So here it is, the end of the longest season (by episode count) of Spoiler Warning. The previous record holder was Fallout: New Vegas, which ended at episode 55. I know in the past we said we were going to do Fallout 4 next, but the crew is actually not eager to start another marathon game after finishing this one, so we’re going to do something short in the interim. I’ll probably announce it next week.
I know we’ve been kind of negative for the last few episodes, but I like that we had a lot of fun in this last installment. While I’ll probably never play through KOTOR again, I still think there’s a lot to love about the game. Also, I really want to see a game that employs my concept for reconciling Malak’s verbal bravery with his acts of cowardice. Game developers have explored the “maniacal power-hungry brute” archetype pretty thoroughly by now. I have room in my heart for a game where your adversary is a schemer, but actually crumbles fairly quickly in combat (AND NOT IN A CUTSCENE) when you finally cross bladesOr fists, or laser guns, or whatever..
One of the things I’ve never liked about D&D as mediated by a computer: When buffs and de-buffs are both a huge part of the mechanics and yet often a dumb waste of timeExtra sad panda points: When they’re inconvenient and require mucking about in complex flow-breaking spell menus.. Buffs can be annoying if you have to constantly refresh them at the start of every fight. Debuffs are useless against mooks if they don’t pay for themselves in terms of combat rounds. I can kill this loser in four combat rounds, or I can spend a round de-buffing him so he’ll die in three. In terms of expediency, it’s faster to skip the fiddling around with the spell menu and just mash the attack button.
But then you come to a boss fight. At last, a chance to use all your powers! Time to pull out all the stops and hit him with everything you’ve got. The de-buff will actually have a meaningful impact on the battle, and you’ll finally get a chance to put some of your more esoteric skills to use. You cast your power and…
He makes the saving throw. And now you’ve wasted your opening move. Boo.
Sure, you can min-max so that this is less likely to happen, but usually at the cost of making you weaker against mooks. And since you spend 90% of these games fighting mooks, that’s actually not an awesome tradeoff. And there’s no guarantee that your de-buffs will work at the end anyway. The game developer might just make the Big Bad Guy immune to them. There’s no way to be sure, and you don’t want to build an entire character to optimize your performance in the final fight, only to have the developer negate your advantages in the name of “balance”.
 Or fists, or laser guns, or whatever.
 Extra sad panda points: When they’re inconvenient and require mucking about in complex flow-breaking spell menus.
Quakecon Keynote 2013 Annotated
An interesting but technically dense talk about gaming technology. I translate it for the non-coders.
The Opportunity Crunch
No, brutal, soul-sucking, marriage-destroying crunch mode in game development isn't a privilege or an opportunity. It's idiocy.
A look back at Star Trek, from the Original Series to the Abrams Reboot.
The Game That Ruined Me
Be careful what you learn with your muscle-memory, because it will be very hard to un-learn it.
A Star is Born
Remember the superhero MMO from 2009? Neither does anyone else. It was dumb. So dumb I was compelled to write this.