Why Jeremy Lin is good

February 8, 2012

Couple things first.

I take back half of what I said about Mike D’Antoni needing to be fired.  His defense is better than I thought, as long as his guys are playing smart.  He’s able to use guys like Landry and Jeffries to shut down all stars, as long as they know when to help and when to switch.  His offense is also stellar, granted he has a guard who knows how to run the pick and roll.  Why he waited so long to go to an actual point guard is another question. But now that he has an actual pg, the ball movement is a lot of fun to watch and the floor spacing is great.

Second, I was wrong in my post about Lin not being able to finish or be a scoring threat.  The guy can finish and even if he doesn’t, the fouls he draws makes up for the bricks.  And the guy is not a sharpshooter and his form needs work, but once he gets going, he can hit them.  And if he bricks 3’s, he’s smart enough to look for other shots closer to the basket instead of chucking.

Now, back to the topic – here’s why he’s good.  The guy runs the pick and roll like a genius.

1:01 – Humphries hedges off the screen.  Lin catches the roller (Jefferies) with a bounce pass

1:08 – Lin uses a Chandler screen to beat Farmar with a floater

1:30 – Chandler screen, Sheldon Williams hedges, Lin catches the roller with an alley oop

2:21 – Deron Williams thinks Lin is gonna try to lose him on the pick and gets ready to fight through the pick. Instead Lin drives away from the pick and blows right past him

3:06 – STAT pick, Lin notices D-Will is going under the screen.  So he has STAT set up a second pick.  When D-Will goes under the pick again, Lin punishes him by shooting a jumper

3:50 – Lin does the same thing to Farmar.  Farmar goes under the screen (even though he’s like 10 feet in front of Lin), so Lin uses the space to get inside the key and shoot a jumper

4:55 – Chandler pick, big man hedges, Lin splits the hedge and gets to the hole.

5:50 – Another head fake on Deron, driving away from the screen to the hole

0:51 – This is funny.  Lin brings the ball down while reading the defense.  Lin notices the weak D on the strong side, changes speed to make the strong side D hesitate.  Once they hesitate, Lin drives to the basket.  Defense collapses, including Kanter who abandons Chandler.  Lin lobs it to Chandler.

1:14 – Chandler pick, Kanter hedges off the screen, Lin lobs it to Chandler again

1:36 – This one is funny too.  Jefferies pick, Kanter hedges, Lin uses Kanter to block off Devin Harris and actually makes Harris run into him (lol).  Kanter is slow and fouls him.  And the best part, even if Kanter had played good D and Lin had no shot, the roller (Jefferies) is still wide open

2:24 – Again Lin drives away from the screen, and scores.

3:17 – Jefferies screen, Jefferson hedges, Lin finds the roller again.  So much good stuff happens every time the defense stops guarding the roller.

3:29 – Jefferies screen, Jefferson hedges, Lin splits the hedge, fuckin draws everybody into the paint, and kicks it out to Novak

4:25 – Jefferies pick, Jefferson hedges again, Lin splits the hedge again because I think by now he realizes Jefferson is slow as fuck.  Millsap is almost in position to guard the paint.  Instead he watches and is like, oh he’s not gonna make it through…. oh wait he did WOW!  By then it’s too late

5:42 – At this point of the game, the Jazz thought he couldn’t go left and tried to block off his right.  Kanter hedges and stops him but then remembers those Chandler lobs and goes back to D up Chandler.  Lin changes speeds but sees Kanter running away, leaving an open lane, so Lin drives left past Earl Watson to the hole

6:00 – Chandler pick.  Harris and Jefferson switch.  Lin attacks Jefferson and gets a sick finish.  I think by this time he realizes he can blow by Jefferson every time.  So he does

In general, I think it’s safe to say that Lin will make the right play once he initiates the pick and roll.  He’ll drive if he beats his defender.  If the screener defender hedges, he can pass the rock to the roll man using a myriad of bounce passes, lobs, and alley oops.  If he knows he has an advantage over the screener defender, he’ll attack him and draw the foul.  If his defender goes under the screen, he’ll pull up for a jumper.  If the defender goes over the screen and is too slow, he’ll beat him on the drive.  And he can keep the defense guessing with hesitation moves, quick drives to his right away from the screen, quick kick outs to the open man, and the ability to capitalize dynamically on defensive mistakes.

So how do you stop Lin?

  1. Get a quick defender who can stay in front of him and anticipate the screen better so he can go over it
  2. Get a defender who can play close physical defense on him to try and force him to lose his handle.
  3. Trap him before he can get in position to initiate a pick and roll and force a turnover or pass.
  4. Make him use his left hand on the dribble and on his layups.  Most of his missed layups come from either his weaker hand or overcompensating for the weak hand by using the right hand at a bad angle

Far as Mike Brown needing to be fired though, I’m not taking that back.  The guy is clueless.

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And now, a Short Break

February 5, 2012

from my usual complaining to commemorate Jeremy Lin’s breakout game

Credit goes to Knicks fans at RealGM for most of these pics

Why Brown and D’Antoni got to go

January 30, 2012

I’ve been watching two teams this year.  The Lakers and the Knicks.  The Lakers because they’re my team.  The Knicks because Jia wants to know if Jeremy Lin is gonna have a breakout season or fade into obscurity.

Yep

Yep

How they’re similar:

1. Their point guard situations suck.

The Lakers have Fisher and Blake as their starting and backup.  Morris is their 3rd string with no experience.  Blake is a good backup but is injured. For most of his career, Fisher has run the triangle.   Which means last year, Fisher’s basic MO was bring the ball down, pass to Artest in the wing and run to the corner.   He never had to attack or be a playmaker.  This year he’s no longer running the triangle, is too slow to penetrate, and isn’t in the habit of reading the offense to make plays.

Typical Lakers offense:

– Fisher brings ball down, stops at the 3 line.

– Backcourt starts playing hot potato

– A 3 gets lobbed up, or ball goes to one of the big men in the post.  Big man goes iso or forces the shot

– Eventually Kobe gets tired of watching and decides to take over.

The Knicks have Davis, Douglas, Bibby, Shumpert, and Lin.  Baron Davis is an awesome point guard but he’s injured and everytime Knicks fans think he’s finally gonna play, well he’s not.  Douglas is a shooting guard being asked to play the point but he doesn’t know the first thing about finding the open man.  Shumpert is a rookie who can get in the paint and shows flashes of pg ability, but his strength is playing the 2.  Bibby is a once decent point guard at the tail end of his career  And Lin has true pg and playmaker skills but can’t finish at the rim and isn’t a scoring threat.

Typical Knicks Offense:

– Douglas brings the ball down, stops at the 3 line.

– Then he either lobs a brick, or tosses it to someone else at the 3 line who lobs a brick

– Or the backcourt plays hot potato until the ball gets to STAT or Carmelo, who already has a defender on them and goes for the jumper.

– This goes on for the whole game because unfortunately, the Knicks don’t have someone like Kobe to say fuck this and take over.

2. Their coaches suck at offense and are blind to how much they suck at it.

Though in the case of the Knicks, I think D’Antoni sucks at everything – his switching switching switching defense looks like some broken high school zone D.

We only scored 40 points last game so we need to work on our defense

Mike Brown has improved the Lakers defense.  Unfortunately, the Lakers can no longer score under him and Kobe scoring 40+ a night is a throwback to the Tomjanovich days.  When the Lakers have had 3 games in a row scoring in the 70’s and 80’s and Mike Brown is saying during the post game the reason they’re losing is because they didn’t pay good enough D, there’s a problem.  When it takes 15 seconds for the offense to get set up, after which 3 Lakers are occupying the same 5 foot radius and have zero spacing, I don’t know what the fuck kind of offense is being run.  When Pau somehow ends up in the corner in successive games and starts tossing up 3’s, one has to wonder how he got there.

“Shoot more 3’s muthafuckas!!!”

D’Antoni is the SSOL guy – the Suns were the Oakland A’s of the NBA, using a sabretmetric-esque run and gun to rack up wins before all the other teams figured them out.  And now they have so D’Antoni’s 15 minutes are up and the guy has no clue what to do.  He also doesn’t have a PG as good as Nash so his current system seems to rely on jacking up 3’s.  No penetration, open looks, etc.  Personally I don’t consider that a system.

3. They both have big men that can dominate, but only if they’re given the ball and play inside.  But they’re not/don’t.

Lakers have Pau and Bynum.  Bynum plays his ass off.  Knicks have STAT and Chandler.  Chandler plays his ass off.  STAT is the biggest guy on the court and settles for jumpers.  Pau is a 7 footer camping the 3 line.

The minute the Lakers big men get hot, their backcourt stops passing to them.  And the Knicks would rather lob 3’s than figure out a way to get STAT and Chandler open looks.

Watching both these teams is a travesty… the Lakers because they’re nowhere as good as they were last year.  The Knicks because they’re shitty as always.

What do they need to do?

1. Lakers:  bring back the triangle.  You don’t have anyone that can slash reliably or has excellent court vision.  Yet you have one of the only teams that knows an offensive system that hides your weaknesses and has worked year after year to get you a championship.   Also, fire Mike Brown.

2. Knicks:  play Lin at pg.  Put him alongside STAT, Carmelo, and your other scoring threats that can finish at the rim.  Expect Lin to play the pick and roll, find the open man and be a poor man’s Rondo.  Until Baron comes back, Lin is the only guy who’s game hedges on passing first and Douglas/Bibby aren’t doing shit except making sure you guys die by the 3.  Also, fire D’Antoni.

Go Knicks!

Why Zynga Sucks

January 27, 2012

Hi, my name is Zynga.  I’m the first pure social gaming company to go public.  I want you to believe I can make you money.

I’m a slave to two platforms.  Facebook and Mobile.  I serve the social gaming market in both platforms.  This market has a huge bottleneck – it has a shitload of games but only a select few can dominate and pull the huge profit.  To compensate, I as well as all the other  social gaming companies flood the market with a nonstop barrage of games, hoping that one of them somehow becomes a hit.  Ironically, flooding the market makes it even more difficult all around for someone to succeed, creating a wonderful race to the bottom with a ton of cheap interchangeable shit.  This differs from traditional gaming, where you can have multiple hits across different genres.  But for you investors I’ll pretend all games behave the same no matter the market.

The social gaming market I serve has little product differentiation,  making brand loyalty practically non-existent.  So when gamers get tired of what they’re playing, they migrate to whatever they happen to click on next or whatever their friends are playing.  They don’t wait for the next Zynga game to drop or stick entirely to Zynga games.  Bottomline is social gaming customers don’t care who makes the game they’re glued to for the next 5 months.  Whether it’s Zynga, Playfish, or Kabam is irrelevant.  So expecting me to generate a long term profit on the basis of having a couple hits doesn’t work. But for you investors I’ll act like social gaming is all about brand loyalty.

The crux of what’s made me different is my streamlined analytics – the numbers I’ve crunched to make the perfect skinner box.  With the exception of my Poker and puzzle game ripoffs, all my social games are reward/punishment skinner boxes that might as well be nothing more than a game where you click on cows every 6 hours.  The analytics I use for the skinner box’s definitive features such as how long I gotta fuckin wait to harvest my crops, how much $$$ I get for serving virtual casserole, and other shit like this are what keeps the user coming back more reliably than my competitors.  Besides being the first company to take advantage of Facebook, a milestone that can no longer be duplicated, these analytics have been the key to my success.  Unfortunately, having the foundation of your success be a bunch of spreadsheets means it’s easily duplicated.  Which is why other companies like EA and Booyah are intruding on my turf now.  But for you investors I’ll pretend I’ve got something my competitors don’t have.

I suck at making games.  So I steal.  I steal code.  I steal gaming concepts.  I steal whatever game mechanic is hot at the moment and reskin it.  My biggest hits were ripoffs.  Farmville was a ripoff of Farm Town.  Cafe World was a ripoff of Restaurant City.  Mafia Wars was a ripoff of Mob Wars.  Words with Friends ripped off Scrabble.  Scramble with Friends ripped off Boggle.  Is my compulsive stealing to turn a profit sustainable?  I don’t know.  But it does make for some great PR, like my lawsuits with Psycho Monkey, Vostu and Agincourt.  Or when Nimblebit put me on blast in the media for ripping off Tiny Towers.  Which makes me a second rate gaming company posing as a first rate investment. But for you investors, I’ll pretend I’m a creative trailblazer in the industry.

Farmtown vs Farmville - Zynga doing what it does best

Choices are good for the consumer!

The creative bankruptcy that is the social gaming bubble

Is my CEO smart?   Behind closed doors, he hates innovation and urges his employees to jack ideas by all means necessary.

Fellow Fool Patrick Martin compiled a non-inclusive list last year of some of the social-game maker’s more apparent reproductions, including FishVilleMafia Wars, and Word Twist, among others. Patrick also quoted CEO Mark Pincus as once saying, “I don’t [expletive] want innovation. You’re not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers,” according to an ex-employee who spoke with SF Weekly. – Motley Fool

Pincus is anti-innovation which seems to make sense because my market of bored housewives doesn’t really care about innovation too much.  They just want something to pass their time while they’re taking a shit or the baby is asleep, and that something needs to cost a buck or be free. That’s why they’re all okay being lame ass farmers. So one might say innovation is a waste of money when the stuff you’re selling and the stuff you’re competing against is bottom of the barrel cheap crap.  Too bad this strategy of perennial copying is shortsighted because it’s given me lawsuits, a crap reputation, and saturated my market with the same skinner box clone bullshit that makes it hard for me to get a hit in the first place.  But for you investors, we’ll pretend Pincus’ roadmap of nonstop IP ripoffs is a brilliant long term strategy and won’t generate any backlash.

Meanwhile, all the other heavyweights in my market like Playfish, and EA are also creatively bankrupt so we’ve all jacked each other into a theft orgy so ridiculous, no one remembers who originally created what anymore.  This should have been a roadblock for a company like me that can’t create a game on my own.  It’s okay though because I’ve found a solution – I’m now jacking indie developers.  This should sustain short-term profitability and keep you investors fooled.  After the indie backlash though, hopefully I can come up with some other shit to jack, or get acquired by EA, otherwise I’m doomed. Well, at least I’ll still have your $$$, right Pincus?

Dear Zynga, thank you for jacking our shit - Indie developer #1

So all you investors, don’t worry, I’m still the market leader in a market so dysfunctional, short-term profitability and dynamic market growth hides the fact my market will eventually implode.  My name is Zynga, and this has been a public service announcement.

Translation: Short me in a couple years.  Unless EA buys me out. Peace

Why Jeremy Lin’s Stock is Going Down

January 4, 2012

Please go in, please go in

Jeremy Lin, AKA the only Asian American in the NBA, has very little time left to prove himself.  After being the 15th man on the Warriors and Rockets, Lin is now sitting on the Knicks bench where he gets between 1-3 minutes of garbage time in the 4th.  Lin’s reputation is still unproven.

What he should’ve done during garbage time is showed off his strengths.  His strengths are his ability to penetrate, find the open man, play the pick and roll, and play above average defense.  Lin is on a team where the two active point guards, TD and Bibby, can’t penetrate or make plays.  Typical Knicks offense has TD or Bibby bringing the ball down to the 3 line, where it gets passed 2-3 times around the wing until it lands in the hands of Carmelo or STAT, who then tries to score, typically with a jumper.  Either that, or TD tries to play shooting guard at the 3 line.  No plays, no penetration, no pick and roll, the things Lin is actually good at and a pure PG should be able to do.

What Lin should’ve done is penetrated on his garbage time possessions, collapsing defenders, and then dishing the ball out to an open man.  Eventually that lightbulb in D’Antoni’s head would have turned on and he would’ve realized Lin would be perfect for finding an open Carmelo or STAT, as opposed to what’s going on now, where they shoot in isolation or force the shot in traffic.  Lin could be effective on the Knicks as a poor man’s Rondo – not a scoring threat but able to consistently make plays.

Instead Lin’s been showing off his weaknesses instead – his bad jumper and inability to finish in traffic.  And in the case of the Kings game, his willingness to drive on the busy side of his defender and forced scoring led to turnovers and a -4 plus/minus rating in a game where almost everyone else on his team was positive.  So to the average NBA fan, it looks like he sucks.

His stock is going down and it’s a shame.  He’s got only a few more games until Shumpert re-enters the lineup and makes him irrelevant.  Once Baron Davis comes back, Lin becomes another Scalabrine or Adam Morrison, hired to help out during practice scrimmages only.  And if the Knicks try to acquire Kenyon Martin in February, Lin will get cut.  And if he gets cut, his career for this year is pretty much done.

Good luck man.  I’m hoping he’ll have a breakout game but chances are looking slim right now.

Toast to the only Asian American baller with name recognition, and the  dreams that live and die with him.

Why SWG is better than SWTOR

December 31, 2011

Star Wars Galaxies pre CU/NGE = Sandbox MMO

Star Wars the Old Republic =  Themepark MMO

Cantinas

SWG - Full of players socializing, entertainer classes designed to be in these buildings, music and dance used to buff combat classes

SWTOR - Empty as hell except for a few NPC's. If it weren't for the trainers and mission instances in the back of the cantina, nobody would go in here.

Crafting

SWG - complex yet rewarding. Survey the ground for a resource, assess its quality and stick a bunch of harvesters permanently in the game to harvest it. Build a factory to mass produce whatever good you want to sell. Then open up a shop to sell your goods. Customize the name of your shop and stick furniture / display cases in it. Hire an NPC or droid to sell your goods, customize his greeting. All this stays in the world permanently.

SWTOR - A step above WoW in that it lets companion crew skills to do the boring click/create stuff. Yet why has MMORPG crafting become so boring in the first place that we now need a gameplay mechanic to NOT have to do it?

Classes

SWG - 34 different professions, many non-combat such as image designers, chefs, engineers, in addition to combat professions like Bounty Hunter, Rifleman, Fencer. Ability to train one character in multiple classes and switch classes.

SWTOR - Combat only, all based off standard archetypes of tank, mage, rogue, healer or hybrids thereof.

Player Housing 

SWG - Buy a house deed from an architect. Place it on a plot of land to claim it as your own. Place furniture all around it. Put your name on the sign outside so people know who lives there. Invite other players to visit and check it out.

SWTOR - None. Well you get a spaceship but you can't customize it and nobody else but you is allowed on it. It's basically just a small instance.

Character Customization

SWG - Extremely detailed. Able to make a character that looked like you. You could even set your character's mood, which would change your character's facial expression.

SWTOR - Limited set of race specific skins. A bunch of the sliders only have 3 or 4 options on it.

Vanity Pets

SWG - Put 6 points in the Creature Handler profession, go out and find a baby creature. Tame it successfully, name it, buy food from a chef profession to feed it, watch it grow into an adult. Teach it tricks. Do it several times and arrange all your pets in a formation. Use them for combat or mounts if they're suitable. Give them away as gifts to other players.

SWTOR - Tiny little graphics that follow you around and do nothing.

Space Combat

360 degree freedom. Pilot profession that would grant you the ability to fly better spacecraft as your skill developed.

SWTOR - Starfox 64 rail shooter

Mob AI

SWG - Friendly creatures would approach you with a question mark and check you out before running back to their herd. Certain creatures would have unique behaviors and non-combat AI. Cats would track and stalk you. One aggressive creature would kill its babies when threatened. NPC's from different factions would be locked in battle.

SWTOR - Friendly creatures just sit there and do nothing. Aggressive ones attack you until you run away or one of you is dead. No non-combat AI.

Tippin a 40 to the memory of the Sandbox MMO, and all the innovation that got squashed when developers decided copying WOW was the only way to go

Why Rovio is a joke

December 15, 2011

Hi, my name is Rovio.  I want your $$$.  My CEO is running around telling everyone I’m gonna be bigger than Disney. Here’s why you should invest in me and lose your money.

Introducing Steve Ballmer 2.0

1. I suck at making games.  I have one hit, Angry Birds.  To make this hit, I used someone else’s physics engine and ripped off a game called Crush the Castle without permission.  Crush the Castle had catapults chucking rocks at knights wearing armor in a castle.  In order to not get sued, I changed the catapult to a slingshot, rocks to birds, and knights to pigs.  Except I was too lazy to take the armor off the pigs.

People bought my hack game anyway and turned it into a brand.  I owe this all to our graphic designers, who were able to create bird characters and pigs that are iconic and memorable.  Unlike everyone else who works for me, these graphic designers are great and hopefully they get poached soon.  The rest of our programmers on the otherhand are useless.

They have no clue how to make a new game to carry this brand.  Then again my programmers just jack stuff so that’s to be expected.  Since my graphic designers are the only good employees, I have to put them to work and have them reskin the same game over and over for the next 2-3 years.  That way I can pretend I’m releasing brand new games and fool everyone.

2. Since my game design skills suck, I figured we can make more money by selling bird toys and t-shirts. Obviously this won’t last because people are gonna get sick of them, but I’m gonna pretend it will.

Mmmm hmmm yea

3. My CEO is running around telling everyone I’m gonna be the next Disney.  You should believe him because comparisons are everywhere.  Disney put out several cartoons and films to further the brand.  I only have one game.  Disney pioneered audio video technology in his cartoons.  My one game pioneers nothing.  It took Disney 3 years to create his first animated feature.  It takes me a couple months to reskin my one game for Chinese New Year.  It took Disney over 30 years before they went public and by then they’d put out Bambi, Mickey Mouse, Snow White, Fantasia, Alice and Wonderland, Peter Pan, etc and proven they can duplicate success several times over.  I want your money now and all I got is this one game.

4. My CEO doesn’t give a shit about protecting IP.  He’s happy China hijacked my Angry Birds IP to create an unofficial theme park.  Later on, if someone gets killed on a ride over there and a PR backlash happens that affects me, hopefully he will still be happy.

nice legs, ugly face

5. My CEO is bringing back balloons from China for me to copy.  This is because my marketing group is asleep.

Cheers to everyone who has the foresight to short me in a few years.

ugly girl ruins the picture once again

Why Apple won’t kill Nintendo

December 6, 2011

1. The App store’s business model is too fucked up to compete with Nintendo. Games are too cheap, and it’s not AAA game experience for a bargain cheap. It’s that’s all I’m willing to pay for this inferior gaming experience cheap. The games have little depth and owe it all to mobile’s budget price point. You get what you pay for.

Shitty games for sale!!!

Because of the lower pricing standard, it’s not profitable to make AAA games for core gamers AKA the demographic that’s been supporting the market for the past 20+ years. Instead it’s only profitable to make casual games or cheap IP ripoff games (Hi Gameloft) that capture submarkets – bored housewives with nothing to do, guys who have to sit on the A train while it goes through all of Manhattan, people who game on the toilet, and fanboys willing to buy any hardcore looking mobile game so they can pretend it’s the real deal.

In order to kill consoles/handheld, first and foremost mobile needs to have games that are better than the ones on consoles/handheld. They don’t, and when a game that costs more than a small pizza is considered too expensive, they’re not gonna be able to.

Why does my iPhone even have a GPU?

2. Mobile gaming is ridiculously commoditized – an increasing number of way too many games to pick from. So as the saturated market gets even more saturated, it becomes harder for developers to get their game noticed. In response, mobile’s already cheap pricepoint gets driven down even further and the gap in quality between mobile and dedicated grows even more.

At the beginning, iOS games ran $1-5. Then developers started migrating to Freemium. Analysts who confuse causation and correlation want you to believe devs are going to Freemium because it’s a superior business model. In reality, devs are jumping on Freemium because the iOS market is so saturated, you now have to give away your game to get someone to download it. Even worse, some companies are starting to wholesale their IP under a subscription model. iOS is going from being the dollar store of video games to the Costco of dollar stores video games.

3. Because of commoditization, marketing is impossible. When a AAA console/handheld game gets released, it’s a big deal. When an iOS game gets released, nobody gives a shit. Once in awhile you’ll have a game like N.O.V.A or Infinity Blade 2 that gets hyped up. Difference is, they’re hyped up because they got Apple to demo the game at WWDC to help sell the newest iPad. But if you’re a developer who’s not in bed with Apple, good luck with getting the word out on your game.

With Infinity Blade, I think the trick is to get Apple to promote your game on stage! [laughs] Oh, and in their commercials. We didn’t spend a penny on Infinity Blade marketing. We were thinking about it but never got round to it. It’s been a very profitable game for us.  – Mike Capps, Epic Games

The only marketing that really matters is getting your game on the top 10 chart in a market that’s so commoditized, it’s like playing the lottery. You’re basically hoping to hit what Malcolm Gladwell calls the tipping point. So are all the other tens of thousands of iOS game developers so it’s like one giant raffle from hell. And just like that, we can watch any innovative idea that could’ve challenged console/handheld gameplay get buried.

The online gaming industry is hotter than it has ever been thanks largely to Facebook and Apple’s (AAPL.O) iPhone, which are bringing video games to vast new audiences who have never been gamers before.

But lower barriers to entry for game developers mean competition is intense, and would-be market entrants should beware of being carried away by the success of a handful of games like Angry Birds, industry executives said this week. – Reuters

4. Apple isn’t vested in gaming. They’re not like Nintendo where they have to care about the quality of games on their platform. If the 3DS has proven anything, it’s that for a Nintendo device, the games have to be stellar for the hardware to sell. Meanwhile, if your iOS games suck, there are 50 other reasons for you to use your iDevice and give Apple your money. Which is why Apple can just kick back and whitelist every IP ripoff and minigame that gets submitted. Contrast this with Nintendo, who wouldn’t release Super Mario 3D Land early even though 3DS sales badly needed it, because they wanted it to be perfect. The quality gap widens even more.

5. Mobile gaming is a bubble. If you believe everything I’m writing right now, you can see the hype that makes it a bubble. Analysts are jumping to conclusions about it killing off console makers even though the games suck. Analysts tout the specs of the latest iOS device even though the average iOS game looks like it can run in a browser. Features like Airplay Mirroring get hyped up as console killers even though nobody can name a game that takes advantage of it other than Real Racing. And much of mobile gaming’s success hedges on social gaming, which many people, mobile developers included, think is a bubble as well.

Innovation at its finest

When Zynga, a company who jacks code and game ideas, is getting investors to buy into their IPO, that’s funny. When Rovio, a one hit wonder that can’t do anything except reskin the same game 4 or 5 times and make bird toys, is drawing investors, that’s funny too. These companies have no return drivers for long-term growth. EA meanwhile is trying to position itself as the mobile leader by snatching up any mobile game developer with one hit to their name, degrading the value of its existing IP to by converting it to Freemium, and still remains mediocre. A trainwreck’s coming.

6. Whenever analysts cite data showing mobile taking over handheld marketshare, they cite Flurry. They usually show a bunch of Flurry pie graphs side by side and put a line in their article that says, “according to Flurry research” without even knowing who Flurry is. Flurry is a company that makes money by contracting its services to mobile developers and has a vested interest in the mobile app market’s success. All those pie graphs you see on every article proclaiming the death of Nintendo and Sony come off their blog, which if you’ve ever seen it, is essentially a long sales pitch to iOS/Android app developers to get them to sign up and pay for Flurry services. Which is why whenever Flurry talks about marketshare, they do funny stuff like use pie graph %’s instead of units sold, post revenue instead of profits, and leave out pertinent information like whether or not the market has expanded. Nice biased source.

According to our graphs, mobile is winning. Now give us your money

7. Control problems. Touch is good for things like physics games, diner dash type stuff, tower defense – basically a good chunk of casual game genres. It sucks for everything else. As much as the hype police would have you believe touch is the future of gaming and buttons are unneeded, iOS developers still put virtual buttons and analog sticks on the screen. If I had to guess why, it’s because there is no other alternative – buttons are superior.  The only difference is on mobile they take up half the screen real estate, there are fewer of them, and there’s no haptic feedback.

NBA 2K12 AKA Double Dribble for iPhone

8. A ton of pro-mobile arguments are predicated on some wierd logic suggesting console technology doesn’t grow.  They go something like this:

“Within the next few years, tablets will reach the power of current gaming consoles” – Infinity Blade 2 Developer

“It’s unquestionable that within a very short time, we’re going to have portable cell phones that are more powerful than the current-gen consoles.” – John Carmack, ID Software

So what?  My Windows Pocket PC was more powerful than my Sega Genesis.  My iPhone 4 is more powerful than a Playstation 2.  Mobile has always reached the power of console technology within a few years. In other news, the next generation console will reach the power of current high end desktops in a few years.  This has been the trend for the past couple decades.  Why are you stating the obvious and what does this have to do with mobile challenging the console market?  Nobody knows.

9. The whole mobile is gonna kill handheld/console argument came up when the current generation of flagship handhelds, the DS and the PSP, were toward the end of their life cycle, making mobile seem like more of a threat than it really is. The threat was hyped up by parties like Flurry trying to capitalize on the whole app surgence, Apple talking up iOS gaming as a dominant force in order to sell the latest iDevice, analysts who enjoy number crunching more than playing video games, and journalists who plagiarize each other because they don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.

The truth is that mobile is disruptive, but it’s not a game changer. The next couple years, when the next generation of consoles/handhelds takes off, will prove it.

Toast to all the gamers who intuitively understand that flinging a bird at a pig 500 times in a row won’t replace a good Mario game.

What I’ve learned over the past 2 days trying to get LibSVM 3.11 for Matlab installed on a Mac running OS X Lion

December 6, 2011

LibSVM comes as software package written in C. To get it to work with Matlab you need to compile it by typing “make” in the LibSVM/Matlab directory.

“make” will look for the C compiler on your computer and run it. The compiler’s name is g++ and is inside a software suite called XCode.

XCode is Apple’s set of tools for developers and does not come preinstalled on OSX.  Instead you have to download it.  Xcode 4.2 is free off the Mac App Store if you’re running Lion. If you’re running Snow Leopard, you need to register for free to get on the Apple developers website, where you can download XCode 3.2.6.

Knowing all this there are a bunch of different reasons why “make” could give you an error. The two I ran across are:

1. Xcode is not installed. If you have no Developer directory on your hard drive, you don’t have it.If this is the case you’ll get a few lines of error that look something like this:

/Applications/MATLAB_R2009aSV.app/bin/mex: line 1102: gcc-4.0: command not found
/Applications/MATLAB_R2009aSV.app/bin/mex: line 1081: gcc-4.0: command not found
/Applications/MATLAB_R2009aSV.app/bin/mex: line 992: gcc-4.0: command not found

Install XCode to fix this.

2.If you have XCode installed, you can still get errors if there are version conflicts between Xcode, Matlab, and OSX. Basically, all 3 have to match in order to for the makefile to work.  If they don’t, you’ll probably get some kind of giant block of scrolling text error.

svm.cpp:1:18: error: math.h: No such file or directory
svm.cpp:2:19: error: stdio.h: No such file or directory
svm.cpp:3:20: error: stdlib.h: No such file or directory
svm.cpp:4:19: error: ctype.h: No such file or directory
svm.cpp:5:19: error: float.h: No such file or directory
svm.cpp:6:20: error: string.h: No such file or directory
svm.cpp:7:20: error: stdarg.h: No such file or directory
svm.cpp: In function ‘void clone(T*&, S*, int)’:
svm.cpp:22: error: there are no arguments to ‘memcpy’ that depend on a template parameter, so a declaration of ‘memcpy’ must be available
svm.cpp:22: error: (if you use ‘-fpermissive’, G++ will accept your code, but allowing the use of an undeclared name is deprecated)
svm.cpp: In function ‘void print_string_stdout(const char*)’:
svm.cpp:41: error: ‘stdout’ was not declared in this scope
svm.cpp:41: error: ‘fputs’ was not declared in this scope
svm.cpp:42: error: ‘fflush’ was not declared in this scope
svm.cpp: In function ‘void info(const char*, …)’:
svm.cpp:48: error: ‘BUFSIZ’ was not declared in this scope
svm.cpp:49: error: ‘va_list’ was not declared in this scope
svm.cpp:49: error: expected `;’ before ‘ap’
svm.cpp:50: error: ‘ap’ was not declared in this scope
svm.cpp:50: error: ‘va_start’ was not declared in this scope
svm.cpp:51: error: ‘buf’ was not declared in this scope
svm.cpp:51: error: ‘vsprintf’ was not declared in this scope
svm.cpp:52: error: ‘va_end’ was not declared in this scope
svm.cpp: In constructor ‘Cache::Cache(int, long int)’:
ETC ETC ETC

I was running Matlab R2009a, OS X Lion, and didn’t have XCode installed.

I got the first error which was resolved by installing XCode 4.2

I then got the second error and found my version of Matlab was not compatible with 4.2.It was older and needed the 3.X revision (according to this nifty chart from Mathworks). So I uninstalled 4.2 and installed 3.2

I then got the second type of error again and yelled out WTF. Eventually I looked at the Developer/Library directory and realized half of the directories were empty. Found out that XCode Rev 3.2 is not supposed to be installed on Lion and if you try, it only does a partial install because Apple disabled the Toolkit installation for anything non-Lion. The Toolkit contains everything that’s important… including the uninstall script.

At this point, my choices were to either upgrade Matlab to the latest version and use XCode 4.2 and Lion, or use old version Matlab, XCode 3.2, and downgrade OS X to Snow Leopard.

My version of Matlab is the student version, but I’m not registered this semester so I couldn’t do the upgrade process (the one where they make you submit your fingerprints, 10 photo ID’s, and social security # just to get a license). So I sat there ready to downgrade OS X.

But lucky for me, I found a hack on the internet which let me install XCode Rev 3.2 on Lion. Thanks to Anatomic Wax for this. I have no clue who he is but he saved me a headache since I have no clue where my Snow Leopard disc is anyway.

Cheers