It’s half a year away but I’m calling it now:
Jack said that it’ll be a long time before we see Anti again and even teased that he may not come back at all.
That last part unnerves me because it’s perfect for the following scenario:
October rolls around. Jack does what he does best: games, vlogs and skits. The fans wait with excited anticipation, October means Anti’s return. The first week there’s nothing, same with the second and third week. No glitches, no sign of Jack feeling unwell or doing anything out of the ordinary. Fans are getting twitchy. The last week surely would see Anti return. Theories are running rampant, art work of Anti increases, people are outright calling for Anti and tag is flooded with his name.
Fans are practically begging to see Anti as Halloween comes. Someone invents a tag #BringOutAnti. It trends on twitter and tumblr. The first video comes out, Jack looks like he’s panicking and scared for his life. He’s pleading with the viewers to stop mentioning Anti. Then it cuts to black as he falls out of shot. There’s pained groans and one more desperate whimper to stop. We hear static and we’re left with a high pitched cackle and zalgo text:
This is then followed by a insurmountable amount of panic by the fan base which is fuelled even more by a late video. When it does appear it’s just Anti taunting the viewers for a couple of minutes telling us how he gained an unbelievable amount of strength by our constant mentions of him all through the month and how his grip on Jack is so strong that the Irishman doesn’t stand a chance of getting his body back
BRUH IT WOULD MAKE SENSE IF HE DID THIS
He’d have to think of SOME WAY to outdo his previous ideas and beat the PAX takeover. What better way than for Jack to outright tell us to stop because he’s afraid?
info re: life is strange 2 from the e3 pre-show conference
ok, i was just watching the pre-show conference with zak garriss (lead writer at deck nine) and chris floyd. they’re talking about life is strange, and here’s the stuff i tuned into and saw from pre-release footage. i missed the start but i think this is the bulk of it! (i wrote this all down rlly quickly as they spoke so if it’s wrong i apologize):
(spoilers from s1, and a few things about scenes from s2)
in the 2nd game time travel’s not gonna be around, chloe is referred to as a ‘wrecking ball’ who wouldnt really be like max and have as many second-thoughts like max in season 1 (going back in time to help random people, etc.). gariss and floyd said they didnt want arcadia bay to be a town of superheroes, and rather wanted to show how the heart of the game is relationships between the characters.
from what ive seen from the pre-release footage they’ve made the mouth sync so much better!!! movements seem less janky, facial expressions also seem more authentic and less robotic (there’s a dancing scene that seems very fluid), overall camera movements seem better. art styles and animations still very familiar to the first game, with a few little improvements. in some footage, the background ambiance seems a little distracting but that’s it.
chloe’s original voice actor (ashly burch) isn’t gonna be voicing chloe but she will be a big part of the writing process and is a story consultant, eg. dialogue, as well as overall plot. from the footage, chloe’s new voice actress sounds a lot like ashly burch in my opinion, the voice is a little deeper but i like it.
it’ll be 3 episodes, 6-9 hours in total, coming out in august.
chloe’s 16 in the game. it’s set 2 years after her dad died, and max has recently left. we’re told that it’s not the chloe we know from the first game, but rather we’re seeing her turn into that version of herself. pre-release footage involves chloe going to an illegal concert, ditching school, etc. we’ll see joyce, david, blackwell students, as well as a variety of new characters. it’s mainly from chloe’s perspective, we got no clear answer on if we play as rachel.
apparently key decisions really let the story branch, choices are still heavily involved. they’re definitely still set on trying to make it non-linear, they’re using a developed toolset (possibly from decknine but don’t quote me on it) to allow facial expressions to be more prominent, and to be able to blend them better (garriss and floyd both said that it isn’t like anything in the industry so i’m curious about it).
romance is apparently prevalent. they’re trying to give freedom to players to express and navigate through relationships on their own. the ambiguity of chloe and rachel’s relationship has left the team with room to develop. the romantic element definitely is there, there was a clip of a choice where you can insinuate a romantic relationship or keep it as friends.
max’s absence plays a big part although we’re apparently not going to be seeing max in person. chloe writes letters to max that she never sends, which was compared to max’s diary in season 1.
there’s an additional episode in the deluxe after the whole story’s done where the player gets to play as max, but we don’t know the details yet.
You’re sat in a meeting room with a bunch of other game developers; key representatives from every department that might be affected by animation. There are people from the design team, the engine team, gameplay programmers, AI programmers, the tools team, technical animators, animation programming, the animation director, and a producer. The meeting is about the future of your animation technology.
It’s relatively early in your project; the third game in a successful series, and the animation department wants to do a major upgrade to the core animation technology. Their argument is simple: The animation team has been using the same tools and tech for the last two games, and they’re concerned that if the animation technology isn’t improved, the animation will start to look bad compared to your competitors. There have been some minor improvements since the first game in the series, but no real major steps forward. Since the original tech was created, the rest of the industry has made some pretty major breakthroughs in animation technology; breakthroughs that this team would like to try and implement.
The big problem: The new technology is a paradigm shift. There’s no easy way to convert all the old animations and game code over to the new system, so doing this big upgrade to the animation tech, means pushing the reset button on all the gameplay and AI systems that were built for the last two games. Everything will have to be built up again from scratch.
It’s your job to decide whether or not they should do it.
The producer is the first to chime in…
“How long do you think it’s going to take to get the gameplay and AI back into a state where we can start playtesting and building levels?”
“I’m pretty confident that in 6 months we’ll be good to go”, says the animation programmer.
“Well… 6 months to do the tech and tools… it’ll be maybe another 6 months on top of that to rebuild each of the game systems to get things back to where they were”, offers up one of the technical animators. “I still think it’s worth it though. Once we have the new tech, it’s going to make producing new features way faster than before.”
“You have to bear in mind”,
says the Animation Director, “What we did on the last game is pretty much hitting the ceiling of our current technology. It was a real strain on the team. I really don’t want to go through that again on this one.”
“I’ll be honest, I have some concerns”.
Everyone looks towards the lead engine programmer.
“I thought the whole point of this next game was to try and push the cooperative experience. That’s what the directors said was their number one priority”, he nods towards the game director, “And I thought the publisher had already signed off on that. Weren’t they saying that’s what they were most excited about?”
“We can’t do both?”, says the game director.
“We’re probably going to have to rework a whole lot of the systems anyway if we’re going to make them replicate properly over the network,” says the lead gameplay programmer. “The first two games weren’t really built with that in mind. It could be a good time to do this as well since we’ll be rewriting a bunch of the systems anyway. That said, it does add to our workload.”
“And for you guys?”, the producer asks the lead AI programmer.
“It’s pretty much the same situation as gameplay”, she replies, “It’s a lot to take on. I have to say, I think 12 months is optimistic. Things always come up that we don’t expect. I’d say closer to 18 months. I mean… remind me, when are we supposed to be shipping again?”
“We’re aiming for 2 years from now”, says the producer.
“Well if it ends up being 18 months, there’s no way my team can work with that”, adds the lead level designer. “We can rough some things out, but gameplay needs to be solidified a lot earlier than that.”
“Well we could build the new system in parallel with the old system, and let people switch between the two”, says the animation programmer. “That way you can start building levels with the old systems, and we’ll switch it over further down the line when the new systems are in a better shape. It’s a bit more challenging to do it that way, but it’s doable. Honestly though, when I say 6 months for my stuff, I mean 6 months. I can get most of it up and running in 3, but I’m saying 6 to give us a buffer.”
“And how confident are you about the extra 6 months for building out the game systems”, the producer asks the technical animator.
“Reasonably… I mean it’s tough to say… it’s new technology. I’ve got nothing to refer to cause we’ve never done this approach before”, they reply, “6 months is my ballpark estimate, it could be 4, it could be 12. We’ll have a much better idea once the core tech is done and we start working on the first systems. Bear in mind, it’s not like we’d have nothing until that 12 months is up. Systems will be gradually coming online as we go. We’ll get core movement done in the first few weeks.”
“I’d feel much more confident about it if we had another technical animator on the team”, says the animation director.
“I’ll ask if that’s possible but we’re close to our headcount limit, and tech animators aren’t the easiest to hire, so I wouldn’t count on it”, says the producer. “Remind me again, what we’ll be gaining for all this work?”
“It’ll be much faster for us to put animations into the game, and then easier for us to tweak and bug fix them”, says the technical animator. “In general, faster iteration time should also mean the quality of the animation will go up. Basically, it’ll be easier for everyone to do their best work.”
“I think we all want that, but it’s a lot of risk to take on with only a 2 year timeline”, says the lead engine programmer, “there are other teams besides animation who are also proposing some pretty ambitious tech goals as well. We’d maybe have to make some concessions there if we want to go with this”.
“Does anyone really think that it’s going to be 2 years though?” says the animation programmer. “Looking at the scope of this game, it’s probably going to end up closer to 3, with or without the animation system”.
“I can only tell you what I’m being told now, but the publisher seems pretty adamant about it being a 2 year project”, says the producer.
“So what are we going to do about this? Are we going to push ahead with this or not? What’s the call?”
Should the team go with the new animation system? Everyone makes good points. It’s a tough call. You have to think about the people in the room: How confident are you in the projections of each person? Are some people known for being overly ambitious? Are others known for being too conservative? How much is the value of the new animation system versus the cost of building it? How many extra-people will you be able to get to work on it? Will other departments suffer if you put development effort here? Will the game really come out in two years, or is it more?
In one potential future, you decide to go ahead with the new animation system. Things are rocky at the beginning, but with a some hard work and late nights, the animation programmer and technical animators manage to hit their estimates without too much disruption to other teams. The game scores highly, and is praised in particular for it’s strong animation.
In another potential future, you go ahead with the new animation system and it’s a train wreck. The animation programmer was low-balling their estimates because they were excited about working on the new system, and expected the release date to be knocked back a year (it wasn’t). The technical animators were genuine when they gave their estimates but didn’t account for the complexity of making the same systems work in an online cooperative game; something they’d never done before. The difficulties with the animation system caused problems for other teams, especially for the designers, who had a tough time making fun systems and levels, as bugs in the animation system made it difficult for them to play the game throughout development.
Another potential future has the team saying no to the new animation system. It ends up that even without the new animation system, the scope really was too big in other areas, and the game ends up being released after 3 years instead of 2. By the time the game is released, the animation does look horribly outdated, despite the best efforts of the animation team. The issue is specifically called out in reviews.
Then there’s the future where the team says no to the new system, making it much easier for the team to hit the 2 year deadline. It’s a struggle, but the animation team is still able to produce some decent results, and it turns out gamers were more interested in the new cooperative features anyway, leading to great reviews and great sales.
On any game there are a thousand calls like this. Some are big, some are small, and many can lead to the success or failure of your game.
The process of making a game has so many moving parts it’s incredibly difficult to to account for every eventuality. It’s about the technology you’re working with, it’s about your ideas and your ability to execute on them, it’s about what the rest of the market is doing, and most of all it’s about the people on your team: Who they are, how they work, and what else might be going on in their lives.
The point here, and stop me if you’ve heard this one before, is that making games is really fucking hard. You’re faced with so many of these kinds of decisions, the answers to which are highly subjective. It’s likely not every person in the meeting room comes to a consensus, and when a game comes out with some aspect that players don’t enjoy, more often than not there were a whole lot of people on the dev team that argued for the exact same thing that the players are arguing for.
It’s been said many a time before, but it’s true nonetheless: No-one sets out to make a bad game. In the cases where someone on your team was faced with one of these difficult subjective decisions, and made a bad call, they agonize over it. If you have empathy, you look at that decision and say, “That’s not necessarily a bad developer. It was a tough call. It could have gone either way, and it could have just as easily have been me”.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that gamers shouldn’t still be free to critique the games they spent their hard-earned money on. At the end of the day, it’s our job to entertain. Just please, remember that games are made by real people who are running a gauntlet of very challenging problems.
The answer to “why did this game suck?” isn’t always as simple as “because the developer sucks”, or the even more cringe-worthy “they were just lazy”: It’s because making games is really fucking hard.
Suffolk County Charter School: It Actually Happened (sort of)
I haven’t seen anyone connect this any where else so I thought I would share what I found out by accident. If its old news then ignore me
Wow. Okay. So, I stumbled upon this area in my exploration of the Commonwealth Wasteland in Fallout 4 months ago before I completed my first play through. Suffolk County Charter School.
It was creepy and had a story to uncover so I went in. Im sure most of you know what I’m talking about so, no big deal. Its not secret or hidden. Just one of those cool Fallout areas that don’t have a quest attached but you feel compelled to figure out what the fuck happened.
Inside there were pink ghouls.
And pink goo.
While splattering these guys and looting everything in the facility (because Fallout) I uncovered the story behind this location. If you haven’t found it yet, SPOILERS, heres the summary:
“In exchange for funding, Principal Jackie Hudson agreed to implement the government’s experimental Nutritional Alternative Paste Program (NAPP) at the school. Participation required limiting food consumption within the school to a government-provided food paste. This decision was apparently made without the consent of faculty, students, or parents.
Per Principal Hudson’s announcements, the NAPP was launched on October 18 and any outside food was to be confiscated from then on. These announcements can be heard on three holotapes found throughout the school.”
So yeah. I just murdered a bunch of kids that were unwittingly being experimented on. I felt sort of shitty. My Sole Survivor didn’t give a fuck. She would gladly murder actual babies for that issue of Unstoppables or a bobblehead. She’s a collector, almost to the point of compulsion.
I found this area so interesting and tragic that I sought more info on the Fallout Wiki. There (and other sources/theories I’ve read) talk about how the pink goo is probably a reference to the film The Stuff (1985).
A more popular theory is that its actually referencing “The Pink Slime”
“The food paste as a whole is a reference to Pink Slime, a food additive consisting of low-fat meat which was ground into a paste. It’s particularly infamous after being widely used as a meal alternative in American school lunches during 2012, which resulted in major controversy.”
Huh. Okay cool. I was satisfied with these being possible references. It made sense. And I never thought about it again. I mean, it was like, a year ago or some shit. I don’t know, a long ass time ago.
But then last night, while avoiding doing adult things, my ADHD kicked in as my meds wore off and I decided to hyper focus on watching weird YouTube videos covering topics like horrendous incidents, unsolved mysteries, conspiracy theories, that kind of stuff. Basically I sat there in my own world watching Rob Dyke and Dark5 videos.
Im not weird.
Anyway, Thats when I saw this and holy shit. I immediately thought of Suffolk County Charter School in Fallout 4. Something I hadn’t thought about in forever from a game I haven’t really played in months.
You can watch the video or heres a quick summary of events that took place at a school in Massachusetts:
“A group of former students who ate radioactive oatmeal as unwitting participants in a food experiment will share a $1.85 million settlement from Quaker Oats and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
More than 100 boys at the Fernald School in Waltham, Mass., were fed cereal containing radioactive iron and calcium in the 1940’s and 1950’s. The diet was part of an experiment to prove that the nutrients in Quaker oatmeal travel throughout the body.” New York Times, 1998
Yep. It happened in Massachusetts. MIT was involved.
Maybe all of this is stupid to everyone but honestly shit like this is why I LOVE video games. A simple location with no real importance to the main game (except collectibles) held a really interesting story that stuck with me, at least subconsciously.
Easter eggs and references in games aren’t new but the fact that even after researching the in-game location I didn’t see any mention of the Fernald School (which could have been because the game was still fairly new then) and then randomly I stumbled upon what I think is unquestionably the real inspiration for this area is so cool to me.
Fallout lore is so dense and so far reaching, referencing other games, media, pop culture, and real life events. I fell in love all over again with this franchise based on this one small detail that dosent even matter in the grand scheme of the story.
I had to share this because I couldn’t get it off my mind. That moment of being like “HOLY SHIT WAIT. THIS IS IN FALLOUT.” was something that I’m sure a lot of gamers can relate to and its exciting and interesting.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval! The grandest show on land or by sea. Inside you’ll experience more wonders than most people see in a lifetime. You can sip magic from a cup and buy dreams in a bottle. But before you fully enter into our world, you must remember it’s all a game. What happens beyond this gate may frighten or excite you, but don’t let any of it trick you. We will try to convince you it’s real, but all of it is a performance. A world built of make-believe. So while we want you to get swept away, be careful of being swept too far away. Dreams that come true can be beautiful, but they can also turn into nightmares when people won’t wake up.