Diecast #257: Rage 2, Outer Wilds, Satisfactory

By Shamus Posted Monday May 20, 2019

Filed under: Diecast 78 comments

Perhaps it would have been good to stop at a nice round number like 256, but we decided to keep making these for some reason. As always, the show email is in the header image.



Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Show notes:
00:00 Rage 2 Story makes Shamus Rage

Like I said on the show, this is basically a spoiler for my column later this week.

17:19 Paul’s Brother’s Game’s Screenshot.

The only available image of the game is a photograph of a monitor showing the Unity workspace where the game is being made. This feels like some sort of JJ Abrams style puzzle box marketing stunt where you hide something and then tell people you’re hiding it in order to make them curious about it.

21:25 Issac’s level-building adventures.

I don’t expect everyone is going to be eager to run out and download an amateur map for an obscure mod for a 13 year old game, but I also know that people will be curious to see the thing we’re talking about. Sadly, I can’t give you a link. This isn’t puzzle box marketing, it’s just that Issac is still working out how to add the map to the Steam Workshop.

26:51 Outer Wilds, Not Outer Worlds, and not on Steam

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. It seems like every Epic Exclusive is more angering to the community than the last. If I was an indie who signed a contract with Epic six weeks ago, I’d really be dreading the release of our announcement post by now.

38:43 Satisfactory April Update Video


Link (YouTube)

43:32 Poll: Where do you listen to the Diecast?

You can participate in the poll here, or by using the embedded form below. (Assuming it works.)

I’ll share the results next week. If there are any.

45:37 Waiting for Ray Tracing

Here is the Linus Tech Tips video I mentioned:


Link (YouTube)

For the record, the guy in front of the camera is not the titular Linus. That’s Anthony, who handles the more technical topics.

50:52 Mailbag: Game of Thrones and Mass Effect

Dear Diecast,

I don’t know how much you have been watching Game of Thrones, but I can’t help but notice that the disappointment among fans with the conclusion has some parallels to the Mass Effect trilogy. One of the big themes in Shamus’s retrospective is how Mass Effect set up one type of story (details first), but concluded a different type of story (drama first). Likewise, Game of Thrones started with the book material which promised a low fantasy, complex medieval drama, and concluded with HBO writing an ending that seems rushed given the slow early pacing.

Have the members of the Diecast noticed something similar? Do you see this elsewhere? Any further thoughts on the finale?

Always enjoy the ‘cast and website,

Mark

51:48 Mailbag: Detective Vision

Dear Diecast,

Some games have a special vision mode that highlights interactable objects. I’m thinking specifically of the Batman: Arkham series’ “Detective Vision”, but there are plenty of other games, including some fairly old ones, that do similar things. My question is: why? I’d like to think that good level design would make things like Detective Vision unnecessary, that it’s possible to use in-world visual cues to guide players toward interactable objects in a natural way. Is that naive? Are there good reasons for Detective Vision that I’m missing?

Thanks.

–John

 


From The Archives:
 

78 thoughts on “Diecast #257: Rage 2, Outer Wilds, Satisfactory

  1. Nessus says:

    Knee-jerk nit-pickery: Game of Thrones is high fantasy, not low fantasy. High Fantasy = fantasy taking place in a fictional non-Earth world. Low fantasy = fantasy taking place in what is ostensibly Earth where fantasy elements are real.

    High Fantasy:
    Elder Scrolls
    Game of Thrones/A song of Ice and Fire
    Dishonored
    Discworld

    Low Fantasy:
    Conan
    Lord of the Rings (yes, really)
    Shadowrun
    Harry Potter

    1. Kamica says:

      I thought high fantasy was very magical and stuff, like, wizards everywhere, very overt, the entire world is affected by fantastical things, whereas low fantasy is very ‘realistic’. So alternative realities are fine, but if there’s a lot of magic then it’s high fantasy?

      1. Joe says:

        Yes, that’s my definition too. It’s about the amount of magic. By that definition, I’d call Shadowrun and its prequel Earthdawn high fantasy.

        Speaking of Shadowrun, perhaps that dev is playing by the HBS trilogy rules. You can put your points into anything, up to your racial maximum. Dual-class swordsman/mage? That’s just a physical adept. Programmer/performer is a rare breed, but it’s not impossible.

        As for Epic, I’m not going to install their launcher or buy any of their games. Why? I hate the idea of just throwing money at a solution, instead of providing a better product. And Epic has, for me, delayed games I wanted to play. Shoved them on a substandard platform. So I’m pissed off about that.

        I don’t know if the Diecast is one of the top 10 podcasts of all time. I haven’t listened to all of them. But it’s in my top 10 at least.

      2. nixorbo says:

        Low fantasy or intrusion fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy fiction where magical events intrude on an otherwise normal world, i.e. real world.[1][2] It thus contrasts with high fantasy stories, which take place in a fictional world with its own set of rules and physical laws.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_fantasy

        1. Syal says:

          They have no explanation of why high/low means foreign/domestic. Their only mention of the definition of ‘low’ suggests it’s tied to how much suspension of disbelief you need. If they can’t provide an explanation for how the term came to be, I reject their definition in favor of the intuitive one.

        2. Bloodsquirrel says:

          The article admits as it goes on that:

          An alternative definition, common in, though not limited to, role-playing games rests on the story and characters being more realistic and less mythic in scope. This can mean that some works, for example Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian series, can be high fantasy according to the first definition but low fantasy according to the second,[3] while with other works, such as the TV series Supernatural, the opposite is true.

          Also, it’s Wikipedia. For anything even remotely subjective or controversial Wikipedia needs to be taken with a dump truck full of salt.

      3. Nessus says:

        The term you’re looking for is “high/low magic”, not “high/low fantasy”.

        The idea that “low/high fantasy” refers to the amount of fantasy in the work is the result of people who’ve heard the term but don’t know what it means trying to figure it out from just the words.

        1. sheer_falacy says:

          Words mean what people understand them to mean. You’re fighting for a definition of high/low fantasy that may be technically correct but isn’t useful because other people will use the other definition.

          1. Matthew Downie says:

            This begs the question: is it worth having a term that distinguishes Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter from Dishonored and Discworld? If so, is there a better term we could use? Like “Earth-based fantasy”?

            1. Syal says:

              is it worth having a term that distinguishes Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter from Dishonored and Discworld?

              I’m always in favor of more category distinctions, though I think LotR and Harry Potter are only easily grouped together by the nature of the protagonist. ‘Wide-eyed fantasy’, maybe, since the magic is as new to them as to the audience? As opposed to Dishonored/Discworld’s ‘hard-boiled fantasy’ where the characters know this is just how the world works?

            2. Bloodsquirrel says:

              There are buckets of terms around.

              Secondary World Fantasy refers to a story that takes place in a distinct non-Earth setting.

              Urban Fantasy refers to stories where we Earth, but with fantasy elements added in.

              Portal Fantasy refers to stories like Harry Potter or Narnia where there is Earth, but then there is a distinct secondary world that the characters travel to.

              Magical Realism refers to stories where there isn’t overt magic, with spells and fantasy races, but where fantastic events can still occur.

              Of course, there isn’t always a good reason to categorize stories into a one-dimensional array of sub-genres. Something can be Secondary World Fantasy, and also Steampunk, and also Mystery, and maybe Grimdark as well.

              1. Kamica says:

                I personally would argue that Fantasy and sci-fi aren’t genres, they’re settings, which is why the categorisation of it as a genre is so awkward.

              2. shoeboxjeddy says:

                I would say that Harry Potter is Urban Fantasy by those definitions. They don’t portal off to other planets or dimensions, they cast spells of hiding on their stuff, which is adjacent to all the non-magic stuff.

                1. Thomas says:

                  Harry Potter definitely inspired a lot of Urban Fantasy in its imitators

        2. DrBones says:

          The dichotomy you’ve built is pretty bad for explaining the difference between ‘grounded’ fantasy and ‘pulp’ fantasy. By the Earth-centric definition you’ve provided, Man After Man is considered low fantasy, as are Zeno Clash, Sunless Sea, and HellMOO. A high-low fantasy spectrum focusing on the prevalence of non-realistic elements and how strongly they affect normal life is much better for categorizing fantasy settings, imo.

    2. Syal says:

      Apart from joining the chorus of people saying high/low is about how much magic the world uses, if Middle Earth counts as ‘ostensibly Earth’ then so should Westeros.

      1. Droid says:

        Tolkien did at various points describe Middle-Earth as “Earth, but long ago”, iirc. His own creation myth of the world we live in, if you will. Westeros is similar to Earth, but has no connection other than similarity.

        Source

    3. Bloodsquirrel says:

      Low fantasy = fantasy taking place in what is ostensibly Earth where fantasy elements are real.

      That’s Urban Fantasy. I’ve never seen anyboy else use that definition of “low fantasy” before.

    4. Corsair says:

      If your definition of High Fantasy doesn’t include The Lord of the Rings your definition is wrong. The Lord of the Rings is the Ur-Example of High Fantasy. It is the kneejerk, go-to example for a High Fantasy story.

      1. Moss says:

        Does it really matter what words mean? Communication is a two-party affair: if me and my friend agree to call the fluff I find in my navel “high fantasy”, and then proceed to tell each other anecdotes of other times we found high fantasy in our navels, does the ‘objective definition’ of the word even have any value?

        1. Syal says:

          If communication is a two-party affair, why am I, a third party, party to it?

          1. Lino says:

            And if my party joins your party after parting, will that lead to more partying, or will we just part on non-party terms?

            1. Asdasd says:

              You must gather your party before venturing forth.

  2. Zak McKracken says:

    Seeing as how I just said I listened to most episodes and rated the podcast as “only” “above average”, I somehow feel compelled to explain that (clearly, this single data point will puzzle Shamus to no end…):
    I don’t listen that often anymore due to lack of time, other priorities, and … yeah, I kinda liked it better with the old gang, sorry …

    But: It’s still my favourite podcast on videogames, just not in the top 10 of podcasts overall for me, due to there being other things I listen more to lately.

  3. Grimwear says:

    I personally rate the podcast highly definitely in my top 10 but then again I only listen to 3 podcasts total with the other 2 being Magic the Gathering related. In regards to GoT I’ve been really enjoying all the videos people post about how it went so wrong. I watched the first episode and made it maybe 1/4 of the way through the first book before giving up on it but just seeing all the responses is interesting to watch. The one thing that slightly annoys me is all the news sites which are just calling the viewers entitled and babies. Especially when talking about the 1.2 million+ petition. Yes, the petition doesn’t mean anything but clearly a large portion of your audience is upset! Enough so that they’re willing to search out and sign a petition which is amazing in and of itself. Calling them entitled babies won’t help anyone in the long run.

    1. shoeboxjeddy says:

      The news sites don’t consider angry Game of Thrones fans their audience, so they are willing to call them babies with impunity. Note that HBO is not saying that about them.

  4. Dreadjaws says:

    Outer Wilds is actually out next week, so I doubt the Epic cash infusion helped the development. Unless Epic contacted them several months ago, in which case announcing the exclusive only now is quite a shitty thing to do.

    But do you want to know why is this one of the shittiest cases? It was crowdfunded on Fig. You probably already know this, but the difference between Fig and Kickstarter is that backers in Fig are also investors, which means they should have a saying whenever any of these decisions are made. But, of course, they were never even asked. While I’m upset at Epic for these constant deals they’re throwing, the developers are as much as fault here for the way they treat their backers.

    I do agree that the whole refunding for a game that you bought close to a sale is a very good move. This is precisely the kind of thing Epic should have been doing from the start in order to attract more customers. Instead, they’re constantly insisting with their exclusives BS and their insulting tweets.

    Oh, and speaking of the sale… You probably heard about this too, but there were huge problems with the sale because Epic just launched it without consulting the developers if they were in. So a few of them didn’t want their just-released or yet-to-release games to be sold for much cheaper, and they removed them from sale after many people have purchased copies. So of course, many customers are upset that they missed the deals. Many people are going to defend Epic by saying that Steam also took time to nail sales, but this is no excuse. Steam was the first service of its ilk, it made sense for them to make mistakes. But Epic has no excuse. They should be learning from Valve’s mistakes, not making the same ones (or worse).

    This also puts an interesting light into the whole deal with the benefits of the Epic Store’s cut.

    Developers: “Epic’s smaller cut allows us to sell games at cheaper prices!”
    Also developers: “Oh, but you wanted them at cheaper prices AT LAUNCH? HAHA, no, we’re not doing that! You’re gonna have to wait until we make enough money to be comfortable selling at cheaper prices!”

    1. Decius says:

      Backers on Fig are distinct from investors. And investors go though a lot of paperwork making it clear that they aren’t buying any kind of decision-making rights. Mere backers have even less. And the exclusivity payments are being distributed to investors. Roughly none of them are angry at the amount of money that they have already earned from the deal.

    2. Sleeping Dragon says:

      To add to the sale thing, afaik the part that applied to those pre-sale games that were pulled from the store, that is the 10$ discount, is not an actual cut to the price, it’s more akin to Epic giving you 10$* voucher with condition that you can only spend it on a 14.99$+ game as supposedly the developer/publisher still gets their cut of the full price with Epic making up the difference. The reason I’ve seen quoted for the removal from the store was that this “devalues” the titles by putting them on sale early and okay, I can sort of see how most people who are not very particular about numbers could see it as “this new game is immediately going on sale, therefore it’s not worth the full price.

      Personally I think they’re trying to get people who signed in for the free games to put in their transaction data into the system based on the assumption that “something done once is easier to do again”. Personally I’ll probably take advantage of this as there is a bunch of titles that I’m interested in and that extra 10$ puts them in a very interesting place pricewise it’s, mostly a toss-up between Satisfactory, Subnautica Below Zero, My Time at Portia and Operencia for me.

      *8.80$ after you consider the store cut?

    3. Liessa says:

      It is kind of hilarious that Epic are finally trying to do what they should have done to start with – i.e. actually competing with other stores on price – and still managed to screw it up. Apparently part of the problem was that with the flat $10 discount, as opposed to a percentage discount per game, some games with regional pricing were 70-80% off in certain regions – even if they hadn’t been released yet. Why on earth they wouldn’t consult with the devs first is beyond me – so much for the ‘developer-friendly’ store.

      And then there’s Randy Pitchford tweeting about how great the Epic store is, only to delete it after deciding to pull Borderlands 3 for the sale. I’d make a withering comment, but I’m too busy laughing.

      1. Decius says:

        Why did Paradox pull titles from the store, rather than increase the price by $10 to keep the final price point where they wanted it?

    4. shoeboxjeddy says:

      “Many people are going to defend Epic by saying that Steam also took time to nail sales, but this is no excuse. Steam was the first service of its ilk, it made sense for them to make mistakes. But Epic has no excuse. They should be learning from Valve’s mistakes, not making the same ones (or worse).” This comment is off base because Epic’s sale effort was a completely new and different thing. So give them credit for making a mistake trying to innovate at the very least.

      1. Dreadjaws says:

        It’s really not. It’s a sale. How is it a new thing? Because of the voucher? Green Man Gaming has been doing this sort of thing for years. The crux of the problem is still that Epic decided to do something without consulting the developers first.

        1. shoeboxjeddy says:

          Green Man Gaming runs sales that don’t cost the developer/publisher any profit from their standard retail price? I hadn’t heard of that. I was not trying to say that Epic doesn’t deserve criticism for the way they ran this sale (because they do), simply that it was a different KIND of sale than a Steam sale, which is necessary to understand before criticizing it.

  5. Dreadjaws says:

    The entire thing about Detective Vision is that it’s a way for a normal person like us to be able to see things the way someone with more capabilities than us see them. Batman has more observational skills than us, so he would see things we wouldn’t notice. Having those things highlighted against the background is simply a gameplay shortcut for us to reach the same conclusions he does without the same abilities, the same way pressing a button allows us to smack a goon’s face against the pavement in one move without having ninja training.

    Lara Croft is an explorer. Seeing and finding things others don’t is one of her skills. It makes sense for her to do so as well. Characters like Wolverine and Spider-Man have extra or enhanced senses, so the same applies.

    Sure, you can claim it makes the game easy, but that’s where good design applies. If you remove Detective Vision from the Arkham Games as they are they would become frustratingly difficult. The other alternative would be to make the game’s investigations so easy that rather than feeling like a detective you’d just think everyone else is a complete idiot for not noticing the preposterously obvious clues and trails.

    This is the exact problem I had with Detective Pikachu on the 3DS. The mysteries were so trivial that by the time I had gathered a fifth of the painfully obvious clues I had already solved the whole thing, but I still had to wait until my character caught up.

    1. King Marth says:

      Oh, you definitely need to have the clues visible. I think the real question was: Why is Detective Vision a mode, rather than having that highlighting always available in the world? The cues can still be visually distinct to indicate that the blatant clues are only blatant to the World’s Best Detective.
      I guess the intent is to add a little more interactivity, you need to think of looking for clues in much the same way that you need to direct those beatdowns rather than just watching the Batman do everything without mortal interference.

      Point and click adventure games are the other half of this. Older games had pixel hunting as a ‘feature’ for extending playtime through artificial difficulty, while some newer ones let you highlight all interactables. Here, being able to see the art is a big part of knowing what parts are relevant, with the highlighting as a backup for if you get stuck or if your logic diverges from what the designer planned. Ideally, these hint modes are more of an anti-frustration feature than a necessary part of solving a puzzle; a cracked wall which lights up as destructable in Detective Mode is better than an identical-to-all-indestructible-walls wall which can only be identified as destructable in Detective Mode.

      I’m also reminded of Baldur’s Gate (and I believe Dragon Age as well), which drew vibrant outlines on the one lootable book on the bookshelf. Or Diablo, with a key for highlighting drops which you can use after you don’t have to worry about a swarm of text boxes covering up the monsters trying to kill you.

      1. evilmrhenry says:

        What I think is that Arkham Asylum had detective vision be a mode because it was connected to the Riddler trophies, which required you to switch to detective vision, otherwise they’d be too easy. Then everyone copied it, because the game was awesome.

        But as a more general principle, having detective vision be a separate mode lets you use blatant highlighting that you could never get away with in the normal game. Having breakable walls be visually distinct is appropriate, but Arkham Asylum lets you see enemies through walls when you’re in detective vision, including knowing if they’re armed, alerted, and so on. Making that information available to the player without detective vision would be troublesome.

        1. Geebs says:

          Making that information available to the player without detective vision would be troublesome.

          Especially in third-person games designed for 720p screens, like Arkham Asylum.

          VR is probably the best medium for detective games without using “detective vision”, because it makes those little details that much easier to see.

      2. Decius says:

        That leaves you with the aesthetic of Mirror’s Edge, where the interesting things are vibrant and everything else is dull.

    2. Ninety-Three says:

      Sure, you can claim it makes the game easy, but that’s where good design applies. If you remove Detective Vision from the Arkham Games as they are they would become frustratingly difficult. The other alternative would be to make the game’s investigations so easy that rather than feeling like a detective you’d just think everyone else is a complete idiot for not noticing the preposterously obvious clues and trails.

      The alternative is to not do detective stuff if you can’t come up with more engaging detective gameplay than “search for the next glowy and click on it to advance the game-state”. I thought we left pixel-hunting in a shallow grave in the 90s, where it belongs.

      1. DeadlyDark says:

        Eh. I prefer pixelhunting to the condescension that is the detective vision, myself

        1. Sleeping Dragon says:

          Probably the best solution is the way some games let you enable or disable various HUD elements and item highlights.

      2. John says:

        The alternative is to not do detective stuff if you can’t come up with more engaging detective gameplay than “search for the next glowy and click on it to advance the game-state”.

        This is exactly how I often felt when playing Arkham Origins.

    3. John says:

      For the Arkham games, I make a distinction between Detective Vision as used in crime-scene investigations, Detective Vision as used in combat, and Detective Vision as used to navigate the environment. The first doesn’t bother me, I’m ambivalent about the second, and I think the third is a mistake. In retrospect, I was mostly thinking about the third–navigating the environment–when I wrote my mailbag question. Anyhow, taking the various functions in order:

      Crime-scene investigation is a unique gameplay mode, so its association with a unique vision mode seems perfectly reasonable. It makes perfect sense that Batman would only turn on his magic DNA-scanning goggles when he’s looking for DNA to scan. I don’t know about the other Arkham games, but in Arkham Origins, crime-scene Detective Vision is even visually distinct from Detective Vision elsewhere in the game. I have some quibbles with the Origin’s crime-scene investigations, but they’re all related to the writing rather than to the mechanics or the game design.

      Detective Vision in combat is mostly–thankfully–unnecessary. It’s pointless and distracting in a brawl, but it has its uses in Predator scenarios. You could argue, I suppose, that the one of Detective Vision’s functions is to act as a substitute for the sort of audio and other sensory cues that Batman would have that the game doesn’t or can’t communicate to the player. The goons in Arkham Origins are a chatty bunch, but they don’t otherwise make a lot of noise. Their clothes don’t rustle. The floorboards they’re walking on never creak. If the goon outside the player’s field of vision isn’t talking, the player can’t hear him. Turning on Detective Vision could, in theory, be the abstract equivalent of stopping to listen intently. Seeing the yellow outline of a guard through a wire-frame wall is the equivalent of hearing that guard move. I can only assume that it’s easier–and, admittedly, possibly more effective–to implement Detective Vision than it is to implement a complicated positional audio system that players without surround sound can’t even use anyway.

      The purpose of Detective Vision with respect to navigation is, as far as I can tell, to save the player time. It says “here are the objects you can actually use, no need to bother with anything else”. The problem is that the missions in the Arkham games, or at least the missions in Arkham Origins, are incredibly linear. There is only ever one way to go. A player shouldn’t need Detective Vision for navigation, and yet I did, and quite often too, because the interior spaces in the game are cluttered, shabby, indifferently-lit jumbles. For instance, I know for instance exactly what a wall-thingy to which I can attach the remote-claw looks like. The problem is that I often couldn’t find the wall-thingy without Detective Vision because it was blocked by some other bit of the environment or otherwise lost in the visual murk.

      Navigating without without Detective Vision was frustrating but navigating with Detective Vision was trivial. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t interesting. It didn’t make me feel like I was clever. It didn’t make me feel like Batman was clever. It made me feel like the level designers were stupid. That’s almost certainly unfair, but that’s the impression that I got. Maybe the designers were pressed for time and couldn’t polish the levels they would have liked to. Maybe they were exhausted by crunch. Or maybe they were under some other kind constraint that I haven’t though of yet. The point is that Detective Vision seemed like a crutch for the designers and a cheap way to cover-up or mitigate poor level design.

  6. Will says:

    I wish I could find all the levels I cooked up for Unreal, UT, and one overly complicated mess I’d put together for the Wheel of Time PC game. Nothing good enough for CliffyB’s Ownage, but some of the things I’d thrown together were pretty fun. Bot pathing was the bane of my existence however.

    Horizon Zero Dawn has a pretty well thought out and integral version of Detective Vision in the form of the protagonist’s Focus (essentially a holo-PDA with advanced near-field communications and sensors). But in this case it’s not really a contrivance, since it’s mostly showing you things you absolutely wouldn’t see with the Mk1 eyeball.

    1. Thomas says:

      One of the nice things about HZD is most of the things you’d expect to see normally you can actually make out as a player. Herbs and loot and audio logs all stand out well.

  7. Kamica says:

    I thought the deadpan delivery of the developer update reminded me of the Overwatch dev blogs =P.

    1. evilmrhenry says:

      For reference, I watched the patch video before listening to the diecast, and didn’t get the joke.

      1. Kamica says:

        Have you seen any of their other dev videos? Because I think the joke works best when told in relation to their previous dev videos.

        1. evilmrhenry says:

          Nope! (I later watched a couple, but I hadn’t by the time I watched the video.)

  8. Zeddy says:

    I participated in the poll, but it’s been a long time since I did listen.

    The show is great and I miss it, but I used to use it to pass the time on my hour long commute both ways, and now I work from home and there’s just no time during the day where I’m doing something mindless enough that I can also listen to a podcast during the time.

    Never thought I’d find myself missing my commute, but here we are.

  9. Benden says:

    I’m sorry for what I did to the survey. In my defense, it clearly asked for it.

    I used to listen to the Diecast every week. I still go back to listen to old episodes (particularly when they correlate to a game I am playing). It’s harder for me to get into the eps with just Shamus and Paul. It doesn’t feel like a bunch of friends I could be part of. More voices would be an improvement for my experience, but mileage probably varies wildly on that.

    1. Retsam says:

      Yeah, I’m in the same boat; used to listen to every episode, but couldn’t get into the new format.

      I loved the variety of the old format: from Campster talking about an artsy game, to Mumbles enthusing about Animal Crossing (or ‘wrassling’), to Josh talking about his plumbing problems. Each host had a fairly distinctive set of interests and viewpoints.

      I like Paul and Shamus, but they’re just two people and seem to have fairly similar interests and viewpoints; so the topic list is somewhat more limited, and it’s often just a lot of one person talking and the other person agreeing or echoing their opinion.

  10. Chad Miller says:

    So, funny story about Epic and that sale…

    Apparently there’s some kind of fraud prevention measure in place where they block your account if you run too many purchases at once.

    They also still don’t have a shopping cart.

    This has resulted in customers getting their accounts blocked for actually trying to splurge on the recent sale.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I’m typing with my elbows because I’m facepalming so hard.

      To be fair this is not unheard of, I remember at a couple Desert Bus for Hope marathons some people noted they were contacted by their banks regarding fraud prevention due to numerous small fees being “siphoned” out of their account to the same recipient.

  11. DeadlyDark says:

    You should’ve added the question – would you be excited with 8 hour length of the podcasts?

    I mean, in this day and age, it seems, its a popular format. Long man good and all that

  12. Fabrimuch says:

    I still miss the Mako :'(

  13. Fizban says:

    I don’t listen to the full show anymore, but I still read the show-notes and will jump to to parts that particularly interest me. Which can turn into listening to the rest of the show on occasion.

  14. Shamus’ Rage rage reminds me of how I felt every time I heard that line from Oblivion where Patrick Stewart yells at you to “Close shut the doors of Oblivion!”

    Millions for graphics and not a cent for a decent editor! RRRgh.

    About the detective vision . . . there has to be some sort of method to communicate to the player what you can and can’t interact with, otherwise the game can simply be unplayable because the player can’t figure out what they CAN do. There are different ways to approach this, of course.

    Games lately seem to be moving more toward an “active search”, where you have to actually get close to the thing and hit a button to highlight it. It makes sense, because it turns a mere game function into actual gameplay. It contrasts with other games where you hit a button to cycle through everything you can target, or you hold down a key to highlight all interactables at once, sometimes even popping up a name. That can make certain kinds of puzzles really problematic simply because the game design gives it away. It’s not a secret if you just hit a button and the game tells you “secret door!”.

    So, some sort of alternative search or visual mode makes it so that there’s active gameplay involved in interacting with the environment (good), and lets you give the player SOME information without just casually handing them ALL information so that there’s NO mystery.

    I also kind of like the way DDO does it as another potential option. You have two skills in DDO related to finding things–spot and search. If your spot is high enough, you’ll get a warning that there’s something around here to search for (almost always a trap or a secret door). Then you have to actively use the search function and your character will “search” and it’ll point out to you anything that was close enough for you to find. This is interesting with traps, because traps in DDO are actual things instead of like other D&D-based games where you just have a “zone of trappiness” that turns red when you “find” the trap. In DDO, traps have a control box that you can disarm to turn the trap off. You can also avoid traps just by timing them and jumping over them. So, noticing that there’s a trap around here somewhere doesn’t always tell you EVERYTHING you need to know about how to disarm it–especially in some cases where you first must pass safely through the trap to get to the control box.

    It’s just a different style from, say, the old Eye of the Beholder game where they’d deliberately hide a button three pixels across on a wall and you’d just have to FIND it by staring at walls until your eyes crossed. It’s different yet again from a game like Skyrim where you can interact with (almost) everything, but most of it is junk. They rely on the quest markers to point you to things you HAVE to interact with, and it feels pretty degenerate sometimes. But *without* the quest markers you’d be pretty darn helpless to realize that this one piece of paper amid an entire desk worth of clutter is what you want.

    Ultimately, it all boils down to communicating to the player “this is important, that isn’t” in some fashion that will keep them engaged and interested but without being so hopelessly obscure that they give up in frustration. Saying “good game design could make that unnecessary” is like saying that a REALLY talented actor could play a role where they have no lines, they just communicate with body language and so forth. Just because a silent movie CAN exist doesn’t mean that silent movies are the epitome of moviemaking and having dialog is therefore “bad design”. The question is, does the design serve what you’re trying to *accomplish*, or not? Do you have detective vision because other games have it and it’s popular right now, or does it actually work with the other elements of your particular game?

  15. Lino says:

    This is definitely my favourite podcast. I haven’t listened to many of the old ones (back then I just read Shamus’ stuff on the Escapist), but I really like the dynamic between him and Paul whenever the two of them have something to say on a given topic.
    I’ve tried listening to some of the episodes before Paul joined, but I just tune out a couple of minutes in.

  16. evileeyore says:

    I took part in the poll because it was there, but I only rarely listen to podcasts. I need visual stimulation to go alongside the podcast (ie watching someone as they speak) otherwise the words in my ear begin to turn into background noise and get ignored as I turn my attention to other things.

    So the few podcasts I’ve watched I’ve had to work to focus on and that’s just not an enjoyable experience in the long run.

    1. Droid says:

      My solution to that particular problem is to do something not very demanding, like playing an easy game that you enjoy. Keeping yourself busy while you’re listening might mean you can’t pick up everything, but it’s a lot less straining on your patience.

      1. DeadlyDark says:

        Not necessary an easy game, but a game that requires little to no concentration on audio and texts and mostly relies on automatic responses

        Say, XCOM2, Phantom Doctrine, Dark Souls or Sekiro, with all of them I played listening to various podcasts, including the Diecast. And I’m the same way, I need something to help concentrating during podcasts

      2. evileeyore says:

        In my case it means I will pick up nothing. I will focus my attention completely away from the podcast.

        I had the same problem with Spoiler Warning. I’d start paying more attention tot eh game play than the discussion…

  17. Geebs says:

    Quake 2 RTX is not yet available but the early version (Q2VKPT) is here. It actually runs surprisingly well (i.e. at all) on a GTX 1080.

  18. Bloodsquirrel says:

    I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts (gotta have something to break up the monotony of a twenty-mile run), and I’d classify the Diecast as more of a comfort food than being objectively great, like I would say about Hardcore History.

    It does lack a little bit of the energy and diversity it used to have (diverstity being used in the non-political hack sense of seeing different thought processes in action). I wouldn’t mind seeing a third host to mix things up a bit.

    1. RFS-81 says:

      The quality question was really hard for me because I don’t listen to many podcasts. It’s better than the other podcast I occasionally listen to, so I’ve filled in that it’s the greatest ever ;-)

      I agree that it’s comfort food but that’s perfect for me because for more substantive stuff, I prefer text.

  19. Kincajou says:

    Heya, it seems you have the whole article on the front page again!

  20. John says:

    The game that prompted my Mailbag question this week was Arkham Origins. Some of the other games I was thinking of include: Neverwinter Nights, Divinity: Original Sin, and Full Throttle (the remastered version). Each of these games has a sort of a “press or hold a key or button to view interactable objects” mechanic. None of these other games have a name for this mechanic or an in-world explanation for how or why it works. It’s simply a convenience feature for the player.

    In Arkham Origins, on the other hand, the mechanic has a name, “Detective Vision”, and an in-world explanation–sort of–for how it works. Detective Vision–and, yes, Batman refers to it by that name in-game–is apparently something that the Bat-computer does for Batman rather than a manifestation of Batman’s detective skills, because Detective Vision can be disabled by either radio jamming or damage to the Bat-computer. It’s all quite remarkable when you stop to think about it. Batman’s suit must have more sensors than a self-driving car. Where does he put them all? And the speed at which his computer must be receiving data, analyzing it, and re-transmitting the results is so fast that I’m pretty sure it violates the laws of physics somehow. Arkham Origins makes a compelling case that Batman is not a great detective but actually some kind of techno-wizard.

  21. gabriel says:

    I’m not terribly surprised at Outer Wilds going Epic. I’ve had a grudge against that team ever since they took down the original alpha release of the game, which was fantastic by itself, and replaced it with a cut down “beta” of the retail version after they secured crowd funding.

  22. Dragmire says:

    I actively listen to podcasts including this one while doing nothing to distract me. I constantly miss portions of what’s said if I’m doing something else while listening which forces me to relisten to those parts.

    I just relax and recline in a chair, close my eyes and listen.

  23. Gargamel Le Noir says:

    Proposal : Any diecast-related poll should be titled “So Poll…”

    In other news, Epic is quite funny these days. They flag accounts for suspiciously buying games on their store (which can be considered strange behavior I guess) and when a user asked them the private data they had on him, they just forwarded said data to another user!

    1. RFS-81 says:

      And episodes with SoldierHawke should be called Prepare to Diecast!

      1. Gargamel Le Noir says:

        Aye!

  24. Amstrad says:

    This is probably not the sort of comment you want to hear about your podcast, but one of my preferred ways of listening to it is while lying in bed when winding down in the evening… you can imagine how many times I’ve fallen asleep partway through. Good takeaway? Neither of your voices are grating enough to keep a moderately tired person from falling asleep!

  25. I listen to the Diecast while riding the UBahn (I live in Berlin) to my belly dance class each week.

    I specifically listen to it then because I suffer from a bit of anxiety traveling on public transportation while everyone around me is speaking a language I don’t yet understand.

    Listening to Shamus & Paul is comforting because it’s as if I’m listening to friends talk about something that has been a major part of my life for the past 35 years.

    Basically, you’re my virtual security blanket that doesn’t smell!

  26. Galad says:

    I may have answered one or two questions in the poll wrong, and I may be an outlier. Every other podcast I’ve tried listening to has ads, and I find these ads are SO MUCH worse than most other types of ads, since you can’t skip them easily. So thank you for not putting any ads, except those for the epic store ;)

    (j/k)

    And no, Epic’s not gonna bribe me with vouchers, so indeed, it woulf not be worth it for them to spend on marketing to people like me, who just don’t like them, to the point where I’d rather pirate a game, than pay them.

    Also, in regards to detective vision and Neverwinter Nights, that game is once again one of my “comford food” games over 15 years later, and boy does it need that tool, and boy can it do wonders with it, on multiplayer servers, and other mod content.

    Also, also, I was really hoping fir at least an attempt of an answer to the Mass Effect/GoT endings comparison. That’s the kind of content you excel at. Oh well, maybe next time.

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