After a 10-month hiatus, the Diecast returns! We’re still messing around with the format. Will we get other hosts? Will the show vary in length? Will the show continue to be weekly? I have no idea. We’ll see what works.
Direct download (ogg Vorbis)
Podcast RSS feed.
Hosts: Shamus and Paul. Episode edited by Issac.
The podcast-specific RSS feed is broken and isn’t going to be fixed anytime soon. I’ve tried a number of plugins for making podcast stuff, and most of them overbearing, overcomplicated things that assume your blog only exists to host a podcast. Also, I always get complaints that the RSS feed doesn’t work in iTunes or whatever, which is the only thing I want the plugin to do.
People are always telling me how easy and turnkey it is and how service X or plugin Y fixed everything, and it always ends up eating a bunch of time, causing confusion, and failing to work as advertised. I don’t know what sort of hassle you’re supposed to go through to get podcasting RSS to work, but it’s evidently more hassle than I’m willing to put up with.
Open: Surprise! Cold open.
Note that the Diecast email is a thing again. It’s in the header image. Send us questions.
01:27: Paul’s introduction, work on Minecraft.
Here is Paul’s write-up on his work on Minecraft.
07:35 Meeting internet friends, and the scary story of Gavin Free.
You might know Gavin Free from the Slow Mo Guys. And here’s the crazy story of the stranger that broke into his house.
14:45: House of the Dying Sun
32:23 The robot warehouse.
Here is the video I mentioned on next-day shipping.
In the Spoiler Warning episode for Contradiction, you said your wife was enthused about the game as soon as she saw it. Did she ever follow up and play it?
Note that my answer in the episode is WRONG. Heather did indeed play Contradiction. I missed it because my daughter got the game, and my wife played upstairs in my daughter’s room. Heather loved the it, but was a little frustrated at how your actions are restricted late in the game.
Philosophy of Moderation
The comments on most sites are a sewer of hate, because we're moderating with the wrong goals in mind.
Charging More for a Worse Product
No, game prices don't "need" to go up. That's not how supply and demand works. Instead, the publishers need to be smarter about where they spend their money.
The No Politics Rule
Here are 6 reasons why I forbid political discussions on this site. #4 will amaze you. Or not.
Crysis 2 has basically the same plot as Half-Life 2. So why is one a classic and the other simply obnoxious and tiresome?
Silent Hill Turbo HD II
I was trying to make fun of how Silent Hill had lost its way but I ended up making fun of fighting games. Whatever.
62 thoughts on “Diecast #198: Internet Strangers, House of the Dying Sun”
Thanks for answering my question; I will still listen to the ‘cast to hear the wrong answer.
And the correct answer has a typo (“Heather loved the it”).
Huh. Shamus never mentioned who sent the question, so I just assumed it was from Christopher. Statistically speaking, all Diecast questions are from Christopher. But to find out that it isn’t . . . I’m so confused.
Bah, don’t be ridiculous, this is obviously one of Christopher’s alt accounts. There’s no way anyone else’s questions would get answered, ever.
Gimme a break, I was busy pestering the Spodcast
Aha! Now that there are two podcasts, they’ve got you flanked.
Well, hence the alt accounts, obviously.
Maybe thats not a mistake and she also loved the it movie.Or the book.Or the movie.
Woot! The diecast has returned. Glad to have audio-Shamus returning to our auditory meatuses.
My impression of the space-sim genre in recent decades is that they have mostly been low or perhaps mid-budget offerings like the X series. The X series is a bit like Privateer, but with the personality stripped out and a heavy, heavy emphasis on building a vast automated industrial-mercantile empire . . . from the cockpit of your snub fighter for some reason. I tried X3 a few years ago, and while it was fun to fly around and explore for a while it ultimately didn’t offer what I was looking for in a space-sim. The combat space-sim, a la Wing Commander, Tie Fighter, or Free Space seems pretty much dead, the occasional indie aside. I’m not entirely sure why, but I figure that the fact that relatively few PC gamers own joysticks these days has something to do with it. I may be wrong, but my impression is that PC gamers in the 90s mostly had joysticks, if not necessarily flight sticks. The fact that most PC gamers now have gamepads with built-in analog sticks means that we may be ripe for a revival, but I have some doubts.
Who says you need fancy input devices to play space-flight-sim games? I loved playing Privateer II: The Darkening with my mouse and keyboard! Trading, shooting pirates – all do-able. You just need input schemes in the game(s) that aren’t bonkers! :)
Eh, maybe. I tried to play Tie Fighter with a mouse once and it was awful. Also the joystick is an essential part of my hotshot space-dogfighter fantasy. A space-sim that isn’t going for World War II But In Space and is specifically designed for mouse controls would probably be fine though. I think that’s how Freelancer worked and a lot of people seem to love that game.
I look at it this way. Endless Sky is basically top-down, 2D Privateer. It’s an exclusively mouse & keyboard game and I love it to death. But it by no means scratches the same itch that Tie Fighter does.
The aforementioned X3: Terran Conflict / Albion Prelude have imho the best mouse-controlled space*-flight** in any game so far. And with “space*-flight**” I mean “basically normal (non-vacuum) flight, but without the pull downwards from gravity”.
Playing Kerbal Space Program certainly made the flight mechanics in X3 look ridiculous by comparison, but the flight controls are just awesome. Smaller ships generally speaking have enough manuevering capacity to kill a ship two “tiers” bigger than themselves with enough skill, even though it’s a pain to do for all practical purposes.
On the other hand, sitting in a big-ass ship that has all the manueverability of The Moon and blasting flak fire in all directions and your heavy artillery into the biggest enemy ship has a certain flair as well.
Of course they flew that whole ship directly into the next star with Rebirth, but what can you do… They promised not to fuck up anymore and are working on an X4 currently, “for real this time!”
We tried the X games, but it just wasn’t the same. As you say, you never get the sense of leaving your cockpit, and I don’t think you can even fly different types of ships?
I’m told that you can actually eject from your own ship and hijack a disabled one in the X series but never had the chance to try it myself. But, yes, at least in X3 the takes place almost entirely in the cockpit view and associated menu screens. You’d expect to order ships to build factories and ship cargo from an office rather than your cockpit, but the X games have been doing it this way for years, apparently.
You can’t in the first and the most recent game in the series, respectively, but iirc you can in every other one (aka, in all the good ones). In X3 you can actually (theoretically) fly every ship, since every ship can either be boarded by marines or captured after … persuading the pilot that it would indeed be a terrible shame if he or she had to die just because they were so stubbornly clinging to their… ahem, I mean your ship.
The only exception are some of the ships that are present in the ‘questlines’ and immune to all damage, but you can get most of them as a reward for completing said questlines (in non-immune form, unfortunately).
And for the “leaving your cockpit” part: If you meant “other things to do except flying around”, a big part of the game is slowly building up your trade empire, with stations, ships and even a shipyard (“Player HQ”) to manage, so you’re not just piloting or fighting or trading the whole time. It’s just as much about logistics and progressing in the questlines (some are a ridiculous grind to get finished, though) as well.
Other than that, however, it is a sandbox, so you’re supposed to set your own goals. There are mods to rid you of that nuisance, though.
If you’re new to X3, I would definitely recommend the mod Litcube’s Universe, as it not only adds tons of features, lots of them quality-of-life, but also includes two endgame threats that build up over time (no stress, you should have plenty of time to learn the ropes if you leave them alone at first; you’re just not allowed to leave the game running overnight and come back to your independent traders having brought in millions of sweet alien dollars).
The different major factions are no longer all neutral to each other, there are a lot more traders, salvagers, raiders, rapid response forces, etc. He also tweaked the map to be more easily traversable and basically overhauled the whole economy so that certain industries (like most Terran stuff) aren’t simply deleted (“mothballed”) due to turning no profit after some time.
And as a last treat: Litcube increased performance of nearly all aspects of the game, meaning you can build even more gigantic complexes, stage even bigger showdowns with the endgame threats, fly through the universe even faster, … There’s a lot more going on in his mod than in vanilla, things are actually moving and kinda-sorta-close-to-living (even the stock market is behaving in somewhat believable fashion), and he plans to expand on that by a lot in the future. Implementing all that while making the game not run like arse is a tough job. Making the performance increase is the work of a genius.
Sorry, I just realized how much I was fanboying in this post. Feel free to give it a try if you like, and a pass if you don’t. Your post just seemed to indicate that you bounced off it pretty quickly, before you even saw what was about to come (and what’s possible with mods).
I think the one I tried was X:BtF (Beyond the Frontier) and I felt rather disappointed with the whole experience.
How does X3 compare with Elite: Dangerous?
I haven’t played the latter, but if Elite is modelled after the Milky Way, it will obviously have a lot more star systems. The number of sectors in X3 feels like about 100, but is actually 231, according to the wiki.
And X is of course purely singleplayer, meaning their respective game loops have quite significant differences. For one, in vanilla X3, you’re basically the only significant actor in the game (which is something the mod’s endgame threats want to solve; they’re going a long way, but it’s obviously not remotely comparable to an MMO).
Other than this most superficial comparison, I fear I cannot answer your question.
Having played X2, X3 and Elite Dangerous, the single biggest difference between the two series is that X is a space sim/economy management/strategy hybrid, whereas Elite concentrates entirely on the space sim portion. In X a major part of the gameplay revolves around building entirely resource and production supply chains, managing fleets of automated traders etc. You effectively become an interstellar megacorporation. In contrast, Elite always stays personal, you the pilot and at most a crew member you can hire to fly a small fighter to assist you.
Another big difference, though I am aware many people don’t care about it (hence so many space games don’t care, either), is that Elite portraits the entire Milky Way galaxy at real scale. While X is essentially consists of relatively small “rooms” in space that more abstractly represent star systems, with “doors” (warp gates) connecting each other, in Elite you have a Star Trek style warp drive to fly within systems, and a Star Wars style hyperdrive to travel between systems; no warp gates or wormholes or anything like that, your ship does all the travelling itself.
X3: Terran Conflict & Albion Prelude is probably closer to what your looking for in a space sim than any other X game and honestly feels like the most complete of the X series. The thing about the X games is that similar to FPS series they built upon what they had with each game. The first game established the premise and rudimentary game mechanics. X2 began to expand upon it with a bit more. X3 began to give the factions a significant role and differentiate them. X3: Terran Conflict & Albion Prelude is where it all seemed to culminate into a complete experience.
As droid pointed out you can change ships, either by ejecting and flying over to them or by docking at a station with another of your ships and changing over. There are multiple classes of ships: scouts, fighters, heavy fighters, freighters, all the way up to carriers that can carry a compliment of smaller ships. As with what you probably got exposed to in X:BtF you can purchase and buy stations, X3 gave us the ability to custom build stations from modules which kind of gives it a build a factory sort of aspect. All ships can be loaded with AI software you can purchase or produce in-game, you can even write your own AI scripts if you want to learn the built in language for it.
The combat is where the game shines the most. If your in a small craft and spot a gun on a larger craft that’s wrecking you or your fleet. You can if good enough with the controls take it out by hammering on it with appropriate weapons. This is conversely true for your enemies, if they blow up a gun on one of your ships, your going to have to find a replacement. There’s a variety of guns each with their own pros and cons, it’s not uncommon for an experienced player to have 2 or 3 different gun types loaded on a ship and swap out which ones are active based on scenarios they find themselves in. Every ship and every weapon feels unique in how it behaves.
As far as guiding hand type of stuff. There is of course the story, which is pretty awesome in Terran Conflict & Albion Prelude. There’s also mission boards at major stations that let you take on generic randomly generated missions generated from templates of a few different types. The different factions are always up to one thing or another, so the option exist to team up with a faction if you want to help them with their cause. That can be kind of dangerous and useful because it is possible to help a faction win wars against another and completely wipe the losers out of the galaxy.
The world is laid out in sectors which are fairly large. Some are crowded with stations and traffic while others almost completely barren. Sectors are connected by jump gates. There are some gates that must be unlocked in some way to open them up for travel. There are some sectors you can only reach using an special jump drive that drops you in random sectors.
There’s so much to the game that it really is worth trying if you at all like space sims. The major downside to the games is the number of hot keys you’ll wind up needing. At one point I had all 16 of my Joystick buttons mapped, my entire keyboard, my mouse’s extra buttons and all of the buttons on my Xbox360 game pad; still wasn’t enough to cover everything.
That is not a vanilla mechanic. I’m sure there’s a mod for it, but in vanilla, there is only a rudimentary notion of subsystem damage, and that is the “randomly destroy one component or ware on the enemy ship (including SOFTWARE for some reason) when the hull takes damage”. Maybe you’re also thinking of X: Rebirth, where a more elaborate system is a heavy focus of the combat against stations and larger ships.
This is also only true with an asterisk (or a mod) attached. Sectors cannot change ownership in vanilla, so a Paranid sector will always remain Paranid and occasionally spawn Paranid ships. They can be wiped out for all practical purposes if every sector they are in has destroyers or missile frigates from an enemy faction planted on it, but the game never really acknowledges that the faction is dead. There’s also the problem of invincible units, but there aren’t terribly many of them, I can off the top of my head only think of the Argon One and the Torus on Earth (again, asterisk).
If you’re thinking of Albion Prelude, there are war sectors, but still only those can change ownership at all, and all the war sectors are pre-determined. In vanilla, under no circumstances will the Terrans conquer and build a station on Argon Prime, for example.
So, apparently I should have been asking about X Rebirth?
Look, I visited the X game series wikipedia page and there’s three different flavors of X3 and four different flavors of X Rebirth.
Is there a version where I can play as a fighter pilot, a privateer, a cargo baron, and a captain of industry? Bonus points if I don’t have to put up with whatever story the lead designer’s son-in-law thought was just the coolest.
They shouldve named their games X,XX,and XXX to avoid all the confusion.
Okay, so here it is:
X3: Reunion has all the problems of the X3 engine without any of the improvements they built into the latter games. Avoid!
X3: Terran Conflict has MOST of the stuff I described and is the one to go to if you want the questlines, but they are a bit like you describe. You won’t be able to skip half of the cutscenes, the quests aren’t all that interesting, the voiceovers are kinda low-effort, etc. The real catch is that you are properly introduced to all the new mechanics like boarding, the HUB, the Player HQ, wings and formations, … during the early questlines (including GETTING all the expensive stuff needed to use those mechanics for free so that the game can explain it to you). So if you want the game to explain things to you in a very time-consuming and self-absorbed, but at least informative manner, X3:TC is the way to go. Some of the later quests are better, I guess, and the rewards are surprisingly great, at least.
X3: Albion Prelude is basically the same game, but later on in the storyline. The Terrans and Argons are at war, which is one BIG MINUS, because it means you are majorly inconvenienced on your main trade route as an Argon or cut off from most other factions as the Terrans. There are new things like the Stock Exchanges, and there’s a few things that are a lot more polished and overall neater, like boarding with marines, the fact that you can now get more than 2 Billion Space Bucks into your personal account, AI missile frigates actually using a lot more missiles, new ships, new places to buy ships and stations at, …
The big drawback is that the quests are a lot more boring, and you can actually get stuck in the main quest, because one of the last missions is purely luck-based.
If that sounds bad, don’t even get me started about X: Rebirth. Seriously, you DO NOT WANT to play Rebirth. Rant following, skip to TL:DR if not interested.
It has only a single ship you can fly,
really damn annoying little “cutscenes” for literally anything you’re going to be doing in this game
you now need to actually land, get into a first person perspective to run around the space station, physically find and talk to people, every time you want to trade (a change that absolutely nobody wanted!)
the combat feels a lot more boring with about 5 weapons instead of about 10 times as many, and the enemy ships all being either one of approximately 3 enemy fighter designs per faction, or a HUGE ship (transport or battleship) that has 100,000 subsystems, all exposed and not covered by shields for some reason.
Both designs are just crying “we did this just to accomodate the player ship” and boring to fight against. Your ship, meanwhile is nicely balanced to be too brittle to shrug off any amount of enemy fire, too slow to get to the fighters, too big to find good dead angles on big ships and too weak to kill even fighters or weak subsystems in one volley.
Literally ALL OF THIS was solved by the huge variety of ships in X3: Albion Prelude.
Want the fastest ship available? Get a Harpyie!
Want to pack a big punch while also being able to dock everywhere? Board a Heavy Centaur!
Want to be lightning-fast at the same time? Get a Springblossom!
Want to just sit there and obliterate anything that comes your way? Buy a Boreas!
Want to send your minions to do all the fighting for you? Carriers!
Want something tanky that is still able to move faster than a glacier, while also having the option to hop into something even faster on the fly? Get a frigate and dock a fighter on there!
TL:DR There is absolutely nothing I can think of that is in X: Rebirth that I did not resent, for either not wanting it, for being worse than the version in X3: Albion Prelude or for trying to fix what was not broken.
So get X3:TC, or just go straight into Albion Prelude and be prepared to look up things on the Wiki instead.
What, no Freelancer fans? Although it might be considered too casual by the joystick crowd. Still, Freelancer is THE space sim for me, always has been. Still looking for something simillar.
I feel atmospheric fighter controls using M+KB have been largely solved by Warthunder control system. It’s a system that while it does have it’s limits does allow joystick and M+KB users to coexist on the same battlefield and even gives M+KB users bit of an advantage given how easier it’s to bring your guns to a specific bearing than using a Joystick. And this is all done without some sort of unseemly auto targeting and like.
Contradiction is a great game with some annoying habits…why doesn’t this particular contradiction work as well it makes perfect sense….
However, the guy who made it has vanished from the internet.
If anyone can track him down we want a sequel!
I feel like game devs, like many other types of creatives, often get burnt out. He’s probably just withdrawn from the discipline after finishing the game.
But it’s not like he took the idea of FMV Detective games with him. We could make one!
Yup. And it was clearly set up for a sequel, or like they ran out of time and just threw the end together.
Minecraft is something that keeps drawing me back. Vanilla, break, Multiplayer, break, Adventure Map-making, break, Modded, break, Multiplayer Modded, break, making my own modpacks… and break. I’m currently a console gamer mostly, but I imagine I’ll come back to it one day.
Hooray, the diecast returns!
What mods, game settings and/or gameplay style do people prefer?
I run train world, with Fission Armor, and…some other mods I can’t check because Steam-cloud-save-file-sync-whatever is somehow limited in bandwidth like it’s on a slower-than-56.6kb modem. I normally play to relax, so I don’t care about efficiency, unless I can find a blueprint to copy-paste into my game. :)
Fission armor?Is that something like the famous disintegrating pistol?
Nah, it’s just a higher-tier power armor, so you don’t have to be so limited in your puny human body. I actually agree with Shamus’ opinion that the game is two completely different games spliced together. (A good factory game, and an OK-ish shooting game.) The game would be perfectly playable, and probably more fun, if they simply removed the player character, and only had you running a massive factory. Have the game end if your last factory / worker / whatever died. There’s lots of room in the game for turret defense, but for some reason they keep trying to cram on-foot shooting into it, clogging up the UI, game balance, and item lists.
 I can’t find the relevant post.
For RSS, I’ve used DirCaster to good effect (http://dircaster.org/). It’s a self-contained directory of php scripts, with one config file, that simply serves up all of the media files in a directory as an RSS feed with the file properties pulled from their ID3 tags.
The only drawback I’ve found is that it pulls the publication time from the file’s modification date, which means if you tweak an older file it will show up again as a new entry.
Funnily enough, I primarily used it to serve up a directory of Spoiler Warning videos where I’d pulled out the audio only so that I could listen to them as podcasts on my drive to and from work.
After looking into the Gavin Free story, it seems like it was some sort of possessive thing about fighting for the affection of Meg Turney. As good of a writer as you may be, I don’t think you’re going to be able to excite as much ire over ME3 or LOTR, even intentionally as Gavin did (accidentally) by dating a celebrity. In a very real way, Gavin is “taking away” Meg from her fans by spending exclusive time with her, a way that you can’t do with commenting on video-games. Point being, you probably don’t need to be worried about being shotgunned by inviting internet people over.
There’s no accounting for crazy, though. If somebody who’s beyond reason decides that Shamus has insulted them, there’s no telling what they’d do. If they’re willing to track him down to his house, then there’s a real possibility they could decide to harm Shamus. Personally, I think hiding his location, and only revealing it selectively to friends is a prudent course of action for Shamus.
For the “hold a button down to pivot in place” feature, I remember that from “Tachyon: The Fringe”.
I’m totally a fan of realistic space physics, but it only really works in a context that supports it. The first place I recall seeing the feature was in I-War, where it didn’t work particularly well. In KSP it is totally appropriate, because you’re dealing with reaction mass and orbital mechanics. But most “space fighter” games assume there are also “space carriers” and “space freighters” and “space battleships” which is effectively recreating WWII battle dynamics IN SPACE. In that context realistic physics is just silly, because it ruins the dogfighting, strafing, and the whole atmospheric ace-pilot fantasy. The other aspect of commonly explored space combat (also in keeping with the WWII dynamics) is to have heavy bombers with turrets, a-la the turrets on the Millennium Falcon. I find it interesting that House of the Dying Sun essentially combines the fighter and turret play-modes, while still allowing the space-ships to “fly” like airplanes.
WOooo! Diecast is back!
I was just looking through my files the other day when I saw some old episodes and it felt so bad that this stopped being a thing. So great timing I guess.
And you also had some programming-related talk in there even!
This has been a good day.
On Minecraft mod development, things have gradually changed both for better and worse over the years. The development environment has gone from manually patching class files, to MCP which required a fair bit of manual setup, to ForgeGradle which does most of the work automatically (but is really frustrating to debug when it fails). Mod frameworks have gone from manually patching class files; to ModLoader which didn’t have a huge variety of features, but it was really easy to learn about and understand what it did have; to Forge which is a massive tangle of automagical annotation discovery, bytecode patching, and event injection. Forge has a nice collection of APIs for inter-mod cooperation, but its discoverability sucks.
It’s gone from low-level do-everything-yourself, to bare-bones and requiring some effort but simple enough to figure out on your own, to little effort but so complex that you’d need to spend a few days looking through numerous tutorials each with spotty coverage before you understand enough to write a mod from scratch rather than copy-paste sample code without a good understanding of why each bit is needed.
So like, about as bad as any modding scene, then? :P
When there’s no more bandwidth left in Hell, the Diecast will broadcast again!
I’m so glad Heather liked Contradiction! I love that game to pieces. The spiritual successor, The Infectious Madness of Dr. Dekker, is really interesting too.
Yeah Diecast is back. My mondays are less dreary now. :)
I think the Diecast could use a bit Baychel in it and maybe fourth host as well.
Furthermore I would not mind if the Diecast ran for one to two hours.
But that all is just wishes.
On the subject of Shamus being “lazy”,cant you just get all those people who emailed you to be on the diecast talking to each other and you simply putting it here on the blog?
By the way,when you moved the site I was curious and did a whois search on your domain.Both your address and phone number are public.I hope those are the ones you gave before you moved.
Shhhhhh! Don’t give away the secret!
Hah, glad you tried the game and enjoyed it ?
I played on the medium or hard difficulty on my first play of the first mission, and got totally squashed. I played through about half the campaign on the easiest difficulty, and then went back to play some of the early missions on medium difficulty.
I didn’t start playing many missions on the hard difficulty until after I beat the final missions in the campaign. I’m still having trouble beating the hard missions towards the end of the campaign, I’m afraid I’m going to have to get gud. I haven’t beat any of the missions on dragon difficulty yet :-x
Thank you for filling the Diecast-shaped hole in my heart and in my car’s stereo.
Paul seems pleasant!
You seem pleasant as well.
That wasnt a compliment.Two pleasant dudes on a podcast means theres no teasing,no drama.Such a thing cannot make money!
So, when are you free to record a podcast?
I can’t stand constant teasing and barbing :-x
Just heard JB talking about scripting languages, and it reminded me of your user-moddable plain text game idea:
And here’s Cortex Command, the pixel physics game with the full Lua front-end which makes it easy to mod:
FYI: The podcast RSS seems to be borked.
Right under the audio download links
Shamus, have you been watching the development of Limit Theory? It sounds a lot like what you’re asking for. The core of the engine is written in C, and the gameplay code is being implemented essentially as a modpack in Lua, so modding is built right into the engine at the fundamental level. The lead developer’s explicitly-stated goal for the game is for it to feel like Freelancer.
I saw it six years ago, and it seemed overly ambitious then. The latest update is “We don’t have a Beta release date set just yet, but we’re much closer now than we’ve been before. I strongly doubt it will be another two years.” which, okay, great! I guess I’ll check back in another two years.
That seems like a fair assessment. I have hopes that we’ll get some kind of release date announcement this year, but I don’t have any special knowledge to base that on, just a gut feeling and a lot of blind optimism.
Hey Shamus. I’d been meaning to let you know I miss having your voice in my life, but now I don’t need to anymore.
But you didn’t answer Paul’s question: what about Bob Case? Can we expect our favorite saxophonist-turned-game-critic to return as a guest (or even co-host)?
Welp, I’m almost two months too late, but I just got around to this episode, so if anyone is still reading these:
I recently found (and – disclaimer – started coding for) Minetest. It’s a Minecraft-like game, written in C++ (not C), with everything scripted in Lua (not Python), and the content is so raw it’s basically non-existant. In fact, it’s more of a game engine that hosts modpacks.
From your description, it sounds almost exactly what you were looking for. Just keep the old saying in mind of never wanting to meet your heroes :-P
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You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>
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>