Pentadactyl recognition

Posted October 17, 2008 by pcgtim
Categories: Uncategorized

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So, Tom won an award tonight. I almost burst into tears when his name was read out. Well done, Tom. Write faster.

TF2: Bring on the frogs

Posted August 21, 2008 by pcgtim
Categories: games

Tags: ,

Dear Robin Walker, hero of Team Fortress.

Congratulations on the latest update. It is good.

However. We’ve been talking in the PC Gamer office about how tedious we find spectating. Tom has his own complicated ideas about two linked arenas so that everyone is playing simultaneously, and the teams get shuffled that way. I don’t really understand what he’s saying, but it sounds good. You should probably listen to him.

But I’ve got a better idea. The frog.

In Operation Flashpoint, if you were killed in a multiplayer mission, you’d re-appear as a seagull, and could watch your friends fight, floating above them.

Obviously, you can’t do that, because that’s copying. But I think it’ll be brilliant if downed players, and spectators, had the option of reappearing as a frog, just hopping around the maps, watching from boot height. They could be squashed, or trampled on, or shot, I guess, and you’d probably want to make it a server option, like party mode.

The really good bit, though, is that you’d have to provide a place for the frogs to appear on each map, and it would have to be called the frog-spawn.


Worklinks 23rd July

Posted July 23, 2008 by pcgtim
Categories: Uncategorized

“It’s a moon shot for Codemasters – a game that will look, sound and play a generation ahead of the competition. The geography, all 220-odd square kilometres of it, includes rolling hills, forests, swamps and an extinct volcano to run around in. The dynamic environmental systems include day and night cycles, weather and accurate physics. Operation Flashpoint 2 is a game long in the planning, long in the making, and long, oh‑so-long awaited.”

Operation Flashpoint 2: because no-one argues with sexy guns.

“Attack and defend in a class-based shooter set in the oft-ignored WWII.”

365 Free Games! (This was a group feature that all PC Gamer contributed to. My favourite moment of the year so far came when Graham, he of sour looks, who volunteered to write this turned to us and said, “I’ve got all the games now. All I need to do is write about them. It shouldn’t take more than a day. Two weeks later, we had to pay John to come in for a couple of days to finish the blasted thing. Also note – while Gamesradar can’t verify the quality of all the games in the feature, we can. Because we wrote it.)

Facebook status: undefined

Posted July 2, 2008 by pcgtim
Categories: Uncategorized

I’ve just deleted my Facebook account because I am a miser. If you’re adding even more applications, feel free to forward that news to my email directly.

Or not.

Heroes Part 1

Posted July 2, 2008 by pcgtim
Categories: Uncategorized

There was a piece on the Culture show tonight about Philippe Petit; an artist who I’d never heard of before. His story is incredible: one night he slung a rope between the twin towers. Then he walked across it. The police were called. They asked for him to get down. In response, he got back on the rope, and walked to the other side of the tower.


Philippe Petit

Belly laughs

Posted June 24, 2008 by pcgtim
Categories: Uncategorized

I feel ashamed for laughing quite so hard at this. But I just can’t stop.

Are we the colony yet?

Posted June 18, 2008 by pcgtim
Categories: Uncategorized

So, apparently, Microsoft are always thinking about the next generation.

I hope they don’t forget to goose it, tweak it, spin it, or fabricate it.

Worklinks 12th June

Posted June 12, 2008 by pcgtim
Categories: Uncategorized

The funny thing is: the Sims team have been taking risks. We just didn’t notice. Sims games cover everything: from the best business game available – the Open for Business expansion – to console versions like MySims, in which you can build houses and cookers and sofas and cars out of electronic Lego, to insane web-platforms like The Sims On-Stage, where users can upload videos of themselves performing poetry, or singing karaoke (Rod boasts that The Sims On-Stage is, hilariously, the most popular poetry site on the web).

I think I want to hug Rod Humble. No. I know I want to hug him.

PCG: Player versus Player… [pause]

JAB: I’m for it.

Interview with World of Warcraft Senior Producer J. Allen Brack. Smart guy. Definitely likes PvP.

Tom: What do you think their plan is for Steam?

Ross: Probably a lever.

Tim: And when you pull it, the entire Valve-a-plex takes off into space.

The next episode of the PC Gamer podcast is up.

“I asked myself what I’d build… Friendly sentient ETs? Aggressive, warmongering monsters? No. Like at least 10% of the population, I realised I wanted to build a GIANT COCK.”

Spore is an amazing toy.

“Gender: hottie. Charisma: high, as usual. Intelligence: ditto. I have high dissent (the basic ingredient of a Deputy Editor), and some form of executive command. I’m also very, very hot. And kinda naked. In space, no one can see you work the joystick naked.”

They made us play the games we didn’t want to.

“The pirates won. The cost of PC games is being forced down to zero to compete with the warez kiddies who are happy to distribute every game created for nothing. Publishers are realising that it’s no use trying to compete with the torrent sites.”

Don’t worry. The PC will be just fine.

There are also times when it feels like a huffing anachronism: a failure where the writing overrides play, and the rigorous structure overrides the player’s instinct to explore and experiment.

Assassin’s Creed review. I’m convinced that an Assassin’s Creed 2 built on the successes and failures of AC1 could be spectacular.

Total toolbag

Posted June 12, 2008 by pcgtim
Categories: Uncategorized

Tim Edwards has always been a tool bag…

Writing about games is a fun-time. My day job is to play, write about, and lead opinion on the most incredible, exciting and dynamic media form in existence. There are days, like today, when I can’t quite believe that I do what I do.

To me, it seems like he wrote it this way for some shock value and to get a buzz going around HIS article.

The corollary of that is that, quietly, this job has real economic impact on thousands of people – those who’s careers rely on the games we write about, selling. It’s not something I, or anyone I know who does this job, enjoys thinking about. As writers, our responsibility lies with the reader first. As long as we respect the creators, that we don’t deliberately misrepresent their work, we can maintain our perspective.

Hard to take any review seriously when it’s internally flawed. He referred to the Greenskin’s collectively as “Orcs”

What’s interesting to me, though, is how successfully game publishers and developers have adapted their marketing to the internet. It’s no longer enough to advertise: developers recruit communities. It’s not enough to gather fans: publishers should recruit ‘key influencers’ to push their message. This is a product of our times, the inevitability of our industry. Marketing isn’t a one off event. It’s 360 degrees, 24/7.

Although I don’t trust games mags or websites anymore the reviewer sounds like he’s just a normal bloke and not a blind fanboy.

Communities are amazing things. But they can be savage. These communities are built on optimism, built on ideas of what a game will be in six months time, rather than a tangible product. And there’s nothing more devastating than dashed hopes.

I saw Warhammer Online a few months ago, at an event in Paris. Mythic, the people making it are smart, funny, and respectful. They care deeply about their product. The talks they gave were inspiring, the interviews spectacular. Their game, will, I think, eventually live up to their talk. But I saw problems that deserved to be addressed. And I was deliberately vicious in the words I chose when describing those problems. I knew, when I wrote the piece, that it was going to upset both players and developers.

It’s a credit then, to Mythic, that they took that criticism on board. I met with one of their lead developers, Paul Barnett, a little while ago, and we talked about what I’d written. Paul talked of how their developers were working long hours to correct the problems. It’s quite upsetting, hearing that a paragraph you spent five minutes writing, can cause that much work.

After reading the review/preveiw I can see the reviewers points.

The amazing thing, though, is just how smart gamers are. It’s easy, in these communities, to reject dissent. Warhammer’s players didn’t seem to. They read the preview, talked it over, and took it all on board. There is vitriol, yes. There always is. This is the internet. But it gives me hope, and makes me happy, that so many of Warhammer’s community didn’t try and kill me.

Unlike someone else.

You can’t eat economics

Posted April 20, 2008 by pcgtim
Categories: News

Two separate news stories: the first from the Guardian. Apparently, the food crisis is ‘just a bubble’ and not the end of the world. Give it two years, and prices will return to normal.

“I see so much focus on food, and it seems to be so trendy in the investment world,’ O’Neill told The Observer. ‘The underlying dilemma has been created by the wealth of the BRICs [Brazil, Russia, India, China] countries; but, for the past year or so, it’s also been a major theme for financial institutions. The markets seem to me to have a bubble-like quality.’

Some analysts believe the bubble will collapse as supply responds to rising demand. Robert Ward, of the Economist Intelligence Unit, said he expected prices to drop by 8.5 per cent next year and another 17.6 per cent in 2010. Sean Rickard, from the Cranfield School of Management, said: ‘High prices will bring forth quite a significant increase in land area used for cereals this year, and Australia will come rocketing back now that its drought is over.’ Rickard predicted a 40 per cent drop in wheat prices in 2009. ‘I think this time next year, people will be saying, “what crisis?”‘ he added.”

From The Guardian

In the meantime, Haiti starves.

In Haiti, where three-quarters of the population earns less than $2 a day and one in five children is chronically malnourished, the one business booming amid all the gloom is the selling of patties made of mud, oil and sugar, typically consumed only by the most destitute.

“It’s salty and it has butter and you don’t know you’re eating dirt,” said Olwich Louis Jeune, 24, who has taken to eating them more often in recent months. “It makes your stomach quiet down.”

From the New York Times. Don’t miss the accompanying slideshow.