Diecast #106: Witcher 3, Kickstarter, Guy Fieri

By Shamus Posted Monday Jun 1, 2015

Filed under: Diecast 205 comments

Like we said at the top of the episode, we recorded this session in Mumble, an open-source VOIP solution. It was pretty much a disaster, audio-wise. Chris spent a lot of the evening being unintelligible to us, and Rutskarn spent a lot of the evening unable to understand anyone.

So we can have Ventrilo and its stupid buggy clipped messages and idiotic lack of a chat window, or we can have Mumble and spend every podcast playing “What? Say th-t aga– I didn– —- -ou.” Please don’t bombard us with suggestions on how to fix Mumble. We played with every setting available and this was the best we could come up with after an hour of trial-and-error.

A shame. I’m really going to miss that chat window.

On a more positive note, high[er] grade audio equipment is on the way for Rutskarn and I. A mysterious benefactor has made sure we’ll have solid equipment. I’m pretty excited.

Direct link to this episode.

Hosts: Shamus, Campster, Josh, and Rutskarn.

Show notes:

1:00 We–come to the D–cast, we’re u–ing Mumb– this week!

As it turns out, the audio sounds mostly fine in post, but Chris and Rutkarn struggled with basic comprehension of what was being said. My guess is that the two of them had fluctuating ping, and Mumble is much more sensitive to that. A shame. I think Mumble is better in every other way. The interface is better, exporting is ten times easier, the chat window is immensely useful, and the low latency makes it so much nicer to have a back-and-forth discussion. But “people can’t understand each other” is 100% a deal breaker. So it’s back to Vent next week.

And no, I don’t want to have everyone record themselves locally and send me the audio. That would create a ton of synchronization headaches for me, and add layers of complexity and hassle for everyone else, who then need to fiddle with Audacity and send me gigantic audio files. Ugh. This show has enough moving parts already. I think we’ll just go back to the status quo.

2:00 A long, long conversation about Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

No, seriously. We talk about it for half the show.

11:00 Shamus and Josh tell tales of being griefed by the Witcher 3 game designers.

Really, it looks like the game just assumes you’ll have some fast-travel points opened up for the boat. If for some reason that’s not the case for you, then a thirty-second trip can turn into an hour of hair-pulling frustration.

I actually kind of sold it short when I described just how crazy the mob distribution is. One hill in Velen had a tiny group of level 3 cannibals on it – the lowest of the low in terms of foes. About a ten second run away was a level 20+ griffon. So there was level 3 cannon fodder living right next to a fast-moving boss monster twenty levels above them. Like I said on the show: I’m not against mixing things up and throwing in some higher-level foes to keep you on your toes, but that’s just crazy. It doesn’t even make sense in-world. By the time you’re ready to take on the griffon, you’ll be in an entirely different part of the world and have no reason to slog all the way back out to this spot of the wilderness just to fight this one stupid monster.

It doesn’t ruin the game or anything, but it feels haphazard and random. No point in having a difficulty slider in a game where the mobs vacillate between “effortless” and “impossible insta-death” in the space of a football field.


Dear Diecast,

An article on Polygon recently argued that big budget kickstarters with low asking prices were giving people inflated expectations about what an indie team can achieve with a small budget.

What do you think?


p.s. Article link:
Big Indie Kickstarters are Killing Actual Indies

53:00 Game mechanics and personal taste.

Dear Diecast,
In your opinion, do you think that certain game mechanics are not inherently bad, but rather dependent on the players taste? Personally, I find the turn-based mechanics of JRPGs satisfying, while many others rightfully criticise them.
If you think so, do you have any personal examples?
On an unrelated note, I have a question for Chris. Is there any game that he has played that he could reasonably compare to Guy Fieri?


And then we talk about Guy Fieri for ten minutes.


From The Archives:

205 thoughts on “Diecast #106: Witcher 3, Kickstarter, Guy Fieri

  1. Gruhunchously says:

    I swear, every time someone says Mumble I get horribly confused because I immediately start thinking about cannibals.

    1. AileTheAlien says:


      Imagine Mumbles talking on Mumble, about Mumble’s quality affecting Mumbles’ ability to talk.

      1. tzeneth says:

        I couldn’t understand what you said. Could you speak clearly and stop mumbling.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Well it is called mumble,so what else did you expect?

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    It think Mumble is better in every other way.

    Typo in the beginning.Should be I.

    1. Also, who is this Rutkarn fellow?

      “Chris and Rutkarn struggled with basic comprehension”

      1. Humanoid says:

        Maybe it’s not Mumble after all, the internet is dropping and generally scrambling everything Shamus says.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Its just his age.

  4. stratigo says:

    Actually in Witcher 3, you’ll be backtracking a lot in the main quest. There’s 3 acts, and you go almost everywhere in act 1. The next two acts will take you back to places you’ve already been, and to corners where you haven’t been in the previous act.

    1. Nordicus says:

      Precisely, with the super high level mobs peppered here and there, you’ll have something to do as side content while visiting previously explored areas, for the story if nothing else.

  5. Disc says:

    That’s a rather bizarre Mumble experience. I’ve got plenty of hours clocked with it and have never had anything like that. It would sound like server trouble, but go figure. The only thing I’ve ever noticed that affects how others hear your audio is if your upstream traffic is too busy. If it’s not you having some background application hogging the traffic then it’s most likely just the server not being up to bar or some really shitty internet service. I’ve been on Lotro raids with 12-24 people at the same time on a server and we never experienced any trouble.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      It must be because they tried the vanilla mumble,while you were using mumble.1,which removes the annoying mumble store and everything else and makes it into a perfect win…I mean the perfect mumble experience.

    2. Yeah seems weird.

      Going back to Vent while trying to find out what the issue was with Mumble is probably best (don’t give up Shamus).

      My guess it was the server for some reason (lag, bad cache/buffer settings?) so that’s a service issue instead.

      As far as sound quality goes it’s pretty crystal clear for the first half and there seems to be nothing missing, nothing cut off.
      I did notice some issues from the middle to the end in a few places. Does Chris and especially Rutskarn have crappy internet? I think I recall issues with Ventrilo as well in the past for them?

      This makes me think that maybe a higher latency is needed for the Dicecast stuff (due to high server or participant lag).
      If the recording is fine but those participating hear the audio cut then that means packets are delayed W.h.i.t.c.h is hard to hear/understand obviously.

      1. Humanoid says:

        New mic will be nice and all, but how much do we have to give on Patreon to upgrade Rutskarn’s dial-up?

        For what it’s worth, my old WoW guild uses Mumble, and while about half the members are Australian, there rest are a diverse bunch, connecting from Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Korea, the US, and occasionally Ireland and Croatia even. There was one issue where a severed undersea cable caused one member to drop out 5 seconds after connecting every time, but other than that it’s been fairly bulletproof.

      2. Tizzy says:

        This must be the only show where I never had any trouble understanding everything everyone said. Don’t know if it’s mumble, or, more likely, that the hosts were being extra careful enunciating given the hard time they were having.

      3. Zak McKracken says:

        If I had to guess (and because something similar happened to me while voice-chatting via SIP): The compression settings were reasonably well-tuned (automatically, I assume) to the average network connection speed within the group but Rutskarn and Chris had the bad luck of having greater (or less consistent) lag than the others, and so it occasionally was too much for them, i.e. the packets arrived in the wrong order.

        Or maybe Rutskarn’s roommate was watching HD Kitten videos the whole time?

        Shamus, I don’t suppose that you feel like setting up your own mumble server? That might solve a number of issues … and create a few others of course :)

    3. Wooji says:

      I agree, we used Mumble as our voicecom of choise for wow raiding for 5+ years and no one ever had this amount of problems.

      But sometimes somethings just doesnt want to work i guess.

      Codec problems seems unlikely how ever since Mumble can run Spexx just as Vent and Skype.

      1. Bryan says:

        Plus, the codec doesn’t determine either what fraction of packets get dropped, or how well the protocol recovers from that.

        Josh might be entirely correct that the Mumble protocol doesn’t work well with dropped packets — might be too few keyframes, causing loss of sync and dropping more audio than necessary, might be too-slow retransmissions, might be crappy support for UDP in various bits of network gear trying to “connection” track for NAT (…I imagine UDP is being used here… although actually if Mumble is using TCP then bufferbloat in *really really stupid* network gear might be it, as that will just cause longer delays at retransmit time), might be a bunch of other reasons.

        All of which is just to say — the problem is at a lower level than the codec. The problem is that for whatever reason, packets are getting dropped, and for whatever other reason, this shows up as really long drops in audio.

        And of course the problem still exists…

        1. Volfram says:

          There’s a troubleshooting guide for this here. The summary is apparently that Rutskarn and Chris should try running their Mumble clients in Windows XP SP2 compatability mode.

      2. Zak McKracken says:

        I imagine that, as for Teamspeak (where this happened to me) it may also be dependent on the server… there are loads of variables in this equation.

    4. Cordance says:

      I raid on a mumble server and the problem with mumble is it suffers from the price of many free software programs it costs you time. There is some glitch in my system when ever I log in I can not hear sound. The fix I have found is go into settings check that my headset is assign correctly (99% of the time they are) then apply the changes (not the OK button if I click that it stops working) then I need to X out of the settings menu. The software has a lot of pros but simplicity is not one of them.
      This is not to speak bad about mumble but for some reason my hardware setup and mumble dont mix and its like bug hunting in software written by someone else to fix it … because it is.

      Chances are the fix was for Chris and Rutskarn was to make sound quality > latency (for everyone). Basically forces mumble to act like vent with regards to lag which kind of defeats the point of using mumble in the first place. However as with my problem sometimes its not as simple as checking the box and clicking OK for god knows why.

    5. Volfram says:

      I have to agree with the weird experience. Like I said in last week’s audio post, one of my friends has used it extensively. I got in on a few of the events that his clan was in, which always used Mumble, and I never had any serious problems.

      Also, it might be placebo effect, but the audio recording this week sounds amazing.

      If there was a lot of audio problem during the show, a look at bandwidth might be necessary. Unfortunately I don’t have enough friends to have much experience with VOIP.

  6. AR+ says:

    The griffon sounds almost like a reference to the East Commonlands griffon in Everquest, which was a lvl 30 monster in a lvl 10 zone, that would wander back and forth along the zone killing inattentive players.

    Fun times. Was a nice bit of quasi-nostalgia when I ran into it many levels later and could easily solo it.

    1. stratigo says:

      If you have leet skills like me, you can take a level 20 griffon at level 10 or 12

    2. Eruanno says:

      Reminds me of Burning Crusade for WoW where there would be a level 69 elite monster robot patrolling the area near the Dark Portal meant for level 60-62s. It would patrol the area and just completely obliterate players who happened to walk into its path.

      1. Oh does that bring back memories. I never understood why my Horde friends bitched about the Fel Reaver so much until I leveled a Hordie through Hellfire and discovered that FR paths right next to the Horde base. Walk outside base, aggro, go squish, marvel at the rogue levels a 40 foot tall monstrosity must have to sneak up on anyone.

        1. Steve C says:

          It was incredibly satisfying to go solo the Fel Reaver though. It wouldn’t have been without those splat deaths earlier.

          1. Trix2000 says:

            I’ll admit to making a point of flying down and obliterating the things on several occasions just out of spite.

            I don’t think they actually killed me that often, but they did have a terrible habit of sneaking up on you (somehow…) and the noise they made combined with the rumbling and such was reaaaally freaky.

  7. JackTheStripper says:

    Quick! Everyone give all the advice on Mumble that Shamus specifically asked us not to give!

    Anyway, I’ve been using Mumble for about 2-3 years and I can attest that the quality of sound is superb and that the latency is amazingly low. All my conversations there with friends feel pretty natural in that we respond to each other immediately. I don’t know what the problem you had Shamus (if I have to guess, it was probably with setting up Murmur), but do try it again with more time.

    1. JackTheStripper says:

      I forgot to mention that it’s also absolutely essential for every user to go through the Audio Wizard and tweak the settings as necessary for their own set-ups. There’s several options there for compression and other things that might affect the voice transmission.

  8. Mad says:

    Have you tried Teamspeak ? You need a server but they are pretty cheap, or you can setup your own if you have a beefy enough Internet connection.

    Also, have you tried recording the audio locally, then later combine it ( as you do anyways ) ?

    1. Eruanno says:

      Shamus adressed the local audio recordings above:

      And no, I don't want to have everyone record themselves locally and send me the audio. That would create a ton of synchronization headaches for me, and add layers of complexity and hassle for everyone else, who then need to fiddle with Audacity and send me gigantic audio files. Ugh. This show has enough moving parts already. I think we'll just go back to the status quo.

  9. The Rocketeer says:

    Alright, as much pure joy as hearing the rare Campster fury brings me, I’d like to remind the fans that when you beat a horse too much, it dies, like that scene in Crime and Punishment.

    Don’t make inexplicable Guy Fieri enmity go the way of “Stop shooting me!” That’s all.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Stop shooting me didnt die,Josh has killed it prematurely.

      1. Josh says:

        They were shooting me. I stopped them.

        1. MichaelGC says:

          They’d been warned.

  10. Micamo says:

    That level-scaling problem is one of the reasons I quit Dragon’s Dogma (the other being its abysmal storytelling). You get jumped by high level enemies pretty much everywhere you go in that game unless you stick to the very strict, specific path laid for you on the main quest. And you can’t even go back and do side quests that take you to areas that are too difficult later, because the side quests are all soft-time limited: Whenever you advance the main plot, all the currently-available sidequests fail. And if you think Dark Souls is bad the game is maximally dickish about respawning; You’ll lose *hours* of progress every time you die.

    So as far as I can tell, how you’re *supposed* to side quest in Dragon’s Dogma is to take one of two options:

    – Stay in the relatively safe spots and level grind for 40 hours.
    – Dash away like a madman from literally every enemy you face.

    Of course I could have just ignored all the side content and just plowed through the main story, but the storytelling in that game was like chewing on broken glass.

    1. Vermander says:

      I loved the character creator in that game and liked some of the combat mechanics, but everything else about it was incredibly frustrating.

      It wasn’t just that the enemies were overpowered, it was the fact that there were so darn many of them. Walking from one location to the next was incredibly time consuming because you literally couldn’t go more than ten seconds with having to fight another pack of wolves or harpies. I often had to battle multiple groups of enemies directly outside the city gates.

      You’re right that the story was annoying at best and incomprehensible at worst.
      Most of the characters had no personality whatsoever, and seemed to completely disappear from the game after one quest. I also hated that there was really only one city in the game, which was huge, but strangely empty and filled with deserted streets and identical grey buildings.

      And finally there was the whole “Pawn” concept, which didn’t really work at all. The fact that the “normal” human NPCs exhibited so little personality made it even more jarring that there was this “slave race” with no free will who existed to do your bidding. I hated how your main pawn had no dialog and there was no opportunity for you to bond with them in any way.

    2. Cinebeast says:

      Abysmal storytelling? Dragon’s Dogma? Did we play the same game?

      I hear you on the wonky level scaling and time-limited side quests, though. I continue to hold out hope Capcom will make a sequel with a stronger emphasis on nonlinear travel and a fairer hand, but they seem uninterested in advancing the franchise for some reason. A very underrated gem of a game.

      1. Humanoid says:

        Well one could be forgiven for assuming that, because it’s Capcom, as a certain Stolen Pixels strip demonstrates.

        1. Christopher says:

          I wonder if the levels were a multiple playthrough thing. Sorry to say things you might already know, but the main story is really short. They patched in(Or was it in Dark Arisen, the update/expansion?) a “speedrun” mode. You can’t save and there’s a prize for doing it in less than a couple of hours, and it’s not a difficult thing to do. Since levels, equipment and money carry over to new game+ every time the game is beaten, the appeal changed a lot for me over playthroughs. The first time through was hard, occasionally scary and I missed a ton of quests. It was also amazingly bothersome, because I had no fast travel markers or the eternal teleporter stone to use them. The second time was much easier, and I mopped up every quest I could find. I’m sure Dark Arisen was so difficult because you just kept leveling, so all of the content outside of the new area became trivial eventually.

          Cinebeast, I think defending Dragon’s Dogma’s story is a lost cause. Grigori is great, though. The post-game twist is very striking, too. There’s a trailer out of a new Dragon’s Dogma game with real multiplayer, I think. Let’s hope that it reaches us eventually and isn’t stuck in Japan.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Personally, I find the turn-based mechanics of JRPGs satisfying, while many others rightfully criticise them.

    Whats so rightful about that?Im not sure I can think of a single mechanic that is so broken it was never done correctly.Mechanics are just a tool,a neutral thing,and its the implementation thats awful or brilliant.

  12. silver Harloe says:

    possible reasons for the gryphon:
    1) easter egg if you do come back later and beat it
    2) or just gives you something worth XP to do if you for some other reason you amble back this way
    3) a hard hitting lesson that this isn’t a level-scaled world and sometimes you need to not face foes
    4) maybe there’s some strategy or trick to beat it and it serves as a bonus for thinkers
    5) makes the world more “lived in,” instead of being a world where difficulty is magically sorted into bands of increasing value
    6) other things I haven’t thought of

    honestly, if it’s an isolated monster, I wouldn’t assume a bunch of negatives because of its existence.

    As for Mumble v Vent… well, I’m a programmer. So my first instinct is to say “go with what you know how to do, but once a year or so try something else.” And so I think it’s good that you experimented. And maybe you give Mumble another try a few versions from now. But, “stick with what you know works” is usually a better policy for stability.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Yeah but Shamoose says that was just one example.Meaning there are more places with random monsters like that.And it doesnt make the world look more lived in if theres no in game reason for that to be.For example,in new vegas there is that area with a bunch of deathclaws between the starting town and new vegas.Out of character reason is to make the player take the long way around.In character,its because the quary was a nice breeding ground for the mother.But if it was just a single deathclaw in the cemetary amongst the bloat flies,then just a single cazador near the geckos to the south,then a single super mutant on the road it would be just nonsensical randomness.

      1. silver Harloe says:

        Yeah, fair enough. I don’t know enough details … just thinking aloud. Or, well, the typing equivalent of that.

        Really, I’m just thinking: it doesn’t have to right away good or right away bad.

  13. A few tips on The Witcher 3.

    Walk instead of run, that avoids overshooting.

    Stick to the roads they are safe(er).

    If you have to cut across offroad then sprint with the horse (sprint not run, i.e. double tap the “run” button), this eats up horse stamina but you can outrun anything. Doubletapping run button while on a road (and not pressing forward) will make the horse auto-follow the road.

    Riding along the roads between major cities and towns and smaller settlements helps map out things very quickly.

  14. Jokerman says:

    I bumped into a really high level werewolf almost guarding a cave i had to enter… He was actually healing himself twice as fast as i could possible hurt him. In the end i lured him away and ran around him… luckily the cave had another exit so i wasn’t trapped there.

    1. Rob says:

      If it is the same one I’m thinkig of, I had a run in with the very same werewolf. I could get him to about half health before he started healing himself back to full. It was the first werewolf I’d seen and I didn’t understand they had a regeneration ability. Spent so much time trying to kill it

  15. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Shamoose,what did you think about the combat system of dragon age origins?Not counting the enormohuge health bars of monsters,but rather the real time with pause coupled with all the ai programmability.

    1. Shamus says:

      Hated it. I hated it so much I turned the difficulty down and just tried to play the game entirely real-time with no pausing. Given how much of your power is based around mages bombing foes, this didn’t always work out.

      1. Bropocalypse says:

        Is this experience related to a game like Transistor? That’s what I thought of when you mentioned that sort of stop-and-go combat.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          There isnt really a game like transistor though.What it does to blend real time and turns is so far unique.

          1. Eruanno says:

            Ugh, Transistor. I want to like that game so bad, but whenever I face a foe that I’m not doing well against and die it REMOVES ONE OF MY ABILITIES, making it even harder to defeat a foe I already had issues with! WHAT. WHY.

            1. Ranneko says:

              Yes, but it doesn’t kick you back to the start of the fight when that happens, so you have to fight a weakened enemy with you at full health again but handicapped.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Which is why they tempt you with limiters.Especially the uber evil one that removes the stuff you lost for the next few saves instead of just until you get to a checkpoint.

      2. Daimbert says:

        I’m with you. I did that playing a rogue and did manage to make it through the game, but I did gain a lot of injuries that I didn’t know how to cure at all for about a quarter of the game and that I didn’t know could be cured at camp for about another half. At the end, I was playing it and Mass Effect 2 in a bit of a round robin and liked the Mass Effect 2 combat much better, stupidity with the ammo aside.

      3. Grenaid says:

        Several things would have helped, including better AI for campanions (they were about on par with your average warcraft raider and constantly stood in the fire.)

        The especially frustrating thing though was the dragon fights, which were the showcase of pre-release PR and were obviously meant to showcase the party system.

        But party members are idiots, you can’t force them to stand anywhere, or queue up abilities. No matter what you try to do manually, that damn AI inevitably kicks in, and is punished in a dragon fight where positioning is the ONLY thing that matters.

        Either AI right, or not at all, dammit.

        1. IFS says:

          There has been a ‘hold position’ command in every DA game, and every one starting with the second let you tell your companions where to walk (Origins was admittedly a bit tricky to do this in, since you had to take command of them and walk them into place, then make sure they were told to stay still). Plus you can tell them to use abilities, just bring up the wheel, switch over to them, and select the ability you want used. And if their AI is really bugging you you can go into their tactics and change how they fight, which abilities they use under which circumstances, etc. DA Origins AI had its problems sure but I thought it was really well done, Inquisition on the other hand had much less ability to edit tactics which irked me even if the party members were generally competent (excepting their inability to run away from stuff without me telling them to).

      4. Abnaxis says:

        What would you think if they stopped tying the AI to a leveling system, but instead just let you completely program what you wanted?

        I like the idea, but I hate the fact that I can never get the nuance I want out of the programming because you need to level up “Tactics” (or unlock “gambits” in FFXII, which is the first place I encountered the system), and even at max ranks I still need to pause and manually control the characters or turn down the difficulty.

        Also, more conditions on actions would be nice.

        If I could fully automate my companions and focus on playing my own character with my allies supporting my explicit favored tactics, it’d be pretty sweet. I don’t know why designers feel like there needs to be a level-locked limit on AI directives.

      5. This is my preferred way to play the Dragon Age games as well–100% realtime. My favorite way to play Origins is actually to use the console to max out the XP on all of my characters way early in the game and play on Nightmare all the way through.

        I’m not sure why that works for me, but it does. It pissed me off that the friendly fire was so screwed up in DA2 that this was basically unplayable–I killed my own party far more often than enemies did. And Inquisition got rid of the console commands because multiplayer.

  16. Zak McKracken says:

    Sad to hear this about Mumble.
    Sort of like the time when I managed to convert half my family to using XMPP (and Jitsi for VoIP) — it works like magic (set-up is extremely simple), the voice quality is waay better, and you don’t need to use somebody’s server. And it swallows so much bandwidth that some people kept lagging out, losing connection, some of the magic only worked for some of the time, and now we’re back to hijacking someone else’s teamspeak server:(

    Yesterday I realized I could install murmur on my NAS, so now I have my own VoIP server … should I give it a try or will I just piss everyone off again? Who am I kidding? I know that I have to try…

    1. Zak McKracken says:

      Finally listened to the Diecast this morning … my goodness, sound quality is so much better! Except for the bit where one of Shamus’ sentences is completely hacked into pieces.
      Even more sad now :(

  17. Erik Baars says:

    I have no idea who Guy Fieri is, and at this point i am afraid to ask

    1. Bropocalypse says:

      Rather than subject yourself to him directly, you can check out this Game Grumps episode to hear Arin give a credible and hilarious imitation.

      1. I actually kind of like Guy Fieri. He seems good-natured and friendly, even if he does talk a bit like a Shamwow salesman.

        1. PowerGrout says:

          Well, you’ve gone and mentioned shamwow – might as well leave a note for you good popinelloes to to look up ‘Jaboody Dubs’ enlightening insights into this Guy Fieri.
          Haver nice choice.

        2. harborpirate says:

          I actually like “triple D” as he often calls it. Rather than the ridiculous stuffed shirt fru-fru overdecorated food you’d see most people preparing on TV, the stuff these restaurants prepare often looks appetizing and doesn’t cost three arms and a leg.

          Now, he may be a total jerk in real life; but the fact that his show centers mostly on local joints, some of which have been in operation for a very long time, usually prepared by extremely dedicated people that work long hours and really care about their product; that much I appreciate.

          These days I probably wouldn’t eat almost anything that appears on the show, but that’s true of almost any food on TV anyway. (Lets be honest, its true of most food in general; when you cut back on sugar, salt, and saturated fat your options shrink fast)

  18. Joseph P. Tallylicker says:

    So Shamus, with your comment on stop-and-go rpgs, what has your experience been with Pillars of Eternity, given that it’s kind of pause-based but the micro is relatively mild?

    Additionally, do you then prefer pure turn-based combat à  la Divinity Original Sin or the squad phase of Xcom?

    1. Tizzy says:

      I have to disagree with Shamus on that one. The pausing was always optional in these games, and to me it offered this great advantage that trivial fights were quickly expedited, while tricky fights could still retain the tactical depth you might want.

      Of course, the better solution would be to stop assuming that rpgs (and many other genres of games) need so many damn fights. But I’m not holding my breath on that one…

    2. Trix2000 says:

      The thing about Pillars is that, at least for me, that there was a lot of incentive and value to pausing… but you didn’t have to use it all the time. For tougher fights it was nice to fiddle around with skills and buffs to optimize things, while in other fights I’d often just choose people’s targets and let them go to town.

      I think what also played into making the system feel good was A) you could hotkey abilities and number-select party members (so you didn’t have to pause to use skills) and B) the animations and sounds for combat were pretty good.

  19. Wide And Nerdy says:

    The one problem I have with the question Thomas asked (or rather the way the question is answered perhaps):

    Of course everything is subjective and if you like it thats great, and if you don’t, you can’t tell someone else they’re wrong for liking it. But (and I think this is why it continues to be a problem in communities like the gaming community) that point is really easy to make and there’s not a lot you can do to elaborate on it.

    So what you’re left with are lunkheads who genuinely think they can tell people they’re wrong for liking or disliking something, mixed in with those who accept the basic premise that if it makes you happy, its probably fine, but still want to have a discussion of the relative merits of things because thats a mentally engaging discussion. There’s no way to separate the two.

    Oh, and there’s a third group that thinks the subjectivity defense is the ultimate trump card to shut down all discussion and they just hammer that defense or some variation of it.

    And then you wake up one day and realize you’re approaching middle age and you’ve wasted too much of your life retreading this same ground. To the young I say this: Its a trap. If you see one of these discussions starting, run. Its too late for me but there’s still hope for you.

    That was all one problem. If you disagree, then that’s just your subjective opinion.

    1. Bropocalypse says:

      I don’t think the way the question was asked or answered was done poorly. I find that the worst sort of discussions are when people don’t acknowledge when others have different experiences with the same thing.

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        I was just using that as a springboard for my point. There’s not really anything wrong with the question or answer in this instance though I always cringe when I see one like it.

        And you’re right. Its just that its really easy and the point gets retread a lot. For related phenomena see: What is a game? What is fun? What is art? Its like two people covered in grease wrestling in zero g with nothing to brace against.

        1. Bropocalypse says:

          Much like the earth itself, if you forgive me for waxing poetic.

          1. Wide And Nerdy says:


    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Of course everything is subjective and if you like it thats great, and if you don't, you can't tell someone else they're wrong for liking it.

      Except for health regen,which is objectively stupid,and anyone who likes it is objectively wrong.

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        I assumed that went without saying.

    3. MichaelGC says:

      Aye, and the third group gets the conclusion precisely wrong, if you ask me. The more objective a thing, the less there is to discuss, I reckon. There’s not much you can really say about “2 + 2 = 4,” for example. (Well, unless you’re actually discussing objectivity itself, or the philosophy of maths or whatnot, where it might well be used as an example.)

      The thinking seems to be that without an objective standard, all opinions must be judged equal. Hence establishing an objective standard with which to judge all opinions! Facepalm, and perhaps I might venture a headdesk into the bargain.

      Anyway, that’s just my opinion, of course. :p

      But if ‘subjective’ were to equal ‘not discussable’ then we’d live in a pretty dull world and we’d have some exceptionally boring conversations.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        There's not much you can really say about “2 + 2 = 4,” for example. (Well, unless you're actually discussing objectivity itself, or the philosophy of maths or whatnot, where it might well be used as an example.)

        Man,if only you had the idea.I remember back in school we spent weeks going over why 1+1=2,and what that basic formula actually meant,with special attention given to what each of those symbols means individually.Heck,you cant even dive seriously into the topic without first going through half the field of logic,which is pretty extensive on its own.The minute details of theoretical sciences are truly mind boggling.

        1. MichaelGC says:

          I’ve seen some of the very very basics of that sort of thing … and pretty much ran away screaming in terror! Aye – and the point at which it does become possible to say interesting things about “2 + 2 = 4” tends also to be the point at which the objectivity of e.g. ‘=’ starts looking a little fuzzy…

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Thats because math doesnt deal with objectivity*.It deals,however,with standards.So we have standard calculus,where the postulates that basically everyone in the world knows(and therefore considers as objective truths),then standard geometry(geometry of a flat plane),etc.When dealing with non standard stuff(like the complex plane of numbers or geometry of a curved plane)you have to specify it so that others would know what postulates you are using.

            *The only reason standard calculus can be considered as an objective truth is because it is practically the only thing everyone in the world agrees on.

            1. Tizzy says:

              It’s a little bit more complicated than that. In particular, the point of view that math does not deal with objective truths is a very modern one, not quite a couple of centuries old. And it’s understandable: calculus was so successful at explaining the laws of nature that it is hard to see why it isn’t an objective reality. Historically, the huge majority of mathematicians thought of it this way. So that carries over into how we think about math even today: so many years of traditions have left their mark.

              As to what math is precisely, most practicing mathematicians don’t really care. (Shocking, isn’t it?). And the few that do can’t seem to agree on a definition. (To be more precise, they can’t even agree on what constitutes mathematics or a properly defined mathematical object.)

              1. MichaelGC says:

                *runs away screaming in terror*

              2. Daimbert says:

                Actually, it was more that mathematical truths had deductive certainty, which facts about the world didn’t. That’s where it started. So much so that at least some ancient Greeks argued that the mathematical and abstract realms were where the things that were REALLY real were, and this world was just an inferior and even corrupted copy.

                Some scientists now still hold that mathematical descriptions really do describe what is empirically real, and that that is what mathematics is for. Most mathematicians don’t accept that so definitively.

      2. Daimbert says:

        Well, the issue, I think, is around whether there’s a right answer or not.

        In discussions over things that are called “objective”, there’s a right answer. Thus, there’s a right answer to whether something in a game is better or worse or whatever. So, while you don’t know what the right answer is, the discussions are very interesting … but once everyone knows the right answer, then there’s not really anything else to talk about.

        With “subjective” things, on the other hand, there is no right answer, so you never get to that point where things get settled. However, since there’s no right answer there’s really no reason to care about any kind of disagreement. If I say that I prefer Vanilla Coke to regular Coke, there’s really nothing to argue over there; it’s just what I like. So to say that X is better than Y subjectively is to say that you like X better than Y … which is great, I suppose, and not worth discussing/arguing over, even if I like Y better than X.

        Where the most problematic discussions happen is when people talk about things that are better or worse in a subjective way as if they were better or worse in an objective way, thus they try to argue their way to a right answer for something that doesn’t actually have a right answer.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Its a bit different with stuff that are not food*.You can look at something in a different light when it gets pointed to you and change your opinion because of that.

          *Though even with food this can happen,if you find out about different ways of preparing it.

          1. Daimbert says:

            Well, that applies to everything that’s subjective: if someone points out a different way to approach it or think about it, you might change your opinion. But the key is that you might not, and it’s perfectly all right if you don’t. At some point, with all subjective discussions, it comes down to what the person prefers, and you can’t reasonably argue or discuss it beyond that.

            I’ll use the ME2 ammo as an example. I loved the system in ME1 and hated the change to actual ammo in ME2. This is because, for me, the heat system let me blast away with my preferred weapon — the pistol, interestingly enough — without worrying about running out of ammo, but it didn’t just let me blast away either; I had to pay SOME attention to it. In ME2, I could run out of ammo for the weapon I was most comfortable with if I wasn’t careful, which sucked for me.

            But that’s personal to me. Someone else might have hated the heat system because it stopped them from burst firing when, say, they got in behind a target and just wanted to put it down. I can understand why some people might have liked it better, but I just don’t. Again, at some point it comes down to “This doesn’t work for how I want to play the game”, and nothing else can be said.

        2. Wide And Nerdy says:

          Its true that arguments about a fact don’t last long and arguments that are purely subjective don’t last long (unless people just don’t grasp subjectivity).

          The interesting space comes in where you have facts that you can build an argument on and reach conclusions that aren’t already established. What you’re really discovering, if its an honest debate, is what the facts are and what the priorities and tastes are.

          Its like an argument about whether Witcher 2 is better than Skyrim. Well, Witcher 2 has higher fidelity graphics, a more developed story, more complexity to its combat and more dynamic leveling systems. You may not be able to strictly quantify all of these things but they’re things I think we could agree upon. But I could say “I don’t care, because that game doesn’t give me as much freedom as Skyrim does to just run around and do what I want and make the character I want to make.” And thats more or less true*.

          At that point what you’ve gotten down to is where each person’s priorities are. Yes the conclusion you’ve ultimately drawn is that it boils down to taste, but if you’d started there, you’d either just have two people saying “He like this and I like that” or alternately “he’s an idiot, my game is objectively better.” But something is gained when you explore why each person prefers their chosen game.

          I feel like I’m probably missing an entire background in critiquing and rhetoric trying to explain this. There’s probably terminology for it.

          *Lets assume thats true for the sake of argument, I know you could argue Witcher 2’s quest flexibility vs Skyrims open world roaming when discussing freedom.

          1. Daimbert says:

            Well, what I disagree with here is that you’re having an argument. It would be pointless to argue over the ideas in that case. What you’d be doing is having a discussion about personal preferences, one that involves facts and can lead to changes in ideas.

            Let me use an example that isn’t games but ties into what Daemian said. Let’s say that I tell someone that I’ve started buying and eating frozen blueberries. They can ask me if I’ve tried frozen strawberries, and I can reply that I found that they took too long to thaw and were a bit strong for my tastes. And then they can suggest buying grapes, and I can reply that I wanted something that I didn’t have to worry about going bad. And so on and so forth. With this, if we start from the idea that this is just my personal preference and that the other person is offering suggestions on things that, based on that, I might like, then this is a nice discussion. It’d only be when someone thought that there was a right answer to “blueberries vs strawberries” that there’d be an issue, and we might devolve into talking about an objective fact like whether blueberries really DO thaw faster than strawberries.

            The same thing applies to your example. If you like a deep, engaging story, you’ll prefer The Witcher 2. If you like the open sandbox, you’ll prefer Skyrim. But that’s just a preference. The FACTS might be on how engaging the story in The Witcher 2 really is, or how much more open Skyrim really is, etc, etc. So it’s definitely interesting to explore what people like and don’t like in a game, but ultimately no one really ARGUES about that.

            This, BTW, is why I argue for objective game reviews. Tell me what the game does, and tell me what you liked and didn’t like about it — which, yes, is subjective in a sense, but objective in that it is what you liked — and then let ME decide whether I’d like that or not. If you go too far down the personal preferences/experiences angle, all I have are your experiences, and then I have to translate that to mine, which can be a lot of work [grin].

            1. As somewhat of a philosophy nerd, this mistreatment of the terms objective and subjective annoys me, not least because people often have a tendency to conflate metaphysical objectivity with epistemological objectivity, creating a blurry mess.

              In metaphysics, when you say that something is “objective”, what you are saying is that it exists “out there”, in the world, it is what it is regardless of the observer (the subject). If something is subjective in metaphysics, it is *created by the observer* and (presumably) can be changed simply by the observer wishing for it to change.

              Epistemology is a different animal in this regard, and there are actually THREE (not two) primary methodologies or schools of epistemology in this regard, with three terms: the intrinsic, the objective, and the subjective. These refer to where you believe ideas originate: whether you think that the idea originates within an object itself (the intrinsic), or is created by the observer without any reference to an object (subjective), or is *interpreted* by the observer *based* on an object (objective).

              It is actually possible to disagree, OBJECTIVELY, about something without it becoming simply a subjective matter of taste about which nothing further can be said. This is because epistemological objectivity actually *includes* interpretation–two people can have different *objective* interpretations of the same thing because they have different interests/contexts/whatever, and that can make for some interesting comparisons. But because both the thing they are discussing AND their interpretation of it have a BASIS other than just “I like it/I don’t like it”, the discussion can continue, with the interests/contexts/whatever *and their effect on the interpretation* being brought up, churned around, weighed, etc.

              It is not simply a question of “either it’s objective and it’s a fact–and there’s no further discussion possible, or it’s subjective and it’s a fact–and there’s no further discussion possible”. This should be pretty obvious to anyone by how interested most people are in how these varying interpretations work and what influences them. :P

              1. Tizzy says:

                This is very cool. Thanks for chiming in, I learned something today. And this blog can always do with a little more nerdiness.

              2. Wide And Nerdy says:

                Thank you so much for jumping in with that. I was hoping that here of all places someone would know the proper way state it. I guess I was about halfway there but you brought it home.

                Side Note:
                So it would seem that its possible to have an objective game review if you’re talking about epistemological objectivity. Its just that it would end up looking like what some recent complainants would call a subjective review because it includes the reviewer’s personal experiences, preferences and such.

                I guess the question would be, would this be useful? Seems like it would be but I could see pitfalls

              3. MichaelGC says:

                I’d personally call “objective interpretations”: ‘subjective interpretations’…

                But mainly just to cause trouble! :D The main point here is that most such interpretations certainly can be fruitfully discussed or argued over. And, just because I may want to stipulate something as ‘my opinion’, that doesn’t mean I can’t be challenged on it.

              4. Zak McKracken says:

                I’ve been trying but struggling to understand what all those words mean, but that has just been extremely improved. Thank you!

    4. Zak McKracken says:

      While I agree that the subjectivity thing is fairly obvious and can’t really be argued against, it bears repeating for two reasons:
      a: There are still people who will happily argue against it.
      b: For most other people, it still bears repeating because while it is fairly obvious and well-known, most don’t behave as if it was: When you’re sufficiently caught in the moment, you don’t think about subjectivity of experiences, you think only about your own position. So it’s not really about discovering a fact or telling people something new, it’s about reminding people (including oneself) of something that our minds just love to ignore.

  20. Thomas says:

    I’d just like to point out that one of those Thomas’ is me but the other one isn’t :p I’d say what are the odds, but everyone seems to have this name =D

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      What,you mean there can be TWO people with the same name?!


      1. Daemian Loonifer says:

        I know,right?Absolutely nuts.Next they’ll be saying that 3 people can have the same name!As if names can be spread out like that,can you imagine?


  21. Kerethos says:

    I’m curious, why don’t you use Skype? Like every other podcast does, from those with just audio to those doing audio and video.

    Bad experience there too?

    1. Peter H. Coffin says:

      My understanding is that Skype’s off the table because while it can manage an ersatz multi-tracking putting two people on the left and right channels of a stereo recording, it can’t record four separate audio tracks all cued together.

      1. Nixitur says:

        With Skype, the latency is really low, but it hugely sacrifices the audio quality. It’s not so bad as to be unintelligible, but it’s not a joy to listen to, either.

        1. Josh says:

          Yeah I use Skype for work communication and meetings. So I think I can reasonably vouch that Skype’s audio quality, latency, and stability are somewhere between “abysmal” and “literally Satan.”

          1. tzeneth says:

            Eh, I use skype for tabletop RPGs (yay diecast earns its name) and I can say that call quality varies based on the position of the moon, the sun, the stars, and whether Cthulhu has decided to roll over in his sleep. Sometimes we’ll be dealing with call drops and background noise, other times we get a nice smooth game. The problem is recording skype calls requires way too much work to have a good recording.

          2. Trix2000 says:

            It’s better than our conference phones, but then I don’t know if that says more about Skype than it does about the physical quality of our conference phones…

            It may also help that, using Skype, we can pipe the audio both ways through our own speaker/mic products. :)

      2. Ironically Skype (now owned by MicroSoft) uses/created SILK which is the low bitrate codec used in Opus.
        (Opus uses SILK for low bitrate and CELT for high bitrate or a hybrid of the two).

        Mumbles uses/supports CELT, OPUS and Speex I think. (Speex is by the Xiph.org guys who also took part in the creation of Opus, and Xiph.org are the guys behind Ogg Vorbis and FLAC and Ogg Theora.)

        Also note that as mentioned by Peter Skype won’t do as it can’t save the stream/record in multiple discrete channels/files.

        And Skype uses peer networking so it piggybacks on neighbouring IPs (other Skype users to even out bandwidth use etc.)

  22. The Mich says:

    Shamus, I would be really, really curious about what you’d think about the first two games (especially the first) if you’d try them again after finishing this one (assuming that by the end you’d still like it). I say this because most of what I find really good in the Witcher 3 was present in the other games as well (or at least I saw it in them), even in a much, much less polished state: the bizarre folkloric elements, the relationships between Geralt and the other characters, the occasional moments of levity… I’d even argue the bulk of what made this series successful comes from that rather than the first things that come to mind when mentioning the Witcher. So yeah, I’d wager that you might like the first games more if you played them after this one (though I admit it’s a risky bet). :)

  23. Galad says:

    @ “I wish I could give Witcher 3 to 25-year-old me. He had time to play through gargantuan games like this.”

    Apparently it’s not THAT gargantuan. I mean, if you ignore over half the side quests and have 12 hours a day to play, you can finish it in just like 10 days. Surely you can manage that in a month? :P

    1. Bloodsquirrel says:

      I’m playing Pillars of Eternity right now.

      On the one hand, I’m well past the point in my life where I want to be putting 80 hours into a single game, especially since I tend to binge heavily. But on the other, I really love a truly epic game. There’s a depth to the experience that can’t really be replicated by a 20-hour substitution, and I’d rather play one 80 hour RPG than four twenty hour ones.

      I really wish I could play this kind of game a couple hours at a time, but that’s just fundamentally against how I enjoy media.

      1. Galad says:

        Good, good. It will be one of my next games to play. Installed and waiting for my attention.

  24. Thomas says:

    It was really cool hearing Rutskarn’s perspective on the kickstarter, I don’t know if there’s much that can be done to fix the situation, but knowing that there is a problem hopefully helps.

    1. AileTheAlien says:

      I think part of the solution could be, for Kickstarter (and other similar sites) to require project creators to disclose other sources of income. i.e. If you get $500 000 from Kickstarter, but know you’re going to be using $2 500 000 from non-Kickstarter places, you have to tell the Kickstarter crowd that information, up front.

      1. Tizzy says:

        But what about projects who want to use Kickstarter funds to build a prototype and then will be looking for more funding?

        1. AileTheAlien says:

          They should state up front that they’re building a prototype. I know it’s not a total solution, but I think it’d help a bit.

          Also, arg I messed up a closing bracket! :P

  25. Nixitur says:

    Why do you need a “mysterious benefactor” for new mics, anyway? Isn’t that part of what the Spoiler Warning Patreon is for? Doesn’t that fall under “new equipment”?
    Frankly, that was the first thing I thought of when I read the pitch on Patreon.

    1. Josh says:

      Well, most of the last several months of the Spoiler Warning Patreon money has gone to upgrading my computer. You can even see when this happens if you look back through the Hitman Absolution season, and we go from stuttering, inconsistent framerates in one episode to a solid 60 fps in the next.

      And I mean in general, we don’t need a mysterious benefactor. Like we could probably put together the money ourselves. But audio equipment is expensive and someone donated the money for it so, that’s nice of them?

      1. ulrichomega says:

        With the monthly income from Patreon would it be possible to buy into a paid audio service that works well for your use case? I’m sure there’s one out there that fits the bill, but I’m guessing the bottleneck in this case is time spent researching which one would work best.

        1. tmtvl says:

          Dedicated Murmur server on a DigitalOcean droplet?

        2. Josh says:

          We already rent a dedicated Ventrilo server through Typefrag. When we tried Mumble, we just converted it over, which was apparently as easy as a button press.

          1. ulrichomega says:

            You guys pay Ventrilo and they still haven’t looked at that bug? That’s… Not a good business practice.

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Oddly enough,Ive noticed it in reverse.For some reason,the embeded videos with 60fps tended to stutter,though it seems that was something on youtubes part because now it works like it should .

        1. 60fps 1080p youtube videos has some issues in certain browsers on certain systems.
          Especially if it’s in the h264 codec. the VP9 codec does not have this issue. THe problem seems related to the hardware acceleration of h264 (VP8 and VP9 has no hardware support and are software only).

          Which codec the video in varies, Youtube kinda decided it. Not sure if an author can force youtube to use one or the other.

    2. Humanoid says:

      If it’s unclear from the above answers too, the Spoiler Warning Patreon is the Josh Patreon, and Josh isn’t one of those who needed the new mics.

      1. AileTheAlien says:

        LoL. I was going to add basically this same comment in my response down below. I just figured it was getting too long already. :)

    3. AileTheAlien says:

      If Josh’s estimates in the show are accurate, with regards to Patreon’s cut, credit card fees, taxes, etc, then Shamus and company only have something like $7000 remaining, of the $9000 per year they get from the Spoiler Warning Patreon fund. That would be a large amount of money on its own, but they have to split that between at least:
      – Josh’s powerful and expensive computer
      – Shamus’ less powerful, less expensive computer
      – Shamus’ computer’s hard drive dying earlier in the year
      – licenses on any non-game software they’re using
      – buying copies of all the games they play
      – get new microphones for Shamus and Rutskarn
      – etc

      I absolutely trust that these guys are allocating our Patreon money frugally. Also, as Josh says above, they’d have gotten the money to upgrade microphones through their regular operations of running the podcast / Spoiler Warning. However, I was feeling especially generous*, since I just got some money from my tax refund**, and the microphone thing especially bothers me. So, rather than just increase my monthly giving on Patreon, and hoping that the microphones eventually made it to the top of the priority queue, I just gave them some extra cash specifically for buying some new ones.

      Hopefully that gives the correct amount of context. Not trying to start an internet fight or anything.*** I’m just a bit OCD when it comes to audio. :)

      * I’m 99% sure I’m the mysterious benefactor they’re referring to. Unless there was like, two of us who happened to be donating at the same time. Anyways, that’s beside the point.

      ** So, really, could you blame/thank Canada Revenue Agency for this donation? :P

      *** Shamus, if this comment starts a flame-war, nuke it. With an orbital ion cannon. And sharks. With lasers on their heads. :D

      1. krellen says:

        Shamus’s dying hard drive was not paid for by Patreon money.

      2. Shamus says:

        Josh has offered the Spoiler Warning money to us in the past, and we’ve always shied away.

        The problem is that there aren’t any established social conventions for how this works. Some poeple think of it as the “Josh Patreon”, since everyone else has their own Patreons. Other people think of it as the “Spoiler Warning” Patreon, and maybe expect the money should be spread around.

        I’m always really worried about offending / betraying some trust.

        I guess part of the problem is the ambiguity of the intent:

        1) Here! Have this money because I like you!
        2) Here, use this money to fund the content you produce.
        3) Here is some money because I like everything you and your friends are doing.

        Having said that, the first of the equipment arrived today. It’s a swivel arm for a microphone, so you can push the mic up / out of the way / off to the side. It’s really awesome and makes me feel cool and professional.

        If only the Amazon Gnomes had seen fit to pack THE MICROPHONE ITSELF into the same box.

        1. Supahewok says:

          I think you’re worrying too much; in this specific case, neither you nor Rutskarn use your mics in your solo content. (Well, Ruts has streams, but that’s a minor part of his work) Your sound quality only affects the collaborative works of Spoiler Warning and the Diecast. If Josh feels that the next best step to improve the quality of those works is for y’all to have better mics, I think that its totally justified for him to pay for them out of the Spoiler Warning Patreon.

          Moot point now that Aile give you some cash for the upgrade, but I don’t think you should shy away in the future from accepting SW money if its to be used to improve the collaborative effort, especially in areas that don’t overlap with your solo content (which is what I consider your own Patreons are for; there is no conflict of interest if the money for collaborative works goes to improving those works in ways that do not affect solo works).

        2. Is it an actual swivel? I got a cheap one that does not truly swivel (it’s to rickety) i’s more suited to be turned and then locked.

          I’ve been interested in a proper swivel mic table arm. Got make/model or a link to it?

        3. Trix2000 says:

          I’ve always been of the opinion that whatever money I give to people on Patreon, they can do whatever they want with. But then, I tend to approach Patreon as less of a ‘pay for my content’ and more of ‘I enjoy your stuff, have some money’. If that makes any sense.

  26. Merlin says:

    Off topic (but a good one for future episodes!): Windows 7 & 8 installs now have a little tray icon offering a free upgrade to Windows 10. How terrible is Windows 10? I rather enjoy being half a decade behind with my OSes, because frankly there just aren’t that many bells and whistles they can add for me to care about. Is this a “wait 6 months for some stability” kind of release or a “avoid indefinitely” kind of release?

    1. RTBones says:

      Nagware. Hate, hate, hate it. Microsoft is hell-bent to get everyone on Windows 10 for a variety of reasons, but this – this they got annoyingly wrong.

      The good thing, though, is you can get rid of that annoying tray icon. Its all about getting rid of KB 3035583. Once its gone, go into Windows Update, right click on the appropriate update (which, “helpfully” is now listed as ‘important’ by Microsoft), and hide it. That should take care of Windows Update reinstalling it. Annoying updates like this are why I regularly update manually, as opposed to letting Microsoft install what they want.

      EDIT: Full disclosure, I personally do not see anything in Windows 10 (currently) that makes me need or want to upgrade. MS has gone to a ‘cloud first’ mentality, and since I don’t ‘cloud’, its a generally useless upgrade for me.

      1. Humanoid says:

        The point where Win10 will become generally recommended is likely when DirectX 12 gains reasonable traction in new games, where it should provide a sizable performance boost.

        1. RTBones says:

          True, though I can’t see that happening for a while yet. I’m sure there will be AAA titles that try to take advantage of DX12 not long after Windows 10 goes ‘live’, but that will only be a handful of titles in the beginning. A year on, who knows – but by that point, the ‘free’ upgrade will have expired.

          I do believe you are correct though – if DX12 gives a substantial performance boost and is widely adopted in new games, W10 will be picked up by more consumers.

          1. The major boost from DX12 will be for multicore mid to low end systems. High end systems with few cores will not benefit that much.

            Also, DX12 will not replace DX11. The same features will be in DX11.2 AFAIK.

            Few games will directly make use of DX12, it is the game engines/frameworks that will make use of DX12 (like Unreal Engine).

            And Vulkan (a mix of OpenGL and AMD’s Mantle) will be the opensource competitor to DX12, and OpenGL will still exist alongside Vulkan.

            So we’ll have DX11.x and OpenGL for highlevel and legacy stuff, and DX12 and Vulkan for low level/close to the metal stuff.

            That DX12 is called DX12 is a mistake IMO, it should have been called something else as it’s not actually DirectX v12.
            DX12 is it’s own API, while similar to DX11.x it is not the same.

            MicroSoft renamed new IE engine to Edge to show how different it is. They should have done the same with DX12.

            Here’s a tip MicroSoft…: Rename DX12 to EdgeX (EX?) or MetalX (MX?) or something else.

            1. RTBones says:

              I do wonder if the naming convention was deliberate on Microsoft’s part, as I suspect most will simply assume that DX12 is the direct successor to DX11.

              What an interesting web Microsoft is weaving.

    2. AileTheAlien says:

      Honestly, from some videos a co-worker was showing me last week, I don’t see anything I like in the new version of Windows. Like, they seem to be sticking whole-hog to the Metro interface, even though it’s really better for small-screen devices, where screen real-estate is severely limited, and where you could be squinting at the screen from being outdoors, etc. Also, they default to having a bunch of constantly-moving, animated tiles, showing ads for/from the local weather network, some flavour-of-the-week e-commerce place, etc. I can understand wanting to show people that you can have cool, live-updated useful apps, but the ones they’ve chosen as defaults look severely 1) greed-/profit-driven, 2) too-goddamn-animated. Like seriously, having constantly-moving stuff in your face is distracting. :S

      1. RTBones says:

        Advertisements in native apps (not ones you download, but apps installed with the OS) are one of my biggest pet peeves with Microsoft.

      2. Trix2000 says:

        My understanding is that a lot of that stuff is customizable, so you can get rid of much of that if you don’t use it.

        But I dunno – haven’t been watching it that closely.

  27. Ranneko says:

    As the first person to bring up Mumble in your previous post’s comments I feel irrationally guilty for the troubles you describe. Irrational mostly because I know other people would have also brought it up and I was careful to avoid saying “Hey, why aren’t you using Mumble, Mumble is the best”.

    While I have never had problems with Mumble, I do have a few friends who refuse to leave their paid ventrilo system because of sound quality issues on Mumble. I suspect that there are some set ups where Mumble runs aground for strange reasons, wish I knew why, but the Diecast crew have a set up that works, which means there isn’t much need to spent hours trying to fix what isn’t actually broken.

    1. AileTheAlien says:

      I wouldn’t feel too bad. There was like, half a dozen of us all saying, “Try Mumble. It looks like it might work!” Then it didn’t work. Maybe the crew will try again in another year, when all this audio codec/software stuff gets sorted out. :)

      1. Ventrillo isn’t working either (it cuts off/drops last packet when recording).
        And Mumble uses at least three codecs, and two of them are the same as Ventrillo uses (and has used) for years AFAIK.

        I’m still pointing a finger at the server/hosting or latency/buffer settings as the culprit.

        If this is a paid hosting service them support should be connected and asked for the best settings to use. Maybe there are error/connection logs showing what the issue was.

        This Diecast was nice to listen to. The other Diecasts have that annoying cut off sentence thing and it’s silly that is still an issue.

        There are other solutions out the like Dolby Axon but AFAIK do not allow multichannel/discreet speaker recordings which is key.

        And ideal voice conference system would record at the server.
        Currently both Ventrilo and Mumble (and any other solution) is vulnerable to the person recording having line/packet issues.
        Each participant in the chat sends their own packets too.
        A centralized system would allow recording with no loss possible and each participant could potentially have just a single stream (thus using less bandwidth)

        It would be more bandwidth (as higher bitrate would be needed to retain quality) than a 1 to 1 chat, but less than a 3 to 3 chat.
        I can’t think of any services/solutions like this.

        1. Volfram says:

          The recording came out fine. The people having packet loss issues were Rutskarn and Chris. Maybe Ventrilo keeps trying to re-send the packets until they arrive(or is more lenient about late arrivals), while Mumble simply mutes and ignores packets that arrive late or not at all?


          What really seems to be going on here is that Josh *really* does not like Mumble(no comment on whether or not that’s justified. If I’d had his experiences, I would probably hate it, too) and Rutskarn is beginning to share that dislike, and as the two most vocal members of the group, they tend to have more pull in the decision making.

  28. AileTheAlien says:

    @shamus *

    The intro / outro music clip is about 2X as loud as everything else. So, you get blasted in the ears, set your headphone volume to match the intro volume, then have to turn it back up again when everyone starts talking. Minor, but annoying. :)

    * Or whoever edits the podcasts. I forget which cast member edits which things. ^^;

    1. Humanoid says:

      Just like real TV news shows then, they’ve always bothered me too.

  29. Wulfgar says:

    Strange what they did to Geralt’s voice for English version of the game. It’s not that “gravelly” in the original. It’s kinda comical really from my perspective. It looks like an effect of focus group testing in America.

    1. Humanoid says:

      Japanese with English subtitles. It’s the best way. Witcher 3 for best JRPG ever.

    2. Depends on the actor too.

      For example some people did not like how the made the main character’s voice in Deus Ex Human Revolution sound so gravely/hoarse, that they overdid it.
      And then it turns out that it’s the normal voice of that voice actor.

      1. Volfram says:

        it was especially odd for me because Adam Jensin looks for all the world like a friend of mine, only with black hair instead of dirty-blonde.

        Their voices couldn’t be more different.

      2. Trix2000 says:

        I found it really funny watching a video from… somewhere (forget what) that was of people playing Dues Ex:HR along with the guy for commentary. The very first word he spoke, my brain told me “It’s Adam Jensen talking”.

  30. Bloodsquirrel says:

    Bioware’s ME/DAII style of over-the-shoulder-combat is a kludge that comes from Bioware having no interest in tactical combat anymore, but having a formula that requires them to have companions. They’re also trying to make a game that can be played top-down, but you can also just button mash your way through.

    They’d be much better off going one direction or the other- either making real party combat again or ditching the companions- but that would require:

    A) Someone with actual understanding of game design calling the shots
    B) Possibly making a game which isn’t also trying to double as a dating sim

    Even Dragon Age: Origins’ was poorly designed in general. My warrior had a dozen abilities, but the combat mechanics were buried so deeply under the interface that I had no idea what most of them *really* did and why I shouldn’t just pick one and spam it. Pillars of Eternity actually does it right: there’s genuine tactical depth, lots of options to get creative with, etc.

    Shamus not liking party combat is a huge bummer because Pillars is shaping up to be the best RPG I’ve played this decade.

    1. Darren says:

      I really liked the gameplay of Pillars of Eternity, but I had some real issues with the writing. Especially that mess of an ending.

    2. Humanoid says:

      My issues with PoE are largely to do with the party-based nature of it as well, or more precisely, I feel that it limits itself way too much by trying to be the “spiritual successor” (a term I don’t particularly like) to the Infinity Engine games. I’d be much more into it if it were balanced to be a solo experience (which doesn’t preclude a follower, New Vegas style) which was just its own thing without having to appeal to nostalgics, but then it probably wouldn’t have raised as much cash on Kickstarter, so that kind of settles that argument given Obsidian’s financial state.

      Nonetheless, I’d much, much prefer their next project be along the lines of New Vegas and Alpha Protocol, for for that matter, the Witcher, Deus Ex, or Skyrim, because I’m long past the point where micromanagement/babysitting in an RPG makes for compelling gameplay, no matter how “tactical” one might say it is. Leave that stuff for the XCOMs and Jagged Alliances of the world, I don’t want it getting in my RPGs.

  31. Wide And Nerdy says:

    I found a problem with Dragon Age Inquisition’s “open world” was that I felt too constricted by the narrative to fully enjoy the open world. Why am I doing this? I have an Inquisition to run.

    Does this game leave you free enough that you feel like you can run around and do whatever most of the time? Or alternately does everything feel like something Geralt can justify taking the time to do?

    1. Henson says:

      Eh. The main quest seems like the kind of thing you’d want to get done ASAP, what with a cavalcade of demon horseman on the Hunt, so doing sidequests is kinda out of the way. And yet, the main quest doesn’t quite feel imminent; like, it looks urgent on paper, but not so much when you’re playing.

      The problem is also mitigated by most sidequests not feeling like trivial bull. Taking a side trip to rid the local village of their monster-devil feels justified given a) the severity of the threat and b) the fact that killing monsters and ending curses is your job.

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        I guess there are two components to it. 1) Are the stakes of that quest big. Sounds like yes. AND 2) Narratively, does it seem like only Geralt of Rivia of all people could possibly resolve it. Is the world unable to do anything while Geralt is sidequesting?

        The answer to both for Inquisition was yes. If I wasn’t closing rifts, the rifts were just sitting open while I went treasure hunting or fought dragons or acquired decorations for my throne room.

        1. Henson says:

          The stakes are almost certainly big, but they’re are also kinda unknown. We’re pretty sure that if the bad guy finds what he’s looking for, bad shit’s gonna go down, but we really don’t know what that might entail.

          The world at large, on the other hand, doesn’t know or care that this potential threat even exists, aside for a few people who’ve read up on obscure matters. Geralt is probably the best person to solve the problem because of his skills and his history, but the world is not completely helpless, either. There are other people trying to solve the problem as well (not many, though), it’s just that Geralt is currently their best option.

          So is it a ‘constricted’ narrative? Mmmmm….yes and no.

          1. Humanoid says:

            Yeah, Geralt isn’t some sort of magical “Chosen One” in the literal sense, he’s more competent at stuff than the average person but it’s hardly what puts him in the position he finds himself in. But he is “chosen” nonetheless because of his interpersonal relationships, relationships that have been established in the backstory even prior to the first Witcher game.

            Further, the stakes involved are not really revealed openly, it’s something you learn bit by bit. The prologue, for example is just you looking for your girlfriend, which the game establishes you’ve been spending some time doing, with no real suggestion on what happens after you succeed. In this context, taking the sidequests – i.e. contracts – makes fine enough sense because you’d have had to earn a living somehow over the months and years.

            On the other hand, some of the side content (which are not, strictly speaking, sidequests) is indeed harder to justify, but fortunately are the ones where you don’t miss out on anything if you don’t do them. Sure they give XP and loot, but people are complaining of outlevelling the main quest anyway and having more gold than they can spend, so these aren’t particularly compelling inducements. This content generally takes the form of just some “?” markers on your map, much like the anomalies on the planets you explore on the Mako in ME1: you go there, find it’s some hidden treasure, bandit camp, or monster lair or whatever, and resolve it in an entirely self-contained way that doesn’t affect any other content.

            1. Jokerman says:

              “makes fine enough sense because you'd have had to earn a living somehow over the months and years”

              This is basically how i justify all the side questing in The Witcher, Geralts gotta eat.

              1. djw says:

                Well, yeah, except all you have to do to eat is wait for wolves to charge you and then harvest their organs for dinner.

    2. Jokerman says:

      I felt like after the main villain buggers off for a bit and you partially close the breach at the start… things kind of settle and allow you time to build your inquisition. Most of the trash quests at least feel like they are helping with that.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        I’m the kind of guy who feels the compulsive need to explore all the nooks and crannies and do all the sidequests before progressing with the main, even if it is really stupid narratively. in DA:I I really didn’t like the generic nature of most of the sidequests, it felt like a slog that I had to get through before getting another chunk of the plot, though I do realise technically nobody forced me to do what is, explicitly, optonal content.

  32. Eschatos says:

    Finally, someone who shares my dislike of real-time-but-not-really RPGs. At its very best it’s tolerable, with better RPGs like Planescape Torment and Baldur’s Gate.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Technically,all of those are turn based.The only difference is that their turns(1/10 of a round usually)play out without interruption until you pause them.

      1. Phill says:

        Welcome to confusing terminology 101, for games based on the D&D system where a round is 1/10 of a turn (and a segment is 1/10 of a round, which is the smallest unit of time, corresponding to the ‘turn’ of a turn based gamed).

        Actually I preferred the combat of the Ruins of Myth Drannor – the forgotten realms D&D game after Baldur’s gate 1 / 2. It switch back to explicit turn based action, where you handle each character in turn within the round.

        The game got rather panned for it though, since in some of the larger battles you could spend a minute or two every round watching 10 zombies very slowly amble up to you one by one. The animations could have done with being sped up considerably. Plus the game as buggy as hell – but was much better than Baldur’s gate IMHO (the maps were much less limited than in Baldur’s Gate). I just much preferred the overt turn based nature of the combat than the vague, ill-defined part real time, part turn based stuff of the Baldur’s gate era.

        1. Daimbert says:

          Me, too. Turning the pause on made the battles drag and seemed really artificial, but leaving it off often left you unable to react fast enough to what was happening. Then again, the alternative might be the combat in Wizardry 8, which was frequent and often really, really long.

          1. Wide And Nerdy says:

            Pillars of Eternity tried to give you that with autopause. Depending on how you set things up, you could basically achieve Final Fantasy style combat, sort of. I think its a step in the right direction. You could really do a lot with the settings to customize your gameplay experience.

            1. Supahewok says:

              Infinity Engine games, which are I believe the most well known and beloved Real Time w/ Pause RPG’s, were the first to have auto-pause options. I think that the Enhanced Editions MIGHT have expanded on those. Pillars of Eternity certainly did, its got lots of conditions. Wish you could tailor them for specific characters, I like the FF12 and DA:O systems.

              1. Humanoid says:

                I suppose one could call them turn-based, but simultaneous turns, which just changes the terminology of the debate from real-time vs turn-based to simultaneous-turns to sequential-turns. I’m not a proponent of it either way though. :P

      2. ehlijen says:

        That’s not real turn based. Turn based means every action is resolved in sequence rather than all at the same time.

        And I for one much prefer that if the game is going to insist on being even reasonably complex. I have trouble gauging the potency of abilities of the characters unless I can see them unfold without clutter from everyone else’s simultaneous actions. Yes, it may be slower, but that’s something you can fix by designing the game around it (XCOM did so and it was great).

    2. AileTheAlien says:

      I too, hate real-time-with-pause games!

      They usually don’t have a good enough interface to run at full real-time, and then also don’t have a good interface for turn-based-like actions, because they’re not turn-based, so why spend development dollars on that, amirite? Ugh. ^^;

  33. Rob says:

    I apologize if someone already mentioned this in the comments. Fast travel locatons for the boats are open from the start, but you have to be at the helm (sitting) in the boat for the fast travel markers to appear on the map. If you’re just standing on the boat they don’t appear on the map. At least that’s how it seems to work for me. Discovered after 20 minutes trying to get to the city

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Also, I gather the ability to light/extinguish candles which are near more interesting objects is about to be removed in a patch.

      Oh, and it seems to auto-walk indoors if you use a controller, which is nice.

  34. Vect says:

    Solid Snake and Big Boss does have a character outside of “Angry Soldier”. It varies between games, where you have Snake in different situations. Big Boss in particular has a pretty rich history, going from a patriot dedicated to his country to a supervillain who lost faith in the ideals of his mentor (basically Female Captain America) and decides to wage nuclear war for a world where soldiers like him could live in.

    Also, I think that asshole chef episode of Archer had Anthony Bourdain (who while not a regular TV chef, was an actual chef who got big with a book about his life and does shows where he travels around the world and eats exotic food while being sardonic) play an asshole version of himself. The actual Bourdain however is actually cool (and hates Guy Fieri and most other TV chefs).

    1. Christopher says:

      Big Boss’ sense of humor is also bad(Great).

  35. Henson says:

    The thing I’m noticing most about Witcher 3 right now is just how much of a quest-oriented game it is. There are two facets to this: 1) every quest is well written, involved, interesting, and doesn’t waste my time. This is what most people are noticing and like about this game. 2) if it’s not tied to a quest, it doesn’t exist. For the most part, there are no extraneous conversations, no questions about how the people make do in their lives, or whether they’ve lost loved ones to necrophages, or any of this world-building dialogue that exists for its own sake, unless such topics come up during quest dialogue. The towns are full of peasants who you can’t talk to, who give similar one-line dialogues when you press ‘interact’, and who ultimately don’t feel terribly distinctive. The result is that there are dozens of towns all over the place that feel very much the same.

    It’s clear that the time they save by not writing almost anything related to a quest helps them concentrate on making those quests so damn good, but I really do miss talking to people just for the sake of talking.

    1. Humanoid says:

      What games actually do that though? As in, provide actual personalised dialogue for generic NPCs purely for the purpose of world-building. Sure there’s the occasional named NPC with no explicit quest tied to them, but it’s usually tied to them being an important person in general, not something that’d be done for nameless peasants or soldiers.

      1. Henson says:

        Some examples:

        Dragon Age: Origins. There is a member of the Chantry in Denerim who can tell you all about her work with relics, the authentication of relics, and how there are so many very convincing fakes out there. She isn’t an important character, and isn’t tied to any quest.

        Deus Ex: In Hong Kong, there is a barkeep who you can talk to about the philosophies of governing and how the values of China differ from the West. The barman isn’t an important character, and isn’t tied to any quest.

        I could name more, but you are also right; this kind of thing isn’t terribly common, and even in Witcher 2 was a rarity. Yet the focus on questing here is so strong that the lack of non-quest dialogue is much more obvious. For example, a village ealderman knows about a monster problem, but you can’t talk with him until you get the quest from the signboard, and you can’t talk to him after he’s explained the quest, either. Important characters who you can talk to are spread thinly across a much wider map, amongst a sea of interchangeable faces.

        I’m not saying that this is necessarily a bad choice, since the quests are quite good, but it definitely does feel like the emphasis on quests is much, much stronger than most other games, and that this does have some unfortunate results.

        1. IFS says:

          The relic curator in Origins is actually tied to a small quest (she doesn’t give it though, you just find a relic during your adventures and are able to bring it back to her). Origins does have a number of side characters that exist just for lore though, from a lyrium addled templar outside that same chantry (which you can talk with him as well as a couple other chantry sisters) to gain a bit more insight into the Templar order, said chantry sisters can be talked with for some insight into the chant and its history, at Ostagar there are Ash warriors and a Tranquil that can be talked to purely for lore purposes, etc.

      2. Bloodsquirrel says:

        Bioware’s games have always had chatty NPCs, Bethesda’s games do it, Pillars of Eternity…

        I’m trying to think of an RPG I’ve played that doesn’t have lots of non-quest dialog. Fable, maybe, but that game treats NPCs outside of cutscenes in a very Sim-like fashion.

  36. Ilseroth says:

    Speaking of Kickstarter, I don’t know if I should, but I am actually starting a super small indie developed RPG and posting it on kickstarter, since that’s really the only way I could ever possibly work on it full time.

    I feel a little awkward posting it here… but I mean, you brought up small indies in the cast >.> Shamus’ posts about Good Robot were a big influence in me getting back into game development. In addition, the whole concept is to put gameplay first, and kind of lower the graphical values. Granted you guys talk about reducing it to like, 2003, and I go a little lower then that but, I mean, it is a one person project >.<

    Should I post the link when the kickstarter goes live?

    1. AileTheAlien says:

      Sure! I mean, it’d probably be best to post it in the forums. Also, don’t spam. One thread should be enough. :)

      Also, I’d recommend a dedicated indie game-dev site, maybe? I’m not an actual indie dev, since I never release, or even finish anything, so don’t trust me on anything. But maybe try something like TIGSource? (Especially the forums.) You could also Google around for a while; See what turns up. :D

  37. krellen says:

    Shamus, you should get around to playing Shadowrun Returns (or start with Dragonfall, if you have it). It’s good old-fashioned turn-based gameplay, and especially the writing in Dragonfall is pretty excellent.

    Also, I’d like to play Shadowrun Chronicles with you. It’s a turn-based MMO. How can you not want to try that?

    1. Supahewok says:

      How’s Chronicles’ play? I’ve heard its kind of a mix between Xcom and the other new Shadowrun games, which sounds kinda nice. Don’t think I’ve got anybody to play it with (sadface), but interested in hearing your opinion.

      1. krellen says:

        I like it. It plays well co-op or solo, and gives a pretty good variety of character options. The writing is good enough, and I personally really dig the Bostonian accent the female PC sports.

    2. AileTheAlien says:

      How much of a time commitment does Chronicles take? I totally dig the idea of multi-playing some Shadowrun on the internets, but I don’t want to have to dedicate more than like…10 hours per month to it. Like, as a minimum. If it’s Xmas time, and I’m not working that week, I’ll totally sink more time. I just don’t want a heavy minimum-time commitment. :)

      1. krellen says:

        You play individual missions, each of which takes probably half an hour to an hour at most.

  38. WILL says:

    Shamus, Witcher 3 is huge yes but there are only a few VERY noteworthy quests. Main quests obviously, but also any quest that involve major characters from other games.

    There’s always space for a second slower playthrough!

  39. John says:

    I can tell you why KOTOR‘s real-time-with-pause combat works.

    It’s because the position of your party members in relation to your enemies is almost completely irrelevant in the sense that there is rarely any good reason for you to try and change it manually . You get a bonus to your attack roll for attacking from behind–at least I think you do–and some characters may do extra damage attacking from behind. But it’s not worth it. You are outnumbered in most combat encounters, so when you move a character in an attempt to flank an enemy you open that character to attacks of opportunity by not only that enemy but a few others as well . It’s better to leave your characters where they are. All you really need to do in KOTOR is tell your party members which enemies to attack and which special attacks or Jedi abilities to use.

    And a lot of the time you don’t even need to do that. As the man said, KOTOR is pretty easy.

    1. Humanoid says:

      So the moral is that it works as long as you give everyone laser blasters. I can buy that, in all seriousness. It’s the same reason Mass Effect’s party works better than DA2/3’s, and why Fallout 3/NV’s mostly works better than Skyrim’s (ignoring the bits where Boone pulls out a machete and charges in).

      I wonder if you could get away with a fantasy RPG where all your party members are strictly ranged-only. Indeed archers only, because collateral damage from magic.

      1. John says:

        Actually, vibroblades are generally better than blasters. Vibroblades tend to do more damage, especially for high-level characters. And you get penalties to your attack roll if you try to use blasters while in melee range of an enemy. I love HK-47 and he’s one of my standard party members when I’m doing a Dark-side playthrough, but he’s hilariously ineffective–compared to, say, a melee-oriented Canderous–because he can’t actually equip melee weapons.

        When I said that the combat “works”, I meant that it was relatively easy to manage. And, let me reiterate, combat itself is relatively easy. Blasters may be objectively worse than vibroblades, but they’re not out-and-out terrible.

    2. ehlijen says:

      Yup, the DnD core mechanics minus any cover system was a really weird choice for a game so inundated with ranged combat. I guess why both games focus so heavily on Jedi vs Sith conflict.

      1. John says:

        Well, that and it’s, y’know, Star Wars.

  40. James Porter says:

    Rutskarn talking about Grand Theft Auto Online really reminded me of Daggerfall. Just a lot of it, but it is basically all the same and doesn’t mean anything

  41. Shame ya dropping mumbles, cause this is literally the best audio I’ve heard from this podcast. It is absolutely striking.

    1. Blake says:

      Agreed. It’s a pity they can’t hear each other properly, because it does sound far far better.

  42. Decius says:

    If you get your entire game budget from Kickstarter, doesn’t that mean that every single sale over distribution costs is gravy?

  43. Muelnet says:

    OH MY GOD SHAMUS THANK YOU, LSKDJFKL:SDJFSDKL:FJSDKL:. I couldn’t agree with you more when it comes to Isometric Real Time with Pause (RTwP) games. But I also agree with Rutskarn when it comes to the over the shoulder RTwP games. I just freaking hate RTwP. Honestly, part of it is until about Mass Effect 2/3 era I hated all the User Interfaces.

    And while I also agree with Josh in that I love Dark Souls, but kind of wish he would stop bringing it up because it always ends in Shamus saying the exact same thing every time. I honestly don’t have a problem with Shamus not liking it. It’s fine. I love it and I’m glad other people like it, but I also started playing the game at least 5 or 6 times never making it past Blighttown (and most of the time not even that far) and can completely understand why people hate it. That being said I don’t want them to change it to appeal to Shamus, I’d rather have it be the way I like it (sorry Shamus).

    Also wanting to add my own thing, I really loved in Dragon Age II how you didn’t have to constantly be equipping new armor on your companions, and I loved Varric the most because I didn’t have to give him new weapons either. And while I can’t remember pretty much any weapon from any RPG I can still recall his crossbow was called Bianca. I know all the hardcore RPG fans really hated that but it was my favorite change for Dragon Age II. I really wish more RPGs had something like that where you could choose a weapon and either spend currency/rare items to make it stronger or if it would just level with you. I like feeling like I have a connection with a weapon rather than feeling like it is fine for now but will be useless in an hour or two.

    1. Merlin says:

      My standing policy is that an RPG should never leave me wondering whether I spend more time in menus than in the game world, and DA:O failed that benchmark by a wide margin thanks to a variety of inventory issues. I do intend to eventually chug through the rest of the series (on Easy, because RTwP combat is terrible and Dragon Age’s take on it is particularly terrible) so I’m excited to hear that the inventory management in 2 is a step forward.

  44. Sova says:

    I for one would love to kickstart a Guy Fieri segment on Errant Signal with a totally unrealistic budget that is entirely run in Mumble.

  45. https://www.gamevox.com/en/

    This looks like a alternative to TeamSpeak, Ventrilo and Mumble.
    There is a free (max 6 person) basic hosting. AFAIK Diecast and Spoiler Warning has never had more than 6 people at once. So the hosting would be free in this case.

    And the chat server is cloud based which may provide better connection (a cloud would use severs near those connected and then use direct server-server connections for long distances).

    Sadly it says nothing about recording (and nothing about multiple speakers/channel recording).

  46. SHamus you are probably tired of hearing about Mumble.
    But might want to take a look at this guide (it goes into the “hidden” advanced settings.

    You can tweak the millisecond size of a packet and tweak the buffer for jitter and whatnot.

  47. @Shamus
    Is using Ventrillo (which seems to work ok for talking) but having all record locally and then uploading that to DropBox or Grive or Skydrive or whatever, is that totally out of the question?
    The quality would be way better. And should anyone loose a packet or two her or there then the individual recordings will have the complete audio.

    FLAC would be best but even very high bitrate Ogg Vorbis, AAC or mp3 would be way better than VoIP.

    Finding a (free) good/simple low overhead recording tool should be fairly easy.

  48. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jitsi

    It’s another open source VoIP.
    It supports something called Packet loss concealment if using the SILK or OPUS codecs.

    No idea what recording features Jitsi has (if it support multichannel) it does say conference calls though.

  49. Shame you guys had trouble with mumble and gave up. The audio quality of he show itself was markedly improved this week.

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You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

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