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[PATV] Extra Credits: Season 3 Episode 9 - Pro Gaming

TubeTube Administrator, ClubPA admin
edited September 2011 in The Penny Arcade Hub
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  • StericaSterica Wow! That was shit.Registered User, Moderator mod
    And the archives are all up. Hooray!

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  • Ilk1986Ilk1986 Registered User
    [Tychus Voice]Heyull...it's abaut dayum tahm...[/Tychus Voice]

    ANYWAY...speaking of programming--I mean pro gaming, here's why it won't catch on: because we already have other pro sports here. Four of them in fact--Football, Baseball, Basketball, and Hockey. And then we even have other sports such as soccer, and for girls, this is increasing in popularity (and even for the guys I suppose) because Hope Solo is such a babe.

    And now, think about pro gamers--are they people who go through grueling workouts, pursue vaunted dreams, and display tremendous skill? No, not really. They're kids that play video games for far too long. And in video games, usually rather than having really out-thought your opponent, a great deal of what it takes to win comes from dexterity tests. For instance:

    DotA types: last-hitting. Usually, the team that farms the best wins the game. If your carry gets shut down due to lack of farm, you lose.
    Starcraft: APM!
    MvC3: Don't drop your combo!
    SF4: Plinking, option selects.

    Now of course, some games are more rewarding to watch than others. I happen to like MVC3 the best of any fighting game this generation for watching purposes because it's just that--flashy. But that's beside the point.

    Another point to consider is this: fans don't root for people. Fans root for *teams* that have some connection to them--namely, the city they grew up in/reside in/etc. Once a player leaves a team, people forget him. Case in point? Donovan McNabb. Rooted for him while he was in Philly, forgot about him after he left. Ever tried watching just a regular season game between two teams with no relation to your own? Not too fun.

    For the same reason, pro gamers aren't too fun either. You may watch one because they use a character/race/strategy/whatever that you like, but beyond that...who cares?

  • TubeTube Administrator, ClubPA admin
    If plinking and option selects were all it took to win at SFIV I would have won evo three years on the trot.

    Hobnail wrote: »
    This forum has taken everything from me
  • LibrarianThorneLibrarianThorne Registered User regular
    I think that streaming will carry pro gaming farther than anyone can really see right now. Streaming has basically revitalized fighting games, and smart commentary combined with good matches has lead to Evolution getting bigger streams year over year.

    The points made are... fair, I think, but I also believe that it's clear the EC crowd has little experience with non-StarCraft competitive gaming.

    Also, if you think it just takes technical skill to win a fighting game, I've got a bridge to sell you...

  • Ilk1986Ilk1986 Registered User
    edited September 2011
    I think that streaming will carry pro gaming farther than anyone can really see right now. Streaming has basically revitalized fighting games, and smart commentary combined with good matches has lead to Evolution getting bigger streams year over year.

    The points made are... fair, I think, but I also believe that it's clear the EC crowd has little experience with non-StarCraft competitive gaming.

    Also, if you think it just takes technical skill to win a fighting game, I've got a bridge to sell you...

    It's not sufficient, but it most certainly is necessary. And it's a sort of "either you have it or you don't". And so long as such a niche skill forms the foundation of all of this...well, why should many Americans *give a damn*? This is not a skill people can relate to.

    I mean when you watch the NFL, well, what skills are on display? How fast you run, how high you can jump, how hard you can smack into somebody...these are all very fundamental human skills that people can relate to. Spam clicking, plinking/option selects, etc. etc. etc... who the heck can relate to that besides the people that already know about these things?

    I don't think pro gaming will ever take off simply because the *vast majority* of people not only cannot relate to the pro gamers themselves, but do not even understand what is going on.

    With our big four sports, what you see is what happens. But onscreen? Was that a proper read, was it a missed input? Was it random? Who can relate to that besides those who already like the game?

    Ilk1986 on
  • StericaSterica Wow! That was shit.Registered User, Moderator mod
    You are incredibly wrong and yet right about moba games. Last hitting is important, but it's more important to have map awareness, getting a feel for where the enemy is going to be in situation X and then being able to catch them out of position. You can have a poor laning phase and still win.

    The problem with moba games is that, outside of players, you will never know what is going on because they have 50 items and 80+ characters with their own skills. So you're basically lost the whole time and question weird shit such as "Why are they killing their own guys?." Starcraft, fighting games and so forth are much easier to watch.

    I fail to see how "spam clicking" isn't a guy can understand. There are nuisances to even seemingly common things such as throwing a ball. If there weren't, then pitching would be pretty basic.

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  • PaperLuigi44PaperLuigi44 My amazement is at maximum capacity. Registered User regular
    Some interesting points, I've always been aware about the various Starcraft and fighting game tourneys floating around (and enjoyed some MVC3 stuff) but I've never really considered how it could be improved.

    - Fixed a bug where the Moon was upside down.
    - Fixed a weird door.
  • Ilk1986Ilk1986 Registered User
    Rorus Raz wrote:
    You are incredibly wrong and yet right about moba games. Last hitting is important, but it's more important to have map awareness, getting a feel for where the enemy is going to be in situation X and then being able to catch them out of position. You can have a poor laning phase and still win.

    The problem with moba games is that, outside of players, you will never know what is going on because they have 50 items and 80+ characters with their own skills. So you're basically lost the whole time and question weird shit such as "Why are they killing their own guys?." Starcraft, fighting games and so forth are much easier to watch.

    I fail to see how "spam clicking" isn't a guy can understand. There are nuisances to even seemingly common things such as throwing a ball. If there weren't, then pitching would be pretty basic.

    Yes, it is possible if you go with some sort of mass caster/pusher lineup. But let's face it--given opponents of equal skill, if you lose the laning phase (go down on a few kills, get less creeps slain), that's a disadvantage you'll have to dig out of that the other team can compound quite quickly.

  • InquisitorInquisitor Registered User regular
    While this video does raise some good points I can't help but feel like it misses a good amount as well. I can't help but feel like the bulk of this piece was written 6-months to a year ago and then pushed out without checking to see how relevant all the bits still were.

    I feel like pro-gaming is already here, and the question should be more how to grow it correctly and efficiently. I mean, there is practically a major Starcraft pro gaming event every weekend of October this year (MLG Orlando, IPL Origins, Blizzcon and the GSL Finals and one more I think I am forgetting) and that's just one game! And when you've got Blizzard trying to support BarCraft events ( http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/blog/3552220/BarCraft_Questionnaire-9_21_2011#blog/ ) its hard to me not to think that pro gaming is starting to become a real thing.

    To address some things more directly from the video:

    I feel like the fighting game community has handled the fact that games change at a rapid rate quite well. In fact, more fighting games are coming out at a more rapid pace than they have in many years and it is now that the fighting game competitive scene has really started to thrive. (Results of the Evo top 8 and finals were popular enough to make their way on to the trending topics of twitter). You don't have to build your community around a single game (like Starcraft has) but you can build it around a genre. As long as the genre shares enough core gameplay elements and features it matters a lot less that you might be playing a new game a year from now.

    I think its odd that you cited commentators and coaches as important elements that make a modern sport and then showed well known videogame commentators and coaches. Sort of undermines your own point. It also seems very odd to fault games for not sticking to the same ruleset for hundreds of years or for not being passed down from generation to generation. Videogames haven't been around for hundreds of years yet and there hasn't really been enough time for the passing of the generational torch to even occur for a lot of people who play videogames.

    On the topic of consistency you seem to imply that the goal is to turn all of videogames into being a sport. I don't think this is a goal that anyone really wants to expects to achieve. There are plenty of games (like minecraft, to grab one at random) that have no desire to be a sport and to my knowledge no one wants to make into a sport. It shouldn't be a goal for every game or gaming at large to become a sport.

    Developers have already begun to design for spectators in the form of observer modes. League of Legends has one, Bloodline Champions has one, I believe Stracraft 2 has one. Developers have realized that what the player sees and what the spectator sees does not need to be the same thing. Could the implementation of these observer modes be better? Certainly. Should more games have them? Certainly.

    I think it's interesting that you sighted defense of the ancient games as games where the developers have catered to the hardcore gamer, presumably to the detriment of the spectator. (As this point was brought up during the section on designing for the spectator). One of the screen shots you showed was for League of Legends. This strikes me as odd because it is currently League of Legends that holds the record for the number of simultaneous viewers of an eSports stream (in I believe North America specifically) from the Dreamhack tournament. 69,000 concurrent viewers with around 300,000 unique viewers over the course of the weekend, if you're curious. While League of Legends may have a complex rule set it also has bright, colorful graphics that allow you to easily see who is on what team, parsing the action more easily, it also has a dedicated spectator mode and commentators and all that, which goes a long way to making the game more understandable to the spectator.

    Anyway, outside of those things I think the piece was pretty solid. I would have liked to see the issue of maturity and professionalism approached more. I feel that one thing that is in a real way holding gaming as a sport from becoming more accepted is every time a commentator on a live stream says something like “Wow, player X just got raped.” It's a kind of phrase that gets tossed around all the time in gaming online but its something that is absolutely not acceptable if gaming wants to be taken seriously. If an announcer for a football game just said something like that they'd lose their job. Anyway, just some food for thought.

  • LosarLosar Thane Vector, Rock Star Registered User regular
    Inquisitor wrote:
    On the topic of consistency you seem to imply that the goal is to turn all of videogames into being a sport. I don't think this is a goal that anyone really wants to expects to achieve. There are plenty of games (like minecraft, to grab one at random) that have no desire to be a sport and to my knowledge no one wants to make into a sport. It shouldn't be a goal for every game or gaming at large to become a sport.

    When did they imply that all games should be spectator sports? It seemed pretty clear to me that their recommendations were for games that already aspired to become sport.

    Anyway, I have no interest in turning video games into spectator sports for the same reason I don't particularly care for the classic institutions of Football or Baseball: I'm not actively involved. I like baseball and football well enough when I'm on the team and affecting the outcome, but I never watch the games on TV. The disconnect is even more pronounced with video games: since I can easily hop onto Starcraft II and play a match if I'm so inclined, why would I watch some professional play it? It's the fact that I'm actively involved and rewarded for my involvement that maintains my interest in video games. I was never content to be a spectator.

    I don't mean to suggest that people shouldn't aspire to turn video games into sporting events. I simply have no interest in the idea... for exactly the same reason I like to play video games.

    Isn't that informative!? Hooray!!
  • KalTorakKalTorak Way up inside your butthole, Morty. WAAAAY up inside there.Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    While I'm sure it's pretty low on the list, I'm not sure that developers never ever think about spectators and making games interesting to watch. I think it was given more than a passing glance in the Rock Band and Super Smash Brothers series at least.

    KalTorak on
  • MonkeyPunchMonkeyPunch Registered User
    I don't agree about the part of building games to be spectator friendly. IF what is meant by that is altering the gameplay and core mechanics to accommodate spectators - which is what I took away from that video.

    It's hard enough making a game fun and appealing to a wide audience without having to take those aspects, build around them or ommit parts of that to then make a game good for spectators.

    You can add mechanics to a game engine to make spectating easier and facilitating a good viewer experience but I have doubts about a game that was actually built from the ground up with spectators in mind. A lot of games don't manage to be fun even without having to make the gameplay spectator friendly.

    Staying with the Poker comparison: Poker wasn't made to be a spectator sport either. No one was making the rules and thought "oh hey, we can't include that rule because it would be bad for spectators."
    The "Media People" worked around the games rules and mechanics to make it appealing to watch with all the things mentioned in the video.

    I have a feeling that trying to build a spectator game by altering the gameplay would result in a less fun game to play. I may of course be wrong, but when you consider all the elements developers have to get right now - without having to deal with spectators from a gameplay perspective, then they already have a huge amount on their plates already.


    Also I feel like fighting games are a good example of a spectator friendly video game.
    Even if you have no clue about the mechanics of a game or any of it's technicalities anyone can understand that the guy on the floor at the end of a match is the looser and the guy still standing is the winner. Simple - and so even a layman can understand that.

    Finally I strongly disagree with a lot of what Ilk1986 has to say, not least his blatant generalisation of pro gamers.
    Ilk1986 wrote:
    And now, think about pro gamers--are they people who go through grueling workouts, pursue vaunted dreams, and display tremendous skill? No, not really. They're kids that play video games for far too long. And in video games, usually rather than having really out-thought your opponent, a great deal of what it takes to win comes from dexterity tests.
    So I will stay in the competitive fighting game community.
    Daigo: A kid? No. - Plays games far too long? Arguably, no. He practices a lot less than most because of his work schedule.
    Finally, the amount of times a less skilled player has won a fight alone by out thinking or by using the tools for his character in a way to stop the more dextrous and more "skilled" opponent are a lot.

    Finally, Fuudo (winner of Evo 2011) himself stated that as they (people like him and Daigo) are past their prime (in their late twenties) their dexterity is no longer as good and on point as the younger players, yet they are the ones winning big tournaments.

    That's not even beginning with the arguments about the rest of his comments :)

  • GospreyGosprey Registered User
    The other issue with pro gaming is that most people who seriously enjoy electronic games are people who have actively made the choice that they are interested in activities that they can personally interact with/control rather than simply spectating.

    Sitting back and enjoy spectating requires a different mindset entirely - hell, as has been pointed out by this very show previously, people already rage against short cutscenes because they can't do anything. What will my cheering do for a game between a guy in Korea and one in California?

  • InquisitorInquisitor Registered User regular
    To each their own, some games I enjoy playing but others I enjoy watching. I personally have no interest in playing multiplayer Starcraft 2 but I enjoy watching it at the professional level.

  • ShteevieShteevie Registered User
    Ilk1986 wrote:
    ...a great deal of what it takes to win comes from dexterity tests.
    -And the tasks that other pro sports demand of their participants aren't dexterity tests? For instance:
    Throwing a ball
    Catching a ball
    Kicking a ball
    Hitting a ball with a stick

    All of these things are perfect sport tasks precisely because they are dexterity-based. The audience knows what should happen, but the tension comes from the question of whether or not the participant in question is good enough to pull it off.
    Ilk1986 wrote:
    Another point to consider is this: fans don't root for people.

    This may be your personal experience, but surely doesn't reflect the popular opinion. If that were the case, sports like boxing, MMA, golf, or tennis never would have taken off. I think you are assuming all sprts are team sports, but of course this is not true.
    I think that streaming will carry pro gaming farther than anyone can really see right now.
    -I agree, but the point that these games need a 'spectator view' is very very important. Show us the whole map in SC or CS; inset the player's hands on the controls in fighting games, or pop the inputs in over the action is PiP. These games need to do something to connect the spectators to the players and the skills they are exhibiting for the attachment to come about. We need to know how hard it is to cancel option into an ultra or to manage a 3-front assault so that we can compare it to an accurate 60-yard pass or a wedge birdie from the sand trap.

    And lastly, I have to say to the artist: Granny boobs. NOT OK.

  • ShteevieShteevie Registered User
    Ilk1986 wrote:
    ...a great deal of what it takes to win comes from dexterity tests.
    -And the tasks that other pro sports demand of their participants aren't dexterity tests? For instance:
    Throwing a ball
    Catching a ball
    Kicking a ball
    Hitting a ball with a stick

    All of these things are perfect sport tasks precisely because they are dexterity-based. The audience knows what should happen, but the tension comes from the question of whether or not the participant in question is good enough to pull it off.
    Ilk1986 wrote:
    Another point to consider is this: fans don't root for people.

    This may be your personal experience, but surely doesn't reflect the popular opinion. If that were the case, sports like boxing, MMA, golf, or tennis never would have taken off. I think you are assuming all sprts are team sports, but of course this is not true.
    I think that streaming will carry pro gaming farther than anyone can really see right now.
    -I agree, but the point that these games need a 'spectator view' is very very important. Show us the whole map in SC or CS; inset the player's hands on the controls in fighting games, or pop the inputs in over the action is PiP. These games need to do something to connect the spectators to the players and the skills they are exhibiting for the attachment to come about. We need to know how hard it is to cancel option into an ultra or to manage a 3-front assault so that we can compare it to an accurate 60-yard pass or a wedge birdie from the sand trap.

    And lastly, I have to say to the artist: Granny boobs. NOT OK.

  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    KalTorak wrote:
    While I'm sure it's pretty low on the list, I'm not sure that developers never ever think about spectators and making games interesting to watch. I think it was given more than a passing glance in the Rock Band and Super Smash Brothers series at least.
    I agree. It may be because I spend so damn much ( I mean a completely ludicrous amount) of time playing Super Smash Bros but I find it vastly entertaining to watch. At least the first two. Brawl, and sometimes Melee, are so fast paced, and just busy in both background and foreground that it can sometimes be a challenge to watch. I also think it had the advantage of being a relatively simple game in terms of rules and moves, but with a system that allowed for the players to create awesome or ridiculous events.

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  • Xyz_39808Xyz_39808 Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    When they were speaking of Spectator Games I immediately thought of DDR. And how crowds always gather around a skilled player. And the game really came to mind when mentioning how a spectator and a player see the game from totally different perspectives since the viewer just sees fast moving feet and fast notes, while a good player will see the difficulty of a certain stream with tons of crossovers or some rediculous jumps.

    Of course, DDR is already close to a traditional sport considering the amount of physical effort exerted as well as the amount of "training" goes into gettin your body able to perform up to speed, along with the gaming "training" of learning just what to do.

    [edit: just read the whole thread]
    I totally agree about the not loving traditional sports because of a lack of input. Yet I still find myself loving to be a spectator for certain games. Take PuyoPuyoFever, I love a good game but I also love to watch a grueling match and be in awe of expert players. I've shown vids of such to non-players and even they can grasp the awesomeness and intensity of high skills players. Then again, the strategy of offsetting and being offensive/defensing going into FeverMode and the nuances of dropsets will fly over the head of non-players while being all the more intrigueing for the accustomed player. The spectator just sees "combo, combo, combo HOLY CRAP big combo" and is suffecient to be a good viewing experience.

    Xyz_39808 on
  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    KalTorak wrote:
    While I'm sure it's pretty low on the list, I'm not sure that developers never ever think about spectators and making games interesting to watch. I think it was given more than a passing glance in the Rock Band and Super Smash Brothers series at least.
    I agree. It may be because I spend so damn much ( I mean a completely ludicrous amount) of time playing Super Smash Bros but I find it vastly entertaining to watch. At least the first two. Brawl, and sometimes Melee, are so fast paced, and just busy in both background and foreground that it can sometimes be a challenge to watch. I also think it had the advantage of being a relatively simple game in terms of rules and moves, but with a system that allowed for the players to create awesome or ridiculous events.

    Conversely, as a non-Super Smash Bros. player myself, I have found it utterly awful to watch my SSB-loving friends play because it looks like total random chaos to me.

    bowen wrote: »
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  • KalTorakKalTorak Way up inside your butthole, Morty. WAAAAY up inside there.Registered User regular
    Gaslight wrote:
    KalTorak wrote:
    While I'm sure it's pretty low on the list, I'm not sure that developers never ever think about spectators and making games interesting to watch. I think it was given more than a passing glance in the Rock Band and Super Smash Brothers series at least.
    I agree. It may be because I spend so damn much ( I mean a completely ludicrous amount) of time playing Super Smash Bros but I find it vastly entertaining to watch. At least the first two. Brawl, and sometimes Melee, are so fast paced, and just busy in both background and foreground that it can sometimes be a challenge to watch. I also think it had the advantage of being a relatively simple game in terms of rules and moves, but with a system that allowed for the players to create awesome or ridiculous events.

    Conversely, as a non-Super Smash Bros. player myself, I have found it utterly awful to watch my SSB-loving friends play because it looks like total random chaos to me.

    That was actually my main complaint with SSBB - even as a player, it just looks like a mess there's so much going on. SSBM was a much better balance.

  • PlasticLionPlasticLion Registered User new member
    I'm happy to see that EC has a new home. I was completely oblivious to the reasons for your departure from escapshit and was horrified to find out that they wanted a piece of the money that I and others had donated to help someone have a surgery. I've just finished watching all the new episodes and this was the only one that I really felt like replying to, so here goes.

    I can only speak for myself, but I think part of the reason that pro gaming hasn't caught on is divide between jocks and nerds in the US. Being a naturally nonathletic and clumsy individual, I went home after school and played video games while other kids stayed at school for sports practices. In a perfect world, the high school quarterback would have encouraged me when I dropped a pass in gym class and I would have likewise encouraged him to get farther along in Ninja Gaiden. In a less perfect world he would have laughed when I dropped the ball and I would have laughed when he died on the first level. But I grew up in this world, where my skills had zero social value.

    I guess my best personal example of this involves Nintendo Power trading cards. Back in the day NP put trading cards in the back of the magazine. I didn't really care for them, but there was one kid in school that was collecting them. He was the bottom of the barrel least popular kid in school. I don't remember how I a conversation with him turned to these cards, but I told him I would give him all the ones I had. But I do remember hastily giving them to him at lunch and walking away as fast as I could. At the time I was ashamed and afraid of being seen, but now I consider it one of the nicer things I've ever done.

    So that's how I grew up with video games. Being good at video games was taboo, so I think a lot of older gamers will prefer to keep games as they originally were: single person entertainment. Newer gamers have had a different experience since internet connectivity has increased. Again I can only speak for myself, but the best video game players found an online world were their talents had value. Many of them became teabaggers.

    The last FPS I played online was Halo 3. I didn't have a lot of time to play, so I only played unranked matches. I figured that would be where I belonged, since I played games for entertainment and not for competition. Unfortunately, most random matches teamed me up with people who were deathly serious about winning. They knew exactly where the best weapons were (rocket launcher sniper rifle), ran to them right away, then went to the best position to use them while berating me for not knowing precisely what to do.

    So that's why I don't want to watch pro gaming. Pro gamers have natural talent that I don't have, which is ok with me. But they also have enough time to learn every nuance of a game, and that I don't have. I don't care who is the best at CoD Modern Warfare Whatever, because unlike Holdem Poker, the deck is stacked.

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