Diecast #125: Human Resource Machine, Left Handed Gaming, Citadel

By Shamus
on Oct 19, 2015
Filed under:
Diecast

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

Show notes:
00:46 Human Resource Machine.

Update: On the show I said I wanted to see how a non-coder would take to this game. I got it for Rachel last night, and she’s plowing through it. So it’s totally playable for people who have never coded before. Although now that I think of it, Rachel has done fairly extensive work with Minecraft command blocks, which probably gave her a good starting framework. Still, I think I can recommend this game unconditionally for both coders and non-coders. Which is pretty amazing.

I’ll probably have a follow-up post on this at some point to ask what people thought of it.

13:02 Left-handed people and video games.

Fun trivia: The Diecast is 40% left-handers. (Mumbles and Chris.)

25:46 Mass Effect 3: Citadel DLC.

Also we talk about Frank Miller for reasons that will only make sense in retrospect.

50:32 Crimson peak

The trailer:


Link (YouTube)

56:30 Until Dawn

1:09:00 Mailtime

Sigh. Someday.

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From the Archives:

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Shamoose,I hate you!I got the hrm yesterday,and played it until late in the night,when I simply had to go to bed.Now I cant stop thinking of that ridiculous sorting level,and I cant play the game to test any of my theories.You are the worst.

    • Falterfire says:

      I’m pretty sure I deserve to have my Computer Science degree taken away based on how badly I botched some of the later levels. I managed to brute force solutions to all of them, but I was nowhere near the par statements/efficiency for later levels.

      For sorting I just went with a bubble sort because I panicked and that was what I remembered from my first year of computer science in high school even though I’ve had multiple classes on sorting since then.

    • AileTheAlien says:

      I’m at work, so I have 5 more hours until I can realistically play this game. :S

    • RCN says:

      I’m posting now because I’m way behind in catching up with the podcasts. Bought Human Resource Machine and, despite not having any training in programming whatsoever, managed to get most of the game with both green lights.

      There’s only a couple left without the greenlights and the only levels I couldn’t figure on my own were the Prime Factors one and the Sorting One.

      The Prime Factor I got all the way up to sorting one of the primes, but I couldn’t figure how to sort the rest.

      In the sorting one I managed to make something that actually almost worked. It would manage to select the smallest number in the sequence, output it, then convert it to zero in the sequence. Then when the sequence was read again every time it found a zero it made some special sorting and ignored the zero. The problem is that my setup fell apart when the letters were introduced and my system was so complex I hadn’t had any idea how to nudge it into accommodating the letters (maybe I should have used those comments).

      Still, probably not bad for someone whose degree in in the human sciences (linguistics and literature), right?

      Just posting because Shamus was curious how non-programmers would fare.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Frank Miller is Rob Liefeld of writing.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      I don’t think this is quite fair not least because they’ve both written and drawn comics and Miller does both these things better than Liefeld.

    • He pretty much planted himself in the “crazy comic guy” patch when he tried to make “Batman: Holy Terror” a thing.

      He can keep Neil Adams and his “Expanding Earth” nonsense company.

    • GloatingSwine says:

      There’s more to Frank Miller than “the Rob Liefeld of writing”.

      Y’see, there was a time when Frank Miller was great, in the late ’80s and ’90s when he was producing stuff like Daredevil: The Man Without Fear, Batman: Year One and the early Sin City stuff, he was great.

      But something happened, and that something was 9/11. There was a small subset of Americans who just couldn’t cope with the idea that it had happened. Frank Miller’s brain snapped, his mind breaking in two was audible metres away. That has informed basically everything he’s written in the last fifteen years, reaching its culmination (so far) with Holy Terror.

      He has, quite literally, gone mad with this racist obsession which he refuses to let go.

      And DC have seen fit to allow this man, this broken shell of a man who cannot cope with the idea that Islam is a thing which is allowed to exist, to write a comic called “The Master Race”

      Buckle up kids, this is going to end poorly.

      (Also he can’t draw now either, he’s basically lost it. Ironically, Rob Liefeld has been defending him saying basically “we should judge crazy old Frank based on our nostalgia for stuff he did thirty years ago not his current drivel he’s old and sick now”.)

      • Mheller says:

        May I gently suggest that this comments section isn’t the best place to bring up such a hot-button political issue, especially in a fashion which assumes everyone here shares your opinion on it?

      • Shamus says:

        Mheller has a point: This could have been stated in a far less provocative way. But I’m going to let the comment stand because it gives a little context and is tangentially connected to the “What happened to Frank Miller?” discussion.

        But just to be clear: I’m not lifting the “no politics” rule here. Let’s let the politics go.

    • RCN says:

      Frank Miller is a deranged lunatic. Rob Liefeld is just lazy. Both are arguably misogynist, though (too political a statement?).

  3. Da Mage says:

    When I had my right arm/hand paralyzed for a year I had to learn to use the mouse with my left hand. In XP at the time you could ‘flip’ the mouse button in the control panel, so I did that for my computer. Now I can use the mouse in my right hand again so I do, but I still have the muscle memory to use my left.

    Fun story, in order to play game (Oblivion at the time) I used the left hand on the mouse and mapped all the controls to keys along the left hand side of the keyboard and the walk forward to the middle mouse button. I would using my thumb then to hit the keyboard keys. Played through a fair chunk of Oblivion that way.

    It’s one of the reasons it is SUPER important to allow control remapping for EVERYTHING in your games. If you don’t people with physical disabilities may not be able to play it.

    • I’m also left-handed, but I have gotten used to the usual control schemes, wasd+mouse and controllers with movement on the left stick and look on the right. But, on the rare occasions that I use a joystick, I have it in my left hand, and use my right hand for buttons, hotkeys, and the throttle control. I also sometimes reverse the wii controller and nunchuck.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      I work right handed but game left handed. I’m definitely right handed but learning to use the mouse on the other side wasn’t hard for me.

    • Epopisces says:

      Back in my Counterstrike days I theorized that I would be better at the game if I relearned it left-handed (turns out no, I’m just bad at gaming in general and hand-eye coordination specifically). However the left-handed play was more comfortable, so I do all my gaming with the mouse on the left, buttons flipped.

      I deeply appreciate when games permit remapping and allow the use of the numpad and arrow keys, which usually gives me enough keys to work with. My current game of choice, League of Legends, does not allow numpad so I’ve remapped to the right keyboard instead. Even better, everyone talks about the abilities by letter (for example every champion’s ult is ‘R’), even myself. So I start practicing some kind of Orwellian doublethink where I say ‘R’ but hit ‘P’.

    • Aldowyn says:

      You can flip the mouse buttons in 7, too, but some games like to reverse it and not allow remapping.

      I think Witcher 3 did this, actually.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      As a left-handed person, I just grew up learning to be fairly ambidextrous. I can’t write right-handed, but I quite a few things with my right hand about as well as I can with my left.

      In terms of computers, I always used computers right-hand style, and I didn’t know there was a left-handed style until I was in high school. I can’t really comment on ease-of-use with controllers either, as I’ve always been a console gamer and don’t remember a time I couldn’t use a controller.

  4. Blovsk says:

    Miller’s visual style is really strong, his Dark Knight series was great. Unfortunately Miller has since started unreservedly accepting the reactionary sentiments that were treated with ambivalence there. Also, his grittiness always seems to come from a paranoiac middle class place. He can’t really write any proper working class characters so his feral underclass just come across as ridiculous.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Man,I never realized that this podcast was so sinister.

  6. The Rocketeer says:

    Speaking of the Citadel DLC- and I think Shamus mentioned this on Twitter- I checked Xbox Marketplace, since Shamus’ ongoing series had me entertaining the idea of playing the series again, but I’d want to grab all the add-ons before bothering.

    I’d need the Leviathan, Omega, and Citadel expansions for that. That’s forty damn dollars. The game is three years old, and they’re still charging full price for each part. I don’t use Origin, but I heard it said that there’s no “Collector’s Edition” with all the expansions for a flat price, either; seems like anyone that wants to play the game is stuck with 2012 prices.

    Everyone that can or will pay full price, has. That money’s made. All this time, and they still have no conception of the downmarket. No thanks.

    • Falterfire says:

      It wouldn’t bug me so much that they were all full price if they at least occasionally went on sale, but they don’t. I’ve been watching the ME3 DLC for a chance at a sale basically since launch, and I don’t think it’s ever happened. I want to say Amazon did a 50% off on Bioware Points sale exactly once, and that’s the extent of it.

    • GloatingSwine says:

      No matter how much people say Citadel redeems ME3, Bioware ain’t getting no more money from me after that. Not bought Inquisition, not buying Andromeda, didn’t buy any ME3 DLC.

      Mass Effect 3 is irredeemable, especially not buy rewarding the people who fucked up with even more money.

    • Grimwear says:

      I think I’ve written this before but I recall finally deciding to buy the dlc for ME1 and 2, and potentially getting 3. However, xbox live marketplace never reduced prices for any of the dlc. The dlc for an 8 year old game is still full price. Ridiculous. I then decided I might bite the bullet and get it on steam. Except steam only has ME1 and 2. No dlc for either and no 3. This was then the first time in my life I ever thought about using Origin. Now being a regular consumer I decided I would check the Origin site first to see if the prices were reduced on the years old games in order to consider buying the entire trilogy again along with relevant dlc. Now you can buy the trilogy for 30 bucks which is great but I still wanted to know how much all the important dlc across the 3 games would cost me. It is IMPOSSIBLE to search dlc on their site. If you want to look at dlc and prices you need to download the client and THEN search. How backwards can you be? I mean seriously this is crazy bananas. You offer me good deals on what I want in order to make me download your client. You DON’T refuse to show me what I’m looking to spend money on in order to have me download the client to look. They’ve literally created a system where they punish people who may want to give them money.

      How hard is it to copy steam? Seriously if you go to the steam website what you get is a direct copy of what the client looks like. What you search there, you will find on the client no problem. Origin is just stupid beyond belief. They are blatantly hiding information about products they want to SELL you in the hopes that it will intrigue you into downloading the client. Instead I said screw it and once again put them on my guess I’m never gonna touch it list.

      • Mike S. says:

        The Mass Effect 1 DLC is now included with the game on Origin, and you can register it on Origin with the CD key from Steam (or, I imagine, from a CD) without paying for it again.

        You can also download the ME1 DLC “Bring Down the Sky” directly from https://help.ea.com/en/article/mass-effect-bring-down-the-sky-dlc-redemption/

        “Pinnacle Station” isn’t quite as easy (and by all accounts isn’t very good), but for people who want to play it with their Steam ME1 installation, enterprising sorts have given instructions at: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=382711309

        • Grimwear says:

          See all of that is useful information! And yet it’s nowhere to be found on the origin site. You’d think adding free dlc to ME1 would make them say hey lets add that to the description of ME1 on our site. Now it may be there on the origin client but again…I’m not going to download your client on the off chance there’s something there that interests me. I’m going to go to your site and browse your selection and if I see something I will THEN download the client. It just proves my point of they may have some good stuff but without putting it up in easily accessible places, no one will ever find it. This is costing them sales.

  7. Demo says:

    Regarding Human Resource Machine, I bought in after Shamus’ tweets and was mildly disappointed. I have minimal programming experience but have enjoyed a lot of the programming style puzzle games which have appeared as a genre in recent years, e.g. Spacechem, Infinifactory, Manufactoria.

    It felt to me like the game did a decent job of introducing the various concepts, but did fairly poorly at being such a puzzle game. The most obvious difference is that HRM has binary pass/fail states on the optimization challenges, which both fail to give a hint as to how good a given solution is and don’t push players to improve past these marks. This is in contrast with the histogram leader boards in, say, Infinifactory, which paint a clear picture of ‘terrible/average/really good’.

    HRM’s puzzles also never got to be particularly difficult. Even something like the prime factorization or sort never really felt like a more than a two-step process.

    Finally, compared to a pretty much any other game in the genre, HRM is terrible value for money. Whilst there are still some optimizations I could do, I have 5 hours clocked on Steam to finish most of the game twice (I played a bunch on my laptop, but it doesn’t have cloud support). This compares to about 60 on each of Spacechem and Infinifactory. Indeed I think there have been single puzzles in Infinifactory that I’ve spent longer on than I did with all of HRM.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Spacechem is evil.I finished it once,and thought “Im the best!”.Then I saw there were a bunch of weird challenge levels.I lost weeks trying to solve a bunch of those before I was finally able to give up.

      • Henson says:

        Well, that’s better than I did. I got somewhere on planet 4 or 5, and just…stopped. And in Spacechem, if you stop, it is enormously difficult to get started again.

        And while we’re on the subject, it was really weird to hear the crew talk about Human Resource Machine and not make the comparison to Spacechem. Almost everything they were saying about HRM, I was thinking about Spacechem and nodding my head. Like, they must have played it before, right?

    • Arven says:

      While I love Zachtronics games’ histograms, I always finds it weird that those didn’t includes the current top record for any given category. I mean, you can see that your solution is somewhere off the curve, but if a level is popular enough then there’s a chance that you can’t even see a little bump way beyond your record since the number of people who accomplished those are so small. The community is pretty great by making their own leaderboards for those who aimed to get top records on 3rd-party websites like spacechem.net or reddit threads for infinifactory & tis100. But I feel that this feature should be inside the game itself since it wouldn’t be too hard to add. I wonder what design decision led them to not include this feature.

      Also, spacechem.net is dead now. It makes me really sad, because I used to go to that site and ripped the top solutions just to watch it run and see what kinds of brilliant algorithms people came up with to squeeze a few cycles or symbols.

      • Demo says:

        I would guess that the reason they don’t also show a top score is that doing so would require a bunch of extra security/moderating to stop people hacking their scores. Currently, if someone posts an impossible score it’s a negligible blip, whereas with a high score table it would be the most prominent thing visible until it got taken down.

        • Arven says:

          But they already have countermeasures for that. In this article the devs said that they validate every save file that gets sent to their server so there’s no cheating on leaderboard.

          My theory is that they do not want people to be discouraged on seeing that their optimized solution is still far from the best. But that should be easily fixable by only giving indicator for people who has the records that their solution is currently top solution for certain category. Because honestly, the only ones who cares about this feature are people like me who want to aim for the top. So it made sense to only show this feature for us.

    • Tektotherriggen says:

      By coincidence, the latest Zachtronics game is also an assembly-ish programming game, “TIS-100”: http://store.steampowered.com/app/370360/?snr=1_7_7_151_150_1 .

      Unlike Human Resource Machine, it looks like there isn’t the slightest dash of cuteness to be found – it’s almost entirely text based. Might be too close to real work even for Shamus.

      • mewse says:

        I had to stop playing Human Resources Machine after about an hour; it was making me want to play TIS-100 too much. There’s something very unhappy-making about writing code using the mouse.

  8. Alex says:

    I’ve played two games in the mechanical programming puzzle genre – Manufactoria and Codex of Alchemical Engineering. Both are free, both were fun. I finished Manufactoria but didn’t finish Codex of Alchemical Engineering.

  9. What is it with us programmers sticking to absolute plain text for code?

    It’s one thing that Knuth and his Literate Programming stuff would actually make a lot of sense.

    Personally – I’d like something that let me put notes, drawings, graphs all over the code – generally, tied to one particular line or section (so you can still move code).

    I’ve started becoming really curious about a good, cross platform, cross language method of doing this. I’m leaning towards if all of the commentary was in a markup file of some type…

    • Phill says:

      Plain text has two main advantages:
      * it is universally transferable between development environments
      * its content is independent of how it is displayed, so the user can display the text in the way the find most appropriate (much like the original html idea, now sadly abandoned)/

      Unless there is a common standard for all the graphical frippery (and I agree that that sort of stuff would be very useful), then you are breaking interoperability between different development environments. In my company, there is no ‘standard’ IDE imposed on everyone with the result that some people use Visual Studio, some use Eclipse, some use various linux editors. I’m sure some people are using emacs or vi to do their editing. So there is no way of creating e.g. an image to illustrate code flow in a section that everyone would be able to view.

      And short of actually embedding pixel images (which isn’t terribly efficient), you are going to have issues of different systems rendering things differently. Even supposedly standardised stuff like html vector graphics display differently on different browsers and systems. So some people will see your enhanced code properly, and some will see potentially misleading changes, and some will just see semi-random garbage.

      Plus Microsoft, being Microsoft, would instantly create a bunch of non-standard extensions in Visual Studio that wouldn’t work with anyone else as a matter of principle.

    • ayegill says:

      A “simple”(as in: it won’t require you to change the compiler/language standard) way to do this would be to embed the metadata in comments on the file level, and just set up your editor to parse the comments into whatever visual information you want(you could even add WYSIWYG editing).

  10. MichaelGC says:

    Casey Hudson is with Microsoft these days, I think.

    Idle question: I was wondering if Josh had played any more of Kerbal Space Pogrom following the Hangout, or if he’d had his fill. (I mean, I would email the Mailbag…)

    I’m totally hooked – again following the Hangout, so many thanks for that! I find it weirdly immersive – I had to leave Jebediah stuck on the Mun last night, and I’m still worrying about the poor dab at work this morning! I’ll get him back home safe … just not sure how exactly just yet…

    • TMC_Sherpa says:

      I think my “favorite” was getting Valentina stuck (The landing legs were to far up so the engine broke), sending Jeb who landed on a slope and had his rocket fall over and eventually getting Bill (or was it Bob, I don’t remember) down but using too much fuel to get back home. Two rockets with fuel that can’t fly and one good one with no fuel. I think I broke down at that point and edited the save file (fuel swap) to get them home and started a new game.

      • 4th Dimension says:

        I haven’t played KSP for a loong while but recently I began dabbling in it mainly because I was intrigued by the new mechanics like more difficult reentry and new aerodynamics.

        Anyway my I sent two Kerbaled missions to Mun and both were able to land and get back into the orbit but are now out of fuel. In fact Valentina was able to use RCS and meet with and dock with Jeb thus making KSS We Are Out Of Fuel.

  11. Wide And Nerdy says:

    Mass Effect Andromeda being “All new team but Casey Hudson is on board” strikes me as being like Star Trek Nemesis was supposed to be a fresh creative team . . . but Rick Berman was still in charge.

    This does not bode well.

    As for Shamus, I’m a little surprised that he liked Citadel. I wonder how he’d feel playing it again. I found Citadel to be reasonably fun the first time but on a second playthrough the jokes went stale, the cheesiness of it all became too cheesy.

    The only improvement was with Maya Brooks who I found incredibly annoying the first time. I remember being excited when she turned out to be working for the bad guy because it meant I got to shoot her. She was like a parody of a Bioware ingenue. And even knowing that she was doing it on purpose doesn’t make it less annoying. But at least the second time I knew she was a bad guy who I got to shoot right away.

    But then its probably not going to happen. Playing Citadel again would probably mean playing ME3 again (unless the ME3 save archive site has ME3 saves specifically for that).

    • Shamus says:

      My genre-sense began tingling the moment she showed up. “I bet this is a bad guy.” Then she cautions you to not call the cops and I was like, “Yup. Bad guy.”

      It’s entirely possible that I’d dislike a second play-through, having already heard all the jokes.

      Then again: Like I said, I played this right after Thessia. And I think “MANNOS HANDS OF FATE” would be tolerable viewing after Thessia.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        Aside from the fact that (IIRC) you get a lead to the Illusive Man’s base immediately after Thessia, that actually seems like it would be the best time to play, both to help you get over Kai Leng, and to give Shepard the breather he or she clearly needs.

        And as the thin justification for that, you get that email from Leng immediately after Thessia (I have no compunctions about spoiling this because F- Kai Leng, I’ll gladly undermine his taunt by spoiling it). Which makes it seem like Cerberus is deliberately trying to goad you into attacking. So a little time to clear your head might be called for.

      • Mike S. says:

        I wound up overthinking it: Brooks seemed so obviously to be appearing in Traynor’s role (brilliant Alliance data analyst with a Commonwealth accent who’s a complete fish out of water in actual physical danger). So I assumed the part had been written for Traynor and then they hadn’t been able to get the voice actress back. So I took her at face value. (Even after the incident that should have made me suspicious.)

        The fact that Traynor herself doesn’t appear till the very end almost makes me wonder if that was intentional, though that seems something of a stretch.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        You know what I think I’ve figured out is, in spite of your jokes being sharp, cynical and insightful, you tend to like this kind of humor. You make me laugh but you like humor I consider kind of cheesy. I remember you praising this, Guardians of the Galaxy and Borderlands 2. Aside from the varying levels of violence, the humor in all three feels similar. It made me smile at times, but not laugh. Maybe I’m just being too picky and would enjoy life more if I could loosen up and laugh at this stuff.

        Maybe it comes from being a dad. You had to sit and laugh with your kids at kids show humor. Perhaps their laughter made it easier for you to laugh and you’ve come to enjoy the simple stuff where I as a single guy have only continued to get pickier. I’ve begun to suspect that maybe its better to try to be unguarded and just laugh.

        I guess what I’ve learned is not to necessarily trust the humor tastes of people who make me laugh.

        • MichaelGC says:

          I don’t watch TV, but my brother does. So, every year at Christmas he’ll get me a DVD boxed set of some awesome show which I’ll have missed – this has been going on for 10 or 15 years, and he’s never found me a dud. We’re pretty similar in many ways, so I guess this is to be expected.

          There’s one exception though: his favourite show ever, the one he thinks is just absolutely in a league of its own? – I find pretty meh. It’s a good show, sure, just not really to my taste. Which there really is no accounting for! – particularly when humour is thrown into the mix.

          I think Guardians is comedy gold, but I’ve never gotten so much as a wry smile out of Borderlands 2. So, I think your conclusion is absolutely right, but perhaps doesn’t go far enough: we shouldn’t completely trust that our tastes will coincide with another’s on anything, even where – like with my brother – there’s not only a list of similarities as long as yer arm, but also a long-established track record of tastes happening to match up.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I found Citadel to be reasonably fun the first time but on a second playthrough the jokes went stale, the cheesiness of it all became too cheesy.

      But most jokes are like that.You need to have time before experiencing them again before they are funny again.I mean,if you were to watch this on a loop,it will stop being funny quickly.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        Yeah but there’s a difference. Dragon Age Origins has some good jokes in them where I may not laugh the second or third playthrough but I can still appreciate them as being good jokes. Citadel’s humor becomes mostly groan-worthy on subsequent playthroughs.

        Part of it is the way their engine wrecks comedic timing.

      • AdamS says:

        Nonsense. this will always be funny.

  12. Tapkoh says:

    One of the selling points they were throwing out there for Citadel was it was “All hands on deck” as far as the writing staff went. Apparently all or almost all of the ME writers were brought in to work on it.

    If that’s a selling point though, it signals to me that this is not usually the case. I could be generous and assume that this is special only because they don’t usually bring in all the writers for DLC, but I’m going to be a cynic and assume this is special because the writers also weren’t all brought in for the entirety of the game.

  13. squiddlefits says:

    So question to the lefties: do you use WASD like the default righties do or do you have a homebrew abomination like IJKL or something like that?

    Why not?

    • Ringwraith says:

      I know someone who does, they’re very much completely committed to the using a mouse left-handed.
      It’s probably just how you learn to do it, then you just fall into the habit of it.

      • Midget52 says:

        So, fun fact, I’m actually right handed, but use my computer left handed. My dad is a leftie, and growing up he used the computer more, so left handed setup was the way it was. He also rebound all the movement and stuff in games to the arrow keys, so I never learned how to use WASD until Battlefield 1942 required the use of more keys than I was used to and WASD became the logical choice.

        • Ringwraith says:

          Fun fact, I learnt using the arrow keys.
          Until I was stuck with a laptop, which had half-keys for up/down, playing an FPS. That wasn’t working, just flipped to WASD easily enough.
          I blame some League of Losing practice already having prepared me somewhat for smoothing it out, already used to QWER. Also dealing with things on default WASD when didn’t have time/ability to change keys in some instances.

    • I just use wasd. I guess I just got used to it, and never wanted to rebind all the keys in every game I ever play.

    • Timelady says:

      Mouse in left hand, WASD in right hand. I hit space with the side of my palm. I end up mapping some unusual things to Q, but other than that, I never usually have trouble with default controls. It’s only weird if you’re in some MMO or something that suddenly wants you to hit I, but I don’t think that’s a lefty problem. XD

    • modus0 says:

      I learned to use the computer at at school, where everything was set up for the majority being right-handed, so I was comfortable with that right from the start, and thus I use WASD for movement.

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      As a left-handed person, I always seemed to find it weird that left-handed controls would reverse movement and buttons – my left hand is more used to precision movement of characters, and my right hand for more reactive button presses.

      Apparently Shigeru Miyamoto is ambidextrous, so apparently that might be part of the bias (I remember hearing that Gunpei Yokoi was left-handed, but I can’t find a source for that, so I’m guessing it’s a false rumor), so that might be part of why I developed that bias.

      Though apparently according to one forum, I would have more accurate control with a left-handed mouse for movement on that, I find it generally doesn’t seem to matter as much – it controls camera controls usually if not a cursor, and those are usually minute changes compared to moving a character diagonally or such.

      So I generally go WASD when some game tries to do the opposite.

  14. Gruhunchously says:

    It’s kind of funny that Josh and Chris are the ones playing Until Dawn given that two characters from that game are called…Josh and Chris. And they’re best friends. And one of them just might be an crazed psycho murderer.

    I’ve watched a lot of Until Dawn playthroughs, and many people start off by hating most of the characters, but end up liking most of them by the end, even going out of their way to try and save them all. I think it’s because that ones that embody the most obnoxious horror movie tropes tend to mellow out and become more relatable as their situation goes further out of control, and I’m not even sure if it’s deliberate deconstruction or just natural character progression.

    -The resident “funny guy” loses a lot his levity as the shit hits the sawblade, and becomes much more tolerable as a result.
    -The annoying jock mans up and becomes an action hero by the end.
    -The fashion obsessed rich girl proves very resourceful under pressure, and ends up making some very good decisions that potentially save everyone (even if she remains fussy and confrontational).
    -The giddy popular girl gets so bashed up in such a short amount of time that it’s hard not to feel sorry for her, assuming she survives.
    -Also, if you play her a certain way, the innocent heart-of-gold girl can turn very, very nasty.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Gee,I wonder who that is.Could it be….Josh?

    • James says:

      Until Dawn is literally a constant love letter to horror/slasher films, everything matches that film and then they even throw in some supernatural stuff for fun.

      everything is a cliche, everything is a joke, its fun and funny and campy and i hope they get to make a sequel.

  15. Re: Haunted Houses and having actors being in the group.

    Shamus’ mention of putting someone in the group being led through the haunted house to be a “victim” of the monsters reminded me of the old Alien War attraction in the UK. I remember seeing a piece on it and one of the ways they heightened the tension was to put a plant in the tour group (who were supposed to be touring a Weyland-Yutani space station where everything goes pear-shaped, natch) who would start to freak out, demanding to be allowed to leave, and suddenly, Xenomorphs would open the elevator doors and drag him away to his demise in front of the other guests.

  16. Kdansky says:

    That Crimson Peak trailer spoiled basically everything in the movie. I don’t even need to watch the movie now.

    • TMC_Sherpa says:

      Yup. I’m not sure when it started but from what I’ve heard some studio did a “study” and decided what most people want is to not be surprised while watching a movie.

      So. Lets say they started doing it way back when, how many movies can we ruin?

      Empire would have “No, I am your father” in the trailer
      The Planet of the Apes trailer would end with the Statue of Liberty scene.
      Alien “He’s a God damn robot!”

      What else we got?

      • MichaelGC says:

        Gravelly-voiced narrator: “Dr. Malcolm Crowe has unfinished business…”

        On the other side of the coin, they could have spoiled Star Trek: Into Darkness to high heaven and it wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

        • modus0 says:

          If you’ve watched Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the final act of Into Darkness is spoiled already.

          Might have been a better movie if they’d decided not to ape Wrath of Khan so overtly or precisely.

          • Mike S. says:

            It would also have been a better movie if they’d actually remade Wrath of Khan.

            Probably still not as good as Wrath of Khan, and so unnecessary. But better than what we got.

      • Eskel says:

        Well The Planet of the Apes had the Statue of Liberty on posters so…

    • Grimwear says:

      As someone who has seen the movie I can actually say that trailer doesn’t spoil the movie much at all. In fact it makes it look much more interesting than the movie turned out to be. Many people say that it’s gothic horror but the reality is that its much more gothic romance with some supernatural aspects to it. The twist isn’t much of a twist at all and it’s really mundane compared to how the movie tried to sell itself. While not a bad movie by any means it’s really more of a stereotypical plot with no real depth and risks.

      I can only assume this was due to the fact that Guillermo Del Toro’s projects have been falling through and the movies he really wants to make aren’t being approved. The biggest problem being that one of Del Toro’s greatest strengths are on his supernatural designs and creatures (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim) but in this movie it’s really rather limited. That trailer essentially shows each instance of a ghost appearing and they all have the same body shape/distended proportions. In trying to make a safe movie that makes money so he has the chance to potentially make At the Mountains of Madness he just created an average movie. What’s worth is that the marketing presents it as supernatural horror for Halloween and it’s really not.

  17. ChristopherT says:

    Left handed and colorblind. I use my mouse in my right hand, use WASD, use normal controllers and control settings, I don’t know, most of it was always easy to pick up and learn right handed. For the little time I played one of the Guitar Hero games I even kept switching between using the plastic guitar upside down and right side up ’cause somehow either way felt just as “right” as the other. Although with lightguns/ playstation move controllers I need my left hand. And late last year looking for a flightstick it took some time to find one that I could use in my left hand. I do almost everything left handed, even with right handed scissors, but mouse, and controllers I’m fine right handed with.

    My colorblindness I’ve always found odd. I’ve never been diagnosed (the only test I had to take for that I cheated) and I don’t know too much about it, but I can see most-ish colors alright, I just can get some really confused with others. Like during this KOTOR season you guys remarked that the equipped lightsabers were red and green and I couldn’t tell. I’ve only had three problems with colorblindness related to games, so I’m kind of lucky there.

    One was Mario Party, where in a mini game the players are standing on platforms, toad raises a flag and every platform but that flag color sinks, and only half of the platforms could I tell as their own colors, so I’d be running to the wrong ones a lot. Another was more recent with the game Magrunner: Dark Pulse, where like portal there’s a two color system, and the default was a red and green that I had a hard time with, but there was a blue and red option that worked really well. Then, the other was the boardgame Sorry, in which one of my cousins got a version with transparent game pieces, and I couldn’t tell the green from the yellow at all.

    About cheating the colorblind test. It was back in elementary school, and I had just gotten off my glasses the year prier, and so when given the test I just really really did not want glasses again for whatever reason. I was asked to look at a screen, and if I saw the red apple on the table. I saw a very odd orange colored apple. “The RED apple?” and so I was asked if I saw the apple or not. Well, yes, I saw the apple. Point to it. No problem the apples right there. PASSED. Orange apples are weird.

    • 4th Dimension says:

      If we are talking about colorblindness in games, I have problems with that sometimes. The game that caused me to quit it primarily because I couldn’t interpret it correctly was Planetside. That game has HORRIBLE color scheme for player names so bad that I was never certain if that guy I’m shooting at is enemy or a teammate. And not to mention that one faction had as a color purple and other used blue, or that it criminally didn’t have a colorblind mode.

      • Josh says:

        I would submit that Planetside 2 has a horrible color scheme in general.

      • Nyctef says:

        You can actually change the PS2 colour scheme (at least, for faction colours). There’s even a “friendlies are always blue and enemies are always red” option which makes the game much more playable

        • 4th Dimension says:

          It certainly didn’t have that option about a year or more ago when I tried playing it. It did have some ways of customizing some of the colors like colors on the map. But the main problem remains that game simply uses colors waaaayyy too much, and finding a good color scheme would take also much time for that to be worth to me.

          I was playing the game couple of years after the release and they didn’t have the option they HAD to have. Colorblindness options must never be optional if your game relies on colors and wants to achieve mass appeal because there is a LOT of us who are not completely color blind but have “issues” with some color pairs. (For me blue-purple, light red-green, dark green-brown).

  18. Mike S. says:

    Mass Effect 3 did get rid of the obligatoriness of the multiplayer in stages. It was always possible to avoid for those with iDevices by playing a dull but minimal-effort game on iOS. Later they dumped the iOS app and offered the same game on the N7 HQ site, which expanded it to all web platforms.

    (In both cases, you deploy fleets to systems every few hours for an increase in your readiness percentage. As you grind, you get more fleets. Hitting it a couple times a day for a week will get you up to 100%.)

    Then the free Extended Cut ending DLC reduced the thresholds for the various endings so that it was possible to get enough asset points in solo play for all the endings, even if your War Readiness was the base 50%.

    So while I found the initial strongarm tactics to try multiplayer annoying (since I have zero interest in gaming with strangers), they were relatively short-lived, and at this point are essentially no longer in force.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      But they were in effect at the worst time, long enough that I was able to play through multiple times. Shamus is on the money, forcing single player RPG lovers to play meaningless grindy shooters with other players is a sin.*

      (I’m well aware of the common fan defense that this gets everyone working together to save the galaxy. This is lazy and weak. Its also ridiculous the way this further reinforces the notion that ground squad battles are a key part of defeating a spaceborne race of 2km tall alien cybersquid. At least with Shepard, you can believe that a small ground strike team might be useful here and there but the multiplayer would have you believe that thousands of such squads have a useful function.)

      • Mike S. says:

        I don’t dispute that it was a bad idea. I was glad to be able to get around it then, but not everyone had an iOS device. So I’m glad they both expanded the availability of the mobile game and eliminated its necessity.

        That said, I get the impression in online discussions that a lot of people think the problem is still in play, so I think it’s worth pointing out that it isn’t. Whatever the reasons are not to play Mass Effect 3 in 2015, that’s not one.

        So sure, Bioware screwed up in 2012, and took longer than they should have to fix it. I don’t think anyone here is likely to disagree on either of those points. But they did fix it with free DLC, and were careful not to repeat the error with Dragon Age Inquisition’s multiplayer. A years-old misstep that they fixed and learned from strikes me as less concerning than a systemic problem with the company or the franchise would.

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          You’d have a point except EA/Bioware also did this with Dragon Age Origins. There sits Levy Dryden in your camp hocking DLC (and thats just the most egregious example, there were multiple other places where you’d stumble across a quest hook and be expected to pay real world cash to continue). They caught a lot of flack for that. Worse, some people who bought the collected edition (such as myself) experienced problems getting the DLC to work, so we STILL had to deal with those annoying prompts because of EA’s buggy DRM or whatever.

          If they get credit, its for finally realizing that they pulled too much BS and needed to back off.

          • Mike S. says:

            I suppose it’s possible that I don’t have a point. But insofar as I believed I did, I think it’s narrower than you’re suggesting. It’s certainly not that Bioware hasn’t made other bad choices in the past or won’t in the future.

            (Lord knows. When we bought SWTOR, the website kept rejecting our credit cards. They couldn’t even take the money, which seems like kind of a core skill for a for-profit company. When we bought Lair of the Shadow Broker for ME2, the first attempt to download it consisted of a 1GB file filled with zeroes. So I don’t think I generally overestimate the company’s competence.)

            However, the specific choice to penalize players of a single-player game for not engaging in multiplayer is something they tried once, eventually reversed for that game, and as far as I know haven’t repeated since.

            • Wide And Nerdy says:

              You’re right. They screwed up multiplayer once. They sort of fixed it, and then didn’t make that mistake again (they made new mistakes like charging for potions). I say sort of because yes the War Asset thresholds are now low enough that you can get the “Golden Ending” even with Galactic Readiness at 50%. But you still have to put up with that number in the game. Every time I go to that area (which happens a lot in this game) and every time I ask Hackett about our readiness, I’m told we could be doing more, and that bugs me. I still have to exit my cozy single player RPG and go play some other game if I want to fix that. It would be a bigger problem if I didn’t by now have all desire to play ME3 again beaten out of me.

              I guess by now you’ve seen that I see the Dragon Age Origins DLC as being a similar kind of sin. It was an intrusive, immersion breaking feature built into the game as a naked ploy to milk more money out of players.

              I personally don’t see how they could do what they did in DAO, get the backlash for it, and then think that what they wanted to do with the ME3 multiplayer was acceptable.

              • Mike S. says:

                The Warden’s Peak DLC thing was, essentially, an ad for a paid add-on, inside the game. While I can’t say I found it hugely intrusive myself (I ignored it and played through the game, then bought the DLC later when I wanted more Dragon Age), I certainly see how it’s immersion-breaking.

                But I can also understand that they didn’t think that a push towards playing a game component that didn’t involve an extra charge was at all the same sort of thing. (Sure, they offered microtransactions for upgrades and such and doubtless planned to make money that way. But I eventually wound up playing around with it solo, and it’s perfectly playable without spending anything. It’s not “PC, do this! Wait– insert coin!” a la DA:O.)

                Some people might like it, some not, but the same is true of planet scanning and artifact grabbing and the assorted other play activities that have been important or mandatory in previous games. I can easily see someone who likes that sort of thing considering it a helpful nudge to kickstart something that most people will surely love once they try it. And if they don’t, it’s not as if they can’t complete the game, right?

                And they were wrong, sure. Playing Mass Effect with no pause button in front of Internet strangers who are sure to be offering… robust… critiques is not my idea of fun.

                (I’d have played with my friends, who by all accounts were having lots of fun with it. But I’m on the PC and they’re all console, oh well.)

                Neither is being locked out of endings for eschewing it. (Though given the endings, aren’t we kind of discussing having been locked out of the first class lounge on the Titanic?) And while I can live with my numbers not being the highest as long as it doesn’t interfere with anything serious, I know there are a lot of completists out there.

                But I think making multiplayer a semi-obligatory part of the game, a la unlocking safes with Frogger in ME1 and planet-scanning in ME2, is a fundamentally different mistake from advertising paid content in-universe. Learning that one was a bad idea doesn’t make it obvious that the other is.

                But they seem to have figured that one out, just as they didn’t have you find Javik’s pod and then offer you the chance to buy the next part of the story.

                Which of course doesn’t mean that they won’t make the next mistake, whatever it turns out to be.

  19. Mintskittle says:

    On games that allow for left handed play, The World Ends With You of the Nintendo DS is almost entirely touch screen/stylus driven, with the D-pad used for movement and mirrored on the ABXY buttons too, so you can play with the stylus in either hand.

  20. Nyctef says:

    Listening to the Citadel section made me realise that I really want Andromeda to be the Saint’s Row 3 to ME3’s GTA. That would be AMAZING.

    But yeah, I’m with Mumbles on this one. I’m cynical about Andromeda now, but I’m secretly hoping to be pleasantly surprised…

  21. Mephane says:

    FYI Shamus, the tumblr button link on blueberrystarstudio.com leads nowhere.

  22. Tektotherriggen says:

    Pedant’s corner: Tomorrow Corporation didn’t make World of Goo, because when Tomorrow Corporation were making World of Goo, they weren’t called Tomorrow Corporation, but were called 2D Boy. I don’t know why.

    I hope that clears things up.

    • Retsam says:

      Ya know, I bet they’d find it significant that you’ve chosen to consider their corporate branding the most important factor in discussing what games were created by whom.

      • Tektotherriggen says:

        Ha! Probably true…

        Actually, I just checked on Wikipedia, and the individual developers are different between the games; Kyle Gabler and Ron Carmel made World of Goo, but only Gabler moved on to Tomorrow Corporation. I had thought exactly the same people were involved with all three games. Nothing like commenting first, and researching afterwards!

  23. JackTheStripper says:

    I think most people can easily switch between hands for tasks like this with little trouble. It’ll take a few days to develop that muscle memory, but it’s otherwise a non-issue when you really think about it. It’s only really a problem if the task is really complicated (like writing), since you’ll have to spend much more time to develop that skill on your other hand, but when it comes to videogames or general computer use, where the task is simple (camera movement, mouse movement, player movement, etc.), and seldom strictly timed (you’ll generally be given time and space to fiddle with the controls and get used to them), the switch comes up very easily.

    It’s sort of like in games where the X or Y coordinates are inverted (usually for camera movements). If you’ve never used any inverted control before, it’s gonna feel weird for the first few days, but once you get used to it, it comes off as naturally as the non-inverted movements. But most importantly, once you’ve played one game with any inverted controls, you can easily play another game with inverted controls and the next hour play a game with regular controls without feeling like you had to switch your mind to do it. You just start doing it.

  24. Grimwear says:

    I tend to avoid multiplayer only games because I don’t have tons of money lying around and with those games such as Titanfall or Evolve you really need to be in and playing within the first couple months or else the fan base just drops off, only to have small boosts whenever a sale rolls around. I’ve come to terms with not buying them because not only will I not have anyone to play with, but I also like being able to come back to old games a decade later and still play them.

    The worst thing that can possibly happen though is cutting off areas in single player by forcing multiplayer. I got Dead Space 3 through ps+ with their free games selection and as I was playing I’d constantly encounter those doors that said I couldn’t go through them without another real person. Thank you developers for cutting off campaign content by forcing multiplayer. What possible reason exists for this? Even worse is ME3 (though I haven’t played it) by forcing multiplayer or else you can’t get the best ending? Blasphemy.

    • JackTheStripper says:

      I played through those co-op areas in Dead Space 3 with a friend and let me tell you, you didn’t miss much. Most of those areas are just the same “go through rooms and clear enemies” deal you have in the main game with and an added “survive a few waves of enemies in this room” at the end. You get a chest full of items at the end, but they’re just a random set of the regular kind of loot you get in the main game.

      The only interesting thing about those co-op areas is that the supporting character is going through some mind trips that make him see and play things that you (as the main character and other player) don’t get to see. So all of sudden your friend says “Did you see that?” and you answer “See what?”. You also have areas where your partner goes into another place in his mind and is incapacitated (having to play some mini-game in the process, which I never got to see) while you have to protect him from a few waves of enemies.

      The areas themselves though, are just re-shuffles of places you’ve been to before, so the gameplay just feels to be stretching beyond its limit, and the interesting dialogue and mind trips only happen once per co-op area, so there’s very little to see there.

  25. James says:

    I was thinking about the Mass Effect 3 Real Ending being Citadel and wondering if they rather then deciding that the universe needed a McGuffin to fight the Eldrich Gods they instead decided to create an Ark Project or something to preserve some of this cycle and the game ended with the Citadel as a party at the end of the universe, all its heroes having one final party before the reapers arrive and kill everyone.

  26. Grimwear says:

    Also I’m sorry but at 59:30 Chris says both like bolth 7 times in a row and I can’t stop hearing it now. What have you done! You’re the high minded intellectual darnit, quick say ludo-narrative dissonance!

  27. PlasmaPony says:

    I can’t believe that Mumbles described herself as “scary tall” when talking about her haunted house experiences and none of you called her on that. FOR SHAME, GUYS. ESPECIALLY YOU, RUTSKARN

  28. Aesthetically, ME1 is incessantly, oppressively, over-fucking-whelmingly sanitized and inorganic. It has all the personality of antiseptic spray and is about as personal as a ballad sung by Microsoft Sam. So…y’know, that might have something to do with it Rutz…

    …just saiyan…

  29. Retsam says:

    Talk about Human Resource Machine reminded me of Little Inferno. In the sense that I had forgotten Little Inferno existed, and everything about it, despite having beaten it. I actually had to open the game up to remind myself… and I’m still not sure what the game was about after 5 minutes of messing with it. I don’t think I’ve ever played a game through and had it leave so little an impression. (To be fair, it was short)

  30. silver Harloe says:

    I find it interesting that Shamus found left-handed controlling easier to adapt to than non-inverted-mouse controlling.
    Open question: do inverted-mouse users also want the inversion in their OS functions? Like if you look at the start button in winXP/7 do you think “down and to the left” or “up and to the left”?

    • Shamus says:

      Inversion is only for cameras. If I’m aiming a pointer, then I move the mouse the way non-inverted people do.

      • Neko says:

        I was a diehard inverted user for the longest time, until SS2 – I’m pretty sure it was the transition from aiming the camera to aiming the inventory HUD pointer back to camera all the time that did it for me. As far as I can remember, I don’t think I was even consciously aware of the change until later, something like my settings didn’t get saved or I started playing on a new machine and BAM – not inverted anymore.

  31. Trix2000 says:

    I should mention that ME3 multiplayer is actually NOT dead. I had little trouble getting in some matches to get readiness up, though from what I understand you have to have all the free multiplayer DLCs downloaded or you’ll get nothing. But it never took me more than 10 minutes to get into a game, and usually it was within one or two.

  32. HeroOfHyla says:

    Hadn’t heard of Human Resource Machine before this. I downloaded it and I’m enjoying it so far.

    Here’s a really bad method to find prime numbers that I came up with:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdjwdQVWpN4

  33. Rayen says:

    Rules for scary theme parks:
    1: If you can, limit your trip to the daytime. This can be really difficult since it limits your time and fitting in all the best rides with lines can be a full day exercise. However most park keep “scare hours” (I know six flags parks is after 6pm) and if you can limit your trip to before that time it’s easy to get by the scary stuff.
    2: Try not to act anxious. As mumbles said, walk like you don’t want people to mess with and generally they won’t. If they do, don’t act like your having fun scared. Remember there is a person in that suit, you can talk to them. Most are given a bit of training (or if they are actors most of the time have a lot of experience reading people) to know when to keep pushing and when to back off. “Oh no no no no no!” shows fear and will draw more attention as same pace walking and a firm “please not right now” usually gets the message across.
    3: If possible route around the scare zones. The actors generally only do the pop out scare in designated areas and while it’s not always possible there are usually sometimes alternate routes around the scare zones that lead to the same places you want to go.
    4: Just don’t be a douche. Don’t hit them, or push them or mock them. They have a job they are trying to do that job and and being a smart-ass doesn’t put them in a good mood. They have bosses that are telling them they have to be “more scary” and get more people to scream and it’s just hard. Don’t give them a hard time and they won’t give you a hard time.

    Tim Vinson
    Entertainment technician, haunted house manager Six Flags over Texas.

  34. Paul Spooner says:

    Chris, your wish is granted. I (proudly?) present the “I’m a Big Daddy” remix you requested. Only 304KB!

  35. Artur CalDazar says:

    “What happened here?”
    Patrick Weekes was apparently in charge of Citadel, he’s the guy who wrote Mordin, Tali, The Iron Bull, supposedly came out against the ending to me3, and is lead writer for Dragon Age now.

  36. Timbob says:

    Bought HRM on Shamus’ recommendation with zero knowledge of programming and having hated Little Inferno with a passion and I have to say I am really enjoying it.

    I just beat the level 17 challenge “Exclusive lounge’ in 36 lines and 68 moves having spent an hour trying different solutions and working out the answer in ‘plain english’ on a piece of paper which I then had to translate into the coding language used.

    If that sounds fun to you, then I would say go for it

  37. Warclam says:

    Left-handed, but I don’t think my experiences are particularly useful. I never used controllers growing up, so I actually can’t stand using an analog stick. I was playing SSB4 with some friends and tried to bind direction control to the d-pad (which by the way you can’t, which is perhaps 6th on the list of reasons why I suck at smash).

    Back when I used a mouse, I did it right-handed just because that’s where the mouse always was. These days I do all my computing on my laptop and use my trackpad, with whichever hand happens to be closer to my laptop. So, ambidextrous I guess? Though if I’m playing a game, it’s right hand with left for WASD.

    Make of that what you will. Like I said, probably not representative of how anybody else on the planet operates.

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