boblentil's forum posts

#1 Edited by boblentil (9 posts) -

In 2005, I sent a snarky e-mail to Ryan commenting on his usage of the phrase "velocity of time" in a Freeplay column at GameSpot. I was surprised not only by how quickly he replied--but the effort that he took to compose a nuanced response. His closing, "If my use of the word 'velocity' was a misnomer, I apologize, though it pleases me to no end that it elicited your response," always stuck with me, because it showed how genuinely appreciative he was of his readers. Although it was a fairly mundane exchange, I always thought of it fondly. I'll always remember Ryan Davis as travelling near the speed of light.

Greetings Ryan Davis,

In your most recent Freeplay column, you introduced the concept of "the velocity of time." At first I thought the phrase was a bit nonsensical, as velocity is generally defined as the rate of change in position with respect to time. The existence of a velocity of time would thus require that one be able to define a position of time. To the best of my knowledge, time can not be readily assigned a spacial position, which led me to postulate that perhaps the position of time could be defined with respect to itself. If this was the case, however, the velocity of time would at all times be unity, because the rate of change of any variable with respect to itself is one. The velocity of time would therefore have to be constant to avoid a contradiction. Interestingly enough, your column suggests that the velocity of time could somehow be increasing. Clearly, for this to be the case, you must be observing time with respect to some reference frame that is getting increasingly closer to the speed of light. How fast are you going Ryan Davis, and how did you get going so darn fast?




The concept of the velocity of time, or in another phrase, "time compression", was something introduced to me by an old philosophy teacher, and technology was used as its point of reference. Let's take military hardware as an example. The very first piece of military hardware ever was, ostensibly, a rock or a stick that some form of pre-man picked up and used as a weapon--bludgeon, projectile, whatever. To get from the stick to, let's say a sword, it literally took millions of years. But then to get from sword to gun was maybe ten thousand years. And from gun to atomic bomb was just a few hundred.

Granted this is a highly simplified summary of the history of weapons, but if you look at just about any kind of technologically driven human endeavor--transportation, medicine, whatever--this concept remains basically true. We're constantly accelerating. The longer that time "goes" for, the faster this pattern seems to become. I think this concept applies neatly to consumer technology, and I felt it worth mentioning in passing in the article. If my use of the word "velocity" was a misnomer, I apologize, though it pleases me to no end that it elicited your response. Thanks for reading.

Ryan Davis

Associate Producer


#2 Posted by boblentil (9 posts) -

This story has inspired me to fondly reminisce about the fine manual that came with F-19 Stealth Fighter.

#4 Edited by boblentil (9 posts) -

"Very much like him, according to my wife Mrs. Washington."

Whenever I have the opportunity to use the phrase "very much like that" (or anything similar), "according to my wife Mrs. Washington" invariably gets tacked on the end, whether it makes sense or not.

#5 Edited by boblentil (9 posts) -

I noticed that the current version of the main article makes the claim that Grim Fandango was not a commercial success.  Does anybody have a credible source to back that claim?  I know there's an interview with Tim Schafer floating around somewhere where he makes a statement to the effect that Grim Fandango met its financial target.  (Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find the interview at the time of this posting.)  I also found a quote from a LucasArts spokesman stating that "Grim Fandango met domestic expectations and exceeded them worldwide." (source)  One would think that meeting a financial target (and ostensibly making a profit) would at the very least protect a game from being perpetually labeled a commercial failure.  (I'm not saying that that's what's stated in the main article.  There's a difference between "not a commercial success" and "commercial failure.")

What are your thoughts on the matter?  Does a game need to make millions to be considered a commercial success?  Should a game that meets or exceeds its financial expectations be considered a commercial failure?  Is Grim Fandango's lack of commercial success real, or is it an oft perpetuated internet rumor?

#6 Edited by boblentil (9 posts) -

I took a pass through the main article to correct spelling/grammar errors and otherwise improve the writing quality.  I expanded some of the information that's already there, but I didn't add any significant new content.

#7 Posted by boblentil (9 posts) -

Grim Fandango is my favorite game.