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[TRENCHES] Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - Amelioration

GethGeth LegionPerseus VeilRegistered User, Moderator, Penny Arcade Staff, Vanilla Staff vanilla
edited August 2013 in The Penny Arcade Hub
Amelioration


Amelioration
http://trenchescomic.com/comic/post/amelioration

Next Gen Pants

Anonymous

While working on a title for a large publisher, we frequently had meetings with their “creative” producers to ensure the quality of our game’s appearance.  Most of these meetings resulted in overhauling the look of the game to be more in line with every other generic Gears of War clone type games, slowly bleeding the flavor out of what we’d been creating.

After spending roughly 3 months redesigning the main character 4 times (from concept, to full execution in 3D) we finally managed to get a design to stick with the upper management.  Everyone seemed happy and we’d moved on.  Then, during a production meeting there was a lull in the conversation and one of the producers started staring at the TV screen where our game was sitting idle, main character standing facing forward.  The following conversation is burned into my head:

Publisher:  “Hey, has anyone noticed his ass pockets are kinda big?”
Dev Team:  “No, they look fine to us.”
Publisher:  “They’re too big.  It doesn’t look right.  It’s too big. Big ass pockets are last gen, can you make them smaller?  How hard is that?  We need next gen pants.”

Dream job.


Geth on

Posts

  • agoajagoaj Top Tier One FearRegistered User regular
    "Yo girl are those next gen pants? Cause their normal mapping is out of this world!"

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  • zepherinzepherin Russian warship, go fuck yourself Registered User regular
    As a Washington BBurrocrat. I find that type of change to be hugely wasteful and pointless. That makes me sad. It seams worst than when we spent 13k to celebrate a building we were tearing down, and another 18k to celebrate the new building we put in to replace it.

  • MalReynoldsMalReynolds The Hunter S Thompson of incredibly mild medicines Registered User regular
    At any point, am I supposed to care about the characters in The Trenches who aren't Cora's Dad?

    "A new take on the epic fantasy genre... Darkly comic, relatable characters... twisted storyline."
    "Readers who prefer tension and romance, Maledictions: The Offering, delivers... As serious YA fiction, I’ll give it five stars out of five. As a novel? Four and a half." - Liz Ellor
    My new novel: Maledictions: The Offering. Now in Paperback!
  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    At any point, am I supposed to care about the characters in The Trenches who aren't Cora's Dad?

    Yes. If they do die down there, the insurance sure isn't going to cover that many wrongful deaths (assuming Q even got insurance), and then the game will get cancelled and we won't see Cora's dad or his shotgun again.

  • Warlock82Warlock82 Never pet a burning dog Registered User regular
    WTF are ass pockets? Like the back pockets on jeans?

    Switch: 2143-7130-1359 | 3DS: 4983-4927-6699 | Steam: warlock82 | PSN: Warlock2282
  • MalReynoldsMalReynolds The Hunter S Thompson of incredibly mild medicines Registered User regular
    Like, this is the first time I've actually been off-put by how unpleasant the comic is.

    "A new take on the epic fantasy genre... Darkly comic, relatable characters... twisted storyline."
    "Readers who prefer tension and romance, Maledictions: The Offering, delivers... As serious YA fiction, I’ll give it five stars out of five. As a novel? Four and a half." - Liz Ellor
    My new novel: Maledictions: The Offering. Now in Paperback!
  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    I don't read PvP so maybe I have this wrong, but wasn't Gwen basically stalking Jade when she was in PvP? And she was definitely off-putting when she first got hired many comics ago (before disappearing). Seems like Gwen is shaping up to be the villain who brings the cast regulars together.

  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    I can't really decide if the Trenches characters are supposed to be unlikeable, unrelateable jerk-asses and idiots (like say, It's Always Sunny or Arrested Development) or if they're supposed to have like, redeeming qualities?

    Like, I don't like Isaac. I don't root for him. But I don't root against him either, because he's not really villainous or heinous (unlike say, Q, who is actually an awful person). He's not an especially funny character and I don't really understand who he is supposed to be, what he is supposed to want, or what he is supposed to think. Aside from having the nebulous goal of wanting to be a game developer really badly for unspecified reasons that he shows absolutely no qualifications for, Isaac doesn't really have a character.

    Like, I try to apply the Red Letter Media character test ("Describe a character without talking about their appearance, their job, or what their role in the story is") to any of the Trenches characters and only Q manages to sort of pass (He's a conniving, self-absorbed prick with no moral character? That works)

    The Trenches is sometimes really funny on its own, like there are jokes in the individual strips that make me laugh ("Oh shiiiiiii" remains the funniest gag in the Trenches), and it's not especially laborious to read it or something so I keep doing it, but nothing about the continuity of it, the character development of it, actually seems to make any kind of sense to me from a writing perspective.

  • StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    Gaslight wrote: »
    I don't read PvP so maybe I have this wrong, but wasn't Gwen basically stalking Jade when she was in PvP? And she was definitely off-putting when she first got hired many comics ago (before disappearing). Seems like Gwen is shaping up to be the villain who brings the cast regulars together.
    She had a crush on Jade and acted on it based on some misinformation from others. They reconciled and Gwen was basically never heard from until Trenches.

    Also, Isaac is such a self-absorbed, unlikable jackass that I assume he's supposed to be a villain protagonist. He felt he was entitled to that position for no good reason beyond his (crappy) past experience and that his current position is beneath him. Gwen is forward and snarky, but she's at least earned everything and isn't a complete shithead about it. In no believable universe is she any kind of villain except from Isaac's warped, narcissistic perspective.

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  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    if Breaking Bad has taught me anything, it's that people will bend over backwards to try to justify the idea that the protagonist is the hero and the antagonist is the villain

  • LostNinjaLostNinja Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    Pony wrote: »
    if Breaking Bad has taught me anything, it's that people will bend over backwards to try to justify the idea that the protagonist is the hero and the antagonist is the villain

    Those people need to watch/read Game of Thrones and realize that everyone sucks and is a terrible person.

    This strip settles it, every trenches strip needs to feature either Q or Cora's Dad.

    LostNinja on
  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    LostNinja wrote: »
    Pony wrote: »
    if Breaking Bad has taught me anything, it's that people will bend over backwards to try to justify the idea that the protagonist is the hero and the antagonist is the villain

    Those people need to watch/read Game of Thrones and realize that everyone sucks and is a terrible person.*

    This strip settles it, every trenches strip needs to feature either Q or Cora's Dad.

    *except davos seaworth

  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    Gaslight wrote: »
    I don't read PvP so maybe I have this wrong, but wasn't Gwen basically stalking Jade when she was in PvP? And she was definitely off-putting when she first got hired many comics ago (before disappearing). Seems like Gwen is shaping up to be the villain who brings the cast regulars together.
    She had a crush on Jade and acted on it based on some misinformation from others. They reconciled and Gwen was basically never heard from until Trenches.

    Also, Isaac is such a self-absorbed, unlikable jackass that I assume he's supposed to be a villain protagonist. He felt he was entitled to that position for no good reason beyond his (crappy) past experience and that his current position is beneath him. Gwen is forward and snarky, but she's at least earned everything and isn't a complete shithead about it. In no believable universe is she any kind of villain except from Isaac's warped, narcissistic perspective.

    She was shown in her very first appearance to be not-subtly gunning for Cora's job. Then she disappeared for months. Then she reappeared just to get promoted and tell everybody else 'See ya, fuckers.' (Seems to be acting the shithead in today's strip to me.)

    Based on this (admittedly limited) portrait of the character we've been given my impression is that she's supposed to be an ambitious career climber who doesn't give a shit about anybody but herself. At best the only positive difference between her and anybody else in the strip seems to be that she's actually competent at her job, but that doesn't make her a nice person.

    *Shrug* Just my guess, I really don't see where else they could be going with the character, she hasn't really served any particular purpose in her few appearances so far.

    Gaslight on
  • StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    "Ambitious career-climber who doesn't give a shit about anybody but themself" is basically Isaac, so at best they're both assholes.

    Also, Gwen was shitty to Isaac because he was entitled as hell and, as today's strip shows, has been whining about it. Marley's an incompetent stoner who almost got everyone shitcanned were it not for random luck. She really has no reason to be nice to people that toxic.

    YL9WnCY.png
  • MaddocMaddoc I'm Bobbin Threadbare, are you my mother? Registered User regular
    The way I see it, Gwen is the sole sympathetic character in the entire comic.

  • Man in the MistsMan in the Mists Registered User regular
    I was going to say "only sane character", but that works too.

  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    "Ambitious career-climber who doesn't give a shit about anybody but themself" is basically Isaac, so at best they're both assholes.

    Of course Isaac is an asshole. I will point out though that Isaac has at least demonstrated the capacity for something like concern for the interests of somebody besides himself, since he covered for Cora by framing Marley as the mole. Granted, that seems to have been at least partially based on some sort of romantic interest in Cora, but it's something.
    Also, Gwen was shitty to Isaac because he was entitled as hell and, as today's strip shows, has been whining about it. Marley's an incompetent stoner who almost got everyone shitcanned were it not for random luck. She really has no reason to be nice to people that toxic.

    Well by this logic everybody in the comic is excused for being an asshole because they're always only being assholes to other people who are just as terrible.

    Gaslight on
  • RatherDashing89RatherDashing89 Registered User regular
    I don't get where people are saying Q is a horrible person. I mean, maybe if you ascribe bad design decisions to being a bad person (are people going to threaten Q's children now?). When Isaac was rude and dismissive about Q's favorite TV show, rather than simply brush it off he shared it with Isaac, who now likes Lawstar too. When Q got a lucky break and went off on his own, he remembered his fellow Trenchmates despite none of them showing any real skill or potential. At least when you compare him to literally anyone in this comic aside from Anders, I don't really see how he's any worse, and I would actually argue he's a better person than most of them.

  • CraftyCrafty Registered User regular
    Gaslight wrote: »
    Based on this (admittedly limited) portrait of the character we've been given my impression is that she's supposed to be an ambitious career climber who doesn't give a shit about anybody but herself. At best the only positive difference between her and anybody else in the strip seems to be that she's actually competent at her job, but that doesn't make her a nice person.
    I'd say panel 3 delivers that message pretty clearly. There's even a ladder, for crying out loud. She's standing on a ladder, looking down on people disdainfully.

  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    Crafty wrote: »
    Gaslight wrote: »
    Based on this (admittedly limited) portrait of the character we've been given my impression is that she's supposed to be an ambitious career climber who doesn't give a shit about anybody but herself. At best the only positive difference between her and anybody else in the strip seems to be that she's actually competent at her job, but that doesn't make her a nice person.
    I'd say panel 3 delivers that message pretty clearly. There's even a ladder, for crying out loud. She's standing on a ladder, looking down on people disdainfully.

    As already mentioned, though, the particular people in this strip are shitty assholes who haven't shown her any particular concern. The disdain she's showing is earned.

    "If you divide the whole world into just enemies and friends, you'll end up destroying everything" --Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind
  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    Cambiata wrote: »
    Crafty wrote: »
    Gaslight wrote: »
    Based on this (admittedly limited) portrait of the character we've been given my impression is that she's supposed to be an ambitious career climber who doesn't give a shit about anybody but herself. At best the only positive difference between her and anybody else in the strip seems to be that she's actually competent at her job, but that doesn't make her a nice person.
    I'd say panel 3 delivers that message pretty clearly. There's even a ladder, for crying out loud. She's standing on a ladder, looking down on people disdainfully.

    As already mentioned, though, the particular people in this strip are shitty assholes who haven't shown her any particular concern. The disdain she's showing is earned.

    To be fair, it would be hard for them to show her any particular concern when she's been in like 5 strips total, including this one.

  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    Gaslight wrote: »
    Cambiata wrote: »
    Crafty wrote: »
    Gaslight wrote: »
    Based on this (admittedly limited) portrait of the character we've been given my impression is that she's supposed to be an ambitious career climber who doesn't give a shit about anybody but herself. At best the only positive difference between her and anybody else in the strip seems to be that she's actually competent at her job, but that doesn't make her a nice person.
    I'd say panel 3 delivers that message pretty clearly. There's even a ladder, for crying out loud. She's standing on a ladder, looking down on people disdainfully.

    As already mentioned, though, the particular people in this strip are shitty assholes who haven't shown her any particular concern. The disdain she's showing is earned.

    To be fair, it would be hard for them to show her any particular concern when she's been in like 5 strips total, including this one.

    5 seems like an exaggeration, but even if it were true, that fact just makes it clearer to me that Gwen seems to have adopted the same strategy that I would use if faced with working with a group of assholes: Keep your head low, don't talk much to your asshole coworkers and don't get involved in their conflicts, do your job well and buck for that promotion so that you can get away from them as quickly as possible. The worst thing she's done is to be blunt and truthful in explaining that she will not visit them, instead of offering a comforting lie.

    "If you divide the whole world into just enemies and friends, you'll end up destroying everything" --Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind
  • Angry_SamoanAngry_Samoan Now with 20% more mange... Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    Cambiata wrote: »
    5 seems like an exaggeration, but even if it were true, that fact just makes it clearer to me that Gwen seems to have adopted the same strategy that I would use if faced with working with a group of assholes: Keep your head low, don't talk much to your asshole coworkers and don't get involved in their conflicts, do your job well and buck for that promotion so that you can get away from them as quickly as possible. The worst thing she's done is to be blunt and truthful in explaining that she will not visit them, instead of offering a comforting lie.

    ^This.

    During the time I was job hunting for a full time Associate position, I found myself doing temporary "Contract Attorney" work, which is its own little level of Hell in the underbelly of the legal world. The people you would meet also doing that work in many ways are like some of the characters in "The Trenches". It got to a point where a friend and fellow "Contract Attorney Trencher" came up with a category system for our co-workers while we were in this Purgatory...

    Category 1- Those who like doing this type of work, are at the very least good at their job, and have been able to make a career out of it. Making a career out of being a Contract Attorney is possible, but it's getting harder, as a few Category 1 friends of mine have been telling me. As a result, this ends up being the smallest group, as a decent number of those end up actively looking for something permanent, and usually end up finding a position pretty fast.

    Category 2- Those who are doing this type of work while looking for something permanent. I fell into this category until I finally found something a few years ago. I would say at least half of those doing this type of work fall into this category, and the competence level of those in this category ranges from mediocre to outstanding.

    Category 3- Those who are absolutely un-fucking-hireable for any one, or more, of a number of reasons. Almost all of those in this category have at least one major deficiency in basic social skills. To top it off they're almost always incompetent, and sometimes in spectacular ways, which makes their social challenges even more annoying. Unfortunately, this is the second largest category among Contract Attorneys (on some projects it's the largest group), and these are the people that give that entire group of workers a bad name. Seriously... having to put down that you were a Contract Attorney on your Resume leads to a whole series of questions in an interview that you never would have had otherwise, as the interviewer is trying to figure out what is wrong with you.


    To me, Isaac and Marley are clearly Category 3s, and sometimes I would also throw Cora into that category. Marley has never really shown any signs of being remotely competent, and has been pointed out earlier in this thread, his antics almost got everybody canned. Isaac, on the other hand, at least started out as a sympathetic character. At the start, we see him reduced to living in his car, and it's possible that we think he might have been the victim of downsizing or that he previous company folded. Hell, Isaac's car is a sports-car, so it's probably a safe bet to guess he was earning a good salary somewhere before the series started. It's only later that we realize that he is actually an incompetent whiny asshat who desperately wants to "climb the ladder" but doesn't show any real reason why he should be promoted. We've seen no new ideas from Isaac, but we know his previous design experience comes from bad games that flopped miserably. Further, Isaac tackles problems in the worst way possible, such as individually opening all of the doors in Portalis instead of using a bot.

    So, I'm perfectly fine with Gwen's attitude in this series and in this strip. She purposefully kept her contacts with her Category 3 co-workers to a minimum, did her job, brought in some good ideas and is getting rewarded for it. And as Cambiata said, the worst thing she's done was being brutally blunt and truthful to a pair of Category 3's rather than lie to them.

    Angry_Samoan on
    "The history of all sports is to cheat whenever possible."- Tony Kornheiser
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