What it means to be “More Geeky” and Women in our Culture

So you have this awful article and this awesome rebuttal but I gotta put my two cents in.

Geekdom isn’t a score or a spectrum or anything. It’s a hugely complex Venn diagram and even that isn’t correct. It’s a huge umbrella for some related and unrelated interests that can exist together or independently from each other.. My mom like’s Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Tetris. I like most nerdy things under the sun to some level or another. Between us, where does one become a “geek”? Does it matter? I can talk to my mother about all those things at it isn’t substantially different from talking about it with another geek.

My geekness is empowering. My interests are spread out in so many different directions, I can have a conversation with everyone. Video games? Check. Fantasy Novels and Sci Fi? Check. Star wars and/or/vs Star Trek? Check. Science? Check. Anime? Check. PnP RPGs? Check. Magic the Gathering? Check…. and atop that, tons of things I know just enough about to keep up in a conversation. If I excluded everyone who didn’t come close to my scale of nerd-dom, I’d have like, one or two friends. But my geekiness is a tool that helps me relate to people, not exclude them. It should be for everyone.

An irony to me also is that there are even more “fake” (by the standards of the people writing these ‘Imma ‘fraid of wimmin’ articles) male nerds than female ones. Chris Hardwick from The Nerdist is a favorite. He kinda likes a few big cultural touchstone things (Star Wars, Star Trek) and recently got into Dr. Who. If he was a woman, he’d be called out by everyone for being fake. But who cares? He’s a smart, interesting guy who appreciates the culture even if he’s in the shallow end and knows enough about other topics (Comedy, Bowling) to be really interesting. People would go after Morgan Webb on X-Play, but you see her listing her favorite games as things like Combat and Phantasy Star, and Sessler giving flavor-of-the-month games like Halo or Call of Duty. I’m not saying we should even hassle Sessler about it either — he’s just in the more “normal” area of the Great Geek Diagram. We should celebrate what we all have in common and not the fact that we’re in the more nerdy side of things than he is.

Some nerds might go “Well us down here who are deep into stuff APPRECIATE OUR MEDIA MORE INTELLIGENTLY AND AWESOMELY”. Yeah, right, you wish. I see plenty of hardcore nerds with awful, shallow opinions about the things they like. I could probably have a better conversation about the Merits of the Starwars original trilogy than I could the typical geek who reads the extended series. Most video game nerds can barely have a decent conversation with me because they just haven’t thought about their opinions enough.

Also lets kill the “THEY’RE DOING IT FOR ATTENTION” nonsense with sexy cosplayers. If you’re so insecure in your nerdiness that you seriously think that, I have bad news for you. You probably became a nerd for attention too. You probably retreated from harsh reality into nerdy things to find a safer space where you would be treated kindly. People like attention. I like attention, you like attention, she likes attention. SO WHAT? So if a cosplay girl (who probably is actually pretty geeky. Just doing cosplay and costuming is a cool facet of geekdom by its self), is doing it almost all for the attention, I’m honored she picked some of my interests to use as a vector. Also it’s not like guys don’t cosplay things they don’t know a lot about either. If you’re doing really good costuming, your body type and look severely limits your options. Their fandom involves finding cool looking stuff and bringing it into reality. Deep appreciation for the source material isn’t required — they’re appreciating art and design and not at a shallow level. They’re appreciating it in a way you probably would have a hard time keeping up with because that’s their specialty.

There is no “geek cred”. You don’t go to Geek Credit Report dot Com to find out if you’re geeky enough to go to Comic Con or wear a costume. There are no walls or boundaries. You’re not a better human being, or a more analytic or intelligent human being for being geekier. You just have a set of interests like everyone else in the world. So does she. Stop hassling her over it.

On Naming: IWBTGAI

“WHY DON’T YOU CALL THE GAME I WANNA BE THE GUY-DEN RGFGHFHHH”

Let me just be clear. If you think Guy-den is a good name, you are of the lowest class of taste and should be dragged out back and shot. That is such hacky bullshit that degrades a classy reference. Oh my god, it’s so bad. It hurts me to see.

But okay, some people say, how about “I Wanna be the Gaiden”. That’s actually pretty classy right? Yeah, actually it is. So why not? Well the reason is because “I Wanna be the (Insert Name)” names are reserved for fangames. For real, one of the only rules about naming fangames that I put down is you shouldn’t call it “I Wanna be the Guy”. So due to all the various IWBTwhatever games, I Wanna be the Gaiden would look comparatively illegitimate. Also it has the same overlapping acroymn that, while not irreconcilable (Dark Souls/Demon’s Souls, for example! DaS, DeS?), is really annoying.

So for all of you asking, this is why it’s not called I Wanna be the Gaiden. Guy-den fans, please, kill your selves.

Oh as for the Logo and Japan-land speak on it, that’s courtesy of this wonderful Pixiv Artist. I asked for permission to use it years ago and was basically told “I don’t mind, but it’s a Touhou reference”. Thankfully, a Touhou reference is perfectly fine. As you can see in the picture, they make the sounds WANAGAI or “Wanna guy”, which I thought was cute. I’ve seen a few people mistranslate it (Some kid on 4chan with probably first year Japanese said I made shit up! Dooo hoo hoo), but either way, I wanna make sure credit goes where credit is due. I almost forgot about this since it happened so long ago.

I Wanna Be the Guy: Gaiden RELEASED

Here we go! I Wnna Be the Guy: Gaiden is ready for public consumption. Things might be a bit buggy at first, but a few revisions later and things should be all smoothed out. I’m sure you’ll all live though. The bugginess is sometimes part of the charm for the IWBTG experience, right?

So what is Gaiden? Gaiden is an episodic side story following The Lad in his search for The Kid/Guy. Why does The Lad seek The Kid? Who cares — it’s a 3 stage episodic bite of new IWBTG action. What about the future of Gaiden? Hard to say. Brave Earth is going to steal my attention until it’s done, so don’t expect more any time soon, but I surely will add more content at some point. How big will that content be? How many episodes will their be? Who cares, I’m playing it by ear.

So what’s working, what’s not working and whatever?

We have…

    *New stage based gameplay
    *3 Stages
    *Configurable Controls with Gamepad support
    *Trophies (also supported through Gamejolt)
    *Time Trial Leaderboards(Only through Gamejolt)
    *A new button! Z to jump, X to shoot and X to BIIIONIC AAAARM
    *Probably won’t crash!

What isn’t done?

    *No fullscreen or resolution support.
    *Probably needs a lot of optimization
    *Probably has lots of bugs
    *People wanna be able to fuck with people like I fucked with Floe. I might be able to come up with a way to do that in the future.
    *Graphical options are basic. Sound options seem to be a little flighty.
    *Some interface/menu stuff is kinda groudy and needs modification.
    *Might still crash! (but unlike with MMF2, there is more I can do about it this time around.)

So if you have any problems, bare with me.

DOWNLOAD

Also I’d recommend getting a Gamejolt account so you can share your trophies and times with other players! Sign-in is inside the trophy menu.

Divekick Revisited: Lets all Chill Out a Little

it gets scarier and scarier for my words to be given more and more weight. It makes it more dangerous for me to be glib or be humorously hyperbolic. Keits and the Divekick team have been given a disproportional amount of shit for things I’ve said and done, often for things I didn’t even mean to imply. So lets go over this again.

Problem Kayin has with the Divekick Kickstarter:
*You do not need QA to get on steam at an indie level.
*Legal costs are probably not necessary (but are less insane than QA).
*30k is just a bad asking price in general, unless you plan on stopping the project if you don’t make it.
*Sloppy disclosure of costs and information.
*Overreaching in goals and ambition.

I broke this down to either ignorance or shadiness and I had a long talk with Keits. It was 100% ignorance. It’s easy for me to forget that I’m the guy with experience beating on the little guy here. So lemme explain to you how Keits could come to think this all was a good idea.

Imagine your a guy making a game in the Fighting Game Community. There aren’t many “indies” to ask for advice. Maybe Mike Z? Maybe you go to Seth Killian? So you go to Seth and say “I want to get a game on Steam. What does that take?”. Now, Seth works at Capcom. Like I pointed out in the comments in the last, while a small crew of the right guys (or even one guy) could make Divekick for 0 or close to that, Capcom would take like, 100k or more. Their infrastructural is way more complex and they have way more overhead and they’re not designed for small platforms. So he gives you a bunch of numbers that sound a bit high. But he’s Seth Killian! Or whoever, it didn’t have to be Seth, all I know is Keits did ask people in the industry and those people have an inflated sense of cost due to the nature of the businesses they work with. I see this a lot. People will be like “Oh wow, the art on this game looks expensive” because they’re in a position where they buy their assets as opposed to a lot of indie situations where you have an artist who is volunteering at a desk, slaving away at the hopes of eventual returns. The economics are totally different. Businesses don’t gamble, but indie devs do all the time.

So then you’re like “Well this is a lot of money! lets cut this down a bit!” and you cut your kickstarter costs by a lot. You THINK you’re being conservative, but you’re not. Now, you don’t know about getting games on steam or whatever, but if one person in the FGC knows, EVERYONE KNOWS, and you’re called out on it. Now, a lot of my criticism hold up, but in this context you can figure out why they came to be. So on one hand, I stand by a lot of things I said, but on the other hand I know Keits knows. He, in honesty said to me “Ignorance is my biggest enemy”. He’s learned these lessons. He does not deserve to be hounded and beaten for them. He also tried to hide the fact they were rewriting things to keep things smooth, but in reality that little decision which could have explained a lot of the costs backfired. I no longer am against the Divekick Kickstarter now that I know with confidence that Keits is trying to the best of his ability to do the right thing and is receptive of criticism. Now that we all have some context about what Keits is dealing with, lets cut him some slack, alright? He’s trying and I think has done a lot of things in the past to merit at some forgiveness and I apologize for being so glib and casual about the whole thing. I didn’t expect people to read into the things I said so much. But that wasn’t my last mistake!

DerpKick

But now we have this. Way to go, me. But lemme explain how this came to be.

I was talking to a friend about the Kickstarter rewrite and we were theorizing how long it would take due to the relative simplicity of the game (we’ll get into that shortly). Eventually the conversation mutated into “How long would it take you to make a bare bones divekick?” to which I said to their surprise “15 minutes”. And I did. Then it leaked onto an IRC channel and people started streaming it and hosting it elsewhere so the best thing I figured I could do is link it on twitter my self and take ownership. I figured giving context to it would reduce the damage done.

But what does Derpkick represent? To a lot of people it’s “Divekick can be made with 15 minutes of effort”. Is that really what I made? I said my self — Derpkick is barely playable. It’s silly as hell and the values for movements were the first I put in that felt semi acceptable. If I were to do my KICKER’S HISTORY DIVE-A-MITE clone, I’d start from scratch so I had better infrastructural. Derpkick is NOT able to support a real game. Even if I were to try a real clone, I’d be cheating in so many ways. I wouldn’t be making much art for it. I’d be reusing or taking stuff. I wouldn’t be recording tons of voice clips or anything. I’d also have a model of how the game works to copy and mutate. I’D ALSO be using a lame ass game editor that makes working on stuff like this way faster. You’d also never get anything like netplay out of me. I’m also a single person who doesn’t need to organize. Who knows how long it’ll take Divekick to rebuild — but if all goes well, not longer than it would take me to clone it — and they’d be doing it under a much better environment that would give the game much more of a future. Making games is never easy, especially if you have high standards. Things you think will take no time at all can take FOREVER to do. Art is also a big one. High resolution art does not come easy and is perhaps one of the slowest parts of the process. Now they wanna stuff something like GGPO into it and have REAL matchmaking and not “plug in your IP” netplay? That’s not easy. What Derpkick is and what Divekick is are not the same thing. Derpkick isn’t named Derpkick because Divekick is derpy, it’s named Derpkick because IT is depy. Derpkick is derpy as hell!

Why do I even wanna clone Divekick (even though I won’t)? Is it because I hate it or think it’s easy to do or whatever? Nah man, it’s because I have a ton of ideas that would have no place in Divekick proper and the Divekick idea seems so fun to me that I would love ot be able to play with it and push that design space. The fact I am interested in it SUPPORTS Divekick. It should not be treated as an insult. Derpkick was simply made as a quick joke/experiment and it is irresponsible to read into it anymore than that. It shouldn’t be rubbed into Keit’s face as if it’s as fun as a project he’s labored on this hard. I mean come on, does Derpkick have Mr. N?

Speaking of which, Instead of hating on Keits, could we all just hate on Marn instead?

Why I Don’t Support the Divekick Kickstarter

Boy, I’m a negative Nancy.

But before I say anything, let me say — I like Divekick. I like Keits. I probably like anyone who worked on the game. I love the humor, I love the gameplay, I love everything. I hope the game eventually succeeds… but I just can’t abide by things being said on their kickstarter. I’ve been crackin’ wise about this on Twitter for awhile, but I think I need to give my full thoughts.

I’m going to go right to the elephant in the room. 15,000 dollars in QA cost. Let me just say, I know many people with game’s on steam, of projects close to or smaller than Divekick in size and I’m fairly sure not a single one of them has spent a dime on QA costs. 15k is more than a lot of people ever even make on Steam. Do they not know this or are they lying? Who knows. Either way, it’s a huge oversight. Game’s get on Steam all the time that had no expense outside of time. Steam doesn’t have any fees to get on it. The process might be more complex for larger releases, but that’s not anything any of us are worrying about.

Now, I’m not necessarily against them setting the price at 30k for backpay but for the love of heck, be honest about it. Though that said, 30k just seems high. One of my biggest issues with Kickstarter is people acting like they’re obligated to have money now. You’re RELEASING A GAME TO MAKE MONEY. If your game is 90% done, release your game. Kickstarter almost seems to breeding this sense of entitlement to pre-money by developers. Everyone get’s dollarsigns in their eyes and they start making dumb decisions like setting their kickstarter so high that they risk not making it.

Is that even the best way to make money? A good example is Netplay. Netplay is a feature with a high ROR. A game like divekick would probably lose more money to people not buying it due to a lack of netplay then it would for developing it. Putting it behind a kickstarter wall seems like a great way to try and milk people (it was what, originally something like 90k or something? Now it’s down to 40k?), but it can bite you in the ass.

I also hear people frequently throwing out man hour costs and stuff. Yes, 30k would pay a bunch of people for the time they spent developing the game, but that was time spent willingly in the hopes of an eventual payoff. I know people who have spent years working on games. Those games didn’t cost them “Thousands of dollars” due to the time the spent working on them. No more than it costs someone thousands of dollars to watch videos on youtube. You COULD be working overtime at your job or having a second job, but instead you’re doing something else and that’s fine.

Now, making a game in your spare time IS an investment and something is lost and sometimes there is something that can be gained from it, but perspective is important. The Divekick people probably did at some point go above and beyond and make some sacrifices (look at all those two button sticks they’ve made!), but again, you’re going to be selling a game. If you want to make up for some of that loss and get a little cushion to help smooth things over to release? Do it! I WANT YOU TO DO IT. If the people are willing to give you money, TAKE IT. But set your goal somewhere reasonable so you might actually get it.

I’ll give Divekick a 50/50 for getting funded. It if fails, they’ll probably try again with a more reasonable goal. I hope it eventually works out, but their current kickstarter is the right mix of ‘manipulative’ and ‘greedy’ that I don’t want to see them get away with it.

Hopefully it’ll all work out in the end.

Edit

I just want to throw this out there since I’m having to explain a lot of stuff to a lot of different people.

This shit is hard. So to give the Divekick team some credit: This shit is hard. Pricing is nightmarish and Kickstarter is a thing that constantly sends mixed signals.

So second point I had to get out in the comments section…

It doesn’t matter how much the game actually cost to made. I’m skeptical about it. Sure, art could be expensive (which is an argument I’ve heard). To me, the art reads “We have one or two guys who do a lot of art for us and we probably don’t pay them yet because none of us are getting paid yet”. The style is high res, light on frames, but kinda loose. But let us assume they are contracting out work and the high prices that art houses usually charge… and ignoring the fact it doesn’t show up their kickstarter as an expense. The game could cost 100k to make (and in some business environments, it literally COULD cost that much or more!). Divekick could LITERALLY cost between 0 and 100,000 dollars. That is TOTALLY possible.

It STILL doesn’t matter. Unless they’re not going to finish the game without 30k, 30k is a bad number. If you set the value to 10k and make 30k, that’s AWESOME and very possible and looks good. If you barely make the 10k that kinda sucks but is still 10k in the pocket and the chances of making more were probably slim. If you miss a 30k goal, you look like a joke and any second attempt will, at best, do barely better, but probably do worse. That just looks bad and costs you money. If Modern Warfare 9 cost 200 mill to make and they had a kickstarter for it (while it’s like, 90% done) that was for the 200 mil dev cost, would that make sense? They’re going to make that up in sales!

For Divekick, making all your costs up if they’re really high isn’t assured, but doing a 30k kickstarter with shady itemized bills is NOT the way to maximize profits, regardless of cost. Any cost to make the game is sunk — all that matters is maximizing profits.

I thought I was clear about this, but I guess it’ll help to be more explicit. While I question how much Divekick cost to make and know it could be made under the right circumstances for way cheap, I can be TOTALLY WRONG and the game could have cost a ton but my arguments hinge on that. It doesn’t cost 15k to do QA to get on Steam and 30k is a bad value for a kickstarter and is just poor business.

Edit 2:

Well, I scrapped with Keits a bit (who, to reiterate, I LIKE) and read their kickstarter’s new news post which shines more light on the situation.

The first thing I want to emphasize is that right now you are playing a prototype. This is our fault for not being more clear, but when we say “Get the game out the door,” we did not mean exactly what you are playing right now. When we started working on DIVEKICK, we never thought in our wildest dreams it would be as amazing as it is. The problem with this is that we made short-term design decisions when implementing the prototype. This resulted in two challenging situations:

1) We built the game on XNA, which worked out for our initial purposes, but balanced against our end goals no longer fits our requirements.

2) Our code was dive-kicked to hell and back as the project grew in scope. If we stayed with XNA, we’d be rewriting the game anyway…

I’ll take that. Obviously a lot of my criticism still stands. Obviously a lot of the Divekick development has been a mess and mistakes have been made, but it all makes more sense. Rebuilding a game (even one as relatively simple as divekick) is a big task.

This sorta shows the huge importance good disclosure, but what can ya do?

Edit 3:

I’m going to throw something else out there. Jose here wrote a really heartfelt comment and I think the Divekick guys are already trying to fix up some of their missteps, so hear him out.

Sup Kayin, I’m posting here to state why I support Divekick.

Keits has been a big part of the FGC for a while now with his tournament series UFGT has set the standard for running tournaments efficiently, as well as being pretty damn fun. Through these tournaments I’ve gotten to know him a little more than just “that one SRK editor dude”. He’s a hard working person, and having successfully run fighting game tournaments means a lot. Being a tournament organizer can be very thankless work, yet he always brings something memorable every year.

I personally went to UFGT8: hundreds of people came there, competed in fighting games, played Divekick, Kombat21 and Super Balrog Ball all weekend and had a blast. Divekick is fun, and having gotten into the top 4 for KOFXIII that weekend, I still wanted to play Divekick even though I should have practiced a little more for KOFXIII, oops. I can vouch that many people told Keits they would be willing to pay for the game once it became a finished product. There were lines of people forming to play the game at UFGT8, CEO and EVO.

This kickstarter marks the first time the FGC has been asked to support for an amount like $30k. The $15k for QA sounds exorbitant, but I trust it’s a necessary expense for their project, because he’s been honest with his work as an organizer for UFGT7 and UFGT8. If you believe it’s not a necessary expense, then why can’t this be turned into a good thing? You say you like Keits, and you like Divekick, then why not contact him directly? If you know how to avoid having to spend this much, then that’s 5,000 or 10,000 or 15,000 that can be cut from the initial goal. This raises their chances of success considerably by needing less from the community to achieve the same thing.

I think you’re underestimating your leverage on the community. As it is right now, you are casting serious doubt on the expenses, and I can’t help but think it ultimately hinders the chances for a Kickstarter like this one to succeed. As a programmer and a known person in the FGC (poor Floe..), your word can carry some serious weight.

Even if this doesn’t change anything regarding your reservations on the kickstarter, they need every little bit of support they can get for this to succeed.

Thanks for hearing me out.

Klout is Dumb (and you’re probably not surprised)

I doubt anyone who reads this takes Klout very seriously, but I find the mixed reaction I see on the internet interesting. Heck, I find Klout its self very interesting, just for many wrong reasons! The most basic criticism people level on klout is it’s just wacky. You will have more klout than someone you know is more influential by a lot and have less than some people who seem like random dudes who just make a lot of noise. Retweets generate more klout than anything, so making lots of funny tweets or really agreeable statements generates more klout without people even having to know or care about who you are (meaning you have very little actual clout or even influence). Then you have stuff like “topics”, where my top 4 topics are, in order “Cancer”, Community, “Clothing” and “Games”, with games being a distant fourth…. what?

But that’s all algorithm stuff. That can be fixed. It can be refined. It can be improved.

No, the problem is that Klout is designed as a game. It has achievements. It encourages you to do behaviors that benefit your klout score. It’s not designed to be a tool, or a measurement device. It’s designed to attract so many users that people can’t help but to use it as a measure of something, even if it’s just “how well does this person play klout”. If something is using gamification, it’s probably not an accurate statistics gathering tool. It’s not going out there and saying “look at our amazing analytic tools. These are so good that you GOTTA put value on the number it generates”. It’s going “Look how many users we’ve roped in through word of mouth, branding and skinner-box techniques. How can’t you take our number seriously? We got a USERBASE”. The mentality is all wrong. I mean heck, Klout encourages you constantly to try and increase your klout score, but real world influence is not something that can be increased so easily… unlike your klout score. It punishes you harshly for inactivity too, even periods of inactivity have relatively little effect on one’s popularity and influence. Why do they put so much importance on activity? Because they want you to have klout in your head. They want you to be active. This is the same type of technique Zynga and other social games use.

I won’t do the foolish thing either and claim that Klout doesn’t matter. It’s not representative, inaccurate and designed for reasons that are different from actually measuring your social influence…. but it matters! Some people care a LOT about your klout score(this is real btw). There are business people talking about how important it is all the time, even though most tech nerds who pay attention to it probably do so with the same sort of weird fascination I do. But those people who think it’s important? They were tricked. Those CEOs are no different then your grandma who got roped into Farmville. Zynga makes shitty games… but Zynga matters. What, you thought CEO’s were ultra intelligent super-people? Nope. They’ll fall for the same tricks too. That’s why these tricks are a billion dollar industry.

Gamification, dawgs. Gamification.