Diecast #220: Escapist, No Man’s Sky NEXT, Titans

By Shamus Posted Monday Jul 30, 2018

Filed under: Diecast 47 comments

We got to the end of the show this week and I found myself thinking, “Wait. Is that it? This feels… short. But we hit all the topics on my list. I guess we’re done.”

Facepalm. The MAILBAG!

I forgot to look in the mailbag for questions. We’ll come back and get those next week. Please bear with me, I’ve only been doing this show for 220 weeks and I’m still learning the ropes.

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Show notes:

00:00 The Escapist Lives Again

I sort of already covered this yesterday, but this should be good if you were hoping for the more rambling, less concise version.

07:02 No Man’s Sky NEXT

My favorite part of the new update was when I found an alien named Dave.
My favorite part of the new update was when I found an alien named Dave.

On the show I said that the game wasn’t any better. That’s not entirely fair. The game is better in terms of the ratio between hassle and fun, but the changes don’t really get to the heart of the problem, which is that so much of the design is focused on highly repetitive tasks that put you under inventory pressure.

Imagine a game where you randomly fall out of the level and die every ten minutes or so, losing all your progress. Then imagine the patch makes it so you get more checkpoint saves. Yes, that’s a huge help, but it doesn’t really address the source of the problem. That’s what the No Man’s Sky NEXT update feels like.

19:34 Marco Polo

Anyone else out there use this? Like I said in the show, it’s completely supplanted texting in my family.

22:39 Titans

And speaking of generating traffic by making people angry…

Link (YouTube)

I’m guessing they’re copying the look & feel of the Marvel Netflix properties? If so, maybe the show will find an audience. I don’t care for that style of slow-burn serialized filler, but it’s really popular.

34:24 Webhost Nightmares

On the show I said everything was up and running again. It turns out the RSS feed is wonky. I have no idea what’s wrong, but I’ve got multiple reports of it not updating properly. I’m looking into it.

Also, I just noticed the new host seems to have some curious throttling. I used to be able to download the audio of this showWhy do I download my own show? Issac uploads it, then I download it. This way I can make sure the link works. in one minute, and this week it took ten. What’s odd is that the site doesn’t seem to be slower overall. Curious.



[1] Why do I download my own show? Issac uploads it, then I download it. This way I can make sure the link works.

From The Archives:

47 thoughts on “Diecast #220: Escapist, No Man’s Sky NEXT, Titans

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    DC went from having grimdark movies and fun tv shows to making a fun movie and a grimdark tv show.


    1. Narkis says:


      Them’s fighting words!

      Unless you’re Catwoman, maybe?

      1. MadTinkerer says:

        “No, no. In the dark, I thought you were the Riddler, so when you said ‘Where’s Batman’ I panicked and said ‘Affleck Benman?’.

        It wasn’t the correct answer anyway.”

  2. Fizban says:

    Holy shit, that trailer is so fucking gloriously terrible, I suddenly really want to watch it. And then probably get through like one episode and decide that was a poor decision.

    For comparison, I’ve watched all of Smallville, which I believe is generally regarded as getting pretty soap opera drivelly? I’ll make no claims that it was a good show, but I did watch the whole thing. (I haven’t been watching really any of the live action superhero/supernatural stuff since then though).

    It’s probably just seeing the Teen Titans characters in live action (the cartoon was pretty dang good, though the Go! version is by all accounts terrible), since those are characters I’m actually interested in, and like most superheroes their stories are build of cliche’s emo stuff. So I’d be willing to lower expectations, but probably not as far as I’d need to.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      Glad someone else is looking forward to watching Titans.
      I had no idea that show was planned before RLM put up a video featuring the trailer, and it looks amazing. Just, all the wrong decisions in the best possible way:

      – Cliched plot about young, vulnerable-looking girl with a demon inside her? Check.
      – Cringe-worthy, pretentious dialogue choice #8226*: ‘My mother told me monsters didn’t exist when I was young.’ ‘She was wrong…[WE’RE THE MONSTERS!]’ ? Check.
      – Hilariously OTT gritty take on traditionally non-serious character including PTSD-style black & white flashback? Check.
      – Starfire burning people alive with magical powers? Looks like it. Oh I hope so.
      – ‘Fuck Batman’!
      (My personal favorite part of that scene: the addition of a ‘crunching bone’ sound effect when Robin walks on a guy’s face. It doesn’t look like anything breaks; it looks it was added in post to make everything more grimdark.)
      – All the above done on a TV show budget, making it look cheap? Check.
      – Based on a popular kids cartoon? Check.

      This has the potential to be absolutely fantastic. I’d say don’t fuck it up, DC, but that’s exactly what I’m hoping you’ll do.
      Fingers crossed it ends up on Netflix.

      *See also “DO YOU BLEED? YOU WILL!”

      PS: Has anyone made/found a mash-up of the audio of the Titans trailer over video of either the Adam West Batman or the original Teen Titans yet?
      Don’t let me down, internet!

      1. Doctor Ivellius says:

        I decided to watch the trailer after your comment here.

        Oh, man, does this look like a trainwreck.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          On the other side of this is the shazam trailer.That one genuinely looks like it is going to embrace the childish glee of becoming a superhero.So,watch that one for unironic entertainment.

          1. baud says:

            I hadn’t seen it yet, it’s true than this trailer is fun

  3. Gargamel Le Noir says:

    People are too tough on Titans, it’s not *that* bad for a fan trailer made by 12 years olds!

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    That Marco Polo thing,does it offer only that kind of chat,without the text option?Thats kind of a diminished viber/whatsapp then.Because those two allow you to send audio or video if you wish,or make free calls,or text,depending on whats convenient for you at the time.

    Those kinds of apps are actually pretty useful,because you dont have to worry about different charges for calls and texts,you only need internet connection.

  5. Hal says:

    I don’t care for that style of slow-burn serialized filler, but it’s really popular.

    I don’t think it’s actually popular; I think it’s that people are willing to put up with a lot of filler and BS to get to the good stuff. Unfortunately, it seems like the powers that be aren’t hearing that message and all they hear is, “More more more!”

    Case in point: Ever since Iron Fist, all I’ve heard about Marvel’s Netflix shows is how they somehow manage to cram 6 episodes worth of content into 13 episodes. The thing I’ve heard consistently about them is, “There’s some great stuff in there, but it just takes too dang long to get there.”

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    But….You did not finish the story!You did not tell us what rating you gave to the 1&1 support!Was it 5 stars?

  7. ydant says:

    There’s a character encoding issue in your RSS feed. I don’t really understand character encoding or the software you’re using well enough to help you fix it or even point fingers at the fundamental blame.

    Your RSS feed (both HTTP headers and the XML itself) is identifying the text as encoded in UTF-8.

    However, the text for these two posts:


    Has characters \x85 \x91 \x92 \x93 \x94 that are reserved in Unicode. They are, however, used in Windows-1252.

    I don’t know where the issue is best fixed, but that’s the issue – at least with my RSS feed parser script (which I’ve updated to fix these, so my RSS feed is updated again).

    https://mbafford-static.s3.amazonaws.com/diecast.xml – the currently frequently, but often infrequently, updated RSS feed

    1. Shamus says:

      Thanks so much for this. I’m fixing all of these that I can find.

      1. Alex says:

        You may also like to know that uBlock Origin has started blocking the script that adds the “Reply to this>>” link to every comment.

      2. The Rocketeer says:

        I’m not sure if this has been pointed out already, but after the move, I notice things like long dashes and even quotation marks are showing up as lozenge-with-a-question-mark symbols, such as in my comment about the Prey ending a couple DieCasts ago.

        That might be more down to the fact that, for convenience, I typed that up in OpenOffice before cut-n-pasting it into the comment field; I don’t know how that affect what the site fundamentally considers those characters to be even if they look the same to the reader, but it did look correct before the move and now doesn’t.

        1. Shamus says:

          Sadly, this is damage that can’t be (easily) undone. When I dumped the database, a lot of special characters were trashed. The best I can’t do is hunt down posts that exhibit these problems and do a global find/replace with the correct character. I’ve done it on a few posts, but I haven’t tried it on comments yet.

          On the upside, finding one bad character should allow me to fix all instances of that bad character.

          1. The Rocketeer says:

            I’m not sure it will help with a mass find-and-replace, as all instances seem to have been converted to “�,” regardless of which of several symbols they might have been; but in the event that it might be of any help to you, I’ll try to reproduce those characters here.

            Here are the paired quotation marks typed directly into this window:


            And here they are copied from OpenOffice:


            Here is the em dash typed directly into this window with Alt+0151:


            And here it is copied from OpenOffice, typed with the same Alt code:


            For what it’s worth, I would not let any inability to make my comments more readable trouble you unduly; it has never troubled me unduly either.

          2. Decius says:

            I’m confused about how the method of getting the database that would trash some characters but not others.

            Was the database dump for some reason not bitwise identical to the database?

            It feels more like “The previous database was written to in [encoding], and now it’s being interpreted as [different encoding], and whenever the bits that indicate a character differ, the interpreter gives up and cries.”

            That seems like it would be solved by figuring out what the original encoding was, and decoding it using the same one.

            Also, I don’t have any of the practical knowledge; what little I really know about computer science is way closer to the metal than database stuff.

            1. Shamus says:

              You’re right that it’s certainly an encoding problem. But I’ve already imported the database. I could import it again with different encoding settings (once I figure out how to do that) but that would mean going back to the database as it was a week ago, losing all posts and comments.

    2. Simplex says:

      Could you also fix the RSS for twentysided?

  8. ydant says:

    Re: the RSS issue – I added a comment, but I think I put too many links and it got caught by the spam filter.

    The issue looks like it’s due to mixed UTF-8 / windows-1252 character encoding in the XML. It’s causing issues with my RSS feed generator script, and might be causing issues with other software.

  9. Worthstream says:

    I was kind of hoping you would do a blog post on the new no man’s sky. It would be interesting reading you dissect the new features and balance “fixes”.

    1. J Greely says:

      NMS Next quick takes:

      1) To keep people from running out of content too quickly, they’ve added delay timers to quest NPCs (“Polo is busy processing the data you gave him; go do something else for 90-120 minutes”).

      2) To add a challenge to randomly-generated missions, the description of your goal is often in the form GEK_MISSING_RESOURCE_7, the required action in your log is occasionally different from the one you actually have to do, and the mission will sometimes succeed even though you showed up at the wrong place with the wrong item and failed to turn it in.

      3) There are already three or four patches for the PC version trying to fix crippling bugs like corrupting your save files and hurling you out into space, because this is a paid beta. again. There will likely be a lot more patches, because there are plenty of new bugs.

      4) For instance, I have no idea how my on-planet base computer ended up under the floor in my freighter (the same ship that spontaneously lost all my stored items). I eventually got it to move back to the planet.

      5) To preserve inventory space, adding a fourth upgrade of a specific type breaks the whole set, and you have to disassemble one of them to get things working again.

      6) Crashed ships and drop pods now require significant resources to “repair”. On the bright side, you can just buy inventory slots at any space station instead.

      7) Sentinels are not only significantly more aggressive, you can’t stop them from summoning reinforcements, and the absolute worst thing to do is flee to space. Hide underground or in buildings.

      8) Liked the bugs in version 1.0? Good news, many of them are still around.

      9) The third-person camera toggle is found in the pop-up menu; saves upgraded from previous versions will still be first-person.

      If you really want to try it again, install the Faster Walk, Faster Scan, and Reduced Launch Cost mods, and grab the latest version of NMSSaveEditor. Backing up your saves and editing them to fix glitches will work around a lot of the bugs, and the mods will reduce the tedious walk-and-grind.


      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        To keep people from running out of content too quickly, they’ve added delay timers to quest NPCs (“Polo is busy processing the data you gave him; go do something else for 90-120 minutes”).

        Thats horrible.Games that must be played only the way the designer intended,no deviations allowed are the worst.Especially when the game in question is a supposedly open world game.

        1. BlueHorus says:

          Does your game not have enough content? Feel the need to make more so your players won’t get through it too quickly?
          Don’t bother! Just ensure that the player can’t get what they want instantly by instating waiting times on the stuff they want to do! I’m sure they’ll find something else to fill their time.

          This management strategy brought to you by HURRY UP AND WAIT Inc.

  10. Echo Tango says:

    Re: throttling

    I just downloaded the episode in about 45 seconds, so maybe it’s your ISP and not the web host? You could test this more by downloading the podcast from a shared connection in a library or Starbucks or something. (Assuming that they have a different ISP.)

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Now that Im home I can test this.

      Under 15 seconds for mp3,under 15 seconds for ogg.So the hosting seems to work fine.

    2. Profugo Barbartus says:

      Yea, this is a common time of year for internet connections to get a bit squirrely. All the kids are out from school now, living it up on the internet at odd hours, all hours. Could just be the local node is congested.

  11. John says:

    Paul is not quite correct about the history of the Teen Titans franchise. The original Titans book from (I believe) the 1960s was in fact called Teen Titans. It was essentially a Justice League sidekicks club. It was a fairly silly book largely because it was written in the 1960s and that was the dominant style of superhero comics at the time. It also somewhat infamous for having absolutely ridiculous dialogue because the out-of-touch, middle-aged writers knew that the teenagers of the day used a lot of slang but didn’t know what any of that slang actually was.

    The most famous version of the Teen Titans, the one Paul is almost assuredly thinking of, is the New Teen Titans reboot from the late 80s (or possibly early 90s, I forget) which was written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by George Perez. New Teen Titans introduced Raven, Cyborg, and Starfire, and it was and arguably is by far the most popular version of the book and team. For context, for a while there New Teen Titans was more popular than Marvel’s X-Men. It was a much more serious and dramatic (and melodramatic) book than the 60s incarnation. The various Cartoon Network shows use the characters and reference certain story lines from New Teen Titans, but the tone–especially in the later versions of the cartoon–is very different.

    There have been several post-New Teen Titans versions of the book and/or team with various titles and rosters. Some of them have had zero connection to the original Titans apart from the use of the team name. There was, for a while, a Titans book simply called “Titans” that reunited the original sidekicks club cast, now all young(-ish) adults. Most versions of the book keep trying to recapture the Wolfman-Perez glory days. Some of them are influenced a little by the cartoons, but are hampered by such things as the fact that they have to use the current Robin (whoever that may be at the moment) rather than the original and who may be a very different sort of character. The current Robin, Damian Wayne, is arrogant, vicious, and hostile, though it must be noted that not even he would shoot someone in the head and say “Fuck Batman”.

    1. Hal says:

      Just to clarify: Are you comparing the popularity of team iterations or media iterations? Because I’d probably place the cartoon iterations of the Teen Titans well ahead of the comics. (Do we include Young Justice in this as well? They’re basically the same product with a different name.)

      I’m not sure how the popularity of the animated versions compare with themselves, but I suspect Teen Titans Go! is going to be far more popular than most adult fans of these franchises would care to admit.

      1. Viktor says:

        Cartoon viewership is measured in the millions, comic readership is measured in the 10,000s. You’re right that the comics are far, far less well known than the other media. And this is a flagship property for DCs new streaming service, they need viewership in the millions.

        Basically if DC wants this to succeed they should either be focusing on what made the original Teen Titans cartoon good*, advertising it on Cartoon Network so that TTGo fans make their parents buy access, or they should have included a couple YJ characters and pushed it more towards that tone**. DC did none of that, instead going for the Dawn of Justice tone***, which is an impressive dedication to failing miserably.

        *character interaction, humor, and cool action sequences
        **character interaction, drama and reveals, and cool action sequences
        ***characters arguing, a grey filter over everything, and heroes killing people

      2. John says:

        I meant it strictly as a comics-to-comics comparison.

        I’m only loosely familiar with the Teen Titans and Young Justice cartoons. I know that older people are supposed to hate Teen Titans Go! for being silly and displacing the other, somewhat more serious shows, but I have to say–in my official capacity as a middle-aged man–that Teen Titans Go! actually sounds the most interesting to me. I have no particular investment in those other shows and I think I’d prefer silly and surreal to serialized melodrama.

        1. Viktor says:

          Silly and surreal was a pretty good descriptor of the original cartoon. It was sort of an action-comedy, with a lot of visual gags and fun with the characters. Think Men In Black for an idea of how the balance worked. TTGo is much more of a straight comedy, a kids cartoon version of any movie described as “a laugh a minute”. YJ is a serialized action story, like what you’d get if you turned the Avengers movie into a cartoon.

          How well each of them works I won’t get into, but the key is that each of them found an audience that praised the work. Who was a fan of any of the DC movies this series seems to be copying?

    2. Jeff says:

      The Robin in the show is supposed to be Grayson.

      Going around gunning down people in alleyways seems like a good way to get Batman to take you down, and if you’re a rogue Robin you’re going to be a priority takedown with prejudice.

      1. John says:

        You might well think so, but the history of the resurrected Jason Todd in the comics throws that into some doubt.

      2. shoeboxjeddy says:

        Current Batman has a sort of “if you’re popular, you can have a freebie face-turn” policy. So Jason Todd can go to work in Gotham using his more brutal methods, so long as he is not CURRENTLY murdering people as he used to.

        See also: Clayface being a member of the team on Detective Comics for a while, Harley Quinn being given a pass so that she can have a solo series as an anti-hero, Batman teaming up with Two Face in All-Star Batman, Batman RARELY making a serious attempt to make Penguin pay for his crimes, etc.

  12. baud says:

    RSS works for me, it’s how I’m getting the updates on the blog. (if you need a data point)

  13. I’m amused that at 19:34 Shamus has rediscovered “the phone”.

    Sure, it’s like a variant of SMS but a audio+video message. But still.
    This is something so basic that the phone OS should have had it as default.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      The difference is that its asynchronous,so the other person can check your voiced message whenever they want instead of as soon as you are talking.Plus,it does not charge you the rate of a call.

    2. Chris says:

      When I heard about what he said I immediately thought about the voice SMS (official name for text) service they had. I never used it since nobody else used it and they would just be confused, but it seemed useful for me at the time. Although as teenager you quickly learn to type on the phone keyboard (or whatever you call it when you have to tap each button multiple times for the right character on the 1-9 dail buttons). I think the big problem is, is that while it is easier to message someone using your voice, its slower to receive the message. Same you have with people that prefer text reviews over video reviews. Its faster. Also, as with the button pressing on a phone, using swype typing on a smartphone is pretty fast.

      1. I wonder if people still use voicemail (aka mobile answering machines), I guess these are the predecessor to such a app. They where also asyncronous. I think my provider also still have it (i turn that off by default if i see it).

        1. Chris says:

          You can turn that off? Because all I know is that they exist, but nobody ever uses it. They just stop the call as soon as they hear the voicemail.

          1. Yeah, I like to turn it off or check that it’s not enabled by default. I don’t want it filling up (which could cost something if your unlucky).
            Also, I’d rather have people get a busy signal than “think” they got through to me only to hear a generic answering machine thingy.

            People are more likely to let it “ring longer”. answering machines tend to answer too quickly (though this should be adjustable).,

  14. Chris says:

    I don’t know what email adress to send it too (maybe put it in the post for dummies like me?) so i’ll just post it here, since that went well last time.

    Dear diecast,

    -What was the last game you enjoyed that was of a genre you generally do not enjoy?
    -what was the last difficult game where you enjoyed the high difficulty?

  15. Stuart Worthington says:

    I’ll just poke my head in here to mention I use Marco Polo. It’s cute.

  16. krellen says:

    My generation doesn’t have nostalgia for the shows of our youth.

    That’s not entirely true, Shamus. We have selective nostalgia for those shows. We fondly remember parts of those shows – like the Spider-Man theme, or “Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice” from the old Super Friends.

    Of course, we’re also getting old and our memories are failing, so maybe that’s just all we can remember. :)

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