Spoiler Warning S5E10: Boone Comma Boom

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Apr 27, 2011

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 170 comments

Link (YouTube)

We got sidetracked a bit talking about Defense Grid: The Awakening. I wasn’t kidding about it using Gamebryo, either. Here is the splash screen:


And here is the game itself:


Note that Gamebryo is the engine on which Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Fallout New Vegas are built. I’d always assumed that it was an in-house creation from Bethesda, but the wiki describes it as a third-party engine. But then where does the Elder Scrolls Construction set come from? That MUST be in-house. (If it was third party, it wouldn’t have “Elder Scrolls” in the name.) Generally a game engine comes with its own tools, so this seems strange to me.

(A graphics engine usually only deals with pushing polygons and lighting them. Ideally, a good graphics engine will let you write one bit of code and have a better than average chance that it will be able to render the same on the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC without you needing to write three entirely different rendering pipelines. A game engine does all of this, plus it handles stuff like that creation of actors in the scene, user interface, abstracting various input devices, and setting up world geometry. The line between these two kinds of engine can get very blurry. Something like id Tech 4 (the engine behind Doom 3) is almost all graphics engine.)

The upshot is that New Vegas and Defense Grid have the same engine under the hood. I can only assume that they’re using the graphics engine aspects of Gamebryo and ignoring the game engine stuff. The games have nothing in common, so I can’t imagine that a single game engine would be of use to both. The only things they have in common are loose, abstract concepts like “actors” (game-world creatures) and “hit points”, ideas which are so basic it would be easier to write them yourself than to learn how to use someone else’s code.

Anyway. Defense Grid. Tower defense gameplay. Fun stuff.


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170 thoughts on “Spoiler Warning S5E10: Boone Comma Boom

  1. LVC says:

    IIRC an interview mentioned that the Gamebryo used by Bethesda is vanilla Gamebryo + Bethesdas own tweaks.

    I don’t have any reference, sorry.

    1. Eric says:

      Yeah, they’ve been building on it like crazy since Oblivion, to the point where it barely resembles the original engine. As far as I know even their new “Creation” engine or whatever it’s called is still just Gamebryo, but with updated graphics and presumably some performance and stability improvements (don’t trust their marketing, new name does not mean new engine). Gamebryo was actually used very extensively half a decade ago on consoles, due to being one of the stronger multi-platform engines out there, but I’m pretty sure it was later eclipsed by other solutions.

      Basically, everything wrong with Bethesda’s games can’t be blamed on Gamebryo, because the tech is just fine. It’s Bethesda who fucked it up its implementation.

    2. Will says:

      I worked with Gamebryo a few years ago. I actually found it to be very well put together, easy to work with and reliable. It was also fairly minimal, and mostly consisted of a rendering engine, sound libraries, art import tools and not a whole lot else. The developers had to add the scripting layer, NPC behaviors, the AI, game play logic, VATS (ugghh), animation and artwork.

      I think that most of what Shamus and the crew think of as the Gamebryo engine (including the bugs) is in that layer that that Bethesda put in. Gamebryo is still in there somewhere, but it’s kinda buried under how ever many years or poorly implemented, buggy, spaghetti code.

  2. Kelly Fowler says:

    I realize this is the point, but wow Reginald Cuftbert really is the worst way to play this game. I cannot believe you seriously killed the best companion in the game.

    1. Bobby Archer says:

      Frankly, I would implicitly distrust both the competence and sanity of anyone who willingly accompanied Reginald Cuftbert. They did Boone a favor by not forcing him to compromise himself.

      1. Kelly Fowler says:

        I get the feeling this will be a Lily and Rex run (if anyone), which hurts me because holy gods they are probably the worst companions.

        1. Klay F. says:

          I would retort that Veronica vs. Cazadors is the worst.

    2. Factoid says:

      Maybe he’s a good companion from a mechnical standpoint, but I hated having him around. He’s boring, brooding and sulking all at the same time. His story is interesting but he’s not suitable for a companion. He should be an NPC you encounter at different spots around the wastelands as he’s tryign to track down his wife’s kidnappers and avenge her death. Maybe he could be a temporary companion during parts.

      I just hate having the guy around, personally. I much preferred the company of Cass, Veronica or Arcade, even though Arcade isn’t a very good combat partner. Lily and Raul are both annoying as well.

      1. Klay F. says:

        Hey give Boone a break! His Charisma is 1 for Chrissake!

        Also, when taking on the Legion, he and my character have some incredibly funny conversations in a very dry humor sort of way.

      2. Kelly says:

        Well I-

        “Lily and Raul are both annoying as well”

        never mind, there’s no point in trying to reason with a drunkard.

        1. Especially Raul. Oh man is he annoying.

          1. Kanodin says:

            I for one enjoyed his sarcasm about all the ludicrous things I made him do.

          2. krellen says:

            Sure thing, boss.

      3. Eric says:

        He’s a bit of a whiner, but I think he’s actually a really neat counterpoint to the other characters. While Veronica, Raul, etc. all have character arcs, Boone… doesn’t really. He feels better after resolving his personal quest, but he doesn’t undergo the same sort of drastic change or shift that many of the others do. In the end, he still views himself as a damned man. At one point, the player can ask him, “How do you know haven’t redeemed yourself yet?”, and Boone’s response is simply “Because I’m still alive.”

        That kind of utterly cold and bleak character really stands out in the game, for all the right reasons, even if no, he’s not a hot lesbian wish fulfillment fantasy or a scientist with daddy issues.

        1. Kelly says:

          You can help Boone get over his issues too. That’s the whole point of I Forgot To Remember To Forget.

          Of course, you can also stop him from getting over it, in which case he becomes even more morose than before.

          1. Eric says:

            Actually, I just went through the quest yesterday. He… really doesn’t change much at all. He feels better about himself, but he doesn’t have the same shift in character. You don’t get the sense that his life is going to get any better or that he hates himself any less. He still ends up viewing himself as little more than a tool for fighting the Legion.

            1. Kelly says:

              The endings he gets directly contradict that line of thought. Unless you help the Legion win of course.

    3. Khizan says:

      They killed Veronica!?

      1. Kelly Fowler says:

        Veronica is completely incomparable to Boone in combat effectiveness. Yes, she does do obscene amount of damage with a Ballistic Fist or Pushy, but she can only do so once she’s closed in, and she’s pretty fragile even with power armor.

        Boone on the other hand does more damage, faster, and from further even if you don’t replace his standard rifle with an anti-material rifle or take advantage of his 100% Critical hit glitch. He can also tank insane amounts of damage.

        1. Eric says:

          Not to mention that melee companions really get in the way. Ian shooting me in the back constantly is bad enough, I don’t need her jumping in front of my sniper bullets every five minutes.

        2. Nyaz says:

          Really? Because I used Veronica for most of the game, and the only time she seemed to have issues was when there were two or more Deathclaws around. At any other point, she just ran in and punched things so hard their heads popped off…

        3. Khizan says:

          The combat in this game is so ridiculously easy that the best companion is based entirely around personality, which makes Veronica the uncontested champion.

          The only thing Boone has going for him is that he can wear the incredibly awesome looking NCR Ranger armor.

    4. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I would actually never take Boone along simply because I don’t like him. On the other hand since I play games largely for the stories and to do stuff like take the companions I like rather than the companions that are most effective (when possible) I usually attack any game at the lowest difficulty available at which point efficiency isn’t that important. So yeah, stay in the Dino Boone, hello Arcade my geeky man’s man.

      1. Kelly says:

        Arcade’s is way more boring than Boone’s though. Arcade himself is just a dude who didn’t know his father and doesn’t know how to feel about that (some of the cut dialogue has him doing a lot more intellectual stuff but oh well). The others in his group are a lot more interesting, but the game doesn’t really go into their thoughts as much.

        Boone on the other hand actually has some utterly insane endings he can get, and his story is horribly depressing, almost as bad as Raul’s.

        1. Sleeping Dragon says:

          To each their own I guess. I have heard that Boone is actually fairly well written and I admit I never actually gave him much of a chance.

          My first reaction was “oh lovely, a military type with ‘they killed my wife and child so I am now so very unapproachable but I will open up eventually and ask you for help with my vengeance’ story… I’ll pass”. I guess I’ve just seen too much of this and have grown prejudiced. Plus I’ll always take a smart or magical companion over a fighter type companion.

          1. Kelly says:

            Yeah that’s not Boone’s whole story by any means. That’s literally just his intro.

            1. krellen says:

              For starters, “they” didn’t kill anyone.

              1. Sleeping Dragon says:

                lol, I know that bit ;)

                Doesn’t really change my opinion… but I may actually take Boone when I’m replaying the thing for the DLCs… was planning to go “evil for giggles” though and I don’t think that’ll go over well with him…

  3. Bit says:

    It would be hilarious if you could kill both snipers, then have the town be overrun with bandits a few days later.

  4. X2-Eliah says:

    Hmyeah, iirc Bethesda took & tweaked a Gamebryo for Morrowind, and tweaked that again and again for every next game..

    Also, inb4 the hate torrent that’s coming up against all things bethesda that some folks like to do – I’ll take an engine that can run Oblivion over one that can build narrow singular corridors every time.

    1. Klay F. says:

      The engine doesn’t build the corridor as you say it. All three main Mass Effect games use the Unreal Engine 3, the corridors in ME2 are a blatant design decision that should be blamed on the developer, just as the infantile interior designs of New Vegas I blame on Obsidian.

    2. Eric says:

      Except Bethesda’s engine basically works with corridors anyway. There’s nothing special about what it does, short of being able to keep track of actor and object states across a whole world (which I imagine is greatly abstracted in places the player isn’t). The engine uses “cells”, which are basically just pretty big boxes, and loads them up as the player walks around. Notice all the pop-in and distant terrain that looks like something your dog threw up, not to mention stuttering and even freezing when moving from one place to the next? That sort of thing generally doesn’t occur in a true open-world game because the engine is able to effectively stream resources in and out based on the player’s location (see Grand Theft Auto IV). The open world in Bethesda games is very obviously all smoke and mirrors once you notice them.

      1. Klay F. says:

        This I don’t understand. In Oblivion, the draw distance and quality was much better than it is in either of the Fallouts. Why did it get noticeably worse? Did Oblivion just hide it better with a fuckton of trees?

        1. Eric says:

          Yes, actually. Oblivion’s environments aren’t any bigger, but the foliage does a better job of hiding the transitions, and there’s less pop-in, somewhat ironically, because there is less detail in the world (the vast majority is just grass, trees and rocks, the first two being procedurally generated). The pop-in is more noticeable in Fallout 3 and New Vegas because there’s simply more objects on-screen, and the draw distance likely “feels” smaller because the terrain is a lot rougher, with more hills, crags, canyons etc.

  5. Pyroka says:

    I have used Gamebryo, there is a reason it doesn’t exist any more ( believe it was created by a company called ‘Emergent’ and used to be called the NetImmerse engine. It is almost comically bad, it is primarily a rendering engine with some stuff bolted on (bad collision code for one).

    There is a running joke that there is only one tree in Oblivion rendered with Gamebryo, and you can walk through it.

    I’m not surprised that Bethesda made their own tools, the ones that come with Gamebryo are unusable, the level-editor, for example will crash repeatedly doing anything moderately taking (especially terrain editing) so they definitely built their own world-editor.

  6. Nyctef says:

    12:00 reminds me of complaints in F03 about getting surrounded after fast travelling, and how that would never really happen :D

    EDIT: aww, I missed Josh standing in a fire while posting this comment

  7. bucaneer says:

    I like how Josh casually pocket-dynamites Jeannie May amidst routine looting and it doesn’t even break the ongoing conversation. That’s a sure sign of the show’s quality.

  8. Tse says:

    Veronica is my companion :) She does take off that ridiculous outfit and hood if you give her power armor (including helmet). She is perfect for me because I have 1 endurance and need someone to tank the damage. Oh, and only she can wear power armor.

    1. Vect says:

      The other companions can wear power armor. It’s just that most Power Armor counts as Brotherhood Faction armor so they can’t use it.

      I gave her Enclave Armor. Apparently the BoS guys were cool with her running around with what is perhaps one of the most advanced piece of armor made. I also gave her a Ballistics Fist so that we could go Deathclaw hunting.

      1. Tse says:

        Didn’t know that, I haven’t met any enclave (yet).

        1. Chuck says:

          You may have actually, you just don’t know it.

        2. Kelly Fowler says:

          There’s a number of ex-Enclave guys hidden around the game. Aside of Doc Henry, who just outright admits it, the others are easily spotted by anyone who played the old games by the way they speak.

        3. Vect says:

          That old lady with the hat that Josh pissed off this episode and had to wait days for was an Enclave pilot.

          1. Chuck says:

            The one whose crashed vertibird you find in Fallout 2, no less.

  9. BenD says:

    And now we have PANORAMIC bunny hopping.

  10. Vect says:

    Sad fact: If Boone dies while he’s your companion, you’ll get a letter that’s actually meant for Carla. It’s one of those “If you’re reading this” letters.

  11. Even says:

    I think this is by far the most nagworthy episode for me so far:

    *Picking up every single food item everywhere while not buying stimpaks with any of that cash
    *Renting the apartment and only using it for sleeping
    *Still carrying that Incinerator
    *Getting encumbered for half of the episode

    I guess I should really get on with the drinking game before I develop a neurosis.

    On a side note, I can’t help pointing out that you totally missed a semi-important plot point when you skipped Boulder City. You could have had at least the Khans introduced without having to bother with them later on.

    1. Hitch says:

      He hasn’t skipped Boulder City (yet). I think he’s still heading there. I always go through 188 on the way to Boulder City.

      1. Even says:

        Well he did seem pretty determined to keep hopping towards Vegas at the end of the episode. I could be proven wrong in tomorrow’s episode for all we know but when nobody even mentioned the place during the episode, I wouldn’t bet on it.

    2. Vipermagi says:

      ^Not to mention, never using more than three food items but two to four Sarsaparillas to heal. Ssp is much more weight-effective; by stacking up the less effective foods first, you free more carryweight per health healed. Also, stacking different foods increases heal rate, which can be useful occasionally.

      Carrying around 15 Beers and probably 12 of each other type of Alcohol also doesn’t really help the overencumbered issue much, but it’s a requisite of being Reginald I suppose.

      1. Deadpool says:

        He wants the star bottle caps quest.

        1. Vipermagi says:

          Then I ask, why bother with any other foods anyways? They only heal like 5 health with his Survival.

  12. Hitch says:

    And by “stupid enough to give Ruts a gun” Mumbles means “brilliant enough.” Because he’d only hurt himself.

    As far as killing Boone, I like that the game gives you really bad idea speech options at times. I told Cass to go whine to her parents. Oh wait, she can’t. They’re dead. I got much the same reaction from her. I don’t know if you can do anything similar to Veronica. I could never bring myself to insult Felicia Day. (I don’t know if it’s a mod I use, but I just went into companion inventory and took that hood away from her.)

    1. krellen says:

      When you get to Nellis, there’s a quest to hook up one of the Boomers with a Caravaner from the Crimson Company. You can speech check her into running out there unprotected and getting blown up – but if your speech is too low, your line is something along the lines of “Oh, yeah, you’ll be fine, just go running out there with your arms flailing so they know it’s you.”

      She refuses to talk to you after that and you fail the quest.

    2. Kelly Fowler says:

      Yeah that’s Companion Dress-Up, a mod I can’t live without because holy hell do I hate Veronica’s robe. Raul’s jumpsuit is another thing I hate.

      It’s great because aside of Boone (who can’t be stripped down to nothing like the others), Lily, and the non-humanoid companions you can finally have an army dressed in nothing but business-wear and fedoras.

      1. poiumty says:

        I can’t help but think that Veronica’s character is a half-throwback to another party member in Fallout 2 who also wore a brown robe while being melee.

        Except that character was an intellectual talking DEATHCLAW and much more badass.
        …Man, screw mutants. I want a deathclaw party member in this game.

        Also, what is it with people and Felicia Day? She’s really not that hot.

        1. Raygereio says:

          Her main appeal amongst the Internet population is that she plays videogames and comes across generally as nerdy and geeky.

          For some guys the fact that girls can play games and know what the tune that the band in the Moss Eisley Cantina plays is called is something new and exotic apparently.

          1. Klay F. says:

            On the internet girls like Felicia Day are a dime-a-dozen (allegedly), but in the real-life place that I live in the real world of reality, they are non-existant, or at least none of them are still single.

        2. Shamus says:

          She’s genuinely a geek, and not an Olivia Munn-styled model* hired to come in and read geeky things off of cue cards. Smart and genuine are sexy.

          * Don’t watch her show myself. This is hearsay.

          1. Kavonde says:

            For the best of both worlds, there’s Lisa Foiles.

            (Cue yelling about her not being a “real” nerd because she didn’t pronounce Mal Reynold’s name right.)

            1. krellen says:

              Any girl willing to be filmed playing around with nerf guns must have at least a closet geek living inside her.

        3. Klay F. says:

          Diff’rint Strokes as they say…I for one think she is…*ahem* Lets just say I think the completely opposite as you.

        4. Deadpool says:

          Personally though, her voice is adorable. Not in an arousal kind of way, more in a “awwww” kind of way.

          I like her cuz she’s funny and has been in some shows that I enjoy (The Guild being the big one). My enjoyment of her has little to know with appearance.

          That said, while no bomshell, she’s physically attractive. Certainly above the norm…

          1. poiumty says:

            Her voice is good, yeah. Good performance in New Vegas too. But she doesn’t stand out other than that. I guess geek appeal isn’t just something invented by people who like to stereotype.

            Personally, I find her face too long. Loooooooooong.

            1. Eleion says:

              Maybe there’s more to her popularity than her physical attractiveness….

              1. Veloxyll says:

                Don’t be silly, don’t you know that a woman’s only value is based upon their physical attractiveness?!

                1. Velkrin says:

                  You’re forgetting about the sandwich making skills.

            2. Deadpool says:

              So good voice, and good performance, and you don’t see why people talking about F:NV make a big deal out of her?


              1. krellen says:

                I wanted to take her with me into Dead Money, but apparently I couldn’t. I’m also bummed that I can tell her about Elijah, but can’t tell her I made Christine fall in love with me.

              2. poiumty says:

                Cass was good too, and I don’t even know her voice actor. So yeah.

  13. Sekundaari says:

    Did Shamus just say Morrowind was less broken than the later games?

    But you guys have to do Oblivion at some point, I mean, you obviously have stuff to say about it. I’m sure the only thing holding you back is the lack of a chopstache, which, while a serious lack, I could live with.

    1. Ben says:

      The thing is an Oblivion Spoiler Warning would basically look like the FO3 spoiler warning with less talk about how much worse it is then FO1 and more talk about how its just bad.

      FO3 was basically Oblivion with guns with some better polish on it.

      1. Josh says:

        No, we’d just replace all the talk about how much worse it is than Fallout 1 with how much worse it is than Morrowind.

        1. Kelly says:

          I will say two (probably the only two) things that Oblivion has over Morrowind: It realized that basing accuracy entirely on dice rolls in an Action RPG is a terrible, awful design choice, and that actual dialogue is a better way to get people to pay attention to your cool, original setting than simply having characters be encyclopedias. Unfortunately, the cool original setting was nixed and the dialogue was awful and had a terrible minigame attached to it.

          1. Irridium says:

            And that starting you off as a nobody who isn’t special and actually has to earn your special status. Rather than just being “the chosen one”.

        2. Kelly says:

          Also we all know that Morrowind isn’t old enough for Shamus to like it. Clearly he’ll talk about how the series has gone downhill since Arena.

          1. X2-Eliah says:

            He’s been talking about it since Pong. So, really, they need a season of Pong. Maybe asteroid shooter and the first tetris for some almost-as-good ones too. But, you know, newer = worse.

          2. Bubble181 says:

            Arena wasn’t all that good,though. I still say Daggerfall is the best of all the Elder Scrolls/Tamriel games (Not all games in Tamriel are Elder Scrolls games. Redguard and Battlespire come to mind – but neither of them was that great)

        3. Sekundaari says:

          And then play Morrowind afterwards?

          You could actually think of it as one of Reginald’s drug and alcohol -induced comatose hallucinations. First, he’s in fantasy land. Then the realm of a mad god… Then giant mushrooms, flying, conspiracies. Dinosaur things! Talking animals! Reptile birds that swoop down and bite him!

          As an added bonus (or drawback?) this would explain pretty much any plot hole or weird dialogue ever.

          1. Jarenth says:

            A season of Morrowind would contain about ten episodes’ worth of just killing Cliff Racers and Mudcrabs. And if you think the bunnyhopping is bad here, remember that in Morrowind you get skillpoints for it.

            Plus, Josh would most likely murder everyone. Because he could.

            I… I was building up to why this wasn’t a good idea, but that last argument is a pretty good pro. Let’s see it! “Spoiler Warning: Total Vvardenfell Genocide Edition”.

      2. Dovius says:

        Hey, I’ll vote for anything that brings another FO3-esque season, loved that one.

    2. Eleion says:

      But the main story in Oblivion was so so so so bad. While there are plenty of other things to do, any time spent on the main quest would be time spent in pain and/or boredom.

      I suppose they could just ignore it entirely…

      1. Deadpool says:

        I’d much rather they did a retro play with some of the GOOD games from back in the days… Vampire: The Maskerade Bloodlines sounds like fun to me…

        1. Kelly says:

          Masquerade. It’s spelled masquerade.

          Also Bloodlines is hardly “back in the day.”

          1. ZekeCool says:

            Nattering aside. +1 to the masquerade vote. I love that game, and I’d love to see what they make of that glitchy, crazy, messed up masterpiece

            1. Dude says:

              I’d rather they played System Shock 2 first. Imagine Shamus breathing down Josh’s neck with, “Stop bunny hopping; this is a GOOD game.”

              1. Kelly says:

                They said they won’t do it because it doesn’t run on modern operating systems.

                Which seems fishy to me, considering I HAVE SS2 installed on my Window 7 Laptop.

                1. X2-Eliah says:

                  Send your laptop to Josh.

                2. Dude says:

                  They can just install XP on a ten gig partition and be good to go! Josh just doesn’t want to stop bunny hopping!

            2. Khizan says:

              Another vote for Bloodlines, here. One of my favorite games ever.

              But if they do it, they have to play as a Malkavian.

  14. Irridium says:

    Civilization 4 and its expansions also use Gamebryo. Which surprised me when I learned about it.

    1. Velkrin says:

      Well keep in mind that Half-life (1) runs off the Quake engine.

  15. Jeremy says:

    Yeah, I definitely say that I am addicted to Oblivion. I love the international guard hive mind in that game. If you get caught stealing something in Bruma (the arctic town), EVERY single guard in the Empire knows that you stole it, and will remember FOREVER. I always enjoyed challenges like these.

    1. Klay F. says:

      I used to get a game of Yakety Sax going with me running circles around Imperial City. When I got bored of that, I would start swimming circles around the city instead. Ahh, good times.

  16. Guthie says:

    Fire ant egg NetHack reference for the absolute win.

    1. Sekundaari says:

      You know, I didn’t even realize that was what one might experience in Nethack. I was too busy thinking “Wait, didn’t I exterminate Those in Fallout 3?”

      1. Archaic says:

        nope fire ants are the nuclear equivilent to rabbits they reproduce to fast for you to kill them all.

        but yeah i sort of wondered the same thing when i first encountered fire ants in this game.

    2. Christopher M says:

      But it’s a flawed reference – eggs hatch if you have them in your pack, not if you #sit on them. #sit-ting lets you lay eggs, if female and polymorphed.

  17. JPH says:

    You love Defense Grid? I’ve played flash tower defense games that are better than that.

    1. Volatar says:

      Please do link them then, because of all the Tower Defense games I have played Defense Grid is the best. It really has a high level of polish that no flash game ever reaches.

      1. JPH says:

        The only possible thing I see that it has that flash games don't have is its graphics, and I don't really care about that very much. And I have a lot of nitpicks for its interface. Namely, the fast-forward button isn't a toggle, you have to hold it down. And everything moves really slowly at normal speed.

        To me it just seems like Cursed Treasure but not as good. Admittedly I haven't gotten very far in Defense Grid yet, but so far it just doesn't seem to have many ideas that set it apart from the thirteen billion tower defense games already out on the web, besides its visuals and 3D rendering.

        Hell, you can play Plants vs. Zombies for free on the web, and that game is a god damn masterpiece.

        EDIT: There we go, fixed the links. Bah. I haven’t messed with HTML in awhile. Also, sorry if my first post sounded condescending or patronizing. I just found the game to be really lackluster.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          One thing I never saw anywhere but in defense grid are the levels where you control the path critters will take by placing turrets.

          As for plants versus zombies,that is not a flash game,but is the best tower defense Ive ever played.

          1. JPH says:

            I’ve seen that in multiple flash games besides Defense Grid. The first one that comes to mind is Desktop Tower Defense (which was released four years ago, mind) and even that may not have been the first to do so.

            And yeah, I wrote a whole blog post talking about how great Plants vs. Zombies is. Really a triumph on PopCap’s part. And I get bothered whenever somebody dismisses it as a “casual game”.

            1. Sumanai says:

              So I guess you’d be bothered to find out I’ve categorized it as a “minigame” on Steam?

              1. JPH says:

                So, like, it’s a minigame that contains within itself a pile of minigames?

                1. Jarenth says:


                2. Sumanai says:

                  Like a minigame collection, yes.

                3. JPH says:

                  I’d really like to know what you think makes it a “minigame” rather than a “strategy game”.

                4. Sumanai says:

                  Because it feels like “a minigame”. While I admit it requires strategy, so do some RPGs that I wouldn’t categorize as strategy games either.

                  But I’m the sort who might shove Starcraft into “action”, if in the right frame of mind, so I don’t think sanity* should be looked for in here. I actually put the Penny Arcade games into “action rpg” simply because I’ll have to pay attention during combat.

                  Although I probably should’ve put those into “minigame” as well. My system really needs work.

                  Note: I don’t consider games similiar to Diablo to be a sensible definition for “Action rpg” so I call them Diablolikes as a reference to their roots.

                  * it is for the weak, you know

                5. JPH says:

                  Your filing system confuses me.

                  The thing is, no game should be classified as a minigame. A minigame is a smaller game contained within a larger game. I could see how SOME games out there feel like minigames, like Bejeweled or Peggle, but Plants vs. Zombies has more strategy and depth than a lot of mainstream games out there.

                  And I don’t mean that in a “mainstream games have no depth nowadays” sense; I mean it in a “Plants vs. Zombies has more depth than Half-Life” sense.

                6. Sumanai says:

                  At least it doesn’t frighten you.

                  I now remember the origin of the “minigame”-category. I made it for games like Lumines that are commonly placed in “puzzle”. Then I decided to put games I can start, play for a couple of minutes and then quit without any “problems”. Such as worry about making a wrong decision and it coming back to bite me later on. So, “casual” I suppose would be better.

                  Granted, if I categorized according to content instead of how I play them, I’d put Plants vs Zombies in strategy, now that I’ve thought about it. But since I categorize according to “what I want to play in a given state of mind”, it’s in “minigames” until I can come up with a better name.

    2. Shamus says:

      I haven’t.


      1. Rasha says:

        Just a few search recommendations you might like then…

        The bloons tower defense series, cursed treasure, and naturally gemcraft.

        An adventure game series you might like would be the core series on newgrounds.

        Specifically sphere core, cubes core, prism core, and tower core. Soul core is just not as good as the others.

        Finally on the action side amorphis plus is heavily strategic, fast paced, complex, and later on fiendishly difficult.

  18. Daemian Lucifer says:

    If you like defense grid,you should also give a try to anomaly:warzone earth.Its not a tower defense,but a tower attack game,so its a nice reversal of the concept.

    1. Shamus says:

      Did not like it. I hated the overly-serious tone, and the “run around and heal your guys” didn’t feel very tower-defense-ish. I liked the concept, but the game failed to hook me.

      1. Klay F. says:

        *Shameless plug for original Starcraft turret/spore/cannon defense.*

      2. DaveMc says:

        Huh. It’s almost as if some people like certain games, while other people like completely different games … How can this be, when it is well known on the Internet that a game’s merits and faults are absolute, empirically measurable quantities of which others Must Be Convinced? I am confused. :)

        Personally, I loved Defense Grid more than was healthy.

  19. Deadpool says:

    I kinda juggle between watching the show and listening to the show. I probably listen more than watch since I’ve played every game you guys have done (except Fallout 3) and it always cracks me up you guys complain about the shopping or the hopping…

    And yeah, Veronica is one of my favorite companions. She’s adorable, plus, power armor is pretty awesome.

    Btw, I’ll die laughing if someone screams “lighting bolt!” when Josh finally throws that spear at someone…

  20. sebcw1204 says:

    more bunnyhopping. stop it josh. i want to watch this show and you are ruining it. i will watch these episodes until josh bunnyhops, at which point i will stop the video, tell josh to stop it, and then never watch the video. i dont care what i miss, i just want to watch the show without getting sick. consider your viewers josh, is it REALLY that big a problem to NOT BUNNYHOP ALL OVER THE FUCKING PLACE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!

    1. Volatar says:


      Josh. Stop bunnyhopping. NOW

      This is not Counter Strike. This is an RPG that happens to have guns.

      1. poiumty says:

        You probably mean Quake. You don’t bunnyhop in Counter-strike.

        But yes, Josh, please become more MAINSTREAM and listen to the CROWD. I’m sure you won’t lose your UNIQUE PERSONALITY if you DO WHAT EVERYONE SAYS.

      2. Raygereio says:

        No, this is game where a man with mutton chops can where a bonnet can kill things with a machine-fire-gun.
        How can anyone not jump in exuberant glee constantly when playing something like that?

    2. Slothful says:

      But he travels just ever so slightly faster while providing a harder to hit target!

      1. Rasha says:

        I like the hopping. It tells me when the menus aren’t on at which point I tab back here. Same system with gunshots but the walking sound is a bit harder to recognize.

  21. Sydney says:

    “I have a policy of never killing shopkeepers.”

    I have the exact opposite policy in every RPG I play that allows me to attack shopkeepers.

    NetHack’s a good one for this.

    1. Jarenth says:

      You should try Recettear sometime.

  22. Joel D says:

    Re: Veronica’s robe, it’s probably overall a better choice for the desert than what several other NPCs wear. Consider the robes worn in the Middle East – wearing less clothing in the environment generally leads to being more dehydrated.

    1. poiumty says:

      Problem is, using dark colored clothes leads to less sunlight reflection meaning more heat buildup inside. You wanna be effective against desert heat, you go and bleach that robe.

      Now I’m sure the Brotherhood of Goddamn Steel could spare some bleach…

      1. Ringwraith says:

        Although, if you stay out of the sunlight you’d probably cool down quicker.

      2. Kayle says:

        Apparently, it doesn’t matter if you wear white or black robes in the desert, though other sources claim that black actually feels cooler, perhaps due to increased air flow.

        1. Ringwraith says:

          Well, the black absorbs the heat but also cools down quicker, whereas white reflects the heat much better but doesn’t let it out so much either.

      3. Moriarty says:

        Desert clothing doesn’t work that way. Black clothing can be preferable because it doesn’t reflect heat as much as brighter colors do, which isn’t really a negative point considering the sun isn’t the only heat source in the desert.

    2. Klay F. says:

      also Tusken Raiders.

    3. Josh says:

      Yeah, I’d be fine with it if the robe were white or some sort of light beige or something, but she’s running around in a friggen Obi-Wan robe.

      Robes in the desert are good (less skin exposed to sunlight and open air means less sweat and moisture being drawn away by winds and a smaller chance for serious sunburns) but not if they absorb every bit of sunlight and turn into a wearable oven.

      1. Soylent Dave says:

        Plenty of people in hot, desert climates in the real world do wear dark robes, though; the material of your clothing, and how you wear it is clearly far more important than what colour it is.

        (This seems a bit weird to me too, but I don’t live in a desert so I’ll take their word for it)

        The Taureg in particular are noted for wearing black turbans / headscarves, also burqas worn in hot middle-eastern countries are often black or very dark.

        Anecdotally, on hot days in the UK the Muslim women in (usually black) burqas who live near me usually seem a lot more comfortable with the heat than I am, even when I’m deliberately wearing light colours. This may have more to do with my dislike of the daystar…

        1. krellen says:

          Yeah, darker clothes aren’t really any hotter/cooler than lighter clothes.

          You should know this, Josh. You live in the climate too.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            “Yeah, darker clothes aren't really any hotter/cooler than lighter clothes.”

            Of course they are hotter.

            1. Bubble181 says:

              I approve of this comment.

      2. X2-Eliah says:

        Camouflage, man. If someone unpunchable comes near, you just do a rolling dive in a bush and crawl down.

      3. Raygereio says:

        Says the man wearing leather in the desert.

  23. Paul Spooner says:

    Yes, I use the video as a podcast… and yes, I rewound the video to see him standing in the fire for no reason.

    1. Sydney says:

      But you missed the easter egg, and now you’ll never know.

      1. Milos says:

        Man… now that I saw that easter egg life is but a faint shadow of it’s former self, I can’t imagine anything living up to it. It’s both a blessing and a curse, maybe he was better off not seeing it.

        1. Jarenth says:

          It’s the eternal battle between the drive for knowledge and the reality that sometimes, you’re better off not knowing.

          This… I’d say this one was worth it.

  24. Archaic says:

    actually adding to what Shamus mentioned about the windy sandy animation, at hidden valley i believe i experienced a glitch( i know about the bunkers defense system).

    when i arrived at hidden valley on the outside had a early morning tint to the sky, when i entered it somehow became night again. but going on to the general wasteland sandy wind the glow sort of is a cool thing to see even though its probably not supposed to be there.

  25. Piflik says:

    Josh, why do you never use the different item categories while shopping? Looks tedious to always scroll through this long list…

  26. Kanodin says:

    Drat I thought having played this game 4 times had made me immune to the replay virus, but now all I wanna do is Mumble’s psychopath playthrough.

    1. Klay F. says:

      After I was done with my last playthrough in Oblivion, I played a game called civil war. I used console commands to get everyone in a town out into the town square, then I used the speech minigame to make half the people hate me and the other half to love me. Then I went up and punched one of them in the face…hilarity ensues. Experiment with different crowd formations for maximum entertainment. Sadly this is only possible with Oblivion because of that speech minigame.

      1. Kavonde says:


        1. Klay F. says:

          It was always fun messing with NPC stats with the console: Enter someone’s house, use console to set their max fatigue to 0, watch them ragdoll while staying alive, proceed to rob NPC blind while NPC lies on the floor and yells at you, eventually leave entire city guard lying on the ground yelling “I’ve seen mudcrabs more fearsome than you!” and other various battle taunts.

    2. Sleeping Dragon says:

      Yeah, I kinda plan to wait till more DLCs are released before replaying it (I hate replaying games in quick succession as a rule), and Mumbles’ gamestyle is very opposite of mine (I usually try to work with the devs at least the first time around so as to experience as much of what they prepared as possible) but the urge is there…

  27. Slothful says:

    Shamus, did you buy the potato sack?

    Also, Mumbles, why do you play games as Jeffery Dahmer? Do you need help?

    1. Dante says:

      You could say she just eats up the game content

      1. Jeff says:

        Hannibal Lecter, then?

  28. Veloxyll says:

    So the next season of Spoiler Warning is Mumbles playing Oblivion so we can see how much she bunny hops?

  29. Don'tKnowMyName says:

    “if you had just shown him where the safety on his Glock was…”

    This is off topic, but civilian Glocks don’t have manual safeties. The government doesn’t want the versions that do have safeties to be sold to civilians because those versions were originally made for and marketed to law enforcement, so by the “logic” typical of lawmakers and lobbyists this somehow magically makes them more dangerous.

    On topic, the discussion of playing without ever using a merchant reminded me of a semi-humorous RPG idea I saw once, where you could create a character that had Asperger’s Syndrome. You would get a large boost to Intelligence, but the downside is your socially awkward character would have a penalty to Charisma and would go out of his or her way to avoid talking to or being around people. One example of this would be not going to the store. It was intended as a joke, but I think as a concept it could actually work in a game, if it didn’t end up offending a bunch of people.

    1. John Alexander says:

      Wait, was that Arcanum? ‘Cause that game had some crazy traits for your character, and that sounds like exactly the sort of thing that game offered.

      Man, I loved that game. It was old and clunky when I played it, and there were so many luxuries to which I have grown accustomed that were not available. But it was an awesome time.

      1. Sumanai says:

        I think you’re thinking of Idiot Savant background. It gave a large boost to Intelligence but made it so all the conversation options were as if you’d have 3 Int (or something like that). It had other effects as well, but I can’t be bothered to check a wiki or anything.

    2. Veloxyll says:

      So wait, once you load a Glock you can just fire it freely? Damn it people, there’s a reason it’s called a “SAFETY”.

      1. Don'tKnowMyName says:

        Why should the user be unable to fire freely? A gun would just be an expensive hunk of metal if it didn’t do anything. Are you suggesting that a firearm being able to be discharged when the user intends for it to do that is a design flaw?

        The purpose of a manual safety isn’t to prevent the user from squeezing the trigger, although that is an intended secondary effect. The purpose of the safety is to physically prevent the hammer from striking the firing pin for any reason. That’s why you can’t pull the trigger when the safety’s on – not because the safety specifically blocks the trigger mechanism, but because the safety prevents the hammer from moving, and since the hammer can’t move, the trigger can’t move either. The thing whose primary purpose is to stop the trigger from being pulled accidentally isn’t the mechanical safety, it’s the user not being a dumbass.

        Glocks do have a safety, but not a manually triggered one. The safety switch is on the trigger and is disengaged as the trigger is pulled. So yes, they do have a safety, as in a feature that prevents the internal parts from moving when they aren’t supposed to. But they’re sometimes inaccurately said not to have safeties because it isn’t toggled with a discrete switch on the frame unlike most firearms. This should not be an issue, as the user should keep their finger out of the trigger guard until ready to fire. Its safety does everything a firearm safety is intended to: it prevents a round from being unintentionally discharged while the user is operating the weapon properly. Hence the distinguishing of a safety from a manual safety.

        This is also one of those things that causes people to take obnoxious stances when it’s clear they don’t know anything about what they’re talking about. It’s kind of funny that all over the Western world there’s lobbying for weapons to be made more difficult to make operable, as if that could possibly change anything. Some of the more amusing “locking” designs literally physically damage the weapon with use. Although perhaps that’s intentional, maybe either by anti-gun politicians who want to discourage the use of firearms at all, or maybe that’s supported by gun industrialists who want people to spend more money on servicing and armorers. Who knows.

        1. Jabrwock says:

          Some of the more amusing “locking” designs literally physically damage the weapon with use. Although perhaps that's intentional, maybe either by anti-gun politicians who want to discourage the use of firearms at all, or maybe that's supported by gun industrialists who want people to spend more money on servicing and armorers. Who knows.

          My guess is the damaging aspects are just because someone tried to slap together a “bodge-job” manual safety to achieve the same effect without having to redesign the weapon.

    3. Sumanai says:

      After giving some thought, I think it could work, but would require working with someone who has experience and knowledge about Asperger’s and people with it. The likelihood of it ending up with something stupid and wrong like forcing asocial tendencies on the player or making the character behave irreverent to others’ plight is pretty high.

  30. CalDazar says:

    You can in fact get veronica to remove that hood.
    You give her the “ballcap with glasses” then after she puts it on give her any other kind of glasses.

    Tht might seem like a lot of effort, but that hood is really ugly.

  31. Mr Jack says:

    Maybe try out Arwen’s Realism tweaks? It moves the gameplay to a more realistic level, I quite enjoy it. Carry weight is more restricted, combat is tougher (no more standing in front of 3 enemies as they unload pistols into you), explosives knock you over, and a bunch of other cool options.

    Found here: http://www.newvegasnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=34759

    Nice and modular so you can just add the bits you want.

  32. Jarenth says:

    Spoiler swagger, Spoiler swagger,

    bitches don’t know ’bout my Spoiler swagger

  33. The Defenestrator says:

    I was thinking that Veronica’s outfit kinda looked like a god-tier hood from Homestuck. Then you started talking about her being a LARPer…

  34. Fang says:

    18:55(in the video): So Shamus… you are basically saying you are Jack Thompson?

    Am I the only one that DOESN’T hate Josh for jumping like a rabbit looking for his next mate?

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Nope,Im cool with it too.

  35. rasmusernst says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHA! Mannys walk cycle is all messed up. That cracked me up for some reason XD

  36. rasmusernst says:

    Spoiler Warning – ONLY THE DRUNK MAY WATCH!

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