Diecast #204: Left 4 Dead, Factorio Pricing, Minecraft and World Scale

By Shamus Posted Monday Apr 2, 2018

Filed under: Diecast 90 comments

Hosts: Paul, Shamus.

Episode edited by Issac.

Show notes:
00:00 Left 4 Dead

Here is the stream, in case you missed it.

14:38 Factorio is $20, going up to $30 soon

Here is the pricing announcement we discussed.

20:35 Minecraft, Dwarf Fortress, and scale frustrations

36:54 Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I know the movie came out months ago, but I guess it’s polite to warn you that there will be massive spoilers here.


From The Archives:

90 thoughts on “Diecast #204: Left 4 Dead, Factorio Pricing, Minecraft and World Scale

  1. Joe says:

    Rian Johnson. And Kathleen Kennedy has said that they aren’t going to CGI or recast Leia. She won’t be in the movie. Offscreen? Dead? I don’t know.

    As for why they didn’t have a Leia death scene, again, they aren’t going to CG or recast her. Johnson has talked about it in interviews. He didn’t want to gut the scene where Luke and Leia reunite. I for one agree with his choice.

    Funny. My vision for a Leia death was by kamikazi, with her fading away in the moments before impact. Becoming one with the Force.

    And JJ coming back. Sure, he’s never been one for finishing things. And considering that TLJ borrowed parts of ROTJ, it’s going to be hard for him to borrow them again. But he has a co-writer, Johnson left some notes about possibilities for the next movie, and I choose to believe in him. Sometimes when people have their backs against the wall, they can achieve miracles.

    1. Joe says:

      Your point about intuitive game design was a good one. That’s what puts me off a lot of RPGs. Here’s a list of ten races and twenty classes. There’s a hundred skills. Pick three. No, we won’t tell you what’s useful and what sucks until thirty hours in. Sometimes you can have too much choice and not enough guidance.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        This is why I liked how amalur handled things.At any point in the game you can respec back from 0,with ALL the skill points and xp you earned.It costs you an increasing ammount of money to do this,but money in amalur was so plentiful that you could respec three times in a row and still have some left.I wish the game was better received so that other games picked this awesome feature up.

        1. BlueHorus says:

          Both Divinty: Original Sin games do this too – and (to add the chorus) it’s a fantastic addition other game should learn from.

          In the first game it was pretty damn expensive to buy all the skillbooks every time, so in Divinity OS 2 you get to keep all the abilities you’ve learned previously in your spellbook…you just can’t USE them until you are good enought at the skill in question.

          1. Gordon D Wrigley says:

            It seems like a bodge around the fundamental problem of why are you asking players to make choices they can’t understand yet.

            1. BlueHorus says:

              Fair enough…but how are you going to understand the game mechanics before you start playing the game? It may well be a bodge, but I can’t think of a better solution.

              And you can also just experiment, as in:

              “Hey, I wonder if these two abilites will work together? Let’s try it out and see. Ack, terrible! Undo, undo!”
              “This guy does the same thing every fight and it’s getting boring…let’s try making him a mage as well as a ranger, see how that shakes out.”

              It’ll be a bit of a jolt going back to the more traditional system after this.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                You can go around it by starting out linearly and introduce skill branching only later on.Diablo 3 did this,by having you gaining skills one by one and allowing you to customize them only once you fill them all.Or if you toggle an option in the menu.

              2. Asdasd says:

                “how are you going to understand the game mechanics before you start playing the game?”

                You DID read the 500 page manual before you began playing, didn’t you?

          2. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Wait….Is that….Have you actually settled down with a gravatar?

            1. BlueHorus says:

              Hmmm. Let’s see…

              EDIT: Ah, my habit of writing any old crap in the ’email’ field (It gets accepted, as long as it ends in “@[legitimate email provider]”) catches up with me.

              I may have stumbled onto someone else’s actual email address.

          3. Redrock says:

            I’d say that by now most RPGs give you a respec option. Bioware games have it, the Witcher 3 got it in a patch, I think. So did Pillars of Eternity. Tides of Numenera and Wasteland 2 didn’t have a respec option, but that’s because inXile designs their skill systems as torture devices first and foremost. The Shadowrun Returns trilogy didn’t have a respec option, but it’s skill and stat systems are pretty straightforward and most paths are viable as long as you specialise and don’t spread yourself too thin, which the game explicitly informs you of.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              So,most rpgs dont have it.And what bioware games have it?Dragon age 3 and andromeda?Can you switch a class on the fly in those?Go from a mage to a fighter to a rogue?Because in amalur you can strip all your magic and become a high level fighter if you wish.

              most paths are viable

              This does not mean that most paths are viable for everyone though.While some people can do one class with ease,others may have difficulty with it,even if they make the same exact build.

              1. Redrock says:

                In Andromeda you can do a full respec, yes. There are no classes. In Inquisition you’re stuck with your class and specialization, true, but that’s kinda moot because you can just control any of the other characters for the majority of time, so you have access to all classes that can be fully respeced at all times. And, well, Shadowrun is a turn based RPG where you have a team, so even if you PC isn’t perfectly suited to your playstyle, you can build a team around them. Pretty much the best way to play Shadowrun is to build your PC for social interactions and exploration skill checks, anyway.

                So, I’d still say that most modern RPGs are pretty friendly when it comes to builds and respec options.

    2. krellen says:

      Why would you believe in JJ Abrams? Has he ever delivered such as to justify your belief?

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Super 8.And technically,the first few seasons of lost.

        1. Ninety-Three says:

          Counting only the first few seasons of Lost is like saying it’s easy to deliver when you’re writing cheques that don’t have to cash.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Not quite. While it’s true that the main mystery of lost had garbage resolution, a bunch of side stories ended great. Until they were brought up again in later seasons to have pointless shit crammed into them. Basically, lost was like me2 and me3 back to back.

      2. Joe says:

        He’s done some fun things in the past. And while there are upcoming movies and such that I’m skeptical about, I want to believe that Star Wars will continue being fun.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wait,cgi in star wars is worse than in marvel movies?But….Ive seen lucas arts in the credits for thor ragnarock.I was under the impression that now that everything is under the disney umbrella all of these massive studios are sharing their best tallent around.

  3. kunedog says:

    Well, I seem to have gotten marked as spam and then caught up in a dupe comment filter while trying to post this. My review of The Last Jedi, full of spoilers.

    I give Force Awakens an A- for accomplishing everything it needed to in disregarding the prequels, bringing in lots of new blood, and priming the universe for a new story. My main criticisms revolved around the things that are absurdly overpowered and overcharged. The First Order should not be producing a superweapon with 100x the size and effectiveness of the Empire’s two greatest achievements, and green Rey should not be outdueling one of the most powerful force users we’ve ever seen (who was trained by the other two most powerful ones BTW). The scene where she resists Kylo’s mind-rape does work, since it could be justified as “activating” an inherent bodily self-defense talent (not a tool- and skill-based one), the way we often see superhuman powers discovered through puberty (e.g. X-men) or life-threatening situations in other franchises.

    TLJ? C-. I liked almost all scenes involving the force and nothing else, in contrast to Alien Covenant where all alien scenes were a chore but the androids had a decent movie going on between them.

    Basically when Rey and Kylo were on screen, I was happy. Rey finally gets the same token training Luke received, making her later feats easier to swallow. The relationship between her and Kylo is the only part of the new story I cared at all about, and the lightsaber fight with Snoke’s elite bodyguards is a blast (though pointless since Snoke was dead and we don’t know why they’re still fighting; don’t tell me a bunch of force users are protecting fucking Hux).

    I hate Leia’s “death” (and similar fake out scenes in other movies) for the obvious reason that it’s such a lame and poisonous trick that destroys audience faith in the film(maker) and drains the weight from any legitimate drama it ever tries to build after that. As least Star Trek Into Darkness had the good sense to wait until the end to “kill” Kirk. That said, I actually don’t have a problem with her using the force to save her own life (see above), even though AFAIK she’s only ever used it before to sense great disturbances in the “force internet.”

    Most scenes involving space battles and ground chases and covert ops and petty power politics left me either bored or rolling my eyes at how the situation was resolved (or made worse) by the writers pulling something out of their asses.

    Laura Dern’s character comes out of nowhere with no purpose except to upstage everyone else. Who is this person who belittles established characters, and why do the writers think she should singlehandedly replace them as the single hero who defeats almost the entire enemy fleet? Star Wars war strategy and tactics only have to be justified on their own terms, but this scene fails even that test. A technology as common and widespread as a hyperdrive-capable ship (or presumably, just a hyperdrive itself paired with an asteroid) is now known to be a fleet-canceling superweapon. Good luck dealing with that one, future SW script writers! But fine, let’s say we just have to have that admittedly cool white-sparky shot of Snoke’s devastated fleet. I agree with Shamus that Leia or (perferably) Ackbar could’ve done all Dern did better, especially since this series has such a fetish for systematically executing the old blood. Imagine Ackbar at the helm of the cruiser, whirling around and springing the, uh, tactical surprise on the pursuing fleet, and explaining what was happening in his own words . . . naw, let’s just put him in the movie for mere seconds, to die offscreen.

    Rose’s stunt on the salt planet is arguably too dumb to criticize. Even those who 100% agree with (and comprehend) her point of view have to admit that she was certain to kill both herself and Finn anyway, either in the crash or in a hail of AT-AT fire targeting the now sitting duck(s) who survived it (but of course they both escape, entirely offscreen). At that point I was beyond rolling my eyes, and instead stopped myself from laughing when the battering laser breached the door in the background as she kissed Finn, and again when she slumped in her seat, because I thought, after all that, she had conveniently died with perfect comedic timing (should’ve known better after Leia). It’s the kind of scene that would be right at home in Hot Shots (or Spaceballs 2).

    The biggest sin, though, is the destruction of the new story, both the past and future of it, spreading the damage to adjacent films in the series. Much is made of how Last Jedi disrespects the older movies, but as you guys say, that appears to include Force Awakens as well. Its two most intriguing mysteries (Snoke’s and Rey’s origins) have zero payoff and in fact are offhandedly dismissed. Except for Kylo and Rey’s dynamic (which after all the head-fakes is now largely “resolved” as simple light vs. dark), this film builds on none of TFA’s groundwork. Worse, it sets up nothing for the next film. Because hey, why even bother; someone who saw TLJ because they wanted to learn more about Rey and Snoke is much less likely to fall for it a second time.

    IMO this alone goes a long way toward explaining the audience reception (~40 points lower than critic scores across both RT and Metacritic). Such poor word of mouth gave it a record-setting second-weekend drop at the box office, and the good will from TFA burned off at a rapid rate. The only figure that’s come in above projections is the $220M opening, which is largely attributable to satisfaction with Force Awakens or (IMO inflated) critical praise. Every number since then (i.e. since Last Jedi has had to stand on its own merits) has been a disappointment. I’d feel sorry for the directors of Episodes 9+ if they were literally anyone else (i.e. anyone new). But JJ can call on his Force Awakens credibility and Rian . . . well, (except for the loss of Fisher) it’s all his mess anyway.

    TL;DR – TLJ is the anti-ESB in many ways, even setting aside its contempt for the original trilogy. It’s rendered the story disjointed from both the preceding and subsequent films, harming the whole series more than I would have thought possible. AFAIK there’s been zero good news about Solo, so hopefully these don’t serve as a one-two punch to deck both wings of the franchise.

    1. David says:

      Thanks kunedog.
      You’ve hit most of my points with the movie. Well written review.

      What I was most surprised with, was that the criticism seemed all over the place. Lots of people disliked the movie or parts of it, but the reasons are very diverse. Sometimes the only part that one person liked, is the part that someone else disliked most.

    2. Joe says:

      Ren was injured at the time of the duel, and we’d already seen Rey’s fighting abilities earlier in the movies.

      The red guards were loyal to the regime. Look at sporting teams and political parties. People leave, the system continues. They were just upholding their beliefs.

      The theme of TLJ is that poor communication kills. No one tells anyone anything until they absolutely have to. Or, when told, they refuse to listen.

      Ackbar’s voice actor died in 2016. Lucasfilm doesn’t like recasting. Also, if Ackbar had been in the Holdo role, the audience would have trusted him over Poe. The point was to keep the audience suspicious.

      At the time Rose intercepted Finn’s vehicle, it was already coming apart. He wouldn’t have completed his charge. She saved his life.

      We know more about Snoke at the time of his death than the emperor. We have a title *and* name, which is more than Palpatine got. Sometimes things just are, there doesn’t need to be an elaborate backstory about them.

      1. NIX says:

        I think the biggest controversy is the limits of “artist’s liberties.”
        Some(and I lean more to this side) found it difficult to accept the changes to the force. Things like like telecommuting to work or rey moving mountains while like could barely move a pebble in ep 5
        Others found these additions added depth to the force that made it more interesting. A lot of people liked how it was used.

        As far as fin and rose go….
        A certain HISHE video sums it up pretty well.

    3. Daimbert says:

      So what you’re saying is that TLJ is the ME2 of the new Star Wars franchise?

      And that you liked TFA and disliked TLJ does not make me hopeful for TLJ. I watched TFA and disliked it strongly, so much so that despite my re-watching all of the movies roughly once a year — yes, that includes the prequels — I’ve only watched TFA once, and my disappointment with it has made me very leery about watching Rogue One.

      1. The coach says:

        I’ve yet to hear from anyone who disliked TFA but went on to like TLJ. They must be out there, but it would be hard for me to follow their logic.

        I would give Rogue One a chance. It’s really nothing like the other Disney Star Wars flicks and I think it does a great job of telling a story that fits right in with the Original Trilogy without needing to retcon a bunch of important stuff.

        It’s a much pretty Prequel to Star Wars than the Prequel Trilogy.

        1. Kylroy says:

          I’ve said that TLJ is the inverse of the prequels. In the prequels, there was a solid underlying story (OK, only in Ep. 2 and 3) whose execution and moment-to-moment storytelling was abysmal. In TLJ, you have a plot that wrote itself into a corner trying to hammer a point (heroism is useless!) that runs counter to everything in the series to date, but was so entertaining moment to moment that a lot of people liked it.

          1. Mad says:

            …and then in the finale it actually demolishes its own point three times over, leaving the entire film a sort of intellectual nullity.

            1. Kylroy says:

              No, Holdo and Luke’s sacrifices make it pretty clear that heroism is appropriate if and only if you’re an authority figure and you die doing it. Which is somehow worse than their initial bad idea.

        2. Redrock says:

          I thought that Rogue One was terrible. The characters have no motivation, no real interaction, no backstory, nothing. They are very deliberately throaway characters and it shows. I couldn’t make myself care about anything that happened on the screen. But hey, the Darth Vader scenes were pretty badass.

          1. The coach says:

            It’s funny, I loved the characters in Rouge One.

            Sure I’d agree they were fairly throw away, and not all that deep, but they certainly weren’t one note, and I though their interactions were fun to watch.

            I may be biased though. The funny thing is Rouge One reminded me of some of the old Star Wars RPG campaigns I used to DM back in the day. In fact, within my friend group we have started to refer to the characters from Rough One not by their actual names (of which I can hardly remember any) but instead by the names of the player who obviously we have played them had the movie been one of our RPG sessions…

      2. Philadelphus says:

        I very strongly disliked The Force Awakens (and only slightly less disliked The Last Jedi), only went to Rogue One because my family was all going, and actually quite enjoyed it. That probably has zero bearing on whether you’ll enjoy it, but I would suggest giving it a chance; it’ll either surprise you, or at least you’ll know.

    4. Benjamin Hilton says:

      Yeah this pretty much hits all my points as well. What I find interesting is that everyone I have personally talked to had these exact same problems with it, even the people who loved it. The only difference seems to be at what point they experienced story collapse. The people who didn’t, loved the movie despite agreeing with the flaws.

    5. The coach says:

      Great review Kunedog. It very much mirrors my own impressions of the films. You left out one major complaint:

      That being that the entire Canto Bight plot line is also too stupid to criticize. Except for the fact that it’s about a 30 minute plot line in a movie that is at least 30 minutes too long. Why?!

    6. Kylroy says:

      The critical praise doesn’t surprise me in the least; say what you want about TLJ, it was an incredibly *daring* movie, and critics love them some daring.

      1. Redrock says:

        I don’t think that’s the only reason for the critical praise. The thing is, most of the things Star Wars fans dislike about the movie, actually appeals to the critics on an ideological level: the deconstruction of the male hero icons and old authority structures like the Jedi Order, the “democratization” of the Force (even though the Force was never confined to just a few families, I don’t even know where that notion is coming from, but it’s there), the rather ham-fisted usage of powerful female characters, etc. A lot of flaws can be ignored if the message is right. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for this stuff, but it can be done well and it has been done well in Clone Wars and Rebels, which gives us the very best female characters in the history of Star Wars, makes good points about the nature of the Force and the Jedi Order, etc. The sequels, on the other hand, are an inconherent mess, but they do make some powerful cultural statements. It’s a difficult position, to be honest. For example, it’s by now plain to see that the sequels have way more characters than they know what to do with, Finn being the prime example. But Finn has to be there, so he gets s trip to space Macao and doesn’t get to die in a blaze of glory for obvious reasons. Which is fine, just fine, but I wish they’d actually give the truly charming John Boyega a decent story instead of keeping him on as a qouta character.

        It’s pretty much the same with del Toro’s Shape of Water, which gets a free pass for its many, many flaws because of its genuinely good and positive message. This whole situation is very much a reflection of the, shall we say, turbulent times we live in, and will change eventually. But, yeah, the broader context is important here.

        1. Kylroy says:

          Okay, it was a daring movie with laudable cultural goals. Give everyone an English accent and that’s basically cinema critic’s choice bingo.

    7. Redrock says:

      I think that TLJ highlights the problem of the sequel trilogy in general and that is that there is no actual story there. Everybody is just flailing around. The conflict between the not-Empire and not-Rebels feels extremely fake, because they are stuck in a vacuum. It looks like the rest of the galaxy doesn’t really care about the war, and why should they? We never see occupied planets or stations, we just see two paramilitary organizations duking it out in space with little connection to the wider world.

      Nothing about Kylo Ren works for me, despite my love for Adam Driver. We’re two movies in and there is still no reason for anything he does. Why is he evil? Why does he want to rebuild the empire? No one knows.

      Rey is a puzzle for me. That’s a totally empty, boring and poorly acted character. Poor acting I can let slide, that’s kinda a Star Wars staple by this point, but there’s nothing about Rey that make the viewer root for her. TFA gave her a certain mysterious air, but TLJ strips that away without offering anything in return. What baffles me is that in recent years we’ve seen some truly amazing female characters in the Star Wars animated series: Ahsoka, Sabine and Hera are all complex and interesting and powerful in their own right. But Rey has nothing beyond her truly unearned power levels that are OVER 9000.

      I kinda liked Poe’s story in TLJ, if only because it subverts the “maverick hothead hero actualyy does know better than his superiors that wont’ listen to him” cliche so neatly. Laura Dern is a great actress, though, again, she doesn’t get much to work with.

      Bear in mind, Rian Johnson is a genuinely good director. But, unlike, say, Dave Filoni, neither her nor Kathleen Kennedy care about the legacy of Star Wars, not really. To them, it’s just a shiny wrapper to be used in any way imaginable.

  4. Echo Tango says:

    Re: block size in games

    I think there’s a way to solve at least part of this problem, from an existing (old) game. Procedurally generating everything to fill in larger or smaller details than the player’s current scale is probably going to stay infeasible for a long time – you need to make things “interesting” looking (or “efficient”, or “fit in my existing map”), but how could a computer understand that, with it’s non-existent intelligence? What you could do though, is offload the design of things to squishy humans – just build up a library of buildings / maps / houses / whatever, from other players playing the game. This is actually the strategy that Spore used, and it worked reasonably well!

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Well, Dwarf Fortress already fills in multiple scales. That’s not really evidence for feasibility, but it’s not impossible anyway. I think it’s probably more feasible than it seems, but I don’t have any direct evidence for that.
      Spore used a lot of pre-made content, but from the devs, not the other players (to avoid abuse). I’d like to get back to Spore at some point, using procedural techniques instead of the curated ones. Ahh well.

  5. tmtvl says:

    Talking about controllers vs M+KB: I’m a big fan of the Steam Controller. The mouse-like joystick control scheme is very useable and responsive.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      It’s as good as a mouse on a tiny mousepad, and a tiny joystick combined. Still, doesn’t get around the mouse scrubbing problem.

  6. Lee says:

    For Minecraft, Chisel is the microblock mod you’re looking for. It divides each 1m minecraft block into 16x16x16 “bits”. You can then combine bits from different blocks into new combinations, save those combinations as a pattern, and build copies of it all over the place. A bit bag is included to keep all those pieces out of your main inventory and cluttering up space.

  7. Canthros says:

    One distinct difference between the CG’d characters (Tarkin, Leia) in “Rogue One” and the younger versions RDJ in “Civil War” and Michael Douglas in “Ant Man” is that the characters in the Marvel films are being portrayed (as I understand it) by the actual actors, while both characters in “Rogue One” are CGing over different people to make them appear like Peter Cushing or Carrie Fisher ca 1977. (I have seen it claimed that young Kurt Russell in GotG2 was all practical effects, so that may not be the same type of thing, at all.)

    I expect Star Wars Episode 9 will involve a substantial time skip between when TLJ ended and the next film picks up, and will be very safe in its choices, which will at least be inoffensive.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      Given the mixed reception of TLJ, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that Episode 9 turns out to be one of the safest, least adventurous Star Wars film ever made.

      You thought The Force Awakens was a bland re-tread of A New Hope? Tired of the old cast cameos and callbacks to the first films? Think there’s too much in the films just to please the long-term fans?
      Welp, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

      I’d like to be wrong, for the record. But I have little faith.

      1. Canthros says:

        I thought “The Force Awakens” was a fair retread of the original trilogy’s high points as a reintroduction to what most of the audience remembered liking about Star Wars. It’s not a great or especially creative film, but (aside from Abrams’ “mystery box” approach to generating interest in characters by raising questions he won’t answer) it’s competent. I can live with Episode 9 being more of that, at the moment. I don’t think it will be looked on very well if it’s just another Death Star, but that’s really not news.

        I … really don’t care for “The Last Jedi”. It’s very clever in what it’s trying to do, but I wasn’t particularly interested in a deconstruction of Star Wars’ reconstruction of pulp sci-fi and cinema, nor was I impressed by TLJ’s half-assed attempt at reconstructing everything after it spent two hours tearing everything apart by saying “psych!” I also don’t much need to have the story function as a metacommentary on the state of the franchise if it’s going to be a disappointing mess as an actual story.

      2. Cubic says:

        Looking forward to the Disney Ewoks.

        1. BlueHorus says:

          Erm, you misspelt ‘Porgs’.

  8. Dreadjaws says:

    Games are cheaper in Early Access as a trade-off for purchasing an incomplete, riskier game. You’re paying a lower price with the understanding that the game is missing content and as a sort of reward for trusting the developers. Also, if the game doesn’t pan out and its release is canceled, you didn’t lose as much money as you would had you paid release price.

    So this is a perfectly logical move, which doesn’t stop people complaining about it all the time. The real issue is, like you say, the game is pretty much complete now, it makes no real sense to wait until release when you can purchase now. That’s why I think price increase from Early Access should be incremental as the game has more features added, bugs removed and kinks ironed.

    As on Factorio, I really don’t think that “No sale” decision will last. You might think they’re doing this because, like you mention, they don’t like how manipulative sales can be and they intend to decrease the price permanently later, but that’s not what the announcement says. It says, and I quote:

    The game will not go on sale on Steam or any other platform. This basically means that purchasing before the 16th of April 2018 is the only way to buy the game cheaper than the increased release price.

    That seems pretty final. Here’s the problem, though: it’s not a profitable move. Most people interested in the game have already bought it. Once they increase the price they’re going to lose a bunch of potential customers, and never decreasing it means they’re barely going to sell at all. It does have a demo, I’ll give them that, so people can try before buying, but some people might still conclude that, even if they like the game, the price might be too high for it.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      even if they like the game, the price might be too high for it

      If you like the game, you can get a tonne of fun out of it. I myself don’t even play it very often, and I’ve got 700 hours out of it. Comparing different media in hours per dollar gets weird quickly, but still, that’s a lot more fun compared to the same amount in cheeseburgers or movies. Now, maybe the average person doesn’t make those types calculations very often, but the type of person who would enjoy Factorio definitely would. :)

      1. Dreadjaws says:

        Yeah, that’s why I’m talking about the people who still don’t own the game.

      2. Bubble181 says:

        “I don’t play it very often” and “I have 700 hours in it” are pretty much mutually exclusive. Perhaps you play other games more, that’s all well and good, but I consider myself a gamer and I’ve played less than 400 hours over the past year, all games combined.

        700 hours is two hours a day, every single day, for a year. I’m not sure how long Factorio’s been out (2 years? Maybe three?) but it’s still a lot.

    2. kdansky says:

      I don’t even think the price is too high. Many people will just buy it because it’s a niche game for a niche audience.

      However a fundamental NO SALES policy is idiotic. Sales are not for the consumer’s sake: They exist because they make the seller more money when done correctly. For some people, $30 is just too expensive. Net profit from those people: $zero.

      Might as well sell the game at $20 once a year to get $20 more than $zero.

      It bothers me because Factorio is neat (despite having a couple horrendously stupid design decisions) and I want those guys to succeed and make a lot of money. I already bought the game ages ago anyway.

      Addendum example of stupid design decision:

      – Bots are too good and remove what’s fun in factorio (building belt-based factories)
      – Solar is cheaper, more efficient and earlier in the tech tree than nuclear, there is no trade-off. Just cover half the map in solar panels by means of a blueprint with construction bots and have infinite power.
      – Copper is only used for copper wire, which is only used for the earlier chips. When you realise you can just smack a copper wire factory in front of every chip factory without bothering with belts everything becomes much more boring and simple.

      Some mods try to fix these issues, but they usually go overboard in adding unneeded complexity that is just a hassle and not actually interesting.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Though,like pointed out,they said they are against SALES,not against PRICE REDUCTION.A permanent price reduction after X months makes sense,and is not as greedy as a temporary sale every Y weeks.

        1. Dreadjaws says:

          No, that’s an assumption by Shamus, read again the page blurb. They very clearly state that Factorio is never going to be cheaper.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            The blurb only says that “its the final price update”,and is tied to the context of the previous sentence that says the game was becoming pricier and pricier.Its not unreasonable to assume that the game would become cheaper after time has passed.And again,the final paragraph only says that they are against sales,not against making games cheaper after theyve been on the market for a while.

            1. Dreadjaws says:

              purchasing before the 16th of April 2018 is the only way to buy the game cheaper than the increased release price.

              I honestly don’t see how this isn’t 100% clear on their intentions. Anything you guys are saying about price reduction is nothing but fanfiction. Not saying it can’t happen, I’m saying that if it happens it’s because they change their minds, because a price reduction doesn’t align with their current ideas.

      2. Scerro says:

        Nah, I respect them because they have a no-sales policy.

        Rather than wait for a sale as I’m won’t to do, I know it’ll be $20 for the foreseeable future, and that’s a fair price point. In a post-$2.50 steam sales game world, and humble bundles, getting customers that actually have to seek out your game and buy it for something non-trivial is a good model. That is, if you can make a game good enough. And Factorio is good enough for that.

  9. Distec says:

    Having an issue with my posts being marked as spam when I edit them. I pretty much always find typos or poor phrasings in my posts. But even though the system accepts the initial post, it accuses me of spamming when I edit them, and then it deletes the post.

    By god, I want to grumble about TLJ and I will not let this stop me!

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      I have the same problem. That’s why I write my comments in notepad first and then copy/paste them here. If I find my comment deleted due to editing, I just copy/paste again.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      EDIT: let’s check
      EDIT: Seems fine so far
      EDIT: maybe it’s the speed?
      FINAL EDIT: it’s the spam filter being an ass again. I know the problem you are describing, but i get it very rarely. Maybe once a month or so.

  10. Gordon D Wrigley says:

    On the topic of Minecraft, you might want to checkout Eco.
    It’s early access and clearly needs some content and balance work. But for what is fundamentally a Minecraft clone it is already substantially more sophisticated and is bringing some interesting new ideas. Also the basic physics and animation on it’s tree chopping and hole digging some how move them to a whole different level of satisfying.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Yeah, Eco does look neat doesn’t it? I haven’t tried it. My main objection is it’s got a [politics redacted] which repulsed me enough to give it a pass for now. Also, it’s not consistently stylized, which is a bad sign in my book.
      Have you played it?

      1. Gordon D Wrigley says:

        I haven’t played it, but I have watched some lets plays to get a sense of where it’s at.
        The wife and I are looking for another co-op thing now that we’ve milked modded Minecraft to death.
        Content and gameplay wise it’s looking quite good, pace of development also seems promising. There’s a bunch of stuff targeted at servers with dozens of players, laws, voting etc but it seems like that can largely be ignored.
        However the balance for 1-2 players is clearly broken right now. A lot of the mechanics are based on real world time, with the presumption that you are playing on a persistent server.

  11. Dreadjaws says:

    I will never understand how people can complain about The Force Awakens for being derivative yet somehow praise Rogue One, which is a maelstrom of Star Wars clichés. That movie is pure, raw, concentrated fanservice, and I couldn’t stand it because of it. Every bit of it was predictable to the point of being either groan-inducing or irritating and it didn’t even bother with interesting characters to balance it out Well, save for one. I’ll give you Chirrut, I really liked that guy, who actually showed an interesting new side of the Force.

    As for The Last Jedi, while I do agree that subverting expectations can be a good thing, it doesn’t mean it necessarily is. Particularly because this movie seems more worried about subverting expectations than making sense. While The Force Awakens was derivative, it set up new ideas that people were interested in… and The Last Jedi proceeded to shut down.

    And I ask… why? Why not shut down the old, derivative stuff and build up on the new ideas instead? Instead they destroyed everything new and didn’t bother to actually create anything else to replace it. And, in the process, they made every character look like an idiot.

    And don’t even get me started on the political stuff. Star Wars never needed such things, I don’t understand why they decided it needs them now.

    Also, and I realize this is a nitpick, but… why doesn’t ghost Yoda look like a ghost? They merely added a shiny effect on him. Did they… forget how to use the effect? The 40 year old (for this franchise) effect? Because I can do that with any cheap video editing software, so it’s not like it’s hard.

    1. Kylroy says:

      TLJ’s first half anchored it to the idea that heroism is pointless, an idea that runs completely counter to the series to date *and* renders 30+ minutes of screen time completely pointless *and* logically brought them to the point of getting the entire Rebellion/New Republic killed because our protagonists didn’t blindly trust apparently suicidal orders. They then undermine their entire thematic point first with the Holdo Kamikaze Asspull, and then the Luke Skywalker Holo Show (which, on it’s own, was both awesome and satisfying). Apparently, heroism is only appropriate if you’re a properly regarded authority figure.

      I didn’t think a main-series Star Wars release would end up being Shocking Swerve: The Movie, but here we are.

    2. Syal says:

      The most irritating thing in Rogue One; the Imperials have a transport tank with no legs. Not a single leg. It’s got treads or something. This is not proper Imperial vehicle design. It should at least have been a centipede.

      1. Cubic says:

        The designers were subsequently shot into the heart of a star by Lord Vader himself, and proper legged construction projects were fast tracked.

    3. Felblood says:

      I think you might be missing what people liked about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It was a new story, made out of familiar Star Wars tropes, or cliches if you prefer(>[RAWRFIGHTMEIRL]<).

      Think of Star Wars tropes (or any set of literary tropes) like Lego blocks. A builder can build all kinds of different sculptures out of Legos, but the individual blocks will still look familiar.

      Now, if I make a half-assed X-wing out of Legos, it's totally fair criticism for someone to point out that my work is half-assed, derivative, and has been done better many, many times.*

      If someone takes those same Legos I used, and makes a stunning, original sculpture out of them, the fact that they were previously handled by my incompetent ass should not be an excuse to throw shade at the actually good artist.

      I have read so many shitty Star Wars novels, and watched so many bad Star Wars shows, movies and cartoons. I know those works were bad, but I can separate the works from the tropes and brands that they used. Rogue One isn't one of them.

      *I actually think there's the seed of an interesting movie in the script of Force Awakens that gets completely lost, because JJ Abrams did such a great job of making everything look like A New Hope. A lot of the good ideas that pay off in Last Jedi are treated like footnotes in Force Awakens.

      1. Philadelphus says:

        As TVTropes says, Tropes Are Not Bad. They’re just tools, used to make a story. You can take the same tropes that have been used a thousand times before and make a good story—or a bad one—out of them. And I personally agree, TFA was done badly while Rogue One was done well.

        1. Kylroy says:

          And TLJ seems to be an exercise in demonstrating that Defying Tropes Isn’t Necessarily Good.

          1. Philadelphus says:

            I’d agree with that too!

          2. Felblood says:

            I could name a couple of tropes it should have defied, but we’d be getting politics wonks up our asses, so they shall remain nameless.

  12. Asdasd says:

    Loving these podcasts. Keep it up!

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Thank you fellow human! Our output will continue barring bio-mechanical failure.

  13. Rick C says:

    Veinminer’s another nice mod for getting rid of trees. It will let you mine an entire ore vein as well.

  14. Marc Forrester says:

    That rss feed at https://mbafford-static.s3.amazonaws.com/diecast.xml seems to be two episodes behind now. Is there any way to load this show into a podcatcher?

    1. David says:

      So! I’ve also been frustrated with this. As such, I’ve made my own silly feed-to-podcast converter, and I think I have it set up such that it’ll auto-refresh this feed here:


      …I say “think” because there hasn’t been a new episode since I set that up, so I can’t test it.

  15. Felblood says:

    !!Did somebody say Dwarf Fortess? !!


    There are actually a few creatures in DF that occupy multiple tiles. They just have some critical bugs that need to be worked out, before the systems can be deployed to other creatures.

    Large trees and wagons are treated as multi-tile creatures, by the game code, now.

    Attacking a tree to death, usually with an axe, causes the entire tree to die. Multi-tile corpses aren’t solved yet, so this creates a rain of separate logs, seeds, leaves, etc., which your dwarves and adventurers can use in the traditional ways.

    Wagons used to be a 3×3 building, like workshops. (For the DF illiterate, workshops are somewhat like furniture items in Minecraft. You place one tile, and the rest of the building appears if the room is large enough. Most are 3×3 or 5×5, but some are odd shaped.)

    Now they are actually a 3x3x1 creature. The pathing algorithm for multi-tile creatures is … not ready for deployment. Strict requirements are placed on the road one must have open to their trade depo before the wagons will spawn. Even still, they occasionally manage to find themselves partly occupying a wall tile. The game is smart enough to detect this and just kills the wagon, dropping it’s contents in one of the open tiles it occupies.

    So, like !!everything!! in DF, it’s on the way, but it’s not there yet.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Yeah, the multi-tile trees are really great, especially for the elf towns. The tavern trees are a bit crazy though.
      Looking forward to the expansion of multi-tile entities. Maybe we’ll eventually get boats!
      Also, I love that you are implying that everything in dwarf fortress is on fire.

      1. Felblood says:

        If the elf town isn’t, you’ve already made a mistake.

        The only good E is a !!E!!

        1. Droid says:

          You mean “The only -E- is a !!E!!!”, right?

    2. RJT says:

      I’m not sure that the tile system is much of a problem. I usually imagine all the creatures as pieces on a board game. In chess, the tower/rook takes up one square just like a single knight, and so it is for Dwarf Fortress. Besides, as Felblood mentions, this is being slowly phased out.

      I haven’t checked recently, but for years wagons were such literal creatures that they were listed as casualties in the Units screen if they “were scuttled.” Trees do not share this quirk.

      I think the bugs are my favorite parts of dwarf fortress. When dating preferences were introduced, for example, animals got a copied version. This resulted in a brief period where chickens were going extinct because they were generally too proper to indulge in one-night stands and had no code for getting married, so their eggs were never fertilized. Still today, there is a high chance that a given rooster will be infertile (there are a variety of reasons for this). So I usually get two roosters for my flock, sometimes three.

    3. Felblood says:

      Goddamn, writing this got me back into reading the Future of the Fortress. You monsters.

      There’s a guy in here complaining that it’s too much hassle to shear a troll’s back hair for yarn, once they have successfully petitioned for citizenship, and are no longer treated as livestock.

      The trollherd tries to lead him out to the barn for shearing and the troll is just like, “F that! I have to go to work.”

      He really needs that yarn, you guys.

  16. Decius says:

    I feel like the contrasting of Factorio with Dwarf Fortress missed… everything.

    Yeah, it’s a fair complaint that basically all of the creatures in DF are the same size, but everything in Factorio also snaps to a coarse grid, even the blueprints.

    And on a random tangent: If there isn’t a cement mixer mod for minecraft, there should be.

    1. Marc Forrester says:

      Immersive Engineering has you covered for cement.

  17. (ok attempt 3, no idea why but my comments get marked as spam or the spolier tagging fails to work)

    Mini spoilers.

    Since they couldn’t do re-shoots etc. The only way I can think of that would honor Carrie Fisher and Leia properly would be if Episode IX (9) starts with the current heroes rushing to Leia’s quarters upon being informed she has collapsed due to the after effects of having been in vacuum and being exposed to so much radiation.

    As they open the door we see a brief shimmering light on their sad and solemn faces. A caretaker could then say only the force was holding her together. At which the caretaker will give the dice to Rey with a message from Leia “You will know who to give this to, when the time is right” (hinting at a possible Kylo redemption, like his grandfather).

    Then we change to a memorial scene. At the end of this the heroes gather one asks “What do we do now without a leader?” and then one says “This changes everything”.

    Now the Resistance will be fragmented while the core of it will become more aggressive than in the past (slipping towards becoming terrorists instead of rebels), a lot of the movie could be about finding a new if not “actual” leader then at least a symbolic leader (Rey?) that can guide the resistance.

    Medium to major spoilers, changes I’d make to Last Jedi:
    The scene with Leia and Luke meeting would have been moved earlier. Re-shoots could have been done so that Leia leaves (They could easily have had a small fighter at that base that could get into space) while Luke and Kylo “face off”.
    Other characters could say “Where’s Leia?” and we’d see a fighter leaving the planet.

    In space the Holdo scene would be changed slightly, with a fighter entering a hangar, and not long after Holdo turns around as she hears a door behind her open and says “Leia?” From he hallway we see the back of a person entering the bridge as the door closes.

    Then changing between the Luke and Kylo fight and back we’d see the impressive looking hyperspace weaponization take place. Luke could even “glitch” out for a moment (due to the hyperspace explosion) and say “Leia!” and Kylo would look at Luke then “up” and back to Luke. The rest would play out as in the movie with Kylo “slicing” through Luke.

    I’d also change the scene with Luke merging with the force, he would smile and say “Leia!” connecting with her in the force.

    When the heroes flee at the end of the movie, Holdo appears. The other look confused for a moment. Holdo says that Leia came and told her to return, Holdo tried to refuse but Leia said her life was at a end due to the radiation from having been in vacuum, only the force was holding her together now and that is was time for her to rejoin with Luke (she most likely was aware that he was projecting). And that she needed Holdo to do her a favour, at which point Holdo will give the dice to Rey with the message “You will know who to give this to, when the time is right” (hinting at a possible Kylo redemption, like his grandfather).

    Sure these changes are less than ideal (I just made them up on the spot), but I think it would work out better than what they’ll have to do now though, it would also give a “Force” story arc for Leia as well albeit a very short one.

  18. Ninety-Three says:

    Regarding Abram’s filmmaking style, I have to post this article which is in agreement with the stuff Shamus mentioned about writers trolling eachother: https://qntm.org/mystery


    Having constructed this mystery, you, the writer, then:

    1 do everything possible to avoid constraining solutions to the mystery,
    2 don’t tell anybody what the solution is,
    3 do not create a solution at all, and finally
    4 quit the project.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      Mystery Box is a good name (and well known), but I prefere Bob Case’s take on it: ‘Ponzi Scheme’ Storytelling.

      It emphasises the dishonesty and laziness of the trick being used. Constructing a satisfying story is hard, so why bother – get the audience to do it for you and leave before they catch on!

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        I remember writing this kind of story on our highschool homeschool friend forum. It started out with a dream-like battle dimension and from there the game was to do a reveal on any aspect of the story that hadn’t already been explicitly discussed. Never mention how many arms the characters have? Now they all have four arms! Now they have wings! Now there’s three different planes of existence, and a staircase to the moon!
        So, I guess it was kind of like opening the mystery box from the inside, and finding out you’re in a larger and stranger mystery box. Good times.

    2. Ander says:

      Thanks for the link. I don’t think the mystery box necessarily harms TFA because, in my mind, the story wasn’t about Rey’s parents or Snoke’s identity. TFA doesn’t draw attention to the latter, and the former doesn’t matter in the movie because Han-as-father-figure is much more prominent thematically.

      What the mystery box does do is leave little chance for a satisfying, thematic answer to the questions in the next movie. I agree with the writer that the boxes were handled about as well as possible, but a lot of people don’t, and they aren’t wrong for being dissatisfied.

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