Diecast #153: Hitman, Uncharted 4, Wasted

By Shamus
on Jun 6, 2016
Filed under:
Diecast

It’s just Chris and I this week. Enjoy this more subdued, less interrupt-y episode of the Diecast.

Direct download (MP3)
Direct download (ogg Vorbis)
Podcast RSS feed.

Direct link to this episode.

Hosts: Shamus, Campster.

Episode edited by Issac.

Show notes:
01:06 Hitman

It’s another name reboot. I’ll try not to freak out about it this time. Instead, here’s another link to Mark Brown talking about the new Hitman:


Link (YouTube)

10:26 Uncharted 4
23:60 Buying video cards in 2016 is hard and stupid and I hate life.

It’s almost as bad as shopping for a toaster.

34:48 Wasted


Link (YouTube)

44:58 Mailtime!

Dear Diecast,

What do you make of Valve’s recent announcement that they have teamed up with Lionsgate to bring films to Steam? Do you think other film studios will follow suit? Could Valve succeed in morfing Steam into a real iTunes competitor, and if so, would that upset gamers?

Cheers,
RTBones

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From the Archives:

  1. el-b says:

    there are already films on steam. some are released exclusively, others like mad max are just there as another option. im just wondering when they will start selling groceries as well :P

  2. Sunshine says:

    “This week, polite adult conversion from actual grown-ups”?

  3. RCN says:

    No mention yet of how you’re totally MrBtongue’s favorite video game critic?

    • Galad says:

      Give it another mention or two, then Shamus might come up with a non-ironic Golden Writer award :>

    • krellen says:

      Mr. BTongue posted his video on Sunday (or late Saturday, at least), and the Diecast is recorded “whenever everyone’s around” on Saturdays, so it’s likely Shamus hadn’t seen the new video at the time of recording.

      • RCN says:

        I second this.

        I mean, isn’t this how Chris got included? Shamus mentioned him, then he mentioned Shamus, then they got in touch and Shamus proposed for him to join and Chris said “Sure, why not?”

        Besides, I’m sure that MrBtongue would LOVE to join a Let’s Play in the Spoiler Warning Format, where the objective is overanalyzing a game to death.

      • ulrichomega says:

        I’m always in favor of more guest stars.

        • Lachlan the Mad says:

          Me too. Guest stars might help liven up the Fallout 4 season, what with how long it’ll go for…

          • Humanoid says:

            Since guest stars must be someone previously mentioned on the show, how about Guy Fieri?

            • RCN says:

              I’m just picturing this.

              Humanoid receiving a call.

              “I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking to blackmail me, I can tell you I only have internet money. But what I do have is a single particular skill, a skill I have acquired over a somewhat short career. A skill that makes me a nightmare for people like you. If you leave Guy Fieri out of this, this will be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, I will play Slender and I will pee on you.” – Peeam Pantson

              The horror. THE HORROR.

  4. Duoae says:

    Addressing Uncharted 4 on its own:

    I really liked the game. I really, really liked the game. In the same way that The Last Of Us was a seminal piece in triple A development, I feel that Uncharted 4 is another seminal piece in gaming for multiple reasons.

    First off is accessibility. There are so many options and so many ways of opening up the game and gameplay to hardcore and more casual players that it is just insane (aka unheard of (-)hyperbole) that more AAA games do not provide what is essentially a basic level of choice and interaction for their consumers.

    Secondly, the plot is both nonsensical but thematically and genre savvy. In the same way that Campster says the mechanics of the game are designed to highlight and enhance the characterisation of the roles in the game, so too does the story. I won’t delve into it too much because those philosophies are huge spoilers and the game only just came out but let’s just say that the themes of the past are pertinent to Nate’s inner turmoil; it’s good writing – full stop.

    Genre-wise. I don’t think you can complain about half-assed conspiracy theories and tidbits of historical (mis)information in this particular genre given that it’s built on Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider, The Da Vinci Code and Big Trouble in Little China et al. We’re talking about a certain type of escapism, power fantasy and character development that is genre appropriate. IMO, Naughty Dog have stuck to the genre staples throughout Uncharted 1, 2, the Golden Abyss and 4… so I think it’s a bit disingenuous to criticise a work for sticking to what it aims to achieve.

    The fantastical aspects work as an anchor to which the mundane is explored. That’s the genre and I think it works really well. Well enough to attract the attention and adulation of thousands of people…

    • Ninety-Three says:

      As a PC gamer, I’ve been meaning to watch a Let’s Play of Uncharted 4, but I’ve been having trouble finding one. None of the LPers I follow have done it, and 90% of random LPers are obnoxious so just loading a random one off Youtube is out. I’d watch a no-VO playthrough, but there would be so much dead air in the combat sections.

      Anyone have any suggestions? I don’t suppose anyone has put together an all-cutscenes edit like they did for The Last of Us?

      I think it’s a bit disingenuous to criticise a work for sticking to what it aims to achieve.

      And regarding this, it’s entirely fair to criticize a work for achieving something bad (half-assed conspiracy theories), intentional or otherwise. For instance, Kylo Ren was an underwhelming emo child and I get that that’s the point but it still made him a nonthreatening waste of screen-time.

      • Duoae says:

        You’re asking me to do this? I do have a day off tomorrow…. ;)

        [quote]And regarding this, it’s entirely fair to criticize a work for achieving something bad (half-assed conspiracy theories), intentional or otherwise. For instance, Kylo Ren was an underwhelming emo child and I get that that’s the point but it still made him a nonthreatening waste of screen-time.[/quote]

        Yes, but I think that it’s easily arguable that the game achieves what it set out to do. The genre is built on using ‘reality’ plus a bit of leeway (see: conspiracies, legends, misconceptions) in order to achieve its aims…

        • Duoae says:

          Ugh, sorry, I tried to edit this a second time to tidy up the quote tags (I hate switching between different sites with different tag styles)…. plus I added the below. Unfortunately, I hit backspace to delete a typo and it F******* deleted the post. I hate that functionality!

          No more backspace to go back a webpage!

          Anyway, the additional info was along these lines:

          I think it’s vacuous to criticise a work for sticking to its genre staples and doing it well. Uncharted 4 does not implement a poor mythology of reality+half-truths. It makes a good case for the conception of this specific reality. Even regarding the fact that it introduces unknown familial characters out of the blue. That’s fine. It’s also a storytelling staple.

          You can criticise them in the sense that it’s not ideal or that those ideas are poorly implemented (like you suggest) but if that’s not the case then you’re treading on the whole point of storytelling: i.e. writers need leeway to suspend disbelief. As human beings consuming a work, we give writers leeway until their credibility falls away. Nathan Drake having never mentioned his brother in 5 games is still more believable than a really half-assed story where the Nazis got to the moon and set up a colony up there. That’s a different genre, a different suspension of disbelief and a different expectation.

          Indiana Jones, Flash Gordon, the Rocketeer and Buck Rogers all worked on the same principles as those espoused in Uncharted. It’s the genre: you mix ‘reality’ with ‘fantasy’ and come out with a certain result to explore the inherent humanity in the characters versus their opposition.

          In the same way you don’t critique a slasher film for the antagonist cheating physics by quickly getting around to harass the protagonists, it doesn’t make sense to critcise the game for what its genre defines it to do.

          [edit]
          I should clarify that I do not mean ‘criticism’ in the mechanical sense but in the negative sense. As in, you can critique a work for its place in a large space of those types of works. Sure, that’s fine. But saying that something is bad because it is supposed to be bad is just lacking context. (Not that I’m saying that this specific example is like that). It’s bad because it’s supposed to be bad and if you don’t understand that then you’re missing the point. Authorial intent or not, it’s like the person who missed the sarcasm in a statement and realised halfway through their reaction to that…

          I should also say that ‘disliking’ a work is not the same as ‘critiquing’ it. You can validly dislike a work for any reason – including no reason. However, you should not critique a work based solely on emotional reaction because, as I said above, it’s a vacuous statement. It’s without context and, in literary terms context matters a lot.

          • Ninety-Three says:

            Ah, I see the point you’re making: “It’s fair to criticize something for being bad pulp, but don’t complain just because it’s pulp”. That’s entirely fair and I agree, I think this started out of me misinterpreting what you meant by “sticking to what it aims to achieve”. I was focused on “The conspiracies kind of suck” rather than simply “There are silly conspiracies”.

            The brother thing is extremely implausible, but I think they get away with it not because of genre conventions, but because it’s baked into the premise of the story. “Drake has a brother” isn’t the second-act twist, we meet the man in the first ten seconds of the opening cutscene. You could probably write a few thousand words about why that difference is important, but the words elude me right now, so I’ll just say that you can get away with a lot of bullshit if you’re up front with it and make it a core part of the story.

            • Duoae says:

              Yeah, i agree with the timing thing. If it’s up front then it’s okay but then if the writer pulls it out of their ass in act 2 or 3 and it’s completely untelegraphed then it’s complete bullshit.

              For the record, one of the major problems I have with Uncharted 4 is this introduction to a new side of the character we’ve all known for the better part of 5 games. However, I understand that people can have secrets. I live in a country that is not my origin. I live, day to day, meeting new people and understanding people I’ve met in the last few years… and I have to say, I almost constantly unearth new secrets about the people I know.

              For example, after knowing someone – someone quite prolific artistically and socially – for three years, I learned after he had left the country, after his mother’s death, that he had a brother.

              To put this into context: I met his brother, personally, and we talked about my friend despite me never knowing this guy before and my friend never acknowledging him in his life before.

              People are complicated.

              So, although I thought it weird that we never heard about Nathan’s brother before Uncharted 4, I don’t think it’s anachronistic that we didn’t.

              • Ninety-Three says:

                The idea that we should have seen the brother before is more based on the out-of-universe idea that we’re the audience. If, before the first Uncharted game, someone at Naughty Dog had written a lore bible and part of it said “Drake has a cool brother he sometimes works with”, then there’s no way they would have waited this long to make use of that. It’s plausible that Nathan Drake, human being, wouldn’t mention his brother in the 30-hour span of the previous games, but we all know that Naughty Dog, author, would be all over that. Since we haven’t seen him until now, it becomes obvious that he wasn’t invented until now.

            • evilmrhenry says:

              In act 1, you’re introduced to the world and characters, and you can basically do what you want there. However, this is game 4 in a series. I’d argue that 10 seconds into the 4th game is no longer act 1. (Except if we’re doing a Final Fantasy thing or it’s a reboot or something. Not applicable here in any case.) At this point you’re either stuck with the characters you have, or you need to explain why things have changed.

              • Ninety-Three says:

                Well it’s not like they don’t give it any justification. It’s still implausible, but there’s only so well you can do with this kind of retcon. Very minor spoilers for hour 2 of the game: Drake had reasonably solid cause to believe he was dead, but actually he was just in prison and he’s just now gotten out.

  5. Henson says:

    Hey, thanks for the link to Game Maker’s Toolkit. Never seen the guy before today, but he’s got some good content on his channel. Added to the list for game analysis on youtube.

  6. MichaelGC says:

    Either that shopping story was hilarious or I was struck by a sustained unexplained simultaneous fit of the giggles!

    Always enjoy these little bijou DuetCasts – and thanks for taking the time, too: the urge to sack it off and get in another hour of Minecraft/Race the Sun/sink maintenance must tend to be quite strong…

    • Duoae says:

      I don’t get the anti-Josh story-ism. I really love to hear the podcast participants’ experiences.

      For instance, it reminds me of the time when I wanted a base GPU to test a system I had made for my mother and I had no spare parts at her house. I went to several local tech shops and one guy had a base part: An Nvidia geforce 2 series entry level card (I forget which it was) for £200 in 2004 or 2005…

      I was so shocked I was almost swearing at this guy in the shop in front of my mother. It was daylight robbery.

      At the end of the day I learned two things: Always have spare parts with you to check the integrity of your systems and mostly buy online.

      I still adhere to those two rules… I like to give business to the local small stores as long as I’m not getting fleeced but I do have limits and I do have ethics.

    • Ninety-Three says:

      Always enjoy these little bijou DuetCasts – and thanks for taking the time, too: the urge to sack it off and get in another hour of Minecraft/Race the Sun/sink maintenance must tend to be quite strong…

      You think Shamus isn’t playing Minecraft during the DieCast?

    • Henson says:

      Always enjoy these little bijou DuetCasts

      I…I’ve been watching too much anime…

  7. gresman says:

    Thanks for the giggle I got.
    While checking out the links I read the hardware article again and at the end there was the a link to the same hardware article.
    Article-ception or something like that. :)

  8. Wide And Nerdy ™ says:

    You make Uncharted 4 sound like Marlow Briggs. An archeological expedition staffed with hundreds of evil mercenaries.

    I’m guessing they dig by all shooting the ground at the same time.

    • Duoae says:

      And throwing that dirt out of the nearest window! :D

    • Trix2000 says:

      Either that or they throw helicopters at it. It’s clearly the best way to solve all your problems.

    • Thomas says:

      Really at this point Nathan Drake’s would be a term spoken in whispered fear in the mook-bars and minion-recruiting-halls.

      The vaguest rumor that ‘El Diablo’ (because in my mind all these hired goons are Spanish or South American because racism) is coming should result in pants-shitting terror and gibbering panic.

      • IFS says:

        On the point of racism the goons/villains have been quite mixed by this point. The first game had for its major villains a brit, a south american pirate, and an american (though the goons were mostly south american pirates/mercenaries). UC2 had Drake facing off against a vaguely Eastern Europe or Russian group of mercenaries and the major villains included the leader of said army (who venerated hitler and stalin in case you were worried about moral ambiguity) and an australian foil to Drake. UC3 was pretty much all in on evil Brits (except for one chapter which featured Middle Eastern pirates), and now UC4 features most of the mooks belonging to what seems to be an American PMC (I forget if its ever established as being centered in a particular country). The portrayal of the mooks is never particularly mean spirited either beyond establishing them as bad guys to be fought through so I never got the sense that the games were racist.

        On the point of Nate being feared there are remarks towards the effect of him being a legend for having beaten armies and discovered lost cities. One of the villains in UC4 hates him for this, and it ties neatly into his motivations. Another of the villains actually does want to quit the expedition early because her forces have suffered such losses (both to traps and to Nate) and because she’s already recovered enough treasure to make a profit and doesn’t want to incur further risk.

        • Ninety-Three says:

          and now UC4 features most of the mooks belonging to what seems to be an American PMC (I forget if its ever established as being centered in a particular country). The portrayal of the mooks is never particularly mean spirited either

          The leader of the mooks has a British accent, as do a lot of the mooks themselves. And their depiction is absolutely mean-spirited, you can overhear them gleefully discussing their participation in some third-world coup, how they callously left the general they were propping up so that the country could fall, how they’re bored and could really go for another coup right now, and they complain about descriptions of their company’s actions “Everything gets called a massacre these days”.

          They’re outright cartoon villains.

          • IFS says:

            Ah was it british? I must have misremembered. At any rate the fact that its cartoonish is exactly what I mean by ‘not being mean spirited’, they aren’t trying to make the mooks into anything other than cartoon villains to be fought through. They’re cartoon villains rather than racist caricatures, their villainy is foremost their race is secondary at best.

  9. baseless_research says:

    … even the rutskarn jokes are phoned in :(

  10. Wide And Nerdy ™ says:

    Speaking of Amazon. Deadpool is the #1 Romantic Comedy on Amazon Instant video right now.

    http://comicbook.com/marvel/2016/06/04/deadpool-is-the-best-selling-romance-movie-on-amazon/

  11. John says:

    The Diecast this week has been extraordinarily relevant to my interests and experiences.

    While I wouldn’t say that I’m in the market for a new graphics card, I’ve had my eye on the Nvidia GTX 750 Ti for a while now, as it seems to offer the best performance available for $100 or less. More importantly, it should run just about everything I actually care about running for the foreseeable future. I suppose it helps that I’m not really that interested in most 3D action games. Of course, by the time I finally get around to building my next PC, things may well have changed.

    Also, I have successfully used GOG’s Steam-Connect feature. It was a little finicky. First, you have to set your Steam profile to public. That might well be the default setting–I honestly don’t remember–but I had mine set to private because I generally don’t care about Steam’s social features. Second, I think you might actually need to have the Steam client open while you’re mucking about on the GOG website . . . or possibly it just takes a while for Steam to really register that you’ve changed your profile settings. All I know is that even after I linked my GOG and Steam accounts, GOG repeatedly told me that I had no eligible games–even though I knew that was not true–until I tried again with the Steam client open.

    So now I have a DRM-free version of Shadowrun Returns. Of course, I already had a DRM-free version of Shadowrun Returns from HumbleBundle, which was also the source of my Steam key. But, hey, now I’ve got two! And, while I haven’t specifically checked it out, I’m willing to bet based on my past experience with GOG that GOG has a proper installer for the game instead of the simple tarball offered by HumbleBundle. What I’d really like is for Shadowrun Dragonfall to become available through Steam-Connect. I’ve been playing that one through Steam because the HumbleBundle tarball won’t unzip properly.

    I don’t hate Steam. I’m perfectly willing to put up with it for a lot of games, like Civilization V and Crusader Kings 2–and of course Good Robot. Heck, I even like achievements. But I get irritated when I feel like I am not in control of my own PC or the software it contains. I hate, for example, that the Windows 10 start menu keeps suggesting that I try the Facebook app. (You stupid OS! When I want your opinion I’ll ask for it.) Similarly, every time I sit down to play Warband or Crusader Kings 2, there’s this sense in the back of my head that I don’t really own the game and I’m just sort of borrowing from a really generous friend.

    • Philadelphus says:

      Two things:

      1) I’ve got a GTX 750 Ti that I got about two years ago when I finally upgraded from the laptop that got me through college to a proper self-built gaming desktop. I’m not particularly interested in most big 3D action games either (plus I’m on Linux) and I’ve never had a problem with it not being able to run anything. Probably the biggest recent game I have is XCOM 2, and while I’m currently running it at the recommended near-minimum specs, it still looks pretty good and I suspect I could up the settings a bit before it really started to impact my framerate.

      2) I believe all modern Paradox Interactive game (Crusader Kings II, Europa Universalis IV, Stellaris, and now Hearts of Iron IV) should be able to run without Steam. They use Steam for distribution and download, but once it’s downloaded you should be able to copy the install folder anywhere and run it without Steam (I haven’t tried it myself, but that’s from one of the developers on their forums.).

      • John says:

        Thanks for the information about the 750. I’m really glad to hear that it works well with Linux, as that’s my primary OS. When I finally get around to building that new machine, it’ll definitely be a Linux box. There’s one thing I’m curious about though. Do you use proprietary or open source drivers? I’ve been using the proprietary drivers for my current card (an Nvidia 8600 GT), but doing so has increased my boot time by as much as 20 seconds relative to when I was using integrated graphics. I guess I should finally get around to trying the open source drivers . . . but most of my gaming recently has been Crusader Kings 2 on a Windows laptop.

        I’ve heard that some Steam games don’t actually require Steam in order to run, but I’ve had no success in my admittedly minimal attempts to make that happen. For example, I couldn’t even find the executables for Warband or Good Robot.

        • Humanoid says:

          The 750Ti was superseded by the 950 some time ago, and while the 950 costs about 20% more, it’s somewhere in the region of 40-50% faster, so it’s the better buy. That said, the 950 is, in turn, up for a replacement shortly.

          It’s technically still a rumour, but nVidia should be announcing their lower-to-middle range product refresh fairly soon, so this will likely include the GTX 1050. By soon, I mean we should hear at least some concrete news this month because AMD will be releasing their competing product line on the 29th (RX 480 for $199, possibly both a lower and higher spec model too), so nVidia will want to at least announce their equivalent by then at the very least. That said, I’d expect the new card to cost at least $150 on launch so it may not be an option for you.

        • Philadelphus says:

          No problem, glad my information was useful! I use the proprietary drivers myself, and have from day 1, so I don’t have any comparison information, sorry. (I boot from an SSD and the entire boot process probably only takes ~20–30 seconds, so I can’t really tell…) The only problem is that I’m using Debian stable at the moment so the available drivers are not the latest and greatest (though they’re not that far behind); but then, I’ve only actually upgraded drivers twice in the last two years, once to get XCOM 2 to work, and again when I switched to Debian about a month ago. Your distro may have more up-to-date implementations, I don’t know.

          Like I said, I’ve never tried playing Steam games without Steam, so I can’t really help there. I don’t think there’s any easy way to tell if a game requires Steam or not, you just need to find out from the developers.

      • 4th Dimension says:

        @2 Those are Paradox titles though and being able to parch them is kind of a required feature you don’t want turned off.

    • tmtvl says:

      Advocacy time!
      “Civ V, MnB:Warband, and CKII are available on Linux, why not give it a try?”

      • John says:

        I have all three of those games and have played all three in Linux, although my Linux box doesn’t really have the power to do any of them justice apart from Warband. I did investigate the possibility of playing Warband without Steam but was unable to find the game’s executable. Anyway, I actually do (or did) have an installer for the DRM-less version of Warband–acquired directly from the developer–so in that particular case Steam doesn’t bother me much.

        But I’m definitely curious about all this. I’ll poke around in the Crusader Kings 2 directory sometime soon. One obvious drawback to Steam-less operation is that I would no longer get automatic updates. Then again, I’m sure some people would prefer to avoid those.

        • Philadelphus says:

          I just had a quick poke around in the Crusader Kings II directory (at ~/.steam/steamapps/common/Crusader Kings II) and found the executable (that starts the launcher) right there. I didn’t feel like copying the entire 2 GB folder somewhere to test, but it looks like you should be able to move it and run it without Steam. Good luck!

      • Xapi says:

        I did. CK2 CTDs every time a save starts. Doesn’t happen on W7.

    • Re: Win 10. It’s been doing that to me, and I finally figured out how to make it stop. R-click on the suggested app in the Start Menu and it should either go to settings or give you an option to, then turn off suggested apps.

      Did this a while back so I may be missing a step or two, but hopefully that’s enough to get it to go away.

  12. silver Harloe says:

    Is “go to Fry’s” no longer a thing for computer parts? Or is there just no Fry’s near Chris?

  13. Yummychickenblue says:

    Does Chris not have a Fry’s or a Microcenter near him? Those places are computer part heaven. Anything you want one of them probably has.

    • Andy says:

      I live within easy walking distance of a Microcenter. This is bad. “I’ll just walk in and look around.”

      On the plus, I’ve goten some sweet open-box deals on not-quite-newest-gen video cards….

      • Abnaxis says:

        My Microcenter is 10 minutes from work. I’m always looking for a good excuse to roll in there and buy some networking equipment. Only friggin’ place local I can find 9-pin D-sub paraphernalia…

  14. Regarding graphics cards the AMD Radeon RX480 card looks to possibly be “the” price performance winner of the year. It is so aggressively priced that’s it’s cheaper than some of AMDs less/same performance cards. And way cheaper than NVidias.

    Considering that the card has a GCN 4.0 core (4th gen), has Freesync/Adaptive Sync. And i supposedly good enough to become HTC Vive and Oculous certified (whatever that means) it looks like this is a good investment card. And at a max power load of 150 Watt it won’t load the powersupply that much either.

    Anyone remember the Radeon 8500 (the really old non HD one) or Nvidias GT8800 ? Those where cards that where quite affordable (that I can recall) but gave a extreemly good performance for he cost.

    I would not be surprised if the Radeon RX480 takes off and becomes a recommended minimum spec listed for future games.

    Also, if MicroSoft scored a modified version of this GPU for their new Xbox has then the new Xbox will be the most powerful one (so far the PS 4 has had an edge over the Xbox One), but I’m more confident that the next Xbox will only have slightly improved GPU (like the new PS 4 Neo has).

    I have an aging graphics card, and I rarely look at upgrading unless I see at least a doubling in performance for he same cost as I paid for the old graphics card. Now the Radeon RX480 seemed to give a even larger performance vs price gap than I’d expect. so this may just be the card I upgrade too.

    Luckily monitors with DisplayPort Adaptive Sync are dropping in price and the selection is increasing so maybe a new monitor is worth looking at (just being able to use FreeSync alone well feel like a major improvement I’m sure, goodbye laggy mouse pointer and program windows).

    The big question (for me) is what will it cost in my country, once retailers import stuff prices tend to climb a bit here. But if the retail price her match the one announced then AMD will probably have trouble keeping up with demand.

    • Supah Ewok says:

      Arright, he’s the thing about graphics cards right now, to keep it simple.

      The Nvidia 980 was the benchmark last year for high performance cards. Costed about $550 at launch. Instead of getting into numbers, we’re gonna use that as the value for a very simple explanation.

      This year, Nvidia and Radeon have finally confirmed that they’ve mastered a method of creating smaller transistors for graphics cards. In console terms, think of this as a jump between console generations. However, this time it’s effectively a 2 generation jump. We’re moving from 28 nm to 14 nm, and usually there would have been a step in between (28 nm was 2011, 14 nm is 2016, there should’ve been 20-22nm around 2013-14). For one reason or another, the in between step didn’t work out, so the main gains over the past few years have been in adding new features and optimization, rather than being able to increase the raw horsepower by a significant margin.

      Now we come to… now. Last month, Nvidia revealed the 1080 and the 1070. The xx80 series have been the “high performance” line of cards for a while now (remember the 980 above from last year), and the xx70 is the “mid-range.” The 1080 is, roughly, 50% more powerful all-told, compared to the 980. However, it’s also priced at $599, a $50 increase from last year, even though the card should cost about the same to produce. It’s speculated that Nvidia is driving prices up due to being the first to announce 14 nm transistor cards, meaning no direct competition at time of announcement.

      Last week, Radeon revealed the RX480, as mentioned above. Now, remember how the 980, the cream of the crop from last year (not counting the Titan wank pieces or the upgraded Ti edition), was priced at $550 on release? Radeon didn’t give as much details on their card as Nvidia did with theirs, but Radeon’s promise is that this new RX480 will match the 980 in performance, but it’ll sell for only $200. Which is just huge. $200 is usually the price range of a brand new low end card, and here we have a card that matches last year’s good stuff.

      Now, Radeon has a worse reputation for build quality than Nvidia (their cards tend to overheat and make a lot of noise, although supposedly they’ve been getting better about that). They also have a worse reputation for drivers (although supposedly they’ve been getting better about that too). So although the card is launching at the end of June, it would be prudent to give it about a month to let the hardware websites get their hands on it and put it through its paces, and for users to find faults in design (like the Nvidia 970’s “3.5 GB VRAM” debacle from last year). But if it truly performs as currently advertised, then it is THE go-to card for the remainder of this console generation for the consumer who just wants their computer to work with the pretties.

      For those interested in VR, Nvidia has also promised that their cards have new features that optimize the cards for VR use; the 1080 supposedly features a 250-300% performance boost for VR gaming over the 980, as opposed to the 50% boost for regular gameplay. That’s because they’ve built in tech to efficiently render for VR headsets, but unless you really want to know specifics, just know that these new cards are a lot better for VR than older ones, and you absolutely want a new card if you intend to spend time with VR. Radeon is also making noise about the 480 being optimized for VR to the extent that it’ll work as a minimum gateway to VR, making it the first consumer level VR capable graphics card. But they haven’t revealed the tech by which they’re making that possible, so again, wait and see.

      As a couple of last points, I mentioned above that the xx70 series from Nvidia is a mid-range card line. That includes the 1070. It’s priced around $370. It is definitely more powerful than the Radeon RX 480, but without the exact specs from Radeon, it’s tough to tell if it’s $170 worth (around 80-90% higher price) more powerful. It’s unlikely. The enthusiast gamer may be able to make a great savings by using 2 RX 480’s in sync, which is rumored to be a set up as powerful as a 1080 for $200 less. But using multiple graphics cards comes with its own problems. If you want to keep up with the latest and greatest but can’t afford the bestest best computer, the 1070 right now is looking like the card to get. If you don’t intend to play the latest, sexiest games, or don’t mind turning down the graphics settings in a couple of years as long as you can get the games running throughout this whole console generation, the RX 480 is looking good for you. BUT. Bear in mind that Nvidia has yet to announce their own low-end card for this year, the new entry in the xx60 series. We don’t know when that’s happening, just that it will, and we don’t know how it’ll measure against the RX 480.

      So in short, exciting times are ahead, but gives things a couple more months to play out, and remember the consumerist advice from above, and you should be set! Anybody want to jump in with a more technical explanation, or explain the hardware features each company’s cards has, feel free. This was just a PSA for those who want a non-technical explanation of what’s happening in the world of graphics right now.

      Edit: Aaah, I knew I’d forgot something. Another reason to wait and see is that Nvidia may drop prices for the 1080 and 1070 now that competition has come out with such an attractive alternate offering. Shouldn’t be a too drastic cut, cause they’re gonna want to save face (and not admit that they were racketing up prices just because they could), but we could see up to $50 being dropped by the end of the summer.

      Edit 2: I also don’t know how much of this was gone over in the Diecast, since today isn’t a good day for me to listen to it, but hey, if they said everything I did, at least it’s written down, and if they didn’t, I hope it helps Chris and Shamus’ decision making.

      • Well, Chris (in particular) and Shamus probably won’t upgrade their GPU anytime soon.
        So by the time they start sniffin around the benchmarks for the Radeon RX480 should be out and maybe 1 or 2 driver updates as well.

        AMD will release their enthusiast card early 2017. By the looks of it Nvidia will too.

        Now as you said Nvidia will most likely need to respond to the RX480 price. Either by rushing out their mid-range (VR ready) card, or by price cutting one of their current lineups.

        Also note that the 199 price for the Radeon RX480 is the retail launch price. Unless something cause manufacturing costs to rise dramatically that price may drop later.
        If the RX480 performs well, and the drivers get a few months of tweaking, combined with a temporary discount then AMD may have a xmas monster on their hands.

        One thing I’m curious about the VR ready/certified stuff. Are the VR headserts fixed to a certain rate or do they support Adaptive Sync (aka Freesync?) So that you can run the VR headset locked at 90Hz or 96Hz or 98Hz or 120Hz etc?
        Does the Oculus or HTC (and others?) allow selection among different refresh rates at all?
        With DisplayPort 1.2a / DisplayPort 1.3 Adaptive Sync should allow that, with Nvidia… Well I don’t think Vive and Oculus will be released in a Gsync edition though.

      • Aitch says:

        Had to offer my appreciation for the heads up. You just saved me so much time with it all, too. I’ve been waiting for this jump since I put my tower together in the middle of 2012, and this 680 DCII Top might need a bit of a vacation later on in the year now that it’s finally looking to be a significant change in architecture. Many thanks.

    • I only read this after my comment earlier but AMD has worked with some of the larger monitor manufactures to add a Adaptive Sync extension to HDMI. So now future HDMI monitors will be able to use Adaptive Sync.

      And here’s the brilliant part. If you got a AMD GPU (or APU) with Freesync and you got a standard HDMI cable, then all you need is a driver update and it will work.

      I think it was 9 HDMI monitors that was announced so far.

      This also makes me (and others) ponder about the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. They both have a AMD GPU, which is either a GCN 1.0 or GCN 1.1. or GCN 1.2 core with some tweaks to it.
      Could a OS update on the PS4 and XBone be all that it takes (and a HDMI monitor that support Adaptive Sync) for console gamers to enjoy tear free gaming?

      Does this also mean that games will begin to let you “set” your desired frame rate as a standard feature now?

      And what about TVs? I’m guessing that a lot of monitors and TVs share the same HDMI chips, does this mean future TVs may support Adaptive Sync as well?

      I’m kinda excited to see what will happen here. And Nvidia better have a plan at the ready because I doubt they’ll be able to get GSync into consoles and TVs.
      Besides Nvidia is already using Adaptive Sync (in some form) on some laptops built in displays (rather than using their own Gsync module).

      Unless Nvidia screwed up their card design they should be able to support Adaptive Sync through a simple driver update (the same way AMD is adding HDMI Adaptive Sync though a driver update).

  15. Paul Spooner says:

    Very enjoyable mellow show this week. Consider splitting the diecast into “Adults’ table” and “Kids’ table” versions?
    Speaking of kids, I noticed that the show was exactly one hour this week. Well done Issac!

    • I kinda liked the more relaxed feel to it too.

      I wouldn’t be opposed to more of these.

      As it seems to be a bit hard to gather all the cast all the time, maybe they could just go ahead if they got at least two peeps?

      Like, Josh and Mumbles one time, then Rutskarn and Chris another time, etc.
      By that I mean some of the folks in the gang intentionally “sit this one out”, only exception being if they “really really want” to speak on a topic obviously.

      • Sunshine says:

        Back in the archive there’s Shamus and Josh talking about Lord Of The Rings, language development, infuriating and not infuriating technology and so forth. Also Josh and Campster recapping 2015 while everyone else is on holiday.

  16. Cinebeast says:

    Are there Uncharted 4 spoilers? I’m still waiting for a chance to play the game for myself.

  17. Ninety-Three says:

    Re: Uncharted: I think they still expect the audience to forgive a lot of violence because it’s a videogame. The first kill in the game is done by someone else, and Drake is shocked by the brutality. The next kill after the prison sequence is at the mansion, where Drake hurls a guard fifty feet to his death in gameplay, without a second thought. That guy wasn’t a stormtrooper, he was just some rich dude’s security guard. I was shocked by the brutality, it’s almost exactly the same problem Tomb Raider 2013 had.

    I can’t believe Chris passed on the opportunity to say ludo-narrative dissonance.

    • krellen says:

      I think if Chris has his way, he will never say “ludo-narrative dissonance” ever again.

      • Ninety-Three says:

        Hah. Acknowledging you have a problem, then doing nothing about it is sort of the opposite of defanging it though.

        I find it interesting that the problem persists because UC4 is surprisingly good about justifying most of its videogamey bits. The characters point out that dynamite excavations are terrible archaeology and it generates real tension, lots of little things get lampshaded (like constantly crumbling cliffs, or the physics of Drake’s weight vs a crate), and they give us not just lampshading but logical justification for things like “Why are these baddies shooting trespassers on sight” or “Why aren’t the baddies radioing for backup?”

      • Cinebeast says:

        Holy crap! I mean, I shouldn’t be surprised — Naughty Dog has always had a good sense of humor about themselves — but that’s really funny.

      • Paul Spooner says:

        Cute, but satire is not tautologically valid. Acknowledging the fangs does not, by itself, remove them.

        • Felblood says:

          Satire is not universally effective, but in this case it’s a direct hit.

          They couldn’t have been more on-the-nose without simply putting, “It’s just a show; I should really just relax.” on the title screen.

          I regret nothing! YOU’LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE!

          • Ninety-Three says:

            “It’s just a show, I should really just relax” only works if they don’t want you to take the rest of it seriously. The problem is that they’re trying to have it both ways, Drake being shocked by violence in one scene, in order to establish that character X is violent while Drake is the better person, but then Drake committing a bunch of callous violence in the next scene.

            Or worse, a character trying to talk him out of adventuring because “it’s dangerous” and “you could be killed!” when gameplay shows us that murdering two dozen mercenaries is so easy that he barely acknowledges it’s happening. I’m more likely to die in a car accident than Drake is a gunfight, and half the time the characters show a total lack of concern that suggests they agree with that assessment.

            To have a consistent world, either Drake is a bulletproof superhero and the person saying “It’s dangerous” is incorrect (which undermines a big part of UC4), or there has to be something deeply wrong with Drake and Co who are less worried about bullets than I am about crossing a busy street (which paints a whole group of characters as unstable lunatics, clearly not intended).

            The only way to make Uncharted 4 even vaguely work as a story is to pretend that none of the gunfights happen, and most of the game is just a nonviolent race to get the treasure first.

            I’d be happy to see an Uncharted 4 that’s nothing but banter, making friends with lemurs, and being a bulletproof superhero, but Naughty Dog tried to introduce serious elements. Complaining about ludo-narrative dissonance is just engaging them on the terms they set.

  18. Daemian Lucifer says:

    On the subject of killing a throng of dudes,cant we have an action game without it?One that involves a lot of running,jumping and stuff like that?You know,something like mirrors edge was supposed to be?That is still adrenaline pumping action without ridiculous amounts of blood.

    • Felblood says:

      That market is mainly targeted by racing, driving or flying games.

      Once some indie dev develops a system for modeling 3D parkour that is clearly and fully communicated, yet still deep enough to feel like a complete experience, then we might see someone try risking a larger sum on the idea.

      Until then, have you tried Race the Sun?

      • IFS says:

        For running and jumping that provokes a lot of adrenaline I find that games like Super Meat Boy and They Bleed Pixels (the latter does have simple combat against monsters) do so very well. Of course I doubt they’re exactly what Daemian is looking for.

      • Ninety-Three says:

        Once some indie dev develops a system for modeling 3D parkour that is clearly and fully communicated, yet still deep enough to feel like a complete experience, then we might see someone try risking a larger sum on the idea.

        It’s not quite that, but have you heard of Energy Hook? It’s basically “Spiderman 2 traversal mechanic: The Game”.

  19. The Rocketeer says:

    I’ve been in the midst of my own GPU difficulties recently. Updating the VBIOS seems to have fixed the biggest problem, though, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed as hard as I can that things stay on the up-and-up.

  20. Steve C says:

    I bet I know what is happening with the “rent vs buy” not being displayed on Steam. I bet it has nothing to do with the consumer and everything to do with data collection for negotiation with Hollywood.

    The system will be tracking click-throughs and what results in money changing hands, and (most importantly) what doesn’t. An ‘almost’ sale is key data. Valve is smart enough to know that digital rentals are dumb. Hollywood is run by idiots in denial that would have to be conclusively shown that fact. Valve is likely collecting data saying “Hey look, this Shamus person keeps clicking and never rents anything. We offer him something to buy and he takes it. Our data shows he represents a million other sales you are losing. How about you stop shooting yourself in the foot and let us, Valve, do what we are good at- running a digital market.

    It’s like with Steve Jobs and $0.99 songs. Hollywood had to be dragged kicking and screaming into mountains of cash. Hollywood is really bad at pricing things. And really good at holding onto outdated thinking.

    • Echo Tango says:

      That’s equally clever, and creepy. Oh well; If it drags Hollywood into the 21st century, I guess it’s the lesser of two evils. ^^;

    • Joe Informatico says:

      Apple thoroughly upturning the music industry (and to an extent, Steam with PC games) is precisely the reason every corporation in every other media sector has tried to develop their own digital distribution system, however ham-handed their attempts. No one wants to allow a single corporation to so utterly dominate distribution and eat up 30% of their profits in the process.

      • NotSteve says:

        I learned a useful term looking into this: monopsony. A monopoly is when there’s only one seller for a good, while a monopsony is when there’s only one buyer. Steam and Amazon are essentially monopsonies in this sort of situation, since as the marketplace they’re essentially serving as the buyer for all the people who sell through them. So they get their own monopoly-esque control which lets them dictate terms to all the sellers.

  21. As far as GoG-Steam connect goes, I like it as a way to port my existing Steam library over to GoG’s platform. I’ve always liked GoG as a platform (moreso since galaxy launched), and one of my biggest issues with swapping to GoG more permanently has been the idea of re-obtaining my Steam library all over again. As more games are added to the connect service, I expect that will no longer be as much of a problem.

    • Echo Tango says:

      I hope Steam Connect takes off, because what I *really* want, is Everybody Connect. i.e. If I bought the game from Valve, GOG, Best Buy, Walmart, or *wherever*, I want to be able to have access to it, on whatever platform gives me the best value on its non-game features. :)

  22. Steve C says:

    I’m afraid you are mistaken about DRM on Steam. You cannot turn it off. Steam has to be running. However you do not have to be connected to the internet. A single player game will run without the internet connection while Steam runs in the background. That is unless that game requires an update.

    So what happens is this– You run Steam connected to the internet. It could be to play a game or not. Buy something or not. While you are doing that your entire Steam library checks to see if each game you have local files for is the most recent version. If it isn’t, Steam flags it for update. That game is now DRM locked. You cannot play that game online or offline until it receives and applies that patch. Depending on your settings Steam may start downloading the update immediately, or wait until you say authorize it. Your only options are to say yes now, or say yes later. Either way you have lost access to that game forever until you agree. I personally have a huge problem with this.

    • Kelerak says:

      I agree wholeheartedly. It’s why I’m glad GOG is upping its game in order to actually be a competitor to Steam, since you aren’t immediately screwed if GOG’s servers happen to go down or the client refuses to start or whatever.

      I don’t see Steam as an abusive all-encompassing platform per se, but there is something to be said when the only way to buy most PC games is through Steam.

    • Steve C says:

      Oh and something I had not considered until someone mentioned it on the forums… another pre-req is that your computer has to be capable of running the Steam client. The Steam client that is constantly updating and can have more stringent system requirements than your library of games.

      So by doing nothing for a few years you can lose access to your existing game library.

  23. Echo Tango says:

    I look forward to seeing the price on Wasted tomorrow. That game looks really fun! I just wish it had a non-Windows version, and hope it will run under Wine. :)

  24. Fists says:

    I don’t think Steam really have that much power despite their market share, they’ve tried a bunch of power plays lately and don’t think any of them have paid off. Linux/SteamOS is still a tiny install base on Steam’s stats, EA and Activision both seem to have happily walked away. Steam Controller.

    Only issue I really see with their place in the market is a they’re a weak point for corporate-government enforced censorship/DRM implementation. They’re a pain for indies but they’re probably also why indies are seeing so much success, much of the volume of indie sales would probably disappear if the wasn’t a ubiquitous market place for them.

  25. Jokerman says:

    Hitman is not really a name reboot… there was never actually a game before called just “Hitman” you had Codename 47, 2, contracts,Blood Money.

    Then again, you still have to put that 2016 there, if you want to make a distinction between the game and the series.

  26. SL128 says:

    I hope Naughty Dog just embraces what their games are in order to make Nathan Drake and the Mask of Death.

    • IFS says:

      Well seeing as every Naughty Dog series ends in a racing game (Crash Team Racing, Jak X Combat Racing) many fans have concluded that the logical next step for Uncharted is to make Unkarted. They’ve even already got driving in UC4!

  27. Artur CalDazar says:

    Just the two of you is an oddly calm setup. I say oddly because Shamus almost always has some energy to his voice.

    That video card story is bizarre to me. Surely a small little privately owned place would be your first stop for what is a niche product to buy physically.

  28. Alex says:

    Has the adventurer-archaeologist genre used not-ISIL as an antagonist yet? If you want a whole lot of men with guns engaged in EVIL archaeology, a bunch of jackasses who alternate between looting to fund their evil empire and iconoclasm would certainly seem to qualify.

  29. Steve Online says:

    Oh boy, Dell Upgrade Stories.

    One time I agreed to work on someone’s Dell. I opened up the case to find a wall of molded blue anti-upgrade plastic, bolted down under and directly attached to the CPU cooler, so you had to re-seat the cpu to so much as *look* at the motherboard. That sure as hell didn’t go back in when I was done.

    Next it turned out that the dell BIOS had a setting for ‘acknowledge the existence of hard drives that aren’t the one you shipped with y/n’ buried four nested menus deep. I’m going to let you guess what the factory default setting was, and how much fun it was to find that setting existed.

    From then on, Dells incurred a premium charge from Kid Down The Street Tech Support.

  30. WWWebb says:

    GoG/Steam connecting would be more useful if it kept me from buying a game on both platforms. Between those two and Humble bundles, there are probably a dozen games that I’ve bought more than once.

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