Diecast #119: Until Dawn, Darkest Dungeons, Pillars of Eternity

By Shamus Posted Sunday Aug 30, 2015

Filed under: Diecast 130 comments

Hosts: Shamus, Josh, Rutskarn, Mumbles, Campster. Episode edited by Rachel.

Show notes:
1:15: Until Dawn

13:01 Darkest Dungeons

19:32 Kerbal Space Program

Here is Scott Manley’s YouTube channel. Great stuff.

28:30: Pillars of Eternity

47:45: Mountain Blade, Firin’ Sword!

56:45: DIY plumbing with Josh


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130 thoughts on “Diecast #119: Until Dawn, Darkest Dungeons, Pillars of Eternity

  1. DeadlyDark says:

    Okey, that’s a surprise

  2. Wide And Nerdy says:

    Baldurs Gate 2 is much more on par with Pillars than BG1. It has a much more focused and strong narrative, and probably Bioware’s best villain (voiced by David Warner no less).

    And yeah the Battlemage from DAI is OP. The reason being that it regenerates your shield a bit with every swing, enough so that nobody can actually break your shield. I heard there was a nerf but that was after I stopped playing.

    I’m liking Rachel as the editor if it means we get the Diecast this quickly :)

    1. James Porter says:

      Also fun thing to point out, the sword is basically a lightsaber greatsword, and just looks cool as hell

    2. Jokerman says:

      There certainly was a nerf… found that out the hard way when i tried to play the new DLC while about 5 levels below it.

      Kinda thinking i have killed my last dragon too.

  3. Jonathan Scinto says:

    Pillars of Eternity has such a bizarre system for how attributes influence powers/spells.

    Intelligence governs the duration of everything, even something like the Barbarian’s Rage or how long a Fighter’s Knockdown ability lasts. Might governs damage for everything, including spells and melee. A good wizard is also going to be a beefcake.

    That’s a really nonsensical and stupid system. I get that Obsidian wanted to be different, but PoE’s rule set is ridiculous.

    For me, the writing in PoE was (mostly) fantastic, but the gameplay is shit, which is kind of par the course for Obsidian.

    EDIT – Although Obsidian really needs to stop with the plot locked doors and prove your worth quests. There is a really egregious point in Act II where you have to prove your worth to speak to someone important, even though you have vital information that could save thousands of lives.

    1. Raygereio says:

      That's a really nonsensical and stupid system.

      Could you explain why you think that?

      One of the main goals with which PoE’s system was designed was for there to be no bad builds. No matter what class you are, all stats matter. This allows for more experimentation, more freedom in how you want to play the game and a greater variety of builds.

      If this feels new and scary, it’s probably because lot of cRPG systems take their cue from the classic D&D thing where you have an attribute system with physical related stats and mentally related ones. Melee oriented classes use the physical stats, while ignoring the mental ones. And magic oriented classes do the reverse.
      Probably the worst example of this is Dragon Age: Origins. You have 6 attributes, but for each class only a few matter. If you’re a mage, you could put points into Strength. However that stat does absolutely nothing for mages. The only attributes worth putting points in are Int, Will and perhaps a couple of points into Constitution.
      That – combined with the shitty designed talentrees – means that there’s very little room for variation. All mage builds in DA:O are going to be the same stat-wise and will only vary in which spells are selected.

      1. I kind of like the Pillars system, and once you figure out how gross the delay ability is (basically you add cooldown to enemy abilities every time you hit them) on a rogue, you start mowing stuff down like crazy. “No you can’t cast. No you can’t cast. Nope. No abilities for you. No. No. No. No. And you’re dead.”

    2. Supahewok says:

      The goal of the PoE system was to make every attribute useful for every class, within the confines of the class. Hence, “Might”, rather than “Strength”. A wizard with lots of “Might” just means that that wizard has the force of will or whatever to make their spells more potent, not that they’re jacked. Same with a Barbarian’s Rage; a smart barbarian knows how to pace themselves to make the rage last longer, but that doesn’t mean that they know calculus.

      The intention was to diversify class builds. Its been a while since I’ve played and I haven’t been keeping track of the strategies for it, so I don’t know how well it all worked out in practice.

      As for that Act II bit: it didn’t bother me. I’d already done all the side quests around the city, so when I was told to kiss up to a faction I only needed to go speak to their leader once to proceed. Felt pretty natural, although I could see how it would be annoying to someone just trying to do the main quest. I think part of the purpose is to make sure you’re getting enough XP for your level ups before you progress too far into the story and get stuck. Its not an elegant solution to that problem, but when your world is fairly open and you’re not level scaling (thank God for the latter, as I abhor that), you’ve got to do something to get the impatient player to stop and smell some of the roses.

      1. Jonathan Scinto says:

        The stats don’t make any sense to me from a roleplaying standpoint. Spells/powers should be tied to a stat on an individual basis. The idea of making intelligence the governing stat for everything is really weird to me. It seems lazy, or an attempt to be different just for the sake of being different. It doesn’t make all builds viable, it just means that you will have a very limited number of ability point distributions for any given class, because everything else will suck.

        Act II pissed me off because Obsidian was doing that thing where they don’t play by their own rules (see the Boomers in New Vegas.) By the end of Act II, when I was ready to talk to the Duc’ and explain why children were being born without souls, I had to toady up to one of those three factions and do all their stupid chores. I was already famous in the city, was considered by Defiance Bay to be a champion. I was the Watcher, had tons of money, ruled a keep and even collected taxes from the local population, and I still had to do stupid fetch quests. Then, when you finally prove your worth, the bad guy makes you look like an idiot because you’re frozen in a cutscene and can’t react until after the bad guy has gotten the better of you. The whole damn game, Thaos is always making the PC look like an idiot. He’s always one step ahead.

        And those stupid tribals, the Glanfathens. You chase Thaos and have to deal with those idiots. Up until that point, my only interaction with those superstitious primitives, was them trying to kill me because I was “violating their sacred ruins or whatever.” Then, I’m expected to do quests for them, because they won’t let me inside their stupid sacred city. By this point I was so angry at the game, that I murdered every tribal I saw and figured I could just kill my way to Thaos. In the end, I got the worst possible ending where my character died falling down a pit and Thaos won.

        I rage quit for a few months.

        1. Thomas says:

          I’m conflicted, I like the gameplay implications of the way stats work in Pillars. It’s much much much more interesting than the ordinary system which is pretty stupid when you look at it in terms of what it means for the player.

          And from a roleplaying perspective, I much prefer that you can now make an intelligent fighter or an aggressive dumbo macho mage.

          But at the same time, it doesn’t quite click. They were really close but not quite there. For the dumbo mage to work each of the stats needs to feel like it actually does have the affect it does and that doesn’t quite work. ‘Might’ works well for me, a clever wizard can do all he needs with a pebble, a dumb macho wizard blows up the pebble and the mountain behind it.

          Intellect doesn’t really quite feel like it should increase AoE (although duration absolutely does).

          All in all I prefer what it adds to what it doesn’t get quite right, but I can understand how the slight mismatch could really get on someones nerves. The old system might not be very good, but it does get most of the roleplaying right, and what it gets wrong we don’t notice because we’ve actually _built_ our ideas of archetypes around the old stats.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Intellect doesn't really quite feel like it should increase AoE (although duration absolutely does).

            I think it should.Might dictates your raw power,while intellect dictates your ability to manipulate stuff,in this case add range and duration.

            1. Wide And Nerdy says:

              Plus range and area involve meters which is, like, a smart person thing.

              No seriously, when Intellect extends your area, it extends the part of your area thats foe only, which strikes me as a vaguely intellect-ish thing.

              1. Yeah, they added some very neat ideas in there with the AOE spells. I thought the foe only area was super cool.

                1. Wide And Nerdy says:

                  Me too. It creates a wonderful midpoint between the friendly fire spells that are often useless because AI has your party rushing the targets too fast, and the no friendly fire setting that completely removes that tactical consideration. In POE its actually often better for me to wait till my melee fighters have closed ranks with the enemy then carefully position spells that are half friendly fire, half foe only. And the roll intelligence plays in that system is inspired.

                  1. djw says:

                    I liked the feature too.

                    I do think that they should have called the stat something other than intelligence though. Cunning? Tactics? Both of those seem to hit on the actual purpose of the stat a bit better.

                    1. Wide And Nerdy says:

                      Yeah, especially since this is yet another system where attribute scores don’t affect skill bonuses.

                      That said, I wonder if they considered that but kept it as intelligence so that it would continue to feel closer to the CRPG the fans paid them to make (what a crazy dynamic, been around for years now but it still feels new especially since we haven’t had a ton of video game projects successfully launch from this model yet)

                    2. Thomas says:

                      If they called it cunning then it might have helped draw less attention to the archetypal “Intelligence”

                    3. djw says:

                      Perhaps the following swaps would get the nuance right:


                      It makes sense to describe a barbarian as powerful and cunning, and it makes sense to describe a wizard as powerful and cunning. This shortcuts the baggage we carry around from D&D.

                    4. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      So when they change stuff,people hate it and berate them for it.When they dont change stuff,people hate it and berate them for it.Make up your mind people.

        2. The Other Matt K says:

          Yeah, I was willing to overlook the poor mechanics of the system when I was initially enjoying the story, but the Act II plot pretty much burnt up all the good will I had for the game. The fact that the ‘bad guy beats you in a cutscene’ came shortly after a similarly obnoxious cutscene (where they pull the exact same trick in the sanitarium) was when I actively started advising my friends to stay away from PoE.

    3. GloatingSwine says:

      If your metric for “stupid” is “resistant to trivial minmaxing” then maybe the problem is your expectations?

      Pillars of Eternity’s combat is perfectly servicable for an RPG, characters feel reasonably balanced because it’s not a comptetition of “which class minmaxes best”, there are a lot of options for characters to mutually support each other without feeling like a super strict parts of the machine division of roles, and you can appreciate the stakes involved in combat because the threat of permanent death exists without being one bad dice roll away from the game over screen like Baldur’s Gate.

      It might not be on the level that the writing, world, and characters reach, but calling it “nonsensical and stupid” is, well, nonsensical and stupid. It does a perfectly good job of being an RPG combat system, it’s engaging and satisfying to use, and not trivially broken by easy minmaxing.

      1. AncientSpark says:

        Well, I don’t have a problem with PoE’s stat system myself because a lot of its problems are pretty inevitable for most RPGs, but “resistant to trivial minmaxing” is not one of the strengths of PoE’s stat system. PoE absolutely has optimal, crazy min-maxed builds, but very few of them are intuitive because they don’t fit into natural molds, so people don’t really discover them naturally. I’m talking stuff ranging from full tank Chanters (who sit there and tank for hours because it’s not like they need any amount of offensive stats to do their job) to all Int Fighters (for ridiculous duration Knockdowns) to full Might Rogues (using the weapon swap to put off reload times, therefore granting ridiculous burst with 4 firearms). It’s especially bad because many of the default companions actually have terrible builds; for example, why does the default Wizard have high Perception, a stat that never really applies to a high ranged class that needs offensive stats?

        1. djw says:

          Once you fire those 4 firearms you are back to loading them slow as molasses again. Also, you need to be an island amuna and spend two talents to make that worth while (extra weapon slot and quick switch). Considering you only get 6 talents that is a significant investment. You do get a nice pay-off (one hell of an alpha strike), but in path of the damned that will just kill one (maybe two) opponents and you will still have to get the rest the old fashioned way.

          Also, in patch 2.0 perception adds to accuracy, which means that it is useful for wizards (and everybody else) now. Pretty much chanters are the only class that can get away with ignoring accuracy.

        2. Wide And Nerdy says:

          They added the ability to respec party members a while back when you first get them and they’ve since also added a retrain option. Not sure how well those work but they might address your complaints

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Thats great news!I really should get back to pillars now.Man,why does time have to be so limited?

            1. Wide And Nerdy says:

              Clarification: I just tried the retrain ability last night (you access it through the same menu as hiring new adventurer) and it would seem it only allows you to respec everything you get from levels. You can’t change class or ability scores.

              That said, they had previously added a feature that lets you respec a character when you first get them I think. And they might have changed a few things about the builds of those characters.

      2. Although, to be fair, Paladins kinda blow.

        1. djw says:

          NPC palladins blow… if you make your own you get significant buffs from your dispositions.

          1. Trix2000 says:

            Yeah, I really liked my paladin as a tank. Buffed my fighter with more DR, debuffed enemies for my dps, and was pretty good at soaking damage on her own. What she did wasn’t very flashy, but it was very effective.

      3. The Other Matt K says:

        I wouldn’t go so far as to call the gameplay ‘stupid and nonsensical’, but I did find it very much the opposite of ‘engaging and satisfying’. As others have mentioned, unless you did research to find the strongest builds, the game seemed filled with ‘trap’ options and it was all too easy to build an ineffective character (and/or party). Some spells are game-winning while others are completely useless. Some classes are extremely vulnerable unless you build the party around protecting them.

        There is also a lot of minutiae that the game glosses over. There is an immense focus on positioning and timing of actions, but the control over that positioning and timing is erratic and tedious to deal with. You’ve got different weapons that help vs different armors, and different attacks vs different defenses, encouraging you to switch from weapon to weapon in the midst of battle.

        In a tabletop RPG, I’d find all of these really exciting details. I’d love the depth and the ability to make tactical decisions in every round of the encounter. But that would be a game where I’d only be dealing with a few fights in a session, and only playing a single character. In a video game, with fights around every corner, it felt incredibly tedious to try and keep track of all this, especially when it seemed like the consequence for failure could get the entire party wiped in one bad moment. (And with healing such a rarity, that leaves very little margin for error.)

        Don’t get me wrong, I think the game had a lot of creative ideas and concepts in those mechanics. I loved the idea of the classes, especially the ones that were atypical for the genre – the Chanter, the Cypher, etc. And as I noted, it felt like a game I’d have a lot of fun with as a tabletop RPG.

        It just made for a miserable experience as a CRPG, especially once the story started to become an obstacle rather than a goal.

        1. Wide And Nerdy says:

          If you find the story to interfere, you might appreciate the White Marches. I hear its got a lot for the Icewind Dale style. This is also why I appreciate Caed Nua (though I wouldn’t have appreciated it in the old engine, I actually like the Pillars updates to gameplay, especially once you have the autopause and slow time/fast time settings to your liking.)

          FYI, the POE 2.0 update includes squad AI for players who don’t want to micromanage. Just lower the difficulty till it feels right and tweak the autopause settings so you can step in when you need to.

          1. The Other Matt K says:

            Yeah, Caed Nua was actually the highlight of the game for me, and felt much more fulfilling than the main plot.

        2. Trix2000 says:

          I dunno, the only thought I put into the damage types I was doing was to make sure I had a variety of damage types across my party. I didn’t micromanage combat-to-combat and did fine – the only fight I lost (a few times) was the Ardra Dragon, who is a jerk but actually interesting to fight. I think the only times I noticed damage types being a concern was when 2/3 of my party was running piercing damage… but that was easily fixed (and also not a huge deal when half that damage was high-damage guns).

          I do think it really encourages having a well-balanced and thought out party, but I don’t think it required extensive metagaming to do so. I didn’t bother with any guides or reading ahead and did fine.

          Now, this MIGHT be very different for the hardest difficulties. But then if you’re playing on those, you’re kind-of asking for the game to take the kid gloves off. The game expects a lot of pausing and micromanagement at that level, which I think has a lot of appeal for some people (but not everyone, of course).

    4. Daemian Lucifer says:

      So it doesnt fit the obvious mold,therefore its bad?

      1. Raygereio says:

        You’d be amazed at how common that particular sentiment was.

        The majority of complaining and about PoE’s classes during the development basically just boiled down to “This isn’t D&D and therefore bad. You guys should just copy what D&D did”.
        To make it extra stupid, the complainers had different ideas of what the classes should look like depending of what version/homebrew of D&D they played.

        1. GloatingSwine says:

          The irony is, Pillars’ classes are super similar to D&D, except developed in ways that are appropriate to the fact that it’s a computer game and the computer can do all the fiddly bookkeeping.

          Lots of things in PoE are really cool iterations on the core formula of computer RPGs. For example the combat XP system is divorced from actually killing monsters and comes from filling the bestiary entries about them, which means that you only gain experience for the first so many of a type you kill. Gaining experience for doing things which are new experiences.

          1. djw says:

            This also means that you don’t loose experience if you sneak past or ignore common creatures once you get your bestiary filled out.

            1. Galad says:

              That is really cool! But if you have one or two characters in your party that are sneaky, what are those big bulky fighters in clanging chainmail going to do?

              Regardless, I should get back to PoE, despite calling myself an RPG fan I don’t really have a lot of different RPGs played :/

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Um,you werent supposed to root for freddy or michael.The protagonists in old horrors werent unlikable at all.Kirsty from hellraiser was awesome,nancy was great and laurie was nice as well.Its sometimes later that the focus of these shifted,and when they all started sucking.Well,except for the final destination ones,those are hilarious,and only because “the killer” does kill everyone by the end,instead of some unlikable jackass managing to outsmart it.

  5. James Porter says:

    So I know that you were talking about western Lovecraftian horror games specifically, but I had to admit I kept thinking back to Bloodborne(Although to be fair, kinda everything is reminding me of that right now. And since I don’t have a PS4 i’m not going to get rid of that for a while). So now I am kinda hungry for some interesting conversation on how Bloodborne works as a horror game.

    Oh, and about Darkest Dungeon, the description of the game keeps reminding me of the tomb crawling in Rutskarn’s novella. If that game delivers on that feeling, then I may need to check it out. I kinda need a spooky, psychologically horrifying game to make me feel better about not playing Bloodborne.

    1. GloatingSwine says:

      Well, when your response to the monster is “smack it in the face with a hammer the size of a small car”, the horror is somewhat diminished….

      Bloodborne does have some of the feel of old survival horror games, but not for the same reason. In Bloodborne making progress is always threatening because if you slip up and die, which can happen very quickly, you lose all the XP you are carrying and there’s no guarantee that you’ll live to get back to where you were when you died. So stepping into the unknown is inherently daunting in the way it was in old horror games, but not because the things you fight are grotesque and horrible.

      And then you git gud, as all souls players must, and you know what’s coming, and you can get the sweet rewards of practicing skills that were hard to come by.

      1. James Porter says:

        So I agree with that, although to be fair, those monsters are totally grotesque and horrible.
        Disease filled city full of people constantly transforming into beasts, creatures writhing around on the floor, a literal coven of witches capturing people to harvest their eyes, college students transformed into half fly monsters because of a misunderstanding by the smartest individual in the city, and all the various Lovecraft inspired monsters, all living within nightmare planes.

        And I kinda dig that they use the difficulty to make these creatures intimating and scary. It seems to solve the issue of death in horror games, where you don’t want the players to die, or else the tension would be broken. Since death is a main focus of the game and the consequence for failure is both easy to deal with and feels monumental, the game keeps the pace going.
        Also, I just really like the writing in that game. The guys over at From have such a way with words. The way they can imply so much with simple item descriptions is so interesting to me.

        And overall while I like the difficulty, it has never been my main interest in these games. I just fall in love with these interestingly crafted worlds, and the cool ways they tell stories. (Which is why its kinda killing me that I don’t get to play it, even though I know its not worth getting a PS4)

        1. Varreity says:

          Bloodborne’s horror was never a personal kind to me; I was never afraid, because I have a cane I can beat Cthulu with like he’s Charles Sumner. But, but, I’m a hunter, an exception. The horror was more in the setting, in the little blurbs you read, and in the NPCs. Gascoigne’s family, Violetta and Oedon, etc.

          For me, the game was tense, and atmospheric, but never scary (but fuck that void you drop the brain into; that was the scariest part of the game).

  6. Steve C says:

    Diecast is normally a Tuesday thing and there are no show notes. Was this published today in error?

    1. Shamus says:

      Diecast is usually Monday. The show notes are thin because I’m just super-busy this weekend.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Yes,we read the tweets.Those pages arent going to recheck themselves.

        1. Wide And Nerdy says:

          Your mom.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Could you be more white?Its pronounced “Yo momma!”.

            1. Wide And Nerdy says:

              That was the joke. Yes.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                And I have expanded it.Just like yo momma does to dresses.

                Incidentally,if anyone guesses why Im currently into yo momma jokes,they are a real prophet.Hint:its because of a few passages from an old book from a dead author.

        2. MrGuy says:

          Well, it’s your fault for not posting any new hilarious cat videos.

          Only you can prevent boredom in Shamus. Only you.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Fair enough.Here is a cat refusing to leave the water:

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Hordes of the underdark has awesome evil options.And even options that vindicate your play through the original neverwinter nights.Somewhere near the end you find a way to manipulate peoples souls and force them to do whatever you want.So when you get to fight the big bad,and he tries to get your companions to turn on you,you just go “Nope,these thralls are mine to command!”.Then you get to force people to be your “love” slaves.And you get to replace the main bad in hell as the new ruler.Its awesome.And thats only a small chunk of twisted shit you get to do.

    1. John says:

      The thing that I like about being evil in Hordes of the Underdark is that it’s actually often easier than being good. A good PC–a really, really good PC–would free those slaves from the mindflayers. And that good PC would pay for it later when the mindflayers attacked in the siege at the end of the second act. But an evil PC has no such problem. In fact, an evil PC can skip the siege almost entirely with one easy betrayal. Muahahah!

      1. Ringwraith says:

        Also made thematic sense seeing as you were in the Underdark.
        Plus the summonable genie merchant was amusing.

        1. Trix2000 says:

          HoU was one of my favorite things to replay back in the day. Though I’d always use the scenario editor and console to conjure up some crazy overpowered level 40 god to stomp through the game with because I liked that better than worrying about dying.

          Also thought it was fun to stand up to the Lord of Hell, in all his ego and smugness, and tell him his name straight to his face making his expression do a complete 180. And then making him fight me anyways because why not?

          I couldn’t be too mean with my party, though. I’m like Mumbles – I can’t do that sort of evil stuff in a game. :(

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Its easier if you went through the first game,and then you find aribeth once more.Being mean to her comes quite naturally.

            1. Galad says:

              I couldn’t be mean to her ‘naturally’. While she had to be at least in part selfish to do what she did in the first game, she’s not an easy person to shoehorn into “she’s an idiot” or “she was right”, as most at least-above-average-written characters tend to be.

  8. Nicholas Hayes says:

    Possibly plumbing there, unless feathers were involved

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ah,the age old “How hard could this thing Ive never done in my life be?I can do it myself in 5 minutes”.

    1. AileTheAlien says:

      The worst part, is that it’s not anything intrinsic about pipes/wires/insert-name-of-infrastructure-here that causes the really frustrating stuff. The stuff done because of limitations of materials, or to meet the physical needs – I can totally agree with all of that. The stuff that drives me up the wall, is when things are small just for the sake of saving like, 2% of the total space needed*. Or when there’s hidden screws, or jig-saw pieces solely because having a visible screw/nut would cause 1% of the total structure to be ugly. Or when sometimes things are reverse-threaded for no good reason – they just wanted to be backwards from the other side of the thing! Aaarrrgg! Home repairs!!!!

      * I live in North America, where we’re all huge, our cars are gigantic, and holy moly, why isn’t everything wide open and easy to access for repairs?!?!?

  10. James says:


    Pipe Dream is not a joke, its not something we laugh about after the fact….
    *crys intensely*

  11. Dragmire says:

    Plumbing Josh is fun but I prefer Cooking Josh.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Josh rage.Jage.

  12. Hitch says:

    I liked the plumbing section. That pretty much summed up most of my experiences with plumbing.

    1. AileTheAlien says:

      +1 for Josh’s Plumbing Corner!

  13. John says:

    Ah, Mount & Blade. As it happens, I just played a whole bunch of Warband because it was free this weekend on Steam. I actually like the combat in Mount & Blade a lot–particularly in the original game, which is what I usually play. I don’t doubt Josh when he says that the combat isn’t realistic, but that doesn’t bother me. I will say two things in the combat’s defense, however. First, there’s an auto-block option. If you enable auto-block, you no-longer have to specify the direction in which–from which?–you are blocking, you just have to hold down the block button. If for example an enemy approaches from the front poised for a high chop, you will automatically block high. If the enemy sees your block and switches to, say, a thrust position, you need to adjust your block. Let go of the block button and then press and hold it again to block the thrust. Second, you will probably get better at attacks if you practice. I had the sort of problems Josh describes when I started playing. I’m still sort of crummy when on foot but I’ve become a very effective cavalry man because–surprise, surprise–I spend most of the game on horseback. I really only fight on foot in sieges, which are comparatively rare.

    I don’t mean to suggest that Josh or anyone else just needs to–how does it go?–“git gud”. I only mean to say that I benefited tremendously from patience and a relaxed attitude when I was learning the game. It seems to me that the trickiest element of Mount & Blade combat is the timing, especially on horseback. As I said above, I usually play the original game rather than the Warband version and I am a fairly effective fighter on horseback with either polearm or greatsword. This weekend, I tried Warband for the first time and suddenly I suck all over again. I think the combat in Warband is faster than in Mount & Blade. I mean it: the horses are super-duper fast. One of the reasons I missed so often was that I tended to release attacks too late. You can’t skewer the guy in front of you if the pointy part of your lance has already gone by him. Another reason is that the attack animations are different and my old visual reference points no longer apply. Steam says that I played for four hours. I didn’t get a lot better in that span, but I did improve somewhat, especially timing-wise.

    1. Ringwraith says:

      They change the timing on a bunch of things, especially the physics of mounted archery.
      Hope you didn’t learn the original’s quirks too much!

      Although honestly, I have never heard anyone Mount & Blade’s combat is ‘realistic’ or ‘the best’, it’s probably a better thematic representation of some elements than most games, like not being on a horse is terrifying and lance charges are devastating, but it’s still kinda simple. The whole directional blocking thing is because blocking with a weapon you can do forever but a shield will eventually break as it blocks any attack direction, and also projectiles. Seems like more a balancing thing to me.

    2. hborrgg says:

      My main problem with the combat in M&B is that blocking is too easy, especially blocking thrusts. It makes spears or pikes pretty useless since any time someone waddles toward you holding their sword at their waist horizontally you are completely screwed. You literally can’t keep anyone at a distance with your pike, which is the one thing they are supposed to do. Also, the foot combat really needs some sort of sprint or lunge button.

    3. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      “realism” in the combat model probably rests on the physics engine used to calculate hits and damage. I don’t know that I’d ever have called the mechanics realistic. I periodically go to the arena and practice blocking. I’ll have to try that auto-blocking… I’m more a fan of the lance combat. If I’m attacking a castle, I spend most of my time sitting in a safe location, protected from arrows, and directing the assault from the map.

      So… when does the “interesting stuff” happen? I’m in about year 3, I think, and already the marshal of Rhodoks. Is becoming a knight the interesting part?

      What annoys me is that, even as Marshal, I can’t stop the wars we keep fighting. I don’t mind fighting, obviously. It’s exciting. But we’ve been constantly at war for the better part of six months. My villages, castles, and towns are rotting from neglect.

      Nah, the problem I have is that there is some glitch in my graphics drivers which will cause the game to skip at awkward moments -which really throws off the timing of, say, a mounted charge. If it doesn’t just crash the game to desktop.

  14. Henson says:

    I similarly hate most combat in Mount & Blade. And yet, like all those YouTube players Josh mentioned, I absolutely adore ranged combat. There is so much joy in riding on horseback and firing arrows, trying to adjust for motion and distance, and every *thwack* that manages to hit is so, so satisfying.

    But on a side note, I don’t really know why the game makes me aim ahead of the target if both me and my target are travelling the same speed and direction. Shouldn’t the arrow take my own velocity into account? You know, with inertia? Would air resistance from riding on a horse really have that much of an effect on a flying shaft of wood? If so, I guess that means Mount & Blade takes air resistance into account, which is really cool.

    1. Karthik says:

      No, I’m pretty sure it’s just inaccurate physics modelling. Par for the course for videogames. I haven’t encountered a single game (that’s not a simulation like KSP) that handles Galilean invariance gracefully.

      I’m guessing it’s either not a priority (the way ragdolls are) or just really hard to do.

  15. wswordsmen says:

    Shamus land on Minmus skip the Mun until you are better. It takes less dV (which makes it easier) and has flatter terrain than the Mun (which makes it easier) and the terrain is at 0 altitude (which makes it much easier). Also try an unmanned mission, because payload mass is the biggest drag on what you can do.

    Also Scott uses a mod to get the dV numbers.

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      Shamus probably knows about Kerbal Engineer. He was I think refering to the fact that even without KE, Scott in planning stages allready has the idea how much dV a certain design might pull.

      1. GloatingSwine says:

        Well yes, that means Scott knows the Rocket Equation, which KSP’s part picker gives you all the information you need to input to work out the delta v.

        It’s not that he “knows” the delta v for a given rocket (other than common designs he’s done before), but that he knows how to work it out.

        1. 4th Dimension says:

          He might not know the excat number but by now he should be able to give you a rough ballpark estimate how far can this rocket take you at a glance.

    2. Trix2000 says:

      Also Minmus has extremely low gravity which makes landing and taking off lots easier (and cheaper on fuel)… for the most part. There IS a slight problem with making sure you don’t tip over on landing… or just plan for it to tip over and go from there.

      Like in my case, I just put wheels on all sides and let it roll around like that, then used reaction wheels to tip back vertical to leave (seriously, it has like NO gravity).

    3. James Bennett says:

      There is one thing that makes Mimnus trickier than the Mun: the fact that it’s sitting in an inclined orbit. This means that it requires a bit more planning to intercept Mimnus versus the Mun.

      It’s similar to doing flybys of other planets really. If you don’t care about bringing the craft home, I suspect it takes less delta-V to do a flyby of Duna than it does to land on, and return from, the Mun. It just requires more planning. (You also have to wait for a good transfer window, but that’s what time warp is for).

      Shamus: Thanks for letting me know about this game. At this point I’ve logged about 500+ hours playing it, so it’s been a great investment.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        eh, you just have to know how to incline your orbit at the right time to get to the minmus orbit. It just depends on where you’re lacking.

  16. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The dialogue timer has its uses.When a game is about quick adaptation on the fly,like in alpha protocol,it is a nice tool.When a game is about tense situations,like in the walking dead,its also a nice tool.But when its about building your character,like in the slow non-dangerous dialogue scenes in the walking dead,it just feels out of place.

    1. MrGuy says:

      Agree – a timer on dialogue is a tension-building tool. Using it where tension is the point builds intensity. Using it where there’s no “real” tension feels forced.

      I’d have really liked to have seen a timer in DE:HR boss conversations – I think the challenge could have been a lot more compelling if you had to make the “which approach will this person respond to?” choices had to be made under pressure.

      But, yeah – when Lee and Clem just shooting the breeze, the timer feels superfluous.

      Slight tangent – I really liked that most dialogue choices in The Walking Dead had a “…” option to say nothing, and it was a “real” choice – sometimes there’s nothing to say (or you’re waiting for someone ELSE to decide what to say).

      By the way, I’m aware DE:HR DID have a “hidden” timer where eventually someone would say “What’s the matter, Prichard, nothing to say?” but it was WAY too long, and wasn’t really impactful (the game was clearly prompting you “hey, make a choice,” as opposed to picking the “null” choice like Walking Dead).

      1. Thomas says:

        I like how The Walking Dead fills the space with other people talking too. Although in TWD2 and Game of Thrones I noticed it felt like I was interrupting people a lot.

    2. Aldowyn says:

      Life is Strange has a few decisions with timers, but the majority of the dialogue has no timers. There’s no reason having timers on some things has to mean timers on everything.

  17. Jesse says:

    Tips for new playthroughs of Mount and Blade, cheats are your best friend. Once you enable cheats in the launch menu, it becomes very easy to just sort of create the character in the place you want to play. Simple ctrl+key presses do things like add 1000 gold, 100 renown, or some amount of experience, enable the cheat menu and in your camp menu a store list shows up of all the items in the game coding (even works for mods) and if you want more control over your character and stats you use the export character function in the character screen, find the folder it exports to and just change the numbers in it to whatever you want, then import it back into the game. The list from the wiki

    There’s a heap of really cool historical mods out there for Mount and Blade so I’ve had to do a lot of new games, which I would not have done without being able to use these options to actually get to the fun part with a character I want to try. It’s fun the first time, building up from nothing to a marshall, really tiring every other time.

  18. Alex says:

    I’ve been meaning to ask Shamus if he’d like to make a post showing off his Kerbal Space Program. I would second the recommendation to go to Minmus first – it’s further away but much easier to land on, and even easier to get back from.

    Some mods that I like for Kerbal Space Program:
    Non-part mods:
    Chatterer – Purely cosmetic, it adds voice chatter to manned craft and beeps to probes.
    TextureReplacer – Another purely cosmetic mod, more difficult to get set up, but lets you give different spacesuits to Kerbals with different jobs, or give them different skin and hair colours.
    USI Life Support – a simple, forgiving life support mod. Kerbals still don’t die, but if anyone but the main four Kerbals go without Supplies for 15 days, they go on strike until they get resupplied.

    Part mods:
    Kerbal Attachment System – lets you attach struts and pipes during a mission (good for refuelling) and adds winches (good for docking, unloading rovers and assorted fun).
    Infernal Robotics – adds moving parts, either for sensible things like the Canadarm and rotating space stations, or silly things like mecha.
    USI Kolonisation Systems – a whole lot of parts for building longer-lasting or fully self-sustaining colonies in USI Life Support.

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      Kerbal Engineer and NAV’s docking port aligment indicator are two of more essential instrument mods.

  19. Sova says:

    Saw the link for Josh’s DIY plumbing section.
    Thought to myself, “you know what would make a great link for his name this week…”

    Nope, Shamus beat me to it.

    Well played

  20. squiddlefits says:

    Josh, I liked the monologue. Also I can feel your pain from here. I don’t do plumbing anymore, I get someone in. Plumbing’s NOT worth the trouble because it always gets worse.

    1. MrGuy says:

      Everything always gets worse. Entropy, man. It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law.

  21. 4th Dimension says:

    KSP 1.0 just came out? Did I download a previous podcast, since 1.0 has been out for months? Oh it is the new podcast. Soo Shamus just now got around to upgrading. Okay.

    Hundreds of thousands in damages? 4 days late? Ruts what did you do? Did you intentionally for shit and gigles go long way around to deliver that cargo. Like you were supposed to bring something from Paris to Vennece and you brought it htere via Warsaw? Do you know how to drive in a PC game? What did you do to that poor truck.
    Also I never found accidents to hurt my budget too much and I did flip and roll my truck couple of times. You can allways take sidejobs that don’t use your truck and take out loans.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Fun fact:My country has a railway line that connects two cities that are about 60km appart by road.The railway between them is some 400km long.Now I know why,Rutskarn made it.

      1. 4th Dimension says:

        Which two cities?

  22. poiumty says:

    Why does everyone like the whole “ask the PC questions about his/her past” thing? I freakin’ HATE it and wish games would stop doing this.

    Look. If this is an RPG, then my past is either mysterious or invented by ME and none of these dialogue options will perfectly describe it. Which one is better for my character’s backstory, which one is the “correct” one, which one leads to an outcome I can be ok with and so on. When that one last NPC I won’t mention asked me about it in PoE, I told her my past self did it knowing full well that it was wrong, which prompted lots of sadness and disappointment, especially as I realized that in PoE you have the obnoxious idea that souls are some sort of personality template, which means MY character had that personality trait, which conflicted with everything my character was. Bullshit! How should I know what someone did at some point in their life if I’m deprived of ANY POSSIBLE CONTEXT for pretty much every aspect of that character’s life? It was insanely frustrating and I don’t want anything like it. It’s just unfair to ask me questions about someone I don’t know or haven’t even imagined, and it’s even more unfair to ask me questions about what my character did before the current story (like it happens with Calisca, but that’s ambiguous enough that it’s not SO bad). What if I haven’t thought it up yet? What if I want to know more about the lore of this world before I go mentioning random lands and events that might or might not have happened? What if my account conflicts with some major event in history?

    Anyway. I prefer the Dark Souls approach of “no one gives a fuck who you are”. It’s best for roleplay.

    1. djw says:

      I replayed the beginning a bunch of times with different characters while I was deciding which one to play through the game with. As far as I can tell that initial conversation with Calisca has no affect at all on later events. Its just an opportunity for you to role-play your origin story a little bit, if you want to. If you don’t want to then skip that conversation tree… It has no impact on anything (so far as I can tell).

      It’s not like Calisca is going to tell anyone

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I freakin' HATE it and wish games would stop doing this.

      Game…s?What games?Other than pillars,what other game uses your backstory for anything?

      And really whats the harm in someone 2,3 hours in asking you “so where are you from”?Like djw said,that initial conversation is pretty much fluff,and the ones that come into play come later.Also,that initial fluff comes after you had the chance to read a bunch of lore about all the races and classes,and concerns mostly just that.

      1. poiumty says:

        >Game…s?What games?Other than pillars,what other game uses your backstory for anything?

        Shadowrun does it.

        >And really whats the harm in someone 2,3 hours in asking you “so where are you from”?

        Well when you put it like that it doesn’t sound so bad does it. Except it was more like 10 minutes in and there were multiple questions.

        Bigger gripe was with the backstory of that one person who wasn’t you, though.

    3. Aldowyn says:

      see, here’s the thing, if you invent your backstory than the game doesn’t know it. And if the game doesn’t know it, at least for me, it might as well not exist.

  23. Duoae says:

    I really liked Heavy Rain. Okay, the story turned out to be crap with the ‘twist’ they put in but aside from that I think they did a really good job of having multiple failure states that I don’t think anyone else has done that in the industry.

    Sure, it was all done through quick-time-esque events BUT(!) being able to lose a character or two and still be able to get to the end of the game – or have your character seriously injured or not having all the information because you failed to do everything perfectly which then affects how you do future things in the game!

    I really liked that aspect of the game.

  24. Cybron says:

    I kept waiting for Josh to end his story with “THE ARISTOCRATS!”

    Also, Josh, since you don’t like M&B combat, what game would you say has better medievalish combat?

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      You fool!He is now going to descend here and rant about how cool dark souls combat is!

      1. Cybron says:

        That would only be unfortunate because I wouldn’t learn anything new; I already know Dark Souls combat is great (though certainly not ‘historically accurate’). I just wanted to see if there was a game out there with better combat I didn’t know about.

        1. Josh says:

          Yeah Dark Souls definitely doesn’t fall any closer to “historically accurate” (actually it’s far far less accurate given some of its more popular equipment are buster swords and giant scythes and armor that makes you look like an onion). Although it does get points for having a consistent system that includes a very wide variety of weapon types and styles.

          Honestly I’m not really sure there is any game with more historically accurate combat. Chivalry is more fun, and it has far more interesting mechanics for melee combat than most first person games, but it’s not especially accurate either, especially with all of the “bend backwards overhead swing that hits while winding up for extremely fast difficult to block hits” bullshit.

          The real problem is Mount and Blade gets it close, and it’s far closer to historical accuracy for medieval combat… right up until you actually have to fight. It’s one of the few games I’ve seen model cavalry and mounted combat in general as the terrifying weapon it really was in that period, and its archery and throwing mechanics are pretty good, but it fumbles with the on-foot portion pretty badly. Of most note (and something I didn’t mention in my rant on the podcast) it renders spears almost completely worthless, when they were typically the weapon of choice for the footman in organized warfare throughout most of history. You can block any serious attack a spearman can throw at you by just doing the downward (or thrust) guard and they can’t do anything about it as you close to point blank range and then push at them while hitting them with your sword.

          Skallagrim (a youtube personality who knows faaaaar more about swordfighting and medieval martial arts than I do) makes an interesting case for PS1 game Bushido Blade, but I’ve never played myself.

          If we’re talking about historically accurate combat on a strategic level of army versus army (a subject I happen to know a bit more about), then the earlier Total War games are pretty decent at it. In particular I’d cite Medieval 2 and Rome Total War, although both games have their own problems with other aspects of historical accuracy (No, Egypt at the time of the Punic Wars had essentially a Macedonian army, thanks). They also (and Medieval more than Rome in this) suffer from The Creative Assembly’s stubborn insistence that formations of swordsmen were totally a thing on the battlefield all the time and were objectively more effective at killing other footsoldiers than spearmen.

          I have high hopes for For Honor because it’s clearly built of the same DNA of Mount and Blade but seems to solve a lot of the problems I have with the system. There are only three guard/attack angles (down from Mount and Blade’s four) and when you’re locked in melee combat you’re constantly guarding in one of the three positions, and can fluidly switch between them because they’re mapped to the right stick. The attack animations are still overly flashy and telegraphed, but that’s just a limitation of the medium. Mount and Blade is the same way, and it’d be very difficult to react properly to the more minute strikes you’d see in reality.

          Obviously I can’t say it’s “better” until I actually play it but it seems much more elegant and intuitive, and I’m quite looking forward to it.

          In the meantime what little I’ve seen of Mount and Blade Bannerlord’s combat looks somewhat better than Warband’s, and it seems like you cannot now parry any weapon with any other weapon (another big problem with Mount and Blade’s system). So maybe in year I’ll have a better answer.

          1. Cybron says:

            Thanks for the response!

            Chivalry is fun but nowhere close to accurate.

            I was interested in For Honor when I saw the trailer at E3, but it looks it’ll be more like a MOBA than any kind of real combat simulator.

            I’ve definitely noticed that M&B has a problem with underselling spears. Hopefully Bannerlord does it better.

            I’ve never gotten the opportunity to play Bushido Blade but I should really hunt down a copy.

          2. Aldowyn says:

            I’m kind of surprised no one ever mentioned shields, which are waaay easier to block with. The only time I ever need to use the manual blocking is when I’m in a tournament and it gives me a two-handed weapon or something.

            Also: Cavalry in Mount & Blade are *terrifying* and its extremely difficult to counter them while on foot, at least in Warband. I imagine firearms help quite a bit in With Fire & Sword.

  25. hborrgg says:

    Neat, I liked With Fire and Sword. And yeah, the big problem with mount and blade games tends to be grinding thousands of points of renown, honor, relationship points, etc. if you’re just looking for loot it isn’t too bad.

    Anyways, I don’t really have a problem with having to hold down the mouse button to ready your attack. In many ways it actually feels way more responsive than a lot of alternative systems. You hold down the button to get ready for an attack, and then you get to release it at the exact moment you see your opening, that’s way better than other games where you click the attack button and then get to slowly watch your character draw their weapon back and then swing with no control whatsoever, resulting in a complete miss unless you can read the future or the combat is super forgiving.

  26. Mathias says:

    FYI Josh, if you wanna try a version of Mount & Blade where you can skip a lot of the dull stuff and go straight to the interesting bits, the expansion pack called Viking Invasion just got a content patch that adds the ability to play as a lord/lady or king/queen of a given British or Scandinavian kingdom.

    It skips a lot of the early ‘kill fifty boars’ stuff and puts you to the task of managing an economy and leading your nation in wars instead, it’s actually pretty neat.

  27. hborrgg says:

    Pillars of Eternity sounds interesting. How easy is it to mod the stats on the different weapons? I notice the game has firearms in it so I want to make sure they are appropriately overpowered.

    1. djw says:

      The firearms are based on 17th century matchlock weapons. They do very nice damage, but they take a long time to reload. This was during a time in European history when the ratio of gun to melee (pike) in armies was around 50-50, so making them a lot better would be overkill (imo).

      They penetrate armor much more effectively than bows (due to both the larger damage per shot and an inherent armor penetration factor). Personally, I don’t think that they need to be buffed, because they already *feel* about right, but I’m sure that you can find a mod that will allow you to adjust to taste.

      1. hborrgg says:

        I think the bigger issue is how they compare to other ranged weapons. Even in the 16th and 17th centuries firearms were really dominating battlefields. Humfrey Barwick, an english soldier turned mercenary from the late 1500s wrote extensively on the subject pointing out that firearms were far more powerful than any bows or crossbows and that in the hands of skilled soldiers they had far greater range and accuracy as well. He claimed over the course of his career to have seen hundreds of men killed by bullets for every one man killed by an arrow or crossbow bolt.

        1. djw says:

          Bows come in two flavors “hunting” (eg. small) and “war” (which I assume is comparable to long bow). Both have much higher rate of fire than the guns available. Against unarmored targets they do better DPS as well.

          However, against armored targets hunting bows are terrible, and war bows are mediocre. There are talents that allow you to increase your ability to penetrate armor with a bow, but even with that talent bows suffer compared to guns.

          Crossbows are slower than bows and faster than guns, and don’t really seem to be all that useful.

          Arbalests on the other hand have armor penetration that is comparable to guns and better accuracy. They also knock opponents over on a critical hit. They could probably stand to be nerfed a bit.

          Guns come in three flavors: pistols, arquebus, and blunderbuss. The arquebus has the best dps against armor, but pistols are not too far behind. The scattershot from the blunderbuss suffers from the same armor penetration problem as the hunting bow, but against unarmored targets it is magnificent. The game does not model the spread of the shot very well, so it never hits more than one target.

        2. Trix2000 says:

          The guns are pretty awesome, for the sounds/feel if nothing else. There’s just something about the animation and such the really WORKS.

          They are very slow reloads, but they’re still plenty usable. That they do so much base damage means that very very few enemies take low damage from them, especially with rogue sneak attack added on (and crits!).

          On one of the hardest enemies in the entire game the Ardra Dragon I spent something like half an hour or more on failed attempts, some getting pretty damn close but not quite managing it (had a decent strat, but it was tricky to execute). On a whim, I tried throwing paralysis at it (which makes the affected take 4x damage) even though with its defenses I’d be lucky to even touch it.

          One of the casts landed. My rogue crit the thing for 3/4 of its health in one shot. The ranger blew off the rest.

          I love the guns so much.

  28. TMC_Sherpa says:

    WD-40? Josh, you want something like PB Blaster instead.

    Shamus: Which part of landing on the Mun is causing the most problems for you? The bringing enough fuel part or the touching down in one piece part? I can link an early unlock craft file that will get you the the Mun or Minmus (and back) all day ‘ere day if you need one. If its the landing I can recommend Kerbal Engineer. Knowing your actual altitude rather than your height above sea level is invaluable.

    1. Shamus says:

      I’m not sure where I’m going wrong. I just know I run out of dV before I get home. If I’m super-careful I have just barely enough to lift off from the Mun, but not enough to escape it and get home. And I’m not sure if this is an engineering problem or a piloting one.

      1. hborrgg says:

        It might be pilot error. That’s one of the annoying things about KSP without mechjeb, depending on how good you are at suicide burns or gravity turns you might end up with +or- 500 m/s dv.

        Anyways, looking it up it seems that it takes around 2000 m/s dv (maybe less) to get from the surface of the mun back to kerbin. So, looking at a chart like this and I assume you’re using 345 isp terrier engine then you should have enough dv to make it home as long as 40-50% of your craft’s total mass is still fuel when you land.

      2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        I find it is much easier to do with the larger landers. The Mk 1 lander can with enough fuel to reliably pull it off is reliably so top heavy that it is easy to topple on landing. But the Mk 2 lander can on a pup engine is much more stable and caries more than enough fuel to get back to the mother ship (yes, I do the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous system).

        1. Shamus says:

          Oh yeah, that’s my other problem. I can’t rendezvous in orbit. I’ve never seen anyone pull it off without using a mod, and it seems to be really important for advancing in the game.

          1. TMC_Sherpa says:

            I *think* they are supposed to integrate a docking indicator in the next release but don’t quote me on that.

            I would bit the bullet and grab NavBall Docking Alignment Indicator. it adds an extra ring on the navball (which I prefer to NavyFishs popup box) so you line up the pink ring with the red ring with the yellow marker and you are good to go.

            Edit: Also grab RSC build aid. I know you can empty the tanks to figure out your COM but it’s nice to have.

          2. Alex says:

            How to rendezvous:

            Step 1: Unlock patched conics. IIRC, you need a level 2 tracking station for this.

            Step 2: While piloting your ship, go to map mode, click on the other ship and set it as your target. Doing this gives you additional information useful for getting close to it.

            Step 3: Establish an orbit that crosses the orbit of the target. When you do this, you will get a pair of coloured markers, one on your orbit, one on the target’s. These markers show you where you will cross its orbit, and where the target will be at that time.

            Step 4: Wait. As long as the two orbits aren’t exactly the same length, one ship will catch up with the other, eventually, as they won’t take the same amount of time to do a lap of orbit. You can make your orbit take longer (letting the target catch up faster) by burning prograde at the intercept point or shorter (letting you catch up to the target faster) by burning retrograde. But if you do burn retrograde, just be careful that you don’t slow down so much that you reenter the atmosphere.

            Step 5: After a certain number of orbits, you and your target will be pretty close to one another. When you are about one orbit away from matching up, go to map mode and create a maneuver node ahead of the intercept, and it will tell you where the target will be on the next intercept after that. Pull the maneuver node’s thrust vector prograde and retrograde until the two intercept markers are as close as you can get them. Then point your ship in the direction of the blue marker on your navball, wait until it’s time to burn and perform the burn, until the indicator on the right side of the navball is close to 0 m/s.

            Step 7: Wait another orbit. The indicator on the top of the navball should switch from “Orbit” to “Target”, meaning that the various markers on the navball are not with reference to your target and not to Kerbin. If it hasn’t changed, click on the place where it says “Orbit” until it says “Target”. Now point your ship towards the retrograde marker (the yellow one with the cross) and perform a burn. You should see your speed relative to the target decrease.

            Step 8: Now that you’re close to your target and moving at around the same velocity as your target, you want to get the prograde marker (the yellow marker with the horizontal “wings” and the dot in the center) to line up with the target prograde marker (the magenta circle). If you do this, it means you are flying in a straight line towards your target.

            Step 9: Rotate your ship so that it is facing the right direction for your docking port to align with the target’s docking port. Turn on your RCS and start performing RCS maneuvers to get them together at a slow speed. Remember, you can use I, H, J, K, L and N to move your ship forwards, backwards, left, right, up and down. When you get close, the two docking ports will be attracted to one another and join together by themselves.

            TL;DR: Docking is about being in the same place, at the same time, at the same velocity. Establishing an orbit that crosses the target’s puts you in the same place at different times. Waiting a few orbits puts you in the same place at the same time. Performing the retrograde burn puts you in the same place at the same time at the same velocity.

          3. Volfram says:

            Scot Manley has a pretty good tutorial that I watched a couple of years ago and I don’t remember where to find it anymore(maybe try his YouTube channel), but Alex got the gist of it there.

            The key is that you need to be in your target’s reference frame and track your relative velocity to the target. I can usually land a sub-1KM encounter, then zero my relative velocity and drift in at a couple of m/sec. I could make a YouTube video of it, but it wouldn’t be very interesting. I don’t use mods if I can avoid it. Never used MechJeb. It looks too much like cheating.

            One thing I’ve found is it’s *far* easier to overshoot your target and come back than it is to try and make it in one pass.

      3. TMC_Sherpa says:

        Mun Raker because what else would you call it?

        There are two ships in there, I wouldn’t call either of them good but they are cheap and low on the tech tree.
        The Mk1 requires Advanced Rocketry, General Construction, Aviation and Survivability. The Mk2 needs…more? I didn’t write it down but I would try that one first. Start a game in sandbox and copy the .craft files into the saves/WHATEVER/ships/VAB folder and give ’em a shot. If you have 100 units of fuel after landing (more or less) getting home shouldn’t be a problem.

  29. Eric says:

    Neat discussion. The talk about dialog and conversation being innovated on by Pillars caused me physical pain though.

    The idea that no other RPG has let you define your character through words and actions without an overarching morality type system laying judgement on you is pretty ridiculous. There are plenty of (recent) examples that do this (Shadowrun, Wasteland 2, most Obsidian games, etc.). Even Dragon Age more or less does the same in places, at least in smaller details.

    I’m not convinced that you’re looking for innovation. I think you are just looking for writing which isn’t mediocre.

    While I did like Pillars I also don’t think that it really did anything much at all with its dialog and character defining stuff. You can do it, sure, but the actual impact on gameplay or how the story plays out is fairly negligible.

  30. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    I may have to KSP another go. I loaded it up over the summer and saw the new features. I… don’t much care for the career mode. I feel like I’m constantly doing make-work. There are too many contracts that all do the same thing. The first dozen times you send some kerbals on a suborbital rocket to get an easy $10k are fun. Then it starts to feel like a slog. Then there are the challenging ones that, it turns out, are actually impossible until you unlock a bunch of new tech. This is one where randomness didn’t really help the game.

    Also, I am constantly running against the problem that my space stations and lunar stations get so big (largely from the use of lights) that the game starts to stutter (around 500 pieces, I think). But darn it, I like big space stations! And I’d like to build a big interplanetary (and one day interstellar) spaceship too!.

  31. Mersadeon says:

    The narrator from Darkest Dungeons, by the way, also voices Lovecraft audiobooks. His reading of The Shadow over Innsmouth is probably the best I ever heard. He goes for a bit less “gravely doom” in those with his voice.

  32. Volfram says:

    I’m going to be the one voice shouting into the hurricane here, but I didn’t like that they added female Kerbals to KSP. Kerbals weren’t an “all-male” race before any more than snails or earthworms are “all male.” The update didn’t bring equality, it brought discrimination. You couldn’t refuse to hire a Kerbal because of their sex before. Now you can.

    It kind of undermines your stand for equality when you make that stand by making them not equal.

    1. Aldowyn says:

      Weren’t they distinctly male names, though? At least the original three were, and I don’t think I ever used not the original three when I played a year or so ago.

  33. Paul Spooner says:

    So, sounds like Plumbing Simulator is a huge un-tapped market!

    And now, the Out of Context Quote of the Week.
    7:10 “It’s a little stretched out and I don’t mean like my wife”

  34. Rymdsmurfen says:

    I usually don’t remark on things like these, but that pronounciation of Stormare was just too far off. :-)


  35. Warclam says:

    I don’t know about Silent Hill, but I do know a game that asked you what was scary and actually followed through with it: Paper Mario. Peach is interrogated about what scares Mario, and you face her answers. Of course they’re not really serious and she can declare that Mario is terrified of powerups…

    And good for you Shamus! Someone needs to call Mumbles out on this weird fiction she’s developed where she’s not a nerd.

    Josh: “Mumbles, you’re not a nerd.”


  36. Arctem says:

    It really shouldn’t take you dozens of jobs in Euro Truck Simulator to get your first truck. Once you do a couple jobs you get the ability to take out loans and then you can easily take out one that is big enough to buy your first truck. And once you have a truck it’s very quick to both pay back the loan and buy more trucks.

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