In app game purchase! Grrrrrr!

I went to goggle play looking for a new, interesting game and saw a list of half off games. I’m okay with paying a little bit to own a game and play it whenever I feel like it.

But no, this wasn’t 50% off to own a game. This  was 50% off in app purchases. Because in app purchases make more money.

You might think I’m pissed off at devs for doing this, and you’d be slightly right. It is annoying as F to get interested in a game and really enjoy it only to get half way through and run out of  “energy” or have long ass wait periods for certain things to load. Even worse; power-ups that cost $1 each.

But no, it annoys me far more that people will actually spend $20 or more on Candy Crush on in app purchases, making this a viable option for devs in the first place.

Candy Crush had over 300 levels. If they split the game up into 50 levels a piece and charged $2.99 for each game package, with chances to win power ups, then I would totally buy it. But I’m not their demographic. The people they want to play their game will spend hundreds or even thousands just to solve one more puzzle.

It seems like more and more games are turning to in app purchases.  Thankfully Google now warns you before you download a game. I rejected 20 different games because of the in app purchase tag.

Sadly they don’t tell you what kind of in app purchase is available. If it was a purchase for an expansion, or for new skins I’d be okay with that. It’s pay to win games that really bug me. Or pay to have an enjoyable experience.

Just put a price tag on your game as a whole instead of doing in app purchases!

I don’t Wanna! – Day 10 NaNoWriMo

Every morning I get up, I take a shower, brush my teeth, and go to work. I put on a pot of coffee to slowly sip and wake up. I greet my customers with a smile on my face, even when inside I want to run away. Go home. Slip into bed with a book and a bottle of orange juice, and forget the outside world even exists.

I don’t want to be there, but I go. I have to pay my bills, and take care of my children. This isn’t a choice, it’s a necessity. And I go, even though I don’t wanna!

This month I’m participating in NaNoWriMo. And this week… I don’t wanna. I don’t want to write. I don’t want to sit in front of the computer. I don’t want to fill in paragraph after paragraph of someone else’s life.

But I’m going to.

There are those who say you should only write when you are inspired, and I heartily disagree. Inspiration is not what gave me thirteen books, and over 100 thousand words in stories published on Amazon. Inspiration started the story, but sheer determination finished it.

I don’t want to sit in front of my computer typing. Not today. Today I want to cuddle up and play a game, or watch TV. But TV and games won’t put words on the page. And they won’t further my goal of being an author that makes my living from my writing.

So I’m going to go write. I might have to rewrite it. But I’m still going to go do it.

Pax Prime 2013

2013-08-30 11.08.31 Got back from Pax last night around midnight, and I am exhausted. And… I’m going back tomorrow, and the next day.

I’m actually glad I took a day off from all the hub bub at Pax. It’s so much fun, but I think four straight days would have killed me. It’s just too much.

On the plus side, I met a lot of cool people, traded buttons, gave out a few buttons to people who I talked about my book to. I never actually got to give out a copy of my book, but I’ll have a two more days to do so.

I also played a lot of games, and got to test drive the Oculus Rift. Hint: I suggest you be sitting, leaning up against a wall, or strapped into an Omni Treadmill for this thing. I could not feel anything, not even the floor under my feet really, and when the me in the video game left the surface of the ground, or walked THROUGH trees, I got a little queazy.

However, playing a plat-former on the Oculus was kind of cool. I could look to the left and right, see down the tunnels, but I didn’t lose perspective of where I was. I could feel the desk, and the ground, and even though I was looking into the virtual world of the plat-former, I did not get queazy like I did in the 3D environment.

My friends and I agree… Oculus + Omni + Noise canceling headphones + Horror Survival = FUCKING AWESOME SCARY TIME!

For more pictures you can check out my G+ post. And expect more on Tuesday!

Why I Won’t Buy the XB1

No one disagrees that the future is going digital. Nor do they disagree with Microsoft’s rights to do so this soon. It does seem a bit pre-mature to a lot of people who are without internet, or have sporadic, or bad internet. The same people who love their console games because they do not have to get online for downloads, updates, multi-player and the like.

I do, however, disagree with the fact that the game you buy as a physical disk isn’t actually yours and you can not do anything with it except install it onto your personal XB1. You can’t give it to a friend to play. You can’t really sell it to a used game store. I can already see used game stores are going to refuse to take them because they can only be re-registered to a new console once. How does Gamestop know if someone else already registered it? They don’t. So they can’t do it.

On top of the money you pay to Gamestop to get the game, you also have to pay the publisher/Microsoft again, for a used game. This is like Ikea charging you for buying a bookshelf, then charging someone who buys that bookshelf at a garage sale. It’s ridiculous.

Then there is the kinect. Always on, always watching, always listening. With NSA recording, watching, and storing anything they damn well feel like, and Microsoft being one of the companies that are supporting the NSA in doing this, then it just doesn’t sound safe to me. I wouldn’t want it in my living room watching me. It’s just creepy. What if I want to play Skyrim while I am skyclad? No, not happening. 

Yes, digital is the future, and honestly, I buy most of my games on Steam because the prices reflect the fact that you can not resell them. They have great sales, and they allow you to download it to any computer you want, as many times as you want and play offline if you like. Want to play with a friend? Buy them another copy, it’s probably less then $20.

Microsoft will be selling you brand new games with a physical disk that you can not resell without a lot of trouble, for $60. 

Maybe other gamers can afford that… Maybe they don’t mind invasion of privacy, or limitations put on your personal property. That’s up to gamers. I, personally, will not be getting an XB1.

Move over! I’m coming through!

Early a friend tweeted a link to this article, in which Joe Abercrombie (a traditionally published writer) said self publishing is too much work. He doesn’t want to publish, he wants to write.

Yep. He’s right. Self publishing is a LOT of work. There are covers, editors, formating, and months and months of writing with little return.

But it’s worth it!

For centuries art has been funneled through publishers of one sort or another. Book publishers, music producers, game developers, TV executives, art curators… you name it! There was a gate keeper set in front of your goal that you had to get through.

It’s like a lottery. Someone wins, and a whole hell of a lot of people lose.

And publishing, like any lottery, wasn’t dependent solely on talent or content. It was also marketability, how much money they could make off you, and sometimes your ability to stroke their ego.

Guess what? It isn’t a lottery anymore. The gate keepers are starting to notice wholes crashing through the walls, bypassing the gate they so carefully erected.

Indie game designers have produced, sold, and created major hits among gamers. Like Limbo, Journey, Minecraft, and Bastion. Games that skyrocketed past all the game publishers, earning millions.

Indie authors, like Hugh Howie, and Amanda Hocking proved you don’t need a publisher to make it big. They refused to give their rights away for someone else to make money off their talent, and they succeeded.

In film we now see some amazing special effects, animations, dramas, and story telling available right on youtube. For free. Netflix is offering some of them, like the Guild, streaming. Theaters are playing others, like Plurality, as ‘pre movie vignettes’. Others will follow suit. Indie films will get longer, and better, and eventually be available along side everything else.

Musicians, like Maclemore, are hitting the top charts without signing their life and their music over to some producer.

Even physical objects, and hand made goods. You can go to Etsy and by something directly from designers, artists, and makers. Or you can download designs from Thingaverse and print them on your 3D printer.

Publishers… the gate keepers who so carefully erected that wall so they could decided what was published, and who succeed, are starting to see that their wall looks more like swiss cheese then brick.

The status quo use to be that people produced things, and the person who sold it and distributed it, was the one who made the most profit off it.

I see a future where the person who designed, created, wrote, painted, filmed, or made an object…. they will be the one who makes the most profit off their IP. They made it. They should.

Copyright is broken. DMC is bulky, and intrusive. Publishers are more interested in the bottom line then the creators they say they serve. We’ve known this for a while, and now we have ways to combat it.

Move over publishers, I’m coming through.
If all that’s standing in my way is a little hard work, then I’m rolling up my sleeves, and I’m doing it.

Games and Writing

gamesI now have over 90 games… just on my steam account. That’s not even counting the rack of games for the various counsels I have over there.

I love games. I love figuring out puzzles, gathering items, killing the bad guy. I love the thrill of discovering new worlds, and ransacking dungeons. The sudden adrenalin rush as the boss battle grinds you down and kills you yet again, and you pick up the control and start all over. Just die, and try again.

I love it all. I’d play games all of the time if I could.

However, of those 90+ games I have, I haven’t been able to play any of them very much. A few minutes here and there, maybe an hour. But I have yet to finish one. Why?

Because I’d rather be making my own worlds and sharing them with others. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to discover other peoples visions for worlds. That’s why I just spent every spare moment for the last week (and there hasn’t been a lot of free moments) reading “Ghost Story” by Jim Butcher, and finding out what happens to Harry Dresden.

I’d love more hours in the day to finish a game, a book, and finish writing my own novel. But we each get the same amount of time each day. We each have to work out way through it. It’s a battle of priorities.

So… what did you spend your time on today?

Pax Swag

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My first PAX swag. Pays to be dating an enforcer. He brought this home for me last night. I absolutely LOVE Bastion, so it was really appropriate. The narrator really makes that game something that stands apart. (Think I’ll go play it tonight.) I’ll be visiting PAX on Sunday. My first con, ever! So excited! Wish I had time to make a costume, but still worth it.

What’s the Point of it All?

What’s the point of telling a good story? Why do it?

There have been story tellers for centuries. Sometimes called mistrals or bards, other times wise old men. They would sit in crowded, smoky bars, or on dusty streets and weave stories into tales, or song for the few coins dropped in their palm. Actors would strut and fret their way across stages. Criers would call the news out to the milling throngs.

Story telling is in our blood.

Our story tellers, in this particular century, take on many forms. News paper journalists. Bloggers. Vloggers. Book authors. Music writers. TV writers. Game designers. Movie makers. D&D players. LARPers… I’m sure I’ve left something out.

What’s the point of it all?

It’s a way of passing on our thoughts. Our hopes. Our dreams. Our reality. A way of sharing the little pocket of the universe with others around us.

Sometimes it is our way of experiencing something we could not otherwise experience, like dragons, or storming Normandy during D-day, or even flying like a bird.

But a good story… a good story will make you immortal. Like Shakespeare, or Homer. A good story will stretch over time and space and engulf everyone it touches. A truly GREAT story will be rewritten, re-imagined, reworked, and re-read for countless years to come.

We tell stories because we are creative and imaginative creatures. And we must.