“It's nice to sit at the campfire and discuss projects,”
May 25, 2020 6:36 AM   Subscribe

Zoom sucks, we started having editorial meetings in Red Dead Redemption [Rock Paper Shotgun] “Mostly we were just having a really crap time,” said Viv when I spoke to them, about their meeting life before Cowboys. “We were having to deal with all those Zoom and Skype meetings and emails and phone calls… and we were just feeling worse and worse and more annoyed all the time.” Minecraft was considered, apparently, but people tended to just wander off and start digging, or dumping gravel on the meeting table, “so picking the most ludicrous game to meet in seemed good.” But then, as it turned out, it wasn’t quite as ridiculous as expected. “The thing is,” Viv explained, “the Cowboys just look right when they’re sitting around the campfire? They look like they’re in a meeting: scratching noses and frowning, and occasionally gesturing.”
posted by Fizz (37 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's mentioned in the article but it's worth repeating here: “sit on the ground” is mapped to the same control as “strangle the nearest person”. I suspect this leads to some interesting manager meetings.
posted by Fizz at 6:43 AM on May 25, 2020 [24 favorites]


Some friends and I have been socializing with VR headsets in Star Trek: Bridge Crew, and you know what? Awful game, excellent hangout space. Zoom may give you a pretty Brady Bunch mosaic of ever-shifting resolutions as people's connections saturate, but you can't point at people in Zoom. You can't make eye contact to indicate attention, or use same to indicate who you're talking to; you don't have stereo separation to give you a cue as to who's talking when you're not looking at them. I'm kind of stunned that Valve, Oculus, etc. haven't jumped on this. It would also have been a good match for Google Cardboard if they hadn't killed it. As dumb as it sounds, VR WeWork would be owning right now.
posted by phooky at 6:58 AM on May 25, 2020 [29 favorites]


This reminds me of the revelation from the Snowden filedump that the NSA investigated World of Warcraft as a possible venue for al-Qaeda recruitment; I was skeptical, but now I wonder.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:00 AM on May 25, 2020 [4 favorites]


This is fantastic. This also means with 100% certainty that there are programmers out there now developing other weird and creative Zoom alternatives. Within a month or so we'll start seeing some really bananas stuff... though I imagine the back-end of connecting people and managing those connections is a pretty high hurdle for entry into this endeavor. (Admittedly I know nothing about computer programming and the technical issues involved with making Zoom alternatives.)
posted by SoberHighland at 7:00 AM on May 25, 2020 [3 favorites]


Remember how Ubisoft announced that they were going to release educational versions of the Assassin's Creed games, minus the assassinations but plus encyclopedia entries on the historic buildings and such? Perhaps now, the makers of any games with a social component will, along similar lines, make conference-only builds of their games for working from home in.
posted by acb at 7:00 AM on May 25, 2020 [7 favorites]


They should extend the metaphor and force all email correspondence to take 24-48 hours, the same amount of time it takes for mail to arrive in the game.

Or, schedule the meeting to take place on a train, and if you're not on board when it leaves the station, you're not allowed to participate.

Or, settle debates with duels.
posted by mmcg at 7:00 AM on May 25, 2020 [32 favorites]


I've had it suggested that we have meetings in Roll20.
The campfire seems a better option.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:42 AM on May 25, 2020


I've had it suggested that we have meetings in Roll20.

All meeting decisions are now skill checks, if you don't decide fast enough you lose your turn.
posted by curious nu at 7:54 AM on May 25, 2020 [8 favorites]


Is this the genesis of Westworld?
posted by Jode at 8:00 AM on May 25, 2020 [4 favorites]


"It’s polite to wash your face before a Cowboy meeting, of course, 'as sometimes you can be really caked in blood and dirt, and not realise'. And that’s just not a professional look."
posted by doctornemo at 8:10 AM on May 25, 2020 [3 favorites]


No cowgirls?

I otherwise like the concept.
posted by amanda at 8:14 AM on May 25, 2020 [4 favorites]


I thought we were supposed to be exclusively using object-oriented MUDs in the workplace by now. After you've built that authentication module for your project, turn it into a tangible object, and make it follow around coworkers while spamming them with movie quotes.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:14 AM on May 25, 2020 [9 favorites]


In the Norwegian TV show "Occupied" the resistance meets in a FPS game that may be an actual game someone other than me would recognize...
posted by stevil at 8:15 AM on May 25, 2020 [7 favorites]


Over the years I've often suggested our team have in-game meetings once in awhile. It wouldn't really matter which game. But of course, there would be some issues with accessibility, generationalism, etc.

For my team, hardware wouldn't be an issue since our beefy dev machines are sufficient for a lot of games, even without great GPUs. But that might be a barrier for other people working from home right now. Though, a PS4 is a fraction of the cost compared to an equivalent laptop/desktop gaming rig.

Playing some co-op games would be better than the zoom socials, though. Something like SnowRunner, for example. I think I wandered away from whatever point I was making and now I just wanna play some vidya.
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 8:18 AM on May 25, 2020 [1 favorite]


Though, a PS4 is a fraction of the cost compared to an equivalent laptop/desktop gaming rig.

But, c’mon. The idea that any organization would require either a gaming rig or a PS4 in order to participate in necessary meetings is completely nuts, if not just a wee bit arrogant. Not a gamer? LOL, sux to be you.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:33 AM on May 25, 2020 [6 favorites]


I've had it suggested that we have meetings in Roll20

You don't do your audio in Discord?

My main take away from 9 weeks of shutdown is that the whole world a) needs to have push to talk and b) needs to learn how to use it. When it's done right it feels like an entirely natural conversation.

Mute/unmute is not an acceptable alternative to PTT.
posted by bonehead at 8:56 AM on May 25, 2020 [8 favorites]


Mice also need a dedicated PTT button. The whole mess with Button3/button4 and Chrome in particular needs to die.
posted by bonehead at 8:58 AM on May 25, 2020


My main take away from 9 weeks of shutdown is that the whole world a) needs to have push to talk and b) needs to learn how to use it. When it's done right it feels like an entirely natural conversation.

I've used the space bar to temporarily unmute in zoom - but that doesn't work well when you're also simultaneously in another document. It's not great.

Question is: what to do for people who don't have VR headsets - and how to handle VR sickness? Though maybe that's only a problem when you're moving.
posted by jb at 9:15 AM on May 25, 2020


I do Roll20 twice a week. I've heard that Discord is a panacea for audio issues, but we've had similar audio issues with Discord. Then the fact that everyone is running Roll20 and Discord at the same time, with some on Discord, some on Roll20 and the whole thing becomes even more problematic. It becomes a case of herding cats.

The last couple weeks, Roll20 has worked much, much better for us, with only a couple little re-connections required. Maybe Roll20 improved something on their back end? Regardless, Roll20 has worked just about perfectly the last couple weeks.
posted by SoberHighland at 9:20 AM on May 25, 2020


Some friends and I have been socializing with VR headsets in Star Trek: Bridge Crew, and you know what? Awful game, excellent hangout space.
What the wat, phooky? We've also been hanging out with friends in Star Trek: Bridge Crew and we think it is a decent game that just needs a multi-ship mode and a modding community to become amazing.

Like why can't you do a Vulcan Hand Gesture? There is even an emoji for it!🖖
posted by autopilot at 9:42 AM on May 25, 2020 [5 favorites]


I wonder if Second Life has had any sort of renaissance? Seems like this is the perfect moment for them.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 10:10 AM on May 25, 2020 [2 favorites]


I still don't see what the fixation is on being physically present, even in avatar form, to have a conversation; if you need real-time a chatroom does just as well. But that could be the autism talking.
posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 10:26 AM on May 25, 2020 [9 favorites]


I have to admit, we looked at, but bounced off Roll20. Too fussy. We use an Avrae bot in Discord for adjudication and put our maps on Schmeppy.
posted by bonehead at 11:11 AM on May 25, 2020 [2 favorites]


autopilot, if it were truly a good game, everyone would be super excited when I choose Original Enterprise mode, but nooooo, everyone's all like "this is all just flipping switches and pushing buttons, I don't like this, this is too much like my day job running a 1970s-era nuclear power plant."
posted by phooky at 11:15 AM on May 25, 2020 [3 favorites]


This made me think of Second Life, too. And the matrix, metaverse, etc. I feel like virtual worlds were always held back by the availability of just interacting with people in the real world. I guess now is their big chance!
posted by snofoam at 11:32 AM on May 25, 2020 [1 favorite]


The idea that any organization would require either a gaming rig or a PS4 in order to participate in necessary meetings is completely nuts, if not just a wee bit arrogant. Not a gamer? LOL, sux to be you.

It's not a solution for everyone but it might actually be cost effective for some companies to just drop ship a PS4+RDR2 to everyone considering there wouldn't be any on going server costs and minimal support costs.
posted by Mitheral at 11:51 AM on May 25, 2020 [3 favorites]


You don't do your audio in Discord?

Ironically, we've been having a load of issues with discord audio so we use a pro zoom meeting for the audio.

All meetings should start with "roll for initiative" though.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 11:53 AM on May 25, 2020 [2 favorites]


I work with some folks who worked on Second Life back in the day. They dogfooded second life by hosting all their meetings there. Apparently it was pretty great. If you were hosting the meeting you built the location out, one of my coworkers apparently always hosted in front of frozen waterfalls.

That said, we use zoom now.
posted by macrael at 2:54 PM on May 25, 2020


Maybe it's the meetings themselves, not the technology behind them, that is the real problem.
posted by mmb5 at 3:40 PM on May 25, 2020 [8 favorites]


In the Norwegian TV show "Occupied" the resistance meets in a FPS game that may be an actual game someone other than me would recognize...

I believe that's DayZ.
posted by gemmy at 5:40 PM on May 25, 2020 [1 favorite]


Up until recently I had an office job that involved meetings. There were occasions when strangling someone while maintaining plausible deniability would have been great.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:39 PM on May 25, 2020 [3 favorites]


But if we have meetings in RDR2, I can't play RDR2 while I'm in the meeting.

That's zoom's killer feature!
posted by oddman at 7:24 PM on May 25, 2020 [4 favorites]


I've been thinking that Fallout 76 camps would make great hangout spaces. Sofia complaining about headaches and Beckett's "you're too late, I'm already halfway drunk," would be pretty fitting as workplace background dialogue.
posted by Skwirl at 1:38 AM on May 26, 2020


I don't think I could do this as I don't do games, but I've long thought it would be nice to have meet-ups in the garden of the main house in LambdaMOO, assuming it could bear the strain of several people logging in at the same time.

I mean, assuming it's still there...
posted by Grangousier at 4:02 AM on May 26, 2020 [1 favorite]


It appears to be. Just logged in.
posted by bonehead at 9:36 AM on May 26, 2020


I wonder if Second Life has had any sort of renaissance?

...still in development.
posted by Evilspork at 11:20 AM on May 26, 2020


Less to do with RDR and more to do with Zoom: Mrs. Plinth was in a nursing program last semester that did classes via Zoom. She was having lag issues and and the audio codec inadvertently became a ring modulator and her classmates and the professor sounded like Daleks. More disturbing was the fact that in a nursing program the phrase "the doctor" comes up very often.
posted by plinth at 12:16 PM on May 26, 2020


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