Diecast #3: Jarenth, PS4, Elder Scrolls

By Josh Posted Thursday Mar 7, 2013

Filed under: Diecast 148 comments


With Shamus out for the week, I host and Jarenth guest stars on this exciting installment of the Diecast!

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

And now for the show notes, complete with the oft-requested timestamps!

00:15 – We talk about what we’ve been doing for the past week. Shamus is a zombie, Chris is a Tomb Raider, Rutskarn is Homestuck, Jarenth’s lost in Echo Bazaar, and I’ve been set on the Path of Exile.

15:55 – Everything and more about the Playstation 4 announcement, and in particular, the implication that “more polygons = stronger emotional connection.” And if you don’t want to watch the whole thing, VideoGamerTV made a helpful abridged version of the conference that has basically everything that’s important in it.

33:00 – We discuss the closure of Civilization World and what it can tell us about the state of Social Games, and how it compares to a similar collapse of the MMO space.

48:00 – Crytek jumps on the free-to-play bandwagon and is also very bad at naming things. We also talk about Cevat Yerli’s statement that “…the notion of a single-player experience has to go away.”

1:02:15 – Round Table Discussion: Are the Elder Scrolls games getting better or worse?

1:18:00 – We round out the podcast with the Assassin’s Creed 4 announcement. I hope you like pirates, because… uh… well I’m not really sure where the hell they’re going with this. Assassins and pirates? Are we going to finally see a video game about pirates versus ninjas? I don’t know, but here’s the announcement trailer.


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148 thoughts on “Diecast #3: Jarenth, PS4, Elder Scrolls

  1. Irridium says:

    I’m torn on Assassin’s Creed 4. On one hand, it seems it’s going farther away from what I loved about the series, which was running around in ancient cities, assassinating people.

    On the other hand, I would love a good pirate game. Last good one that I remember was Sid Meier’s Pirates (the 2004 one).

    Of course they say they’re going to bring back the assassination-style of the first game, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

    1. Thank goodness they don’t suspect the one guy in the white costume of killing the pirate captain in spite of being the last person seen with him. Now to just stand here on this deck with maybe five other people and use my special “blend in” powers until they forget about it and I can make it back to the mainland by jumping from mast to mast on a bunch of incredibly convenient boats that are just far enough apart to form a line across the Atlantic.

      1. Grampy_Bone says:

        The sailing was fun as hell, so consider me stoked regardless.

      2. Dragomok says:

        Floating barrels of hay. You forgot about floating barrels of hay. It can’t be an Assasin’s Creed game if there’s no hay in it.

    2. Kanodin says:

      Yeah I really loved Sid Meier’s Pirates and I quite like Assassin’s Creed so I’m entirely ok with them jumping ship from more relevant settings. Also the protagonist is supposed to be Connor’s grandfather.

    3. rayen says:

      Assassin’s Creed 4 is pirates because go back and look at what critic’s liked the most. The sailing ship to ship combat was “extraordinary”, the devs saw that the critics liked that and decided to expand it into a whole game. not a bad move in one sense, i imagine the game will review well, but i also the player base didn’t seem to enamored with it. It looks good but didn’t play good was what i took away about it.

      AC has a bigger problem of the first and second game set a precedent that Ubisoft seems uncomfortable breaking. And that is always moving closer to the present, supposedly ending with a game about Desmond and jumping about in a future Templar controlled city. However Mirrors edge came out and was almost universally hated so they aren’t in a hurry to do that.

      So they can’t go further back than the crusades, and they can’t bring it too close to the present/future. Being that the “golden age of piracy” was actually before the American revolution, this might be a move towards breaking that trend without actually breaking it because the time period is superficially similar (ie 18th century). so maybe becasue mirror’s edge scared them off (and this franchise is making tons of cash)they’re going to slowly start moving backwards. I hope so, I’d really like to see AC in Sengoku Jidai, Rome, ancient Egypt/Greece/Persia.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        I’m inclined to think they’ll stick with the West, simply because of the philosophies and history of the orders and the franchise itself, but there are certainly a lot of other different areas. (P.S. They did Rome already, just Renaissance Rome instead of Classical.)

        The Peloponnesian war (between Athens and Sparta) could be interesting… Certainly a lot of philosophy on the surface of that conflict, much like the American and French Revolutions.

        I’d of course say WW1 (Archduke Franz Ferdinand was killed by the Assassins you guys!), but somewhat/decent guns have a good chance of breaking AC unless they REALLY switch up the formula :/

        1. postinternetsyndrome says:

          WW1, victorian London, pretty please.

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            I’d love a Victorian London AC game.

            I’m not even British, I just love that kind of setting.

      2. Sleeping Dragon says:

        To be fair I did like the sea battles. Sure, they were relatively simplistic but they had a really nice feel, especially during a storm: the ship felt like it had mass, the shouting of orders and the crew running around the deck doing their jobs added to a sense of heated battle and the whole thing felt suitably dramatic. The main problem with the battles was that that they felt tacked on to the main game and questions along the lines of “Why am I doing this? Wasn’t this game about sneaking up to and stabbing dudes?” were unavoidable. It probably helped me like the battles that I didn’t really care much for the rest of the game at this point.

        On the one hand I said “the battles are really cool, they would make for a great mechanics to expand on for a game” and I stand by it. On the other hand I think it would be better to extract it from the AC franchise build up on it a whole lot and use it for a separate game whatsoever. I mean, after the first game was very well received it feels like they had no idea why it worked despite some mechanical clunkiness and they started to add all sorts of mechanics: tower defence, hunting, sea battles, guild management, trading, faction missions (do X leaps of faith and such)… these are all crutches that have nothing to do with the themes or even gameplay as established in the first game.

      3. Trithne says:

        ‘Mirrors Edge came out and was universally hated.’

        How’s the weather in Bizarro land?

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          Yeah. Mirror’s Edge 2 is the only thing EA could tempt me with at this point.

        2. X2-Eliah says:

          I guess it may be a reference to Mirror Edge’s financial not-success. And, iirc, critically it was a bit panned with regard to, well, the not-jumpey-bits.

      4. 4th Dimension says:

        Assassins Creed games can’t really do modern setting with Desmond because of plot reasons. Desmond died at the end of AC3 by sacrificing himself so that Minerva could protect Earth, but also part of the deal was that Minerva gets set free and the despises humans and is probably out to enslave us. But a modern game based on AC lore is theoretically possible, but it’s going to be tricky how to implement guns properly.

        Also the protagonist of the new game is supposed to be a Kenway and it’s implied he is Conor’s ancestor on English side, probably Heytams father.

        They can go back before Crusades. There were nearly always people claiming the same Assassins ideals, but in different guises. Brotherhood implied Brutus was one of them. Than we have that Chinese assassin that Ezio met and mentored short time before he died, so that could be a link back to Chinese, and so on.

        So I do agree that it’s uninspired somewhat to go for Pirates.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          Yeah. It’s Haytham’s daddy (Connor’s grand-daddy)

        2. Torsten says:

          WW1 era Russia would be a relatively modern setting that could work. The revolution would have plenty of conspiracy material for the devs. Any more modern setting and the game would basically turn into Splinter Cell.

          1. Bubble181 says:

            I’d actually prefer just a few years earlier – the Russian-Japanese war of ’04-’05. Practically unknown in the Western World, an interesting blend of Civil War and WWI era technology, typical japanese and typical Russian concepts and methods, lots of story potential if you know what happened in some of those battles.

  2. Johan says:

    More polys doesn’t necessarily mean more better, or more emotional connection, but it is undoubtedly true that the limitations of the hardware of the old consoles has held back games in some tangible ways. Look at New Vegas, the City itself in particular. It’s hyped as a glorious paradise, halfway between Sodom and the real Las Vegas, and then you get there and literally EVERYONE who played it was let down by what they saw. 5 guys wandering around tiny, walled off spaces, “bustling” casinos with more staff than patrons, Spoiler Warning even commented on this, and Shamus said it best, who was to blame? Consoles. The game had to be walled off and cut down for console limitations, and the city of New Vegas and the game New Vegas suffered as a result

    1. krellen says:

      Except in a 2d game, or an isometric game with static backgrounds, New Vegas could still have looked huge, and there was no NEED for New Vegas (or even Fallout 3) to be made in Gamebryo.

      1. Johan says:

        “Except in a 2d game, or an isometric game with static backgrounds”
        …but these bring their own problems to trying to connect with the player and suck the player in.

        1. krellen says:

          Horse Hockey. Utter, putrid horse hockey. There wasn’t a single moment in Fallout 3 that “sucked me in”. Fallout and Fallout 2 are both full of such moments – the Boneyard, Necropolis, the Glow, New Reno, Redding’s Mines, Vault City.

          Immersion does not require a first-person perspective.

          1. Shamus says:

            Either way, we don’t need to go all the way back to isometric view. If New Vegas was built with 2004 poly counts and texture budgets, they could have left the entire strip as a single zone. Move it back to 2000 poly counts (like Deus Ex-ish) and you could fit Vegas itself into the open world map AND filled the streets with wandering pimps, prostitutes, Kings, crazies, hobos, salesmen, robots, and rednecks.

            Big textures devour memory based on the square of their resolution, so half resolution means four times smaller.

            Animated characters devour CPU based on joints AND points, so simpler models gives you multiplicative savings.

            Just stepping back one generation would do wonders for zone size and character count. And strong art style covers a multitude of graphical sins.

            This is not to say that isometric view should be shunned. X-Com, Diablo, Fallout, Warcraft… many of the Great Old Ones began that way.

            1. Thomas says:

              You’d need to be aiming for a really small market for Deus Ex polycounts. People don’t like going back when they know what they can have. And maybe PS2 graphics would be acceptable, but DX graphics just really did suck.
              That would effect the ability to show character and I wouldn’t want to walk around environments that looked like that. The wow of having lots of people would be ruined by the fact they all look like people have strapped sheets of paper to their heads

              1. Thomas says:

                EDIT: More concisely, Cage makes a certain type of game and better graphics gives him more opportunity to evoke emotions in the games he wants. But Cages flaw is he’s so enthusiastic for his thing that he never recognises that there are lots of other valid types of game and gamestories

                1. Lame Duck says:

                  It’s not impossible for a game-creator’s storytelling to be limited by the graphical potential of the hardware they have to use, but I can not think of a single example of that being the current major limitation of any individual or studio. It’s certainly not the big problem with David Cage’s games.

                2. newdarkcloud says:

                  All I know is that “Polygons is Emotions. People are not Polygons. Therefore, people not emotions.”


            2. Johan says:

              “New Vegas was built with 2004 poly counts and texture budgets, they could have left the entire strip as a single zone. Move it back to 2000 poly counts (like Deus Ex-ish) and you could fit Vegas itself into the open world map AND filled the streets with wandering pimps, prostitutes, Kings, crazies, hobos, salesmen, robots, and rednecks.”
              Move it back to Deus Ex and we’ve lost the ability to make characters emote with their faces or bodies (not that NV does a lot of this but for example we couldn’t have those soldiers walking around drunk) because that’s more joints, more polys, and more animations, we’ve lost the ability to have people ragdollize in new and exciting ways because that costs money, we’ve lost the ability to have melee combat that anyone will like because we can only give models so many joints

              Yes we can fit the whole world in there, but it will be a rather bland world devoid of all the stuff we WANTED to have in their in the first place.

              There really is a tradeoff here, we can’t just say “we should turn back the clock” because we’ll have lost just as much or more than we’ve gained. Newer graphics aren’t inherently better, more joints don’t make a better game, and the ability to render objects in the world rather than paint them on the walls doesn’t inherently make for a good experience, but I do genuinely think that we’ve gained so much it would be a waste to go back, and detrimental to games in general if we tied the devs hands any more than we need to

              It costs as much to make a bad game as a good one, and it’s equally possible to blow your entire budget with 2000 graphics as with 2013, and either way you’ve forgotten to make a good game, I’m just so much more satisfied with all the gains we’ve made that I don’t want us to stop now simply because we have the problem we’ve always had, that stupid devs fail to spend their money wisely, and because of this we want to tie the hands of all devs so that they can’t do what they could if given better tools

              1. Duneyrr says:

                I’d rather play Morrowind than Oblivion despite the graphical upgrade, but I’ll probably never play Daggerfall again. There is definitely a balance between having complex graphics and having a huge world to explore.

              2. Shamus says:

                Sure. I wasn’t saying Deus Ex is the One True Poly Count, and everything since then has been a waste.

                You can do a LOT with polycounts if you’ve got a strong art style. A Deus Ex-budgeted character could emote, but they would need to be created with that in mind: Larger head, exaggerated features. Maybe make the mouth a flat image that changes, like a cartoon character. You’d end up with something sort of Legend of Zelda-ish.

                Then again, cartoony art style wouldn’t help Fallout games.

                Then again again, the first Fallout game was kind of styleized.

                Then again again again, one of the major problems with FO3 and NV is that they DON’T emote: Everyone is a plastic-faced robot, even when their voice performer is giving an emotionally charged performance.

                I think the important point is that the generic photorealism of FO3 and NV are basically the worst possible direction they could have gone, visually.

                1. X2-Eliah says:

                  Hmyeah. In nearly any game, ‘Generic Photorealism’ is the worst direction to take. Now, I don’t mind there being games with ‘Stylistic Photorealism’ – a type of photorealism that is still somewhat unreal, and deliberately focused on a particular style whilst using all the looks/resources that generic photorealism would get.

              3. Sleeping Dragon says:

                I like the argument about Deus Ex graphics not allowing for emoting because it rings true despite the fact that I love the games of old that couldn’t handle this kind of stuff. The difference between generations of graphics in games are largely like differences between, say, comics and movies. We accept that due to the medium limitations comics are going to show things like movement or sound in a symbolic way, but just because some comics have a great sense of dynamism within their limitations doesn’t mean we reject the fact that the actual moving picture represents movement better. On the other hand this doesn’t mean that Gangnam Style is better than a comics in general just because a video represents movement better. A video clip is probably a better (and definitely easier) way of showing something like a dance party and conveying all the sensory and emotional content but not necessarily for narration.

                The problem for me, and I do realise this is a sentiment that’s been echoed a lot around here over the years, is that the developers seem to act upon the principle that games are primarily a visual medium and treat better graphics not as another tool in their storytelling (I am primarily talking about games as a storytelling medium, or at least focusing on their storytelling aspects because that is when things like emoting are going to be most important) but as a replacement for the other tools prioritizing them above everything else, for example writing, music or even coherent storytelling.

                Now just to make it clear, I’m not saying all games should be about story, just like not every image needs to be of historical, or even real, scenes and many of those that aren’t are still entertaining or have a huge emotional impact. But having said that I think too many devs are stuck thinking of games as primarily a “visual medium” instead of “interactive medium.” With this kind of attitude the push for graphics at the expense of everything else is only natural but it leads to the complaints that you can so often here in these comments: “Why is this happening in a cutscene?” “I hate it how the game wrestles the control from me like this,” “the character is completely shallow,” “and we have to go there because otherwise we would miss this expensive set piece” and especially “the devs want to work on movies rather than games.”

                The game was hit or miss for many people but I think the main strength of TWD, and the reason why it resonated so strong with certain chunks of the community, is because it used the graphics as a tool and focused on interactivity, even when the choices were actually annulled later. They got the graphics to the point where they worked and enhanced the gameplay, and I assume also to the point that the company could handle financially, and didn’t push for unnecessary realism or try to “stun” the player with the visuals. For example, the gore was used to communicate and maintain the sense of danger or disgust or to increase the impression of the “seriousness” of the situation but when it wasn’t necessary a lot of the potentially bloody stuff happened completely or partly offscreen and gibs weren’t exploding all over the place.

              4. Jeff says:

                It’s not like they’re emoting in Skyrim either. The increased photo-realism actually results in the characters looking less realistic.

                I find the Borderlands 2 critters to be better emoted and “appear” more realistic – because your mind adjusts to the gameworld’s style, and photo-realism becomes a non-issue.

            3. Aldowyn says:

              I’m really interested in seeing what the new console generation might do for PC games, since the current gen has been bottlenecking PC games since at LEAST Crysis. 8 GB of RAM instead of 512 MB? If they focus on things other than high fidelity textures, it could make a big difference. Area size, population, even animation instead of textures..

              The problem, of course, is cost, and I don’t know enough about that to comment :/

              1. Zukhramm says:

                I’m the other way around. The generation should go on forever. I don’t want to spend money on a new computer.

            4. Steve C says:

              If you want big open game spaces try Planetside 2. It’s free to play. You can get into a plane and it takes you about 4 mins to cross the world. It’s a FPS.

              There are no npcs, nor story, nor in depth character models but it’s also 2000 players at a time per map and there are 3 maps. I’m sure that if they cut it from 2000 down to 1 that there would be some extra resources for npcs etc.

              I’m perfectly happy with the graphics as is in Planetside 2 but it’s no Crysis… Well I assume it’s no Crysis. I’ve never seen Crysis because my computer can’t run it. I’d also bet almost everyone who did play Crysis played it on reduced graphic settings. Point is, cut the bleeding edge out of the graphics and you can get some damn impressive games.

              More polygons means more emotion? {eyeroll}

              1. Sleeping Dragon says:

                I can 100% percent confirm that more polygons means more emotion. When I first played Oblivion after it came out and walked out into the lush grassland of the imperial province that 28 polygons grass made my computer weep, and me along with it.

            5. newdarkcloud says:

              I really hate to say it Shamus, but I don’t think something with the graphical prowess of Deus Ex or something from 2004 will necessarily sell that well anymore. Like it or not, people do look at graphics to an extent when purchasing games. Something from that era doesn’t look as visually striking as AC3, for example.

              1. And that’s where a strong art style comes in – you create an art style which covers up the fact that you only have the same number of polygons as something from 2004. And that’s what game companies did in 2004 -notable releases from that year were:
                Half-life 2
                Thief 3
                Doom 3
                Katamari Damacy
                (and more, of course)

                None of these games look terrible, in fact some of them still look great compared to “today’s games” (albeit they all look a little dated).
                Computers are powerful and variable enough that we can make a game with the polygon counts of 2004, but use more recent graphical developements to disguise the fact that we are doing so, making a game which looks great, runs well and doesn’t try to impress the player with it’s graphical fidelity.

          2. Johan says:

            “Horse Hockey. Utter, putrid horse hockey. There wasn't a single moment in Fallout 3 that “sucked me in””
            Well these are we I would call opinions, because they certainly sucked me in, and certainly some others who played.
            “Fallout and Fallout 2 are both full of such moments ““ the Boneyard, Necropolis, the Glow, New Reno, Redding's Mines, Vault City. ”
            And personally, I played those games in 2009, and the fact that Vault City was about 4 screens never made it feel big to me, none of the game felt big to me, it didn’t really feel like going to a new area since movement over large distances was simply watching a dot on a map, I couldn’t get into “man, I hope I’m almost there” with Fallout 1/2 the way I could with 3/NV, I couldn’t feel a sense of scale, there was never a moment where you can SEE something off in the distance and then run over to check it out, all these things drew me into the game, and I honestly can’t see how that last one (see off in distance, run over to) can be done with the same impact in a 2d world

          3. Fie on your “graphics!” I still play the original Zork trilogy, and the first fight with the thief is the most pulse-pounding one I have ever experienced! Word meanings fly at you relentlessly, daring you to type commands to try and win through against this scoundrel and his legendary stiletto, the description of which still haunts my typographical nightmares!

            Fun’s fun, but graphics, text, sound, etc. are all tools. Use them poorly, and you can create the video game equivalent of the more recent “Fantastic Four” movies. You could also use effects sparingly and create something like the movie “Moon.”

            Half-Life 2’s graphic engine is quite dated, but it’s well done and put to good use in the service of the story it tells (sit down, Chris). That said, I don’t think it would work as well as an isometric turn-based combat game.

            A kind of “split the difference” game I’ve mentioned over and over is the upcoming Wasteland 2 which gives you 3D graphics (via the Unity engine) that let you rotate and zoom into/out of the playfield as you play a turn based squad shooter. It looks like fun. Fallout 3 had immersive parts, but they were mostly graphical (the ruins, the dungeons, etc.) and didn’t bring much in the way of good writing for the ride.

        2. Karthik says:

          I played Planescape: Torment in Dec 2012 (first time) and I was absolutely sucked in. I was living and breathing that game for two weekends.

          I’m with Krellen here.

          1. The original Rod Serling show The Twilight Zone remains one of the finest sci-fi shows ever made.

            Star Trek: Voyager is one of the worst-written and acted sci-fi shows that ever got seven seasons.

            This doesn’t mean that all sci-fi shows should be a half hour long and in black-and-white.

            1. Shamus says:

              I get angry when I see people dump on Voyager. Not because I disagree, but because you’re right and it hurts.

              There was no reason for that show to suck as bad as it did. They had some good talent on the cast (with Picardo being the obvious stand-out) and a dynamite concept. The original series was at its best doing the “planet of the week” thing, and I always found Trek to be a bit tedious when it spent to much time on Federation politics. Voyager was a great chance to embrace the whole “strange new worlds” concept and show us stuff we hadn’t seen before. And then the whole thing fell apart into horrible nonsense that came off like cheap fanfiction. The dark and gritty stuff was pointless and boring, the comic relief was infantile, the romances were contrived and robotic, the science was laughable even by Trek standards…

              I’m not crying. It’s dusty in here from moving these boxes. I just… I need to be alone.

              1. Let me put on my Star Fleet uniform here and give this a go…

                Voyager had a pretty good premise, in that it would be interesting to see a ship stranded away from the Federation, having to perhaps tweak or compromise the standard values we’ve come to know on a starship. This went south immediately given the contrivance of how they got to the Delta Quadrant and the hamfisted way they got stranded there. But it was the pilot, they had to get stuck way the heck out in space, so let’s put that aside for now.

                The main problem, in my view, was that they still wanted to stick to an episodic format rather than having an ongoing arc that viewers would follow. Babylon-5 and Stargate SG-1 (to a lesser degree) had shown this could be done and that the fans wouldn’t leave, and later shows like Lost carried this idea forward. Given that Voyager had a goal, to get home, and was in a dangerous place where they couldn’t re-supply from the usual network of starbases, this was a show that really, really should have been geared to evolve over time. The crew should have been almost constantly changing due to deaths, people wanting to stay on Planet X rather than be stuck on the ship for decades, etc. The ship itself should have started to change as components wore out and new ones had to be bought, stolen, or salvaged.

                Instead, the two people I think were most responsible, Brannon & Braga, kept with the reset-button format of resolving nearly everything every episode so you could skip half a season and not miss anything. There were plenty of other problems to be sure, but I’d point people to the often more reviled show, Enterprise. The first three seasons, under B&B, stank like a raft of dead tribbles. If you didn’t, go watch the fourth season. These were 2-3 episode arcs for the most part that actually had to do with (gasp!) the early Federation! They were kind of cool, and with the writing improved, you got to see just how bad the acting was, but hey… can’t have everything. But don’t watch the series finale, unless you want to be reminded of how bad the show was previously, as they got B&B to come back and ruin it in the final episode, just to give a middle finger to the few viewers left.

            2. Karthik says:

              Actually, the only point I was making was what Krellen said:

              “Immersion does not require a first-person perspective.”

              I’m not touting one kind of presentation as superior to all the others.

              That said, as RPGs moved to first person (or over-the-shoulder view like KOTOR), they have lost ground in player agency and depth. I do think the cost of graphics are to blame somewhat, but it’s probably the perceived need for fully voiced dialog more than the graphics style. Dragon Age’s lead writer, David Gaider, has much to say on how limited their options are when it comes to quest writing because of the externally imposed “word budget”–effectively stemming from the expense of recording sessions.

            3. krellen says:

              It does suggest, however, that some sci-fi shows should be half an hour and in black and white.

              Through a combination of rapidly evolving technology, copyright law, and a lack of respect for the cultural heritage of toys and games, we have a situation in which any game that might be analogous to the Twilight Zone may as well not exist for anyone born after it was made.

              Because games are treated as a product, not an art form, there exist no contemporary examples that mimic past design ascetics. And as no one sells them any longer (ignoring whether or not there exists modern equipment to run them on), it is a crime for me to play a game I played while growing up.

              It would be as if Paramount bought the rights to the Twilight Zone and then destroyed all the tapes because they feel their “more modern” sci-fi show was simply inherently superior.

              1. Two major points leap out at me there:

                1. Apart from very indy efforts done out of love and the scads of flash games on places like Newgrounds, where are games not product? Even the most amazing artist does kind of want to earn a living from their works. If corporations are doing horrid things with games (and they are), game makers are free to go and do their own thing and have done so. They can go make them in black-and-white in half hour installments. If they can make that sell, good for them.

                2. If no one sells these old games any longer, you might want to go and tell GoG and Steam that they’ve got a lot of titles to remove, including Fallout 1, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics since they don’t exist and are somehow criminal contraband.

                1. krellen says:

                  Find me a game from the 80s for sale somewhere and we’ll talk. I was an adult for most of the 90s.

                  The “games from my childhood” I’m referring to are specifically the Gold Box SSI games, or the Bard’s Tale series. (I actually can “buy” the Bard’s Tale, by buying the Steam version of the 2004 remake, except their emulation sucks and won’t run for more than 15 minutes or so.)

                  1. Mistwraithe says:

                    Ah Bard’s Tale. They were awesome games, particularly the third one.

                    You can get the Ultima series (including the first ones) and some other 80’s games from GOG. But as you say others appear to be lost.

                  2. Moving the goal posts a little, aren’t we?

                    The SSI titles are classified as abandonware and are easily re-obtained. If you bought the originals, technically this could be considered your one backup copy, which SSI/TSR/WOTC seem fine with since they’re all available with a click of a mouse and have been for years with no takedown notices.

                    In fact, I still have the original gold box Pool of Radiance game on a shelf by my desk. Call me crazy, but if I went to the remains of SSI or to WOTC’s corporate HQ demanding that they somehow honor this contract we have from when I bought this software several decades ago that I should be able to play it today, I can kind of predict what they’d say (assuming they didn’t toss me out): If I wanted to play it from the original floppies, it would’ve been up to me to keep a working 5 1/4″ floppy drive in working order along with a computer that could run it. If that’s unfair in your mind, I hope you don’t have any player piano rolls or 8-track tapes.

                    Yes, it stinks your favorite movie came out on betamax only, but Sony isn’t responsible for making sure your player still works nor is the studio that owns the movie (they fronted the cash and therefore own it) under any obligation to go through the expense of releasing it, much less in a way that you find more convenient.

                    If you miss the Bard’s Tale, may I recommend the Legend of Grimrock? I think you’d find it far more interesting than re-playing the old EA title, but that’s just me speculating.

                    1. Something being abandonware doesn’t mean that it’s legal to do anything you want with it.
                      In fact, in most cases it’s still illegal to download a version of the game that will run without permission from the publisher (c.f. gog, which took several years to release SS2 due to legal issues).
                      On a side note, I actually have player piano rolls (and a pianola), but what do I do if the pianola breaks? It’s still illegal for me to just download a recording of one of the songs, as it’s still protected under copyright, and a recent composition that was done in the same genre and heavily influenced by the song I’m looking for still isn’t the song I’m looking for.

      2. X2-Eliah says:

        Yeah, you are right. There was no need for the Fallout games to ever move into 3D engines. They should have remained as isometric top-down 2D games, and died out with Fallout 2. The Internet comment boards would be so much cleaner from whining about ‘fallout being ruined’ and so on. Alas that we could not have that.

        1. Jeff says:

          Obsidian raised $3,986,929 for Project Eternity, an isometric party-based, turn-based RPG. The same style as Fallout 1/2, in fact. If the style is dying, it’s not for lack of people who want to buy it.

          Nothing wrong with that format. Everything wrong with taking a franchise and using it to sell a different kind of game.

          FO3 was basically Elder Scrolls with guns, and all sorts of random FO universe references crammed into it, regardless of it made any sense or not.

          1. Chauzuvoy says:

            Although with the average production budget for a AAA game (a la fallout 3) being somewhere in the 40+ million dollar range, a genre capable of raising less than one tenth of that with uncertain mass appeal isn’t something that, as an investor, I would want to put my money on.

            Don’t get me wrong, I backed the project because its one that I really want to see, and they can undoubtedly make an awesome isometric RPG for 3 million. (I hope. I’ve got 20 bucks riding on that.) But it’s very much a niche genre.

            That’s really the issue with older genres of gameplay. It’s not that there aren’t people who are willing to pay for the product, it’s that as a niche product, it’s lacking in terms of potential return on investment. Making Oblivion with Guns is, in business terms, a brilliant idea. After all, Oblivion sold hundreds of thousands of copies, and people are really loving FPS games. Money plus money equals money. And Fallout 3 did make a lot of money.

            There isn’t anything terrible about the genre, and no reason it or any genre is inherently worse at storytelling and making emotional connections, but there isn’t (or at least, wasn’t before kickstarter took off) a very good mechanism for funding niche games. You may have had a very devoted audience, but the incentive was still in trying to grab some of the mass market pie. It doesn’t (so the wisdom goes) make good business sense to invest heavily in an uncertain market.

  3. krellen says:

    Okay Josh. You win this time.

  4. Shamus says:

    Serious question: How does everyone feel about hosting styles? Josh has a lot of energy. I keep it pretty dry. Would the show be better with Josh hosting instead of me?

    1. Irridium says:

      I’m good with either of you. Though I wouldn’t mind if you alternated every now and then.

      Also, unrelated question, it seems that the site no longer saves my information. My name and email, to be precise. Wondering if it’s due to something you might have done with the site or if anyone else is experiencing this?

      1. Klay F. says:

        Yeah, the name and email fields get wiped every time I visit the site now.

        Also, I second the notion of rotating hosts, both literally and figuratively.

        1. *Sounds of scuffling and coughing as a gag is removed*

          “What do you want? Why are you..? Uh… what? Talk into this? Why? Are you serious? Okay, okay! Put that down, I’ll do it…

          Hello. I’m John Carmack, and I’m being held against– OKAY, okay! No more!

          Welcome to… um… what’s it called again? Right, Spoiler Warning. We’re playing the new Mass Effect DLC, called ‘send help they’ve got me in a warehouse outside of Las–”

          *A loud thud followed by intermission music*

          1. Jeff says:

            This reminds me of Jack Black in the Muppets Movie, who was hilarious.

        2. Syal says:

          Also, I second the notion of rotating hosts, both literally and figuratively.

          …Is there an episode of a talk show or talk show parody where the host just spins around in their chair while their guests are answering questions? Because I kind of want to see that now.

          1. Sleeping Dragon says:

            And when the show ends, the point the credits show up, the lights are toned down and they say goodbye to all the guests the host tries to get to their feet, sorta stumbles around and then throws up on the guest of honour?

    2. I say you revive the old “Starcade” model, and you play for X number of minutes on a randomly chosen arcade game ROM from the 80’s. Whoever has the highest score gets to host… unless one of you is trying to bow out, in which case the lowest score has to be in charge and take the abuse.

    3. Tony Kebell says:

      Alternate between hosts, including Ruts or Chris/Campster, if they want to.

      1. Thomas says:

        This would be cool

      2. postinternetsyndrome says:

        Yeah, that’d be nice.

    4. Kanodin says:

      See what happens when Rutskarn hosts! what could possibly go wrong?

      1. Now there’s a hole with no bottom.

      2. Tzeneth says:

        That would be an awesomely PUNishing show :)

    5. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Well as you said in your zombie thing,you are not really a leader,you are an engineer.Josh on the other hand has leadership skills.So I say its better to let he me on top,with you as his support.

    6. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I liked that it run half an hour over time, more content ;)

      Also, I’m not sure about host preference, I think this one did feel a bit more spontaneous which worked in its favour, but I’d have to see a show with Josh hosting and you being present. I guess you could chalk me up for rotating hosts for now, after a few more casts I could maybe decide on which I prefer.

    7. Paul Spooner says:

      I felt like Josh was more of a “gameshow host” style, while you have more of a “fire-side chat” feel. Personally, I prefer your “genuine” feel to the “entertaining” approach.

      On the other hand, This episode seemed to have a lot more lively discussion. Lots of possible causes. Sounds like a case for empirical testing!

      1. Bryan says:

        …for SCIENCE!

    8. McNutcase says:

      I enjoy both. Maybe a slight preference for Josh, but only because I kind of prefer to let flights of fancy go a little too far, and you tend to shoot them down sooner than I’d like.

    9. newdarkcloud says:

      You both make for good hosts. It’d be great to switch between the two of you to keep it fresh.

    10. Wulfgar says:

      i prefer your hosting

    11. Otters34 says:

      I prefer yours, but I’m with the folks who’d like to see a revolving host thing. Both of you make for good hosts, but a rotating schedule would make things really interesting!

    1. Zukhramm says:

      I’m waiting until it’s released to see how it works, but if they can get multiplayer working well and without problem I’m going to be so happy.

      1. Andy_Panthro says:

        Every time someone mentions Age of Empires, I feel obligated to mention that there’s an indie equivalent, currently in Alpha development (but available for download).


        I think they have the multiplayer working, but you’d have to check the forums (I just played a bit against AI enemies in skirmish mode about a year ago).

  5. Thomas says:

    If MMOs are going to be revived, people need to start designing them as games again. No-one analyses them and builds them for the ground up for a purpose. It hurt so much to buy force powers from a class trainer as a Jedi. How unstar wars does that feel?

    1. Andy_Panthro says:

      Isn’t it time for someone to make a modern equivalent of Ultima Online? With skill progression based on usage, and less in terms of levels and instancing?

  6. Tony Kebell says:

    WARFACE! WARFACE! War-face! War, face. War, face. War, face. War, face. War, face. War, face. War, face. War, face. War, face. War, face. War, face. War, face. War, face. War, face. War, face. War, face. War, face!

    (An example of the RPS article, comments and twitter feed, for about a day after the announcement of the game)

    (Also it’s in beta, I’m in the beta
    Ii’ve not played it ’cause it’s supposed to be a squad based multiplayer shooter, ala BF3, that i cant play without my friends, who aren’t in the beta and also don’t seem interested in the game, sigh.)

    1. StashAugustine says:

      Space Hulk?

      1. 4th Dimension says:


        1. StashAugustine says:

          Face Hulk, clearly.

    2. Mormegil says:

      I heard warface and then just sat ticking down the seconds in my head waiting for the guffaws.

  7. Mikeh5 says:

    Josh, if you have the unique unit pack for Shogun 2, Kisho ninjas vrs Mori Wako pirates is totally a thing. Also if you play the Mori thats the only unit in the game, especially when combined with an Armory.

  8. Thomas says:

    Why does Ubisoft hate Renaissance France? Aren’t they a French company? They should be all over trying to call their thing the most important in history. I’m pretty sure they speak French in Montreal

    1. Josh says:

      Seriously. I’m still baffled that they chose the American Revolution over the French for the third game.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        I just said that :/ I’m with you, though. Trying too hard to market to U.S audiences I guess, which is a shame.

        1. Dude, Shame wasn’t in this episode.

          1. tzeneth says:

            You have Shamed us all with that pun.

      2. X2-Eliah says:

        Maybe they are just marketing their game towards mainly american players, and thought that they wouldn’t care or know about European events.

        1. Counterpoint: Why not sell a game based on the concept of murdering lots of French people?

          Disclaimer: I have nothing against the French, though I do occasionally laugh along with British comedy quiz shows when the country arises as a topic.

          1. X2-Eliah says:

            You silly, because their taunts would not sound good when done by American voice actors! Obviously.

        2. Irridium says:

          I doubt it. Assassin’s Creed 2 and Brotherhood were set in Europe and they did fine.

          Assassin’s Creed 1 and Revelations also did really well, and those were set in the Middle East and Constantinople, respectively.

      3. newdarkcloud says:

        I agree so very much. The French Revolution would have been PERFECT!!!

    2. LunaticFringe says:

      If by ‘French’ you mean 400 year old uncodified Brittany French with some Catholic symbolism as swearing, then yes (speaking Quebec French to an actual French person is basically like putting on the thickest Southern accent you can muster in English). Historically speaking Quebeckers don’t consider the French Revolution to be “their thing”. The Catholic Church in Quebec used the Revolution as an example of how the English conquest of New France was divinely inspired to spare the ‘Canadiens’ from any involvement in the conflict. Overall the American Revolution is a lot more relevant to Quebec and the Canadian identity then the French Revolution is, as having a non-colonial power nearby resulted in a lot of cultural shifts towards things like consociation and responsible government. Now, the French Revolution did help to inspire later Quebecker political theorists to develop Quebec nationalism and later separatism, both of which are very touchy issues (‘Vive Le Quebec libre’ and all that). It’s obvious that Ubisoft was trying to appeal to a broader market with the American Revolution, but given the current political climate in Quebec I say Ubisoft Montreal dodged a bullet there.

      At the same time I’ll gladly admit that I’d rather see Ubisoft idiotically play historical favourites in settings that have already been ‘pop cultured’ to death, rather then have to deal with some massive oversimplification of the French Revolution where Robespierre was clearly an evil Templar and Brissot was the good-natured Assassin.

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wait,Chris is Rutskarns father?I thought that was John Carmack.Or is Chris actually John Carmack with a beard?

    1. Chris says:

      I’ve been told I’m closer to Raph Koster.

  10. Aldowyn says:

    Someone said that the next big massively multiplayer game won’t be WoW-style… That’s what’s Bungie’s trying to do with Destiny, I think. Bring massively-multiplayer to shooters properly.

    The reason I don’t play social games isn’t because of the stigma, or even the quality, it’s that I can’t effectively marathon it. There’s this perception of ‘bite-sized gaming’ where you just spend like 15 minutes on a game at a time, and that’s just not how I play games. I’ll play a game until I have to start waiting, and then.. usually never come back.

    Google’s informal motto is ‘Don’t Be Evil’ for a reason ;)

    All ‘Social’ is WORSE than all ‘multiplayer’ to me >.> I mean, take ESO for example. If it was basically multiplayer Skyrim populated by a bunch of PCs, that would be pretty cool. Which seems to be more of what Destiny is going for.

    It’s been a long time since I played Oblivion, but I seem to remember it being a heck of a lot blander than Skyrim. I could almost certainly see a picture of any major city in Skyrim and tell you which one it is, and I bet I’d have a decent shot at saying what area an exterior shot is in (although there’s a lot of different ‘snowy mountains’ areas, it’s far from the only type of area’. You don’t have to have mushrooms to be interesting. Navigating Riften SUCKS though >.> The interior dungeons aren’t very distinct, though. I certainly enjoyed Skyrim a lot more than Oblivion.

    The character for Assassin’s Creed IV is Haytham’s dad. I think it’s set in 1721? Early 18th, then. And I thought the American Revolution was a decent setting, although I would have preferred the French revolution or perhaps the Seven Years War.

    I’d say the Assassins vs Templars is actually a good set up for discussing comparative morality/politics, but the conspiracy/’Those Who Came Before’ plotlines muddied the waters so much it got TOTALLY lost outside of the Animus as far back as AC2. Story-wise, AC1 is probably my favorite, then AC3, then Brotherhood… AC2 is last. I really don’t like AC2 >.>

    Well. That was a lot of text.

    1. I don’t like MMOs mainly because you can’t change anything in the game. They (unless there’s one out there I don’t know about) don’t let you do world-altering things.

      Not to beat a dead horse, but in Fallout 3, I can blow up a town and kill people that stay dead forever. In MMOs, you can’t be “that guy who did X and nobody else did X,” because that’s more resource-intensive than the dynamic plot engines for single-player games a lot of us have been dreaming about lately.

      1. StashAugustine says:

        This hurt TOR a lot. I always felt like every quest had a bad excuse for nothing to happen, since the quest still had to be active for everyone else.

        1. Mike S. says:

          TOR does let you make some persistent decisions within your (instanced) personal questline. (I found the Imperial Agent story particularly striking there– I was discussing an NPC I’d wound up putting in charge of a major planetary asset with another player, and he hadn’t realized it was even possible to keep the person alive.)

          But yes, once you’re back in the open world the same battles go on forever on planets whose civil wars/invasions/what have you you’re supposed to have won (or more rarely, lost). And whether you killed villain X or accepted a job offer from him, the next sequence of events you’re going to experience will be pretty much the same. (And the various daily/weekly quests… let’s just say that idea doesn’t lend itself to any sort of story structure.)

          You do eventually see some change take place, since there’s an overall war storyline that follows you from planet to planet, and characters hit different planets at different points in the sequence. (Imperial characters hit Taris futureward of Republic characters, for example, so you see how some of those efforts panned out.) But of course those developments are set in stone rather than being affectable by PCs.

      2. Bedla says:

        What you are saying about MMOs is true for the theme-park ones – WoW and all it’s clones.

        There aren’t that many MMOs of the sandbox variety, the only one that I played was the (infamous) EVE online.

        A wonderful universe, you most definitely can have an impact on the game. However, at least in EVE, changing something is not the problem. Keeping it changed, however… You can change the world, but so can other players. And so EVE mimics the real life (politics, economics, general unfairness) perhaps more closely than you would like your game to.

        Anyone knows about any sandbox MMO that may be a bit more friendly? Or is the violence inherent in the system/sandbox?

        1. I can kind of see your point, but what I mean is something like “in that tower lived the wizard Blastoph, who one player was mighty enough to slay, and the resulting explosion sheared off the top of the tower, which still stands in ruins to this day. He got some really good loot from that.”

          It would require scripting loads of adventures and then maintaining the aftermath in-game. Blastoph’s quests would all be gone or curtailed, his tower wouldn’t be accessible anymore, etc. and that would just be one such location.

          1. Zukhramm says:

            Talking about scripting you’re seemingly still thinking in “theme-park mode”. The point of a good sandbox would be to completely avoid the need for scripting like that.

            1. Then how would you handle it if someone came through WoW and wiped a town off of the map? Would questgivers be immortal, because that’s one of the major parts of impermanence. I don’t think anyone even has it set up to where you can kill the guy giving Quest 4223 and a half hour later, someone else is tasked with giving Quest 4223.

              1. Zukhramm says:

                You don’t need quests!

          2. Aldowyn says:

            WoW actually has a technique that allows the same area to appear different to different players. I forget exactly how it works, and I’m pretty sure it’s only for BIG things, but… yeah. It’s far from perfect, but there’s been progress.

            I know that GW2 was TRYING for that with the event chains, but I’ve NEVER seen it work the way it seemed to have been designed.

            1. That sounds a lot like how in whatever the U.S. Army FPS was called, you were always the Americans and your opponents were always the bad guys (and to them, the roles looked reversed).

              I think that would only work for me if I was playing some kind of Philip K. Dick-based MMO. Otherwise, I’d hate looking up proudly at the destruction I’d caused and have to mutter out of the corner of my mouth, “You’re seeing this too, right?”

            2. Peracto says:

              WoW started experimenting with the idea in Wrath of the Lich King. They set up specific areas to appear different to the players based on what quests in a chain they had already completed. I don’t have a programming background but essentially it worked like switching visible layers in a 3D modeling program. They eventually made an entire zone in Cataclysm out of the idea. The problem with doing so in an MMO environment, or at least with the way WoW implemented it, is that players are different parts of the quest cannot see or interact with each in the layered areas, which undermines the core, social concept of the genre.

        2. James says:

          If i may talk about Eve some, the ability to effect the game and its world i most felt in the far reaches of space Null Sec, where war and politics play out on a grand scale (a TUN ep (this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvK8fua6O64) where as it seamed at least that in high sec it didnt happen, and TUN even goes on to mention this

          i would like however to pose a rebuttal, why? ‘cus i’ve been involved or know of in someway in several instances of this Game altering event happening in “Empire Space”(its npc patrolled space where your mostly safe).

          RvB vs Euni : The Class of 401
          This was the second war between the two (RvB and Euni are 2 of the most populous and the 2 most populous in high sec alliances(see guild) in eve) this turned out to be one of the biggest wars in high sec history as the two butted heads (and i was there) making news and noise very much like a null war, even so much as destroying a 4 year old PoS (this “player owned structure” survived the last war)

          Poinen Must Burn ; RvB destroyed 28 thousand ships in a few hours, this was probably the biggest fight in high sec ever, and again made news even along side the Asaki incident(see The Mittani.com for more info)

          Hulkageddon I-V ; for five years a annual event to murder miners was hosted, for a few days empire miners would be targeted on mass for suicide ganks, each year getting bigger and bigger and perhaps leading to the Mining ships buff and the change of the ENTIRE criminal flag system.

          there’s a reason the phrase “Eve is Real” has been so persistent
          and a reason people have been known to say “eve is the most interesting MMO i’ve never played”

          EDIT: wow thats alot of text

    2. newdarkcloud says:

      Again, while Skyrim may be more diverse, I feel much fonder towards Cyrodil than Skyrim.

      It’s a massive step forward for the gameplay, but the world itself was just meh for me.
      Oh well, at least I can turn into a wolf and maul everyone.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Pirates in asscreed makes sense.Ship sailing was the most praised part of asscreed 3.

    Good thing about asscreed:No more desmond.

  12. StashAugustine says:

    When it comes to the single-player comment: Honestly, you could do worse with CoD clones. I don’t wanna shell out $60 for a game that has multiplayer I’m shit at and singleplayer that manages to be both ludicrously anti-American AND disgustingly jingoistic, but putting down $20 or less for just the multiplayer with optional things to follow if I get good at it wouldn’t be too bad. If he means “single player in ALL games has to go” than that’s another story.

  13. Bropocalypse says:

    Originally, MS Paint Adventures wasn’t a webcomic that used games as a framing device. A few years ago, when it had a much smaller fanbase, the stories were almost completely reader-driven. In effect, it was like having a text-parsed adventure game where every command was valid.

    This worked for the first three stories on the site (Jailbreak, Bard Quest(though this was never completed because it failed on a pragmatic level), and Problem Sleuth), but sometime before Andrew Hussie reached Act 4 of Homestuck, he was forced to drop direct reader input due to the sheer challenge of sorting through so many reader commands. According to himself it was redundant anyway, since he was getting so many that every conceivable option was placed before him, meaning he may as well just do whatever he wanted anyway. These days the narrative maintains the second-person perspective loaned from classic adventure games, but otherwise is effectively written as a normal webcomic.

    Which it isn’t, exactly, partially for reasons that Rutskarn mentioned. Homestuck in particular has an interesting element to its writing where ANY seemingly unimportant detail or nonchalant turn of phrase can turn out to be plot-critical later on, so it still has a guessing-game element to it, at least.

  14. wererogue says:

    I reckon the performance of inXile’s Torment Kickstarter (and, to be honest, you can just go back over Kickstarter’s Games category) is an excellent counterpoint to Polys = Emotion.

    WRITING = EMOTION. It’s not even hard to think about. You can bolster it or kill it with delivery, but if the writing isn’t there, you’re dead already.

  15. Wedge says:

    Re: backwards compatibility on the Xbox — yeah, the 360 is basically a PC, but so was the original Xbox, and the 360’s backwards compatibility was spotty at best. I wouldn’t count on the next Xbox to be backwards-compatible with anything that doesn’t start with the word “Halo”

    1. Lalaland says:

      Homogeneous triple core PPC CPU + ESRAM != A PC. There will be no b/c for Xbox either unless they gimmick up re-releases of PC Ports for the Classics range. Unless they put an entire Xbox into the chassis beside Durango b/c is dead.

      I almost shouted at my car radio when I heard that line, Xbox360 and PS3 both use ~3Ghz PPC cores (I believe Xbox has some extra SIMD, PS3 uses PPC cores for the same thing). At those speeds there’s no way 8 Jaguar x86 cores can emulate even 1 PPC Core let alone 3. ESRAM is a very low latency memory store that can’t be ’emulated’ at all, it’s the reason Xbox was so good at transparencies and why Bayonnetta was so bad on PS3. Bizarrely it might be possible to emulate Xbox 1 but not 360.

      Edit: When I say ‘shout at my radio’ it’s probably a sign I’ve been reading too many fanboi threads at neogaf and need to stop for my mental health :D

  16. Sephyron says:

    uff, Rutskarns and that Shamus pun at the end should both be taken out back and shot

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      It would be a Shame to waste bullets on the likes of him.

    2. Jokerman says:

      I’m having the same issue other people are reporting. It might be chrome, I’ve had cookie issues before using it.

  17. ShamusLoggedOut says:

    Exploring why cookies seem to be failing for some people.

    1. Because the Girl Scouts keep discontinuing half of their wares and mucking about with the ones that were just fine to begin with.

    2. Jokerman says:

      I'm having the same issue other people are reporting. It might be chrome, I've had cookie issues before using it.

  18. Zukhramm says:

    I can’t call the PS4 conference. Everything they said seemed to be a step in the right direction for me. My biggest problem with the PS3 is that the services for buying and downloading digital games is absolutely terrible, and if they fix that, I’ll pretty much be satisfied. More concrete details? We don’t need that now, they can do that at E3.

  19. Paul Spooner says:

    Another huge point-by-point comment on the podcast. I hope you like text!

    I too played the first Tomb Raider at a young age. The camera was pretty annoying. The biggest feature I remember loving was that Laura would jump when you reach the edge if you were holding down the jump key. So cool! I really feel like Minecraft could learn from that.
    I also recall triggering the T-rex and then running back to a small place and plinking away its health with my pistols. Fun times.

    “If you need to define what a video game is…” Then we’re finally getting somewhere? Defining your terms is one of the first steps for a serious discussion.

    “… but I had to talk to an NPC before I was allowed to do what I had already figured out.” See, that sounds like my romantic life.

    “Do we really know how to write interactive stories?” Here we go again.

    “… Not a market analyst…” I’m actually interested in learning more about market analysis. I mean, as “reviewers” all the people on the show actually are market analysts to a certain degree. You are saying “This is what people like or don’t like”. How does one discern this? What method is effective in finding out what people are interested in? This seems like a really difficult thing, especially since people generally don’t know what they want, and even if they do, can rarely express it cogently.

    Deadspace 3, you know you’re in trouble when Josh justifies his actions by “…because I’m a good person.”
    “Moving away from single player.” The problem with multi player games is that no one can be the hero, no one can “win” in an ultimate sense. When you have players competing, they have to have a balanced playing field. You can’t all be “the chosen one” in an MMO, whereas this is possible in a single player game. Both are valuable.
    The weird thing for us is that, for the next generation, computer = internet. Even the concept of a stand-alone computer is incomprehensible to nearly everyone under the age of ten.

    Elder scrolls! So much potential. Seems the main thrust of the discussion is that the “gameplay” is getting better, but the “world” is getting worse, IE more generic and uniform. Can’t disagree. “Object Specificity” is a neat idea, but expensive. Even making a single house is a daunting task. I did an exhaustive inventory of my house, and it took three days, just to type in a short description and dimensions. To model, texture, and interconnect all that stuff would take years if you did it manually. We need an AI to be able to author this kind of thing (or at least broad parametric generation system) before it can have any real scope in terms of a “game world”.

    “side-stepping mechanics” So, you want to apply lateral thinking to linear challenges? The tension seems to be between the “sandbox” and the “game” part of the “sandbox game”. It would be nice if developers would try for just one or the other instead of mashing both into the same box.

    As far as “facebook games” and the need to “bother” other people to “help” you in-game. It’s interesting that this is exactly the kind of thing you’d need to do in real life sports, or even commerce. It emulates a real experience of inconveniencing others for your own (or perhaps a shared) benefit. Of course, people may wish to get away from this (or not) when they are playing the game.

    Link to Ching Shih article. I knew absolutely nothing about her before this podcast, so thanks for the educational content! Although the article says that there were video games based on her, it doesn’t list which. Any ideas people?

    I love the “energy recharge” comment at the end. Brilliant Jarenth.

    1. Zukhramm says:

      I have never seen someone kick a football harder by asking their neighbors to click a thing.

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        Well, yes, right, except when they practice with their neighbors. Also, it’s hard to play football alone, you need to ask your friends to play with you. That was kind of my point. “sports” are generally both “social” and “multiplayer” in the senses that we use the terms when referring to computer games.

        1. I found a lot of the complaints about how social games require interaction are a lot funnier if you think they’re talking about dating and/or consensual relations among adults.

        2. Zukhramm says:

          I wouldn’t say that. Sports are social in the way that we normally use the world, but hardly social as i social games, where you’d get in game benefits from having friends.

          1. Paul Spooner says:

            We must be using different definitions for the word “sports” or maybe “game” or “friends”. Have you ever been open for the pass, but the guy with the ball passes to his buddy instead of you, even though it was a poor choice by every metric? Have you ever wanted to play a game of Frisbee and gotten a few friends together and found that they pass to you a lot more than each-other?

            1. Zukhramm says:

              It’s not something built in to a frisbee that you have to throw it to someone you like. Those are external things while the “social” parts of social games are part of the rules of the game.

  20. X2-Eliah says:

    Also, I am appalled, appalled I say, at your complete disregard of the serious business of making games about being really really ace ad managing/working/owning wharfs. I say, forget all the tycoon games, give me a WharfAce franchise where I can start with a small pier in ancient Greece and eventually change that into a galaxys’worth of spaceship wharfs.

    1. Chauzuvoy says:

      I know your joking, but two things come to mind.

      1: That would be an awesome game.
      2: The last bit sounds a lot like startopia. If this WharfAce can give me more of that, then I’m so many thousand kinds of sold.

  21. X2-Eliah says:

    Also RE: playing games with your eyeballs.

    That would be superb! Eyeball movement muscles have very low latency in human body, afaik, so control instructions issued via eyeball movement would be more instantaneous than even fingertwitching. So the ultimate controller would be a glasses-like setup that interfaces with eyeballs via tiny (several, possibly) conical structures that mildly penetrate the eyeball surface for maximum traction.

    (fgdhshgkdshgjkhsjfhsjdghdsjghkjfhsdjvnhsjdkghkjsdh eyeball needles kdrhsjgdkhdskhdf)

  22. X2-Eliah says:

    Also RE:skyrim’s homogeneity (and yes, I am listening to the podcast just now):

    Y’know, I agree. It pains me to say it, becuase I love Skyrim to bits, but what Josh described, the sense of sameyness, that is definitely present. The cities and regions and the stuff you ultimately have to do felt rather monotone, and yes, the boredom factor did step in even for me, with my 500+ hours of gametime accrued over 8+ playthroughs (you’d think I’d be immune to boredom withthose sort of numbers, eh?). It’s also a reason why I’ve never managed to get to the ‘level 50’ benchmark on any character in Skyrim.

    Ideally, the size and amount of content Skyrim had should have been spread through three or four thematically different worlds/regions – say, part of skyrim, part of cyrodiil, part of morrowind. Different architecture and dress designs and lighting, as opposed to ever-present theme of ‘NORDS, HO!; ALSO SNOW!’…

    In a way, Skyrim’s issue is that it has too much stuff – witthe pure raw number of stuff it has, that stuff should have been a lot more varied. If it had less stuff, people wouldn’t get so bored of it.

    Despite that, I still do love Skyrim to bits, and yes, in terms of gameplay it really has been a very visible improvement as the series progresses. I think TESO might be the first TES game where the gameplay is actually worse than the previous games’.

  23. karln says:

    I would say that I am one of the ‘nobody’ who cares mostly about the Assassins vs. Templars storyline and zer-oh-my-gahd when are we getting a full modern city setting with a resident Assassin working the place over a period of years? Also moar Rebecca & Shaun (individually, not necessarily as a ship) kthxbai. And they need to tie in the historical stuff better with the present day segments, a lot of the historical bits feel like filler. The opening of Brotherhood, where Desmond’s Animus memories directly aided his Assassin cell in finding a new hideout, was one of my favourite sequences.

    Also I assumed that the pirates are obviously Assassins or natural allies of Assassins. Their whole raison d’etre is to stay free in the face of an expanding empire. That said, AC3 totally messed with my natural expectations by having the Templars support independence, so who knows which way they’ll jump?

    It is disappoining and a little ominous that they’ve opted to stay close to the western-centric setting of AC3 instead of going further afield. The Chinese Assassins were teased in the epilogue to Revelations and have been mentioned only in passing since.

  24. SteveDJ says:

    Please FIX THIS POST! It is set on AutoPlay ON, causing unexpected noise when just visiting both this page, and the root page (previewing all posts).

    1. Shamus says:

      I don’t know why it’s autoplaying for you. It uses the same code as the other episodes. There’s nothing in the code to cause autoplay. It doesn’t autoplay for me and this is the first complaint I’ve heard.

      What browser are you using?

    2. Paul Spooner says:

      No problems here. Using Chrome, 64bit Win7.

  25. Steve C says:

    At one point you mention the previous Diecast discussion on female game protagonists. It took me all this time to think of the best example of doing it right… Halo. Specifically the machinima Red vs Blue.

    All the females in Red vs Blue are extremely strong characters and superior to the male characters in every single way. And yet it is the *exact* same audience as Halo itself. Yes it’s not a game but it’s just as apt as a game.

  26. SteveDJ says:

    (sorry for the delayed response, been busy).

    I’m on IE8, on Win7, here at home. It also does this at work, which I believe is IE9, on Win8.

    It is only showing up as an audio clip (no video) – isn’t that different than the other episodes? (edit: no, I guess the same – I just must’ve missed the first two eps, and they had scrolled off of the main page already, so I wasn’t hit with autoplay until ep 3).

    Edit2: crap, this was supposed to be a reply to above, but got into the wrong editbox – oops :-(

  27. Smejki says:

    Cevat Yerli is a Turkish man from Germany. A friend of mine who can speak Turkish a bit told me it should be read [Tshevut]

  28. Chamomile says:

    So, I’ve been playing Echo Bazaar lately. And I reached that one piece of content where you need another person. Is Jarenth still playing? It’d be cool if he could help me out instead of me bugging people on Twitter.

    Also, this is another way forums would be cool. I could ask there and probably have a way higher probability of getting an answer.

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