coryanotado: (Default)

Originally published at The Fast Money Round. You can comment here or there.

Are those…cum stains?

Poor Car Talk joke. Forgiveness, please.

For those who are not in the know, Michael Tiller is an infamous YouTube uploader whose shoddy PowerPoint pseudosimulacra of game shows have gained him the ire and ridicule of anyone who has eyes, ears or a combination of both.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, take a peek at this. This is probably an average Michael Tiller work. I’d rather gouge my eyes out.

If you look at the comments of this article, you’ll get to see candid (because MTillz has two speeds: candid/oblivious or dead) responses to a parody video I created of his work, because someone’s gotta put this kid in his place, and I figure satire should be the best way.

So, what are his thoughts to someone giving him honest (yet brutal) criticism of his bullshit?

It was awful, made me sick. He even believes I steal people’s pictures, and I told him the truth last night, and I got BASHED! My projects are much better than that satiric thing. I guess just some people don’t like the way I do my projects, I do what I can. Yeah, it’s best you don’t see that parody. His reasonings are so terrible, I was sick to the stomach. He even went as far as to bad-mouth my projects when I told him the truth.

Someone get this kid a grammar guide. I will admit it, I was very harsh with my criticism of this kid’s work, and here’s why. If you look at the shit I did when I started making my game show fan games, you can tell I was a beginner. I didn’t know how to use my tools and I didn’t have any skills. As I continued to make games, I learned how to use my tools, I learned how to use better tools, and I gained important skills. So, I started with Flash 4, and now I’m proficient with Flash CS4, Photoshop CS4, Final Cut, Amadeus and GarageBand, to name a few. I managed to channel the passion I had for my craft into practical skills. Any criticism I received (and I got a lot of it) was used to created bigger and better things.

MTillz? Not so much.

Here’s a direct letter he sent me via YouTube’s messaging system in regards to my criticism. (MST3K-style comments are in parentheses.)

pacdude, Michael Tiller here.

(You know, since the user name didn’t give it away.)

rjaguar3 has informed me of your parody that you did of Millionaire, which I saw and was very shocked by what I saw, it was absolutely sickening, for unexplained reasons.

(If you got sick for unexplained reasons, then how is that my fault? Perhaps you should explain why you got sick.)

After a conversation with rjaguar3, he told me these were the reasons you believe my projects aren’t so hot

(Aren’t so hot? That’s like saying Snooki isn’t so orange.)

which is what led you to that parody:

1. Sound effects aren’t accurate

(Point 1, swing and a miss. It’s not that your sound effects aren’t accurate, MTillz, but it’s that your sound effects are edited in poorly, are unconvincing and unprofessional.)

2. Using people’s photos from Facebook

(I’m sorry, should I have said Friendster?)

3. Playing the game with subtitles

(Because nothing’s more riveting on a game show than reading.)

4. Using questions all people don’t know

(Again, that’s not the problem. The problem is that you create these videos for an external audience i.e., the world, but write questions that reference the inside of your delusional imagination. Can you see how that’s an issue, fuckwad?)

Let me go ahead and explain these to you, so at least there is some understanding here.

(I’ve seen your grasp on the English language. If you can explain anything to the point of understanding, I’d be impressed.)

1. The sound effects, I try to keep them in accurate positions and use what the show had used. If the sound effects aren’t available, I use something as a substitute in its place.

(I respectfully submit the website of Jay Lewis; specifically, his Game Show Sound Effects archive. Every sound effect from every game show is pretty much here, so I have a hard time believing that the sound effect is unavailable. Fuck your shit.)

2. The people you see in my projects, they’re my real-life friends

(I have a hard time believing that you have real-life friends. If they were your real-life friends, wouldn’t you then bring them to your real-life home and have them record their answers on their real-life computer? Or are you just lying to me to save your sorry ass? I don’t know, take your pick.)

and I make sure ahead of time that it’s all right with them to do that sort of thing.

(How vague. I hope “that sort of thing” is “take pictures of their feet because goddamn do I have a foot fetish.” Or is that off topic, MTillz?)

3. I use subtitles because I do not have a voice converter on my computer.

(Actually, I do. It’s called Voice Candy, and it converts my voice to a robot. However, I don’t think that’s what you mean. I think you mean a voice recorder, and yes you do, because you can record your own voice. I think you’re too stupid/lazy/stupid to find what you need. Skype, anyone?)

I am wanting to use real voices in the future, but cannot do that as of yet.

(What fucking country are you from? “I am wanting to?” Who the hell let you out of middle school? They need to be drawn and quartered.)

4. I remember only one instance when I used inside questions, and that was Blockbusters.

(There is a post on the Game Show Forum, which is behind the member wall, that shows 3 instances thereof, so suck on a bag of farts.)

I since then have learned my lesson and am using certified questions that everyone would know: either written down or researched on the Internet, or if I am using a home game, I use those questions.

(You know, when I made Drop the Bomb, I wrote over 400 original trivia questions. Is it really that hard for you to find a fact and ask a question about it? Then again, you could barely put together a sentence if you had a box of Magnetic Poetry and your hands out of your pants.)

Using the inside questions were not known to me until I was told, and I originally didn’t understand until a trusted friend of mine told me what the problem was.

(Your seemingly impossible ineptitude at basic sentence structure aside, if you can’t realize that a question that mentions a specific part of your life isn’t common knowledge, then either you’re functionally retarded or so self-deluded that you make your own monthly updates on status and projects that no one cares about on YouTube. Oh, wait…)

SInce that point, I have focused on using certified questions.

(Certified by the Association of American Douchenozzles.)

You see, I am diagnosed with Asperger’s, which is a social disability. If you don’t understand what Asperger’s is, I advise you to look it up on Wikipedia.

(Mercy ploy. From the article: “…there is a predilection for adults to self-diagnose it. There are questions about the external validity of the AS diagnosis.” Not to say that you don’t have it, but noting your propensity for exaggeration, I’d like a note from your physician. Plus, your precious Wikipedia article gives notions for treating Asperger Syndrome. Are you following up on those are you accepting what you have as a crutch to ignore other people still?)

Some things for me are difficult to undersand at first, but then when told to me, that’s when I begin to understand it more. If you have any further questions, please let me know.

(Why can’t you take criticism, no matter how biting, hurtful and sarcastic, and channel it to creating a decent and useful project? Why do you insist on creating poorly-created PowerPoint presentations? Why do you disgrace this earth with your putrid nonsense?)

mtiller2006

So, that’s his letter. Honestly, if Michael Tiller could channel his energy into making things even remotely better (and maybe using real people’s voice once in a while) then maybe people would stop hating on him. Until that happens (and I predict that Mayan predictions will come true far sooner), I’m going to mock him mercilessly.

coryanotado: (Default)

Originally published at The Fast Money Round. You can comment here or there.

According to a study from the Casual Gaming Association released in 2007, the casual gaming market is huge. Loosely defined as games that are easy to learn without a large time commitment, the casual gaming industry is a multi-million dollar industry. Because of the low costs of development and the common method of digital distribution, casual gaming has become a haven for fledgling developers looking to get their foot in the door.

Working with that metaphor, my foot got stuck somewhere on the sidewalk.

Drop the Bomb is a trivia game created by a two-man development team of myself, Cory Anotado, and Joshua Roehrig. The game took six months to develop, and one month to test. The goal of the game was to create a popular trivia game which had a heavy replay factor and the ability to “go viral” and spread using social networking websites. Even with testing and development, there were problems with distribution and code that seriously hindered the success of the game.

The original design called for a challenging quiz game with stunning graphics and intense game play. To meet this design visually, I started with creating the graphics in Photoshop. I wanted the game to feel grungy and industrial, as an homage to the “bomb” part of the title. Distressed, scratched metals and steam are almost omnipresent in the design and layout of the game’s graphical user interface. The music used in this game was graciously donated by Craig Stuart Garfinkle, who composes music for television game shows such as Russian Roulette on the Game Show Network. The composition, entitled Black Box, is a hard grunge rock song with industrial distortion.

The gameplay was designed homage to two classic game shows by famous game show  creators and producers Jack Barry and Dan Enright: The Joker’s Wild and Bullseye. Drop the Bomb’s gameplay is split into two rounds: The Question Machine and the Bonus Plant. In the Question Round, the player must answer questions delivered by the Question Machine. Each contract of questions consists of a category, an amount of questions and a dollar amount. The player should then answer every question in the contract correctly to continue. If the player answers a question incorrectly, the player gets a strike and the contract ends. Three strikes and the player’s game is over. If, when the player receives his contract, a Bomb appears instead of a dollar amount, then the player must answer every question in the contract. If the player gets a Bomb question incorrect, then her game is over instantly.

If the player correctly answers enough questions to accrue $5,000, then he moves on to the Bonus Plant. Here, the game shifts from a game of skill to a game of luck. In the Bonus Plant, the player receives one spin for as many questions as she answered correctly during the Question Machine round. When the player takes a spin, the Bonus Plant machine’s windows reveals three dollar amounts. Those amounts are added together and added to the jackpot. The player can then choose to spin again if there are any spins remaining. If a Bomb appears in any of the windows, then the jackpot is reduced by half. The round ends if the player opts to bail out of the round, the player uses all his spins, or if three Bombs appear during the course of the round.

The game features extra features for social networking and monetization. With special assistance from Newgrounds.com founder and developer Tom Fulp, Drop the Bomb was able to add support for Newgrounds Medals, which are achievements linked to a user’s Newgrounds account. The same application programming interface, or API, used to access the Medals are also used in Drop the Bomb to serve advertisement to players. Using technology available from Mochi Media, an in-game high score board with the ability to use Facebook Connect to compete with Facebook friends was also implemented. The Mochi Media high-score board also allowed for tracking how many times the game was played.
On the content side of the game, 500 questions created between myself and Joshua in varying categories. Originally, the plan was to write the questions to maintain a difficulty level equal to a $8,000 or $16,000 question on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?. As time went on, however, the questions ranged in difficulty from simple, common-knowledge questions to esoteric, truly trivial questions.

After launch, several problems existed that truly hindered the success of this game, all of which were made clear by the many commenters worldwide at our release point, Newgrounds.com.

The first concern that a large part of the players of this game showed concern about was the American-centric nature of the questions. The World Wide Web is just that: worldwide. Despite the best efforts of myself and Joshua to write questions that were as neutral as possible to cater to as wide an audience as possible, many of the questions were based on American culture, such as American politics, American music and American movies. Even though I thought televisions shows such as Family Guy or influential topics such as World War II had mass interest, it seems as if a worldwide audience thought otherwise. “…there’s one thing that I very much dislike, and that’s the fact that it’s so US-centric. I imagine it’d be difficult for you to avoid for topics like ‘TV,’ but for ‘Movies,’ ‘Sports’ etc., it really should be possible to come up with questions that even an international audience will have a chance at answering,” says reviewer Schneelocke. Frustration ran deep for reviewer FFKonoko: “Christ, this couldn’t be much more biased towards America. How about some more questions that require knowledge of the rest of the damn world, please?”

The second content-related concern was that the questions were too difficult. Reviewer Vortigern noted, “However, there is no real progression of difficulty in this game. You jump in and BAM, you’re hit with a random, incredibly difficult question from out of left field.” Reviewer Nuse took the esoteric nature of some of the questions and criticized it thusly: “This game is crazy, does anyone REALLY know all these type of things? I mean really, how am I supposed to know what the guy down the street fed his dog last night at 11:52. Come on, these questions are soooooooo narrow it is impossible to really win unless you get lucky.”

One code-related problem came in the form of problems that only existed online. Glitches with the Newgrounds Medals and the Mochi Media high score board that never came up during development interfered with achievements during the game. Many complaints of not being able to achieve certain medals ran rampant in the feedback section of the Drop the Bomb page on Newgrounds.com. Although during testing, I was able to attain every medal, once the game was put online, several medals were unattainable. Also, an exploitable glitch came up when three bombs appeared during the Bonus Plant. The game would loop between the high score board and the Bonus Plant, resulting in multi-million-dollar high scores that are otherwise unattainable. That pads the high score board with fraudulently-attained scores, adds more work for myself to maintain the high score board and turns people off from trying to attain high scores by playing again.

Other complaints gave constructive criticism and suggestions for future iterations of the game. One major request was a choice of difficulty levels. People wanted a choice of difficulty levels in order to fully enjoy the game. To do so would require little more work on our part and is something that will seriously be considered in different games.

The game itself isn’t bad. It’s, for the most part, solidly coded and a fun experience. With 500 questions, it can take a while for a player to get a repeat question. The game rewards players who exhibit both intelligent skill and sheer luck. Drop the Bomb has excellent graphics and features that promote interactivity. However, the short-sightedness of anticipating our target audience in both knowledge base and knowledge level as well as unexpected errors with third-party software hindered the success of what could have been an amazing game.

coryanotado: (Default)

Originally published at The Fast Money Round. You can comment here or there.

This is the next in a series of posts giving my top five of everything: top five authors, movies, books, fonts, colors… anything and everything I can think of. Most of these lists, unless otherwise specified, aren’t in any particular order. Here’s the next list: my top five mash-ups. For the uninitiated, a mash-up is a song created from the elements of two or more songs. I enjoy them for the musical intuition and skill it takes to create one. (I’ve tried, to disastrous results.)

Cory’s Top Five Mash-Ups

1. Low Groove (Flo Rida vs. Earth, Wind and Fire) by Party Ben. My theory: putting lousy rap songs to vastly superior 70s-era funk or disco will always equal something awesome. This makes Flo Rida’s annoying, unbearable “Low” not just tolerable, but rather awesome.

2. Single Ladies (In Mayberry) (Beyoncé vs. The Andy Griffith Show) by Party Ben. Now, this is a mash-up. Here’s the formula: take two songs which could very well be considered polar opposites, and jam them together like uncomfortable cousins at a staged wedding. Bonus points: mash up the video. Give this one a listen, and you’ll be simultaneously tickled pink and bewildered. (And if you haven’t already figured this one out: Party Ben’s one of the best and most popular mash-up artists on the intertubes. Get to know his work; it is the best.)

3. Sweet Home Country Grammar (Nelly vs. Lynyrd Skynyrd) by DJ Mei-Lwun. Here’s another great example of taking two songs which are basically polar opposites and mashing them up together. The reason I like songs like this is that, on a very deep and metaphorical level, it can show that people’s differences only separate them so much, and that if used properly, differences can bring people together. (That’s a little too deep for something as silly as mash-ups. I apologize.)

4. Yeah In The Sun (Weezer vs. Usher, Ludacris and Lil Jon) by DJ Mike. The entire Jay-Zeezer album (which is Jay Z’s Black Album remixed with Weezer’s Blue Album) is a wonderful experiment that stands up to the test of time, mainly because the Black Album is amazing, and the Blue Album is one of Weezer’s finest. Mix them together skillfully, as DJ Mike did, and you have yourself a fine album. The mash-up I’m focusing on, however, is a bonus track on the Jay-Zeezer album, and it’s Island in the Sun by Weezer, mashed up with Usher’s Yeah song. It’s a jammin’ tune. (Peace up, A-Town down.)

5. Jam on Sesame Street (The Sesame Street Theme vs. Newcleus). To end this top-five, I’m throwing a new favorite that I haven’t gotten sick of yet. Take the hot 80s flow of rap group Newcleus and mix it with a sped-up version of the theme to the children’s show Sesame Street (which I still consider sacred ground; no one fucks with Sesame Street without respect and reverence. Those puppets taught me how to read, damnit) and you’ve got a real cool jam that is difficult to not dance to.

coryanotado: (Default)

Originally published at The Fast Money Round. You can comment here or there.

This is the next in a series of posts giving my top five of everything: top five authors, movies, books, fonts, colors… anything and everything I can think of. Most of these lists, unless otherwise specified, aren’t in any particular order. Here’s the next list: my top five podcasts. All links head to iTunes, so if you don’t have iTunes, then don’t click the links.

Cory’s Top Five Podcasts

1. The Rachel Maddow Show. MSNBC’s most logical and smartest host (just barely eking out Keith Olbermann), Rachel Maddow’s full show appears on a one-day delay on iTunes. Full show. 40-some odd minutes. For free. That shit is insane. Thank you, MSNBC.

2. The Preston and Steve Show. Preston and Steve are two of the funniest morning DJs in the world. Howard Stern is lame, fuck Danny Bonaduce and any other morning show on radio, despite what you think, is inferior to the Preston and Steve show. If you disagree with me, subscribe to Preston and Steve for a week. Listen to the show and, if after 5 days, you don’t love this show, then I will give you a cheesesteak for your valiant efforts.

3. Old Jews Telling Jokes. I am extremely not Jewish, but I still find Old Jews Telling Jokes very funny. There’s no surprise about what this podcast is about: it’s a bunch of old Jewish people, backed with years of telling their corny jokes, in front of a plain white background, telling the corny jokes they’ve told for years and years. And yet, something about an old geezer telling an extremely dirty joke? Never gets old.

4. The Onion News Network. This shouldn’t even need to be said. Consistently rated five stars on iTunes, the Onion News Network is truly America’s finest news source. Taking satire further than satire has ever been taken before, it’s refreshing to see someone stick it to not just cable news, but morning shows, government access and sports news, all in one podcast. It’s a must-watch.

5. This American Life. The greatest magazine show in the history of media. It’s like 20/20, but better, more touching, more… pertinent. Ira Glass has his timing down pat, the stories selected always fit the theme of the show, and the themes of every episode are engaging and intriguing. This is another one of those “if you’ve never listened before, listen a couple times” and I guarantee, you will love it.

coryanotado: (Default)

Originally published at The Fast Money Round. You can comment here or there.

So, since I’m trying to write in this blog more often, and since I can’t choose my LJ icons from here when they move to LJ, I’m implementing LJ icons in my own blog. So, who has two thumbs and hates you? THIS GUY.

Also, http://www.facebook.com/coryanotado bitches.

coryanotado: (Default)

Originally published at The Fast Money Round. You can comment here or there.

homer-loves-bufferingI’m an avid TV watcher. Yes, I like game shows, but my love of game shows is only a subsection of the half-hour joys of bite-size narrative digested weekly or daily.

As an aside, I once had a theory that movies and TV used to go through cycles: TV shows would generally be terrible while movies would be great, then once movies as a whole started to suck, those writers would move to TV and TV would get better, and on and on. I can’t prove that and I don’t have data to start, but it’s an interesting theory nonetheless.

My viewing habits, however, are piss-poor for such a TV fan. The cable I have is about to bite the dust (the cable box works when it feels like it) and I don’t want to have to go all the way upstairs just to watch some TV.

So, I’m investing my time in watching TV online. Everyone’s talking about how watching shows online is the wave of the future or what have you, and I’m more than happy to surf that crest. However, what’s the best place to watch shows online? I put different network’s offerings to the test to see where I can get my fix easiest. For the sake of full disclosure, I’m running a MacBook with Mac OS 10.5.7, with 1 GB memory and a 2.16 GHz processor, and I’m piping all this through a Verizon DSL line that isn’t very fast.

cbs66CBS.com/video is the Columbia Broadcasting System’s foray into online video. My experience with CBS wasn’t bad. Video won’t work with AdBlock Plus activated, and there’s no idea how loaded the video is (no indication on the play bar, no “buffering” indicator… nothing). Generally, starting the video and pausing it allows the video to load enough that, after a few minutes or so, the video starts to play. The commercials are unobtrusive and video quality is good, but no options exist for better (or worse) quality. They even have a 1080p HD channel, but neither my processor nor my connection could handle it. Their selection includes recent episodes from the entire CBS primetime lineup (I can watch the last full episode of How I Met Your Mother, the entirety of the 9th season of CSI, and episodes of 60 Minutes ranging as far back as January), recent episodes from the CBS daytime lineup (which is why I can watch The Price is Right and my girlfriend can catch up with the last two weeks of the Young and the Restless), episodes and clips from CBS’s late night shows and even classic full classic shows such as the Twilight Zone, the Love Boat and Family Ties. Overall, a pleasant experience.

nbc56NBC.com/video/library has a wide variety of videos available, and their video site is very well organized. No wonder NBC.com won the Webby Award for Broadband website. Full episodes include full runs of Miami Vice, Quantom Leap, and the most of the current seasons of shows like Kath & Kim, Southland and The Office, as well as recent episodes of Leno (soon to be Conan, fortunately) and Fallon. Their player is solidly built with some flaws. Just like CBS, there’s no way to know how much of the video is loaded at any given time. Also like CBS, there’s no quality settings. A fun feature of the NBC player was the almost instant access to any other show or episode via their ribbon-like interface at the bottom of each player page. By default, it gives you the option of different DVD-like “chapters” (which are portions between commercial breaks), but you can also browse other full episodes or other shows all together. When an episode ends, it’ll play another video or give you suggested options of what to watch next. That’s a handy feature for the bored viewer. On the thumbs down side, the way the advertisements work is a kind of a dealbreaker for me; I don’t like my advertisements to obtrude so much. The advertisements sometimes are larger than the video, a large pet peeve for me.

abc89ABC.com has only one feature going for it: automatic quality scaling. If your internet’s bandwidth starts to lag, the sound and video quality degrades so the stream can continue downloading. If your bandwidth picks up, the quality gets better. How does it do that? Well, in order to watch shows from ABC.com, you have to install a plug-in in order to watch it, which is annoying since everyone else allows you to watch shows via Flash. The fullscreen viewer is ugly, and the advertisements are intrusive and don’t automatically advance. Just to watch videos from ABC.com is a pain in the ass: video automatically plays when you login, and to watch full episodes, you have to open a pop-up window. To watch Scrubs online, ABC.com opens about 3 different pop-up windows just to get to the episode selection screen. Easily, the most annoying of the Big Three networks. As a matter of fact, instead of watching the Scrubs finale on ABC.com, I shelled out the $3.98 to download the shows from iTunes. Took longer to watch, but so very hassle-free, it was completely worth it. I’d rather watch Oprah eat a bushel of lobster in a bikini than have to watch TV on ABC.com ever again.

What’s my final verdict? Obviously, it’ll depend on what show you want to watch. In terms of user experience, you’ll get the most bang for your bandwidth at NBC’s website. CBS’s comes in a close second (and those HD videos, if you can get them to stream, are jaw-droppingly gorgeous), while ABC’s a distant 5th, behind not watching TV and gouging my eyes with soup spoons.

coryanotado: (Default)

Originally published at The Fast Money Round. You can comment here or there.

Following a link from Kotaku, Forbes writer Peter Beller, in an article about game publisher Activision, apparently called Rock Band a “shameless knockoff” of Guitar Hero, ignoring the fact that the same developer created both games, and both games are just a “shameless knockoff” of Guitar Freaks by Konami. Yesterday, amongst loud complaints, Beller, in talking to GameDaily, says he stands by his claim. We at the Fast Money Round will now translate his response to further understand his reasoning.

My terming Rock Band a “shameless knockoff” of Guitar Hero was based on the fact that it came out after Guitar Hero and sported very obvious similarities with Guitar Hero, including color-coded prompts moving onscreen along a fret board. It even accepted the same Guitar Hero guitar controller, I believe.

The last video game I played was Ms. Pac-Man in college. I don’t know what this Xcube or Wiibox mess is, but look, Rock Band looks like Guitar Hero. They have those note things that I can’t hit and they both use a guitar. Obviously, my editor doesn’t play video games or else he’d know that I was full of bullshit.

If you define knockoff as “a copy or imitation of someone or something popular” the way Merriam-Webster does, then I think Rock Band fits the bill nicely.

I know you gamerblog people aren’t as good as us high-brow financial magazine types, so I’m going to be condescending!

I was aware that Harmonix designed both but Redoctane, then Activision, actually owned the game. When Harmonix sold to MTV and produced Rock Band it appears likely they took their know-how from Guitar Hero to create Rock Band along a similar vein. Which is a better game? Not for me to decide.

That vein being “pressing buttons to music.” But of course, I’m going to totally ignore the fact that Rock Band was a natural progression of the musical genre which started with games like PaRappa the Rapper and Beatmania and still have the same fucking mechanic they’ve always used: hit a button along with the beat of the music.

The point I was trying to make was that just because Bobby Kotick spent $100M for Guitar Hero, or has a long-running skateboarding franchise, doesn’t mean he can churn out sequels without the threat of competition. More broadly, creative talent, on which the industry depends, is quick to migrate to where it feels most appreciated and remunerated.

Why’d you guys have to call me on my bullshit? I have stocks to check and coffee to sip.

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