At this point, I’m not sure who to blame. Do we blame listeners who spam us with incessant questions, or do we blame the hosts for encouraging the practice by answering them? I have no idea.
On an unrelated note, the show email is in the header image if you have any questions for us!
Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.
00:00 Baba is You
05:54 Pizza Game
I made the mistake of watching the trailer a second time and could no longer resist the siren call of a dating sim with no gameplay where all the text is typos. I’ll report back next week and let you know how it went.
09:43 Mailbag: Scoring Systems Mailbag: Game Scores
Here are a pair of questions intended to go together. I read these in the wrong order, got sidetracked and confused for a little while, and then Paul course-corrected briefly before I lost the plot again.
I’m a professional!
There are multiple ways of scoring games out there.
If you could create your own preferred scoring system, what would it be?
1-9? 1-10? 1-100? 1-5? 1-6? something like avoid-rent-buy? 1-20? Yes-No? some other option?
Even more greetings,
Dear Paul and Shamus,
There is the known issues that games are scored somewhere around the 7 Mark as an average point, whereas in other mediums it is usually 5. Given that all scoring happens on a ten point scale.
Is this fair or correct? Should we get rid of this deviation? Should we change the way games are rated?
Have the maximum amount of greetings while I await a possible answer to these questions and a possible discussion,
27:02 Mailbag: Unskippable Cutscenes
Unskippable cutscenes. Why do they exist?
For me, it’s seems fairly obvious that players should never be forced to repeat a non-interactive portions of the game over and over. Even if the cutscenes themselves are fantastic, they cease to being impressive after I watched them 10+ times already – at this point all I am thinking about is how this particular obstacle is preventing me from playing the game. Worse, it makes me hate the story as well, because I associate it with being a waste of my time. Not to mention that even the perfect cutscene wouldn’t be able to survive the amount of scrutiny that our annoyed brains can muster.
The only reason I came up with is that sometimes they can hide a loading screen – in that case the situation is different. Besides that, I can’t think of any excuse.
Thankfully, this isn’t a common issue nowadays, but still – why was this a problem in the first place?
As usual, I apologize for any mistake that I made.
Don’t roll anything but 20s,
35:57 Mailbag: Broken Game Economies
I have too much money. Again.
I’m playing an open world RPG and I’ve reached the place where I have more in game money than I could ever possibly spend. I always seem to end up in this place in RPGs where money is a resource. In the beginning my character is dirt poor and I can’t afford anything. And then at some point in the mid-game I hit a point where things completely flip and I become so rich that I can buy everything in the game. The best weapons and armor come from bosses and chests and so money becomes worthless after awhile.
Have you seen any open world RPGs actually be good at this? Games frequently give you Renegade type interactions where you can demand more money for your quests. These options just seem so pointlessly dickish. You’re mean to an NPC and get like 10% bonus reward money. I never see the point in this, since money becomes worthless and the Paragon “Aw, shucks, keep it; you need the money more than I do,” option frequently gives you way better stuff. If money were worthwhile, I might choose to demand more payment. But I know in game I can make the money up on the back end by looting and selling more Kobold spears. Early in Witcher 3 money was scarce enough that I demanded what was promised (and getting paid for monster hunting is written into the core concept of the game, so that works well), but by mid-game I was choosing the “keep the money to rebuild your family” option whenever it was offered because I didn’t really need the money and the NPC would give me something nice, even if it was just extra grateful dialogue.
Can you think of any RPG-type games where money is actually a resource that matters? Any ideas for ways to improve it?
And yes, I realize that the game Paul and I both failed to think of was Oblivion.
46:03 Mailbag: Non-graphics tech
Ryan Gordon (a.k.a. Icculus) recently posted an announcement about a new debug tool called alTrace, which is a tool that shows debug information about OpenAL.
This got me thinking about how in games we tend to focus more on graphics tech while not talking a lot about other advances, like audio tech.
What is your guys’ opinion on this?
52:55 Mailbag: Speech Checks
How do you like skill checks to work in dialogue-heavy RPGs? Should there be a D&D-style element of randomness, or a system more like New Vegas where thirty points in Speech is a guaranteed success and any less is a failure? Should games be transparent about the difficulty of their skill checks, or should you have to click on the “Lie to this NPC” button without knowing for sure whether you can get away with it?
1:02:34 Mailbag: Gaming Burnout
Hi Shamus and Paul!
Do you experience gaming burnout and how often if so? When I was young I could play for hours and days, but now in my 30s while I still love games and have enough free time there are often periods of days and even weeks when I dont want to play anything at all. I start a game that I know I must like, play it for 30 minutes and stop, being completely bored. Then after a couple of days or weeks it goes away and I again can have fun playing video games. Sadly as I’m getting older this periods happen more and more often. How do you manage to play games and write about them for a living for so many years and not being tired of them?
1:08:23 Mailbag: Ray-Traced Minecraft
So, seen the ray-traced Minecraft announcement yet? It sure looks pretty. It seems like a very Diecast kind of thing, so I was wondering if either of you had any plans to try it. It seems to require the Windows 10 version of the game and possibly an RTX card.
Shamus Plays LOTRO
As someone who loves Tolkein lore and despises silly MMO quests, this game left me deeply conflicted.
The Strange Evolution of OpenGL
Sometimes software is engineered. Sometimes it grows organically. And sometimes it's thrown together seemingly at random over two decades.
id Software Coding Style
When the source code for Doom 3 was released, we got a look at some of the style conventions used by the developers. Here I analyze this style and explain what it all means.
What did web browsers look like 20 years ago, and what kind of crazy features did they have?
What is this silly word, why did some people get so irritated by it, and why did it fall out of use?