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FPSC Classic Product Chat / Two Questions: ESRB Rating and Blood

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SkyCubes
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Posted: 29th Jan 2005 02:50
Now that I know the EA will include at least bitmap imaage support between levels, I'm starting to feel better about moving in this direction for my classroom. However, there are still a couple of looming questions...

1. Any idea what (if any) the ESRB rating will be on either the EA or V1?

2. Blood. I know I asked this before but I don't think I was given a straight answer. Will the EA and V1 have an option to turn on or off the blood? If not, and it can be done manually, will it be possible to manually do it and keep it a permanent change?

I ask becuase the blood is going to be too much for my principal/district to deal with. It really elevates the "violence" to a new category.

I'm hoping for an ESRB of T or E and the option to turn the blood off from within the editor...or at least a way to manually take it out on a permanent basis.

Thanks for your help.
Noldor
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Posted: 29th Jan 2005 02:58
You can just make the blood decals and particels transparent..
i don't see why that would not be possible.
SkyCubes
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Posted: 29th Jan 2005 03:07
Noldor,

OK, I remember that was said before. So, if I want that to be permanent, I would just find all of those decal bitmap files and save over them with transparent images. That would make it a permament change. Of course, do we know that the editor supports transparency?
Coldnews
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Posted: 29th Jan 2005 03:08
Not at the moment, but I will mention it to Lee for V1 for you. Its a good point, we should be able to turn it off. If ur asking for a parental lock to turn it off manually, I dont think it will happen. But a global "blood off" option would be good. I'll mention it.

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SkyCubes
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Posted: 29th Jan 2005 03:20
Thanks Coldnews. I appreciate it.

A "blood off" button/switch would be great for v1. But, in the meantime, if the editor supports transparency and I can simply replace those blood decals with a transparent image, that will work for my purposes. It wouldn't take that long to do, even on 20 machines.
David T
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Posted: 29th Jan 2005 03:48
Quote: "1. Any idea what (if any) the ESRB rating will be on either the EA or V1?"


It'll be sold from the UK over the net so I don't suppose it'll have one. I'm not familiar with the US system but I suppose they only apply if its sold through a high street shop.

Out of interest, are they even madatory?

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Ominous
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Posted: 29th Jan 2005 03:59
I'm not positive if it's mandatory or not, but all the games I've seen sold by an American retailer have an ESRB rating. Actually there's a bit of controversy concerning the raating system. Some politicians want to make it illegal for retailers to sell Mature rated games to minors. A few stores have adopted this policy voluntarily.

Now is the winter of your discontent.
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SkyCubes
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Posted: 29th Jan 2005 04:23
Quote: "Out of interest, are they even madatory?"


I'm not sure if they are mandatory or not. It may be something the developer has to seek or even pay for. Good question, though.
Ominous
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Posted: 29th Jan 2005 04:31
Here's some information on ESRB http://www.gamepro.com/playsmart/about.shtml
From what I can tell, the rating isn't mandatory.

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Logan 5
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Posted: 29th Jan 2005 07:58 Edited at: 29th Jan 2005 07:59
There is also a faq at http://www.esrb.org/esrbratings_faqs.asp.

But my legal opinion (I'm a lawyer and a game creator -- an evil combination) is that FPSC wouldn't be rateable, since it isn't an "entertainment title." Since it's a game creator, not a game, it wouldn't be rated, just as DBPro isn't rated.

Of course, any game made from FPSC could be rated, and probably should be rated if commercially available in the U.S.

Basically dark.
Richard Davey
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Posted: 29th Jan 2005 23:02
The blood animation is a decal - several are provided, not just blood. You can replace it (it's just a single DDS file) with a blank texture if you like.

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Opus
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Posted: 2nd Feb 2005 06:46
To be honest fdecker, I am surprised that any public U.S. based school district would sanction teaching students from a First Person Shooter creator because one would be, after all, teaching youngsters to create destructive games--even with the blood turned off.

This is not a value judgment on my part. It's just that after the Columbine incident, I would expect most administrators to say "no" to such a project. Teaching children to program using generic languages, such as DBPro yes, teaching them through this package, no.

Still, best of luck to you.

Opus

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Ominous
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Posted: 2nd Feb 2005 06:54
America's collective memory isn't too impressive. You mention Columbine to a group of people and you'll get a few blank stares until you remind them. This is especially true after 9/11. Pre 9/11 incidents have taken the back burner.

I don't know about the rest of the U.S., but the district I'm from didn't have the most knowledgeable board or principal. Most of the school was so crowded and so many teachers they couldn't keep track of what each of them was doing. One of the subs I had even watched soap operas on the room's television the entire class period, while we goofed off on the computers.

Now is the winter of your discontent.
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Opus
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Posted: 2nd Feb 2005 09:24
Hah! Soaps at school. That's outrageous.

I could see a principal lumping a FPS creator under the programming language title. On the other hand, sometimes these administrators drop by unnanounced. It just seems iffy to me, but if fdecker can pull it off, then more power to him.

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waffle
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Posted: 2nd Feb 2005 11:24
actually,
such a class could get by under certain conditions:

If the aim of the class is to demonstrate differing
software developement kits and the use of scripts ...
FPSC is great. It serves as a great level editor and would
be more suitable than a game of half-life Also,
since most studants probably have a copy of HL, Doom, UT ....
The voilence level is really not an issue because its
"monitored" and "directed". Studants would be required to do
much more than just play a game. Also, this would serve
to bring more students into the class ... more money ...

There's modeling to learn, sound effects to create, and a story to write. This could be a fun and challanging art class. But,
how would you grade the students ? That's much harder than a simple
history test

just my 2 cents worth.
good luck convincing the parents or the board
SkyCubes
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Posted: 2nd Feb 2005 23:43
I don't have the time to get into the scripting, that doesn't mean that the educational value is reduced.

My classes are intended to be a window. They are a starting point. My hope is to give my students an experience that will give them some insight into what goes on behind the scenes in the gaming industry and mabye spark enough interest in a few of them to risk taking it to the next level.

I deal with the "violence" issue in a couple of ways. First, I get rid of the blood and gore as much as possible. Second, each student signed up for my class gets a letter that goes home to be signed. The letter explains the program and the content, along with some research references regrarding the educational value of teaching game design (from MIT).

The other thing is that FPS design is only a small part of my 12-week classes. They spend maybe 2 weeks on it at most and right now it's on a sign-up basis only becuase I only have one machine with T3DGM on it. I hope to expand that to all my workstations with FPSC, but it would still only be a two week unit. We cover other things too like 3D comics, 3D design (Bryce 5), Bridge Construction Set, GIF animation, Flash animation, scrolling and platform game desing (Game Maker 6), and some RPG adventure game design.
Tapewormz
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Posted: 3rd Feb 2005 02:44 Edited at: 3rd Feb 2005 02:50
There's no law saying your games must be rated. It's purely voluntary, as it's supposed to help generate positive public relations between the game industry and public(aka bible thumping parents who are to bloody lazy to parent their children and demand other people do it for them). It costs boat loads of cash to have an ESRB rating, they're not free. You have to submit your product to the ESRB so that they can rate it. You will be hardcore raped by lawiers if you slap an ESRB rating on your product without authorisation/approval of the ESRB.

This is all outlined in nice english text on their website.

Ps. I love when parents expect other people to take responsabillity for their childs actions, when they replace proper parenting and quality time with videogames, and television.

Logan 5
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Posted: 3rd Feb 2005 05:04
Quote: "parents who are to bloody lazy to parent their children "


Here, here!!

By the way, Tapewormz, do you know how much it costs to get an ESRB rating? I didn't see anything about cost on their website.

Basically dark.
Anime civil
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Posted: 3rd Feb 2005 06:41
Quote: "Ps. I love when parents expect other people to take responsabillity for their childs actions, when they replace proper parenting and quality time with videogames, and television.
"


I hate those parents. They dont do anything and expect their child ot be perfect, then when their kids do something bad with the cops, the people blame someone else.

Sometimes the kdis are innocent, but most of the times they aren't.


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IanM
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Posted: 3rd Feb 2005 20:44
I don't see how TGC can give any meaningful rating for FPSC. Surely the rating depends on what *you* do with it?

It's quite possible to have a completely non-violent game built within FPSC, such as a puzzle-based maze maybe.

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SkyCubes
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Posted: 3rd Feb 2005 23:30
I was only curious about an ESRB rating. I don't need one in order to use this tool in my classroom.
Tapewormz
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Posted: 4th Feb 2005 04:56 Edited at: 4th Feb 2005 04:56
Quote: "It's quite possible to have a completely non-violent game built within FPSC, such as a puzzle-based maze maybe."


You could make a FPS based on snowball fights, or water balloon fights, or paintball. So yes, I agree with you.

Tapewormz
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Posted: 4th Feb 2005 05:03 Edited at: 4th Feb 2005 05:05
Quote: "By the way, Tapewormz, do you know how much it costs to get an ESRB rating? I didn't see anything about cost on their website.
"


When you join the ESRB, you have to pay an annual license fee. This is information that I have from the director of marketing at sega. Their reasons for these fees are to cover their evaluation expenses.

You could go ahead and borrow their rating criteria, and use it to rate your software yourself. You would however, have to design your own symbols that don't infringe on thiers.

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