Diecast #120: Deus Ex Preorder, Narcos, Hitman Movie, Mad Max Game

By Shamus
on Sep 7, 2015
Filed under:
Diecast

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Hosts: Shamus, Josh, Rudeskarn, Campster. Episode edited by Rachel.

Reader Jared recently went through the Diecast archives – all 119 episodes – and noted who was there and who hosted. This resulted in some interesting trivia:

Shamus has attended 116 episodes and hosted 49 episodes.
Josh has attended 117 episodes, partially attended 1 episode, and hosted 31 episodes.
Chris has attended 108 episodes, hosted 7 episodes, and partially hosted 1 episode.
Rutskarn has attended 75 episodes, partially attended 5 episodes, hosted 30 episodes, and partially hosted 1 episode.
Mumbles has attended 44 episodes, partially attended 1 episode, and partially hosted 2 episodes.
Jarenth has attended 10 episodes.
SuperBunnyHop has attended 3 episodes.
Krellin and PushingUpRoses have both attended 2 episodes.
Arvind, Randy, and Glitch have each been in 1 episode.

Thanks to Jared for putting that together.

Show notes:

2:04: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided has ironically united us over the preorder deal.

Here is the trailer:


Link (YouTube)

13:42: Shamus talks about Narcos, a Netflix series about Pablo Escobar.

I might have over-sold the “historical accuracy” angle a bit too much. Compared to a typical Hollywood movie, it’s amazingly faithful. But it’s clear artistic license was taken in parts. But in the broad strokes, the major events are all as true as the Wikipedia pages that describe them. Also, there are a lot of little strange details that feel like they must be true, simply because they are so oddSpoiler: The DEA agent finds a newly-orphaned baby at a crime scene, takes it home and keeps it. It’s so random and unexpected, and not part of some overarching “boy I wish we could have a baby” plotline with his wife. If it was just added for drama, the writer probably would have tried to make it more dramatic and less perfunctory..

21:47: Josh talks about the Stargate franchise.

27:25: The Hitman Movie, and also the Hitman games because of course we bring those up.

42:33 Mad Max and Train Hats.

Here is an overview of how the Fallout 3 ride-able train is actually a hat worn by an NPC below the tracks and no that’s not a joke.

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Footnotes:

[1] Spoiler: The DEA agent finds a newly-orphaned baby at a crime scene, takes it home and keeps it. It’s so random and unexpected, and not part of some overarching “boy I wish we could have a baby” plotline with his wife. If it was just added for drama, the writer probably would have tried to make it more dramatic and less perfunctory.


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From the Archives:

  1. 4th Dimension says:

    The Hat thing offers another glimpse into the wierdness that is BethSoft Fallout universe. It makes as much sense as the resto of the Capitol wasteland. In fact it would fit right in if they replaced a regular NPC with a animal and than sayid that it was created from the engine by MAGIC, I mean radiation.

  2. Isaac says:

    Here’s this really good book on the rise and fall of Escobar: http://www.amazon.com/Killing-Pablo-Worlds-Greatest-Outlaw/dp/0142000957

  3. The Rocketeer says:

    Regarding TRAIN HAT MAN: I encourage anyone with interest in any of Bethesda’s Fallout and Elder Scrolls games to dig through the creation kits. It’s madness. For instance, I figured out that pickpocketing in New Vegas is so broken it can’t be fixed. But that’s comparatively dry compared to perusing all of the items, objects, characters, scripts, global settings, etc., finding out how they all work in a mechanical sense and how they’re all used. I’ve never found anything as crazy as TRAIN HAT MAN, but there are monsters lurking in there.

    • Ilseroth says:

      I actually did a good amount of Oblivion and Skyrim modding, and literally everything is as obfuscated as logically possible. Let’s take for instance the dialogue system/

      It was designed in a way that allows for multiple people to possibly have the same dialogue, to save time on making you know, hundreds of NPCs with the same voice actor. So say you want to make a character with some dialogue.

      So you drop a character into the game world, but obviously this character has to speak, so you go to give them dialogue. So you click on them and try to go to their dialogue, but you can’t really find it anywhere on the character itself, it is just you know, combat stats and radiant AI stuff.

      Instead you have to go into the quest system, set up a quest (it’s not actually a quest obviously, unless you do want a quest.) then in there you can set up dialogue and then specifically restrict that dialogue only to that character, or it’ll be applied to every npc in the game.

      Alright so you walk up to talk to the NPC, The dialogue pops up on the screen for a split second and goes away… Oh right, there’s no voice acting, so nothing stops the dialogue from continuing on. so record a blank noise file for how long you think it takes to read the dialogue and finally you might have a character with working dialogue… possibly.

      Though that is just usability kinda thing, regarding their mathematics on skills, yeah a lot of them are completely broken. The majority of stealth algorithms have a clear tipping point where characters just simply can’t see you even if you are in their face.

      I decided to make a mod that was super simple, gives a hand to hand bonus as you level up (since I didn’t want to actually make a new skill specifically for hand to hand), and it turns out that high level NPCs were switching randomly to hand to hand, if they were bandits with iron weapons, since their base hand to hand damage was now higher since they leveled up.

      Another time I decided to prevent the base health regen, so that you actually had to rest, as opposed to quick waiting an hour. So i tried to set base health regen to 0%. It was, based on what I saw, impossible to do it. I kept looking around in the stats and other settings and while there were things that affected health regen, they also horribly broke other facets of the game. Eventually I solved it by giving every race an innate ability of -100% health regen, and made it turn off whenever someone uses potions/spells/abilities ect.

      So yeah, doing anything in the editor is a struggle, except for just adding items, which is why there are so many armor/weapon mods out there.

      • The Rocketeer says:

        The quick thing to do for health would be “player.setav healrate 0”. But I’m not sure if potions add to healrate directly or multiply it by a factor determined by their quality.

        I love the hand-to-hand anecdote just for how ridiculously vidagemz it is. “By arbitrary contrivance, I, an unnamed Nord identified only as ‘Bandit Plunderer,’ am so badass that it is faster to beat my foes into submission with my bare knuckles than to waste time with the dull iron bullshit that appeared on me when the Dragonborn’s very presence necessitated my spontaneous existence. Can’t wait to count out your coin!”

      • Ambitious Sloth says:

        What’s worse about health regen in Skyrim is that in addition to random stats that affect it, there’s also random perks that can change it. Perks that come from completing quests or holding onto specific items. I remember searching around for mods to do exactly what you described and even ones that promised success had a requirement of starting a new character so that they could work. Because rather than having a list of effects to modify it seemed that the best plan was dynamically change effects as they appeared for the first time on the PC.

        It worked for a time. Eventually I picked up a dwarven cube thing that gave me a bonus to smithing and for some reason also gave me a permanent boost to my passive health regen. Making the whole endeavor pointless by the 3 hour mark.

      • Da Mage says:

        The thing is, the dialogue system has been that way since Morrowind, and in normal Bethesda fashion, they have just kept extending it every game. At this point, I am guessing that the new Fallout dialogue system may have part been created in order to have a new dialogue system. Any more complexity on the old system would have simply hurt productivity too much.

        I dropped out of modding when Skyrim hit and much of that was because making more complex mods (with quests and scripts) started to become a treasure hunt to figure out how everything connected. Having every aspect so modular was really starting to hurt the modding tools.

        Even back in Oblivion if you wanted a constantly running gameplay script (of which Bethesda had a few aswell), you had to wrap it up in a special kind of quest. THis was also the only way to have a ‘level’ script like many other game engines (unity, unreal etc), but having a global running script which only executed when a cell check if statement was made true.

  4. Joe says:

    Arnold Schwarzenegger’s accent has eased a bit over the years. Not a lot, obviously, but a bit.

    From the Mad Max trailers I’ve seen, that’s actually a decent Australian accent. Doesn’t sound entirely real, but it’s a lot better than your usual strangled Cockney. Might actually be an Australian who has spent too much time in America.

    • Clodpool says:

      I’ve heard that Arnold Schwarzenegger actually goes to a voice coach to preserve his accent, because it’s such a big part of his public persona.

    • Kai von Eggenburg says:

      The funny thing is, the original (Austrian) German accent of the area where Arnold Schwarzenegger was born sounds already a bit stupid to most other of us fellow Austrians. Since he started mixing it with American English influences after he moved to the US, it’s become even worse, so it is a common thing here in Austria to mock Schwarzenegger’s accent, German or English. I am proud to say that I can do quite a good impression myself.

      But overall we still like him. ‘Cause he’s Arnold.

  5. SpiritBearr says:

    Funny that you say Hitman(2007) was written by someone that didn’t know anything about Hitman because he wrote Hitman: Agent 47 too.

  6. Hermocrates says:

    My guess about games being released on Tuesdays is so they coincide with the start of a new “sales tracking” week. That way when the sales statistics are compiled, they’ll have maximized their sales for their opening week (these are good for media releases and pleasing stake holders, even if they don’t really affect profits). I know that a lot of Japanese media are released on this schedule, to coincide with Oricon’s sales tracking periods, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing were happening in North America.

    • Joe Informatico says:

      It’s more likely because it’s the same day most other media release on (home video, music, and books have released on Tuesdays since at least the early 2000s) and that’s just the day the established distribution channels settled on. Why those other industries coalesced on Tuesday would require more digging.

      (The only significant outlier are comic books, which release on Wednesday, but North American comic books are distributed almost entirely by a single distributor.)

    • JRT says:

      I think this is mostly due to resistance from Retailers. Music has moved to Fridays to be in line with the European Union, but DVDs and Games are still on Tuesdays.

      I think this will change over time, but retail is still a strong presence for these two items–music got weaker at retail and it’s much easier to pirate than videos or games. (One key reason for globalizing a release date is that it prevent impatient folks from pirating because they are jealous of a regional early release.) I think if/when Digital Distribution becomes the majority release on consoles (not PC, which is still a minority), you may see the change.

      It really doesn’t make sense though–like Shamus says especially with games releasing them on a Tuesday just makes people want to call in sick or be anxious until the weekend. There must be a reason for it though–probably based either on inventory or some accounting issue.

  7. DrMcCoy says:

    The comparison of the Amercian hick stereotype to how the Austrian accent is viewed in Germany is not quite apt. Both Bavarian and East-German accents fit that stereotype more, the former as a kind stuffy backwater conservative, the latter as something of a stupid yokel.

    Still, yes, the Austrian accent is not viewed favourable in the general German populance either. Neither is the Swiss one, for that matter.

    If that now looks like Germans are prone to regional rivalries, that’s exactly the case. :P

    • 4th Dimension says:

      Well for most of the history Germany was called Germanies being composed of a wast amount of smaller states. Taking that into account the fact that they managed to cobble a state from all those diferent cultures religions only speaking relativelly same language is surprising.

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Who is this Krellin,and how come Ive never heard them during any of the diecasts?And Ive listened to them all.

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    There is a very legit reason why games dont release on friday:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfVsfOSbJY0

    Youre welcome.

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Marco Polo and Kublai Khan in a tv show?Hey I watched those doctor who episodes as well.Good for you Josh.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Chris wants krombopulos michael hitman:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWM4c4qnXYI

  12. The only way to properly do a preorder without pissing off anyone is to:

    Give the first DLC(s) for free to those that preordered the game, and those that did not preorder will have to pay a small fee for the same DLC(s).

    No content locked away on the gold disc, no 0 day DLC. The first DLC pop up a month or after release day.

    You reward the preorder crowd, but you don’t exclude the non-preorder crowd either.

    • Daimbert says:

      The way to do pre-orders without ticking people off is to give things that are merely interesting and that some people might want but that really don’t impact your experience of the game that much … which I think is true of DLC in general, come of think of it.

      For me, soundtracks are my Kryptonite; if a game pre-order or Collector’s Edition contains a soundtrack, if I have any interest in the game at all I’ll buy it. So much so that there are games where I haven’t played the game, but have listened to the soundtrack repeatedly.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Preorders have become superfluous.They had a place back when copies were limited and you had to go to a store to buy a physical thing.But now,preorders are just another exclusively-ultimate-mega-uber-super-duper editions.

        The only reason why preorders still exist is because they give the publishers a way to get the money before they deliver the game,regardless of how shitty it will be(and often to subvert the return policies).I hope that this deus ex thing will finally sober up enough people to stop buying into this scam.

        Let me preemptively clarify:Having a more expensive edition with goodies like soundtrack is fine.Having a preorder edition with limited physical stuff is also fine.But a preorder purely digital edition is just a scam.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      So TOVG Podcast (Featuring Luke Bunnyhopper, S Hoppenheimer Bunnsworth, Super Hopmaster Buns, HyperRabbitJump, Supper Honey Shop, Dr. Hops, Blast Hardcheese, Hoptimus Prime, SuperBunnyHop Alpha 2: Turbo Champion Edition, and George Weidman).

      They, just reported that one of the preorder bonuses is allowing the game to be played four days early as the fifth tier unlock. Thats just plain evil and I have to wonder if this is a way to mitigate Steam’s Refund policy. As it stands you still get your two hours of gameplay before you decide whether to get a refund but you don’t get reviews.

      Now normally, this is a perk that makes a lot of sense. Really its kind of perfect, it denies nobody anything, just gives the people who pay early a chance to play early. But as a fifth tier unlock, its evil-ish.

      This is as good a place as any to bring up Day One on Disc DLC. One thing I can see working in its favor is people who don’t have good internet connections (or are possibly relying on smartphone internet which at least in the States is strictly capped or has sucky bandwidth) if the bulk of the data is on the disc, that’s good for those people. I suppose they could just order the DLC as a separate disc (does anybody do that?)

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Shamus,Id love it if you would give some thought as to why you liked the first riddick movie,but not the original stargate.Because,like Josh said,stargate at least attempted to be smart,it tried to use actual science,and heck it even had an actual translator for the foreigners who had to learn the language first(and also subtitles).Meanwhile,riddick was just a dumb action movie.

    It always fascinates me about myself when I love something stupid(for example,the final destination movies),yet dislike something with genuine effort put into it(for example,lord of the rings movies).So Id like to hear your thoughts on that as well.

    • Joe Informatico says:

      I liked the Stargate movie overall when I first saw it in theatres (and I’m only a few years younger than Shamus). But when they forgot to take stellar drift into account it nearly threw me completely out of the movie. I was pleased as punch when the pilot of SG-1 immediately addressed it.

      To your larger question: it’s just a weird thing where when something gets, like 80% of the details right, everything they got wrong just sticks out like a thumb (I recently had this experience with Interstellar, and The Martian novel). Whereas something that establishes early on that it’s not about getting the details right, and worldbuilds a setting that’s even just a little off from reality, I can relax about the nitpicking as long as the movie succeeds on its other storytelling elements (plot, character, pacing, action, filming, etc.). Like, John Wick establishes this completely ridiculous world where a secret society of superhuman hitmen have their own currency and special safehouses and can apparently kill dozens of thugs with impunity, but once you accept that, you can have fun with the rest of the film.

      • Mentioning John Wick’s world of super assassins reminds me of the movie adaptation of “Wanted.” If you’ve read the graphic novel and have watched even a smidgen of the current crop of superhero movies (good or bad), you realize what a freaking huge missed opportunity the “Wanted” movie was to do a send-up of the superhero tidal wave washing over our theaters and cable channels!

        It was such a massive disappointment for me that they cut all that stuff out. :(

    • The Rocketeer says:

      The first Riddick movie, Pitch Black, wasn’t a dumb action movie. It was, as Josh said, mainly an Alien/s riff given a life of its own by an interesting, varied cast, some killer lighting and photography chops, and the tension that Riddick’s character brings to the narrative: their only shot at survival and escape hinges on trusting in a dangerous, treacherous psycho who doesn’t care about them. It’s not a masterpiece, but like Josh says, it’s a lot better than it could have been without the care and effort that went into it.

      Now, Chronicles of Riddick, that was a dumb action movie. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But it makes itself and its predecessor less interesting by quailing at Riddick’s genuine horribleness by retconning him into some sort of Chosen One. It’s like recutting things so Greedo shoots first, or revealing that Jack Sparrow’s past as a pirate stemmed from a moral objection to the slave trade. It tries to abrogate the dissonance of rooting for a character who’s legitimately dangerous or untrustworthy when that dissonance is the most interesting part of the character.

      • Pitch Black had the best “let’s make Earth look like an alien planet” cinematography technique I’ve seen to date. I’m sure it’s a load of filters, lenses, camera tricks, etc., but it sold me that they weren’t in a desert on our home planet.

        The down side was they showed the monster too clearly for too long. That’s a major sin in horror movies, and a hammerhead pterodactyl is a lot scarier when you can’t get a good look at the thing because it’s moving too fast or it’s in the shadows.

        As for the Chronicles of Riddick… I’m sorry, but “you keep what you kill” is a stupid catchphrase. Not “Star Wars Prequel” stupid, but pretty darn lame to base an empire on.

    • Yeah, drawing on what Shamus likes and doesn’t from previous offerings, the only thing I can think of is that would rub him the wrong way is maybe the idea that people wouldn’t rise up against their “gods” and learn to read, learn to do science, etc. Myself, I find it quite believable that Ra (and, if one takes the movie as part of the SG-1 continuity, the other System Lords) could easily use his high-tech carrot/stick approach to keep millions of humans in line. I mean, if a bunch of men in funny hats could do it on Earth for millennia, imagine having a spaceship and all its goodies at your disposal.

      He seems to really be irked at groups of people acting against what would seem, too an outsider, as their own best interest, yet this happens (and has happened) throughout human history, so…

      And not to be a dick about it, but I hope his reading up on Pablo Escobar might lead him to read up on neo-Nazis and current-day fascism in various parts of the world before he runs into his next Metro 2033. I enjoyed most of that season, but as I’d read the novels and was somewhat familiar with the factions’ origins in the real world, listening to the rants about “stupid Nazis,” as if all Nazis are Indiana Jones cartoon characters, was kind of off-putting, especially since it spanned several episodes.

      • Note: That was not me saying Nazis deserve respect or anything. Just that they aren’t mythical refugees from Hogan’s Heroes, and their modern-day descendants are still running around being jerks in the current day.

        • Mike S. says:

          There’s something to be said for lampooning the mass-murdering twentieth century totalitarians like Nazis and Communists (and their modern, mostly smaller-scale successors) while remaining fully conscious of their real horrific crimes.

          Being the amoral badass with a cause retains a dark attraction that being incompetent killers (who ultimately couldn’t even accomplish their own self-proclaimed goals and brought utter ruin on the people and institutions they claimed to value) doesn’t. Those alienated from the mainstream for whatever reason can be attracted to being a Luciferesque figure unrestrained by ineffectual bourgeois morality. But no one aspires to be Colonel Klink.

          I’ve wondered if a modern equivalent to “The Great Dictator” aimed at, e.g., ISIL might help discourage the teenagers who run off to engage in a great, meaningful struggle, in a way that documenting its unspeakable crimes sometimes fails to do. “Lame” can be a harder stigma to overcome than “evil”.

          (It would likely have to come from broadly within those kids’ culture; I’d be concerned that mockery from outside would strongly risk coming across as generally anti-Muslim, and be counterproductive.)

          It’s a fine line– obviously you don’t want to turn the victims into part of a joke, or worse, let them fade into obscurity. On the other hand, any retrospective loss of dignity that can be inflicted on the perpetrators seems fitting. And replacing “adopt this identity and you’ll be our worst nightmare” with “adopt this identity and you’ll be a clown” might not be a bad thing. Tyrants and aspirants can use being feared, in a way that they can’t use being mocked.

  14. squiddlefits says:

    The whole discussion about Bethesda’s weird hats/propulsion system reminded me about my one of my favorite game engine trivia, do you know what the player character looks like in Thief the Dark Project and in The Metal Age? Like this

  15. James says:

    I get that Timothy Olyphant, wasn’t a good Hitman. which is a shame because he is a good actor, im more inclined to blame the directing.

    The film on paper doesn’t seem hard to make but you cant have a leading man be a bad guy he needs to be understandable or tragic or whatever.

  16. Squirly says:

    The engine Bethesda uses for it’s games needs to die. They keep telling us that they rewrote it, or that it’s *gasp* a whole new one (I think that’s what they said for Skyrim) but that’s horseshit. It’s Gamebryo, which they’ve been using since Morrowind and which has been frankensteined to hell and back. Even if we take the claim that it’s a new engine at face value, they’re still making so many of the same mistakes apparently which is why each iteration always has some of the same annoyances.

    Easy test – walk all the way up to a table in any of the latest TES or Fallout games. Try jumping on top of it from there. Just try jumping straight up. You can’t, because your character model will always get stuck and plop back down after reaching half the usual jumping height. Most ledges will require you to backstep and then attempt the jump up because the way the engine handles the geometry is garbage.

    We’re getting the same worked-over, re-heated shtick for Fallout 4. You can already tell, and it’s annoying as hell. After decades of open-world games Bethesda, arguably one of the genre’s biggest hitters, still can’t give us a game where we don’t have to load when entering a building, or the basement underneath said building. Hell, with Oblivion they even went backwards and we had a loading screen when entering whole cities. It’s just sad.

    • Raygereio says:

      They keep telling us that they rewrote it, or that it’s *gasp* a whole new one (I think that’s what they said for Skyrim) but that’s horseshit. It’s Gamebryo, which they’ve been using since Morrowind and which has been frankensteined to hell and back. Even if we take the claim that it’s a new engine at face value, they’re still making so many of the same mistakes apparently which is why each iteration always has some of the same annoyances.

      First, let’s get something straight:
      Gamebryo – not Bethesda’s creation, but the thing that you can license – isn’t bad. Note that Gamebryo is often referred to as a game engine (pretty sure it’s also marketed as such), but it’s really not. If I recall right it’s a suite of code libraries that’s really not much more then a graphics renderer.
      The developer still needs to add all of the other stuff that goes into a game engine like AI, animation, gameplay logic, etc, etc. If you take the game engine that was used for Oblivion, then Gamebryo is in there somewhere doing its thing, but it’s burried under layers and layers of Bethesda’s own wonky spaghetti code.
      For some dumb reason probably related to licencing a lot of game engines that use Gamebryo are called “Gamebryo” as well which has resulted in a lot of confusion on the Internet (Oblivion, Civ4, Playboy: The Mansion and Epic Mickey don’t all use the same engine) and people blaming Gamebryo for the problems Bethesda’s shitty QA and wonky spaghetti code caused.

      With that out of the way: There’s zero question about Skyrim’s Creation engine reusing code from Bethesda previous engine. However apparently someone, somewhere on the Internet decided that because the Creation Engine wasn’t made from complete scratch, Bethesda is evil and lazy and now everyone is stumbling over eachother, parroting that nonsense.
      Thing is: It is common practice to reuse stuff where possible. Everybody does this. No one in their right mind throws away old code and start wasting time & resources reinventing the wheel if they don’t have to. I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if for example in the Unreal 4 engine, there’s tidbits of code dating back to 1998’s Unreal 1.

      still can’t give us a game where we don’t have to load when entering a building, or the basement underneath said building.

      Actually with the new console generation, Bethesda has more memory to work with and less loading screens were promised. Presumable big areas such as town will still have at least one loading screen separating them from the main worldmap, while things like caves and whatnot will be part of the same map.

      • Squirly says:

        Thanks for that bit about Gamebryo. Interesting, and puts some things in perspective. I don’t know how much of the issues that Bethesda games keep having are down to Gamebryo and how much is Bethesda’s own stuff – but that still begs the question of why so many of the same issues keep repeating themselves throughout the ages.

        And with that said, Bethesda’s engine are still average at best and they don’t necessarily look good for the compromises they make. Witcher 3 has one chunk of loading and the rest is pretty much open, whether you’re going into the city, into a house, into a cave out in the wilderness… there’s almost nothing. And that game ain’t ugly in order to make that work. Hell, you can go back almost 10 years to Gothic 3 and you see a big open fantasy world, at about the same time as Oblivion, and you seamlessly pass from outside to inside when entering caves. Sure, the character models probably use less polygons, and it’s not as pretty up close (though far from ugly), but still. There is no loading when opening a door to a house, and characters can shoot through windows and look outside, instead of entering bunkers every time. These are things that are just plain absent from Bethesda’s games and it’s really starting to show and it just feels old.

        I don’t care too much for graphical fidelity, but when I was looking at the screenshots of Fallout 4, I couldn’t help but feel let down by what looks like much of the same when it comes to how the world works. We’ll see how much of their “less loading” claims bear out, but I’m not holding my breath.

        • I thought Fallout 4 looked better than F3/New Vegas. The character models looked more complex, the textures and background elements more detailed, etc. To be honest, I’m kind of glad they didn’t go full-on “Let’s be the new Crysis” because at least that (hopefully) meant more effort went into the world itself if not what’s going on under the hood (more NPCs, more quests, more complicated interrelations between outcomes, and so on).

          I think those complaining about Bethesda’s engine also have to keep in mind that they’re not just coding for PCs, they’re coding for consoles. Compare Oblivion to Skyrim and marvel at what was accomplished with something that could run on the same XBox 360 platform. I find Shamus’ claim that the subway was “shameful” to be inappropriate. I’d say that if they had to use the same engine, what they accomplished was a brilliant piece of sleight-of-hand. No one noticed whatever trick they used in-game, so what does it matter how it was accomplished other than the fact it was?

          • Squirly says:

            You’re not wrong, it definitely looks better, but that’s not what I’m talking about really. I wasn’t very clear because I mentioned not being bothered about graphical fidelity, I think. Point is, it wouldn’t matter if it looked drastically better than anything before it, I still wouldn’t be impressed because the mechanics of how the gameworld operates still seems to include loading when going from outside to inside, and that’s why I’m a bit annoyed with Bethesda. Like I mentioned, there are lots of games that are drastically older that still manage to make a fully open game world with one single loading screen – at the start.

            I baffles me that Bethesda can’t do this, or doesn’t try, because the engine doesn’t do anything special or awesome really.

            • Again, I refer you to the fact they’re also making their game not just for PC’s, but for consoles, which have far more limited resources than PC’s. There are mods for New Vegas, for example, that turn Freeside into one huge open area, the Strip into another large open area, etc. as they were originally designed. There’s a whole load of “restored” mods where the NPC population (and behaviors) are vastly increased, unfinished or cut quests are added, and loading gates are removed.

              Sadly, I bet Fallout 4 will have similar limitations because of the PS4 and XBone, but that’s the reality we live in.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                True.Although,there is an upside that currently xbone and pisser are somewhat comparable to average pcs.New vegas was made late in the last generation,when the consoles were trailing quite behind.

                • Indeed, that’s the other side of the coin. Consoles limit the possibilities of PC-ported games, but without consoles, we’d probably be back in the graphics card arms race every few months, making having the most recent games in a playable form a chore.

              • Squirly says:

                I get that they develop for both consoles and PC, and my whole point is that we’ve gone well past the point where that should make a difference. It’s a matter of priorities – do they spend more on high polygon models for characters, or do they focus on creating a truly open world. They need to cut corners somewhere else if they want to eliminate loading screens, I get that. But other developers have managed that without their games looking terrible for it. I just think that the new generation of consoles should be able to do this, at the very least.

              • Supahewok says:

                Witcher 3, one of Squirly’s examples, had a console release, and as far as I know still maintained a no loading screens open world. Its high time Bethesda did some real engine reworks, as it’s clearly holding them back.

                I remember when Shamus got excited that Bethesda (or its holding company) acquired id, because it would mean they finally would get a partner studio that had a grip on technical matters. And yet, nothing much seems to have changed. Wasted opportunities.

                • Thomas says:

                  That’s only current gen consoles though. The devs have said it’d be impossible to do it for the previous generation. It’s a difference of 512mb RAM vs 8GB

                  • Supahewok says:

                    Squirly said that there’s still loading screens when entering and exiting buildings in Fallout 4, which I’m taking on faith as I haven’t been keeping up with the news on it. (Noone in this threas has, as of yet, disclaimed it) If that’s true, and if the game simply looks worse, graphically, than W3, (which seems likely based on the E3 trailer, which I did see; not bad looking, but certainly not any better than W3) then Bethesda are simply out of excuses.

      • AileTheAlien says:

        I get that you wouldn’t want to rewrite stuff that works, but what I’ve read about Fallout 3, New Vegas, and Skyrim from modders, and from leaked info (allegedly) from people who work there is – nothing works. The tools to make levels, NPCs, or anything else in the world are complete junk. Global variables, hard-coded stuff, and intertwined stuff that shouldn’t even be related. Heck, there’s a story in a comment above here, that shows the hoops you need to jump through just to add one NPC to Skyrim. Given that their game engine (either in whole or in part) is so broken, I think that some code needs to get rewritten. All the extra effort that the non-programmers invest just working with these junky tools adds up.

        • Given the complexity of their game worlds, just from a nuts-and-bolts standpoint of linking objects and NPCs to quests, getting events to trigger, the game “remembering” what you’ve done, etc. it may be a case of “Bethesda’s engine is the absolute worst, apart from every other engine available.”

          Aside from Bethesda’s (not Obsidian’s) main questlines, their games are pretty darn fun, warts and all. They scratch an itch few others do, and I can’t think of many FPS RPGs that have more freedom to mess around in a make-believe world than theirs. Obviously there’s room for improvement, but when isn’t that the case?

        • Raygereio says:

          what I’ve read about Fallout 3, New Vegas, and Skyrim from modders [snip] nothing works. The tools to make levels, NPCs, or anything else in the world are complete junk.

          That’s complete hyperbole. The tools could certainly do with some improvement, but they do work and you can do a lot with them.
          Ultimatly when modding, you are going to run into problems such as hardcoded constraints or engine limitations. But all that means is that you’re trying to do something the developers didn’t forese. It does not immediatly translate to the engine or tools being bad.

          As for the story about adding a NPC to Skyrim above. *shrug* I fail to see the problem. Yeah, doing stuff in the toolset requires knowledge about how it works and time. Gee, what a shock!
          To paraphrase a Microsoft dev who worked on their XNA toolset again: “We had a lot of complaints from gamers who expected they could download XNA, open it up, select Master Chief and have it churn out a new Halo”.
          That’s I think the core issue where a lot of the complains about modding tools – not just Bethesda’s – comes from. People come in – brimming with ideas for cool mods, and then they find out modding requires an investment of time and often a lot of (tedious) work.

          • AileTheAlien says:

            The reason I say they are junk, is that tools can be made to make maps/NPCs/quests/etc, that don’t require you hard-coded things in the engine. Other games have done it before. Just because “you can do a lot with them”, doesn’t mean that the tools are good. The point is, crappy tools force the users of the tools to put in a lot of effort, which exceeds the effort required to just fix the damn tools. That right there, is the threshold I would use, to distinguish crappy from non-crappy tools. The tools affect everyone’s productivity at the game studio; Helping modders is just a nice side-effect of good tools.

            • Raygereio says:

              The issue of hardcoding vs softcoding is way to big handle in these comments. So I’m not going to really touch that.
              But I will say that as far as games in general goes, Bethesda’s games actually do lean heavily towards the softcoded. Sure, there are hardcoded constrains. But every game engine has those.

              The point is, crappy tools force the users of the tools to put in a lot of effort, which exceeds the effort required to just fix the damn tools.

              My standard counter point to that is that in my experience people go “Wait? I have to read instructions? And spend some time learning how to use the tools and how the programming language works? THIS SUCKS EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE!”

              I don’t know. Maybe I’ve been using Bethesda’s toolset for so long I’ve developed stockholm syndrom, but I really do think the picture you’re trying to paint here is overblown. I’ve done a lot of modding for various games and I find Bethesda’s tools about average in terms of usability.

  17. MichaelGC says:

    Wait:

    Ten minutes of [this podcast] is gonna be cut because of Rootskarn’s […] or Josh’s [… … …].

    Wonder what we missed… Not entirely sure I want to know, that said.

  18. Steve C says:

    Regarding rewards contingent on the actions of others; I don’t like it either but it’s the way the world works. For example Good Robot could a giant success and you’ll make big bucks. That will be up to the entire Pyrodactyl team to make happen. Your rewards will be contingent on the actions of others.

    • Ambitious Sloth says:

      The idea of rewards being contingent on the group as a whole is not a bad idea by default. But it needs to be considered along with the size of a group. Or else the groups chances of achieving the goal can be ruined by virtue of too many conflicting personalities.

      The difference there is the number of people and the number of different goals the people in the group have. To use your example, everyone in Pyrodactyl probably has different goals regarding Good Robot. Ultimately though those goals all lead to releasing the game and having it be successful so they all get paid. Everybody is invested in making sure that Good Robot is as good as it can be, since it would be contrary to their goals for it not to be. Unless one of the members is a spy trying to sabotage the game, I guess.

      With a larger population base though there can be more room for people with contrary goals. Like with the classroom example Shamus used. It takes one person who doesn’t care enough about pizza that they want to do well on the test. Maybe the kid’s parents own a pizzeria and they’d rather spend their afternoon playing than studying for the sake of having pizza for another meal in their lives. That way, their goals aren’t even inherently wrong, it’s just the groups reward is not worth the price of them working vs playing.

      In larger populations it becomes more likely for an individual to appear who has goals to go entirely against the general population. If their goal is to ruin the system for the majority of people then it can be easy for them to achieve it. Look at people who troll on the internet for fun.

      Since you can’t control everybody’s personalities the system breaks down once the group size gets too large.

      • Steve C says:

        My point was that it doesn’t matter if someone likes it or not, It doesn’t matter if it has merit or not. It is simply the way the world works. From classroom prizes to a Christmas bonus. From public events to international politics and warfare. Everyone has personal rewards being contingent on the group as a whole. Often in cases where others have conflicting interests and you know it too.

        If a bullshit pizza party falls apart due to a few bad actors, then it doesn’t matter that it was unfair. It’s life. The teacher should use it as an opportunity to teach a lesson about Game Theory. I had an algebra/statistics teacher like that. He would promise the class some sort of reward that would be costly for him to deliver. He would bet on someone screwing it up for everyone else so he wouldn’t have to deliver. He was always upfront about the entire thing and even explained it mathematically.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Theres a slight,but important,distinction:Who picks the group in question?They were picked by Shamoose,so he knew beforehand of their skills and had some rough estimate of the success.The school example he talks about in the video,the group was picked randomly by age and location,so the likelihood of success was just as random.

  19. Andy_Panthro says:

    I can’t help but feel at least partially responsible for Rutskarn having to sit through Hitman (2007). I can only apologise, and I hope the experience wasn’t too traumatic!

  20. Benjamin Hilton says:

    I watched Stargate when it was on TV starting in 97 (I was 8), and watched all the way through for the entire run. Of course When I was little I just loved the gunfights. Re-watching it however I’m struck by how many episodes have no fighting at all, and are just about the cast interacting with various species, the drama coming from meeting a people with differing standards of morals. It is, as Josh put it, much more cerebral than I remember .

    Also Josh was completely right about how much the characters reference earlier events. I’m up to season three and there is only one episode where there are no call backs to earlier in the series. That is the very first episode, and it calls back to the movie.

    • Nidokoenig says:

      Well, less fighting and more talking is an efficient way to make a couple dozen episodes a season. You have some offworld sets that can be rearranged and repainted for other episodes because they’re unlikely to be trashed in a fight scene when they fall over or get scorched by pyrotechnics, and talking about a problem can buy you a tone of screen time and establish a threat for relatively little.

      If callbacks are that common, I wonder if it wasn’t a rule from higher ups, to get people tuning in to older episodes so channels pay to have more of them in circulation at once.

      • Benjamin Hilton says:

        The thing is, a lot of the callbacks are merely fluff, and I mean that in a good way. Here is an example:

        In season one a planet is found with all it’s inhabitants dead except for a 10 year old girl named Cassandra. The episode is obviously about finding out what happened. Now in most shows it would have ended with them finding a nice home for her, and she would never be thought of again. However here she is adopted by one of the secondary characters and is consistently brought up throughout the series.

        While in negotiations with bad guys: “that’s the guy that killed Cassandra’s family”

        Visiting a school the teacher asks how Cassandra is doing in Junior high.

        Idly chatting: “I’m taking Cassandra to the lake. Want to come?”

        Later in the series the character that Adopted her is killed. After the shock of the characters death, the first thing the others do is talk about who is going to take over guardianship of Cassandra.

        Realistically this makes sense. The group rescues a small child who is then adopted by their friend. Of course they would all be like God-parents to her, and she would be in their consciousness. But non of these comments ever actually move the plot along. Really all of these callbacks seem to be there simply to make the Characters and world they inhabit seem more real.

        I mean hell, even in the last season one of them regularly visits a character on the planet from the movie because its his father in law, and that is the sort of thing a real person would do.

  21. Jamas Enright says:

    Has anyone got a link to Rutskarn’s long diatribe about Hitman Agent 47?

    BTW, I can’t say as a Hitman movie, but as a general movie I enjoyed it a lot more than other recent big screen movies I’ve seen.

    (Shamus, perhaps add it to the notes?)

    Cheers,

  22. RCN says:

    Hope Wagner Moura is giving Shamus a good impression in Narcos.

    He was criminally misused on Elysium, but has long been Brazil’s best method actor.

    • Humanoid says:

      Best actor not on a football pitch at least. :P

    • Shamus says:

      Moura was straight-up amazing.

      • RCN says:

        I highly recommend you look up some of his filmography (besides Elysium). He hasn’t been in a lot of movies, but whenever he’s on the screen he’s amazing. Here’s some personal recommendations, if you don’t mind foreign movies:

        The Man from the Future (O Homem do Futuro) – One of the best time-travel movies I’ve seem, tying it together very well in the end (unlike most time-travel plots). A Physics professor uses his theory to go back in time and get his life “fixed”, everyone knows how this usually ends, but the presentation is great and has an awesome “We’re really living in the future now” moment, to shut up the “where’s our hover boards and flying cars?” crowd.

        VIP – Based on the real event of a con-man who managed to fool the entirety of the Brazilian media pretty much because our media is pretty, awfully bad at these things called fact-checking and background checking.

        Elite Squad (Tropa de Elite) 1 & 2 – They really need to be watched back-to-back. The first one gives a really skewed message by itself and seems to glorify violence and fascism in a vacuum, but together they give a harrowing picture of Brazilian street violence and how Brazilian politics trickle down all the way to the street-level drug lords.

        God is Brazilian (Deus é Brasileiro) – While not really much of a good movie (has a lot of navel-gazing philosophy and theology), it was the movie to introduce Moura to a larger audience as the poor sod who has to accompany God when he comes down to earth to choose his next saint. Moura’s character single-handedly saves what would otherwise be an unremarkable movie, and he is almost unrecognizable from his future roles.

  23. Timelady says:

    Yeah, man, I don’t know what it is, but there is seriously nothing more relaxing than listening to Josh ramble while making jigsaw puzzles. I don’t know what the hell it is. Stargate, plumbing, whatever, it doesn’t matter.

  24. “Now that the Witcher has shown people how to do open worlds correctly…”

    You mean with day-long conversations and medieval societies that have invented glued-on terrycloth towels? :)

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Thanks for reminding me,I wanted to comment on that.

      Witcher 3 does not do open world well.It does it badly.

      What it does well is writing,characters and side quests.It also warns you when the game locks you in the finale,and gives you a nice long structured path when that comes.

      • Josh says:

        Could you elaborate on your thoughts on that?

        I’ll admit I’d say Skyrim/Fallout have “the best” open worlds in terms of interactivity and (to an extent) player freedom, but I’d say The Witcher 3 does a pretty damn good job compared to its competition. It’s certainly better than the generic “we made a really big 3D mission menu” Ubisoft style “open world,” and since it doesn’t split missions off into magical instances with set goals like GTA, it feels more coherent and contiguous.

        It’s not perfect, but I’d rather see a lot more “Witcher open worlds” than “Ubisoft open worlds.”

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Sure.My gripes about how witcher 3 does things are mostly mechanical.And the biggest one is the quest tracking:Being able to track just a single quest at a time is a huge problem,especially when you see that the game is able to track multiple objectives at a time.

          Then there is the thing that merchant hubs are usually some ways away from the fast travel points,leading to unnecessary walking(see below) there and back.Adding to this is the pitiful amount of money the traders have,which is baffling as they restock as soon as you exit and talk to them again(not a good way to deal with resources,from a mechanical or a narrative standpoint).Also tied to this is the pointless repair system,and the useless crafting mechanics(for most of the game the stuff you find are way better than the witcher gear,and potions,decoctions and oils become useful only waaay later).

          And while I appreciate the addition of stashes,their placing is even worse,being not only far from the fast travel points,but far from merchants as well.Stashes just arent implemented well.But I must say,cd projekt at least listens to its customers gripes and fixes things,so big props for that.

          Then there is the inability of the main map to display indoors stuff when the minimap does it.

          And then there is roach.Fuck that horse.Also the reason why I said walking from the fast travel point to the merchant.Tied to the horse,races are also the most pointless things that exist simply because “its an open world game,we have to have races”.They arent even a smidge challenging like the brawls,which at least get really funny and tough in the last two matches.

          Sailing,which can take about a third of the first half of the game,is incredibly boring.Not aided by the pointless water combat.Yet it yields the most cash.

          Also I cannot count the times I wished for asscreeds climbing mechanic,especially when going around buildings in novigrad just to reach my destination.

          So while it is an excellent game,with amazing writing and characters,its mechanically not a good open world game.Though it has great potential to be one if they were to focus just on the witching part of it.Monster hunting is the most fun I had in any open world game.If they focused on you crafting just the lures and oils and letting you go around taking random contracts for the whole game,I wouldnt complain at all.

  25. Artur CalDazar says:

    I quite liked Agent 47. It was close enough to the games that I wasn’t bothered, it had plenty of nods to what the characters are like even if it went it’s own way.
    I’ve got problems with it and I can’t say it is a good movie, but I can say it was really fun to watch.

    Maybe it’s because I went in with watching a rutskarn “no witnesses” stream from back when on my mind.
    Perhaps not a movie about Hitman, but a movie about a bad (as in not going well) play though of Hitman.

  26. lethal_guitar says:

    Rutskarn, I’d like to know what you think of this Hitman:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgVHzNwthC0

    The producers of the video said the trick to get a good Hitman actor is to have someone play who is NOT an actor. The guy in that video is “just” a stunt man, but he fits the role really nicely I think.

  27. SlothfulCobra says:

    Stargate still had plenty of dead end episodes that were never referenced again.

    There was that one episode where Daniel’s grandpa, who had raised him after his parents died, and was the inspiration for him to concoct insane archaeological conspiracy theories, goes off to an alien planet never to be seen again.

    • I’d place that up against Star Trek any day of the week. They found technologies that should have altered human existence forever just about every episode, but did they bother figuring them out? Apparently not, since that would change the status quo.

      I mean, take the episode where Barclay becomes super-intelligent. He does crap to the ship like increasing the shield strength by 300% so they can blow up something with photon torpedoes at close range. Did they delete his shield configuration after that? It seems like something simple that would come in really handy the next time they fought some Borg or something…

  28. Xapi says:

    Since you are enjoying watching stuff in original spanish, may I recomend a couple of movies?

    “El Secreto de sus Ojos” (The Secret in their eyes) is a great thriller/suspense movie with some comedy tones. Please don’t watch the Julia Roberts remake, it would seem that the script has been pretty butchered, and I don’t see how they would make it work.

    It has won the Oscar for best foreign movie, for what it’s worth, but it is not at all the usual Foreign movie winner (the sort of movies that deal with real world politics in a heavily dramatic way), but a very entertaining suspense film.

    I am yet to see “El Clan” (The Clan), but it has been very highly praised over here, and it does fit the theme of “true story you won’t believe is ACTUALLY true until you Wikipedia it”. This one has just come out, so I don’t know if you can access it over there, but I imagine it will soon be available as it had a great opening at the Venice film festival.

  29. Warclam says:

    Darut Sandskarn?

  30. Paul Spooner says:

    So, I realise this is reaching, but when Rutskarn said “I’m about to have an aneurysm… so maybe someone call an ambulance.” I really wanted to replace that last word with “Aneurysmbulance”

  31. Jarenth is the most common guest on Diecast and I think that’s neat. Ninja Blues represent!

  32. BitFever says:

    Monday is my only day off work so the Tuesday launch has long been the bane of my gaming existence

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