[HotS] Five essential tips for new players

TL;DR for you impatient fools:
1) For the love of all that is holy, do not die. Retreat, go to a fountain, hearth. Do not die.
2) Play VS AI until you’re confortable graduating to Quick Match. It can take a while.
3) Don’t unlock the camera if you’re not there yet. Rather, pay attention to positioning.
4) MOBAs aren’t twitchy. Make each click and ability deliberate, including auto attack.
5) Role names are confusing. Warriors are tanks, and specialists handle lane pushing.
That’s it, now go be awesome.

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Long version:

Some of you might know I started playing a whole lot of Heroes of the Storm over the holidays (I think I mentioned it in almost every podcast I’ve done since then). I had played it here and there before, but for some reason over the month of December I went back to it and something clicked. Actually, it was a few different things that clicked… By reading and watching various guides and experimenting myself, I have come to understand a number of very non-obvious elements of the game that I very much needed to start really enjoying it, and I suspect other players new to the MOBA genre might appreciate as well.

So without further a do, here are the five (ish) things I think every new player should know when starting their journey in Heroes of the Storm. Enjoy!

1) Remember these five simple all caps words: PATRICK SAYS DO NOT DIE.

Basically, dying is the worst thing you can do in the game, period. Whatever you do, you should try to avoid dying at all cost. Even if there’s a team fight, even if you think you can get that last hit, even if you think it would make you a golden hero of awesomeness… Don’t take the risk, it’s not worth it. If you’re getting low on health or mana, just take the time to retreat, hearth, get to a fountain… It’s a much better plan overall. Do anything, but do NOT die.

Like, seriously, whenever you’re trying to decide whether or not to keep pushing the fight, play this voice in your head: PATRICK SAYS DO NOT DIE.

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January 13th, 2016 | No Comments

The sad state of Mac gaming, and why it’s getting worse

Oh the irony… Intel is making tremendous strides in the graphical power of their integrated GPUs. But I think that this, along with Apple’s primary focus on exquisite design, might be hurting the ever-budding population of Mac gamers.
Read on to find out why. TL:DR at the bottom.

There’s been a lot of debate and consternation about the fact that Blizzard Entertainment’s latest game, “Overwatch“, is officially not in development for the Mac. Blizzard have long been supporters of gaming on Mac, and Appleite gamers were distraught to hear that they wouldn’t get their latest game. Which, incidentally, is awesome and I adore. Also, disclaimer: I used to work for Blizzard. 🙂

Some have suggested that the reason for this decision is that the size of the market doesn’t warrant it. I dispute that idea: the market share of the Mac has never been higher, and Blizzard has supported it without fault until now.
Others have said that they’re allocating Mac budget to consoles (the game is coming to PS4 and XBox One). I also think that makes little sense; Blizzard is a large company, they could do it for all these platforms, and they like money. They would spend less on developing for the Mac than it would bring in.

The official word from game director Jeff Kaplan is that, essentially, the tech behind the Macs today make it challenging. Call it corporate BS all you want, I don’t think they’re happy about disappointing their fans, and I believe the answer is genuine: it’s all about the Intel HD Graphics technology.

 

iMac

 

Here’s a quick and easy recap of the tech involved:

  • Central Processing Units (CPUs) aren’t great at rendering 3D graphics.
  • In the 90’s, external graphics cards ushered the era of 3D gaming.
  • The chips on those are called Graphics Processing Units, or GPUs.
  • GPUs are indispensable for 3D games, but they are also big and power hungry.
  • Laptops can’t handle big and power hungry things.
  • GPU makers started creating “mobile” GPUs with “ok” performance.
  • Those mobile GPUs are discrete, meaning they are separate from the CPU.
  • Intel, chasing 3D performance, started creating CPUs with integrated GPUs.
  • These integrated GPUs weren’t good for a long time. Apple kept using discrete GPUs.
  • Intel’s integrated GPUs have now improved a lot… But they are still poor for gaming.
  • I put together a not-at-all-scientific 3D perf scale (1-10), just to give you an idea:
    • CPU alone, no GPU: 0.5
    • Integrated GPU 3 years ago: 1 to 1.5
    • Discrete mobile GPU 3 years ago: 2 to 2.5
    • Integrated GPU today: 2 to 2.5
    • Discrete mobile GPU today: 3 to 4
    • Discrete desktop GPU (external graphics card): 4 to 10

Please feel free to seek out precise benchmarks for yourself, but I believe that this is roughly representative of the relative performance of these chips, on average.

And the bottom line is this: integrated GPUs, even today, will probably not get you satisfactory gaming experiences in anything other than the most basic games. It might work on a less intensive game (MOBAs on low settings?), but not for something more demanding. Or at least it won’t work “well” (decent FPS at decent detail levels, etc).

Ironically, the discrete GPUs from a few years ago likely gave you similar-ish or better gaming performance than integrated GPUs today. Remember this for later.

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November 26th, 2015 | 5 Comments

“Comment expliques-tu ton propre succès ?”

J’ai reçu sur Patreon une question d’un nouveau contributeur, et j’ai écrit un immense pavé pour lui répondre. Je me suis dit que ça ferait peut-être un bon article… Que vous soyez “patreote”, simple auditeur ou même podcasteur vous-même, j’espère que vous y trouverez des choses intéressantes. 🙂

Bonne lecture !


Sylvain:

Je t’écoute depuis plusieurs mois avec toujours autant de plaisir. Je me dis régulièrement qu’une contribution, modeste, serait à la hauteur de mes moyens et rendrait justice à ton travail : c’est à présent chose faite ! A l’heure du tout gratuit sur internet, pouvoir vivre de ses podcasts me parait être une véritable “success story” qu’il convient de saluer.
Mais une question me taraude : comment expliques-tu ton propre succès ? Je te souhaite une excellente continuation et à bientôt pour de nouvelles émissions !

Ma réponse:

Salut Sylvain ! Et avant tout saches qu’il n’y a PAS de contribution “modeste”, il n’y a que des contributions qui me font un immense plaisir, c’est la seul catégorie qui existe dans le logiciel. 🙂 Un grand merci donc pour ta contribution que j’apprécie vraiment.

Ensuite, pour répondre à ta question sur “l’explication de mon succès”, je dirais que c’est vraiment difficile à cerner, mais je pense connaitre certains éléments qui y contribuent. Les voici en vrac :

La passion. C’est un travail beaucoup plus dur qu’on ne pourrait le penser, et si on veut le faire bien il faut être animé par un amour immodéré. Comme le disaient Steve Jobs et Bill Gates, “la raison pour laquelle nous sommes encore là après 30 ans, c’est que nous aimons suffisamment ce que nous faisons pour continuer quoi qu’il arrive !”. Je me retrouve vraiment dans cette citation… Je me suis lancé sans attendre quoi que ce soit en retour, seulement parce que j’avais envie (et même besoin !) de le faire. Et accessoirement, cette passion se ressent à travers les ondes, c’est communicatif et ça entraine les auditeurs.

La persévérance. C’est lié, mais je fais ça depuis presque 10 ans ! Et nous sommes passé par des étapes rocambolesques ; les anciens se souviendront d’Azeroth.fr et de NoWatch par exmple… J’en ai connu beaucoup qui se sont lancé sans assez réfléchir, et qui se sont arrêté en route. Ce sont d’ailleurs souvent les donneurs de leçon… Alors on laisse parler et on continue à travailler. Au final, il y a ceux qui sont toujours là, et les autres. Et accessoirement là aussi, à chaque nouvel épisode on accroche de nouveaux auditeurs et de nouveaux fans. Au final, ca fédère une communauté solide.

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September 24th, 2015 | 8 Comments

Just Do It – 9 Pieces of Advice for Aspiring YouTubers and Podcasters

In the past year or so, I’ve been asked this question even more than I had before: how do I get into podcasting?

And, to be honest, most of the people asking are usually looking at YouTube (and sometimes Twitch) as their medium of choice. So Here’s a list of the important things I’ve learned along the way as I’ve made my path as a P.I.C.C (Professional Internet Content Creator. And yes, that’s an official term now).

1) Just do it

There, that’s really all you need to know. You can stop reading now.

Seriously, this is the most important point, and probably the only one that really matters. Stop wondering, stop agonizing, stop thinking, just get in front of your mic or camera and start doing it. This is especially true for YouTube, which makes producing and publishing incredibly easy.

Will your first productions suck? Yes, absolutely. No one successful today started with the innate knowledge of how this whole thing works (and those who did know usually came to this new form of their media with baggage that usually hindered them). Go check out the first videos from the people you like today; chances are, they’re pretty horrendous. Just do it, there’s nothing stopping you, and you’ll get better along the way.

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September 11th, 2015 | 3 Comments

Apple Pencil : “Steve Jobs a dit”

Bon, j’ai un petit coup de gueule à passer. Voilà, je lis beaucoup sur la présentation Apple de cette semaine (normal), et je dois dire que je n’en peux plus des analyses et commentaires qui expliquent que le stylet d’Apple fraîchement annoncé aurait déplu à Steve Jobs, parce qu’il a dit un jour que les stylets n’étaient pas bons… Alors faisons une petite mise au point.

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D’une part, Steve Jobs s’est contredit des dizaines de fois dans ses présentations et ses arguments… L’exemple le plus célèbre est celui de la vidéo sur l’iPod. Après avoir expliqué au monde que personne ne voulait regarder de vidéo sur le petit écran de l’iPod d’origine, il annonce fièrement l’iPod vidéo.
Mais c’est loin d’être le seul exemple de ce qui était un mélange de désinformation et, sans doute, de capacité que nous avons tous (ou devrions tous avoir) à changer d’avis quand les conditions changent. En voici quelques-uns de plus, sur cette vidéo trouvée en une recherche rapide. (more…)

September 11th, 2015 | 13 Comments

Street Fighter Daily Quests – And Thoughts on “Games as a Service”

TL;DR: I would love Street Fighter V to have daily and weekly quests! Oh, and voiced emotes for communication with your online opponents.

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I’m sure many of you loved fighting games when you were younger. Remember your high school and college years? Street Fighter, Tekken, King of Fighters, Mortal Kombat… We would spend so much time having so much fun with our friends, taunting each other and trying to land that oh-so-elusive “in your face!” combo.

But then these games kind of went away. Some of us still play them, a few of us still love them, but for most of us, it’s not the same. I’m hoping Street Fighter V manages to recapture some of that feeling.

This would need to happen in two stages. First, the obvious one: make a super fun game and get people to check it out. The series has become more popular in recent years (thank you Internet), and Capcom seems intent on making it more accessible to new and returning players (easy to learn, hard to master) so I’m hopeful many of us will want to try it out. Let’s assume that happens, and people get into it.

 

“With today’s Street Fighter IV,
there is no real incentive
to come back and play more.”

 

Then you get stage 2: keeping people engaged. And that’s even more tricky.

With today’s Street Fighter IV, there is no real incentive to come back and play more. Well, the enjoyment of playing the game of course, but pfft! everyone knows that’s not why people play. 🙂 I like seeing my rating go up, but there’s no in game “reason” to play every day or every week… I think if you see where I’m going with this. (more…)

July 27th, 2015 | No Comments

Loi sur le renseignement : appelez vos députés !

[Update 10 avril] Sans réponse d’aucun d’entre eux, j’ai envoyé un deuxième message au même groupe. Voir en fin d’article.

Bonjour à tous !

Comme j’en ai souvent parlé dans le Rendez-vous Tech, il me semble important de contacter nos députés pour les sensibiliser aux sujets qui nous préoccupent. Aujourd’hui, la loi sur le renseignement est au centre de toutes nos préoccupations. Elle est à mon sens dangereuses et mal comprise, et je veux faire ce que je peux pour faire en informer ceux qui vont la voter.

J’ai donc appelé cet après-midi six députés parisiens, de droite comme de gauche, pour leur faire part de mon inquiétude. J’ai laissé des messages polis et aimables demandant à être rappelé, et je vous encourage vraiment à faire de même. On peut avoir l’impression d’être une goûte d’eau dans l’océan, mais [ajouter ici une métaphore mielleuse sur l’idée que tous ensemble on est forts].

C’est vraiment on ne peut plus simple avec ce site, il vous guide à chaque étape :

http://sous-surveillance.fr/

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A coté de ça, j’ai également décidé de suivre cet appel par un email qui détaille mon point de vue. Je le copie ici, et je vous encourage là aussi à faire de même, voir à copier tout ou partie de ce texte s’il vous convient.

Pour info, voici les compte Twitters (et donc les identités) des députés contactés :

Et dans tous les cas, appelez vos députés !! 🙂

——————————————————————–

Mesdames et messieurs les députés,

J’ai appelé vos bureaux respectifs ce vendredi après-midi dans le but de vous faire part de ma préoccupation au sujet de la loi sur le renseignement sur laquelle vous allez être amenés à voter d’ici une dizaine de jours.

J’ai laissé des messages sur chacun de vos répondeurs, et je serai très heureux d’être rappelé pour connaitre vos positions sur cette loi. Je pourrai aussi vous donner à cette occasion le détail de ce qui me préoccupe dans l’approche qu’elle prend : nous sommes tous pour l’idée de donner aux services de police et du renseignement des outils plus efficace pour nous protéger, mais il semble que cette interprétation de notre protection allie une fausse idée de la technologie à une mauvaise compréhension de son application.

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April 3rd, 2015 | 31 Comments

An ode to Job

When I first started watching Banshee, I thought this was kind of a crappy-but-fun show. Full of raw violence, bordering-on-pornography sex scenes, ridiculously outlandish storyline, silly comic book-y vilains… Yeah, that would be fun for a couple of episodes, and then I’d move on. Well, Banshee is all that, for sure. There is no sugar coating it: it’s trashy, and it’s certainly not for everyone. But it’s also so much more! It’s not the best show ever produced, but it is a bloody damn excellent one.

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I could get into all the reasons why I think it’s so great: visceral action (some of the best fight scenes I’ve ever seen, TV and cinema included), excellent acting (not only do most of the performances make these outlandish characters believable, they also make you feel for them – before you realize they’re deeply troubled and twisted people, the lot of them!), outstanding writing (more happens in half a season than in two seasons of any other show; there’s no stretching things out forever just to milk a story; finish the story with a bang – or ten – and then make another story, even more satisfyingly eye popping than the first!), and so much more. The “easy things” in this show (sex and violence) are augmented by realized characters and incredible writing and production values, in a way I don’t think I’ve ever seen before (at least not for something “trashy”). So I could spend 30 minutes telling you about everything that’s cool about this show, but instead I’ll focus on one thing: Job, wonderfully portrayed by Hoon Lee.

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March 11th, 2015 | 1 Comment

On gaming, women, ethics, and Gamergate

Hi all,

I wanted to say a few words about Gamergate. That’s not an easy task. The problem is that it is a very complex topic, easily mired in semantics and empty arguments. Discussions usually get derailed when people try to address the topics of ethics in video game journalism, and women’s representation in video games and the video games industry.

In order to keep my articles on topic, I chose to write three: one for each of these, and one for the topic I actually wanted to tackle. The aim is to compartmentalize the discussions and to avoid launching into unrelated circular debates, which ends up obfuscating the real questions.

So here are the three articles:

If you do me the kindness of reading them, please keep in mind the topic being addressed by each. The first one obviously touches on the other two, but does so through its specific lens, which is very limited. If you find you would rather get a serious discussion on those, the other articles are what you’re looking for.

I would also like to add a few disclaimers, so all the cards are on the table and you can judge these with all the information:
I am a life long gamer and have owned and enjoyed almost every gaming machine out there; that goes almost without saying. I could also be considered part of the gaming press, or at least gaming media: I have done freelance work for various publications when I was in Japan at the turn of the century, and have published sites, blogs and podcasts on video game related topics since the mid nineties. Finally, I was, until very recently, employed by a large video game developer as a PR manager, which makes me affiliated with the industry itself as well.
I suppose that makes me biased on all fronts. Personally, I like to think it also makes me informed on all fronts.

October 30th, 2014 | No Comments

On the nature of Gamergate

If you haven’t read this post, please do so first. Thanks!

Hi, how’s it going? Me? Oh, I’m great. Ok, this is going to be… interesting.

So I’ve been looking into Gamergate in the past few weeks. I’ve read a lot of articles about it, neutral, pro and con. But I haven’t limited my edification to “press” sites or blogs; I’ve gone through the hashtag on Twitter on a regular basis, I’ve browsed through Reddit and 8chan boards, I’ve read literature and documentation and watched videos that were linked from there, and more.

I honestly think I’ve done my homework, and I honestly believe I understand a reasonable amount of what makes the Gamergate movement. I’m sure many people will disagree with my characterizations, probably on both “sides” of the issue, and that’s fine. This is my assessment, and I believe it to be accurate, but you don’t have to agree.

One thing I would encourage you to do though, is to read the full article before commenting or deciding that I’m wrong or right. This is a very, very complex topic, and you can’t get the full picture by just reading the first few sentences.

Also please note that I’m not doing a “History of Gamergate” here. I’m just trying to give my understanding of what it is and how if functions today.

Ok, first things first: what is Gamergate?

Here is the easiest way I can summarize it: at its core, it is a hashtag that anyone can use to speak up, and that most are using to voice concerns that have to do with gender issues and ethics in gaming.

Who are the people who are part of Gamergate?

Members of the Gamergate movement are the people who identify themselves as members of the Gamergate movement.

That’s it. There is no official structure or organisation, and it can be anyone who uses the hashtag. Which is why it is also so difficult to understand.

How big is this movement?

Nobody knows. A few dozen thousand people maybe? Hard to say. The Gamergate hastag has seen over two million Tweets in two months, and is still active. Let’s say each Gamergater averages 10 to 20 tweets per month; we get 50 to 100K individuals. But really, this is shoddy guestimating. Again, nobody knows. What we do know is that it’s not an insignificant number of people.

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October 30th, 2014 | 6 Comments