This was a strange week for Spoiler Warning. We were all off our rhythm for some reason. Still, our foolishness and failure is your “entertainment”. So you’ve got that going for you.
And since this is apparently The Worst Week Ever, we might as well get this out of the way: Last week Rutskarn mentioned that someone sent us a picture of Jensen in a thong, so I have included the picture of Jensen in a thong below. WARNING: THERE IS A PICTURE OF JENSEN IN A THONG BELOW.
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Godammit Rutskarn, then again I am slightly aroused
I didn’t ask for this. Not at all.
Y’know, there was a warning and all, but I still didn’t believe that there was actually a picture of Jensen in a thong. There was a picture of Jensen in a thong. That was certainly something.
Well, I certainly didn’t ask for THIS.
I wonder if that thing takes the “Exploding Rounds” upgrade.
This is just what the third upgrade of the pheremone system looks like.
Tip your waitress, try the veal, etc.
I guess Rule34 must have corrupted my sanity too much already. Upon seeing the picture, my first and only reaction was, “Since when did Jensen get a spray tan??” XD
I wonder if mixing vodka into the Brain Bleach would make it more effective.
Only if you pour it in your eyes before seeing the image.
It don’t mean nothing. Not a thing.
And here I was thinking that Spoiler Warning couldn’t get crazier…
Very much enjoying your book Shamus. I’ll drop you an email when I’m done. It is genuinely turning out to be one of the best things I have ever read. My only real criticism is that it is a bit jarring as a Brit, reading a well researched book set in Britain (with bonus magic), to see American words used instead of their British equivalents: “pants” etc. Not really an inherant problem, (or a problem at all for the transatlantically inclined) but I always get annoyed when American authors do this.
You quite probably did this because most Americans would get more annoyed if you had used British words than a lone Brit is about American words.
I’m still enjoying the book though, good work!
Nope, I did it because I didn’t know I was doing it. If I’d spent more time with Brits, then pants would have felt wrong, and I would have used trousers instead. (Actually, I know I used trousers in some places, but if you read the word pants then I obviously slipped.)
Really glad you’re enjoying the book!
Equally, if you had aimed for authenticity, the dialogue would have been in victorian english. I doubt that would have been a good route to take. So long as it works, which it does as it is, it’s probably best to use whichever language you feel most comfortable with.
‘If I'd spent more time with Brits, then pants would have felt wrong’
I think that you’re thinking about the Scots there :P
Possibly the only reason this matters to me at all is that a friend of my family writes historical fiction also set in Victorian London, for which the meticulous research can take anything up to a year, and which are actually written in Victorian English. I have helped to proofread all of his books, so whenever I read anything set in Victorian London I go into super-nitpicky-mode and attempt to spot anything at all out of place (I think I’ve only found anything wrong in one of his books once). I can also appreciate that it must be a lot easier for someone from Britain to spot American language that is out of place than vice versa.
Again, I’m not trying to criticise, and it is a wonderful book, but perhaps it would have been a good idea to get someone from Britain to proofread it (assuming you didn’t) with the specific intention of weeding out inconsistencies in language.
I don’t think Americans are going to be troubled by Britishisms. At least not American geeks. Between Monty Python, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Doctor Who, Red Dwarf, and the Harry Potter books we’re used to them. Anyone reading this is probably familiar with at least three of these. And there may be other geeky British exports I’m less aware of.
I am disappointed that the artist chose to not include the metal parts – instead of a strong, shocking, artistic masterpiece, putting together the ruthless power of a cyborg and the delicate, subtle beauty of thong, we end up with a mere pin-up of handsome, tanned crossdresser.
I suppose most people are relieved that it’s not the former, though.
i was puzzled by the use of a green background, instead of a dirty yellowish one, it seems so out of universe.
What do mean, “crossdresser?” He is a man dressed in male clothing.
He is dressed in a thong that clearly looks like a female thong.
The coat is just an accessory (and it’s unisex, too).
Female thongs are narrower.
Voice of experience?
I wonder how to respond to that and not sound like a cross dresser.
“I have seen my fair share of ladies’ thongs.”
That one sounded best,but it still implied that I was buying them.
Also, that’s not a thong he’s wearing there, it’s a banana hammok. ;)
Im not aroused precisely because he isnt a full cyborg there.Machines are sexy,humans are just pudgy.
Yeah, shouldn’t he have metal pecs, with polarized sunglasses-pecs that slide down into place when he activates his shades?
I think we need a re-draw. And an animated gif.
Given the lead up, I was underwhelmed. And expecting a police car in the scenery. Still, I laughed.
Eh, i threw it together pretty quickly. And couldn’t find a good reference image to how much mechanical parts Jensen has. I did draw the arms, but you can hardly see them for the coat.
Yeah. Jensen. Thong. Rutskarn bad person.*
Anyway, my favorite moment is at 19:50 when Josh turns a corner having forgotten about the guard. He quickly stun guns that guard alerting the other one. Which, and this is the good bit, he runs up to an initiates the melee take-down, which causes the alert guard to turn his back on the guy he’s looking at then be surprised when he gets tapped on the shoulder. Canned animation for the something.
* I know. He didn’t create that. I don’t blame him for spreading it. That’s the only defense against the SAN loss of such a thing — dilute it among as many people as possible. It’s just the fact that Rutskarn inspired someone to draw that makes Rutskarn a bad person. Maybe worse than the artist. maybe.
Are you still ignorant of the fact that if you hack the red node you get all the stuff and unlock the system? Often the red node is behind a one-way link, but when it isn’t you can win everything by going straight for it.
EDIT: Or are you actively trolling us… the better way to do that would be to establish that you can, and then hack the entire network, then hack the ICE…
It bugged me so much how many times he missed the opportunity to finish it right there,but nope,he went for the bazillion regular nodes instead.And he does know about the trick,because he used it before,and he finally used it again in that last hack.He must be trolling us,theres no other explanation.
I thought he didn’t know it (I discovered it pretty late in the game myself), but now I’m sure he’s just trolling.
And he’s having success … twitch… twitch…
“the better way to do that would be to establish that you can, and then hack the entire network, then hack the ICE…”
He actually does that every so often.
And he pauses to get random nodes like Spam instead of just completing the hack with all the items
I did not know that. I’ve been wondering how you are supposed to get those data files on the opposite side of the ICE.
My guess is Josh is bored to death of the minigame by now and just clicking on random nodes until they go away.
The thing about characters…I just played the new Syndicate and it suffers from that problem…badly…I think, as soon as the Protagonist of a game gets a name, he stops being an Avatar and is a Character…and a Character needs a face and a voice (or at least text) and a consistent motivation. (Syndicate’s protagonist does have a face, or at least half a face, but since it is shown only once at the end, it really feels out of place)
(Syndicate’s story has other more severe problems, though)
I think the blank character thing is almost always a poor attempt to have things both ways. Almost every game I’ve played suffers from it.
Having a completely player-created character works well in games where there is no pre-established story or no set background for the player. It also works in games that are more driven by mechanics than story – for instance, any Elder Scrolls game, or Icewind Dale. Those games aren’t about making interesting choices in a narrative, they’re interested in making interesting gameplay choices. And that’s fine.
Meanwhile if you go with a fully developed character, even if it’s one you don’t necessarily like (which is key to nail), you can do so much with it. Plot elements that make sense in the context of that character’s past. Supporting characters who have established relationships with the main character. Decisions that make sense within a given story context and are relevant to the protagonist. The Witcher series does this excellently, or Batman: Arkham Asylum, or Alan Wake, or any other number of games.
Going halfway just does not work. Mass Effect is so strange because while it sets up a whole background for Shepard, it also gives Shepard absolutely no arc or development. Any of that must be imagined by the player, but because we aren’t in a game that really facilitates that imagination, we just find ourselves not caring or being able to attach ourselves to Shepard. Shepard is the main character but it’s impossible to really get invested in Shepard’s story… rather, it’s the stories of everyone else that are actually interesting and worth paying attention to.
The sad thing is that predefined characters don’t preclude interesting choices. Custom appearance or gender choice? Works just fine so long as you design around it. Moral decisions to make? No problem so long as they make sense. Plot threads from the character’s past? Exposition time! There’s nothing that says player choice is incompatible with a predefined character. The Witcher, for instance, gives tons of decisions and they work just fine, because we could a) easily see Geralt taking either path, and b) they are appropriate to the setting and advance the plot. By not having a “right” answer you don’t break the character by giving the player authorial control.
Tai Yong is actually working to imitate the Typhoon. If you check out the terminals in the lab area (you need the pass to get to them safely), you see a lot of emails talking about the “backblast problem” – which is what Megan was happy about solving during the walking intro.
I liked that touch.
Except that the second boss, who meets you in Montreal, already has one installed.
I remain baffled as to how this happened.
The SpecOps heavies have them too. Sometimes if you get caught sneaking up on them they’ll set it off.
Well, the conspiracy does seem to have ties to US military contractors, and they were the ones who purchased the Typhoon in the first place.
I vaugely recall that one only has a 90 degree arc and it definately does a lot less damage.
I love the fact that Josh spent ages trying to sneak around guards who were completely indifferent to his presence.
Yeah. He sneaks into that alcove behind the guard, below the camera.. That guard has a conversation. You can talk to that guy.
Even if you don’t have the pass? I guess that makes sense, if you make it this far they’d assume that you’re allowed to be here, because hey, someone would have checked your pass right?
I love the fact that Chris asked “So Shamus, you said you could get a card for this section?” in the exact moments all the guards turned green on his hud.
Also: HOW do those lasers work?
Normally the idea is that if something blocks the laser, the alarm goes off. But…blocks it from hitting what? I don’t see any lenses that move in parallel with the projectors. And even if there are some, doesn’t the room clutter block lasers constantly?
Do they need to re-tune the system every time something moves in the room?
Hollywood lasers are a tired trope. The most rediculous example I can think of right now is the laser room in Oceans’ 12
Yeah, Mythbusters had some fun with the lasers.
In the real world they don’t make visible lasers like that anyway, if I recall correctly.
I’ve been assuming that the lasers aren’t visible, it’s just a vision augmentation. Same with the camera’s field of view. It doesn’t make much sense for everyone to be able to see that stuff, bit of a security hazard.
They don’t. A laser is a focused light beam, so it is invisible unless there’s something in its’ way to scatter the light and make it visible.
Of course, enough dust will suffice – like dust motes in a ray of light. But you’d still have to look for them, unless you reeeally filled the room with fog.
Infrared lasers. Good luck with those. Also, scatter enough of the light (say, by trying to make the beam visible), and youll end up just setting it off yourself.
Possibly a spoof of that scene, but at least it’s intentionally ridiculous: St. Trinian’s
I like how they do it n ali g:
Probably they have a laser diode and a photodiode in tandem, the latter detecting the reflected light of the former and calculating if the time the light needs fits with the dimensions of the room…rather difficult calculations to make this work with moving beams, but it could, in theory, work.
That, plus telling the time difference between light traveling 9 feet and light traveling 8.75 feet (the proper distance minus the width of an ankle) would require a machine the size of God.
Not actually sure that’s true. I’m told there used to be a shortlived fad where warhammer 40k players would sneak laser range finders into tournaments to help them figure out ranges before measuring them (laser pointers were allowed for checking LOS, but range finders go against the game rules of no premeasuring). Those finders would have to know the difference between 24″ and 23″ to be useful.
Now this story may be bogus, but if true it would allow for the existance of such laser distance measuring devices.
Light travels 3*10^8 m/s.
Distance traveled is roughly 3 m.
Disturbance may make distance traveled into 2 m.
Time difference: 10*10^-9 s and 6.7*10^-9 s, or roughly: 3.3 nanoseconds.
Laser rangefinders have such precision timing circuitry, yes.
But none of it matters, as what the receptors probably detect in this case is the change in frequency/wavelength of the reflected beam.
“range finders go against the game rules of no premeasuring”
I’ve always disliked that rule. You’re telling me that Space Marines don’t have rangefinders? It’s a petty rule, there just so fourteen-year-olds can say, “Ha ha, you were off by a quarter inch, no firing for you this round!”
Even if space marines have rangefinders, using them on everything takes time, more time than they have. Especially if you then want them to relay that info to HQ (you) and expect them to also keep their heads down because they’re being shot at.
I like that rules as it keeps the game fast paced and puts you in the role of the field commander, not an omniscient god. There is no ‘hm, but what if I do this *measure range to yet another unit*, no wait, maybe this…*
I’ve seen battletech games (hex based, so all ranges are known) ground to a halt that way. I much prefer ‘just guess and go for it’ to ‘deliberate till the opponent’s bored’.
“I've seen battletech games (hex based, so all ranges are known) ground to a halt that way. I much prefer “˜just guess and go for it' to “˜deliberate till the opponent's bored'.”
So have I, and that’s just my point. Stallers gonna stall, and the only way to prevent this is with a time limit and a stopwatch. The measuring rule is a ‘gotcha’ rule, and those don’t make any game better.
On the other hand, thank you for not using the “It’s more realistic” argument. Every time some pulls out that argument for games like BattleTech or Warhammer, I just want to drop a tactical nuclear facepalm.
I actually thought I did by stating that just having range finders doesn’t mean you know all the distances all the time :P
But the point of the matter is that I enjoy the uncertainty. You don’t, and that’s fine. In fact, if warhammer 8th ed is any indication, you’ll win this fight in 40k too :(
Wikipedia has a wealth of information. Short version: Laser rangefinders can be accurate to “within millimeters” using single signals, and much more accurate using triangulation, for example as used in laser model scanning. Echo timing is possible, we can build sub nano-second timing circuitry at a minor expense, but as I understand it inteferiometry – where the signal is modulated so when it’s compared to the bounce a “beat frequency” is formed from the interference (hence the name) that can be easily measured and mathed into an accurate distance – is more common for this type of short-distance ranging.
Of course, it doesn’t solve the issue of it being dumb to set up your lasers so people can just walk around them.
A friend of mine actually build something like this once.
1) It scanned the whole 360 Degree angle in less then a second.
2) It had a range of a few meters.
3) It was fooled by Black clothing.
4) It used Infrared Lasers.
5) It is supposed to detect people accidentally walking in the way of heavy machinery.
6) It used a strong pulse laser which could set someone on fire if you messed with the duty cycle.
You can have the lasers at a slight angle,so that you catch them when they bounce back(if you polish the opposite surface enough).But those moving ones,those are just out of place.
Also,like every hollywood laser,these are coloured ones.And they trigger noisy alarms.However,because the game is good,I forgave it for those slight breaks from reality.
Me too. A ton of things in this gameworld are patently impossible unless we’re setting the whole thing in an alternate universe where the numbers governing reality are different, but I was willing to grant that that’s what’s happening and move on.
While I agree that it is a bit stupid, I’m pleased with the fact that the invisibility augment makes you immune to laser detection as well. Since the light passes through innocuously, it makes sense that no alarm would be tripped.
But the light is distorted by the cloak. It would make the destination of the dot and its timing vary noticeably, as well as diffracting it and scattering the light around.
If we can see the distortion with our own eyes, an insanely calibrated piece of sensitive machinery designed to do just that with more efficiency should also be able to do it.
That’s why I was surprised to know the cloak aug lets you do that. I think it was Chris who said it, but he’s right to note that it’s kind of un-intuitive.
The aug description states this feature.
I assumed the blur was a translation convention. If you walk around guards they show no sign of seeing the blur
OK, working in security here…
A) Laser beams are used way too often for this kind of crap. They produce far too many false alarms and tend to get used in the most stupid of places…Mostly on parking lots and across entryways to detect cars coming in.
B) Moving laser beams do exist and are indeed used as alarm triggers. As long as it’s a set path that’s traveled, it’s not that hard to calculate the correct refracting angles and distances covered.
C) Lasers are pretty much useless used like in those videos posted above. If you’ve got 25 laser beams and a passageway to cover, it’s far easier to just put them in a flat field 2 inches or so apart, so that ap erson simply can’t get through. If you’re now thinking one might as well use regular steel bars, well, yes, indeed.
D) “Visible” lasers…eh. A really good laboratory laser is completely invisible; most regular-quality lasers do have some loss so they can be seen from the right angle. Smoke or fog (or any other refracting agent in the air) will make a laser perfectly visible, but, here’s something you don’t see in movies (that I know of): it’s also perfectly possible to measure loss of light intensity and cause that to set off an alarm, too.
E) If you(re going or complete over-the-top security, lasers simply aren’t the way to go. If you’re going to waste loads and loads of cash, dogs and humans are pretty much still the best way to go…Bribing (good) security people is harder than taking out a power generator and feeding false signals to alarm systems.
I do remember see some old (60s or early 70s) movie, in which some jewel thieves were trying to steal some diamond or something (perhaps one of the Pink Panther movies). There was some sort of laser-triggered alarm, and the thieves sprayed some sort of aerosol so they could see the laser and not block its path and trigger the alarm. The laser was stationary, FWIW.
I do like that most of the laser grids in the game, apart from that room, are just bars of laser with no-way to dodge through (except that faulty one in the police station) at least that’s how you would place videogame lasers if you actually had them
I believe that whenever lasers are placed so that you can dogdge through them, it’s not because the system was designed that way, it’s because the security camera observer rearranged them in the hopes of getting some footage of the inevitable catsuited lady thief trying to cartwheel through…
And if you want to cover a room with an alarm, surely a motion detector would be the way to go since it’s also cheap?
Lasers are also used to automate windshield wipers: run one through the windshield and refraction will tell you if it’s got raindrops on. It can even figure out how much, so that the wipers will wipe more or less hard.
The most bloody useless piece of engineering brilliance I’ve ever come across…
You obviously never drove in varying rain.
It works like this: if someone crosses the laser, it burns him and he goes “ouch!”. That is then picked up by a microphone, which triggers the alarm.
Man,this level…Its huge.And not just that,its followed immediately by montreal,for another big stretch with no shop in sight.I guess its to break even the toughest weapon collectors among us.
And it seems that Josh decided to stop trolling Shamus with inventory space,but is instead trolling everyone else with not getting the icarus aug,and not hacking the red node.*grumblegrumble*
You know,people usually say how blank characters are easiest to make,but I think they are the hardest.Having a blank character can so easily break your narrative.
There was a point in that video, where if I closed my eyes I could imagine he’d clicked on the parachute aug
For what it’s worth I thought Tai Yong and Montreal were some of the best parts of the game. Lots of options for getting into and out of places, good pacing, and, with Montreal, the deepening of the conspiracy, return of some classic Deus Ex motifs, and stealth sections that, unlike most of the rest of the game, are actually challenging. They also don’t really require you to suspend disbelief – no massive RX84 camps or industrial wastelands full of gangsters.
Of course, Omega Ranch later on is even better and probably the high point of the game for me (and is the only level that really recaptures the original Deus Ex feel design-wise), but you can’t have it all.
I did not know the Cloak could shield you from lasers until watching this LP. That would have solved so many problems!
I like how the game let’s you discover things like that on your own without hand-holding you. It’s fun to discover new uses for augments that you didn’t think of.
I’m particularly glad about this one. I was thinking to myself, look if I’m completely camouflaged then I’m effectively not changing the path of all the light hitting my body right? So I shouldn’t set off the laser, right?
Save. Deep breath.
Nice one Eidos
It’s actually written in the description for the augment if I recall.
Of course you actually have to read it…
My problem wasn’t that I forgot the cloak aug would let me go through the lasers, is what that I forgot once I was on the other side that the guards would wonder how I got there. Decloaked and stepped out in front of the guard thinking “dude, I’ve got an access pass, don’t I?”
spinning sound followed by heavy rifle splattering Jensen across the finely sanded wood floors.
I would have liked if there was an email or some such mentioning this that you could discover and read. I feel like having even ONE way of telling the player about this possibility would have been better.
On the topic of “blank characters”, there is a good reason for it in Mass Effect.
The idea of Mass Effect is that life doesn’t matter. Your actions are irrelevant. Your death is irrelevant. Your whole species is irrelevant. All intelligent life is irrelevant! It’s a theme running deep through the whole series. In that light, the “blankness” of Shepherd really fits. Imagine any character you want. It doesn’t matter in the slightest.
With that in mind, it is rather justified in DE:HR as well. Humanity is outmoded. Technology is all that matters. Who cares what your character history is? Who cares how you feel? All that counts is who has the best augs. Kind of bleak when you think about it. Just like Megan’s room.
Welcome to Postmodern Technological Nihilism! I’d say “enjoy your stay” but what’s the point?
On the other hand, the Reapers and most of the galaxy-at-large have an unnatural fixation with Shepard and everything he/she does. So the point that Shepard is irrelevant is moot.
If you play the second game ( I don’t know about ME1) then the overall message of the game is that Shepard is singularly way more important than any other living person in the galaxy. In fact the game is pretty much ‘Shepard is so badass that a race of evil sentient robots that destroy all life in the galaxy are afraid of him’
‘Shepard is so badass said robots decided to make a giant terminator statue out of him because humans are obviously so well adapted to flying through space and shooting lasers at other spaceships’
‘Shepard is so badass that he is the only human being in the universe who someone has felt was worth resurrecting’
‘Shepard is so badass, that the guy he spent most of the last game killing thought it was more effective to spend billions of credits bringing him back than I don’t know, hiring a billion credits worth of army’
Yeah in ME2 the argument can not in any way be made that the game treats Shepards life as irrelevant. I don’t even think they tried to make a blank slate, if anything that’s what annoyed me. Instead they made him ‘badass’ in personality. Which would be fine, except it makes the game ‘Die Hard in a deep sci-fi space opera’
And you know the thing about die hard? I ended up supporting the villains :D
Yeah, I can’t help but see it as a huge satire on humanity’s (and the player’s) inflated sense of self. Like the game has this whole “all intelligent life is doomed…” philosophy, and then it puts on a big fake smile and goes “but you’re doing great! Really making a difference! Big old hero! Great job!” It just feels like a huge sarcastic joke.
But the thing is, Shepard is going to win. So the game is going to tell you, yeah you really did do it.
Evidently so.. Consider the proteans – all dead for 50 thousand years, but you just gotta wait and you get back to living and stuff. Death of the whole species – irrelevant in the face of teh dlc-brigade.
I disagree. The game, possibly simply by being a RPG, places massive weight on the actions of a few individuals. Shepard is the one with the knowledge from the ancient beacon (sure it could have been anyone, but it still would have been any ‘one’ person). Tali is the one person with the evidence to get the council to declare Saren non grata. Saren is one of two people Sovereign uses to get his plans done. Ashley/Kaiden’s death makes Shepard super sad even if the player didn’t like either of them. It’s humans, and no one else, that come to the Citadel’s rescue, it’s shepard that takes out Saren which in turn makes sovereign throw a gasket…somehow…
Just because Mass Effect (1 at least) never calls Shepard the chosen one does not mean it doesn’t attribute value and importance to his actions. Sure, the Reapers don’t care, but they’re the bad guys. Shepard rightly and obviously holds the torch of individuality up against that.
Also the game mechanics don’t support that Shepard’s actions don’t matter. You get Paragon and Renegade points which can be used to unlock conversation options that influence events, usually for the better. If Shepard’s actions don’t matter, shouldn’t those options be always open, regardless of previous decisions?
This has been my take as well. That the ability of individuals to make decisions -even if most choose not to (think Garrus, who could be great, but will always be in Shepard’s shadow) -puts a major crimp in the mechanistic universe. The Reapers are totally collective and deterministic, (we get a glimpse of that mindset in Legion’s loyalty mission when they find the heretic spies), and one man not following the model causes them no end of grief which they can’t seem to work around.
Though now that I write that -dang, Shepard has some personality black hole thing going for him. Tali,Garrus,Legion,Liara, and Chakwas have no energy except that which Shepard gives them. Wrex had motivation -which is probably why he spends the second game on Tuchanka.
Considering how BioWare are intent on basically destroying the credibility of their characters, story and lore through what I’m pretty sure has to be either gross incompetence or just a gigantic trolling attempt, I would say yeah, nothing you do matters. I mean, it’s not like any of your decisions have substantial consequences to anything in the main plot, and it certainly won’t stop BioWare from retconning everything you’ve done if they think their way is cooler.
Which wouldn’t be so horrible if “their way” wasn’t trying too hard and failing to be cool.
Man your panties are in a knot about ME2.
Personally I found ME2 to be a fantastic game. The main plotline was only adequate, but the characters really shined. And Sheppard is a great blank slate character. Though I find myself enjoying the male dead pan voice acting. It is just so perfect for who I imagine sheppard being. You know, not really giving any fucks as he kills a giant terminator. Just another day on the job.
Oh yes,miranda just shined.As well as ashley.And cerberus as a whole.And the new counsil.And jacob.Yup,characters were fantastic in 2.
I’ll counter that (disingenuous) assertion by raising you one Garrus, one Tali, and one Legion.
Besides, as far as I remember: There weren’t any characters named Miranda or Jacob, Cerberus became a new organization called the “Blue Suns” for mysterious reasons, and the counsil heeded my warnings and prepared for an impending Reaper invasion.
Because anything else would’ve been incredibly stupid, and Bioware would never create huge, gaping plots holes and filled by weak explanations.
“I'll counter that (disingenuous) assertion by raising you one Garrus, one Tali, and one Legion.”
I never said there werent some compelling characters.But half of them were either meh,or really frustrating.And half the cast being good cannot excuse the rest of the really bad stuff.
“Because anything else would've been incredibly stupid, and Bioware would never create huge, gaping plots holes and filled by weak explanations.”
I see youve never played the original nwn.
There was one thing in Bioware’s NWN that I liked. I got to take part with my friends in killing the damned paladin. It really needed a God of War type QTE for a final topping. I don’t care if it would’ve hit my Lawful Good Cleric into Chaotic Evil. It would’ve been worth it.
Shaaaaaaaaamuuuuuuuuuuus, Josh isn’t tagging Spoiler Warning when he posts it. Make him stoooooop… Or rather, start. Whatever.
I agree with your opinion of Jensen as a character. I don’t mind that they give us a little information about him (personally, I’d prefer more), but he skirts (or rather thongs, judging by the image) the line between defined character and blank slate so much that people still argue about which one he truly is.
Perhaps that was the point? :p
Nobody has noted that famous real-life hacker Kevin Mitnick is apparently working for TYM? I think Josh was reading an email to him from Windmill.
He’s *just* young enough to still hypothetically be active in 2027.
So there are Nosferatu working at Tai Yong?
Gary Golden is that you?
Behind you, boss!
Freaky spoiler warning fan art needs its own category.
Dammit, gmail just keeps telling me the recipient (Rutskarn) refuses to connect. No fancy pixurs for you!
About the argument if it’s better to leave the PC blank or give him/her backstory and motivations of his/her own, I think the witcher might be a good example of the latter.
Even though I know how much Shamus dislikes him, I think it is for the wrong reasons.
The first game started in a very, very bad way, and it wasn’t until later into the story that you could really appreciate the depth of the character, including the protagonist.
The Witcher (the character) is considered by everyone a monster, not much different from the one he himself hunts, he’s lonely by choice and necessity, hated and feared. He is not a hero, but someone you call when everything else already failed.
He’s a monster hunter, but he has the sensitivity to know that quite often there are more monster in human form than the other way.
Having clearly defined characters in a game where you make narrative choices can get kinda weird tho. Lets continue with the witcher as an example. Early in the game you can choose to have sex with some woman. By this point it has already been established that Geralt is a womanizer and that they’re both attracted to each other. Yet you can still choose to say no.
Saying “no” makes no sense for Geralt as a character it goes against everything that he is about and it just comes off weirdly. I’m going to quote Anthony burch here because he puts it better than I ever could (specifically about heavy rain):
They aren’t like Gordon Freeman or Commander Shepard. They’re characters with existing histories and personalities. By granting us control over these characters, the player is forced into an awkward position of half-agency: their desires intermingle with our own, forcing us to either relinquish our own sense of control and relevance, or actively participate in a story populated by characters who make ridiculous and self-defeating decisions.
I think the problem is the choices in question, not their existence as a whole. The choices should always be ones that fit the character and not allow for complete de-railing.
Unless, of course, that’s part of the challenge. Why couldn’t these sort of choices be part of the ways that the game tests the players abilities? Does the player understand the character they’re controlling? Can they sympathise and react accordingly to the character’s plight? And so on.
I think everyone agrees that the sex in The Witcher was handled extremely distastefully. The sequel fares far, far better by actually developing the characters before-hand and giving it emotional and narrative weight (except the prostitutes early on; I’m still not sure why that’s in the game).
It’s also about a billion times more effective than any of the sappy, shallow “choose your sex fantasy” fanservice garbage that seems to be the only reason anyone plays BioWare games anymore.
Actually, I can conceive of a reason for Geralt to say no to Tess: she’s the closest thing to a wife he has, and avoiding the entanglements of a relationship with her could be a very good reason to not have sex with her then – even if at the time we the player don’t actually know that’s a legitimate part of his character that already existed.
“I can conceive of a reason for Geralt to say no to Tess: she's the closest thing to a wife he has”
That shouldve been the whole sentence.It fits perfectly.
Another thing with blank slate characters is Jensen clearly does have a will of his own in cutscenes, I’m already used to only influencing him during gameplay, it’s not going to break my immersion if he has a consistant character.
This is another thing I get annoyed about in Half Life – Gordon has literally no character. He’s clearly supposed to, but we never see it. And it’s not even an RPG, it’s a linear shooter – I can’t imprint my personality or attitudes on him in any meaningful sense, I just play the thing. Like, if I hypothetically hated Alyx, I’d still have to go through Episode 1 with her and she’d never be able to pick up on it. There’s no conditional dialogue about how careful I must be for if I get through Sandtraps without alerting any antlions, or any conditional dialogue at all until later games. I know Alyx reacts if you shine a flashlight in her face and stuff, but even then she’s mainly reacting to the environment.
Basically, if the design choice is really to let us implement our personalities on the characters, and not because it’s easier, then why not react to how we’re playing them? It’s a linear game, there’s only so many things we can do, so why not look at the playtesters and then just fill in a bunch of weird cases for all the stuff they do?
What I’m saying is I want someone to notice if I spend an entire conversation balanced on Eli Vance’s head. It’s not as easy as it looks.
Wow I’d never thought of that. Freeman is a blank slate, but he’s a blank slate that’s impossible to write upon. That even ties in with the absurdity of their cutscenes where you have the main character crouching on a desk throwing plants across the room and no-one notices
I was never really bothered by that myself. I always saw Freeman’s silence as an opportunity to be creative with my idea of his attitude/emotional state. Is he gung-ho about saving the planet? Does he hold a grudge against everyone who pushes a task off on him? Things like that can come through in your playstyle, and it would be nice if people would react to that, but I never found the lack of it to be very annoying.
What I would find annoying are the problems inherent to voice-acted, cutscene-heavy games. Things like a character’s voice/mood not matching my idea of the character. (Sheperd always sounded like a macho action-hero even when I was playing a very pragmatic, down-to-earth character) Or “Cutscene Retardation Syndrome” like Ezio suddenly leaving his hiding spot and walking into an obvious trap.
That makes having a silent protaganist worthwile to me, but I can see the shortcomings.
Does he hold a grudge against everyone who pushes a task off on him?
Everytime I replay through Half-Life 2 (I always play the whole thing, HL2 + the Episodes, never starting partway through – the Orange Box was my intro to HL2), by the time I get to the end of Episode 2 I am always sick of having to do everything, and thus Gordon will wait minutes before he pushes the button.
Last time, I actually left it running over night. They were still waiting for Gordon to push the button in the morning. Gordon is truly the “one free man” – the only man capable of any choice at all in the entire universe.
“Gordon is the only man capable of choice in the entire universe”
The g-man chuckles silently…
My father is really into the Half-Life games. Interestingly, he’s said to me before that he wished he could respond to the things Alyx says or does. I hadn’t really thought of it before because I tend to be a very goal-driven gamer and I’m not as bothered by silent protagonists, but looking back on it it really is quite absurd that Freeman can’t do so much as give a thumbs-up or nod of approval.
I tend to nod or shake my head when I play Half-Life, attempting to connect to others when they talk to me.
8:15: It’s actually more neferious than that. The news in the penthouse indicates that she’s been using it to frame CEOs for embezzlement to make hostile takeovers easier.
The news that’s playing at the end of the episode, actually. Basically, a major corporation (in Scotland?) was bought out by TYM and the CEO ended up with a big chunk of corporate funding in his bank account that he was apparently unaware of.
You said there was a Jensen in a thong after the jump. I didn’t believe you and then there it was. Now there’s a bomb in your mailbox.
It’s not a big bomb. You’ll only be missing an eye and some fingers. What’d you need that second eye and all those fingers for anyway, huh, Mr Fancy Two Eyes Still Have All My Fingers.
This reads like a joke, but it also reads like a genuine bomb threat. That’s kinda scary.
I think that’s the genius of it, really.
That’s what the FBI said!
I love the email easter eggs in this game. When you were reading Windmill’s email, did you see the recipient? Kevin Mitnick? Nice reference. My favorite is in Montreal, when you read an email from “Penny Cuoco.”
Re: The video, Sarif, and Megan’s non-death
I’m still sort of ambiguous on whether Sarif was an Illuminatus or not. His reactions throughout the game very much leave it in doubt. I kind of wonder if the “real” story isn’t that Sarif is trying to have it both ways and the kidnapping was just some intra-Illuminati conflict.
If this game were a tabletop RPG, though, I think I’d have found that video we were supposed to find to have been a terrible breadcrumb. “Eliza” never made much sense to me, and her involvement in all of this kind of felt shoehorned. It’s like the developers said, “Okay, we still want them to go to Montreal since we put so much effort into the meeting with Eliza. We need a reason for to go there from Hengsha.” It just felt . . . forced? I guess.
From what I understand they did try to recruit him but he refused to sell out to them basically, that’s why they’re having TYM take him over.
The Montreal hub was cut from the game during development. My guess is they still needed Eliza in the plot and already had Picus and a bunch of art assets partially done, so they left it in. I agree it feels a bit shoehorned (she isn’t exactly Daedalus) but I did think it was a nice callback to some of the AI-related stuff in the original game even if they never really do much with it beyond the reveal.
My favourite is one of the emails in Montreal where a guy is trying to start a ‘Modernisation IX’ campaign. He set it to 2300 turns on a humongous map and has called dibs on the Germans for Panzer tanks.
I’ve said the Elizabeth thing before, but even if it’s not intentional I don’t think what they did was a bad thing at all.
Chris mentioned it, if they focused on Elizabeth it would make this a typical hollywood movie or videogame ‘save the girl’ plot. Instead they chose the focus to be on transhumanism.
I didn’t even feel that Jensen was particularly motivated by Megan. He wanted to save her, but out of habit and in the end he wanted to save the other scientists do. I think even without Megan Jensen would have ended up doing almost everything he did already (although he might have taken a more calculated risk than going along with Tong’s plan). The game left Megan out to the point it made sense. Sure they never tried to make you care for Megan, but then they never really even mentioned her as a motive for what you were doing either. If every ten seconds Pritchard had phoned and reminded you you were doing it for Megan it would have been a flaw, but they didn’t really do that
In the end I feel unknowingly or not, they’ve created a pretty good deconstruction of the video game plot. You spend all this time trying to save a girl who you don’t really know or experience and
it turns out you don’t really know her and your princess was in something more complicated than a castle
I don’t know if it was deliberate, but when you finally meet Megan, all the awkwardness you expect from a deconstruction is there. If it was serious I think he’d have flung his arms around Megan. Instead it’s weird and the game knows it with the white room and the sunglasses thing
Queen of Britain. She’s kinda famous.
Wow that was a bad error :D
I think the deconstruction (or at least subversion) is intentional. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve interpreted Megan’s motives and role in the plot as actually rather sinister, that she was in on the whole conspiracy from the start (or at least shortly after she was kidnapped), but it was distorted through Jensen’s own personal desires and history with her. To him, he was out there saving the girl, but the player’s perspective on the matter is very different.
Of course, the “save the hot girl” thing might have also been a marketing-driven decision. Maybe someone thought it would help players relate more to Adam if he had a girlfriend to pursue (though I have to wonder why it isn’t Malik if that is the case… maybe she was “too ethnic”, I dunno).
In an odd coincidence, Deus Ex is on sale through this weekend for 10 bucks on Steam, at the same time Mirror’s Edge, which you guys have also referenced this week, is the daily deal for 5 bucks. Is someone at Valve watching Spoiler Warning? Probably not, but since this season is a conspiracy based game, I’d like to think so.
Also I decided yesterday to start installing Human Revolution today.
Funny you should mention that, mere hours after I purchased both of said products. Are you watching me? You are, aren’t you. I knew it!
No one is watching you,dont be paranoid.Now please go and put that kettle back,its blocking one of the cameras.
Thanks for the heads up… launching Steam now :)
I started laughing so hard at Thonged Jensen that I had oxygen depreciation to my brain.
I think I actually wound up getting two pass cards for that section, for no good reason. And then snuck in anyway.
Yeah, there are two pass cards, one in a hidden vent an employee-cum-smuggler apparently fell down and died (minor easter egg/secret thing) and one in the office near the door itself.
“Sarif tattooed on your ass or something”
Well maybe he put Praxis points into pooping?
I could’ve sworn I’ve walked into a room opening and closing a door and then surprising someone without meaning to. I know I’ve “sneaked up” on someone while wearing heavy boots. Several times in fact, but it was the same person and they were using a computer every time.
From what I’ve understood “piss green” originally meant this one yellow-green colour that looked like someone had taken a piss in the paint bucket. If the image I’ve got on my head about what shade it was, it really is ugly. But I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that it gets used every time something is green and the commenter doesn’t like it.
There are a couple of ways to get a pass into the Tai Yong lab; one of them was at the bottom of the pit in the last episode that Josh couldn’t jump down because he wouldn’t get the parachute aug. Hmph. But it all worked out well in the end though (mostly).
That should be the cover picture for this season of Spoiler Warning.
I think I dated that guy for like two weeks. Picked him up at this place in Dallas called LaBare. At the time he was going by the name Randy “The Master Blaster” though. Ah, the memories. :-P
Ender’s game has heavy amounts of imprinting (as I just read through it for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed it), yet is still considered a stellar work.
Ender is continously being praised as a genius but he apart from maybe 3-4 incidents we never really see him as a genius other than being told how much better he’s getting and how efficient he’s fighting, and the way the desk game is told we’re made to assume he’s smart for figuring out the solutions when they are described minimally as is (we didn’t know you could kill the giant to bypass his challenge, we don’t know whether it has as much freedom as something like Morrowind/STALKER where it makes things up as it goes along, or whether the computer railroads it).
Although that being said, Megan has the same problem HL2’s plot has between Black Mesa East and Nova Prospekt (the reason I quit the game the first time around and have only just come back to it). You’re fed so little beforehand, and it’s such a long time before anything relevant is brought up again that you feel completely detached.
They might’ve alleviated some of this by having video logs or the like, as if Jensen developed a drinking problem from the incident (can he get drunk with augs?), and begrudgingly accepts the combat augmentations mentally (as you guys cleverly pointed out, Jensen is a static character, all the solutions feel like they could come from him) to accomplish his mission.
Imagine if TV Shows didn’t have that section at the start that reminded you of the previous episodes, if you came back after a day, a month or even a year; you’d slowly get the gist of things as the plot started rolling again.
0:25: No, that’s not the REAL way to do it… It’s just one of the four ways you could get in. You could find a TYM access card and show that to the guard to get in, you could enter in through a vent and sneak your way through the labs, you can jump up onto that second level and THEN sneak through the labs, or you could go full murder-fantasy and just slaughter all the guards and all civilians as yopu fight your way into the labs. :P
3:36: No matter how many times I see it happen, I always get a giggle of childish glee whenever I see Josh die. I dunno why… It’s like being a kid and laughing uproariously whenever you see your friend bump Super Mario into a Koopa, even though he’s pissed at you.
4:25: Also, I’m preeeetty sure that there was a Praxis Kit in that room that you missed.
5:20: You’re still refusing to get the Icarus Aug, I see. Fair enough. I respect that. But at least get the Double-Takedown Aug! D: Come oooooonnnnn….
14:42: No, not really, Shamus. Remember, Tai Yong Medical KNOWS that there are individuals out there with cloaking augs that can defeat laser security systems. Therefore, they need to step it up a notch and make it super tough so that even people with cloaks would find it difficult to break in. Makes sense to me!
20:30: Josh, I ENTIRELY agree. I think that any game who gives the player a pre-defined character (like Shepard or Jensen or Geralt or Hawke, where they actually have pre-written dialogue and cutscenes) should be made to feel that they are their own characters. Because that’s EXACTLY what they are. The player is no more any of those characters than he is his buddy Hank; he’s just choosing what path the character is taking through the game.
This is why I feel the only “true” roleplaying games are those with silent protagonists. Because as soon as the character opens their mouth, they start putting nuances and inflections on sentences that don’t match what I had for my character in my head, and that immediately breaks the sense of connection I have with them.
But then the world still reacts to that character and your not affecting those reactions. If I played Gordon Freeman(terrible example, I’ve never played DQ and I couldn’t think of an RPG silent character) as a dick and he flipped people off and just generally wanted to kill everything, it becomes ‘F*** you!’ ‘Nice one Freeman!’
You are roleplaying a person with no way to interact with the world. At least with Mass Effect I can choose to make people angry or make them feel sad. You don’t even have that power with a silent protagonist.
The only way to roleplay is with pen, paper and a DM.
On the contrary, you CAN make people (I’m assuming you’re referring to NPCs here) feel angry or sad. It all comes down to the choices (and more importantly, the range of choices) your character gets in the dialogue selection screen. Dragon Age did this really well; there were usually a range of options that encompassed more or less anything a player might want to say in a particular situation.
What I profoundly dislike is my character saying something that runs totally contrary to what I expected him/her to say when I picked the option (Mass Effect and Dragon Age 2 are horrible offenders of this). It’s not as bad with characters like Adam Jensen or Geralt of Rivia because it’s been cleanly established that they have their own history and distinct personality that’s separate from the player. It’s extremely grating when I’m playing a game like ME or DA2 because Shepard/Hawke is supposed to be somebody that you’ve built yourself, yet you often have little direct control over what they actually say.
In any case though, you’re right about tabletop games being the only true game where your character can do absolutely anything they want. … And then the DM will promptly veto it by saying “You can’t do that!” :P
True role playing games have to be played with a sapient gm.Currently,that only means a human gm.Anything else,you have to accept that your avatar is a product of someone elses imagination,and can act contrary to what you want them to act.
I didn’t belive you about the Jensen in a thong pic. WHY oh WHY did I call your bluff? The worst part is I only have myself to blame.
Hey Shamus, this is more or less completely of topic but would you or any of your fellow LP;ers be interested in a trade?
I’ve got 1 game and 3 coupons on steam I’ve trying to get rid of before the 1:st of March
I thought I’d be able to get SOMETHING for them all but sadly (for me) it’s quite the buyers market right now.
Oh, and for the sake of something that’s actually on topic…
That pic… I must admit I’ve seen worse, but then again few things beat Alex Mercer partially gender bent on a unicorn!
Oh, by all that is evil…
I just followed my own link to be sure everything worked and what’s the bloody point of being able to link to your steam inventory if not everything shows up?!?
Anyway, to late to edit in the info, but the game is a giftpack with Half-life 2 Episode 1, Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, Half-Life Deathmatch: Source and Lost Coast.
By the way, isn’t that last one supposed to be free?
I can’t help but watch this video and scream “THERE’S A PRAXIS KIT RIGHT THERE JOSH! GET! AGH! ARGH!”
Josh, you are doing it wrong!
Also the security card to get in the front door is down that shaft you have to icarus to
RE: Megan I actually got it totally mixed up. At the beginning of the game right after the bad guys come in and horribly maim you, I was like “ok so they kidnapped everyone and killed (not really) my guy, since that seems like fairly standard stuff OK.” But then I got the conversation with Megan’s mom where she says Megan was killed, and I thought “oh, so she was KILLED, ok” and so then managed to be genuinely surprised at the (for me) double twist when she was ACTUALLY kidnapped.
Nobody caught the Kevin Mitnick reference (one of the recipients of windmill’s emails)? Spoiler Warning and Fans, I am disappoint.
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