tanukivilla

Not Specified
from San Francisco, CA

  • Activity

    • 6 years ago

      tanukivilla

      Work has been going better, more code has been written, and I'm once again sleeping through the night. In other words, things are back to how they used to be.

    • 6 years ago

      tanukivilla

      This is a question, not a gripe, but a question: Microsoft's Xbox One has an offline mode that a player can use for up to 24 hours before it has verifying itself online. It also has a cloud that can be used for background computation while gaming. Sony's PS4 also, apparently, supports cloud computing as well (http://www.playstationlifestyle.net/2013/06/16/playstation-4-can-use-cloud-computing-to-be-more-powerful-too-says-sony/).

      How does that work if the user is offline for those 23 hours? Will all of that cloud computing be done on the Xbox One or PS4 and, if so, will that cause any type of lag? Is there any lag if the player is using a peripheral device like the Smart Glass, PS Vita's crossplay functionality, etc...? Will the cloud only be used to compute online components of the game since at that point the engine/developer knows the player has an internet connection? If the game runs just as fast on the console as it does with the addition of cloud computing, why use cloud computing at all?

      Is this really an advantage for the developer or does it cause them to do more work in creating an engine that runs just as fast with cloud computing as without? My crystal ball is murky and swimming through the muck are plenty of unanswered questions.

    • 6 years ago

      tanukivilla

      This is the best explanation of the XOne that I've read from someone at Microsoft and they are still lying through their teeth about most of it:

      pastebin.com/uCmdh9jB

      It's amazing that according to actual business people, marketing plays a key and costly role in why game prices are so high. Even more important is the price of development versus the player's enjoyment of the game (www.wired.com/gamelife/2012/04/opinion-kohler-video-expensive/). Yet, here he claims the only way to lower them is to diminish used game sales. Which is odd since games have always sold for about this much (www.1up.com/news/90s-game-price-comparison-charticle and arstechnica.com/gaming/2010/10/an-inconvenient-truth-game-prices-have-come-down-with-time/). Note that the price was actually higher for a game before resellers like GameStop or EBGames even hit the scene. It's also odd that he only looks at the people trading in getting screwed versus the people buying the used games who get the better end of the stick. I guess that might diminish the story he's trying to push. As other people have noted, there are 75 million 360s out there, but only 45 millions Gold Live accounts (www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-04-18-xbox-live-at-46m-users-as-xbox-division-sees-sales-jump-56-percent). That's about 60% of their user base. So, unlike Sony and Nintendo who made consoles for 100% of their users, Microsoft made theirs for just 60%. Most people still have DSL and while they can get 3-5 Mbps (the XOne requires 1.5 Mbps), they can't if two people are trying to use the internet at the same time. I'd love to see what data he's working off of, because as far as everything I've read, no publisher is suffering due directly to used game sales. In fact, if you look at companies like Square Enix, the problem seems to be that they can't accurately predict how many games they will sell. Development costs keep going up, but number of games sold has actually not increased at the same rate. Perhaps that's the problem, Microsoft. Not to mention that Steam has an offline mode, you don't need to log in every 24 hours. If my internet goes down, I can still play single-player games. Minecraft for the PC works the same way. They've also been vague about what happens when you don't log in after 24 hours. Anyone who's dealt with Live customer service will probably have a hard time believing that after 24 hours, signing back in will be a simple process.

      Don't even get me started on Glass, that's absolute horseshit right there. Also, the fact that Kinect still has ZERO games for it (the only games that sell are dance games) doesn't inspire me. The first Kinect barely functioned but Microsoft kept claiming it was awesome and worked like a charm, so believing them this time around is much harder even though the hardware is much better this time. Most people don't have huge stages with lots of light, they live in small rooms or apartments about 10-20 feet across with low to medium lighting. Show me that demo and I'll believe in this thing more. Every time I've used Kinect, sometimes even on showroom floors, I've wandered out of it's range and been told to get back to where the sensor can see me. Never had that problem with a Wiimote or a Move controller. About a year or two ago, Microsoft ordered all of their first party developers to include Kinect in some way (www.gamasutra.com/view/news/35159/Microsoft_All_FirstParty_Xbox_360_Titles_Will_Eventually_Use_Kinect.php). The results were everyone just putting in paltry voice commands and the number of Kinect-only games didn't really increase at all. Sorry, Microsoft, but so far, the Kinect is basically a microphone to turn on/off things and completely screw up when trying to watch a DVD or movie (www.giantbomb.com/xbox-360/3045-20/forums/turn-off-kinect-voice-commands-for-hulu-plus-app-535213/ and many more). Also, Microsoft keeps talking about the cloud. If you're a third party developer and Microsoft has this cloud thing and Sony doesn't, are you gonna use it? Probably not since it'll suck up a lot of resources both during production and after it. Maybe some studios will, but I don't believe most gamers care about this nor do most games require it.

      He did get one thing right, Microsoft sucks at marketing and press related to the XOne. Maybe if they were honest, even on Reddit, more people would believe them.

      There is a lot that is questionable about what they are doing. Yes, I believe they are trying to move to digital-only distribution, but is that what most people want or are ready for? Also, are they doing it in the best possible way and are they truly trying to emulate Steam? To both the latter questions, my answer is still, no. I'm not against digital distribution, I just don't think Microsoft is going about it the right way.

    • 6 years ago

      tanukivilla

      So I started my new job earlier this week. Still not sleeping through the entire night (I sleep in 2 or 3 hour bursts for about 6-9 hours each night). However, I'm hoping that problem will slowly alleviate itself. Perhaps over this weekend when I don't have to wake up early. Last weekend I had to wake up early to help out with Burning Man stuff, which was great and now I'm super excited for that. I can't believe it'll only be 2 months and then I'll be back on the Playa.

      Anyway, the new job is going well. I'm still a technical artist, but I'm the only technical artist at this studio (it's way smaller than Sony Santa Monica. I think after they finish hiring, we'll be one-fourth the size Sony Santa Monica was at its peak). It's a double-edged sword because on the one hand, I have no one to turn to for help and there is a lot that rests on my shoulders. On the other hand, there are fewer people who rely on you (like I said, smaller team) and you get all the glory when you make things. So far, it's been great. I've basically built 3-5 tools, changed the main player rig, and I've been working there less than a week. I know pretty soon I'll have to start working with the physics side of things and integrating them into the rig for hair and cloth. That usually is a frustrating experience until you know what to do and then it's fun and awesome. Wish I could talk about the amazing game we're working on, but we haven't announced anything yet.

    • 6 years ago

      tanukivilla

      Apparently, I now have some form of sleep anxiety. This was self-diagnosed, so it might be total crap, but that's the conclusion I've come to with the help of Web MD. Basically, Sunday night I stayed up til 5am playing video games. I've done this before and usually, I'll sleep until like 10 or 11am. However, I awoke at 8am in a panic. It was like a straight shot of adrenaline and my "fight or flight" response was going full bore. I was able to calm down and around 8:30am I fell back asleep, but it was restless and I awoke shortly after 9am in another panic. I was tired and anxious all day. There were moments when I felt better, but these were not in the majority. And now it's tonight. Same basic story. I started getting tired around 10pm. I've been trying to sleep since 11pm with no real success. It's the same thing: I feel tired, I lie down and close my eyes, I can feel myself drifting off towards sleep, and in those last moments before reality fades and sleep takes over I suddenly get a shot of adrenaline and I'm back awake. Sometimes in a panic, but not nearly as much or as often as Monday morning. How long this will last, I don't know, but I hope it goes away soon. I've never had this happen before and it's freaking me out, which probably isn't helping. However, it just feels odd to actual fear a natural bodily function like sleep despite craving it.

    • 6 years ago

      tanukivilla

      Yesterday, I bought myself a video game that's been around for a long time, but I had never played - Minecraft. This was a huge mistake. It turns out I bought heroin.

    • 6 years ago

      tanukivilla

      It might be selfish or narcissistic, but I like having all my friends wish me happy birthday on Facebook. It lets me "feel the love" from around the world.

    • 6 years ago

      tanukivilla

      Things are looking good. Seems like a few studios have some interest in me. Just have to make sure I don't screw up the interviews and art tests. Unless I do something foolishly stupid, it looks like I'll be starting a new job sometime in 1-2 months. Pretty darn good seeing as how the time period between GDC and E3 is usually a tough time to get hired (studios are more focused on making milestones, its the start of a fiscal quarter, people are traveling so it's hard to interview, etc...).

      Also, none of the jobs on my horizon are in LA. I've never been a huge fan of LA (I moved here for work, not out of a love of LA), but it's not a terrible place either. Still, I don't think I'll really miss it in the end.

    • 6 years ago

      tanukivilla

      The video game industry is a pretty chaotic place. It seems like every month there are layoffs, reorganizations, or restructurings occurring. And, yes, companies are still hiring, but how many and how quickly? Are they absorbing all that is being released back out and into the market? I haven't seen the numbers, but the fact that there are layoffs and each year there are new students graduating and entering the game industry, seems to indicate that the answer is "not likely". This doesn't mean that the chaos hasn't been fruitful or profitable, but as someone who works in this industry, it's also been palpable.

      It also doesn't seem like the chaos will stop any time soon. Over the next few years, the game industry will have to answer the following questions - How will they handle the new consoles? How big a bite will Android consoles like the Ouya and Game Stick take out of the existing console market? How big an impact will the Steambox make? Is the industry as a whole going to digital distribution rather than retail distribution? Are handhelds going to last much longer? Will mobile gaming get better distribution, marketing, etc...? Are Facebook games dead? How many more companies will switch over to a mostly contract worker model? Should a new studio join a conglomerate or stick with "cheaper" avenues of distribution? Will companies start making more accurate predictions with their sales numbers? Is it still worth it to spend as much money on as many "AAA" games as it used to be? How much should large conglomerates be investing in franchises versus new IPs? How much will conglomerates actually spend on or help with the smaller studios they claim they are now embracing? And many more.

      Some of those are questions that have existed for years now and some will not be answered for years to come. However, the upcoming fights over hardware markets and software distribution leave me to believe that the next decade will probably be even more chaotic than the previous. No one knows what business models will work, so there will be lots of failures and few tremendous spikes of success. To me, the move from PS3 to PS4 has a lot more questions around it than going from the PS1 to the PS2 or the PS2 to the PS3. In those earlier transitions, there were far fewer questions and the road ahead seemed a lot more obvious. That isn't to say no changes were made, but they were smaller and seemed more like a natural evolution. Now, we might see a great egalitarianism where indie developers start earning more money and some past AAA companies start earning less, but both put out a more stable "middle ground" product on things like Steam, XBLA, and PSN or we might see a great schism where the indies are stuck producing PC, Android console, and mobile games, using crowd sourcing as the chief way to get a substantial budget from fans based on past successes and only the few remaining triple AAA studios can afford to put out a small amount of big budget games. Or we might see both or neither or some weird version of both along with four other models. Compare that to when the PS3, Wii, and 360 came out - retail was the obvious distribution route, bigger budgets seemed to be resulting in bigger sales, handheld sales were diminishing but not by much, Steam and GOG weren't being used much, and online gaming was a neat idea that no one knew if it'd go anywhere. The point is, the last decade was a bumpy ride and this upcoming one seems like it'll be even worse.

      I understand massive layoffs. I understand how that looks in an accountant's ledger or on a shareholder's year end report versus how that actually is for the people who are now unemployed because of it. I get why it makes more cents to lay off a lot of your staff between projects to keep the studio's overhead down. I took economics 101, so I get it. Large profits, low overhead. I understand why companies do the things they do to maintain or obtain that. I also understand that companies can run themselves into the ground. However, just because I understand the money behind it, doesn't mean I like it and it doesn't mean that I don't suffer through it. More and more people I graduated with have resumes that read like laundry lists of studios. Most of the people I know have been through a few jobs. Most of them haven't worked at a studio for longer than 1-3 years. Almost none of them were ever actually fired. Like me, they were laid off, usually en masse at the end of a project or because a studio was being closed down. They didn't do anything wrong, they didn't have a bad work ethic, they didn't miss any deadlines, and they followed the orders they were given to perfection. But in the end, none of that matters when a company is looking at their fiscal calendar and budget. In the end, a few people up high make the call about whether your project lives or dies, whether your team gets to stay together or not, or whether your studio gets to exist or perish. The next decade will probably reflect that even more so than this one.

      So what's the point? Why the rant? Because I want a better business model. I look at this period of chaos coming up and I see a chance for change. The tools are there for everyone to use now. The distribution methods can no longer be used as an excuse for entry. There are those, like Valve or Microsoft, which aren't going anywhere anytime soon no matter what happens, but what about all the younger companies or the ones that have yet to be created? There are all these questions that no one knows the answers to. I hope someone figures it out. I hope some company can show others the way, of how to create a studio that doesn't change much over the years; that is able to hold on to its crew, its fans, and its money. I hope some company figures out how to obtain that rare quality known as "stability". There is a storm on high and you can already see the lightning, but there is adventure to be found, and hopefully, smoother sailing.

    • 6 years ago

      tanukivilla

      Got to meet Alan at GDC. That was pretty cool. Also met another RT employee who was wearing Gus' badge but was definitely not Gus. Shame I can't remember his actual name. GDC was good for networking this year, but outside of that, was actually quite lame. The Oculus Rift was the best thing on display and that had a 3 hour waiting line. No joke. Anyway, it was still fun parties and great to see friends. Maybe I'll wind up with a new job because of this.

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