Posts tagged with "suggestion" - Faerye Net 2008-09-25T13:36:45+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Mass Effect Two: Asari Boogaloo 2008-09-25T13:36:45+00:00 2008-09-25T15:10:41+00:00 <p>So, we&#8217;ve covered the fact that <a href="" target="links"><em>Mass Effect</em></a> is probably my favorite game since <a href="" target="links">Nethack</a>. But one of my pals, Rock Star, bought a <a href="" target="links">360</a> and played through the game himself, so I&#8217;ve been thinking about the game a little more. There are, as Rock Star points out, some things wrong with the game. The looting and inventory management are a little too flimsy for the amount of lewt going through them, for example. I&#8217;m sure they have plenty of sarcastic web comics and whiny forum posts that point this stuff out to them. However, I&#8217;m not sure if they have a lot of comments from plot-addicted table-top-gaming English-majorish types like me (and, since I put &#8216;ish,&#8217; like Rock Star.) Who knows if story-loving <span class="caps">FPS</span>-players are even a useful demographic?</p> <p>So here are a few suggestions, most serious, and proposed titles (not at all serious) for <a href="" target="links"><em>Mass Effect 2</em></a>. Many of these suggestions are of the (probably frustrating) &#8220;you&#8217;re doing this well &#8212; but I want more!&#8221; variety. Tiny spoilers (such as that you can save the galaxy in a game about galaxy saving) are contained. Other plot spoilers are preceded by &#8220;<span class="caps">SPOILER</span>&#8221; and whited out &#8211; select to read if you like.</p> <ol> <li><b>Plot-fanciers like to change the world.</b> <em>Mass Effect</em> already does this. Hearing news broadcasts in the elevators about your doings and even yourself is awesome. However, a little more wouldn&#8217;t hurt. Specifically, if I don&#8217;t see a statue of <span class="caps">SPOILER</span>:<font color="white">Ashley (or Kaidan, if your Shepard didn&#8217;t give the Williams family their heroic redemption)</font> in <em>Mass Effect 2</em>, heads will roll. (Who am I to threaten? I&#8217;m Commander <em>effing</em> Shepard. (And so can you!))</li><p><br /></p> <li><b>We like our interactions to affect character actions.</b> In some ways, a more specific version of #1. <em>Mass Effect</em> does have character arcs and Shepard&#8217;s relationships with her squaddies do evolve. I&#8217;m not talking solely about the romance arcs here, but about things like winning Wrex&#8217;s trust and subsequently <span class="caps">SPOILER</span>: <font color="white">having an easier time getting him to stand down at Virmire</font>. More of this would increase engagement with the game (and replayability) for plot-fanciers. For instance, if you play the end of the game with the squad member Shepard has romanced, don&#8217;tcha think it would be nice to mark that in some way? Captain Anderson is not going to court-martial her for hugging. She&#8217;s Commander <em>effing</em> Shepard, after all, <em>and</em> she just saved the galaxy. The more personalized the squad members&#8217; reactions to things are (see &#8220;Don&#8217;t have a panic attack&#8221; in last <em>Mass Effect</em> post) the better. I know it&#8217;s more work, but it&#8217;s not <em>that</em> much more work.</li><p><br /></p> <li><b>Use your backstory to more effect.</b> <em>Mass Effect</em> has obviously been lovingly crafted &#8211; its universe, not just the game. Random worlds have fun, interesting info attached to them. The codex entries are extensive. However, that can mean oversights seem more glaring. I overheard the <em>Turian</em> Council member haranguing Rock Star&#8217;s Jordan Shepard about <span class="caps">SPOILER</span>: <font color="white">killing the Rachni queen</font>. Umm. So, it&#8217;s okay if you do it slowly with a genetically engineered disease? Seriously, the whole krogan backstory makes my head hurt and my I-can-fix-everything gamer-thumbs itch. I hope something happens with that in the sequel. There are also unprosecuted opportunities to tie in squad member history, like the Williams family honor. I like the increased richness the character histories offer, and this would reward us for taking an interest in our NPCs&#8217; lives.</li><p><br /></p> <li><b>Animate some object interaction.</b> This is whiny, and perhaps less English majory than advertised, but it does sort of break the cinematic illusion when all props are handed off below the shot and we spend time chasing a McGuffin only to see the characters stare offscreen at it. If this is too much work, fine. I stop whining now.</li></ol> <p>So those are my main plot-fancier suggestions for <em>Mass Effect 2</em>. Because I am a giver, I have also come up with several possible titles!<br /> <ul><li><em>Mass Effect 2: Now with 20% More Seth Green</em></li><br /> <li><em>Mass Effect 2: Kill More Things, Take More Stuff</em></li><br /> <li><em>Mass Effect 2: James Bond vs. Spectres</em> (I am officially too dorky to live.)</li><br /> <li><em>Mass Effect 2: Commander </em>Effing<em> Shepard Beats Up Everyone</em> (after the famous <a href="" target="links">xkcd</a>, suggested by Rock Star as the consequence of my not getting my statue from #1.)</li><br /> <li><em>Mass Effect 2: The Search for Liara&#8217;s Daddy</em></li></ul></p> <p>I&#8217;m a <em>giver</em>.</p> On e-mail submissions 2008-08-13T11:11:39+00:00 2008-08-13T11:11:39+00:00 <p>I&#8217;m not, in general, one of those writers who complains about the submissions process. I got excited at my first <em>personal</em> rejection, after all, and while of course I <a href="" target="links">overanalyze</a> the heck out of rejection letters (that&#8217;s almost in the &#8216;writer&#8217; job description), I don&#8217;t take them personally or assume it means the editor thinks my work is crap. Maybe the editors have brainwashed me or something, but I figure rejection means that story wasn&#8217;t right for that magazine at that time, and that a long wait means the staff and editors (at some mags, especially litmags, volunteers) have a lot of submissions to work through.</p> <p>That said, this wheel does have a squeak. I think it&#8217;s worth mentioning because e-mail submissions are only becoming more common, and because, knowing as many up-and-coming writers dabbling in editing and ambitious villainesses plotting small presses as I do, someone might read it who will be a chief editor someday.</p> <p>E-mail is unreliable. <span class="caps">USPS</span> does suffer the occasional train derailment or unscrupulous postman throwing his stack into a piano, but on the whole, if you send a manila envelope, it gets where it&#8217;s going. E-mail, on the other hand, often gets where it&#8217;s going and sits in a junk folder, or is intercepted by the journal&#8217;s <span class="caps">ISP</span> because someone on <em>your</em> <span class="caps">ISP</span> is a spammer. And there&#8217;s no way for you to know. After waiting a few months to allow a decent interval, you can query, but if that doesn&#8217;t receive a response either, does that mean the staff is swamped, or that your submission has company in limbo?</p> <p>All I suggest is that venues that accept e-mail submissions send acknowledgments. (They&#8217;re pretty easy to automate, I think, and copy-paste is a low-tech fallback.) If the venues also indicate on their submissions guidelines that an acknowledgment should arrive within X days of your submission, then the writer will know if her submission got eaten by the internet or blackballed by the blacklist. She can then proceed to send it from a different provider, et cetera. Many magazines already do this, and it&#8217;s a boon to writers&#8217; peace of mind.</p> Top 10 Best Practices for TV on DVD 2006-07-11T21:30:44+00:00 2008-06-08T13:53:08+00:00 <p>I am more or less a sucker for TV on <span class="caps">DVD</span>. It&#8217;s so convenient, so portable, so crisp, so <span class="caps">FULL OF DELICIOUS CONTINUITY</span>. However, it is still a young medium, relatively speaking, and maybe there is some feedback the studios would like from me. Out of the goodness of my heart, and not because it annoys the stuffing out of me, I&#8217;d like to share some constructive criticism.</p> <p>Really, it&#8217;s constructive! You&#8217;ll notice some of them are things <span class="caps">ONE</span> company or series is doing <span class="caps">RIGHT</span>!</p> <p><b>Top Ten Best Practices for TV on <span class="caps">DVD</span></b></p> <p><b>10. &#8216;Play all&#8217; button.</b><br /> <em>(MVP: Babylon 5)</em> Sometimes you just want to have a gargantuan view-a-thon, and this easy-to-implement feature facilitates that. One button, and the entire <span class="caps">DVD</span> of episodes plays.</P> <p><b>9. Episode list on packaging.</b><br /> <em>(MVP: Xena)</em> This helps a lot when you&#8217;re trying to find a specific episode quickly, and there&#8217;s no reason <span class="caps">NOT</span> to do it.</p> <p><b>8. Don&#8217;t quote the series on the packaging, or, worse yet, the discs.</b><br /> <em>(LVP: Angel)</em> Umm, does anyone realize that people who want to watch the TV show may <span class="caps">NOT</span> have watched the TV show? Some seasons of Buffy and Angel have totally vital and spoily dialogue plastered across the packaging, or on the discs where you&#8217;re <span class="caps">REALLY</span> likely to see them.</p> <p><b>7.Spoiler-free menus.</b><br /> Similarly, we&#8217;re pretty much stuck seeing the menu, so if you could choose images that don&#8217;t give away that Character B is a vampire or that A and C are getting together&#8230;that would help.</p> <p><b>6. Skippable intros.</b><br /> <em>(MVP: Everything Joss.)</em> We promise we know your studio&#8217;s name and musical sting, and that the <span class="caps">FBI</span> and Interpol frown on thus and so, and that you aren&#8217;t responsible for anything Ted Raimi says. We don&#8217;t need to see it 6 times per viewing of the season.</p> <p><b>5. Quick menu switching.</b><br /><em>(LVP: Buffy Season 2)</em> Again, we are going to see this <span class="caps">OVER</span> and <span class="caps">OVER</span>. It&#8217;s swell you sprang for a <span class="caps">CGI</span> swoop-shot through a cemetery, but by root and twig, we don&#8217;t need to sit through it every time we press a button!</p> <p><b>4. <span class="caps">STOP</span> the foldfests.</b> <br /><em>(LVP: Buffy, Angel, early seasons of Xena)</em> Many shows are in these gigantic folding cardboard monstrosities. There are a lot of ways to deal with the problem of packaging 6 or more discs attractively, but I think the <em>Firefly</em> approach of slimline cases and the <em>Babylon 5</em>/late <em>Xena</em> book-style packages are the way to go. The <em>Xena</em> discs even click in place nicely and don&#8217;t fall out all the time!</p> <p><b>3. Clear episode progression.</b><br /><em>(LVP: Buffy Season 3; <span class="caps">MVP</span>: Xena)</em> Episode numbers, a clear linear pattern to the episode titles&#8230;any of these will do. Instead, we often have four episodes, one in each quadrant, and they don&#8217;t always progress in the same manner from series to series or season to season (<em>Buffy</em> Season 3 had a different pattern from any other <em>Buffy</em> season.)</p> <p><b>2. Silent menus.</b> <em>(MVP: Xena)</em> Remember, again, we will hear this <span class="caps">MANY</span> times. If you choose a good atmospheric bit from an episode, it will have lost all meaning by the time we watch that episode, and in any case, we&#8217;ll be sick to death of it. <em>Xena</em> compromises by playing the (beautiful) theme music on the disc menu, but having blessedly silent episode menus, so we can get a drink, go to the bathroom, and generally settle ourselves without a 30-second loop of effects and music driving us mad.</p> <p>No one has this last one yet, and I think movies as well as TV shows need this all-important feature:<br /><b>1. Mute-able characters.</b> <br />I don&#8217;t want to listen to Jar-Jar Binks or <a href="" target="links">Kennedy the Annoying Girl</a> in the comfort of my own home. I could probably get wonko to watch Babylon 5 if Sinclair spoke in subtitles for all of Season 1! Give us more freedom. After all, we bought the damn thing!</p> <p>If a decalogue is too much for the studios, I&#8217;ll cut it down to two general reminders: We may not have seen it before, and we will see it over and over again.</p> One simple way to reduce phishing's effectiveness 2006-02-16T00:35:11+00:00 2010-02-01T15:33:45+00:00 <p>Hey, financial institutions! I know you think it&#8217;s swell that you can use the Intarneb to interact with your customers. Heck, I think it&#8217;s swell, too. However, I understand you have a problem with the <a href="" target="links">phishing</a>. There is, after all, one born every minute, and phishers play on our hopes (Free stuff! New card services!) and our fears (Unauthorized expenditures! Security alerts!) to try to make sure that each and every one of us out here on the fabulous <a href="" target="links">Intertron</a> is, in fact, that sucker.</p> <p>Some of us are nearly obscenely paranoid about this phishing thing, and on behalf of we few, we nervous few, we band of <span class="caps">URL</span>-checkers, I would like to make a request.</p> <p><span class="caps">STOP</span> <span class="caps">USING</span> <span class="caps">MULTIPLE</span> <span class="caps">FRAKKING</span> <span class="caps">DOMAIN</span> <span class="caps">NAMES</span>.</P> <p>You heard me. You managed to register <span class="caps">AND</span> <span class="caps">AND</span> Jolly good! Now slam a redirect on those puppies and never let me see them again. Because the more URLs your actual official website has, the more confusing it is to your customers, and the more likely it is that they&#8217;ll think is actually their financial institution&#8217;s web page. If you&#8217;re a big happy bank, you don&#8217;t need to flash your domain names to prove it to me. Just treasure them close to you. Lock your righteous domain names in a server closet instead of shouting them on the street corners like Calligraph them on soft paper and pass them out at board meetings for use as toilet paper. I don&#8217;t care, just as long as I don&#8217;t see them any more. <span class="caps">CHOOSE</span> AN <span class="caps">OFFICIAL</span> <span class="caps">DOMAIN</span> <span class="caps">AND</span> <span class="caps">STICK</span> <span class="caps">WITH</span> IT. Thank you.</p>