Zen Of Design

The design and business of gaming from the perspective of an experienced developer

Month: January 2016

PCs are Still the Most Successful Platform

Maybe the MMO isn’t quite dead yet.

Seriously, Are We Still Talking About Sad and Rabid Puppies?

Allum Bokhari of Breitbart claims that bookstores are purging their shelves of politically incorrect authors.

Allum Bokhari is full of shit.

Just like most Breitbart so-called journalists.

Criticism is Exactly What Freedom of Speech Was Meant to Protect

A reader of ZenOfDesign sent me this thread that he started on NeoGAF near the turn of the year.  I’ve found it an interesting topic to talk about, but haven’t had time to discuss it in detail.

I am very interested in creative processes and complex discussions around the creative freedom of artists as balanced against societal responsibility…. I have seen enlightening discussions amongst members around these subjects (the “butt-slap story” or “Quiet as embarrassing” being some of them). This is why I wanted to start this discussion around the role of the artist beyond his own creation as a “meta” topic.

– can [the Artist] do as he/she feels?
– should he/she be concerned by the social environment of his/her art?
– is he/she tacitly influenced by his surrounding status quo, so the idea of art of isolation is chimera?
– should he/she be entirely free but so are critics to point out the problematic aspects of the creation?

The answer is a big ol’ ball of wax to unwind, but in truth is fairly straightforward – at least to questions 1 and 4. Maybe I’ll take 2 and 3 later.

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Donald Trump Wins Endorsement from Bus Aficionado and Inethical Journalist

It’s so amusing when my two favorite train wrecks – GamerGate and the Republican Primary – manage to find a way to collide.  This week, Donald Trump earned a key endorsement.  Not, Sarah Palin –although that one is comedy gold.  This one:

That’s right, Mark Kern – a former game developer turned GamerGate zealot with a history of  noxious idiotic activity came out in support Donald Trump.  Because, you guessed it – Political Correctness!

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No, Gamers Are Not The New Religious Right

Dear Jef Rouner,

Yes, there are some real shitty people in the games playing audience.  I’ve been writing about them for the past two years in particular, and beyond.  I’ve been policing them in the games I built (MMOs) for even longer.

They are not the norm, as your article would suggest.  They are aberrations and accidents.  Many – even most – gamers are good, standup, quality people.  Some are trolls.  Some are awful trolls.  Some of these trolls become celebrities amongst those trolls, despite the fact that they rarely, if ever game.

The truth is, it only takes a handful of trolls to make things seem poisonous. As I’ve written before, people used to think that 10% of the population of UO was griefers.  It was closer to 0.1%.  Assholish behavior just rises in consciousness, and we tend to ignore people who are decent human beings.

So don’t call these people you refer to as ‘gamers’.  That’s a term for good people.  Go with ‘fuckwads’.

On the Matter of the Blue Checkmark

If you don’t know who Milo Yiannopoulos is, you should consider yourself lucky.  I admit, I was initially fooled by his cool, cultured accent when he interviewed me for his Podcast in the early days of the debacle that would be GamerGate.  In truth, he is the Liberace of Manufactured Outrage, a bullshit merchant of the highest order.  He is also, ironically, a professional victim, adept at getting himself in trouble by being a total asshole, and then hamming it up to get clicks.

Ironically, given that he’s an e-celeb for GamerGate, he’s also a deeply inethical journalist working for Breitbart, a magazine so unethical it makes the National Enquirer look like the Wall Street Journal.

He’s also a key reason why the game industry cancer known as #GamerGate ceased to meaningfully be about game journalism or, typically, even about games at all.  Not that it was much early on, but he’s a huge part of why it veered into sheer right-wing thin-skinned outrage politics. After spending years mocking gamers as weirdos in yellowing underpants, he became a convert when he realized that GamerGate was, in fact, populated significantly by exactly the sort of toxic idiots that buy into his broken philosophy.

That philosophy is just a war on ‘political correctness’.  Of course, in an attempt to rub his stink on it, he and a couple of his colleagues tried to reclaim the tired old premise of ‘political correctness’ and rename the cause ‘cultural libertarianism’, probably because they realized that a whole bunch of kids get high, read Ayn Rand in college and think they’re libertarian before they realize that, at its core, what passes for libertarianism this day is the simple promise to try to remain an asshole as frequently as possible at all time.

He said so much in an article just before the break, where he proudly boasts about being an asshole – you know, for FREEDOM.  One thing he boasts about is getting suspended by Twitter, which required breaking the terms of service – most likely for targeted and directed harassment, but given his behavior, there is so many good reasons it could have occurred.

Despite Milo’s boasting about how awesome this is, this quickly turned sour. Twitter has a checkmark that they grant to people who are recognized celebrities – probably because they grew tired of assholes fucking with other people by pretending to be Anne Hathaway. Well, Milo had one. I say ‘had’ because Twitter apparently has a policy of removing this blue tick from anyone who breaks their terms of service, probably in an attempt to dissuade so-called celebrities from abusing their status by encouraging their followers to harass other users of twitter. Which I stress, is definitely the case here.

Anyway, Twitter took his checkmark away. I have some exclusive footage of his response.

Seriously, he’s been having a tantrum about this for a week now.

Now, I don’t know that I agree with those who say that just taking a checkmark away is going to solve anything.  It’s much more likely that this is merely a warning shot, and a first step towards a banning if he keeps doing what he’s doing.  His issue is that while he has declared that he is going to do everything in his power to be an asshole (and again, BOASTING about getting kicked off of Twitter for his efforts), then that’s going to run against the philosophy of Twitter, who has realized that their platform sucks at dealing with harassment, and that people as high as the CEO is convinced this needs to change.  It doesn’t help that Milo has a habit of taunting the people his followers decide to torment.  A couple of people have provided more insight on this tantrum, but why bother.  It’s just a tantrum.  That doesn’t stop his colleagues at Breitbart from hysterically trying to link this tempest in a teacup to a drop in Twitter’s stock price.

The funny thing is the people who still cry censorship.  It’s almost as if these self-styled libertarians don’t realize that Twitter is both a private business as well as a private publishing platform.  They have no reason to allow an abusive megalomaniac abuse their other users, nor do they have to feel compelled to give them a microphone.  Milo has made it clear that his goal is to weaponize Twitter to encourage his followers to harass, badger and terrorize people who don’t share his worldview.  Unsurprisingly, Twitter is signaling that that’s not how they want their platform to be used and perceived.

Dungeon Boss Update

The game that I’ve been working on, Dungeon Boss, has been doing quite well.  Shortly before Christmas, we added Guilds & the Tower of Pwnage to the game. Yes, I named the Tower.  These features have been getting solid reviews, and the game has been performing quite tidily.

IGN recently did a Let’s Play of the game which was pretty nice.  We also had a pretty awesome Christmas marketing video that showcased our Christmas skins.

We also get some fan reviews:

Well they said that it was addicting and they’re right. I played all day and night. Haven’t slept in months. The wife and kids left me. Played all day and lost my job. I had no money so I lost the house also. I lost everything but Dungeon Boss kept me company. After I lost my iPhone to the bank I jacked a random guy’s iPhone. Then I decided to live full time in McDonalds. Dungeon Boss has now been my life. McDonalds provided me wifi in my hard times. Well I gotta go. The court date is soon for jacking he iPhone. Adiós



“The Force Awakens” Proves Even Anti-Diversity Idiots Agree That Representation Matters

“When I was nine years old Star Trek came on. I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, ‘Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be.” – Whoopi Goldberg

To me, nothing crystallizes the mantra of ‘representation matters’ quite like Whoopi’s quote about why she was so passionate about getting involved with the Next Generation. And it was echoed early in 2015, when a fetal amputee had this to say about Mad Max: Fury Road:

I am just about the biggest advocate for “representation matters” there is, but as a white woman I never really felt it applied to me all that much. Watching Fury Road, I realized how wrong I was. I’ve been this way my entire life and I’ve never felt “handicapped.” I’m disabled, yes – there’s shit I just can’t do, but an invalid I am not. For the most part I’ve always approached life with a “figure out how to do it and just get it done” attitude; I am loathe to admit I can’t do anything and I never give up without exhausting all the possibilities available to me. Watching Fury Road, I felt like I was watching my own struggle brought to life (albeit in a very fantastical setting), and I don’t think I ever realized how truly profound that could be for me.

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