Apologies for the radio silence over the last week
I spent most of last week lifting heavy boxes and not being anywhere near a computer, so I haven’t had the opportunity to actually blog (although I have been tweeting a fair bit). In fact my sole post last week was this reblog of a We Hate Games post.
This week is going to be equally busy. I’ve been doing a lot of writing work elsewhere and it’s eating into the time I can commit to this blog. I recently had an article I wrote for The DamnLag on the subject of game journalism reach the frontpage of /r/gaming, which is a bit of an achievement, and apparently it received well over 40,000 pageviews. So there’s that.
I’m also working on shooting a second episode of PortsCenter. For those of you who don’t know, it’s my planned webseries focusing on interesting and unique ports of videogames. The pilot focused on the PSone version of Doom, and the second episode looks at a handheld port of a popular RTS from the
6-bit 16-bit era.
Of course as with the first episode pulling everybody together to actually make it is difficult, which is one of the reasons I’m trying to get a full season funded so I can buy my own equipment and produce episodes more quickly. Watch the pilot, and if you like it please consider pledging a few bucks. I’d really like to get this show made. It’s a subject I’m particularly interested in, and judging by the responses I’ve had it looks like a lot of you are interested too.
We’re going to shoot another episode of PortsCenter out of pocket
Should be fun. Challenging, but fun. Once again I’ll be asking friends to help out with production and equipment, as I did with the first pilot, but I’ve already bought the game in question and it should arrive in the next few days. Exciting!
If you haven’t done so already, watch the pilot, and if you like it please consider pledging a few bucks to help make the full season a reality. World of Warcraft and Batman: Arkham Asylum voice actor Dino Andrade has thrown his weight behind the project, agreeing to send signed pictures of his various characters to anyone who pledges $50 or higher. Thank you.
I don’t often ask this, but if you could please reblog this post (or otherwise help spread the word) that’d be just super-duper. Thanks to everyone who has supported this project so far.
Me, yesterday, during a lengthy Twitter discussion with Jason Schreier. Said because I am occasionally a bull-headed idiot. Whoops!
Jason and I butted heads yesterday over the whole “pre-alpha” thing. He asserted that there was no way I could possibly know which build of Skyrim the press had been invited to play, and I asserted that he was 100% correct.
I also claimed that given what “pre-alpha” actually means, inviting the press to play “pre-alpha code” would be like sending an astronaut to fly a space shuttle that hadn’t been built yet. Jason countered that there isn’t an industry-wide definition of what “pre-alpha” means, that I was wrong, and that I owed Brian Crecente an apology for not recognizing the term to mean what I thought it meant.
This all culminated in Jason challenging me to prove that my definition of “pre-alpha” was the “industry definition”. I made some calls and sent some emails to some programming buddies in the industry while Jason asked the Twitters.
Our separate lines of inquiry yielded more or less identical results - several people gave us several different definitions.
While some of my contacts agreed with my definition of the term, some informed me that “pre-alpha code” could mean code that had been inserted into an alpha or beta build of a game to serve as a “proof of concept” of a feature intended to be included with the release candidate of the game, included for the benefit of the press.
Another contact, a good friend whose job has literally involved tracking the development cycle of games at several studios over the last few years, stated that most of the studios that he’d worked at don’t use the term “pre-alpha” internally at all - anything before the first early builds of a game is designated as Pre-Production.
So my assertion that there is a standard use of “pre-alpha” within the games industry is, it seems, absolute bollocks. While this may be the case for programming in a more general case, the development cycle for the games industry seems to disagree.
I’d like to apologize to Brian Crecente for inferring that, as someone who has worked within the industry for several years, he should have been skeptical of the use of the term, and I’d also like to apologize to Jason Schreier last night for being an insufferable prat.
I’m still of the mind that, irrespective of how it’s used within studios, PR reps are using the term incorrectly to brush off concerns raised about glitches, but it’s perhaps best I let it go for now. I can readdress it later over on the Off-Topic blog.