Final Fantasy X Part 8: Ain’t No Party Like a Summoner’s Party

By Shamus
on Aug 4, 2016
Filed under:
FFX

97 comments

Before I start today’s entry, I have a bit of housekeeping to take care of. When my brother Patrick read part 5 of this series he wrote to me:

[…] You also failed to tell your readers that your brother won 100 straight Blitzball games, butt-fucked the Luca Goers, and routinely won games by double digits. My personal best was a 27-0 destruction of the Al Bed Machine Fuckers.

I try to imagine what Twenty Sided would be like if Pat was running it. That would be a very different kind of website.

It’s also worth mentioning that Pat recruited Bickson, the lead jerkface of the Luca Goers. He did this just so he could bench him and make sure the guy never played Blitzball ever again. We made a pretty good team. When it came to doing the sidequests to unlock the super-weapons, he handled the Blitzball and some of the races, and I did the monster arena collection stuff. (We’ll talk more about that later.) We played through the game many times like this. The only super weapon we never got was Kimari’s, because to hell with THAT minigame.

Anyway, back to our story…

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2020202017There are now 97 comments. Almost a hundred!



Fallout 4 EP25: Lonely Week

By Shamus
on Aug 3, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

125 comments


Link (YouTube)

The problem of making smarter stealth mechanics is that it’s kind of like trying to straighten out a bit of poorly-placed wallpaper. You smooth out a bubble, and it pops up elsewhere. So you smooth that out, and now you have two bubbles. You never really get it right, but eventually you get it to the point where the flaws are small enough that you’re willing to put up with them because you’re sick of the task.

Laying aside the mechanics, the big problem for immersion is that foes don’t say the right things in response to stealthy activity. The problem becomes more pronounced when you have spoken dialog. It creates unintentional comedy when the AI barks don’t match up with our perception of reality. For example, in Skyrim you can hit a bandit with an arrow. He’ll run around looking for you furiously, then give up and go back to his patrol. Mechanically, that’s fine. The problem is that he says, “It must have been the wind” with an arrow sticking out of his shoulder.

There’s a lot to keep track of here. Let’s assume we’re trying to fix the Skyrim / Fallout 4 stealth mechanics. An AI is presented with some stimulus (something happens that ought to cause a change in behavior) and we need to work out how to handle this gracefully. Aside from the problem of having an AI navigate an arbitrary space and search for the player in an interesting way that provides challenge without obvious cheating, we need to have our AI say things that don’t make them sound like stupid Bethesda AI.

So the stimulus is presented. The AI can’t SEE the player, but something happens that indicates that the player might be active nearby. Now we have to consider:
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A Hundred!205There are 125 comments here. I really hope you like reading.



Ruts vs. Battlespire CH20: Somebody That I Used to Know (?)

By Rutskarn
on Aug 3, 2016
Filed under:
Lets Play

37 comments

Remember how my breastplate was rudely sundered after I forget to take it into preventative maintenance for just one or two entire videogames? Well, the good news is, I found a new one. The other good news is, it seems to have been tailor made for me. The bad news:

Maybe the `enchantment` is just a magically-autofilling laundry tag.
Maybe the 'enchantment' is just a magically-autofilling laundry tag.

So you know what this does? I never look up enchantments unless I’m debugging, and even then only if there’s a chance it’s relevant, but I realized I couldn’t leave this one alone. So now that I’ve found a replacement a few hours later, I’ve gone ahead and checked the wiki.

Craven Knave and Jackal: Increases the Missile skill.

Well alright then.

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201737 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.



Good Robot Postmortem #4: Promotion

By Shamus
on Aug 2, 2016
Filed under:
Good Robot

139 comments

Here is the final entry in this series. It’s a bit of a downer. Sorry. I edited it quite a bit trying to make it less depressing. But then I realized that while it’s a downer, it’s also honest, and honesty is the whole point of a postmortem. Let’s start with Arvind’s final thoughts:

Promotion

Arvind

I’ve already written about the need to promote your game in an earlier blog post. Now, it is time to discuss the result.

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A Hundred!2019There are 139 comments here. I really hope you like reading.



Diecast #161: Death Road to Canada, FTL, Starbound

By Shamus
on Aug 1, 2016
Filed under:
Diecast

118 comments


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

Direct link to this episode.

Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Shamus, Campster.

Episode edited by Issac.

Show notes: Continue reading »

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Shamus Plays LOTRO #22: Welcome to Chetwood – Again!

By Shamus
on Jul 31, 2016
Filed under:
Shamus Plays

11 comments

Originally I had some commentary here on the fact that Lord of the Rings Online was moving to free-to-play. You can still read my commentary on the original Escapist post of this entry.

Six years later, I’m happy to see that LOTRO is still with us. It seems like the move to a free-to-play model was a good one.

Also, how about that Leeroy Jenkins reference in the header, huh? That meme was already way past its sell-by date when I wrote this, and that was six years ago.

I`m starting to suspect that this woman is not a nice person.

I`m starting to suspect that this woman is not a nice person.

Ellie Cutleaf is sending me to Chetwood to attack the bandit hideout. I promised (lied) that I’d bring some friends along. I don’t actually have any friends, but I’m pretty sure I can take care of the bandits anyway. The place is also guarded by killer guard dogs. I have a bottle of poison that I collected at great painsThe pains were actually experienced by the bears and wolves I had to kill to get it and not by me, but the point stands., which Ellie tells me I’ll be able to drop into the dog’s food supply so I don’t have to fight them all.

To get to their base, I just need to go to…

Trips to Chetwood: 4

Chetwood. AGAIN.

Maybe I should have brought some friends after all.

Maybe I should have brought some friends after all.

And now that I’m on the doorstep of the bandit base, I realize a fatal flaw with Ellie’s plan which we both should have realized right before coming up with a new plan and right after slapping ourselves in the forehead: The food is inside the base. I have to go in there to poison the food, but to get to the food I have to fight the dogs.

Well, the only thing worse than having a stupid and self-defeating plan is doing it halfway. Let’s make with the puppycide.

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11Just 11 comments.



Fallout 4 EP24: Enjoy Your Coffee

By Shamus
on Jul 29, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

111 comments


Link (YouTube)

Mumbles commented that the blood mechanics in this game are crazy. This seems to be a thing with late-period Bethesda games: Ragdolls act like balloons full of strawberry jam. Which makes it all the more inexplicable to me that “high-definition blood splatters” is always among the most popular mods. There are a lot of things visually wrong with how people die in this game, but “the blood decals are too low-res” isn’t one of them. If anything, the extra detail would draw attention to the problem.

I dunno. It’s just strange, is what I’m saying.

A Hundred!11111 comments. Quick! Add another to see if this message changes!



Fallout 4 EP23: Hancock for President

By Shamus
on Jul 28, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

95 comments


Link (YouTube)

Here’s a spoiler for Josh: I watched the episode and I SEE WHAT YOU DID.

I never teamed up with former mayor MacCready, so I can’t really comment on what they’ve done with him. I hear people say that he’s actually a pretty good companion, but I favor stealth gameplay and companions do not mix well with stealth. I thought it was surprising that he was in the game, but it doesn’t even make my list of top 100 Fallout 4 gripes. I mean, if I was given the choice between:

  1. Re-work an unpopular character to give them another chance. (MacCready in Fallout 4.)

  2. Hopelessly butcher an existing popular character by bending their story into nonsense and mercilessly flanderizing their personality quirks. (Harold in Fallout 3.)

I will take #1 every time.

2020202015There are now 95 comments. Almost a hundred!



Fallout 4 EP22: Reginald’s Suit

By Shamus
on Jul 27, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

125 comments


Link (YouTube)

“Does this game look good?” is the question. I had a bunch of nice things to say about it when the game was new:

  1. It’s got lots of color and they don’t abuse the color filter like in Fallout 3.

  2. The faces don’t look like potatoes, like they did in Fallout 3 and New Vegas.
  3. The weapons look pretty cool compared to Fallout 3.
  4. The supermutants are a little less like Fallout 3 and a little more like Fallout 1.

But that’s praising the game by pointing out how awful Fallout 3 looked. A more fair question would be, “Does Fallout 4 look good for a game in this time period, with these system requirements?”

I don’t know. I’m just glad that wretched green filter is gone.

A Hundred!205There are 125 comments here. I really hope you like reading.



Ruts vs. Battlespire CH19: Hot, Cold, and Hott

By Rutskarn
on Jul 27, 2016
Filed under:
Lets Play

41 comments

So after last week’s fun, painless, and intuitive teleportation process, I’m now standing in the “Shade Perilous.” So far every other place I’ve gone has been named for how much it’s going to kill me, so maybe I’m not as scurred as I ought to be.

Time for an in-game story update! Gather the wee ones and cuddle around Grandma Cahmel’s rocking chair as I regale you with another classic tale of actual rather than assumptive narrative. You can tell which is which because one’s broken and the other one’s just complicated.

As you may dimly recall, the one living humanoid still in the mix is a woman named Vatasha Trenelle. She’s left various notes indicating she’s shadowing the invading party and seeing what happens. Anyway, this is what happens.

She`s gonna get captured. That`s the take-away. Please don`t ever feel like you need to read these.
She's gonna get captured. That's the take-away. Please don't ever feel like you need to read these.

It’ll be a bit of a shame to see her go, because she was a novice who was, like us, putting it all on the line in a desperate situation. And she probably had pants when she showed up today, so that puts her one above us on professionalism. If she was a little bit better at exploiting bugs she’d probably be the main character.

Whoop, gotta go, the level’s greeter is on fire.

Because the fire`s blue, you can tell it`s that much more hot and powerful than a regular fire daedra. Or, uh, wait. That might be an ice daedra? Well, you can tell that it is either quite hot or very cold, and you can`t get any clearer than that.
Because the fire's blue, you can tell it's that much more hot and powerful than a regular fire daedra. Or, uh, wait. That might be an ice daedra? Well, you can tell that it is either quite hot or very cold, and you can't get any clearer than that.

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20201Feeling chatty? There are 41 comments.



Good Robot Postmortem #3: Story

By Shamus
on Jul 26, 2016
Filed under:
Good Robot

42 comments

There’s almost nothing in the way of story in the game, although it’s not for lack of ideas.

My original idea – which you can still sort of see scraps of here and there – was for an insane world. Since “robots go haywire and kill humans” is such an ever-present trope in fiction, I wanted to create a silly world where the reality was just as common as the trope. A world where homicidal robots were just a fact of life. A world where the solution to killer robots is to build more robots to protect you from the killer robots, and then when those go haywire you get more to protect you from them, and so on, until the air is thick with robo-warfare. The companies that make the robots are terrible at engineering, and the people are all mindless consumers with no sense of self-preservation.

This wasn’t intended to be some heavy-handed social commentary on consumerism or anything. It was really just an excuse to make “crazy robot” jokes and gently poke fun at well-worn genre tropes.

It’s a bit like Saints Row The Third, where the player is encouraged to not feel bad for the idiot civilians they run over, since they’re all shallow and stupid. In Saints Row, people vapidly worship the endlessly destructive, mass-murdering gang. So when they die it’s not an injustice, but comeuppance. Maybe throw in a dash of “Everyone is insane” from Borderlands.

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2020242 comments. (Insert played-out "meaning of life, the universe and everything" joke here.)



Diecast #160: Doom, Civil War 2, Mailbag

By Shamus
on Jul 25, 2016
Filed under:
Diecast

134 comments

This episode of the Diecast contains equal amounts of Shamus Young and gluten. I’m going to write up these show notes as I listen.


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

Direct link to this episode.

Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Campster, Mumbles.

Episode edited by Rachel.

Show notes: Continue reading »


A Hundred!2014There are 134 comments here. I really hope you like reading.




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