About the Author
Mass Effect
Final Fantasy X
Batman:Arkham City
Borderlands Series
Weekly Column
Champions Online
World of Warcraft
DM of the Rings
Good Robot
Project Frontier

Diecast #16: XBone, Zynga, Call of Doggie

By Shamus
on Wednesday Jun 12, 2013
Filed under:


We had a long, meandering conversation about videogames, business, and other dumb things. We recorded the exchange so that you can enjoy the sensation of being trapped in a conversation with us where you can’t get a word in.

Direct download (MP3)
Direct download (ogg Vorbis)
Podcast RSS feed.

Show notes:

02:10 What’s everyone playing?

Chris is playing Animal Crossing and State of Decay.

Shamus has been watching the 2013 Startcraft II World Championship Series Season 1 Finals. He’s also been playing Starcraft II and even played a PvP ladder match. Also playing Prison Architect.

Josh is watching X-Files. Also playing Crusader Kings II.

26:45 XBox One

It would be impossible to really provide links for all the stuff we discussed in this section. I suppose this article is enough to get you started. Note that this recording took place on Sunday, before E3 began. Things have gotten more ridiculous since then.

47:30 Zynga closes OMGpop one year after acquiring it for 200 million.

Note that two hundred million bucks paid up front, divided by the year-ish the place was operational, comes out to about half a million bucks a day. To produce basically nothing.

57:30 Upcoming Call of Duty will let you play as the dog.

Since this recording they’ve released footage of the dog gameplay section. No, it’s not in black and white as we predicted. Sort of. You don’t actually see through the dog’s eyes. You see through the camera mounted on the dog’s back, and sort of “pilot” the dog.

1:00:00 MAILBAG!

Comments (151)

  1. Vegedus says:

    Dogs aren’t actually color blind tho, just worse at seeing colors than humans.

  2. Nick says:

    Not sure if this is gonna be relevant once I’ve listened to it, but the section titles for 47:30 and 57:30 are the same

  3. Foodstuff says:

    Any chance of this appearing on itunes or at least getting an itunes compatible rss feed?

    • McNutcase says:

      The feed provided by a site user at http://mbafford-static.s3.amazonaws.com/diecast.xml is working in iTunes for me. It’s a pile of hacks, and the show notes don’t tend to make it through, but it gets the audio files.

      • harborpirate says:

        And let me once again take this opportunity to thank that user, as well as beg for the crew to please install a podcast rss plugin for wordpress to give us an official version.

        There were a couple of such plugins mentioned last time this came up. Perhaps someone will be so kind to post them below?

    • Will It Work says:

      Just to point out the obvious, you can manually add items in iTunes as a podcast. All it takes is changing the Media Type. It takes me about 5 minutes each week to add and tag to my satisfaction the content (which includes adding composer, artist, album artist, episode number, track number and show notes).

  4. Zozolton says:

    Am I the only one that was horrified to see the dog jump on that ennemy and RIP HIS THROAT ? I guess I’m used to people killing each other in videogames, but seeing this dog used as a living weapon is really grossing me out. I expected the dog to do recon and infiltration, not… that.

    • LunaticFringe says:

      Actually, are war dogs even used in that context in modern warfare? I know that they’re trained in typical police dog style to grip the arm with their jaws and pull them down to the ground, but are they actively trained to kill enemy combatants as well? Anyone here have K-9 experience?

      • rayen says:

        to my (somewhat limited) knowledge, Dogs ARE still used in the military. They are easy to train, cheap to care for and supply their own weapons. However they are not used often in military engagements, and there are not many K-9 units. Mostly they are trained same as police dogs and used similarly, find combatants that have gone to ground and detect explosives. I’ve heard that they aren’t a staple to outposts and some bases but are considered good to have around if they are nearby.

        • krellen says:

          I work on a US military base. There are several dog training facilities there.

        • Paul Spooner says:

          This. A well trained dog is a self-propelled hand-to-hand weapon and chemical analysis suite. If you need those things, dogs are the way to go. Plus they are pretty cheap to produce and maintain, and require zero restricted or specialized equipment. Downside? They have very poor tactical instincts for super-sonic ballistic engagements, so don’t bring your dog to a gunfight.

    • Merzendi says:

      Well, that is kinda the function of dogs in all the CoD games they’ve appeared in; vicious acrobatic murderbeasts with a craving for flesh. Did you ever play CoD 4, the Pripyat levels?

    • Jeff says:

      Did you not play any of the other games in the Call of Duty series, where dogs do that to you?

    • Weimer says:

      Yeah, there are definetly dogs trained to sniff out and to murder enemy soldiers even in modern armies. At least in our military, Long Patrol (aggressive scout basically) dudes all of them had an adorable german shephard as their toothy best friend. The rest of us weren’t allowed near ’em though, I suppose they are trained to be wary of everyone aside of their handlers.

      The thing is, dogs are cheaper to get and train than humans, so K-9 units as an investment make sense.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Not really.Avp had you do that years ago.

  5. HeroOfHyla says:

    Re: scammers selling unplayable discs with the licenses already used up via ebay

    Something like that happened to me a while ago. I’ve got a local used entertainment store that still sells used PC games. I bought Saints Row 2, only to discover that it required registration on Steam and the code had already been used.

    Fortunately, the place has a 7 day unconditional return policy so there wasn’t a problem.

  6. hborrgg says:

    In Prison Architect aren’t all the prisoner names and descriptions submitted by players? That might explain some of the problems you’re having with tone.

    • Macfeast says:

      Not all of them I think, but yeah, one of the early-buy bonuses is indeed being able to name and describe a prisoner. I think it’s an interesting idea, but it does indeed make for some discrepancies in tone (in addition to plenty of grammatical errors; The descriptions seem to make it into the game practically unedited). There’s also prisoners submitted that are modeled after other people, like Youtube-gaming personas, with reference-heavy descriptions that clashes something severely with the tone of the game, not to mention references things that would seem nonsensical to anyone not familiar with it.

      So yeah, that definitely contributes to the tone being all over the place. The intro cinematic, as mentioned in the podcast, shows two people being brutally murdered (in a more graphical, horrifying style than the gameplay), and the tutorial ends with the culprit being executed. Then you start your own prison, and you get a prisoner convicted of (paraphrasing) “illegally breeding dinosaurs”.

  7. Corpital says:

    I’m a little bit surprised nobody mentioned the hourly/daily phoning home in relation with the constant audio-visual surveillance of your living room and NSAs PRISM, that Microsoft joined a few years back.
    Actually I had problems finding very much at all about this a few weeks back. Intriguing.

    Also I would prefer to play as other animals in a shooter. A cat in a stealth section or a cow in a frontal attack against an enemy stronghold. Can’t wait for Cattlefield 4!

    • LunaticFringe says:

      Indeed, I find it amazing that no one has connected the dangers of Microsoft’s surveillance with PRISM. Having a company monitor you is bad enough, but this is also allows the U.S. government to perform Stasi-level spying in your home thanks to Section 215 (unless of course all the scandals result in some kind of amendment to the Patriot Act, which I severely doubt).

      • Steve C says:

        And that’s why I don’t think it will even be allowed to be sold in some countries.

        • Thomas says:

          Due to some confusing wording, they’re making it sound like they’re only going to sell it in 21 countries anyway =D They say ‘Requires account on Xbox Live in an Xbox One-supported Xbox Live country (not all Xbox Live countries).’ and apparently there are only 21 enabled countries. (With some big names missing, like Japan). But maybe that means that you don’t have to do the DRM BS if you live in one of those lucky countries

          And even if that’s not the case it implies that you won’t be able to play multiplayer in the majority of countries in the world

          • Adam says:

            Stepping away from the “no politics” precipice, lets keep in mind that Microsoft’s modus operandi with the Xbone (XBONE? XBone? XbOne? I give up.) has thus far been “Can’t afford/support the internet connection for the console? Don’t buy it. Buy an X360 instead.”

            No, really.

      • Kavonde says:

        Um… wow. This is right on the very furthest edge of the “no politics” rule. I want to address this, but I don’t know if I can without going over.

        The capabilities of the PRISM system may have been largely overstated. Mr. Snowden was a low-level systems admin who got himself access to some things he shouldn’t have; he did not, as he has claimed, have “the authorities to wiretap anyone.” Nobody does. There is a ton of protective bureaucracy in place to prevent that sort of thing, because for many people, having that power would be a very tempting way to get revenge on, say, an ex-wife. (Which people have been fired for attempting. Multiple times.)

        There’s also the fact that Google and these other companies had their own layers of bureaucracy in place to prevent abuse. And that the NSA could only request information on non-American individuals.

        All of that is not to be mistaken as a defense of FISA, or the statement of an opinion on it one way or another. But this story is being driven by journalists who get their ratings through shock and fearmongering. A lot of the “facts” floating around are just speculations delivered in a grave tone of voice.

        • LunaticFringe says:

          (Shamus if this is too political by all means kill it, I’m with Kavonde on this, don’t want to be a troublemaker) Ah yes, the same brilliant protective bureaucracy that has ensured that drone warfare has been used responsibly on us ‘non-Americans’. But fair enough, I’m going for the absolute extreme here. My point is that within the Patriot Act are stipulations that allow for secret courts to issue orders for the American government to spy through the device. I’m not saying ‘Big Brother is watching you constantly’ I’m saying ‘through extremely questionable practices it’s possible for the U.S. government to spy on you, and with this device’s numerous surveillance features it could easily provide a vast amount of personal information’. Someone should at least ASK Microsoft about the relationship between the Xbone’s surveillance and PRISM, if only to further undermine any legitimacy it has.

          • Kavonde says:

            Yeah, I actually misread Corpital’s original post and somehow got the idea that he was discussing concerns about PRISM and FISA vis a vis American citizens. We aren’t getting spied on by this particular program. The rest of youse, not so much.

            So, yes, I am in complete agreement with you. I think FISA raises some serious concerns, and the fact that they might affect non-American Crossbone purchasers (all two of them) is an issue that needs addressing.

            • LunaticFringe says:

              It was my mistake too, I should have clarified my statement. And the Stasi comment was needlessly inflammatory.

            • Corpital says:

              I am severely concerned about the potential collection of All The Data and have been quite active in that field since the german government passed a law a year ago that allows them to sell personal data without you being able to do anything about it.

              But to be honest: I mostly brought it up as a crass contrast to the lame pun. Sorry, I really didn’t want to spark anything political.

    • Scampi says:

      We recorded the exchange so that you can enjoy the sensation of being trapped in a conversation with us where you can't get a word in.

      So it’s a lot like the stuff many games sell us as “dialogue”? Shouldn’t feel too unfamiliar to many people.

      On another note: not a very important correction, but you’d surely know it’s Starcraft, not Startcraft, right?

      Edit: Also: Sorry for accidental unrelated response-I misclicked.:-/

    • Zak McKracken says:

      Wasn’t there a while ago some report stating that you _must_ have the new kinect camera connected to the new Xbox at all times?
      Again there were loads of speculations if that’s for DRM purposes (do you have a license for allowing three people to watch you play the game? Who is playing?) or … other purposes.
      Sounds like crazy conspiracy already, but given MS’s current record of conforming only to the bad rumors…

      I did not try to keep track with this camera rumor, so maybe it has been disspelled by now?

  8. Anyone got a link to the Polygon article mentioned about Xbox One? Polygon’s ridiculous layout makes it hard to find anything specific on that site.

  9. Aitch says:

    Regarding Starcraft 2 multiplayer if the game looks interesting to you, but you hate the thought of what Chris said about it (at about 9:00) – it isn’t all ranked on a ladder anymore. You can choose to play unranked where there’s no worries of having to climb the ladder and making it into or staying in a certain league level. Games for the love of the game, nothing more.

    Also there’s the arcade, which is a bunch of little indie games written on the starcraft engine – everything from different modes of play to completely different games altogether.

    Just don’t go trying to play the DOTA clone on the arcade if you’re one of those types that hate being yelled at for doing something wrong before you’re allowed to learn how to play. I can’t stand that garbage either, and thankfully situations like that are few and far between. In the vast majority of cases the SC2 multiplayer scene is full of relatively kind and occasionally helpful people.

    One of the nice things about a ranked ladder though is that after you play enough games there’s a large chance you’ll be facing off against someone of generally similar skill. The not so nice counterpoint of that is when someone will grind out game after game of cheesy builds and cheap quick wins just so they can move higher on the ladder with as little mental effort as possible. For some people, that’s what “winning” is. But for most it’s more about practicing slick macro and honing your decision making skills.

    • Scampi says:

      Games for the love of the game, nothing more.

      I fail to see how that’s totally impossible while playing ladder. It may be harder, since there’s a lot more competition, but I used to find some guys who’d play ladder just for the love of it in SC 1 and WC 3. Still: those were very rare events that could not be reproduced easily, so I guess you have a point there.

      Just don't go trying to play the DOTA clone on the arcade if you're one of those types that hate being yelled at for doing something wrong before you're allowed to learn how to play.

      Not only that-many people will even yell at you in such games for playing in an unusual, though very effective manner. You can even be yelled at while carrying your team to victory…

      For some people, that's what “winning” is.

      Pretty much the best argument against ladder games, as far as I’m concerned-the cheese just drips from my screen.

      • Klay F. says:

        Its also a great argument FOR ladder matches. Since the vast majority of cheese is easy to defend against provided you’ve scouted and know its coming. This will basically turn into an instant win for you.

        The greatest thing about it is watching the cheeser start flinging expletives while calling everything OP.

        • Aitch says:

          I have to admit a certain amount of satisfaction putting a cheeser on tilt, if only in the vain hope that they decide to start playing the game “as intended”.

          Don’t get me wrong, all-ins and cheesy builds are totally valid as a way to play the game. It’s especially fun to see it happen every so often in a tournament – say, between two players in a best of three just coming off of a 50 minute long game one.

          That’s the key, though : every so often. The trouble is with ladder players who copy the fastest possible cheese build order that will give them a win percentage >50% and then proceed to do that same build over and over again. And yes, doing that will raise your ladder rank, and that’s all they care about – winning as fast as possible.

          It’s like hitting the “sudden death” button. Either they execute the build, manage to not have it scouted in time, and they win, or they execute the build, it gets scouted in time and they lose. Either way it’s typically over in 5 minutes and they move on to the next match.

          And either way it’s terribly boring to me after just a few times. I want to sincerely ask them “If you don’t enjoy something like a 20 minute game of macro and unit maneuvers, tech choices, timings, actually feeling like you’ve earned a sense of accomplishment if you manage to win – should you really be playing Starcraft”?

          When I get through a match, I want to feel that it was a game based more on skill than luck (though both have their place in a good game). You know? Like saying “gg” and meaning it, and wishing there was a /handshake function afterwards.

          But then again, up until Masters / Grandmasters, Starcraft is less about fighting other players as it is struggling to operate the UI :P

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Basically your complaint is that the number of bad players is bigger than the number of good ones.But isnt that the case with every game?

            Besides,wouldnt you rather have a 5 minute match against a bad player,than have the match last for 20 minutes,but be decided in the very beginning?

          • Klay F. says:

            Well I’d argue that playing against cheesers serves a very important function for beginners: It teaches you to get good at scouting. In a low-level game where both players are just macroing for 10 minutes there is very little need to scout, because both players are just doing their build and to hell with what the other player is doing.

            In high level play, though, cheese turns from some shitty all-in play to a valid harass tactic designed to let the cheeser get their economy ahead going into the mid-game. If you don’t spot that early harass, you’re economy is going to suffer the rest of the game. So cheesers serve quite a vital role for low-level players.

            Also, I disagree that you have to wrestle with the UI at all. Learning the hotkeys for your race takes like 10 matches.

      • Aitch says:

        It’s totally possible to play ranked ladder just for the love of the game, and I’m sure it’s that way for a majority of the extreme high level players – but personally I feel like all of the “incentives” to win really muddy the waters.

        It makes me want to ask Blizzard “What, you think the game isn’t good enough on it’s own without all that nonsense of XP and Icons and Ladder Rank and Win Ratio?”

        I mean, maybe it sounds silly to say this, but in a match where I feel that my opponent and I both played exceptionally well, where there were a bunch of mini dramatic moments and close calls, where it was genuinely fun and entertaining – I usually feel accomplished enough after a good fair fight that it just doesn’t matter to me whether it chalks up a win or a loss. It seems completely besides the point of the game apart from providing an abstract overarching goal.

        People are rarely a thing I understand, though.

        • Klay F. says:

          Yes, very much this. I’ll add that part of the reason the leagues exist at all is to give everyone a chance to play against people that are of similar skill. Playing against people of your own skill is infinitely more entertaining than against people way better or worse than you. The ladder itself doesn’t matter at all.

    • Nidokoenig says:

      Maybe it’s because I tend to be a munchkin who focuses on singleplayer games, but I’ve always had a “hate the game, not the player” attitude to cheese. If a game has an I Win button right there waiting for me to spam it, I’ll whack it a few times, get bored and go play something else that makes me earn my wins. I won’t stick around and wait for it to get interesting. I can see how it can be annoying in online play, but really, it’s the devs who made a game that allowed that silliness. Although, the only game I’ve put a significant amount of time into the multiplayer with is Kid Icarus: Uprising, and the answer to someone using something cheesy in that is to pick one of your own dangerously cheesy builds and pound their face in until they stop being a bell-end.

  10. Xapi says:

    I haven’t heard the podcast yet, but if Josh is enyoing Crusader Kings, I’d reccomend him to try out the a Game of Thrones MOD.

    It is simply brilliant, and it shows an incredible amount of work, dedication, and love put into it.

    • Kavonde says:

      What I’ve played of it has been great, but it seems to have some issues with the new patch and Gods & Kings. I’m really looking forward to the next big update, though, when I can start trolling the Starks and Lannisters as House Greyjoy.

      • Xapi says:

        All Mods for Crusader Kings stop working when a new patch to the game comes out.

        There are ways to counter this (copying the entire game folder before the patch, since there’s no DRM, and using Steam’s “Beta” function to roll back to the previous version), and I’m sure the team will update soon enough.

  11. Weimer says:

    As a PC gamer, this whole new console generation -disaster conga has given me a cornucopia of schadenfreude towards you console enthusiasts.

    But as a human being, this.. is just stupid and wrong and I feel sorry for you guys/gals. We all are just trying to have fun, right? It just seems somehow that the companies are conspiring to end simple and accessible entertainment at all costs.

    What a world, what a world.

  12. Feltenix says:

    I just noticed this but, what happens with the Xbox One if the game takes more than 1 hour to download on the friend’s console?

    • Chris says:

      In fairness to Microsoft I’m pretty sure that if you’re still downloading the game you’re still on the internet and therefore still able to send out a ping to the servers to validate that you’re authenticated.

      • Supahewok says:

        And in fairness to everyone who has used Microsoft products, I must say that the easy and obvious solution is not always the one implemented, even if there wasn’t a problem in the first place.

        • ehlijen says:

          True, but I’d expect the console to ring home and soak up bandwidth as if the download wasn’t there, slowing it down, at the worst. No reason to shut anything down before trying to phone home.

          • Peter H. Coffin says:

            You won’t notice the amount of bandwidth being “sucked up” by this. The entire phone-home transaction is probably going to weigh in at less than a thousand bytes and would take only a fraction of a second of dedicated time, even on a dial-up modem.

            • some random dood says:

              You are assuming reasonable behaviour and the dial-home as only having a validation function. What’s the odds that the dial-home content will (unless you manage to find all the opt-outs – a game in itself!): achievements, crash reports, player stats, game location problems, who and when you played with others, adverts looked at/clicked on (what – you think that adverts won’t be included in these AAA games?). Then as it is an “entertainment device” that is trying to be the place to access all TV/movies as well, what’s to stop it from reporting back all the shows/movies/adverts you have seen? Now tie that in with the heartbeat detection capabilities along with person detection/identification of Kinect, this would be a treasure trove for advertisers.
              So to those who are expecting only a minimal amount of data to be sent back to Microsoft on a daily basis – the minimal amount to provide their gaming service – I think I’d wait until an independent person/body provides an analysis of the data communication between xbWTFNumberingSystemIsThis and Microsoft.

            • Asimech says:

              Microsoft isn’t exactly known for tight code so I’m seriously doubting it’s less than a kilobyte. Actually I wouldn’t be surprised if it was around two megabytes.

              But I do think that Xbone will phone home at the end of the installation.

    • ehlijen says:

      Shouldn’t be a ‘problem’. It’s a ‘this long before you have to call home’ requirement. If you’re downloading a game you’re presumably online and can thus call home.

      I used quotation marks because while this isn’t an extra problem, it is of course still the problem of being disrespected by MS that you have to do this at all.

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Rutskarn will be Adam once he turns 13.

  14. Steve C says:

    They must have known how awful the XBone was going to go over. They probably focused group the crap out of it, even with obvious stuff like “What about plaid instead of black?- Focus group didn’t like it.” Also I’m sure lawyers would have warned that this product is likely illegal in Europe. For what reason did MS decide to go through with all these “features”? And all at the same time?

    The only reason I can come up with that the XBone is so obviously awful is due to some sort of internal politics. Like if MS mangers got tired of being pushed to do something stupid and having endless meetings where managers are told they are uncooperative, not a team player, etc. So they decide to put in every stupid idea they can find knowing full well it will be DOA.

    Could the XBone be just a giant internal memo saying “This won’t fly”?

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Why do people think that big companies are always smart and infallible?The people working for it change constantly,and even when they dont,they are still just people,prone to mistakes and biases.The whole economy crash,numerous negligence lawsuits for plenty of companies,and now this fiasco,its not that odd really.

      • Steve C says:

        I never said big companies were smart. I said that people inside big companies are rational and look out for their own self interests.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          But thats the thing:They dont have to be either of those.They are like any other human being.

          • Steve C says:

            You have confused me. I don’t get what you are saying.

            • Mintskittle says:

              I think it’s that some people have wisdom as their dump stat.

              • Asimech says:

                I think Daemian is saying that even highly skilled people are bound to fail a few Skill Checks.

                Well, that’s closest DnD analogy I can think of anyway.

                Also that being rational is not, in fact, a requirement to be hired by a large company. If we drop the analogy.

                But I might be projecting, as I believe that. There’s nothing that ensures only completely rational people get in, and if they’re not completely rational it’s entirely possible for them to make irrational decisions some of the time and these to be one of those times.

    • harborpirate says:

      Likelier story, IMO:
      The original xbox was launched by people that were passionate about it. It must have taken a huge effort to convince the stogy business OS/apps execs that it could even work. Over time, the xbox division has been handed over to bean-counters that don’t care about games, but rather, how to make the division as profitable as possible.

      When you look at it in this light, I think all of their decisions make sense.

      * Discs are killing our bottom line: Get rid of them!
      * We can’t, the USA still has lots of slow connections: Ok, treat them like a data delivery mechanism now instead of conferring any sort of ownership.
      * Piracy, game renting, and game trading cost us money: make it phone home and verify game IDs to minimize that.
      * Well, we can’t take away trading entirely: token digital trading concession.
      * We need more exclusives: give publishers the ability to kill used games like they asked us as a concession to sweeten the deal.
      * Indie developers suck our bandwidth, clog up the indie store, and make very little money: kill the indie store and require a publisher, thus filtering to only the massive hits guarunteed to make cash.

      Microsoft had the hubris to believe that they could work over the consumer and not pay for it. They were betting that Sony was making all the same backroom deals that they were, but got outmanuevered when Sony saw the PR backlash coming and backed away (just a little).

      Notice that Sony managed to slip in both that PSN will charge for online play and that publishers are free to use whatever horrible DRM schemes that they want (including ones that may impact used games and game trading) without taking a massive hit for it.

  15. Cybron says:

    Re:Internet Names – Back in junior high school, my friends from school and I used to hang out on a certain forum. I probably interacted with them as much online as I did offline. Eight years later, I still default to their online handles when thinking of some of them, even though that site has long passed into the great 404 in the sky.

    Re:Choosing a side in the console war – Joke’s on you, I choose Nintendo.

    • Trix2000 says:

      Similarly for me with my college buddies – it got to the point where, when we had our weekly LAN sessions down in the comp lab, we’d always use each others’ handles to the point where many of us didn’t know real names. A result of it now is that I will respond to Trix just as well as to my own name, just because of how ingrained the identity is for me now.

      And if anyone ever asks, the ‘2000’ is intentional and unrelated to needing a unique name – that’s a looooong story.

  16. For those wondering, State of Decay is basically like the free online games Rebuild 2 and Wasted Colony except a third person shooter.

    So if you’re interested in whether or not you’ll like State of Decay, try playing those two games online for free, just search for them on google.

  17. Paul Spooner says:

    I’ve run into “The Company Owns Your Ideas” stuff quite a few times even outside of the software sector. It usually shows up around companies that are doing really revolutionary stuff (or think they are, but that’s another issue). Say, for example, there’s some kind of cutting edge technology under development, and I’m exposed to it every day at work. As a result, I come up with an idea of how to use this new technology in a novel way. It would be kind of sketchy for me to go and start working on it at home, patent a bunch of stuff, and then start competing with the people who are paying me at my day job. So, it’s not quite as outrageous as it first appears. However, this usually only applies to things that were developed during employment, not before or after. So, if Zynga wanted a piece of what he developed while working for them it’s not an absurd thing to ask for, but he’s certainly within his rights to not want to work for them.

    On the topic of odd ‘net identities, Rutskarn and Campster’s stories are basically the same as mine for how I became “dudecon” on on the web. I was fourteen and needed an e-mail account, so I went to the computer lab right after Macro Economics and signed up for a hotmail account as the dude from econ class… didn’t realize the alternate interpretations until years later.

    • Humanoid says:

      It’s how Mattel came to own rival doll line Bratz for example.

      Aaand, to add some words to this comment, origins of username: even in my teens I was very careful about my identity on the Internet, so it’s meant to be a very generic descriptor – I might not even be an actual human. Ha. Ha. Er, yeah. People I played WoW with nearly every day for six years don’t know my name. I don’t like using it, it feels weird, but I am thoroughly incapable of coming up with something more profound or amusing. What am I going to do, pick an arbitrary, funny sounding word or portmanteau thereof?

      I mean I don’t have trouble coming up with real or real-ish names for RPG characters, but using those to identify me instead of the character feels wrong. And it’s a bit weird using a proper name that isn’t mine, since there most likely will be the assumption that it is.

  18. Chauzuvoy says:

    Shamus, I think that’s how every low-league starcraft 2 game is decided. Macro Macro Macro Macro.

  19. Steve C says:

    Regarding internet identity…

    I never use my real name online, except here. Why here? Shamus asked users to post using their real names about the same time as when I first commented.

    And for the record I know of a another Campster. I was called Campster long before Chris. It was my nickname in highschool in the pre-internet era. In fact I did a double take when I saw Chris was using it. Felt like Chris stole my childhood.

    • ehlijen says:

      He did? Oh, I must have missed that. When abouts was that? (I want to go see if I can find that post).

      • Steve C says:

        Early DMotR, before they left the Shire. However it may have been part of the blurb displayed when posting a comment. What it currently says is:

        “Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don’t post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.”

        I really can’t say for sure where it was. But I am certain it was an explicit rather than implicit request.

  20. Tony Kebell says:

    The Story behind Prison Architect is supposed to be dark and jarring, whilst the gameplay is supposed to be ‘cutesy’ to disarm you, but as you said they’re still finding a direction.

  21. Cannibalguppy says:

    They overanalysed Prison Arcitect so much. Its a really fun game with deep mechanics and retarded setting. Thats it.

  22. Alexander The 1st says:

    Josh got the Kingslayer trait?

    I guess it’d figured that Josh’d be a Lannister.

  23. McNutcase says:

    Regarding internet identity… well, I’ve been using this nick since I picked it out, as the weird kid in school. With a given name of Silas, I was always going to be the weird kid.

    Thing is, I’ve been using this nick online for longer than I’ve used my real name online; I actually have a significant amount of identity invested in McNutcase that isn’t invested in my “real” name. I also answer to McNutcase as readily as I do to Silas in real-world interactions. Persistent pseudonymity is just as civilising an influence as real names.

    The thing that really amuses me is that somehow, McNutcase is always available as a nick. I’ve only ever departed from it by choice.

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      I used to have other aliases that I no longer use anymore.

      However, the story behind Alexander The 1st is an interesting one.

      On Gamefaqs.com, Alexander The Great was taken.

      So instead of being a dead Macedonia emperor, I’m a dead Russian czar.

      The latter was actually quite incidental – I only found out about after doing a google check to see how familiar my identity is with it.

      Whenever Alexander The 1st (Or the shorter version, AT1ST – generally these short forms are used when a character limit and/or no spaces are allowed) is taken, I tend to gravitate to Miles The 1st (MT1ST) – which was based off of Miles “Tails” Prower, since I played second fiddle in Sonic games for so long in the Genesis age that I knew the levels way better than my sister by nature of not having to actually worry about execution…ever.

      Next up is Zoltan The 1st (ZT1ST), though that’s usually a last resort, since a lot people don’t realise the short version has a 1, not an I, and so tend to call me in mmo chats as “atist” or “mtist”.

      I do use MT1ST a lot, when AT1ST is taken, like on Steam, PSN, and Origin.

      So I guess I identify as “The 1st” on the internet, despite not actually being the first.

    • krellen says:

      “krellen” is the same for me, except that it’s always taken because it’s apparently some obscure European surname and a bunch of dumb kids don’t know that the character from Dragon Ball is spelled “krillin” (when it’s spelled using Romanji anyway).

      No one calls me krellen in real life, though, but I keep my real life and my internet life pretty separate.

    • Bryan says:

      I can’t believe nobody else remembered http://shawntionary.com/chainmailbikini/?p=37 when Shamus said that…

  24. Thomas says:

    I’d use my real name, but it’s absolutely impossible to do, (in lots of places even my fullname wouldn’t work/would be too long). I could only manage it if I mangled it completely and even then the obvious ones don’t work (ThomasL is always taken for example). And I would prefer one name I can use to log in for everything than tailor made names for each site, same as Chris. And I’d prefer a fake name to Thomas184729ds7

    Even of your comment pages we’ve got multiple Thomas’ posting, if we needed unique log-ins I wouldn’t have been able to get away with it here.
    I do think if you’re young handles are much smarter than any names that could identify you. You don’t want employers to be able to google you and find your life journal you wrote when you were 13 and just got through a big breakup.

    As far as nicknames go, in one group of friends, 3 of them had nicknames and 3 didn’t and the nicknames became so embedded that we didn’t respond to their real names. (Even though one of the nicknames was Matt Matt, if you called him Matt no-one would respond)

    • Scampi says:

      My real name keeps annoying me, especially my family name-nobody ever speaks, writes or understands it the right way, what’s really pissing me off. Even people who just need to copy/paste my name or have it written down by myself will keep writing it the wrong way, sometimes in an insulting fashion, some will make a deminutive version to make it shorter and easier, what doesn’t really help feeling better about it. My given name is okay, I guess. I might use it, but then I think that’s way less unique and I might be confused for someone else-and I have been using this alias for over 7 years now in many contexts, so I see no reason to stop relying on it where possible.

      I do think if you're young handles are much smarter than any names that could identify you. You don't want employers to be able to google you and find your life journal you wrote when you were 13 and just got through a big breakup.

      As far as nicknames go, in one group of friends, 3 of them had nicknames and 3 didn't and the nicknames became so embedded that we didn't respond to their real names.

      The 1st part is another good reason to remain anonymous where possible, especially for someone who really tries leaving as few digital footprints as possible for people to track, like I do.
      The 2nd also reminds me of another problem: I always knew lots of people of the same name, so calling each by his given name was not an option, even when talking about them to other people. So I used to distinguish different people by means of several handles which would identify them to outsiders as well. They might often be based on their names, sometimes they were initials or something that was characteristic for them. But I think I actually never had any nicknames that were not only used by people to piss me off intentionally.-.-

      • Thomas says:

        ‘I always knew lots of people of the same name’

        I get to be one of those people. There were four Thomas’ in my class alone at school and many many more in my year. I think there were 3 Thomas’ on the same football team. So we all got nicknames and because my school was particularly uncreative our nicknames got to be ‘surname+y’ which I really disliked. It’s part of why I enjoy being Thomas here, because I’ve spent a lot of time not being called by the name I identify with (even close friends and family call me Tom, because it’s shorter and easier and I tend to not be very firm about it when introducing myself. Insisting on a full name when the shortened version is way more common can give people slightly negative first impressions :( ), so it’s pretty cool to get to be a Thomas somewhere

        • Scampi says:

          Same for us: since we, in our school had like 4 Annas, 4 Julias, 3-4ish Christians etc. we also often used to call people by their family names to distinguish them. That’s where my disliking my family name originates from mostly, but not only. I also knew like 4 (or more?) Benjamins, several Philips, multiple Alexanders, Stephans etc.
          People seem to be less than creative around here, it appears.

  25. DIN aDN says:

    Oh man, Josh was winning as Mali in CKII. That is *amazing*. I have to ask – you were playing as your youngest son, and you were talking about ‘the muslims up north’.

    Were you
    were you pagan Mali

    Because that is wonderful. That was my last game, but since I’m not the best at strategy games and also because I made some bad decisions about where to park my chancellor, I ended up being wiped out circa 1000 AD.

    How far north did you manage to expand?

    • Josh says:

      Yeah, I was pagan Mali (actually Ghana, but I immediately conquered Songhay and formed the kingdom of Mali) on the 867 Old Gods start.

      I managed to push across the sahara nearly to the point where I was gonna start picking up the coastal provinces on the northwestern corner of Africa, but it was slow going and not at all easy. Every war, I pretty much had to lure the big enemy doomstack – that outnumbered me by as much as 150% at times – into my own lands so I could leverage the unreformed-pagan defensive bonus and some high martial generals to win. Fortunately they increased the warscore from battles so I could usually get ~50% from wiping out their entire army.

      By far the most crippling and limiting thing about the West African pagans is their total lack of mercenary bands. I was absolutely swimming in cash (in proud Mali tradition, naturally) but I couldn’t actually spend it on anything but buildings. If I could have hired a few mercenary bands I would’ve overrun the North African sultanates with impunity.

  26. Tony Kebell says:

    I use Tony Kebell, because I barely use social media and I like to be plain, since forever, pretty much. (also Tony Kebell is pretty unique)

    (Also, yes Mr.DeCamp, Adam, DeCamp, we KNOW…YOUR…NAME)

    (Also, what the fuck, does(Carrot, Carrot) Rutskarn (Buttstuff) actually mean)

    • shiroax says:

      I believe carrot carrot buttstuff is pretty self explanatory, you innocent mind. :D

      I think he means this sign ^, so ^^Protector^^ if I heard right and got what symbol he meant.

      • DIN aDN says:

        My username is an acronym for ‘Do I Need A Display Name?’, because I couldn’t think of anything better. I’ve always been reticent about using my real name online, because I was brought up being told that letting strangers know any personal detail would inevitably lead to my grisly death, and somehow I’ve never been able to shake that idea.

  27. shiroax says:

    Did Rutskarn not play anything this week or did he forget to say anything from talking about X-Files?

    I haven’t played Starcraft online so I don’t know the matchmaking mechanics or community, but sometime last year I started doing Company of Heroes automatches as my first pvp stuff, and I find the automatch feeling very similar to WoW’s Dungeon Finder: for every guy that accused me of cheating for playing properly there’s another I bonded with over his cool/lucky artillery shell that one-shotted all my dudes and a bunch you play with, have fun and forget. Unless you REALLY don’t like people (or do and would prefer more interaction than gl and gg), I think automatch ladder play can be enjoyable. Also, if there’s a 2v2 automatch, that can be a nice way to meet cool people.

    Why so negative about the game judging how you play? If every little kid that picked up a football (or handegg, whichever you prefer), guys playing on the weekend and pros all played together, would you say that’s better than a “harsh, judging system” that ensures kids play with kids etc.?

    Does anybody else think that Xbone way takes all the weaknesses of both digital and physical distribution methods, and no strengths? If it’s all online, why would you even bother with a disc? Can you even buy online and download? I’d assume you can if they hadn’t made the whole thing generally terrible.
    Maybe they’re going for some kind of compromise scam, where they’ll take out some of those “features” and spin some kind of “We listened to fans” story, but actually keep everything they really wanted in.

    About online identity, I think mine is a halfway, my handle is based on my name and mostly linked to facebook, but still kinda removed so a potential employer won’t google and find me trolling Jump fans on Batoto or something like that.

  28. Spammy says:

    I’ve settled on Spammy or Spammy V out of habit now, and because I like how the word sounds. It has its roots from a discussion I had in high school about assigning nicknames, but it’s morphed a lot over the years and the “it has its roots from…” line is like saying that rhinos have their roots in primitive horses. True but with a lot of morphing on the way.

    The XBone looks like a monumental error right now, although I did read an article that said that the problem right now is their rights policies and phone-home system. If Microsoft can be swayed into getting rid of those (especially in light of the PS4 being completely open (Doubly surprisingly in light of how hacking the PS3 was a big news issue for a time)) then the Bone could take its place as a proper console.

    They never said this, I don’t think, but all the hubub over the dog and dumb-dumbs saying that you need photorealistic graphics to make people care about characters has morphed the two into my head so, “This is the dog. The dog is photorealistic so you’ll care about it.” Which I think every reader on this site can already tear to shreds and would be ninja-ing themselves in the comments trying to say it first if I didn’t spoil it by writing this sentence.

    Although? A dog? I’ll admit that military working dogs aren’t much seen in video games, but we’ve had dogs in games for… a long time. Dogs in Minecraft, dogs in Fable, robot gorilla Dog, pet classes in MMOs. I mean yeah it’s Call of Duty and yeah they’ve never done a dog before, but still.

    I put two bucks on the dog acting ridiculously or acting not at all even like a working dog would.

    • Thomas says:

      If Microsoft hadn’t misstepped this could have been a real chance to dominate on their part, the exclusive line-ups are pretty equal between the two and even favour MS a little. And a lot of the franchises people bought a PS3 for went multiplatform. I agree if they do a u-turn they could probably get right back into it

    • Scampi says:

      Dogs in Minecraft, dogs in Fable, robot gorilla Dog, pet classes in MMOs. I mean yeah it's Call of Duty and yeah they've never done a dog before, but still.

      Not to forget the Mabari in Dragon Age Origins, the summoned wild dogs in Baldur’s gate, the Dog from Monkey Island II, Dogmeat in Fallout 3, the dog pet in Torchlight and probably a lot more;-)

  29. StashAugustine says:

    My online name is just my second name (I generally go by it in conversation) and my Confirmation name.

  30. Oh, my inner TV nerd Hulk must SMASH!

    – The X-Files was the first to set up it’s kind of series? The original (not the remake) of Kolchak: The Night Stalker would like a word with you. As for the mythology stuff, yeah, Chris Carter had no freaking idea where he was going. The aliens/conspiracy was being made up as he went along and the rest of the stuff was freak-of-the-week. After he tries to tie the alien crap together, the freak-of-the-week shows become the better ones to watch. The continuity got better in “Millennium,” but it ended a year too soon when it really got good (the first season was a self-contained throw-away about serial killers, pretty much).

    – Deep Space 9 is an example of continuity? Ehhhhhh…. kind of. They let anyone write an episode who wanted to, and a lot of the character development was tossed in at the last minute if the episode was running short on time. It finally got some kind of endgame going when they knew the series would end, but for a real pioneer in continuity in sci-fi TV, you should watch Babylon-5.

    • ehlijen says:

      Agreed on Babylon 5, but I think you’re selling DS9 a little short.

      It wasn’t B5 or BSG (at times), but it was a big step forward in having continuity from TOS or TNG.

      • I know it’s fanboyish to say so, but having watched B-5 and DS-9 as they were both being aired, DS-9 clearly aped the other show in several places. When the Shadows showed up, suddenly we were introduced to the Dominion. When the B-5 station broke away from Earth with a huge battle for its independence, suddenly DS-9 was loaded up with weapons and had a huge shootout with the Klingons.

        While DS-9 made more of an effort to have continuity, it was very much seat-of-the-pants. One thing Star Trek has lacked in the past several series has been a head writer who could point the show along a coherent arc (this was especially lamentable for Voyager, which really, REALLY needed continuity and someone in charge of keeping an ongoing saga up in the air).

        DS-9 had good moments, but it also had the usual Trek problems from being mostly one-off episodes (Bashir on the Holodeck to play off of the popularity of Goldeneye, tossing in the Dark Universe for no real reason, that gawd-awful episode where Worf helps extremists who hate fun to take over Risa, etc.).

  31. Am I the only one who finds it funny that Sony’s e3 conference went extraordinarily well almost entirely because of how majorly Microsoft screwed up.

    • harborpirate says:

      Microsoft stomped on the flaming bag of dog poop that publishers left on their doorstep, and Sony pointed and laughed.

      • Peter H. Coffin says:

        Mostly because they learn half those lessons with the PS3. They learned that more than $400 price point causes a LOT more complaints than $400. They learned that backward compatibility is nice, but surveys told them that it wasn’t as much used as just “liked”.

  32. Frankenstein says:

    Josh and I both started watching X-Files for the first time in the past week? And he had exactly the same problems with it I did? Awesome. Still quite like it though. I also need to finally look up what the hell Crusader Kings is as I have been hearing about it non stop for quite I while but couldn’t be arsed.

  33. Klay F. says:

    The whole “we must trust the corporation because they are in charge and therefor MUST know what they are doing” mentality that permeates so much of the mainstream gamer attitude, has always pissed me off.

    Anyone who has EVER worked in a corporate environment knows that Managers Fail Upwards, while everyone else fails downward and out. So its safe to assume corporate doesn’t have a fucking clue what its doing.

    • Peter H. Coffin says:

      Or that one pigheaded personality can steer the direction of entire product lines, for good or bad. To this day, Apple holds a lot of the patents and technologies that make good, effective handwriting recognition possible. They do *nothing* with them because the Newton was John Sculley’s baby, and since Sculley threw Jobs out, anything associated with the Newton was anathema when Jobs got back in. THAT’S why you’re typing with your thumbs, kids, not because it’s faster than Gregg shorthand.

  34. Nimas says:

    Chris, although I do share your trepidation at League of Legends with regards to ranked, there is a “normal” game mode which doesn’t show how much you lose and the like. Alas given the community, its quite likely that people will rage at you even there (LoL community depresses me often).

    Probably something more to look into is ARAM mode in which everyone receives a random champion, often that people don’t really know how to play, so that game mode is alot more light hearted then others.

  35. Nick Pitino says:

    Yeah, all the stuff the dog in the upcoming Call of Duty has strapped to it like the vest and night vision and all of that?

    That all happens to be real by-the-by, no bullshit:


  36. Volfram says:

    Rutskarn is pretty much going to end up selling me on Unrest, and I really hope I have the disposable income to pick it up soon after it comes out. I really liked the bit where he was talking about the villain who was given to him as “Hitler in India” and he actually tried to justify that character’s point of views from said character’s perspective. Most writers would be happy to make the character a straw man. I look forward to seeing if whether you produce someone with perspectives and motivations which are valid and consistent… if still wrong. The game will certainly benefit from that.

  37. Hitchmeister says:

    Please tell me Campster has the T-shirt.

  38. Galad says:

    Hey guys, does anyone have a convenient SC2 WCS playlist link?

    Also, about my username, I’ve just borrowed the username of a certain Wheel of time character. I was probably around 13 too, but I still have no idea why I borrowed that character’s name.

  39. Username-wise, well, I’m female and on the internets. A pseudonym seemed like a really good idea. Melfina came from Outlaw Star (and rhymes with my real name) and the Blue came from reading the Simarillion(sp) and adding a female wizard because well, I wanted one. Since I was studying physics (and making lots of jokes about how science seems like magic to people who don’t understand it), it seemed to fit. Still using it because well, potential employers do not need to know about the smut or the gaming blog.

  40. Dave B. says:

    I don’t really have a preferred “handle” or username. I typically will use: an anagram of my full name, a bit of (no doubt terrible) Sindarin Elvish, “Dave B.”, or something else that seems to fit the circumstances. I am leaning towards using “Dave B.” in more places, because it is anonymous while still seeming more legitimate than a typical screen name.

  41. Zak McKracken says:

    All of the shame you pile on the Xbone in honour, but I think it will still fare pretty well, and this whole PR disaster won’t have many consequences. Simply because the majority of potential customers has no idea about it or doesn’t mind.

    The readership here (and more so the authors) consists mostly of nerds who care about technical and other details in their hobby. Most people who get a console do so in order to just go play a game, and configuring a PC to do that is too much hassle. They won’t know or care. These are people who will happily play Brown Corridor Elevator Shooter XII and not even notice any of the aspects of the game that will be criticized on this blog. Not because they’re dumb or anything but simply they devote their mental capacities to other things.

    Anyone remember the scandal about Windows 95 phoning home? About Windows XP doing that even more? About always-on DRM? (about Big Brother? The TV show as well as the actual thing…) That stuff is being bought and used and watched, and only a small minority cares about these “details”. So Microsoft is probably not making a bad decision when they calculate that they will loose some privacy advocates from their potential customer base but gain loads and loads of data and control over what happens. In the best case, it will give their marketing researchers and game producers valuable data to make “better products”; in the worst it will give us just another privacy implosion. If your plan is to make money, the latter is an acceptable risk.

  42. mwchase says:

    I showed the dog gameplay footage to my friend, and her response was something along the lines of “Just make a movie, you guys, honestly.”

    It’s kind of weird how drastically different video-game genres are converging on reducing the experience to barely-interactive spectacle.

  43. PhantomRenegade says:

    This State of Decay game is sounding a lot like Dead state, i wonder which started development first.

    Anybody know?

  44. burningdragoon says:

    Here’s a little fun thing about online anonymity/identity. Very recently I tried to sign up for a Squeenix account and couldn’t because my real name qualified for profanity.

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *


Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>