Spoiler Warning S5E24: Silent but Deadly

By Shamus Posted Friday May 27, 2011

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 174 comments


Link (YouTube)

Rutskarn has wisdom at the end. Christine is much better with all of her emoting conveyed via simple text. If they had tried to animate all of her movements it would have been expensive, time-consuming, glitchy, and we would have ignored it anyway because we’d be reading the text. (And we MUST have the text. These 3d models are nowhere near sophisticated or detailed enough to communicate only via pantomime.)

One of my laments with the original Fallout was that they never really leveraged that text window. See, the original Fallout had this little text field in the lower-left part of the screen:

fallout_interface.jpg

One of my favorite moments in the game was when it narrated the bit about you seeing natural light for the first time in your life. It was an excellent line that set the mood and drove home the point about how sheltered your life had been before now. I also missed it completely on my first play-through, because my first five minutes with the game had taught me, “This window is for combat messages and can be safely ignored”.

I loved the idea of a narration window, and I was glad when it delivered a little dose of flavor text. Sadly, the window was too small, the font was too blocky, and 90% of the text that appeared in there was useless. We can argue about what elements make a game a “true” Fallout game. Mutants? Retro-future? The Brotherhood? We can go around on this all day, but I think everyone can agree that the one common feature shared by all games is the idea of a horribly obtuse and difficult interface.

Text is a powerful tool, and game designers pretty much abandoned it in the late 90’s. Once in a while we get a game like Amnesia: Dark Descent that gives us some text worth reading. (Which is not the same as giving us text that we’re obliged to read.) But as someone who has played more than his share of MMO games and makes a point of always reading the quest text, I’d say prose is a lost art when it comes to game design. So it was nice seeing them do something interesting with Christine here.

 


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174 thoughts on “Spoiler Warning S5E24: Silent but Deadly

  1. therandombear says:

    Tell him Mumbles. Rutskarn need to understand the hat before he can understand TF2. One is all and all is one :3

    Bear trap as fist weapon?…Ok, that could be interesting during early tests in development.

    1. decius says:

      Bear trap fist: Since those bad boys require two hands to open, I see a VERY nasty, nonrepeating weapon. Weld a handle such that you punch the enemy with the pressure plate and the trap closes on them.

      The other way requires the two-way springs that powered the hidden blade in the AC series: Spring loaded out, spring loaded in, infinitely repeating!

      1. therandombear says:

        Ya, I don’t see how you could “reload” the bear trap with only one hand, not only would it be incredibly hard, but it would also take ages to pull it back.

        1. Fists says:

          If you set up a cable with pulleys after the fashion of a compound bow you could probably deliver the force in the right direction to re-open it, issue with that would be having the operating bits not interfere with delivering the blow. And a minimum ~5second ‘fire’ rate

      2. Adam says:

        I always assumed the AC hidden blade was only spring-loaded to retract, and it was direct mechanical force (possibly from arching the hand back. If you look closely you can see that the assassin always pulls his hand away from the blade as it extends) that extended the blade, and a spring that retracted it.

  2. Abnaxis says:

    The massively online DDO has a little flavor text in the corner chat screen (that you could filter). It shows text that is read aloud by the narrator as well as an occasional bit of fluff that isn’t just repeating what you just heard aloud.

    1. The fluff is usually said by NPC’s, and it’s not ALL fluff–in the Abbot, for instance, it’s the easiest way to tell when he’s about to throw the Inferno.

  3. Nyctef says:

    Having non-bulletproof holo-transmitters kinda makes sense. I mean, I assume they’re projecting light of some kind, which means having glass or something transparent, and shooting that is going to break the glass (or at least severely distort it if it’s “bulletproof”). I guess they hoped the guards would be able to protect the transmitters.

    1. Someone says:

      And they would be, if they weren’t so completely ineffectual.

      They’re just like various sentry bots from Deus Ex – big, tough, scary and carrying superior firepower until you discover that they just slowly patrol an easily-predictable predetermined path and can only react to your presence if you stand around in their frontal view, leaving you free to wait for the scary robot to pass you by behind some crates and then run up to it from behind and blast it apart with rocket launchers.

      Of course the holograms are impervious to weapons, but they are still easy to dodge as they don’t have the ability to hear you, and only rely on their frontal view.

  4. Kelly says:

    What? You CAN tell Dean that if you die he dies, that’s what the Barter check is.

    Of course, it pisses him off and locks you out of a peaceful resolution later.

    1. Shamus says:

      Er… Why would that be tied to BARTER of all things? That just replaces an annoying oversight with a lager idiocy.

      You need to be good at bartering to say something obvious to someone who should already know?

      1. Kelly says:

        You use it to squeeze cash and cooperation out of him, basically blackmail/extortion.

        Or it’s another branch that Josh skipped (possibly if you say you won’t work with him), I can’t remember, its been awhile since I played the DLC. Either way, yes you can tell him that, but he takes it as a threat and it comes back to bite you later.

      2. Someone says:

        Because otherwise Dean won’t buy it.

        1. Abnaxis says:

          ba-dum *pish*

      3. BeamSplashX says:

        Lager idiocy seems to be a classic Cuftbert problem.

      4. Michael says:

        There seems to be a trend in New Vegas as a whole were Barter is used for most kinds of negotiations and speech is only used for persuade or intimidation.

        I’m guessing it was trying to throw players a bone to take points in the skill, but barter switches between negotiation, actual bartering, and economic/mercantile knowledge in dialog checks so it remains hard to justify except for dialog focused characters.

        What really irks me is Barter 70 gates off two of the more useful inventory management perks, but there’s almost no explanation why these are Barter keyed beyond keeping every player from taking them the instant they became available.

      5. Vect says:

        Barter Checks aren’t just “Give Me Mo’ Money”. It means that you’re good at making deals and know how economics work. I’ve used it with Garret to get the Ghoul Comedian out of his contract.

        1. Shamus says:

          See, this is the trick they use in dialog. There is something really, stupidly obvious that anyone with an intelligence score over 3 should be able to point out. Then the writers JOIN that thing to “making a deal”, and suddenly ut’s supposed to make sense that I can’t say it unless I’m an expert salesman.

          Player: “If I die, you die, so your threat is meaningless. You might as well have put the bomb under your own chair.”

          See? No deal being made. Even if he dismissed it and it looped back to the main discussion, it would at least acknowledge it so it doesn’t feel like ALL THREE PEOPLE IN THE ROOM are idiots.

          1. Abnaxis says:

            But I think that was an option. You could click the barter check to say “if I die, you die too” and if you don’t have enough points in the skill it will have no effect and he will loop you back. No one does that, though, because the dialog option flat out says “the DC is too high, you’re going to fail this” before you click it.

            1. SyrusRayne says:

              I think Sham- is saying that it shouldn’t have been a Barter check. I agree; I’m all for skills getting representation, but in this case it seems really dumb. A speech check would make more sense.

              Or maybe it could actually have something, you know, related to barter? Like you trying to cut a deal or something. As opposed to pointing out stupidly obvious things.

              1. Deadpool says:

                And I think what Abnaxis is saying is that you CAN say this without any Barter, you just wouldn’t be able to CONVINCE Dean it’s true without the right skill.

                I still agree with the original point that it should be a SPEECH check. BUT, considering I haven’t explored the conversation tree fully, it’s entirely possible that there IS a non-barter way to go about this.

          2. Vect says:

            You have a point there. Then again the checks can sometimes cover pretty broad territory. You can even use Medicine to psychonanalyze characters (Telling the White Glove Society chef that he’s got daddy issues so he runs off to cry in a corner).

          3. Kelly says:

            Like I said, that barter check might not even actually be the option, it could be under “I’m not working with you.” I don’t remember.

          4. poiumty says:

            Then again, why would he believe you, who is sitting with a bomb under him? If he didn’t have the prior knowledge, it’s very safe for him to say you could simply be bluffing. So a barter check is needed to convince him – why barter and not speech? If we really have to nitpick here, let’s say Dean is a gambling man and an appeal to emotions doesn’t work as well as weighing the odds.

            Of course, I’m assuming he doesn’t know. Which is the only logical way to explain it.

  5. mumakil says:

    God is loosing blood. Push him in the med bay thingy and hope it severs his vocal chords while healing him.

    Great episode guys i just wish there were more episodes but thats just me being greedy :D

  6. Bluespike5 says:

    So was it strange or intentional that Shamus was quiet that entire episode?

    1. Eärlindor says:

      Yeah, I noticed that too. Was he there?

      1. kanodin says:

        Clearly he just had no complaints to offer.

      2. Deadpool says:

        He didn’t want to interrupt Mumbles and Rutskarn flirting…

    2. X2-Eliah says:

      After what rutskarn and mumbles said to (and of) each other, there’s really nothing a sane man could say any more…

      1. Halfling says:

        My dirty mind found the ‘nap’ conversation the most disturbing.

    3. Irridium says:

      Perhaps he forgot to press the button to talk?

      Was probably wondering why nobody was answering him.

    4. Gantidae says:

      I figured he fell asleep.

    5. Jattenalle says:

      He probably pushed his talk button too late, he’s getting old after all ;)

    6. Chris B Chikin says:

      Either way, I think we can all agree the episode was better for it! :P

    7. Eärlindor says:

      Another thing I noticed was the opening of the episode, it didn’t pick up where they left off last, I thought that was a little odd, and wonder of that and Shamus going silent are connected?

      Hey, I’m a conspiracy theorist. :P
      (Okay, not really.)

  7. KremlinLaptop says:

    Man, remember when this show had four commentators with that Sham- guy? Yeah, whatever happened to that dude?

    1. Old_Geek says:

      I think Rutskarn has finally completed his coup. Very soon all you will see on this site is a link to chocolatehammer.

      1. Entropy says:

        Completed? This is the just the first stage.

      2. Max says:

        Make a note of this Shamus, next year for April Fools Day, remove everything from the site except a giant link to chocolate hammer. I doubt anyone will remember talking about this in a year.

  8. Alexander The 1st says:

    Hey Shamus, were you not here at the time? Or just gave in to the whole “Hi, I’m Sha-” thing and decided to be silent?

    1. KremlinLaptop says:

      “If I never speak, than I can’t ever cut myself off with the mic again! I’m a bloody genius!”

    2. Littlefinger says:

      He cut himself off for the entire video.

      1. Sumanai says:

        So you’re saying he got so bad about it, that he released the talk-button before pressing it?

        1. Chris B Chikin says:

          Exactly. The result caused his recorded speech to travel back in time and end up in the previous video!

          1. Old_Geek says:

            It’s pretty obvious he wasn’t there. Now, if Shamus had to leave early (maybe the taping was running long) I’d rather have the other 3 continue instead of just quitting and leaving us an episode short. What i don’t understand is why the conspiracy of silence. For the first time I can remember, they didn’t start the episode with introductions. And when many comments asked about why Shamus was silent, none of the four replied. Why not just admit it at the top of the episode that Shamus was absent? Rutskarn or Josh could have turned it into a joke and things would have gone on as normal.

            1. MrWhales says:

              I remember maybe 4 or 5 other episodes throughout the seasons where they just picked up and made no introductions. Usually it was followed with Shamus saying about how unfriendly it was to new people.

            2. Shamus says:

              I didn’t mean for it to be such a mystery. I honestly didn’t think people would care all that much. I was present, but we’d run long and I was very, very tired. Also, I haven’t played dead money, so I don’t have all that much to say. So, I ended up going into passive mode and listening to the Mumbles / Rutkarn banter the whole time.

              When Rutskarn said, “As YOU would have it”, regarding his age, I laughed my ass off. Then again when I watched the episode. I don’t know why, but moments like that are why I love having him on the show.

              Also, we only introduce ourselves once a week, on the first episode of the week. (Usually Tuesday.)

              1. Soylent Dave says:

                How very convenient

                I’m sorry but I find it much easier to believe in a complex web of deceit, backed up by a conspiracy OF SILENCE, than to believe that you were ‘just a bit quiet’.

                Just like we all know that the real reason your microphone kept cutting out was [REDACTED]

                Edit : See! Why don’t they want us to know? You might be thinking “if Shamus wanted to censor a post then he’d just delete it rather than go through the much more elaborate, less effective & time consuming process of editing and then censoring a little bit of it” but that’s what they want you to think!

                You might also be thinking “Why would Shamus censor the bit up there but leave the edit that REVEALS ALL in place?”, and then you might think “Ah, but then that makes Dave look even more mental doesn’t it? So all it really proves is the supreme arrogance of the puppetmaster Shamus and his microphone illuminati!”, at which point you are perhaps ready to begin your journey into true depths of this monstrous labyrinthine conspiracy.

                (Tinfoil hat not included)

                1. MrWhales says:

                  You thought so far into that you met it on the other side and shook hands.

                  1. Soylent Dave says:

                    I’m thinking of becoming the new David Icke.

                    Obviously I need to put a lot more hours in, but if I apply myself, and become a paranoid schizophrenic, I reckon I could make it.

              2. Deadpool says:

                “I honestly didn't think people would care all that much.”

                Well, that was VERY silly of you. I could’ve told you people would care. That’s just the kind of following you got…

                Although I doubt most of us thought you were ABSENT… Even if it IS funnier that way (see above reply).

  9. SimeSublime says:

    Two things that bothered me about the companions. Firstly, how do you find out Christina’s name? She obviously never says it, and I can’t remember her acting it out. But I know there’s a conversation with Elija later wherein the courier specifically calls her Christina.
    Secondly, how did Dean get the collar around his neck? You and Christina got caught in the traps and Dog stuck it on you whilst you were knocked out. Dog got his when he ate somebody elses. But Dean’s been there for the start, just hanging about for 200 years. I coudn’t see him letting Dog get close enough to him to strap the collar on.

    1. krellen says:

      Her name’s Christine, actually, and was this conversation before or after getting into the casino? Because once the casino is opened, she can talk again.

      1. SimeSublime says:

        In the casino, but before that event. I think he refer’s to her as ‘that girl’ and you can flat out say ‘her name is Christine’.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      “Firstly, how do you find out Christina's name?”

      It floats right there,beside her head.

      Yes?What do you mean those are out of character words?

    3. Someone says:

      Well YOU find out her name the same way you find out everyone’s names – by looking at the caption.

      Your character, on the other hand… I may be mistaken, but I think ever adresses her by name without knowing it, just “you”.

    4. poiumty says:

      I think she mimics her name somehow – can’t remember, been a long time. You definitely don’t just take it out of thin air.

      1. ehlijen says:

        How do you mimick christine though?

        *crosses yourself* *mimicks emo fringe* ?

        1. Klay F. says:

          You mimic Christine by pretending to be a sentient bloodthirsty car.

          Stephen King FTW!

          1. ehlijen says:

            Stephen King…that’s the physicist in the wheel chair, right? :P

  10. Harry says:

    Why was Shamus so quiet? Was he mimicking Christine?

    [Shamus raises his eyebrow, shakes his head, hops on one foot, and mimes the words “original Fallout” into his mic.]

  11. Wtrmute says:

    So, if Shamus references the original Fallout, but it’s on the post text AFTER the episode is done, do we drink or not?

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I would point out he actually criticizes the original Fallout… I know that technically the rules were for “the words ‘original Fallout/game(s)’ are said” but this should count as something special…

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Its actually both praise and criticism.He praises the text,but criticizes the interface.

    2. Shamus says:

      That’s a trick question. If you’re still able to read when the show is over, you’ve been doing it wrong!

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    @8:00

    So you are just his regular secretary,Mumbles?

  13. Sleeping Dragon says:

    I totally agree that text is a powerful tool. There is another thing, it’s a CHEAP tool. Spiderweb’s games make heavy use of text. Largely due to the retro, simplistic graphics. And it works, moving around the map is simply broken by a text screen describing that, for example, “the tunnels open up into a huge cave, you can barely see the other side etc”. I know this isn’t to everyone’s liking but I think it works for most people who like reading. Also, it engages senses other than just sight and hearing since things like smells, temperature or pressure can be easily added to the description and they don’t break immersion like a popup with “you smell rotten meat” would in (for example) a first person game.

    1. Littlefinger says:

      It also happens to be the *defining* element that made Planescape Torment the loved game that it is. While the gameplay itself may have been bland and uninteresting, the text was better than 90% of the spoken dialogue in modern games. To use an example, the Sensory stone scenes, or the dialogue with Dak’kon and the unbroken circle of Zerthimon. There is emotion flowing through that text, and you *feel* it.

      I still get misty-eyed when I remember the ending. That may have been the best “farewell” scene in a game.

      1. Tizzy says:

        Also, most of these dialogues would be unbearable if spoken. Torment allows you to go through an adventure that makes for a book-length script, but if you had to sit through all of this and listen rather than read, you surely would go mad!

        Excessive voice-acting tries my patience to no end. This is truly the curse of our modern technology: very few games know how to do voiced content (dialogue or exposition) well, yet obviously they feel like they have to do it anyway.

        1. I kind of like the way DDO does it–they have a DM who reads flavor text to you in the dungeons. You can turn it off if you like. It’s just that the writing is so bad and so filled with egregious typos that I usually can’t stand to hear it.

          The hammy overacting DM voices are *hilarious* though. Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax both provided voice acting for some of the areas, which is also pretty neat.

          Also you just can’t beat the “Now you will see the power of this fully armed and operational Warforged Titan!!!” moment.

    2. Greygore says:

      Adding to the above poster, if you need something with (somewhat) better graphics, I would heartily recommend the oldie Planescape: Torment. While the entire game’s basically a huge interactive book, it’s all been written so… expertly (for lack of better word) that, even today, I can’t think of any game that’s done it better.

      Edit: @ Littlefinger – Great minds think alike, eh?

      Bonus question: Does anyone remember the part with the Sensates? The entirety of the text there is one of the most memorable scenes I can remember in games, ever.

    3. Khizan says:

      I’ve been playing it for the first time recently, and Torment really is amazing.

      The interface is absolutely unbearable though, so I’ve resorted to cranking it down to easy and just meleeing everything to death. With my Mage. Because spellcasting is horrible.

      1. Sumanai says:

        You can turn yourself back into a Fighter, if memory serves. I just can’t remember who you have to talk to.

        1. Velkrin says:

          Dak’kon is one option. Another is the Sentate fighter trainer. Possibly the mercy killer you can get into your party as well. I always just left him or killed him since he tried to mess with Anna and Fall-From-Grade.

        2. Khizan says:

          You can, but then you don’t level up as Mage and you’re unable to get the good spells. And since I’m an int/wis/cha bot for the dialogue choices, Mage is where it’s at.

      2. Sleeping Dragon says:

        I played it as a mage and did fairly well but it’s been a very long time and I remember mostly the characters, events and quotations rather than mechanics so I can’t really help much.

        I’m not entirely sure but I think playing a mage is mostly a bother early on, as it is in many games using the D&D spellslot system. You have access to very few spells that can be cast only a few times before rest and a single companion to otherwise protect you. It may get better later on when your arsenal (and team) improves. I think having high int (which only really works for mages) helps you unlock a lot of lore and background info, so I would still recommend bearing with it.

        Kay, just went to check the exact numbers to make sure, the internet tells me you need at the very least 18 int to get one of the (IMHO) best, most fulfilling secrets in the endgame. Won’t spoil what it is but you might want to consider the stat requirement.

      3. poiumty says:

        Ah yes, the memories. I am low level. I have 2 spells I can only use once. One is magic missle, one is identify. There are 3 enemies in the room. Magic missle takes maybe half the hp off ONE of them. I have no usable weapons other than this crummy knife, and I have 10 strength.

        …time to slice some bitches, I guess. Man, being a mage sure is rewarding.

        And I love how the game just trolled me and gave me like 10 overpowered world-shattering dimension-breaking spells when there were NO MORE ENEMIES TO KILL. Except the last boss, whom I didn’t even fight.

        I remember the last level. Alone. Like fifty enemies chasing me. Not nearly enough spells to kill even two of them, let alone all of them. Impossible to rest.
        Solution? RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNN

        1. ehlijen says:

          “Ah yes, the memories. I am low level. I have 2 spells I can only use once. One is magic missle, one is identify. There are 3 enemies in the room. Magic missle takes maybe half the hp off ONE of them. I have no usable weapons other than this crummy knife, and I have 10 strength.”

          Well yes. but it also could have gone: I have 2 spells I can only use once. One is sleep, one is colour spray. Both of which have the potential to save-or-die entire parties of similar level. It sadly was a game of ‘did you guess the DM’s intention right when you made the list? No? Then die.

          1. Michael says:

            Which is honestly every low level (1-5) Mage in every D&D up through at least 3.5 had to live with all the time…

          2. poiumty says:

            But color spray and sleep still required me to shank stuff for it to die.

            1. Littlefinger says:

              And Magic missile becomes more powerful the more you use it.

            2. ehlijen says:

              But I’m not sure that ‘save or die’ and ‘save or be rendered unable to stop the other guy from slitting your throat and leaving you to die’ is that different from the perspective of the thing at the recieving end.

              1. poiumty says:

                You lost me. I was commenting on how counter-intuitive starting off as a mage was, not how powerful you could potentially be if you already figured out how to break the game.

      4. Late in the game you get some really gross world-destroying I Win Button spells though. I can never bring myself to play as anything other than a mage, you get so much cool stuff if you have good mental stats. I’ll usually pump fighter until about level 5 then switch, it sorta works like dual-classing once you get mage back up to 6.

  14. Deadpool says:

    The text heavy Christine reminded me of Planescape: Torment conversations…

    I DO wish they had at least tried to animate it AS WELL as used the text… Would’ve been interesting…

    Btw, Home Movies was AWESOME, in no small part because of H. Jon Benjamin playing Coach… Kind of a hipster show though.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C19MdWxcEfI

    Too hipster for Mumbles I would’ve thought.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      “I DO wish they had at least tried to animate it AS WELL as used the text… Would've been interesting…”

      With this engine?Hardly.Though the engine of LA noire shows promise for future games.

    2. poiumty says:

      I think if they could use this engine to animate faces beyond normal speak and a few emotes, they would.
      Gamebryo is just that crap. I think the only reason they still use it is because it comes with a construction set.

      1. Adam P says:

        From what I understand, Gamebryo is so crappy, that Bethesda had to make their own construction set. Gamebryo’s was just that bad.

        1. Michael says:

          That’s my understanding as well. Which might go a long way towards explaining how they could release their Construction Sets and GECKs so freely.

  15. acronix says:

    Interestingly, a lot of people complained about Christine`s lack of voice, saying Obsidian was being lazy.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      Lazy? I don’t see how they would even put lazy into it. They recorded a ton of new lines and even new characters for the DLC, recording one more wouldn’t really be that difficult. Unless they want to argue she was added as an afterthought or something. I can see how the lack of animation could be perceived as laziness by someone who doesn’t take into account engine limitations.

      From what I see so far, they wanted companions to be one of the strong points of the DLC so they probably thought they would try something different with her. I really find it weird it didn’t catch with more players.

      1. Sumanai says:

        You’re mistaking those people for some with sense. About 82% of the time when there are complaints related to lack of voice acting it’s made by some idiots who think that they’re entitled to voice acting in every single game. And any situation where it is not so, it’s a shortcoming of the developers.

    2. krellen says:

      She gets a voice later, and the reason is entirely connected to the plot.

      1. Sumanai says:

        You really expect the sort that complaints about lack of voice acting and automatically attributes it to laziness to care about something as inconsequential as facts?

        1. krellen says:

          I am often disappointed by how little people are affected by facts, and I never stop trying to utilise them despite that.

          1. Lord Of Rapture says:

            In that case, you’re fighting a lost cause.

          2. Sumanai says:

            Better to try and fail than not try at all, since there’s at least a chance that some might listen.

            1. Torcano says:

              Do Or Do Not, There Is No Try.

  16. Sam Goodspeed says:

    Wait, did Shamus speak even once in this episode?

    1. Halfling says:

      I think Shamus was reading everything so he could know what was going on. After Dead Money is over he will probably sit and talk about how terrible it was for like the next two weeks.

      1. poiumty says:

        He’ll probably make an Experienced Points article titled “10 reasons why Dead Money is stupid and Obsidian is bad for even thinking of it”.

    2. Slip says:

      Nope. Suspense build-up technique?

      1. NeilD says:

        I think he complained about the Incinerator once too often, and Josh just edited him out of this episode in retaliation.

  17. Sekundaari says:

    “…which is actually easier than it looks, as you can see.”

    I… I don’t know. What?

    Anyway. Funny thing is, I didn’t even particularly notice Shamus being silent. I wonder where the deadly part comes in.

  18. Deadpool says:

    Btw, on the subject of the text box… Separating combat text from game-description text would’ve been a HUGE boost. Maybe color coding it or something…

    1. Sekundaari says:

      Looking at the track record, that would probably have been a perk you can take at level 6 if you have enough Perception…

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        Nowadays it would be a perk that comes with DLC. Or a pre-order copy.

  19. thebigJ_A says:

    One of my favorite parts of the Elder Scrolls games is finding the books and reading them. I especially love it when I find a book that’s part, say, 2 out of 4. I’ll put that book someplace safe, unread. Then when I complete the series I’ll read ’em in order. Man, I can’t wait to read the books in Skyrim.

    Amnesia had some great notes and letters to be read as well. They were creepy and well written, and added to the mood. They even put some in that little extra mini-campaign that was patched in as part of the Portal 2 marketing campaign. (I actually didn’t finish that, but the twenty or so minutes I played felt like Amnesia, not just an in game commercial. I should go play that now!)

    That bit about not being able to pantomime made me think of L.A. Noire and that amazing facial capture technology they used. Imagine playing a giant Bethesda type rpg in which every npc had that. How awesome would that be?

    1. Alexander The 1st says:

      That bit about not being able to pantomime made me think of L.A. Noire and that amazing facial capture technology they used. Imagine playing a giant Bethesda type rpg in which every npc had that. How awesome would that be?

      Well, Duke Nukem Forever went gold recently, so I suppose it’s worth dreaming of. :p

      1. Irridium says:

        Oh please, Duke Nukem going gold would be like, um… well it would be like Duke Nukem going gold, I guess.

        1. Alexander The 1st says:

          “Gold” in the sense that they actually have the game burnt onto the disc now.

          Whether or not it actually sells Gold…well…give that 14 years. :p

    2. Sleeping Dragon says:

      As much as I like reading I have to admit I never had the patience to gather and read through some of the series or books available in Morrowind, like the wolf queen series. Still, some of those I read were pretty smart and even memorable, I liked the Feyfolken series and the Locked Room story for example.

      I really like what they did with books in Morrowind because it makes the world feel much more alive, gives the player access to a wealth of lore, cultural background and even cosmology WITHOUT actually forcing that information on the player (personally I love the whole Dragon Break time paradox concept that they used to create a connection with Daggerfall).

      Urghh… I actually want to play Daggerfall or Morrowind again now -_-

    3. Aldowyn says:

      I was thinking of Oblivion when he mentioned “text worth reading”… ninja’ed

    4. Heh, it was even better back in the days of Daggerfall, there were quasi-pornographic cheesy romance novels circulating around that you could read. It was HILARIOUS.

      1. Gravebound says:

        And they censored them in Morrowind (“The Real Barenziah”…with a Khajiit XD ).

      2. Sleeping Dragon says:

        Well, Morrowind does have that fragment of The Lusty Argonian Maid…

  20. GM says:

    Christine sounds much more interesting than those constantly threatening guys
    shame you could not get her to join you without the threat of putting her back there.

    1. Even says:

      You can be friendly with her if you want, there’s no speech challenge involved.

    2. Alexander The 1st says:

      She should’ve been in ME2.

      Though a character like that in ME3 would be interesting. Female or not. Or both.

      At least it would make a VERY interesting combat team – no noise. THIS would be an assassin character done right.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        What, you don’t like Thane? I think the Drell culture, society, and backstory is one of the more unique ones I’ve seen.

        *Countdown until someone proves me wrong… 3…. 2…. 1….*

        1. tengokujin says:

          BLAH BLAH BLAH REASONS BLAH RATIONALISATIONS BLAH BLAH

          I kid. I have no idea how Drell society works. :p

          -Tengokujin

        2. Alexander The 1st says:

          I think my biggest issue with Thane is that he has to carry the entire backstory of his race, and I always got him just and did his loyalty before getting Legion, but…like the Spoiler Warning run, it’s kind of hard to sympathise with him – I always kept him alive, but really, I don’t think I’d have noticed much if he had died. Samara had the previous backstory of the Asari to help her, not to mention her recruitment mission (Which was significantly better done than “Hey, let’s kill all of this one politician’s guards so we can go meet her to not kill her, but instead just wait for her killer to use the fact that we killed all her guards to kill her, and…not stop him. If he does indeed show up. Otherwise this is going to be awkward…”.). You could’ve literally replaced Thane with a true silent assassin, and they would’ve had the same character development.

          Well that, and his voice was grating. And…never used him in combat. At all. Samara at least had Reave.

          tl:dr; Yes, the Drell have an interesting backstory, just like FF XIII. You just never get to see it (FF XIII had most of its plot mentioned in the datalog or in the Ultimecia guide thing.) in the main game. The same issue lies with Legion, in a sense. How much of his storyline do you really know before the endgame kicks in?

          1. Aldowyn says:

            You know, that’s all fixed if you, you know, talk to people. Mass Effect 2 IS a a Bioware game, after all.

  21. Littlefinger says:

    I’d like to bring up a point that the crew spoke about during the last episode: reloading without losing the rest of the clip. Normally this doesn’t bother me, the PC might be salvaging all of those half-spent clips during down-time, but one thing that annoys the *crap* out of me, is when this system is used for Flamethrowers. How the HELL do you refill a half-spent cannister and yet lose nothing in the transfer. I understand from a programmer pov, it’s not cost-effective to program a whole new reloading system for just one/a few weapons, but it still annoys me.

    Also, there was a weapon in MOH AA that could only reload after the entire clip (8 bullets) was spent. So after every firefight, if you had 3 or less bullets, you’d fire in the air so you’d be prepared for the next encounter. It was somewhat refreshing, but it didn’t really change the way you thought about clips/ammunitiOn.

    1. poiumty says:

      Dude. Do you realise how frustrating it would be to be used to salvage your bullets but suddenly find out it wouldn’t work for flamer fuel? You’d curse the developers with each passing day. Flamers would be a joke.

      1. Littlefinger says:

        Depends on how powerful you make them, could make them *powerful but used sparingly*. As they should be, getting soaked in liquid fire is not something you just shrug off.

        Anyway, it’s just a pet peeve of mine. As I understand why devs do it, it just irks me a bit.

        1. Aldowyn says:

          Battlefield has always stood out to me in that they DON’T do that. If you reload a clip with ammo left in it, you lose that ammo. The game doesn’t even bother telling you how many bullets you have left, it tells you how many clips you have left.

          Ammo management is fairly important, obviously.

          1. Michael says:

            It really strikes me that if they’d used the enchantment charge mechanic from Oblivion they could have made weapons that behaved precisely this way. You load a pistol up with some ammo, maybe you find a spare mag or two on the raider you just killed, but now, do you want to burn a mag to reload your 10mm pistol or do you want to save those three rounds in case they may be useful for the next raider and risk having to reload in combat?

            The only thing you might have needed was an option to unload partial mags from salvaged weapons, or breaking apart mags into raw ammo and loading up new magazines, which could probably be conveniently done at a work bench.

            1. Khizan says:

              That’s not what their choice would be. It would really be a choice of “Do you want to reload and save your old mag and the three rounds in it so you can refill it later, or do you want to go into the next firefight with 3 bullets in your clip like an idiot?” With maybe an option entitled “I am stupid and want to throw away three perfectly good bullets and a perfectly good magazine.”

              And you don’t need a workbench to reload mags; you can do it anywhere you’ve got breathing space and two hands. That means that it’s just not that interesting of a decision. You either throw away partially full magazines like an idiot, or you just add inventory fiddliness in between fights as you consolidate your ammo into full mags.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Indeed amd we already have enough fiddling with the inventory in new vegas.Its a good idea for a hectic war game though.

              2. Gale says:

                If inventory fiddliness is the question, I can totally see manual magazine refilling being a feature in Far Cry 3. Press a button to stare glumly into bag, a submenu from which you can hit one key to watch your character push bullets into magazines, while a different one makes him put together first-aid kits. You’d be able to buy the component parts of bullets in bulk for much cheaper than you’d get full boxes of ammo, as long as you’re willing to trudge over to a reloading bench in a shack miles from anywhere and spent half an hour pressing the use key every few seconds to put together each individual bullet.

                You can guess what game I just bought in Steam’s Ubisoft sale. I’m having some fun with it, at least, despite how much that game tries to make you hate it.

              3. Even says:

                The OFP/Arma series simply just leave you with magazines/clips with the n amount ammo you had left and will keep shuffling through the magazines you have left in your inventory whenever you press reload. Empty magazines are discarded automatically so there’s no extra fiddling involved.

                Not really sure if it’s worse or better that way around, but there’s no fiddling around with the clunky inventory screen and makes you really want to empty those magazines and think more tactically about reloading. I could live with that kind of system, anyhow.

            2. Andrew says:

              It’d also help make up for the awful reload times of weapons like the cowboy repeater, by giving them the perk of allowing you to reload at any time without wasting bullets. This would also (hopefully*) make shotguns more useful, since most of them also use this reload system.

              * While I’m sure they can be used to good effect, I personally never saw a point to carrying around a shotgun. They’re only really effective against creatures with little to no DT- a role already covered by hollow point rounds. Even slug shells don’t really balance this, since their accuracy is lousy. The shotgun-specific perks *might* make them worthwhile for certain tactics, but I’d prefer not to invest so heavily in a single weapon type.

    2. bit says:

      But isn’t the animation for the flamethrower and similar weapons not replacing the canister, but pumping new fuel into the existing “clip?” That’s what I always got from it.

  22. Two words:

    Minerva Metastasis

    1. Tizzy says:

      Two words indeed. Why am I missing the connection with the episode, though?

  23. Hitch says:

    re: 15:30 — No, Rutskarn.

  24. CalDazar says:

    What difficulty do you play on? Really, I had much more trouble with the Ghost People.
    I use Guns (rifles mostly) as main and Energy Weapons as a backup though.
    The Cosmic knife turned by backup weapon into melee. It’s so damned fun.
    But I play Hardcore, which makes the air toxic. Maybe that would do it?

    Oh, be careful when stepping in those fountain things to get chips, I got stuck in those three or four times.

    Also it is very fucking annoying to watch you run around an inch from death, not buying any health items from the magic matter transformation things or holo-store venders.

    1. poiumty says:

      Dead Money is frustratingly hard as a Guns character. The rifle was worthless without the ammo recipe and the revolver took around 2 clips to down one of those guys. Before I entered the casino I was running low on stims, ammo AND chips. Few more ghost douchebags and I would have been in a no-win situation. What’s worse, the clouds were everywhere, my health was in bad shape, freakin’ grenades around the corners, traps were killing me, the WORLD was killing me…

      …in retrospect, it was pretty survival-ish.

      1. kanodin says:

        Really, huh, I went through on hardcore and it was moderately tough but by the time I had recruited everyone I was swimming in stimpacks. Also it only took 3-4 shots to the head to kill a ghost person for me. I started at level 16 if that helps.

        1. Michael says:

          Yeah, high level seems to be more crucial in Dead Money than you’d expect. The Ghost People start at level 5 (in the leveled lists), but in the high 20s it gets pretty manageable. On top of that there are a lot of brutally hard checks (for lower or mid level characters) (70+) in a lot of different skills.

          Interestingly, (or not) the Ghost People have leveled list entries up to level 45.

        2. poiumty says:

          Yeah, I was 30. Guess the ghost people just have a weird levelling powerup curve.

          EDIT: actually, I think Josh being level 13 is really helping him in this case.

          1. Michael says:

            It does. They threshold at 5, 15, 25, 35, and 45. So he’s two levels off them getting much tougher.

  25. Exetera says:

    Actually, Christina’s text put me off a little bit. It felt kind of like the game was lying to me. Basically, my thoughts were “No, I can see Christina, and she isn’t doing anything at all like what the text is saying.” I do agree that the text is far more powerful than animating it would have been, but having text that contradicts the visuals kinda defeats the point of having the visuals in the first place.

    When I make games, I resolve this problem by not having character art. Of course, this may have more to do with my lack of art ability…

  26. At 5:30 I immediately thought
    “I warned you about stairs bro!
    I told you God!
    I told you about stairs!”

    What I’m saying is if you can’t think of puns I’ll accept MSPA memes

    1. Kavonde says:

      Apparently, God can only navigate certain stairways. Maybe one in particular. Or a series of them that all go to a specific destination.

      May Queens and spring cleaning may be involved.

      1. I remember hearing something about that. Ts it true if you get Dog to do the same thing you unlock some hidden dialogue?

  27. Grampy_Bone says:

    I loved that little text window. My favorite descriptions were in Fallout 2 for Myron (“You see Myron! Myron baby, Myron!”) and an NPC in New Reno named T-Ray (“You see a very handsome man… oh wait, you see T-Ray.”)

    1. Michael says:

      Even the critical hit strings could be pretty funny at times, like “at least the scars will make for good party talk” and any time Dogmeat would cause someone to “drop like a sack of potatoes”.

      I forget, was T-Ray the one that could provoke the dialog line, “I always suspected Jesus had ties to organized crime”?

  28. Kelly says:

    Also this isn’t relevant to this particular episode, but earlier you guys were wondering if there was every a quest that led you to Vault 21.

    Answer: YES, you get it from a prostitute in Gommorah named Joanna, but you can ONLY do it before you do the main Omerta quest (at least, if you put Cachino in power, if you leave Nero and Big Sal I don’t think its taken off the menu).

    Also don’t kill House.

    1. Even says:

      There’s actually a Legion quest there too which you can get from Vulpes.. but little too late for that now.

  29. “…cause I’m a grown man.”

    You shut your mouth Rutskarn! YOU SHUT YER GAWDDAMNED MOUTH! Adult Swim brought us the Venture Bros. and you WILL respect! If you do NOT, I will not be responsible for the consequences.

    But he will:

    http://www.monstersandcritics.com/image.php?file=/downloads/downloads/articles2/1491913/article_images/venture_bros_1.jpg

    And trust me when I say you don’t wanna smell what the Brock is cooking…

    1. Shamus says:

      Don’t threaten Rutskarn!

      It’s not nice picking on a little kid like that.

  30. Ramsus says:

    “So catch us next episode, when stuff happens”, followed by “losing blood” left me in a giggling fit for a solid minute.

    As for Ruts being 12….well I assume everyone on the internet is a 12 year old boy by default. Yes, that means if someone and their child both post I will just be assuming some sort of temporal paradox.

    1. m says:

      Good policy, since I am a 12 year old boy!

  31. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Damn,damn,damn!Every time I look at those pictures of old fallout I feel this great pang of nostalgia forcing me to reinstall and replay it again!Damn you Shamus,damn you!I dont have time to again sink months into the originals!ARRRRRGH!!!

  32. Cody211282 says:

    I hate to go off topic of the episode but you guys really need to find something other then youtube for the videos. I had to reload the page every 1-2 minutes because it just stopped loading the video.

    1. poiumty says:

      That problem’s on your end. I’m running it in 720p and I don’t even have to wait for it to load.

      1. Tizzy says:

        Hmmm… This is shaping up to turn like one of these discussions that were evoked in Hardware Problems

        1. Aldowyn says:

          well, at least he had some useful advice instead of JUST “it works for me.”

      2. Mike says:

        Yeah, I had the same problem. After I cleared my browser’s cache it went away. Apparently YouTube can get stupid about caching occasionally.

        (Edit->Preferences|Tools->Options)->Advanced->Network->”Clear Now” on Firefox

        1. Cody211282 says:

          Ok hopefully that helps, weird thing is I have no problem streaming HD from netflix but youtube refuses to do even 360p without having problems like this.

    2. HerrSunk says:

      Have you tried rebooting the Internet and turning the cogwheel in the power adapter three quarters counter-clockwise?

  33. Vect says:

    Also, it’s not Christina. It’s Christine. If you actually get into her backstory later on in the game when she gets her voice back, you’ll find out that she’s actually connected to a certain party member.

    The one that Elijah is connected to.

    1. Raygereio says:

      Speaking of that; the thing that annoyed me the most about Dead Money was that you couldn’t bring Christine up with that certain party member.
      There was even a small quest related to Elijah and her, why not Christine?

      1. krellen says:

        Wouldn’t it be mean to tell that party member “Ha-ha, I killed/stole your girlfriend”?

        1. Vect says:

          Well, if you don’t kill Christine she decides to just stick around to make sure that no one else decides to come and steal the tech.

          But otherwise I guess it would be awkward to tell her that her lover happens to live in a Casino filled with poison gas, gas mask mutants, traps up the wazoo and holograms with frickin’ laser beams.

  34. Nasikabatrachus says:

    I am surprised there are no references to Elijah* calling down the she-bears on some mofos yet, as in 2 Kings 2: 23-24. This also makes me realize what a weird name “Elijah Wood” is. Who names a Hobbit after a prophet?

    *Elijah, Elisha, same difference.

    1. Mumbles says:

      Get ur prophets right, sooonnnn

  35. StranaMente says:

    I know it’s a bit too late, but about that “child killer” thing, i read this note (http://jollyjack.deviantart.com/journal/40959042/) wrote by a comic writer I follow on DA in which he talks about an idea for a “FPS in which you took control of kids playing “war” over their backyards, where the weapons all looked like the toys they were holding (supersoakers and the like) but their effect was exactly what the kids were imagining (big explosions and lots of tracer fire, resulting in pantomime deaths to keep it all “family friendly”).
    He said that the company he was working for didn’t like the idea and axed it.
    And now, he points out, there’s this amazing video: http://youtu.be/QwrbyVaC6EU .
    Truth is, the imagination of most of the kids is exactly like that.

    1. Irridium says:

      We must ban imagination! Its too violent for our perfect little angel-children!

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