Deus Ex Human Revolution EP19:Your Face is Ugly

By Shamus
on Feb 14, 2012
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

One thing I’m discovering as we play through this game is that I like it more than I thought I did. I keep coming up with new positive things to say about the game as we go, which is opposite of the trajectory that our show usually follows.

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A Hundred!2020202010I bet you won't even read all 190 comments before leaving your own.

From the Archives:

  1. FryGuy says:

    Once I figured out I could just skip every boss fight with the typhoon, I was pretty happy with the game overall.

    • Sydney says:

      This.

      Similar to Child At Heart basically being “skip Little Lamplight”, the Typhoon is “skip those fucking boss fights”.

    • Adam says:

      WHAT. EXPLAIN IMMEDIATELY.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I didnt want to waste my praxis up until the very end,so I just relied on rocket launcher(because I always sold all the grenades,and didnt know about the revolver upgrade).3 rockets does just the same,so it was pretty easy for me as well.I even pimped a rocket launcher specifically for this purpose.I even named it Jumbo(no I didnt,but I couldnt resist the joke).

    • Eruanno says:

      Yup. Got the Typhoon for the second bossfight. Suddenly, it was ten times easier. Wait for her to uncloak, typhoon in face, repeat.

    • Chris B Chikin says:

      I’m only on one boss fight so far in my playthrough (unless you count escaping from the guards in the TYM CEO’s office as a boss) and totally crapped myself when I fought Barrett since I’d been using the Machine Pistol up until then (had myself set on being a sniper with an MP for the sidearm until I realise how useless both guns were) and already had no ammo for it.

      I also forgot I’d taken the typhoon upgrade because the number of times you’re surrounded by multiple alerted guards within eight metres and still alive is so rare. Fortunately I had some mines kicking about so managed to win by tossing those at his feet.

      Promptly after getting out the office though, it was very nice for taking out the robots in the hangar, which was also how I discovered you’re invulnerable while using it.

      Henceforth, Typhoon all the way biatches!

    • RCN says:

      I actually figured the Typhoon was probably there mostly for the boss-fights from the get-go. But somehow, even knowing beforehand the boss fights are horrible, I just felt it was cheating AND that wasting Praxis points on the Typhoon was a waste.

      So my tactic was: Shoot them with stun gun, throw gas grenade at their feet, keep them stunned. It is like the stun gun lock, but you waste way less precious stun gun ammo on the stupid bosses.

  2. Nyctef says:

    Somewhat related: the Mass Effect 3 demo came out today! Would be interested in what people think (boo Origin, yay for most of the rest here)

    • Hitch says:

      I was also refreshing the page to see if Shamus had any comments on the ME3 demo when I saw this episode go up.

    • Narida says:

      Well in addition to take cover, jump over cover, sprint and use, they have now also mapped roll to the spacebar… I kept rolling when trying to use something or taking cover. :/
      Also Shepard doesn’t duck his head enough when taking cover, and enemies seem to be able to hit me when I’m in cover, that’s kind of infuriating.
      And they changed Mordin’s voice actor :-(

      As for the good…well Liara, Garrus, Wrex, Cpt Kirrahe are back :-D. And the skill Trees are a bit more extensive than in ME2.

      • guy says:

        “Well in addition to take cover, jump over cover, sprint and use, they have now also mapped roll to the spacebar… I kept rolling when trying to use something or taking cover. :/”

        *incoherent rage*

        Hey, game designers, not counting the numpad, function keys, or other such special keys, my computer keyboard has ~60 non-meta keys, and three meta keys before you distinguish between right and left shift, alt, etc.

        There is absolutely no reason to map three, now four, critical activities that I could potentially want to use any or all of in a given situation to the same key.

        • Sydney says:

          It might be that, under the hood, the game doesn’t understand that many inputs. It doesn’t know “roll” from “duck”, so splitting them up would be problematic – and they have to be folded together for console-controller reasons.

          • Irridium says:

            That doesn’t explain why sprinting, taking cover, and activating things also have to be mapped to the same key.

            The PC version of ME1 let you assign different keys for sprinting, activating things/people, and ducking. I have no idea why Bioware decided to mash them all together for ME2, and now for ME3.

            Just… why?

          • GTRichey says:

            The problem anyone using a PC will have with this is that it’s lazy porting. There are many changes made to the interface and things like resolutions but they limit one thing that will make any PC gamer angry when they either don’t allow keys to be remapped or have contextual buttons. It’s an obvious console based decision and should never make it to PC that way. Thankfully between being annoyed at ME2 and not wanting to use a publisher run client (Origin) I’ll probably skip ME3 anyway.

            • Viktor says:

              It’s not consolitis. There were unused and underused buttons on the console for ME 1 and 2. It’s entirely developers being idiots.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                This.People strive towards simplicity when it comes to controls,but sometimes the developers overdo it.Just because its simpler to use one button for interact and melee attack,doesnt mean the same button should be used for sprint,cover,roll and block as well.

              • Eruanno says:

                Exactly. It would be much better if they set “use” to be “hold X” on console instead. Or “E” (or “F” in some cases) on PC, as is standard.

                Instead – hey! Let’s smash together four functions to one button! Argh-what?

      • Jarenth says:

        They… they changed Mordin’s voice actor?

        …how bad is it?

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I didnt play it(nor am I sure if Ill play the game yet),mostly because of how 2 sunk the series,and because I dont want origin on my drive.But I did watch a lets play two days ago,and the first thing Ive noticed was that they basically decided that 2 didnt happen,so its a huge step in the right direction.Still not enough to make me actually want the game,but its a start.

      And then there was that stupid child blowing up scene,to remind me that its probably just not worth it.

      • Irridium says:

        That scene was ruined for me by the inception horn.

        BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Why are people calling it inception horn?Im sure Ive heard it plenty of times long before inception was even conceived.

          • X2Eliah says:

            You must have been dreaming.

            Seriously though.. Inception’s trailer was the thing that brought the instrument to forefront, and in a very “in-your-face” manner to boot. It stands to reason that now the same sound used in roughly the same circumstances reminds people of Inception’s trailer.

  3. Uscias says:

    Dear Rutskarn,

    Please post the fanpics on chocolatehammer or here :P

    Thanks!

  4. Dnaloiram says:

    Just wanted to pop in and drop this off for everyone: http://e621.net/data/90/eb/90eb111c527988a0fdf436c00f22430b.png

  5. Gamer says:

    I don’t think I lost the speech check against Tong. I figured a gangster would respond well to logic and reasoning.

    Shamus, you do know that Speech skill increases in Skyrim ARE dependent on the value of what you sell. Unfortunately, if you sell things all at once, you’ll only get experience for selling one. You have to meticulously go through and sell all your potions and arrows individually. Fortunately, it’s not really worth it since the Speech perks all suck and only serve to remind the player how much Bethesda sucks.

    • Dasick says:

      And in the next game they’re gonna decide that instead of making speech viable and/or balanced, they should just send it the way of the dodo (like they did with attributes and some other skills) and replace it with a bullshit derivative attribute, and justify it by saying “well speech was useless in Skyrim, all it did was give you money herp derp.”

      I’ve got a suggestion Bethesda, why don’t you make it not useless?

      Grr.

      Skyrim might be a good game, but their game design philosophy took a solid hit.

      • Gamer says:

        All they need is to have more uses for Speech. Though they finally did the right thing by folding Barter and Speech together.

        • Dasick says:

          That’s what the modders felt about the attributes (Strength, Intelligence etc).

          Look where they are now.

          Barter and speech merge makes sense… but only because they amputated the speech minigame. I wan’t really fond of it, but I believe that trying to codify persuasion as gameplay was movement in the right direction.

          • Gamer says:

            I have mixed feelings about the stats going away. On one hand, it does simplify the system and (for the most part) removes the feeling of being gimped by Oblivion’s leveling system. On the other hand, they didn’t have to remove stats completely. Stats could work like in Fallout. From a scale of one to ten. The race could determine your base stats and you’d be given points to augment them. There would also be quests rewards that boost stats.

            I like Elder Scrolls and Fallout, but damn if Fallout’s system of character growth wasn’t better imo.

            • Dasick says:

              Define “Gimped by Oblivion’s levelling system”.

              While I don’t think ES levelling system was ever perfect, there is absolutely no excuse for cutting it out in favour of simplification. I don’t mean to knock on FO stats in any way, but ES system is amazing in how organic it is. Refining that system, removing hick-ups, finding niches for the complexity, giving each build viability, making the experience of playing the game, and discovering how it changes your character a very fun one.

              This is what the devs should be focusing on, not adding “day jobs” or marriage, or some other gimmick to distract the player. I would rant further, but what I have to say about the dev team ovelaps a lot of what Campster said about GTA4.

              PS. You what other game had three primary attributes? Fable 2. In fact, the two games are eerily similar if you start thinking about it…

              • Gamer says:

                In Oblivion, if you did not pay careful attention to what skills you were leveling up, when you eventually leveled up your character, you could (and often would) end up with either sub-par bonuses all around or way too many skills with high multipliers. This results in the enemies growing far more rapidly than you do and leaving you outclasses if you don’t reduce the difficulty.

                Having it just be your skills and core three stats means that you can always play catchup if you need to, though if you aren’t leveling any combat skills (or if you dare to use destruction), there is still a chance of you getting in WAY too over your head.

                • Dasick says:

                  Oh you were talking about the level-scaling system.

                  I’ve mentioned this before in another thread further down, but it’s pretty silly to expect your non-combat character to steam roll through all the dungeons she encounters.

                  But I digress. The fact that the enemies would outlevel you rapidly means that the level-scaling was unbalanced. There are opinions out there that level scaling is a stupid idea to begin with, but Bethesda still think they can fix it, and afaik Skyrim is a lot closer to being not utterly broken than any other Bethsoft games.

                  The fact that they are using the Attribute cut as a way to balance out the issues with the level-scaling is stupid. Oblivion had scores of (very popular) mods that either fixed the level scaling or phased it out (not completely though. It can still be a good tool if you use it sparingly).

                  In my opinion, Bethesda let the modding community do their R&D for them when making Skyrim. Not a bad thing, but if you’re gonna borrow from the modding community, at least do it properly.

                  Oh and not treat your PC fanbase as pirates and second rate citizens.

                  • Awetugiw says:

                    I’m quite sure the problem Gamer was referring to is not that “social”-focused characters can’t compete in combat at higher levels, but that you need to be very precise in which skills to level in order to get good modifiers on your stat increases.

                    Suppose for example that you want to play a warrior who uses swords, shields and heavy armor and repairs his own gear. The intuitive thing to do would be to take Blade, Block, Heavy Armor and Armorer as class skills. Blade is associated with the attribute Strength, the other three with the attribute Endurance.

                    But after gaining 10 skill points in class skills you gain a level. In the case of this hypothetical warrior he’d probably gain something like:
                    4 points in Blade
                    2 points in Block
                    2 points in Heavy Armor
                    2 points in Armorer
                    3 points in non-class skills associated with Agility and Speed.

                    But when leveling up you get to increase your ability scores. You can put a point in three different ability scores, but you get a modifier based on how much skills associated with that attribute have increased. This warrior could choose three out of:
                    – 2 points of strength, speed or agility.
                    – 3 points of endurance.
                    – 1 point in intelligence, willpower, personality or luck.

                    Considering that multipliers go up to 5 that’s pretty bad. But in order to get better multipliers he would have to either grind or buy training for skill increases in skills he’s never going to use.

                    If apart from the skills he gained this level he would also have gained 6 points in Blunt and Hand to Hand (which he never uses so normally doesn’t level at all) he’d be able to choose a times 5 multiplier in strength, so that would be a lot better.

                    But his choice of class skills makes it almost entirely impossible for him to gain a high endurance score, even though (and in some sense even because!) endurance is very important to him. He’d been much better off if he had taken Speech and Mercantile as class skills in stead of Heavy Armor and Armorer.

                    In order to get the best attribute bonuses in Oblivion you have to make sure that:
                    1) you level exactly the right number of skill points in certain specific skills, some of which you never use.
                    2) you do not have the skills you use most as class skills.

                    It’s a very strange system, and while I think modifying it would have been a better choice than just removing attributes it did need to be improved.

                    • Eric says:

                      Bad (i.e. nonsexistent) systems design in a Bethesda game? Surely you jest.

                      In serious, I have no idea how this got past the design phase. If anyone on their design team was even remotely competent they would have been able to foresee this problem on paper. This is not a case of the game turning out differently in practices, this is simple competence and being able to follow the systems set up to their logical conclusions.

                      Bethesda have improved since then, but not so much by improving their systems so much as just doing things that are inherently less awful – and they still exhibit all the same flaws, just not quite as obviously.

                    • Dasick says:

                      Hooray for breaking the reply nesting function! Is there a prize?

                      2Aweutgiw – I assume every level-scaled reject goon out there is going to be levelled in an optimal way? That’s what I meant when I started talking about the level-scaling.

                      That bit about optimal levelling bothers me, in theory anyway, since it defeats the purpose of an organic levelling system they have. It’s supposed to be “play the game the way you want to and see your character grow as a result of your consistent behaviour.”

                      2Eric –

                      The worst part is that the modding community has done all the system designing for them. Google search for “oblivion attribute level mod” lists two solutions: you always get a +5 modifier no matter what (quick fix), or your attributes grow naturally along with the skills(much closer to a real solution that is consistent with the overall game theme).

                      I really can’t blame them for not thinking it through. Oblivion was a massive game, there were so many different mechanics and calculations, and most of them were unique to the elder scrolls series, varying wildly between the games. Quickly, what’s the industry standard for setting mana prices on custom spells?

                      With that much stuff going on, both in terms of content and mechanics, I can imagine their design team just focused on churning them out, putting a sticky note “fix later” on the really bad stuff and then simply not having the time to actually fix it.

                      Oblivion wasn’t really as much as “flawed” as it was “imbalanced”. Balancing is a tricky beast, but there was raw potential in just getting it right – something the modding community has been doing for years, and are yet to get there. That’s the real tragedy of Skyrim for me. That it is less broken that Oblivion, but it achieved that by kiboshing the stuff that gave TES4 such potential.

          • Ringwraith says:

            Either Speechcraft or Mercantile have always been difficult to level in Elder Scrolls games, and they used to take turns but now they’re combined they’re both technically hard to level!
            As always, best way to fix this is simply find a skill trainer for it and sink your money into it.

            On a related note, the speech checks in Skyrim aren’t random die rolls, they’re fixed like New Vegas’s, but the requirement is hidden, and some methods have different requirements on the same person, (some are easier to intimidate than persaude for example). A higher skill also reduces the cost of speech check-related bribes.

      • Eruanno says:

        And speech had a great use in New Vegas! And they had a companion wheel there that was awesome! Argh! (Okay, that was Obsidian, but one can hope that Bethesda would “borrow” some ideas.)

        • Gamer says:

          I really liked how they did Speech in New Vegas. It gave you a reason to upgrade Speech and it erased the need to save-scum to get the options you wanted in conversations. Plus, it made the dialogue flow much better.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      The second speech perk was nice(bribe),plus it allows you to level speech pretty quickly.And,you can level it in tandem with pick pocket as well(since you do want your money back,right?).

    • rofltehcat says:

      Still better than the stupid Oblivion minigame!

      God… I wanted to play a speech-savy character in one playthrough. That minigame is so incredibly mind-numbing…

    • Sumanai says:

      I find it curious how Bethesda is bad at making both speech, as in conversation, and the speech skill itself.

  6. Hitch says:

    I don’t think I’ve mentioned the small head thing but I’ve been noticing it. Related to that is the shot of Jensen walking into the Sarif lobby at the beginning of the credits. In addition to a small head, he also appears to have an incredibly long torso and stumpy little legs.

    • Piflik says:

      The small heads were actually intentional. They wanted comic-book-superhero-like proportions…or at least thats what they said…possibly they didn’t notice it and used that as an excuse when they did, since editing a character model after rigging and animating is really not the best idea…

      Don’t know if they have a similar excuse for Jensen’s elongated torso or his tiny arms…

      • lurkey says:

        He looks like a dude who swiped someone’s way, way too big coat and put it on without bothering to take its large coathanger out. As for hands, blame Dragon Age: Origins – they had massive hands there and apparently overdrew the quota, so now other RPGs have to do with these delicate tiny pawsies of T-Rex proportion.

    • Sumanai says:

      And no-one seems to notice that some characters have long necks. It’s not as bad as in Mass Effect, but still.

  7. silentlambda says:

    The trick to powerleveling speech in Skyrim is… strange, but effective. First, get your bounty between 1 and 999 gold and get the hell out of dodge. Then, come back, and guards will not accost you on sight. When you DO talk to guards, however, they will be suspicious, and if your speech is around 50 or so, you can bribe them, boosting your speech. Then pickpocket you money back if you really need it. If you don’t have any speech, Thieves’ Guild members have an equivalent option no matter what.

    Totally worth the hassle to increase shopkeepers’ gold reserves and have them all buy your stolen jewelry.

    So what’s this… Deus Ex thing is heard mentioned during the video?

  8. Lawton says:

    The dialog system is one of the best I have ever seen, and pretty much every conversation was perfect. My one irritation was the last conversation, with Hugh Darrow. I felt his contrition and apologetic tone was just wrong. I would much rather have had him say, “Go ahead and turn off my signalling device, I already won.” Extremists make excellent villains, and I think overall Hugh Darrow was a solid villain, but they need to be extreme to the end, or else show gradual change. This was too sudden.

    Also, last episode you missed a really entertaining scene. When you ask the man on the roof where the girl is, he asks you for 2000 credits if you do not use pherenomes. Then he goes on to say, “Don’t bother trying to rob me or something, its not like I am conveniently carrying the information on me.” Sure enough, if you knock him out you basically fail the quest, since it becomes extremely hard to find the girl without wandering all over the city. Was quite a well-placed lean on the fourth wall, too bad the episode missed it.

  9. Rockbird says:

    You’re welcome, Shamus!

    Regards
    The fiend of art, summoned by Rutskarn.
    You shall never be rid of me now!

  10. MatthewH says:

    the lipsyncing. I’m glad I’m not the only one. I thought my computer was lagging or something.

    Here was my vague idea: you know how you can see translations of the Chinese under in you hud – I figured that Adam must have a translator in his head -so Tong was speaking Chinese, we were just hearing English. Also explains the bad accents.

    • Dasick says:

      Maybe Jensen is a racist , so he set his translator to “silly chinks* trying to speak engrish”?

      Or maybe the skinheads that sold him the aug had a very… “interesting” …sense of humour?

      *sorry if this term offends anyone, but I assume that it’s pretty safe in the context I am presenting – a point of view of “Racist Jensen” character, a derivative of the actual Jensen, who may or may not be racist (I really don’t know). The above comment is meant to poke fun at overt racism, because honestly, when you have the to option to clearly hear an important conversation and you choose not to because of racism, it comes of a s very superficial and is the kind of stuff that needs to be made fun of. Is the right thing to do.

  11. Even says:

    I did get pretty heavy vibe that the bartender wasn’t all what he pretended to be when going through the dialogue and guessed it just might be him. The setup is a little fishy to begin with.. like why would you need get through a bartender to get to meet a crime boss? The way he talks about his boss (IE himself) is also a little off. He obviously knows a LOT of the ins and outs of the place where he works too. Lastly there’s the way he reacts to Josh’s first choice where Jensen reasons that for a crime boss Tong can’t be a fool. I’m not sure if it’s just because of the randomization, but the only way I found to blow his cover was using the pheromones, which annoyed me a little.

    • Eric says:

      I saw through it the moment he started acting vaguely suspicious and the persuasion meter popped up. No random dude would have a unique character model that detailed, or would be a special boss fight. Meta-logic always ruins the big reveals. :(

    • False Prophet says:

      I originally assumed the bartender was an important lieutenant to Tong. So I basically picked all the conversation options where Jensen said helping him find Windmill would benefit Tong, with the idea that the lieutenant would want to be the hero who brought this information to his boss.

      I won the conversation, and as soon as the bartender said “you can meet Tong; he’ll be in his office downstairs,” it suddenly clicked that the bartender was Tong.

  12. Eärlindor says:

    I completely missed the conversation with Tong; I must’ve walked by and not seen him.

    Concerning the Skyrim’s speech leveling problem: if you go to the Blackbriar Meadery, there’s an easy persuasion check you can make on the guy behind the counter. It’s glitched so it doesn’t go away and you can keep using it. You can level one point of speech with about 3-5 uses.

    • Dasick says:

      Or you can use the game’s wonderfully organic levelling system the way it is intended, and just have fun playing the game.

      • SougoXIII says:

        And never, ever reach lv100 in any non-combat skills. (I’m exaggerating of course, but you get my point.)

        • Dasick says:

          To be fair, the level locking scaling they have in Skyrim sorta makes sense for a non-combat oriented character. If your character is a wuss, it only makes sense that they can’t just steamroll through any dungeon you see.

          You have to scout it out first (by taking a couple of arrows to the ass, then booting it), prepare (wait for game breaking DLC loot), then go in and bully… erm… “heroicly triumph over” the enemies (who’s lower level now?)

          • Gamer says:

            Or you can level Sneak enough to get the Assassin’s Blade perk and wear the Dark Brotherhood Gloves. I don’t care how weak your dagger is: Nothing is a match for a X30 Sneak Attack.

            Ever more overkill if you invest in Illusion and buy Invisibility.

  13. Dave B says:

    “Daddy Tong”

    I think you mean Papa Tong ;)

  14. Gamer says:

    While I don’t work in the industry, I thought that there was software that made Lipsyncing automatic.

    I remember that this came up in the localization of Final Fantasy 10. The voice actress who played Yuna tried to sync her voice with the cut-scenes that she was shown. The performance was mediocre as a result. (It was her first role.) The other characters had good acting because they knew, unlike her, that the localization team had software that could easily lip-sync.

    Again, all this info is second-hand, so I’m not sure.

    • Dasick says:

      They do have lip syncing software. As far back as Oblivion (maybe further back? dunno, first time I’ve seen that tech).

      • Lip synching tech’s been around since at least TF2 (according to some machinima tutorials I glanced at) and I’d gather probably as far as Half Life 2. It’s actually kinda striking considering how well it’s help up compared to contemporary games in this regard. There are still some games where simply having the lower jaw move up and down is enough, though to be fair, they’re generally not as dialogue heavy as a game like this.

        It looks like DEHR still uses a very old technique of creating separate mouth shapes for the most common sounds made while talking and then shifting between depending on what dialogue is being spoken. Personally, I’ve never cottoned much to that method because it can feel very jerky and even off synch like here. There’s a much easier and I feel a more visually accurate method of controlling a state between the mouth being as wide and open as possible and closed and narrow.

  15. The Other Matt K says:

    What’s interesting for me is that I lost the speech check against Tong, but didn’t even realize it – I wandered downstairs, got the side-quest from the bartender, and doing that earned me an audience. I figured that was what you were supposed to do.

    The fact that so many different avenues are usually available – and pretty much no matter which one you do, they all feel like the ‘right choice’ – is one of my favorite things about this game.

    • Nick says:

      Huh, didn’t even realise that was an option – I just had the CASIE aug going in the first time so successfully used pheromones in the conversation, which is what gets you to accuse him of being Tong (he’s an alpha)

  16. Paul Spooner says:

    There was a lot in this episode that I never saw. I snuck into the club through the vents and assumed that the bouncers would oust me, so I went straight into the restricted area and saw the conversation from the vent. Later, when I worked up the courage to poke around I found that little bar with no one in it, and figured that something was supposed to happen there, but never found out what. I never got the conversation with the “real” bartender either. Cool to know that the game went on just fine without it though.

  17. Rax says:

    Wait.. you can talk that guy into letting him into the office? Damn that would’ve made my life a lot easier.

    • Ringwraith says:

      Though if you fail, if you do the sidequest for the bartender, you can still get let in without having to sneak in.
      There’s quite a few ways around this one.

  18. Michael says:

    Quoth Josh: “What would we ever do without you, Rutskarn? Maybe we’d be, like, a respectable show.”

    I imagine Rutskarn’s reaction after the cut was in his 50’s announcer voice. “CURSES! You’ve tumbled my nefarious plan!”

  19. Maroon says:

    “Isn’t Van Bruggen… black?”

    I think he’s supposed to be from the former Netherlands Antilles, or his great-grandparents were, but I suppose when you ask a native English speaker to do any Caribbean accent, it ends up Jamaican. He’s definitely asserted to be Dutch, though.

  20. Fat Tony (Don Antonio Francesco Kebelli) says:

    Doesn’t this China/Japan place sound/look a lot like your city from your “fan-fic” of system shock.

    • krellen says:

      I don’t think Shamus ever described the “Undercity” as being literally under anything. I saw it as a sort of cesspool district surrounded by the high-rise dwellings of the upper city.

  21. Destrustor says:

    About the furry thing, I would expect that given the availability and versatility of augments, furries in deus ex would be absolutely out of control: the augments would make all manner of digitigrade legs, functionnal tails, animal-like heads/ears and other such features a possibility. They would be everywhere.
    In that regard, I was actually kind of dissapointed that there is absolutely no mention of furries anywhere in the game. The movement (or whatever furries can be described as) is already near-omnipresent in modern times, so it’s kind of weird that it has all but vanished in the future.
    Also I feel this episode should have been titled after Chris’ “in the future” exclamation. Much funnier to me.

    • X2Eliah says:

      Well, yeah, but the movement is currently jsut a bit of a fad, though.. There’s no telling if it will stick around after ten years or not – safer not to put it in the gameworld, to avoid looking like pandering to current-times too much.

      • Gabriel Mobius says:

        I’m not entirely certain what ‘a fad’ counts as for you, but furries have been around since the early 1980s, with the first convention occurring in 1987. Effectively, this subculture has existed for almost thirty years now, and only seems to continue to grow in size. So, yes, it’s a pretty safe bet that it’ll be around past another ten years.

    • Dasick says:

      I don’t know about the furries. Adding tails to human body would be pretty darn hard, I reckon, since we don’t have “tail nerves”, as far as I know. It would need a rather ugly hack to work, like say, intercepting the pinky toe nerves and using that to control the tail. So you wiggle your tail by trying to wiggle your toe. Would be disorienting at first, but we are talking about people like the catman and the lizard-person-thing, and the yiffers (Google Chrome spelcheck does not recognise “yiffing”. All is not lost. DON’T GOOGLE THE TERM).

      Hmm, although the fact that it would an ugly hack would make for a much better argument against trans-humanism. A cyberpunk story using furries to explore the issues of personal identity vs self-mutilation for vanity? Where’s kickstarter when you need it?

      • Michael says:

        So, you’re asking for a fusion between Ironclaw and Shadowrun?

        Because I’d play the hell out of that.

        Although few homebrew RPG systems work out in the long run.

        Also, regarding the tail: The tail would stem from the spinal column, so no shortage of nerves there. If they’re advanced enough to add entire usable arms and legs, I’d venture to say they’re advanced enough to add usable tails without that hack. It’s basically learning how to use a new limb like a baby would. Difficult, but not impossible, I would think.

        (Note: I’m not entirely sure how nerves and muscle-groups work. For all I know it’s impossible to learn to use limbs we weren’t born with.)

      • Gamer says:

        It’s incredibly rare, but they’re are people who get born with tails. They’re usually removed at birth.

        I have no idea why I know this.

      • Destrustor says:

        And how less of a hack is it to have arm-blades and arm-guns and hand-spinning and invisibility and electromagnetic parachutes ? Most of the augs in the game are so foreign to the human nervous system they might as well be entirely new limbs for all it cares. I don’t see how I’d ever get the hang of pulling a blade out of my arm, and what “muscle” I’d need to concentrate on, but Jensen does it.
        If they can turn arms into machineguns, they can probably stick a wiggling robot snake to your tailbone.

        Eww, robot snakes…

    • MatthewH says:

      I had been wondering what augments were being used at the hotel.

      And now I can’t get this image out of my head.

      Gee. Thanks.

  22. tengokujin says:

    If memory serves, van Bruggen is gay; he wouldn’t have skimpily clad bikini babes on his personal computer, I’d think.

    If Bethesda still hasn’t patched it: the Black-Briar Meadery in Riften has a man at the counter who is very “happy” to be working for Maven Black-Briar. If your speech is less than 25, you can bribe him to have him tell you the real story, which will level your speechcraft. Once you’re 25, you can persuade him to give you his story, which also raises speechcraft. The exploit bit of all this is that those options don’t go away, so you can use them over and over again, allowing you to cap speech in ~40 minutes.

    • Gruhunchously says:

      There’s an email from the Alice Garden Pods manager that suggests that van Bruggen might be bisexual.
      If I recall, it’s an flustered message demanding that if van Bruggen wants boys, girls, or the moon, they should be sent to his pod.

    • Infinitron says:

      There’s a group of people on TVTropes that have decided that Van Bruggen must be gay because he quips “you’re not my type” when Jensen opens his pod.
      Apparently they can’t conceive of a straight guy saying something like that jokingly, because, you know, being a man, Jensen really isn’t “his type”!

      So yeah, don’t believe everything you read.

  23. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I didnt eta game tongs conversation,but as soon as he started “Oh mister tong this and that”,I wanted to say “Come on dude,we both know you are tong,so lets stop playing”.And then I wanted to smack jensen later for being surprised when he found out that this guy actually is tong.

    Wait,you can actually make him admit it?Why didnt that come up for me?Damn it!

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Damn it!I meant to say “I didnt meta game tongs conversation”.Stupid spell checker seeing eta as a good word.

    • Similar experience. I knew from the massive face…thing that I was talking to Tong (no random NPC gets this much detail), then I had to jump through hoops in the boss conversation to get him to let me in his office. I didn’t get Tong to admit who he was, so Jensen is all ‘Cool I’ll go see him then’.

      What’s weird about it is that right after talking to him the first time, the quest log pops ups on the left to say ‘[Tick] Talk to Tong’, and if you hadn’t figured out it was him as the player or as Jensen through the convo, the game then ruined their terrible surprise anyway.

      So having not got Tong to admit who he was, but have the game tell me I was talking to him anyway, and on top of knowing it was Tong the first time I saw him, I wanted to table flip when Jensen entered the office and acted surprised. FFS JENSEN.

    • You need Pheremones to make him admit it, which doesn’t make any kind of sense, but there’s no INT stat so whatever.

      I already knew it from watching the trailer with him in it, but Jensen only figured it out the second time I talked to him.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Oh,right.I usually didnt use pheromones because the conversations were just so interesting that I wanted to see them through.

        • Thomas says:

          Same.

          This conversation was enjoyable for me, but I saw through it immediately. Not from meta gaming, or textures but just because it was a really obvious story thing (maybe a little bit of meta because I’d visited the barkeeper before I talked the one down below). It just felt very story to have this and it only takes one note of suspicion because all his dialogue is a bit ‘yes… the boss is a very important and powerful man’. But his side of it fits his character well and he didn’t speak story but like a person and I got through the convo, just a bit annoyed at Jensen for not clicking, I wish I managed Rutskarns route (I never realised convo’s had different _positive_ outcomes before this season. There is so much to find in this game)

          Tong is a really cool character, because he’s friendly but entirely self-motivated and slipper as butter. There were a couple of points where I felt he was playing along because the game demanded it and then… no he’s just a really awesome puppeteer

  24. Eric says:

    Tracer Tong wasn’t anti-technology so much as he saw the way it was exploiting people and causing massive socio-economic divides. The crux of his message isn’t “technology bad!” but rather that it would help bring parity to all the world’s nations and peoples. Of course, it’s not a long-term solution but it would at least give some additional autonomy and juggle the power and economic balance, letting everyone survive on their own terms.

    As for lip-syncing – it can be done very easily and automatically, if you have the capability of course. Almost every game engine these days does it on the fly, with facial expressions hand-tweaked for more important stuff. For instance, I know the Dragon Age games basically have preset facial expressions to choose from for various emotions per-line, and then it does it all at runtime. I’m pretty sure it works the same way for most others games as well – the tech is out there to be licensed. The one I did see semi-recently that didn’t fit that description was Crysis, which I believe had you syncing up phoneme animations the engine had pre-packaged.

    Oh, and regarding conversations – I think more games should just go the old Infinity Engine route of good voice acting that happens in interactive dialogue sequences. Cutscenes are exciting but they are also extremely expensive to produce, and doing the animation for a random conversation is anywhere from 2-10x more time-consuming than writing and scripting everything. It adds so little to the gameplay in many cases, and the exact same effect could be achieved by delivering that sort of thing during gameplay.

    • Anorak says:

      I did some work on Clear Skies 3, so I know some of this stuff.
      The Source Engine was one of the first (as far as I know) to do automatic lip-synching. It takes a wav file, and extracts the phonemes from the voice. There are a known (?) number of phonemes that can be made in speech, and the tech to extract these from sound files has been around for a long time – see the voice-to-text systems.
      Source actually uses Microsoft’s speech SDK, I think.
      Once the phonemes have been extracted, it’s trivial to apply those as animations to a mouth, but all that gets you is the character model dumbly spouting lines with a completely blank facial expression – kind of like in Oblivion.
      The hard and time consuming bit is animating the rest of the face. In the Source SDK this all has to be done manually, and this is everything like:
      -Where the character is looking. Should they be looking straight at you the entire time? Should they glance around them a little? Are they addressing multiple people? Are they dividing their attention?

      -Are they happy? Sad? Angry? Hungry? You have to add emotion to the face. As they tell a joke, they might need to smile slightly. Add a sneer for sarcasm, but don’t leave it there perpetually, or they look silly.

      -How loudly are they talking? Should their mouth open wider because they are shouting?

      This is just for facial expressions – body language has to be accounted for too, but that (in Source) is a seperate system entirely. It can be tricky to line the two up.

      For Clear Skies 3 we used markerless motion capture for whole body movement and gestures, and then added facial animation & lip synch over the top. It took a long time.

      There are a lot of things that go into this, and it’s no wonder that some parts of the industry are moving towards facial mocap these days.

      I thought that the body language in Human Revolution (in the boss conversations) was excellent – it was generally what helped me through them. Facial animations were pretty good, but I took my cues from body language. Lip synching appears very hit and miss though. I’m wondering what system they actually used for all of this.

  25. Irridium says:

    Regarding you all picking on Bioware, I think it’s just that they’re such a great example. Reminds me of this comic.

    http://thepunchlineismachismo.com/archives/427

    You know, kind of the same thing. Just swap out Kratos with Bioware.

  26. Packie says:

    I actually couldn’t convince Tong so I was forced to sneak by in the basement and listen to Tong’s conversation with some big dude in the vent that shamus pointed out.

    I didn’t even know you could actually win this conversation, I reloaded this section three times and lost in all of them.

  27. rrgg says:

    So Jensen is able to calculate the field of view of security cameras by watching where they are pointed allowing him to remain unseen.

    Does this mean he would be foiled by the bubble cameras at Walmart?

  28. Shamus, to your question about lipsyncing there are 3 ways.

    The hard way is lipsyncing by hand, which can be a nightmare if multiple audio languages are available.

    The easiest way is automated. Automated are in two variants (possibly three).
    Pre-calculated, where the audio is feed through some analyzer and a lipsync “track” is stored, that is fed into the lip animation code in sync with the audio (or at least should, but it can become desynced from the video just like video playback and audio can get out of sync).
    Real time calculated, where the text phonemes are fed into the lip animation code.
    the text phonemes might also benefit from pre-scanning of the text, saving some CPU during gameplay.

    And lastly a mix of the hand/auto methods, and as you pointed out certain important scenes (like cutscenes) usually have a mix of this. Mostly because any animator “directing” the scene would just curse I’m sure if the lipsyncing was off while the body movement is ok, so they’d probably do some lip tweaking at the same time. (both pre-rendered and realtime cutscene animation).

    If the audio/video sync is pretty spot on then the automated (precalculated) should look damn good. Of course bugs and timing issues can easily mess that up. (by timing issues I mean auto-dropped frames to keep the framerate going, double vs triple buffering etc.)

    I’m not aware of any game engine that support timetracks (SMPTE for example) for the video and audio output. Not that it would help much as I don’t think that any consumer graphics/audio drivers support it, nor DirectX 11 (upcoming Windows 8) even support it.

    So despite the lipsyncing actually using timetracks in the game engine, after that point the audio and video might get a few ms off which can ruin it a little.

    I’m not even sure if HDMI or even DisplayPort standards/equipment for consumers support timetracks/timecodes even.
    So I sometime wish that games would have a option under Advanced Audio settings letting you set a +/- audio offset sometimes as a quickfix, heh…

    • X2Eliah says:

      So.. even by going through it the long hard manual way, to achieve “perfection”, it just needs to de-synch and it’s all ruined?

      Well, here’s one answer why everything is pre-rendered cutscenes in a lot of games :|

      • Eric says:

        Not quite. The sync issues are there but many users may not notice them depending on say, the target framerate and response time, number of prerendered frames in sequence, the order of operations in rendering, post processing effect latency, etc. A lot of this stuff is engine-specific, but honestly I don’t think I’ve found many games that have outright noticeably bad lip-sync lately, at least as a result of those sync errors.

  29. Phoenix says:

    I don’t know if somebody already mentioned it, but the fact that hacking terminals is a must since it gives you xp isn’t true. Since you expend a lot of praxis points to get those hacking skills. I’m not sure if it’s even convenient to do that since you’re wasting praxis that you could use for something else, but still it gives pieces of background story and money. Even if I’ve not tried it I think that the brute way (without hacking & stealth) is viable and not so unconvenient in DE HR.
    I’m a little tempted to try it again that way, since I went for the hack & stealth way the first time, and maybe say and do dumber things.

    • Uscias says:

      I think the main reason that people feel hacking for xp is a must, is the compulsive aspect of needing to get everything. Whereas the mechanics themself allow you to focus on the hacking aspect; the more hacking skills you buy, the more terminals you can hack, and so on. This holds true for most gameplay styles in the game, so combat is very viable. I’m currently doing a combat aug only run, in which I’m able to more easily take down the bosses but ofcourse I’m missing out on a lot of cool places you need hacking/exploring augs for.

    • Eric says:

      If you hack every terminal you come across, it pays for itself within a few levels. Yes, you can get every hacking upgrade, but that’s stupid and inefficient because like most augmentations in the game, they are basically useless unless you really want to max out something for role-playing purposes. It is sloppy balance plain and simple.

  30. RCN says:

    Ok, I’m just posting it here before I have to reset my connection and fall into the lines that for some reason can’t load this site:

    Hi. I get an error message when I try to access your site, most of the time.

    “Forbidden

    You don’t have permission to access /twentysidedtale/ on this server.

    Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.”

    I only get this on some places, but one of those places is my own home. I was able to follow regularly while I was on my holiday trip, but now I’m back, and unless the planets are aligned just so I get this message…

    I hope it is a problem you’re aware of and have an idea of what is causing it. I hate not being able to keep up to date with your site.

    Thanks for your consideration.

    • Packie says:

      This happens to me also. Occasionally though.

      Sometimes I can’t access the website back home and get the forbidden message. But in my college’s class I can access the website at any time.

      Really weird.

  31. Thanatos Crows says:

    On my first playthrough something funny happened: I was told to go talk to the bartender upstairs and yet there was no one behind the bar. So down the vent I went.
    MGS2 had varying desktop wallpapers of bikinigirls and the game came out in 2001. Some of them might’ve had a view of the sea or something. It’s been too long since I last played it.
    Oh and due to fever I managed to forget to scan the FABULOUS artsu last week. You really shouldn’t have called Tong Daddy Tong, Shamus…

  32. Zaxares says:

    1:20: You know, I’ve always wondered about Tong Si Hung’s face. Is that a really bad burn scar? Or just a really, really, bad birthmark? (Don’t laugh; I’ve seen some people with large reddish marks on their body that they say are birthmarks.) I doubt it’s the latter though, because there are pictures in Tong’s office which show a younger him without those marks.

    5:30: Wow, really? I found Tong’s conversation to be the easiest one in the game. … I know, I know… I can supposedly ‘read’ him better due to being Chinese myself. XD

    14:03: … I DEMAND that you guys post that picture up on Spoiler Warning for the whole Internet to lose its innocence a little more. XD

    15:30: Yeah, now I can’t unsee it either! O.o DAMN YOU GUYS!

  33. 4th Dimension says:

    You can meet Tong’s son (Tracer Tong?) when you rescue him for his dad, just before Hangshaw harbour level. Unfortunately it seems that level is reserved for Preorder versions of the game. Also in it, when you set off that distraction he uses it to escape Hengshaw for Hong Kong.

    • Infinitron says:

      You can buy it as DLC. It’s cheap.

      • Eric says:

        It’s also a mission that takes place in a cinderblock copy-paste sewer of a level that was probably thrown together in a couple of days, and takes about ten minutes to complete. Just buy an espresso and watch an LP on YouTube.

        • Infinitron says:

          I thought the mission was pretty nice, in that they managed to stuff in a usage case for every single augmentation you can get, all inside that smallish map.

          In terms of game mechanics, it was like the archetypical Deus Ex map. You can see that they were very experienced with Deus Ex-ish map design when they made it.

  34. RCN says:

    Yes! Finally I’m up-to-date with my spoiler warning of Deus Ex: Venoman Dilution.

    So… my theory on Tong’s skin condition is that it was set off by some unsuccessful grafts or neuropazyne rejection. Second seems unlikely since he is the only one showing those symptoms though.

    Also, the different monitors are just a visual cue. The orange monitors are personal computers, the greenish blue ones are security terminals.

    • X2Eliah says:

      Nah, it is neuropozine rejection. At least one of the live-action trailers for the game (the one that pushed the “purity first” angle) showed actors with similar marks as consequences of aug rejection. It might be that the devs didn’t have enough time to model more sufferers, I suspect.

      //Note – now I’m not sure if it is specifically neuropozine rejection, or augment rejection + neuropozine immunity/resistance. It can’t be a lack of neuropozine as such, since Tong is influential enough to get his fix.. But it could be that it just doesn’t work anymore on him, and the flesh near augs is inflamed by body’s own immunocells.

      • RCN says:

        Shouldn’t Darrow show those signs then as well?

        I mean, it seems Darrow was pretty much the first to discover Neuropazyne rejection by being the first to suffer it or something? As far as I’ve gathered, it is the only reason he got mopey and decided to plunge the world into chip-controlled chaos.

        (By the way, am I the only one who got really glad and then really smug when that chinese whore tried to use her remote on you and then nothing happened because I refused to make the upgrade? I mean, again, genre savvyness, but the glitch and the upgrade were just so, sooooo suspicious I didn’t think twice. At best I’d ask for Pritchard to look into it and was actually mildly disappointed you don’t get the chance).

        • Jarenth says:

          Easily the best moment in the game, that. I was smirking all through the otherwise terrible bossfight.

        • Infinitron says:

          Darrow didn’t have any augs in the first place, so why would he be suffering from Neuropozyne rejection?

          • RCN says:

            He keeps hammering about how it is easy for YOU to say good things about augments because YOU are special and don’t need neuropazyne while HE can’t even take it.

            It seems pretty obvious he wanted to replace his arm and leg (or even that that’s the reason he TOOK off those) but couldn’t put an augmented one on their place.

          • X2Eliah says:

            That’s why he doesn’t have augs – he can’t take neuropozine, or he’ll end up looking like Tong. Thing is, Tong is not willing to give up his augs, so he’s just bearing it.

            • Infinitron says:

              Actually, the exact nature of Darrow’s condition is never specified ingame. All we know is that his body “rejects augmentations”. We’re never told if it’s just a more extreme variant of the natural aug rejection every normal person has without neuropozyne, or if it’s some freak condition that’s unique to him.

        • That’s pretty much the best cutscene, especially after Jensen’s earlier stupidity. I mean, Maggie Chow tried to pull the same trick on JC in the original but at least we weren’t railroaded into falling for it.

          Of course the first time I played through I was like “this upgrade is so obviously a trap, I wonder what happens if I get it” so I didn’t get that cutscene. Instead I got an easier boss fight because I was on “Give Me Deus Ex” and I kept seeing a crosshair pop up when my interface was glitching out, meaning I could actually snap aim.

  35. Teldurn says:

    Josh, is there a reason why you stopped putting the caption for Kevin McLeod as “Level 42 Bard”?

  36. Johan says:

    Oh wow, I didn’t get this “go to the REAL bartender” thing on my playthrough

    I snuck into the back room long before I had even heard about Tong, I got caught, and I had to punch ALL the guards before I could get back out

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