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The Future Proof Podcast 018

Podcast episode

Melissa Avery-Weir  0:21  
Hello, and welcome to the Future Proof Podcast. This is our monthly podcast where we chat about stuff. We've been working on anything cool. We're planning. I'm Melissa Avery-Weir.

Gregory Avery-Weir  0:31  
And I'm Gregory Avery-Weir.

Melissa Avery-Weir  0:33  
And we've got some fun stuff this month. First up is that we have started our Future Proof Games newsletter. It's going to be kind of a broad purpose newsletter.

Gregory Avery-Weir  0:44  
Yeah, we one of the things that we took away from that community survey that we did is that people are down for getting our news via email. Yeah. And so we previously had an Exploit: Zero Day newsletter, which is going to kind of get sunsetted in order to have this one happen, which means if you're subscribed to the EZD newsletter, you should go and sign up for the Future Proof newsletter because that's how you're going to get Exploit: Zero Day news starting soon.

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:11  
Right. And so signups for that are on FutureProofGames.com, check the banner at the top, or there'll be links in our show notes or blog posts, all sorts of things.

Gregory Avery-Weir  1:22  
Our next 1-3 EZD newsletters will have links as well.

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:28  
Yeah, yeah. So that's actually really exciting. Like, because I have at times felt a little guilty about including broader FPG news in the EZD newsletter.

Gregory Avery-Weir  1:38  
Yeah, it's I mean, it's relevant but you don't want like--

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:42  

Gregory Avery-Weir  1:42  
--you don't want to, a newsletter an EZD newsletter that is entirely non-Exploit: Zero Day news.

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:47  
Right. And so we have a bunch of ideas for things we want to put in there. Maybe you know, custom articles just for the newsletter, like blog post equivalent kind of stuff. Links to cool things we've seen on, on the internet, cat pictures. Of course, dev news! Like...

Gregory Avery-Weir  2:04  
Yeah, we're not planning it to be like, "Here's our link collection."

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:08  

Gregory Avery-Weir  2:08  
There might be a little sidebar that's like, here's a cool thing.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:14  

Gregory Avery-Weir  2:14  
From time to time.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:15  
So that's really fun. That's going to be monthly. Definitely sign up for that, especially if you're not too inclined to be on Twitter, perhaps, or not on Twitter very often or do not tend to get news on Twitter because it's such a fast moving platform. So speaking of Twitter, and the the joys of that platform, Greg did a thing.

Gregory Avery-Weir  2:37  
Yeah. So I mean, so one of the things that we've been trying to do is make our-- We have enough people that are interested in following us on Twitter and getting news on Twitter, that we want to make that like, a worthwhile experience for people to have like, I think both of us have, have our concerns about Twitter. I think Lissa personally is off Twitter entirely as a, as a human.

Melissa Avery-Weir  3:05  
It's a, it's a problematic platform.

Gregory Avery-Weir  3:07  
But due to both, you know, the necessities of operating under capitalism and in... due to where people are seeking out this sort of news, we have to participate in it. Well, we choose to participate in it. And we don't want our feed to just be, "hey, here's a sale." here's a here's a new release. Here's a blog post. Yeah, like, we want to be a little more, more--

Melissa Avery-Weir  3:32  

Gregory Avery-Weir  3:33  
Involved. Yes.

Gregory Avery-Weir  3:34  
And also like not not have it feel like this is "the brand announcement feed."

Melissa Avery-Weir  3:41  

Gregory Avery-Weir  3:41  
Like, it totally is.

Melissa Avery-Weir  3:43  

Gregory Avery-Weir  3:44  
But we are two people like we're two human beings that are running a company. And and so, so part of this was we've been we've been quote retweeting things more and and giving more of our our opinions on things. And we had a tweet go viral.

Melissa Avery-Weir  4:00  
Good grief.

Gregory Avery-Weir  4:01  
Yeah. So so this is like, kind of as expected, we discussed as we were doing this ramp up that like, this is somewhat of a random dice roll when you're doing this sort of social media. You put out stuff that you think is pretty good. And once in a while one of those things, you know, happens to come at the right time with the right wording and seen by the right people to sort of expand and blow up. We weren't expecting our first big one of this batch to be quite so big. We had something like two and a half million impressions.

Melissa Avery-Weir  4:35  
Yeah, it was...

Gregory Avery-Weir  4:36  
Which is the number of times people saw it on their feed.

Melissa Avery-Weir  4:39  
Yeah. And it was over 40,000 likes and it was wild. It was--

Gregory Avery-Weir  4:44  
It was a cool thing. Like the thing that we retweeted was cool. It's, there's, there's this performance art project, where a person exploited sort of the inherent way that Google Maps tracks traffic by getting a bunch of phones logged into Google Maps, essentially, and dragging it down the street in a red wagon and dragging a virtual fictional traffic jam along with them. And of course, the art project was done like outside of a Google headquarters. And yeah, it was pretty cool. And so the retweet was, "Hey, this is cyberpunk." Like this is exploiting the way that the, the virtual and the and the meatspace interact and feed off of each other and affect each other. And this is an example of the sort of way that someone who understands systems can exploit to tools that are used by the powerful for other means.

Melissa Avery-Weir  5:41  
Which I will say is not a hot take.

Gregory Avery-Weir  5:44  
No, no, I mean, that's just--

Melissa Avery-Weir  5:45  
It's a good take, but it's not a hot take. And yet.

Gregory Avery-Weir  5:48  
Well, so the responses were generally totally things that I, I would expect in agreement. Like there was like, "Hey, this is cool." And like "yeah, this is cyberpunk." Like a whole lot of likes. The the, the overwhelming majority of response was like, "Yeah, cool." But as as you get large responses to things--and this is something I totally experienced in like the comments to my Flash games reach millions of people--those artifacts of smallness get larger and you get a lot of grumpy people. And especially people who see something trending and are grumpy that it is trending and want to object but don't necessarily do a close enough reading to understand like, why, what the person is actually saying. And so we had a lot of people misinterpreting us saying, "this is the thing that people should do right now."

Melissa Avery-Weir  6:41  
Or even that it's cool. Like you didn't even say it was cool. You just said this is cyberpunk. And people were like, "but someone bought 100 phones!" It's like "Well, no, they didn't. Also collective action. Also any number of other things." People got very hung up on what they thought you said, which is... Twitter. Like...

Gregory Avery-Weir  7:02  
Yeah, it's a, it's a platform that does not lend itself to that sort of like, it doesn't lend itself to paying attention and trying to understand the person who, who's posted a thing.

Melissa Avery-Weir  7:13  

Gregory Avery-Weir  7:14  
And it's fine. Like I could, I could write an essay on like, "Well, here's what I meant when I--" like it was, it's a throwaway thing. So we're, we're learning and relearning as part of this, like, here's, here's the perspective to have when you're living in this sort of public space. And it's, it's pretty frustrating, but it's also like, really cool that cool people were retweeting like.

Gregory Avery-Weir  7:39  
Oh my god--

Gregory Avery-Weir  7:39  
Adding their own stuff.

Melissa Avery-Weir  7:40  
When @SwiftOnSecurity--So. Okay, so here's, here's how the day went. I had brunch with a friend. Greg tweets this at like 11am. Greg also does a Future Proof Plays that afternoon starting at two. So I'm seeing lots of likes coming in and retweets during the stream and I'm like, "hey, Greg, a thing you did is popping off a little bit." Then by the time the stream is over, it has blown up and like some of our favorite LeftTubers have retweeted it! Buck wild. Without commentary, but like, what? But that is how it spread. It is very strange to see people who do not know that we exist...

Gregory Avery-Weir  8:17  
As a result of that, we got a bunch of more followers on Twitter. So if you're someone who's learned about us, thanks to that tweet, cool.

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:24  
Yeah, welcome!

Gregory Avery-Weir  8:25  
And so it's we've chosen to take care of ourselves and we muted that thread, probably a little too late, but maybe... 24 hours after it posted originally.

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:35  
No one was hateful.

Gregory Avery-Weir  8:36  
Few people were hateful. And, and, and like, in the end, like, that's, you know, that was a weekend, a weekend we had.

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:52  

Gregory Avery-Weir  9:05  
And hopefully it will help kind of make the work we do sustainable and make sort of our relationship with folks in our broader community of of colleagues and friends and fans and so on, make that community grow and and be healthy.

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:07  
Yeah. And what I'm, I'm--this is a bit of a deviation, but the places where I'm finding joy on Twitter--which, you know, despite my general opinion on the company and all that--is in finding cool works that people are doing and helping to amplify that.

Gregory Avery-Weir  9:24  

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:24  
So like I'm finding games to add to our Future Proof Plays list of potential games. Just like finding cool art and cool articles and just like stuff that's that's very much in line with the kind of studio we want to be and the kinds of things we want to highlight. And I find that a lot more enriching than the, the two hours of fame from a, from a viral tweet. That was a fascinating experience. And, you know, I don't know. Twitter, Twitter's not so bad. I'll cap it off with that.

Gregory Avery-Weir  9:58  
We've mentioned Future Proof Plays and few times in passing, if you're not aware, we do every, every couple weeks, we do streams on Twitch, where we play a short indie game that sort of usually meshes with our values as a company. And like, do Q&A. Like you can ask us whatever you want if you're in chat. It's usually pretty chill. We don't usually get a whole lot of people in there, but you're welcome to join us. Our schedule is on is at futureproofgames.com/streams, and I need to pick my next game. I'm still, I'm still trying to try and decide what I want to do because I'm up next.

Melissa Avery-Weir  10:35  

Gregory Avery-Weir  10:36  
But we've got a--some Exploit: Zero Day stuff coming up.

Melissa Avery-Weir  10:40  
We do. So we've talked about how we've kind of pipeline the jobs that are in Headless Swarm. We want to make sure we have basically two jobs ready before we release the first of those two. So we always have one kind of in the tank, and we recently finished what is the seventh main job of Exploit: Zero Day. So we're releasing job six.

Gregory Avery-Weir  11:02  
The seventh main job of Headless Swarm, which is paid, the season of paid story.

Melissa Avery-Weir  11:08  
Right. And so we'll be releasing jobs six, which is... if memory serves us correctly is called "Remote Terminal."

Gregory Avery-Weir  11:16  
Yeah. A pun that's something like that.

Melissa Avery-Weir  11:18  
Yeah. I only--I mostly remember the name of the next job because I came up with it and it's using one of my favorite jokes ever. Thanks, Borderlands.

Gregory Avery-Weir  11:29  
But yeah, this is a story about... So this, this amoral hacker group called OnyxHorde is threatening an airport by kind of buzzing it with drones. They're not doing anything but they've stolen some consumer drones. They're just sort of staying in its airspace. And, of course, people are worried about terrorism and whatever. And this is probably technically terrorism.

Melissa Avery-Weir  11:52  
Well, yeah, it is.

Gregory Avery-Weir  11:53  
But like, there's not it's not like there's a bomb at the airport.

Melissa Avery-Weir  11:56  

Gregory Avery-Weir  11:56  
And so you're... OnyxHorde is there. Samsara Digital, the evil corporation is there. And you're sort of trying to figure out how you how to handle and resolve this situation.

Melissa Avery-Weir  12:08  
Yeah. And so this is this is pretty down deep in the plot of Headless Swarm. Yeah. So at this point, you know, you've played five chunks of job that have puzzles associated with them, etc. You have probably aggravated one or both of the either OnyxHorde or Samsara Digital. And we'll get another opportunity, plenty more opportunities to do so. So it's really exciting to kind of have another one coming out.

Gregory Avery-Weir  12:36  
Yeah, and this one's going to be a little interesting because in the, kind of in the final release, when there's someone starts playing Headless Swarm once everything is is out, they'll get this in parallel with "Burn, Burn Burn," which will be called job five. So yeah, it's a fun little structure, and it will rejoin with the next job that we've just finished.

Melissa Avery-Weir  12:57  
Yeah. And so kind of back on the community front, we've got sort of one more major area that we want to figure out as far as how to reach and connect with our community, y'all the listeners, and players of our games. And that is figuring out what we want to do with YouTube.

Gregory Avery-Weir  13:18  
Yeah, we've got a relatively small but but gradually growing group of people who follow us on YouTube, probably because they stumbled across us. And most of what we've got up there is just archives of Future Proof Plays. But that's a place where like, we'd like to be able to share stuff. And so you might be listening to this on YouTube. We've chatted about maybe having this episode--

Melissa Avery-Weir  13:44  

Gregory Avery-Weir  13:45  
--try and go up or, I mean, that might not happen. We'll take a look at possibilities. But if you're listening on YouTube: Hi!

Melissa Avery-Weir  13:54  

Gregory Avery-Weir  13:54  
Yeah, we also--

Melissa Avery-Weir  13:56  
I am not going to say the other part that goes with "subscribe and like".

Gregory Avery-Weir  13:59  
Yeah. But we'd also like to have it be a place where we can sort of communicate in the native language of YouTube. Sort of actually work with the platform. And one... so a game, a video game that we've been playing lately.

Melissa Avery-Weir  14:18  
Too much of.

Gregory Avery-Weir  14:19  
And a game company that I've admired for a long time is Coffee Stain Studios with "Satisfactory". And their, their dev videos on YouTube are kind of--I... the ones I always think of as someone who's doing a great job at like communicating on YouTube as a game company. If you haven't seen their YouTube updates, totally check them out there. They're funny and and simple. But we're thinking of a very low key--

Melissa Avery-Weir  14:49  

Gregory Avery-Weir  14:50  
--approach that similar to what they're doing and what various other devs are doing where, you know, we'll, we might put out--maybe monthly I'm not sure--short videos that are just one of us, probably me, talking to the camera and being like, "Hey, here's what's up" basically the same sort of stuff we talked about on the podcast, a little news-oriented, maybe show some clips if we've got them. And just have it be a place where like, you know, if you don't want to listen to a podcast, if you want to just watch a quick video, cool, you can. So we'll do that. We'll see if anyone picks up on it. Maybe we'll stop if they don't, but.

Melissa Avery-Weir  15:26  
We might replace the podcast with that. We did not get a lot of feedback that suggested people listen to the podcast or that that is how they either get their indie news or get their news about us. So it may be that, you know, this may be near the end of our of our podcast run.

Gregory Avery-Weir  15:44  
Yeah, we'll see.

Melissa Avery-Weir  15:45  

Gregory Avery-Weir  15:45  
It might be that when we put podcast stuff up and vlog stuff up, we find that people do want podcasts if they get them on YouTube, and so on and so forth. We're not collecting real stats on on podcast downloads. So we know we don't have that much insight into, into whether there's, you know. Actually, I'll say this: you there with your podcast player.

Melissa Avery-Weir  16:11  
Wait, hold on!

Gregory Avery-Weir  16:14  
Yes, I'm talking to you directly. If you are listening to this podcast and you like it. If you want it to continue happening, drop us a line.

Melissa Avery-Weir  16:22  

Gregory Avery-Weir  16:23  
Comment on our blog, or send us an email at info@futureproofgames.com or tweet at us and basically, like, if we get one or two messages--

Melissa Avery-Weir  16:34  

Gregory Avery-Weir  16:34  
--from people we don't know saying they want us to keep the podcast, we'll almost certainly keep the podcast. We might keep it anyway.

Melissa Avery-Weir  16:40  

Gregory Avery-Weir  16:40  
But if you're like, "Oh, hey, wait, I definitely want this to happen." Just, just let us know. Like, "I listened to it!" and that'll, that'll be an important data point.

Melissa Avery-Weir  16:49  

Gregory Avery-Weir  16:50  
But yeah, well, we'll see. We're playing it by ear and just experimenting a little bit.

Melissa Avery-Weir  16:55  
Yeah. And we've got, you know, there's equipment questions and all sorts of like logistics to figure out in terms of, do we have good enough cameras and, and all that? So.

Gregory Avery-Weir  17:04  
Yeah, but we'll we'll figure out vlogging stuff or you know, YouTube video updates or whatever. But yeah, and if you have, even though we finished the survey that we ran end of last year, if you have feedback on how you want to hear from us or sort of news that you want the we're not providing, let us know, we're, we always welcome ideas, there might be stuff we can't do just because it's impractical, but let us know if you've got requests or suggestions on that front.

Melissa Avery-Weir  17:10  
And you can find all of our stuff over at FutureProofGames.com, or over on twitter at @PlayFutureProof hit us up with any questions or comments, using any of the parts of the internet that make it possible to communicate with us. Our theme music is "Juparo" by Broke for Free, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.