Saturday, October 28, 2006

Who should you believe?

Kiyoshi had convinced me and others to be a Nintendo employee, but now he confirmed that he was lying and was doing this for levity. Initially, there were many facts that questioned his truthfulness, yet I still considered him to be real. For example, he made a post about Yaz0 to confirm that he was a Nintendo insider. A quick search on Google revealed that he may have gotten the information from a home brew GameCube developer site. I saw that his posts were around 2-4 A.M. in Kyoto; why would they stay up at night entertaining people? He claimed there to be a "big secret," yet in his posts about the Wii games, he managed to leave out the "big secret." Even in my second interview with him, he managed to not even mention the "big secret."

He was able to convince people about his veracity through his sincere and believable posts. For example, when Iwata revealed that the remote would not have a microphone, Kiyoshi relied on how Nintendo denies something, but then later revealing it to be true. For example, Nintendo denied the existence of a redesigned DS or a Wii Twilight Princess game, but later confirmed their existence. Besides the usual diatribe by posters, there wasn't anyone to reveal that he was fake before his blog went inactive for two months, even though I should have been subjective enough to do so. He even convinced a poster on Slashdot that the Wii had Linux.

I began to question his truthfulness even further when Wii pricing structure reported by Nintendo did not match what he said. In addition, there wasn't any indication that remote had a microphone. Yet like a teddy bear, I held on to the belief that Kiyoshi was real, that maybe Nintendo was holding off information until the very end.

People around the Internet were able to reveal how the reported insiders were fake by looking at what they wrote carefully and researching the facts behind what they said. However, I wonder how much of the deception in the real world these people are able to reveal? Do they care? Or do they believe that deception only exists in the virtual world? If the gamers had used their mental faculty to reveal these deceptions, the world would be a better place.

I hope to use this blog to study the deception around the world and improve my analytical skills. The goal is to come to a realistic view of the world.

Friday, July 28, 2006

I thank Kiyoshi for taking the time out for this interview. My questions/comments are in bold.

Growing up, there were companies that fascinated me.
But many of those companies are dying out because of
lack of innovation. Sun Microsystems and SGi are
examples. Using Windows 95 for the first time amazed
me, but I haven't been amazed by anything Microsoft's
made so far. Nintendo is one of those companies that
continue to amaze me. The Wii is justification for my
fascination. What keeps Nintendo innovating? Most of
this interview is meant to get inside the mind of both
Nintendo as a corporation and the employees at
Nintendo.



Just as side note I can say I completely agree with you. Another company that also always amaze me personaly is Apple. They've made and keep makeing great products.





Firstly, I'd like to ask questions about Nintendo
employees.



What qualities does Nintendo look for when hiring
software and hardware engineers? What about artists?



Well for engineers it's of course the standard bit with skill and what you can do plainly technically. There is a bit of puzzle solving, some fundamentals. And then we look at how well the person can work in a team, and how well she or he cans aceppt than other people doesnt agree or want to change the ideas and how he/she reacts. It's important to be flexible, you must also be persistent if your onto something and show why its so good and make sure that all really understand you.



When it comes to artists we look for similar things, but here creativity is more important, the ability to look at one artwork and make things that look good with it. It's also important to be able to express feelings, or envirnoments in a effective way through few elements.



Could you describe the corporate culture at Nintendo?
Is it relaxed and casual?



While the climat is always friendly in all departements, I wouldnt say any are really relaxed. Especially not the corporate parts. It's hard work all of it, and the talented persons empolyed always work a lot. But still, we have a friendly and understanding atomshere and while working hard its important for each person to feel minimal stress to accomplish the best.



In terms of business practices Nintendo is
conservative. But what about ideas? Is Nintendo open
to ideas from all levels of the business chain?



Since we design console for our own games, most of the developement come from Nintendo and we are pretty closed about ideas. But in sometimes we let 3rd party developers decide. Like the speaker in the Wiimote. We though we remove it since no developement team was really excited about it, but the 3rd party developers really wanted to do creative things with it. So we thought why not keep it.





Next, some questions about the corporate mindset at
Nintendo.



How has the atmosphere at Nintendo changed since you
joined the company? For example, how has the
company's business mentality, outlook into the future,
and creativity changed? Is it for the better or
worse?



We have definitely become more free when it come to ideas. Now we're trying more to break the limits and create crazy stuff. All early ideas start with crazy experiments and thoughts and not 10% make it to any kind of final product. We just go crazy because the best way to do things is often unconventional. Other than that I cant say much have changed.



How was Yamouchi-san perceived among Nintendo
employees when he was still president?



He was always a bit stubborn but deserved all respected because he was the one who lead Nintendo to the game market in the first place. But some thought he was too hard and didnt listen enough to fresh ideas.



My understanding is that Yamouchi-san and Iwata-san
are two sides of the coin, which is why Yamouchi-san
picked Iwata-san as the next president. Is this
correct? If not, do you think the company would be
doing what they are doing now if Yamouchi-san were
still president?



Iwata-san is much more open, and he is a lot different from Yamouchi-san. I think if Yamouchi would still be the president it would not be as good and we would be stuck with older ideas, much like Microsoft and Sony Computer Entertainment. A company needs to renew itself constantly.



I've heard the DS was Yamouchi-san's idea. Does
Yamouchi-san still influence Nintendo's business
decisions?



We do keep a open mind to all people working at Nintendo to give ideas and we always look at them before rejecting. I can say that while he wasnt a man who wanted to test all ideas and rejected lots of them, he does come up with clever ones once in a while. And when we think it's interesting, we may as well use it. And actually he has influensed in good ways. For example to also use the microphone in the Wiimote was his idea first, and the internal developers are very excited for it.





Next, some miscellaneous questions.



Do Iwata-san and Miyamoto-san have a good
relationship? Are they friends?



Yes they are good friends and often work closesly in new games. Miyamoto often talks to him what he thinks about new gameplay and how it could change. Even though Iwata is Nintendo's president he is also a very talented game designer.



Who plays the biggest role in designing a console? Is
it the hardware engineers, software engineers, or
artists?



They are all needed so they are equal important but in the beginning and to form the direction of a new console it always starts with the artists. How can it be more immersive? How can it be more fun? And it always start with concept. Moving your arms to control things would be fun. How can we do this? And then from a vision we look how and which things can be done. Then the hardware people make their hardest to make it cheap to produce, powerful as possible and etc, when the general concept about it is done. After it's all made, its all about the software enginers.



My impression is that Nintendo would be content if
they were only successful in Japan. Is this correct?



Since this is our home market it's true that a success in Japan is often taken as a general success and we design our products with this market in mind. But without our success in other areas we wouldnt be able to spend as much on researsh, gret games and it wouldnt be as good. So we're working hard to make everything universal and we're reaching for the stars.




Revolutions don't come often. Can we expect to see a
different interface in the next generation console?



You will see new features and refinements, but a whole new fundamental system you wont see. We've only had one before - the game pad. Now we have another one - the Wiimote. The perhaps hardest thing in developing a grondbraking new interface is too make it work with existing concept, like driving a car or jumping around in a platforms game. With the Wiimote we hit a homerun and it will be there for at least another generation. But be sure it will be greatly enhanced and will have new exciting features. But right now I dont know myself how it could possibly be approved... But we'll work hard and look at lots of new ideas so until its time again we'll have somthing great for you all.



Thank you for your time.

Monday, July 03, 2006

I am not convinced that the Wii will have GameCube-like graphics. Forum posters have given up: even posters on Nintendo.com are saying that the Wii have terrible graphics. A popular blogger said that he saw no reason why developers would tone down the graphics displayed at E3 (he edited his post after an ATi spokesman said that the graphics shown at E3 were the "tip of the iceberg.")
I am not convinced either that expensive hardware is needed to pull off great graphics. If you are a computer science student, go ask what your computer graphics professors are researching. Chances are that they're researching ways to produce high quality graphics efficiently. This is done by the genius of software. Kiyoshi is claiming that the Wii will have great graphics with little resources, and they will be even better with the "big secret." I’m willing to believe that.
And what could the recent interview with Ubi Soft manager Damien Moret mean about the graphics? Here are some interesting sections (referenced from http://theboard.zogdog.com/index.php?automodule=blog&blogid=11&showentry=1750#comments):
M: Is Wii able in term of shaders programmable than GameCube? How do you exploit these capacities in Red Steel?

DM: Wii is not the console most adapted for the shaders in particular compared to its competitors. But final, it allows loader of the heavy sets of textures which enable us to detail the levels enormously. It is a different manner to use graphic power
...
M: Was the E3 version impressive but one could see graphic improvement appropriatenesses there, unless that is the best than you could draw from the console? If an optimization is possible from here the launching of the play, will it be clearly visible? With which level precisely?

DM: For E3, graphics was not our priority, one wanted especially to show the potential of the gameplay and the new feelings with this controller. You will discover very soon our graphic improvements

Of course, that could mean anything. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Please go to http://saruwatari-wii.blogspot.com/2006/06/interview-with-alleged-rapist.html for an interesting interview with Kiyoshi.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Finally a real insider? Read his posts and read my dialogue between him. Decide for yourself if he’s real. http://saruwatari-wii.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 05, 2006

Nintendo has stunned us three times. First, they showed a stunning console design at E3 2005. Second, at TGS 2005 they showed us a stunning interface. Lastly, they revealed the stunning name of the console: the look and name both mean something. What's next at E3 2006?
You should not be stunned if the graphics look as good as the competition on ED-TV and maybe HD-TV. Nintendo knows how to make consoles. For example, many beginner Game Boy Advance programmers complain that the system does not have a floating point unit. However, in a 2-D game, floating point calculations are not often needed. The ARM32 can do left and right shifts in constant time. With fixed point arithmetic and look up tables, you can do fast calculations. Thus Nintendo saves money by having a CPU that does not support floating point operations. How would have Sony and Microsoft implemented the GBA? Moreover, how much power do you need to make impressive graphics?
And consider the following from http://revolution.ign.com/articles/704/704644p1.html:
"So much of what we do at the moment relies on textures," says David King a freelance modeler based in the UK. "Normal mapping, light mapping, dynamic cubic reflection mapping, depth mapping, it's all maps. Strangely, texture memory isn't expanding fast enough to deliver on the consoles."

Why haven't Sony and MS delivered on this need? Do you think Nintendo will?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The wait for E3 begins.