The Diecast #2

  By Shamus   Feb 21, 2013   125 comments

splash_diecast.jpg

The Diecast number two is now here. It’s now an official thing! We may even make a third one! Stranger things have happened. In this episode:


Direct download (MP3)
Direct download (ogg Vorbis)

Show notes:

  1. Whatcha doooin’? Josh is dealing with life stuff. Chris is playing System Shock 2 from Good Old Games OH MY GOSH SO HAPPY. And also Daikatana. Rutskarn is still playing Far Cry 3: Cry Some More and Antichamber. And I’m still playing Minecraft using the Tekkit Launcher.

  2. Here is the trailer for Star Trek: Flying A Space-Gun Through SPAAAACE Edition.
  3. Note that this story about how EA is Focusing on “fewer titles” going into the next generation is actually from 2011. But it talks about stuff that’s ongoing at EA. So the news is still relevant and worth discussing, just… old.
  4. Hey, did you know it’s unprofitable to have women as game protagonists? As Rutskarn pointed out, this may be because they get half the marketing budget.
  5. Here is a link to the Unskippable riff on the X-Blades intro. My goodness was she nails-on-a-chalkboard awful. I mean, vapid, stupid humiliating pandering outfit, screechy voice, plastic face, completely uninteresting. Both of my daughters latched onto her. Not because she was a good character, but because it was the first time they’d been able to play as a female in an action game. The game lost some of its appeal when they realized she wasn’t wearing orange pants and they were staring at her bare ass.
  6. Here is Josh’s review of the Devil May Cry anime on the Escapist.
  7. Here’s the Ben Kuchera article on making Aliens into a game. Which incidentally led to my Escapist column for this week. I’ll give it a post of its own tomorrow, so if you want to respond to my article you might want to wait until then. Or not. Do what you like. I’m not your mum.
  8. Here is Two Best Friends Play System Shock 2.
  9. We each pitch our own Aliens game. In the end, I think we conclude we’re awesome and someone should give us millions of dollars to make a game.

Housekeeping:

Oh my gosh is the message-clipping pissing me off. To be clear, this is a bug that I’ve confirmed in Vent, which has existed for YEARS. If you record something long (like an hour and a half or more) then when you export the audio files it will randomly chop off the end of messages. That’s not us letting go of the push-to-talk button early. That’s vent being stupid. You can listen to the conversation in Vent and it sounds fine, but after export you get what you hear in the Diecast. So much rage.

You might suggest Mumble. Josh says Mumble sounds horrible. I wouldn’t know. I grew up in the 70’s and I thought 8-track players and cassette tapes sounded just dandy, and when compact disks came along I couldn’t even detect the increase in quality.

I’ve been a guest on a lot of different podcasts over the years, and they all use Skype. The thing is, I friggin hate Skype. It’s this obnoxious, clingy, self-important jackass of a program that’s constantly bouncing up and down in the system tray and begging for attention. You always need to go through multiple warning dialogs to get it to close, to the point where it’s actually more convenient to just kill it with task manager rather than listen to it go hysterical and warn me that I won’t be able to receive calls. Whenever I need Skype for doing a guest appearance I install it, do the spot, and then un-install it again. The thing reminds me of RealPlayer circa 1998.

Still, we’re working on making the show suck less.


A Hundred!205There are 125 comments here. I really hope you like reading.


  1. Ben says:

    Your hate for Skype might be outdated? Not sure what settings I may have tweaked, but I have had it running all day and no popups. I just now right clicked on it in my system tray and told it to exit, and it didn’t ask for any confirmation before doing so. I checked my task manager and it’s really gone. I started it again and it opened one window; I closed it and it disappeared to the system tray without any warnings. I don’t have it start with Windows either. If it still has dialog boxes somewhere, it probably included “don’t ask me this again” options that I checked.

    • TouToTheHouYo says:

      Aye. I just went through the options and aside from disabling various sound effects (i.e. all of them) there was nothing particularly egregious I had set up. I start it up at my leisure, hassle or fuss, I even have it set to shutdown entirely instead of closing to the system tray.

      I’ll admit call quality is variable, as with any program, but it should solve your audio problems. Or, knowing your luck, create entirely new ones! Oh the joys of modern technology.

      Still, the program itself is not so bad.

      • Nicholas Patrick Hayes says:

        My experience with Skype doesn’t have the dialog box problem but it can be a massive resource hog on my Windows 7 machine to the extent that I can’t run any other programs whilst I’m using it without them grinding to halt

        • newdarkcloud says:

          Yeah. Skype works beautifully for me. That’s how we record Disclosure Alert.

          • Ciennas says:

            Actually, Skype mobile seems okay- I use it on my Android, and I set it to close and sign out, and it does. It does have a warning box, but it’s just one extra click.

            … I shall now be terribly annoyed with it forever, now that you’ve brought it up.

            Video calling is rarely worth it, though. For some reason there’s a bunch of wierd audio screeches over the conversation.

          • Now I kinda feel bad for bringing Shamus onto Middle-earth Network not once but twice. xP

            But yeah, I’m a little surprised because I haven’t really had problems with it. I know that doesn’t mean anything; this is just new to me. There is that weird quirk about it (for me) where you sign out, but it still clings to the taskbar, and I have to right click it and tell it to “quit” then, but that’s a little thing.

          • anaphysik says:

            “beautifully”???

            Do you even REMEMBER how many dropped calls and failed recordings and ~WARBLECHOPPING~ we’ve had?

            It’s a wonder we get Disclosure Alert recorded at all. (Of course, without skype chat we’d never be able to coordinate everything, and so /nothing/ would get recorded or edited or posted.)

            Skype is the worst call software, except for all the others we’ve tried.

  2. StashAugustine says:

    The correct title is “Far Cry 3: Cry Far With a Vengeance.”

  3. Astor says:

    the link to women being unprofitable is broken (at least to me): it has this string at the end:

    %20Women%20be%20unprofitable%20to%20have%20as%20protagonists

    it should be deleted and you can acces the article.

  4. Thomas says:

    I have to admit, Artemis is the only sort of Star Trek game I’ve ever had a desire to play
    http://penny-arcade.com/report/editorial-article/artemis-lets-six-people-take-the-bridge-of-a-star-ship-and-tell-their-own-s

    I just don’t get what the draw is otherwise.. You could have a singeplayer of Artemis, but if it’s not bridges and tapping randomly at consoles, is it really Star Trek?

    • Jace911 says:

      I refuse to plat it unless the game makes your monitor explode when your ship takes damage.

      • Sabrdance (Matthew H) says:

        I really liked the PC version of Starfeet Academy. Most of your time is spent staring out the viewport -but you can take over, say, the engineering station, or science station, or navigation, or weapons.

        Of course, you still can only fly and fight from the captain’s chair. That bugged me a little.

  5. Kanodin says:

    Oh good someone else found far cry 3’s story not just awful but actively offensively bad. I thought I was going crazy seeing everyone talk about how great vaas and the other guy are. I ain’t one for blogging but I seriously considered making one just to write like the 5-7 essays kicking around in my head about why it’s so terrible.

    • StashAugustine says:

      So far, it’s been varying roughtly evenly between bad, bland, and moderately amusing. I like Vaas and that CIA guy and doctor are kinda funny, but everything else is pretty bad.

      • James says:

        I’m in the middle of the Buck plot, which is really annoying. All I can think to myself is “Jason, you have a gun, if he doesn’t tell you where you friend is shoot him. And then keep shooting him until he tells you”

        It’s heading into the ruins that really breaks my immersion though. First of all you usually have a bunch of the pirates hanging around an area for… No real apparent reason- there just there for you to shoot. But when you get into the ruins themselves I get unreasonably mad at the game. After doing archaeology for 4 years I know what a ruin looks like and the ruins in Far Cry 3 make no god damn sense. It gets the point where I just start shooting the walls screaming “This makes no sense! This is stupid! This shouldn’t be here!”

        Making dumb ruins is probably not the biggest sin of any video game, they all do it and most people don’t care, but it’s easy to tell when someone’s just slapping iconic structures onto things with little thought and calling it a day.

        • Kanodin says:

          Oddly enough that is the only part of the game I liked. Don’t get me wrong all those problems you listed are there, were intended. In my view that part was the only successful satire, because it had a clear target to satirize in Uncharted and it kept with that goal. And then that section ended and it’s back to fighting the homosexual rapist slave trader in his sex basement and other nonsense that is satirizing nothing but itself.

        • StashAugustine says:

          The ruins are enough in videogame trope-land that I’m okay with it however implausible, but seriously, I could play a version of Mass Effect 2 where the entire game is nothing but playing Simon Says with the Illusive Man while Miranda tells you how awesome she is nonstop and I’d still resent the railroading less. Seriously, I’ve killed like a thousand people by now, is it beyond your capabilities to just shoot him until answers come out?

    • Jace911 says:

      Not to mention inadvertently but unbelievably racist.

      Good Ending: “I know that this island and its people have made me a killer, but I hope I can rejoin western civilization and learn to be a good person again.”
      Bad Ending: “Hell yeah! I’m the king of the island! I’m gonna have sex with this crazy chick-wait, is that my blood? Oh god why did I ever trust this tricky woman and her tribal ways!”

      Protip Ubisoft: when your game’s story would make a card carrying Klansman say “those are some unfortunate undertones right there” you may want to fire your writing staff. As in set them on fire.

  6. Thomas says:

    Gamespace is so wide in what it can be. The gap between an action film and a rom com is so much narrower than between an FPS and The Walking Dead.

    Even most action films have the same character/emotional base driving the plot but the challenge based reward is totally alien from narrative games. If we wanted to make Aliens in game form, there’s such a narrow scope it’d fit into, and it’s one we not enough faced with or ask for typically

    • Paul Spooner says:

      On the other hand, it seems that movies cover a range of “emotional space” which games have not really fully explored. The objection that “we can’t make Aliens as a computer game” is absurd, but it is also a challenge to games to broaden their emotional scope and attempt for feelings other than the “joy of mastery” and “reveling in domination” which violence themed execution based games are so apt at expressing.

  7. The Star Trek game I wish they’d release, if only as a CGI movie using the voice tracks recorded by the original cast members, including the ones who are dead now, written by DC Fontana, who wrote several TOS episodes (and one of the worst TNG episodes, “The Naked Now”) is called “The Secret of Vulcan Fury.”

    Here’s the original game trailer.

    Here’s a ‘trailer’ showing one of the game segment intros, which uses the “zoom to the bridge” effect seen in the Star Trek pilot that became “The Cage.”

    And just because, here’s a “head test” they did with Spock (language warning) using Joe Pesci’s ‘do I amuse you’ speech from Goodfellas.

  8. Tzeneth says:

    I support Rutscarn Pun Story of the Week segment. I am completely not a spam bot…I SWEAR! I completely did not create the accounts that respond in favor of this too ;)

  9. SnappyCrunch says:

    Shamus, can we get some more granular rss feeds? I’d love to have a Diecast-only rss feed to plug into my podcasting app. While we’re on the subject, I’d also love to have a Spoiler-Warning-only feed and an essay-only feed to boot. But I’ll settle for the Diecast feed :) Any thoughts?

  10. Velkrin says:

    It’s been years since the release and I still chuckle at the mention of Daikatana.

  11. Re: Budget-busting games.

    Perhaps one of the SW crew can address this, but there’s another possible facet to the top-heavy management costing unneeded millions. After all, we’ve seen indie studios producing really amazing-looking games (like the upcoming Wing Commander and Elite kickstarters) without using the GNP of a third-world nation to do it. I don’t even think voice acting or cinematic-looking scenes are the problem, as they can be had inexpensively so long as you’re not hiring potentially budget-swelling actors in a bad attempt to boost sales. I mean, I like the cast of BSG, but I’m not buying a game just because I get to hear Katie Sackhoff stretch her vocal chords.

    Anyway, as a person who would love to license one of my IPs to a studio, I was recently told that several productions are moving to countries that have studios without the following as their first thought: WE MUST FRANCHISE EVERYTHING! American entertainment studios, and video game studios are no exception, want the toy line, the comic book, the animated series, the video game, and a line of feminine hygiene products all tied up in one big package that they can make a tentpole property to keep all these marketing people employed for the next three decades (and then recycle it). Every jot and tittle, every catchphrase and character name, every weapon design and even meme MUST BE OWNED AND BE EXPLOITABLE.

    This means fewer chances are taken on smaller titles with risky (or different) ideas, because if it’s not able to prove to somebody with a corner office that it can be the next Spongebob meets Mario, it’s not “worth” the company’s time, money, or energy. No entertainment company seems willing to play the long game (so to speak) and let something just hang around without needing to support a merchandising line and see if it manages to catch on.

    • ACman says:

      IT think the affordability of Elite and Wing Commander has more to do with reduced animating cost than top heavy production.

      Spacecombat sims have looked gorgeous for years but then you’re pretty much just dealing with a few static polygons in an empty void with a pretty wallpaper pasted into the background.

      Otherwise all you have to do is make space feel like space and program AI that isn’t stupid but isn’t impossible, something that was mastered in Tie Fighter in 1994.

      You don’t have to build any dynamic interior environments or do lots of motion capture to make sure the walking/running/climbing cycles don’t look derpy. You don’t really have to implement sophisticated pathfinding AI because space is mostly empty.

  12. ACman says:

    On women in games. Getting a female main character is the same problem Hollywood getting a black main character.

    No matter how good a script you have, or which director you get signed on, the money-men in Hollywood WILL NOT FUND a movie with a black main character. (Unless you sign Will Smith or Denzel Washington.)

    It’s a self fulfilling problem. The statistics that they base their decision to refuse funding for these projects on don’t have enough data points for them to actually make a informed decision and there won’t be enough data-points until they allow a few movies/games to be made.

  13. fenix says:

    I don’t know. My peers and I have always found Mumble to sound much better than vent, both while chatting and when recording.

  14. ACman says:

    On Aliens, the computer game:

    Just re-skin Half Life 1. Have the resonance cascade be a escaping chest-burster or face-hugger that kills Dr Kliener.

  15. Knight of Fools says:

    Am I the only one that reads Shamus’ articles in Shamus’ voice?

    • Din Adn says:

      …oh my god.

      I did not even realise that had been happening until right just now.

      • Bryan says:

        What I find hilarious are the comments around — IIRC — the first few Spoiler Warnings (…yes, a time before Spoiler Warning did exist; also, get off my lawn :-P), about how everyone thought his voice sounded totally different from what they heard when reading the earlier blog entries…

  16. NBSRDan says:

    Are you aware this cutting off lines thing happens in Spoiler Warning too?

  17. Jacob Albano says:

    I haven’t listened to this one yet, but I wanted to plug an article I wrote recently about Hitman: Absolution, since it came up last time. I found it to be a tiresome, offensive mess of DIAS gameplay, and would heartily recommend against playing it.

    http://jacobalbano.com/2013/02/hitman-absolution-is-not-a-good-game/

  18. Lame Duck says:

    I only got to the second level of X-Blades before I quit and uninstalled it as hard as I could, but whatever-the-hell-her-name-was was such a wretched character that she would have made a fantastic over-the-top parody of bad female characters in video games.

    Also, I really want them to make Mirror’s Edge 2.

  19. Indy says:

    This is a shameless plug for the fan forum Roll for Insanity. Thanks to an influx of the cast of Disclosure Alert, there’s now some decent conversation going on. So come on over and talk about just about anything.

    For example, I challenge you all to prove you’re not a zombie.

  20. Wulfgar says:

    budget for The Witcher 2 was under 10 million. 8m $? can’t find source now but it was cheap in EA standards

    • Thomas says:

      That’s actually really impressive. I wonder if that’s because it’s in eastern europe?

      Because the main cost of a game is the people making it right? And the average wage in Poland is €10,000, half that of Britain.

      One of the reasons eastern european countries have really strong e-sports is the cost of living is lower so they can become pro on less investment

      • Wulfgar says:

        average game dev (programmer) in Poland – €17280 (after taxes)
        i bet that guy from RED makes €28800 on average

        • Thomas says:

          That matches up, average wage in the UK for a game dev is €35 000 (and our average wage generally is €20 000+ so we value devs equally), so it should be roughly twice as expensive to make a game in the UK, taxes aside.

          This doesn’t mean Polish developers are worse off, Denmark has the highest average wage but it also has the highest tax rates for example, but for an international business it should mean it’s cheaper to make games in Poland, quality being equal

  21. Din Adn? says:

    Hmm.

    With the Aliens game, the thing that always got me with those films [especially the first two] was the whole thing where you’ve got something running around that you don’t know much about, in a familiar but creepy environment, constantly threatening to kill the people you’ve been living and working with.

    I really like Rutskarn’s idea; I kind of want to play that game now. But if *I* were given the task of making a game about Alien/Aliens? I’d probably start it off before you get the first face hugger arriving – or possibly concurrently with that, but your character doesn’t know about it. It’d be first-person, and you’d spend some time getting to know the people you have spent time living and working with in whatever confined space the game takes place in – because being based on Alien/s, the fact that you’re trapped with these things is important.

    There does need to be good gameplay once the Aliens arrive on the scene, and ideally it would mesh with the earlier stuff so that the game doesn’t feel disjointed. Maybe have a period of cooperation with a group of survivors, where you’re building barricades and working out who’s going to do what to help keep the group alive.

    Maybe have the interface crib off old school adventure games or those 1st-person RPGs they used to have – you’ve got rooms and scenes that you move between, and if you get too close to an Alien it’s game over. Not like ‘Oh you walked into a room that was death, too bad’ game over, but ‘You heard scratching noises and did not belt for the nearest door, you fool’ game over. It’d probably also be nice to have it a bit open-ended, since the focus is on a group of people surviving a bad situation. You could have the NPCs interact with each other, get different outcomes in some areas depending on who has survived, that sort of thing.

    All that, of course, means that your art assets aren’t going to be stellar, since you need to pay for those, and the game’s structure calls for diverging situations. Personally, my solution to that would be just to use as little art as I could get away with and try to make sure what I do have is effective. Menacing scenes for Aliens killing other survivors, a few detailed ones for each set of characters that can interact. Maybe one or two for important pieces of equipment and locations.

    Speaking of locations, you’d want areas with lighting and areas without. That is what springs to mind when I try to think of how places were differentiated between being ‘safe’ and ‘not safe’ in the films, and which gets broken down as it goes on.

    But yeah. That’s just my thoughts. And of course I vote for more puns.

    I like puns.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      Or make the game generate the graphics and “storyline” procedurally. Minecraft has demonstrated that you don’t need “lifelike” visuals to create a deep sense of immersion and investment in the game world. Representational visuals would be enough, as long as they are consistent.

  22. The Schwarz says:

    Here’s a suggestion: talk through Vent or Skype or whatever, and do the recording in the background using Audacity. Works great for us.

    • Cuthalion says:

      Will this setup allow you to record hosts on separate tracks? This was always the problem I had with recording Skype stuff. Despite having a degree in (among other things) audio production and having pretty advanced software, I couldn’t pull that off. The only thing I found was I think called mp3 Skype Recorder, which is a Skype plugin that saves an mp3 as you go with you in one channel (as in left vs right) and everybody else in the other. (It also seems to leave behind viable files even when it crashes partway through recording.)

      I’m guessing I have either a Windows 7 issue or a hardware issue that doesn’t let me record from multiple sources at once (say, stereo mix + mic in), but of course I would still need some kind of special communications software and/or hardware to receive the audio in separate streams. I wonder if it has to do with how Windows works that I can’t access multiple channels in use by other programs… so, if a game is playing three music layers at once and 4 sound effects at the same time, maybe it’s mixing that itself before sending it to the OS or somesuch. Windows (and the hardware) may not even know that multiple channels exist there. No matter what I do, I’ll probably have to have the communications program do the recording itself, then. Hm… *muses*

      • Zak McKracken says:

        Just installed Mumble (but have no-one to talk to over it …)
        It features a multi-channel recording option. Can’t say if it’ll do exactly what you want but you might check the feature list.
        Also, given the amount of different codecs available, I’d say the voice quality will mostly depend on the codec you choose to use, and how the auto-selection works if you don’t choose one.

      • Bryan says:

        > Windows (and the hardware) may not even know that multiple channels exist there.

        The sound hardware almost *assuredly* doesn’t have the slightest clue that there are multiple streams coming into it. Almost every sound card in existence can only support one incoming stream; the OS has to mix separate channels itself (or the program sending sound; in order to have >1 program sending sound, either the OS has to do the mixing, or there has to be a standard inter-program communication setup that lets them cooperatively mix) before sending the data out to the hardware.

        Stupid ac’97 hardware and its stupid limitations.

        And it’s not like hardware mixing is *expensive*, either. I have a $20-in-1999 Yamaha sound card laying around somewhere that can do it. Some of the emu10k1-chipset (SB Live! variants) could do it as well. But I haven’t seen anything build in the last ten years that did it. :-/

  23. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Why think about an aliens game that works,when one already exists?AVP2,that was a great game.Even the most boring part of it,the marine part,was suspenseful and good.

    • Indy says:

      I thought the most fun levels were the faux-stealth levels in the pods that occur pretty much simultaneously for each character. Killing all those corporates was fun. The first level of the Alien campaign was also great.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      While AVP2 was a fun game, it isn’t quite what Ben Kuchera meant by “Aliens”, nor what the discussion in the podcast was addressing. The point is the “feel” of the movie, instead of the inclusion of “aliens” as characters.
      Also, the fact that they needed to make two to get it right is indicative of what the industry is afraid of. If games are cheap to develop, you can make a few and see what works. If games are prohibitively expensive to make, you’ve got to stick with what you know “works” which rules out a lot of experimentation and growth.

  24. Daemian Lucifer says:

    *sigh*The comments are being more broken as time goes by.The long loading was bad,but somewhat manageable.But recently Ive noticed a weird bug where the page would be stuck on loading forever,without my comment displaying.So Id use my trick of opening the same page in new tab again to see if it would appear.It would not.Then Id stop the page that was loading and try reposting the comment,which would tell me that its a duplicate comment.Yet it still wouldnt appear.

    So basically my comment would get accepted,but would not appear,sometimes for hours.Even if the comments I make afterwards would appear almost instantly(not counting the 30-60 seconds loading delay,that is).

    Shamus,please think again about moving comments to a forum.If nothing else,the smaller archive will make it load better.Even as a temporary solution until you manage to fix this issue would be a good move.Furthermore,Indy_S already created one forum that could be used the purpose.

    • Indy says:

      Ooh, another plug. Thanks Daemian!

      The loading is getting weird. I’ve had the site get stuck in a cached state when no other sites were doing this. Going to the homepage would tell me there were more comments than the article’s page. I fixed my issue, twice, but it still threatens to happen again and it’s only happened on this site.

    • Zak McKracken says:

      I wouldn’t be opposed to the Forum idea (except if I had to create a login/password and all that stuff), but the comments used to work, also for reaaaally long comment threads, so there must be a way to make them work properly again.

    • Thomas says:

      Guys, Shamus knows the comments are playing up and I imagine he’s been trying to fix them and it’s really frustrating that they’re still playing up. And he’s moving house, I know it’s irritating but I don’t suppose it’s going to become less irritating if we talk about it more

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        True.But thats why I dont just say “the comments are broken”,but rather post a detailed description of how broken.Without the feedback,how will he know where the problem is?

        And I only do it after I test if its on my end.

  25. Neko says:

    Another one so soon? Awesome.

  26. AbruptDemise says:

    Wow, no comments on Devil May Cry yet? Well, no time like the present.

    As far as characters go, it has more to do what Dante’s saying than how he acts. People like him for his witty comments and complete non-chalance in serious situations. He’s not a character, he’s a comedian.

    Most of the complaints about the reboot have been directed more towards how god-awful the new Dante is, the very dumbed-down gameplay, and how blatantly obvious it was that Ninja Theory was paying off reviewers to give the game good scores. I could go on about this, but it’d take a while to cover the entire spectrum of complaints.

    • Klay F. says:

      While I wasn’t super into Devil May Cry, its frankly insulting how easy it is to spot how much they dumbed down DmC. Just by watching gameplay videos from people who know the systems, makes it clear as day.

      To boil it down into its simplest terms, how stylishly you perform in combat no longer matters to your score. Used to be, if you wanted the highest style rank, you had to vary your attacks constantly. If you used like 5 moves over and over again, you would never get even close to a good rank. On the highest difficulties, you had to not only know Dante’s entire moveset, but you also needed to know how to move cancel effectively.

      With DmC though, all you have to do to get the highest rank is spam the strongest attacks. I’ve even seen videos where Dante has taken damage and still managed to get the highest rank. Most sane people got over Dante’s new look quickly, the dumbed down mechanics is what kept them pissed off. Devel May Cry used to be the deepest brawler ever made, now its…not even close.

    • BeamSplashX says:

      The trade Atlus made for Shin Megami Tensei to have Dante was that SMT’s monster artist design the demon forms in Devil May Cry 4.

      As for the character, they had realized by the fourth game that they were being ridiculously anime and Dante’s homoerotic undertones were exploding into overtones. Thus, Dante in DMC4 is mocking Nero for being Dante in every previous Devil May Cry. And while there was cocky attitude nonsense, the reboot ruined even that by being too crass about it. Swearing isn’t a problem, but the dialogue in the reboot would’ve tested better with me in middle school.

      Also, the soundtrack somehow became even worse. Considering how punk the aesthetic of the reboot is, it’s a little ridiculous that they went for the screamiest of screamy metal.

      Pretty much the only improvement was an actual character arc, but everything else is either just the same or worse. It still looks like it would be fun with the music volume set to zero, but it had every reason to be better.

  27. Zak McKracken says:

    My take on the Aliens Video game (although I definitely prefer the first movie):
    Part strategical game:
    manage ressources like weapons and ammo, improvise new ones, position marines around the complex to defend your people)
    Part survival-action/shooter:
    You take on the role of one of the marines/Ripley/whichever protagonist there is, whom you decided to send on a mission in the strategy part, with the equipment you decided to give them, and shoot/sneak your way through that mission. apart from the shooting thing, there are things like deciding which doors to open and which better not, confronting aliens (and be confronted) or making them go this or another way for tactical advantage, while being jumped upon every so often (but not too often)

    Over time, you may loose a few of the marines, and since you probably have played as them, that will hurt, as well as make the strategic part more difficult. And then there’s that mission where you discover halfway through that the only way to save the others is to sacrifice the character you’re playing as. This _NEEEEDS_ a relatively strong tie to the characters in the game. And it also needs to be randomized in some way, so you won’t know at the start of the mission what’s gonna happen.
    That game cold have a few cutscenes, but mostly the story would happen through the strategy gameplay and emergent conversations in which the cast is acting out their characters. Which is also the part of the gameplay where the player needs to evaluate how they feel about the individual characters. “Do I give him the biggest gun and more ammo? But if he dies, I’ve lost that stuff! But then it might save his life…”.

    This would also give a lot of opportunity for co-operative gameplay and stuff. Or a multiplayer mode completely detached from the story where several players duke it out on both the strategical and shooter level. Just don’t ask me how to make it into an MMO …

  28. Zak McKracken says:

    OMG … on the first attempt I read “Josh says Mumbles sounds horrible” … why don’t you like Mumbles? She’s got a fine voice! You should really get her on the die-cast.

  29. Jokerman says:

    You are too old and nerdy to truly appreciate the glorious badassery and coolness Dante possess. Its nearly unmatched, only Tommy Vercetti and Kratos come close.

  30. Hydralysk says:

    Great podcast, and I gotta admit, when I played DMC 3 when I was 16 I thought Dante was awesome, but thinking back I’m kinda embarassed about that.

  31. Isy says:

    Since we’ve brought up women (or lack of) in games, I’d like to share my big gallery of collected photos featuring non-30 year old white men who would be totally awesome video game protagonists.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with 30 year old white men.

  32. Nick-B says:

    I for one cannot STAND Skype. It tries to be an all-in-one messaging service and phone service and communicating service and giant interface service and social service and everything service, yet cannot for the life of it implement a simple push to talk button interface. They seem to feel that everyone just LOVES voice activated communication, and accidental coughs, sniffles, sneezes, or shouts to someone else in the room are perfectly fine to broadcast to people in the conversation by default. You have to do a LOT of work to reverse it, by setting up a keybind for mute microphone (which you have to keep yourself muted 24/7), then set a keybind to toggle mute (which is not actually a toggle, but a hold-to-invert button) and use that. And I think it was only recent that “toggle mute” was able to be set to a mouse button.

    Oh, and since when did we get ok with the big X in the top right of windows not actually CLOSING programs down, just minimizing them to tray? I thought that the point of the – button was what minimizing was for? Skype (and, sadly, Steam) is one of a few of the really bad offenders in this regard. You MUST respect the X and close when the X is clicked!

    As for mumble, I do believe the sound quality is different than Vent, but it may be due to audio codecs. If you set up your server, check into the codecs you are using, fiddle around with a few of them. I host both vent and mumble, got both of them off their horrid default codecs and now don’t sound bad. They don’t sound alike, but don’t sound “bad” like you made it seem. So make sure it’s not “bad” because you’re using a piss poor codec.

    • Even says:

      From client perspective, Mumble has to be the best voice chat program I’ve ever used. With a fast enough server, the quality of voice gets a lot less dependant on the codec and more on the choice of mike. Of course if you’re privately hosting, then you might have to bargain on the quality side, but it definitely should be able to compete with Vent.

  33. The Rocketeer says:

    It fails to bring a cringe to my face when I hear ‘warfighter’ used by talking heads like it was a real, super-serious, non-stupid word that no one hated. As a marketing/buzzword-type term though, it’s guaranteed to have a shelf life of less than ten years.

  34. TMC_Sherpa says:

    Shamus, you say you would play the hell out of Rutskarns idea which I find amusing because you already are. It’s called Minecraft :)

    The more I write and I did just delete a few paragraphs of text, the more I realize I need to think about what I’m trying to say before spitting it out.

    To be continued.
    I guess.
    Maybe.

  35. KremlinLaptop says:

    Oh! Shooting animals in Tomb Raider.

    I was fairly young when the first Tomb Raider came out. I’d just gotten the Playstation for Christmas and I must have been what… twelve? Anyway, my parents didn’t want any ‘violent’ videogames (I had to hide my copy of Tekken from them).

    Tomb Raider? Generally got a pass because “you’re not killing people”. I guess that sort of colored how I see Tomb Raider games and became steadily disenchanted with the releases as Lara Croft turned from Awesome Explorer (and also possibly poacher) in to just taking on cartels and mercenaries. Went from being, “Whee! Fun exploring places–OH SHIT A BEAR!” to “Shotgun a dude in the face. Run. Shotgun another dude– why am I not playing Quake instead? It’s a far superior shooter.”

    • Even says:

      Playing the first game recently for some nostalgia, a thing I noted that I didn’t give a crap about when I was a kid, was that given the places they actually live in, they’re either fed by some mysterious third party or they’re just as recent arrivals as you, because there’s just no way they’d survive in those caves for multiple generations because there’s little to no sources of food. There’s some plant life here and there, but considering most of the animals are carnivorous and they don’t seem to eat each other (gorillas and tigers at least apparently live in peace with each other), I think you should feel free to murder them since you’re basically doing nature’s work by putting all those abominations to a final rest.

  36. By the by, the budget according to this postmortem from Gamasutra for System Shock 2 was only $1.7 million. This means that Josh has $3.3 million of embezzled funds and needs to answer for it. :)

    On a side note in the above article, they note that using the existing Dark Engine saved a lot of time/money, so there’s that.

    • Wedge says:

      Most modern AAA games use existing engines (UE3, for instance) and still manage to have $50-$100 million budgets.
      This is understandable, though, when you consider that what’s really ballooned over the last decade is the cost of developing art assets. In 1998, the cost of programming was a much larger portion of a game’s budget than it is today.

      • I’m having a hard time finding an actual breakdown of game budgets (like a pie chart or something), but this article from Cinemablend notes that the money spent on marketing a game can be 200% of the actual game’s development budget.

        Again, it seems like the games industry is designed not to produce good games, but to keep people in ties from being unemployed.

        • Sabrdance (Matthew H) says:

          I suspect, well have for a while -this isn’t new -that games are doing the same thing movies did in the late 90s (and to some extent are still doing). They discovered that if you throw enough money at a project, it will in fact make a profit. Waterworld, famously, made money. And it makes money exponentially. Make it big, make it pretty, make it a big deal -and the viewers will roll in.

          Is there evidence that ME3 and Call of Duty and Medal of Honor: Warfighter lost money? The usual complaint I hear is that they are overpriced and not very good. Usually I hear this from people who paid $60 for the game.

          Rather like all the people who complained about how bad the last Transformers movie was while holding the used ticket stub.

  37. Muspel says:

    I love the new podcast. Even more than Spoiler Warning, actually, but that’s probably because I tend to just listen to Spoiler Warning and not watch it.

    Quick question: is it possible to add a volume slider to it?

    • KremlinLaptop says:

      Yes! Volume slider please. I’ve gotten into the habit of having my system audio basically at full all the time and just having the audio for various things set to various levels. Would be helpful so I can keep playing whatever I’m playing without having to adjust too many sound levels.

      Also this podcast is amaaazing. Seriously. SW is enjoyable but I have to say I’m really enjoying hearing them just going through stuff and talking about it without Reginald Cuftbert distracting them with wackiness.

      • Josh says:

        Doesn’t… it?

        It has a volume slider in Chrome at least. The HTML 5 audio tag is pretty simple and doesn’t really give any options for specific control customization, so it must be defined by your browser.

        • KremlinLaptop says:

          I’m using the Firefox Nightly Build 21.0a1 and also tested it with regular Firefox 19.0 and the volume bar isn’t there in either. Yet both Chrome and Internet Explorer DO render a volume slider.

          Very odd.

        • Lord Nyax says:

          I can confirm that it has a volume slider when using IE 9.

        • X2-Eliah says:

          The audio tag’s implementation is pretty much a mess currently. Some browsers only offer muting, some have volume sliding, some support only mp3, some support only wav/ogg, some support mp3/wav..

          Still, props for actually using html5 elements as they are meant to be used – the ‘net *needs* to adopt new browsers and new markups.

      • bucaneer says:

        You can adjust volume by using up and down arrow keys when the audio element is selected (there are ten steps between full volume and mute).

  38. lazerblade says:

    I love this podcast, especially because there aren’t any Spoiler Warning seasons I still need to watch that I have played the game in question for at the moment. I hope this podcast sticks.

  39. PossiblyInsane says:

    We need more pun stories.

  40. Cuthalion says:

    Liked this episode, too! Hope you keep making more of them. (And can find a solution to avoid the Vent bug.)

  41. Erik says:

    Gotta say, i really enjoy these. It’s much less of a hassle to listen to a podcast then it is watching a video on my daily commute :)

  42. Chris says:

    Devil may be crying because he lost his golden fiddle…

    I liked the game pitch ideas. i think a game where stealth is an option but you are allowed to stealth and do not have scripted encounters screw that up, so you can sneak up on the bad guy and kill them.

  43. Sabrdance (Matthew H) says:

    I watched the Star Trek game trailer.

    I liked it.

    You said “iron sights” and I thought “oh, wow, they’ve got us aiming phasers by lining up the bridge and the nacels…”

    But the design shown here? That’s pretty typical for a space sim. Project Sylpheed, The Old Republic, and the old Starfleet Academy game used similar systems. And even more if we consider that most space sims are effectively like this -you sit in a cockpit and have a gunsight out the front window.

    Might they have done something different? Sure. Maybe a turret section. Or maybe perhaps make the guns autoaim (Star Trek: The Next Generation for NES did this).

    The game looks good to me, though. I especially like them talking up the co-op stuff. Even if the plot is only so-so, there’s plenty of fun to be had with sharing the experience. Which is an under-appreciated aspect of, for example, Gears of War.

  44. anaphysik says:

    On Aliens/Walking Dead, I’d like to note something: ninja xenomorphs make a fuckton more sense than ninja zombies.

    PS: Rutskarn should have a new pun story every week.

  45. BitFever says:

    The only game you can justify iron sites on a space ship would be the human ships in halo since they literally are giant flying guns.

    My first experience with Dante was DMC 3 when I was 15. I’ve always been a bit of an story driven gamer and as shocking as this sounds I think Dante works as a character (in the third game at least)
    In it we see him as this cocky over the top juvenile asshole but the game slowly pulls back to let us see how he was alone after his mother died and his father left. He is scared to accept responsibility or to actually care about anything in case he loses more. It shows his “cool attitude” to be nothing more than a front for someone who’s hurt, angry and scared.
    It then uses the story ark of Lady hunting her father who killed her mother to parallel Dante’s anger at his father for not protecting his mother. Its this that allows Dante to accept his past, grow as a person, and stop his brother.
    The game’s story is thematically consistent with ideas of family and responsibility and it nails them as well as the character of Dante.

  46. Jarenth says:

    “She isn’t Corvo, slash Nathan Drake, slash Gordon Freeman, slash…”. At that point my mind wandered and imagined Mirror’s Edge 2, starring Slash. And/or Faith, wearing Slash’ hat. Either way works.

    I don’t know if this is a common problem, but when I paused the on-site playback to write this, I couldn’t restart it anymore. Is that due to plugin nonsense? Or is it just me?

  47. Peter says:

    If you install skype, use it, and then uninstall, might I suggest getting a portable version?

    http://portableapps.com/apps/internet/skype_portable

    This won’t fix the “X button minimizes, go to the tray to properly quit the application” BS, but this way it doesn’t modify your OS at all. This way you can launch skype when you want it, and have it entirely out of sight/mind when not needed.

  48. P_johnston says:

    Now that I can finally get access to system shock 2 I have to ask, How does it hold up? I’m going to play it but is it still as good as it was when it came out?

    P.S. I support more rutskarn puns.

  49. Really weirded me out when you referred to the Call of Duty franchise as “Modern Warfare”. I knew what you meant, but referring to the series by one of its parts seems strange (like referring to Star Wars as “The Empire Strikes Back” franchise). This is the only group of people I’ve ever seen refer to the series that way.

  50. I actually liked the devil may cry anime, I thought it was only 13 episodes though? Josh is right in that its all just violence and unstoppable Dante wins action. I think what I enjoyed about it was just how it kind of felt like playing a video game with infinite health cheats. It was just an exploration of a cheap world with lots of action where the only outcome is you win.

  51. rabbitambulance says:

    If this continues being a thing (which I very much hope it does), you really need to make a separate podcast feed for it.

  52. Weld says:

    that was seven bams

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