Escapist Podcast: 071: Jumping the Cougar-Shark

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071: Jumping the Cougar-Shark

This week, we discuss travel tips for the holidays, Star Trek (obviously), and how you can burn out on games while being in either game journalism and development.

Watch Video

Whoo Hoo!

Thanks guys for being on time!

I have not finished listening to the podcast, but I will jump in defense of Showtime real quick.

Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States (a weekly documentary series that airs on Monday nights) is worth watching.

Now to listen to the rest of the Podcast.

Edit: Just finished the podcast. I apologize for my Fanboy reaction. I still feel the same way, but realize now. My post is more of a plug for the documentary rather than anything substantive or even very relevant to the Podcast.

I offer a plug as retribution for my offense.

I love listing to the Escapist Podcast.

The only show on Showtime that I've ever watched was Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, and that's the only reason I even bothered with Showtime.

But that show is no longer there, so, yeah.

I will say that the people where I live don't know what to do when it rains, like it did last night, and it's frightening when they try to drive during it. D:

I think the thing with Dexter is that you can pretty much always predict the end-season 'twist' or sometimes even just not even a 'twist', but it's all the plot leading up to it that I find interesting. Come to think of it some of the actual plot twists occurred mid-season. (Except for this one...

there is a difference between QA testing, and game testing QA is usually in house, and many companies try doing during the project lifecycle while game testing is "this is a release candidate" break it. for some companies they are viewed as one in the same, but others treat QA as surmonds on the mount while game testers are just there.
In the QA testing thing being "experience" for jobs in the industry. if you have QA experience, and a degree/portfolio of work you are more likely to get a position then someone who doesn't have the QA experience mainly because that testing experience means that you know how these things are likely to be broken, and you are more likely to be able to fix your own, and a chain of logic of:

you know how these things get broken so you either will know how to make them so they are no longer broken, or you can fix them, and therefore at least that section will need less time in QA (still will need to be tested, but more or less a checkbox approach)

I am not saying that the testing experience will be viewed better then a degree/portfolio, or even as a stand-in for it; just that if is a plus if you have those other things and testing experience. It's along the same line as developers liking a artist to be able to integrate the assets they have made, and a programmer being able to introduce even simple art assets into the engine so that they can test a feature.

The podcast is very entertaining to listen to when you're colouring an image.

I'm not that good of an arttist, :( sadly.

Hope everybody has a great holliday if I can't wish you one on the day!

The Escapist Staff:
071: Jumping the Cougar-Shark

This week, we discuss travel tips for the holidays, Star Trek (obviously), and how you can burn out on games while being in either game journalism and development.

Watch Video

I lost Farscape when, in rapid succession, it threw up all three of my Red Flags of Sci-Fi: time travel, body switching, and alternate universes. Used carefully (and individually) these can add a lot... but usually they're just sidebar wish-fulfillment episodes that nearly always find excuses to explore the Forbidden Relationship and/or turn the straight-laced female character inexplicably slutty. When all three are used in the same season, we've completely wormholed the shark.

Susan Arendt's argument in the hypothetical hiring question is problematic because people can have problems with a wide range of personal characteristics, including but not limited to gender, race, sexual preference, religion, political affiliation, the kind of car they drive, their sense of humour, you name it. As such disqualifying people on such characteristics is arbitrary at best, and can be outright malicious at worst.
Ultimately the only thing that really puts the workplace dynamic at risk in these cases is someone with such convictions not being professional enough to put them aside in the workplace. It's a problem with them, not with the people that they are offended by.

Just wanted to say that you definitely can hold down a security clearance type job as a civilian with a mental health diagnosis while undergoing treatment, or after successful treatment, including drug therapy. Your doctors have to sign off on you, but if you're stable and have been a good patient, you'll get your clearance and the job.

Interesting tidbit: Some studies indicate that people who suffer from dysthymia/depression are actually less likely to be a security risk than average people.

Sadly, the military persists in its culture of stigma and will still drop your clearance for getting help, but maybe someday they'll catch up to the civilian side.

Melbourne (Australia) gets some major floods and fires occasionally. However, if it were to snow heavily, i think a big chunk of the population would freak out and everything would grind to a halt.

The Dexter first season plot twist was hampered by the fact it was taking it almost straight from the first book which is quite small. I think the book is only 100 pages or something (with a big font size too). So the twist ("Come on baby!") comes out of the blue in the last couple of pages, whereas a 12 episode TV series would need slowly add to it, fill it out rather than do the big reveal in the last couple of minutes in the last episode.

Dastardly:

I lost Farscape when, in rapid succession, it threw up all three of my Red Flags of Sci-Fi: time travel, body switching, and alternate universes. Used carefully (and individually) these can add a lot... but usually they're just sidebar wish-fulfillment episodes that nearly always find excuses to explore the Forbidden Relationship and/or turn the straight-laced female character inexplicably slutty. When all three are used in the same season, we've completely wormholed the shark.

But... but... that was such a great season!
I'm a massive Farscape fan, I recognise it's not for everyone but I loved those one off "classic sci-fi trope of the week" episodes. The first couple of episodes are painful to watch because everyone is so serious with their acting; once things start getting sillier, they started having more fun with their roles. Was also fun to spot the bi-weekly Australian talent.
Wasn't aware of Virginia Hey leaving because of the poisonous make up though...

The Dexter books are bad, really really bad, and not just plotwise. When you watch interviews with the directors and producers of the TV show you can see their embarrassment, every time someone mentions the books, and they are quick to point out, that the author has nothing to do with the show.
One of the worst things I've ever read and up there with Ed Greenwoods Elminster series and Terry Goodkinds Sword of Thruth

As a game developer, I think the worst is when you hit that wall, where you just can't get that one more thing without jumping off the roof: Co-workers say they help, but drag their feet until a few days latter and you gotten over that wall.

If you want a job that lets you play video games and get paid: NC snowplow driver.

Sometimes you are VERY quiet while saying something important, and other times you are VERY loud while cussing.
It's VERY distressing to try and listen to this without earphones/headphones and with other people a room or two away.

Doubler:
Susan Arendt's argument in the hypothetical hiring question is problematic because people can have problems with a wide range of personal characteristics, including but not limited to gender, race, sexual preference, religion, political affiliation, the kind of car they drive, their sense of humour, you name it. As such disqualifying people on such characteristics is arbitrary at best, and can be outright malicious at worst.

My problem with the question is its delivery. Susan ultimately boils it down to 'Would you hire X or X+complication?' Obvious answer once you frame it like that. Problem is that in reality - and how I interpreted the question initially - both will come with complications, one just has a skeleton that's NOT in the closet. The answer is more valid for a heavily abstracted version of the question than the question (as I understood it).

As for other people? Ehh, I can't imagine a person would sexually harass an ex-Playboy model and be all angels and cupcakes to every other woman on the face of the earth. Maybe less obvious about it, but not different. A mature and normal person doesn't magically transform into a socially retarded five-year-old because Miss July is within 40 feet.

Susan's arguments and browbeating about the nude posing question is pretty offensive. Bowing to the will of people who impose their morals on other is loathsome.

So does anyone have a link to the playboy bunny's portfolio?

"...."

I meant her portfolio of artwork.

"...."

The artwork she made herself.

"...."

Never mind.

Listening to it now, though what I'm listening to sounds a lot better.

I enjoy the podcast on a regular basis, but the sound could use a stronger mixing touch.

To demonstrate, I've uploaded the type of sound I usually listen to for this podcast.

The original version makes me listen much too hard and on too high a volume level. The jumps in loudness are enormous. Now they're not.

https://soundcloud.com/airon-extv/escapist-podcast-071-smoother

It's matched to play most of the quiet parts at about the same loudness as the original does, but it has none of the extreme loudness jumps.

Let me know if this is somehow legally horrible, and I'll take it down. It's a sound demo. Download the original FLAC file I uploaded if you like. And yes, I do this for a living.

Doubler:
Susan Arendt's argument in the hypothetical hiring question is problematic because people can have problems with a wide range of personal characteristics, including but not limited to gender, race, sexual preference, religion, political affiliation, the kind of car they drive, their sense of humour, you name it. As such disqualifying people on such characteristics is arbitrary at best, and can be outright malicious at worst.
Ultimately the only thing that really puts the workplace dynamic at risk in these cases is someone with such convictions not being professional enough to put them aside in the workplace. It's a problem with them, not with the people that they are offended by.

Never said it was a problem with the "offender," as it were. But whereas you can't choose your gender, race, sexual preference, you can choose whether or not you appear nude in a magazine. And you're absolutely right that there's always a risk of personality clash in an office place, and you can only work around it so much, but my point is if you have so many candidates to choose from, and they're all capable of doing the job, and there's an issue in place that you *know* might cause problems, why would you not simply go with a candidate that comes with less baggage? Again, let's be clear - this isn't about should you hire this particular person, it's should you hire this particular person when you can hire someone else who will do it just as well?

As for your comment about disqualifying people based on such characteristics being arbitrary...you're right. But when you have one open position and literally hundreds of qualified applicants, you will look for any reason to thin the herd.

I was also making the point that it's utterly naive to think that certain life choices will have no impact on your hireability - or, perhaps more accurately, advertising those choices. This case is somewhat unique in that posing in a magazine is a public thing to do, unlike many of the other personal preferences we're talking about. Whether or not that's fair is irrelevant - the fact is that it is true. Should anyone give a damn about your sexual preference, or if you have mental health issues, or were a juvenile criminal, are a staunch Republican, or any number of any things that have no bearing on your ability to do your job? Of course not, that's your personal life and none of their business. But people are people, biased and predjudiced. As an employer, it makes sense to try and minimize friction inasmuch as possible and practical.

NoTroll:
Susan's arguments and browbeating about the nude posing question is pretty offensive. Bowing to the will of people who impose their morals on other is loathsome.

Who's imposing morals on anyone? I personally couldn't care less what someone does in their off time until/unless I have to consider how that might impact their ability to function at their job. (And that's only in the case that they're my direct problem.) You seem to have misunderstood the question being raised. But that may simply be because I didn't do an effective job of explaining it.

Some people find open displays of sexuality morally offensive. That is a fact. Should they? Completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

Formica Archonis:
[quote="Doubler" post="6.396161.16118041"]

As for other people? Ehh, I can't imagine a person would sexually harass an ex-Playboy model and be all angels and cupcakes to every other woman on the face of the earth. Maybe less obvious about it, but not different. A mature and normal person doesn't magically transform into a socially retarded five-year-old because Miss July is within 40 feet.

Sexually harrass? Perhaps, perhaps not. If you've followed any of the #1reasonwhy comments, you might reconsider just brushing that aside as being so unlikely. I don't think that would happen in the vast majority of places, no. Even if nothing like that happens, coworkers being extra awkward or even downright hostile? That I can see, yes.

Also, let's consider situations like Jade Raymond, who was simply pretty while talking about a game. The public reaction was at times, utterly disgusting. (Go ahead and search for the comic about gamers ejaculating all over her. It's delightful.) So even if the problem doesn't come from coworkers, it can come from the audience.

The person being hired has to deal with it, and the hiring person will have to deal with the bad elements in the company.

As the person hiring that person, a very, very large weight falls on your shoulder, and here the weaklings and the strong stand out.

The weak will inevitably take the safest road, bowing to the lowest standard. The twitchiest person and those least capable of personal growth will set the agenda.

Can the leadership of the company deal with it ? That won't go unnoticed either, no matter how practical the argument.

Tough choices. The crappy company won't cope and not hire the person. A strong company will cope and grow.

It is a shame. Is that a US problem ? Not in Germany it would be. Great discussion.

I think that the Phantasy Star games also used the VMUs like how they were used in Sonic Adventure. Never played them though and I never had a VMU with my Dreamcast...I miss my Dreamcast so much. T.T

Edit: Just checked, you could use it in Jet Set Radio/Jet Grind Radio to transfer your custom tags.

If I recall correctly, I remember hearing that you could also use the VMU screen for play selection in some sports games. It was basically (and by that I mean VERY basically) the same sort of thing you could do with the WiiU gamepad.

Personally, I don't really see the issue with the Dexter books as long as you take them for what they are, fun entertaining quick reads that don't require all that much brain power. I also think the "lizard brain" aspect was a little over played in the podcast. I've read all of the books so far and really that aspect is only heavily used in part of one book (out of, I believe, five or six). Also, I find that the books are actually generally more humourous than the television show. It's a more dark and twisted humour, but there's a lot less straight up drama than you find in the show. If you find Dexter's internal commentary in the show funny, Dexter does a lot more of that in the books.

StriderShinryu:
If I recall correctly, I remember hearing that you could also use the VMU screen for play selection in some sports games. It was basically (and by that I mean VERY basically) the same sort of thing you could do with the WiiU gamepad.

Personally, I don't really see the issue with the Dexter books as long as you take them for what they are, fun entertaining quick reads that don't require all that much brain power. I also think the "lizard brain" aspect was a little over played in the podcast. I've read all of the books so far and really that aspect is only heavily used in part of one book (out of, I believe, five or six). Also, I find that the books are actually generally more humourous than the television show. It's a more dark and twisted humour, but there's a lot less straight up drama than you find in the show. If you find Dexter's internal commentary in the show funny, Dexter does a lot more of that in the books.

Yes, you could choose plays in Madden. I think, though, that Sonic Adenture was the only game that did something when the VMU was out of the controller. It's the only one I can remember, anyway.

Guys (and Susan), you can have all the snow from here
Seriously just come here and take it all
It is 3rd day of non-stop wind with often medium/heavy snowing
I'm pretty sure the Ice Age is returning to these parts
(and location in my profile info- Antarctica- now seems justified)
It's not even funny anymore
I hope at least this time we won't end up with regular displays of cannibalism :/

blackrave:
Guys (and Susan), you can have all the snow from here
Seriously just come here and take it all
It is 3rd day of non-stop wind with often medium/heavy snowing
I'm pretty sure the Ice Age is returning to these parts
(and location in my profile info- Antarctica- now seems justified)
It's not even funny anymore
I hope at least this time we won't end up with regular displays of cannibalism :/

Where are you? :)

Susan Arendt:

blackrave:
Guys (and Susan), you can have all the snow from here
Seriously just come here and take it all
It is 3rd day of non-stop wind with often medium/heavy snowing
I'm pretty sure the Ice Age is returning to these parts
(and location in my profile info- Antarctica- now seems justified)
It's not even funny anymore
I hope at least this time we won't end up with regular displays of cannibalism :/

Where are you? :)

Well, my profile says it right there- Antarctica :)

Ok, North-Eastern Europe actually (Latvia to be more precise)
Now it is -8C, in couple of days -20C are being promised

P.S. And that's only indoors :)
(just, imagine what happens outside :D )

good podcast although i really don't agree with what you said about 24. its best season was one of the later ones, besides jacks daughter was only a main character in the earlier seasons. aside from me being a fan boy, i completely agree with Susan on the hiring issue.

Cougar-Shark, next on an all new SyFy Movie of the Week...

Susan, if you happen to read this, as you are a Doctor Who fangirl, have you ever encountered Sapphire and Steel? (Late 70s early 80s, extreme WTF? series, but if it clicks, it clicks amazingly!)

this need to be posted after star trek http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/117985/star-trek-catan

blackrave:

Susan Arendt:

blackrave:
Guys (and Susan), you can have all the snow from here
Seriously just come here and take it all
It is 3rd day of non-stop wind with often medium/heavy snowing
I'm pretty sure the Ice Age is returning to these parts
(and location in my profile info- Antarctica- now seems justified)
It's not even funny anymore
I hope at least this time we won't end up with regular displays of cannibalism :/

Where are you? :)

Well, my profile says it right there- Antarctica :)

Ok, North-Eastern Europe actually (Latvia to be more precise)
Now it is -8C, in couple of days -20C are being promised

P.S. And that's only indoors :)
(just, imagine what happens outside :D )

Oh! I'm not sure why, but the way you phrased it, I thought you meant that as a joke. Well, now I just feel silly.

ritchards:
Cougar-Shark, next on an all new SyFy Movie of the Week...

Susan, if you happen to read this, as you are a Doctor Who fangirl, have you ever encountered Sapphire and Steel? (Late 70s early 80s, extreme WTF? series, but if it clicks, it clicks amazingly!)

I knew it existed, but I've never actually seen it. Reminds me, though, I should bring up Blake's 7 at some point. :)

When you discussed all the work that goes into game testing and debugging, the first thing I thought about was the game breaking glitch in Street Fighter X Tekken. Capcom really messed up by not testing out that situation.

If you don't know, after a patch was released for the game, If Rolento's knife-projectile collided with an opponent's projectile, the game would freeze. It was fixed in the next patch.

Susan Arendt:

blackrave:

Susan Arendt:

Where are you? :)

Well, my profile says it right there- Antarctica :)

Ok, North-Eastern Europe actually (Latvia to be more precise)
Now it is -8C, in couple of days -20C are being promised

P.S. And that's only indoors :)
(just, imagine what happens outside :D )

Oh! I'm not sure why, but the way you phrased it, I thought you meant that as a joke. Well, now I just feel silly.

Guilty as charged, at least last part about inside/outside :)
Not about weather though
There is expected huge temperature drop in a few days (like I said -8C to -20C)
But at least snowing stopped today :)
Although it may be only in the city, I can bet that in country side (were my parents live and where I've been visiting for a couple of days) it is still windy with occasional snowing

Something I wanted to add in regards to the hypothetical hiring of someone who posed in Playboy-

Another thing to keep in mind is that your employees represent the the company they work for when they don their uniform, or appear in public if they are on the clock. With that in mind, there are certain actions that (if I were a CEO, etc) I would not like to be used to judge my company. I'm not certain it would apply to something like a writer or artist at a video game company, but it does with regards to the police officers who posed in the magazine, as they can be seen as representing their cities or even state.

Also, The Contender sounds like a really good movie, and you guys made me look it up. Wikipedia says it was The Dude who played the president though, which made me want to watch it even more. Also, after thinking about the movie Mr. Brooks, I can totally see how William Hurt and Jeff Bridges could be confused. They should start in a movie where they're brothers. Maybe Beau Bridges can join.

Hey, so I know I'm late to the discussion table and I'm still in the middle of the episode, but I did work at the Saftey Critical Avionics Systems Branch at NASA so I think I can provide some comment on the topic of Aircraft safety.

The hardware that are generally employed in aircraft are more lightweight and less complex due to weight restraints. As such, they're more prone to error due to noise resulting from electronics, this is usually accounted for with redundancy (3 cards instead of 1, but still less weight than a graphics card). When you said interference from battery or radio and in truth it's both, there's just different wavelengths, so one's more likely than the other. Anyways, the main point is that the wrong person, with the wrong device, in the wrong place, at the wrong time can, in fact, break through the redundancy and crash the systems. That being said, the probability of that is really low so what usually goes through is static. That also being said, considering the number of flights going across the globe in a given day, if we said it was okay to use electronic devices on the plane, the actual chance of this happening over time skyrockets.

Thus on behalf of the SCASB, I would greatly enjoy traveling by air if you would turn off your electronic devices during take-off and landing because if the pilots can't hear ground control due to static or if one of the control surfaces decides to go up instead of down or the instruments are off or a multitude of other little things that could make my landing significantly less fiery goes a bit wonky doesn't actually break, I'd be significantly happier.

tl;dr: right person, right place, right time = crashed systems; prob/person = low, prob/person/time = uncomfortable

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