Details on how the Xbox One and PS4 will work are still a little unclear. So it's no surprise that this week's mailbag included a few next-gen-specific questions. I'm here to provide as many answers as I can.
Chris is gone on vacation this week (lucky him!) so no video edition this time around. Though I know some of you were looking forward to seeing Ask Kotaku in its lengthy written form again, so yay!
Let's dive into this week's questions, full of both game-related and life-related inquiries. As always, don't forget to email me questions for next week's column.
Walking The Line Between MMO Addiction And Normal Play
I have always heard about the addiction to MMO’s like WOW, but never experienced it first hand. I have been playing SWTOR a lot trying to get one of my toon to my first level 50 (now level cap is 55 L), I am getting less then 5 hours of sleep and have to goto work the next day, I am pretty tired during the afternoons but nothing where I am passing out at my desk, just a lot of yawning. And it’s always after 1am, I have to shutdown the computer but I have to finish the active quests I am on. How do I know when this has become a problem, I don’t want to put my family (wife and kid) in danger if I am not getting enough sleep. Should I have anything to worry about?
If the only impact you can see is being somewhat sleepy during the day, I’d say you’re fine. For now. The problem with MMOs is that before you know it, you’re in deep. You look around and things have changed. That’s when you know you need to kick the habit.
You might not be that kind of person to get too sucked in, though. So just be wary of your habits and make sure you aren’t sacrificing anything in your real life for your virtual one.
But P.S. sleep is really important. I get about 7ish hours a night just based on my schedule, but ideally I would love to get 8 or 9 if I can make it. I’m typically sleepy throughout the day as well, and I would love to not be for one day!
Dating In The Office
There's this girl who joined my company a few weeks ago. I played a big part in getting her hired, although we didn't know each other before. We've had a couple of lunches together where we've talked for over an hour and chatted frequently on the internal IM system. Clearly there is some chemistry there and we get along very well with each other. I also find her physically attractive. It's gotten to the point where I have that internal radar switched on and I generally know where she is in the open office (I consciously try to turn off the radar to no success). We don't work directly together but do sit in quite close proximity to each other in the office.
Should I try to advance things beyond a very friendly personal and professional relationship? I hold the popular view that you don't sh- where you eat, but I also kind of feel that this would be a missed opportunity if I don't try to pursue it. What should I do?
What’s your office environment like? Is that sort of thing frowned upon? Do you guys work in the same department? Since you say you don’t work directly together, it’s far less taboo, but if you’re in the same department I wouldn’t do it. Consider what sacrifices you’d be making, potentially both professional and personal.
Now, let’s say your office dynamic is more lax than most, and that you guys don’t interact professionally outside of actually working at the same company, then I say go for it. But with a caveat. Take things very, very slowly. Imagine the worst case scenario. Which is, let’s say, you date and things go horribly wrong and she hates you. Can you handle that? Working in the same office?
I know of people who started office relationships, but even after messy break-ups managed to get free relatively unscathed simply because they worked on complete opposite wings of the building and never shared work or coworkers either.
Xbox One or PS4?
Now that the major announcements have been made by both Sony and Microsoft in regards to the next-gen consoles, the question begs, which is better?
As a casual campaign-type game player and someone who mostly plays online multiplayer, which next-gen console will be best?
I know PS3 is a better machine than 360 but Xbox Live is miles and miles ahead of PSN, it also seems that PS4 will be a superior machine to the Xbox One but the multiplayer question still stands.
As a majority multiplayer gamer, would you recommend the PS4 and living with PSN or will the Xbox One stack up decently where Live is worth the extra $ and sticking with Microsoft?
This question has no one specific answer that will fit everyone’s needs, but since you mentioned multiplayer seems to be the biggest need for you, I can answer with that in mind.
But there’s actually a twist to this. If you were asking me 360 versus PS3, I would’ve easily said 360 was the bigger beast in terms of multiplayer. But we can’t really tell what that experience will be like on the next consoles. I’d say you should hold out if you can, and wait to see how many people actually flock over to the PS4 as many have said they would. Granted, Microsoft rolled back on a lot of their policies that had gamers up in arms, so maybe after the tide settles things will go back to normal. But we don’t know one way or another just yet.
As for money issues, you should know that you have to have a PlayStation Plus subscription to play multiplayer games (similar to the premium subscription model that the Xbox employs). Also the PS4 package doesn’t come with a camera, whereas the Xbox does, so that’s a factor in pricing issues. But at the same time the PS4 comes with its own headset, while you’d have to purchase the Xbox One’s separately. Oh and the Xbox basically needs the Kinect to function whereas the PS4 doesn’t, so... yeah. (But don’t worry, you can turn the Kinect off.)
What To Major In To Be Able To Make Games
I want to go to school so I can learn how to make my own ios/android/windows apps and maybe explore windows/mac apps as well.
What should I look for? Programming? Computer Science Major?
I’ve searched but I don’t understand much of what I’m finding. Most schools only offer the Comp Sci Major… but I’m not sure if that’s the answer?
Or is School even the right answer?
You should look for programs that are specific to game design. There are a bunch of great schools where you can earn specific degrees in these departments. NYU (my alma mater) has a brand new program just for that.
Google around and you’ll find plenty of references. Here’s one. Check their classes and teachers, etc. to get an idea of which school is right for you. Also, for what it’s worth, all game designers should know at least a little bit of programming. It helps at the very least to understand some of the process no matter what area of the game you’re working on. Plus diversifying your skill set is always a good idea.
Headsets For The Next-Gen Consoles
With E3 just came and went. I couldn't find any information regarding on gaming head phones. I own a pair of Turtle Beach XP510 and is wondering if the new next-gen consoles will support this or will I need to upgrade to a next-gen gaming headset?
This is what we currently know about headsets for next-gen consoles:
- The PS4 comes packaged with its own headset.
- The PS4’s headset jack is standard, so you can use anything for it, new or old.
- The Xbox One has its own branded headset that does *not* come packaged with the console.
- The Xbox One’s jack is proprietary, meaning you’ll have to use their headsets, though of course other third parties (like these from Turtle Beach) are developing lines specific to fit that.
- Microsoft is working on an adapter so that you can connect your current headsets to the Xbox One. (I’ve reached out for more details but have yet to hear back.)
Update: Got a response from Microsoft. Here's the official (and still unclear) word:
The Wireless Controller has been redesigned to allow for higher data transfer speed between the controller and the console. This also required creating a new expansion port design for headsets and future controller add-on devices which is different from a standard audio plug input. Xbox plans to develop solutions in the near future to allow consumers to connect many brands of wired gaming headsets to the Wireless Controller for gaming and chat audio.
Why The ESRB Exists
Why is it that all games on the consoles and hand helds from the big three have to have an ESRB certification, while games on tablets/phones do not.
Indy developers save a lot of money on the iphone/android/windows phone etc since they dont have to fork up money to the ESRB. I can imagine that more games would get released on PSN, xbox live market place, nintendo eshop if they could save the same money by skipping ESRB certification.
I do undertand that there is licensing fee on each platform whether on the big three consoles/hand helds or mobile.
Developers who make games for mobile have other pains to go through in place of the ESRB. Especially for iOS, it’s not exactly any easier a process. Regardless, as silly as these kind of certifications can often be (just take a look at the film industry’s version in This Film Has Not Yet Been Rated) they’re somewhat necessary. When the media is howling about violent video games, we can point to the rating system and explain why it’s up to the parents and the buyers to make wise decisions based off of the information these organizations provide for them. That way children can’t walk into a store and buy a violent game all willy-nilly.
Finding Friends To Play Online Games With
So here's my deal. I like video games. I like playing video games with friends at my apartment, and I have 'em over to do it all the time. I also like playing video games online.
That said, I really hate the online experience. I'd really rather be playing with people I know, in, like, a private lobby. And while that's possible, many of my friends don't own the same consoles or handhelds as me, or don't own video games at all. And I don't want to like, give my friend codes out on the internet either, cause that kinda defeats the whole purpose. I want to play with my friends!
I'm really not sure what I'm asking here, other than how to beef up my 3DS, Wii U, and 360 friend lists. Or how to like, get that same feeling of all crowding around the same TV screen playing Mario Strikers Charged without, you know, having all my friends over.
So basically you want more online friends that you can play games with at any given moment? I used to play a *ton* of Left 4 Dead (1 and 2) and after a few rounds with some trusty partners, we’d exchange friend requests. You meet all sorts of assholes, too, of course (especially if you’re a female on the mic), but you can meet lots of great people. I even met one of my closest friends on Live! Weird how that happens, huh?
So my suggestion is play a game you like online a bunch and deal with the jerks. After a while, cull the better people and keep playing with them. Simple enough.
Getting Comfortable Enough To Publicize Your Work
I have two loves: Gaming, and writing. I know you get similar questions every week, but hopefully this is a little different.
I've started a weird little side project that combines those loves. I mod Skyrim to live as a civilian in a sort of survival mode, then write about what happens in the character's point of view. The purpose of the project is to get me writing and then keep me doing it once I've started. I've done five updates so far and have a few followers here and there who have told me they like what they see.
The problem is, I have very low confidence in what I write. I'm a hardcore perfectionist working in a medium where "perfect" doesn't exist. Every time I publish an update, I feel like I'm just embarrassing myself. I'm told by friends and strangers that it's quite good, but their words kind of glance off of me.
Despite this, I want to publicize the work. Part of me doesn't want to do this - I don't know where or how to publicize it, I'm afraid of what will happen if I do, and I don't want to annoy anyone by spamming my dumb blog.
The bigger problem is that I have trouble writing that next update. I organize myself well, sure, but when I sit down to start putting words to document I begin to doubt myself and my work to the point it's sapping my energy. I've been working through it so far but I'm worried that someday it'll stop me completely.
Do you have advice on how to publicize a work I'm uncertain about, and how to work through the uncertainty around writing it in the first place?
I like this question! It is also relevant to my two loves!
The trick is to just keep fighting through your own criticisms and hesitations, and, once you start publicizing it, other people’s criticisms. Lots of people will like your stuff. Lots of people won’t. And that’s ok. You just have to keep pushing through, because you’ll get better with practice. Be ok with knowing that you always have room to improve. In fact, enjoy it. Because it feels great to know you’re always working towards something better. Imagine in five years from now how much better of a writer you will be than you are today. Isn’t that exciting?
If you maintain that perspective, it should help you fight through the nervousness and resulting writer’s block.
Getting Over The Girl That Doesn’t Like You
I have a friend, who is a gamer like me, and going to basics Sunday. I "liked" her and tried to hang out with her over Xbox Live ,but she is almost always playing online with one specific person for almost whole entire days almost everyday. She rarely talks/ or plays games with me on Xbox Live. We really only talked during school before she graduated last month. Should I be depressed ( as I'm typing This) that she rarely talks to me anymore (for unknown reasons) and is probably not going to talk to me much afters she gets back from basics and b4 she gets deployed. And if so how could I get over/ deal with it especially for future cases. Because its starting to eat at me. I would ask my other friends but considering the fact they're guys, it would be pointless to even ask.
It sounds like she’s not interested, and that’s ok. Don’t be depressed about it. Sometimes you just won’t click with someone, or you’ll feel like you’ve clicked but they don’t feel the same way. It happens. It’s nothing to be upset over.
The way to get over it is to accept it and try to meet other people. The more new people you meet, the better your chances of finding that person that you click with (who also feels they click with you). Don’t let the idea that you can’t have this girl eat at you. Because there’s another girl out there probably thinking about some guy in a similar way, and one day you guys will meet and wonder why you ever bothered with them. The end. Happily ever after. :)
Not Naming Names In My E3 Harassment Story
Just curious, why didnt you name names in that article? It seems like that would be the only way to see these people get what they deserve.
I understand why some people called for that, but that wasn’t the point I was trying to make. I don’t think publicly shaming these people is the answer. I wanted readers to see what I see. To understand that this is still very much a problem, yes in the world at large (which I mentioned in my original piece), but also in the gaming scene. I felt naming names would detract from the issue and result in witch hunts. It also wasn’t my place to name names. It was my place to report the stories of these women. That’s what I felt I had to do.