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Author Topic: SPAWN MORE TORTILLA CHIPS  (Read 17919 times)
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on: March 26, 2013, 01:35:15 PM

SPAWN MORE TORTILLA CHIPS

contributed by Samprimary

I finished the singleplayer campaign of Heart of the Swarm and immediately thought "I want nachos."

Maybe I was supposed to feel something different.

Well, okay. I'm not being entirely truthful. I was thinking I wanted good nachos, specifically. I wanted to go out of my way to find a restaurant that served nachos that were not going to disappoint me.

I desired this, because the entirety of my experience sitting through Heart of the Swarm made me baffled and irked in the same way I am baffled and irked when I go and pay money to a place that is entirely in the industry of producing food you want to go out to pay and eat — because, seriously? Nachos are a pretty low bar. You have to be dysfunctional in a special way to end up unable to produce nachos.

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K9
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Reply #1 on: March 26, 2013, 01:36:13 PM

Good stuff

I love the smell of facepalm in the morning
Samwise
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Reply #2 on: March 26, 2013, 01:40:09 PM


"Nice attempted blast about my "drinking".  I do enjoy a nice cuppa, but that is because I am a bon vivant of gregarious nature and cheery disposition." - Ab
schild
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Reply #3 on: March 26, 2013, 01:46:39 PM



Khaldun
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Reply #4 on: March 26, 2013, 01:58:16 PM


Nachos by mspt47, on Flickr


Yay for more rants.

The comparison is great here, by the way. Why serve bad nachos? Only two reasons: 1) you cannot be bothered to give two and a half fucks and you think (probably accurately) that most of your customers don't give a fuck either. (As say movie or stadium nachos.) or 2) you've hired a bunch of guys who've never seen a nacho, don't know how to make a nacho, and wouldn't know a good one if they ate it.

Blizz is #2 all the way. When you hire nothing but manchildren who would struggle to finish reading a story about Dick and Jane fetching water from a well, you get narratives that an eight-year old boy hopped up on a combination of sugary breakfast cereal, bath salts and heavy metal would judge without irony "almost as rad as Sucker Punch".
HaemishM
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Reply #5 on: March 26, 2013, 02:14:07 PM

Now I want nachos.

TheWalrus
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Reply #6 on: March 26, 2013, 02:14:18 PM

Well that makes me kinda sad. I had high hopes for this one, and I expected Kerrigan to sit most of it out, as you know, she just got her DNA fucked around again. That's gotta be tiring for a gal. Fuck this has me bummed. :/


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Malakili
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Reply #7 on: March 26, 2013, 03:44:53 PM

I'm more of a minimalist

Soln
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the opportunity for evil is just delicious


Reply #8 on: March 26, 2013, 04:08:34 PM

Great stuff.  I genuinely am now hungry for nachos.
Trippy
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Reply #9 on: March 26, 2013, 04:12:23 PM

I'm more of a minimalist


Not nachos, though.
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Reply #10 on: March 26, 2013, 04:12:58 PM

I'm more of a minimalist


Not nachos, though.

Looks like Diablo for the PSX.
Segoris
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Reply #11 on: March 26, 2013, 04:35:58 PM

Now I want nachos.
Great stuff.  I genuinely am now hungry for nachos.



Segoris
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Reply #12 on: March 26, 2013, 04:41:57 PM

And here's for Sam, as this seemed fitting for some of the earlier paragraphs (awful wording aside)




Soln
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the opportunity for evil is just delicious


Reply #13 on: March 26, 2013, 04:51:50 PM

"Put Expensive Voice Overs in my Game"

"Doesn't Play Fun"
Malakili
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Reply #14 on: March 26, 2013, 05:56:36 PM



Not nachos, though.


To be fair, the title is SPAWN MORE TORTILLA CHIPS
Samwise
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Reply #15 on: March 26, 2013, 05:57:34 PM

To be fair, the article ends with:

Quote
Post good pictures of awesome nachos.

Check and mate, sir.

"Nice attempted blast about my "drinking".  I do enjoy a nice cuppa, but that is because I am a bon vivant of gregarious nature and cheery disposition." - Ab
luckton
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Reply #16 on: March 26, 2013, 06:10:05 PM


"Those lights, combined with the polygamous Nazi mushrooms, will mess you up."

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Ratman_tf
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Reply #17 on: March 26, 2013, 09:10:47 PM

Like The Hobbit, I haven't even picked up HOTS. It's just not worth it to even be able to rant about.

"STORIES KILLED MY UNCLE!"




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JWIV
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Reply #18 on: March 26, 2013, 09:30:11 PM

BTW - These are good nachos

http://www.pamperedchef.com/recipe_search/recipe.jsp?id=75015

Made them during football playoffs and they were amazing.

Hawkbit
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Reply #19 on: March 26, 2013, 11:01:40 PM

I think pulled pork on nachos is about the best thing ever invented. 
Samprimary
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Reply #20 on: March 26, 2013, 11:18:34 PM

unghhhhhhhhh. yes. i have to remind myself i can't eat my monitor.
Ironwood
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Reply #21 on: March 27, 2013, 07:00:18 AM

Me too.  There are some fine, fine looking fucking nachos up in here.

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Khaldun
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Reply #22 on: March 27, 2013, 07:11:52 AM

I think pulled pork on nachos is about the best thing ever invented. 

You win.
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Reply #23 on: March 27, 2013, 10:15:09 AM

I clicked the discuss button expecting numerous pics of nachos.  I was not disappointed. 

"Pity hurricanes aren't actually caused by gays; I would take a shot in the mouth right now if it meant wiping out these chucklefucks." ~WayAbvPar
MrHat
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Reply #24 on: March 27, 2013, 10:24:12 AM

Pork rind nachos are <3
Soln
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Reply #25 on: March 27, 2013, 03:07:15 PM

I made shitty nachos last night.  I will try harder tonight.
pxib
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Reply #26 on: March 27, 2013, 03:08:16 PM

When you hire nothing but manchildren who would struggle to finish reading a story about Dick and Jane fetching water from a well, you get narratives that an eight-year old boy hopped up on a combination of sugary breakfast cereal, bath salts and heavy metal would judge without irony "almost as rad as Sucker Punch".
I think there is a bit of this, but the problems run much deeper and bad nachos are not an ideal metaphor.

As a general rule people, including those who have accidentally produced it in the past, have little idea how good storytelling is made. They can't identify it as bad or good until it's there staring them in the face and the story is done, and even then they'd be hard pressed to identify what went right and what went wrong. When it's still just a summary or an outline, it looks fine. Story is simple, they think, if there are problems we'll patch them before we publish...

...which matches the way that the rest of production design goes. Visual aesthetic can be cobbled together as it goes along: Does this match what we've already done? Yes/no. Voice actors can be changed and redubbed, music can be inserted, sound effects imagined and added as necessary. Multiple teams can implement setpieces in parallel with only minimal contact. A relatively straightforward design bible will maintain the feel of an artistic whole.

Masterful storytelling doesn't work that way at all. The bits and pieces of cohesive narrative, like individual instrumental parts in a symphony, may be jarring or boring on their own. One narrative arc leads to another which, in turn, answers questions the first implied and foreshadows problems later arcs will explore. Each twist is simultaneously unexpected and inevitable, making perfect harmony from the dissonant notes that had irritated you before. (Gameplay works this way too, but that's a complaint for another post.)

Every note matters, and you don't know exactly how much it matters until the end.

With a big budget movie, what's important is the hype. Will the trailer sell an opening weekend? Will the soundbites make them laugh? Will the poster convince uncertain moviegoers? will the clips we release to review sites get people excited? All of that is forefront on the minds of moviemakers, and none of it has anything to do with whether the story is any good. All that matters is whether it reduces the risk inherent in spending 100 million dollars on a movie. So we get famous actors and directors with script demands, producers with setpiece demands, and any number of other bullshit obstacles to quality.

Big budget video games are similarly concerned about screenshots, demos, trailers, and reviews by people who've only played the first two or three hours. Visuals and basic gameplay are critical. Story is something players might not have a solid verdict on until they're watching the credits roll. The more expensive a game becomes, the more voices in control of money will become involved. They'll want to make changes in order to demonstrate their control, and arbitrary changes to story (which they don't care much about anyway since it won't affect their early sales) will always destroy the intricately woven music that storytelling requires.

So there are a lot of pictures of beautiful nachos in this thread. Starcraft games are full of beautiful cutscenes. That doesn't tell me much about how they taste, and it certainly doesn't tell me whether, a few hours later, I'll find myself perched miserably over a toilet.

“All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” - Pascal
WayAbvPar
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Reply #27 on: March 27, 2013, 03:09:21 PM

I think pulled pork on nachos is about the best thing ever invented. 

They have those @ Safeco Field. Even the terrible chips they use can't make them anything less than ambrosia.

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Reply #28 on: March 27, 2013, 08:12:31 PM

As a general rule people, including those who have accidentally produced it in the past, have little idea how good storytelling is made. They can't identify it as bad or good until it's there staring them in the face and the story is done, and even then they'd be hard pressed to identify what went right and what went wrong. When it's still just a summary or an outline, it looks fine. Story is simple, they think, if there are problems we'll patch them before we publish...

...which matches the way that the rest of production design goes.

This. At the big end of the AAA level, it seems to me that video games are constructed like some sort of mutually agreed-on (or dictatorially enforced, depending on your studio) jigsaw puzzle where everyone is making the pieces as they go. So while their may be some kind of mutually supported end goal, what can be delivered may not fit together if not correctly managed.

And it is a jigsaw that is made to a deadline, meaning that the pieces may just be thrown together at the end and jammed together to make them fit. Most video games don't actually get to approach fun until the very end of development, when the budget is at its lowest and there isn't the time to go back and replace key systems if they don't work - at best there might be time to tweak, to shave down a few sides of that puzzle piece, but certainly not enough time to completely redo it.

All of which impacts on story. Stormwaltz has indicated that even at BioWare - for whom story is a strength - there is still a mad scramble to cut back story lines when other deadlines loom and then to just make the existing narrative pieces fit together without leaving too many holes.

And as for Blizzard failing to make good nachos, arguably they aren't in the nacho making business, they're in the competitive eating business. Nachos are something they offer because it is expected, but it's not what they see as really important.

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Reply #29 on: March 27, 2013, 09:49:32 PM

One problem I see with attributing specific strengths (such as storytelling) directly to developers on a company-wide basis is that those strengths can be really dependent on specific individuals or groups of individuals within said company. There is no guarantee that the lessons those individual/groups of developers (hypothetically might) learn will trickle down to the company as a whole, and should those individuals pack up and leave - they take a huge chunk of the experience and know-how they've acquired with them. Thus a specific company could keep on training developer after developer from scratch, re-inventing the wheel over and over again, without really advancing much in the "lessons learned"-department as a company (often going in the reverse direction instead, when experienced developers leave for other pastures/are let go).

Seems to me that might also affect individual projects within the same company, if the experienced developers on one project are moved to another and replaced with in-experienced ones that will have to learn the same lessons as their predecessors all over again. There's only so much new developers can learn from documentation and internal wikis and training-exercises.

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Bzalthek
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Reply #30 on: March 27, 2013, 10:00:49 PM

This is my new favorite chip dipping into sauce of godliness.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/hot-sausage-dip/

"Pity hurricanes aren't actually caused by gays; I would take a shot in the mouth right now if it meant wiping out these chucklefucks." ~WayAbvPar
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Reply #31 on: March 28, 2013, 12:03:52 AM

Thanks for the page views, keeps me in a job.  ;)
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Reply #32 on: March 29, 2013, 02:05:43 AM

"Storytelling is HARD!" as an excuse breaks down in the face of this much incompetence.  Because yes, storytelling is hard, but 'hay guys, let's take everything the player worked for in the first game and totally undo it in the second game!' is such an obviously stupid idea that there is no remedy but facepunching.  If the premise itself is retarded, pointing at the subtle nuances as an example of why writing is difficult is just a waste of time.  Here is an example of better story planning:

We want Kerrigan to be un-zerged: Okay.
We want Kerrigan to be in charge of the zerg during their campaign: Okay.

How do we make these two requirements occur without making the story idiotic?

By putting the zerg campaign BEFORE her un-zerging.  That way she's not bouncing in and out of the zerg like Professor Xavier bouncing in and out of his wheelchair when new writers fix/unfix his spine.
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Reply #33 on: March 29, 2013, 10:34:04 AM


yeahhhhhhhhhhh that's the point of the comparison I belabor so much. Something has to be institutionally wrong to keep a company with this much time and resources (and obviously ambitious designs to expand the storytelling element) from being able to not make their storylines so much worse.  

These games haven't been complicated story prospects. It's games that don't really need a lot of storytelling. There's no plot interactivity or decisionmaking; you're just along for the ride and the same thing happens no matter what. There's no branching. There's mostly just mission drivers. It just needs some basic motivational stuff, clear concepts. It's not a particularly challenging prospect for a story, but something's wrong and it's making it impossible for them to do.

The primary theory is M Night Shamalan's The Metzening — the idea that that dude and/or the uppers in the creative works departments are really just fuckawful at their jobs to the extent that they poison everything that they touch, and they pull all the strings, so it's going to suck. Maybe that's a significant continued issue in Blizzard's case, but there's gotta be something else going on that causes me to see the same strands of the same dysfunction in other studios.

I think that the stories that are being written for these games are dying a death by a thousand alterations, in a way which has become dysfunctionally ingrained into their system for game development. My suspicion is that they have standardized and integrated things that rule over creative vision and fracture it to death, like consistent focus group testing, where they have people play the game and report back on a questionnaire things like "Did you understand what your character was doing?" "Did you feel that your mission objectives were clear?" and that the way that the finalized story is presented to the player is the end result of thousands of tortured, micromanaged adjustments and alterations to ensure that everyone's hand was held narratively.

A person or some people are likely at some point in this process writing a story that may not be great, but pretty much works okay. But then they're required to continually and significantly alter it on so many levels every time the lead devs come back and say "focus group testing shows that some players really don't get the subtlety of X, so it needs to be rewritten and clearly tell the player something more like Y." This probably not only makes the standard level player interaction with the storyline asinine (Hmm, those enemy marines are clustered. It would be a good idea to use my Kill Clustered Marines I spell on the clustered marines that are a cluster of marines over there.), but also leads to the final overarching elements of the story becoming less dynamic and more painfully cliche. It would certainly explain things like how we moved from the constrained and workable narrative of previous diablos (LOOKING FOR BA'AL?) to the exasperatingly belabored comic-book-monologue level exposition of the current iteration*

If my theory is correct, you could take a look at Bastion as a clear example of a game story that could not possibly survive blizzard's system of game design. It certainly hammers concepts at you over and over (the boy the calamity calamities boy calamity calamitied the calamities boy. calamity.) in a way which seems excruciatingly Metzenique, but it keeps with it a clarity of vision that makes it work. It tells a story. Blizzard's version of Bastion would have seen that clarity of vision die under the weight of all its stitches.




 
Samprimary
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Reply #34 on: March 29, 2013, 10:46:17 AM

*to emphasize that point, the transcript of Diablo during the end battle of d3.

THE SEVEN EVILS ARE ONE WITHIN ME!

I AM LEGION!

ENOUGH! LET US SEE HOW YOU FARE IN MY REALM OF TERROR!

ONLY BY DEFEATING US CAN YOU RETURN TO YOUR OWN REALM!

BUT NONE HAVE EVER CRAWLED FROM THE DEPTHS OF THEIR OWN TERROR!

YOU SHALL NEVER WAKE FROM THIS NIGHTMARE!

HOW TASTES YOUR FEAR, NEPHALEM!

YOU CANNOT DEFEAT YOUR OWN TERROR!

CAN YOU FEEL YOUR DEATH APPROACHING!

YOUR NEPHALEM POWER WILL NOT HELP YOU IN THIS REALM, MORTAL!

HOW DOES IT FEEL KNOWING YOU HAVE FAILED THOSE WHO DEPENDED ON YOU?

NO! THIS WRETCHED LIGHT MUST BE ERADICATED!

ALL THAT YOU HAVE KNOWN - ALL THAT YOU HAVE EVER LOVED - SHALL DIE ALONG WITH YOU, NEPHALEM!

*DIES*
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