The long lasting effects of dishonest reporting

Published on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 By Frogboy In Blogging

Recently game designer Damion Schubert wrote a blog criticizing some recent reporting by Breibart regarding how sloppy reporting had hurt my career. In his criticism, Damion had used a hit piece Kotaku had published on me as evidence that the reporting done on me had been reasonable.  In response, I went through his blog to point out the various factual errors the Kotaku article had made by relying on only a single, biased source along with carefully selected court documents to create a narrative that had nothing to do with reality.

Damion and I got talking after my post and in which I was able to show him more material that demonstrated how ridiculous the original Kotaku article had been.  In the 2 years since the Kotaku article, no one who has gotten to see some of the actual details of the frivolous lawsuit that had been filed against us has not been convinced that the original case and the reporting of it was a travesty.

Damion has followed up with this post retracting his original blog http://www.zenofdesign.com/in-which-i-acknowledge-and-apologize/

Out of respect for Damion, I’m going to update this article to be a more generic response to those who continue to harass me or my employer regarding the unsavory lawsuit that was inaccurately reported on back in 2012.

 

A brief recap

Stardock is a consumer software company that was founded over 20 years ago.  For 20 years we’ve made award winning games and software used by millions of people.  I incorporated the company in 1993 as a college student to help pay for school. Eventually, it succeeded beyond my wildest dreams and became my full time career.  Today, it is possibly the oldest independent game company with more than 50 employees. 

In 2012, I was best known for things like:

  1. Gamer’s Bill of Rights
  2. Designer of Galactic Civilizations
  3. The publisher of Sins of a Solar Empire
  4. The CEO who had promised (and delivered)  the sequel and its expansion to Elemental because we were disappointed that a Stardock game was released in a poor state. 
  5. The designer of programs like Start8, ObjectDock, WindowBlinds, DesktopX, ModernMix, etc.

In short I had a good reputation.

Our work environment should have been used as a model by so-called feminists. High percentage of women in development and leadership positions, a fun, “safe”, working environment complete with an on-sight personal trainer, nutritionist, maternity leave, long vacations,  etc. 

But in 2012, it was more important to have a villain to hate I guess because one evening I received an email from a Kotaku reporter who was about to run a story about an ugly, ongoing lawsuit that involved a former marketing manager who was suing us for hostile work environment, sexual harassment and battery.  It was, as anyone familiar with the case could have told the reporter, a frivolous case. 

With no real opportunity to respond they went up with an incredibly one-sided article that made me out to be a cartoon villain.

Death Threats

Within days of the article hitting, forum posts, follow-up articles and abuse started flooding the net. I received numerous death threats including one so specific (it was clear they had driven up close to our house) that we called the police.  The death threats included rape threats against my wife and disgusting vile threats against my children.

For the past two years since, not a week goes by where someone doesn’t send me a hate message or ensure that one of our products or services being covered somewhere doesn’t get tarnished with the disgusting allegations that were made. Any time I speak on a given topic, this comes up.

In 2013, the case was dismissed with prejudice and the plaintiff had to issue a public apology.  By any reasonable standard, this should have been the end of it.  And yet, years later, I still am expected to somehow prove a negative. 

So let’s go through the usual crap that harassment apologists try to throw at me or those who support me:

What is newsworthy?

Re: It was a lawsuit, of course the media should cover it

Not a single technology publication  (i.e. non-gaming) thought this newsworthy. Zero.

Only the gaming media thought it was worth covering even though in 2012 we were primarily a software company. The gaming media chose to cover something in the most biased way possible. The tech media didn’t consider it worth covering. You be the judge.

 

Re: I’ve read people using your name as an example of biased journalism but you’re scum, I read the Kotaku article! 

Seriously, this is an endless loop:

10: Why are you sympathetic towards #gamergate?

20: Because I’ve seen how biased, politically driven game “news” can hurt people. Like Kotaku Article.

30: Well you are scum. I can prove  you’re scum. I read the Kotaku article.

40: Goto 10.

 

Guilty until proven innocent

Re: Well you’re still scum because you only got an apology by filing an 11th hour retaliatory lawsuit against her for supposedly deleting files and blaming her for your crappy game?

 

  1. The original article (on the countersuit) appeared because someone leaked it to the press. We have a pretty good idea who leaked it (not us) as it was leaked to try to create sympathy for the defendant.
  2. We have stated, endlessly, why Elemental wasn’t good.  I did a GDC workshop on it. Note that this workshop was in 2011!
  3. The countersuit had been filed in early 2011. NOT in 2012 despite the false reporting otherwise. 

 

Re: Well you can’t say you won, sure you got an apology letter but that’s not vindication. That was just part of the settlement in exchange for you dropping your case against her. If you were so sure, why didn’t you just take it all the way through court?

First, the case being dismissed with prejudice with an apology letter should be the end of the story.  I was falsely accused of something. The onus isn’t on me to prove my innocence.

…But for the sake of argument let me walk you through how the legal system works:

If we had won in court we would have received a “not liable” result. That’s it.  Do you honestly believe that anyone who considers a public apology insufficient would somehow have considered “not liable” sufficient?

Then, they would probably have appealed that verdict because it costs basically nothing to do so.  So even now, in 2014, it would still be going on. And for what? To get the aforementioned “not liable” verdict.

The False claims

Re: Well I read the Kotaku article and the things it says you did are pretty damning.

Except, that’s the problem. Those things didn’t happen.

Now, let me walk you through the false claims that keep being repeated as fact:

Brad emailed his employee a purity test and asked for the score (and helpfully flagged the email for followup!).

False. No, I did not. Fabricated. I never sent such an email. Testified to this during deposition and pointed out various problems with the email at the time.  That screenshot with the misspelled subject line is the only “evidence” presented.  Yet people expect me to prove it wasn’t me? That image is all we’ve got. No IP address, no anything.

He touched her hair in an inappropriate and creepy manner (this is the one that always creeps my female friends out).

False. No, I did not.  My friend and colleague of years were together with 2 other women (both of which were witnesses that backed my version). She made a sexist comment about male colleagues of ours because of the attention they made to their hair. Sitting next to me, I lightly touched her hair and said “Really? Didn’t you just dye your hair?”  This was a person who had on many occasions given me unsolicited hugs. But I get described as “creepy” because I lightly touched someone’s hair. Nice.

He asked female employees about their breast and bra sizes.

False. No, I did not. Never happened. Her named witnesses denied this.

He told her she should go on the media tour because her nipples looked best on TV.

False. What happened is that she did not want to appear on G4 because of the way they portrayed Olivia Munn. She laughed saying “I could see her nipples on TV. Do I have to go?” and I responded “But your nipples look better on TV than mine.” It was a shared joke.  We had THREE witnesses to this.

He visited the hotel room of her and another female employee and made her feel uncomfortable.

False. Never happened. The witness, who was not an employee of the company anymore, and considered by her to be her “best friend” testified that this did not happen.  What actually happened is that I was asked to come to their room to fix their Internet connection.  Her story confused both myself and her named witness.

The rest of it relates to a cherry picked email that ignores the context leading up to it and presents things said with sarcasm (again, he doesn’t know either of us or how our correspondence typically was).

 

Logic of the legally ignorant

Let’s talk about the real world and how it works, warts and all.

If I had actually done something remotely wrong, you would never hear of it. Why? Because in the real world, when CEOs do bad things, they get settled long before a lawsuit is even filed. We have insurance that explicitly covers this kind of thing.  The cheapest, easiest way to have handled the original correspondence from her attorney would have just been to send it to them and be done.  That was what they were counting on. 

If her allegations had had the slightest validity, we would have settled. That’s how the real world works.

Yes, we won and we were vindicated

There are no trophies in litigation. But if you ask a civil litigator the meaning of a case the ends with the plaintiff receiving nothing but having to write a public apology letter and having her case thrown out, that is unprecedented. I challenge anyone to find a single civil case that ended that one sided.

Second, we won because the named witnesses supported us.  The five female employees named in the lawsuit of 2010 still work at Stardock in 2014.  That should tell you something about our working environment

The email

I get this one a lot:

“But your email to your employee stated that you’re a “sexist, vulgar, embarrassing person and if you have a problem with that, find another job!”

This is, again, about context. Kotaku’s hit piece took a bunch of tiny snippets from thousands of pages of court documents and tortured the context out to create a brand new narrative that only existed in the author’s mind.

First off, re-read the quote attributed to me. No one talks like that seriously in the real world. It was said sarcastically.It was understood as being sarcastic. This was not some “admission” of being a sexist, vulgar or embarrassing person.

Let me translate the statement into words that even social justice warriors will understand: You are not a special snowflake. You’re an adult now. The world is a tough, unforgiving place. If you have a problem with that, go somewhere else.

If you’re going to around looking to be offended by everything, you will succeed.

If someone, anyone has some specific issue with something, they can, should bring that up. But it’s not other people’s job to “watch what they say” around the office. It has nothing to do with sexism, misogyny, feminism, etc.  It has to do with being a grown up. 

The TL;DR version:

  1. Not only did no “sexual harassment” occur but no behavior that any reasonable (or even fairly unreasonable) would consider inappropriate occurred.
  2. I am *trying* to not get into the weeds on this as I honestly hold no animus towards the original plaintiff. She made a mistake. She apologized.  None of this is about her. This is about how how messed up media coverage gets when they are pushing an agenda. What happened to me is the logical consequence of what happens when you politicize your news.
  3. It should be enough that every.single.witness supported us. Even today. Our PR manager who was a witness, has explicitly stated she’s willing to talk to the media about it. No takers yet.
  4. Any lawyer should be able to tell you the significance of a. we got an apology letter and b. there is obviously no “gag” order on us discussing the case. Talk to a civil litigation attorney and have them explain to you what that means.
  5. Those familiar with the case in detail, even those politically on the opposite end from me, will tell you that nothing inappropriate occurred, even the infamous “I’m a sexist, vulgar embarrassing person” email changes its meaning when put into the larger context. The problem is when people try to take snippets of things and act like they know what happened. They don’t know me. They don’t know the people involved. They don’t know the context.

I don’t expect those who were wrong before the case ended to own up to that. But I do expect anyone who expects to be treated as a reasonable, rational adult to cut this shit out.  Quit demanding I prove a negative.

More on destroying the world to save it

Published on Sunday, October 19, 2014 By Frogboy In Elemental Dev Journals

A pet peeve of mine of fantasy strategy games is how weak magic often is.  It makes sense if every side is supposed to be equal. Can’t have 8 players wrecking the land, it would be a pure luck of the draw on who won.

But in Sorcerer King, it just you, the Sorcerer King and the peanut gallery.  The other players are effectively as powerful as they are in other 4X games. But you are incredibly powerful (and so is the Sorcerer King).

The player in Sorcerer King starts out, on turn 1, with the victory condition from Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes.  They’ve already built the Forge of the Overlord. They already have incredible, magical power.  It’s just that the Sorcerer King is even more powerful.

By contrast, the “minor” races are actually quite a bit better than the major races you normally see in 4X.  Their units are impressive. But they can’t, unlike you, destroy cities and mountains with a simple spell.

image

In this screenshot,  I’m destroying monster lairs through magic.  Now, I don’t recommend this for a variety of reasons (I want their loot).  but the only limitation on this spell is that it requires converting life energy into fire (which means it only works on tiles with grass, trees, etc. and not on already desolate tiles).

And yes, it kills anything in those tiles. So be careful (I destroyed my shard):

image

 

This is all expected to be in BETA 2 btw.  If you’ve ever played Populous, you know what to expect.

image

And lastly, going to keep my cities safe by putting mountains around them.   When I’m ready, I’ll lower the land…

image

Like such.. The path is clear!

Sorcerer King player spell suggestion list

Published on Thursday, October 16, 2014 By Frogboy In Elemental Dev Journals

The below spells are ones that I think can be implemented that have come from players.

  1. Spell that creates a Swamp tile (slows movement)
  2. Spell that turns a group of tiles into ones that do damage if you walk through them.
  3. Meteor Strike – spell that destroys everything in it, leaves crater.
  4. Wall of Fire – tiles do damage to anyone who walks through them.
  5. Tsunami, huge wave of water is conjured up that wipes out units
  6. Your spell idea here…

(will be reading comments, I have read several threads already on the subject and picked spells that were feasible and/or ones I thought would be fun).

Galactic Civilizations III: BETA 2 is here

Published on Thursday, October 16, 2014 By Frogboy In Journals - GalCiv III

Greetings!

The team has been hard at work on Beta 2 of Galactic Civilizations III.  Galactic Civilizations III is a space based strategy game that puts the player into the position of leader of a 23rd century interstellar civilization that is expanding out into the cosmos. As they expand, they will encounter other galactic civilizations that are doing the same. 

How players react to dealing with “aliens” is up to them. Trade? Cultural Exchange? Alliances? Warfare? It’s all up to you.   It’s currently in early beta with the release date not expected until next Spring.

Here are some updates.

We really hope you like how it’s coming along.

Some highlights:

 

image

Colonizing a planet. Because those planets won’t colonize themselves.

 

image

We think players are really going to enjoy the adjacency bonuses. I know the AI will. Smile

image

Designing a better scout

 

image

Diplomacy arrives

image

Ah, the Drengin…

image

New techs!

image

Found your home planet!

image

Why, me of course!

image

Or not. Everyone voted for themselves. Typical. Well, I mean, yea, I voted for me but they should have voted for me.

image

That’s right buddy, don’t colonize right next to me next time.

image

Even in the future, Mars sucks.

Beta 2 is the Diplomacy beta series. The initial launch is just the warm up.

To learn more, visit www.galciv3.com.

Sorcerer King: Gameplay Example–The Ruined World

Published on Thursday, October 16, 2014 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King Dev Journals

It’s almost over

The world is on the brink of ruin.

King Galor sits on the last piece of farmable land.  The shadow has crept right to his door step.

image

On this map, the shadow lands have crept right to your doorstep.

The rest of the world is ruined.

Hope through magic

But not all is lost.  For Galor has the ability to revive land.  He must save up his mana, revive the land and build on it.

image

You have a spell that will revive the land and allow you to build on it.

Expansion

image

The Sorcerer King does not consider Galor a threat…yet

image

Reviving the land to build a new city.

 

image

My new city makes the Sorcerer King a touch nervous

image

Day 84

Galor continues to expand and fortify while trying to protect the shards as best as he can.  This, however, gathers more attention from the Sorcerer King.

 

image

Expansion is a missed blessing.  As the doomsday counter goes up, so too does unrest. Unrest is by city and is not related to population. Unrest takes away from precious logistics.

 

image

The Sorcerer King has noticed Galor’s expansion

image

His forces have begun to target Galor’s settlements

Logistics is the most limited resource. Having to spend precious logistics to guard cities is very problematic. Galor realizes he will need help.

Other Survivors…

Far to the East is the Imperial remnant.  They are what is left of the last Imperium, the alliance between Kraxis and Magnar that arose when the Sorcerer King first arrived on the scene.

Tandis the Warrior meets with them and they offer a deal…

image

image

Tandis isn’t comfortable meddling in their politics

image

So what’s it going to be? Murder on behalf of the Kraxis ruler or fight the Sorcerer King alone?

image

Ultimately, Tandis agrees.

image

He soon arrives at Grilok’s tower.

image

image

image

In my debug version, I get to see the choices not available due to my stats.

image

Unfortunately, he’s already in league with the Sorcerer King and Galor is not wise enough to get him to deviate from that course.  And, worse, he was too powerful for Tandis to defeat. Galor will have to find another way to get Kraxis on his side..

image

These efforts have not gone unnoticed

Without allies, it’s going to be almost impossible to build up the force to stop the Sorcerer King (particularly since I haven’t hooked up anything that lowers unrest!).

image

Having failed with the Imperial Remant, Galor finds the Frozen Realm, hanging on in the very far west.  Tandis agrees to a rescue mission.

The Sorcerer King sends his lieutenant, Aegethon, to intercept and kill Tandis

image

Aegethon is one of the last remaining servants of the Dread Lord, Curgen.

 

image

But Tandis is more than he appears as well.

image

image

Hurt, out of spells, it’s just sheer might vs. sheer might…and one despair scroll.

image

With Aegethon destroyed, Tandis finds the Sorcerer King’s secret key.  Now, he only needs to build up an army capable of taking on the Sorcerer King..

image

Tandis also successfully rescues Drodin the dwarf, winning the favor of the Frozen Realm.

image

The Sorcerer King is now most definitely out to destroy Galor.

(Morever, really looking forward to a better SK portrait Winking smile )

 

image

The known world on turn 164 (tiniest map)

image

A united force of Dwarves and Men now seek the Sorcerer King.  But will it be enough? Will have outposts hold off the Sorcerer King’s powerful force?

Galor’s goal isn’t to meet might with might.  The Sorcerer King is incredibly powerful.  Rather, to send his strike force into the heart of the Shadow lands and use his powerful magic to pave the way in.

image

The forcing going in will need a lot of stuff

(note: In the beta we still have a very finite number of things to craft, this will become ever more exotic as we go forward)

 

image

The Sorcerer King recognizes the threat and begins to send more and more armies at the Kingdom’s few cities.

Tylan is destroyed.

At that moment, Pariden has succumed to the Sorcerer King and declared war on Galor as well.

image

Galor’s Hypnotism has gotten increasingly powerful has he has leveled up.

With the outter guard defeated, the Sorcerer King himself is confronted.

image

Tandis is powerful but the Sorcerer King is much stronger.  Galor’s mana is depleted from supporting Tandis through his campaign to reach the Sorcerer King.

image

image

With the Sorcerer King’s minions down, Tandis moves in. He uses blinding strike to take out the Sorcerer King’s vision for the rest of the battle.

image

Surrounding the Sorcerer King isn’t necessarily a good idea, he has many spells that punish it.

Tandis casts Lethal focus to greatly increase his attack.

image

With mana gone, swarming is all we have left…

And the Sorcerer King continues to punish it.

image

Most of the army is dead but The Sorcerer King is badly injured as well.

He goes down.

 

image

Victory and Final Thoughts

I was happy with the general feel but it’s definitely still an early beta.

In no particular order:

  • The minor faction quests are pretty buggy. The dwarves didn’t supply me with the units they were supposed to.
  • The Revive land spell in my game was too cheap so it was too easy to build cities.
  • Need to make sure we provide skills to lower unrest.  I do NOT think it should be accomplished with city improvements.
  • Need a lot more interesting spells. I know they’re coming (I have a lot on my test box) but not having them hurt.
  • I think the free floating camera I played with should be an option for all players “Storyteller camera”.
  • Need more crafting recipes. A LOT MORE. I never felt really satisfied with the quality of them
  • I think the high level SK units should do more arcane damage to force me to have to craft arcane defense items.
  • The Sorcerer King needs more spells in general.  He will soon be intervening in the tactical battles too just as Galor (you) can do already.
  • Lot more content still needed. It’s in the pipeline but definitely needed.
  • Happy with the overall direction things are taking.  I’ll do another play through when the Dungeon Master stuff gets implemented.

 

 

image

Story teller camera was fun.

Sorcerer King Beta: Week 2

Published on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King Dev Journals

Greetings!

HOLY COW! Things are coming along great! And much of the reason for that is you.

We’ve gotten a huge amount of really constructive feedback from the community. Anyone who doubts the usefulness of “Early Access” needs to be sent to the Sorcerer King and/or Stardock forums.

Your wish is my command: UNREST!

We got a lot of requests to bring Unrest back in some form.  But we wanted to do it in a way that connected it tightly to the overall game.

So here’s how it works:

Every 100 points of Doomsday generates 1 unrest for a given city.  Every point of unrest reduces logistics by 1.

Simple right?

And yet, the consequences are far reaching.  If you city spam, you can really cripple yourself because the unrest is not connected to population. It’s per city.  Unrest represents your people falling under the thrall of the Sorcerer King.

image

As the Sorcerer King becomes more powerful, your citizens start to worship him instead of, well, you. This is per city so be careful about spamming cities.

image

Unrest sucks away at your precious logistics

 

Your sovereign’s tech..er skill tree will have the ability to lower unrest per city. That means, of course, less magic for mana and learning spells.

The player gets to take off the kiddie gloves: Trade magical power for more fertile tiles if you dare!

As you know, in Sorcerer King you can only found cities where there is food.  By default, those places can be few and far between.  We did this so that new players wouldn’t wreck themselves by overloading on cities without realizing the potential consequences (the unrest mechanic just reinforces that).

But what about experienced players? If only there was some, I dunno, magical way to let people build more cities.

Hmm. Magic.

Hence, we are bringing back the restoration spell.  If you have the mana, you can revive the land.  The Sorcerer King likes that sort of thing of course but it means you gain a lot more control over what types of strategies you want to employ.

Sorcerer King’s terrain engine – how much are you willing to destroy the world to save it?

The terrain in the Elemental games have a distinctive look.  We didn’t realize that it was so distinctive until the Sorcerer King beta came out and people made a point of saying that they could tell it was related to Fallen Enchantress.  This was a highly useful bit of feedback because, to be honest, we didn’t see it.

The players are right. Elemental games do have a distinctive look to their terrain.  There’s a reason for that.

When the engine was being designed, we required the terrain to be as morphable as Populous.  Morphable terrain has a distinctive look because the land has to be, well morphable.

Remember Populous 3? Well, here’s some screenshots. They might seem…familiar.

imageimage

Populous 3

But, you say, Fallen Enchantress didn’t morph its terrain.  You’re right.  We took out the spells that morphed terrain because we couldn’t balance it.  The bulk of our 3D engine was ignored because it was impossible for the AI to deal with a world that was morphable like this.  So we took it out.

But…Sorcerer King doesn’t have that problem.  You want to lock yourself behind a mountain range? Knock yourself out. The Sorcerer King would be pleased if you holed up back there and let him take control of all the minors.

Want to Volcano an enemy? Go for it.  Want to flood the continent? Have at it.  Basically, because this is an ASYMETRICAL MAGIC game there’s no reason not to let the player loose on the world. 

image

Oh no, I’m stuck by a huge mountain pass. I guess I should just go around. Or wait, no, I’m a powerful wizard.

image

image

There we go

Now, players of Fallen Enchantress knew we had spells like this but they were made so limited and so expensive and there were so few of them that they were more a gimmick than an interesting part of the game.  But now that the player is encourage to annihilate enemies en-masse (pillar of fire? Pish posh) the question will be how much are you willing to wreck the world to save it?

Map Sizes:  Big is really big

Click on the screenshot and you can see how big the large maps are going to be.

image

The bigger the world the longer it takes for the Sorcerer King to become a god.  While obviously necessary it is makes it a very different game.  I must confess, I haven’t finished a game on large. It takes hundreds of turns to win on tiny.  Large is going to be for the truly dedicated as it’ll probably take thousands of turns.

Beta 2: November 6

We will have an opt-in beta coming up that will have really rough versions of this with the official beta 2 date being November 6.

Stay tuned!

#Gamergate as seen outside games

Published on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 By Frogboy In PC Gaming

They should be friends

Talking tech with friends, making games, playing games, it’s just plain awesome.  It saddens me to see people seeming to lose sight of that.  I was doing an interview last week with a journalist and we spent hours talking about Kurzweil and the singularity. 

The typical gamer and the typical journalist are kindred spirits. The escalation between those who support #gamergate and those who oppose it has been almost entirely because of a few bad actors on both sides trying to pain the other side with incredibly broad strokes which in turn infuriates the non-bad actors on both sides.

No moral equivalence here

One reason I’m sympathetic to #gamergate is that at least those guys realize there are total scumbags doing bad things in their name and they do honestly try to police it. 

By contrast, those who oppose gamergate don’t seem to be willing to even acknowledge that there are bad actors on their side or that there are a few that are cynically trying to use the controversy to forward their careers in ways that their actual work doesn’t merit.

I saw a tweet just yesterday by Anita Sarkeesian complaining that a game she found objectionable wasn’t being downgraded or criticized by the gaming media.  I mean, come on! If it was Bob Sarkeesian and he was complaining that the games should have been marked down because of violence or something the press would have lampooned him. 

If Sarkeesian wants to complain about the depiction of women it seems like there are much bigger targets that have a lot more influence over how women see themselves than games…

image

While the social justice crowd was complaining about Spider-Woman and women in video games, this was the cover of Cosmopolitan that month (September 2014 issue)

image

Meanwhile, the most popular female character in games of the past couple years has the power to rip open space time.

 

 

GG outside the game industry

I’ve gotten a couple (at least 2) anti GG articles killed off simply by explaining GG is really about as accurately as I can.  I wasn’t trying to kill the articles, I just got asked what the deal was because sometimes I’m the only “game person” that these journalists know.

Here’s how the conversation typically goes:

Journalist: So what’s this “Gamergate thing about”? Are gamers really afraid of women playing or making games?

Me: No. It started as a tempest in a teapot. An indie game developer got caught sleeping with some journalists and some people thought (wrongly) that she was trading sex for reviews. 

Then the gaming media decided to do a series of articles, within 24 hours, insinuating that not only was the harassment of this poor woman due to her being a woman but also that gaming culture was inherently misogynistic. This caused a consumer revolt against the gaming media as they were offended at being insulted by the very game sites that they trusted and believed in.

Journalist: So they’re not harassing women?

Me: There’s always harassment of women on the Internet.  It’s the Internet. That doesn’t excuse it. Trolls and jerks target anyone and anything they can. But laying blame on that to Gamergate is ridiculous. The fact is, ANYONE who is vocal on the Internet is going to face harassment. 

I’ve gotten abuse online for years peppered with the occasional death threat.  So have most publicly facing game developers. My friends at Blizzard have told me some real horror stories. 

Of course, the difference is that it never occurs to us to screenshot this stuff and post on Twitter because, you know what the response to that would be. We’d get called “man babies” or whiners or what have you.

Me: Seriously, picture what the response would be if I went online as recently as 3 months ago and posted one of the death threats I get. Do you seriously think any journalist would write a story on that?

Journalist: No, it would be a dog bites man story.

Me: Exactly. So the problem here is that some in the gaming media have an existing narrative: Gamers are misogynists. Then, they simply cherry pick examples to fit that narrative.

Journalist: So what is the purpose of writing these articles?

Me: I have no idea. The anti-GG people think this is a “PR war”. That if enough anti-GG articles are written they’ll somehow “win”. But unless they have the power to change demographics based on PR, which they don’t, when the dust settles, they’re going to have to live with the consequences of antagonizing their readers.

Journalist: Well it sounds like the issue is a lot more nuanced than what I was led to believe.

Me: It is.  Their best strategy would be to just cool down and resist the urge to lash out.  I don’t like getting harassed online either. I’ve had years of time to get used to it though and can say that the best tactic is: Pick your battles. 

You may have to destroy the world to save it

Published on Monday, October 13, 2014 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King

This is just me on my machine making spells. Any modder could have made this (And probably made it look prettier).

But we plan to go pretty nuts with the idea that the player can spend mana to wreak havoc on the world in order to destroy enemies.  

I've got a bunch like this already going on my machine including restoring land (making land habitable for cities) to walling  yourself off with mountains (the SK would absolutely prefer if you just turtled in).

So...

Let's talk guys.

What horrible things do you think it would be fun to do to the world or have done to you?

664 pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next