    << "Previously failed to load a config file, and it was auto-generated. The config file hasn't been updated since the auto-generation.\n"
    << "Confile file: '" << Log_HighlightCyan(GetFilenameFromPath(filepath)) << "'\n"
    << "Path: " << Log_DisplayPath(filepath) << Log::FlushStream;

 
That one just outputs a message, it doesn't crash (because it's not a critical error). If I want to crash, I do this:

Assert(SerializeFromFile(this->Details.TextureDetails, filepath), "Failed to load the 'TextureDetails' resource file.");

Which checks that the statement is true (in this case, that the function returned true returned true), or else it outputs the message using the same logging system, and then crashes with a pop-up box being displayed to the user.
 
In a previous post, I've given some examples of what data you might want to output (you'll have to scroll down to the bottom of the post, as most of it is unrelated).
ApochPIQ describes the benefits of embedding a tiny web server in your code. Others have done this as well.
Others talk about how to provide more context for your errors (I'm using this in my screenshot above, among other things).


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