Absurd Porting FJORDS Devlog Entry #3

It just occurred to me that I never posted this last night. I didn’t do any work today, so there’s no “Day 4” yet.

Day 3 Progress

  • Finished all sprites
  • Began writing entities and tiles
  • Began writing the level converter.

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  1. Marihel

    That’s actually sarnodecy to the point. Something to notice about the three films is the way that they adjusted following the criticism of the ones that came before.The success of the Transformers movies can’t be side stepped, and a pure desire for robots and explosions isn’t, to me, a satisfying answer simply because many other visceral action movies have come out concurrently with Transformers and failed to elicit the same box office draw. Yes, most of those movies have done well enough for themselves, but Dark of the Moon, which was grinding down an already worn premise, made twice as much money as the infinitely better Fast Five. Thor, which is in the same rating bracket and target demo, didn’t even brak the top 10 for 2011. Thor, Captain America, Cowboys & Aliens, Battle: Los Angeles, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Conan the Barbarian, Real Steel, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, there’s a good long list of films that came out the same year, all hit the same notes, and all reviewed as poorly or better than Dark of the Moon, and all brought home far, far less cash.Something to consider: criticism of Sam has been rampant since the first film came out, yet the decision made by the producers and writers was to put even more Sam into the next two movies. Not only that, each film got longer than the previous.Now, I never said that Sam was the main draw, nor did I mean to imply that he is. The point being made is that film that are as large as these, with budgets this big and ticket sales this high, don’t take risks they don’t have to. Everything has been focus grouped, test screened, preened, plucked, and prepared. The implication is that, accurate or not, Sam is what Hollywood believes we want to see in a protagonist. Robots and explosions may be the draw, but why didn’t people walk out in droves, steer their friends away, and just not go to see Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon when the films got longer and spent more and more time (in both hard numbers and % of total screen time) with Sam? Keep in mind that these movies are all well over two hours long, there’s no paucity of content that could be trimmed, and needs more robots was a common refrain after the first film. By all accounts the decisions they made with the third film, spending the first 90 minutes preening over Sam and his job problems with hardly a robot in sight, should have sunk the film. But it didn’t. Instead it made over a billion dollars.So why didn’t it sink?Well, because on some terrifying level the world is okay with Sam Witwicky. Many, many equally accessible films, just as explosion filled, have come and gone with better writing, more likeable characters, and more intelligible action, and not walked away with a billion dollars in their pocket. Explosions alone are not a sufficient answer.Now, to the accusation that I chose him as an easy target: of course. The fact that he’s an easy target is what makes him so appropriate. Like I said above, it’s all about the budget and the stakes. Sam is hardly the only example of these trends, this masculine fragility, but he’s one of the best examples because he’s been distilled down to the pure essence of self-loathing by focus groups looking to maximize revenue through audience response. Here’s what complicates it even more: they can achieve that goal, maximize symmetrical audience response (ideally stimulating a conversion rate that blah blah blah dolla dolla bills, y’all), without needing Sam to be likeable.Don’t worry, I’ll be talking about this more in the future. Not with Sam, but all the same issues.Trust me: Sam Witwicky is not alone.