Diecast #19: Scribblenauts, Skyrim

By Shamus
on Jul 3, 2013
Filed under:
Diecast

Some behind-the-scenes info: We generally forward news stories to each other all week. When Sunday rolls around, we take the headlines for the week, sort them out, and figure out which ones we want to talk about and which ones we don’t. Then we record the show.

This week we had nothing. Not one news story. I don’t know if we weren’t following the news or we didn’t care, but we had no stories and nothing to say. We just got together for our once-a-week blather session and Josh began recording halfway through. That means this podcast is even less structured than last week. Just so you know what you’re getting into. In any case, the choice was between this and nothing.

We’ve got a good slate of stories now, so the Diecast should return to normal next week. In the meantime, you’ve been warned:


Direct download (MP3)
Direct download (ogg Vorbis)
Podcast RSS feed.

Hosts: Shamus, Josh, Rutskarn, Mumbles, Chris

Show notes:

00:00 No introductions. No host. No news items. NO HOPE.

00:30 We join the podcast in mid-conversation, talking about 500 Days of Summer and Scott Pilgrim. For reference, here is what I had to say about Scott Pilgrim when it came out. The MovieBob video Rutskarn mentioned is here: The Big Picture: Dumping Irony.

09:30 We troll Mumbles by not talking about Batman. Instead we talk about Green Lantern, The Aristocrats, and Tacos.

15:00 Scribblenauts

24:00 Josh is playing Skyrim. Mumbles video on Skyrim is here. Then we segue into talking about Fallout: New Vegas

52:30 MAILBAG! We discuss sharing the hobby, the Kinect, and visual fidelity and game budgets.

Also, I want to apologize to Neil (or Neal) who sent in the long question. While short questions are always better than long in this format, that’s no reason for me to be a jerk about it. Bad form. In my defense, we’d been at this for a couple of hours by this point and I was getting a bit frazzled.

If you’ve got a question for the cast, send it to diecast@shamusyoung.com. Also: Short questions make for better launching points for conversation. Long questions are better left in the comments. (I used to have a special page where people could leave long questions for me to answer. Looks like it got culled last time I tinkered with the site. I’ll look into bringing that back.)

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

From the Archives:

  1. Bryan says:

    OK, who here played Counterstrike when it was still a mod?

    I started with beta 6 or 7, way back in college — but always LAN games, not public multiplayer. Played through the 1.x release IIRC, but stopped after only a year or maybe two. I distinctly remember a knives-only game in zero (or was it just really really low?) gravity, with a large mass of players from both teams hanging around the top of the level in the middle of the map, and nobody trying to rescue the hostages…

    • Humanoid says:

      I believe I did. At a friend’s place. For about half an hour. And that’s all the Counterstrike I’ve ever played.

    • Mormegil says:

      I’m old enough to remember playing the quake mod that came before counterstrike (Action Quake). Also, get off my lawn.

    • Aitch says:

      The horror of (I think it was) Beta 3, where the only visual difference between teams was the presence or lack of sleeves. Of course it didn’t help that I had to run it in something like 640 x 480 on a 28.8 modem. The good old days of a 133 mhz processor and being happy when my ping was even just a little under 400.

      I didn’t last very long on that particular beta. In fact I think I deemed it unplayable in about the first 5 minutes.

      Although I do remember having a blast around the same time playing a sniper in TFC. How I managed to have fun with that, let alone keeping a positive k/d ratio is utterly beyond me. A lot of skybox balcony camping on Well or whatever it was called…

      Man, nostalgia flashback.

    • Shivoa says:

      I’m lucky enough to have had friends who paid more attention to upcoming mods than myself at the LAN parties we’d started to do. This means I first played CS with a 1.x beta (possibly 1.0, the details are lost to time; it was a lucky coincidence of a LAN that happened to be the weekend after one of the initial releases in the summer of ’99).

      One terrorist, one CT model. Gun running, which was brilliant for a round-based, currency spending game with a few friends where levels evolved into hoarded piles of weapons and considerations about raiding the enemy’s storage area being as critical as hostages – idiotic AIs that were not easy to rescue. A lot of time was spend working out how levels were broken (swimming in the sky of cs_desert).

      We ended up playing CS on and off for years at various LANs and meet-ups (all the way to 1.6 and even a bit of CS:S), it was certainly a core game for a good while there (along with TA, SC, Quake, Action Q2, then AHL, UT, S&I, and probably a few more I’m forgetting were in regular rotation). I have to say, those earlier betas of CS may have been the most fun. Or maybe I just remember those days more fondly, through more rose tinting and actually it was an unbalanced and sometimes almost unplayable mess that collapsed into exploits and counter-exploit gaming that only sustains a few hours of drunken foolishness between friends and would seem archaic and unmanaged today.

      Maybe that’s what online focussed, xp and perks for competing properly multiplayer is wearing away. Or maybe I’m just getting old and multiplayer gaming has never been better (it is certainly a lot easier to join in than back in the day of modems, thinnet, and null-model connections; lugging round a 40kg CRT for the weekend of gaming on temporary desks out in a garage).

      • Bryan says:

        Yeah, it’s not clear to me whether this is just nostalgia or whether it really was more fun, either. Certainly having a high latency connection would have made it worse — though in my case it was mostly on a LAN anyway (something like 500 machines or so, so reasonably large, but still all cat5 cable and 10mbit switches).

  2. Aitch says:

    The horror of (I think it was) Beta 3, where the only visual difference between teams was the presence or lack of sleeves. Of course it didn’t help that I had to run it in something like 640 x 480 on a 28.8 modem. The good old days of a 133 mhz processor and being happy when my ping was even just a little under 400.

    I didn’t last very long on that particular beta. In fact I think I deemed it unplayable in about the first 5 minutes.

    Although I do remember having a blast around the same time playing a sniper in TFC. How I managed to have fun with that, let alone keeping a positive k/d ratio is utterly beyond me. A lot of skybox balcony camping on Well or whatever it was called…

    Man, nostalgia flashback.

  3. ACman says:

    No news at all? Not even:

    Sim City Airship DLC $8.99!!!

    Now you can enjoy meaningless balloons in your city painter for only 15% of the cost of a real Triple A release title.

    YAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kIy4NrMFiE#at=113

    Seriously watch the video. I swear I can hear the hooks that are being use to induce this poor slub to smile in his voice.

  4. Zlan says:

    On the part you had there at the start, I didn’t like Scott Pilgrim because I HATE having jerk main characters in books and movies. I’m ok with it in games, IF I am the one making them a jerk, and they don’t actively try to make me be a jerk.

    Also the part that I find the worst about Skyrim, for me, isn’t the fact that I can’t tell the difference from the enemies and the background, or the fact that there is nothing I can do towards making my character the part of a universe that dothn’t treat him like a god sometimes and nobody actually knows, or cares who you are. No, it was the fact that there are god damned tropical birds. I tried with immersion, I really did, and I could have done it even with the game treats me as the super duper macguffin that the dragonborn is. But what is with the parakeets? In a snowy mountain area? What is this? They are BLUE WITH RED AND YELLOW ON THE FRONT OF THEIR WINGS! I mean, I wouldn’t mind If I was using the tropical skyrim mod I wouldn’t care, but in the main un-modded game?

    Although I always feel that the game is completely lacking in the combat regard, and in the story, and role-play ability, and I left the game completely until I tried to get the multiplayer Skyrim mod to work, and that will be the only thing that will ever make me come back to the game, playing with my friend through the game, or at least if we can figure it out entirely. Until then, I’m gonna play Oblivion, which I don’t know why people dislike it more then Skyrim, and Morrowind, which is far better then the other 2.

    • bucaneer says:

      Parakeets? The only birds I can think of in vanilla Skyrim are hawks and chickens. You sure you’re not mixing something up?

      • Zlan says:

        I also thought that there were only hawks and chickens, but leaving the town that you are brought to that really makes you start the main quest, there is a bridge. At the end of this bridge I heard all sorts of bird noises, and I found in the tree Multiple tropical birds all in the same space stuck in the tree. I couldn’t kill them with magic and I couldn’t kill them with my sword. I was able to find one other picture on UESB Wiki, and it just refers to them as birds, and says that they are just a visual affect, which slightly annoys me since I should be able to collect the feathers and sell them or something like that.

    • Daimbert says:

      On the part you had there at the start, I didn’t like Scott Pilgrim because I HATE having jerk main characters in books and movies. I’m ok with it in games, IF I am the one making them a jerk, and they don’t actively try to make me be a jerk.

      I have the same issue, although for me its more specific to the details of the work. I can take a jerk main character if the main character isn’t supposed to be someone that I sympathize with. So, a main character who I’m supposed to always see fail is okay and better if they’re a jerk, or one who is supposed to win out in the end but only because the cause is good and not because they’re worthy of winning can be really interesting. But if I’m supposed to like the main character and that’s required to care about what’s going on, that character being a jerk isn’t a good thing.

      This was the problem I had with both the revamped BSG and Farscape: since I hated the main characters, I didn’t care if they succeeded or failed, and since I didn’t care if they succeeded or failed I didn’t care about what happened to them, and since the show was all about that I didn’t care for the shows.

    • False Prophet says:

      Mumbles discussed it a bit, but as much as I loved the Scott Pilgrim film and thought it captured the essence of the comics beautifully, I feel there are two very important things essential to the story that didn’t seem to scan in adaptation.

      Firstly, in the comics, Scott’s realization that he’s actually been a jerk for years is the climax of the film. All the pretty lies he’s constructed to make himself look like the good guy in his flashbacks are torn away, he’s learned how much he hurt the people around him, and now he has the obligation to try and turn himself around. He might not do it, but he has no more excuses.

      Secondly, between the thin writing of the film character and the way Mary Elizabeth Winstead was sleepwalking through the part, the movie doesn’t make it clear that Ramona has also been a jerk. The epilogue of the comics has most of the supporting cast stating Scott and Ramona deserve each other, but feel the odds are against them. But Scott and Ramona are free to try and be better people now.

    • Zukhramm says:

      I don’t mind characters that are jerks as long as there something interesting about them or they do something interesting. In Scott Pilgrim, all the different parts of the movie feel completely irrelevant to each other. Everything just seemed pointless.

  5. I have total sympathy for Rutskarn on the telling people about Larping. I started out doing it in high school and have done it off and on since. It is the most awkward thing to explain to people who don’t really care how awesome it is. I always explained it as D&D in real life which sounds massively geeky.

    Also I have the same problem when someone asks me what I’m reading. Telling someone who reads two books a year about the how wizards affect political climates in medieval European settings is not a fun conversation.

  6. Ryan says:

    I’ve gotta say, I love the setting of TES to pieces, but Morrowind is still the only game in the series I’m willing to call good.

  7. AdmiralCheez says:

    I can totally sympathize with the whole “essential-NPC” thing in Skyrim. On one of my playthroughs, I was a dark elf assassin. In Windhelm, there’s one guy that goes around saying basically, “I like to go around (the place where all the dark elves live) at night and (make racist comments).” So, one night, my character stalked him out while he was doing just that, and knifed him in the back. But it turns out he can’t die because there’s an off-chance that the random number generator will select him as a pickpocketing target on one of the Thieves Guild side quests.

    It’s really frustrating that so many of these characters have plot armor for a quest that only certain types of play styles will encounter, and even then, they’re completely optional. And it’s not like the game couldn’t just re-roll to pick a new target; this is a quest that can be repeated infinitely.

    What makes it even worse is that when you do attempt to murder him, it adds to your bounty total, but when you knock his hitpoints to 0, the game thinks he has been “killed” and it gives you the “Last witness killed. Bounty erased” message. But since he’s “essential,” he just drops to his knees, only to get back up a second later, having completely forgotten that you just stabbed him in the back.

    On the plus side, the game does let you punch him in the face when you confront him about it, but all that does is make him respect you as a friend, and he still goes around harassing the dark elves.

    • anaphysik says:

      It’s persistent shit like that that makes me pretty certain that I will NEVER waste my time bothering with Skyrim. Also, I have too many other things to waste my time on.

    • Syal says:

      I think the whole “immortal NPC” thing came around because Morrowind didn’t have it, so you’d kill some random jerk in a hut somewhere only to get a message that you’ve rendered the game unwinnable (or worse, not get the message when you had.) Or you’d kill someone and then a quest would tell you to talk to that person and the entire quest chain would stall there forever.

      So instead of making the important NPCs really obvious and/or hard to kill (or just not gigantic jerks that need their faces stabbed), they stuck immortality on all of them and destroyed one of the major draws of the game.

      • AdmiralCheez says:

        I can see the importance of it for NPCs that are actually essential to the plot, like Ulfric Stormcloak and others along those lines. For minor NPCs on minor quests though, it just comes off as lazy design. With my example, for instance, that particular character is flagged as essential because he’s on a list of potential targets for the game to pick as a pickpocket target. The quest to do so is infinitely repeatable. So, doing the quest that long into the future, the player will inevitably run out of pickpocket targets, and the game will have to recycle NPCs on the list anyway.

        So, instead of making them all essential, the programmers could just write a function to check if a selected NPC is dead or not, and then re-roll a new target if they are. Or, better yet, the quest could randomly select any NPC in the game as a target to pickpocket. It could create some interesting tension if your Thieves Guild superior hands out an order to steal from General Tullius, or some other high-risk target. Even if the target is dead, you could make an interesting quest of tracking down their coffin in one of the underused Halls of the Dead. It would be especially interesting if the player was the one that killed them, and is then forced to rob their grave.

        All I’m really saying is that there are plenty of ways to work around the essential-NPC system. It should have only been used in cases where there was absolutely no other way around it, and not liberally applied to every NPC involved in a quest.

        • LunaticFringe says:

          I recall Bethesda stressing their whole ‘relatives and relations’ system before the game came out, where family members or other members of the community would take over the duties of killed NPCs. I think I only ever saw that once or twice, some are really obvious (the young woman who lives in the orphanage with a Dark Brotherhood target) and some are completely random (killing the innkeeper in Whiterun causes one of the vendors to take over the place). It definitely seems like they totally ignored that concept when making the quest lines though (railroading in a Bethesda game? NEVER!).

      • patrick johnston says:

        I remember hearing the the essential NPC’s actually stemmed in part from the fact that they kept getting killed by other NPC’s instead of the player. For example due to the radiant AI screwing up quest giver C on certain games would glitch out and wander into the forest to be murdered by bandits. Still doesn’t excuse players not being able to kill them but does explain some of the logic behind it.

        • Humanoid says:

          Or more likely, dragons. It’s a bit disconcerting to be notified of random quests failing during a dragon attack. On all my saves bar the first, I made a point of not activating the dragon plotline at all.

          That said, I recall there was a sort of handy mod which didn’t necessarily remove the various NPCs’ essential flags outright, but instead made it a two-step process: you’d knock them down at 0hp as usual, but then had the option to finish them off well and proper-like.

        • hborrgg says:

          They could have implemented some system where those characters can only be killed by the player like they did with companions.

  8. Ryan says:

    There are ways to play Warband that don’t involve taking recruiting 100 swadian knights and facerolling everything in the name of Sanjar Khan?

  9. danferno says:

    I’m just a lurker who likes the podcast, so I thought I’d share an iTunes-compatible feed I hacked together with Yahoo Pipes. It takes the Diecast category RSS feed, searches for the mp4 filename, and adds the enclosure tags that allow iTunes to download the podcast. Seriously, it’s that dumb–but it works (for iTunes). Enjoy, no warrantees, etc, etc.

  10. Grampy_Bone says:

    Scott Pilgrim is about beating up hipsters. Bryan Lee O’Malley has stated outright he based the comic off of River City Ransom. That’s about as old school as it gets.

  11. lostclause says:

    Rutskarn, do you ever plan to put up the Fallout Fate game you mentioned? I’d be very interested to see it (I’ve tried something similar myself but never playtested it).

  12. Paul Spooner says:

    Oh man! Brick! So Noir! Air-five Campster!

    In Scribblenauts you can solve the problems by attaching “dead” or “friendly”… but only sometimes. I distinctly remember doing this, but I also distinctly remember finding the adjectives locked down, so you can’t change them. Specifically, one can not (generally?) remove existing adjectives, which seems strange.

    Yeah, the Skyrim marriage thing was strange. When your game has a worse relationship system implementation than in PM’s Fable… you know you messed up somewhere.

    Oh man, we’re having this discussion in the forums, but yeah, it’s sooooo annoying when the game limits your game-play options in service to a pre-authored inflexible story. Let me kill the dudes and turn off the story if it messes it up. Of course, this would simply draw into a much sharper focus just how fragile and restrictive their narrative is. Bah. Bah I say!

  13. This isn’t the first time I’ve sent in an essay. At least in some of the previous ones I vaguely recall putting tl;dr tags…I think. :P I don’t know why, but I always write’em with this idea that you guys screen emails before you start the cast and will just summarize or read the ‘topic’ sentence. I even remember sending it panicking that I didn’t put in a tl;dr and just figuring it’d be passed due to wall ‘o text.

  14. patrick johnston says:

    Can I just say how much I enjoy the Range of the spoiler warning crew. We have the young buck Rutskarn, Old man Shamus, young Professional Chris, and immortal entity of pure EVIL josh, leaving a crew that runs the gambit for age ranges in gaming. Plus add in the occasional mumbles for a female perspective and it gets you good number of view points. Just wanted to point out how great that is.

  15. Warrax says:

    As for the “Skyrim as an RPG” discussion: I would argue that it less of a role-playing game, and more of an… avatar-building game. If that’s the kind of thing you like, then it will be a thing that you like. The armor issues interfere with that, but I would argue that the Orcish and Ebony both look pretty good (and ebony is plenty good for “endgame”, you easily hit the armor cap with it. Daedric and Dragonplate are superfluous once you have high skills in heavy armor and smithing).

    I do agree that they really need to get rid of the unkillable NPCs thing. Bring back the failure-states like they had in Morrowind; the “Do you want to continue in this doomed world?” thing. How do you punish people for playing like a sociopath? Cut them off from content, easy-peasy. “Ruining” sidequests is something that you should be able to do.

    • GM says:

      I like Skyrim so much that i have 214 hours in it yet what part is there i most like? i guess the dungeons there isnt much else,i have had fun exploring the world and have seen the notched pickaxe and some things,i really like the scenic mod it allows you to see the world without random wolfs and bears etc and quite quickly too on a cart.

      • Warrax says:

        The game is definitely at it’s best when it’s not writing things at you. Its all the little small narratives and bits of environmental storytelling that make the game worth going back to for hundreds of hours.

        The game was definitely worth the price of admission for me despite it’s flaws. And there are a lot of flaws, I could go on and on about what was done poorly.

        • “The game is definitely at it’s best when it’s not writing things at you.”

          ^^^THIS^^^

          ***WARNING*** WALL O WORDS INCOMING! ***WARNING***

          From a design point of view, player motivation in Skyrim is defined solely as a mechanic: acquiring and completing quests and that’s it. It’s very rudimentary mechanic that the game tries to hide through narratives that present you as a vital participant whose actions have dramatic impacts on the NPCs the quests revolve around. This creates a lot of dissonance issues. For one, the game’s character and facial animations simply aren’t capable of carrying the level of drama asked of them by the narratives and second, the very nature of this repetitive mechanic means the suspension of disbelief gets really strained really quick as you start butting your head in other peoples business for no good reason and then agree to put yourself in harms way for people you don’t know…often without any indication you’ll be rewarded for the effort.

          I would have respected AND have been so much more immersed in the game if it had made it a point NOT to make you important or valued in its world. I wanted all them quests I did to be post-it notes plastered all over an Adventurer’s Guild job board. Something meta along those lines to indicate that you were just a person doing a job and were not a big deal to anyone. This would have freed up the world from having to revolve around you and would have made it seem that much more like an actual world and not just your personal virtual ego stroking device. The only exception I’d say being the main quest, since that’s largely done entirely behind the scenes …which actually means it makes no sense when random people start hailing you a hero, but whatevs.

          Far Cry 2 did this to great effect. None of the characters that gave you missions to complete actually considered you an important asset. Just the opposite, you were sent to do dangerous secret missions because you were expendable. There were some dozen other characters they could send off to do the same damn thing if you failed. By making you unimportant to the characters driving the narrative, it completely side stepped all the dissonance issues while still maintaining the game’s themes, atmosphere and believability.

          • Warrax says:

            Oh, I’ve seen far bigger word-walls around here :D

            The Great Destiny/Chosen One[tm] tropes are way over done in every type of media IMO. Morrowind made it feel like you were the Nerevarine because you chose to be; if you didn’t fulfill the prophecies someone else would, or the world would just end (it’s been a while, but that’s how I remember it). In Oblivion you were just some schmuck that was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but Skyrim suffers from the fact that you are The Golden Dovakiin because… reasons, just go with it.

            • Well the ‘Chosen One’ works for the main quest because that’s where the big prophesy nonsense is being focused. It works there and in terms of Skyrim, the majority of your involvement is very back door-ish, so the regular populace wouldn’t really acknowledge you about it, save for the occasional rumors perhaps.

              Thankfully, they don’t involve any ‘chosen one’ nonsense for a good majority of the sidequests. No, the problem as I previously stated is that they still try to find ways to make your involvement dramatic for every quest, no matter how menial it actually is. Again, ignoring the fact the game can’t convey the drama the writing asks of it, the shear amount of menial quests that try to be dramatically relevant renders them absurd and destroys the immersion the game has so much potential to provide.

              And again, having a world presenting these menials tasks as something akin to a job you’re hired for is a very effective remedy because it gives the world a much more honest flavor and shows respect to you as a player by not automatically assuming you’re a child that wants to be the center of attention at all times.

    • Tizzy says:

      Think about all the choices that Skyrim offers you though! Well, I can kill this guy with a spell, or I can hack him appart with my axe, or I can use a dragon shout. And you can even meet people in the wilderness that you don’t have to kill!…

    • LunaticFringe says:

      Hell yes, I loved ruining side quests the first time I played through New Vegas. Randomly kill some raider guy in a vault? Side quest for the Great Khans failed. It gave me good pointers where to go on my next playthrough.

      It’s far more fulfilling to just go through and murder Caesar’s Legion Josh-style then go through the horror that is Skyrim’s civil war questline.

  16. Ilseroth says:

    All that chatter about Skyrim and New Vegas and lack of roleplaying and not one mention of ubiquitous voice acting? I mean, I enjoy the Elder Scrolls series and even Skyrim; but one of the major issues is the focus on making games more movie like. It isn’t enough to have a game cleverly written, you have to have voice actors now.

    Worse still, you also talked about the lack of capability to do total conversions and the truth lies here as well. In mods nowadays people will actually complain if you don’t have voice acting. You could compose a written work of master quality and people will endlessly harp on you for the fact that when your NPCs don’t speak out loud.

    Part of the problem with that is it is already challenging to consider where the player is coming from in a role playing game. Are they evil or just pragmatic? Are they good, or just lying? Now take all of the possible choices and distill it to a reasonable number… now get someone who can properly convey ALL of that verbally. So you need a good actor, but let’s not forget about good recording equipment. Even the best actor sounds poor if the recording hardware and software is garbage.

    This is all extremely expensive, so much so that major developers can’t do it, nonetheless mod makers.

    In all honesty, having played some quest mods for Skyrim, I would actually *prefer* not having voices because a lot of the ones, even highly rated ones, have either poorly acted or poorly recorded dialogue. I’d rather just having the silence.

    Best thing about an imagination, if something is written well, it sounds beautiful even if only in your head.

    • AdmiralCheez says:

      I think the problem people have with unvoiced mod NPCs is the sudden shock of encountering something that differs from the entire rest of the game. Every other NPC has a voice actor, so the player comes to expect that everyone will have one. So, when they encounter a person that has speech but no sound, it breaks what they were expecting to happen and draws them out of the experience.

      It would be like having an armor mod that has no texture file. It might have the coolest-looking mesh, but it ends up looking like a blank, gray, featureless object that draws attention to itself for being unfinished and not blending with the standards set by the rest of the game.

      Sure, it would be nice if everyone could overlook the fact that it’s a mod, and therefore doesn’t have a budget for voice actors, but to a lot of people, having unvoiced (or poorly voiced) NPCs makes the mod feel like a mod, and not something that could conceivably be a part of the base game.

      • Ilseroth says:

        Sorry, I didn’t mean to focus so heavily on that as an Idea. The key thing that I was trying to put forward is that one of the major reasons why games are as conversationally linear as they are nowadays is primarily because of voice acting.

        It has become the expected and even mods are being judged by the same expectations nowadays. And while I agree with you that it is a bit of a shock to go from voice acting to no voice acting in the same game. Going from professionally recorded paid voice actors to people on headset mics who aren’t particularly talented can be much worse.

        Of course implying the voice actors in skyrim are talented is… kinda silly anyways but I think my point is still valid.

        • AdmiralCheez says:

          Oh yeah, I completely agree with everything you’re saying. If I had to choose between no voice acting, and a bad voice actor on a headset mic, I’d probably choose the silent option. I was just speculating on why people would complain about a mod having no voice acting. Sadly, it seems the only way people would be satisfied is to have high-quality audio, which just isn’t possible for everyone.

    • Neko says:

      Ah, damn, I was about to make this exact same point. As someone who was heavily into the Morrowind modding community back in the day, I remember how the introduction of full voice acting in Oblivion had a huge effect on what mods could be made.

      In Morrowind, you could make these huge sprawling epic storylines, with deeply branching and clever dialogue. Mods which were practically expansion packs in their own right like Lokken, or mods which added the sort of rich companion you could never find in the stock game like Julan.

      Then Oblivion comes out and, well, if you want to do dialogue that isn’t jarring, it’s got to be voiced like all the rest of it. You can’t insert your own topics into existing NPCs because you don’t have access to those voice actors, and if you want more than one character in your mod you’d better start recruiting some help. Furthermore, even if you went for silent text, you only got to display about two lines at a time.

      The result was a lot of “Hey I modded in this sword from Final Fantasy” or “Hey I made another dungeon full of monsters” mods, and not a lot of engaging story (my apologies to those people who successfully pulled this off: I only meant to say that it was considerably rarer to find mods of such quality).

  17. Annikai says:

    I was playing Scribblenauts once. There was a farmer that needed animals and I couldn’t think of a third one so I summoned Cthulhu. Cthulhu promptly killed everything on screen and I failed.

  18. Am I the only one whose brain started cramping a bit during the Scott Pilgrim discussion where “like” was being used to mean “I enjoy something” amongst a larger amount of “like” uses that were basically stand-ins for “uh…”?

    • X2-Eliah says:

      Wait, like, don’t you like like the ‘proper’ use of, like, “like”?

      Also, like what if “like” was used for like comparing stuff that’s a-like, like so? Would you, like, like that? Or would that, like, be unlikely?

  19. impassiveimperfect says:

    RUSTKARN DID YOU REMEMBER THE NAME OF THE RPG YOU MENTIONED ABOUT HIGH SCHOOL DND MONSTERS??? I NEED TO KNOW

    But yeah, could be of interest (if you remember (and read this (or remember and say it elsewhere but not having read this))).

  20. X2-Eliah says:

    Hm. So this podcast is all about trying to talk about how Skyrim is not a tabletop rpg? ‘Cause that discussion sure needed repeating hundredth bajillionth time on the Internet.

    Anyway. Imo Skyrim is not a tabletop rpg or an rpg (at least if you are the type of person who tries to define rpg as “ROLE vs ROLL playing game”, and if you are – wow, you must be fun to talk to, eh?), but it is a vido game and I happen to enjoy it a lot regardless of what semantics people on Internet choose to bicker about. *sunglasses & deal with it .jif*

    • The Rocketeer says:

      It’s disingenuous to say that video games can’t aspire to offering good roleplay, because in discussing it they named several games that they enjoyed for doing just that. I’d also wonder why Skyrim was pretending so hard to be an RPG if it actually wasn’t one.

      In any case, what I would do in this situation is correct them if they were mistaken of the facts. If they were not (as here), or if this failed to improve their opinion of it, agree to disagree. What I wouldn’t do is accuse them of being a contentious pedant, especially if I was going to get really defensive and quarrel about definitions.

      • Tizzy says:

        It’s a game that has swords, magic and dragons! Of course it’s an RPG!!!

        Kidding aside, I’m in the camp of those who really enjoyed Skyrim, except the parts where it was trying to role-play or have a story. These parts failed miserably to impress me.

    • Shamus says:

      Hm. So it’s a post trying to invalidate perfectly legitimate and common complaints about the game by setting up a false dichotomy between tabletop and videogame-based titles and then snarking at people who make distinctions between games that value mechanics instead of narrative.

      Wow, you must be fun to talk to, eh?

      More seriously: You can still like Skyrim if you want. It’s okay. But your incongruous hostility and condescension don’t negate the fact that unkillable NPCs are really a major source of frustration for the player and there are a lot of different ways this problem could be addressed.

  21. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Woah,woah,woah!Rutskarn is old enough for high school?!Man,they grow up so fast.

  22. Daemian Lucifer says:

    You didnt even have to make fun of batman movie being made as a different movie,since they did make the man of steel.

  23. Daemian Lucifer says:

    You guy just want to play scribblenauts directed by shodan(well,at least Shamoose wants that).

  24. Naota says:

    I should probably be making an article of this, but…

    Both Chris and Josh are correct: the scope of mod projects is suffering because of the expectation of higher production values and also because developers don’t provide the proper support. While it’s easier than ever to make yourself a custom weapon, vehicle, or character for a game engine, the amount of effort that goes into these things compared to a decade ago has increased tenfold or more. Obviously, a game’s developer must let you mod it for this to be possible at all.

    It’s very difficult to put together a team of people with the incentive to stick together and make an entire modern game’s worth of content at the same standards of quality, where ten years ago one guy with less developed art skills could feasibly build and texture all of the levels in a game like Thief in half a year.

    The tools for making mod content also aren’t always easier to use, as game development itself is becoming fractally more complex. At some point around 2004-2005, game developers decided to eschew Quake-style BSP construction which could be done right in the editor for pre-built 3D model props created in a package like 3DS Max. This allowed them to shed the boxy look of games like the original Half-Life and increase their overall level of detail, but it’s creatively stifling and has an enormous barrier of entry. I can safely say I would not have gotten into game development if it had placed the same demands on the creator that engines do today. The incredible difficulty wall to making even a simple playable room would have turned my 13-year-old self away forever.

    For comparison:

    To make a door in Quake, you open the editor and drag out a doorway shape with a door in it which you make into a sliding entity, then you assign both a generic door texture. Anyone can do it with a little instruction. To make a door in Unreal 3, you model a high-poly door with high-poly techniques and a low-poly door with low-poly techniques in 3DS Max, lay out the texture coordinates for the low-poly door, bake the high-poly into a normal map for the low-poly, create level of detail models for the door, create a custom texture from scratch (don’t forget the specular and gloss maps you have to paint!) in Photoshop, then correctly compile and import all of this into the engine.

    Having done all of this, you have a single door floating in empty space. Now you need to do it again for every single variation of wall, floor, or ceiling so you can have one very empty room.

    This nonsense hurts far more than the scope of mod projects – it’s ruining the design depth of actual retail games.

    Total conversions still do exist; I’m still developing for one which has had a full-featured release, Black Mesa Source was released relatively recently, and both NS2 and Chivalry are cheaply-priced (by FPS standards) retail games spawned from full conversion mods. It’s a very hard road now, and for the amount of effort put in, modders are either giving up on the prospect of making their own game, or they’re finding it more and more justified to take that extra step and sell their work as a proper title.

    It’s taken us more than six years of work to make Firearms: Source – nearly the entire life of the Source engine if you believe the rumours of Source 2 – and I can’t see modders keeping up at this rate unless they abandon the pursuit of photorealism and ultra high-fidelity graphics for a comfortable middle ground between detail and speed (hopefully with a strong art style to boot!)

    • X2-Eliah says:

      Myeah. Another issue closely related to this is that for 3d modelling – which you now have to do to introduce new things in a game you’re modding – there’s really two choices: one is Autodesk suite (maya or 3dsmax), which are strong, and work well, and are reasonably viable to learn*. And they also cost an insane amount of money – and the student versions, which you can only get via a proper university identity – naturally forbit any sort of profiteering. Which is a nightmare if you’re making a ‘dependency’ mod…

      Or, you can use Blender. Free to use, completely… and an utter nightmare to use and work with*, and often has problems with export formatting (especially if the game requires custom format). And nearly no professional dev uses blender at all for videogame asset making – it’s all 3ds/maya.

      This level-of-detail requirement is, in part, why I’m really skeptical abount modding potential of, e.g., Star Citizen – it’s a game dedicated to hyperdetailing, and I just don’t see non-professional fans / modders coming even close to the standard set. And frankly – the time and effort involved to actually make a proper mod, with new content, for a modern game, means you a) have to team up with other talented people, b) essentially work full-time for no returns, c) deal with way less support and toolbase than the devs had access to.

      Hm. Is it fair to say that modding is a somewhat dying discipline nowadays compared to 10/15 yrs ago?

      *- saying that because I’ve gone & learned them both on my own. And yes, it does take a good amount of time.

      • Aldowyn says:

        There’s also the increased popularity of video games in general and the widespread availability of the internet as things making mods more common, I’d say. It definitely depends on the game, perhaps more so than it used to, but there are a LOT of mods out there for some games (Skyrim comes to mind…)

        • Hydralysk says:

          I’d have to agree about it being heavily dependent on the game. Pretty much any Obsidian or Bethesda game has a strong modding community that springs up behind it. From my own experiences I can at least vouch that TCs are not dead, though they are by no means plentiful.

          I’ve been relying on the Freespace modding community for the past decade and a 1/2 when it comes to my space combat fix. Just in the past 3 years I’ve seen Freespace Open total conversions for Wing Commander, Battlestar Galactica, and an original Gundam-styled universe. Most of them are fully voice acted by the community which is a bit of a grab bag, but not as bad as I’d feared. That’s not even counting the older Babylon 5 umbrella project and the multitude of campaigns set in the Freespace universe.

      • Naota says:

        I wouldn’t call modding dead or dying, as more and more people are taking it up as a way to practice or get into the industry as games become more ubiquitous, but I do think it’s changed forms dramatically over the last little while.

        There are endless mods for games like Skyrim – perhaps more endless than ever, yet the overwhelming majority are single-author tweaks to isolated aspects of the game that already exists. The ambition to make something totally new out of a game isn’t often there. Most mods are “It’s Skyrim but with..!” rather than “It barely resembles Skyrim any more!” the way mods for games like Half-Life and Quake used to work.

        This is a microcosm for modding as a whole. I think there will always be people like me who sign on to projects to make triple-A quality work in hopes of landing a position at a games company, but the scope of those projects, even with a lot of us working together, is shrinking as games become ever more detailed and effort-intensive to create.

        You could make simpler, less detailed content to create a solid game with lots of content just like the old days, and I wish this would happen more often, but in the present state of things that’s not as useful as a portfolio piece, is it?

        • Wedge says:

          There’s another aspect to this, which I think is actually a good thing: the rise of indie games. Ten years ago, if you put in the tons of work required to make a TC, you released it for free and hoped the exposure would land you a job in the industry, if you were REALLY REALLY lucky. Now, you can put that same amount of work into the Unity engine, and sell your game for real cash money. It’s certainly changed the landscape of the mod scene, but on the flip side there are a lot MORE opportunities for people who want to do those things now than ever before–it just doesn’t all fall under the banner of “modding” anymore.

  25. RTBones says:

    Kinetic…yeah (shudders).

    So, after listening to the podcast, I went looking for up to date info on the Kinetic and what Microsoft says about it with relation to the XBone.

    Then, I stumble across this article.

    So, my question (assuming this article is true when the XBone is released):

    If I can TURN OFF all the Kinetic “features”, including the voice command stuff – why, EXACTLY, do I need it connected at all?

    Further, looking at Shamus’s point about how letting engineers make the assumption that they will always have Kinetic makes their life easier (he’s right, it does) – if I can power everything off, as an engineer, I am required by default to have two states (powered on and off), so the benefit of assuming the Kinetic will always be there goes away. Why do I need this thing again?

  26. Thomas says:

    I think Scott Pilgrim is meant for 5ish more years than Rutskarn’s sort of age because a lot of it was based of O’Malley’s life experience. It was one of my favourite films but the first time I viewed it I thought it was a bit emotionally dead. But when I rewatched it I saw all the emotion and conflict that I’d missed. Now my one big regret is the way they handled the chip on Ramona’s neck because they sort of said ‘it’s not a metaphor’ when it should be.

    It’s also pretty much the perfect adaptation ever, it really feels like what the author would have created if he was a film director instead of an author*. The changes were all natural changes and they adopted a filming style that so suited the books delivery.

    But the books are still way better despite the film being great in my eyes. The big thing is the books have time when the films don’t. Because books are slower, everything that happens happens over more than a year and it’s all very real and sort of chilled with time to look at everyone’s ins and outs and how friends hang out with each other. Whereas the film has to take place over a few nights

    *In some ways that what happened. They were plotting the film way before the books were finished and the author was talking a lot with the director and even stole some jokes from him. Also the books still weren’t finished when they wrote the ending. An original ending had him ending up with Knives which was so wrong. ‘I’m too cool for you’ was the perfect way to resolve that arc

  27. Thomas says:

    I love Chris for finding the link between Skyrim and Scribblenauts, that’s such a smart idea. There must be something errant signally there.

    My best case of a game providing dialogue for RPing that I did not expect was Dragon Age, where I decided to be a really insecure city elf, whose always picking fights and talking all this mystical bs that he’s created to distract from the inferiority of being poor and weak and trapped in an alienage. And I decided he would always be telling these stupid stories about this fantastic powerful elves etc

    … and then not 5 minutes into the game I run into some children who are playing a game and you can totally tell them a BS story about powerful mystic elves. I was impressed

  28. Thomas says:

    Oh man, you guys meet some not so nice people. I’ve been lucky never to really see the people who’d ask questions along the ‘justify your hobby’ lines. I get people who try to make polite conversation and so they try to ask questions about my interests, but there’s never anything aggressive about it, they’re just pursuing a line of conversation thats not really going to work out for them.

    I feel bad when they’re people who know only a little bit of knowledge. Because they hope it’s going to be an avenue they’re able to talk about ‘What sort of games do you play, enjoy a bit of CoD?’ and then I have to say RPG and they have to leave their comfort zone and get lost again :(

    • Scampi says:

      Huh, I always thought having to legitimize one’s hobby was normal procedure…not that I demand explanations from anyone (except if I really don’t see any possible merit, even for the person who does it), but it seems whenever I tell anyone what I do, they tend to try and raise themselves above me…I make it harder by being interested in a broad range of things, but seriously: there are lots and lots of people who like the feeling of supposed superiority. Actually, I think there are no complete exceptions (yes, I include myself, of course), but I might as well be wrong there. But please, nobody should tell me how he doesn’t do it, since it’s usually not believable for obvious reasons.

  29. slipshod says:

    To this day, I can’t fathom why people call The Aristocrats spiel a “joke.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard a version of it that I found humorous.

    Also: Brick is a wicked, utterly fantastic film. 500 Days, on the other hand, made me want to incinerate Deschanel’s character.

    Mumbles, think you’ll enjoy Don Jon?

    • Mumbles says:

      I’m not sure. Honestly from what I’ve seen a lot of the characters remind me of people I’ve known over the years…and have disliked greatly. So we’ll see.

    • Steve C says:

      I don’t believe The Aristocrats is supposed to be a joke. It’s supposed to be a delivery. Subtly different. Rutskarn nailed it when he compared it to a cooking ingredient.

  30. Lame Duck says:

    Chris and Mumbles mentioned MOBAs and how awful their communities are; I’ve always found it really fascinating how these games with an almost exclusively multiplayer focus are designed in a way that really encourages people to hate each other – to a degree that it almost seems intentional.

    • Scampi says:

      I don’t think it’s by design. I’d rather believe this is the average mindset of people playing these games: they want to compete with others (aggressively), defeat them and feed their own self-esteem (and delusions of grandeur) while humiliating everyone else. So, in the case I experienced, the WC3 DotA Allstars, there would be on an average 7-8 big egos trying to own everyone else (even the own team) in a game where victory would (in most cases) be achieved by cooperation. Rarely you’d find a team that played as such.
      So, I think it’s not the design that creates this mindset, but attracts people that show and promote it.

      • Thomas says:

        As an addition, people who play Starcraft (even pros) sometimes talk about how bad losing a game can make you feel, it’s easy to fall into thinking you must be stupid or really bad at the game, whatever and it can be pretty hard to deal with at times. LoL is a similar sort of game in that you’re very constantly made aware of the tactical situation and the long-term consequences of what you do. (If you screw up in TF2, you might not even notice you screwed up and the game won’t really highlight so much that your team is doing badly because you’re not being smart enough or similar.) No-one wants to feel like that so they project the feeling onto other people to save themselves (plus it’s always easier to see other people failing, because lots of mistakes are made by not noticing the mistake)

        I found it interesting that Extra Credits were encouraging people to blame it on the designers instead, because its sort of the designers jobs to take it. They figured it was better if everyone bitched about Nunu being OP than having a go at each other.

        • Scampi says:

          Another part of the problem is the tactical part of having guides on the web. I don’t like following guides (I read some, but never followed any of them, was just interested) and prefer coming up with strategies of my own. But many people are OBSESSED with guide playing and believe in those. If a champion/hero/other player comes up with something unusual that they don’t understand, they’ll complain and constantly tell him about what they perceive as horrible mistakes. Everything that goes wrong will be blamed on unorthodox builds or playing styles, even when the guys using them play them incredibly successfully.

          • Trix200 says:

            To be fair, a lot of guides are really good and helpful. The problem is that, too often, people take them too religiously and can’t adapt to a given situation. The guides are decent to get a start, but to be a better player, you have to start looking past them to develop your own playstyles and nuances.

            Of course, if you ask me, it shouldn’t matter either way as long as you try to have fun with it. I mean, that is what we play games for, right? :(

  31. papersloth says:

    Oh come on, big mods still come out, and still can provide more enjoyment than commercial games (Cry of Fear, Black Mesa, DayZ, Dark Mod…).

    What modern games would you expect to have total conversions anyway? It’s not like games these days generally have a significant following lasting for more than a year. And since half of big multiplatform ones are made on UE3 anyway, if you have a bunch of people ready to get their hands dirty as a team, you might as well make a full game and sell it (team not required – see Antichamber).

    And also, it’s not like two decades ago megawads didn’t take years to create. Entry barrier is higher only if you try to compete with AAA projects, the barrier for gluing a bunch of stuff together in Unity is as low as ever.

  32. GOG (Good Old Games) is probably the coolest gameshop out there…

    But it also really sucks when your broke…

    Why GOG whyyyyyyyy GOG up to 85% off? *gargle*

    I hate my life sometimes.

  33. Tony Kebell says:

    @ 1:00:00 in: Ah poor Mumbles );

  34. Tony Kebell says:

    I had little to no issues going to and from M&Ks to controllers. I don’t get it?

    • Thomas says:

      If you’re not used to controllers at all, it probably takes a little while to pick up using dual analogue sticks? (And knowing which button is which. I still can’t use 360 controllers without pressing the bottom button instead of X)

  35. Tony Kebell says:

    Bezerker button…

    (there were emotes here, but Shamus’ oddly efficient comment system mistook them for code…welp)
    BATMAN SUCKS!

  36. Tony Kebell says:

    The PS2 Eyetoy, those few games were fun…

  37. BeardedDork says:

    I’m pretty sure there were five.
    Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Stephanie Brown, Tim Drake, and Damian Wayne.

    Do I get Mumbles points?

  38. Paul Spooner says:

    “Nobody ever asks about videogames!”
    Shamus, isn’t that because you never leave your house?

    Really good summary of the conundrum of the Kinect at 1:11:30 and following. You should really transcribe and expand this monologue into a blog post! Well said.

  39. Ateius says:

    Dwemer armour in Morrowind looked awesome and weird because it was specifically defined as being, not dwemer armour, but salvaged pieces of dwemer machines that modern-day persons crudely fashioned into armour because of the strong properties of the metal. You’re basically wearing hollowed-out steampunk robot.

    Oblivion and Skyrim tossed that idea and give you actual armour that would have been designed or worn by the Dwemer. I find both look far less interesting than Morrowind’s design, but of the two I prefer Skyrim’s version.

    Another example of how memorable Morrowind’s strong worldbuilding was. Man I miss that.

  40. JPH says:

    I love 500 Days of Summer!

  41. Traiden(Andrew) says:

    I could have sworn I put a “and” in that sentence, ah well I am happy enough that it got read on the podcast and was enough to inspire around 10 minutes of discussion. I will try and think up another one for next week, thanks for doing this podcast and spoiler warning.

    as for a pronunciation guide for my chosen moniker, it is: T•raid-den. That is about as close as I can get not knowing offhand how to write rolling an r.

  42. hborrgg says:

    At some point I looked it up on the wiki and was rather surprised to find that there really weren’t that many protected NPCs in Fallout 3. Aside from the children, it really just boils down to the brotherhood, a few random people in rivet city, and your dad, that’s it. Compare that to Skyrim where literally every other person and their dog is immortal.

    Looking back at Skyrim and why I liked it so much I think part of it was, like Mumbles mentioned, you have to be the kind of person who isn’t going to be too bothered by a cow floating 3 feet above the ground (really if that breaks your immersion then I don’t think you’re quite into the spirit of things). The other part might just be that, in retrospect, I didn’t really bother to give the game any respect right from the start. In fact the very first thing I did when I started playing was to set the difficulty to very easy and from there it basically played a lot like Minecraft only with less building and more things to do. But it was fun and, over time, the places where the game actually did work very well really started to grow on me.

  43. abs1nth says:

    Long time listener, first time poster.

    I just had to chime in regarding your comments about Skyrim.

    To Chris’ point: Skyrim has more roleplaying options than any game out there. The amount of choice and control you have is unparalelled. If roleplaying to you is only choosing dialogue, then maybe. In Skyrim it is more about the actions you take or DON’T take. This is important because there are almost no other games that allow you to say no to any quest. It is roleplaying in the truest sense. Most Bioware games are actually less about roleplaying and more about maximizing systems when you analyze it.

    About unkillable characters: I share the frustration but understand that this is a problem without an easy solution. First off Mavin is a key character for the entire thief questline and also involved in other quests. The reason quest characters are turned essential is to prevent them dying during radiant AI events such as dragon attacks or while they are walking around in the wilderness.

    On dull armors: I agree. When you look at the artwork they actually look cool but there is just something about the colors that just make them look super generic. Sometimes a simple recoloring mod can make them look great.

  44. abs1nth says:

    Thanks for answering my question about Kinect! I’m surprised I’m in the minority in viewing this as problematic. Maybe I should have given more context in the question but I didn’t want to force my view or make it about what I think.

    The problem is that I can’t think of a single good reason for mandating Kinect to be always connected. Shamus mentioned the simplification for engineers but really about what difficulty are we talking about, the only thing that would need to happen is you start a game text says you need to plug in Kinect, you plug in Kinect, game starts – just like with the Wii and the Nunchuk. That doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.

    The argument that because it’s a key feature is also invalid because there is only one way to get people to use your stuff and that’s providing appealing functionality if people don’t want to take advantage of that having Kinect on doesn’t change anything.

    So what “bad” reasons could they have? Well, maybe what Josh mentioned future DRM plans that use the Kinect, maybe datamining or NSA-related business.

    Having Kinect always plugged in isn’t a big deal the reasons why Microsoft might force you to ensure that are.

  45. Steve C says:

    I’ve never heard much from Mumbles until this Diecast (I don’t watch Spoiler Warning- ya ya, sue me.) I feel like I’ve been missing out mutha-fucking Mumbles all this time. The diatribes at @53:00, @60:00, @65:20, were all pure awesomesauce.

    So with a lot of talk in this episode about Batman and women having to represent their entire gender… what are your feelings about Harley Quinn?

    • Mumbles says:

      :3 ty sir

      okay so like. Harley Quinn. Let’s pretend we aren’t talking about New 52. The neat thing about Harley is that she’s evolved past some dummy that fell in love with Joker. If you read Gotham City Sirens and some of the Gotham Underground stuff (also the Detective Comics issue where her and Riddler go off on adventures) it’s clear that she actually really fucking understands how people work. And, she’s smart in this intuition kind of way. Plus super fucking witty, funny and caring towards people when she’s not crazy.

      When she is crazy? She gets this cool meanness to her that even the rogue gallery don’t know how to deal with. A lot of her solo series is her dropping in on guys like Riddler and Two-Face and them going “….what the fuck is even happening”. It’s pretty rad!

      As far as New 52? She’s just Joker 2.0. So. That’s. Boring.

  46. Mike says:

    First things first: my favorite diecast ever, just don’t ask why.

    Second thing:

    Despite everything said about high-fidelity games vs mods, comparing the original fallouts (drink!) vs New Vegas, I’ve played a hell out of latter with a lot more (and much more diverse) mods than the former ones.
    And that considering /me being nma-fallout junkie (shame on rutz!), having played fo2 as it came out.
    Having issue with black-on-brown scope crosshairs, NV was really the first fallout I modded.

    Imho total conversions were always a black swan, but berthesda engine and practices worked for modding community better than open-sourcing original fallouts (though, admittedly, years overdue), so despte skepticism about where current mod-complexity trends are heading, so far I’d say (with as little authority as possible) we’re in a better position wrt modding in popular pick-your-adventure rogue-like/RPG games than ever before.
    Gut feeling is that making them more accessible to a wider audience did the trick.

  47. Retsam says:

    Really enjoyed the discussion on sharing the hobby. (Though I don’t think I’ll be taking the Mumbles approach any time soon)

    I usually approach this by saying I’m “into video games as a medium/industry”, (with the decision between “medium” and “industry” depending mostly on how strongly I happen to be feeling about “games as art” at the given moment).

    Otherwise, if I say “into video games”, I think people just assume I mean that I have no friends and never leave the house. Often I make the comparison to film, because I think people generally understand the difference between someone who just watches a ton of movies and someone who’s “into movies”.

    Even among videogamers, though, sometimes I struggle to “share the hobby” when it comes to anime. Too much fandumb and general genre misconceptions there.

    • Wedge says:

      The problem I have is that most people I talk to don’t fall into the two camps they mentioned–it’s usually not “haha I’m looking down on you and your dumb hobby” or “oh you like videogames I am legitimately interested”. What I usually get is people politely asking about it but not actually giving a shit about it, which makes it impossible to have a conversation, because they don’t actually care enough to engage in the conversation. They’re not really being mean, just awkward.

  48. anaphysik says:

    Wouldn’t a pacifist playthrough of Skyrim be really easy? I mean, nearly everyone is tagged as essential /ANYWAY/, right? ;D

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