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Mad_Scientist Blog

A plee to posters

It's something I've noticed more and more as I've been a mod, and something that's been bothering me. It all starts when someone makes a soon to be moderated post, in particular one that's a bit extreme in content. Perhaps this person suddenly started flaming for no apparent reason, or made a racist thread, or suggested something obviously illegal, or... etc, etc. That's not the issue, though. That's not what's irking me. Such posts are simply a fact of life on any board as big as Gamespot, and while annoying, are always going to exist to some extent. Quick reporting can help get rid of those fairly quickly. No, the issue I have is the response to these posts.

People flame back. They call the poster stupid, or all kinds of other things, depending on the content of the original post. Posters who normally know better, who'd usually never go and call someone a moron or a **** or the like, suddenly forget themselves. They post something telling the guy they've reported him, or say something like "enjoy your ban." They mock the poster in some offhand way. They...etc, etc.

Oftentimes, I understand why people are posting these things. Sometimes the original poster said something really bad, something sure to get people heated. I understand why they are angry at the person who made the first post, or why they'd think the person foolish. But the thing is, even when invited or provoked, such flames and trolling aren't allowed here at GS. And I find that with it being my responsibility to uphold the TOU, among other things, I can't really purposely ignore a TOU violation when I see it. I can't just say to myself "Well, that guy's flaming, but the person before him was being a complete... something not good... so I guess I'll overlook it in this case."

So here is my plee to all who post here at Gamespot: don't fall into this trap. Don't respond to a violation with another violation. No matter how extreme the content of the person's post is, that doesn't excuse you responding with flames or the like.

And I know that a lot of users aren't happy with these rules, as they are different then on some other boards, but I think it's actually a good thing. This is just my own personal opinion, but consider this: right now, the rules on flaming and trolling are fairly clear, basically, "Don't flame, don't troll. See the TOU for definitions of these and other rules, and understand that there is some discretion involved in the enforcement of these rules." Fairly clear. Of course, it's impossible to give an exact definition for everything that constitutes a flame or troll, but it's usually pretty clear what is or isn't flaming or trolling, and it's fairly easy to avoid doing so as a result.

But imagine if we took a different stance regarding responses to posts that were huge TOU violations. Then it would be: "Don't flame, don't troll. Except in cases where someone makes a massive flame themselves, or posts something racist, or otherwise makes an outrageous post. In such cases, some minor flaming is allowed. Go too far and you can still get in trouble though. And don't flame in response to posts that aren't very outrageous. The level of flaming allowed in return varies according to just how extreme the original post was..."

Imagine trying to figure out what you can or can't post under such a system. Can you call this guy an idiot? Maybe you can go as far as pathetic idiot? Oops, his post wasn't quite bad enough to warrant that, you just got modded, if only you had kept it at just idiot, or if the guy had used a couple more censor bypasses in his first flame of you.

This is just my thoughts on the matter, but I think that both from the perspective of a mod who has to enforce the rules, and a poster who has been tempted to respond in interesting ways to some posts, allowing fflaming and trolling in such cases would simply be more trouble than it's worth.

So again, please don't fall into this trap, please don't respond to the posters who incite these things. You're just giving them what they want.

Being a GS mod

Well, I have relatively recently joined the Gamespot mod team. It's quite interesting, to say the least. I had some idea about the what being a moderator might be like before, but it's quite different to actually be one. On the plus side, I now have a tentacled monster emblem in my profile, which is quite awesome, considering my personality and username. Also, being able to better help improve the boards and keep them clean is nice, but really, it doesn't compare to the monster. 8) Now if I can just figure out how to get that biohazard emblem...

And if you want to point out that it's been over a month since I became an initiate mod and I'm just making this post now... well... uh... what was I saying? But hey, I just became a general mod now, so at least I'm being timely with that update. :D

 

 

Limbo

Well, as anyone who read my blog can have guessed, it sort of entered a state of limbo, and I havent updated it for a while. That will probably continue to be the case for a little while, though I plan to keep a more active blog in the future. So expect to start seeing more updates in a while.

Not sure what I'm going to be doing with this.

I've taken a bit of a break from the Gamespot forums lately, and during that time I've been thinking about what I want to do with this Blog. It's never really had much direction, and has therefore been updated only sporadically. I'm still not totally decided about what to do with it, but for the meantime I think I will use it as a platform to post any update/hints/clues about my progress on my entry for the upcoming D4AD4 contest. After that, I'll decide what I want to do with this on a more longterm basis.

Battle of the Writers

I promised I would update this with my progress in the BotW contest. This entry is a bit late, considering my part in that contest ended a while ago, but better late than never, I suppose. I didn't end up making it to the final two in the contest, but I enjoyed my time spent working on my entries while it lasted. It was nice to get some more experience writing. I think I've improved a bit, thanks to the contest. So I'ld like to thank TheRagingGamer and KittyKat for giving me the opportunity to participate.

I'm back, muahahhahaa!

I'm no longer sick, and most of the moving related stuff is done, so I should be able to start updating this journal a bit more often... assuming I can think of something interesting to post.

Right now, I don't have much to talk about, except my progress in BOTW. I have made it past the qualifying round, and have now just completed my entry for the first main round. And I have had something reinforced to me by my participation in this competition, and that is that I have a serious issue with the way I write things.

The problem is that I can be a bit of a perfectionist at times. That isn't always a bad thing, but it rears its head in a stupid way with my writing. When I am writing something, such as a BOTW entry, I have trouble even getting anything down, because I am constantly rewriting sentences and paragraphs over and over again. Most people write a rough draft and refine it, I write a hundred rough drafts of individual sentences and paragraphs and try to refine them.

Stupid, especially considering that by the time I do have my entire entry or paper typed out, I still have to refine it, because now I see how everything flows together and notice things I missed before.

If I could just write a rough draft of something, without trying to make it perfect as soon I type it, I think I would enjoy writing even more and be much quicker at it. Fortunately, I am getting better at doing this as I write more.

Anyways, I've rambled on enough for one entry.

Perfect time to get sick

Right when my family is going to be moving, I've entered a writing contest, signed up for an upcoming beta test, and entered a crucial time in a Baseball thing I'm part of... yep, that's when I get sick.

I probably won't be on the forums much for a little while, then. I'm still going to be participating in BOTW if I can; fortunately, my illness doesn't seem too serious right now. But I still marvel at the timing.

WoW, BOTW, and Metal Slime.

Well, it's been a while since I've updated my journal. I'm going to try and update it more regularly in the future. For now, here are a few quick updates.

First, my brother, brother-in-law, and myself have all just gotten World of Warcraft. We've been playing the game together, and it's been a lot of fun. I've never played a MMORPG before, so I don't have much to compare it too, but in my uneducated opinion, Blizzard did an awesome job on WoW. I can easily see why GS gave it Game of the Year.

We've been staying up entirely too late playing it, though. I guess you can add our names to the rather long list of WoW addicts. But we can quit any time we want. Honestly. Actually, we haven't really been playing the game long enough to be called addicts, but the game's fun enough where I can see how it could easily turn us into them in the future. But enough about WoW for right now.

Second, I've entered a writing contest called Battle of the Writers, hosted by Jeremy Yerby, a.k.a. TheRagingGamer. It seems really cool, and I'm both excited and freaked out by my participation in it. Excited, because it seems like a really well done contest that should provide a nice place to test my skills as a writer, as well as allow me to see some very good writing done by others. And freaked out, because I'm concerned that I will make a total fool of myself.

The theme for the qualifying round is "autobiography", which concerns me, as my life is completely and utterly dull. Still, I'm waiting for all the details, and it could turn out to be very different then I expect it to be. So there's hope for me yet. Expect to see more about BOTW in future journal entries.

Finally, my new GS rank is Metal Slime! Huzzah!

KotOR II... Grrrr!!!!!!!

One of my favorite games of all time was Knights of the Old Republic. I loved the story, I loved the gameplay, I loved everything. So, naturally, I was quite excited about its sequel when it was announced.

After the first reviews of the Xbox version came out, I heard many complaints about technical issues, broken or incomplete quests, and a disappointing ending. Yes, it seemed the ending was abrupt, never answered some questions, and just didn't seem to quite feel right, or so some of the complaints said. But I assumed, or at least hoped, that some of these complaints were exaggerated.

Well, I just finished the game for the PC, and I am afraid to say that the most of the complaints were true. And not just about the ending. For it seems there are a horde of technical issues in the PC version especially, as well as some incomplete quests and weird scripting issues. But those I could live with. Bugs can be patched in the future, and tolerated in the meantime. But the ending... oh boy, that ending...

It leaves so many unanswered questions, has some huge holes, and just feels very abrupt, very incomplete. And there is a very good reason for this... it is incomplete!

I hadn't really thought about it much until recently, but KotOR II had a very short development time, especially considering the complexity of the game. A massive, 40+ hour RPG with a development time of about a year? Who's brilliant idea was this?! "Let's get it out on at least one platform by the end of 2004, regardless of whether it is ready or not."?!

Well, KotOR II's short development time really shows in the large amount of content that was cut. Content that was not cut cleanly. Cut content that left gaping holes behind. This is especially apparent with the ending.

It was from reading the Obsidian forums that I found out about the ending literally being incomplete. Turns out people searching various files from the PC version have found design files, and even recorded dialogue, of many events that never occurred, but would have happened around the time of the ending. But of course, these things were cut.

Then again, a lot of the stuff people have found from the cut endings, or at least a lot of the stuff I've heard about so far, seems to be variations of your companions dieing horrible deaths/turning on one another. So maybe I should be glad that the ending is incomplete.

Wait, no I'm not! I'd rather have a dark ending (Not that the ending that is in the game isn't dark enough) that's complete, than an ending that's slightly lighter in tone, but has huge gaps and holes.

Unseen

Previously, I have referred to one of the game ideas I am working on by the title of Seen and Unseen, though I always planned to change that at some time. I've recently read some discussions about game titles, the length of game titles, and the fact that a short title can sometimes be a good thing. This partially inspired me to shorten my game idea's title to Unseen. I rather like that title: short, simple, and intriguing.

The actual work on my idea is going decently well, though it is somewhat hindered by the fact that my idea is for the Nintendo DS, and the only actual hands-on experience I have had with the DS was a few moments with a demo unit in a store. I am probably going to be purchasing a Nintendo DS sometime soon, though, and that should help me with my work on Unseen.

I am quite interested in showing Unseen to other people when it is finished, so I am hoping that Adam holds another Dev4aDay contest soon. (Though not too soon, I need time to finish my document and polish it a lot.) I might even end up posting part or all of it in my journal before the next Dev4aDay contest. Mainly because I really want to share this idea with other people. And it's not as if posting parts of Unseen in my journal would stop me from using the idea if Adam holds another Dev4aDay contest.

A thousand ideas flying through my head...

Well, maybe not quite a thousand, but I do have quite a few weird ideas flying around in that lunatic mind of mine. In particular, I'm talking about game ideas. Over the years, I've come up with quite a few game ideas. Some I've fleshed out a bunch in my head, and some I only scratched the surface of. Over time, I've actually forgotten some of these ideas, and was only recently reminded of them. I'd prefer that to not happen again.

My experience with the Dev4aDay3 contest has shown me that I rather enjoy typing out my ideas, so I figure I'll start doing so with some of these. You might even see one of them in a future Dev4aDay contest, or, in a perfect world, an actual game. For now, though, I want to get something of each idea down so that there's no chance of me forgetting about any of them.

The DS Game: A very recent idea, and one I'm quite excited about. It's an adventure game which I currently refer to by the working title of Seen and Unseen. I'd need to change that, as I'm pretty sure I've heard that phrase somewhere else, but I'm not sure where. Anyways, Seen and Unseen is a very unique title that would definitely be a game you couldn't really do anywhere but the DS. You might hear more about this one in the future, but I'm not saying much about it now.

The Horror Game: The idea I almost used for my Dev4aDay3 entry, this is a very interesting horror game with a couple of unique twists. I refer to this game in my head as Till Death Do Us Part; though that actually doesn't quite fit the game idea, it displays a very morbid humor, considering what the game is about. In it, you play a person who has been transformed into an undead-like state, and must fight to retain your sanity while attempting to solve the mystery about what has happened to you.

The Sword Game: Now this idea might not even be workable, but if it was... This game involves sword-fighting, as you might guess, and actually came to me during a scene of The Mask of Zorro. Huge feasibility problems would make this game a tough one, though.

The Tactical RTS Game: Most RTS games have some variation of the standard formula of build, explore, kill, etc. But some are different, involving no base building. (The Myth series, for example) I've never played one of this, but the idea has always intrigued me. A while ago I came up with the idea for a tactical RTS game set in 3-D space, and featuring one very interesting gameplay mechanic that, if done properly, would make it unlike any RTS out there. This idea come to me shortly after Homeworld was released, and I actually completely forgot about it until recently.

The Sims Inspired Game: Another old idea of mine that I had forgotten about. This was inspired by The Sims and certain things about the game that I thought had the potential to be done better. This game isn't just a Sims clone, though. It is a bit more neighborhood focused than The Sims, though not quite as much as the canceled SimVille. Many of the features this game would have had have been included in Sims expansion packs and/or The Sims 2, but I still think there are enough unique features to make this a compelling game.

The Story Idea Game: Ah, how I love this idea. It's actually not much of a game idea as it is a story idea. It could only really be told by a game, though. Well, that's not exactly true, but certain parts of it wouldn't have the same meaning and impact if told through another medium.

The Baseball Game: A while ago, I pondered the idea of a sort of massively multiplayer baseball game, allowing players to each take control of a single baseball player on a team. I wondered why no company had ever thought of attempting something like that... then I read about Ultimate Baseball Online. A company called Netemin had thought of the same thing, and decided to make a game out of it!

What's weird is the game apparently launched last Fall, yet basically no sites have a review for it. Come on GS, review this game. I want to see how it came out.

Humanus Imperium: My Dev4aDay3 entry, which can be read in a previous journal entry.

All ideas Copyright 2005 by Matthew Hollingsworth, with of course the exception of the baseball game. Not that there's enough info in any of these brief descriptions for anyone really steal anything, but better safe than sorry.