Oscar bait

 Posted by (Visited 6267 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , ,
Feb 282013

side_oscarHollywood just got done with its annual parade of self-congratulation. And I don’t mean that in a bad way — the Oscars may have originated as a marketing gimmick, but they are more than that. They serve as a way for creatives to honor creatives. And every year, movies are made which get called “Oscar bait” — films clearly made without much expectation of huge profits.

At a time when big game companies frequently speak in terms of “it it doesn’t make a million a day, or have a million players a day, it’s not worth making,” why do Hollywood studios keep making films that are small, play to small audiences, and aren’t anywhere near as profitable as a summer blockbuster? Wouldn’t it make sense to focus all your resources on the titles that have the highest ROI? While many small films have great profit margins, the absolute numbers are small, and thus there’s a large opportunity cost to doing the small movies.

Don’t worry, there’s a business reason. The logic goes something like this:

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Why do we like a given game?

 Posted by (Visited 8996 times)  Game talk, Mailbag  Tagged with:
Feb 152013

I was just asked this on Quora, and thought I would crosspost my answer here.

What makes people like specific genres of gaming (FPS, strategy, sports, racing etc)?

What can you tell about people who like only a certain genre of gaming like Fps rather than strategy?

Everyone starts out with different natural predispositions. For example, some people are born with more fast-twitch fibers in their muscles, which gives them the ability to move more explosively than others [Skeletal striated muscle]. Other folks have greater color sensitivity, faster reaction times, better ability to see things that are moving or that are standing still.

Some of these things are spread across a gradient where a person may fall anywhere on the gradient, but there are biases based on the sex of the individual in question. [Men and Women Really Do See Things Differently] We should be cautious about treating this as “biology is destiny” and instead think in terms of statistical distribution; recent metastudies show that overall, sex differences in cognition are weak correlations [Science Confirms The Obvious:  Men And Women Aren’t That Different] but there are nonetheless some large and obvious differences between sexes and of course between people.

These predispositions mean that some things are easier or harder for a given individual. Not necessarily hugely so — maybe only marginally, say 1% easier than the norm. But it doesn’t matter, because of how the brain’s reward system works. Continue reading »

Color Theory of Fun images

 Posted by (Visited 6683 times)  Art, Writing  Tagged with:
Feb 132013

penguin-06So, I have been working on the process to color all the cartoons in the revised Theory of Fun edition. I thought I might share some samples of the way it is looking so far.

The original cartoons were done very quickly, which is why they were in such a rough, naif sort of style. They were also done with ink on paper, rather than digitally. I am trying to have the coloring be in keeping with that… I want something that feels fairly organic, even though I am doing all the coloring on the computer.

So I tried out doing plain flat shading, and gradients, and that sort of thing… but ended up using a custom brush to get a bit more of a painted look with more color variation.

In the process, I am also replacing the Comic Sans with my own handwriting font, like I used in the 10 Years Later presentation.

There are well over a hundred of these to do, of course. I am on pace to do multiple a day right now, although the flu has gotten in the way a bit.

In other news, though, the contract still isn’t finalized, so I am a bit ahead of myself anyway. 🙂 But that’s OK.

See a before and after comparison:

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The Sunday Song: Freedom

 Posted by (Visited 5025 times)  Music  Tagged with: , ,
Feb 102013

I put this together today. I think it’s going to end up as the guitar part for a song with lyrics, but I liked it enough as a guitar part that I’m posting it up as just an instrumental. Nothing fancy here — I recorded it with a single mic, did a tiny bit of reverb and EQ, and left it at that.

It’s a capo monster — standard tuning, but capo’d at the second fret, and then again with a partial capo at the 6th fret, covering only strings 3, 4, and 5. I use a Kyser short-cut capo for this. You could use just a single partial capo at the 4th fret to play it a full step lower, of course, which would move it from the key of F# major down to E.

– download Freedom.mp3

Other than that, it’s all in the picking pattern. The trick here is that you finger less than it seems — almost all the chords are only two finger stops. The rising part is actually played in between the two capos.