Punchbag Artists is an article I was working on for something like 6 weeks and grew in scope and length. With a nudge from Kent of Second Person Shooter, I decided it might have a better home on a gaming site bigger than this one. It’s just been published on Resolution Magazine. Please go read. You may be fooled by my real name of Joel Goodwin.

It wouldn’t have been possible without the frank contributions from the following people and it’s a shame so many words ended up on the cutting room floor. In alphabetical order, thanks to:

A special thank you to Caspian Prince (Puppygames) whose response couldn’t be worked into the final article.

And a last but not least extra special mention goes to Kent yet again who provided a last minute review when my writing group was unable to assemble. Last we heard, Kent was interviewing Mixed Martial Arts fighters somewhere in Hong Kong. We pray for his safe return to polite society.

Also – if you are the APB developer who attended Dev Days Cambridge last October, please feel free to drop me a line.

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5 thoughts on “Punchbag Artists

  1. Thanks for the article, Joel — I think it’s a great message to get that stuff out there. Hopefully, as Gabe Newell was saying, we’ll see a sea change in a few years. It’s certainly a different Internet now than I recall from 10 years ago, so that’s something. Of course, while it was worse 10 years ago, it was a lot better 15 years ago, so I guess these things evolve in a rather nonlinear fashion — competing forces, and all that.

    As fate would have it, today provided an excellent example of me being a punching bag: http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/dm6lm/cold_hard_numbers_what_an_indie_game_ai_war/. Sometimes it gets to you more than usual. Reddit has always been a relatively safe place for me, so this one hit hard and unexpected. The gall, the arrogance, the misinformed views… it’s enough to make one want to take up drinking, sometimes. Sigh.

  2. When I was briefly a game developer 20 years ago, abuse was much thinner on the ground. I didn’t worry about an audience. To some extent I didn’t worry much about a business, either. But those were different days altogether…

    I think we need some sort of test, like when they scorch the blood in John Carpenter’s The Thing, to prove that developers are people. I intended to mention Brad Wardell and Elemental as a demonstration that game developers were human, but the point had been well made already so struck the reference out.

    Derek Smart said to me that developers “are no better than public figures (e.g.
    politicians) who really can’t do much about such things.” He is not wrong. I think once you step over that fence and become species Game Developer, then you become public domain and are expected to man up against whatever the internet wants to do with you.

    Chris, I think it was inevitable that your honesty would end up being used as a weapon against you but that doesn’t make it any less cool.

  3. I read this a while back Harbour Joel but didn’t get round to commenting. A great read and really interesting to hear different developers takes on the subject. What pains me is the staggering sense of entitlement some individuals have. The anger I see directed towards otherwise hardworking and generous developers is just utterly bemusing — internet rage has no limits.

    The recent GOG fiasco for example got a lot of people’s knickers in a twist and for what? A few days with no games to download? Oh noes! That was when the RPS crowd lost me in the comments. I couldn’t believe some of the stuff I was reading.

    Caspian has tried with the last few patches of Revenge of the Titans to sort out a sound issue I’ve been having but unfortunately to no avail. I’m a little disappointed but I sure as hell wont be giving him and Chaz stick over it, it’s beta and my computer is old. I also had a problem with Amnesia as well and that was sorted within two weeks of reporting it but some people on the forums were getting twitchy mere days after its release! Ridiculous.

    Anyway, again great read! Thanks!

  4. Hey Gregg, long time no, uh, I dunno the right verb. I think I’d prefer Master Goodwin to Harbour Joel and I have the admin power to change your comment… but with great power comes great tomfoolery.

    RPS comments can get a little crazy these days, a sign of the site’s popularity but they do an excellent job of culling things by hand. Although if you’ve ever signed up for an RPS comment feed you’ll notice the kind of things that get deleted like “BUM!” Why???? WHY????

    I know for a fact you’re definitely one of Titans’ fans, I’ve seen you stalking Cas on the Puppygames site. And of course I was stalking both of youse. I think RoTT is really interesting but it’s not quite for me. I will write it up… sometime…

    Thanks for taking the time out to read the article, I am not doing so well myself in terms of online reading! I’ve been way busy doing too much writing in the last few weeks and when Punchbag hit Resolution it was real madness. Plus I’m still suffering through the broken sleep period for the newborn so brain so very slow. I have around 20 tabs open in Firefox right now, most of these days old. This is not good. I still hop over to Tap but I don’t tend to hang around anywhere too long at the mo… nice of Tom to tweet your review of Penumbra BP.

  5. Ahaha, you do that as well? My Firefox takes a good minute to settle down due to the number of tabs I have open (mostly old as well), both at home and at work (shh!). If it’s any consolation my RSS reader is saying I’ve 231 unread posts. Sob.

    I’m slowly reading through your flurry of Expo posts so expect a few more comments coming your way đŸ˜‰ Considering the arrival of little Harbour Master you’ve done a bloody good job getting all of them up!

    RoTT looks great but the sound stutters so much that I have to turn it off or quit the game, usually the latter because it’s not the same without the audio. Hopefully my new computer will sort the problem out! I’m currently on the last level of Defense Grid so I’ll no doubt be wanting another TD game to fill the void. Oh just remembered, there’s The Borderlands DLC to play…

    Hey I finished VVVVVV last week and shortly afterwards bought the pppppp soundtrack. I got all the trinkets in the end and finished with about 2500 deaths, 248 of which were caused by the spiky maw of Veni Vidi Vici. Will hopefully be writing something up on it soon.

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