The Mediocre Gazette. 5 December 2012
Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the Wednesday gazette. My name is Vincent, bringing you the latest round of games industry news and Montreal news. You can leave suggestions on special topics for future posts at the suggestions tab at the top of the page. In the headlines today: video posted on the Facebook group depicts a separatist rally trampling on a Canadian flag, Montreal city council has a lengthy list of ‘to-fix’ items, pre-education summit at McGill reveals deep rifts, Kickstarter is not going to change the “all-or-nothing” policy anytime soon, A branch of the Greek Fascist party: Golden Dawn, continues to stir controversy, and Adobe hopes to attract game developers to their platform.
While looking through the Facebook group: “Put the flag back in the Quebec Assembly”, a video was posted by the group showing a separatist rally in which masked individuals were seen trampling on the Canadian flag. By now many of you know that such videos will receive publicity in the form of moral panic. Let me be clear before I go on that this is not the sort of behaviour I will ever show sympathy towards. It is unacceptable to see the Canadian flag – or any provincial or national flag – being mistreated in any way, shape, or form. Now this sort of behaviour is common in separatist rallies like the one which took place in Montreal this past December 1st, 2012. Ultimately what it boils down to is a group of radical separatists wanting to upset Canadians in the city (and beyond), and if possible, insight violence (which thankfully did not happen). Now aside from the moral panic and the pages’ crusade to make public the events going on at these rallies: there really is not much else to elaborate on. It was a separatist rally, Canadian flags were trampled on, and masked protesters chanted pro-independence slogans. Another article by the National Post goes further into elaborate on the issue in which Ms. Marois failed to make any comments towards, a poor choice of action politically. Once again we come to the topic of moral panic and what I like to term: thinking through emotion, as opposed to logic. Barbara Kay was correct to point out that any sort of flag desecration is unacceptable, and Ms. Marois should have condemned such acts “promptly and unequivocally, making it clear that sovereignty is a condition to be achieved through civilized means, not emotional barbarism” (Barbara Kay, National Post). That said, ultimately this rally was what the Parti Quebecois secretly supported from the start. Ms. Marois not having anything to say could be the result of a desire to simply brush this under the carpet and hope that Canadians somewhere would in turn desecrate a Quebec flag (like an incident in Brockville Ontario before the referendum where Canadians responded to bill 101 by burning a Quebec flag), in turn giving them something to point towards and say: “look! They don’t like us Quebecois, let’s separate!’ The links to the respective pages as well as the video is located below this paragraph:
An article posted by the Montreal gazette details the lengthy list of ‘must dos’ for the city council of Montreal. The list details things such as more transparency with the municipal contract bids, to decentralization of municipal government in the form of boroughs. One thing I must add to this is the fact that this new vision statement does not come as a surprise to me. Right now with the Charbonneau commission on corruption going on in Montreal (though adjourned until 2013), it is not surprising that the currently government in city hall is attempting to win back public confidence by looking to fix a few ‘pot holes’ here and there. You know, this is like watching politics of Gotham City: the fictional city from the Batman series which was best known for its’ level of corruption, and dealings with the mafia. That said however, Montreal is less bloody and less corrupt, so there is little to fear aside from the occasional councillor stepping down after allegations surface regarding them and their conduct. However it still does not come as a surprise that this list of ‘to dos’ comes out so soon after the new mayor – Michael Applebaum – took office after the previous mayor stepped down following allegations of mistrust. City council wants to rebuild its’ reputation, and in order to do so they must take concrete steps to insure things get done. It will be a difficult process, as I am certain there will be more cases of bribery and corruption to surface when the commission spins up again in January to listen to testimony from yet another witness who has come forth. Such interesting times we live in, whatever the case the link to the story is located in the address below:
A ‘mini’ summit held on December 3 2012 at McGill University centers around the issue of university finance, and post secondary finance in general. A report by the Montreal Gazette details just how divided the crowd is when it comes to thoughts on key issues such as university finance. Apparently there was some back and forth between two groups: one in support of tuition increases, the other opposed a hike in tuition fees. Another issue raised in this summit was funding and how when calculating funding for universities: research budgets are not to be included as they are separate from the university’s operating budget. Suffice it to say, this summit, which is a prelude to a much bigger summit scheduled to February, touches on some key issues that both student societies and university faculty have an interest in addressing. Thus far we can see on the article that neither side can reach an agreement, and that there is quite a bit of attacking going on, especially when it comes to the other sides’ argument. Techniques such as straw manning come into play as proponents for university fee hikes say that students – whom benefit the most from the university education – should pay a fair rate, rather than have the burden rest upon the shoulders of the working population. Now I myself have no official opinion on this, and the reason is because this is a complex issue and will require quite a bit of research in order to provide a solid, more realistic answer than simply taking one side or another. Now with that said, I can quickly say this: the cost has to go somewhere. If the government fronts the cost, then the entire population pays for it, if the student can cover MOST, not ALL of the costs, then it is less of a burden on society. With that said however, affordable tuition is important. Do we want to return to the age where only the rich and powerful send their children to institutions of high learning? Do we want education to be exclusive to a certain demographic of the population who can put forth 30,000.00 per year? It is a difficult question to answer: I just wish that there was a way to balance it out. Have the student still pay tuition, and have the government subsidize it like they are doing so now, with a chance at tuition forgiveness should they choose to enter the public service for say. I know British Columbia has this program set up whereby post-secondary students who work in a government field – for example corrections – can have a portion of their tuition forgiven. Now debt is a fear everyone has yeah, but sometimes it is necessary in regards to investing in your future. Some food for thought: you take out loans now, at a time when you cannot pay it off right away, and off-set that cost to a later date when you can afford to pay it off. Ultimately I will end the paragraph with this: you spend money on depreciating assets – cars, bikes, televisions – yet you do not want to spend money on your education? Anyways an opinion is an opinion, entirely subjective. The link to this story is located below this paragraph:
Kickstarter is not changing their all-or-nothing policy when it comes to investment anytime soon. An article on gamasutra.com details a list of reasons as to why Kickstarter – the popular start-up platform for indie developers – will not change their policy anytime soon when it comes to fundraising for projects. Now I read through the list, and their reasons are not entirely baseless and irresponsible. First off I must say that any Kickstarter project can be re-launched, so to speak. This means that if a project fails to reach their goal by just 300 dollars, they can re-launch their project on Kickstarter and try to earn that amount. Other reasons include a sort-of safety net for investors looking to fund projects which indie companies set forth, as highlighted in the article itself. First off, Kickstarter is not the only means to get funds for a project: once you have the necessary publicity, you can then advertise to investors and convince them why they should fund your project. Another point to be mentioned is the fact that companies kick-starting their projects do not walk away empty handed. The funds they gather from backers stays with them, and it will enable them to keep the lights on in the office as they seek new avenues of investment. Let us not forget that even though they may be a few dollars shy of their goal, the fan base created over the project will remain with them through the development cycle. Now I have not personally contributed to a Kickstarter project because as a student, I am already low-enough on funds so to speak. However for those of you unfamiliar with the site: Kickstarter basically allows ordinary people to contribute and donate money to a Kickstarter project. Some benefits in the past have included early access to the Alpha build, custom weapon skins, character models, etc. The fact is that Kickstarter is set up in a way to encourage regular folks to invest money into indie projects. This in turn can lead to corporate sponsorship, which will then help an indie developer build a solid game from the ground up and add to the ever-growing list of games for PC. Now the reason why I say PC is because the PC gaming market is fairly open to indie developers, not to mention the market is also consumer-friendly when compared to the console market. Though I am certain there is also indie Kickstarters for the console market as well, thus far my experience with this has been limited. Regardless, you can read more on this topic in the address below:
Right well, here is an interesting story that some of my readers might find out of step with my usual set of news, but nonetheless it requires attention. A branch of the Greek fascist party Golden Dawn located in Montreal has been collecting food for a Christmas drive according to this CBC article. The only difference between their charity drive and others is the fact that they only want to distribute the food to Christian Greeks. This normally would not enter the radar as my gazette focuses on specific topics, however the fact that this group has spun up in Montreal is slightly concerning to me. Now Greece is going through a lot: the rise of the extreme right, the austerity measures, all of which paint a rather grim and frightening picture. Now looking into this situation and doing some digging into the past, it is not uncommon for groups like Golden Dawn to attempt to establish chapters outside of their home country to gather support from expatriates who sympathize with them. An example of this practice would be Germany. Before the Second World War, Germany did the same thing by attempting to recruit Third Reich sympathizers in expat communities. This group has both the Jewish community, as well as the Greek community, uncomfortable and on edge, and both have come out to publically comment on such a group existing in Montreal. To be honest, this sort of extremism really has no place in Canada. Loyalty to a country is not determined by ethnicity, but by declared allegiance. An American-born citizen of Russia can be loyal to the Kremlin and willing to wage war on Russia’s behalf, while a daughter of Russia born in Siberia could harbour traitorous thoughts and seek to overthrow the Kremlin at the first available opportunity. I would hope that the RCMP is keeping a bit of an eye on these fanatics, as words can often be deceiving. You can find links to this story as well as related stories in the section below this paragraph:
Adobe wants to attract game developers to their products by offering development tools on a monthly subscription package. Adobe launched their package at a San Francisco gathering Monday evening. The package includes software that was previously available to developers of flash games, as well as a few new features, all for the price of 49.99 per month. One notable program that is included is Adobe Scout, which was used to optimize FarmVille 2. I must say that this is a good tactic on behalf of Adobe. Developers are looking for cost-effective tools – especially when it comes to flash games – and also for a chance to broaden their horizons. Now this diversity in the types of tools available to developers can only bode well for the indie scene. The last thing we need is a single software development company holding a monopoly over the industry. Competition breeds innovation, and having multiple avenues with which to develop a game is beneficial to independent developers who – at times – rely on limited funds to produce a quality product for the consumer market. Some of the tools in the package are also available on a free version of Creative Cloud, though some are limited to a trial mode. You can find the link to this story in the address below this paragraph:
Well that about wraps up this Wednesday dose of the gazette. Now before I go I would just like to point out a video and charity drive currently going on. So John Bain, or Totalbiscuit – as some of you may know him by – has put out a video which contains mobile phone footage of a Esports team manager’s home after a house fire. Now from what is said in the video, the manager of Team Dignitas – based in the UK – and more specifically his kids, have lost nearly everything in the house fire. There is extensive fire damage to the upper levels, which means that there is a lot of soot damage to the possessions of both himself and his kids, both of whom had to get clothing donations from their school because they had their entire wardrobes destroyed in the fire. Not to mention the fact that whatever is semi-damaged has to be thrown out due to toxins and other pollutants. All this of course right before the Christmas season, so as a result John has asked his community to check out the website set up to donate to Odee – the manager of Team Dignitas – in order to help them through the holiday season, and to help with repairs to their home. Now earlier on Tuesday December 4th, John released a video detailing how charity donations are purely subjective, and ultimately it is up to the person whether or not they would like to donate. Now he goes on to talk about how people may argue that third world countries have more important issues, or that nobody cares, but he then goes on to state that when it comes to charity, giving to worthy cause should be the only thing that matters. Whether the person donating believes in the cause or not is entirely subjective. Ultimately, Odee does not make any money from his Esports team: rather he loses money as it is more of a passion project than a profit-gaining enterprise. His dedication to the team was reason enough for John to help out Odee in his time of need. Now I’m going to link to the donation page as well as the video so that you people can get a bit of a better idea as to what is going on. Even if you do not donate, please disable your ad-blocking software on your browser before you view the video as the ad proceeds will go to Odee. For those of you unaware: ad-blocking software NEVER tricks’ the ad to play elsewhere besides the video. The advertisements just do not commence, and therefore your Youtube personalities do not get the money. The video is obviously free to watch, and regardless if you donate or not, Odee will get something if the ad-blocking software is disabled.
Alright folks, that about wraps things up for this edition of the gazette. Check back Saturday, December 8th 2012 for another addition to the gazette. Again if you have any suggestions for future editions, please leave them up top in the suggestions tab. My name has been Vincent, and I shall see you next time.