Cant care

April 28th, 2017 by harold

It’s been interesting. First, Ian Bogost article on how video games are better without stories. Which I agree with, without denying the attraction for people to play games FOR the story. It’s a matter of taste but also as Ian says, it’s not where games are the strongest, I don’t think we can argue against that. Video games were about gameplay before anything else. The article talks about narrative in games with a new story-heavy game that just came out, What Remains of Edith Finch.

Watching a playthrough my immediate reactions are:

– Make it a movie.

– Cool assets. That’s a lot of work to cram in some interactivity that is not that central to the game: it’s about the story, not mechanics or fancy way to advance the plot through game scripts. Thus back to my first point.

It made me think about why I have such a hard time connecting with stories in games –and everywhere else- and it’s because writers always think they’re slick to talk about family because that’s universal right?

Wrong. Family is a vague concept to my adopted ass. The all genealogy thing and what happened to uncle Bob, I just can’t give a fuck. And it’s not because it’s not compelling, but it’s really not to me. It’s bland. It’s washed out. It’s the past that isn’t really what’s going on today.

It made me think. What kind of stories do I like? The ones that are vague. The ones that leave room for interpretation. The ones where relationships are absolutely not about that ultra classic view of family. I’m starting to think that if I loved Akira, it wasn’t so much because of the amazing sci-fi and paranormal stuff going on but because it’s just a bunch of kids with no family. They are their own family. I connect with that. Same with Mr. White and Jesse in Breaking Bad. It’s like emergent families. That’s a lot more interesting to me because that’s how my life has been: many families, none with which I share anything biological.

In short I connect with stories where family is a concept but not that hard, body-wired thing. And it’s not just because I’ve been adopted that I don’t connect with that, I think I’ve seen enough toxic biological families to know that traditional family is not something that you should put on a pedestal or imagine as being universal.

I see narrative design –right, writing- as more interesting when you add mystery in the relationship itself, not when you add mystery around a classic family tale.

Anyway.

Game developers please

April 24th, 2017 by harold

I don’t get how we end up where we are.

All machines and devices that we use are personal computers. CPUs, RAM, storage, Operating Systems, Updates.

All PCs, all doing the same. Your phone, your console, your laptop it doesn’t matter. All the same.

All running software that we mostly get online because that’s how we’ve been doing since online exists.

I don’t get why we’re spending so much time separating things and making them as if they were different. They are not, at all. People acting like Japanese games would be successful on Steam like, duh. I wanted that for the past 15 years if not more and it’s not slick or anything: we love their games and we don’t necessarily want to buy a new machine to play them.

Like, is that even an argument? Why wouldn’t we want people to play our games on whatever they want, now that we can do that pretty well? Why wouldn’t we want people to pay for computer games, those things that are so damn complex to make?

Instead we create silos inside silos inside silos and bargain our sweat to ludicrous levels.

I don’t get it.

LMK

April 24th, 2017 by harold

Composed in 2014 in Paris, lifting and re-mastered in 2017 in LA.

Elections

April 24th, 2017 by harold

French people are salty all the time, by default. Even if the candidates were perfect, people would not believe them and they would resent their propaganda about earth needing our help, or how we should be dismantling the banking system etc.

It’s just how we are. We don’t trust and we like to not trust. It’s a sport. Which is also why nothing is going anywhere because well, there’s no goal besides being the smarter in the room. That leads nowhere though.

Moment

April 21st, 2017 by harold

My dad lost his mom a couple weeks ago. 103 years old. It was time. She felt it, called her kids to say goodbye. They had a nice funeral, all the family but a few including me was there.

I still think about him telling me online, at 65, how he felt a little lost without his parents now. I saw the kid in him in that moment like never before.

We’re all kids forever, in a way. Sometimes we doubt it.

Creative process and critics

April 21st, 2017 by harold

Rock Paper Shotgun talking about Full Throttle:

On release, Full Throttle was perhaps the first sign of adventure fatigue from critics. It was 1995, and the flawless DOTT and S&M had in years past rightly received rave reviews from everywhere, inducing everyone else in the industry to try to copy. The press were perhaps looking to take LucasArts down a peg, and Full Throttle provided the opportunity. It was short, the puzzles were simpler, and it had some absolutely god-awful action sequences. It didn’t receive a drubbing, of course – but it did represent the beginnings of the tedious decision that the time of the adventure was coming to an end.

They. Were. Trying. Stuff. Out. It’s something that critics get-but-don’t-get most of the time. Creative people try things out, find a recipe. They use that successful recipe for a while. Then they want to switch it up, change things. Consolidate, reduce, add.

Short? Yes, because we’ve known for a long time that people don’t finish games.

Simpler? Yes, because we’ve known for a long time that people hate difficult, convoluted puzzles.

Action? Yes, because we’ve known for a long time that people like action a lot.

Yes, most of the time it doesn’t do as well as previous output but… That doesn’t really matter because the reasons for changes are not stupid and if you want the old stuff, it’s still around.

We’re here now in 2017, where the most popular games have some narrative going on like Uncharted or Thimbleweed Park or Mass Effect. Adventure games never really died, that was a headline trick. That’s what I dislike with journalism/coverage of creative stuff: pushing a narrative when really, there’s none.

We just create entertainment and try to sell it to continue to create entertainment. If you want to write about that, dive into the design and business decisions that are shaping games but don’t go for the kind of lazy and obnoxious “X is dead” or “Y is everything now”.

Playoffs

April 19th, 2017 by harold

I’m all for the Spurs because:

– It’s the home of international folks and immigrants. In Texas. That’s weird and I like that.

– it’s my brother from Paris Tony Parker’s home.

– They put the D in Defense. Pretty much the only team that will come at every single shot taken, and try to block it. Watch them, it’s unreal. Every. Single. One. Danny Green is a nightmare, I wouldn’t like to play against him.

– They grind and out grind other teams. They can play a full game with a 1 point difference and you can be sure that they will stay focused and win. If they lose it’s because well sometimes, you have bad luck or a dumb ass referee.

– Kawhi. I remember watching him on the bench being shy and shit, I thought he had so much potential. He exploded. First, top notch defender. Then, he got good at 3s. Last year he had issues with dribbling, this year he’s BALLING. I’m noticing now that he’s working on his left hand a lot. The dude is updating his game faster than your apps and devices.

– The Spurs are the only team that will beat the shit out of Lebron’s without thinking about it. They lost in 2013 to him and it wasn’t because of him. He’s almost a non-factor to them, which is unreal.

I think Greg Popovich and Tony Parker played mind games all season, making everyone believe that Tony couldn’t score anymore so that during the playoffs, he would and that would be a disaster for other teams.

Professional teams know positions, techniques. To win, you need an extra factor. It can be an absurdly good 3pt shooting like the Warriors or Rockets or it can be something else, like a point guard scoring when he spent the entire year passing the ball. That’s why I like watching Kyle “Frame by Frame” Anderson at the Spurs. You never know what he’s going to do. Dude is random as fuck –in a good way- and that screws up other teams. J Simmons is the same. It’s so good to see. Pop is so damn good. 

That’s why the Cavs, defendant champions are in trouble: they are predictable as hell. We know who will shoot the ball three passes earlier. We know they can’t do well without Lebron. It’s going to be rough for them to get to the finals, the East is thirsty. The Warriors have become a lot more unpredictable this season and that’s scary for my Spurs but San Antonio is I think even more scarier, they have d e p t h (and no pressure like the Warriors have). The bench is dope and they have the best mix of veterans and young bloods IMO. Hopefully the WCF is those two teams going at it. It’s gonna be LIT.

Tony, you know it’s the last time you can maybe get a sixth title. I wish I could send you some muscles or a third lung because I feel like, it’s doable. It’s doable son. GO SPURS.

3DPrint

April 16th, 2017 by harold

Architecture time, bitches!

So maybe you missed that stuff and a Russian company with American funds made that and these days Russia and the US… Anyway, it’s a 3D printed small house proof of concept (38m²/400 square feet) made in 24 hours. About $10K. They have a great post over there on specs etc.

3D PRINTED HOUSE
It’s more magic than magic to me.

Some thoughts:

– Sci-Fi designers, get on this shit. Stop doing the same annoying huge ass towers since Blade Runner, be creative, fuck shit up, create cool looking neighborhoods with those. Create stories around the fact that we can print houses, I don’t know.  Make. It. Legit.

– The shape is weird you say? You’re right but the best shape insulation-wise are circles and curves. 2nd best is square. Then it’s downhill and bad. L-shape house? Awful. Rectangle? I guess that kind of works.

– The wall are empty and can be filled with whatever. I’d choose hemp. Actually if they could find a mix of concrete+hemp for the printer’s ink, that would be so dope.

– So let’s say we double the surface, which would make it around 80m². A tad small still but at 100m² you have everything you need for a small family. People trip all the time on having a big house but it sucks, in a lots of ways. A small house is where it’s at.

I can’t wait to print mine. Pretty sure regulations, zoning and laws will slow the hell out of that amazing progress though.

Russ

April 10th, 2017 by harold

Dude is the quintessence of Most Valuable Player.

Drags his OKC team to a 5th seed in the playoffs. Beats the unbreakable triple double record with a game at 50 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists which is stupid. His team won on a buzzer beater three Russell shot from almost half court, that’s the quintessence of What The Fuck. He was rated worst 3-point shooter of the league not so long ago.

It’s nuts. He deserves 2 MVP trophies just cause.

It will be back

April 1st, 2017 by harold

“Today, small, easily hidden speaker systems are the mainstays of home listening. But how did we get from full cabinetry to speakers not much bigger than a tin can?”

From statement furniture to unseen tech.

Because TVs took over, changing so fast that people kept their money to buy a new one every three years instead of buying speakers. Music was well, everywhere and portable. We started sharing albums more than ever digitally but we didn’t share the listening experience anymore.

I use headphones a good 6 hours a day at least and it’s nice but there’s nothing like listening to music on a nice set of speakers, both pointing to each ear, without clutter in front of one or some weird angle on the other. It’s just a lot more exciting, natural sounding experience. Bass frequencies have to be felt physically. Sound fills the room.

Maybe nice stereo or 5.1 setups will be back once an entire generation gets fed up with screens, pictures, videos and all that visual noise 24/7.

Closing your eyes and listening to left and right nuances is a magical feeling.