Jedi Fallen Order Part 6: Zeffo

By Shamus Posted Thursday Sep 17, 2020

Filed under: Retrospectives 67 comments

Our adventure brings us to Zeffo, which is a planet and not a lost member of the Marx Brothers. This is the homeworld of the now-extinct Zeffo civilization. We’re here to explore the local tomb so that the droid – which we brought with us – will show us the next holo-vlog from the late Jedi Master Eno Cordova. This is a very roundabout way of doing things, which becomes even more roundabout when we realize the Empire is here, digging for Jedi treasure or artifacts or whatever. 

The only real risk in our plan is having this droid fall into the hands of the empire. And now we’re dragging the droid with us into an Imperial outpost. If Cordova hadn’t been so cute and decided to play Ready Player One with this galaxy-changing data, we would currently have the thing we’re after and we’d be totally safe from the Empire.

I know it’s basically the mission statement of the Republic-era Jedi to create more problems than they solve, but I still roll my eyes when Cere feels the need to remind us what a brilliant guy he was. 

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Jedi Fallen Order Part 6: Zeffo”



Project Bug Hunt #2: Let’s Build Some Walls

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Sep 15, 2020

Filed under: Programming 26 comments

To recap: The goal of this project is to generate something like an immersive sim shooter level. This means designing a level, building the rooms, and “furnishing” those rooms. I don’t know what furniture we’re going to use and to a certain extent it doesn’t matter. We just need to prove that we could fill the rooms with whatever the game calls for, and the furniture needs to be placed in a way that makes sense.

The Star Trek Enterprise might have a Captain’s chair, beds, a warp core, and an ice cream machineOh, you’ve never seen the Trek Ice Cream machine? Watch the episode where someone uses the toilet. The ice cream is right next door to that., but we shouldn’t see them all next to each other. A fridge doesn’t make sense in the middle of the room and the captain’s chair doesn’t make sense in the corner. My program needs to be able make this logic work without resorting to premade room layouts.

In addition, we need lighting that works within some reasonable performance constraints. The world needs coherent collision detection so the player doesn’t fall out of the level or get stuck on invisible walls. It needs to be possible for an AI to navigate the space, even if we don’t add proper shooter combat mechanics or proper enemy AI.

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Project Bug Hunt #2: Let’s Build Some Walls”



Diecast #316: Stumble Mouth

By Shamus Posted Monday Sep 14, 2020

Filed under: Diecast 73 comments

I don’t know why I had so much trouble speaking English this week. It’s the only language I know, and it seems like I need at least one to do this jorb.

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Link (YouTube)

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Diecast #316: Stumble Mouth”



Windows: The Dread of Updates

By Shamus Posted Thursday Sep 10, 2020

Filed under: Rants 178 comments

It’s Wednesday, and I’m programming. In a few hours I need to set this aside and get my next SWJFOLOL post ready for tomorrow. I’m having a minor little problem with Visual Studio that forces me to restart the program every hour or so to continue working. I see there’s an update available. Maybe that will fix my problem?

I click the button, and Visual Studio spends about 45 seconds updating itself. Then it ends with a message telling me that I need to restart my computer before I can continue.

Ugh. Well OF COURSE I do.

This is more annoying than you might think. I’m running Unity, my image editor, Blender, and (until a few seconds ago) Visual Studio. I’ve got web windows opened on both monitors, one for checking comments on this site and another filled with Google search results for the three or five C# problems I’m trying to unravel. I have several explorer windows opened up and all of these things are positioned in very specific places to facilitate my workflow.

The point is that it takes some time to get all of these things running again after a reboot. But fine. Let’s get this over with.

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Windows: The Dread of Updates”



Project Bug Hunt #1: What Are We Doing?

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Sep 8, 2020

Filed under: Programming 40 comments

As I’ve alluded to before, I’ve been working on a new programming project. Like most of my other projects, this one is tied to procedural content generation. While the Good Robot project turned into a real video game, most of these projects are intended to be experiments, educational projects, or proof-of-concept demos. I guess this project is all three.

What are we Doing?

I want something just like this, except completely different.
I want something just like this, except completely different.

Our goal is to make a procgen shooter level. It probably won’t matter, but I’m aiming for something that would work as an immersive simYes, this is a confusing and awkward name for this genre. It was named back in the 90s when a lot of genre boundaries hadn’t settled in and we were still calling shooters “Doom Clones”., not a turbo-charged run-n-gun shooter. Games like System Shock, System Shock 2, and Prey are some of my most beloved games. I like how the space station setting allows for open-ended exploration without needing to contrive a silly wall around the world to keep the player in the playpen. I like how the isolated setting creates a quasi survival horror vibe, where you’re all alone in a haunted box full of monsters. I like how combat is slow-paced and risky, and I like having to balance my supply of ammunition, weapons, tools, and healing items.

I also give partial credit to games like Thief, Deus Ex and Dishonored for being Immersive Sims, even if they don’t take place in my favorite settings or feature the open-endedness I’m looking for. I give partial-partial credit to the BioShocks for being watered-down examples of the formula.

You can argue over genre boundaries all day, but you don’t need to haggle with me that game X should be included or game Y should be excluded. It’s fine. You can decide for yourself what Immersive Sim really means, but it’s not going to change my design. I’m just trying to make something I’d like, which means a procgen space station / space ship setting.

I’m not going to be adding AI or monsters to fight, so this focus on “Immersive sim levels” is mostly academic. I just want to head off objections that the stuff I’m building wouldn’t work as a shooter because it’s too constrained to allow for insane run speeds and rocket-jumping.

So anyway, back to defining our overall goals…

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Project Bug Hunt #1: What Are We Doing?”



Diecast #315: Mailbag Clearinghouse

By Shamus Posted Monday Sep 7, 2020

Filed under: Diecast 142 comments

People emailed us a bunch of questions, so we talked for a long time until they were all answered.

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Link (YouTube)

Show notes:
Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Diecast #315: Mailbag Clearinghouse”



Jedi Fallen Order Part 5: Crazy Cordova

By Shamus Posted Thursday Sep 3, 2020

Filed under: Retrospectives 128 comments

BD-1 and Cal are on the tutorial planet Bogano. There’s some sort of ruin / temple in the distance, and Cal figures that’s where he’s supposed to go. We get the rest of our tutorials out of the way, fight some local wildlife, and do some extremely gentle puzzles. 

These levels are interesting. While the traversal system is very much in the lineage of Prince of Persia / Uncharted / Tomb Raider, this game sets itself apart with its sheer verticality and complexity. The Tomb Raider games usually feature a linear path through an environment. They might branch a bit for cul-de-sacs with secrets, and sometimes you’ll climb up or down, but the main path can usually be visualized in a straightforward manner. 

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Jedi Fallen Order Part 5: Crazy Cordova”


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