Saturday, January 31, 2015

History of Videogames

So, I've been recently working on some stuff for some classes I'll be giving soon at a local university. Since I've had to do all this early work on my spare time I've decided to post the slides here. They are free for anyone to check and use as they please. I'll adapt them later to use on my classes at that university.

or the zip one:

In any case I'll be more than happy to hear what you think of these selection of 2D games. There are quite a few, but I think most of them are there for a good reason.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Videogames and Sexism (part 3)

I'll start this entry confesing I find the second video on the 'damsel in distress' trope particularly disgusting. The way she draws parallelisms between fictional worlds and real problems that have absolutely nothing to do with them is troubling and hints to an underlying problem with her attitude towards media: she tries and finds ways of twisting reality so that things that mean something will look like they're doing quite the opposite.

This image represents feminism better than Anita's spiteful discourse.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Videogames and sexim (part 2)

So, in the folling posts, I'll try to go addressing some of the sentences and assertions I've heard on Anita's videos I particularly dislike or find not true. I'll start saying I don't believe everything she sais is bullshit, I just find some extreme opinions particularly troubling. I'm gonna try to go chronologically, so I'll start with the Damsel in Distress sentences.

"I've heard it said that in the game of patriarchy women are not the opposing team, they are the ball. So, for examplo, we could think of the Super Mario franchise as a grand game being played between Mario and Bowser where Peach's role is essentially the ball...". I don't know about the 'game of patriarchy' but I believe that's a bit of an stretch isn't it. She didn't try to look at it for what it is: a bunch of games where the main protagonist is given an (absurd) reason to enjoy multiple platforming levels, which is rescuing her love, princess Peach. No, instead she prefers to do an analogy with a supposed 'game of patriarchy' and twist an absurd theme because, let's be honest, Mario's story is quite absurd, into fitting her intended goal.

Mario and Bowser, the two men (sic!) playing Peach in their 'game of patriarchy'. If you want to bet I've got a tip for you, always bet on the plumber.

Videogames and Sexism (part 1)

So, I had this discussion the other day in Facebook with a friend and former colleague at GoBo about Anita's latest video. When I heard of Anita's kickstarter campaign for the first time and the backlash she had I thought "this world (the videogame's one) is full of trolls and low self-steem kids with way too much time and very little common sense in their hands". I was genuinely interested in listening or reading her research on the subject. After the first 3 videos on the 'damsel in distress' trope I was very disappointed with her results. 2 videos later I'm even more disappointed. I remember discussing this subject with my colleagues at the time at GoBo and now, after this Facebook discussion I feel like writing my thoughts on the subject, for what it's worth, which probably is very little.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Window shopping in Steam

My dad used to own a shop. It was a men clothing store. He was in business for a long time (over 50 years) and only recently retired. I've learnt a few things from his experience managing a small store. One of them I remember quite clearly is related to the shop window. He used to say that no matter what you put in certain spot in the window it will sell well. If you put something good then you'll sell truckloads of it, if it's something mediocre then it'll simply sell better than it ought to.

The store had 2 windows, a big one, where the 'sweet spots' (there were a couple I think) were placed, and a smaller one, on the side. In that smaller one he usually put stuff that was new or on sale, last pieces of last year's items, etc. He changed that one more often because it was there to serve a purpose (increase the sales of what was there) not to attract people to the store (that's the main window's purpose).

My dad's store as it appears in Google Maps. The side window isn't even visible from this angle

Monday, December 2, 2013

Mesh Batching in Unity

After a couple of very personal posts about non-technical stuff, I've decided to write about something strictly technical: Mesh Batching. So, first thing is defining what I mean by mesh batching. I've found a definition I like from some game development forums (link here):

"Batching is a way of grouping geometry together (they should be compatible, e.g. the same material, context states, etc.) to use as few draw calls as possible. In this way, you could fully exploit GPU throughput, so as to improve performance."

Unity offers dynamic and static batching and they work generally pretty well, but they are automatic systems that need to work in every case scenario, which means they need to cover many possibilities. Normally it's easier to implement better optimizations for a particular case than doing it for more generic case scenarios. That's why I'm gonna be explaining here a way of implementing custom mesh batching in Unity that can improve its default system.

Beautiful screenshot of our work in progress title: Super Toy Cars

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Crunch! (part 2)

This the second part of an article talking about crunch, where I give my opinions and share my experiences with regards to that subject, and try to explain the origins of my very cynical point of view. It was all sparked with a very unfortunate twit from the Ryse guys and in the first part I share some of my early experiences which hopefully explain my currently cynical way of looking at this subject. During this second part, in order to avoid problems with NDAs and so on, I'll try to stick to talking about generic stuff rather than focusing on a concrete experience. I'll try to compile a set of things I'd like to see and I think should be avoided by managers and game directors when dealing with this sort of issues. All of this is based on my personal experience throughout my whole career, not on a single project.

There was some controversy with Rayman Legends' team working overtime only to get the game delayed