Tag Archives: advanced

Why we quit: the moments that push us away from gaming – Ars Technica

Last night I was up at 4 am in my recliner, holding my baby while he slept after a feeding. I was playing Mass Effect, going through the game to get ready for the upcoming sequel. I had been playing for around two hours, and I was into the story, more than awake, and ready to go for another two. Then… death. A few bad decisions in a gun fight, and that was that for our Commander Shepard.

via Why we quit: the moments that push us away from gaming – Ars Technica.

I may not feel like it now that I’ve finished it, but I certinaly felt this with a tactical shooter by the name of Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2, or GRAW2 for short.

It wasn’t that the gameplay wasn’t good, because it certainly was excellent – nuking some poor troops with an artillery strike, or even a tank with an airstrike was satisfying beyond imagination, but there are certain places where it fell down, and enemy AI was one of them.

The thing about enemies in GRAW2 – they’re persistent, and annoyingly so. Once they’ve spotted you, they’ll continue to shoot at you regardless of whether you’re taking cover or not – they’ll also do this until they have to reload (at which point you can pop out and shoot them).

That’s not so bad, but what I found myself doing was constantly memorising the enemy positions and taking them out with a rifle before they even spotted me or my teammates. This made each mission feel like just a chore. It’s especially annoying to have taken down every guy bar one, who just so happens to pop out when you have your back turned and shoot you, repeatedly.

…and that’s just the enemy AI. Your own teammate AI is just as stupid, not bothering to take cover, getting stuck behind objects a two year old could climb over, and sometimes moving into the most idiotic positions possible, like directly in the enemy’s sights.

Then there’s the little things, like not being able to jump or climb over things. It’s strictly about the footwork here, and sometimes that’s annoying as hell.

Sure, I managed to pick up mostly “S” (excellent) or “A” (very good) rankings for each mission, but that’s not the point – games are meant to be *fun*, and not made of this “memorising where every single enemy in a level is” crap.

Let’s hope Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is more of the same action and awesomeness that the original Vegas was.

It’s Time To Talk Up!


The fulfilment of one’s own potential.

Nope, that’s not the definition that I wanted!

How about: the act of becoming aware of one’s self.

I guess it’s my fault.

Lately I’ve noticed that I’ve been constantly talking down to people. Working in a retail environment with lots of jargon has contributed to this – usually, people don’t get what I’m talking about when I stick lots of jargon into the conversation, so as a result, I end up “dumbing things down” for them.

Now, that’s all well and good. It’s excellent that I can do that for people who maybe aren’t very familiar with computers, so they don’t understand what RAM does for them. In such cases, analogies are great. There’s this great one we use at work – it explains what the hardware of the computer (CPU, RAM, HDD, etc) does for the customer, while also comparing it to something that they already know (or can at least relate to). It’s not perfect, but it does a damn good job at explaining a complex situation to a customer.

Anyway… this constant dumbing down has seemed to affect how I talk to people who aren’t as technically savvy as I am. Instead of pointing out advanced features, I’m using the “shock and awe” technique more and more – using the simple things to make an impact. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I can’t point out those advanced features, I’m just not doing it as often as I should do.

It isn’t all bad, however. When I’m taking the training class (teaching others, not me), I merely glance over features that will confuse the hell out of people who are new to the operating system. Any mention of Spaces (virtual desktops), for example, usually elicits blank stares and entails me explaining Spaces – again, and again, and again. While keyboard shortcuts are mentioned, I usually leave it up to the user to see if they want to use them. I always give them the choice, though, as I think that keyboard shortcuts are an excellent productivity enhancer.

Now, dumbing things down for those that are technically-challenged is excellent, don’t get me wrong. It’s when I start to take the wrong attitude towards dumbing things down – being lazy and taking the easy way out.

There was one time where an upgrade path would have entailed a long and complicated discussion about RAM, CPU, Hard Drive, and all the rest of it. Now, I could clearly tell that this poor woman wasn’t up to the challenge (not knowing the details of her own computer gave it away) – and that’s exactly where I went wrong. Instead of having that long and complicated discussion, I decided to take the easy way out – and promptly recommended holding off on the upgrade until a new machine was necessary.

Of course, I later discovered her own computer was easily up to the task, and an OS upgrade was all that was necessary. I wasn’t very happy with my own performance on that occasion as you could imagine.

I’m just saying that in order for me to help you, you’ve got to help yourself. There are only so many details that we can elicit of out of you if you don’t know what kind of computer you have – sure, descriptions help, but CPU, RAM, HDD – all are basics that every computer user should know (or at least know how to find out). To this end, I’ve begun teaching the “About this Mac” menu in all my Intro to OSX classes – which will enable people to find out about their Mac should they need that kind of info.

At the end of the day, it was my stuff up. I should have asked the probing questions. I should have tried to get more details about her computer. Alas, I failed.

So gentlemen, it’s time to talk up. Don’t patronise people by assuming you know things that they don’t. Don’t talk down to them because you think you’re somehow better than them.

It’s time. Time to talk up.

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