Weekend Short-Takes: 9/27/13

Indie Games May Not Show Up on Xbox One Until Early 2014

 

Simon Wu:

I guess Minecraft isn’t too much of an indie title anymore, is it? I think that this honestly isn’t that big a deal. While the idea of “2014” has us all worried about the distant future, it’s worth remembering that the Xbox One is coming out at the tail end of 2013 as it is, just before December. Early 2014 is just two or three months, and I very much doubt the absence of indie games in that brief window will be so sorely missed while we digest the expanded capabilities of the new platforms, both in terms of games and services.

Max Gruber:

I’m starting to wonder if all those policy changes that they’ve made will be put into effect some time after the Xbox One comes out. I know that there’s a day one patch where it removes the always-online requirement, but, ironically, it can only be updated when you’re online. But, back to the topic, it would make sense that it won’t show up right off the bat, considering they have to change a lot of stuff that the Xbox One was originally planned to have.

want.nl

Valve introduces SteamOS

 

Simon Wu:

No, those waiting for Half-Life 3 or Left 4 Dead 3 can return to their caves; this isn’t the software they’re looking for. What this software is, however, is the most concerted effort to date to knock down the monopoly that Windows commands on computer gaming. And Microsoft’s hold on this segment has never been more precarious. Instead of revamping the poorly executed Games for Windows client and initiative with more coverage and support, including wider integration into the Xbox ecosystem, they folded the venture and rebranded Xbox games on Windows as a largely casual affair, offshoring the hardcore gaming responsibility to Valve, a company that has always had a mind of its own.

Max Gruber:

I feel like they’re going after the faults of the console market, like the rigid pricing structure that the Xbox and PlayStation have adopted over the years, the clunky way that the analog sticks make aiming and turning a pain compared to a K&M setup, and, what I’ll get into more depth in a bit, the ability to modify the hardware in the console itself. Essentially, this is a combination of the versatility of a PC with the easy to play nature of a console. All of this seems like a one-two punch to Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo in every regard. I really can’t wait to see where this goes from here.

vg247.com

Lead Writer/Designer Joseph Staten Leaves Bungie

 

Simon Wu:

Wow. Being the avid follower of Halo that I am, I actually read the novel that Staten wrote, Contact Harvest, and being the ridiculous nerd that I am, actually also listened to an interview he gave on NPR. He really had a vision for Halo, but that was spun off to 343. I’m guessing he had it in the cards for a while that Destiny would be his own swan song. Hats off to him for starting an exceptional franchise. I have every reason to believe that Destiny will be as successful in pushing the envelope in persistent world, next-gen gaming.

Max Gruber:

I am completely shocked to see this. After working with Bungie for 15 years, he’s left them in order to pursue new challenges. Is it me, or have there been a lot of lead designers leaving companies recently? Cliffy B. Peter Molyneux. And now Joseph Staten joins the list. I do look forward to seeing what his new project will be, but it does sadden me that he’s no longer with Bungie. Best of luck to him, and so long, space cowboy.

halopedia.org

Valve Announces 'Steam Machines,' Hopes To Improve Living Room Gaming

 

Simon Wu:

I live for the feeling of being able to set all of the graphics setting on a PC game to ‘maximum’ in the options menu. Here, Valve is going with a bold move. They’re going to pull a Windows/Android on the gaming market. Windows nearly wrecked Mac OS in the 90s because it was on PCs from a whole host of manufacturers. We are currently seeing Android slowly but surely edge out iOS in similar fashion because it has so much more coverage than Apple does with their single model. (excuse me, two now) In the same way that you can only get an Xbox One or a PS4, they are hoping that the ability to buy one that fits you better instead of shoehorning you into a single option will drive demand.

Max Gruber:

This is a dream come true for me: a console that allows you to modify the hardware without the need to buy another device—a feature that neither Microsoft, Sony, nor Nintendo allow the user to do. It’s a match made in heaven, especially those that are very tech savvy and would love to modify their device without fear of having their device bricked COUGH Simon COUGH. But, as I was thinking about it, how would it work for those that have never played a game on the PC? If they do decide to upgrade the hardware on the device, would they know what the difference between enabling and disabling V-Sync is, what Antistropic filtering does, what it means to increase the FOV, or even what components are better than what they’re currently using? And, how would the device work if someone decides that they don’t want to update the hardware? Would it work like consoles now, where you can’t modify the graphics settings in any way? Would it be an option in the menu to run the game with the specs that it was designed for, or to untick it if you do plan on changing the settings? That’s something that I’m very interested in seeing in the future.

kotaku.com

Valve announces Steam Controller, a gamepad for its game console

 

Simon Wu:

I’ll admit the giant crop circle... thumbsticks look interesting. The only thing is, I have a laptop that I play games on. But I don’t use the trackpad. I have a separate mouse. I can’t quite see how the circular trackpads will exactly replicate and reconcile the feel of a mouse with a controller, but I will reserve judgment until I’ve walked away from the demo. They’ve gone big by making it the main method of control, unlike Sony, which tacked a touchpad on the middle. Also, I’m excited to see the touchscreen in action, because it should have bespoke features for each game. Unlike Nintendo with the WiiU, however, I think it will work. One, because this is Valve doing an implementation, and two, because it will mainly display what the entirety of the WiiU gamepad is relegated to anyways: menus.

Max Gruber:

Damn you, Gabe N. That is all. Anyway, until the day comes when he burps Half-Life 3 out of his mouth, we’ll continue to joke about it. I’ve read a lot of people commenting on the analog sticks (or rather, a Hooter owl), and how it’s a weird idea to give it touch sensitive response. It’s a great half-step between a controller and a mouse, but how would it work when you’re trying to press a button while looking at the same time? When I’m playing a game on my PC, the speed and precision of the mouse is absolutely vital for split second decisions and quick aiming, like in Tribes, Counter Strike, StarCraft, Final Fantasy XIV: ARR, etc., where you can move, aim, and do a command all at once, instead of having to move my thumb off the analog stick to press a button or press the D-pad. I can’t imagine that I’ll be able to respond as quickly as I’d be able to do on a K&M.

engadget.com

Solifluktion's picture

I'm really looking forward to SteamOS and the Gamepad. While I'm not sure if this will all turn out well I think that if there's one company that is capable of making this a success it's Valve.

Scumbagb3n's picture

@Solifluktion

I trust everything that Valve puts out, they have never released a bad product.

I'm not sure how well the steambox will be received by the PC base though, as many PC gamers may have trouble moving to a device that is less versatile than their gaming PC.

Solifluktion's picture

@B3n

Yeah I guess so. I for one have no use for a dedicated Steambox since my PC already serves in that capacity. I can however see how it could 'convert' some console gamers.

Whiplash's picture

@B3n

Steam wasn't as amazing as it is now.

Solifluktion's picture

@Whiplash

I remember hating Steam when I first had to install it (Half Life 1 Anthology).

It automatically downloaded the low violence version of Hl1 were enemies burst into gears and springs and you fight against Robots instead of Marines.

 

Steam has come a long way.

Whiplash's picture

@Solifluktion

What? Gears and springs? Fighting robots? What sorcery is this?!

Solifluktion's picture

@Whiplash

German youth protection. They wanted to get an 16+ rating instead of an 18+ rating so they toned the game down. Also friendlies don't fall over when they die...they sit down and shake their heads (no really!).

Whiplash's picture

@Solifluktion

I seriously have to question Germany's censorship policies.

Solifluktion's picture

@Whiplash

They've gotten a bit better.

Nowadays it's mostly Nazisymbolism that gets removed. So they're not as fucked up as the Aussies. But it still sucks.

Scumbagb3n's picture

@Solifluktion

It's not that bad here, is it?

Solifluktion's picture

@B3n

Usually "evil" games are put on the "Index" which means, that it can't be openly sold (Although if there is an 18+ Backroom in the store it's totally legal to sell the game there).

In special cases (Manhunt etc) the can "confiscate" the game which makes selling it illegal although owning or purchasing it is still okay. That's the very worst they can do.

From what I've heard the ownership of certain games can actually be illegal in Australia, so there's a huge difference. Also our 18+ Rating is not some weird exception (Like the US's AO-Rating). Most 18+ Games are openly displayed and sell like crazy (All CoDs are 18+). 

But then there's the censorship. It's no real censorship in the original sense (since that's against the german constitution) but it's a form of self-censorship by the Publishers to avoid being put on the Index or even to get a 16+ rating which would obviously help sell the game some more.

Still it's shitty. The two of us get fucked by our countries when it comes to our hobby.

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