Hi! Do you remember blogs? Well, this used to be one. Now it just serves as an archive for my multiple Twitter accounts.
Think I’m gonna rush through the end of Far Cry 4 so I can finally write my scathing review, be done with the game, forget it ever existed.
Il est pas 18h et il fait nuit. Comment les gens peuvent encore douter que le réchauffement climatique s’accélère et on va tous mourir ?
Because 1) Ew! 2) I need this.
Vainglory serves as a pretty nice, approachable introduction to MOBAs, but I don’t think I’ll want to endure the touch controls.
I want to post screenshots of all the Shangri-La missions — but they would technically be spoilers, so I can’t.
Far Cry 3 was my game of the year 2012 (Spec Ops was more interesting, but it wasn’t as fun). So you’ll understand that I went into Far Cry 4 with some trepidation, after reading several interviews in which Far Cry 4’s narrative director openly shat on his predecessor’s work. Turns out my expectations were a bit off: I thought I’d find the writing much more objectionable than it was, when in fact the main issue was that there was so little of it. Hindsight being 20/20, of course that’s what you get when you promote the previous game’s level designer as lead writer.
Let’s start with the villain: charismatic, well acted, well written, and present on screen for the first ten minutes and the last five of the game — literally. The main quest givers: oscillating between obnoxious (by design) and merely annoying over the course of the game. The side quest givers: always insufferable. The story: simply absent. Finally, the world: not that much prettier than Far Cry 3’s (just higher-resolution, with a nicer skybox) and so single-mindedly hostile that I resented every minute I had to spend there. The Rook Islands had their fair share of enemies and predators, but the place still felt like a holiday destination gone wrong; there were times when you could kick off your shoes for a walk on the beach — simply enjoy being there. Kyrat is so intent on killing you that death even comes from the skies now. “EAGLE!” So much for escapism.
But let’s get back to the writing. Unfortunately for me, I happen to be one of those people who have trouble finishing a game if it doesn’t make an effort to provide the most rudimentary story to propel me forward. Far Cry 4 doesn’t just lack a compelling story, it’s also adamant about making the protagonist as much of a cipher as humanly possible. And, as if that weren’t enough, it jumps squarely into the pitfalls the previous game had managed to avoid.
Far Cry 3 was criticized a lot — wrongly — for exploiting the “white savior” trope. American bro-dude Jason Brody arrives in the wrong place at the wrong time, and turns out to have such a knack at killing people that he is noticed by the leader of the oppressed indigenous tribe, who decides to use her charms to manipulate Brody into getting rid of the invaders. Sure, I can see how you could come out of it thinking it was a white savior story, but that’s just not what it is — the game’s main fault, really, was that it didn’t hit you over the head with its cleverness, that it was content to let you believe in the empowerment fantasy it ostensibly presented, if you didn’t care to look beyond appearances.
On the other hand, Far Cry 4’s young American protagonist, Ajay Ghale, isn’t just instrumentalized by the local resistance / terrorist group: they insist at every turn on making him choose the future of the country. Let’s all defer to the young kid who just landed here a week ago, who can miraculously settle the quarrels we were helpless to resolve ourselves! He’s spent his whole life in the USA, he doesn’t know the first thing about Kyrat, but it’s okay because his parents were Kyrati and he was born there. I suppose that makes sense to an American audience obsessed with ethnic origins — for whom it makes sense to call people “African American,” “Mexican American,” “Italian American.” To me, it’s just a hundred times worse than Far Cry 3.
That’s all moot, though, since the character is such a cipher. You can’t simultaneously claim that he’s not a white savior because he has the right genes (as idiotic as that is in the first place), and make a point of giving your character as little background, personality, and dialogue as possible, so that the white dudes you market your game to can fully identify with him. If he’s just an empty vessel for the player to project into, then he’s definitely not Kyrati in any practical sense.
And then, there’s the elephant in the room: it’s somewhat unclear whether Pagan Min is gay or not (Ubisoft’s PR will assure you that he isn’t, yet he says himself “I am indeed batting for the other team,” which doesn’t have too many possible interpretations, in a voiceover line that they probably forgot to cut), but either way his character design, from his pink suit to his bleached hair and eyeliner (seriously?!), harkens back to the most despicable storytelling tradition of using “effeminate” as shorthand for “obviously evil” — a classic trope that’s been thankfully subsiding in cinema over the last thirty years but is still, apparently, viable for videogames. And the less said about Mumu Chiffon, the better. Credit where credit is due for Amita being a strong female character, but outside of role-playing games we’re evidently facing another decade or two of homosexuals being, at best, comic relief.
So how did I survive a couple dozen hours of the most unpleasant, uninviting, semi-homophobic videogame I’ve played since… well, GTA V? (Ouch, I didn’t expect to end that sentence on such a recent reference.) Well, there’s an advantage to the game being just a reskin of Far Cry 3: the mechanics are well proven, and almost entirely beyond reproach. It’s a shame that elephants handle like Halo’s Banshees (I understand it makes the shooting easier, but I never felt I was riding a living creature, which I was looking forward to), and I still dislike the sudden difficulty spike when you unlock the second half of the world map, but the shooting and killing and hunting is fun, and the newly added grappling hook is great.
And I can’t adequately express how thankful I am for the Shangri-La missions. (Of which I’ve only played the first two, because I want to forget everything I hated about the game before I savour the last four.) There’s such a sense of awe and wonder in those short diversions that I was truly depressed coming back to sad old Kyrat. When the main studio in charge of Far Cry 4 had to design its own “drug trip” missions, they added an ugly color-cycling fog to Kyrat, played shitty sitar music on top, and called it done. Meanwhile, Ubisoft Toronto managed, with mostly a palette swap and a bunch of copy-pasted buddhist ruins, to create a unique, vibrant world — most importantly, a world that I actually wanted to clean up of its demons, to restore to its original beauty. And that glorious tiger brings all the life that’s missing from both both the human and animal populations of the main campaign.
I just want more of that.
Mini-review of @telltalegames’ Game of Thrones: “Cersei will remember that” may be the four scariest words in the English language.
Sérieusement, pour choisir de pénaliser un joueur qui bute les animaux, il faut n’avoir jamais joué à un jeu vidéo de sa vie, non ?
I’ve WD-40ed all the doors and now every time I go to another room it feels like reality’s sensory feedback is broken.
Software secret: most rewarding task I do at Panic is replacing light bulbs in the office. A reproducible bug fixed in a single easy step
C’est toute une expédition de s’habiller pour aller faire des courses, je vais me laisser mourir de faim, plutôt #asif
Can I use Adblock just to remove all images of spiders?
Dragon Age: Inquisition on PS4 doesn’t know how to let me connect to an existing Origin account, insists I create a new one. Amazing.
Hurray for having to jump through hoops because each major publisher insists on having its own fucking online network.
Is App Review’s plan to backtrack iOS 8 all the way to iOS 7? Are they upset for something? How many more excuses can we come up with?
As a UX guy I’m so annoyed, I have to fight the irrational urge to put the disc back into its box and return the game to Amazon.
My first contact with Dragon Age: Twenty minutes waiting for an EA rep to answer on the support chat. Ten minutes to get him to delete the extraneous Origin account that was automatically created without my consent as soon as I launched the game. Ten minutes to undelete the account, because it turns out that closing it did not and would not free my PSN ID to be linked with another Origin account. Then fifteen more minutes to actually transfer my PSN ID from one account to the other — which hadn’t been my initial request because I was afraid it would screw up my good Origin account, and with good reason.
Needless to say, I’m not really in the mood to play Dragon Age right now.
I absolutely love the idea of Link’s horse avoiding trees because “real-life horses don’t run into trees” — they’re not nature’s bikes.
I don’t like to hack the Finder, but I missed this too much.
The Uncharted footage looks as clinical as if it were shot with an HD camcorder. I’d say that’s much more suitable to first-person than third-person games, which need more cinematographic visual effects.
The foliage is lovely, though.
Protip: don’t pick the same button for “use” and “jump” if you don’t want your protagonist to look like a bumbling idiot half the time.
I don’t care if it doesn’t make sense in the world of Thedas, every game needs to have a camera mode today.
Just finished the first big linear mission in DA:I (Alexius), and it’s a much better fit for Bioware’s talents than their open-world envy.
Downloaded the weather update for Driveclub. Tried to start a race in the snow. The game crashed. HAHAHAHA.
Turns out I’m not very good at driving a Ferrari in the rain. But it sure looks gorgeous from here in the back of the pack.
Regardless of the server issues which would have happened anyway, it’s a shame that Driveclub didn’t ship with weather in the first place, because this new game is kind of amazing.
Worth noting that, unlike most recent games, Driveclub!Weather looks just as good as the videos.
Also, it just crashed again. Sans weather.
Apple, WWDC ‘14: “We can’t wait to see what you’ll make with it!” ⁰Apple now: “We didn’t think you’d make that. Stop!”
“…Review Board that you can appeal to. If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps.” B.S. It’s almost required at this point
“[Transmit] cannot upload content to iCloud Drive unless the content was created in the app itself.” Remember last WWDC, when iOS 8 was announced and it felt like Christmas? Ha, how naive we were when we were younger.
Je me demande à chaque fois dans quel pays Picard recrute ses vendeurs. Sympathiques, rapides, serviables, tellement pas français.
During one of my conversations with someone at App Review last month, I asked if they could tell me if some of these new apps being accepted slipped through or if their use of widgets was deemed acceptable. I heard what had come to be a popular refrain from them. They couldn’t discuss other apps with me, they would look into those apps, and if I submitted a new app with that specific functionality they would be happy to review it and let me know if it was acceptable or not by either rejecting or accepting my new app. They steadfastly refused to tell me if a certain use of a widget was acceptable or not ahead of time. […] When pressed on the issue of their policies leading to wasted developer time, I was told, “If you are afraid something you are working on will be rejected, then don’t work on it.”
I also asked specifically why Launcher was removed from the App Store after 9 days when other similar apps are still available weeks later. The answer to this question was the most interesting and informative response I had ever heard from them. They basically said that Launcher was a trailblazer in uncharted territories and that they felt that they needed to make an example of it in order to get the word out to developers that its functionality is not acceptable without them having to publish new specific guidelines. And they said that the fact that they aren’t seeing hundreds of similar apps submitted every day is proof to them that taking down Launcher was successful in this regard. […]
After Launcher was rejected and the press picked up on it and started writing articles which painted Apple in a bad light, I was afraid that Apple might be mad at me. But it turns out that was actually the outcome they were looking for all along.
What. The. Fuck.
Dear Apple: every time you pull shit like this, there are a number of iOS developers who look closer at learning Android development. At some point, it will end up costing you. (iOS has already progressively been losing the monetization advantage it had over Android, with users being more and more stingy.)
I’d never thought Crossy Road was in full 3D until someone tweeted their death pic (taken from a different angle). Seems a bit wasteful, no?
Three free card packs in Hearthstone! \o/
Oh, wait, updating my decks is the part of the game I enjoy least.
Five-second rule : les chocolats sont tombés par terre, alors il faut que je les mange tous avant que les bactéries se multiplient, right ?
Comparing Dragon Age to Far Cry 4 (which is absurd, yes), I really like how you can see a bear and simply avoid crossing its path.
I still can’t quite wrap my head around the idea that Instagram would have more active users than Twitter.
Eurogamer (usually my reference) reviews The Crew without mentioning the driving physics and controls once. Uh…
I didn’t intend to play today, but I just tweeted on this account, which displayed my Dragon Age avatar, which makes me want to play.
Of all the things to complain about lately regarding iOS App Review, it’s ridiculous to even mention Papers Please having to remove nudity.
Can’t remember the last time I love-hated a program as much as Serial. Thank god it’s ending — whatever season 2 is about, I’ll stay away.
If you buy Workflow for iOS, I hope you’re ready for Apple to pull the “add workflows to your home screen” functionality in two weeks.
No wonder the game looked dull before — had to save all the power for this.
Was wondering why all the hipster iOS developers were fetishizing the Avenir typeface. Didn’t realize it now shipped with the OS. Hate it.
It’s okay to embed a font in your app so it has a unique identity. Not okay to do all your UI in the same alternative font as everyone else.
En regardant Lucy, j’ai peur de revoir Nikita un jour et de réaliser que c’était atrocement con aussi.
Does anyone else implement two-factor authentication this way? Because that’s unbelievably stupid. Why would you need to reset an attacked account’s password if they have two-factor auth? And how can you expect 99% of your users to keep a copy of their recovery key — especially when your own website points out that they’ll be able to create another as long as they’ve got their original password and device? This is a policy that can only, mathematically, end up locking out 100% of Apple’s users over time.
I have my recovery key in 1Password, but I’m considering turning two-factor off for my account (assuming that’s even possible), because Apple’s online services can’t be trusted with anything and I feel pretty stupid for signing up to be an early adopter of new security measures that of course they rushed to implement without understanding the consequences.
Don’t forget that, since iOS 7, your devices are locked to your iCloud account. So “just create another account” doesn’t only make you lose everything you’ve ever bought on the App Store.
Look, Skyhold is awesome, but next time couldn’t we get a menu to teleport straight to each companion?
A game like “Papers, Please” but where you review App Store submissions.
Shouldn’t the logical next step be a policy overhaul?
I only downloaded Peter Pan Live out of morbid curiosity, but I’m actually glad I got to watch Allison William’s magnetic performance.
Just cut around 200 and add a “read more” link.
Godzilla (2014) is weird. It’s slow and dull and boring and it kind of turns into a masterpiece for the last twenty minutes.
Can’t believe I ever hesitated to buy the Monument Valley DLC. The design of those new levels is everything I wanted out of this game.
Fleksy now lets you move the cursor by swiping the space bar. If there ever was a reason to get a third-party keyboard for iOS 8.
Korra ending on the highest note. Perfect. (Once I’ve edited out the masturbation joke in my memory.)
Oh, wow, RuPaul qui sort un clone de Peggle sur mobile. (C’est que cloner Flappy Bird ne serait pas aussi monétisable en achats in-app.)
When I close my eyes and want to empty my mind to go to sleep, I often visualize myself fighting with a quarterstaff. I have no idea why.
Spent three hours trying to get AutoLayout to work. Then scrapped it all and redid the whole UI old-school in ten minutes.
Puisque la science ne fait rien pour les jours qui raccourcissent, je viens de sacrifier un veau. Qui sait, vous me direz peut-être merci.
Il se souvint mais un peu tard que Monoprix était ouvert et qu’il aurait pu acheter des chocolats au lieu de faire une promenade de santé.
Tiens, Client s’est finalement souvenu qu’il avait un virement à me faire pile le jour où il m’a envoyé un bug report, c’est drôle hein.
When Aaron Sorkin sees a webpage he has the exact same reaction as Dracula facing a cross
In the early versions they tested on closed courses, the vehicles were programmed to be highly aggressive. Apparently during these aggression tests, which involved obstacles courses full of traffic cones and inflatable crash-test objects, there were a lot of screeching brakes and roaring engines and terrified interns. Although impractical on the open road, part of me wishes I could have experienced that version as well.
At one point during the trip, we were attempting to make a right turn onto a busy road. Everyone’s attention was directed to the left, waiting for an opening. When the road cleared and it was safe to turn right, the car didn’t budge. I thought this was a bug at first, but when I looked to my right there was a pedestrian standing very close to the curb, giving the awkward body language that he was planning on jaywalking. This was a very human interaction: the car was waiting for a further visual cue from the pedestrian to either stop or go, and the pedestrian waiting for a cue from the car. When the pedestrian didn’t move, the self-driving car gracefully took the lead, merged, and entered the roadway.
I’m not looking at the implementation, but I love the pragmatism throughout their mini FAQ. They’re my kind of geeks.
Sérieusement, les automates de la SNCF qui ne délivrent plus de billets ouverts ? ON NE ME FORCERA PAS A FIXER MON HORAIRE A L’AVANCE.
“Les billets ouverts ne sont plus valables que sept jours et n’existeront bientôt plus.” Ils vont réussir à me faire détester le train.
programming is magic: you have to figure out the true name of a thing, before you can force it to do your bidding
Je tourne en boucle sur l’absurdité du “l’automate ne donne pas de billets ouverts sur les trains complets.” HELP.
Like the Apple Watch’s doodles, only useful.
Je m’enroule dans ma couette qui exceptionnellement sent le propre, et je me dis que finalement je m’achèterais bien une femme de ménage.
Next-generation Amazon Prime: they wrap the presents, and literally sneak into your house, place them under the tree while you’re sleeping.
That Black Mirror special was nicely written in the way the stories all came together (and the cabin scenes were really good), but it was as poor science-fiction as always — not fully considering the implications of the universe it has constructed, or the way people actually behave in real life.
I hate to be Comic Book Nerd, pointing out logical flaws in the kind of science-fiction that doesn’t care about them, but it will make me feel better to put them down to virtual paper, and it doesn’t matter because no one reads this anyway: First, being blocked wouldn’t prevent him from going to a judge and asking for a DNA test. Second, the very existence of cookies relies on them not being considered as persons, and that means what comes out of them can’t possibly be admissible in court.
I kinda want to pay someone to play Dragon Age: Inquisition for me while I just dictate the story choices.
Apple bought a whole company to improve App Store search. I’m pretty sure I could do better with a tweet-length SQL query.
I’ve never owned an HDTV — why on earth would they do that?
I’ll probably never quite finish Escape Goat, but it was definitely worth more than the 1,24€ I paid for it on Steam.
Creating 20 screenshots of a single functionality for my app’s new update (four languages x five goddamn screen sizes) was already enough of a pain without iTunes Connect rejecting them because the default setting when saving a PNG in Photoshop is to embed an alpha channel (even though they’re entirely opaque, of course).
Thankfully, I’m not the first developer hit by iTunes Connect’s obnoxiousness: Alpha Channel Remover.
J’ai faim, mais je n’ai pas de nouveaux podcasts à écouter pendant que je cuisine. Je vais devoir me jeter sur les chocolats.
Watched Lions for Lambs to see why Aaron Sorkin cited it as evidence that Tom Cruise should play Jobs. So, yes, he does believe Steve Jobs was a sociopath.
Interesting Apple Pay issue I don’t think they anticipated. I just accidentally paid for the food of the guy ahead of me in line from afar.
I always thought it was a terrible idea that the only confirmation required was your finger on the TouchID sensor #lastRT
We’ve all been trained to blindly put our thumb on the Home button while taking the iPhone out of a pocket, so that it’ll be unlocked and ready by the time it’s in our hand.
Depuis que j’ai tout passé en Markdown la liste des DJ que j’aime / j’aime pas s’appelle DJs.md #krkrkr
C’est parce que j’étais jeune et impressionnable, ou les TGV d’origine sont objectivement plus beaux que le redesign tout arrondi ?
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