Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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38 Responses

  1. Murali says:

    I’m playing Knights of the Old Republic. What is interesting here that while in theory, the difference between the sith and the jedi is more akin to the difference between folk Aristotelianism and a kind of Buddhist-Kantianism, in practice, doing nice things gets you light side points and doing selfish or cruel things gets you dark side points. I have the inklings of a post in my head about this, but I’m not sure I should write it up. At least I don’t have anything sufficiently solid to make it interesting other than the Star Wars – philosophy connection.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Murali says:

      Part of the problem with how they do it is that playing as good tends to get you more experience points and playing as evil tends to get you more cash.

      But this is a world where experience points are worth a *LOT* more than cash is.

      Maybe if the best stuff in the game had to be bought rather than given as a reward, this would work… but I found myself never even tempted to be bad.Report

      • Reformed Republican in reply to Jaybird says:

        That tends to be an issue in a lot of RPGs. There is no real incentive to be evil. It is often less rewarding. In real life, people are often drawn to immoral acts because it can be a shortcut to wealth, success, or whatever. Assuming you do not get caught, it can be profitable.

        In video games, evil is often more difficult, and it offers no advantage over being good to justify the added risk.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Reformed Republican says:

          If I understand the common tropes, evil in video games is generally short-term effective. It’s stuff like having more money quicker, which generally makes the early game easier.

          However, ‘good’ is generally long-term effective. (That is, being good gets you better stuff at the end).

          There are some variations — Dragonfall (Shadowrun Game) has a particularly nasty group you can work for, who — if you do all their increasingly dirty jobs — will reward you with some of the best gear in the game right before the final, and tough, battles.

          But then Shadowrun is a pretty crapsack world, where everyone pretty much accepts that that’s how it works. Evil and self-interest has money and power. Work for them, and it rubs off. Makes your road a little easier.Report

        • Kim in reply to Reformed Republican says:

          ADOM definitely has different paths for evil versus good. They’re all fiendishly difficult, though, so I wouldn’t say evil is harder…Report

      • Murali in reply to Jaybird says:

        The genoharadan assassination quests are evil but give you some wonderful items.Report

    • Morat20 in reply to Murali says:

      What server? I’m on Ebon Hawk (just started a Sith Inquistor. I have a Jedi Guardian running around. Nobody’s near level cap though).

      I get to shoot lightning at fools. What’s better than that?

      Knights of the Old Republic II actually tried to take a more nuanced view of the Dark Side. Didn’t work out, mostly because the ending was rushed. (KoToR II had some fascinating stuff in it, although you really need to add in the stuff that was missing to get the full picture. There was a lot of work put into that, and it sadly all got hacked up at the end).Report

  2. zic says:

    The main thing that might bug me is the suspicion that it won’t merely be the crazy enthusiasts making mods anymore for the hopes that someone will click on a tip jar, but people who will think “I could put a little coin in my pocket” flooding the marketplace with crap.

    this is a particularly odd comment, Jaybird; put it in the context of free markets, consumer choice and competition for me, please.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to zic says:

      Yeah, isn’t this just how Etsy becomes Regretsy every so often? It doesn’t mean Etsy isn’t still better than what was before, which was a lot more difficult and erractic interface between semi-pro hobbyists and potential clients.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to zic says:

      Compare to making music. Imagine someone who makes songs because they love making songs versus someone who has researched the three or four chords, researched poetry, and researched the whole verse verse chorus verse chorus break verse chorus chorus structure and figured out how to make a song to make money.

      While it’s certainly true that the latter is a lot more likely to end up on the radio, I’d rather listen to an inspired enthusiast than a talented cynic (let alone a flood of semi-talented ones).Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

        A world of manufactured formulaic popular music? Wow, sounds like a science fiction nightmare. (someone needs to contact the Hugo people).Report

      • zic in reply to Jaybird says:

        Imagine someone who makes songs because they love making songs versus someone who has researched the three or four chords, researched poetry, and researched the whole verse verse chorus verse chorus break verse chorus chorus structure and figured out how to make a song to make money.

        So what makes you think that the person who imagined a song they loved, and how has the musical chops to actually plat that song, play it with others in a band situation, perhaps write out the music notation for that song, produce a recording of the song, etc. hasn’t, in fact, mastered the skills of form and studied the structures of poetry? Where did you ever get the notion that insight and creativity flourish in the absence of effort, which is what your question suggests?

        I might compose some lyric and a melody and sing it to myself, over and over, while in the shower. That does a song make; but it doesn’t really make me a composer. I could call up my favorite pop star, sing my song to them over the phone, but unless I have the basic chops to sing in tune, keep time, and sing impressively, I doubt they’ll want to rush into their home studio and record my composition. If I were really daring, I might record my song in one of my shower performances and post it to youtube; but I doubt the views would have much to do with the song.

        Honestly, it sounds to me like you’re more concerned about the loss of filters; about someone in corporation weeding out the wheat from the chaff, and fear your fellow gamers won’t have the skills to be as discerning as they deal with the flood of I-might-make-some-money-here games.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to zic says:

          To make something using these tools requires effort. Like, real and serious effort.

          The small things are things like different hairstyles or different graphics to overlay on a sword. Making a story from start to finish involves not just writing it but programming it and seeing it through to the end.

          The half-baked mods never made it to the marketplace of ideas in the first place.

          The difference between singing in the shower and actually getting studio time.Report

          • zic in reply to Jaybird says:

            To make something using these tools requires effort. Like, real and serious effort. That’s what I’m saying, too.

            someone who has researched the three or four chords, researched poetry, and researched the whole verse verse chorus verse chorus break verse chorus chorus structure and figured out how to make a song to make money.

            Tonight, my sweetie will do a regular dinner-hour gig at a place where they also have performance space, and a lot of has-been performers perform; people who were, in their day, at the top of the music charts. He’ll play piano, and perform with a gifted musician who’ll play tenor sax, but could also play the gig on the piano. (My sweetie, he could also play this gig on the tenor sax, too.) They play jazz; often right out of the real book. Sometimes, totally improvised on the spot.

            So a while back, the tenor player was playing this gig alone on the piano. Told my sweetie that this big guy sat down and listened for a while. “What are those chords?” the dude asked; “I never heard those chords before.”

            The chords were common jazz chords, my sweetie assured me when I asked, chords I know to be common in most other forms of music, though often to a lesser degree; because most can stand in for one of the three chords used in familiar forms of three-chord traditional western music; shortcuts to imply the movement of the music that often fit into the physical forms of moving your fingers from here to there as you play. This is stuff you learn from practicing scales and arpeggios.

            It was this guy, being inducted into the hall of fame.

            I can only imagine he was joking, since he uses many of those chords in this tribute.Report

          • Kim in reply to Jaybird says:

            Who’s doing nudie mods?
            (that… was a problem in oblivion, because obviously you drew the people, and then put the clothes on…)Report

  3. ScarletNumber says:

    If you keep up with E.D.

    Pills help for that.Report

  4. Fnord says:

    Here’s the thing: even with the availability of the Steam Workshop, my perception is that much of what I think of as the “serious modding community” still operates through third parties (largely, for Bethesda games, Nexus Mods). Now, it’s been a while since I modded seriously, but at least as of when I was doing that, the general impression and my own experience was that, unless you were looking for the quickest way to install one or two mods, you were far better off using 3rd party tools like Nexus Mod Manager than Steam Workshop, in order to prevent and manage mod conflicts and dependencies, incompatible saves, etc.

    Now, obviously this makes the copyright trolling aspect of this even more pronounced, since trolls can steal from places Valve doesn’t control and may not have seen.

    But this adds another concern, too. Given that 3rd party sites like the Nexus provide a service that at least some people prefer, what is this sort of change going to do to those communities. If someone wants to make money on their mod, I can sympathize with their motivation. But if doing that (particularly if many people do that) makes it harder or impossible to use those third party sites and tools, something is lost.

    Worse, if companies decide that they’d rather have everyone in their monetized walled gardens…Report

  5. Damon says:

    I recently became aware of this issue…like yesterday. I’ve played almost every “good” quest skyrim mod and have several that change/improve my Thane houses, and a few others. I was somewhat neutral to sales of the mods but at 25%, no way do I think some guy who put in hours to tweak a 5 hour quest mod with a new dungeon, etc. should get that little. I’d think a lot of folks would balk. It was always my understanding that mod guys were looking to use their skills to get attention and maybe a coding job and one of the game houses.

    And I think that if Steam is hosing you, what’s to prevent other sites from letting you d/l the mods for free?Report

  6. Kolohe says:

    It took me a bit but ok, I think I get it now. You’re worried about something akin to the east Asian WoW goldfarmer breaking the current user/creator dynamic, right?Report