2011 Personal Twitter Hall of Fame Inductees

I consider twitter my hive-mind.  Basically, if I need to know something, odds are it will show up on my twitter feed.  If not, either I didn't need to know, or my twitter feed is broken and I need to add people.

This year I decided to give a special mention to those twitter peeps who keep me well informed, who give good insight and provide me with such a great twitter experience.  I've made 2 Top Fives, one Anglo and one Franco, plus a Top Three read-only feeds.  Here we go:

Top 5 Anglo contacts:  These are awesome people I follow, and I'm quite honoured that they follow me back.  I put them in alphabetical order because I don't want to have to sort them out.

EmilyClaireAfan: I was lucky enough to meet with her at this year's MIGS. Recently became director of development and communications for the Canadian Interactive Alliance. Go Emily and looking forward to meeting you again at the 2012 GDC.

mike_acton: When I went to the GDC of 2008, I hadn't heard of Mike Acton.  I left his speak as his new biggest fan.  It's hard to hold a certain belief and be convinced that you're pretty much alone, and then see someone like Mike Acton confidently tell it like it is in front of an audience that's probably (maybe) going full steam against that, or at least has always been told things should be completely opposite.  Since then I've been following his tweets, his speeches and his awesome http://altdevblogaday.com/ initiative.

psychicparrot: My #1 twitter pal, cool dude and maker of all http://psychicparrotgames.com/. Embodies the enthusiastic spirit of indie dev! Continued success through 2012 mate, looking forward reading your tweets.

stevestreeting: The mastermind behind Ogre for 10 years, Steve has positively influence so many people, free of charge, that it's hard to imagine him not deserving whatever good he gets.  Dissecting the Ogre source code is probably the single most important factor in me properly learning OOP, which is critical to understand in today's world.  His insight on technology, business and politics are generally spot-on.

VillageGamer: Deeply connected to two of the most awesome things there ever was: Canada and Technology.  Tami of Village Gamer has been nothing but great towards me and I look forward to seeing more Canada-centric tech articles from her!  Thank you for your coverage of Heroes of Zulula, Con Sonar! and Slash!

Honourable mentions (hope to hear more, see more, and maybe work with you in 2012) : SamColes, MasterBlud and stevewhitemusic

Top 3 Read-only feeds: They don't follow me back, but they provide me with great information, and you might not know about them.

MobileSyrup - If you're interested in the mobile industry, and are Canadian, Mobile Syrup can be your first and last stop.

theMapleTap - Canadian history factoids, because you can never know enough, eh?

RealTimeWWII - Interesting concept, RealTimeWWII is a twitter feed broadcasting from 72 years into the past.  You can relive World War II through

Top 5 Franco:  Mon top 5 franco pour les gens familiers avec la langue de molière.

MarieLuneHB - C'est difficile de pas vouloir suivre Marie-Lune, une geek totale qui s'assume et qui tweet plein de tranches de vie de manière directe et franchement pissante.  À noter qu'elle tire comme un Stormtrooper.  C'est à considérer avant de l'ajouter à votre squad d'Halo.

mcbernard - Impératrice du MIGS et connectée comme peu sur l'industrie du jeu vidéo à Montréal.  Je l'ai croisé au MIGS et je peux dire qu'elle est totalement awesome!  Elle tweet dans les 2 langues.

BenDaGeek - Collaborateur à M. Net 

MelBChartier - Podcasteuse sur les jeux vidéos.  Habite ma région natale et partage mon nom de famille.  Suivez-la.

Zomby2D - Vieux pote du secondaire.  Fan d'Android.  C'est déja bein en masse!

Mentions honorables (à suivre pour 2012) :


Velvet Assassin Review

I'm done with Velvet Assassin, which contrary to what that usually entails, doesn't mean I've finished it.  A bit of context: I bought it off Steam for 5$ a few weeks back.  I had usually heard not-so-good things about it but I decided to give it a go.  I fell in love with the story of the real character that inspired this game, so I started with a positive predisposition.

Took me a while to get used to it.  Although the concept of crawling in the shadows and stabbing an unsuspecting Nazi in the spleen is oddly satisfying, the game completely collapses onto itself as soon as you are spotted and suddenly need to be a competent fighter.

As such, the game suffers from three major flaws:

First, the "slit a dude's major artery" button is the "A" button.  Whenever you're close enough to a bad guy who hasn't seen you, pressing "A" instant-kills the bastard, one-shot.  But what does the "A" button does if you've been spotted?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing at all.  So if you're a fraction of a second away from bringing down a Nazi, and you're spotted, "A" will not do pull out your knife and at least attempt a slash, it'll do nothing.  To use a brain-wiring analogy, it would be as though you were an expert knife fighter, but only with your right hand, and if you wanted to assassinate someone, you had to do it with your left hand.  Makes no sense.  This is made even worst by the fact that what triggers the shutdown of the "A" button is the beginning of the enemy's surprise.  So you can be one centimeter away from his throat, and 1/100th of a second away from ending his life, suddenly your attack button does nothing.  In real life, the dude would still die, he would just die a bit more surprised.

Second, once surprise is gone, you have to activate the horribly clunky trigger-based fighting controls.  This joke-of-a-system turns your expert assassin into a bumbling, drunken, marksmanship-deprived idiot.  Throughout their evolution console-based shooters have evolved several compensation mechanisms to counter the fact that controllers are awful when it comes to precision and aiming.  Velvet Assassin ignores all of that and gives you raw unassisted aiming.  The argument for making manual aiming/fighting clunky and bad in stealth action games is generally based upon the fact that if you play your game well, you're never supposed to resort to that.  You're an expert stealth killer, not front line grunt.  In a way I could forgive this if not for the third and final flaw : no stealth in the final battle.

For the final battle, the designers decided to throw out everything that was good in their game and focus exclusively on what sucked: the no-stealth battles.  Made artificially difficult, not by its design but by the horridness of the controls, the final waves of enemies produce an endless exercise in frustration.  Oh and you can't go back and grind to level up your stats.

Velvet Assassin isn't such a bad game, and I would've left with a better experience had the ending just been sneaking up to a dude and slitting his throat, one-shot, rather than this.  It's so annoying to give up on a game at the end.  I find myself doing that more and more.  But that's going to be part of an upcoming rant entitled "Games are too long".

Until then, rant-off.