March 11th, 2010


Now *that* is an useful-looking game

Another article on Ars -- 745 Studios has come out with a Rock Band clone that has a nearly-real guitar peripheral. The company is a subsidiary of a real musical-instrument firm, so they have a clue in how to build something that works in Guitar Hero style, but also has higher levels of difficulty that turn into really playing the guitar.

The only mysterious part? The company is apparently claiming, "We won't be marketing this as a learn-to-play guitar product." To which my response is, why the hell not? If they released this thing for the Wii, and had a slowly-ramping level of difficulty that slowly teaches you real guitar chords, I would be *all* over it. I've wanted to learn for ages, so a good game would be right up my alley. The disclaimer worries me a little (mostly that they may start out too hard), but I'd still be likely to pick it up if it comes out for the Wii. Even the 2/3 scale guitar doesn't worry me, given that the mandolin is the instrument I actually *own*. (Granted, I don't think the chords are the same, but it would at least give me the sense of the thing.)

What does this actually teach us about IT policies?

One more from Ars today: 12% of employees knowingly violate company IT policies. The fun part of the quote, though, and I suspect it is true, is "in order to get work done".

Take that at face value -- really, it doesn't surprise me. But the right conclusion to draw, I believe, isn't that employees are bad and are maliciously or carelessly violating policy. Rather, it is that IT policies are often short-sighted, and wind up hindering employees from doing their jobs. This happens all the time, in ways from overly-tight web-browsing enforcement to stupidly-frequent password-changing regulations. Overly broad or restrictive policies often necessarily force people to work around them -- and therefore wind up putting the company at *more* risk than a slightly looser (and more consistently followed) policy would have.

Okay, yes -- I'm probably preaching to the choir here. But it's a good illustration of the Law of Unintended Consequences, and why stricter rules can backfire very badly. The solution isn't tighter enforcement, it's better-chosen rules...

Be careful what you wish for

I tell every GM that what I want is *extreme* characters. With a relatively normal character, I have a bad habit of winding up playing -- well, mostly myself. It's horribly easy to play myself, and it's not nearly so interesting. I need something that's really very *different* from myself if I'm going to crack through my shell and truly play the character instead. It can be anything from the annoying tight-assed puritan to the looney tune, so long as it is not in the least bit moderate.

I finally got around to reading my character sheet for Lifeline. Oh... my... god. Now *these* are GMs who listen. I have absolutely no clue what's going to happen, but this is a character that can only be played by climbing into his skin and totally letting loose. It looks likely to be crazy fun.

(Well, actually, it's impossible to turn off my GM brain: at the metagame level, reading between the lines of this sheet, I have a *very* strong suspicion of roughly what's going to happen here. But the nice thing about a character like this is that he can usually shout down the GM brain and just get into it.)

ETA: Ah -- wow, reading the bluesheets totally changes this character sheet. But it should still be a delicious character to play...