Posted on 2nd Sep 2016 at 09:18 by Rick Lane with 59 comments
Allegations of corruption have dogged games journalism for almost as long as games journalism has existed. Where exactly this belief stems from isn’t entirely certain. But if you went by the average comments section on a game review, you’d think the entirety of games journalism was more corrupt than Silvio Berlusconi’s hard-drive.
Like any form of journalism, games media isn’t short of examples of shoddy work. Evidence of that goes as far back as dodgy reviews of games like Nemesis for the ZX Spectrum, where Sinclair User appear to have reviewed a beta version of the game in order to get ahead of the competition. But the vast majority of complaints and conspiracy theories about games writing aren’t concerned with laziness or cutting corners. Instead, they revolve around a very specific and far more serious subject – the idea that critics are routinely paid-off by publishers to artificially inflate review scores.
Posted on 19th May 2015 at 09:26 by Rick Lane with 42 comments
Imagine sitting down in a restaurant and ordering a meal; let's say, Surf and Turf with chips and a side-salad. The waiter informs you that the arrival time of your meal will be announced in ten minutes. The time passes, and the waiter rolls up and apologises, saying your meal has been delayed. But good news! They're ready to announce that the prawns for your surf and turf can now be ordered early for an extra £5.
Posted on 5th Sep 2014 at 10:39 by Rick Lane with 24 comments
The last few weeks have been a dismal time for many people involved in the games industry. A combination of vicious personal attacks on important female figures in the industry, torrents of accusations regarding journalistic ethics and rampant paranoia over the perceived destruction of gaming itself has all bundled together in one great snowball of malevolence, misinformation and outright misery. I'm not going into the nitty-gritty of recent occurrences in this article, but these pieces here
here give a pretty good summary of events.
Posted on 16th Jul 2014 at 09:05 by Rick Lane with 10 comments
Dearest readers of bit-tech! Come hither and listen to my whispered words, as I am a troubled soul. For a long time now I have lamented the lack of progress made in the AI sphere of game development. In the years surrounding the millennium AI was bold and bright and exciting. Games like Unreal Tournament, Thief, Black and White and Halo were doing clever and innovative things with artificial intelligence, providing enemies that could use teamwork to outmanoeuvre us, guards that would hunt us, and a big daft monkey that could learn from us.
This continued until around 2005, with FEAR being the last game I can recall with truly memorable AI. Then something changed, and after that nothing changed. Stealth AI has patrolled the same pathways for years, shooter AI crouched behind a wall circa 2006 and decided to make a home there, and when was the last time you played a game that involved the AI learning anything?
Posted on 6th Jun 2014 at 10:10 by Rick Lane with 38 comments
Last year I interviewed Ken Silverman, creator of the Build engine (used in games like Duke Nukem 3D and Shadow Warrior) as part of a monthly article series I write in Custom PC about graphics engines. While preparing for the interview, I read through his timeline for the engine's development, which is published on his website. Amid all the technical jargon and details of publisher deals was the simple line "Finally added SLOPES!"
It stood out because whereas so much of the information was factual and to the point, this entry conveyed more emotion; a strong sense of both relief and achievement. I asked him what the big deal was, and he responded thus:
Posted on 9th May 2014 at 08:58 by Rick Lane with 27 comments
Earlier this week the post-apocalypse FPS Earth: Year 2066 was withdrawn from sale on Steam. The game had come under fire from fans and journalists alike on account of being severely underdeveloped even for an Early Access title, and misleading players about its rudimentary and broken state on the product page. This came to a head on the sixth of May when Valve dubbed the game a scam and removed all mention of it from the service.
Earth: Year 2066 isn't the only steaming plate of rubbish served to players through Steam lately. This has been highlighted by Escapist Reviews Editor Jim Sterling, who has spent the past few months slowly shovelling his way through the mounting pile of excrement
which alongside 2066 include the likes of Overcast: Walden and the Werewolf, the multiplayer FPS Rekoil, and Day One: Garry's Incident. All as part of an effort to demonstrate that Steam needs better quality control.