Diecast #74: Microsoft Eats Mojang, Mailbag

By Shamus
on Sep 22, 2014
Filed under:
Diecast

140 comments

Experiment: This week I shifted the participants a little to the left or right speakers. My hope is that this can help untangle cross-talk when it happens. Usually one person just overpowers another, and if you want to hear the person who got drowned out, you’re out of luck.

I actually edit the audio to fix as much cross-talk as I can. If (during recording) I charge in saying, “You know what? I think that-” and then I shut up because I realize I’m overlapping with someone else, then during editing I’ll just mute that phrase so the other person can be heard more clearly. Basically, when two people talk at once, I’ll mute the one who retreated. But there are still instances of overlapping that just can’t be helped. Maybe this stereo separation will help, or maybe it will just be annoying and distracting.

I’m sure you’ll let me know what you think.


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

Hosts: Chris, Josh, Shamus, and Rutskarn.

Show notes:

1:00 Microsoft Buys Mojang (Minecraft)

16:00

Shamus,

Good Robot. What’s the happy haps?

Best Regards,
Jared

20:00

What is your opinion, the hopefully not skeleton crew this week, of the Depth of Field, Bloom, and Motion Blur? Do you turn it off, love it, hate it, something else? Hopefully you have different opinions of those special effects amongst each other.
-Thearpox

For an example of the “everything is plastic” look we were taking about, see my Dead Island: Stream-of-Gameplay Review.

32:00

Humanoid has announced on the forum that he is going to play crusader kings 2 from scratch (meaning he is just now learning how to play the game) till the end before you finish your turn.Will you just lay down and let him step over you like that,you pushover you?

Also something something shogun 2 something.

Sincerely,Daemian Lucifer.

32:30

Hello all

Are you planing to do TWDs2 on Spoiler Warning while it’s still fresh or did you have your fill of the franchise with the first one?
Without going into spoilers do you fall into majority or minority on the big choice at the end?

Are you going to do Wolf anytime soon/ever?

-shiroax

39:00

Is there a reason you aren’t on iTunes? I ask now because another videogame podcast I thought nobody listened to got to #5 or 6 on iTunes gaming podcasts. Also because I hate changing metadata from ‘music’ to ‘podcast’.

Much admiration,

Thomas Johnson

41:00

Dear Casters of the Die,

You hear a lot of comments about games, movies, etc. with ancient traps working perfectly with no regard to maintanence and decay, but I’ve only ever run into one story that actually satirized that trope. Have you come across any stories that make fun of it? Do you think there’s a reason such a common trope seems to have so few parodies/satires?

Thanks for allowing the brainpicking,
Jakale

Upon reflection, the old DM of the Rings strip isn’t really relevant to what Jakale is talking about. But Rutskarn’s project deals with it more directly.

44:00

Dear Diecast,

How much do your online personas differ from your real life personalities? For example, is Mumbles really a cannibal that enjoys watching the suffering of others?

Best Regards,
Jared

55:00

Do you think its better to balance costs of items and upgrades based on what they’d be worth in the world or based on what they’re worth to the player?

Like the parachute jump upgrade in Deus Ex Human Revolution. It seems like it would be the most expensive augmentation in real life but in terms of its game effect, as you pointed out on Spoiler Warning, its generally just a convenience and other upgrades are much more useful for game related tasks.

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Footnotes:



A Hundred!2020We've got 140 comments. But one more probably won't hurt.

From the Archives:

  1. Zukhramm says:

    So I haven’t (obviously) listened yet, so sorry if this exact thing is suggested, but just from the question about season 2 of The Walking Dead. I don’t know how long you want a season to be, but wouldn’t a season alternating between The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead Season 2 at the end of each episode(game episode, not Spoiler Warning episode) be interesting?

    • Phrozenflame500 says:

      Eh, it might just compound the problem of them forgetting what happened between recording sessions. I think separate seasons would be best, especially considering how differing in tones TWAU and TWD are.

      They actually don’t mention Wolf Among Us in that section, which is kinda disappointing to me. Not just because that probably means a definite no to playing it on show, but also because it’s a great game that IMO is better then Season 1 of TWD and deserves discussion in it’s own right.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Its understandable why Shamoose loves bloom.Who isnt enchanted by bloom?

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Film brain effect?Huh,so games have finally started implementing it.

  4. silver Harloe says:

    Wait, there’s a parachute pants upgrade in Deus Ex?
    seems pretty useful if you can make everyone freeze by yelling “Stop! Hammer Time!”

    The Good Robot described in your posts seems (to me, from the descriptions I got) only marginally better than similar games I can play for free on newgrounds – probably performs better, but the “buzz around, shoot any direction, upgrades” game has been done a lot. That doesn’t diminish the effort or thought you put into it, but it might speak to its potential profitability.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      True,but a bunch of games have leaped from free flash sites to pay for doing not much.Plus,there are stellar free flash games,like kingdom rush and mardek.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Actually,Humanoid has finished it,and started a new game since then.So Josh is indeed a pushover.

    • Humanoid says:

      Actually on my fourth game now, though technically games two and three I ended early. Still more than 200 years in each though, so I’d estimate about 800 years played overall.

      Game two ended becaise I got sick of the stupidly long and frequent autosaving in ironman mode, game three I ended when I unintentionally inherited the Byzantine Empire when I’d rather have continued as the Anglo-Saxon King of Wales.

      • Aldowyn says:

        .. ‘accidentally’ inherited the byzantine empire?

        Why does that never happen to me?

        I’m not sure I’ve ever actually finished a CK2 game, despite having hundreds of hours logged – I always quit like 200 years in when I’ve done whatever I wanted to do and nothing else is interesting. I very rarely have stability issues, or at least I didn’t use to – Charlemagne looks interesting.

        (also someone should tell me if/when Josh does his turn.. because I think I might be next?)

  6. Mark says:

    I’m just spitballing here, trying to think of what strategy could’ve motivated Microsoft’s purchase of Mojang.

    Minecraft’s mod scene could very easily become a new *platform* with an app (mod) store. Microsoft could crowdsource content creation to a proven community and skim x% of the profits. Lots of people want to develop games, so lower the bar. If they port Minecraft to C# (as would be required for the Windows Phone version) and make the API simple enough, they’ll have a generation of kids growing up knowing their tech.

    • I’m not sure why porting it to C# would be such a bad thing for the average player. Two things make the most incredible memory leaks on my computer: Shockwave/Flash and Java. Even upgrading to 64 bit Java for the latest snapshots & versions of Minecraft didn’t fix that, and while the game did run a lot smoother, it crashed about 3-8 times before starting up almost every time.

      I’m sure it won’t make everyone happy, but if the core game is still in Jeb’s hands, I can’t see the nuts-and-bolts of the game getting any worse. Besides, it’s not like EA is getting their mitts on this thing. Imagine how the villager AI would behave if it was developed by the same team as SimCity.

    • AtomF says:

      >I’m just spitballing here, trying to think of what strategy could’ve motivated Microsoft’s purchase of Mojang.

      I think it’s as simple as Minecraft being this generation’s Super Mario Brothers

    • Peter H. Coffin says:

      Merchandise licensing won’t be a small thing either.

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Josh is channeling Randy on spoiler warning.And its glorious.

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “I’m sure you’ll let me know what you think.”

    It sounds fine.I didnt hear a lot of overlapping,but Im unsure if its what you did,or you were just more regulated this time.

    But you can always go a step further,instead of stereo go for surround and give everyone a speaker.Nothing could go wrong with that.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      I really liked the stereo channel separation! Keep using the lateral space!

      • Bryan says:

        One problem. Only one of my headphones actually works (the left one). The right side is significantly quieter, so I’ve dropped it entirely. In addition to not using a useless half of the pair, it means I can continue to hear stuff happening around me.

        Which means … instead of having to mentally separate voices, I have to figure out how to flip channels around and listen again. Or attempt to figure out how to hear something that’s coming through the second speaker at 1/10th the intensity.

        :-/

        • Ciennas says:

          Couldn’t you just disable stereophnic effects in your mixer? I thought that was defaulted in OS’s nowadays- it at least doesn’t seem so esoteric as to never come up.

          • venatus says:

            I also listen a lot with just one ear bud in. and I honestly have no idea how I’d disable stereo on an android phone, it’s really easy on windows or mac’s but the options (if they exist) are harder to find on mobile OS’s

            • Chris Robertson says:

              Prior to Android 4.3:

              Tap the menu button
              Tap Settings
              Tap Accessibility
              Scroll down to Mono audio
              Tap Mono audio to enable

              Android 4.3 and 4.4:

              You can’t within the OS. You can probably find an app, buy a mono earpiece or a stereo to mono adapter.

              • venatus says:

                android 4.4.4 here can’t find any speaker options in the accessibility menu, and I can’t find mono sound in the sound options either. I’ll look for apps, but I think it’s unreasonable to buy an adapter for a single podcast.

            • MetaDidact says:

              The mono audio (and the per-side sound balance option) is in the accessibility menu instead of the sound menu.

        • karln says:

          Same here, kinda. I take an earbud out every so often, because sometimes I get a hot ear. (OK, a sore ear, but that’s not a pop culture ref.) And yeah, as venatus says, if it’s possible to disable stereo on Android I haven’t found it yet.

          That said, it’s easy to convert a stereo track to mono in Audacity, so I might do that if it bothers me. Might not be worth depriving the double-budded master race of their stereo given that the rest of us can just Audacity the thing suitable.

      • lethal_guitar says:

        +1, please keep it! Makes listening much more pleasant, to me at least.
        Should be easy enough to create an additional Mono version for those who’d prefer it without the separation.

    • Felblood says:

      It seems like it’s harder to pick out what people are saying if I step more than 3 feet from my compy, which means I need to pause my game and the podcast whenever I get up to get some water.

      Of-C this was already a problem before, so I might not be as much worse as it seems.

      My speakers are pretty terrible to start with.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        “which means I need to pause my game and the podcast whenever I get up to get some water.”

        Which is why I dont have glasses smaller than half a liter.I usually use my huge ass liter mug.Either that,or have a two liter juice bottle near me.

    • Humanoid says:

      I honestly didn’t notice – I read the blog post in the morning, but due to busy times couldn’t actually listen during work hours as I normally do. So just having listened to it now at home, I’d completely forgotten about the stereo separation thing and only recalled it was a thing on reading this comment thread. And I like to think I have a decent audio setup.

  9. Fawstoar says:

    Anyone else hear some screaming from Rutskarn’s mic at around 22 minutes?

  10. DaMage says:

    I think the intro music could be shortened a it, the podcasts I listen to normally have an intro around 15 secs long. Its not much of a problem, but it does drag on a bit.

  11. Peter says:

    Is making Good Robot open source really an option? Because I for one would love to buy the source. I doubt I’d do much with it, but it would be fun to noodle around with, and I’d be interested in how (semi) recent code of the great Shamus Young would look. I’d enjoy the learning experience. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were others with similar thoughts on this.

  12. Nick Pitino says:

    Idaho here.

    You can totally find Gears of War and Call of Duty t-shirts in Target here.

    Please stop calling us f****** flyover country.

    Will have more commentary when I am at home and not stuck writing this on an iPod.

    • venatus says:

      also idaho spent most of my life in a town too small for walmart or target.

      seriously don’t take a phrase like fly over country personally

      • Chris says:

        Yeah, I don’t mean disrespect by the phrase and I apologize if I caused any offense. I grew up in rural Indiana and most of my family’s still in that area. Really I always just assumed anything outside of SoCal and New England + New York was flyover country, which would put at least Shamus, Josh, and I right in there too.

        My real point was that Minecraft isn’t just big in major so-called “cultural centers” that might be hip to internet things, but that it’s so, so much bigger than that. It’s ubiquitous in a way transcends a lot of what we normally think of as “a big deal” in games.

        • Paul Spooner says:

          It really has become a ubiquitous cultural movement among children. Everyone I’ve ever talked to has an opinion on Minecraft, even if they’ve never played it themselves. I wrote a few hundred lines of code and got my name in the credits, and it’s been following me ever since. I’m nowhere near as famous as Notch, but there are guys at work who are modders that approached me to talk about the game, or who have asked me to autograph Minecraft posters for their kids.

          With all of that said, I think it’s kind of crazy that Notch has thrown away so much of his influence. He really could have been a great example to children all over the world. He was revered, and he could have done something with that. As it is, his rejection of the spotlight feels more like the selfish nearsightedness of a recluse than humility. I mean, Shamus is a recluse too, but at least he’s built a community out of his fans. I feel like Notch somehow hates the idea of popularity, and I don’t think that’s healthy.

          • Disc says:

            You have to remember that not everyone’s built to handle the amount of attention and pressure that comes with huge popularity. I can’t speak for Notch, but I’d say it’s better to step out than to end up like so many other celebrity status people with a lot of money and little nerve to deal with all the negative bullshit that comes with fame.

          • HeroOfHyla says:

            I work at a grocery store, and was ringing up a woman and her son. The kid was carrying an enderman plush toy. I commented on it, and he said, with amazement blooming on his face “how do you know about minecraft!?”

            I felt so old.

          • Retsam says:

            “I feel like Notch somehow hates the idea of popularity, and I don’t think that’s healthy.”

            It’s really hard for me to describe what Notch has as “popularity”. Being high school quarterback or captain of the cheerleaders is “popularity” (or so I’ve heard; I was captain of the chess team which doesn’t quite work that way); being that guy who brings donuts to meetings all the time is “popularity”. Making a game that sells millions of copies and becomes a household name? That’s more than just “popularity”.

            Of course, this is a semantic distinction, but it’s not JUST a semantic distinction; calling what he has “popularity” and being surprised that he’d reject it, I think shows a serious lack of understanding of just what that level of attention entails: tons of attention, constant scrutiny, you’re never just “yourself” you’re always “performing” and you’ll take flak if you don’t meet expectations, inevitable hate messages and death threats, etc.

            Honestly? I think rejecting the fame and attempting to fade into relative obscurity is probably the healthiest decision Notch could make for himself. Calling his decision to not put up with all of that as “selfish”, itself seems rather selfish.

            Could Notch, had he been of the right personality type and been so inclined, done great things with his influence and fame? Undoubtably, but the simple fact is that he didn’t have that sort of personality type, and it seems there’s little sense spending much time wishing it were otherwise. Really, I think it’s remarkable that Notch handled the sudden onset of massive fame as well as he did; he could just as easily have had a personality more like Phil Fish, one not at all cut out for dealing with fame.

            • Ivan says:

              I think you said that better than I could. I don’t see how throwing away your fame could possibly be considered selfish. I mean, Notch doesn’t owe anyone anything. All he wanted to do was make a neat video game, not become an internet god. As you said there is a world of difference between the two not only in lifestyle but in the actual work he would be doing. I’m sure that managing personal finances is a world different from managing a multi-million dollar company. Not only does it require a completely different skill set, but the scale is so different from anything he has ever had to deal with before and I get the impression that managing that amount of money requires information and contacts that I haven’t even heard of.

              If I were Notch, I would just be happy that I managed to hold things together long enough to sell it off to someone who knew what they were doing. Like Rutskarn said, “he’s won” he’s got it made, now he can tinker for the rest of his life with a pool of resources so vast that he can do virtually anything that he wants for as long as he wants. While that may technically be selfish, I fail to see what responsibilities he is ignoring, I fail to see what he owes to anyone else.

              • RandomInternetCommenter says:

                “I mean, Notch doesn’t owe anyone anything.”

                This is strange to me. I’ve been raised under the idea that successful people have a moral responsibility towards the rest of the world, as nothing exists in a vacuum and anyone’s success comes from the multitude of experiences and established structures that let him or her get to that point.

                Indeed, this point of view is often leveraged as an attack against rich people, including those who were born into money and didn’t chose that life. I would find it odd to give Notch a pass, essentially because he’s one of “us”, or because he’s a name and a face we know rather than a distant group we can dehumanize and hate.

                • Phill says:

                  I’ve been raised under the idea that successful people have a moral responsibility towards the rest of the world

                  In my opinion conflating two different ideas here. I’d agree that Notch, along with other very wealthy people, have a moral duty to use some of that wealth to help people, to make the world a better place. I’d think worse of him if he used all his entire sum of money to have his house encrusted in precious metals and jewels just because he could. But I’d be very surprised if he didn’t find some philanthropic use for some of the money.

                  But at the same time he owed no-one anything personally. He doesn’t owe it to anyone to continue to develop minecraft, or to speak out on the plight of naked mole rats, or to be accessible to answer questions from any of a few hundred million people who might want to ask him something, or cater to anyone else’s whims about what project he works on next or any of the other rubbish that people think they have a right to demand of him simply because he made a game they like. In that sense he owes us nothing.

                  He (arguably) owes it to everyone to use his money responsibly and for good. He owes no-one anything personally

                • krellen says:

                  Noblesse Oblige refers to philanthropy, not advocacy. Notch has an obligation to do good with his money – given his past actions, I have no reason to believe he will not continue to do this as he has already done this.

                  Notch has no obligation to perform for an audience, no matter his exposure.

                • syal says:

                  I don’t hold that view; nothing exists in a vacuum at least in part because society doesn’t let it. Do I have a moral responsibility to help someone who’s sole contribution to my project is not leaving me alone?

                • AtomF says:

                  I think that was slightly badly phrased. I mean, he certainly owes Sweden a lot of taxes. But I don’t think he owes it to us to manage his creation in any particular way.

          • Felblood says:

            After the way he was treated over the EULA changes this year I don’t blame him.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Because every human wants the same thing,and one must be sick to want to be alone and not have millions of people watching their every step.

            Seriously,the only sickening thing is people talking about introverts as selfish madmen.

          • Phill says:

            “With all of that said, I think it’s kind of crazy that Notch has thrown away so much of his influence. He really could have been a great example to children all over the world. He was revered, and he could have done something with that.”

            These days, with the proliferation of fame for fame’s sake and talentless muppets being prepared to do anything to get on television just so people know who they are, and the insiduous idea that fame is a goal in its own right, I think Notch has given the best possible example by stepping away from it. He got famous for doing something useful and making something enjoyable, and evidently wasn’t at all comfortable with just how famous he got. And rather than put up with all the crap from people who think that just because they’ve heard of him, he owes them something, he walked away from it.

            He is setting a great example for kids in wanting to do something interesting and challenging, wanting to do something productive, something new, and not act as though being famous is the end game and there is nothing more to achieve in life.

            ” As it is, his rejection of the spotlight feels more like the selfish nearsightedness of a recluse than humility […] I feel like Notch somehow hates the idea of popularity, and I don’t think that’s healthy.”

            Speaking as a major introvert, being reclusive is nothing to do with being selfish and it is idiocy of the highest order to suggest that it is. It is an absolute necessity if you want to spare yourself a mental breakdown (I mean a genuine breakdown, not a hyperbolic use of the phrase just for emphasis). I couldn’t cope with the level of exposure Notch as got; I’d have dumped it all long before or just refused to interact with anyone who wanted to talk to me. Someone suggesting that I had some kind of obligation to ‘use it for good’ would be disregarding the simple fact that I could no more do that (for more than about 10 minutes a year) than I could sprout wings and fly into the sunset.

            Other people can cope with that sort of stuff. Yay for them, may they make the best of it. I’m not one of them.

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          This isn’t the first time you’ve looked down your nose at the rest of us. Remember? You lived in Florida and its pretty much guys like Kenny down here right?

          If you really don’t mean disrespect, choose your words a little more carefully. I don’t expect an apology here (you said what you think). Just pointing out there’s a bit of a trend in your thinking.

          • Shamus says:

            “If you really don’t mean disrespect, choose your words a little more carefully.”

            I really, REALLY hate when people refuse to accept a heartfelt and sincere apology made in good faith (those are rare on the internet) and instead throws the apology back in their face and demands that the offender STOP MAKING MISTAKES.

            I make mistakes, too. We could talk about the things Chris has said and what they really meant, but if you can’t even take this basic step of letting him smooth things over then no further conversation is possible. If you’ve decided you want to be angry, then there’s no point in talking to you about it.

            • Wide And Nerdy says:

              I had something here but you’re right. Its not worth breaking discourse.

              I would like to know the right time and the right way to mention this though because it bugs me. Not him specifically but this attitude in general.

              • Anonymous says:

                Never, that would be Problematic. UGH. SIGH.

              • Shamus says:

                “I would like to know the right time and the right way to mention this though because it bugs me. ”

                That’s a really good way to open the topic. I know exactly what you’re talking about: The casual dismissal of “flyover” places by people who live on the coast. City vs. suburbia/rural communities. And of course those exchanges are always tinged with class and political divisions. I winced when he said “flyover country” too, but I know Chris and I know he wasn’t seeing himself as this urbane sophisticate, looking down on those dum-dums in the middle.

                I think the better approach would be to just let Campster himself off the hook, but using it as a launching-point for the topic:

                “Thanks for the apology. Your original comment made me mad, because X. I see the same attitude in Y and Z and I think it’s bad because… [etc].”

                I’m really uncomfortable speaking for him here, so let me make a hypothetical: Let’s say I’m the one who called the middle of the country flyover country. Maybe I didn’t know that it has this condescending, dismissive vibe. I thought it was just like “the dustbowl”, “the rust belt”, or “big sky country”: an informal descriptor of a region. Then someone gets pissed off at me and I have no idea why. Because there’s no shortage of people taking offense at every turn on the internet, to me it seems like they’re butthurt over nothing.

                But if we can hammer it out without it blowing up, then maybe I’ll discover that even though *I* use “flyover country” to mean “middle of the nation”, OTHER people use it to mean, “The land of those bullshit yokels who don’t matter”. Wow. I had no idea other people used the word in that way. I decide I don’t want to be associated with them, and so I’ll use another word next time.

                I guess the point is: Sometime the problem is a bad attitude, but sometimes it’s a simple misunderstanding over words, sometimes it’s misunderstood self-deprecation, and sometimes it’s just accidental thoughtlessness.

                • Wide And Nerdy says:

                  “I winced when he said ‘flyover country’ too, but I know Chris and I know he wasn’t seeing himself as this urbane sophisticate, looking down on those dum-dums in the middle.”

                  That made me think. I might have done the same thing. Refer to a group with whom I might identify in a context where people think I’m referring to “them” and not “us.”

                  Thank you. I think you’ve said what I wanted to hear somebody say. Just an acknowledgment.

                  I find myself wondering if things are going to stay the way they are. It seems like the internet should be eroding at this idea of physical cultural centers. Maybe when VR and telepresence really take off. When that happens, I get the feeling that they who are crammed in congested cities are going to be jealous of us and our quiet and our trees. I think we already see that with tech savvy companies.

                  • Blake Winton says:

                    I know I’m a little late here, but…

                    As someone who’s crammed in a congested city, I’m really not jealous of your quiet and trees. I far prefer the vibrancy and excitement (not to mention different foods!) of living near a lot of other people. :)

                    I totally understand why some people choose to live in dense areas, while others prefer not to (even to the extent of dealing with multi-hour commutes), and I’m glad that we’re getting closer to an era where both preferences can be accommodated.

                • C0Mmander says:

                  “But if we can hammer it out without it blowing up, then maybe I’ll discover that even though *I* use “flyover country” to mean “middle of the nation”, OTHER people use it to mean, “The land of those bullshit yokels who don’t matter”. Wow. I had no idea other people used the word in that way. I decide I don’t want to be associated with them, and so I’ll use another word next time.”

                  I kinda have a problem with this attitude personally. Let’s say for example I stopped using the word nerd because some people use it as a derogative and instead start using the word intellectual. Then what’s to stop some idiot from using that new term in 20 or 30 as an other insult thus forcing me to find a new word to not be seen as an ass.

                  • Wide And Nerdy says:

                    I understand and I’ve used a similar defense of the word “gamer.”

                    I think the difference is in the construction. Gamer, just from the way the term is designed means “One who games.” Whereas “flyover country” has an insult baked into it. “This is not a place we would actually go. This is a place that we are flying over to get to places that are actually worth going.”

                    • JackTheStripper says:

                      You’re making mountains out of molehills here. Even if you infuse the phrase with a disparaging intent (which it never had and you know it), that was probably one of the tamest insults I’ve ever heard.

                      That other part about Chris “looking down at the rest of us” is entirely on you. The comment of Kenny belonging in the Deep South happened because he’s a goddamn walking stereotype, not because Chris has a deep aversion to people from the Deep South.

                      Hell, at this point, I think you owe Chris an apology for insinuating that his attitude in general is insulting when he’s probably the nicest, most respectful person in the group.

                    • Wide And Nerdy says:

                      Thats not the way he said it. He didn’t say “yes Kenny fits the stereotype.”

                      He said he’d lived in Florida and that guys like Kenny rang true for him. I guess he lived in a different part of Florida from me because that whole “I’m from Florida, shit just flies out of my mouth sometimes” thing doesn’t ring true for me and I’ve lived in Florida my whole life.

                      That wasn’t the only thing he said during that lets play either to that effect and its those comments I had in mind when I heard his references to “flyover country” and took them as disparaging.

                      So while I retract what I said in my first post I will not apologize. I trust Shamus’ explanation but in the absence of it my conclusion was reasonable.

                    • JackTheStripper says:

                      You just said it: “I guess he lived in a different part of Florida from me”. I don’t know why you can’t give him the benefit of the doubt in that respect when Florida is so huge.

                      I’m Mexican and boy have I seen shitloads of stereotypes about people like me, and renditions of my birthplace, Tijuana, that depict it as some sort of small town in the middle of the desert, when it’s actually a huge urbanized city with a temperate climate that is inhabited with almost 1.5 million people (larger in population than any city in Florida, as I just found out). Do I get up in arms every time I see anyone say anything disparaging about those things? No, because I recognize that most of the time, stuff like that is either said in jest or is simply said out of ignorance. Even if the comment or whatever was said was insulting, I don’t demand an apology because I’m not a fucking princess that needs to be pampered. If necessary, I point out the problem and ask them to stop. That’s it. If they happen to apologize I thank them, because that’s already going above and beyond what I asked for.

                      Here’s the real problem with what you just did though: Suppose Chris is actually boiling with hate for every person from the South and takes any chance he gets to deride and laugh at them. And suppose the rest is as it already happened, that after it was pointed out that he said something insulting to people, Chris apologized. In that assumed world, You just got an overt racist person to apologize for an aspect of his racist behavior, how is that not a victory already? The hateful person just showed signs that he’s gained some form of understanding for his fellow man and might even begin to change his ways, at least in one respect. How is it reasonable that after this, the first thing you do is bring up previous transgressions and demand that they apologize for their entire character? All you’re doing is ensuring that he never tries to apologize again, can’t you see that?

                      There’s a reason why forgiveness is a highly regarded positive trait, because it takes a lot of moral character and willpower to do.

                    • Wide And Nerdy says:

                      Then again, there’s not much point in pointing it out to him if he’s not receptive. His apology showed that he is receptive so mentioning it would hopefully flag it for him in case he thinks about saying something similar in the future.

                      This was about correction. Its exactly what you and Shamus did with me. I don’t need to forgive Chris because there’s nothing to forgive.

                      What I will apologize for is not separating my anger at the general situation from my correction of Chris, making them clearly separate sentiments.

                  • Shamus says:

                    Your hypothetical is not very hypothetical. :) Like, that’s happening all the time. And yes, it’s annoying. You kind of have to make a judgement call, “Do I want to fight over this particular word or not?” It depends on the word. It depends on how long the divergent meaning has been in use. It depends on how widespread it is. It depends on if it’s a word for a group of people I care about (which might include me) or if it’s just a word for a place I’ve never been or know nothing about.

                  • syal says:

                    Unfortunately, that’s how language works. Until you have a way of preventing the world from using using ‘literally’ figuratively, your choices are “accept that people will misinterpret you because of the words you use” or “change the words you use so people don’t misinterpret you”.

                    Same reason you can’t use ‘gay’ to mean ‘festive’ anymore.

        • Nick Pitino says:

          So I check out for a couple days and everything explodes beneath here.

          Uh, for what it’s worth apology accepted.

    • Alex says:

      Um. Yeah really anything not on the coast “is” fly over country. I live in Colorado and I feel like my state is that way. There are just no GIANT population centers in the middle of the US. Yeah there are big cities(Denver metro is pretty big), but nothing that compares to LA or NYC. So, naturally, most people just fly over to the other side, because that is where the business/touristy spots are. There is nothing wrong with being called “Fly over country” esp. since most of the time that phrase is just used for farmland.

      • Chris Robertson says:

        I’m pretty sure this is false (ironically because there are no big population centers in the central US). I think it was in Randal Monroe’s new “What If” book that I read this. From what I remember Virginia is the most flown over state. I’ll have to look it up tonight when I get home and post if I find it.

        • silver Harloe says:

          It’s gonna have to do with hubs. Denver may not be HUGE CITY, but I seem to recall their airport being some major airline’s hub. Virtually no flight on that particular airline ever “flies over” Denver. Of course, in comparison to the number of people that go through a hub, the number of people who exit the hub and enter Denver might be like a rounding error…
          (yep, I remembered correctly: United Airlines uses Denver as a hub, but they have another hub in Chicago and 2 in California so maybe some United flights do pass over CO)

        • Ivan says:

          Really off topic but I can’t resist. Now you’ve got me thinking… What if every flight that has ever flown over Virginia were to fly over it at the same time? Is this question in the book? Because if so I really gotta read this thing.

        • Chris Robertson says:

          As promised, here is a portion of the answer to the question “Which US state is actually flown over the most?” (Spoiler: The book does state it’s Virginia.)

          I do hope these images fall under fair use. Shamus, of course feel free to delete this post (or edit out the link) if you have concerns or get some indication that it doesn’t.

  13. venatus says:

    did you do something different with the podcast when you uploaded it? usually I’m able to see the new podcast and download it on my phones podcast app, but for some reason the podcast specific rss hasn’t updated, even when I look at the feed on my computer

  14. Paul Spooner says:

    I think Microsoft bought Mojang for Minecraft Realms, and is going to target it to public schools. I can hear the conversation now.
    MS: “Hi there public schools! Have you seen all these studies showing that Minecraft helps build spatial, mathematics, and reading skills?”
    PS: “Oh yes Microsoft! Many of our best students are playing it these days. We love Minecraft!”
    MS: “I’ve heard that some of your poorest students can’t afford accounts.”
    PS: “Yes, it makes them feel left out. If only there was something we could do to help them.”
    MS: “How does it sound if we could offer you educational Minecraft accounts?”
    PS: “That would be wonderful! But, the poor children also don’t have the hardware.”
    MS: “We would be happy to sell you the X-box or Surface, both of which run Minecraft very well.”
    PS: “That sounds good too but how will they play with their friends without a private server?”
    MS: “You’ll be glad to hear we’re offering educational school-wide servers at a discounted monthly rate!”
    PS: “We love you Microsoft!”
    MS: “We love YOU publicly funded schools!”

    • Groboclown says:

      I do think that Microsoft is looking at Minecraft more as a platform to build upon for other products. Specifically, initially targeted at schools and young kids. As Shamus as shown, it’s also a game that parents are generally okay with their kids playing, and join their kids in the game.

      Also, I can see this turning into a sort of Second Life kind of game.

      • I could also see them making an array of games built on the Minecraft brand and using the basic “sandbox construction set” mechanic. It could almost be like LEGO, where you’d have Minecraft: Future Tech, Minecraft: Castles, Minecraft: Modern City, etc.

  15. thebob288 says:

    The new opening drives me insane. Its not bad in anyway I’m just so used to the old opening that anything else on the diecast just gives me that gut “This is an incorrect thing” feeling I’m sorry shamus I like the song but I am unable to accept it as the diecast theme.

    • Humanoid says:

      Maybe go halfway and have it as just the outro? Would also benefit those who think the piece as currently edited is too long for an intro. Also an excuse to not edit out Kevin MacLeod from the Diecast banner. :P

  16. Steve C says:

    In regards to Good Robot, I’m going to throw out an idea… partner up with someone.

    Story time- A friend of mine wrote a D&D module. He ran into problems and couldn’t figure out how to finish it. He came to me and said he gave up because he was stuck. So I took what he had and finished it. Finishing it was more than half of the work but it was really easy given what I had to work with. There’s no way I could have done it without having his stuff to work from. And there’s no way he could have finished it without me. We hadn’t planned to work together on it from the start but the project was a complete success because of it. If you can find someone to fill in what you are struggling with, Good Robot could be a big hit. The major difficulty is finding someone who can deliver without wasting your time.

    Here is what I suggest: Assuming you release a free demo, consider putting a note at the end that says what you said in the Diecast- that the project has stalled in development and you can’t figure out how to turn it into something “fun”. Look for someone who can add that missing piece like that guy who took Pixel City and turned it into a mobile act.

    You could come up with a a price point that ensures that only people who are serious about the project before allowing access to the source code. Kind of like franchising it out.

    • Ivan says:

      I think releasing a demo is a great idea, I would love the opportunity to have a look at it and try to figure out how it could be better. If Shamus were to put it up I’m sure he would receive plenty of feedback if just from the people who frequent twenty sided, which I think would be the best place for the demo because we would all be familiar with the context.

      • syal says:

        I’m going to guess the problem is that there aren’t enough environmental hazards.

        Like, if you add a gravity well that forces you into a one or two inch space until you get past it, that could add something. You could have an entire level that had that thing. You could put them on different walls, so the trick to surviving is to bounce between the walls to avoid bullets.

        Have some moving walls. Have some obstacles that fade in and out. Have points that change bullet trajectories when the bullets go by them. Have walls that bullets stick to until they all fire off simultaneously, or combine to make a giant bullet. Have enemies that do nothing but fire bullets into sticky walls constantly.

  17. Daniel says:

    The responses to the question about depth of field, bloom, and motion blur got my brain going about why these three effects are perceived as negative in the majority (as I see it) of gamer’s eyes. Looking at the core of what they are, estimations of real life phenomenon, they are no different from bump mapping or matrix transform 3D rendering. Why are these and sometimes-other (ambient occlusion) effects singled out as something bad? It would be interesting to see a survey on this topic, and I wonder what personal features may affect tastes in rendering techniques.

    Trying to explain why, the anger towards the depth of field effect is probably do to our eyes not being able to control the focal point, which could lead to anger as the player tries to shift their focus elsewhere and the game lags behind or does not change at all. It is a bit harder to find the root of hatred for motion blur. In theory, it should be loved, smoothing the individual frames so that instead of seeing a point in time ever 16 milliseconds you see a line representing all the positions the point was in in-between the frames. The only reason I can see for the reason it is hated so much is that the way motion blur is estimated. There is some arbitrary value that people will deem acceptable, and every way motion blur has been done (besides rendering at ludicrous frame rates and blurring them together) is less than that value. Bloom might just be people not liking real life. As a technique, bloom and HDR rendering, the process that creates the bloom, have been done to a reasonably accurate level. Compare real-time bloom to a photograph and there is not much of a difference.

    As for why anyone would want to create such aggravating and annoying effects that have ruined precious video games, I would say it is for the same reasons that created 3D graphics, To make up for the shortcomings of the technologies we use to interact with the computer. We created 3D rendering and depth of field because our monitors were not 3D, we created HDR rendering and bloom because our monitors did not have a high enough luminance value, and we created motion blur because our monitors (and GPUs) could not refresh fast enough for it to appear naturally. We might drop these estimations for newer and more accurate ones, but there is the problem of adoption. There are already monitors that are HDR, but they are very expensive, and light field rendering will bring a more natural form of depth of field, but the dpi for screens will need to be in the thousands to compete in fidelity to normal monitors. What it really comes down to is how much we are willing to pay to make everything feel more real. Are you willing to throw down several thousand dollars for a monitor that allows you to literally focus your eyes at different distances, with the added benefit of being in a lower resolution and require more power in both electricity and GPU?

    Holy crap, I was not expecting this comment to be this long when I started it.

    • Ysen says:

      Motion blur is detested because it doesn’t reflect the way human vision works. In real life if you look at something to the far right of your field of view, and then glance at something to the left, it just feels like a change of focus. In a game with motion blur it’s less like that and more like being spun around on a turntable while looking down a cardboard tube. The game is all WOOOOOOSH BLURRY LINES for what would be a minor shift in gaze in real life.

      • Alex says:

        I think you detest the amount and algorithm used then, not the effect it self. currently(that I know of) motion blur is calculated for the whole frame at the same time. Allowing biasing to be done that lessens for the camera movement and mostly focuses on model movement would be better.

      • Mrcl Pfffr says:

        I remember to have heard that our brain keeps the last focussed image visible to us until we have focussed our eyes on the next object. So we normally don’t see while our eyes move – this takes just milliseconds.

        So the in-game camera is just staring into the void. It’s up to the gamer to focus on interesting spots in the image. Motion blur and depth of field disturb this.

    • Mephane says:

      For me it is definitely the “can’t refocus by using my eyes naturally” thing for depth of field, plus I find both this effect and motion blur is usually overdone. I always give them a chance in a game but usually end up being annoye soon.

      With regards to bloom, I love it, I don’t even care whether it is more realistic with or without, but I find it looks fabulous in most games. :)

      • Alex says:

        Yeah I would say that bloom can be realistic. It is just a light leaking effect. I think the problem with bloom is that people over do it in realistic games. Beyond that it is a technique that will die out as we get more horsepower because we shall be inching closer and closer to realtime pathtracing and other offline rendering techniques that do correct light leaking, motion blur, and other lighting effects.

        DoF is super fun to me though if you are doing it in anything other than an FPS. it can create a super nifty tilt-shift effect. Like playing with toy soldiers…. So basically Total War, but without the realism……..So basically Total War.

        • Things that “annoy” some players can also be a tool in the hands of the right developers. In the same way that Half-Life 2 would deafen you if you set off a grenade too close, bloom/DOF can simulate having a flashbang go off too close or other environmental effects that limit clear vision.

    • RandomInternetCommenter says:

      Depth of field in video games makes no sense, because your eyes do that process naturally. Consider the only two possible situations:

      – you’re looking at the center of the screen, the intended focus point.
      Everything around it is naturally blurred by your vision. Depth of field also blurs distant environments, but this is entirely redundant. Your eyes already do that. In this first situation, depth of field is useless.

      – you’re looking at a distant point, a non-intended focus point. This point is blurred by depth of field even though it should appear clearly to you. In this second situation, depth of field is a negative.

      So the effect is at best pointless, and at worst flawed; and it adds another performance hit. You’re spending rendering power to make your game look less accurate.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        “- you’re looking at the center of the screen, the intended focus point.
        Everything around it is naturally blurred by your vision. Depth of field also blurs distant environments, but this is entirely redundant. Your eyes already do that. In this first situation, depth of field is useless.”

        Except that is not the case.You arent watching a building 20 meters behind a dude,you are watching pixels that are all the same distance.And if your monitor is not big enough,you will have it completely in your field of vision,so even the edges wont be blurred.

    • syal says:

      Motion blur lasts too long. Real motion blur doesn’t last long enough to be noticed unless you’re constantly spinning, or it’s the result of looking at an object that’s moving very fast (and usually spinning). Game motion blur always lasts about half a second, which is way too long.

      Depth of Field is poorly imitating the inability to see everything, and ignores that the player can look at anything in the field at any time. I don’t actually notice depth of field in real life, because my eyes are always roaming in order to avoid it. They don’t let you do that in games.

      Haven’t seen too many games with bloom, but I would think the problem is it’s just distracting. It’s like sun blindness; sure it’s realistic, but it’s not a fun game mechanic to have the sun be so bright you have trouble seeing. Imagine a game where you have to wipe the sweat off your forehead or else it will run into your eyes and make the screen go blurry. That’s what bloom is.

  18. Kristoffer says:

    So what you guys want isn’t Persona 4 the game, it’s the Persona 4 the anime that’s all the story and none of the grinding.
    (PS, I don’t believe Shamus would actually like Persona, don’t be crazy.)

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Isnt there already an anime like that?I think theyve made some persona animes.

      • Alexander The 1st says:

        Two, actually. Both about Persona 4.

        (There’s also, IIRC, 2 movies about Persona 3 – though this is excused by covering different parts of the game, The Hobbit trilogy style. IIRC, there’s *supposed* to be a third part, and presumably a fourth, to cover all the content.)

        • Daimbert says:

          P4: The Animation is about the best you could possibly convert a video game to an anime. It keeps what made the game so interesting, but takes advantage of the new medium and drops the things that simply won’t work, which in this case is pretty much the turn-based combat. It’s available on DVD in BluRay, although it’s a bit pricey. But I’ve watched it at least three times since March.

          • Kristoffer says:

            Yes. I wasn’t kidding when I suggested it. I don’t know what their watching stuff-habits are like, but it’s a very faithful adaptation that translates both the good and the bad parts very well and pretty much skips over the dungeons(The action leaves something to be desired because they spend so little time on it. It’s definitely not shonen).
            They make some neat additions too, giving more detail to Chie and Yukiko’s relationship and giving Yu Mitsuo’s shadow battle as his own confrontation of his self. I like it a lot, too, and I’m currently watching it with commentary.

            • Daimbert says:

              The anime really does Yukiko better than the games do. Yukiko, to me, came across as a bit selfish and spoiled in the game, and her being caring and kind was more of an informed attribute. In the anime, you get direct evidence of her caring for things and people, and you get to see just what she has to do at the inn which makes her finding it restrictive far more believable. I actually started even liking her a bit in the anime, whereas in the game I ended up cooling towards her.

  19. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Im convinced that I would like persona,but Im never going to buy a console just to play a single game.Heck,Im probably never going to buy a console at all.So unless it gets a proper port,nope.

    And I know about emulation,I just cant be bothered with play station emulators without having a controller,and that is another thing that I probably will never own.

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      “Im convinced that I would like persona,but Im never going to buy a console just to play a single game”

      Well Persona 3, Persona 3 FES, and Persona 4 area all on PS2, so that’s *three* games.

      Alternative, you can get Persona 3 Portable and Persona 4 Golden for PS Vita, with potentially Persona 4 Arena Ultimax apparently also coming to it. So, you know, two to three games. Potentially four, if you count both characters in Persona 3 Portable as different games.

      ~~~~

      More seriously, since we’re here talking about the Persona games, I do want to clarify one thing about the potential grinding issues (As such, this part is mainly pointed to Rutskarn, Shamus, and Campster).

      The way Persona 3 and 4 work is that the only stats actually tied to your character’s level is HP and SP – the former being hit points (Which special physical attacks can cast off of as well), and the latter being skill points (Mana in all but special physical attacks, essentially); Strength, Magic, Endurance (Physical Defense and Magical Defense), Agility (Basically dexterity in Dragon Age: Origins – the more you have, the more you’ll evade attacks and less likely you’ll miss), and Luck are all tied to the Persona that for everyone but the main character is tied to the character’s level in stats growth and skills, for the most part.

      The main character, however, is a wildcard character – in that they can switch between a set of them ranging from 4 (at the beginning of the game) to a maximum of 12 (Fairly early on – this is based on how much you increase the main character’s level) once per turn. Since your Persona have different skills and different elemental weaknesses and strengths, you may want to switch back and forth between a battle if you expect the enemy is going to do a strong attack and be able to dodge/endure it. Which is useful in part because the Personas themselves aren’t tied to the character’s level, usually lower because they usually only get exp when they’re the ones fighting at the end of a battle.

      However, you’ll get more by beating battles if you trigger Shuffle Time – basically at the end of a battle, you can choose between getting another Persona, getting significantly more exp (Portable and Golden mainly, IIRC) -, so eventually you’ll want to start making your stack of Persona smaller, which you do by fusing them together to make one that’s much more powerful.

      You can’t fuse Persona that will have a level higher than your main character, but as a result of the social walking around and talking you do earlier in the game with those conversations and all, said fusions can cause the resulting Persona to get exp bonuses and then level up based on how much of the talking and such you do (Usually tied to whom you speak to and how often) – thus while you do have to level up somewhat by grinding, to reach the level the game expects you to be at for boss fights…you don’t have to grind all the way up. Effectively, the exp bonuses allow you to “cheat” the game out of grinding a few levels – and since you can technically just re-buy the Personas you fused together and do it again as long as you don’t make the same Persona again from the fusion, you can cheat the game out of a *lot* of grinding once you’ve got enough in-game currency to just ignore actually having to get Personas manually. Sometimes it gets a bit crazy, like the enchanting that Josh did in, only without crashing the game itself.

      There’s also strategies you can use to do less grinding this way – such as using a Persona that nulls fire – or even absorbs it – against a boss that spams fire attacks. Then the stats don’t even matter.

      That said – Persona 4 has enemies that give a ridiculous amount of exp, so if you fight them throughout the game, you can grind even less combat and just run away from the other encounters.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        “Well Persona 3, Persona 3 FES, and Persona 4 area all on PS2, so that’s *three* games.”

        I wouldnt buy a new console,especially a portable one,for starcraft 3,half life 3 and planescape torment 3 combined,let alone a game I am not(yet)a fanboy of.

        • Trix2000 says:

          To be fair to the PS2, it has a LOT of great RPGs if you’re into those.

          Given how lengthy and involved the Persona games are, too, you get a lotta bang for you buck there. And I don’t really see a grind issue unless you play on harder difficulties (except maybe P3P, where normal was kicking my butt)… usually I’d just fight everything I came across and it’d be plenty for the bosses.

          • Daimbert says:

            I’ve played the two sets of games for over 1000 hours on the various systems they’ve been on. For the PS2, I’ve also had access to the two good Shadow Hearts games, Suikoden III, the Fatal Frame series, and the Silent Hill games. And those are just the ones that match up to my personal interests.

      • Kristoffer says:

        I think the part were it would break for them isn’t the grinding, it’s all the long cutscenes at the end of each little arc. They’ll be furious while hitting that x button, watching characters go over things they already understand, and I don’t believe the mysterious fox wearing a bib will convince them otherwise.

        • Daimbert says:

          They’re well-done for the most part, though, and add character and humour to the work … and the whole plot is worth it.

          • Alexander The 1st says:

            Also, Persona 4 Golden, at least, allows you to press start twice to skip through a cutscene at max speed. You don’t completely skip them because there’s dialogue choices, but more or less.

            Also, pressing triangle is an mildly-effective equivalent for Persona 3.

      • Daimbert says:

        As a personal note, I hate grinding in games. The grinding in Persona 3 is a bit annoying, which is why I hate playing it when I don’t have a New Game+ (once you have that, you can pretty much just drive through the grinding and the final bosses and do okay). Persona 4 is a LOT better. There are some things that make the grinding easier to take, however:

        1) There are actually difficulty levels, and the game isn’t trivial on Easy; it’s just not that hard.

        2) In later P3 and all through P4, you can give your teammates direct commands instead of letting them attack on their own, making the fights less frustrating.

        3) Fatigue was removed in P4 which means that you can just keep going on that day until you run out of SP, which is the limiting factor.

        4) On Easy in P4, you can pretty much get all the experience you need by completely exploring each floor, so you don’t have to do the same floors over and over again to do it, as long as you also do the bonus dungeons (which also take a day if you have the SP).

        5) In P4, the dungeons actually map to an actual mission, as opposed to the “get to the highest accessible floor before the full moon” of P3, so you generally have a reason to be there, and the dungeon advances the characterization and plot. So it doesn’t seem like a grind at all.

        6) P4 allows you to start from the highest explored floor, so you don’t have to do any floors over just to get back to where you left off.

        If there’s any concern about grinding, I think that Persona 4 solves all of them and so would be a game worth playing.

        • Alexander The 1st says:

          About 3.) : With Persona 4 Golden, there’s the SOS rescue mechanic that makes you run out of SP a lot slower as long as others decide to rescue you – it’s an online mechanic, which is a bit weird for a portable game, but it works.

          As for 6.) : that’s true until you complete a dungeon – if you want to fight the optional boss fight of a dungeon, when you come back later, you start back at floor 1.

    • Humanoid says:

      I’m sad that they didn’t weave the Bergman movie Persona into the discussion. :(

  20. Steve C says:

    I found it funny you said Notch should use a pseudonym. Notch isn’t his name, it’s Markus. I bet he already has multiple internet handles based on what he’s doing. I know I do and I’m nobody.

  21. TSi says:

    The stereo edits are very nice, it helps a lot ! but what happened to the old intro ? I almost stopped the player thinking the upload was mistakenly replaced by one of your test songs.

    On the topic of Good Robot, i wonder if adding simple physics objects to move/blow up or use as simple puzzle solvers could add the depth you’re looking for. Even a simple pile of boxes.

  22. lucky7 says:

    The trap question reminds me of an old episode of a kid’s TV show. Both side wanted an ancient Mayan artifact of ULTIMATE POWER, and then it crumbled into dust when one side got it.

  23. Dragmire says:

    Eh, I think the majority of money Microsoft gets from Minecraft will be from licensing and merchandise. At this point, the ip is way more than the game alone.

    • WWWebb says:

      Like Dragmire said, the licensing is what’s going to make Microsoft their money back within a couple of years. Keeping Minecraft popular and widespread is going to be key to that money train.

      That said, I have to disagree with the diecasters and say that there is NO WAY they’ll shut down the modding. If anything, they’ll make it easier to install mods on the PC (aka NOT iOS or Android). They’ll also approach the developers of mods like Rainbow Unicorn with free dev kits so they can make some money by selling a plugin for the Xbox versions.

      Suddenly kids (and developers) everywhere will have dreams of making major bucks from selling things on the XBox store. Once they’ve lined up a stable of “independent” skin and plugin developers to feature, we’ll probably hear about it an announcement for MineCon 2015. At that point, Microsoft will be happy to invest in a couple more cars for their money train.

      Also, Paul Spooner is absolutely right about the long term potential of Minecraft.

  24. Corpital says:

    Ancient traps and mechanisms in my normal games are most often kept running by It’s magic, shut up.

    The biggest deviation from that was in a seemingly serious standart fantasy campaign, where gnomes were the secret behind everything. Virtually everything that happened in the story. Tribes of dungeon gnomes maintained all the traps, rebuilt damaged rooms and played a big part in the local economy to finance the materials and new loot every now and then.

  25. Skuvnar says:

    So the plastic look of materials is due to an incorrect specular power value. It makes a material that should diffuse light look like it’s reflecting too much light off its surface.

    As for bloom and motion blur and all those post processing effects; I find they can all look good if they’re subtle, especially when trying to achieve a photo-realistic look. The issue some developers seem to have is that the effect (depth of field for example) will have a noticeable hit on performance and the player might not even notice the effect if it’s not really over the top. Far Cry 3 and its bonkers ambient occlusion that left black outlines around every object is a good example of this.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      Yeah, poor specularity balance is pretty common. I wonder if it has to do with the default material value settings? Every 3d editing tool I’ve ever used has a default specularity that lands solidly in the “plastic” range. Skin, cloth, and most organics have basically no specularity. Polished metals and glass have really high specularity. Smudging those values toward the default tends to make everything look plastic, and I wonder if the widespread nature of this error is simply due to laziness.

  26. lethal_guitar says:

    One suggestion regarding iTunes: Maybe setting it up in a virtual machine could be an option? I do that all the time when I need to use some program but don’t want it to pollute my nice & clean Windows install. It’s pretty easy and hassle-free nowadays, and the tools (VirtualBox or VMware player) are free.

  27. Taellosse says:

    to Thomas Johnson and anyone else that wonders about the whole iTunes thing: if you want the Diecast to be automatically tracked by iTunes, all you have to do is right-click on the “Podcast RSS Feed” link under the latest episode that Shamus has posted, and copy the link to your clipboard. Then go to iTunes, and under File>Subscribe to Podcast… paste the link into the box that comes up. Now iTunes will track the RSS feed just like a podcast that updates on the iTunes Store. You won’t have to download the file manually anymore, you won’t have to import it manually, and you won’t need to change it’s filetype from music to podcast every time.

    The only thing it won’t do is automatically add an image for the podcast to your iTunes/iPod/iPhone library, but you can copy the one used here on the blog and paste it into the latest downloaded podcast’s metadata just like a song, if that matters to you.

    Oh, and for those that don’t regularly sync their mobile devices with iTunes, I have no idea if this is possible to do directly inside the Podcasts app in iOS. But once a podcast is subscribed to in iTunes, and you DO sync with your computer, it will be added to your list of subscribed podcasts and updated normally according to your preferences.

  28. Ilseroth says:

    It is good to hear the Good Robot is still at least on the peripheries, if you do release a “demo” version of the current prototype Id gladly play through it a few dozen times to inform you what I believe works and doesn’t.

  29. Steve Online says:

    “They craft personas.”

    “Like Atlus.”

    I HEARD THAT, JOSH.

  30. Joey245 says:

    As someone who enjoys listening to older podcasts (they’re great for tedious, non-stimulating work like homework, grinding collectibles or levels in video games, or sorting things), I noticed that Shamus said that he might put up a Good Robot demo within the week to let people try it out.

    And then that never happened. Huh.

    I’ve been following Good Robot’s development for a while now, and got super excited when you said you might be putting a demo up. While I don’t want to force you to do anything, putting up the demo would make me a very happy person.

    Of course, I’m sure there was a raisin why it didn’t happen. Maybe the idea was lost amid the chaos of the apartment searching and moving into the new place. Or you didn’t feel comfortable releasing Good Robot in its current state. Or Reginald Cuftbert manifested himself inside your hard drive and fought Good Robot in a fight to the death – and won after several quicksaves and quickloads. I’m interested in hearing what you have to say, Shamus (or read, in case you reply.)

    Not trying to be a bother. Just a personal interest. Thanks!

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