Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Trolling RL

Would a real name have stopped this?

Gabriel's Greater Internet Dickwad Theory requires anonymity to be included, with the result being a troll. A person who is playing a game with the Real Life feeling and emotions of others. On the internet, for the most part, that means you simple say, "They're not real either" and move on with your life.

But when they start mailing things to your house? Hacking into YOUR personal site and email? This isn't the first time this has happened, but its the first time I've heard of the troll getting caught.

Leo here lucked out, but what about Anita Sarkeesian? She's never going to meet some of the people who hacked and harassed her. Are they doing it for the same reason? Could they be someone who knows her? Would the fact that they know her cause them to be more aggressive and spiteful?

We know that real names would deter some people, but it also would open more people up to harassment. And as Leo's article shows, the police would do nothing, at least not until they actually crossed the threshold of your house. At least not until they had killed you or your family.

This kind of behavior escalates. Just like how lying and stealing will escalate. But would it have ever stopped? Would this 17 year old have ever stopped harassing this man?

One thing I know, is that be NOT having him arrested, he has given this kid a chance to actually grow; for him to change directions.

Those people attacking Anita though. They have not been caught, shamed, or anything. They simply continue to exist, to troll, and to be evil.

Real names online give more power to Trolls than it takes away. Instead, we need places like Twitter, Facebook, Google and our online communities to step up about who these people are. When harassment occurs, we need to be able to have those people be made public and responsible. We need to be able to out the trolls while protecting those who behave.

Are there any other solutions or ideas about this? Or... are there any defenders to trolling?

Monday, September 24, 2012

F2P StarCraft 2 Multiplayer

PC Gamer has been talking to Dustin Browder, a lead designer of Star Craft 2, about how they could make SC2 free to play.

Dustin says, that they have no idea how to monetize it. Obviously, you couldn't just give it for free, because SC2's main point is multiplayer, and putting it out for free would mean that sales of it might stop, unless someone wants to know more about the storyline.

They don't want to sell units (thank goodness), so what can they do? Well, how about alternate unit sprites? This provides a small advantage, when an opponent can't immediately identify your unit because they can't tell what it is.

Can you imagine having the humans replaced by fantasy units? Eldar as Elves? Etc etc? Diablo or Zombie themed Zerg instead?

You can also add value to the units by giving them new sound files as well. This would be a purely cosmetic upgrade, and available only through real money.

Along with that, they can make alternate units. These would replace a unit, fit a similar function. These are unit replacers that they can turn on or off. The idea is that they are not better, but maybe better in a different situation while losing something somewhere else.

These could be earned through gameplay or sold for money.

Would these be enough to make it free to play? Would they sell units by groups or one at a time? Would it be $5 for a new unit, or would they aim for impulse buying at $1 or $2? A whole team for $20-$30?

Would alternate sprites be sold by the group and alternate units individually? Could they make a grab bag with a random 3 units? Would you be able to trade them? Would you be able to morph them into a 3rd alternate currency... or send it to your WoW account as a summonable pet, that you could then battle with others?

Could you crunch it into resources for your Diablo 3 character? Or.... have it become a boost to be able to earn points faster for new alternate units.

Well, hopefully they think this through.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Having Fun in Champions Online

Recently a classmate has joined me in Champions Online, and he brought a friend with him. My character was level 25, and their characters had just barely finished the intro. So what did we do? We teamed up, the lowbie shared their missions. We were just having fun. The game did not stop me from playing with them.

What does the game do that allows you to play with whoever you want?

A) You can scale up/down to the leader's level. If the leader is level 11, everyone can go down, so that the game is properly challenging.

B) Missions can be shared, even if the person is not yet eligible or has already done the mission. They get a shared version of the quest, which allows them to do the quest, and turn it in for a reward. Many quest rewards also allow you to get tokens for special shops instead.

Yup, the game has leveling, but its more as a way to guide you through the storyline and as a way to limit growth so you can experience the game.

Also I recommend everyone having a similar travel power. If you're flying, go all flying, or all acrobatics, or all speed/tunneling (with that in mind, I don't recommend tunneling).

Overall, the experience is a lot of fun, just like any game you play in a group, it is what you make of it, but Champions Online, makes it easier for you to make it fun.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Blame it on the Gaze

The poem I wrote, is written with the male gaze. Quite honestly, everything I write and create will have a male gaze to it, regardless of what I do, mainly because I am in fact, a male.

Yet, is it possible for male gaze to be more than the focus of gawking, peeping and objectifying? Or is it because so much has been created with that type of male gaze that it is forever to be how the male view is perceived?

Does the male gaze apply to things when the object in question is not female? The definition has its origins in feminist studies, where it becomes important to understand that from a young age, men and women have been forced to view the world as if they were a man, and in the case of the film camera, that "man" is often a pervert who focuses quite often on specific body parts.

Horror movies use the male gaze to show the man outside the window, peeking in on the half naked woman before going in and killing her.

The male gaze decides that the over the shoulder camera of a mounted female will be back far enough to show her thong as she rides.

The male gaze, is what is used by costume designers in many video games to decide the outfits female characters will wear.

Notice that all these are doing things that when applied to another man, would be avoided. If a man is inside a room naked, more often, you will see the stalker outside through the window, while the camera stays inside. A man riding on a horse would have the camera properly behind him, and showing him above the waist. A man's outfit will often cover his entire body, especially in the case of armor.

If you treat male characters the same as you would female characters, it would actually make some men uncomfortable. Either because they feel a little gay for the view, because of what it is usually used for (recent shows use male gaze on a male rear end before revealing the subject is a male to get that exact reaction), or because they feel that it is too gay for their tastes (peoples tastes gradient from a little gay to way super gay).

So why is all this important? Why should men care? Because like everything else, it starts collapsing in on itself. It will be magnified, and become a mockery of itself (horror movies already do it). But at the same time, there is a place for it.

So go on and look for it. Look for where the camera lingers. Where something interrupts a man, and the camera explores it from every angle. Where it lingers on key features. Where the camera is in the view point of a predator.

What else do you identify as male gaze?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Blame it on the Gaze - Poem


Eyes staring, consuming, obsessing over shape. Imagining functions.

Perversion. Reluctance. Desire.


Caressing. Fondling. Groping. Hurting.

Rejection. Fear. Denial.




Monday, September 10, 2012

My Problem with Conservatives

Listening to Republicans Conservatives talk is one of the most frustrating things I can imagine doing. There is a severe lack of respect for women, homosexuals, and essentially anyone who is not themselves.

I work with Conservatives. They say things like, "It must be so hard for him to keep this job, since he's black. I won't write him up this time."

I don't even know where to start with this statement. I can't even start on it. I get physically ill, and go into a near rage just thinking about it. Its not cute and old-timey just because the person saying it is 80. Its sickening to hear them side with Akin after his comments on legitimate rape. And it is confusing that these are people as poor as me, most of them women, who think that rich people need tax cuts, women need to stop choosing to be raped, and everyone needs to believe in God.

These are people who are ignorant about who they are, what they need, and about the realities of other people. But, this is just my view from the outside. Biased with everything I believe in.

So how can I objectively view their statements without coloring my opinion of it? I honestly don't think I can. So I have to look at my personal beliefs, and wonder at what point does it matter if what I believe is correct or not, and a law has to work a certain way for the benefit of the minority of people who need to be protected?

That is the honest argument, from birth control to taxation.

How do you define life? Well, Biology has 7 requirements that something has to meet all or most of, before it is considered alive (according to wikipedia). Can that be used to define a fetus? If it is missing 2 or 3 of them, does it count as a living organism? Or does it only count as such when it is able to live on its own outside the womb?

These are the points of contention, and currently liberal and conservatives sit on opposing ends, unable to meet anywhere in the middle.

But here's a quick question... should men have any opinion on this? To be fair, a man's contribution to the process is minor in comparison to what women go through. Should their opinion be equally minor, to the point of an opinion? Or should the Biological definition stand on its own without opinion?

But it doesn't matter, because the issue is obfuscated by men shouting about legitimate rape, conservatives shouting about the bible, and women who's bodies are fucking them over just needing birth control to maintain a sense of dignity and prevent anemia from blood loss.

Finally, when it comes to rape, I think that if you haven't experienced it, you should shut up. You have no clue what you are saying on the matter. You have no idea of the lifetime change that can occur from it.

So in the end, my issue with Conservatives is that they are extremely fundamentalist in their mentality. Which continues to be the issue I have with people in general. There can't seem to be a meeting of ideas, or any sense of cooperation on issues.

 For a long time I thought that once some of these older white males left office, and younger blood came in, that perhaps a change of opinion could begin, but I forgot about brainwashed children, who continue to spout off their parent's beliefs without actually understanding what they are talking about. And they continue to be white males.

I want to talk to them, to find out what is actually going through their heads when they talk about these things. I want to open a dialogue. So here it is, if you have any opinion on this, go ahead and comment, and lets see what is going on. I've said my side, now its your turn.

I beat Penny Arcade to the Punch Line by 3 months

On June 11, 2012, I posted on Google+:

"I think the Wii U could be a great console to develop a live D&D style game, where the person with the touchscreen remote is the DM and the other 3 are players within the game. I'm putting this out there, because if I can't get to making it, someone else should!"

almost 3 months later, Penny Arcade posts:

Not only is this something I think plenty of people have thought of, it appears that Penny Arcade thought of it last. Way to be topical guys. You're 3 months late to this discussion.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

City of Heroes; dies

Unfortunate news comes out that NCsoft is closing down City of Heroes. The article says 80 employees will be affected. This is (according to the article) happening about a year after the game went free-to-play. I think its important to look at the fact that free-to-play is not some sort of balm you can apply to your game and have it become more popular or make more money.

The sad thing is, that City of Heroes/Villains, was not even considered a bad MMO! It wasn't excellent, but it wasn't a bad game. Their free to play model was interesting in that they had 3 tiers (free tier, one for if you had bought something before, and a VIP monthly membership).

Like Star Wars, end game in City of Heroes was only available to those who were VIP members. Other strange VIP only things were the ability to write in forums, creating super groups (if you were not middle tier you couldn't even join), the ability to talk in all channels (if you were a free tier you couldn't even whisper people, only local and team chat).

So here you have a game where the free model is nothing more than a trial that goes all the way to the end. Fine if you and your friends have communication outside of the game, and if you have no care about doing something at the end of the game.

I think that it wasn't that they went free to play, or that they had a game that wasn't good enough. I'm not even sure about their population numbers or income. ( active subs in 3rd Q 2008, which meant bringing in $5.3million) What I do know is that executives didn't want it anymore, and that their free-to-play model was poorly executed. I found in the comments of the article linked on top of the page, that they were down to a couple of thousand active players (not sure if they were even VIP or not). I'm not sure of the accuracy of that number though.

With this in mind, keep an eye out for what SWTOR is actually going to be providing free-to-play members. It could be that giving more than they should (the whole story arc) is what makes people play the game and desire to spend money to raid etc.

I hope that all those affected by this land on their feet.

Going Back to Champions Online - part 3

So I created another character a Glacier Archetype (tanky/control). Glaciers are meant to freeze/trap certain enemies while getting a lot of aggro and taking a lot of damage.

One thing I noticed from my typical build is that she needs to auto more (this is true of many builds that don't focus on cost reduction or having more energy). There are some levels along the way that you get choices in power, you get to pick whichever advantages you want for the power, and though your super stats are set, the talents you can pick from the super stats are also yours to choose.

In other words, its like picking a class. All the class roles are there, and for $5 you can get a different one. Making a character without pay for items is actually easy, since MOST of the outfit choices are free. Overall, for just trying out the game, you can play it for free for pretty cheap, and what they do sell are either things to help players who sometimes play alone (sidekicks), who don't play often enough to keep up with friends (XP boosts), and costumes/powersets (which are not needed to play the game).

The interesting thing is the random grab bags. I haven't bought one yet, because I'm not sure what is in them, and whether I should bother at all, since I have gold. So if anyone has done those, please let me know.