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Something is rotten at Valve

If I've learned anything from Youtube, it's that my least liked videos do really well. So I made one, with no intent to be well received. Everyone hates HL3 baiting, it is perfect.

This was sitting in drafts

Why are CS maps so campy? Look for the choke points. How many are there? In office, there are two to watch, and they're 100 units from each other. They can't be covered looking the same way. If you're there when a CT gets a hostage, you just need to strafe back and forth until you see him.

Who has the 1v1 advantage?



When you make something, and all anyone can do is tell you the same headline that no one actually knows the story to.

It's gotta be something triggering a feeling of inferiority in the userbase of r/csgo. They see a guy who decided to make a thing, and the major reaction is to talk about something unrelated. This guy made a thing, why haven't they? Where is their desire and agency? Well, it's gone. I think it's the same reason that all the NA competitive teams suck (or so they say).

It's really triggering to see a playerbase in such a completely retarded state. They're mentally worthless. No wonder they will only play dust2.

Apparently, I can't stand any aspect of videogames anymore. Don't like the players, don't care for the devs, and not really into the games anymore. I must have grown up. I'm old enough to own real guns, and do. I don't need to buy them in videogames.

Four years of silence.

Why did this go silent? I believe in part it was muddied by extrinsic motivations, the inclusion of college assignments and this blog being partially used for credit, and that becoming the objective of it. It should have remained separate and a wordpress used for, I'm not even sure what to call it, disingenuous rent-seeking posts?

Not that many are likely to notice a 4 year gap, but now you know that I noticed.

I made no posts at all about scrapyard/salvage, although it did receive airtime on my youtube. Scrapyard has quite a design and intent. It can be its own post or multipost. Garrison in a similar vein, but more a story of team than design. Team is wildly important. This extends to players too, I have not developed a core group or following. It's something I need to develop or nurture, and why we're coming back.

First post, best post.

I spend far too much time playing other peoples games. I'm okay at FPS games as far as aiming and controls, but excel at game sense. I'm really fucking clever, and I will sneak on you.

I don't play games much at all anymore. It's still too much. I can tell you why I play less, and give less time to games than before. It's not outside competition exactly, either.

Games change now.

All these FPS I loved so much, they now have big patches that can radically change the game. Periodically, every game seems to need to be reworked by the team, and the team breaks some core feature and leaves it broken, or they replace it with something that from a usability perspective is worse. Dev teams fuck with the product features until it's not the same product anymore. Each update like that, a core group of players is lost. They hope to bring in new players with the update. And they do, but by churn. They don't keep everybody. Ideally, they bring in (and keep) more people than they piss off.

I haven't played Counter Strike GO in two years. Right around when they introduced the level requirement for competitive match making. I stopped. I couldn't be bothered to level up by playing the shit game modes for like 20 hours. I don't want to play deathmatch that much, when the only reason I played it was to warm up before a night of comp with friends, or to get a bunch of kills on my statrack knife.

Valve didn't even want me to go. I've got the 5 year coin, own all the counterstrikes, a rank, and inventory. The change was to discourage smurfing and catch hackers before they went into comp. I wonder if that even worked. Since there's still huge ban waves, I guess not.

So it goes, and I stop playing CSGO.
I don't even open it to play. I use it only as a means to build bot nav for clients, and to test models/maps/textures/debug. I use the game as a tool now. And I do so grudgingly. It's hard to care about a game you don't want to play, or can't play.

We take a step back here, and think about the kind of companies and people that would make these kinds of decisions. At one point, Valve's job postings for some positions said something like "Willing to and can defend player experience" meaning this employee should be the spokesman for players and prevent the other devs from shitting up the game because they play it as much as I do (re: don't play at all).

I really can't understand who would think that changing the product and calling it the same thing is a good idea. Let's say you make and sell cola. Then, one day you get the no-fat-sugar-alternative, and make a diet cola. Neat, right? but instead of making your cola, and new diet cola, you just call it cola and stop producing the old stuff. Would that bring in a new crowd? Yeah. Are they the same as your old customers? No, they're Diet people. Do your old customers like the diet? Maybe, probably some yes, some no, or it depends. At that point, the new crowd is who you're banking on. The old cola brand loyalty people are getting the shaft.

I'm probably in the minority here. I can't play anymore games that get constant updates. It's happened in too many that I played until they push a major update that makes it no longer fun for me. Periodically there's small updates that will ruin a minor feature I liked. I should see this as foreshadowing. 'Cause it is.

I'm glad I missed the debacle that was the Revolver. It's still being called cancer, which I think is pretty funny.

Valve should make a new game already, and quit rent seeking by pushing shitty updates.

Hello again

I've been thinking about giving blogging a go again. I've long since left Orlando, so that story arc is complete. I'm still uncertain yet as to what I will blog about, but I have no doubts that I will, with this little post being the first light.

In that spirit, and for my own selfish purposes, I repost something from John Carmack. Indicative of the direction my blogging will go. Mr. Carmack is an idol of mine, and I owe a lot to the man.

John Carmack on 10-28-2010

Almost everything that I write publicly is about technical details in software or aerospace, and the points are usually not very contentious. I’m going to go out on a limb today and talk about a much more banal topic -– government. This is sort of an open letter to my mother and stepfather, who are intelligent people, but we don’t see eye to eye on political issues. A couple brief conversations a year during visits doesn’t really establish much, and I have wanted to make a more carefully considered set of points.

I had nearly disqualified myself from discuss politics by not bothering to cast a vote for almost 20 years after I was legally able to. I was busy. I paid millions of dollars of taxes without any dodges, and just focused on my work. Listening to political speeches full of carefully calculated rhetoric is almost physically painful to me, and I diligently avoided it.

A couple things slowly brought me around to paying more attention. A computer game company doesn’t need to have much to do with the government, but a company that flies rocket ships is a different matter. Due to Armadillo Aerospace, in the last decade I have observed and interacted with a lot of different agencies, civil servants, and congressmen, and I have collected enough data points to form some opinions. The second thing that has changed for me is becoming a father; with two young sons, I think more about how the world might look in twenty or thirty years when they are adults.

I am an optimist on almost all fronts. Throughout history, there have always been those that argue that the world is going to hell, yet here we are, better off than any previous generation. Not only are things pretty damn good, but there is a lot of positive inertia that makes it likely that things will continue to improve for quite some time. We aren’t balanced at a precipice, where the result of any given election can pitch us into darkness.

However, trends do matter. Small, nearly painless losses accumulate over the years, and the world can slowly change into something you don’t want while you weren’t paying attention. It doesn’t take a cataclysmic crash, just a slow accretion of over regulation, taxation, and dependency that chokes the vibrant processes that produce wealth and growth. Without growth, you get a zero sum game of fighting over the pie that breeds all sorts of problems in government and society.

My core thesis is that the federal government delivers very poor value for the resources it consumes, and that society as a whole would be better off with a government that was less ambitious. This is not to say that it doesn’t provide many valuable and even critical services, but that the cost of having the government provide them is much higher than you would tolerate from a company or individual you chose to do business with. For almost every task, it is a poor tool.

So much of the government just grinds up money, like shoveling cash into a wood chipper. It is ghastly to watch. Billions and billions of dollars. Imagine every stupid dot-com company that you ever heard of that suckered in millions of dollars of investor money before leaving a smoking crater in the ground with nothing to show for it. Add up all that waste, all that stupidity. All together, it is a rounding error versus the analogous program results in the government. Private enterprises can’t go on squandering resources like that for long, but it is standard operating procedure for the government.

Well, can’t we make the government more efficient, so they can accomplish its tasks for less, or do more good work? Sure, there is room for improvement everywhere, but there are important fundamental limits. It is entertaining to imagine a corporate turnaround expert being told to get the federal house in shape, but it can’t happen. The modern civil service employment arrangement is probably superior to the historic jobs-as-political-spoils approach, but it insulates the workforce from the forces that improve commercial enterprises, and the voting influence of each worker is completely uncorrelated with their value. Without the goal and scorecard of profit, it is hard to even make value judgments between people and programs, so there are few checks against mounting inefficiency and abject failure, let alone evolution towards improvement.

Even if you could snap your fingers and get it, do you really want a razor sharp federal apparatus ready to efficiently carry out the mandates of whoever is the supreme central planner at the moment? The US government was explicitly designed to make that difficult, and I think that was wise.

So, the federal government is essentially doomed to inefficiency, no matter who is in charge or what policies they want it to implement. I probably haven’t lost too many people at this point – almost nobody thinks that the federal government is a paragon of efficiency, and it doesn’t take too much of an open mind to entertain the possibility that it might be much worse than you thought (it is).

Given the inefficiency, why is the federal government called upon to do so many things? A large part is naked self interest, which is never going to go away -- lots of people play the game to their best advantage, and even take pride in their ability to get more than they give.

However, a lot is done in the name of misplaced idealism. It isn’t hard to look around the world and find something that you feel needs fixing. The world gets to be a better place by people taking action to improve things, but it is easy for the thought to occur that if the government can be made to address your issue, it could give results far greater than what you would be able to accomplish with direct action. Even if you knew that it wasn’t going to be managed especially well, it would make up for it in volume. This has an obvious appeal.

Every idealistic cry for the government to “Do Something” means raising revenue, which means taking money from people to spend in the name of the new cause instead of letting it be used for whatever purpose the earner would have preferred.

It is unfortunate that income taxes get deducted automatically from most people’s paychecks, before they ever see the money they earned. A large chunk of the population thinks that tax day is when you get a nice little refund check. Good trick, that. If everyone was required to pay taxes like they pay their utilities, attitudes would probably change. When you get an appallingly high utility bill, you start thinking about turning off some lights and changing the thermostat. When your taxes are higher than all your other bills put together, what do you do? You can make a bit of a difference by living in Texas instead of California, but you don’t have many options regarding the bulk of it.

Also, it is horribly crass to say it, but taxes are extracted by the threat of force. I know a man (Walt Anderson), who has been in jail for a decade because the IRS disagreed with how his foundations were set up, so it isn’t an academic statement. What things do you care strongly enough about to feel morally justified in pointing a gun at me to get me to pay for them? A few layers of distance by proxy let most people avoid thinking about it, but that is really what it boils down to. Feeding starving children? The justice system? Chemotherapy for the elderly? Viagra for the indigent? Corn subsidies?

Helping people directly can be a noble thing. Forcing other people to do it with great inefficiency? Not so much. There isn’t a single thing that I would petition the federal government to add to its task list, and I would ask that it stop doing the majority of the things that it is currently doing. My vote is going to the candidates that at least vector in that direction.

Bastion and a Hair Cut.


Click them, there's magic in each.

Bastion in its current state:

Sup. Here are 23 pics from the upcoming release of cs_bastion.
I'm curious what you think. Do let me know.


I welcome you to tell me what you think.  You may do so anonymously, and do not need to log in.
What do you think of what you've seen?

Additional research

I love this video.

Aug. 30th, 2012

Without spamming my journal with keycounts and mouse tracks, I still manage to post builds on a steady basis.
I feel good about that.  How about you?

About Me

Hi, thanks for stopping by. I'm Nick.

I am a gamer, traveler, and autodidact.

In here, you will find videos, screen captures, loads of text and a little bit of math.

Hammer Tutorials

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