A Travelog of Ivalice, Part 18: Brothers

By The Rocketeer Posted Wednesday May 11, 2022

Filed under: FFXII 54 comments

Basch seems confused and annoyed that his dear sibling is still alive and employed. No, I don’t know how he’s alive, either. He probably got blown clear to Dorstonis by the Pharos explosion, and had to catch a charter airship here.

I greet my brother this way, too.
I greet my brother this way, too.

Gabranth tries to act tough, but he’s barely clinging to life at this point, lacking the strength to even stand straight without being wracked by pain. Gabranth throws himself a little pity party after nearly getting shitcanned, but Basch has no fucks. Gabranth loses his temper, asking Basch how he can still hold his head up after losing three (3) countries and, presumably, three kingsLandis was a republic; no clue what form their actual head of state took. in the process, but to Basch, it’s simple. He has someone more important to protect: the Lady Ashe.

Ashe says nothing, but it just now strikes her that she needs to keep this man as far away from her as humanly possible.

Basch tries to cheer him up a little bit by pointing out that he can take pride in being Lord Larsa’s bodyguard. Even Gabranth doesn’t buy that shit; Gabranth has never lifted a damned finger to serve Larsa.


Continue reading ⟩⟩ “A Travelog of Ivalice, Part 18: Brothers”



20 Questions

By Shamus Posted Tuesday May 10, 2022

Filed under: Random 97 comments

Recently (ish) Zeta Kai sent 20 questions to the Diecast. I thought that it would take too much of a show to cover them all. At the same time, these were fun softball questions and it seemed like I could get a blog post out of them. So I have appropriated these questions to try and keep the blog alive while I convalesce. Here we go…

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “20 Questions”



Diecast #380: Mailbag Mania

By Shamus Posted Monday May 9, 2022

Filed under: Diecast 52 comments

I’m spending most of the day asleep. And even when I’m awake I’m still grouchy, distracted, and befuddled. Things are rough, but hopefully they’re about to get better. With any luck, I’ll have better news next week.

Anyway, this is it. The mailbag is finally clear. If you still have unanswered questions now, it’s because you didn’t send them in.

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Link (YouTube)

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Diecast #380: Mailbag Mania”



A Travelog of Ivalice, Part 17: A New Hope

By The Rocketeer Posted Wednesday May 4, 2022

Filed under: FFXII 46 comments

As is the standard of RPG’s, the Bahamut is headed straight for Dalmasca, but it will patiently check its speed so that it does not arrive until the party is done chopping off monster parts in a swamp to haggle for new boots. But Ashe & Co, LLC. already stocks the biggest boots in all Ivalice, so it’s time to get in the Strahl and set Ivalice right with a hearty bout of impassioned philosophical and ethical debate between heads of state, assuming we have time between the epic cyber-Saiyan showdown.

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “A Travelog of Ivalice, Part 17: A New Hope”



Remembering Activeworlds

By Shamus Posted Tuesday May 3, 2022

Filed under: Projects 33 comments

Recently someone sent me a link to this video, where the author takes us on a tour through my old stomping grounds: Active Worlds: The 27-Year-Old Virtual World You Haven’t Heard Of

Link (YouTube)

What a blast from the past. This software was my life for about 16 years, from 1994 to ~2011-ish.I don’t remember what the end date was. For the last 6 months I was working part-time on again / off again. So my job sort of fizzled out rather than ending abruptly. I was pretty checked out by the time it was over, much more concerned with this website and the work I was doing at the Escapist. In the 90s I did a little of everything: I made 3d models, created texture maps, built environments, provided tech support, and authored tools. I even maintained the website for a bit. Then in 2001 I was moved to the programming staff and I began working on the software itself.

I made some of the stuff you’ll see in this video. At the 1:20 mark, the author jumps to Metatropolis. That was my baby. Like Facebook’s Metaverse, I named the place after the virtual world in Neal Stephenson‘s book Snow Crash. In my defense, the book was a lot more relevant in 1997 than it is today. I realize the Metaverse is a bit cringe and out-of-touch today, but I made Metatropolis in 1997 when this stuff was still sort of hip and forward-looking. I talked about some of the Metatropolis rendering tricks back in 2009 during my procgen city project.

At 1:44, you can see a streetlamp on a corner. Today, that would be easy to create. You just make a lamp and stick a light source under it. But real-time lighting and shadows were not feasible on the consumer hardware of 1997, so I had to fake the light. That pool of light on the ground is a custom texture with a hand-drawn shadow. Ridiculous. Most kids in 2022 would look at this and see how primitive it all looks, but in 1997 it looked like I’d pulled off some Carmack-level sorcery and jumped ahead a couple of graphics generations. But no. It was all smoke and mirrors. The illusion was broken the moment you placed another object under the light and saw it didn’t cast any sort of shadow.

Let me end this with a comment I left on the video:

I was a developer on AW from 1994 to 2010. I know from the outside it felt like the company had no plan. Internally, it was because most of our income came from corporate clients. Those outrageously priced universe servers? Lots of companies would buy those, and then pay us to make content for them. They wanted a platform for training, remote meetings, distance learning, etc.

Those corporate clients kept the lights on for years, but they also took a ton of our time. We had to take those jobs to pay the bills, but those jobs also greatly slowed down our progress on the software.

Thanks for such an in-depth video. It was great to see those garish old polygons again.

This thing was a big part of my career. It looks old and janky now, but I’m still happy I got to be a part of it. This was a fun way to spend my 20s and 30s.



Diecast #379: The Hyper Batman Ultra Deluxe

By Shamus Posted Monday May 2, 2022

Filed under: Diecast 53 comments

I don’t know why Paul and I get such joy out of dunking on No Man’s Sky. The game received over a dozen major updates since it was released six years ago. You’d think that, “Oh wow. The new content is awful and doesn’t address the core problems with the game!” would get old. But I guess not. I will never forgive this game for the way it spurned its own potential to give us a game about inventory sorting and bar-filling.

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Link (YouTube)

Show notes: Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Diecast #379: The Hyper Batman Ultra Deluxe”



Eh! Steve! Spider-Man: No Way Home

By Shamus Posted Friday Apr 29, 2022

Filed under: Diecast 53 comments

On Thursday night I sat down with Chris and Steve and we did a podcast on Spider-Man: No Way Home. 

For those of you who just want the health update: Surgery is over. I’m recovering nicely. If all goes well, then in about 2 weeks my health should really improve. I’ll have more details later.

I did this podcast because it was a nice low-effort way to produce some content and let everyone hear that I’m doing OK. In this podcast We talked Spider-Man, and I also give my 1-minute review of THE BATMAN.