Borderlands 3: Second Impressions

By Shamus Posted Monday Sep 16, 2019

Filed under: Video Games 51 comments

There’s no Diecast todaySorry., so instead I’m going to do a follow-up to yesterday’s post where I complained that the guns in Borderlands 3 felt weak and ineffectual and the foes were all super-absorbent damage sponges. I had a lot of other gripes with the game, but that was the main one. The responses were very mixed. Some people agreed, some people reported the opposite. Both groups seem to be people who are familiar with the series and I’m sure everyone is giving an honest report of their own experience.

This means we’re probably missing some context. Something about this game is causing different people to report different experiences, and I’m curious to see if we can drill down and figure this out. Please do read the original post if you haven’t already.

So now let’s ask the question…

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Borderlands 3: Second Impressions”



Borderlands 3 First Impressions

By Shamus Posted Sunday Sep 15, 2019

Filed under: Video Games 107 comments

I’ve only spent a few hours with the game so far. I just dinged level 18, and the game ends around 30-ish. My lack of progress since Friday’s release is mostly due to my switching between a few different characters. I started out as Moze, who can summon a battle mech. After a few levels of that I tried Zane, a hitman with a bunch of different abilities. I played him until level 18, and then started again as FL4K, a robot with a pet skag.

The game seems to be doing okay with critics. A score of 85 isn’t “OMG Game of the Year”, but it’s still a respectable score. Everyone has a few gripes with it, but the criticism is pretty scattershot. It’s not like everyone is rallying around one or two obvious flaws.

This is baffling to me, since I think there’s a really obvious problem with the game and nobody is talking about it.

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Borderlands 3 First Impressions”



Game Programming Vexations Part 3: The Dominance of C++

By Shamus Posted Thursday Sep 12, 2019

Filed under: Programming 155 comments

C++ is the main language of game development. This is changing slowly as indies embrace other languages, but in the AAA space C++ is still overwhelmingly dominant. C++ is descended from – and is very similar to – the language C. First created in 1972, C is just one year younger than I am. It was devised for the world of the 1970s. It was targeted at the hardware of the 1970s, and was originally intended for writing operating systems.

This seems crazy, doesn’t it? Writing operating systems for Nixon-era mainframes is so vastly different from building AAA games in 2019 that it’s like we’re using coal-fired steam engines to go to the moon. Sure, the steam engine has been modernized a bit, but there are still conventions built into the language that don’t make a lot of sense in the world of 2019. The fact remains that somewhere underneath all those rocket engines and silver wings is a chugging steam engine.

C++ certainly has language features not available in C. C++ has classes, inheritance, operator overloading, and a bunch of other slick ways of expressing complex solutions in code. Those are nice, but none of those things uniquely address challenges faced in games programming. We could, in an alternate universe, use a different sort of language with a different set of features.

It’s not like this industry is incapable of evolution! Studios have changed game engines, and game engines have changed what graphics API they favorOn the PC side, this boils down to DirectX vs. OpenGL, with third-party candidate Vulkan landing a few recent wins.. Our tools are different, the target hardware is different, the operating systems are different, and the performance challenges have changed numerous times. Rendering technology has gone through at least two major revolutions. First there was the jump from software rendering to using dedicated graphics hardware, and then another jump when we added the ability to program that graphics hardware using shaders. Over the last 30 years we’ve changed every single thing about game development except the language!

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Game Programming Vexations Part 3: The Dominance of C++”



Control Part 1: A Nice Surprise

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Sep 10, 2019

Filed under: Retrospectives 110 comments

I should make it clear up front that this isn’t one of my long-form reviews that analyzes the entire plot of a game. This is just a short (by the standards of this site) and spoiler-free review. It’s just three entries long, and you can read all of them without worrying that I’m going to reveal any of the game’s big mysteries or plot-points. These articles will actually reveal less about the story than the trailer.

Over the years I’ve found quite a few games where I was into the gameplay but didn’t like the story. So it’s really surprising when I run into a game that reverses this. Control’s world constantly fascinated me and the story had me hooked from the first few minutes. That’s good, because if I didn’t love the world so much then I never would have put up with this combat.

Let’s start with the good stuff.

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Control Part 1: A Nice Surprise”



Diecast #273: The Mailbag Strikes Back

By Shamus Posted Monday Sep 9, 2019

Filed under: Diecast 102 comments

At this point, I’m not sure who to blame. Do we blame listeners who spam us with incessant questions, or do we blame the hosts for encouraging the practice by answering them? I have no idea.

On an unrelated note, the show email is in the header image if you have any questions for us!

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Show notes: Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Diecast #273: The Mailbag Strikes Back”