Diecast #38: Frozen, No Man’s Sky, and Rambling

By Shamus
on Dec 11, 2013
Filed under:
Diecast

We usually do a little warm-up before the show. We talk for a bit and get our brains thinking about games. But about ten minutes into the warm-up we realized we were basically doing the show, so we started recording. No plan. No designated host. No timer. The result is two hours of rambling and confusion.

You’re welcome.


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Hosts: Rutskarn, Josh, Chris, and Shamus.

Show notes:

18:30 Frozen

We’re talking about the recent Disney movie. Here’s the MovieBob review I mentioned.

25:00 Rustkarn is playing Shadowrun Returns.

30:00 Rutskarn also finished Skyrim.

This completes his multi-game play-through of the Elder Scrolls series.

40:30 Shamus is playing Batman: Arkham Origins and Starbound.

48:00 We stop the podcast for a minute to watch the trailer for No Man’s Sky, and then come back to share our reactions.

During this segment I said that there’s no way this is an indie project by four people. In this RPS interview it sounds like the team is actually four people.

57:30 Josh picked up a bunch of Steam sale games, so we talk about Chivalry and Godus and Europa Universalis.

1:40:00 Chris is playing Need for Speed: Rivals and Long Live the Queen.

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A Hundred!2018There are 138 comments here. I really hope you like reading.

From the Archives:

  1. Tizzy says:

    Re: procedural generation and No Man’s Sky, my problem with it is always that procedural does not guarantee an interesting game world.

    It CAN produce one, and I agree that the method has a lot of potential. But if you’re not careful, you tend to produce random boring stuff. So when a game’s marketing places too much emphasis on the procedural aspect, I am wary.

    I guess the problem is that realistic worlds are not particularly interesting either. If I dropped you at a random point of my neighborhood, it would be realistic, pretty, but boring.

    • The Rocketeer says:

      The trick to procedural stuff is rigging it to produce crazy, interesting stuff with enough regularity to keep people on the hunt for it but not often enough that they don’t have to keep on the hunt for it. That’s hard, not to put too fine a point on it.

      That said, knowing nothing about it but the trailer linked in the show notes, I will certainly keep No Man’s Sky in mind.

      • Tizzy says:

        Yes. I was having trouble finding the right words when I first posted. But basically, the draw of procedural stuff, which I can completely appreciate, is the ability to create a lot of content for cheap.

        Where you start having a problem is when game designer take this as a license to be lazy, and basically go: “our content is just so-so, but just you wait until you see how much of it we have.” Daggerfall soured me on that one, and I don’t think I’ve ever completely recovered since.

      • ET says:

        I think you’d get a lot of really interesting, varied content, if you successfully married the more traditional human-crafted stuff, with randomized stuff.
        Take Spelunky, for example; It’s got differing levels of human-crafted mixed with randomized stuff, from the largest pieces of the maps, to a single block or two being added/subtracted from the human-crafted larger pieces.
        Now, if you play that game for any length of time, you’ll see where the seams are, and what the patterns are, but that was also a game created by something like…two guys?
        Just imagine if you had a game created by a dozen artists and a dozen programmers.
        Unfortunately, for this to work, I think the game would need to be made from the outset, knowing that the programmers and artists are going to need to be tightly integrated, and probably have a few of them who are skilled and/or work on both sides.

        This is pretty far outside of (from what I’ve heard/read) how most games are made, so I don’t think it’s going to happen very soon.
        I could be wrong, though.
        For all I know, the guys behing No Man’s Sky could be just the right mix of artist/programmer, the right size, and enough money from their previous game, that NMS could end up being the first game to actually do this really well.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      Well, I would argue that “realistic worlds” are more interesting in games than in real life, because the cost of experimentation is (or should be) so much less in games. If I could dig a huge hole in a random point in your neighborhood, or spawn in a bunch of landmines, or organize a relief fund, or repair the roads, or build a mile tall self-sufficient tower, or whatever else, that would make a “boring” situation interesting. When you’re in a game, you can play with the situation in ways that are too expensive, time-consuming, dangerous, or morally reprehensible in real life.

      That said, I didn’t really see many signs that “No Man’s Sky” is shaping up to produce interesting revelations about the nature of the real world, or any other world. I’m certainly hoping it turns out really well, and that it’s fun to explore, but I’m certainly reserving judgement about the interestingness (for lack of a better phrase) of the procedural content.

  2. Mersadeon says:

    The weird thing is, I played Shadowrun Returns before really getting into Shadowrun (only knowing the basics of the setting) and I liked it. But once I really got into it, with Sourcebooks and wanting to run a campaign, I started to… not dislike, but certainly to like the game less, for its design. Like how it was irrelevant which class YOU chose, because at any time a decker will pop into your party if you need one.

    • Mersadeon says:

      Ok, to elaborate, since there is no Edit anymore: One of the biggest things in Shadowrun is that which class you have effing matters. Don’t have a Decker? Well you will have to plan your entire run around that. You have to track down a guy, but you don’t have any magic available? Better keep a damn close eye on him, because you won’t be finding him in the Astral Realm. But in SR, since the story is on such tight rails, none of this ever matters. Your Player Character can’t possibly matter.

      On the other hand, the Berlin expansion in January seems to fix a lot of that – it’s supposedly a lot more open. We’ll see. I haven’t dived into the mod-pool on this one yet, I am always shy about that stuff.

      • ET says:

        I’m hoping that Dragonfall (the new name of the Berlin expansion) adds a lot of new items/weapons/stuff, which was missing from the basic game.
        Like, for example, the whole cyberware thing was essentially half or a quarter of what’s available in pen and paper Shadowrun, even just using the basic source book.
        It’s been a while since I played the (video) game, but it’s only got alpha and beta levels, and only a couple cyberware mods.

        I tried to add some of my own, but good gravy;
        The mod/dev tools for this game are just…horrible.
        Like, if these are the tools that the devs used to make their game, I can see why the game feels so empty and half-finished;
        Pretty much everything needs to be placed one-at-a-time, and…I dunno, slow?
        Cumbersome?
        Not meant to actually speed up productivity?
        Am I just biased from map maker tools from the last twenty-odd years in other games, like Red Alert II, Warcraft 3, etc?

    • MadHiro says:

      The thing about Shadowrun Return’s default campaign is that it is pretty blatantly a ‘demo’ run for the toolset. There’s a little bit of everything that you can make in the engine there, but not very much of any of it. What’s startling is how good t manages to be despite that.

      • Mersadeon says:

        Well, tell that to all the people who thought they were buying a game, not a service platform.

      • Rutskarn says:

        Grumpiness ahoy:

        I don’t think it’s fair to say that, if I buy a videogame, I should expect the “game” part to be worth a damn.

        I also don’t feel the game was marketed as “buy this twenty-dollar videogame platform and maybe some amateurs will make something good with it.”

        What’s more: I didn’t like the combat in the game much, anyway. Yes, someone could use this to make a good Shadowrun game. They could use Game Maker as well, and then I’d get it for free.

          • Grampy_Bone says:

            Rutskarn don’t you know you’re not allowed to criticize Kickstarter games?

            • Paul Spooner says:

              Yeah, you need to go to Kickstarter Critic school for four years and then pass the KickBar(ter) where you offer non-monetary goods and services to get the examiners to stop kicking you.

              The pool of Certified Kickstarter Game Critics is understandably shallow.

          • WarMachineDD7 says:

            I played through the entire game before the second patch came up, and while I had some difficult moments, I was able to beat it, but I always took two people with shotguns with me because they can do a special attack that reduces the victim’s AP by one. I did that attack twice and basically disabled one of the enemies for a whole turn. The second patch made that ability have a cooldown so I could no longer spam it. After I beat the game and the second patch came up I created a new character, cheated to give him max stats and found out I was having trouble beating the game on normal using melee weapons when before I beat the game on hard with a full intelligence decker using pistols.

            What I can surmise from this is that the character builds and fight options are very limited and unbalanced. Certain builds and team compositions are substantially more powerful than others, and some are near impossible to work with.

            I hopeful for this game, because the elements are all there to make the game work, but they definitely need much more play testing and balancing with the combat, as well as add more variation to it.

            • Humanoid says:

              Yeah, I finished the game in its initial release form, with my player character wielding an SMG, which turned out to be significantly weaker than any other gun in the game at the time. That said, it didn’t seem to affect my survivability all that much – maybe would have saved a reload for a couple of the big fights graveyard, office, but never really regretted the choice as such, and this was a null-class character with points all over the shop.

              Did have a hairy moment when I hired a cheaper merc rather than my usual lineup for a mission. Was a total liability of a melee character who couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a banjo. It’s a bit of a trap and perhaps the balance there needs to be cleaned up a little.

              • WarMachineDD7 says:

                That’s another thing that might’ve worked to my advantage. Being a decker with high intelligence means you can get a vast majority of the loot, which for my playthrough meant that I was always able to bring my preferred team composition to every mission (two people with high HP and shotguns, and a healer who can use haste and place traps).

                My character did very little during fights compared to everyone else. I mostly provided additional firepower from the back and decked in the few occasions where I could. Not a bad thing, per se, but the point is I was rolling in money and had little trouble compared to my second run through the game.

                And speaking of liabilities, I made the mistake of bringing Harlequin on the last mission. It was ridiculous how I couldn’t make him stay in front because he’d only get shredded by gunfire before he was able to get close to anyone, and when I was able to get next to someone he’d miss attacks more often than my character with a pistol from a distance. I had to keep him in the back of the team doing nothing most of the time.

        • ACman says:

          Yeah.

          There could be something interesting done with this toolset…
          If somebody can work out how to get around the hub world mechanic and actually allow you to go back to previous locations.

          But I really expected the professionals, ie the people I paid money to for the game, to actually provide an interesting dynamic multifaceted world. Or create some interesting dialogue trees. Or actually code some decent mechanics for the combat.

          One of those would have been fine. Instead it’s a second rate hard boiled detective noir knock off story told in a linear fashion with no real choices and BORING combat with nothing to do for any hacker/decker characters (ie my character).

          • Humanoid says:

            I know I’m committing some sort of Shadowrun heresy here, but I genuinely believe the decking sections of the game were a waste of development time and money. The resources would have been better used on content more central to the story rather than just some glorified minigame.

            • ET says:

              I think calling it a minigame is too charitable;
              That implies that it used substantially different mechanics, to offer a different, if smaller, gameplay experience.
              What it really was, was a the normal game, with some glowy orbs as attacks, and the normal player models tinted blue. :|

        • MadHiro says:

          Well, right. If you didn’t like it, you didn’t like it. I did. I wasn’t expecting to. I just remember thinking, specifically,” Wow. For what was obviously created as demo campaign, I’m enjoying myself.” That precise thought.

          So good for me, bad for you. Certainly and obviously if you buy a video game the ‘game’ part should be worth a tinker’s damn.

        • krellen says:

          Just some counter-testimony, I’ve played through the Dead Man’s Switch campaign five times and still enjoy it. Also, I find the combat enjoyable. I think everything Rutskarn said was wrong, except the part about how the save system is stupid and needs to be fixed, but they are, supposedly, working on that.

          • Karthik says:

            Five times? That’s a lot of like.

            I played through it once and had an absolute blast. And then never went back to it because it was clear there was little reactivity or choice in the game.

            Not consequences–just choice. So I’d be roleplaying the exact same way next time.

            But yeah, I mostly disagree with Rutskarn. The dialog and world-building were great too; I’m surprised that didn’t get a mention.

        • I take it you didn’t like the Neverwinter Nights games.

      • Humanoid says:

        Well, I didn’t grow to despise it like I did NWN’s (either of them) ‘starter’ campaigns, but Berlin needs to be its Mask of the Betrayer if it’s going to grow into anything other than ‘okay’.

        That said, I’m not uncomfortable with my triple-figure pledge for it (for three expanded copies, so fine), moreso now that the DRM requirement for full functionality has been lifted. (But I was using the direct download copy anyway because screw Steam)

        But in the end, yeah, it doesn’t feel like a ~$2m game, likely due to the somewhat naive underestimation of backer reward costs. ($65 got a T-shirt shipped internationally for example, they wouldn’t get much change out of that. $125 got that plus a hardcover book and USB dogtags – and the aforementioned two extra copies)

      • Nick says:

        From what I’ve seen of it, you could make the same criticism of the original as well – it’s quite easy for the main character to become a jack of all trades due to the way the points system works.

        I actually found the story quite engaging despite the ‘and here’s a bit of this’ nature of it – the most annoying part to me is the checkpoint save system that they started out with (I think a real save system was patched in since, but maybe I’m misremembering)

  3. Ryan says:

    The assassin’s creed 4 meta-story is improbably dumb and an obvious cop-out to the fact that they have no idea what to do anymore.

    But man, the Pirate stuff is some awesome pirate stuff. There was no need for this to be an assassin’s creed game, but there’s a hilariously amazing pirate game in there.

    • The Rocketeer says:

      I wonder if there’s anything to Chris calling the company “Aspergo” at one point.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I wonder,did anyone actually care for the tie in plot for asscreed past 2?I certainly didnt,which is why I found the “abstergo-ubisoft merger” pretty funny.

      And I got this game for sailing,which is great.There is something weirdly mesmerizing in piloting your ship while the crew is singing a shanty.

      • ACman says:

        I find it hilarious.

        They wrote themselves into the most ridiculous corner. An absurd collection of alien gods with magical technology as Biblical figures behind an already rather ridiculous 1000 year conflict between a “heroic” Assassins conspiracy versus “evil” Templar conspiracy.

        If they had dumped all that stuff we could have had several very interesting games about free-running through different historical period cities while stabbing people in the back.

        Assassins Creed Rome, Assassins Creed Edo-Japan, Assassins Creed French Revolution, Assassins Creed Boxer Rebellion China, Assassins Creed Raj-India, Assassins Creed Ancient India, Assassins Creed Persia.

        • Zukhramm says:

          I just don’t get why it’s there in the first place. The historical settings are interesting enough in their own right. I mean, they’re based on reality, which is one of the most interesting things I know! I mean, stupid nonsense is stupid nonsense, but the worst is unnecessary stupid nonsense.

      • Ryan says:

        First time my crew sang a shanty the decision to go full Pokemon on those floating music note collectibles went out of my hands.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        I would like to imagine the whole Abstergo-Ubi thing is the devs managing to slip some kind of massive desperate call for help below the radar “I’m being held captive in a Chinese fortune cookie factory!” style. I’m not sure this is the dumbest idea in the series but it definitely comes close to the top.

        On a sadder note, I’m one of those people who actually can’t help but care about the whole metaplot of the AC series. This does not make me happy with the following releases.

      • Thomas says:

        I think the big problem came when they decided to not make it a trilogy. When you were making a trilogy the overarching plot was a way to bring 3 games in different settings together to a decent climax.

        But when they decided to pump it for infinity the plot became this really awkward thing where they needed to keep it going but stop it from actually meaning something. They were trying to stretch an overarching plot to fit a Simpsons reset button scenario.

        I’m coming to the opinion they should get rid of it, even though it involves destroying so much of the concepts behind the series (like 100% of the UI). If the story means nothing then instead of adding immersion it puts an unnecessary layer between you and the game

    • Grampy_Bone says:

      The issue was they had players who didn’t like the Desmond character or modern day framing story at all, so this was their solution to minimize it. I liked Desmond, but I guess I was in the minority? In any case, the game-dev meta story doesn’t really work and in many ways it totally ruins the “magic” of the secret Assassin-Templar conflict.

      • My problem with the franchise was the mis-use of the word “Assassin” in the title. At best, you’re a homicidal swashbuckler (in any of the games, not just the pirate one) with very little of the actual trappings of assassinating people. At worst, you’re a murder tornado who thinks appropriate dress is something that happens to other people (who you then kill).

        • aldowyn says:

          The first game actually had a significant focus on planning and executing proper assassinations in a fairly freeform format. Since then, not so much.

          • Thomas says:

            In the first one a lot of the time you’re still just turning up to a place and stabbing everyone. My memories not fresh, but I’ve done the first four or five and none of those involved anything more than going to a place with the map marker and punching someone to death.

            One had a gimmicky forced ‘mysterious hideout’ that was irrelevant and one technically could involve waiting for a person to move out of sight of guards, but because you literally can’t die in these games unless you forget to hold the block button, bothering to do that was just a way of making it take unnecessarily longer

            • Alexander The 1st says:

              Depending on the side missions you did in the lead up to an assassination in AC1, you had a set of different maps that presented potential options you could take – such as an opening section, patrols of the guards so that you can kill them without raising alarm or sneak past them, or even escape routes sometimes.

              Also, having scholars prepared or resistance groups out and about made getting away from guards an easier task – scholars being moving areas you can hide in, and resistance groups holding off guards so you can use one to a scholar group to get away.

              I mean sure, in AC1, you *could* just bum-rush the objective, but they emphasised preparation and gave you choices in the game.

  4. MichaelGC says:

    Yay! And good timing – I think the F5 key was just about to fall off.

  5. The Rocketeer says:

    I call “THEY SAVED DESMOND’S BRAIN” as the title of the worst scifi/horror tie-in film ever made. Seriously, Ubisoft just makes me shake my head. The real downside is that they aren’t awful all the way through, just almost all the way; every now and then you get a glimpse of real talent breaking the surface before being drowned in crap.

  6. Volfram says:

    Two hours of rambling and confusion from the SW crew?

    THIS WILL BE EVERYTHING I EVER DREAMED OF!

  7. Thomas says:

    I feel like Rutskarn’s description of the Pirates MMO is one of the big problems with the whole genre. Other people.

    Playing on the Roleplay server for The Old Republic was painful

    • Mersadeon says:

      Oh god, Star Wars fans roleplaying? That must have been hell. I still cringe when I think of my days on a World of Warcraft roleplay server.
      (And I’m cringing at everyone there. Those that dropped their role and those that played it. So many bad roleplayers trying to be badasses.)

      • AdmiralCheez says:

        Actually, when I played Star Wars Galaxies way back when it still existed, I knew quite a few roleplayers that were really good at what they did. Of course, there were also quite a few Mandalorian bounty hunter knock-offs, and Uber-powerful Sith Lords (according to their character bio) running around, but it was a pretty good balance. My favorite ones were people who just roleplayed ordinary people, like a bartender in the Mos Eisley Cantina, or a random stormtrooper doing ID checks.

    • Zagzag says:

      Yes, but was it really any more painful than playing on any other server would have been?

      My MMO experience has always been that RP servers have far fewer ridiculous character names and generally a better community. But then again I’m one of the people who actually roleplays on said servers, so maybe it’s just the people I hang around with.

      • Thomas says:

        Oh yeah I didn’t really mean to imply it like that. I meant more that I went to a roleplay server expected at least some kind of immersion and I get two jedi consulars calling each other assholes

        It’s kind of hard to create an MMO where it’s easy to forget that the other people aren’t random strangers on the internet

  8. Neko says:

    The result is two hours of rambling and confusion.

    Sweet. I could do with the excercise! The longer and more rambling your podcasts are, the longer I’m out walking. Just remember: Your stretched-out and meandering conversations directly contribute to my health. You’re doing a service.

    • Zeta Kai says:

      I use the DiaCast to do some of the more tedious parts of my hobby. It’s art, but it barely uses my brain, so I get insanely bored without the DieCast crew to keep me entertained. Ramble on!

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Actually that pirates of the caribbean game was pretty good(well sailing was pretty good),but it didnt have much to do with the movie.

    • CraigM says:

      I concur. It was buggy as hell, but I loved just tooling around in the ship. Ship to ship battles were a fun game of positioning, wind, loadout, speed, and the other relevant factors to make you think like an age of sail captain. Capturing a Corvette with a frigate, that was the highlight of the game.

      Then I got a mission to transport goods which broke, with my hold being full of mission specific goods which I could not sell. So now my cargo hold is full, I can’t empty it out, I can’t finish the mission, and I can no longer be the merchant pirate of doom. So in other words, typical Bethesda.

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I think its a bit unfair to judge the dialogue in skyrim,because this is the game where bethesda finally figured out they dont know shit about writing,so they just threw the bare bones minimum into it,and focused on stuff they do know,which is huge open world where you can faff around.

    • Gruhunchously says:

      It would, of course, be nice if they were to hire some actual writers. But that might cut into their ‘big name star who’s only going to be in the game for five minutes’ hiring budget.

    • Tizzy says:

      I can see where you’re coming from, and I would mostly agree, except for the main quest. If they truly realized that their dialogue sucks, then, for all of our sakes, they shouldn’t write so much of it!!!!

      Sitting through that was painful. Especially since it very seldom carried any information (in the broadest possible sense of information: game objectives, world building, characterization…)

  11. Magistrate says:

    I just want to say that I love these more rambly episodes. They make for perfect background entertainment during Risk of Rain – runs.

  12. Grampy_Bone says:

    I don’t know if the D&D rules hate thieves but I have met a lot of DMs who do.

    I recall an old 2E game where one of the party members was a greedy, evil half-orc fighter. Whenever there was loot collected he took a greater than fair share and dared anyone to challenge him. My character was a thief, so I told the DM I wanted to steal the gold back from this player and distribute it fairly. The DM informed me he did not allow players to steal from one another (wasn’t that what the evil character was already doing?) and said my theft automatically failed. He told the half-orc player to punish me as he saw fit, which he naturally did by killing me. This was justified as him “role playing his character,” which was apparently a right *I* did not have.

    • False Prophet says:

      The problem with the thief up through 2nd edition is its uselessness in combat, and in every version of D&D, combat is unabashedly implied to be the rules’ preferred method of resolving plot. Thieves had one trick, the backstab, opportunities for which came up rarely, and the payoff wasn’t that great. Add in their low hit points and inability to wear decent armour, and they’re pretty much a liability. This was somewhat mitigated by flanking in 3rd edition, which made sneak attacks (the new backstab) a bit more likely. Pathfinder added increased hit points and some new unique thief abilities that made them a bit more useful.

      The real kicker to thieves is that in every edition of D&D, a low-level mage/wizard with the right spells is a better thief than a thief. Rutskarn mentioned the Mage Hand holding a bag of rocks trick. But spells like Lock, Invisibility, Spider Climb, Detect Traps, and Detect Secret Doors also duplicated thief abilities, only with a 100% chance of success. True, spellcasters had limited numbers of spell slots, but it often made more sense to have a second wizard instead of a thief: one to have the usual complement of buffs/area of effect spells, the other to take all the thief-equivalent effects.

      • Peter H. Coffin says:

        You’re making me feel old… Mage Hand didn’t exist until the latter part of 3.5e, I believe. And limited number of spell slots USED TO (back when thieves were cool) included the number of times you could cast the spell. Your Detect Traps spell could be used ONCE, and then you’d need to re-memorize it, which took time. Not gamer-wall time, and you could burn through it fast if nothing happened in-game, but it’s NOT something that one could do with a looming deadline. 10 or 20 minutes per spell level mounts up

        • RTBones says:

          This. So much. Back in the day, lower level mages were particularly vulnerable – and as you say, Mage Hand didn’t exist. Spells were ‘one shot’ before they had to be rememorized. When I played regularly, our party was a cross-section of classes, and there were multiple occasions where the thief of the party saved the day. Of course, those were also the days when the primary healer of the party was a cleric. Everybody in the party had a role to play, and everybody contributed.

      • Peter H. Coffin says:

        Anyway, my point…

        Magic use could duplicate a lot of the skills of a thief, just like magic could cause damage as a fighter could, but it couldn’t do it a lot, repeatedly, and usually other classes were far more handy at whatever it was that needed doing.

    • Humanoid says:

      Did you consider the possibility that the DM did not in fact hate thieves, but instead hated you?

    • Mersadeon says:

      Well that’s your DM being a bad DM.

      I mean, I guess back then it was acceptable to be a DM like that, but nowerdays every bit of the sourcebooks emphasize one thing: it’s about fun, and if you have to eat the rulebook to make it happen, then you make it happen. Setting up house rules like your DM did and then not bend it even though this is CLEARLY a situation that needed that was really, really bad play of him.

      • Grampy_Bone says:

        Yes he was a terrible DM. At the time I was a sophomore and he was a senior, so I thought it was really cool to be invited to play at an older kid’s game. It was my first experience with “real” D&D and looking back I ended up with a lot of bad habits from him that took me a long time to unlearn. He was just very antagonistic towards the players in general, outside of a few instances, and we would play for weeks without gaining levels or otherwise progressing meaningfully.

        It’s true that in 2E thieves were mainly trap- and lock-bots, but you could make them fun. In the end though there was rarely a good reason not to play a thief multiclass. In 3E I could make a true rogue powerhouse, a dual-wielding sneak-attacking death machine. Just don’t expect me to help out when fighting constructs, elementals, or undead.

  13. Thearpox says:

    To me, Long Live The Queen was an example of a concept that I would like to see more in entertainment, (playing as a person, but one at the top of the food chain, not a grunt or executer,) but it didn’t do it very well at all. I am MOSTLY OKAY with the mechanics present in the game, I DO like the dialog choices and the diverging story paths, and I DO like the idea of having to pass tests based on stats, not mini-games.

    However, the game falls short on nearly everything it does. The long spreadsheet list of skills is nice, but it’s integration into the story leaves a lot to be desired. To start with, a lot of those skills are underused, or more specifically, used ONLY IN A COUPLE SPECIFIC STORY PATHS. In addition, a good number of them are used as backups. (If you fail skill A, you can do skill B). Other skills, on the other hand, are used a lot. And the game never tells you or makes it clear if a skill is good or not, unless you play it many times over, or look up the strategies to the story-paths.

    To make things worse, I have already mentioned that a good number of skills are used as backups. That means that some types of skills complement each other, while other don’t. And you DON’T know in advance which do what. Which means that some skill combination are intrinsically worse than others, and you don’t know which in advance, which leads to the next point.

    The game has a crapload of skills, (not bad in itself,) but it is often very unclear which skill is going to be used. The example shown with the guy trying to kill you, and the game rolling for Reflexes instead of Swords is the worst offender, but it is not the only one by any means. For example, in a situation where you are shot at by bandits, you have to roll Archery to avoid being shot, instead of Reflexes, which killed me. The problem of not knowing which skills will be used before picking the dialogue options is only slightly mitigated by the save-scumming the game ENCOURAGES you to do by providing you with infinity save games and allowing you to save whenever.

    Basically, if you have so many skills, you need to have all of them to be important and integrated into the story, allowing them to influence it’s flow. Basically, many multiple ways to deal with a problem, and not as a backup for “If you fail skill A, do Skill B, then skill C, etc,” but as a choice: “Do you try to exhaust him, rely on your superior sword-fighting, call on you bodyguards who are incidentally very well paid, call on your dogs, or call of your falcons?” That is really a lot of options, and I understand that it can be a nightmare to write, but it is really a necessity for this particular style of game. Alternatively, reduce the number of skills, so you can have all of them RELEVANT. And in either case, MAKE IT CLEAR which skills will be used, and what they can be used for.

    But wait, there are more problems with the skills! For some of the skill checks, (but not all, WTF? Some consistency please!) you do not actually know how well you needed to do to pass, and for a vast majority of them, you do not know how much you needed to pass if you fail. That basically means that if you want to succeed, you either look it up, or you have to HOPE you will succeed with a different build. And NOWHERE does it tell you what values are recommended, what values mean, and what values are passable. To give some context, every skill can be trained from 0 to a 100. In addition, there are dresses that when worn raise the values of a specific subset of skills by 30. So a skill-check can be anywhere from 10 to a 100+, and you never know in advance, or even post-factum what is necessary. You might assume that in the early game the requirements are set low, and raised higher as the game goes on, but that in only true sometimes. The values required by the game are wildly inconsistent, and coupled with the fact that it is often a binary win/fail condition, it really needs to better present the idea for what is needed for a successful skill check, when 82 in Intrigue is not enough, but 85 is. Coupled with the fact that the dresses have to be put on BEFORE the choice is presented to you, you frequently find yourself in a situation where you put on a military dress in preparation for war, only to find that the war is NEXT week, and you need your Intrigue dress for this one.

    As for the other things it needs to do better, the game severely suffers from having no world map, no country map, no log of what happened that can be read, no encyclopedia, and no family tree. What it does have, is it shows relations a character has, but only during a dialogue with that specific character. And it also sometimes touches on some of these topics in a conversation. But it basically means you have to memorize a lot of stuff or write everything down, because it was not clear to me what was happening to whom by the end of the game. In fact, I have played through it several times, and I am still not sure on a lot of stuff that happened, and not because it’s hidden, but because I simply didn’t memorize some of the names or my actions. (If anyone knows of anywhere that has a summary of characters and stuff happening and possible in the game, please let me know.)

    Continuing the problem of a lack of giving information to the player, a lot of the systems presented to the player are nebulous to say the least. The game has a system where you can go to the treasury and count the money you have (Which takes the slot of an activity you might want to do. WTF? Why can’t it just remember the last value counter, do I really have to write down all the values on paper?). The game gives you a very exact number of coins: “8537 coins,” and there are several dialogue choices that can cause that number to be raised or lowered. But then you don’t really know what you need the money for, (you can guess, but it doesn’t say,) how often you might need it, what it a good amount of money and what is not, and how much you might need for something. So it gives you a specific number, and absolutely no relation to that number. Same with the number of soldiers killed in wars, and much else. It can tell you that “839 soldiers died in the rebellion,” and you don’t even know how many you sent out, or what effects it could possibly have!

    For one last thing that has an honorable mention, and is more of a design choice than an outright fault, is the reliance of the game on GIVING you choices you can do, meaning you can almost never INITIATE something on your own. A notable exception is the quest to become a lumen, which is one of the best parts of the game. To explain what I mean, remember that our mother was assassinated by somebody unknown? Albeit I am fairly confident that in one of the story-paths that mystery is resolved, I have not encountered it myself. What I mean by that, is that I have never (ACCIDENTALLY!) failed and succeeded in the right checks to be led down a path where it is arbitrarily brought up. There is a definite lack of player agency, in that even if you resolve it, it is not because you have set your mind on revenge, but because you have accidentally fitted the right character choices. There is no choice for you to bring it up yourself in a conversation, to train yourself in the correct skills and then initiate the search for the assassin using your developed spy ring. To give another example, you can have wars in the game. An example or how such events usually go: [Week 1: You hear some rumors. Week 7: You receive information that N is gathering forces. Week 12: You receive diplomats, and either declare war or negotiate. Week 13: Army planning. Week 15: Fight.] Notice the important thing in all of this: you have to have the choices come to you. There is no way to declare the war early when you first hear the rumors, or try to send out assassins, or try to force something yourself. While I understand how it can be nightmarish to have something like that in such a game, the lack of agency actually does negatively affect the experience.

    To give several examples of how it does so: Every week when you have an activity you have a choice to talk to your father, and sometimes other characters. Sometimes talking is useful in that way, sometimes it’s a waste of time, and sometimes “Your father is busy, and NO you CAN’T choose another activity”. The problem with those selections is that you never (with the exception of the lumen quest) know what you would be talking about, or why you would talk to someone. If you had some player agency, you would have some topics to discuss, maybe talk about how things went, and make it more meaningful. Another example, is when you have a choice to go to a ball you friend is throwing. There’s a lot of plot and choices tied into that, which I honestly didn’t care much to explore by that point, and it is possible to die in at least one way. All well and good, but that aside, you actually have no idea WHY you are or would be going there. You can ASSUME it would raise or lower your social standing, (what is that used for again? I have no idea.) you can ASSUME it can give you an ally in a tight spot, and can simply roleplay and consider it to be a fun experience. Unfortunately, you are never actually given a reason to go besides roleplaying, and everything that happens at the ball is really a surprise to the player. If you had a REASON to go to the ball, some objective your character might have been trying to accomplish besides “Max out skills and survive,” it would have made the game much more interesting. Unfortunately, because you can never pursue a goal, it is not nearly what it could be.

    Well, that was a bit long. I tried to keep it shorter because it is a comment and not a blog post, which would be much longer, but that’s my take on that game. Notice how I never mentioned the “disturbing” Artstyle or the Music? Really, I found the art to be okay, although it definitely pales in comparison to other Hanako games like “The Royal Trap,” which is gorgeous. As for the music, I don’t think I have anything new to add.

    • Rutskarn says:

      If you wrote one of these every day for a month you’d be well over the NaNoWriMo minimum wordcount.

    • helpful note says:

      You might want to look at:

      http://longlivethequeen.wikia.com/wiki/Long_Live_the_Queen_Wiki

      There’s a map and other stuff, although its got a lot of spoilers because Elodie only learns those things if you choose to study them.

      (The bandits who shoot you DO check reflexes, not just archery, btw – and the guy at the duel only checks reflexes instead of swords if you try to run away!)

      • Thearpox says:

        Thanks. Although when I was talking about a map I meant something more… interactive and user-friendly.

        As for the fact that you do get a map if you study it, and learn other spoilers, I remember that you learn a fact every ten (?) points in a skill. I also remember it not being organized in any way.

        And I remember what annoyed me was that some of the things you “learn” should be easily known to you already. (You might have a map hanging in your room even if you do not know enough to decipher it.) And then when you actually learn stuff, it did not feel to me like nearly enough information and content, only disjointed facts.

        (Sorry about the bandits. I remember being annoyed because I did not expect it to check for archery, but I played the game in September. Would edit if I could. The running away=reflexes would actually make sense… if you didn’t already have a Running skill! Lol!)

  14. You know my biggest gripe with the Skyrim bard guild questline?

    At the end, you didn’t get the ability to actually play an instrument!

    I figured that maybe I’d get to see my ‘toon holding whatever instrument I’d decide to specialize in, and given that drums, harps, etc. were items I could pick up, buy, or loot (lute?), I don’t think it was an unreasonable expectation. It could have been as useless as a dance emote, but it would’ve been a nifty reward.

    It didn’t help that the end of the quest bugged out on me (I hear it’s since been fixed) where the head of the college kept running up and hammering on the effigy they burned as the climax to their festival. The last time I played, he was still there, but all of the other NPCs who were running booths or otherwise participating in the festival had departed.

    • Tizzy says:

      I find it funny that so much effort was put into filling Skyrim with extremely diverse environments and moods, but that one type of gameplay (go into a dungeon and pick up some object or person, and then the exit will be right after the boss) was deemed sufficient for this epic world.

      And in case the vast world isn’t enough: we can provide you with endless randomly generated quests of this type!! Gee! You’re too kind! That’s litterally too much!

  15. Simon Buchan says:

    Everybody that thought No Man’s Sky looked cool regardless of if it had any gameplay in it should really check out Space Engine, an obstinately physically accurate universe renderer… thing. You’re not a person or anything, but you can jump around from any random moon to any random galactic super-cluster (all based on current astronomic data filled out with procedurally generated data based on our current best guesses) and screw around with all sorts of rendering settings.

    It has some pretty amazing worlds it creates (tidally locked half-ice half ocean with a super-tornado?), including some with (algae-ish) life, and some pretty amazing solar systems (binary systems are really common, and planets can totally be in orbit around Lagrange points between them) – its basically the best desktop image generator ever.

    I recommend flying to a galactic core and finding systems in a nebula, you get some pretty amazing night skies that way, but an off-galactic plane system is pretty awesome too. Right now its a bit crashy if you’re zooming around really fast, disabling async loading (LoaderMode 1 in main.cfg) seems to fix that at the cost of hitching while doing so.

    That trailer music for No Man’s Sky also reminded me that I really like 65daysofstatic too….

  16. Gilfareth says:

    So Shamus, you mentioned you’d been playing Starbound. I know right now it’s far from complete, but I and my group of friend have been super excited to get into it and were waiting for it for quite a while, it’s a big thing in our circle. I’m curious if you intend on doing an analysis of the game when you feel you’ve had your fun with it. I know for a fact there’s a number of people (myself included) who’d love to see your opinion on the game.

  17. TSi says:

    No Man’s Sky has a lot in common with Infinity from another small team as well : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fO7XhaTGDYg
    But damn, i love the look and feel of this one and the planet walking phases. Promising.

    • Josh says:

      Yeah I immediately thought of Infinity when I saw the trailer. Of course, Infinity is The-Game-That-Shall-Not-Be-Released (seriously, I think I first heard about it ten years ago and the concept was effectively the exact same) so I’ve never really taken it very seriously. I suppose that’s tainted my view of No Man’s Sky a bit; I’m similarly skeptical that it will either get stuck in development hell forever or fall far short of what the trailer implies.

      Also Spore. That happened. Don’t do that.

  18. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Chris needs to become a host for life.

  19. GiantRaven says:

    Oof. It was tough to stay calm through this podcast.

    Right in the music taste feels…

  20. Lalaland says:

    ‘No way this is a four man team’ :D

    Wow the universe just felt like mocking you this week eh Shamus?

    In all honesty the full team is larger now but still quite small overall with the four people in the interview being the creative and technical leads. I find their argument that small teams are the only way this type of project could be delivered very interesting as it prevents the usual ‘throw people at it’ mindset of large developers making the whole project impractically expensive. I haven’t been as hyped for a project in a long time I really, really want this to be good (or even just OK, a 7/10 planetary exploration sim is fine by me).

  21. Paul Spooner says:

    Recursive “French Canadian Game Developers” is a problem? Can someone explain this to me? “Write what you know” is inverted for video games? I don’t understand, this sounds like a really fun idea to play with.
    Note that I have played none of the AC games, so I’m missing most of the context there.

    • The Rocketeer says:

      Recursive French Canadian cynical assholes who suck at their job villain game developers is a problem. It’s not that they shouldn’t write what they know, it’s that they shouldn’t know that in the first place. This is the UniSoft version of “If I Did It, Here’s How It Happened.”

      • Paul Spooner says:

        So, it’s bad because it’s believably close to the truth? Or it’s bad because it’s misleadingly far from the mark? Or it is true, but they are pretending like it isn’t?
        I still don’t understand. Everyone in the podcast just brings up the topic, and then laughs knowingly, as if a joke has been made, without ever making a joke.

        What is the joke here?

        • ET says:

          I think the point was, that the company is clearly running out of ideas, and so, instead of trying to fix this problem, or move onto a new IP, they are just breaking/leaning on the fourth wall, and lampshade hanging the problem.
          So, basically, instead of trying to better themselves as a team/company/whatever, they’re trying to be “ironic” or “funny” by pointing it out in their game.
          So, at best, they’re making fun of themselves, knowing they can’t fix the problem, and at worst they’re a bunch of lazy jerks.

          Is this a decent summary of the situation, or did I screw this up?

          • ET says:

            P.S.
            I didn’t mean to sound condescending, posting links to TV Tropes.
            It’s more like my semi-OCD tendencies. :)

          • Shamus says:

            This about nails it.

            Alos: It’s not that you CAN’T make a great meta-meta-story like this, it’s that the AC series is suffering from a horrible case of “comic book writing”. Any one entry might seem reasonable, but they contradict each other in tone, characterization, lore, and focus. The story they set up in part one (bartender Desmond being pulled into a grand conspiracy as part of a battle that has been happening in the shadows for thousands of years) doesn’t fit with the story we have now (lol videogames and historical fan-fiction) and it can’t reconcile the two.

        • Two points: “Write what you know” is one thing. “Write what you are” is quite another. Maybe it’s just me, but my least favorite Stephen King novels are the ones where the protagonist is a wealthy writer with a history of drug/alcohol abuse.

          Second, this is a video game franchise where verisimilitude hasn’t exactly been a hallmark of the writing and/or presentation, so delving into the real-life experiences of the game devs isn’t likely to pull the narrative into a new direction noted for its deep meaning and realism.

  22. Otters34 says:

    Josh, as a guy who lives in Washington I can attest that we get some pretty nice summers up here. Not, you know, as good as Arizona’s, but nice blue skies spotted in fluffy clouds, and most of the time it’s quite warm and very light winds and lots of great flowers. I live pretty far north though(right next to the Canada/USA border), so it might be a little different down in Spokane. Most likely a little warmer, it’s closer to the big farmlands and orchard regions.

    And there are few bands more appropriate for the endings to Elder Scrolls games than Man O’ War, it just puts everything in perspective.

    • Josh says:

      Incidentally, I was born in Bellingham, so I guess I was about a close as one can get to being born a Canadian without actually being one.

      But I haven’t lived in Washington in some two decades or so and don’t really remember anything about it.

  23. Frozen kinda frustrated the hell outta me. I enjoyed it while I watched it, but the third act twist of the villain reveal was absolutely the laziest kind of writing. I should just let it drop, but people just can’t seem to shut up about how awesome it was for the sole reason that it bucks the Disney stereotype, nevermind that it 1) actually doesn’t and 2)makes absolutely ZERO sense in the narrative. Dreamworks would have NEVER gotten away with it. Guess that’s what building a rep gets you.

    • Thomas says:

      I want to precurse this by saying that I adore Frozen because despite it’s big gaping hole of plot in the second act and this problem, it still did some very special things and I think those things are more than worth the missteps. I also love How To Train Your Dragon, but Dreamworks have only made a handful of films that really try to connect emotionally in a special way and when they do I’ll happily forgive missteps (for example the third act villain reveal in How To Train Your Dragon was complete BS that stomped all over the message of the first 2/3’s of the film. But I adore it all the same)

      ….but yeah that villain switch was horrible. And what annoyed me most is _it’s not a subversion_. I was actually expecting him to turn out to be a nice guy because people talked up the twist (although people are also referring to the fact that it was sisterly love not romantic love, which I did enjoy but didn’t need to be so explicit). How many films have had a rich posh seemingly nice gentleman who the protagonist meets first and falls in love with too quickly, but then she meets a more homely gentle but unsophisticated man who she forms a bond with over a longer period of time (after an initially antagonistic relationship), only to have the rich guy turn out to be an evil dick in the third act confrontation?

      It’s every female romance story ever. It’s Bridget Jones’ Diary, not some shocking subversion of expectations. And they didn’t even believably make his character fit with his pre-evil state. Whenever you examine any of his interactions they don’t make sense, when his only experience with Weasleton was Hans ignoring Weasleton’s trade complaints, why were they suddenly friends when he flipped the evil switch? Why did he actively try to save Elsa’s life (and risk his own in the process) and fight the people trying to kill her if he wanted to murder her anyway?

      What I expected, and what would have been better, was if he tried to kiss Anna and then shamefully had to admit that he really wanted a chance at the throne and got carried away, but he was still a nice guy who would have been kind to his subjects (and not a murderer) just a bit dishonest and cynical. It would have proved Cristof right without the moral of the story being ‘Love at first sight is a bad idea because they’re probably a psychopath’

  24. WillRiker says:

    I backed Godus, and I regret it. The game so far is tedious as shit–sitting around clicking on buildings for belief is annoying as fuck. Also you have to constantly click on your guys or they get depressed and die. WTF? Maybe there’s something interesting underneath but the “constantly click everything” gameplay is fucking terrible.

  25. Tizzy says:

    And a nice off-the-cuff reference to Bill “we’ll do it live” O’Reilly from Chris. I don’t want to play favorites, but that’s why Chris is my favorite of the cast.

  26. broken says:

    That’s a lie, Joshua. Europa Universalis (any of them) is not nearly as complex as Victoria 2.

    • aldowyn says:

      Truth. Although, I’ve found that once you’ve figured it out Vicky 2 isn’t actually that HARD. I haven’t once lost to a revolution.

      That doesn’t mean it doesn’t individually model populations, goods production, trade, salaries, population needs, goods for upkeep, market value, etc. etc. etc… Puts EU3 to shame. (Haven’t played much of EU4 – the trade system looks awesome, but the monarch power really didn’t feel right to me in the demo)

    • Cybron says:

      Really? Vicky 2 is the one I started with, and I found it a lot easier to grapple with than, say, CK2.

      Maybe I’m just weird, but I was much easier able to grab the political and economic aspects of Victoria than the whole succession and vassals thing.

  27. Benjamin Hilton says:

    Disclaimer: The following statement will be a gross over-generalization made for the sake of humor With a just a dash of truth involved.

    To Shamus’ comment that some people see this series’ story as deep and profound:

    Well yes when your gaming experience consists of all the games in the series from your dude bro shooter flavor of choice, then thee assassins creed plot would indeed seem profound.

    I apologize for the previous insensitive statement about the morons who only play shooters. The poster responsible has been sacked.

    • syal says:

      Man, you don’t know what you’ve started. Those guys are going to tear the Hilton Hotels apart looking for you now.

      • Phantos says:

        As much as a playful exaggeration as that was, there is truth to it.

        Whenever I hear an unremarkable console game touted as “innovative” or having a “gripping story”, I remind myself the closest exposure these people have had to the arts are professional wrestling and Gears of War. You see this a lot from the gaming rags and comments sections. Heck, it’s likely infected the industry itself. The burnout is so high from developing games these days, the old-timers usually depart for greener pastures (or try the indie route), while most of the new talent are young, college-age dudes whose hopes and dreams haven’t been shattered by working QA testing.

        To an industry reliant on kids who haven’t seen a lot of movies or read a lot of books, who have a narrow idea of what we can do with video games, and with standards as low as our medium has settled on, any middling effort will look like spun gold in comparison to Halo or Assassin’s Creed.

        It’s like when 10-year old me thought Star Wars was the greatest movie ever. Because “What’s ‘Citizen Kane‘?”

      • Benjamin Hilton says:

        Muhahahahaha

  28. Nalyd says:

    If you guys liked or are interested in the type of game that Long Live the Queen is at all, you should check out the choiceofgames games. They’re generally a lot better, too.

    • aldowyn says:

      Someone linked me to choice of the dragon a few months ago and I ended up getting a lot of the not free ones. Some of them are pretty good! Some of them aren’t quite so good. There was a lot of (justified IMO) backlash on the forums to choice of the vampire 2… overall pretty cool though.

      They also publish a toolkit and games made using it, and since they’re basically CYOAs with stats it’s not that complicated. Pretty cool overall.

  29. WILL says:

    http://ltheory.com/

    Shamus, you should definitely check this out. It’s another procedural space game called Limit Theory but this one is focused more on X style simulation. Every single ship, texture, planet, system and even interface is procedural, and it’s all made by ONE GUY. He has a daily devblog in the forums here and he’s clearly putting all his personal time into it.

    It’s very promising and TBH, probably much more interesting in terms of procedural techniques than No Man’s Sky.

  30. Jonathan says:

    Josh is going to be in Spokane? I live in Spokane. Now none of my games will be playable this Christmas season due to Josh’s aura of bug creation.

    And for the record, it’s not that bad up here weather wise. We have a full four seasons.

  31. Phantos says:

    I watched the same review of “Frozen” by Bob Chipman that Shamus mentioned, and looking back at his reviews of Pacific Rim and Elysium, I’m starting to think he’s the opposite of a troll critic. Like how Yahtzee and Armond White will pretend to hate everything good in life because that gets people riled up, and that gives them more attention and traffic which makes them more money.

    I think Bob does the opposite: I think he artificially inflated his feelings for “Frozen”, to make it sound better than it is.

    I really do wonder if he’s trying to game the system, thinking that less people will see a movie he thought was merely okay. Because the tone of a lot of his videos and writing shows he sees it as a fight. A War. Against the Evil Hollywood Studios.

    “Maybe if I say this -decent- movie is TEN THOUSAND ORGASMS, then more of my fans will see it, and it’ll make more money, and fewer bad movies will get made!”

    This isn’t my imagination, either. He even admitted he does this, in his Big Picture video where he took back a lot of the slobbering enthusiasm he showed for “Man of Steel”. He completely and utterly misrepresented the quality of a film. Why? Because at the time he thought it was a movie that would be strategically convenient for him.

    So I probably won’t go see any more movies based on what he says he says is “great”. For the same reason I don’t trust Gamespot or IGN when they give something like Call of Duty Ghosts and near perfect score.

    • Cybron says:

      I think it’s rather uncharitable to say he’s being deliberately manipulative. It’s definitely a failing of his reviews, but I prefer to think it’s just simple human failing on the part of someone who’s a little too optimistic about things he likes, rather than Fighting The Good Fight or whatever.

  32. abs1nth says:

    I always love when Rutskarn talks about the Elder Scrolls series! Your observations were spot on in my opinion!

    • abs1nth says:

      Sorry for the double post didn’t know you could no longer edit.

      It’s true almost every quest in Skyrim results in a dungeon crawl. I’m surprised you guys harp on the Thieves Guild questline so much though as this is a notable exception and because of that to me the best one. Thematically untill the later third where things get unneccessarily magical I really felt everything fit. The Thieves Guild is supposed to be a band of desperate criminals. Everything you do reflects that and made me feel like a thief. I mean you’re breaking in stealing etc. that’s what I expected and wanted.

      Bard’s college is a disaster though. Bethesda cut a lot of awesome stuff from the game this being one of those there is a mod which actually teaches you instruments etc in the college. The second quest is the only one that made me feel like a bard. The verse you aquired in the first quest has damaged pages and you have to make up new ones and then visit the queen and Viarmo recites it. After that you get to experience the festival that you helped to save. And then… you get send to fetch an instrument from 3 different dungeons and that’s it.

  33. Dave B. says:

    Rutskarn’s description of the trap expert character sounds a lot like the protagonist of A Roadside Picnic and now I want to run a Tomb of Horrors style game of Stalker.

  34. Cybron says:

    Well it took me two days to actually get through the damn thing, but that was pretty entertaining.

    Love Rutskarn’s Sterling. Sounds more entertaining than the real thing.

    The concept behind No Man’s Sky sounds so great, but I have huge reservations about possible execution problems. Even judging from those trailer shots, I did not see anything that hinted at interesting terrain, and that’s what really makes or breaks that sort of game for me.

  35. Paul Spooner says:

    The implication of the “No Man’s Sky” trailer seems to be that it’s a combined top-down and bottom-up procedural world along the lines of what I’m always talking about for Fledgeling. Very exciting implication! Of course, the lack of any other information is a bit suspect. There’s no website, no info on the devs, no public information at all. I don’t quite understand what they stand to gain through this secrecy. Even Bay12games has a crappy website.

    As Shamus said, it may simply be procedural placement of pre-designed content, which is also not quite as interesting. It could also be simply a hoax, which isn’t beyond the realm of possibility. I’m really hoping it’s a long step toward a Fledgeling-like experience! Here’s to hoping!

    An unfortunate quote from the interview though: “What people don’t realise generally is that we actually have different universes on different machines. When it will release, it will be the one that we will release, but until then every time we boot it up to make changes, it’s different, right? You destroy millions before you settle on that one. That kind of breaks people’s brains to think about, and it’s a weird way of working.”

    This sounds like they aren’t planning on making a plethora of unique worlds, or allowing players to explore different settings and tweak the knobs. It sounds like they are instead locking the entire game to one “seed” (so to speak) and then everyone will have the same universe to explore.

    Also: “the planets are stepping stones on your journey, so in some ways they’re not important. They are important to you, but it is not that you are trying to set up camp and live there forever.” So, the devs apparently have a very specific idea of what they are creating. This is good, but it’s also kind of distressing, because it looks like the tools they are using are much more interesting than the game they are making.

    • postinternetsyndrome says:

      Quite. I’m exceptionally uninterested in this quasi-mmo vision of theirs. I just want this gorgeous world they have created as my playground. Why they should restrict access to the generation tool when it would seem to be their killer app is beoyond me. I wouldn’t mind having the _opportunity_ for massive multiplayer shenanigans in this game, but forcing it upon everyone seems like it would just create more headaches than it might cure.

  36. Paul Spooner says:

    Okay, finally made it to the end of the podcast. I can honestly say that I hadn’t heard of “Curt Cobain” until listening to this podcast. Growing up, in my teens, and through college… I pretty much listened to classical. Like, not classic rock, but orchestral classical music along the lines of Bach, Tchaikovsky, etc. That’s right, my rebellious stage was against popular culture instead of my parents.

  37. River Birch says:

    But Josh…You can’t sneak past a corpse in Fallout 3 either! Did you forget Paradise Falls?

  38. Al Beirne says:

    Here’s a plan so Chris can achieve his dream. Chris sits on a chair surrounded by a group of people. They ask “Chris, should we carry you above our heads or throw confetti at you.” Chris replies “Why not both”.

  39. pdk1359 says:

    So, this is a post to an old episode of the diecast; no one is going to read it i don’t care. i’m currently listen to the diecast, from the beginning, and guess what; i’m playing terraria. No, i never got bored of it. starbound ?? never went anywhere, this pisses my brother off. terraria has gotten a bunch of cool things, and then they talk about no man’s sky. geeze, off all the thing. i’m still listening and that where the conversation went. holy F.

    I’m just giggling, this is amazing.

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