I give up at the blogging game

Jeff Freeman has a great piece about what it takes to run a blog. Here I take him seriously ;p

I don’t agree with Jeff Freeman.

I don’t play with those rules, I don’t get paid if I get more hits.

I could have one hundred readers being all idiots as I could have four but being intelligent people. At the end of the day I couldn’t care less about how many people read me. Actually, let me get this straight: the less I know, THE BETTER. I write to develop ideas, not to build consensus. Too often I’m misunderstood, it would be terribly frustrating if I had set my goal as trying to convince people of what I think. Instead I see the “blog” as a personal point of view. A personal research. I “reblog” not to steal the worth of other people content and enhance my own, but because I draw from it, it provokes thoughts or needs to be archived. As a memory of things that are worthwhile to be kept. So that if I need to find something, the research is simpler. The blog is a way to create order, to select what you need and what you find worthwhile. To focus on certain parts.

What is fundamental is the overall community where ideas are being suggested and elaborated. The raw material of the experience. The fact that we “irritate” each other and, maybe, produce a reaction. Whatever comes out of it, following whatever a possible reader may find interesting. It’s an absolutely selfish game, everyone takes what he needs.

I don’t run it as a competition even if it may be fun to think about it that way. But at the end it doesn’t count. What counts is the synthesis you make of things. The way you borrow from everything and everyone. Nothing is created, we are just getting influenced in multiple ways and have a personal reaction. A blog is that subjective reaction, a selection of arguments and a soapbox.

The audience is optional.

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V for Vendetta, deluding

After all the positive reviews I was expecting to go see a great movie, instead it is only “passable”. I’m not surprised that Alan Moore didn’t like it.

There are two parts that didn’t work, the “humanization” of V and the whole screenplay.

The screenplay was absolutely crap. I really didn’t understand why it was messed up, the original story is already prefectly cinematographic, with a perfect mood. The changes just don’t make any sense if not to manipulate the story to make it much less believable and solid. Just as an example at the very beginning, Evey originally approached the guard to offer for sex and get some money. She starts as a quite desperate character trying to survive in that world, she was hopeless and lost. In the movie the whole situation is stereotyped to the point that it loses all its strength and feels rather cheap. The guards approach Evey and menace her directly. It becomes the usual “damsel in distress” with the baddies around her, just waiting for the superhero to arrive and save her. How utterly predictable.

All the fine sophistication of the original story is lost in a second to never to be found again in the whole movie. V, one of the most fascinating characters ever created, becomes just an anarchic, politicized version of Spider-Man, or Spawn, or Batman. Or all of them stacked up together. And here starts the usually hollywood action movie. Finely crafted, sure, but nowadays feeling like an unnecessary cut and paste from every other movie.

V is humanized through the ridicule of the character. The sarcasm here looks so absolutely out of place and I felt as watching a parody of “Scary Movie”. Switch the masks and they feel exactly the same. Why there was the need to completely remove the inscrutability to transform the whole thing into another improbable love story?

The rest of the movie is acceptable but everything is so constantly bloated and pushed to the excess that the whole “message” of the movie is kind of lost. Exploited. It is just doesn’t work and makes that world feel so much distant from our own, faked. Failing to make us think and get the analogies, the symbolic value.

The original story was set in a precise moment, but Alan Moore made the mood feel somewhat “out of time”, anachronistic. Which helped to make the message feel actual and not dependent on a geographic location and precise time. The movie completely loses the mood, it “shows” too much, it is always too explicit, too defined. Too blatant.

So I didn’t like it at all. The character was ruined, the story twisted and stereotyped, the message lost credibility and power.

It is still decent. As a movie it isn’t particularly good. It isn’t directed really well, same hollywood stuff, all the movies look exactly the same, all cloned. But the power of the story is still there, somewhere, and makes the movie worthwhile at least.

It is coarse and too close to the average superhero movie. Modernized and filled with cliches. Ready to be merchandized. A great ideal made cheap, emptied and sold off. But somewhere, it can still reach the public despite all these manipulations.

Great interpretation for the actor behind V, instead. It wasn’t easy to bring on screen a character without a face, communicating just with the movement of the head and the body language. He did really a good work.

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SWG and the lack of consistency

From FoH:

Talk about immersion killing. First thing I noticed about SWG and something I never really heard a good excuse for. I’m can be a jedi, master the force, wield all sorts of weapons, see Darth Vader(!), but this 3-inch bit of rock stops me dead in my tracks!

This always bugged me and everyone else. Noone tolerates the lack of jumping (and innatural boundary boxes) but, despite still criticized, in Guild Wars this problem isn’t so terribly frustrating as it was/is in SWG. I think it’s because this issue is part of a bigger problem.

There was everywhere a lack of detail and attention, you could sit, but only displaced from the chair, on the thin air. There was a sitting animation but you would stand up by rotating in the wrong direction, melting with the back of the chair. The space shuttles used to fly right through the ceiling of the shuttle station, you could bring a huge pet in a tiny corridor with two thirds of the body going out of the roof, you could walk right through chairs and tables, run up and down terrain with absurd inclinations, reach every place without any limitation (if within the boundaries of the zone), the laser of your weapon would shoot at unrealistic angles, the animations and models had constant clipping issues, the NPCs were often stuck half buried in the city walls and everyone could start an impromptu classic dance as a skilled master dancer at any time. Race-specific animations, what are they?

The problem is much, much bigger and encompassing. It’s a problem of consistency.

The whole world was just generic wilderness, most of what you saw was graphic fluff, you could disable most of the “environment”. Everything was just somewhat randomly generated around you, without really “existing”. There was no geography, no roads, paths, environments. It was just generated terrain, but featureless and inconsistent. A “space”, but not space with a sense or justification.

This isn’t a problem of “content”. It’s not about a lack of POIs distributed around the world. Before I canceled for the first time I was following one of the quests for the first events and I had to walk through half a zone. A spread of nothingness, dull terrain, hills and mountains. I was a ranger so I could just walk in a straight line. The world just didn’t exist, it was a technical feature but it wasn’t there to offer something, to offer consistency or something you could relate to. It was supposed to be “pretty”, but with no substance. Even the POIs didn’t help in any way, again they didn’t help to create any kind of geography. A POI was usually just a building spawned somewhere with a few NPCs standing around it. They were dots on the world, but not “world” themselves.

These being all basic structures on which the whole game was built-up and engineered, problems that the game will always drag around, without the possibility to free itself from them.

The combat was also affected by all this.

If you ask me what was the biggest flaw in the original SWG I’d answer: lack of consistency. It is what makes the game “unresponsive”, hard to decipher. The combat was hard to figure out because it reacted in unpredictable ways. It was based on odd variables and mechanics that you wouldn’t expect and that you would find hard to fully understand and manipulate. And those who managed to get past this barrier would become invulnerable, exploiting the hell out of the system.

Everything was connected to that basic point. Lack of consistency and similarity to patterns that the players expected from the game. The lack of Star Wars-y feel and iconic classes was a drift of the same problem.

The “language” of the game felt alien, and not familiar as the Star Wars universe the players used to know (and hype and anticipate). A problem of communication.

Jeff Freeman plays Chibi-Robo

Here I say “owned” to Raph ;p

Jeff Freeman is playing a crazed cutesy game that I really never heard about before. From Grimwell:

So, their website really doesn’t do it justice. “So, I play a robot that cleans house? Uh…”

Getting around the house is pretty stock puzzle-game stuff, accomplishing various adventure-game type goals isn’t especially difficult or innovative, but the backstory is so serious for what is otherwise an overdose-of-cuteness sort of game…it’s just cool.

Chibi is a birthday gift for the little girl. This makes Mom unhappy because Dad is unemployed, and yet continues to spend money on stupid things… like toy robots. The little girl wears a frog at and pretends to be a frog all the time – the only way to really communicate with her is to talk to her through her teddy bear, since she’s just freakin’ out over the parents-getting-a-divorce thing.

So cleaning house is part of what Chibi does, but the goal is really to fix the disfunctional family – get Mom and Dad back together so the little girl can chill out and everyone can be happy.

And along the way you help solve various problems that the toys around the house have, too; and help to get Giga-Robo back as a member of the family (they couldn’t afford to run him, so sadly they had to store him in the basement).

It’s the juxtaposition of “cute little robot and talking toys” with what is otherwise a “fix this disfunctional family” game that makes it…cool.

The game’s website is here. It’s a Nintendo GameCube game.

I find it interesting because this game looks cool, and it plugs perfectly in the mechanics/metaphor discussion, nodding to Raph and disproving my theory.

Beyond the metaphoric level that Jeff Freeman explained, there’s a game that borrows game styles from everywhere. The tiny robot can move freely around a 3D space, it has limited autonomy with a counter on the lower right (and always carrying around a plug with a perfect physics model), it uses robots to build bridges and ladders, a radar to detect hidden doors, an elicopter to float down from high places, a blaster to shoot at things, a toothbrush to scrub the dirt, a squirter to clean where it cannot reach, a spoon to plant things, a mug used as a tank. It is a puzzle game, a First Person Shooter, an exploration game, a spaceship shooter, a cooking game.

And it may even be a sandbox game. A wonderful one. Now I’m deducing all this just by looking at the website, but if you think about it you could imagine how a big mansion could really become a perfect model for a sandbox game. Think to the possibility to have this huge house seen from the perspective of a tiny robot, make the environment freely explorable from the roof to the basement and the garden. You could have all sort of different activities and games within it, with lots of secrets and even an attempt at a “directed” style of narration through rooms that need to be discovered and unlocked. Cause and effect. You do or discover something here and unlock something somewhere else, or get a hint about how to solve something you couldn’t figure out yet.

Think to the sandbox as a circumference, then add “nodes” within it and link some of them. You would have the freedom to move wherever you like, choose your activities and still have the nodes affecting each other and even creating some sort of plot or “flow”. The house becomes a “theme park”, with no strict boundaries if not in the environment itself and the elements within. It is self contained and you would have the freedom to move around and choose the “order” of the game. No need for a “power growth” if not through the acquisition of tools and new skills that would allow you to reach what was unreachable, discover new places and challenges, expanding your skills and possibilities of interaction and even allowing you to re-run the same rooms and games to discover secrets or interact in a way that wasn’t possible before.

From this point of view even Mario 64 is a sandbox. The metaphors change sharply in the two games but the mini-games and puzzles below are recombined and just “matched” with their purpose and justification. An “house” is a perfect place to stuff in every kind of mini-game and can be seen from completely different points of view. It can be cutesy, scary, mysterious, adventurous.

It is a domestic simulation and a psychodrama. It has all sort of crazy puzzles. And it risks even to feel “immersive”.


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Factional Warfare – Vive la revolution

How to make a sandbox accessible to the large public, take notes.

Well, at least this is the potential behind one of the ideas that will be developed for Kali, the Eve-Online content patch that should arrive this June (but it will slip, you’ll see).

I received yesterday the second issue of E-On, and there’s a preview about the “Factional Warfare” that is starting to sound much better than what I expected, to the point that it could truly have the potential to revolutionize the whole game.

I wrote about this feature extrapolating some details from an interview with the game’s producer. Now I have something more concrete and looking even more exciting, even if we still have to see how all these ideas will translate practically. The potential is HUGE.

The most interesting goal is the one I already hinted. The possibility to make the game more accessible for everyone, linking together the “hardcore” level of the specialized player corporations with the casual players that have no clue about how to access that level of greater complexity that makes this game truly interesting. As already discussed this is a crucial point for Eve. The MOST important one. The ideas behind the factional warfare could achieve a real utopia: heal the fracture between casual players and hardcore, and create a truly dynamic environment that is accessible and involves everyone directly. Together.

How? The idea isn’t so far from those I imagined. The sandbox will remain open-ended, but linear paths will be introduced to lead the players for a more “directed experience”. This without disrupting or removing the complexity of the game, but instead adding to it, offering more dynamical elements and the possibility for everyone, even a lonely player, to join the war and get involved directly, without having to “break through” the accessibility barriers represented by the players’ corporations and the emergent level that is only visible if you truly dedicate yourself to the game.

Roughly, the four NPC factions (Amarr, Caldari, Gallente and Minmatar) won’t be anymore fixed entities being there just as a backdrop while the game waits for you to move out the secure empire space to get involved in the PvP activity. Instead these factions will become an active part of the world and the context of the war. The players, as whole corporations or individuals, will have the possibility to join one faction and contribute to a dynamic war. Think of a full campaign that evolves depending on a series of objectives. The empire space won’t be there anymore in its immobility, but it will become an active element of the game that has the potential to directly involve everyone in a “more directed” war.

There is the potential to create in the game new careers for the players and even easily accessible “battlegrounds” as in WoW, with the difference that in this case the war is REAL and the results will affect the state of the world. Sn element much stronger if you consider that there is one persistent world shared by everyone, so involving everyone. Think for example to military careers that could give you quick access to PvP battlegrounds, with ships and equipment supplied directly by the NPC corporation, based on your rank. Think about the possibility of adding ranks and points that you could spend to buy upgrades and other perks. This has the potential of becoming a whole new game within the game. Directly accessible for everyone and with the possibility to involve both a single player, as a whole corporation or alliance.

These being my speculations. Here some excerpts from what I read. Let me start from the end:

Noah insists the scale of the up-coming war will be like nothing Eve has seen before. “It’ll be OMGWTFBIG!!” He laughs. “We’re talking life-changing, like the first time you masturbated or when Yoda died.” – “It will be multifaceted in that if you want to interact on a political, idealistic, capitalistic or moralistic standpoint there will be there something for you.”

How is this for the hype? Let’s continue:

Imagine you’re docked at your home station, deep in empire territory. Most of your corp-mates are offline and, apart from the few souls continuously probing the alliance chat channels, most seem to be away from their keyboards, entrenched in domestic matters, far from the world of Eve. But it’s too early to turn in just yet. You could strap on a couple of miners and head out into the asteroid belts, but you know you’d need a good couple of hours to make the endeavor worthwhile. In any case, there are no haulers about and the thought to having to break rocks and shift the debris to safety registers as only marginally more appealing than polishing spoons. You could take on a couple of agent missions, but after a two-week marathon of ferrying data sheets and garbage, you figure time would be much more enjoyably spent arranging aforementioned spoons into the letters of the alphabet. So, what to do?

Well, as if by magic (we’re imagining, remember), a new icon appears on your screen. You hover the mouse pointer over it and a tool tip appears: ‘Contracts’. In your haste to explore further, you fail to notice the other options that emerge from the 3D haze. Immediatly you are drawn to a new icon that alludes to something called “Tour of Duty”. Intrigued, you click the button. ‘The federation needs good people’, it says. ‘Unless we hold down these key installations’, it says, ‘there’s a very real chance that the Federation Navy Auxiliary Force will have to relinquish the Jolevier border system to its enemies in the Cladari Navy Expeditionary Legion.’ Yo see, in this imaginary version of Eve, not only are the major powers at war (if not overtly then certainly covertly) but upon your actions, or lack of them, rest very significant consequences.

This imaginary Eve might not be so far away.

This seems a lot of fluff but it already suggests a lot, I think. To begin with, it is evident the goal to break the monotony of the day-to-day activities with something directly more involving and that you can join at any time. Think to some sort of “instant action” mode that you can join every time you are bored. All this will happen through a “contract system” (that will be also open for players’ use). The players will be able to join a NPC faction and fight for it, running specific missions and obtaining not only personal rewards, but also concrete “consequences” on the game world. Finally dynamic.

It could happen through a much more elaborated dynamic mission system that has an actual effect on the environment, but still somewhat “passive”, as it could be an occasion to set competitive goals and send the players directly in a sort of PvP battleground whose outcome will influence the progression of the war. “Instant action” PvP activity freely accessible to everyone, maybe with the NPC corps handing out to you the ships and equipment you need to go “toy” there. With even the possibility to create a “career system” working as a linear, directed path through the “sandbox”. Here’s the myth. All players drawn together, all participating and involved in the same situation, albeit on different levels and with different goals. All together for a greater effort defined by the “overall context” of the factional warfare.

Three levels:
– The Factional Warfare – The overall context of the war that unifies and involves everyone.
– The Contract system – A mission system that could work as an “instant action” always accessible for everyone (creating excuses for the action).
– A Career system – The directed experience that many players miss, removing the disorientation after the tutorial is over. The game within the game.

Here the real challenge for CCP is about linking this new part of the game directly with the newbie experience, so that all the players would be brought there directly, instead of drifting there on their own. Or creating another layer of the game that only a small selection of the players can experience and enjoy.

Whether CCP will achieve this or not, the idea is huge. So close to my “dream mmorpg” with its hardcoded factions plus the possibility for the players to create their own, the PvP hotspots, the conquest system and the “automated NPCs” that can be scripted to automate the tasks that will trigger the emergent level of the RTS/wargame. The ingredients are already all there. The utopia of an overall context (a war) that directly involves every single player, making them interact on different levels, but always directing them toward an overall, truly communal goal that motivates everyone. Concrete objectives, both in the long term (the campaign) and in the short term (the specific mission).

The whole point about casual vs hardcore players is NOT about creating tailored content for both and keep them quiet. This idea is utterly stupid and it will never work. The only way to truly solve that problem is about healing the fracture. Creating gameplay occasions so that the casual player plays side by side with the veterans. So that the community of the game can welcome the new players and integrate them quickly.

These games are about the communities and the very first duty of the game is to NOT encourage the established communities to specialize and isolate themselves from the rest, in their inner politics. The key to accomplish this is to make everyone work together, truly cooperating for a greater goal. A shared objective. Something that motivates everyone, that makes you play and willingly to log in because something is going on. And it affects everyone. And it depends on YOU.

Including players, not excluding them and create reasons of hate.

All these premises that I set in my design ideas along the years seem to be present in Eve. And I can only appreciate this.

More stuff:

In many ways, Contracts and Factional Warfare are one and the same; to engage in factional conflict you have to undertake some sort of agreement with one side or another.

The initial idea is that players can elect to take on missions as mercenaries – in which case the reward will be mainly monetary – or as enlisted soldiers, where they will be rewarded with increased standings and discounted ships and equipment. With the contract system in place alongside it, FW can be something individuals or even alliances can sign up to, with contracts for single missions or for the duration of a long-term campaign.

Whether through trade, bounty hunting, resource allocation or even combat, FW is entwined with the very EVEness of Eve itself. It is where the rich background of Eve will come to life.

Whilst they are now reliably dull administrative areas of intransigent safety, post-Kali the four empires and their amalgam of cabals and regional governances may be acting like player-run (dev-run, in actual fact) ass-kicking mega-alliances, able to call upon unheard-of resources in their pursuit of power and hoping that player-run alliances, corporations and even individuals will rally to their banner – if not for king and country, then for fortune, fame or both.

“I think solo players will have the most to gain from Factional Warfare,” says Noah. “These guys are the ones who might not have that much time to focus on all the interaction needed to be part of a corp. Missions can be fun, but I think fighting for a common goal in a larger group against evenly matched enemies will be a lot more interesting. People are attracted to MMOGs because of the other humans they know will be out there, even if they don’t want to interact with them as corp-buddies. Instead of talking to their agent and getting yet another damsel in distress mission, a solo player will be able to engage in some interesting, unpredictable combat with other humans, where they might need to think, or where the unexpected could happen.”

CCP is aware of Eve’s limitations with regard to players who prefer to play solo; in part, FW aims to provide a more inclusive experience for those who might otherwise have to rely on cookie-cutter agent missions in order to kill a few spare minutes online.

“If players are able to affect the world, then the outcome of battles should affect supply and demand,” says Noah. “We could have trade routes that run through battle areas, or a commodity could be needed in bulk for victory conditions. This is all yet to be designed. It sounds fun though. Picture an agent in deadspace that needs a certain amount of supplies. The traders would need to get their industrials through multiple camp spots. Gnauton (Gauti Fridriksson, CCP’s story coordinator) and I have discussed all sort of archetypes for victory conditions. We want to go with a modular approach and the ‘logistical’ victory conditions could just be modules. We could even tailor the objectives to your skills and ship in the same way agent missions are currently tailored to the ship you are in (did I just give out a secret?)”

“The idea is that the modular approach would allow us to create victory conditions from a mixture of sub-goals,” explains Gnauti. “That way we could create a theoretically unlimited number of different victory conditions, each one tailored to mesh neatly with what’s going on in the story – and, of course, affect what happens next.”

As Kali draws nearer, the 0.0 alliances will surely want to keep an eye on events as they unfold within empire borders. To have access to restricted system is one strategic advantage that can be levied against enemies alliances and there will, of course, be rich rewards for those that pledge to work alongside a nation-state. However, let us not forget that FW will also encompass the goals of pirate NPC corps, so it may end up that many alliances would rather fight against the empires, which is likely to cause all sorts of scenarios to rise up.

Rare items, cold hard cash and faction standing are just some of the more obvious rewards of working for an NPC organization, and this is an aspect of EVE that will be expanded for Kali. NPC factions will bestow medals, commendations and other trinkets that, while not improving your ship or abilities, will certainly confer bragging rights. The formalised ranks and ratings system is an aspect sure to please fans of the old “Elite” games.

CCP annouced its intention to take player organisations up to the next level, with the functionality for alliance leaders to forge player-run empires that could eventually compete with the likes of Amarr. In the long term this remains the goal, but ot’s unlikely that such functionality will make its way into Kali.

Undoubtedly, there will be some players who feel that by placing players in the role of heroes, CCP is betraying the freedom that EVE affords the committed and tenacious player seeking fame and fortune. Some already feel that by going further down the route of having encounters largely scripted by outside forces (devs), CCP is traveling perilously close to the path furrowed bu World of Warcraft. CCP is well aware of such fears and insists the grand vision of EVE remains intact, that of giving the players the ultimate freedom to shape the fortunes of the galaxy.

CCP “just” needs to make things happen. They need to resist the temptation to turn this idea into another elitist mechanic only accessible at the end-game. They need to make this the new heart of the game, adding possibilities and depth to the players’ choices, even if they are occasions to offer a more directed experience for those who need/search that type of game.

The sandbox utopia is not about a game for the hardcore. The utopia is about giving home to different players, with different goals and characters. All interacting together and adding to the experience of each other. Creating a greater complexity but still working restlessly to make all this easily accessible. Available for everyone.

Inclusive, and not exclusive or selective.

See how “big changes are bad” for a game? Tell that to CCP. Tell them how a world simulation cannot work.

There is so much on these plans of the ideas I’ve developed along the years. The only true frustration is that I cannot be there myself, and have to see someone else accomplishing what I dreamt for so long.

Well, think how these ideas would work in a fantasy-themed, truly immersive and skill-based game with a visceral combat system. You could wipe the floor with World of Warcraft.

Eleven expansion packs for free

Eleven is the number of all the expansions released for the original EverQuest, now available for free (along with all the upcoming ones) …if you play on the test server. The monthly fee is still there, of course.

This in the attempt to draw more players on the test server and make it more useful. Other advantages (with the hint of more to come) is a double experience bonus and a sort of /level 25 that could even be raised in the future.

It’s a nice idea even if I’m not sure if it will have a big impact. EverQuest is still an hardcore game where the community is everything. I don’t think the game sees many new faces these days and the great majority of the active subscribers are probably veterans in already established guilds that aren’t going to restart with brand new characters in a tiny community. Everquest survives of inertia.

And how much content is actually being used from those eleven expansions after the effects of the mudflation? Not much, I guess. It’s still all there, sure, but content that is not used just doesn’t exist.

I still think that the best incentive to play on a test server is a closer relationship with the developers. Ask CCP, they did this best.

We want more Bling Bling

Another inner split for WoW, this time not about devs but publishers, and despite Big Money Involved (TM).

From Kotaku:

The9 and Blizzard/VUG are in a dispute over The Burning Crusade, the expansion for World of Warcraft. Blizzard/VUG is apparently taking that stance that The9 does not get it as part of their original deal, and that the Chinese operator needs to pay an additional license fee and/or give Blizzard/VUG shares in the company. According to our insider, things have gotten to the point where Blizzard is even threatening to turn Burning Crusade into WoW 2 and find another partner for China.

See Blizzard/Vivendi going “My precioussss..”

I’m not even sure that The9 grasps the concept of “expansion”. They have a deal to run the game for four years, from June 05 to June 09, and pay royalities for 22% on the prepaid cards (more infos here). I believe the game can be freely downloaded and the players just need to pay for each hour they pass in the game as it happens in Korea ($.06 per hour, see here). Expansions and content patches are usually offered for free so I don’t think that The9 was expecting Blizzard to ask them to pay for another licence for the release of the expansion.

It will be interesting to see what happens if things go wrong. 2.5 of the 6 million of subscribers that WoW has worldwide are in China, if not more:

The operation of WoW in China attained peak and average concurrent users of approximately 530,000 and 270,000 in the fourth quarter of 2005.

With these chinese players raging against the machine and starting boycotts for the poor service. Disconnects, lag, long queues, the same stuff afflicting the western players, with the difference that in China you pay hourly, making these problem much less tolerable.

This while SOE completely failed. With EverQuest 2 being cancelled even before it was able to come out of beta.

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Stuttering problems in Doom 3 based games

While looking around for the performance trick in Oblivion I discovered another one for both Doom 3 and Quake 4 (and probably the upcoming Prey).

Even if the framerate is absolutely smooth there is always a regular mini stutter every second or so. If you strafe and look closely at the walls you can notice there’s a constant, small hiccup. It seems that this stutter is there for everyone, with every configuration, but the majority of the players just don’t notice it at all. Instead I always found it incredibly annoying because the more the movement is fluid the more the stutter is noticeable.

There’s a simple fix that seem to get rid of the stutter completely, it doesn’t seem to have any other side-effect or impact on the framerate. You just need to pull down the game console while in the game and write -> com_precisetic 0

Alternatively you can put the following line in the AutoExec.cfg file (in the q3base/q4base dir depending if you play Doom or Quake 4):
seta com_precisetic “0”

The details about this command can be found here. From what I understand it just makes the game have less control on the input and sound processes but in my tests I didn’t see this having a noticeable negative impact, while it surely gets rid of the stutters and makes the game much more pleasant.

Just give it a try. I love the Doom 3 render. The design of that game may suck, but technically it is awesome (and immersive). I can’t wait for Prey.

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