For those who don’t know anything about this show (first off, why are you reading this?), it’s a sit-com following the experiences of four humans in the afterlife. To quote IMDB’s show page, “Four people and their otherworldly frienemy struggle in the afterlife to define what it means to be good.” The show wasn’t just comedy for the sake of comedy, it also served as a vehicle for examining the nature of humanity, of good and evil, and of moral philosophy. It was deeply engaging and left you rooting for self-improvement and moral maturity.
According to the Wikipedia entry on the show, The Good Place had 53 episodes over its four-season run, which started September 19, 2016, and ended January 30, 2020.
Over the course of the first two seasons, we see the core cast grow - not only as individuals but also as a unit. They genuinely care for one another and for the fate of humanity in general. This gives us the foundation needed for the successful selling of season three’s arc, where it is precisely that bond and the purity of that care which ultimately allows them to believably persuade The Judge to allow them to overhaul the entire afterlife system rather than destroy all of creation and start over again; thus, they successfully save humanity as we know it.
In season four we see the successful fruits of that renovation labor: The system has been fixed, and our core cast enters that world’s version of Paradice. There is one more small hitch for the cast to overcome in season four, but by introducing the fix for that problem they also present the mechanism that allows for the gracious and elegant conclusion to the entire show.
Make no mistake, the final episode had me in tears from the moment Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto) got that distant-but-calm look on his face - If you were paying attention at all throughout season four, you knew exactly what that look meant and what it ultimately meant for the rest of the cast.
Despite the emotional tears I had at the time, the more I reflected on this ending, the less I actually liked it. Here’s why:
Firstly, while I appreciated the use of their X Jeremy Bearimy later hand-wave to convey the passage of enormous chunks of decades, I felt like core cast members were abandoning the group. After so much emphasis had been placed on the unbreakable cohesion of the group over other such “X Jeremy Bearimy” of time (with the very fate of creation hanging in the balance at points), it was jarring to see people peace out with, what felt like, an uncharacteristic and misplaced casualness. They may have done all they needed/wanted to do, but they still had their friends - is the ultimate fulfillment of their friend’s not also worthy of needing/wanting to help accomplish? Characters who we’ve seen go on personal journies of growth and moral awareness suddenly turned into selfish creatures only concerned with self-fulfillment.
The expectation to this, and serving as a proxy for the viewer throughout the show, was Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell). She was the only one who ultimately acknowledged her own selfishness in the process - though, not the way I would have liked… she wanted Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper) to not move on because she wasn’t ready to move on and felt like she couldn’t do that without him. I believe this moment of self-awareness was misplaced and should have been had by Chidi and the selfishness of his, “well, I'm done so I’m leaving now… who cares if you are ready or not.”
Secondly, the ultimate “moving on” as… well… death? Really? In a show about what happens when you die, they suddenly have an existential moment of, “what do you think happens when you walk through the door” - essentially, a death at the end of death where the only difference being this second death is one you specifically opt in to “whenever you’re ready.” It felt… Lazy. It’s very obvious, particularly in retrospect, that this was the ending they had in mind for a long time, so it wasn’t due to anything like, “crap, we just got canceled... Let’s wrap this up as quickly as we can.” But, that’s pretty much how it felt to me.
Anyway… there you go. I loved the show; and, as I watched it, I found the ending very emotional. I guess I just had greater expectations for such a wonderful show - This ending didn’t feel like it was good enough for The Good Place.
What? Who's that on Guild Chat! Oh yeah, it's me 😀 Here's the video for it, in case you want to check it out. Some industrious fan took it upon themselves to create a transcript of the dialog; so, if you would rather read it (or read along 😛 heh), check out the transcript on the wiki: https://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Guild_Chat_-_Episode_65
I admit, I was apprehensive leading up to the livestream, but I had such a great time. We were playing on live, and it was very cool to have so many players come out and join us for the play through.
My only regret is we weren't able to see any of the Twitch chat. The embedded video below doesn't include chat replay, saddly, so if you would like to check out the chat in "real time" with the video, head over to the following URL: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/162662283
It seems like I only update this blog when I either leave a studio or join one. That was never intentional :X But here we are, none the less...
As I'm sure you have heard from other sources, Carbine Studios had a round of layoffs on Friday, March 11. 2016. I was caught up in that round of layoffs and found myself without a job :\ This is sad, to be sure, as I was having a great deal of fun working on WildStar.
But we all know the risks when working in the video game industry, don't we. Did I know that this was going to happen? Well... considering some of the things that happened behind the curtin, yes, I figured this was coming down the pike, but I didn't think it was going to happen so quickly or cut so deeply.
Please know I have nothing but respect for Carbine Studios in general and WildStar specifically. I have a lot of fun playing WildStar and will continue playing it for as long as I can 🙂 In fact... look at that! Go to the Carbine Studios website, and there's me in the group photo (yellow circle)!!
So... the obvious question is, where am I headed next?! That's a good question - I'm really not sure. I will, however, be sure to keep everyone updated on what I'm doing 🙂
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning shuts down today (Archive link: http://archive.is/1pghI Original Notice of Shutdown: http://archive.is/iozxa). I cannot even begin to express how important Warhammer Online, and Mythic Entertainment, have been to me. This was my first job in The Industry, and my first credited title. A whole lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into this game - It was more than just a job, it was something I helped create; I put a lot of myself into this game, and it really hurts to see it close its doors for good.
Since it's an MMO, there will be no finding of a copy of the game years down the road and playing it for old-times-sake; there will be no stumbling upon the game on Good Old Games, and buying it to play again. No - It's an MMO, and once it's gone, it's gone for good.
Looking back, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, there were things we could have done better, of course. I look back on arguments I never had, and points I was too timid to make, and wish now that I had been more forceful back then. Would we be in a different place today? Even if we had to close, could we have done it better?
I think of all those who worked on WAR, and the vast community of players, as extended family.We may have bickered and argued, but it was from a place of love. This game meant so much to me, just as it has meant a lot to so many others. I weep today for its closure.
Below is a 25 minute fan-made video, telling their own story through WAR. It is very well done, and brought me to tears more than once. I encourage any who share a personal connection with WAR to watch it.
It's taken me a few days to process this past weekend, but I think I'm now ready to take a stab at writing about my experiences.
It all started on August 1, 2012 with a Kickstarter Project. A friend of mine brought it to my attention, and when I first went to the project's page... I got very choked up. There are times in your life when, after spending a great deal of time training your subconscious to pretend a void doesn't exist, you are suddenly shocked into facing your reality. This was one of those moments, and soon a tear (or maybe two) found its way down my cheek, and I heard myself whisper, with cracking voice, "Thank you."
I backed the projected immediately.
Over the course of the year, as GaymerX gained more and more traction, some resistance from the general gaming community began to form: Why do you need your own con? To be somewhat blunt, we need our own con because the vast majority of gay gamers don't like being harassed at mainstream cons; we don't appreciate our identity being used as a emasculating slur; we're tired of being confronted, and asked the same questions by hundreds of people - most of whom don't really care about the answers, they just want an excuse to examine the "freak."
Can you imagine the pure bliss of spending the weekend with a group of people who are just like you? Where you are, finally, part of the normative group? Where you spend the time focusing on gaming, and stories about your experiences with gaming, and listening to vendors talk about stories you can relate to? Of course you can... that's *every* con for you. But not for us... this was the first time, and believe me, we loved it.
In fact, we loved it so much, one blogger's post about the event ended with a lament:
"I don’t have the right words to describe how much it meant to belong this weekend, or how hard it is going to be to go back to work tomorrow. For two days, I wasn't 'the other,' and it was wonderful; one day I hope I can feel like that all the time."
Again, that ever-present, formless feeling finally given voice. Again, tears.
Ellen McLain (GLaDOS, Portal Series) and John Patrick Lowrie (The Sniper, Team Fortress 2) lead a two-hour panel on Voice Acting - what it's all about, how they got their start, and tips on how to break into the biz regardless of where you live. They lead the panel-attendees in a Still Alive sing along, which ended quite dramatically in a marriage proposal which left the room cheering, and without a dry eye in the house.
The GAYMERS crew held a panel, hosted by The Tester Season 2 winner, Matthew Michael Brown, to show the pilot episode of their web series, and to get feedback from the attendees. It looks like it's going to be a fun show, and definitely one to keep an eye out for. Here's the web preview to give you a taste - they said the pilot episode we saw will be up Soon™
Not to leave everyone out, the Voice Acting Dynamic Duo came back during the GaymerX closing ceremonies to lead everyone in song. Ending, this time, with a standing ovation, and still much tearing up at the thought of this being the final moments of the con.
I absolutely can't wait to see what happens next year for GX2 - and I hope I can, even in some small way, help make it a success.
A few days ago I posted on Facebook that I had accepted a new job. Here is the promised update, giving some more details 🙂
Later this month, I will start working for Carbine Studios, located in beautiful Aliso Viejo, CA, as a Senior Systems Designer on WildStar. I am extremely excited about this, and am really looking forward to sinking my teeth into this new opportunity.
As an extra special added bonus, I will be reunited with Steven, so who knows, we may have more episodes of Keaven & Steven in the Morning in the near future! 😀
What happens when pirates play a game development simulator, and then go bankrupt because of piracy?
This is a mirror of the post originally posted here: http://www.greenheartgames.com/2013/04/29/what-happens-when-pirates-play-a-game-development-simulator-and-then-go-bankrupt-because-of-piracy/
When we released our very first game, Game Dev Tycoon (for Mac, Windows and Linux) yesterday, we did something unusual and as far as I know unique. We released a cracked version of the game ourselves, minutes after opening our Store.
I uploaded the torrent to the number one torrent sharing site, gave it a description imitating the scene and asked a few friends to help seed it.
A minute after we uploaded it, my torrent client looked like this:
Soon my upload speed was maxed out (and as of the time of writing still is) and my friends and I had connections from all over the world and for all three platforms!
How does piracy feel?
The cracked version is nearly identical to the real thing except for one detail… Initially we thought about telling them their copy is an illegal copy, but instead we didn’t want to pass up the unique opportunity of holding a mirror in front of them and showing them what piracy can do to game developers. So, as players spend a few hours playing and growing their own game dev company, they will start to see the following message, styled like any other in-game message:
Boss, it seems that while many players play our new game, they steal it by downloading a cracked version rather than buying it legally.
If players don’t buy the games they like, we will sooner or later go bankrupt.
Slowly their in-game funds dwindle, and new games they create have a high chance to be pirated until their virtual game development company goes bankrupt.
Some of the responses I found online (identities obscured to protect the guilty):
Is there some way to avoid that? I mean can I research DRM or something …
And another user:
Why are there so many people that pirate? It ruins me!
As a gamer I laughed out loud: the IRONY!!!
However, as the developer, who spent over a year creating this gameand hasn’t drawn a salary yet, I wanted to cry. Surely, for most of these players, the 8 dollars wouldn’t hurt them but it makes a huge difference to our future!
Trying to appeal to pirates
I know that some people just don’t even think about buying games. They will immediately search for a cracked version. For this reason, when we released the game, we also published a page which targets people who search for a cracked/illegal version. Unfortunately, due to my lack in search-engine-optimization skills, that page has had no impact yet, but I hope it will convince some to buy the game in the future.
[…]if years down the track you wonder why there are no games like these anymore and all you get to play is pay-to-play and social games designed to suck money out of your pockets then the reason will stare back at you in the mirror.
I do think it’s important to try to communicate what piracy means to game developers to our consumers. I also tried to appeal to a particular forum a day earlier after someone who I gave early-access to the Store seemed to have passed on the copy to others:
We’re just a start-up and really need your support. The game is only 7.99USD, DRM free…
Clearly, my post hadn’t worked too well since on the same forum someone posted the earlier screenshot (“Why are there so many people that pirate? It ruins me!) just a bit after I made my appeal and this was followed by many others complaining about piracy.
I still hope that it made a difference to someone.
Anyway, how many really did buy and how many did pirate our game during this first day?
The awesome/depressing results
Today, one day after release, our usage stats look like this:
Genuine version: 214 users
Cracked version: at least 3104 users
To the players who played the cracked version!
I’m not mad at you. When I was younger, downloading illegal copies was practically normal but this was mostly because global game distribution was in its infancy. To be fair, there are still individuals who either can’t make a legal purchase because of payment-issues or who genuinely cannot afford the game. I don’t have a quarrel with you. To the rest who could afford the game consider this:
- Would you like to see a bigger/better sequel of Game Dev Tycoon in the future? Buy the game! Creating this game was already expensive and this was just a small game. If we ever want to make a bigger/better version we need a lot of support!
- Do you hate the trend towards social or pay-to-play free games? Buy games from independent developers! (start with ours )
- Do you hate the recent trends in the industry? Buy DRM free games.
We are not wealthy and it’s unlikely that we will be any time soon, so stop pretending like we don’t need your 8 dollars! We are just two guys working our butts off, trying to start our own game studio to create games which are fun to play.
The game is DRM free, you can use it on up to three of your computers for your own use, you get copies for Mac, Windows and Linux, you can continue your game before piracy wrecked your company and we even aim to provide you with a free Steam key once the game is on Steam. All for a mere 8 bucks.
If you just want to try the game then there’s the free DEMO:
Do we need DRM?
Whether or not to use DRM isn’t clear at all to a new start-up. The main argument against it is that all it does is to inconvenience genuine customers. Fact is that any game can be cracked, so all you do is spend time on something that in the end just annoys your real customers while only slightly delaying the inevitable. The only way to protect yourself is to create an online game. I guess that’s why so many studios focus on these types of games and it’s probably a driving force to eradicate traditional single player games.
Personally, I love single players games and hope to be able to continue down this path and if more people would buy our game, we might even be able to.
Would I do this again?
This was a unique opportunity. You need a game development simulation game to make this particular joke work. The more general idea/experiment to release a cracked version which inconveniences and counts pirates can probably work for any game and might work in the long run.
If pirates are put through more trouble than genuine customers, maybe more will buy the real game. Sadly, for AAA games it is currently the other way. Customers get the trouble with always-on requirements and intrusive DRM, while pirates can just download and enjoy. A twisted world.
To our genuine customers
Thank you for your support. Your purchase is more important to us than you might think. We hope to be able to bring you more games in the future. Also, please update to the latest version of the game by using the download link from your purchase email. Before writing this blog post I’ve fixed most of the known issues
- Greenheart Games ♥
If you want to comment on this post, please do so on our forum.
If you just want to try the game then there’s the free DEMO:
It is with heavy heart I report I am leaving Mythic Entertainment. I have worked with Mythic since 2007, and it quickly became my family. I have made long-lasting friendships with a wide variety of people, thanks to my employment here; friends, not only with those I worked with, but also with fans and players of the game.
These last few years in particular have been very rewarding for me, particularly with respect to the player base – We started communicating more directly with players, bouncing ideas around in “hypothetical” dev discussions, and got a much better idea of where the player base was head-space wise.
Being more collaborative with the players resulted in some amazing development cycles. I’m by no means saying everything was perfect – there was a lot I could have done better, in hindsight, but I think we really managed to take some giant steps forward as well, as non-perfect as those steps may have been.
As I look back over my time with WAR, my only regret is not being as involved with the community as we have been over this last year. I have done some of my best growth, thanks to the fires the community lit under me.
My heart breaks to walk away from WAR, and from my family at Mythic… But the time to go, and explore new growth and new career possibilities, has come; and though it does hurt to leave, I have nothing but love for my Mythic family, and for my WAR player base brothers & sisters.
Thank you all for some of the best years of my life… and I’ll see you on the battlefield!