It’s a bit of a weird one this week, I’m afraid. Paul and I both bought vehicles and the resulting conversation ate a third of the show. On the other hand, we’re giving away a free copy of a game, so maybe that makes up for all the car talk. Details at the end of the show / show notes.
Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.
00:00 Shopping for Vehicles
The thing I forgot to mention is that the new car has about double the fuel economy. Our poor minivan was a bit of a lush, and keeping it fueled was enormously expensive. By my rough estimate, the new car will save us about $1,000 a year on fuel alone.
17:52 Broken Peripherals
I’m too lazy to take photos of the new keyboard in situ, but here is one lifted from the store page:
Given how much of my day I spend typing, getting a new keyboard is a pretty big deal for me. I’m still in the early phase of keyboard adoption where I’m making a lot of mistakes.
The new KB is just different enough from the old that it’s taking some time to adapt. I’m used to a double-height return key. The backslash isn’t where I expect it. I’m used to a gap of empty space between the function keys and everything else. The new keyboard has a new (to me) key that seems to behave like a right-click, and that’s a little weird to my way of thinking. This extra key means the space bar is a little narrower, and I’m not crazy about that. The right control doesn’t work unless you also hold down FN, and I have no idea what that’s all about.
Instead of a user manual, it came with a piece of paper directing me to the website. That’s fine, inasmuch as I’m into saving trees and it’s not worth printing a full manual for a simple keyboard. Except, the website is long goneThe scrap of paper indicates this unit was made in 2014. and there’s a domain namewww.eagletech.com squatter on it now. So that’s disappointing. I’ll probably never know why the right Ctrl key behaves this way.
This is the first time since the early 90s that I’ve had a keyboard with clicky-clack mechanical keys. I forgot how loud these things were. It’s really nice for typing, but it’s obnoxious for gaming. The loud clicking is really distracting when you’re trying to immerse yourself in a game.
Also, I forgot how nice it is to have a keyboard with some weight. My last keyboard was a bit light and could gradually migrate to the left during a vigorous gaming session, but this new one is rock solid.
26:40 No Man’s Sky
For those who are new to the site, here is my take on No Man’s Sky a year after release and here is what I thought about it last summer after the NEXT update.
Fun story: I was playing Warframe while listening to this part of the show. In the middle of the part where I complained that the game summoned the Wolf of Saturn Six during a mission, the game did it again. This time it did so during a low-level early-game mission. I was running away from this end-game boss while listening to a podcast where I complained about exactly this problem.
Like I said on the show, I couldn’t take more than two hits from this guy, I had nothing to slow him down, and it took me several minutes to knock a tiny 5% off his massive health bar. And that was with my best loadout! This time I had a low-level frame and some weak weapons, so defeating him was a physical impossibility.
This really is like having Arthas show up in Westfall, running around one-shotting lowbie players. That’s just atrocious game design. It’s really confusing for new players who don’t understand what this guy is and have no idea why they’re suddenly dropping dead in the middle of this supposedly low-level mission.
Shamus, maybe the designers are trying to motivate you to level up enough to fight this guy?
Leveling in this game is pretty slow. It would take months of focused play to reach the level where a fight with this guy would make sense. By that time, this event will be long over.
So maybe you’re thinking that it might be fun to get together with a few friends, equip all your best gear, and gang up on him? Wrong. You can’t fight him at will. He just shows up randomly. Given the way this game is designed, you don’t usually walk around with your best gear. Even if you’ve got gear to deal with him, you probably won’t have it equipped when he shows up.
The designers could have saved themselves a ton of money. Instead of wasting time modeling and animating this boss, just add a heart attack feature to the game. Once every four dozen missions, your character keels over dead, you fail your current mission, and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s functionally the same but a lot easier to implement.
The punchline? He doesn’t even drop anything amazing. Even if you persevere and spend an hour chipping away at that gargantuan health bar without getting murdered, the odds are he’ll drop one-forth of the blueprints for his weapon. According to the wiki, on average you’d need to fight him ~40 times to get all the blueprints. Since you can’t fight him at will, I don’t think that’s possible even if you play around the clock.
The entire system is so stupidly broken and nonsensical I can’t even tell what the designer was trying to do.
1:04:46 Free Key for Overload
If you’d like a key for the Descent-like Overload, then send us a question for the showThe email is in the header image.. To avoid getting spammed, let me make some rules:
- You’re only eligible if your question is actually used on the show, so there’s nothing to be gained from sending the same question 10 times.
- This also means that there’s nothing to be gained from sending in random nonsense questions.
- They key I have is for Steam, so ideally you’ll have some sort of Steam account.
- Please mention in the message that you’re interested in the Overload key, just so I don’t send the key to someone who doesn’t want it.
- This is probably obvious, but the key will be sent to the email used to send the question. So don’t use a bogus / disposable address or you won’t get your prize.
 The scrap of paper indicates this unit was made in 2014.
 The email is in the header image.
If Star Wars Was Made in 2006?
Imagine if the original Star Wars hadn't appeared in the 1970's, but instead was pitched to studios in 2006. How would that turn out?
There are two major schools of thought about how you should write software. Here's what they are and why people argue about it.
Push the Button!
Scenes from Half-Life 2:Episode 2, showing Gordon Freeman being a jerk.
What is Vulkan?
There's a new graphics API in town. What does that mean, and why do we need it?
The Best of 2012
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2012.