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Great question. If I only had one video I could play it would be this.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Issue : Games : Automation



Test automation is the use of special software to control the execution of test plans. It’s comprised of comparisons of actual outcomes against predicted outcomes, test preconditions, and report functions. It’s designed to increase productivity, so don’t worry.

It usually follows outsourcing, which is where a company hires really determined humans that live far away to do three times the work, in half the time, at a fraction of the cost. It’s designed to increase productivity, so don’t worry.  

Video game automatons get all Chicken Little when either come around. I never know how to feel when this stuff appears on the scene. Its entrance is always the same though, basically the monorail song with words like synergy, pain points, and verticals sprinkled around.  

People speak of automation like it’s the precursor to Skynet. First the geo scripts then the robots then the time travel then the Sarah Connors. Nobody gives credit to the stuff that has to come before it to make the other thing a reality, namely humanities prolonged game of hot potato with what is seen as grunt work.

Watching the maid clean up house through the sliding double doors while you sit in a hammock sipping a cold drink sounds a lot better than doing it yourself. And having a Roomba doing it absolves both the guilt and the need to keep an eye out for theft. A win win.

 If a bleak future of robotic servitude is to come it’s probably because the robots got tired of doing something, and ran out of other robots willing to do the job. Or they need our blood for oil, either way. I ain't even mad at automation. There are things that automation can’t do that a human can do... Umm...Right? Well, we enjoy what we make, there is that.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Issue : Games : Any Road



Sir, You Are Being Hunted is going to be a game about what happens when robots get bored.  You play as a dude being hunted for sport across the English countryside by gentlemanly robots of leisure. Gameplay elements look to be born of Thief, DayZ, and that movie where they were trying to kill Ice-T in the woods.   

It reached its Kickstarter goal in a couple days, so people obviously want to play it. Jim Rossignol of Rock Paper Shotgun is making it, so its pedigree is on point. One can expect the writing to be self-aware, funny in a melancholy key, and dry as a biscuit. The English ones, or my auntie’s biscuits, they are dry as fuck (Sorry Jo-Jann love you!).

The game will be using procedural generation. Designers love the freedom, QA hates the unpredictability. Testing floating assets is Groundhog Day meets an Easter egg hunt in ultra-hell. A common bug in a procedural test plan is:

Issue: Geo: Design: DPO: Castle appears inside mountain (B)
Repo steps:
1. Launch Title
2. Enter command /Goto every fucking where
3. Give up searching. Choose to believe it a product of crunchtime dementia
4. Go on smoke break
5. Stand in parking lot, rethink life choices        

In games like DayZ, the scary comes from the baddies; you want to run from them. I already want to walk toward these robots; or at least be in their general vicinity. Also, Jerbz.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Issue : Games : Third Succsession



I can’t bring myself to play the MechWarrior online Beta, for fear I will never return. I can say that comfortably, because I know exactly what’s waiting for me in there.

Lost nights perusing the shop, c-bills burning a hole through my dungarees, caressing the static mesh of Ferro Fibrous armor, gazing doe eyed into the cavernous abyss of chromed out double heat sinks. Veraciously assembling arms, legs, and guns on a bolt chest chassis by way of some Mary Shelly-esque techromancy in a blissfully Sisyphean effort to attain perfect balance of heat spill, mass, and critical space.

It happened with Front Mission, happened with Robotech, happened with Gundam. It happened with all of the MechWarrior titles before this. I love Mechanized combat, I am an addict in remission, in hiding, which is why I cannot under any circumstances play an online MechWarrior game. Not even once.

The closest to the feeling I get thinking about returning to the cockpit is when I hear people speak of getting lost in WoW. The faint tint of Aspartame on their breath when they claim to be “So happy they unsubbed.” The fear in their eyes cultivated by stifled understanding that it’s patiently waiting on some URL to yank them back the moment they get comfortable. It’s not even escape at that point. An addiction they never truly beat, just outran.

I started the download while writing this, got way too sexual somewhere around “double heat sinks.” It was good run, had a job, friends, just bought a bed, so close to the semblance of a life. I wonder what the world will look like when I get back.  Swiiiiiing Loooooowww, Sweeet Charrrriiiiooooot, Commmin for to carry me Hoooooommmeeee.  

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