Pseudoku: Feedback to the Feedback

By Shamus
on Feb 7, 2017
Filed under:
Programming

136 comments

Last Tuesday I released a preview build of my half-finished puzzle game. At first it was really discouraging. I hadn’t included the right DLL files so the game didn’t run for some people, and then Windows gave inexplicable error messages that pointed me in the opposite direction of the problem. We got it sorted out, though. Probably.

So let’s try again.

The new build has been tested on Windows 8 and Windows 10 and appears to work properly on both. You can get it here:

Pseudoku 0.5.2

(Windows only, sorry.)

Feedback on everything (stability, interface, gameplay, puzzles, presentation) appreciated. I’m seriously considering putting this thing on Steam Greenlight. It’s only $100 to do so, and I’m sure I can make that back. I’d only need to sell about 44 copies at $5 eachYou need to sell more than $100 to MAKE $100, because Steam takes 30%, and taxes take 30% of what’s left.. It all depends on how much work it needs. I’m willing to spend a few days on it even if it’s not going to make any real money, but if it needs weeks of work then I need to shelve the project. I can’t afford that kind of time investment right now.

Continue reading »


A Hundred!2016There are 136 comments here. I really hope you like reading.



Diecast #187: Husk, Borderlands, Sims 4

By Shamus
on Feb 6, 2017
Filed under:
Diecast

67 comments

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

Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Shamus, Campster, and Baychel.

Show notes: Continue reading »


202020767 comments? This post wasn't even all that interesting.



Messages from Spammers Pt. 2

By Shamus
on Feb 5, 2017
Filed under:
Random

61 comments

The vast majority of spam on this site vanishes into a black hole. The plugin Akismet works with other blogs to identify common offenders and weed them out. Of those that survive, many are caught by the Bad Behavior plugin, which looks for bot-only shenanigans like visitors leaving comments to pages they’ve never loaded. Of the few that survive, some are weeded out by various heuristics like an overabundance of spammy keywords and links. And of course a few IP ranges are blocked for regions where spam traffic was overwhelming.

But sometimes spam makes it through all of these layers and winds up on the site. That’s what we’re looking at today. The ones that made it through. The best of the best. The smartest of the cockroaches. The luckiest of the houseflies.

Let’s see what they have to say…

Continue reading »


202020161 comments? This post wasn't even all that interesting.



Until Dawn EP21: Wendigo is Wendigone!

By Shamus
on Feb 3, 2017
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

77 comments


Link (YouTube)

So why DO the writers have these characters constantly wading through freezing water? The excuse I keep hearing is, “It’s movie physics!” But is it? Even movies acknowledge just how brutal freezing water is, even if movie characters bounce back a little faster than in real life. I’ve never seen a movie where someone jumped into icy water and it was portrayed like they were just “chilly”.

There doesn’t seem to even be a point to it. The water at the bottom of the mine (where they find Josh) is the only part of the story where the water is used for suspense or to hide a threat. The rest of the time it’s just a pointless little moment where you have to walk slow for fifteen seconds. It’s such a strange design choice. For people like me it’s this huge break in immersion as our characters are repeatedly exposed to deadly conditions with no impact, and for everyone else… what? Even if you’re not pulled out of the game, it’s not like these short swims are interesting or add anything to the story.

Also, the end of Matt’s story is kind of a letdown. It seems like they’re still on the mountain. Still in the woods. It’s still dark. They’re still lost. All I needed was one line of dialog along the lines of “Oh look, there’s the [secure building]! We’ll be safe there!”

So that was Until Dawn. It bugged me in a lot of small ways, but I kind of admire it. It’s full of cool ideas, wonderful scenery, great character designs, and really offers a lot of branching decisions / outcomes. The problems I have with the game are mostly problems I have with the genre it’s riffing on. It feels like the game has an experimental / indie approach to gameplay, but with AAA production values. Despite my gripes, I think the whole thing is an impressive accomplishment.


2020201777 comments. (Seventy-seven is the smallest positive integer requiring five syllables in English!)



Game of Thrones Griping 2: Completely Bonkers

By Bob Case
on Feb 3, 2017
Filed under:
Television

157 comments

This series analyzes the show, but sometimes references the books as well. If you read it, expect spoilers for both.

In last week’s post, I talked about the critical backlash against the season five Winterfell storyline, and about how the decision to move Littlefinger and Sansa from the Vale to the North created a host of narrative problems. Now it’s time to get into what those narrative problems are.

The next two seasons (five and six) of this storyline are kicked off by a typical Littlefinger scheme: he plans to marry Sansa Stark to Roose Bolton’s newly-legitimized son Ramsay, thereby securing an alliance with the new Warden of the North. This is the sort of thing we expect from Petyr Baelish, who’s always angling for his own advantage. In fact, the show portrays him so clearly as the “wily schemer” type that it’s possible not to notice that…

Littlefinger’s “plan,” to the extent he even has one, is completely bonkers

His accent is also completely bonkers.

His accent is also completely bonkers.

Littlefinger’s “plan,” to the extent he even has one, is completely bonkers. Let’s take a look at the backdrop here: first, Sansa was recently married to Tyrion Lannister, who is believed to have poisoned the King, and Sansa is suspected by many, including Cersei, to have been his accomplice.A suspicion reinforced by the fact that she abruptly vanished from the capital immediately after Joffrey’s death. So for Sansa to be in Littlefinger’s company at all would raise highly uncomfortable questions for him.

Continue reading »


A Hundred!202017We've got 157 comments. But one more probably won't hurt.



Until Dawn EP20: Wendigozer

By Shamus
on Feb 2, 2017
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

68 comments


Link (YouTube)

Rutskarn brings up the fact that on your first play-though, it usually feels like EVERYTHING matters and you have a lot of control over how the story unfolds. But then you play again, make different choices, and end up with a similar outcome. Again, it’s like having someone show you how a magic trick was done. Some people are fine because they were still able to enjoy that first play-through, even if subsequent trips through the game reveal the artifice. Other people feel sort of cheated.

The Telltale Walking Dead game had the same problem. “So-and-so will remember that” sounded profound and ominous, but then you realized later that this was usually a lie and each episode had a small handful of important decisions and many meaningless ones.

I’m fine with a “magic trick” game that only works once. The problem you run into is when you try to make a franchise of recurring threats and characters built around that idea. I know if I ever played TWD: Season 2 I’d spend the whole time thinking, “This decision probably doesn’t matter.”

I think Until Dawn makes for a better formula than Walking Dead. They could make another Until Dawn game about a different group of teens in a different location with a new threat and it ought to work as well as this one, because you won’t know what the threat is. You won’t know which teens have plot armor and which ones are just one late button-press from death at all times.

We know Clementine is going to face zombies and crazy assholes in her struggle to survive, and we know she’ll make it.

I think if we’re working our way through the slasher tropes, then “camping trip gone wrong” or “haunted summer camp” should be the next destination for the Until Dawn franchise.

Next episode will wrap this series up.


202020868 comments? This post wasn't even all that interesting.



Arkham City Part 2: The Dark Fight Returns

By Shamus
on Feb 2, 2017
Filed under:
Batman

94 comments

Since Batman is a gameplay-focused game, we should probably talk about the gameplay first.

I’ve heard the game dismissed as “Bah, it’s just a buncha quicktime events”. This isn’t true at all, but I can understand how people arrive at this conclusion. There is something wrong with the way the Arkham games present combat, it’s just that the complaint of “quicktime event” is misidentifying the problem.

I wasn’t particularly impressed with Arkham Asylum during my first play-through. It struck me as a bit of a shallow power fantasy: Just mash the attack button until all the dudes fall over. It wasn’t until a later playthrough that I discovered the depth that made fights an engaging challenge rather than simple cheap gratification.

How it works is this…

Continue reading »


2020202014There are now 94 comments. Almost a hundred!



Until Dawn EP19: The Doge of Menace

By Shamus
on Feb 1, 2017
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

64 comments


Link (YouTube)

According to the Wiki, Mike can’t be killed here. Watch this entire section with that in mind. Imagine a player flubbing every single quicktime event. That really would ruin the magic trick.

I wonder how common that is?

I’m willing to bet it’s extremely rare for first-time players. Like, even if you hate Mike and wish he’d die, I’m willing to bet you’ll want to do this section properly because it’s a videogame and you’re here to play a videogame.

There’s a bit in Batman: Arkham City where Penguin is going to punch Bruce Wayne in the face. The section is a bit like Until Dawn here, where it’s sort of a cutscene with dialog but there’s also a prompt you can respond to. Of course, I’ve always hit the prompts to counter Penguin’s punch and break free. I’ve often been curious what happens if you don’t touch the controller and let him blast you in the face. Does the beating go until you press counter? Do you eventually get a game over? Is there more dialog if he lands the punch?

I’ve played through that scene half a dozen times. I’ve always been curious about it. But when the moment comes I find the temptation to push the button is irresistible. I imagine it’s the same thing for would-be Mike murderers in Until Dawn. You may want him dead, but you’re not willing to “fail” to make it happen.


202020426 comments.



Unfit for XCOMmand CH3: Regroup and Reallocate

By Rutskarn
on Feb 1, 2017
Filed under:
Lets Play

27 comments

COUNCIL SPEAKER: Very well. Bradford, please conclude your analysis of Operation Winter Stank.

C.O. BRADFORD: Skyranger took off on-schedule, leaving Sq. Specialist Kennedy on the ground, where she radioed several editorial comments concerning Carl Sagan. Then she was struck by the psychic domination effect of the sectoid behind her, and finished by saying, “I’m going to kill the Commander.”

COUNCIL: In English? Implying, then, that the mind-control effect is an alteration rather than a replacement of the existing personality. Take note of that, XXXX. [pen noises]

BRADFORD: Um. Yes. I mean, that could be what happened, yes.

COUNCIL: Well, it doesn’t seem…

BRADFORD: It is actually possible that she was lucid for that period.

COUNCIL: Lucid meaning, “not controlled.”

BRADFORD: That is what I meant. Yes. I don’t wish to imply, obviously…

COUNCIL:  Do you believe Kennedy was an Advent agent?

BRADFORD: Absolutely not. I certainly do not believe she had any active plots to harm XCOM personnel. I wouldn’t say that at all.

COUNCIL: But you think she might have said, deliberately–

BRADFORD: I think we’re running into a darkzone here. Will call again at 1800.

Continue reading »


20727 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.



Pseudoku Feedback

By Shamus
on Jan 31, 2017
Filed under:
Programming

175 comments

Like I said on the podcast last week: I have another a game that’s reasonably close to complete in terms of programming, but in need of more content and polish if I wanted it to see commercial release. I’m not sure what the project needs or if it’s worth spending more time on, so I’m releasing this alpha version in the hopes of getting feedback.

I already had this game in development before the release of Good Robot. But then Good Robot was kind of a disappointment in terms of sales and I started thinking that maybe there were better uses of my time where I could entertain more people with less effort. So I shelved the project.

I rediscovered the project a couple of weeks ago and started thinking that I ought to at least throw it out to the public and see what people thought of it. So that’s what we’re doing.

Continue reading »


A Hundred!20202015Many comments. 175, if you're a stickler



Diecast #186: Mailbag!

By Shamus
on Jan 30, 2017
Filed under:
Diecast

124 comments

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

Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Shamus, Campster, and Baychel.

This is it! We finally get around to answering all those questions you’ve been sending us.

Show notes: Continue reading »


A Hundred!204There are 124 comments here. I really hope you like reading.



Shamus Plays WoW #15: The Doom of Darkshire

By Shamus
on Jan 29, 2017
Filed under:
WoW

23 comments

The town of Lakeshire. As I remember, a lot of quests involve swimming around in the stupid lake and clicking on shit.

The town of Lakeshire. As I remember, a lot of quests involve swimming around in the stupid lake and clicking on shit.

We’re in the town of Lakeshire in the Redridge mountains. Boss has skipped talking to the useless guards, lackeys, and officials around town and gone straight for the top. We’re going to talk to the magistrate and see what this town really needs.

The following text isn`t an exaggeration. There really is a line (that never moves) to speak to the magistrate, and the player just ignores them and talks to him directly.

The following text isn`t an exaggeration. There really is a line (that never moves) to speak to the magistrate, and the player just ignores them and talks to him directly.

There are a lot of people in line, waiting to see him and complain about the gnolls that are killing and pillaging their farms. This is not to imply that there is a single farm anywhere in the Redridge mountains. But wherever these idiots and their imaginary farms come from, they are pissed off and want to talk to Magistrate Solomon. The wait would take hours.

Norman solves this by just cutting in line and demanding to know what needs done.

Continue reading »


20323 comments. Highly cototient!




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