Diecast #124: Beginners Guide, SOMA, Battlefront

By Shamus
on Oct 12, 2015
Filed under:
Diecast

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

The mailbag now looks like Jabba the Hutt after a visit to an all-you-can-eat buffet. I have no idea how we’re going to answer these. And according to the calendar, there’s a super-important game coming out almost every week between now and the end of the year. So this job is about to get very interesting.

Show notes:
00:40 Beginners Guide

Caution: TOTAL spoilers.

20:56 SOMA

I’m not sure how to classify the spoilers. We spoil a lot of the events of the game, but they’re mostly things you can see coming. The value of this game isn’t so much in the story, but in the ideas it presents.

42:30 Undertale

SPOILERS!

51:12 Henchgirl Comic

Mumbles says it’s good, so now you’re obligated to read it.

52:07 Sublevel Zero

1:02:30: Star Wars Battlefront

It’s everything we ever dreamed of…


Link (YouTube)

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From the Archives:

  1. Hal says:

    I have seen so many gifs of Luke Skywalker getting teabagged by a gaggle of Stormtroopers . . . I was not prepared.

    • MichaelGC says:

      I’ve not seen any of those! Ten seconds of watching Vader bunnyhopping around Hoth was sufficient for me. “You have failed me *boing* for the last time *boing*.” No ta.

      Oh, and TIE fighters zipping around inside the atmosphere? That wouldn’t work, would it? With no aerofoils and only ion engines I’d assume the only in-atmosphere manoeuvre they’d be able to pull off would be ‘plummeting’.

      • Supahewok says:

        In the X-Wing books, it is stated that Tie Fighters have terrible in-atmosphere maneuverability, only really being able to climb up or down at a decent speed without shear forces tearing off their wings. How well that works with real-life physics I wouldn’t know.

    • What I find oddly immersion-breaking is Luke’s outfit. He’s wearing his ROTJ black costume on Hoth. This is a planet where he almost froze to death, and here he is, jumping around dressed for a business casual meeting.

      Unless they’re claiming the Force lets him ignore the elements a la the channeling powers in “Wheel of Time,” you’d think he’d be a tad uncomfortable.

  2. Da Mage says:

    If you have so many blog posts, I would doubt a mailbag episode would do much good anyway. Maybe it would be good to do a “mailbag blog post” where each podcast member answers a few questions and you compile all the answers together into a single post.

  3. Wide And Nerdy says:

    For anyone out there who (like me) would be put off by a game being described as “artsy” or “important”, don’t be. I’d describe Beginners Guide as being real, personal and relatable. There’s a good chance you’ve either been Davey or Coda.

    • Alex says:

      No, I’m going to continue to be put off by it. As long as “artsy” means “artists enamoured of their own importance” I’m not interested. And I wouldn’t say “artsy” games are important, either: a video game critic saying a video game is important because it’s about video game criticism sounds too much like a FIFA executive saying United Passions is an Important Movie because it’s about FIFA.

  4. Thomas says:

    Just read Hench, it’s great, thanks for the recommendation! Very Scott Pilgrim

    • AileTheAlien says:

      What do you mean you’ve just read it? I’m still in the first six months of this two-year comic! :O

      EDIT:
      …and now I realize that Hench and Henchgirl are two completely different things, of very different lengths… ^^;

    • Thomas says:

      The more I think about it, the more Scott Pilgrim it is.

      Look at the current page. After hearing a message
      Mary: “I guess I’m…”
      [Obvious statement missing the point] with picture of close up of Mary’s face in exaggerated distress
      Mary’s Roomate: “You’re powers of deductive reasoning are amazing” with closed eyes look of uncaring.

      Tell me that’s not something Wallace, Scott’s roommate, would say. I bet I could find almost that exact joke, complete with panel spacing and expression in the SP books somewhere.

      -which is a brilliant thing. I adore Scott Pilgrim and Henchgirl fills a Scott Pilgrim shaped hole in my life that’s been there ever since the SP film came out and the books ended. A hole that not even Scott Pilgrim’s creator was able to fill with his newer books.

  5. William Newman says:

    Strictly speaking, after only the first stop on his galactic tour of all you can eat buffets, the big (“that’s not a moon”) J wasn’t actually all that big yet.

  6. Phill says:

    Regarding mouse inverting applying to both x and y directions, I did once know someone who used to use his mouse the wrong way around all the time so that both the x and y directions were effectively inverted. Damned if I know why, but that’s what he liked to do.

    So I can just imagine a small team working on a game where the only person who cares about mouse inverting is of that mindset, so that’s the one that gets implemented, and it doesn’t occur to anyone that people would want to change the y axis only.

    Regarding control schemes, when I started playing WoW I had break my ingrained habits and learn the WASD control scheme. I’d grown up playing games with ZX/’ as the left right up down keys (back in the ’80s when the list of available commands was basically left, right, up, down, fire). Then I spend most of the ’90s playing either PC games that were mouse driven (civilization, mostly) or console games. Nothing, basically, that used keyboard steering and 1st / 3rd person. So I missed 15 years or so of control evolution, and found it very strange when I came back to those kinds of games and had to get used to the ‘weird’ scheme.

    Although I have to say the WASD system is far better once I adapted to it, at least for the kinds of games that use it.

    • AileTheAlien says:

      Really, games ought to have separate invert/not-invert check-marks for both X and Y, and also separate mouse sensitivities on X and Y…like Unreal Tournament 2004 (?) and the original Deus Ex had. *

      One thing that I think would be helpful for control schemes, would be a toggle-move system. Like, in some games, crouch is a toggle, so that you don’t have to hurt your hand holding down this button for long times you’ll be sneaking. I want the direction I’m moving to be a toggle, so I don’t have to constantly hold down the direction in which I’m walking/running/strafing. Actually, just toggle everything – movement, running/walking, crouch. All configurable in the options, natch. :D

      * Oh god, I just finished installing Sublevel Zero, and I’m already desperate for separate X/Y mouse sensitivities. Cool game, though! :D

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I have to ask:Why is it so hard to have all rebindable keys and inversion for any axis you prefer?I mean,why would you hardcode your game with “if X key is pressed then it does Y action”,when a much more practical solution is to have it be “if Do_Y_Action key is pressed then it does Y action”,and have a separate small function that will bind whatever is in use to all the actions used everywhere else.This way you never have to worry about your project changing hands and confusing everyone with “Why is the X key a thing?”,or if you ever decide to change it,or whatever.

    • Peter H. Coffin says:

      The complication is that EVERY semi-realistic flight control does “inversion” out of the box. Pull the control, nose points up. Push control, nose goes down.

  7. James Porter says:

    Also, for the Coda being a woman, every instance of voice acting in the games is female, and there is an author avatar in the cage that is female.

    Although to be fair, my interpretation of Coda’s gender has more to do with my interpretation of the whole game, namely that we can’t know for sure just from her work, and we cant trust Daevy either, since he had been wrong about the games the whole time. She could be either, we just dont know.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      I’m a little bugged by this because I feel like 90 percent of the theory is based on stereotypes. Trendy newer stereotypes at that. And I say 90 percent because we do have a female avatar at some point in the game.

      Also including women could have been Coda’s way of dropping a hint that this isn’t about him.

      I saw myself in Coda (and in Davey). I’ve been both. A lot of us have. It diminishes the experience to make this argument in this way.

      • James Porter says:

        I kinda agree actually, thats actually why I like the voice acting example more. If the Space game was an abandoned prototype, I wouldnt imagine the voice was put in there on purpose, and if this is just a passion project then I wouldnt imagine any outside help. Yet the voice at the end is female.

        I do like your idea though, although in my interpretation of the game, each game becomes more and more about Daevy. Concluding with the Tower as the game FOR Daevy. Coda is done making art, and made a game that she knew Daevy would just hack around.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          But coda could very well be someone like me.I like having female avatars,I like hearing a female voice from my video game characters,I prefer having female characters even in pnp.I do it not because Im a woman,either born or identified as,but because I find it interesting to inhabit a character unlike myself when engaged in fiction.

          • James Porter says:

            I suppose, although that doesn’t explain the voice acting in the Space game though.
            If Coda was just making these games for herself, then I have trouble thinking he would go out to get a female VO.Plus the level is a half finished prototype, that no one was suppose to see.

            That sounds like a reasonable enough explanation though. I think it adds to the ambiguity

            • Wide And Nerdy says:

              Could easily just be a stock sound he/she downloaded. It sounded like generic eery wailing.

              • James Porter says:

                I was more referring to when the voice asks you to kill yourself to turn off the whisper machine in the space game

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  There are multiple ways around that.Other than “coda asked someone to read a line or two for kicks”,theres also the fact that Davey kept changing these to “make them more playable”.Who is to say that the original game had any narration or an explicit objective?And if we look at the other games that rarely had any specific objectives,this isnt that far fetched of an idea.

                  • James Porter says:

                    I agree. I think there definitely isnt a definite answer, and I kinda think that was the point. It is actually impossible to say who Coda really is, or the decisions she made in making these games, or how much of the games are from Daevy’s meddling.

                    While I like the interpretation, I feel that the questions it raises are more interesting than the answer. If the game is about Daevy trying to understand Coda through her games and failing, then its kinda cool to see these conflicting thoughts and interpretations within the work itself. The question lets us understand that Daevy’s goal is impossible.

                    So while a lot of these points against are true and plausible, I feel like you guys think I am saying for sure Coda is a woman, and I am not. Just that it is possible, and all the cool things that implies.

      • PeteTimesSix says:

        Yeah, Im personally not a fan of it either. Its the same sort of thinking that leads to Every Game And Movie Ever having to have a love interest. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, a prison game is just a prison game, and an overbearing insecure friend is just an overbearing insecure friend. (That was the message I took from the game, anyway. Sometimes there is no deeper meaning. See also: the three dots, or as I like to call them, the artists signature.)

        Still, I can see where people are coming from. That whole theory on the steam forums about how Coda is actually Dawey-but-schizophrenic-time-traveling-split-personality, on the other hand, is almost insulting in a vague sort of way.

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          I think it would safer to say that both characters are based on Wreden. I said above that I see myself in both characters. Wreden has almost certainly been both of these people in some fashion (as his blog post from a year ago helps support). Coda’s designs remind me of the Stanley Parable so much so that at first I thought he inspired that game (Like Shamus, I started out thinking it was a true story.)

      • Mumbles says:

        90% is not based on stereotypes, jeez. My thinking that she’s a girl was simply based off of the fact that she used female protagonists in her game, most other voices were women and the beautiful song sung at the end was also done by a woman. The other stuff is fill in the blank and isn’t that kinda what the game is circling around anyway? It doesn’t fucking matter if Coda is a woman or not because you’ll never know what the three dots mean. But, who cares? I get more out of it thinking it’s a woman who was in a somewhat unhealthy relationship with a dude. It doesn’t matter if that’s the case or not.

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          I didn’t think about the song part. It could just be that type of song sounds better with a female voice (IMO at least) but its still a point in your favor.

          Male or female, to me the game works best if It stays focused on being about Davey projecting onto Coda’s work and then acting on his skewed conclusions about it and Coda. I feel like the unhealthy relationship angle complicates that unless you’re just talking about relationship in a general non romantic sense or you’re reading the game as a metaphor for that.

          • Mumbles says:

            Well, I disagree. I think the game is interesting if it’s about two creative people who exchange work with a disastrous result in regards to their relationship. Still, it’s up for interpretation so neither view is less or more valid.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              I dont see any relationship in it.But what I do see is all the comments(via youtube,via twitter,via email,via any other place)when someone starts making something weird that are in the vein of “Your last work was really weird.I think you may suffer from depression/bipolar/schizophrenia/whatever.I care for you and your work,so I hope you seek help.”.

              And the most ironic part:I bet Davey will receive tons of emails telling him “Beginners guide sounds like a cry for help.I think you may suffer from depression.I care for you and I hope you seek help and get better”.

    • karln says:

      I’d listen to a full episode on The Beginner’s Guide. And two on Gone Home. You guys never really did talk about that one properly due to (reasonable) spoiler concerns at the time, but I guess we’re past embargo on that by now?

      [akk this has appeared as a reply, I guess Ctrl-R’ing did not clear the reply I started and then didn’t post, despite the comment editor moving to the end of the comments]

    • I’ve not listened to the Diecast yet, but I’m hoping someone appreciates that Coda is a word, not just a name…

      On Coda being a woman… it’s entirely irrelevant? Even if the game were about the breakdown of a romantic relationship, there is no reason this could not involve 2 people of the same gender. Overall I feel this is more a game about ideas than about any specifics; very much a piece of narrative fiction where “Coda” is as much an artifice as any of the other elements.

      • James Porter says:

        I would argue the question of Coda’s gender is more interesting as a question than an answer, as it is the perfect example of how we cant really know Coda just through her games. That the thing Daevy is trying to do is misguided. How can dissecting any work of art tell a greater truth about the creator, when art is subjective?

        Dont worry, I appreciate the use of Coda as well, although it didn’t hit quite as hard since The Magic Circle also had a character named Coda(Although I feel BG hits its mark a lot better than MC. Also its funny how MC Coda is more of a BG Daevy figure)

  8. chaosed0 says:

    A day after I played through The Beginner’s Guide myself, I watched Lirik, the top twitch livestreamer, play the game. He can be an ass sometimes, in the way that people who play video games in front of thousands of people every day for a living often are. His stream can be extremely funny, but generally it isn’t known for its sophistication.

    During this particular stream, though, he went from trying to be entertaining (ha ha, a prison that only opens after an hour, how dumb) to being thoughtful, to being quiet. At the end, you could tell he really took something away from it that he simply couldn’t share with his audience. For a while, he couldn’t even continue with his normal schedule – he mused about the game, looked at its steam reviews, and was generally stunned.

    The first time around, when I played through myself, I experienced something intensely personal. The second time around, watching Lirik play, it was all about simply sharing the experience of feeling emotions. I expected him to derive absolutely no meaning from it; being wrong about that cemented the idea in my mind that The Beginner’s Guide is an important game.

  9. AileTheAlien says:

    Sublevel Zero is sooooooo good! It’s got the random levels! It’s got the permadeath! It’s even got the outer space and the techno music! Plus, the inventory, leveling and crafting mechanics are all interesting. :D

  10. Dragmire says:

    Mumbles tortures robots and enjoys it?

    What happened?

  11. Muspel says:

    I haven’t personally tried it, Shamus, but some googling found a thread where someone presented the following AutoHotkey script as a way to invert the mouse Y-axis. Might be worth a try.

    BlockInput Mouse
    SetMouseDelay -1

    MouseGetPos x, oldy
    SetTimer WatchMouse, 1
    Return

    WatchMouse:
    MouseGetPos x, y
    MouseMove 0, 2*(oldy-y), 0, R
    MouseGetPos x, oldy
    Return

    !z::ExitApp

  12. silver Harloe says:

    What was the third game, that didn’t make it into the show notes? The one that is so player-messing-with it managed to mess with Mumbles when she wasn’t even playing it?

    (I could dig around and find the name, but the native browser player for these sound files stops ticking after so many minutes, so it’s hard for me to rewind, or even know where I am, after 20 minutes into the show)

    • Shamus says:

      Undertale.

      Updated the show notes.

      • Kestrellius says:

        It doesn’t seem to have been mentioned in the episode, so I’ll make note of it, since I know you guys are aware of Homestuck: Undertale was created by Toby “Radiation” Fox, who is one of the top people on Homestuck’s music team. Interesting little tidbit.

        Not that I’ve actually played this game. I only even heard about it like yesterday; I just happened to come across something about it.

      • TheHokeyPokey says:

        Should probably put a spoiler warning in the Undertale section, Mumbles spoils end game stuff almost immediately. You aren’t supposed to learn about the first kid or their motivations until just before the end

        • Nixitur says:

          Yeah, really, for saying that she’s gonna stay spoilerfree at first, she basically immediately dives into high-octane endgame spoilers which kinda sucks given that Shamus, at least, hasn’t played it yet.
          I’m pretty sure nobody reads the comments before listening to the whole podcast, but if you are doing so, do not believe her when she says “spoilerfree”.

          So, really, this is the opposite of what happened when you talked about Her Story. In that podcast, Mumbles said that she’s gonna spoil stuff, but didn’t and here, she says it’ll be spoilerfree, but oh my god, it is nothing but spoilers!

    • AileTheAlien says:

      Install VLC! It plays everything, and rewinding is so smooth / techno-advanced, that they have speed up/slow down built in! :D

  13. Falterfire says:

    Reading through the beginning of Henchgirl, it reminds me in some ways of Empowered but way more work safe/kid friendly. Mostly because of the not-quite-competent hapless painfully insecure heroine working on super-stuff, not sure if it’s just because of that or there’s more that my brain hasn’t figure out yet.

    Also related I guess: The Spinnerette webcomic. Is ‘young woman struggles desperately to overcome self esteem issues’ just the female version of ‘young man discovers he’s the bestest ever at all the things and sets off to show that to the world’? They both sorta reflect similar insecurities but from opposite angles.

    Also: The Errant Signal video you said you were going to link in the show notes but didn’t: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa2fA0OCSNw

    • Thomas says:

      It definitely is a bit archetypal like that, it’s the Bridget Jones character. Although I don’t think it’s so much desperately trying to overcome low self-esteem and more like someone letting you in on the inside by acknowledging the ‘perfect women’ that exists in a lot of peoples minds and uttering the unspoken secret that _no-one actually is like that_.

      It’s not quite a struggle against low self-esteem because actual Bridget Jones and Mary Posa know that they’re great a lot of the time, it’s just they’ve got a whole host of comfortable insecurities that they put on like an old jumper.

      I think maybe the guy equivalent is the good-natured schlub who ends up discovering that he’s actually brilliant at everything.

      To me the young-man discover he’s the bestest ever thing is closer to the Anne Hathaway Princess Diaries/Devil Wears Prada kind of person. (Admittedly those ones are a bundle of insecurities and self-esteem issues too.)

      EDIT: Netflix has _Downfall_ in “Films like The Devil Wears Prada”.

  14. Christopher says:

    “Everyone seeing it through their own lens” is not what makes a very interesting videogame to me. Shamus focusing on videogame development, Chris on literary criticism, Mumbles on this guy-girl nerd relationship, that’s telling me nothing that I didn’t already know from listening to you guys talk every week. Similarly, Wide and Nerdy not liking the interpretation of it being about this nerd tells me nothing I didn’t already suspect was the case from his handle. What I would be interested in seeing is the story itself, but if the exciting part is guessing whether it’s fiction or not and seeing strangers reflected in how they interpret it, then whatever. People who enjoy art(and mirrors) can have it.

    I’m gonna go back to Undertale instead and hope the story doesn’t become more about the meta than it does about the fiction. That way I can also listen to rest of the Diecast! I didn’t do my homework this week, so I jumped off after the SOMA discussion.

  15. Groboclown says:

    It’s not much in the way of spoilers to say that part of the Beginner Guide is the Davey character talking about, and showing, stuff that isn’t visible to the player that was in Coda’s game.

    That made me wonder if there was hidden stuff in this game. I don’t have the tool knowledge nor do I want to make the time to gain it, so I’m wondering if someone has already peeked into the game/level data to see if this particular game has some hidden bits that weren’t shown to the player.

  16. RedSun says:

    I wouldn’t really compare Undertale to a Bioware game, or Pillars of Eternity, or anything that involves in-character roleplaying. You’re not compelled to roleplay. You don’t speak for the main character. And the second you start a second playthrough(and the game is made so you play through it multiple times) you know everything that’s going to happen. You know that every monster you fight doesn’t need to be killed. You are not a character-you are the player. You are god. You are never in danger. You are never uncertain.

    No matter how many times you play, other characters will wonder if they’re doing the right thing. They need to fight you, but most don’t want to. They’re the ones struggling with moral choice. But you’re the player. If you kill them, it’s never with uncertainty. Your ACT menu is right there. If you kill someone, it’s because you wanted them to die. No excuses.

    That’s the most interesting thing about Undertale. In any RPG, the more you play, the less immersive it becomes, the more you know about the world, the more control over the story you have. In Undertale, that’s a feature. It’s the reason the fourth-wall breaking character is so essential.-whatever you do, your character is almost never scrutinized. You are the one who is scrutinized. Undertale finds that gap between player and player-character and dives headfirst into it.

    • Mumbles says:

      I found myself uncertain in that game plenty of times! Dat snowman’s piece sat in my inventory and sometimes I was *this* close to eating it. That’s just one example!

      Besides, the game makes deliberate call outs to bioware type RPGS. Flowey makes a speech about how appeasing characters and thinking of himself as a god is how *he* behaved. He says he gave gifts, made sure to say the right thing and reloaded saves to get the ending he wanted. Sound familiar? If you think about Dragon Age and how you can make a character like you with items (something Flowey brings up!) doesn’t that take away the personal level of the game? Doesn’t that kind of make you a god instead of someone roleplaying a character?

  17. Funklewrinkler says:

    Perhaps I misunderstood Chris — the more so since he said, “You can change loadouts in the middle of a game,” later on — but the last time I played Battlefield, which was *not* Hardline, you could customize each loadout during the game between lives. Maybe it’s a semantics problem.

    • Chris says:

      In Battlefield 4 (and presumably Battlefront) there are two places you change your loadout. One is when you’re in the game. “In the game” might be in the middle of a match that’s currently going on (though this isn’t very adventageous since you’re burning time you could be using to fight), or it might be during the “in between rounds” time where you’re still connected to a server with other people, but the match has ended and everyone’s taking a 30 second break to change loadouts/see their XP bar go up/whatever.

      The other (and I don’t know if Battlefront is doing this one) is on the website. You could change your effective gear by going to the website and swapping it around.

      What you could not do, and what has irritated me for a while, is review/change your load outs from in-game without being connected to a server. That is, I can’t boot up the game, click on “loadouts” or whatever, and change my gear up. I’d have to connect to an active game and load the level before I could access my gear. This is silly because there are times I just want to inspect my loadout, or times where I’m “done” for the night but want to review my unlocks without idling and taking up a slot on a server.

      This is the opposite of how things work in, say, Splatoon, where you can only change your loadout while in town but never while the game itself. They both cause problems, though – in Battlefield you end up with people idling while screwing with gear and it means your first several minutes in battle might be to configure your sniper setup since last time you played you were all about explosion medic or whatever. In Splatoon it means you get match-made with a bunch of other players ALSO using the same gimmick gun as you and there’s just no way your team can win.

      What I want is something like Destiny or Team Fortress – a game that doesn’t really care where or when I want to change my loadout, whether it’s to see if I look cool or see if it moves my stats in the right direction.

      • Nidokoenig says:

        That’s just dumb. At least Splatoon has the excuse of weaker hardware where having to load just the required weapons would help significantly, only having switching during a match is just a way to piss people off.

        • Retsam says:

          I don’t think “weaker hardware” is really a justification for Splatoon not having switching weapons. The WiiU is at least as powerful as the previous generation, right? And they had weapon switching just fine.

          This, along with the inability to change settings during a match (or between matches) basically prevented my girlfriend and I from playing the game together, and I can count on my hands the number of times I’ve changed equipment loadout in a shooter from outside of a match, so I definitely know which of these approaches will “piss people off” more in my book.

          (I feel like every time anyone says anything negative about Nintendo or a Nintendo game, someone will go out of their way to justify it)

      • James says:

        Ok so with Battlefield 4 you are correct, because you cant boot the game without picking a server and being dumped into a match, this is ofc VERY FUCKING STUPID.

        Battlefront however is different, you launch the game and then pick what you want to play, there are 2 maps in the beta. and no server list. you can from the main menu without being in a match select loadouts but its not obvious menu.
        In game you can only change you gun. and not your “star cards”.

      • Funklewrinkler says:

        Thank you for taking the time to explain. I misunderstood. I had thought I remembered the My Soldier menu option being a place to change loadouts, as well, but I was wrong there, too. It seems the Training Grounds is the only place to do it “out-of-game”, though that’s not very far out-of-game. That does keep you from filling a server slot, but it doesn’t negate the loading time. Changing loadouts during the match between lives is rather annoying, I agree, though I’ve always seen that wasted time as somewhat fair. That is, however, subjective.

    • Metal C0Mmander says:

      Honestly Chris is wrong as far as how the loadouts works. First you can change loadout while menu browsing(not playing) but it’s kind of hidden behind a few screens. Second while right now you can only customise the loadout before playing that’s a restriction that will be loosened once the beta will be over. It still will be this restrictive at first but once you earn a few ranks you’ll be able to choose between different loadouts that you’ll customise before the game. So I not saying the system will be great but it won’t be as bad as it seem.

      • Metal C0Mmander says:

        Well since both Chris and James sniped my explanation of loadouts I might as well start talking about vehicles. So when you think about it the power-up system isn’t that much different to the vehicle being physically on the map because vehicle token to appear at fixed point on the map so people have started camping those points a bit in hope of getting a vehicle. The big differences are that the tokens are pretty hard to spot on the map, that if you die while in possession of a token or while trying to call the vehicle you end up loosing it, that you can’t repair vehicles and that you can’t get out and back in a vehicle to pursue infantry based objectives since it will disappear or blow up.

  18. You could always answer mailbag questions in a more rapid-fire manner, as done towards the end of (warning: WH40K overload and some sweary language) this video of queries to Warhammer 40K’s Emperor of Mankind.

  19. Shamus, how are the stats for .mp3 and .ogg (Vorbis) these days?

    I was wondering if it would be possible to provide .opus audio of the Dieast.

    More info here https://www.opus-codec.org/ binaries available at https://www.opus-codec.org/downloads/

    Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Vivendi also support Opus for HTML5 audio playback as well.

    Qualitywise for low bitrates (I’d call 98kbit which the Ogg Vorbis Diecast is) the Opus codec is similar to HE-AAC (aka AAC+).

    So you could go for 96kbit Opus thus better quality than Ogg Vorbis or MP3, or you could reduce the bitrate some and save space but retain similar quality.

    Foobar2000, VLC and so on supports Opus playback. (Opus uses a Ogg container just like Vorbis does).

    These days I download the .ogg Vorbis Diecast, but if a .opus was available I would download that instead.

    Opus Trivia:
    For those unaware, Opus was created by Xiph (the guys behind Ogg Vorbis and FLAC) and Mozilla (Firefox).
    The Opus codec is a hybrid that uses CELT codec (by Xiph) for medium to higher bitrates and the SILK codec (by Skype which is owned by Microsoft) for low bitrates. Opus is also the Internet audio standard for voice chat (WebRTC) and IE/Edge supports it for that.
    Edge will also soon support Opus for HTML5 audio playback as well.
    Opus is a open source royalty/not-patent encumbered codec. Designed to compete with or replace HE-AAC and AAC/MP3/Ogg Vorbis.

  20. Dovius says:

    Mumbles, seeing as Wrestlemans didn’t come up during this episode (Not yet, at least), I’d like to ask this here: If you’ve seen it, how did you like Takeover: Respect?

  21. My theory of The Beginners Guide is multiple personality disorder as there is the narrator (him) and Coda (him) but then Coda may seem to be a she, or the narrator is sometimes a she. So this is the feminine and masculine sides of creativity bubbling to the top in form of personalities..

    Also, I love the callback at the end the maze you float up from is the “bottom of the universe” that you see out of the space station/ship window earlier.

  22. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Mumbles,there is another recent game(still in early access)that kind of screws with your save file(also other meta stuff):Press X to not die.Check it out.

    Or,if you are one of those voyeur,that prefer watching others do the deed instead of doing it themselves,check out Jim Sterling pressing X to not die.

  23. Nidokoenig says:

    Interesting, arty, would wear out its welcome in a little over two hours… $10. I think this is why “not a game” “walking simulator” or “electronic art installation” or whatever term you’re prepared to accept are important terms to prevent the laser quest/paintball teams showing up to poetry night and loudly wondering what in the fuck is this shit and feeling like they wasted their money.

    A game that lasts two hours can be something like Super Metroid or Shantae that you can play over and over, exploring the mechanical probability space, a film or novella that lasts two hours can be watched or read over and over and you pick up more detail each time, a two hour “art” game rarely gives that kind of depth, or hold interest for that long.

    People who say something “isn’t a game” are expressing that it doesn’t do what their understanding of game does. It’s like if you met someone whose native language doesn’t distinguish between apples and pears and they don’t get why people are bothered when they get the wrong one.

  24. Regarding Mumbles unplugging both rather than one cable is similar to Until Dawn where only 3% of players chose to not let go at the start instead of either letting go (killing both yourself and your sister) or dropping your sister the outcome is the same of all 3 choices, and it has no impact on the story, but it’s still a decision the player have to make.

  25. John says:

    The one true way to play Descent he said in a not all serious manner, is with a flight stick. The hat switch is great for lateral movement. I played a fair bit of the game just last month. With the flight stick I could control just about about everything with a single hand, the exceptions being forward/backward movement, weapon selection, and proximity bombs. And if only I could figure out how to get the game to recognize the other six buttons on the stick or to recognize simultaneous button-presses, I wouldn’t need the keyboard at all.

    The drawback of the flight stick approach is that you don’t get the benefit of precise aiming the way you would withouse-look.

  26. Retsam says:

    I wish Undertale were more upfront about its mechanics. Like, the “you can get through this game without killing anyone” thing is cool… but that’s not explained to you.

    I tried going through without killing anyone just because that’s how I usually operate, then got to the first boss, tried hard to not kill her, but couldn’t figure it out and figured the game was just railroading me into killing her, so I did. It wasn’t until I was a significant chunk into the game that I realized that you can probably avoid killing her, and I don’t really care to restart the whole game (I’ve no way of knowing, but I’d guess I’m halfway in or so).

    I might restart anyway; it’s a bit silly going to the work of trying not to kill anyone from here on out, if I’m just going to get the same ending, regardless of what I do.

    • Syal says:

      You’re supposed to fail to save her the first time through. Then the bad guy taunting you and the ‘you didn’t even try to spare her’ comment is supposed to get you to reload your save, do the battle again in order to spare her, and have your first major brush with the game’s time travel mechanics.

      Unfortunately it doesn’t really work; they’re using it to introduce the mechanic that would make you think to do that, so no one thinks to do that. I only knew it by watching supergreatfriend play the demo way back when.

      • Retsam says:

        Yeah, I *did* try to spare her. I assumed the game was just being an ass in a “we’ll pretend you have a choice but you really don’t” sort of way. Just like how the game pretends you can wait for Toriel to come back in that hallway… but you really can’t.

        I went through a good chunk of the game with a chip on my shoulder, because I get annoyed when games force you to do something then criticize you for it.

        • Syal says:

          Yeah, there’s a couple of points where you really don’t have a choice, and in that first fight they go out of their way to counter all the strategies they’ve told you about, and only tell you the right one after you reload.

          Not sure how it would have worked, but it probably would have been better if something just killed you after the fight, instead of trying to encourage the player to reload on their own. Maybe you could choose to fight the bad guy, and he’d just use his super cheaty patterns and kill you. Because that reset is pretty important.

          (…you do get flavor text for waiting in that hallway though.)

          • Nixitur says:

            You say that the game doesn’t tell you how to spare that boss, but that’s not true. One of the Froggits in the Ruins pretty much spells out how to do it.
            Not to mention the bad guy saying “It’s not like you can go back and change it.” if you kill the boss is a pretty huge hint that, yes, that is exactly what you can and should do. And if you reload and talk to the boss again, you get an even bigger hint as to what to do, so really, I don’t see how Toby could have made it any more obvious without spelling it out during your first attempt.

      • Endymion says:

        Ah, that explains why I’ve gotten as far as I did without seeing any form of this save stuff. The first boss being a character that had so completely annoyed me that it was the only one I actually wanted to kill.

    • River Birch says:

      …Um…
      You get the idea that you can just not kill anyone when you go to the storefront page on steam.

      Also if you’re talking to the frog…He tells you how you can spare them…One of the frogs even tells you you’d probably spare someone that doesn’t have yellow text in its name…
      Also Toriel asks you to engage in a talk when you’re with the dummy</strike

      • Syal says:

        Toriel tells you to talk to your enemies, but you can’t talk Toriel down. The first frog tells you that enemies with low health won’t want to fight. When talking fails, your instinct will be to try to get her to low health and try to spare her that way, and then she suddenly takes massive damage and dies. You’re supposed to fail the first time through, because you’re supposed to want to reload.

        • River Birch says:

          I.. still have to disagree, your first instinct is to, yes, talk to her, try acting first, but if you’re gonna try to like avoid fighting, to mercy everyone, then. I think the second choice you’d have to try is just straight up mercying. Sure it gives you just the … prompt.

          You also have the final frog who tells you you might have to mercy someone that isn’t even in yellow text.

          BUT THATS SOMETHING That isn’t you harming her. You keep doing that…over and over…and then you’re getting somewhere.

          Undertale, if you’re truly trying to play as a pacifist, gives you all the tools you need to avoid striking them down and killing them. That even applies for the last fight of normal run.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Spoiler tags get wonky when you use them for multiple paragraphs.Use separate tags for every paragraph.

          • Syal says:

            It’s possible, but not intended. If you apply the three sparing techniques in the order you hear of them, she won’t live long enough for you to try the third. And of course the prompt is just ellipses, which even in this game usually mean you’re not making progress.

            Plus the reload introduces too many ideas to not be the intended course; they flat out tell you to keep sparing her the second time through, and Flowey doesn’t mention his own save powers until the second pass. You miss the whole aspect of the bad guy remembering prior playthroughs if you manage to save Toriel on the first try.

            Unless you know a way around Asgore that I don’t, that’s not quite true. The first fight and the last fight are probably the game’s weakest points theme-wise; the first one is muddled by players having so many choices, and the last one contradicts the first one’s lesson that even when it isn’t obvious, there’s always a way to avoid fighting.

            …I hope Shamus has already played the game.

  27. Chris, you said the following:

    “You can spawn on one guy. You pick your friend, your one friend, and that is the friend who can spawn on you or that you can spawn on. Which is really bizarre.”

    I can’t possibly imagine anyone taking that out of context. :)
    Also, you should give a warning that Battlefront is an adult title! And Shamus lets his daughter edit this?! For shame!

  28. Flailmorpho says:

    “I haven’t been playing undertale I’ve been playing mass effect 3” is probably one of the best short horror stories I’ve ever heard

  29. Sova says:

    Three things:

    1. Kudos Mumbles.

    The Undertale segment is the first time I’ve ever skipped through a marked “spoilers” section simply because the premise sounded so good. Looking forward to that now.

    2. Having owned but never played Kerbals I thought it might be good to watch a bit of the hangout from last month as a sort of quick ‘first impressions’ piece. Fast forward to the end of part two and I’m awake at some ungodly hour. Bitten by a massive KSP bug. Needless to say I’ve been playing it non-stop now. Which made that outro doubly cruel. Not sure if it’s too much to ask for Shamus to take a break from his self-flagellation Mass Effect piece but I’d be interested to see thoughts on favoured rocket/ship designs please.

    3. Speaking of that, I have neither read the ME Retrospective nor actually ever played the trilogy. I’m curious if anybody could suggest which I should do first. Would it be more interesting to begin my joyous Mass Effect experience with the subject or the criticism? Obviously I’m well spoiled on the plot/climax.

    • Mumbles says:

      Good I hope you like it :3

    • Alex says:

      3. You should play Mass Effect 1, and then not play Mass Effect 2 or 3.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Dont do that.First,consider what you prefer in a game:A well established big world with a good story,but somewhat janky gameplay,or a somewhat smallish world with average story but great gameplay?If its the former,play me1 first.If its the later,play me2 first(and maybe follow it with me3).Both games will give you interesting characters to interact with,so youll be covered in that regard.Me1 will also give you more classic rpg things to do,like faff around with your inventory,while me2 will give you more covers to hide behind while shooting,but overall me2 has more polished gameplay(aside from the thermal clips,the “awesome” button and probing).

    • MichaelGC says:

      I’m in exactly the same boat control pod when it comes to Kerbal! I ended up watching the hangout twice – both live and when it went up on YouTube. Previously I was interested in the idea of KSP, but “knew” it wouldn’t be my sort of thing to actually play. And now I can’t stop and am resentful of all other demands on my time…

      I’m not very good at it – well, I’m certainly not very efficient. I imagine the conversation in the cockpit going something like:

      Bob: I think we’re at the right velocity to begin the gravity turn.
      Valentina: A WHAT? CAN’T HEAR YOU OVER THE GRAVITY!
      Bill: If we survive, next time I’m putting a heat shield above as well as below…

      So yes, more on how best to slip the surly bonds of Kerbin would be great!

    • RTBones says:

      I’d say play Mass Effect 1 for yourself, then go back and read what Shamus writes.

      Understand going in that some of the mechanics (like inventory management) get better as the series progresses. But do form your own likes/dislikes/opinions before you read Shamus.

      I would do the same for Mass Effect 2. If you can, make sure you play the Arrival DLC.

      Mass Effect 3…your call.

  30. Nalyd says:

    Beginner’s Guide: I dunno that I find Coda and Davey’s relationship necessarily a male/female one. The sort of projecting, yearning, obsessive, parasocial relationship that the game revolves around is something that I’m susceptible to, and that I know others are susceptible to, and it’s only sometimes a sexual or infatuative(“romantic” is the wrong word) thing, and it’s not restricted to the opposite gender. Sexual and infatuative interest is common, and does add a whole new horrible dimension to the “relationship”, but I don’t necessarily see that aspect in the game.

    And I can’t really see gameDavey consistenly referring to Coda with he as some sort of. . . intentional misdirection? Assimilation of personality? Need to claim their work? I don’t know what it would accomplish even. It seems like a bridge too far.

    But Coda being a woman or not doesn’t really change much about what I think the game means anyways, so it’s not impossible. I’m just not convinced.

  31. Joey245 says:

    A few of my thoughts when listening to this particular podcast…

    -Shamus, are you left-handed or right-handed? Because I’m right-handed, and I’m sitting here matching your control scheme (NUMPAD for movement, hand on mouse), and my arms are WAY too close together to comfortably game that way. And that’s with a laptop; on a desktop computer with a more-or-less immobile keyboard, I imagine I’d be halfway out of my chair!

    -Mumbles, you mentioned during the Undertale segment that you liked it when games have complete pacifism options, and you mentioned that you loved awesome soundtracks and didn’t mind the sorta-dated graphics. My question is, have you ever tried Iji? It’s a side-scrolling platformer/shooter about a future where aliens invade, but the cool thing is that it’s completely possible to complete the entire game without killing a single enemy. It’s got a pretty rad lady as the player character, a rocking soundtrack full of electric guitars and drums, and it’s got a lot of complexity despite having MS-Paint style graphics. Best of all, it’s free! I suggest you check it out; it’s pretty cool, and was the first thing that popped into my mind when you started talking about how cool Undertale was.

    Keep being awesome y’all! :D

  32. Galad says:

    Late to the party, because I *Specifically* bought SOMA, waited to finish it, and then listened to the whole podcast. A bit sad not one comment has been about it, other than one in passing mention. Anyway..I didn’t catch on that quickly on what’s going on – the scene where Simon goes into a rusted bathroom and clears the mirror to take a look at himself was really strong to me. I still feel bad about electrocuting Carl (the robot you meet at the start that thinks is a human). It’s a pretty dark tale of the apocalypse and what’s left after it, and I didn’t need to suspend much disbelief about it, I just went along for the show.

    While it may be an 8 hour game, it is well worth its money for a hard sci-fi fan, imho.

    • Alex says:

      “While it may be an 8 hour game, it is well worth its money for a hard sci-fi fan, imho.”

      I would disagree. If you’re not also a fan of relentless grimdark, I would stay away. I’m fine with horror, but SOMA pushes its bleak worldview well past the point where I stop giving a damn.

      • Galad says:

        Yaay, I’m not the only one late to the party! :P (unless you have a way to track new comments on posts here?)

        I would rephrase that as ‘if relentless grimdark puts you off, SOMA is not likely to be a good game for you’. It may also be that I’ve been influenced in my judgement by the other story-driven games I was mainly playing at the time (a few days ago) – Tales of the Borderlands and the Witcher 3 expansion. The first one is the epithome of happy fun times, where even a certain mascot robot in it says something to that effect. The second one is set in a world of grey morality, where Geralt has to usually choose between two evils, or to stay neutral and miss out on the more interesting stories (meta point, I know), however I’ve learnt by now that he’s mostly immune to relentless grimdark, being the main hero. Sure, he can walk into some, or even cause some, but he always has a way to go on.

        Back to SOMA though, I’m curious what kind of turn(s) and where would the story have had to make in order to satisfy you?

        • Alex says:

          “Back to SOMA though, I’m curious what kind of turn(s) and where would the story have had to make in order to satisfy you?”

          There would have to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Either make the horror setting smaller than all humans are either dead, or wish they could die or give the protagonist a better plan than lock the surviving brainscans in a box where they can live, helpless, until something breaks.

  33. Cinebeast says:

    On the off chance Shamus still checks the comments for an older Diecast like this one, I want to ask: did you ever go and play Undertale, Shamus? It’s been a couple months now and I never saw any follow up to this, so I was just curious.

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