Diecast #197: BATTLEGROUNDS, Westerado, Call of Duty

By Shamus
on Apr 24, 2017
Filed under:
Diecast

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Hosts: Rutskarn, Shamus, Campster and Baychel.

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The Worst Job

By Shamus
on Apr 23, 2017
Filed under:
Personal

The modem coughs and screams like someone beatboxing to white noise. Why the shit do modems always default to ear-splitting volume levels, and why can I never remember where you go to change it?

The connection happens and I’m ready to begin work for the day. I open Microsoft Outlook Express, hit “Check Email”, and then brace myself for the worst part of the day.

It’s 1997.

Part of my job involves answering technical questions from our users. This means my email is public. It’s posted on our website, and it’s in my signature on the message board. Which means spam bots have had years to discover it. Which means all the spammers have it. Also, a couple of years ago our company went from free-to-play to a paid model. This pissed people off, and part of the public backlash / protest was that someone signed our emails up for various porn mailing lists.

I don’t know if it’s the mailing lists or the spam bots, but these days I get between one and two hundred emails a day, and 90% of them are advertisements for pornography.

Maybe if you’re young you imagine “porn” means HD video of attractive people doing obvious things that I don’t need to belabor here. But this is 1997, and spammers don’t yet have vast botnets of compromised machines to deliver their spam payload. The internet is slow, bandwidth is expensive, and spammers still sort of pay to send out their spam.

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Life is Strange EP6: Hella Wowzers!

By Shamus
on Apr 21, 2017
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

The scenes with David are really hard for me to watch. This stuff with unjust, overbearing, sanctimonious adults in positions of power is a little too real for me. I’m kinda glad I skipped this game now. I give the game full marks for being emotionally affecting, but these aren’t really emotions I care to feel.


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New Site Theme

By Shamus
on Apr 21, 2017
Filed under:
Random

I am no longer the sole regular contributor to this site, so I really ought to discuss things with my blogging roommates before I make any sweeping changes. But I didn’t. I guess I figured it was easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

Changing the site theme is always controversial. I don’t think I’ve ever made a change that didn’t get at least some push-back. But this is a big one, and I expect we’ll have a bit of a shake-out period.

For those of you reading this site from the future, this is what the site looked like yesterday, and this is what it looked like after the switch.

Important changes…

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A Hundred!2020209Many comments. 169, if you're a stickler



Life is Strange EP5: Knock Over All the Things

By Shamus
on Apr 20, 2017
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

We already gave our answers in the show, but I’m curious what everyone else thinks: This game featured fewer puzzles in the later chapters. Do you think this is due to general corner-cutting, or was it a deliberate response to the player base?

Is clumsily knocking things over supposed to be a major theme in this game? In this episode alone Max broke the snowglobe, dropped the pictures into the oil, and dropped that gizmo behind the washer. Also, there was the anecdote about knocking over the wine bottle.


201030 comments. (A twenty-sided die has 30 edges.)



Arkham City Part 13: Old Old Gotham

By Shamus
on Apr 20, 2017
Filed under:
Batman

Batman descends into Old Gotham to look for Ra’s Al Ghul. Well, I guess this is Old Old Gotham, since Arkham City itself is already built from Old Gotham. The city is a bit young to have this many archaeological layers, but comic book gonna comic book.

There’s some puzzles and travel and combat and other tomfoolery. At the end Batman is barely holding it together. The toxins are catching up with him.

Batman was dosed with Titan formula at the end of the last game and came out unscathed. Joker has endured this stuff in his blood for months and only now is it really getting to him. Batman got a diluted dose via Joker’s blood a few hours ago and already he’s in worse shape than Joker.

There’s actually an explanation for why the toxin seems to be so inconsistent. The explanation is, “It’s a videogame based on a comic book.”

The Joker Toxin has been wearing him down over the past hour or so. The game even lowers Batman’s max health. I’m glad his weakness is reflected in gameplay and not confined to cutscenes. Also, this is a good way to gently increase the difficulty without needing to introduce new foes. Remember that this is a game where it’s possible to get through an entire fight without taking a scratch. The game is just being a little less forgiving about how many mistakes you can make in a fight.

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Life is Strange EP4: Captain Cringe

By Shamus
on Apr 19, 2017
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

I think our different reactions to Warren are kind of interesting. Chris and I both feel like Warren represents some earlier, terrible version of ourselves. Chris feels sorry for Warren, but I get mad / frustrated at him. To be clear, when I joke about bullying him I’m not saying I’d actually enjoy hurting him. It’s more that he’s sort of this embodiment of a lot of embarassing moments in my life and I’d love to destroy those moments. It’s not that I want to kick Warren’s ass, but I would like to kick the ass of what he represents.

Being middle aged sucks in terms of health and comfort, but it really is nice to not go through life burning some new humiliation into my memory every week or so.


202020161 comments? This post wasn't even all that interesting.



Nan o’ War CH8: Yohojimbo

By Rutskarn
on Apr 19, 2017
Filed under:
Lets Play

No one ever said it was a soft life in this nan’s Caribbean(!). This isn’t London, where you can converse safely in the street without fear of splicing through a cheese shop. This is a crucible where the truly ragged and desperate lose their health, their sanity, and sometimes their lives to build great fortunes. So when it comes time for mainland aristocrat to drop by and collect said fortunes, it pays to be wary of the local hazards, like wild pigs and coconut crabs and the mobs of righteous poor who want to beat the piss out of them.

As someone quite recently indentured, I understand the socioeconomic arguments for giving all those shot-silk custard-sucking bastards a kicking. Unfortunately, I’m too broke to join in. So I’m playing the other side of the market.

My business cards say, `I personally promise you`ll have a hit point at the end of the mission.`
My business cards say, 'I personally promise you'll have a hit point at the end of the mission.'

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201225 comments. Neato.



Pseudoku: Texture Atlas

By Shamus
on Apr 18, 2017
Filed under:
Programming

Pseudoku is not going well. Part of the problem is that I’m busy with other stuff and I’m only working on this for a few hours a week. The more serious problem is that I’m still having strange compatibility problems that have no business cropping up in a project so simple. I’d be upset about this, but it’s not really hurting me right now. The project is stalled on the other end – the business end. I couldn’t possibly explain the whole stupid story here, but the short version is:

I need a business bank account before I can sell a game on Steam. I’ve formed a company and we’ve got an EIDIt’s like a tax number for your business. to use. Technically, I SHOULD be able to open a business bank account with this. But because of bureaucratic shenanigans I can’t begin to explain, we can’t actually find a bank willing to do this. They all insist that we need to form an S-Corp (expensive, time-consuming, and more complex than the problem we’re trying to solve, with the additional problem that it will make our taxes an even bigger job come tax day) or file for a fictitious name (costs hundreds of dollars in this state, takes weeks, and offers me nothing of value in return. (No, it doesn’t actually copyright or trademark the name from misuse. That’s ANOTHER set of paperwork. This just attaches a name (that we can’t change) to the EID.)

The problem isn’t that you can’t solve this. The problem is that there are a hundred apparent solutions. (Different banks. Different forms. Pay someone to do this for us.) Finding the one solution that will waste the least time and money is the problem.

Part of the confusion is that it’s really hard to parse some of these forms. Usually you can tell when you’ve got the wrong form. If you’re a single person and you’re filling out a form that asks about your spouse and children, then you can be reasonably confident you’re barking up the wrong tree and you need a different form. But in our case ALL of the forms feel wrong. Everything related to doing business was designed in the middle of the last century, where opening a business means you plan to do business locally. Everyone assumes I want to sell pancakes on main street. There’s no concept of a “one-man international business”. Sometimes it’s not possible to truthfully and accurately fill out a form because it asks questions that don’t make sense.

Imagine you’re opening a furniture store, but the business form has a REQUIRED field that wants to know the license plate numbers of the cars you’ll be using to deliver the pizzas. That’s the level of incoherent stupidity we’re dealing with right now.

In any event, the technology problems in Pseudoku don’t matter because the project is stalled by bureaucracy.

I got a cheap ($90) minimalist Win7 box for testing Pseudoku. It’s an HP with integrated graphics. It’s got a virgin install of Win7 and no additional funny business. Let’s put Pseudoku on it and see how it runs…

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2020201676 comments? This post wasn't even all that interesting.



Diecast #196: MST3K, Stories Untold, Game Jam

By Shamus
on Apr 17, 2017
Filed under:
Diecast

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Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Shamus, Campster. Episode edited by Issac.

Diecast #200 is right around the corner. I’m open to suggestions as to how we should observe the landmark.

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2020202018There are now 98 comments. Almost a hundred!



Messages from Spammers Pt 5

By Shamus
on Apr 16, 2017
Filed under:
Random

The spam bots never rest. They’re not always funny, but sometimes this army of automated chimpanzees manages to bang out something giggle-worthy on their internet typewriters. Let’s see what they came up with this week…

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20201050 comments. It's getting crowded in here.



Hangout: Something Different — It’s Over!

By Shamus
on Apr 13, 2017
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

Later today we’ll be streaming PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS. Why? Only Josh knows. We’ll be streaming on Twitch when the time comes. I hope you can make it and explain to me what this game is and why Josh wants me to watch it.

Edit: Thanks everyone for tuning in. We streamed almost two hours each of PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS and Nier Automata. The VODs will go up on youtube at some point, but until then, you can find them in the Twitch Archives.


1624 comments. (That's 10 in Hexadecimal.)




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