159: Fragging in the (Un)Lucky Country

Fragging in the (Un)Lucky Country

"While the rest of the world explores the competitive side of the internet, however, Australia lags behind, listening for results via dial-up. Forget professional gaming - people struggle to get quality broadband. If you are lucky enough to find a decent service, you'd better hope it holds up during peak hours for your online fragging fix. And don't get me started on those who live in the bush."

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While I empathise with your inability to get a solid broadband internet connection, I think you guys can really color yourselves lucky that professional gaming has not taken hold there. Have you ever seen pictures of these people? I'm sorry, but pizzafaced, four-eyed, pasty white 98lb weaklings do not make good Wheaties covers, or even worse, role models.

yah seriously, those guys arent real gamers. real gamers should play for fun, not profit

Why can't they be doing both? Enjoy what they do AND make a living out of it?

CantFaketheFunk:
Why can't they be doing both? Enjoy what they do AND make a living out of it?

Because saying "Mom, Dad, I've decided to become a professional video game player" is about as far divorced from the realm of ordinary, acceptable conduct as can be imagined.

Talk to any career counsellor and they will tell you : If you want to be happy in life find something you're good at, something you enjoy doing, and that's what you should do for a job.

Tell them that what you enjoy and are good at is gaming, and they'll laugh in your face.

As an Aussie I do hope that professional e-sport does catch on down here, but sadly we do lag way behind the rest of the world in many online avenues. I lived in the US for 3 years and I could get a decent broadband connection for half of what I pay down here, and it wasn't metered the way most companies do down here, sharing a house with my wife who is also a gaming nut, and having to watch our usage to make sure we don't go over our cap for the month is rather annoying.

People do tend to overlook the benefits of serious competitive gaming. The organisation skills and leadership skills that it can teach go far beyond the stereotypical "pizza-faced, pasty-faced 98lb weakling" and actually help people with skills in other realms of life. The example cited by the writer is just one case where a gamer, has taken the skills they've learned through their gaming interactions and used it to move on to another career, one considered more "socially acceptable."

For now, the rest of us keep plugging away at our daily 9 to 5's, come home, eat dinner with the family, play with my son (who is 2) and enjoy my gaming hobby after he heads to bed, then spend what time we can on the weekend, cloistered behind our monitors, hidden away like society says we should.

It pisses me off when people complain about the state of broadband in Australia, given we've had an entirely different history and socio-economic build than every other country on the planet. You can't compare our broadband with another country any more than you can compare politics or the cost of living.

Broadband in this country is fine enough, considering the government's influence. For years, the government instituted a bar on the largest Telco in this country doing anything useful so it could let other, smaller ISPs and Telcos build up enough steam to prevent a monopoly forming. And even after the grip was loosened a little, the stupid government took our tax dollars and tried to create some ridiculous EVDO-based network that covered less and performed less than any existing wireless network - all controlled by an overseas government! Lucky that got canned, so now we can start moving into the future with HSDPA and FTTN.

But what really gets my goat are Australia arseholes that whinge because they can't get ADSL2+ or someshit in the middle of fucking nowhere. You want broadband when you're living 30 kilometers outside of Wonthagga? Christ, move to the fucking city! People are always whinging about how we can't get what the US has.. I bet you can't get high-speed, stable, unlimited broadband when you're living in the middle of the deep south or some tiny settlement in Utah.

Yo, Deep South here. Nerdfury is right. Outside of the cities, you're shit outta luck for broadband via DSL. Head out into the country and you don't even have cable. TV comes from satellites. No high speed internet whatsoever.

I have a hard enough time getting good broadband in Seattle... c_c;;

Anyway, on Pro Gamers, I'd have to agree with the above posters that are saying Australia should consider itself lucky that it doesn't have these big-name professional tournament gamers all over the place.

Tournaments are awesome. Competition is awesome. Cash and prizes is awesome. But any time a name becomes a brand, things get less awesome. When names become brands, the incentive to cheat is way too high. You may ask yourself, how do you cheat in at a gaming tournament? Heh. There's more to cheating than just aimbots. Unfortunately, most of my knowledge on the subject is "unsubstantiated rumor," so I won't elaborate.

Long story short, competitive gaming is too young to have earned a Babe Ruth or a Michael Jordan. The whole segment needs to figure out a standard of competition before we start worrying about "big name" pro gamers.

You know what competitive e-sports is really missing?

A pipeline to its audience.

All kinds of various sports have their multiple camera angles with their professional camera operators being directed by producers who edit the stuff on the fly while it goes out live, while commentators explain to the audience why this and that move are such brilliant or bone headed plays, while promoters build up the tension leading up to events.

E-sports should take a look at how obscure MMA competition was not that long ago, but how the success of UFC has helped bolster MMA the world over, now other organization get more screen time as well.

There was some stuff on G4TV that came close that I watched on satelite, I enjoyed watching that stuff, but I felt it still lacked the feel of a stadium and some professional, not just color, commentary with some over-all view point. All too often its a FPS or RTS and we only get the one player's view point, sampled one at a time. What does that mean squat to a viewer looking for entertainment? Where is the struggle, the epic story of red vs blue? What do I care about a localized view point that bounces hither and thither way too fast for me to keep up and care?

Have you ever watched a game in spectator from a view point where you can see the action on the entire map in a game? That can actually be a ton of fun to watch if you know what the game is about. Edit: Actually, I am totally surprised a sports game has not tapped into doing a virtual stadium where one can watch online as a two players battle it out in hockey, foot ball (soccer), football or whatever.

Some professional presentation of the game(s) itself would go a long way to building an audience for e-sports.

I took part in the Dutch WCG qualifiers and I've got to say it's still too small over here. Then again, I was in the race for Virtua Fighter 5, so we knew in advance the crowd wouldn't be around for this tournament. The final qualifiers are coming up though and I'll be cheering the two VF5 finalists on (knew the guys beforehand, plus they kicked me out the tournament personally). I'm excited to see how large the finals will be, with all the other games present as well instead of a tent with just VF and PGR...

CanadianWolverine:
Look up the (English re-commentaried) Starcraft broadcast matches from Korea on youtube (accounts: Klazartsc, Moletrap, diggity, violetak). They do exactly what you describe. Its a large step to take, bringing tournaments to tv like that though.

PEWPEWGreenLaser:
Fighting gamers have always known their art makes for spectacular tournaments, they've been doing it from the moment SF2 hit the streets. All you need is a camera and a commentator with a bit of knowledge and a smattering of good lines up his sleeve. It wouldn't take too much effort for EVO to be pulled into a broadcastable format.

Fighting games aren't popular anymore though, so the market is too small for businesses to be interested.

Every game has their Babe Ruth's too, but the general public doesn't know about them, only those who play the game seriously (examples: SF2 Daigo, VF Chibita, Tekken Knee, SC Boxer, any player worth their salt in those games knows those names). You don't need sponsors or a bucket of money to become famous in a certain arena (though Chibita bought an arcade of his own, largely on tournament winnings I believe).

Karpiel:
Yeah, cause most Chess Masters look like hot stuff as well... Doesn't stop those tournaments from getting coverage occasionally, as well as newspapers printing important results regularly.

Vortigar:

CanadianWolverine:
Look up the (English re-commentaried) Starcraft broadcast matches from Korea on youtube (accounts: Klazartsc, Moletrap, diggity, violetak). They do exactly what you describe. Its a large step to take, bringing tournaments to tv like that though.

Thank you. Looks like people in Korea know how to get a crowd going and get them involved in the action. The presentation is great! It really does make me think of UFC, I like that. :) Though the view points are still just way too narrow, in the SC matches I would love to see the whole map and only focus in for like huge plays or the end of the match when the final blow is given - Then picture that for any game on the competitive scene.

The english commentary really helps, you can really hear the excitement build in their voice, very cool :) This should be on G4TV or Escapist.

Oh, and you don't have to bring it to tv necissarily, UFC if I remember right started out on DVD and then with proper promotional pressure made the jump to Pay Per View and then the tv show came about on Spike, then got syndicated it seemed like.

One good show could really break this whole thing wide open, IMHO.

I'm a good example of how Australia's cable is laid out. I lived in a large suburban centre and got ADSL 2 for a while and it was good (if we ignore that by downloading the trial for After Effects CS3 I used a third of my monthly quota in 20 minutes. I can live with that). I move about two kilometres away, in the same suburb no less, and the best I can get is a slow ADSL 1 account for exactly the same money. Or I have to switch to Telstra's own (slow overpriced) service, which can deal with their massively multiplexed lines, to get something resembling ADSL 2 speeds. But their quotas are lower and they charge extra if you go over. If I don't like that I can request to get put on a different exchange, but that costs $70 just for them to find out if it's possible. If they can do it, it costs quite a bit more to have it done.
This is apparently pretty common, Telstra having been wringing every last drop out of every line they have, running RIMs and multiplexing like mad instead of installing new infrastructure for a very long time. The blame game here runs deep (not helped by the publicly owned company being half-sold back the public some time ago, making steering that ship something of a nightmare I'm sure) and we'll probably be tripping over this for a while yet. Some have said we ought to throw everything wide open, but after seeing how every US power line and conduit is groaning with fifty different cables from one hundred suppliers in some places I'm not sure that's the answer either (or is likely to result in Australia gets proper cable for very many people anyway).

Anyway, as some have been talking about, most sports only became really mainstream in their viewer popularity when they found a way to be televised in an enjoyable way to normal people who don't play them and don't even know the rules. As skillful as a good deathmatch is, watching one is really really dull if you're not a fan. It's just an incoherent mess of poor shots and explosions with a lot of annoying sound effects in even the best put together demos . People need to understand the game at a little more than a glance This is fairly straightforward with field sports and fighting games and so they are more watchable. A couple of characters running down a sci-fi installation hallway/ office building/ whathaveyou; much harder to illustrate what's going on to a lay audience, much less make them care. The rules of DM and so forth are easier to grasp than the average sport, much easier. It's the playing field that's the problem.
I could be done though; a little fly around of, say (for an old school example), Q2DM1 - The Edge while a commentator points out all the key landmarks and items to control etc. Special render modes that allow see though walls etc so the play can be watched unhindered. You'd need proper TV sports production values to do it though, as has been mentioned a bit; dozens of alert "camera" people watching from all angles, numerous switchers queueing the angles, directors calling the shots, editors spooling up slo-mos, replays, multi-angles, graphics on the fly. All of it live. It's a pretty massive undertaking. All those people generally have reflexes as good as the players themselves and don't come cheap.
I don't think anyone has gone to anything like those lengths yet have they?

Great article. There are some interesting parallels between the the professional gaming circuit in Australia and in the Philippines. I'd go so far to say as we probably have it worse off, but I only get to say that since we're a third world country.

I think one of the biggest problems with competitive gaming really is the lack of standards. Since new games appear every three years or so whatever history that was laid out by the previous game becomes uprooted. Basketball will always be basketball, but the current FPS du jour changes on almost a daily basis. So far, games like counterstrike and WC3 seem to be the standards, but they're rapidly aging and your prospective viewers may not be able to hanlde the degradation of quality from whatever current gen game they're playing to the graphics and gameplay of 5 years ago.

You think you have it worse?

I'd feel sorry for Indonesia, where the organiser of WCG over there bans any team who won the ESWC qualifiers. On top of that, there's nothing the players can do because the national events are all up to the discretion of the local organisers. WCG only really care about who pays for the license fee (in terms of national qualifiers, not the larger, world finals).

I think one of the problems is that most games doesn't really have a good spectator view. Most sports are usually either viewed from overhead or quick focuses on the (generally only one or two) action points. Whereas most "professional" games are team events where everyone is moving (often fairly independently), and game maps aren't really designed for an overhead view. So there isn't really much to look at, and it's hard to follow.

Miral:
I think one of the problems is that most games doesn't really have a good spectator view. Most sports are usually either viewed from overhead or quick focuses on the (generally only one or two) action points. Whereas most "professional" games are team events where everyone is moving (often fairly independently), and game maps aren't really designed for an overhead view. So there isn't really much to look at, and it's hard to follow.

I couldn't agree more.

I thought this was going to be an article on the frustrations of gaming with dialup. While I don't live in Australia so I can't comment on the pro gaming there, for my entire life online gaming in my own home has been unheard of. As little as a 5 minute drive can bring me to an area where a 50 ping, 5 megabit connections are available. It will take a year or more until the area of availability creeps up past my house, so right now I guess I'll have to live with a 300 ping, 40 kilobit connection.

EDIT: I just noticed the huge necro I pulled off. Sorry about that.

 

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