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Posts posted by jonny_rat

  1. 45 minutes ago, Ketchup said:


    On the other hand I've been at game companies who use feedback either too early or the wrong type of feedback.


    For example having users complain about bugs or in progress areas despite everyone including the research teams knowing those are not working as expected, this then takes those areas off on a wild tangent trying to fix their issues even though those features are far from finished.


    This and the wrong type of feedback means you get users trying to be helpful or suggesting things just because they feel that saying it's great as it is, is not the right response to give and then give feedback which isn't what they truly believe but are more trying to be helpful.


    Im currently at a non gaming company and  one of their clients used user research every step of the way for their previous product which meant it's ended up in a huge costly mess as they try to satisfy everyone and not think at all about how it'll all even work.


    Think the scene from the simpsons where the Itchy and Scratchy producers ask kids what they want and they answer 'so you want a realistic down to earth show, that's completely off the walls and swarming with robots.'


    Absolutely. I look at some of these crowd-funded projects that claim to be entirely led by community decision-making and feature requests, and think.. nah. You're either very smartly corralling that feedback and the questions you're asking, or you're going to end up with a right old mess. Hopefully, having one person (with knowledge of the end-to-end research process) managing the whole research programme should solve this, because they know the right types of methods to use at the right time.


    ..he says, knowing full well that sometimes they just get someone with a full time QA or marketing programme to manage to also do this on the side.

    • Upvote 1
  2. 3 minutes ago, MarkN said:

    IIRC, they just adjusted the setting on the TV they were playing it on. Whatever it was on as default, they turned it down until they thought it looked "right", and then told us to mirror the change, and that was 15% less. They said they'd looked at the whole game this way, and had all their art guys look at it, and they'd all agreed.


    It was almost certainly utter nonsense. The producer was a complete arse, who had wasted loads of our time asking for changes to levels that made no sense to us. At first we'd obliged, because he was calling the shots, but after weeks of changes to the 1st level that had just made it look steadily worse if anything, I got fed up and challenged him over one change in particular. He'd said that the floor texture of our art gallery level was completely wrong and had to be changed. After trying and failing to get him to explain what it should be changed to, I suggested that the floor texture was actually one of the best bits of the level, and that maybe the walls were the problem. He kind of agreed that maybe that was it (the walls were fine too), and suddenly we realised that the guy was just asking for changes for the sake of it.


    He still had authority to impose bullshit decisions, but at least we knew where he was coming from. After that we could try to steer him away from the worst of his ideas, but on reducing how colourful the game was he was adamant, and got our company directors to make us make the change).


    Holy cow. I was going to say say that there are rationales they could have used to come up with that number - some more robust than others - but that's just bonkers. And not even testing out the impact of that decision on players (could easily do some limited comparison studies with the new/old versions)!

  3. Some really interesting inside experiences in this thread - thanks for posting them. From working as a user researcher in games, there are some familiar-sounding stories: reluctance to put the game in front of players early, difficulties with synthesising feedback from various sources, using internal dev staff as a substitute for actual player voices, and mixing up QA, market research and user research. I absolutely understand why all these things happen (usually budgetary reasons, or sometimes actual hostility to user research) but still, I wish they didn't. 


    A few studios in the UK are catching on and recruiting user research teams, or - at the very least - someone to try and collate and interpret data and feedback. Slow going though.

  4. I get excited about switch re-releases because it's a portable console with actual buttons that plays full fat games. It's the only thing that I am able to find time to play at the moment, and that's probably going to be how it is for the foreseeable future. I've wanted that for years: arguably you had things like the Shield and android portables, but they always came with compromises.


    It's a huge bonus for me that there are amazing exclusives on it as well, and that it's a unique multiplayer machine: but Nintendo getting this thing out at a reasonable price, with a lovely little form factor and providing a solid(ish) infrastructure for indies and niche remasters/rereleases is more than enough reason for them to take my money.

    • Upvote 1
  5. 16 minutes ago, AK Bell said:

    What are good homebrew things on other platforms that you're hoping for here? 


    If it's anything like the Wii scene: buggy Mp3 player, utility to turn the console off, utility to make the console emit a high pitched whine, rudimentary port of space invaders, and about a million utilities to help you manage your pirated games.

    • Upvote 7
  6. 9 hours ago, CarloOos said:

    Almost looks like it's missing ambient occlusion? The new lighting is nice in a handful of places but clearly doesn't compensate for those baked in shadows in the same way. The 'flat' look it gives off actually reminds me of the Valley of the Giants in DS2.


    Oof, yes. Exactly this.


    Here's a video that shows my worries with the Playstation versions fairly well: a comparison with the PC DSfixed version. Those lighting 'improvements' are giving me the heebie jeebies. It'll still be great of course (and some of the effects - like fog doors - look much better) but I'm not sure I want DS2 vibes from my DS1.



  7. 1 minute ago, Delargey said:


    I think that refers he is referring to Deadpool over Marvel in general. I love Deadpool its full of clever, subversive,  humour (like the "from the studio that brought you 'Devil Wears Prada') but it's also filled with lazy, unsophisticated, knob gags.


    Aye, I mean I found it an odd thing to throw in at this point - I thought we were talking about Ragnarok being a departure from the previous Thor films. Deadpool is obv a very different beast altogether, right?

  8. 18 minutes ago, linkster said:

    See earlier comment about Cap getting the Wizard of Oz reference. Didn’t need to be explained. Same reason I enjoy Deadpool more than the more I guess gentle all inclusive humour on show here.


    I'm not sure what one joke - in either film, such as the wizard of Oz thing - says about the style of humour in each. All I can tell you is that Whedonesque humour has been incredibly influential and much-copied since his Buffy days, and the style has been fairly consistent across scores of Marvel films. Ragnarok is definitely a marked departure from that; which you've been arguing as well.


    I don't get the 'gentle, all inclusive' thing either - Marvel films have been the very definition of that since day one.

  9. Just now, linkster said:


    Broader appeal? Come on, Ragnarok is designed to appeal to everyone. Whedon’s stuff ar least  requires a decent appreciation of pop culture 


    What? No, absolutely not. Whedonish humour isn't about pop culture: it's wisecracks and having characters play off each other with fun barbs and comebacks.


    Waititi is much more about being awkward in surreal and over the top settings. I love, say, hunt for the wildepeople, but again, it's not humour for everyone. And throwing in an homage to the willy wonka nightmare boat sequence in a sci-fi film.

    • Upvote 2
  10. I think it's almost.. a compliment that this film is more divisive than other Marvel stuff. Like, of course it is: they gave it to a director with a forte in slightly surreal, mumbly humour and let him loose with it. In order for Waititi to make a film that I absolutely loved - as in, he made a film that felt like it was aimed directly at someone who adored What We Do In The Shadows, ie. me - he had to make a film that some others would probably hate.  The Whedon-esque humour of the Avengers probably has a broader appeal, but god we've had an awful lot of that now.


    Other people's tastes in films is subjective, sure; but other people's sense of humour can be just.. a whole different planet away. 

    • Upvote 3
  11. 13 hours ago, Alan Stock said:

    In the books I thought the main ship crew were pretty lame, boring characters, aside from Amos. But the way they are written and acted in the show completely transforms them, they did a really good job with that. Naomi and Holden are much more compelling in the show, even if Holden's character is still generic ship captain bro. Amos is great and they did a good casting choice for him too. The show has much more emotion, character moments and comradery than the books ever conveyed. 


    Yeah, I absolutely agree with this. The books are excellent for what they are, and the overall themes and plotlines are solid and interesting (I hoofed my way through them), but they're not particularly compelling reads. Whole chapters going by without much happening, and the interactions between the characters are comforting but a bit flat. 


    The show does excellent things with them, partly by picking and choosing from six or seven books' worth of character development and sprinkling it in where relevant.



  12. 37 minutes ago, joffocakes said:


    I've not tried it but it seems like a decent enough entry level stick; especially since you can use it with several systems. Should be relatively straightforward to slot in some better buttons to improve it if you wish.


    I use the 8bitdo NES30 stick. It basically is that same Mayflash stick rebranded. While it is compatible with PC it doesn't have compatibility with other consoles however it does work wirelessly with Switch so you can use it to play games when the Switch is undocked. That's the main reason I bought it.




    Another option to consider if you already own a stick for another console is a Brook converter. You need to buy the correct one but it's cheaper than a new stick.




    I believe you can use wired sticks while Switch is undocked however you'll need a USB-C to USB Female converter and a way to plug it into the awkwardly-played underside port.


    Here's my NES30 (it's not quite as massive as this makes it look):






    Ta for this - that's really useful. I was looking at whether there were any options for using last-gen sticks with it, and turned up this thing:




    Which is dead cheap, and seems to come in a few variants (sometimes called a COOV N100, sometimes a.. fastsnail?).  More on it here: 




  13. 10 minutes ago, robdood said:

    I'm not saying that's the only way for them to innovate, as the jump from Dark Souls to Bloodborne is innovative and just the kind of thing I'd like them to keep on doing for the next 'soulslike'. 


    But in terms of them making something 'new' - one of the defining features no one ever talks about when it comes to Souls is the freedom it offers players, the freedom to work things out for themselves, to carve their own super-memorable adventure.   I'm not really fussed whether their new IP features combat, levelling up, or levels with awesome shortcuts... I don't care about those, really.  As long as they continue to make games which are mysterious and trust me to be able to work them out myself, then I'll be happy :)



    Okay, ta for the reply - that's interesting! I guess I've always focused more on the actual mechanics, and worried that if From moved on to a totally different game structure, we'd lose out on that type of game that they're so good as. But yeah, bringing that feeling of mystery to other types of games: great, bring it on.


    I just wonder if it's.. actually possible. Like, is that feeling of unravelling a mystery actually more a function of the game mechanics - the combat, the progression, the shortcuts - than we realise?

  14. 52 minutes ago, robdood said:

    I'd have preferred it if we'd had 2 different games that were as imaginative and different as Bloodborne compared Dark Souls 1, yes.  Souls 2 and 3 are very good games, but I daydream about what could have happened had the devs not been shackled to the IP. 


    I'm just so tired of the formula now, is all.  I want something new to learn again.   Bloodborne felt pretty radical and different at the time.   But it's still the same game, ultimately. 


    Once you've learned how to play Souls, each further game is less impactful / rewarding, I think.  


    All subjective of course, but I don't feel that way about 2 and 3 at all: 2 is so odd that it barely feels like a Souls game going back to it now. And 3 was such a welcome building on the formula, and playing with conventions, closing off plot strands, etc.


    I'm not at ease with the idea that it's essential for From to deviate from the Soulsy formula to innovate. What is the formula, even? Is it just the checkpointing and lose-your-souls-on-death system? Or is it the dark atmosphere, and lore-based storytelling stuff? If they made a sci-fi game with terminals for bonfires and computer chips for souls, would that be an innovation or just the same old game again?


    I think what I'm getting at is that the most radical and distinctive innovation of the soulsborne games is a pretty fundamental gameplay mechanic and structure. If you're looking for something completely new and fresh to learn again, you're asking them to strike lightning twice.


    Edit: wait, 'strike lighting twice' doesn't make sense, but you.. know what I mean, like?

  15. 3 minutes ago, robdood said:

    I really hope it isn't. 


    If it ends up being another Soulslike I'd want them to at least go totally new from a world / style perspective.  Dark Souls should have finished at part 1. 


    What the - and then miss out on some of the greatest Souls stuff of all in 3? I'd never even hand back some of my fondest memories of 2, especially the DLCs. I can't fathom losing out on all that great shit for the benefit of keeping the first game pure.

    • Upvote 1
  16. 1 minute ago, RubberJohnny said:


    But I asked about the knob, not the keys. I understand how the keys work, but a knob turned to one position looks identical to it turned another, so how does it pick that up?



    But how does it work out how far you turned it when it looks the same? This isn't an explanation.


    Maybe reflective markers/spacers around the base of the knobs that let the IR camera detect when it's being turned?

    • Upvote 1
  17. 17 hours ago, ulala said:


    Theresa may was named, negatively and needlessly in the actual opening post.


    this is my precise point, thank you for agreeing and helping me make it.


    Anyway, see you in the alternate universe where people don't make comparisons! There's a valid and much more interesting discussion to be had about top down support for games industries worldwide than there is in just talking about a tweet: Merkel at gamescom for example. Especially given that the UK industry is facing a potential brexity crisis: this is exactly the sort of thing may should be doing, and isn't.

    • Upvote 1
  18. I'm faaaairly sure they recently added a safe/exploration mode to Soma, if that can move it firmly into the genre. 


    I feel like it would lose something without the stealthy bits. They were quite few and far between, but the effect they had was that I was on edge the entire time.

  19. 1 minute ago, JoeK said:


    I'm actually not sure! It's been a very long time since I played the old one, but the minute I saw the early footage of the remake I was kind of thinking that they've nicked the moves. 


    I had to go back and have a look as well: i mean, i remember the run being a bit weird. But this is super weird:



  20. 2 hours ago, JoeK said:


    The gameplay is/was great - proper big open worlds with a really decent story, and some pretty epic guns in the later stages. 


    What is slightly odd is that they've seemingly taken the same animations from the original and put it into the remake. They were always a little weird on the original release, but Cutter looks slightly more elastic and rubbery in this one!


    I mean it's.. definitely a new run animation right? He doesn't flap his arms like a baby bird any more. Which is sad.

  21. Of course. If we're talking about the same thing, that was heavily telegraphed by the game's promotional materials and story description.


    This probably sounds ridiculous, but thinking back, I treat the third playthrough as the game's actual ending. Still, I can't quite recommend it fully to someone who didn't play (or enjoy) Nier: you only get the full payoff for the investment of time if you can have those 'holy shit' story moments that tie that games together.

  22. The ESRB has stated that loot boxes don't fulfil their definition of gambling, so trying to get any game using them classed as for mature audiences only isn't going to work.




    It's fair enough I guess, in that the ESRB has a definition that it needs to stick to, and changing that definition would have a wider impact than just loot crates in games. The argument now perhaps needs to switch to whether any kind of randomised purchase needs to be reclassed.

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