Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!



Can Minecraft Change the Gaming Industry?

TheSambassador Re:Less is sometimes more (255 comments)

The "I have to download it" part wasn't the main focus of the post... good job ignoring everything else.

I enjoy Steam quite a bit, and agree that it is "DRM done right" (for the most part). However, even with Valve's own games I've had problems with offline mode. It might have something to do with updates, but it seems like if I have a game ready for offline mode, then later go online and the game gets updated, I have to re-launch it once to get it to go back to being available in offline mode. If games update in the background or I don't notice the update (which is often, because Steam is usually running in the background on my PC) then sometimes games that should be available offline aren't. It was in response to "how is Minecraft's offline mode different than Steam's".

more than 3 years ago

Can Minecraft Change the Gaming Industry?

TheSambassador Re:Less is sometimes more (255 comments)

And this is different from Steam's offline mode how? (Hint: Just because you couldn't find it doesn't mean it's not there.) The very fact that Minecraft needs to check in to a server (even if only once) means that it has DRM.

Well, first of all, Steam's "offline mode" consistently fails and "loses" its ability to do offline mode. You have to get the game 100% downloaded and activated, and then it needs to be launched once, sometimes more times to get Steam to be ok with you launching it in offline mode. Often it seems like if you go online again even once without even launching the game it will need to be launched again to get offline capabilities back.

You know what else is DRM? CD keys, and most rational people accept that as an acceptable method of copy protection. Hell, through your argument, every single game that has a primary method of "downloading" has DRM from your standpoint. You have to "check in" to a "server" only once to get the file download necessary to play the game...

With Minecraft, you download the launcher once from the website, open it, log in, and you have offline mode forever. There are no secret checks. It doesn't decide to "lose" its ability to play offline. Hell, you don't even HAVE to log in at ALL, you can actually just copy the .minecraft directory to your computer and you don't even have to touch their servers. When I first started playing Minecraft it was right when it had exploded and the authentication servers were hit pretty hard, so Notch just made the authentication not matter and opened the game to everyone for the weekend. After that, I continued playing it in Offline mode, even though I didn't own the copy, until I made the actual purchase a week or two later.

more than 3 years ago

Can Minecraft Change the Gaming Industry?

TheSambassador Re:Less is sometimes more (255 comments)

He said at the main start screen. You know, where no fps are occurring.

Seriously? FPS = frames per second. In a game application like Minecraft, there is no place that "no fps are occurring."

This post literally makes no sense to me. Power drain of this lunacy? Ignoring the CPU halt command?

more than 3 years ago

Nintendo Announces New Console: Wii U

TheSambassador Re:Doesn't seem like a very good concept (330 comments)

Let's think about Multiplayer games instead, which to most "casual" gamers is what's important.

In some games, you actually want to keep things hidden from the other players. This is true of practically all closed-hand card games and LOTS of board games. Consider games like scrabble, where you have the "main" board and your own set of letters. This controller could easily have things like your "hand" which can be kept secret/hidden from the other players. The whole Ipad/Ipod scrabble thing (where you can slide tiles from your Iphone onto the Ipad, where the board was) was actually pretty popular. I can think of a lot of things that you could do with this sort of configuration.

In the "conventional" set of game mechanics, this might "break" immersion, but at the same time it has the potential for a lot of interesting mechanics. In games like Zelda, you usually pause to switch the set of items that you want to use (UHG think Water Temple from Ocarina of Time, removing and equipping boots all of the time). Here, you could display your items on the touch screen, glance down, hit what you want to use, and go back to the main screen. No more "immersion breaking" pauses.

The controller itself looks pretty bulky though... so we'll see how it is. Cost is, of course, also a pretty big concern... are these things going to be like $100/controller? Bleh.

more than 3 years ago

StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm Details Released

TheSambassador Re:I'm still waiting for the collection (106 comments)

Besides the fact that the game was just as long, if not longer, than the original Starcraft (29 missions with lots of customization vs 30 linear missions with no choice), did you miss the fact that there are parts of SC2 that you play as the other races? There are Protoss missions within the Terran campaign. Just because it's focused on the Terran part of the story doesn't mean that the others get left out entirely.

It's fine that you don't want to buy it, but it seems like your reasons were just plain wrong.

more than 3 years ago

PlayStation Network Hack Will Cost Sony $170M

TheSambassador Re:Yeah, but they can make it up in volume (189 comments)

Um... what?

PSN is free. It's one of the PS3's main draws... with Xbox you have to pay for a Gold Xbox Live account. They do have "Playstation Plus," a subscription "upgrade," but it's far from necessary and most people don't have it.

Also... how are they going to "add a bunch more PSN subscribers" magically after the PSN's image has been screwed so fantastically? Even my girlfriend had heard of the PSN fiasco. People are (maybe) going to be much more careful with their data now.

more than 3 years ago

US Government Recognizes, Funds Video Games As Art

TheSambassador Re:Why? (58 comments)

It seems like you didn't even read the SUMMARY. Impressive.

We have a National Endowment for the Arts program. It funds artists via grants because we've decided, as a country, that the arts are important. Now the types of art that are allowed to be funded includes video games.

"Isn't this essentially just forcing people to purchase games that aren't selling on their own merits?" No more than it's "forcing people to purchase paintings that aren't selling on their own merits" or "forcing people to pay for fruit cups that their kids don't even eat because they make them bring their own food." The government has a LOT of programs, and you have every right to be upset about the .0001 cents of your money that probably goes to such programs. Literally NOTHING the government does is supported by 100% of the population. It is literally impossible to please everybody who lives in the US. This is just one program that some people believe is valuable, and now, for the first time, it's also being allowed to fund games as works of art. I think that that's pretty cool.

more than 3 years ago

Why People Watch StarCraft, Instead of Playing

TheSambassador Re:Real Reason (122 comments)

I would argue that the user interface was a conscious choice by the developers. When your tools are limited, there's a much higher "skill ceiling" (the best you can get) than when simple things are handled for you. In Starcraft, you have to make conscious decisions on what to focus on. Do you want to make sure that your economy is strong and that you're constantly producing fighting units (macro)? Do you want to manage your units and get the most efficiency possible out of them (micro)? Do you want to focus on harassment, positioning, laying traps, etc? Can you do all of these things at once?

There are even Starcraft players who think that Starcraft 2 makes things TOO easy. While this is an April Fools joke, there are plenty who actually would WANT the game to be this hard. Sure, it would be nice to be able to tell a Barracks to "constantly make marines, but don't take money until you need to start a new one," but then Macro becomes obsolete, and there is no skill to being able to make units. Some people are great at Macro, some are great at Micro, and some are good at plenty of other things, but it's this diversity in HOW individuals can be skilled that makes Starcraft interesting. Some people actually ENJOY it.

I think that Starcraft, while being a strategy game, has a lot in common with twitch-based games as well... enough so that it's "more" real-time than other RTS games. Some people prefer slower-paced more strategic games, and that's fine, but they're not "better" any more than Chess is "better" than Starcraft.

As to why people like to watch it... well, I think it can be a combination of things. I watch the GSL, and I've even gotten my girlfriend into it. While I enjoy it because I know the sort of skill that the game requires, my girlfriend really enjoys the casters (Tasteless and Artosis), who are quite funny, and the players (along with the rivalry and ceremonies after the game). She doesn't really understand the strategy, and probably can barely identify a "6-pool" (an extremely early opening that aims to do tons of early damage), but she still enjoys watching it because the game is just straight up entertaining to watch. I also expect that a lot of the appeal is in HOW popular it is now, and how it can be fun to watch something with a group of people and cheer when other people to cheer (my response to football).

more than 3 years ago

Smithsonian Unveils 'Art of Games' Voting Results

TheSambassador Re:why these dumb arbitrary categories? (183 comments)

Seriously. It's not like they give different awards to "Movies that were on DVD" vs "Movies that were on Blu Ray." Why are there separate categories for separate platforms? Why are these games "art"?

I'm sorry, but while I loved many games on that list, only a few of them transcend the "Entertainment" category and become whatever "art" is.

more than 3 years ago

Smithsonian Unveils 'Art of Games' Voting Results

TheSambassador Re:Minecraft?? (183 comments)

Art != "Visually Appealing" (though I happen to think that Minecraft is very beautiful in its own way).

Minecraft offers an experience that's pretty different from almost every other game, including the ones that has influenced it. It's not even complete, yet it's consumed the time of so many people and has sold over TWO MILLION copies despite a complete lack of promotion and advertising (other than word of mouth, obviously). It's a game with an extremely simple interface and complete freedom. Regardless of whether or not you think it's "boring" or that the graphics are "bad," it does deserve recognition as a unique experience. You can farm, explore caves, and even create basic computers WITHIN Minecraft! Minecraft really is what you make it... something that not many games, even the sandbox ones, can claim.

Of course, I'm not really sure if this is even worth responding to, as your argument is "Minecraft? Really?" Which really isn't an argument at all.

more than 3 years ago

Star Wars MMO Estimated To Cost $100M

TheSambassador Re:but... (133 comments)

Is it really going to be that new though?

I mean... when are MMOs going to ACTUALLY try to change up gameplay? Story-driven missions and stuff are great, but what about some other form of targeting/using abilities? Is this still going to be a click-on-the-target, enable auto-attack, cast spell 1 followed by spell 2 followed by spell 3 and repeat?

Why aren't there more MMOs that mix in puzzles or platforming elements? Wouldn't it be cool if there was a sort of RTS mechanic? This whole "watch your casting bar fill up thing" and "global cooldown" on abilities is getting old, and it seems like it's on every single MMO now (why? because WoW did it?).

At the very least, I hope that crafting is more than "get raw materials, forge raw materials into usable components by waiting for a bar to fill up, craft items by watch said bar fill up some more, alt-tab while you craft 50 medium leathers, etc." Why not have a mini-game for crafting? Why not actually be able to combine various components with various properties to achieve the effects that you want? Morrowind/Oblivion had a great way of doing this in their Alchemy skill.

I want to like this game, I really do. If they can prove that their core gameplay mechanics are different, then I will be very excited, but if not, I'll just be very bored. Again.

more than 3 years ago

Nintendo Chief: Consumers Don't Understand 3DS Yet

TheSambassador Re:3d is underwhelming (215 comments)

Really? Is it that atrocious compared to what else is out there?

The PSP claims 4.5-7 hours. The 3DS claims 3-5 for 3D, 5-8 for normal DS use.

Sure, the other DS handhelds have done much better in this regard (the DS Lite wins here, with 9-15 hours), but it's a rare thing that I would be playing even 5 hours straight without having access to power. Even on long, 8+ hour car trips where I'm not driving, I'm not going to be playing for the entire trip.

I think a more likely explanation for the lackluster sales is the lack of games. Most people who would be buying a 3DS probably already have a DS, and when the major games that utilize the 3D aren't out yet, why would anybody buy it?

more than 3 years ago

The Legend of Zelda Turns 25

TheSambassador Re:Anybody think LOZ is kinda boring? (98 comments)

The first LoZ game that I played was Link's Awakening for the Gameboy. That one is amazing, and has a lot of interesting items and even has some platforming elements (it's fun to use the Pegasus boots and the feather to jump across huge gaps, and I think it had side-scrolling elements as well!)

I think playing one that's "good" first really pulls you into the series. Not that the first one isn't "good", but I don't know why'd you ever play it over Link to the Past at all. LttP is easily the best top-down version in the series.

As for the 3D ones, I don't know why people hate Majora's Mask so much. It kept all the things that made Ocarina of Time so great (innovative Z-targeting controls, unique fighting, fun puzzles) and added tons! The 3 forms that you have to use really added tons to the gameplay. It also didn't rely on the "3 initial dungeons, then 8 "real" dungeons, then get the triforce" model. There was a LOT that you did in the non-dungeon areas, tons of side-quests, and playing with all of the masks was way fun! The impending doom of the moon was also pretty crazy, and while sometimes you got screwed, most of the time you had plenty of time to finish what you were doing.

I tried playing Twilight Princess on the Gamecube, and to be honest I had fun, but for some reason stopped playing it about 10% in. Part of that might be that I generally stick to multiplayer games, but there's something that's not quite there in the newer ones. Maybe it's all nostalgia, and I just wouldn't even like OoT if I hadn't played it until now, but I do think that they were pretty innovative and cool at the time, and now they're sticking to the same old formula.

I think they need to try something new now... and I think a large part of that could be some form of multiplayer. The 4 swords adventures was sort of interesting, but it wasn't really anything special. If they could do a full-fledged co-op game in Zelda, or even some sort of combative multiplayer (dare I say deathmatch?) I think that it could be really interesting.

more than 3 years ago

WikiLeaks Nominated For 2011 Nobel Peace Prize

TheSambassador Re:Century (495 comments) It seems like the "Obama hasn't done anything" thing is barely true. It's just that most people don't care/hear about what he HAS done for some reason.

more than 3 years ago

Beginning Blender

TheSambassador Re:frustrating (68 comments)

Which is why there are those parentheses at the end of that sentence.

more than 3 years ago

Beginning Blender

TheSambassador Re:frustrating (68 comments)

To some extent, I agree with you, but honestly, it's sort of a "once you get it, you never go back" sort of thing.

I guess it may seem "unintuitive" at first, but really it's all about learning the shortcuts and practicing. Once you know them, modeling in Blender is faster and more satisfying than any other modeling program that I've tried.

So... should UI's of a specialized program be designed to be easy to learn, or very efficient once learned? There are definitely arguments for each of those (and others, probably), but I find it very slow going modeling in other programs now. If you're just going to throw together a really simple model, using Sketchup is great, but if you're actually looking to get into 3D modeling, learning a nice tool like Blender will be worth it.

more than 3 years ago

The Recovery Disc Rip-Off

TheSambassador Re:It's down to the cost of one disk? (551 comments)

Windows actually comes with "ISO Image Burner" integrated into 7. It'd be realllly easy.

But... even when the manufacturer TELLS people straight up to burn the backup DVD with the provided software, most people just don't do it. I don't see why they'd be more likely to burn an image that they'd have to download it.

about 4 years ago

Video Game Screenshots As Art

TheSambassador Probably not without any editting... (16 comments)

Are still frames from a movie (that someone else made) art? I'd probably argue not so much... it's the creation of somebody else. Now if you were able to edit those pictures in a way that communicates something, then maybe we can start talking.

I'd say that taking a "cool looking" screenshot can't really be art in the sense that this article wants it to be. Sure, with video games you have a bit more freedom of where to "take your picture" from than you would with a film, but it's the same idea. That scene from Bioshock was created by the developers, and it's THEIR art, not somebody who's just found a cool place to take a shot. The developers set up the lighting, made the textures and models, and provided the entire atmosphere.

Of course, once you get into modding and/or things like Gary's Mod, where you can actually create some really cool things, maybe those "screenshots" would be a bit closer to "art." But simply taking a cool screenshot of a game doesn't (IMO) constitute "art."

more than 4 years ago

Violent Video Games Only Affect Some People

TheSambassador Re:It's not violence (236 comments)

Sex doesn't necessarily "harm nobody." While the harm with violence is much more direct (people injured/killed) the harm from sex can be quite large and unpredictable. I'm talking, of course, about pregnancy... though I'm sure that you could argue for other "harms" of sex.

more than 4 years ago


TheSambassador hasn't submitted any stories.


TheSambassador has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>