Podcast - This Is Only a Test

Episode 291a – A Podcast in Two Parts – 3/5/2015

This week, Will and Norm are joined by game developer Samantha Kalman to discuss GDC, virtual reality rumors, the news from Mobile World Congress, the Pebble Time Steel, the real purpose for Kickstarter, and a bit of behind the scenes on the Amazon Fire Phone. Audio listeners, be sure to stick around at the end for a post-GDC update from Will and Norm about GDC announcements and impressions of Valve and Sony’s latest VR demos.

Comments (32)

32 thoughts on “Episode 291a – A Podcast in Two Parts – 3/5/2015

  1. It might be just me, but did you guys upload last week’s episode with Patrick instead of the one with Samantha on the rss feed?

  2. Qi loading is just great, putting a small mat next to the PC gives you a place to put your mobile phone and it will stay charged. The “loss” is just temperature anyways (so your phone is slightly warm) – not much of an issue in winter, where you heat anyways.

  3. Audio mixup. The RSS feed has last weeks audio with Patrick Norton.

    The same thing happened recentlyrecently with a still untitled. Between those minor screwups and the sloppy copy editing on longer articles i.e. ‘s home server write up, I very much think tested could do with more manpower. Can you afford a third writer that focuses on editing and less on content creation? Could be remote contractor.

  4. Sponserships and ads can only get them so far. They also seem to hesitate to add more ads then they need to. If they started adding more staff, they would have to add wall to wall ads like the bigger (but not better) tech sites.

  5. One thing I have done which seems to be decent for battery life is Smart WiFi Toggler. It uses the location of the phone to know if it is near a known wifi spot, and only turns it on when you are near it and you are using data. That means no constantly checking the wifi networks while driving around town. This may not help much if you stay in known locations most of the time, but certainly helps me.

  6. Samantha seems really knowledgeable about many topics. A moment there I feared an Amazon operative would take you all out.

    Also very charming laugh!

    Would listen again!

  7. What’s up with the comments on youtube? Is this the nerd community’s misogynistic nature rearing it’s ugly head again?

  8. RE: TiVo Roamio – it’s a good product, IMHO. You can upgrade the HDD just by dropping one in, no need for a PC and command-line nonsense. It’s nice having a single box/interface for OTA, Amazon Prime Streaming, and Netflix too. $12-$15 seems a bit high for the privilege of recording OTA, but, it is what it is.

  9. Might be true, and it might not. One more staff equals wall of adds sounds too simple a conclusion for me. The crew is a lot better equipped to decide whether its possible than us.

    I’m just annoyed by the badly edited articles and the recent podcast audio snafus. Mildly annoyed, but annoyed.

  10. The guy who asked about D&D with his young son may want
    to look into Descent 2nd Edition by Fantasy Flight Games. It has a
    lot of the trappings and tropes of D&D but in the form of a board game so
    it’s a little more structured and guided. It supports two players reasonably
    well whereas it would be quite difficult to do a proper D&D campaign with
    just two people as Dad would have to be the DM and the kid would be the lone
    adventurer. My wife and I are currently playing through a Descent campaign with
    another couple and their eight-year-old son and it’s going very well.

    Pathfinder is basically 3rd Edition D&D with
    all the licensed named/artwork removed. When 4th Edition came out it
    was such a radical departure a certain group adapted the old edition into its
    own unique product.

  11. What’s up with the comments on youtube? Is this the nerd community’s misogynistic nature rearing it’s ugly head again?

    Samantha is not afraid to rightly speak her mind on some matters, which leads to a concentrated effort by idiots to show how stupid they are.

  12. That makes sense,Technical Illusions – Jeri and Rick started this project over at Valve a couple of years ago. Who knows how far ahead they would have been if Valve had kept up with the dev?

  13. Nvidia just needs to focus on making video cards and chips. Everything else they make misses the mark.

  14. I found it interesting when you guest was talking about transitioning from being in a VR world to coming back to the “real” world. I have written about this many years ago…I worked at a technician at a Virtual Reality gaming cafe in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada called “Reality Bytes”. One of the two headsets we had there was the Virtual I/O iGlasses. They were one of the best VR goggles around at the time. They were very light compared to just about every other “facehugger” out at the time. They had a great design. They used two LCD screens that were mounted at right angles to the eyes, and then used a half-silvered prism to bounce the image into eye. When the blind was down, it was a great VR facehugger, but when the blind on the front was removed, it was an even better Augmented Reality device!

    It was connected to a computer, of course, and some games, such as Descent, were in true 3d. You could also play Doom and Doom II, but Alien Total Conversion was one of the best Doom mods since it included not only good graphics, but great sound effects!

    But it was the game Descent that gave people the most problems. For example, a friend of mine was visiting from Montreal, and he was a huge Descent fan, and wanted to try it in VR. I warned him not to play for long the first couple of times he played. I had seen people have some balance problems when they played Descent too long. I set him up with the I/O iGlasses, and started the game…then, of course, I go called away to look at some problem. Half an hour later…I came back, and asked my friend to finish up because there were paying customers waiting…so he said, “OK”, pulled off the head set, placed it on the hold, turned around and nearly fell down. I had to help him over to a chair since the world was spinning around for him. In discussing this with a number of people I knew in the field, we figured out that what happens is that as games got closer to reality, the brain started to adapt to the VR “reality”, including the latency, something that it does gradually when you start playing the game, but changes suddenly when you take off the headset.

    So this all came back to me in a rush when your guest Samantha Kalman talked about her “transition illness” after coming out of VR that was very realistic. It might be an interesting field to investigate for some academic researching Virtual Reality.

  15. Hey Will, just FYI you CAN use the nub on the New 3DS for the camera in Majora’s Mask. You can you go in to Options, which is in the Gear menu, and turn it on. I think its labeled Enable Circle Pad Pro, weird I know because that’s technically not the same thing, but it works great.

  16. The more I hear about this “presence” thing the more … it reminds me of people talking about their experiences taking hallucinogenic drugs.

    I just wonder if VR is really some kind of ‘new’ entertainment experience we are incapable of yet understanding, will there be some analogue of the “bad trip”?

  17. Love Samantha on this week’s podcast. She has a different perspective due to her video game development background, and hearing her experiences working on the Fire phone was definitely a highlight.

  18. I love how Samantha started headbanging as soon as the music kicked in. That’s how you can tell she watches the show and was actually happy to be there.

    We love Gary and all, but she’s the anti-Gary (in a good way). See if you can get her back regularly.

    IMO three people is optimal for this show. More than that and the extra chatter takes away from actual content.

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