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questionanswer&michael


The Column of tuinte

Michael Harnest - November 20 '03- 01:18 Eastern Standard time

Andrew is the most inadequate human being alive. His introduction of me, his long-bum intros, his whatever-is-in-need-of-medical-attention-and-therefore-presumably-failing-him, his training of the new newsies (shout out to Evan, Harry, Kojack, Ty and QC ... and Nathan, I guess): all inadequate. But he means well.

Anyway, since this is my first real public appearance here, I should give you the shtandard shtuff.

Like Casto, I live in Toronto, a hay stack whose needle isn't so hard to find. In fact, I live a block away from him. I mentioned his inadequate intro of me cuz, sure, while I love teh cinema r0x0rz, I also like a variety of other things, but especially this. And games. But I don't like anime.

For the site, I'm an Internal Contributor, so, naturally, I contribute things internally. Meaning much of what I do goes on unbeknownst to you, but rest assured your enjoyment of the place is still dependant on me. Sorta.

I'm famous for my lub and general all-around tuiness. 'tui' being extraordinarily appendable.

And I have a crush on Paws.

Err, no.

Enough! On with the tui love:




SEND LEttER




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Wow,
the Leafs really suck.

I mean, really.

Wow.

Really bad.


Batter up!

What kind of magic/summon/job systems is FFXII gonna have?

MICHAEL
I don't know, go ask Hironobu Sakaguchi.

the Name Game

Dear Andrew,

I once posted a question to you some time back about how orgasmic I found FFtactics once I`d imported it here to "sunny" England. Having just finished Final fantasy tactics advance I came across the recently published pics of FFXII .

From the looks of things I`d be very glad to see Square do more with Final fantasy tactics as it was one of their much finer games, thus it looks my prayers have been answered, bangha ,Viera and Ivalice...FFtactics indeed appears to be back...

Do you reckon it`ll be another FFtactics quality masterpiece? or a bogus FFX clone load of nonsense?

thanks,

Seashore Bishounen

MICHAEL
*On the boardwalk*
Yes, orgasmic Seashore, it seems there are some a-shared elementitatoes between grand ol' Final Fantasy Tactics, its GBA sequel and this forthcoming Final Fantasy XII game. Namely, the name "Final Fantasy," the name of the world, "Ivalice," and the names of some minor characters. Plus the names of some of the development team. Namely. Whether the world in FFXII is in fact the world in FFT or Final Fantasy Tactics Advance isn't known, and I imagine will remain ambiguous for fun's sake, but regardless: you can bet on there being a slew of coolio in-jokes and wink-wink nudge-nudge type chuckle-a-thons for Square Enix loyalists. What is known, though, is that the game isn't a tactical RPG like FFT and FFTA, so if gameplay is why you dug those two mother-puppies, then eek! Anyway, no, I don't think it will be a Final Fantasy X clone, but I'll wait to play the bastard (or at least wait until one year before its North American--heck, Japanese--release) before I vomit half-digested expectations of any sort.

O' Crazy-ass One

tuinte,

Long time no see, wear have you been all these past 30 years, Barbara? You may seem confused as to your new name, but ask Andrew, he'll fill you in on our "plan". It's a good plan, you should join our top-secret society of secret things...you WONT be disappointed. On a related note of movies, (of which I have the sneaking suspicion that you like to discuss) what are your thoughts on that movie coming the 26th, "The Missing"?? Looks kinda good, we'll have to see... Join our society, all the other kids are doing it, tuinte!! I would tell you more about our plan, but then it wouldn't be a secret society, would it? Hmmm..more ranting later on. Take care, my friend.

See I didn't capitalize the "t"!!

O' Shrouded One

BARBARA
Casto told me about this... oh, what was it... he explained... Oh yeah!

"O' Shrouded One is a crazy bastard."

Nonetheless, you asked a film question, I have no control.

(The tui likes film questions.)

"The Missing" has Cate Blanchett, that's good. Tommy Lee Jones plays a native, I believe. This seems natural given his past few career choices. I'm waiting for him to turn into a native. It's directed by Ron Howard who did the syrupy A Beautiful Mind a few years back, when he raped teh Oscar. He's a Spielberg rip-off, in my view, whose career highlight is probably Apollo 13. I wouldn't say I'm enthusiastic, but I saw Crossroads (better known as "that Britney Spears movie") by myself on opening night, so I see pretty much everything. When I see it I'll tell Casto to post my impressions. Just for you.

Speaking of Crossroads, did anyone else on Earth see that? It was a jumbled mess, with abortions, abusive boyfriends, Britney singalongs, abandonments and unhealthy levels of feminine jealousy and crap in it. The whole narrative arc was Britney tryin' to get beefed. I know she's all Not A Girl But Not Yet A Woman (indeed, she's at the "crossroads," nyuck nyuck), but girls were the ones going to see her movie. Miscarriaged fetuses? Virginity-losing crusades? Really?

FFXII isn't due out0rz 'til 2005

I just recently got FFX-2, and no sooner than the game comes out, they've got pics of FFXII at rpgamer! I remember when it used to take almost two years to make a Final Fantasy...now what is it? Two Months? To top it off, FFXI is out and I don't have a dime to play it! Online rpgs that you have to pay for suck! Especially when new ones that are better are constantly coming out! What is wrong with this picture! Well, I guess I can't complain for lack of a new rpg, but still, if they're going to make new games more often, they should at least make them cheaper!

MICHAEL
It's OK to bite the hand that feeds you if the means by which it feeds you is by it being the food. Thus Spake Capitalismathustra.

On out-sourcing video game production

Okay, so I read somewhere recently that some of the big names in RPGs see their development as being comprable to the golden age of hollywood when everything was done in house. Now, they are trying to change this so they can out-source more things as you see in the current movie industry. I was wondering if you thought this movement would be a good thing or not? Sure RPGs have some film quality, but are they close enough to film production that this will benefit the industry. Also, something that is still good about movies, is independents can still make a really great movie for cheap (or relatively cheap). However, this doesn't really seem to be the case for games. Maybe I'm just rambling, but since your are Mr. Film i figured you may have thought on this before.

I think you should also list your favorite movies for us, here are a few of mine:

Donnie Darko
Amelie
Royal Tenenbaums

Now your turn.

s.f.

Milhouse: We gotta spread this stuff around. Let's put it on the Internet!
Bart: No! We have to reach people whose opinions actually matter!

MICHAEL
Out-sourcing can produce significant levels of wahoo with its efficiency when there's a number of specialized fields at work and some are only needed sparingly. This, of course, applies to film, with elements like digital effects and set construction. But games share this job diversity, too, and for a company like Square Enix to pay for and keep trained motion-capturers on staff when they only use them briefly at the beginning of production for a handful of their titles is impractical and terribly poor money-spending. So out-sourcing, even in game production, can make sense.

I, for one, support out-sourcing as a means to further specialize these--ahem--specialized fields. Developers won't have to spread themselves so thin and can focus on being creative in particular areas as opposed to being competent in all of them. Final Fantasy VII offers a good example, where RPG programmers took a crash course in snowboard engine-making and produced, well, you know, when EA Canada or a company that specializes in that type of game mechanics could have been contacted.

As for an indie game scene, well, with the medium being so linked to technology, and the newest and latest of that always being so expensive (and a consumer base demanding the newest and latest), this noble plight is majorly frustrated. Fear not, though, I imagine once this out-sourcing really takes off and the prodigiousness of the larger company's research and development teams levels off, there will be a lot more engine-licensing competition to bring prices down, and so development will be more akin to mixing and matching from other companies' frameworks relatively cheaply and we'll see the rise of a more prolific underground gaming movement.

Both of these topics, by the way, would be great to explore more thoroughly in Editorials. Give Joseph a ring. Though I think purty Cortney is editor for next week.

And as for fave films, dammit, you can't ask me that! Gah. Well... Andy Longbottom listed a few for me last update, but I'm a die-hard Chaplin fan, too. He did this series of short films for Mutual Insurance (now known as The Mutual Shorts). They're available on DVD if you can find them and they're hilarious. Preston Sturges is probably my favourite filmmaker (see Sullivan's Travels and Miracle at Morgan's Creek). For more recent stuff: Far From Heaven from last year; Whale Rider, which is just out on video now; Lost in Translation, still in theaters; and the new, stolen Paris Hilton voyeur-pr0n. All are excellently bittersweet. On your list, I like RT the best. Movies rule, you get The Love of tuinte.

No FFXII? No Movies? ^O^

Dear Andrew,

Have you actually played the Saturn version of SotN?

It's an inferior port, it was rushed, and it shows... A lot choppier, even worse framerates/stuttering, none to impressive extra content (the extra areas aren't that great, Maria is meh, a couple of extra items, the best thing is the extra music...).

I mean, unless you just can't live without a little extra, there's no real reason to want to play it, in my opinion...

I prefer how much smoother the PSX version plays.

From, Benny Big Hair

MICHAEL
Well, Benny Big Hair, I'm not Andrew so I can't tell you what his cocaine criteria was, but lemme tell you, gameplay fluidity beats "meh" additional characters in my books. But I haven't had the (mis?)fortune of playing the Saturn version, so I'm a useless tit in this convo. Oh, what's this? Andrew the Lurch speaks?

Andrew: I can't live without that little extra.

Hmm, clever.

That's cuz my name's 'tuinte'

What's up, Tuinte [Ed: Death upon your family.]? Never heard of you before. But that doesn't mean you won't do an awesome job hosting Q&A, right?

1)Am I the only one to notice that the picture behind the Final Fantasy X-2 logo is eerily reminiscent of Charlie's Angels? I just got the game yesterday, and noticed it for the first time tonight.

MICHAEL
You may not be the only one to find it reminiscient, but yes, you're the only one to find it eerily so.

2)Movies, eh? Here's one for you...have you picked up the DVD set of the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy yet? If so, what did you think of the extras? If not, WHY THE HELL NOT???

MICHAEL
"WHY THE HELL NOT???" it is, then.

3)Also on the subject of movies, do you realize how much stuff they have to cram into Star Wars Episode III? Luke and Leia have to be born, Anakin has to be subverted by the dark side and help wipe out the Jedi Order, he has to suffer his horrible injuries that necessitate the Darth Vader suit, Amidala has to die, Obi Wan has to hide Luke and Leia with their adoptive parents, and the Senate has to be destroyed. Also, I presume Count Dooku has to get killed. My theory is Anakin will defeat him and Palpatine will do the same thing he did to Luke at the end of Jedi, with the whole "take his place by my side" thing going. What's your theory on that?

MICHAEL
I don't know, go ask Hironobu Sakaguchi.

Peace out, and don't get caught.

Robust Stu Gold Reviewer/Swell Guy www.geocities.com/robuststu

MICHAEL
Seriously, though, yes I do realize that about Ep III and am looking forward to the attempt. I also think a lot of those things will happen off-screen and/or be implied to happen between Eps III and IV. I think the real issue with the third installment is that it has to do the work for all three prequels; it will decide if it was all worth it.

As for HGttG, I loved the book and thought it unfilmable. After seeing the film I became convinced. RIP - Douglas Adams

Viet Pong

Just one question related to Quistis Chick's letter yesterday.

When did video games ever have an effect on social politics? They *might* be a vaguely decent social barometer of, say, 18 to 30 year olds. In Japan. However, I seriously doubt anyone will look at Ashe and say, "Whoops, that lady's wearing a short hot pink skirt. Time to pass another abortion ban."

While we're talking about it, character costumes don't need to make sense, either. As Mr. Andrew pointed out, we're dealing with a world where a bracelet can protect you from a slash aimed at neck hieght, where a few waves of the hand can summon a giant dragon to obliterate your enemies who, by the way, are polite enough to wait for you to finish your commands before attempting to eat your head. This is not a place where common sense, or, let's face it, elementary physics, has any part to play.

Anyway. That's it. One good rant deserves another.
-Cactuar Joe

MICHAEL
First off, QC is a princess and you must call her Princess QC. Secondly, Pong was a huge factor in all the protesting against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. What is Pong, after all, other than two slanty-type things battling against each other sans Americano?

Bits and Bytes, not Film and Stock

Hey tuinte,

Since you are a movie buff I figured I'd ask a question involving cinematography. What do you think of cinematography in games? Do you think it could be improved? Who seems to do it the best?

Onswah

MICHAEL
Cinematography doesn't exist in games. : P Cinematography involves the techniques of shooting film: the reading of light levels, the use of lens filters, exposure times and developing the film afterward. If you mean "camera angles" (and you do), that's the director's job, with the cinematographer's technical advice the parameters within which he or she can work (this is a bit of a generalization as some director-cinematographer relationships are more symbiotic, but hey). As for "camera angles" in games, I think developers have composition down (even if they're a bit show-offy), but I have to say, games edit poorly. A major gripe of mine has always been cuts from standard gameplay interfaces (SGI) to FMV or other graphical modes. I find the last "shot" in the SGI and the first in the FMV never have a spatial or temporal relationship and seem arbitrary.

In film, meaning isn't just found within separate shots, but also in the juxtaposition of these shots. Games don't often enough recognize this, treating each graphical mode as an island of visual goodness, missing out on an opportunity for added meaning (and also breaking many cinematic continuity principles). Different departments handling the two different styles is probably to blame, and my embracement of out-sourcing won't help, but that's what a director is for: to oversee all elements and make sure they're all working for themselves and for each other.

Having said all that, some games are deliciouser at it than others and get it right. I think the cut in FF7 from bird's-eye-view above and behind Aeris, just before her death scene, in SGI to Cloud's PoV shot in the following FMV is an effective transition. Yoshinori Kitase, the game's director, hired Japanese film director Motonori Sakakibara to edit the FMV itself, but he also took care to make sure cutting between the two styles was seamless from an editing standpoint (if not graphically).

One thing I find more amusing about "game cinematics" are the time and resources put into creating faux-lens flares. You know, those oddly coloured circle thingies that appear when a light source is aimed directly at the camera. It's an inherent imperfection in film that game companies (and Disney) put money into creating.

I love you, TRC.

Dear heterosexual life partner,

1) are you castomel's bitch or what? honestly he seems to get you to do all his stuff, next thing we know, you will be second in command, not that that would be a bad thing...

MICHAEL
Yes, I'll be taking over the site come the new year.

2) I'm going to see Dredg next thursday, anything you want me to say to them?

MICHAEL
"tui says 'Hi,' RPGamer rulez0rz1337."

Hmm... and, "You rule!"

And, "Go visit RPGuides."

3) Rico and his massive.....
Intellect, thoughts?

MICHAEL
Wang. I prefer his massive wang.

4) what do you think of FFXI? Everyone seems to be playing it, and enjoying it. Myself included. Why aren't you one of us, tuinte? You could play with us, forever and ever and ever...

MICHAEL
Actually, that's why. I'd play forever and ever0rz.

love,

David.

HETERO-MICHAEL

  A LOVE SONNET

        What fair winds blown by your beauty unfair!
        A heavy heart beats my chest to a fantastic bruise.
        What's inside your treasure chest, padded thick with lock?
        Lustrous relics known by the stars and so many dreams?

        Love is not music played by a virtuoso, but a xylophone,
        without the player to tackle its potentialities,
        without the orchestra striking a single, thunderous chord,
        for all have stopped to hear the thunder that is emanated on its own.

        Tiny steps taste the edge of the abyss,
        eyeing the village nested in the great ravine,
        where steeples and monasteries give hope and spiritual rise.

        I scale your walls and massage your temples
        with soft grace, scented warmth, and hushed pandemonium,
        and bathe you in cruel vinegar-cum-sacred wine.


YOU tUI
QUICKIE I
Can you tell me who did that Final Fantasy XII story? I'd like to have a word with him about his fine work!

-- Hall of Fame Announcer Harry Carey
tuinte:
What a sad soul as to self-plug. I pity you. I suggest reading that love poem up there and pretending it was written for you. Maybe it will give your despicable life some semblance of meaning.

May Gawd have mercy on your soul. If you have one.

QUICKIE II
So, who's hosting tomorrow?

-Casto
tuinte:
Now why would you go and ask a question
you already know the answer to?



SINCERELY,

Hmm, turns out Casto was miraculously healed just prior to the surgery. Seriously, they didn't go through with it. He's not as inadequate as I thought. Or at least his body parts aren't. Err...

So, next week Casto is back in the chair, with possible guest host Rudy, who may not show as is his custom. He don't get no tui love. For tomorrow, everyone send Casto the story of their virginity loss. Thanks to all who wrote, especially you, you and you. Now enjoy my sigpic which has on it an email addy that doesn't work. Awesome.

The Sigpic of tuinte
Michael Harnest is currently living in the Washington D.C. area with his wife, Sheila, and their two children, James and Sophia.

CAStO'LL PROVIDE tHE ANSWERS, YOU PROVIDE tHE

QUEStIONS





The Mark of tuinte

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