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How Do You Measure a Game's Worth?

Catil influence of bad game parts (188 comments)

The sole amount of time spent playing a game doesn't consider the parts of the game that didn't entertain or were even frustrating. I guess you can't just substract these "wasted" hours either because a 20 hour game without any frustrating parts is likely to entertain you more than a 30 hour game that includes 10 hours of frustration. It depends a lot on how much your free time playing games is worth to you in the first place. It may even be worth so much that you enjoy a five minute Solitair game a lot more than going through five minutes of just learning the controls of any other game, as an extreme example. The location of the bad game parts is also important as five minutes of frustation every now and then are less likely to decrease your entertainment than a bad two hour part in one go, especially if that were your only two hours of playtime that weekend.

about 5 years ago

Germany Legislates For Mandatory Web Filters

Catil Re:The world had its taste of freedom... (309 comments)

Blocking sites with illegal content can be done without destroying freedom of speech.

No, it's impossible. Once a government starts to censor a certain type of illegal content, the censorship will soon expand to include every other type of illegal content as well (warez, hacking tools, bombing construction manuals, all porn sites without youth restrictions,) followed by content considered harmful (islamistic and nazi propaganda, governmental uncontrolled gambling, information about drugs) and sooner or later include every website the current government doesn't like for any reason whatsoever (discussing loopholes in law, sharing speed camera locations, oppositional opinions.) This will happen because "the government has to protect it's people by all means possible" and once new possibilities are clearly available, they have to be applied due to political pressure.

Of course, in Germany, censorship is actually unconstitutional. It's not a coincidence that it starts with childporn even though it probably only represents a very small fraction of all illegal websites. It's the one subject nobody can argue against without commiting political suicide. Nazi- and antisemite stuff will certainly follow next, opening the door for everything else.
...and that's still not the end. As the list grows bigger, the process will get automated and imperatively include every website providing comments that are not pre-moderated. The crawler will repeatedly find posts with links to goatse on Slashdot, stored at different imagehosts that will all be banned one after another until Slashdot will finally be banned directly. The endresult will be a whitelist. The question is not if but when. It took ten years to get this far; give it another ten and we will be there.

The fact that these kind of extensive cuts to people's right of 'freedom of speech' is currently happening all the world, for many unrelated different reasons no less, should be alarming.

about 6 years ago

Is the Gaming PC Dead?

Catil Re:It has never been alife in the first place (417 comments)

I used to buy a $2000 high end gaming PC about every two years and played the first year on the highest possible settings and already hated the machine, when I had to turn a few things off during the second year. Now, I just buy a $500-$800 PC every 3-4 years and I still play at the highest possible settings most of the time. Two things changed:
1. I just concentrate on a good graphics card and buy everything else for cheap; onboard sound, $30 case, etc. (yes, it doesn't really work for GTA IV. It seems to be the first game that needs a high end CPU and I hope it will also be the last.)
2. Back in the time, I didn't consider a game to be running fast, when it wouldn't run at >100 FPS. Today, 40 FPS is good enough for me. I don't know how this perception excatly changed but I guess I just got older and can't really tell the difference anymore.

more than 6 years ago

Amazon Fights Piracy Tool, Creators Call It a Parody

Catil Parody (268 comments)

Amazon is kind of doing the opposite for years now - placing ads on torrent-sites and the like, where you can buy the same item from Amazon you are about to download for free. Therefore 'parody' is indeed the right term to use for this plugin.

more than 6 years ago

Black Mesa Nearing Completion, Trailer Released

Catil Re:Legalities (103 comments)

In the media business, remakes and sequels actually increase the sales of the originals prior to their release. HL1 and HL:Source should be directly benefiting from Black Mesa right now, which might even be one of the points for Vavle to still market those games.
They likely didn't discourage you to continue on your mod because of the original TF but because of their own sequel, TF2, already in the works, which would have had to compete against a similar product without a pricetag. "Nah, don't buy the lame TF2. Try that TF mod for Engine X over there instead. It rocks." is something Valve certainly wouldn't want to see on gaming forums.

more than 6 years ago

Google Turns On User-Tweakable Search Wiki

Catil What is the point? (161 comments)

Why would users put results to the top if there is no way of sharing those? It's not like users search for the same stuff every time in order to visit the same site that always happens to be on page 2 or something. ou could just bookmark that page.
Will people really use this at the slight chance that Google might one day use the information to improve their engine, even so they say that they won't?
User-tweakable SearchWiki... one might as well just use Wikipedia. I guess for 95% of all common searchterms, there is an informative Wiki-article anyway and those already have related peer-reviewed links at the bottom, excluding scam and parking sites. There is a good reason that most queries on Google provide Wikipedia as the first result.

Edit: sounds a bit more "flamebatish" than I wanted it to be but whatever.
Edit2: Yes, I can edit my comments, don't you?

more than 6 years ago

Science's Alternative To an Intelligent Creator

Catil Re:That's entirely beside the point (683 comments)

Those questions only arise if you think of God as an entity that can be personified.
I like to think of God as the universe itsself; a greater thing made up of billions of smaller things, like galaxies, where each individual part is not aware of the greater picture. Just like a human is made of billions of cells that are not aware of the human and those cells made up of billions of atoms that are not aware of the cell. Maybe I just like the idea of being the God of my bodycells.
If a religion teaching that exists, please let me know. I'm happy to join.

more than 6 years ago

Canadian Fined For Videoing Movie In Theatre

Catil Re:jail time? (382 comments)

Let's say our justice system was egalitarian - how would you expect the outcome of this case to change?

In order to find the answer, why don't we just forget those undoubtedly evil corporations, their holding companies and the million dollar cinema complexes for a while and imagine ourselves on a small independent island, inhabited by 20 people, to get a better perspective.
You are one them, and for a living you are making nice movies for the other people to enjoy. As this is kind of expensive for you, you don't just give copies of your movies to others but instead show them inside your home on a screen for an entry fee. 15 paying people are going to see your new movie every week. It works just fine, you love your job, people love you and life is good.

One day, however, one of your guests starts to record your movie right off your screen. At first, you don't have a problem with it but the next week only 13 people visit you. A week later the number shrinks to 12, then to 11. Of course, your earnings shrink as well and because you have bills to pay, just like everyone else, your budget to make movies has to shrink too. After some time, you get suspicious and start to wonder why this is happening. You decide to follow the guy that still comes to record your movies ever week to his home. There, you find out that he is showing your movies to your former audience for free. When confronting them on the reason they don't come to visit you anymore, they claim that the quality of your movies has gone bad and that they are not worth paying for anymore. You tell them that if they would just continue to pay in order to see them, that you would have a bigger budget to make better movies. They don't care, so you figure that if they had not the possibility to watch your movies for free in the first place, the problem would just solve itsself. You decide to sue the guy recording your movies.

Coincidentally, you are also the judge on this island - what is your decision and why?
Now tweak the varibles. Would you come to a different judgement if the recording of your movies wouldn't affect their quality? Would you come to a different conclusion if the guy earned money himself by showing your movies?
And finally, would it matter if 300 million people lived on the island and not just 20?

more than 6 years ago

How Do Games Grow Up?

Catil Re:but..but.. (248 comments)

You are probably right but TFA is not really about the complexity of games. It doesn't matter how difficult a game is - if it is a mindless timekiller on 'easy,' it is still a mindless timekiller on 'ultra-violence' mode.
The gaming equivalent to books like 'Brave New World' is not Chess. Chess doesn't make you think about life or reflect on past decisions and historical events or make you look at things from another perspective. 'Brave New World' certainly does that; it even has the potential to change your life.
The most "mature" games I've recently played were 'Mass Effect' and 'Indigo Prophecy.' They didn't make me think but they managed to touch me emotionally - something I've only experienced with books and a few movies before. I think those are definitely step into the right direction.

One game that could come close to what the author would perhaps like to see is a Flash game I came across a year ago. Unfortunately I can't find it anymore, so here is a basic description:
You see a small middle-eastern town slightly form above. There are many civilians going about their normal business and a small number of terrorists. As a player you have ability to shoot the terrorists but whenever you take one out, all civilians who witness it become terrorists themselves.
It may fall a bit into the 'common sense' category for many people but I guess there are at least some people who would (and should) think a minute or two about it and maybe reconsider their opinion on certain foreign policies.
Mabye there are other games coming closer. I'd like to learn about them.

more than 6 years ago

Why Netbooks Will Soon Cost $99

Catil Re:That's already the case... (221 comments)

Meanwhile, in Germany...

Playstation 3 80 GB
+ Asus EeePC 4GB
+ 2x Motorola F3
for 0 Euro.
It's bundled with two Vodafon 2-year contracts, respectively for 15,39 Euro monthly.

That was one of the first links searching for 'handy (mobile-phone) bundles.' I don't think something like this is very serious. It will perhaps come with a bunch of sleazy clauses in small print. Our consumer advice centre puts out warnings once in a while for this kind of stuff...

more than 6 years ago

Using Money As Incentive For Competition On Consoles?

Catil Re:I can't see them stopping cheating. (40 comments)

Agreed. Feeling cheated in various online FPS games, I wrote some cheats myself for research purposes to see how hard it really was and if it was even worth my time playing those games competitive in an online gaming league.
Although that was several years ago and the game and anti-cheat programs have been updated many many times, the majority of my old cheats will still work while some of them would need a simple adjustment of two lines of code to make them work again. That's because I didn't even bother breaking any anti-cheat. I simply caught hashes of the textures used on other players on OpenGL and D3D level, determined where on the screen they were, and was able to make aimbots that even compensated my ping and worked with non-direct hit weapons like rocket launchers by anticipating the movement of other players. I submitted them to two anti-cheat teams but unlike catching the particular cheats I submitted by looking up it's memory signature, which could even be circumvented by a simple byte-hack, there was nothing they could do.
One of my cheats, for Unreal Tournament 1, somehow got leaked by the AC team to a private cheater forum and is probably in use until today. When I still played the game some years ago, I set up a server with a custom map made by me, where I used the player textures that the cheat identifies on some pillars in the map. During the two weeks the server was running, I saw at least four people that seemed to have a great aim but somehow often shooted at the pillars too.

Those cheats can even be done on a driver level, making it almost impossible to catch by anti-cheat methods, unless all API developers, graphics card manufactors, driver coders and Microsoft would work together on it without screwing it up at any of the many possible points that could create a hole. Won't happen anytime soon, I guess.
You might want to say that TFA is about consoles, but modern consoles are just computers, too. There is barely a difference.
They should keep money out of gaming for every game that doesn't completely run server-side and requires to trust the client at some point, which includes pretty much any realtime 3D game. Any major pro gaming league and other competitions always perform the finals, where serious money is involved, at a LAN and get very suspicious if people suddenly don't play as good as they did online before for that reason.
Hell, with enough money involved, even I might get interested in the dark side again. Playing games while earning money and without any serious risk? Better than trusting a bank to invest it these days.

more than 6 years ago


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