Chainmail Bikini Returns

By Shamus Posted Sunday Feb 17, 2019

Filed under: DM of the Rings 34 comments

If you’re reading this site, then you know about DM of the Rings. That comic turns 13 this year. When that comic came out, both BioWare and id Software were still independent game studios, and the Red Ring of Death was plaguing the new Xbox 360. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and the first Saints Row game had just released. XKCD was relatively new and hadn’t yet exploded into the institution it is today, which means there was possibly a window of a few weeks somewhere in 2006 where my work was as popular as Randal Munroe’s.

It was a long time ago, is what I’m saying.

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Chainmail Bikini Returns”



Human Ingenuity Beats AI’s Machine Precision

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Feb 13, 2019

Filed under: Column 139 comments

My column this week talks about the final game between pro Starcraft II player MaNa and the AlphaStar AI. As you’ve probably figured out from the subtle hints in the title, the human won this time around. My article talks about how MaNa won and gives some historical contextIn this case, me talking about games I was playing 20 years ago counts as “historical context”. to the matchup.

How AlphaStar was developed:

They seeded the system with some of the basics of the game: Building a base, creating units, attacking the opponent. From there:

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Human Ingenuity Beats AI’s Machine Precision”



Andromeda Part 17: Welcome to the Bungle

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Feb 12, 2019

Filed under: Mass Effect 79 comments

The next stop on our tour of the Heleus Cluster is Havarl. Like the other planets, the climate is out of whack. Unlike the other planets, this place suffers from an overabundance of life rather than a shortage.


Havarl is overgrown with a thick jungleYet another single-biome planet.This is the one planet where you can’t drive the Nomad. and all of the native flora and fauna is exceedingly dangerous. Everything is toxic, poisonous, or filled with murderous intent.

The game says this is the ancestral home of the Anagara and that they had to abandon it when it became too inhospitable, but that doesn’t really fit with what we’re shown. I’d expect to see bits of Angaran cities poking out of the overgrowth. They’re a spacefaring species, so their cities must have been pretty impressive. But instead the “cities” are just endless sections of Remnant architecture that form horizon-smothering black walls around the play area. I imagine this is another detail that would have been ironed out if the game had been given time for polish.

I do like that this world offers some contrast with the other four and isn’t yet another lifeless hellscape for us to colonize.

As with the other worlds, you need to visit the monoliths, then do the vault, and then the game tells you the planet is stabilizing. Then you run around and do fetch quests and kill the mooks congregating around map markers until the planet hits 100%. Whee.

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Andromeda Part 17: Welcome to the Bungle”



Diecast #243: JAI, Warframe, Trailmakers

By Shamus Posted Monday Feb 11, 2019

Filed under: Diecast 89 comments

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Show notes: Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Diecast #243: JAI, Warframe, Trailmakers”



Andromeda Part 16: Morda Meets The Eye

By Shamus Posted Thursday Feb 7, 2019

Filed under: Mass Effect 138 comments

Elaaden is where the Krogan decided to settle when they left the Nexus. There’s some local politics you need to sort out here to stabilize the region. Morda has appointed herself as “Overlord” of all Krogan here. She’s bellicose, confrontational, and prideful. She’s also proof that bringing the Krogan on this expedition was a foolish move, surpassed only in the foolishness of betraying them. I much prefer stories that have a sort of inevitability to them, where mistakes are grievous but understandable. The mistakes made by the Andromeda Initiative are so idiotic that I sometimes lose interest in helping out. I often find myself thinking, “Screw it. These morons deserve everything that happens to them.”

Assuming you’re not going to turn the game off, you’re going to need to deal with Morda. There’s another Krogan, Strux, who is more cunning and less overtly warmongering. I really thought the game was setting up a choice between a warmonger Krogan leader or a devious Krogan leader, but you can’t actually side with Strux. Instead, Strux attempts a coup that brings about his own downfall, and the only choice you get to make is if you want to screw the Krogan yet again. Like the confrontation with the Cardinal on Voeld, it’s like the writer deliberately ignored an interesting choice to offer you a shallow one.

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Andromeda Part 16: Morda Meets The Eye”