Diecast #211: More Mods, Thief vs. Thief 2

By Shamus Posted Monday May 21, 2018

Filed under: Diecast 61 comments



Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Show notes:
00:13 Mailbag: Total Conversion Mods

Dear Diecast,

Last Diecast you talked about mods. But you neglected a category of mods which I am quite fond of: Total conversion mods. Mods that take the assets (and/or add their own) and use those to
tell an original story. Examples that spring to mind are the Total conversion mod Enderal, for Skyrim. Or Black Mesa, which uses the HL2 source engine.

My question is have you played any total conversion mods and did you feel they improved upon the base game or made for a worse experience?

Best regards,
Lucas

06:14 Mailbag: Big Mods

Dear Diecast;

Two questions based on last week’s’ mod talk:

Firstly: Are there any games you play/played where the mods overtake the game, either partially or totally? My personal example is Arma3, where my ~370(!) mods take up over 130Gb compared to the game’s 32Gb. Total conversions also apply, or even simple/small mods (Frostfall for skyrim?) that take a game, and turn it into something completely different.

Secondly: In regards to modding for balance, you mentioned the recent XCOM games: while I modded my playthroughs so easy that I only lost a single soldier in beating both games, The popular mod for both EU and 2 was the "Long War" mod, which made the game significantly harder. What are your thoughts on using mods to adjust difficulty up or down? Do you think it’s a response to publishers not providing a wide enough range of difficulty options, or instead players choosing to play the game in their own style regardless of how it is intended to be played?

Thanks,
Shas’Ui

20:11 Mailbag: Games that “get good” late.

Hi, Diecast!

My question isn’t exactly really interesting, but, eh, it never really stopped me.

Let’s say you play a game that – for most of the time, e.g. 15 hours – is boring. But then it has this one moment/segment that’s trully awesome. It’s so good, it’s practically an art of its own. Life changing experience. How willing would you be to play such a game, knowing that in advance? Or even replay it?

For example: for me Fallout 4 was… well, a rather boring game, but its DLC, “Far Harbor” was amazing. Would you play Fallout 4 just to get to this DLC?

I guess what I’m asking is: what’s better? A game that is consistently good but never really “awe inspiring”, or one that’s terribly flawed, but contains something truly mesmerizing? Since their length matters, let’s assume that both requires 25 hours to complete each.

Again, apologies for any mistakes that I made – your language is still pretty funny :).

Anyway, have a good time and keep being awesome!

Sincerelly,
Darek

25:56 Mailbag: Softball questions.

Dear Diecast

Are there any TV-shows/movies that you have watched recently and enjoyed?

What are your favorite foods and why do you like it so much?

What are your favorite colors and why is [your choice] the best color?

When is the next reset button?

All the best, Tocopheryl

For context, I pronounced this name “Tocophery” because I had this message in a Google Doc, and my cursor was positioned right at the end. The trailing lowercase L blended in with the cursor.

That’s the only one I have an excuse for. All the other names were butchered due to incompetence.

42:22 Mailbag: Thief vs. Thief 2

Dear Diecast,

I’m currently playing through Thief 2 for the first time (I’m 20) it might just turn out to be one of my favorite games I’ve ever played. This came as a major shock to me because I played Thief: Gold about a year ago and borderline hated it. I think this is mostly down to level design. Thief Gold’s levels are gigantic, labyrinthine, an filled nonsensical copy pasted rooms. Not to mention a few them also seem to have and odd fixation on zombie killing as well. Thief 2 scales down the levels a bit, makes the maps more detailed, and makes each area memorable which leads to less aimless wondering. Also some levels seem to funnel players to the correct area somehow even thought there are several paths, but I’m not a level designer so I don’t know. My point is that while [they] are identical in many ways, the level design feels drastically different and it seems like people don’t talk about it very much. Perhaps its because people really just aren’t talking about thief all that much. I mean, I haven’t even used a guide for Thief 2, while I basically had to use one for every level on the first. Anyways, do you have a preference between the 2 games and have you noticed this difference?

P.S.
There is this level in the first game where you have to pretend you are a Hammerite student and you have to solve this puzzle by finding and flipping a bunch of tiny switches very quickly and I just lost it. Like seriously, how did anyone figuire that out without the interenet??

-No name given

 


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61 thoughts on “Diecast #211: More Mods, Thief vs. Thief 2

  1. Infinitron says:

    He should have waited until he’d finished the final few levels of Thief 2 before sending that.

    1. Zantaros says:

      As someone who also played Thief II to completion for the first time recently, I also found it to be one of the best games I have ever played.

      I didn’t find the later levels to be bad, personally. I had to use a guide for one small part of the Angelwatch level, but aside from that, they didn’t seem that bad to me.

      I also wasn’t playing non-lethal, so I wound up completely clearing the first half of the last level (the areas with the machines that make stuff) of enemies, so, when I was done with the second half and had sneaked back to the first, I just stood up and casually walked to the exit and felt like a champ!

      1. Naota says:

        As someone in the exact same situation as Infinitron (though I’m 28 now), I think the only level I found wanting in Thief 2 was Angelwatch.

        Where Thief 1’s level design was sprawling, chaotic, and didn’t seem to adhere to any sort of standards so much as it just included whatever the designer felt like, Angelwatch is like someone took a T1 level and deliberately made it hostile to stealth gameplay. Is there a floor? It’s loud clanky metal. Is there an enemy? It’s a robot. Is there a light? It’s bright, electric, and there’s no switch. Spoilers aside, the intro area is the only place in Angelwatch that doesn’t instantly reject you, and that’s pretty neat.

        …but not “I’d play it again!” neat, thanks. I adore the LGS Thief series, but I think I’ll pass on subjecting myself to that again.

        Come to think of it, the only difference was that I played Thief 2 to completion first, then Thief Gold. It was an interesting shift – I might have quit the series if I started with Gold, but playing it second I really appreciated the different environments and objectives, even if they made for worse gameplay.

        1. Infinitron says:

          I think you might be referring to Soulforge rather than Angelwatch.

        2. Sleeping Dragon says:

          The Thief series is probably the games I’ve replayed the most. Every couple years I forget the frustrating bits and just remember the cool parts, in fact I’ve been thinking of replaying the series again recently.

    2. Charlie B. says:

      Hey, So I’m the person who asked the Thief question and I find your comment really funny because I just got through the level “Kidnap” and my first thought was “Oh god oh god oh god its a level from the first game!” I didn’t really like it, but I still think it was better than the version from the first game. I’ve got 3 levels, left so hopefully the game just doesn’t fall apart in that time span!

      Also, thanks for answering my question Shamus!

    3. camycamera says:

      I don’t think that the final few missions were anywhere near as bad as what seems like half of the missions of Thief 1, though… There was one time in Thief 2 where I was baffled and had to look up a walkthrough (Where you go to the destroyed temple and have to find like these 3 switches that are annoyingly hidden? How the hell were you supposed to figure that out without a walkthrough? Did I miss something?).

      However, in the first Thief… The level where you go to that destroyed lava place is tedious as hell. Hell, every level that involved monsters/zombies like Shamus said in the podcast is tedious, boring, plain not fun, and I used a walkthrough to get through it as fast as possible.

      And god… That last level. “Go backtrack the entire level to get these two random bodies, and bring them all the way back here.” Screw that, augh. Terrible.

    4. LCF says:

      “how did anyone figuire that out without the interenet?”

      In the distant past of the late 90’s, people wrote books with hints, information, walk-through, strategies, and sold them next to the games on store shelves.
      Basically, everything that’s free on the Internet today was available for a price in dead tree form and inanimated pictures.

  2. Joe says:

    I remember Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds pretty much being a reskin of Age of Empires 2, plus flying units. Does that count as a TC? I didn’t actually play any AOEs, I just like Star Wars.

    One of my favourite Skyrim mods adds more weapons, some with higher damage and lower weight than the in-game weapons. Plus another to make bleed stack, and apply it to all edged weapons and arrows. Doesn’t make a huge difference, but enough.

    As for consistency vs the rare amazing bit, I agree with consistency. In fact, I can’t think of any game I’ve played that had a really amazing bit. Levels or abilities that I liked more than others, yeah. But not absolutely stand out.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      I remember Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds pretty much being a reskin of Age of Empires 2, plus flying units. Does that count as a TC?

      I think that counts; If it didn’t, I wouldn’t know how to classify Stellaris, or even Alpha Centauri! :P

    2. CJK says:

      I seem to recall it being such a lazy conversion that blaster bolts could fire over walls because they were still basically arrows.

  3. Geebs says:

    I actually think Thief 3 did a good job of cutting down on the general inventory faff of the first two games, so much so that it’s the only one I’ve finished. Thief 2 is head and shoulders above the first one, though.

  4. Methermeneus says:

    Huh. I only just started using a podcast aggregator, and you use RSS to import podcasts that aren’t listed on their service. Now I see what you mean by the RSS feed being broken. By any chance, do you still talk to the Spoiler Warning crew? Their RSS feed seems to work.

    1. Baron Tanks says:

      For what it’s worth, I’m subscribed through one of the feeds from an earlier post and it works for me:

      http://feeds.feedburner.com/shamusyoung/diecast

      I think Shamus may have asked for feedback on the feed? Perhaps he already got the feedback but never adjusted the link in the template for posting these videos. Either way, this feed link has been active and worked for me on a generic Android podcast app for the past 3, 4 weeks. I hope it help you out and if Shamus reads this, maybe worth making this the official one or redirecting it or hoever all this works.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ahh,developer hubris.I encounter it mostly when it comes to “hard” games that arent really hard,but punish you for not adjusting to the wonky ui.The most recent example is with they are billions,an early access game that is still very rough around the edges and very buggy,and yet one of the most often asked for features,manual saving and loading,is not implemented because “It would ruin SOMETHING”.Never mind that this is a game that has tons of ways to modify the difficulty,never mind that its a single player game,never mind that there are tons of threads of people complaining how a stupid bug completely ruined their play,no manual saves would just ruin SOMETHING and we cant have SOMETHING ruined.

    Though the devs arent as bad about it as the fanbase.Ugh,the fanbase for these games is always the worst.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      It reminds me of the difficulty of FTL, and recently of Enter The Gungeon. The FTL devs eventually made an easy mode (along with an extra hard mode, if I recall correctly). The game wasn’t ruined for me (as a player who enjoys playing on hard mode), and in fact the game was made better for me, for days when I’m too tired to play at maximum effort/skill. Now I just hope the ETG devs make an easy mode for *that* game, because at 150 hours, I still can barely get to the second last level of the game, let alone beat the thing. :S

      1. Philadelphus says:

        Easy and Normal were in at release (or at least quite soon after, when I picked it up), Hard was added later.

      2. Charlie B. says:

        Enter the Gungeon was weird for me. I wonder sometimes if the check point system killed with the tinkerer it for me. Like somehow that created the expectation for myself that this was a game that needed to be finished even though I don’t really think like that with other rogue-likes.

    2. Sleeping Dragon says:

      Okay, at the risk of stirring up the hornet’s nest I kinda have to blame this one on Dark Souls. I think because that series was very successful and because it has a very vocal and very aggressive part of its fanbase* that is going to violently react with the “git gud” argument to any criticism of the games whatsoever, whether it applies or not, some devs and players have mistaken difficulty, or more specifically anything that makes the player fail, for quality: the game has a 50/50% chance of crashing and corrupting your save when you enter the final boss area? This just adds to the challenge and you’re a filthy casual if you suggest that this should be fixed! Our hitboxes don’t scan correctly? Well this just makes the enemies more difficult to kill and that’s a good thing!

      *Definitely not saying all of it, I’ve had pretty good experiences myself but there is a very strong subset of very toxic people in the community.

      1. Milo Christiansen says:

        You know what I say when someone tells me to “git gud”?

        git: ‘gud’ is not a git command. See ‘git –help’.

  6. Hal says:

    One Total Conversion mod I really enjoyed was Revision for the original Deus Ex. It didn’t change the story in any way, but it updated the game in a big way: New graphics, new level layouts, new items and weapons, new enemies.

    It gave playing the game a very fresh feel without changing the overall structure of it, which was nice. Of course, there were a few new non-quest things, different computer hubs with little additional bits of content to them. The challenge is a huge step up, too, which is a nice change of pace for a game I’ve been playing for over a decade.

    1. JohnSausage says:

      Revision totally messes with the graphical style and level design. GMDX is the superior mod.

      1. Hal says:

        Not familiar with GMDX, but I liked those things about Revision. I’ve played Deus Ex so many times at this point that I can practically play it in my sleep. The redesigned levels breathed some fresh air into playing it and gave me a sense of exploration and the unknown again, as well as giving it an actual bit of challenge.

        I also liked the graphic changes as well; the creators went heavy into the cyberpunk design, which feels right to me. Deus Ex wasn’t graphically advanced, even when it was brand new. I feel like the changes made here are still true to the type of story Deus Ex is telling, even if it’s a departure from the dark, plain style of the original design.

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Huh, all that talk about total conversion mods and no mention of counter strike, dota or team fortress.

    Also worth mentioning is starcraft 2, because it offers a bunch of tools to mod the game any way you want, and for free.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      I’ve got a friend who was a key player in the development of the DoTA and TD genre via the WC3 modding scene. Didn’t want to bring it up because he likes keeping a low profile, and I didn’t have much to say about it beyond what I said, which is that it seems like total conversions were a stopgap measure before free game engines were available. Something to be said for arbitrary constraints though.

  8. I don’t really do the twitter thing. But I wanted to respond to regarding a function telling you if a value is signed or not.

    For signed integers 0 is always positive (the most significant bit which is the sign bit, is not set).

    For floating point however 0 can be +0 or -0, it is acceptable (and common in my experience) to treat -0 as being the same as +0 (aka 0). This also makes it match integer 0 which is convenient.

    In all my career I’ve never really run into -0 except for having processed audio, (+)0 is generally what I’ve seen myself. But as a programmer I’m aware of -0 being possible so with float or double I try to make sure I don’t do things like “if value > 0” unless I’m sure 0 is +0 as -0 would be “less” than +0.
    If uncertain then a way around it is “if value > -1” (helpful if mixing integers and floats).

    1. Echo Tango says:

      I think the correct thing to do would depend on the problem/domain being solved. Like, programming for some physics researcher, they might tell you exactly how to treat -0. Or they might say, just compare numbers to within plus or minus 0.1% of the relative quantities involved. (e.g. Comparing 3 * 10^-7 you would care about an accuracy of +- 3 * 10^-10).

      P.S.
      OK, now I wish there was an easy way to get math characters / formulas into normal text. ^^;

  9. If you have the money then Fallout 4 with all the expansions/DLCs is worth it, you’ll be guaranteed to find the hours just melt away.

    The Fallout 4 Game Of the Year edition brings you the full package. And if for some reason you still don’t have Skyrim you can get both Fallout 4 GOTY + Skyrim Special Edition on steam for a discount. And be ready to see all your free time vanish.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Are you sure you’re not a bot?

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        Anonymous doth protest too much methinks.

    2. Geebs says:

      Fallout 4 made my free time vanish, retroactively, after I got to That Part of the plot.

    3. tmtvl says:

      Funny, after half an hour of Fallout 4 I immediately decided to get a refund and I haven’t regretted it since.

      Something about that game just makes me seethe.

      1. Echo Tango says:

        The engine itself (from what I’ve seen) doesn’t seem too bad. The process of making mods, or even just the inability to make a map or level, disappoints me though. I mean, there’s even an in-game ability to put down beds, walls, etc etc. But no way to make an actual new area, map, level, or NPCs… :S

  10. IGrimwear says:

    I tried doing Long War for X-Com 2 and it didn’t work for me because I was still stuck with the stupid turn counter. They increased the amount of enemies and you can have larger teams but it doesn’t matter because once you’re spotted suddenly bam you have 12 turns or you fail. I absolutely hate that. I want to play my way. I did get a mod that gave me more turns but I never found one that removed them entirely. I hate that in X-Com 2 they just decided to crap on defensive players. Who cares if I want to play that way and not charge forward nonstop?

    1. Echo Tango says:

      The decision to force players to play aggressively is especially annoying, since the original games[1] allowed / encouraged cautious play. Motion scanners, medkits, and the actual simulation of bullets (i.e. even misses could hit enemies behind your target) allowed you to play a long-range, cautious game.

      [1] Drink!

      1. Shas'ui says:

        This issue started with the expansion for Enemy Unknown: apparently the devs were worried that the slow, methodical pace people were taking was “Not fun”, but too effective not to be used. Thus, in the Enemy Within expansion, they added a time-limited resource, to encourage players to run out to grab it before it dissipated. Apparently, that wasn’t enough, and most people continued to play super defensive, so they decided they needed a hard solution, thus the turn timers.

        The whole reason it was an issue was that people who enjoyed aggressive play were complaining that turtling was the “only” way to play if you wanted to be efficient, and that they didn’t enjoy it, as it felt grindy/repetitive (& the game would happily destroy you if given the chance, by say, a risky/aggressive move). On the other hand, others, myself included, enjoyed creeping around cautiously, setting up proper fields of fire.

        So, in order to prevent people from complaining that it was too effective for how fun it was, they removed the option. A more elegant solution would have been to find some way to make offensive play more or equally rewarding as defensive play, higher risk but higher reward, thus allowing people to use their preferred style without fear of being hindered by it, but instead, they simply reversed the problem. To be fair, it’s a difficult balance to create.

        My solution has been a mod which adds a layer of stealth, including pausing the turn timer when you haven’t been spotted, as well as a larger squad, and some other minor tweaks, but even with all that, there is still some fighting with the timer. I suppose it makes sense in the narrative of guerrilla warfare, but for us turtles, it’s not fun, and there’s not a good way to fix that, even with mods.

        In the end, it boils down to: The Devs want you to play like this, I want to play like that. It’s a matter of personal opinion as to who should bend, and how far.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          No,the issue came long before even the first remake was in the works,when they decided to remove time units because “those just slow down the game too much”.A bunch of things were done to speed up the games(like not being able to target anything other than aliens with a gun),not just the time limit.

          As for an elegant solution,having those expirable canisters from the expansion for the first game was a great way to do it.If you wish,you could turtle completely,but then getting resources would slow down considerably,and youd have to be more stingy with mechs and gene mods.But,because youd be in less danger,youd lose less people,and thus have more experienced fighters to balance things out.A tweak to that system wouldve been perfect.

          Alternatively,you could make it so that the longer the mission lasts,the longer soldiers are fatigued for afterwards.Or something like that.There are plenty of ways to push players forward without having a hard timer implemented.

          1. RCN says:

            I think a good solution would be to add more mechanics towards this risk/reward dichotomy that are more organic.

            Like, you’d get a greater panic reduction for completing a panic mission faster. Make it a soldier poll vs objectives scenario. Make it so that careful players are rewarded for their planing with consistency and wins, while aggressive players are rewarded options and greater rewards.

            Simply imposing a type of gameplay on the player base when you have the resources to do better is not a good policy.

            But hey, at least they leave the modding community a lot of freeway to create any gaming experience they want.

  11. Grimwear says:

    I hate the quick time events in Resident Evil 4. The worst is when you get chased by the Napoleon Statue. Just having to spam over and over to run. Then dodge pillars and spam run some more until you finally jump and have to spam to climb the bridge. I’d get wicked hand cramps which caused me to fail. Which then meant that the best way for me to progress if I fail is to then put the game down and come back later once my hand has rested. Stupid gameplay where once you fail you get stuck in a downward spiral.

  12. NoOne says:

    Love all 3 Thief games. I play them through in a Thief-a-thon every couple of years.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      What,no love for thi4f?

      *ducks behind the bed*

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        It’s almost as if you’re implying that someone was making another Thief game, but I’m sure I’d have heard something about it if that was the case so that’s just silly.

        On a more serious note, there is also The Dark Mod, it’s a bit hit and miss in term of quality of individual levels but…

  13. Dreadjaws says:

    Games that “get good” late.

    I don’t know about Shamus, but to provide my own answer: I hate that. If a game doesn’t manage to hold my interest in a certain amount of time that game gets abandoned. I already made the mistake of playing through Final Fantasy XIII under the promise that it would “get good later”, and that was a bold face lie, I’m not doing it again.

    But just to make it clear: even if I know for a fact it’ll get good later I’m still not playing it. Leaving that game aside, the most I’ve spent with a game that’s not fun waiting for it to become so was about two hours in Alan Wake. And yeah, I keep getting responses of “Oh, you abandoned it just when it was getting good!” or “You didn’t play it in its entirety, so you have no right to complain about its quality”, both of which I ignore because they’re both irritatingly dumb excuses.

    I’m not a kid with basically unlimited playing time. I have to work, and I have other responsibilities and hobbies. I most certainly not going to waste my time doing something I’m not having fun with under the promise that I might enjoy myself later. I already have my job for that. Hell, I once abandoned a game for good after 10 minutes, because they were 10 minutes of nothing but slowly walking in a forest with no dialogue, context or even a tiny bit of interesting scenery.

    I understand that as a developer you don’t want to play all your cards at once, but if you’re going to wait a while to deliver the goods you still need something to hold the player’s attention. Half-Life had a long intro sequence that had you do nothing for several minutes, but it used that time to immerse you into the world and provide context and backstory.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      both of which I ignore because they’re both irritatingly dumb excuses.

      I fully agree with this.Even though I have played games that get better later,I never recommend those.I dont even recommend the original fallouts*drink*,even though I love those,because I recognize how wonky the ui is and how much time is required to get into them.

      1. Dreadjaws says:

        Funny story. Right when I was checking out this diecast, I ran into this old article from the defunct Old Man Murray:

        http://www.oldmanmurray.com/longreviews/63.html

        This was written eighteen years ago. Despite this, there’s people that to this day don’t realize how dumb is defending something with the “It gets better later!” mantra.

    2. Syal says:

      Yeah, saying a game gets good X hours in is effectively saying you’ll never want to replay it.

    3. Echo Tango says:

      I think the better thing to do, for a fan of a game, would be to offer help, or a savegame, for a game that has an annoying beginning. It’s sure as hell what I would do! :)

  14. Leipävelho says:

    130 Gb of ARMA III mods. And I thought my 36 Gb were a lot.

    1. Shas'ui says:

      It has been alleged that I might have some issues with modding.

      It started out small enough; Just a few maps, CUP for all the stuff from the old games, then ACE & TFAR because you’ve got to have those for a milsim group, then RHS got put on steam, so might as well grab that, then NI arms for my fav German 7.62, then compatibility mods so that all of the above can talk to eachother, perhaps some WW2 stuff would be cool, or maybe Halo, or Star-Wars, Etc.

      As of right now, I have two separate mods that add sharks, because one wasn’t enough. I have weapons for every war between early WWII, and WH40k. Jurassic park mod? Absolutely. A collection of F16 skins so that I can have the local Nat. Guard tailfin. A large weapon set that I only use 3 items out of. (It has a working XM25 with air-burst. Worth the space for that alone.) I did actually remove the Unsung mod, as I replicated most of it already, and it’s 20GB just by itself.

      In the end, I’m usually only running 150~200 at a time, due to conflicts/load times, but this isn’t the only game where I’ve modded it to the breaking point, and it is remarkably resilient in that regard. XCOM 2 wouldn’t even start after the hundred mod mark.

  15. Paul Spooner says:

    The short segment about quicktime event difficulty being exacerbated on an unfamiliar controller reminded me of my attempts to learn to play TowerFall with my brothers on a steam controller. I don’t normally play console-style games, and I don’t own a steam controller, and I’m not particularly good at twitchy games, so it was a perfect storm of goofiness. The round would start and I’d fire off all my arrows and die ingloriously, and someone would shout “Paul, press double ampersand to dodge!” and then someone else says “Or you can use left bumper” and so I try pushing something on the controller and the game pauses or something and everyone’s like “who pressed left trigger?”
    There really needs to be a spatial map of controller inputs for non-intuitive mappings.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      Good god, bumpers vs triggers. (Also, on the Steamtroller, there’s additionally the flappers.) I believe the accepted terminology, is that the “bumpers” are the binary buttons, and that the “triggers” are the analog ones (which also have a binary click at the end). I guess that’s sort of how triggers act on real-life guns – analog pressure, plus a binary action at the end, so that sort of makes sense. However, what part of the word “bumper” is supposed to indicate binary-ness? If they were just called “shoulder buttons”, or just “buttons” there wouldn’t be much problem, since “button” generally refers to binary things already. :S

      1. Fizban says:

        I mean, they used to just be L and R, until triggers showed up and people started calling them bumpers to differentiate from the triggers. L1/L2 also worked just fine. L/LT seems perfectly intuitive. But now that you mention it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone grok “bumper” immediately.

        1. Paul Spooner says:

          Now I want a game controller that is just a glove with a button on each of the phalanges of your fingers, and you actuate them with your thumb. Putting proprioception to work for you!

        2. Syal says:

          So… it looks like the bumper isn’t actually on the side of the controller, like it should be if they’re referring to pinball.

          Are you supposed to throw the controller at other players, and then the bumper hits first and prevents damage?

  16. Leipävelho says:

    Oh, and by the way, the nicname Shas’Ui implicates a T’au player.

    1. GargamelLeNoir says:

      Indeed, the Tau people are famous for their regal user interfaces!

  17. MichaelG says:

    An uneven game that I found interesting was the original Halo. Long, long slogs through identical sections with identical combats. Then a hugely fun stretch that I wanted to save and play again and again.

  18. GargamelLeNoir says:

    A total conversion that doesn’t get enough love I think is Fall From Heaven 2, for Civilization 4 Beyond The Sword (aka the best Civ). Entirely new assets, an engrossing dark fantasy lore, magic, monsters, quests, heroes and more important civilizations that are actually different from one another! We’re not talking “that civ has a special horseman”, we’re talking “that civ is made of vampire who can grow in power by eating pop, this other one is made of dwarves whose entire production depend on their stock of gold”!
    The only drawback was a disputable balance for multiplayer, but other than that it was so far superior to the base game it wasn’t even funny.

  19. default_ex says:

    Not so sure about the modding vs game engine thing. In the late 90s we did have some game engines that made it relatively easy to produce a game, much easier than a total conversion mod. Ogre3D and CrystalSpace come to mind there, especially Ogre3D which still has a huge following with loads of tools available to work with it how you want to. For the less technically incline there was things like RPG Maker, Game Maker and similar game kits where you effectively had a game that was thoroughly moddable with it’s own WYSIWYG tools waiting for you to come up with good ways to utilize it’s game play mechanics or mod in your own game play mechanics. What engines like Unreal and Unity did was give people attracted to those kits a much better toolkit that works to make games you give out for free or take to market. When you look into it or if you followed along with it, it was this incremental stepping from having to write it all from scratch to the lego and duct tape style of design we see now.

  20. RCN says:

    Total Annihilation (and its successors, Supreme Commander and Planetary Annihilation) are games I really think Shamus would enjoy. If not for the gameplay, at least for their concept.

    For me, I played Starcraft before Total Annihilation, but while I enjoyed it, when I played Total Annihilation ALL I kept thinking was “why aren’t other RTS like it?” Projectiles are simulated. The economy is more about being good at balancing the input and output of resources than “clicking at the ‘train 1 marine’ at the moment you have the resources”. There’s lot of procedural work (aircraft dogfight following procedural code, following targets and trying to dodge incoming fire, instead of standing still in the air shooting at each other and automatically hitting). Trees and other objects can catch fire and be destroyed to open the way, your units’ carcasses can blot the road and force you to look for a different path for your enemy’s base or clean the rubble.

    There’s ton of interesting stuff to glance from these games. And Supreme Commander 2, despite its general horribleness trying to be Star Craft 2, at least has the best pathfinding I’ve ever seem for units in any RTS game.

  21. Dennis says:

    If you want to see a great spy thriller with good cinematography, I highly recommend Atomic Blonde. I enjoyed it a lot, it really nailed the late 80’s vibe.

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