Diecast #222: Birthday Week

By Shamus Posted Monday Aug 20, 2018

Filed under: Diecast 28 comments

This is a special episode of the Diecast. If you’re looking for the usual brand of complaining, analysis, commentary, and complaining, then this is not the episode for you. Here I sit down with my wife Heather and we talk about our shared gaming history and how it impacted our relationship.

Hosts: Heather and Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

We weren’t really working from a fixed list of topics, so no show notes this week.

One final note is that this was recorded with Heather and I sitting at the same computer with an open microphone. Normally I do the show via VOIP and everyone has a key for push-to-talk. The setup we used this time means you’ll hear a little more background noise. So if you’re curious why you can hear my sniffing or the THUD of me setting down my silo-sized drink, now you know.


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28 thoughts on “Diecast #222: Birthday Week

  1. Joe says:

    Happy birthday to the pair of you!

    Shamus, is that the cyberpunk book you’re talking about? I’m in the mood for a good cyberpunk book, considering I’ve been reading a bad one.

  2. Droid says:

    Happy birthday week you two!

  3. Chris says:

    Man, Shamus, you have your way with the ladies. Go over to her house, play videogames all day, and then somehow convince her it was a great date. You should write a blog post about it. Like “how to play videogames and get the ladies” or “the nerd womanizer’s secrets to women”.

    When I heard Heather got sick of 3d games it reminded me of my friend. He would get sick like a dog when he played HL2. I think the problem was that the game ran with a FOV of 60 and since monitors became bigger the game FOV no longer matched the actual FOV the screen took up. For some people this causes their brain to freak out and get really sick. So if she still has this issue and wants to play a 3d game I suggest trying to tweak the FOV to better fit the FOV the screen takes. So up her in front of a computer, measure the amount of space the screen takes of her field of view, then set the game’s FOV to match it. And then see if she still has issues. Doing that solved it for my friend. Or you can try a console, since you’re further away from the TV screen it should have less of an effect. Although console games often have worse options to tweak stuff like FOV.

    1. Joshua says:

      Interestingly, HL and HL2 are some of the few games where I didn’t get a lot of motion sickness. I gave up on both FEAR and SOMA early on because I would start to get nauseous after just a few minutes of playing.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      I’d just like to know why someone would enjoy watching someone else play a game? I kind of get watching speedruns and/or esports – never do it myself, but get it – but just some random guy playing?
      I know it’s a thing people do, enjoy even, but I just can’t.

      Also…watching Shamus (well, anyone) code?! Now that, I’ll never get.

      Oh, and Happy Birthday(s)!

      1. Syal says:

        If it’s a game I’ve heard of but never played, it’s effectively a really in-depth review.

        If it’s a game I’ve played, it’s nice to see other people’s reactions to it.

        And then there are games with really stupid cutscenes you’d never see otherwise because it’s a horrible slog to get there.

        1. Syal says:

          Bah, didn’t link the time. Cutscene was at 10:35.

      2. Sleeping Dragon says:

        So let me tell you about Twitch…

        On a more serious note, like anything this just isn’t something that everyone will enjoy but there is a lot of reasons why some people watch other people play besides what you mentioned*. To give some personal examples: I follow some people who play horror games because I like a horror story from time to time but playing them myself stresses me out. I follow a streamer who’s really high energy and very cheerful and streams in the wee hours of morning (for my timezone) as they help me shake the sleep off as I get ready for a dayshift. I follow a couple people with whom I enjoy chatting and/or commenting on their playthroughs. I follow some comedy groups who are providing comedy in addition to gameplay and some people who try to analyse the games they play. Sometimes I like watching people go through the game I’ve already played for the first time and sort of reliving the experience with them. And sometimes I just pick streams semi-randomly until I stumble upon something that’s entertaining or that makes for inoffensive background noise, depending on what I need.

        Oh, I also remembered, I know at least one married couple where one of them doesn’t playing games a lot but enjoys making the story choices so they kinda play together with one at the steering wheel while the other makes the decisions.

        *Which interestingly is not something I watch in general. I usually don’t enjoy speedruns or competitive gaming at all.

      3. MelfinatheBlue says:

        I’ll watch let’s plays of games I’m never going to play but am interested in the world or story of (Bioshock Infinite, the Wolfenstein games, and the Neir series are recent examples) just like I’ll read let’s plays, though I’m more likely to read let’s plays of games I’m still going to play and am more likely to read them than watch them.

        Also, I watch Spoiler Warning, Shamus, and those sort of awesomes because I like the banter and interaction as much as the game.

        Edited to add: HAPPY BIRTHDAY WEEK!

  4. Ninety-Three says:

    You played Andromeda three times? Dear god, why?

    That’s not just snark, given how little fun you seemed to be having, seriously, why?

    1. Daimbert says:

      I’m guessing a big part of it is for the post series he’s said he’s doing on it. He’d need to replay it to get screenshots and to make sure that what he thought the game said or did really happened.

    2. Shamus says:

      1) Run through the game real quick and get a feel for the structure & gameplay. (Easy difficulty.)

      2) Do a normal play-through. Get a feel for the pacing and choices. Start forming my thoughts on each part of the game. Do lots of side-content. Make alternate choices that seem dumb, just to see how they turn out.

      3) Final play-through, which coincides with my writing. So I’ll finish a chapter while recording footage for screenshots, then alt-tab over to Google Docs and write out my thoughts. During this play-through I only do content I plan to talk about.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Make alternate choices that seem dumb, just to see how they turn out

        Did at least one of those pleasantly surprise?

  5. Lee says:

    Puzzle Pirates! I played a bunch of that with my kids for a while. I loved that it was a bunch of mingames strung together with a vague RPG brush. Also why I used to love Puzzle Quest.

    1. I really miss Puzzle Pirates. It had just the right amount of social interaction with strangers. And the sword game. I LOVED the sword game.

  6. Ninety-Three says:

    To Heather: This advice isn’t that useful right now, but in case you ever fix the nausea problem with Minecraft, there are modpacks which address a lot of your “It’s too open-ended” complaints. One popular mod adds a quest system, and a lot of modpacks make use of it to give you a clear progression system in the form of “Here are several tasks you can do to advance, which will then let you do these other tasks, so you can unlock more things…”. Offhand I’d recommend the Agrarian Skies pack where you start on a tiny sky island and quests guide you through renewably producing all the blocks you need. Alternatively, the Crash Landing pack which has a similar “Produce everything from scratch” vibe, but with more survival elements and some dungeons to explore in the midgame.

    As for the motion sickness itself, you’ve probably already looked into this alongside the obvious things like FOV settings, but have you tried turning off view bobbing? I’ve heard from a lot of people who say that helps.

    1. We have played with a lot of things including the bobbing thing and different distances (I can play easier on consoles but till get lost easy which is stressful and makes it not fun) and honestly, it just isn’t worth it. I don’t have a ton of time to play or fuss with it so just play the games that don’t make me puke. There are plenty out there. :D But thanks for the modpack advice. That IS interesting and would definitely make it more my style.

  7. Ninety-Three says:

    Hey Shamus, comment editing seems to be slightly broken. When I edit my post and press Save, the editing window hangs indefinitely reading “Saving”. Strangely, the edit still goes through after about ten seconds, it’s just that the window doesn’t seem to know it gets saved successfully.

  8. Echo Tango says:

    +1 for Nethack! Woo!

  9. Steve C says:

    Heather likes birthdays because she does not age. Periodically photos go up and Heather is always twenty-something. Your daughters look older at this point. One of these decades Heather might get into her 30s but I doubt it. Maybe the “introverted artist” thing explains it. There’s secretly a painting that nobody is allowed to look at. Haxx I tell you.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      Going full Dorian Grey is the only way to live man.

  10. Grimwear says:

    I don’t usually have problems navigating worlds but I recently started playing Subnautica and while I do enjoy the game I find it extremely frustrating and almost don’t want to finish. The biggest flaw is the fact that the draw distance and pop in is just insufferably bad so it’s almost impossible to see where you’re going underwater. Then couple that with the fact that you don’t get a map and I hate it.

    I’ve checked the wiki and they have maps there but they really don’t help. And looking at discussion posts you get useless information like build beacons/use a compass/go explore! And I want to explore but I can’t see anything, compasses are useless without landmarks (shout out to the people saying use the Aurora crashed ship except that doesn’t help when you’re 400m underwater), and what’s worse is I start to explore then realize I need to upgrade my ship to go deeper. So I stop what I’m doing and go to my scanning station I built to look for the materials I need. None nearby. So I then need to go get the materials to build another scanning station, the solar panels to power it, and the materials to build the scanner upgrades. Then I swim out randomly for about a kilometre and build them. Then if I’m lucky I can then scan and collect the materials and go upgrade my ship. Except that took so long my stash of food and water has gone down so I need to go collect more. So NOW I can go explore and try to find the next plot base except I accidentally drive into a volcanic fissure while being attacked by giant evil fish and my ship blows up and I die and I’m back at square 1.

    I wouldn’t hate it so much except I don’t know where I’m supposed to be going, I can’t see anything, and because there’s no map I need to just waste my time going “places” hoping I come across the right cave entrance to the Jellyfish Forest or something (thanks to the wiki for that). I mean I know maps aren’t great for 3 dimensional travel but god at least then I’d know roughly where I am. My only other option is to build and carry around a bunch of beacons ad pray that in my random searching I come across an important enough landmark to put one on.

    My point is I worry that if I ever play Minecraft it will end up like that. A lot of starting and stopping as I need to go do a bunch of other stuff to then finally be able to do the thing I want to do.

  11. ccesarano says:

    Happy Birthday Week! It’s odd I’ve been reading long enough that the first thing to come to my mind was “Is it already time for the birthday blog post?”

    It was great to hear Heather on here. I love the banter and don’t-you-hate-it-when-you-can’t-find-the-word-you’re-looking-for-even-though-it’s-hiding-somewhere-in-your-vocabulary-and-it-begins-with-‘C’-I-think? I would love to hear her on more often should she have the time to participate.

    I actually liked the one-mic set-up as well. I have that with my co-host and I think two people in the same room really does something for the energy of the conversation. It’s a shame reality gets in the way of that under most circumstances.

  12. Paul Spooner says:

    Aww. I liked this episode so much! So nice to hear your voice again Heather!
    And Shamus, the last time you were out without Heather, you drove me to get burgers.

    1. Ha! I forgot he took you out! That’s right. We actually WENT OUT after I got home from work on my birthday (because they let me go home early with pay because birthday.)

  13. Asdasd says:

    Heather seems like a really cool person. It was only a short conversation, but I feel like I came away with a better sense of how Shamus manages to keep on top of this substantial writing/programming/designing/composing/website-wrangling enterprise, knowing he has someone like that on his team.

    It was also a useful reminder of a truth I’ve remained sceptical of in spite of a lifetime’s worth of supporting evidence: women play games. My sister played Mario 3 and Rescue Rangers with me on our NES. My co-workers sit in the cafeteria and play Sonic on their phones, or brag about their headshot prowess in Left 4 Dead, like a gamer lifestyle ad made real. I clanned with girls in World of Warcraft and had my ass kicked at Tekken over and over at university (Paul Phoenix will have his revenge one day, Sam).

    But for some dumb reason I’m slow to accept this facet of reality. There’s no girls on the internet, as the saying goes. I’m hoping the gradual accumulation of other people’s experiences, like Heather’s, or this cool video about girls who play Dota I saw last night, will build up an understanding in my meat brain, brick by brick. Or perhaps the better analogy would be taking my prejudice apart one brick at a time. In the meantime I’ll try not to say anything stupid.

  14. Galad says:

    It was nice finally ‘meeting’ Heather, in a manner of speaking, she sounds like a wonderful, happy person :)

    My ‘comfirt’ gaming food seems to change every few hundrd hours. Used tobe at one point or another anything between Vermintide 1, Nuclear Throne or Gremlins inc, three considerably different games. Now I’m kinda phasing out as such Vermintide 2

    While no fan of rough, early Nethack, I’m fond of more convenient and new reincarnations of the genre. Caves of Qud’s good, fir example.

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