Diecast #283: The Game Awards, System Shock Demo

By Shamus Posted Monday Dec 16, 2019

Filed under: Diecast 100 comments

Next week will be the last Diecast of 2019. We’re taking off Dec 30th, and we’ll be back on January 6th. So if you have any 2019-specific questions, then now is the time. Also! SoldierHawke will be visiting in mid-January, so don’t forget to send in your questions for her. The email is in the header image.

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Show notes:
00:00 The Game Awards

Here is the archived livestream, if you like watching pre-recorded award shows.

Link (YouTube)

18:08 Hacking YouTube

I used a bad hypothetical example in this section. I talked about someone making a 30 minute documentary on Duke Nukem, but using 5 seconds of a copyrighted song as a punchline / gag. So then the record label copyright claims the video and gets 100% of the revenue because they own 0.27% of the audio.

Looking back, I think this is a bad example because using copyrighted stuff for a joke might not be covered under fair use. Granted, the MORAL thing is that the record label gets nothing because this “infringement” did them no harm and did nothing to weaken their IP. But according to the law, the label might have a case.

At any rate, a much cleaner example would be:

As part of a musical instruction video, I play 10 seconds of a popular song. I use my own performance on a single instrument. I only reproduce a section of the song and not the whole thing. This usage is entirely for educational purposes.

In this case, I would be 100% in the right. This usage is absolutely covered under fair use. In fact, this example is why fair use exists. This use is both legal and moral. And yet YouTube’s disgusting system would automatically rob me of my few dollars of income and hand it off to a giant corporation who did nothing to produce the work in question.

Like I said on the show: This is a fundamentally immoral and corrupt system. It’s a system of automated theft, where the rich and powerful take from the small and powerless. YouTube is complicit in this crime.

So yeah. Screw this sick Kafkaesque system.

Link (YouTube)

24:35 System Shock Demo

I couldn’t figure out how to put the bullets in the gun, which is a hilarious problem to have in a shooter.

36:10 Mailbag: Replay ONE game for the first time?

Dear dī-kast

Whether it’s a linear narrative that would be repetitive to replay, a puzzle game that wouldn’t be satisfying now that you remember all the solutions, or a survival game where most of the progression is about learning the game’s systems, some games are only satisfying to play once. if you could take a magic pill that would erase all your memory of one videogame so that you could play it again completely fresh, which game would you choose and why?


40:41 Mailbag: Big Cities

Dear Diecast,

I was looking through my old folders of random assorted games and whatnot and stumbled upon a directory of games from the BigTown contest, where people were challenged to make a game set in as big a city as possible. This made me think of big cities in various games and it struck me that most cities and towns tend to be very small.

What are your favourite big(-ish) cities and towns in games, if any?



Link (YouTube)

45:14 Mailbag: The End of Windows 7

Dear Diecast

Since the release of Windows 10, I have stayed happily faithful to my trusty Windows 7, never seeing a legitimate need to change. It has proven stable, streamlined and capable of running all the programmes I need, including my extensive library of video games, old an new. By contrast, the forced updates, data harvesting, lack of user control and general operating-system-as-service ethos of Windows 10 is unsettlingly Orwellian. However, the looming End of Life deadline for Windows 7 in 2020 has me thinking that it might finally be time to install a new OS. If it is indeed so dangerous to remain with the unsupported Windows 7, what is your opinion of Windows 10 as a successor? Given my reservations about Windows 10, is the more open-source and democratic Linux a viable alternative, particularly for gaming?

Luka, a long-time reader from South Africa

1:01:25 Mailbag: EGS Revisited.

Dear Diecast,

Now that some of the most controversial Epic exclusives have been released for the Dirty-Commie-Mutant-Traitors who use that platform, specifically Mechwarrior 5 and Phoenix Point (As well as a Paranoia game, thus the epithets), have the arguments about the platform changed at all?

As a fellow Filthy-Traitorous-Mutated-Commie myself (Don’t tell Friend Computer, had to have Satisfactory while it was one sale, grabbed P-Point at the same time), my personal experience has been somewhat mixed. Satisfactory hasn’t had any issues, but the lack of news-feed has proven detrimental to Phoenix Point. I noticed an issue after it had said it had updated, and I realized there wasn’t any way that I could find to see the patch-notes in the Epic Launcher/Store. (Satisfactory solves this by having them in-game)

There was also some issues with the save-system, with the epic cloud saves constantly asking which save you wanted to use, as well as causing some save files to be stored in the wrong place or just losing them, because Ironman mode wasn’t hard enough, you need to play in a single sitting or not at all.

On the plus side, when looking on the unofficial forum that explained where to find where epic had hidden the saves, I noticed a thread which mentioned that people have already started modding the game, so the lack of steam workshop isn’t completely killing the mod scene, as many had feared it might.

TLDR: Have your thoughts on the EGS changed at all, now that it’s not just the Satisfactory launcher?

Busily saving the world again because the save got lost, Shas’Ui

On the show I promised to link to the Jon Blow talk where he discusses how slow and clunky our software is getting. The talk in question is Reboot Develop 2017 – Jonathan Blow, Thekla Inc. / Making Game Programming Less Terrible. The part I reference can be found at 2m:35s.

1:11:03 Paul’s reading of Fall From the Sky

Here is the audiobook excerpt that Paul created. I really envy his smooth, non-croaking voice.


From The Archives:

100 thoughts on “Diecast #283: The Game Awards, System Shock Demo

  1. Joe says:

    Elon Musk was there because he’s dating Grimes, who performed to promote Cyberpunk 2077. She’s playing an NPC. This time last week, I’d heard of Grimes. Thought she was just another random pop singer. But turns out, her stuff is actually pretty interesting. Worth a further listen.

    The memory question is interesting. My favourite game of all time, Skyrim? Probably not. As much as I love it, it wouldn’t stand the test of time. A proper story-heavy RPG like Witcher 3 would be interesting.

    Speaking of W3, my *least* favourite city is Novigrad. It’s laid out badly, roads don’t always lead where they show on the map. Enemies sometimes spawn in unreachable locations. Frankly, I don’t have a favourite one. All I want is stash, vendors, and quest givers all nice and central to save me the busywork of roaming around. I have not played a game where this is done.

    Great. Bad news about Windows 10. Really not looking forward to when I have to upgrade. I’ve held off as long as I can, but next year is new computer year. I can understand why they want to keep it easy and safe for new and non-techie users, but how about some love for those who do know what they’re doing? Call it advanced mode or something.

    1. Pax says:

      That’s funny, because Novigrad was the first thing to come to mind as a magnificent in-game city, but I think I’m judging by a different criteria than you. You seem to be evaluating it as a gameplay mechanism, which is totally fair. I think what you listed as all the gameplay mechanics centrally located describes Diamond City in Fallout 4 pretty well though.

      I’m pretty sure this is an unusual and borderline insane thing I do, but I love looking at in-game cities and worlds, wandering around them and admiring the art and layout. I’ll start a new GTA, play far enough to get into free roam, and then just driving around reading the signs on buildings. I’ll set out on foot to find the boundaries of the maps, and see what techniques are used to keep the player in the game-zone. After I get familiar with a GTA city map, I’ll look at the real city map to see if I’ve learned anything about the layout of the city in real life, and figure out what kind of references they’re making to actual locations in the real world.

      I admire a good city map that gives the impression of being bigger than it is, of being a complete city without being such a huge sprawling pile of repetitive nonsense that you can never form a meaningful understanding or appreciation of it. To me, Novigrad was the epitome of what I look for in a fake city. Big enough to feel like a real city, with hidden depths to discover, plenty of details, and a layout I can learn and master to navigate like a pro.

      Also I liked Saints Row 2’s Stilwater a lot as well, but for much more of a gameplay quality than a realistic city quality.

      1. Thomas says:

        I seem to be the only person suffering from this, but the fact that you can’t talk to any non-quest NPCs in the Witcher and can’t otherwise interact (i.e. pickpocketing) makes Witcher settlements feel too lifeless to me. Like a toy model, or a well-painted backdrop.

        The difference in subtle, because London in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate feels like a real place. Syndicate has a lot of custom animation and it has just enough systems to make it feel like you’re part of the city.

        1. Biggus Rickus says:

          I have a lot of issues with The Witcher 3 that most people don’t seem to have. You’ve hit on one of them.

        2. Henson says:

          No, you’re not the only one. This is not really a problem for me in Novigrad, due to the size and liveliness of the people in it, but the smaller villages do suffer a bit. It’s one of those things I learned to shrug my shoulders at and just accept.

        3. Sleeping Dragon says:

          I remember Watch Dogs had some pretty good NPC animations, like that one time I remember two cars bumping into each other (with absolutely no interference on my part) and the drivers got out and started yelling at one another, the seams showed up pretty quickly but for a moment it really added to the idea that it was a lived in city, and if I didn’t stop to admire the scene I might not have broken the illusion.

      2. Joe says:

        Oh yes, I forgot about Diamond City. Still, I have to duck inside to access my stash and crafting benches. Going through a loading screen in FO4 is always a risky proposition. Still, at least all the vendors are nice and close.

  2. Lino says:

    I’m still on Windows 7 at home, and I’m dreading the moment when I’ll have to switch to Windows 10. As far as I know Linux emulation doesn’t cover many of the modern AAA titles, so it isn’t going to be easy escaping Windows altogether.
    I’ve never used Linux, and I’ve got a serious case of cold feet when it comes to switching, so I’ll need some time to get acquainted with how it works. Initially, I plan on trying a virtual box, and if I like it I plan on doing a two-partition where I use Windows only for games, and use Linux for everything else.
    The other option is to go full-on Linux, and use a Windows virtual box for games, but I don’t think that’s a good idea since all virtual boxes I’ve ever used have lag which is going to be detrimental to something as latency-sensitive as games.

    The traffic drop you experience during Christmas has always seemed kind of strange to me, whenever I’ve heard you talking about it. YouTubers always say that the most profitable time of year for them is during the Christmas holidays – not only do they get more views than average, but they also say that ad revenue is the highest of the year. This is why most content creators pump out a ton of content during this time of year.
    I guess most people prefer to watch videos when they spend more time at home, which is harder to do at work, especially if you work in an open office. At least that’s what I do – I feel very uncomfortable watching videos at work where co-workers can easily see that I’m slacking off :D

    1. Geebs says:

      Modern operating systems unfortunately expect to be connected to the internet 24/7. If you dual boot, you’ll find that whenever you load up Windows to play a game, you’ll be stuck installing a bunch of mandatory updates and, by the time you’ve finished watching progress bars, you’ll either have lost interest or run out of time.

      I’d honestly just build a separate gaming box and run Windows on it. I hear good things about Proton on Linux, but that’s one of those situations where the only people using it are really invested to the point at which they’re quite capable of ignoring problems that most people wouldn’t.

      1. John says:

        Is the Windows PC going to be on all the time? If not, I don’t see how it offers any advantages over the dual-boot setup.

        1. tmtvl says:

          The workstation (as in the Linux box) can easily be powered all the time, just suspend to RAM instead of shutting down/starting up. Instead of taking 5 seconds to start up, takes a second to come on.

      2. Chad Miller says:

        Windows likes to demand I run updates when I’m exiting Windows, which can be extra-obnoxious when the next thing I want to do is boot to my other OS. Like, it’s not enough that you ram an update down my throat, but at least let me put it off until I’m actually planning to use your software, eh?

    2. John says:

      If you want to try Linux in the most non-committal, risk-free way possible, you should make yourself a bootable live USB stick. It’ll let you boot your computer into Linux and test-drive the OS without requiring you to make any changes to your hard drive. The internet is full of detailed guides, if you’re curious. There are multiple free programs for Windows that will create live USB sticks for you. I believe that some of them will even download Linux ISO files for you. (The last one I used did, but that was several years ago. I’m not sure what the state of affairs is now.) The hardest part in may ways is picking which version of Linux to start with. Ubuntu is popular and well-supported, as is Linux Mint. Mint offers a more Windows-like experience out of the box than Ubuntu does, but there are other distributions that are more Windows-like yet.

      1. tmtvl says:

        Zorin for the most Windows-like experience. Kubuntu/KDE Neon for the amazing KDE desktop. For GNOME, I dunno. Ubuntu tries to be more user-friendly, but Fedora is upstream.

        1. John says:

          You can also get Debian and Manjaroo ISOs with Gnome. I’m not entirely certain who Debian is aimed at, but Manjaroo is definitely going for user-friendly. I preferred the look of Gnome on Debian to the look on either Ubuntu or Manjaroo, but that stuff’s customizable and doesn’t much matter. I ran Ubuntu for a while, but I only test-drove Debian and Manjaroo so I can’t really say how they differ in practice.

          1. tmtvl says:

            Manjaro also has good XFCE support, if you want a light-weight desktop.

          2. MrPyro says:

            Debian is for people who really care about the F/OSS ethos, who really don’t like their OS to come with any non-free* software at all**. I’ve never used the desktop environment but I’ve used it as a server OS quite a lot (last 2 companies I’ve worked for have used it as their primary server OS). I understand that the desktop isn’t quite as slick as the Ubuntu one.

            * Free as in speech, not beer, as the old saying goes
            ** OK, they do have a non-free repository and so you can get some things

            1. pseudonym says:

              I am indeed a happy Debian user because I know which proprietary software I installed. I do not like it when these decisions are made for me. At this point it is only firmware + the gaming stuff (proprietary games in wineprefixes and steam including proprietary games in the library).

              Another advantage of Debian is its stability. Debian never crashed on me ever since I used it from 2013. Sure I have had the odd apllication crash, but these are rare for the applications from the main repository to the point of non-existence (it only happened to me once, with the spyder IDE). The base system never crashed on me. I use it on a daily basis. At work and at home. No crashes. This allows me to get my work done, play my games. I troubleshoot rarely and most times only because I try to achieve something new, so it is planned troubleshooting. This is incredibly valuable to me. Being able to use my computer and not to fight with it.

              I have used Ubuntu Gnome 16.04 for a year at work to try someting new. The UI crashed on me about every month, all my open windows were lost. This is annoying and never at a convenient time. So I upgraded to Debian after a year.

              Downside of Debian is that you have to figure out how things work. Not everything works out of the box. Luckily the Debian wiki is quite good and the excellent Arch wiki is also applicable most times. Also I like figuring out these things, so Debian works really well for me.

              For new users I would still recommend Ubuntu as it’s the least hassle to get started with linux, and you can find the most help online. After you get the basics, you can distro hop a bit to find your happy place, stay with Ubuntu or go back to windows if you like that better.

              1. John says:

                I agree that Ubuntu is probably the best distribution for someone completely new to Linux. Gnome might take a little bit of getting used to, but of all the distributions I’ve used and test-driven Ubuntu has consistently been the best at working right out of the box, no matter what computer I’ve tried it on. Other distributions, even other Ubuntu variants, have at various times hung or crashed on me or else failed to include things like the right wireless networking driver. Ubuntu has always just worked.

                1. pseudonym says:

                  Addendum for new users: go for the LTS version of Ubuntu. It does support the latest hardware, just like the non-LTS versions, but the rest of the software stack is much more stable. It also has about ten times as many users as the non-LTS versions, so all the guides on the web apply to the LTS version.
                  If you want a good linux experience out of the box, Ubuntu LTS is a very good start.

                  1. tmtvl says:

                    Ahem, 18.04. Wifi. Need I say more?

                    1. pseudonym says:

                      That bug is now fixed. But yes, wifi was broken for some at release. That happens, canonical can’t possibly test all devices.

      2. Lino says:

        I’ve heard of that method, but I’ve got a stupid question – how does file management work? Will the OS tied to the USB see all the files I have on my PC? Could you use this as a long-term OS solution?

        1. John says:

          The OS on the USB stick can see your hard drive. One of the most common uses of live USB sticks, apart from test-driving Linux distributions, is as recovery aids. If the OS on the hard drive gets irrevocably screwed up, it is sometimes still possible to boot to Linux from USB and recover files from the hard drive that way. Your live USB stick may or may not be set up to allow you to write to the hard drive, however. That depends on the distribution and which ISO you used to create the USB stick.

          As for a long-term OS solution . . . I’m afraid we have reached the limits of my expertise here. I don’t think so. Not with a run-of-the-mill live USB stick. I don’t think those are persistent. I know it’s possible to create a persistent Linux installation on a USB stick that you can carry from computer to computer with you, but that’s a different, more complicated process. In any case, I wouldn’t recommend it. If you want to run Linux on a permanent basis on a single computer while making as few changes to your current hard drive as possible, you should instead get a second hard drive, make it your boot drive, and install Linux on that.

      3. Orophor says:

        I run a Pop_OS Linux gaming workstation. There are only a few games that some combinations of Proton (easiest) Lutris (pretty easy) or WINE (tricky) can’t run well. Epic store exclusives, MMOs, looter shooters, the latest RPGs all run fine. The key is making sure you have the right drivers and libraries. Steam on Linux does most of it automatically for Proton. Using a rolling release like Manjaro or an aggressively updated distro like Pop takes a lot of the hassle out of it.

        The only titles that choke for me are super new anti-cheat or DRM-laden games that assume the run time translation from Win32/DirectX to Linux/Vulkan is cheating or piracy. I usually count that as no loss since Steam’s return policy means I can just say the game won’t run on my system and get away with only the time spent.

        It is worth it to me to have an OS I can trust to not be pushing Minecraft candy crush and Xbox on me every patch Tuesday much less shoving surveillance down your throat if you can’t get volume licensed enterprise or education versions.

  3. Geebs says:

    I think ripping off Deus Ex’s interface was exactly the right choice for the System Shock reboot. It’s a shame they still managed to make it so clunky, though. For example, when searching a body/container, I seemed to be able to put items in my hotbar without them actually being in my inventory.

    Am I imagining things, or have they re-recorded the audio logs? Everybody sounds actively bored about their impending death-by-mutant.

    1. Shamus says:

      “Am I imagining things, or have they re-recorded the audio logs?”

      I was wondering the same thing.

      I originally had the floppy disk version, which didn’t have audio logs. They were all text. At some point I got the CD ROM version, which had the voice acting. But I don’t think I ever completed that version of the game. So I’m not terribly familiar with the original audio. Maybe my standards were lower in the mid 90s, but I don’t remember the performances being THIS bad. I seriously wanted a way to read them without hearing the audio, because everyone sounded so flat.

      Also, those logs were SO contrived. I was okay with them in ’93, but I would SAVAGE a game for doing this today. (Unless it was a comedy game and doing this as a joke.) Almost no attempt was made to make them organic. They’re just people recording important clues to nobody in particular and leaving the recording on the floor for no reason before marching off to their obvious death.

      1. Ander says:

        I wonder if it’s placeholder dialog, or if they intend to keep it all for release. I do think they could afford to re-write some of the logs, in any case.

      2. Ninety-Three says:

        Almost no attempt was made to make them organic. They’re just people recording important clues to nobody in particular and leaving the recording on the floor for no reason

        To be fair, have audiologs ever not been that? Across all of gaming I can remember approximately one example that made more sense than “recordings as random litter”. Not one game, one log.

        1. shoeboxjeddy says:

          In the Division, you find audio logs from an urban explorer who is recording their experiences for a youtube channel (assuming such things still exist somewhere in The Division’s messed up timeline). This actually makes perfect sense why there would be a recorded audio log of someone’s experiences.

          Well… if you ignore that I guess they just kept dropping memory cards and starting over on a new one 5 or 6 times.

        2. Sleeping Dragon says:

          It’s been years so I don’t remember how expository it was but I remember FEAR’s voicemail being considered at least a decent excuse for the existence of audiologs.

      3. Joshua says:

        “I would SAVAGE a game for doing this today.”

        For some reason, LOTRO has decided to do this with their Mordor Expansion, released 2 years ago, and continued in quest packs since. Obviously, they’re not actual audio recordings, being in Middle Earth. Instead, you find pages lying around on the ground, and a voice actor reads the dialogue when you pick them up. You can pick them up in any order, so it’s really hard to feel the full flow of the story.

        I have no idea why they’re using this antiquated system.

        1. BlueHorus says:

          And let’s not forget the habit of various bad guys to keep really specific diaries in your average fantasy game. The number of times I’ve killed a minor villain only to find they were either carrying a diary or had one near their corpse…
          Usually they read something like this:

          [ONLY ENTRY]

          Dear Diary:
          I do [evil thing]! I love doing [evil thing]! It’s so much fun!

          Me and the other guys who do [evil thing] are all going to meet up at [place], where the Master lives. We’ll be doing lots of [evil thing]! Man, it would sure suck if someone were to find us doing [evil thing] at [place]. I hope that doesn’t happen!

          I’ve lost count of the number of diabolical plots / vampire covens / evil cults etc I’ve uncovered because some underling left a really obvious paper trail.

          1. Ninety-Three says:

            Think of it as spite. The henchman assumes that if he dies, he probably got killed by some Chosen One trying to defeat his Master. The diary is meant to point the hero at the evil mastermind because it’s a deadman switch: if the Dark Lord sends henchman #427 off to die in a suicide mission, his diary’s going to send the hero straight to Baron Von Evil for a bit of posthumous revenge.

          2. Mr. Wolf says:

            MY favourite has always been the “backstory diary”. Especially in circumstances where you can persuade an antagonist to tell you their tragic life story, then after defeating them read it all again in their diary. Especially especially if you talked them out of fighting and they’re still there watching you go through their stuff.

            1. Mr. Wolf says:

              Especially especially especially if you talked them out of fighting and they left without taking their very private book full of personal thoughts and memories with them.

            2. Chad Miller says:

              My favorite was the diary I found in Skyrim where someone was killed mid-sentence while writing about the monster that was killing him, and even went so far as to trail off with an ellipsis (perhaps he was dictating?)

                1. Chad Miller says:

                  It wasn’t presented as a joke. I won’t say it’s impossible that whoever wrote that page was clowning around, but I would say that the rest of the game (not to mention Bethesda’s other games) didn’t give me any confidence that it was on purpose.

                  1. Syal says:

                    They really should just break down and call it some kind of magic. If you think about a thing passionately enough, the thought will materialize into a diary page / audio log.

          3. Veylon says:

            It’d make more sense if they had letters from their Master which ended with “Destroy IMMEDIATELY upon reading!” but which they’d carefully saved for future reference.

    2. RFS-81 says:

      I’m wondering how they plan to finish the game after burning all the kickstarter money…

      By the way, Shamus, I posted another comment before, was it eaten by the spam filter? It had one link in it.

    3. Decius says:

      The original logs were pretty bad, but there’s no way they didn’t rerecord them. It would be cheaper to make new recordings than to figure out if there are licensing issues with reusing the samples.

  4. Ninety-Three says:

    Paul is wrong about the white mutiny angle to Youtube: their system is a case of “We have to regulate ourselves so that the law doesn’t get involved directly”. That’s why fair use is frustratingly under-represented: If Google spent too much time adjudicating it, they’d eventually rule that something is fair use, the IP owner would object, take it to real court, the court might agree with them, and Google might get in trouble for leaving up a fair use violation. Google’s solution was to set up a kangaroo court that always rules in favour of whoever could sue them if they don’t get their way.

    That makes Google sound like dicks, but they’re just responding to the stupid legal incentives. They believe that Youtube loses less for having a stupid and unfair takedown system than for risking massive IP lawsuits, and when you put it that way it looks pretty plausible that they’re right. Even if they could win the suits it’d probably cost them more to fight than to just take down all the problematic videos and write off the ad revenue + goodwill.

    1. CrushU says:

      Yep; Youtube’s system is annoying because Copyright is annoying.
      In brief, Fair Use is a *defense*, and not an affirmative one. You can see that something is 100% fair use (which using copyrighted audio for a joke is, by the way.) and you can still be sued, and you would have to present your fair use defense in court, AND have a judge rule on it. And that 100% Fair Use instance you think of, could be ruled the other way by a judge. (There’s a specific circuit that is notorious for getting Copyright issues wrong, and the Supreme Court having to overrule it. I think it’s CAFC, a special court set up for this…)

      So corporations are incentivized to be as draconian as possible in their Copyright enforcement, because *any* usage can and will result in them being brought to court. Youtube already fought a very long battle in this, where a bunch of the copyrighted material they were using was posted to Youtube BY the very record labels that were suing them, and they STILL had to fight through appeals made by the record labels to get through the lawsuit.

      Copyright is extremely broken, and the people to blame are the rights-holders. (Note, not necessarily the creators. Most of them that are clued into how Copyright actually works also hate copyright; It’s why you’ll see ‘CC0’ marks which means the creator will not enforce copyright. Others immediately declare their works public domain.)

      1. Thomas says:

        Fair use isn’t straightforward, using audio for a joke is only fair use if it’s a joke ‘critiqueing’ the original property.

        1. Thomas says:

          I notice Legal Eagle never includes the ending of the shows he’s reviewing the legal accuracy of. This is noticeably different to most YouTubers making his style of content.

          My guess is that it’s because he’s a lawyer and he’s more careful about keeping Fair Use cut and dry

        2. Steve C says:

          There was a precedent involving Strawberry Shortcake from many years ago. It specifically addressed that point. It is fair use to use copyrighted material in order to critique something that is not the copyrighted material. Basically if it enhances a joke, it is parody and protected.

          1. Algeh says:

            The biggest issue with trying to figure out Fair Use and most other copyright law issues is how very few cases actually get all the way through the courts and into case law (which is how you get predictability about how future rulings will go) rather than settle out of court at some point instead. Parody is particularly complicated because so many parodists are not exactly wealthy or backed by anyone with deep pockets and lawyers, so they often decide to settle rather than go through the courts.

            (Well, the biggest issue is actually how much money certain corporations have thrown at twisting the original intent behind copyright law into a perpetual monopoly controlling both reproduction and commentary that they don’t like, but that’s a multi-hour rant that would almost certainly end up violating the No Politics rule, so I’ll focus on the other one instead.)

  5. John says:

    I know nothing of the Game Awards except that it is very difficult to take any awards ceremony with an award sponsored by Subway sandwiches even semi-seriously.

    I do, however, know a little bit about the Oscars. The people who vote for the Oscars aren’t critics. They’re industry figures of various kinds, and they don’t like the same kind of movies that critics like. Critics hate the Oscars. If anything, critics hate the Oscars more than ordinary people. One of my favorite movie-criticism phrases is “middlebrow Oscar bait”. I’ve seen it applied to all sorts of films, but it usually signifies a serious-seeming but non-challenging film, the kind of film that someone can feel virtuous for watching but that that promises not to make them feel uncomfortable in any way. Costume dramas! Biopics! Movies with the courage to say that racism is bad but not much more than that!

    1. Thomas says:

      I wish the Oscars were only voted on by the people directly involved in each area. What costume designers think is the best costume design is much more interesting than having a bunch of actors and sound techies vote too.

      1. DeadlyDark says:

        It could potentially lead to conflicts of interests, I suppose

        1. Thomas says:

          There are still plenty of conflict of interests going round in the current set-up. I assume the entire extended crew for a film normally vote for that film in the awards it’s nominated for.

          I don’t know how big the academy is, perhaps it would get too personal when you divide it up

          I suspect it’s just because no-one wants to lose their voting rights.

      2. shoeboxjeddy says:

        The worst are categories like Animated Film and Animated Short where you can TELL the voters watched either one or none of the films. And it happens every year, shamelessly.

      3. Henson says:

        Isn’t that how the nominations work?

        1. Thomas says:

          It is, but I don’t think knowing the top 5 is as interesting as knowing the one film they’d pick.

      4. Joe Informatico says:

        Supposedly Academy members are discouraged from voting in areas they don’t have expertise in, though I don’t think they can be compelled under the current rules. I think sometimes it works though. E.g., a lot of people, even laypeople who don’t have much knowledge of editing, were absolutely floored that John Ottman won Best Editing for BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY earlier this year. But it’s known that Ottman had to take footage from two directors (Bryan Singer was fired halfway through filming) that at times did not lineup coherently, under the eyes of the three surviving members of Queen who all had veto power, and had to do it in a very short timeframe. So the rumour is BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY didn’t win because it was a stellar example of editing–John Ottman is the first to admit it wasn’t. It won because his fellow editors recognized that Ottman took an unwatchable mess and managed to make it into a reasonably coherent film.

    2. Joe Informatico says:

      A long-running joke is to replace the word “Best” in each Oscar category with “Most”. The “best” director is the one who directed the “most”–showy, technical shots just for the sake of doing them, putting your actors through gruelling preparations and environments. The “best” actors acted the “most”: scenery-chewing monologues, playing a non-neurotypical person, perfectly imitating a historical figure, but not anything with subtlety or nuance. The “best” editing is the “most” editing, editing that’s obvious and not seamless.

      But more to the point. The Oscars are voted on by the Academy, and while the Academy includes people from all areas of the film industry, it’s overwhelmingly actors. They tend to vote for nominees who make acting or actors look good, regardless of whether they actually excelled in their specific discipline.

  6. Pax says:

    I also am glad for the trailers at the game awards. If it was just the awards, I’d look up a list the next day. Maybe. It’s not like who won is that important. But the trailers, even if they’re not for a game you care about, they can show you games and genres you didn’t know existed, or at the least, are fun to roast on a group chat with friends while you all watch.

    Except for the part with the Muppets. Why, I’d say I’d watch a whole show about them alone!

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      Which is interesting because “look it up the next day” is quite literally what I do for what games were announced during game awards…

  7. Lino says:

    While I didn’t watch the ceremony, there were a lot of interesting trailers that came out at this year’s Game Awards. I’m really excited for the new Senua’s Sacrifice game, and Naraka: Bladepoint. Godfall, New World and Weird West also look promising.
    However, what I can’t possibly understand is what the hell were they thinking when they made this monstrosity?!? Like, who is this FOR?!?!?!?
    If they were going for the Call of Duty/high-octane-action-all-the-bloody-time crowd, then they needed to go with something better than the 2010 visuals in that trailer.
    If they were going for the D&D crowd (which might probably be the case), why didn’t they lean on all the star power they’ve got in these iconic characters? I haven’t read any of Salvatore’s books, but I assume they know the main reason D&D fans like Drizzt isn’t that he can cut dudes and do back flips?
    The only logical explanation I can think of is that this game is some sort of front for a money laundering scheme, because none of that made any sense.

    1. Geebs says:

      All those SnorriCam shots make it look oddly like The Surprising Adventures of Sir Digby Chicken Caesar. I think that might have been what they were going for?

      1. Lino says:

        Oh, my God, you’re right! How was I so blind?! They’re going to tap into this huge, under-served market of Sir Digby Chicken Caesar fans, and they’re going to make billions! Eat you heart out, CD Project Red!

    2. GoStu says:

      Over in the various D&D communities I’m a part of, nobody could understand that trailer either. The only positive I can see is that people are talking about it – you can spend a large amount to create a trailer that *might* be memorable, but in this case spending a medium amount to create a shitty trailer was memorable.

      It tells us as little as any other AAA trailer, right?

  8. tmtvl says:

    Gaming on Linux? Depends on what you want to play and what you want to play on. You can take a look at ProtonDB and take it with a pinch of salt.

    There is a site called ‘gamingonlinux’ that has people that can tell you whether it’s workable.

    1. Philadelphus says:

      I came down here to mention ProtonDB as well; it’s a huge crowd-sourced database of people’s experiences running various games using Proton on Steam. (I’ve submitted a number of reports myself.) It’s useful to see if ~99% of people are running a game perfectly fine, or if the game runs fine if you make a few simple tweaks to it. Currently it’s got reports on over 10,000 games, of which over 6,000 work at some level. Of the top 100 games on Steam at the moment, 36% have a Linux native version, and an additional 43% are rated Gold (needing the aforementioned minor tweaks) or higher, for an impressive 79% being perfectly playable on Linux.

      As a Linux gamer of almost five and a half years now, it’s generally been fine. There are enough games out there, and my library is big enough, that I can survive the occasional disappointment of something not working (most recently Planet Zoo) due to all the other amazing games out there to play. Just a few days ago in fact I discovered Star Wars: Espiode I: Racer was on Steam (with a Gold rating on ProtonDB), and have been happily reliving my childhood while on Christmas vacation. It does help that I’m not a big player of AAA games usually, as you generally have better chances with indies and older games.

      To sum up: Linux gaming may not have full feature parity with Windows yet, but it’s perfectly viable for someone like me who considers gaming to be a major hobby. Switching is never easy, but for those watching the upcoming end of life of Windows 7 with concern: at least give Linux a try. Worst comes to worst you can always go back to Windows 10.

  9. Syal says:

    Games to forget and experience again blind would be machine-translated Mario games.

  10. Ninety-Three says:

    To answer Shamus’ question about the Game Awards, the producers of the show select a pool of 100-ish gaming/tech news sites who each get one vote. TGA says that the vote is to be an agreement among the outlet’s entire editorial staff, but they have no real way of enforcing that so I suppose it could be the opinion of whatever managing editor has TGA’s contact info.

    Nominations are a writein process from the news outlets, category winners are first-past-the-post voting on the top five nominations, with a tiny 10% weighting given to a public voting process, the rest dominated by the journalists.

    1. Ninety-Three says:

      I looked over the list of sites that get a vote and it seems extremely arbitrary. There are more sites from Spain than all of China, there’s a seemingly random handful of respectable “old media” names mixed in with the likes of Polygon and Ars Technica, and the US gaming-focused sites skew towards big recognizable names but were definitely not selected by simply taking the top 10 game sites.

    2. evilmrhenry says:

      “Games eligible for The Game Awards this year must be available for public consumption on or before November 15, 2019. Titles that are released after this date will be eligible for The Game Awards ceremony in 2020.”

      However, Fallen Order was released on November 15, 2019, according to Wikipedia, so who knows.

  11. John says:

    Paul, it was extremely disorienting to first hear you praise Windows 10, if only faintly, and then to listen to you get extremely agitated about all the ways in which it vexes you. I shudder to think what your Linux experience must have been like if Windows 10 is somehow better. I’ve taken the liberty of translating your remarks from English to Bad Car Analogy:

    My car is fine. I’ve tried other cars, and they’re just not worth the hassle. The only thing is that sometimes my turn signals don’t work. Oh, and sometimes when I try to put the car into reverse it decides that what I really should be doing is turning the emergency flashers on. And–oh!–it won’t stop beeping at me when I try to set the time on the clock, so I built my own clock and velcroed it to the dash.

    I’m glad that’s not my Bad Analogy car.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Yeah, it would be nice to have a sensible alternative to Windows. Most of the time, though, Windows 10 works perfectly for me. Much like my actual car, there are a lot of things that it could do better that I’ve just learned to work around, and lots of ways to make it fail that I avoid. It’s like the dumb headlight switch that drains your car battery if you leave it on. Yeah, it would make a lot more sense to have the headlights turn off when you turn off the key. But, just, don’t leave the headlights on? It’s not really that big of a deal.
      Same with the Windows updates. Yeah, it would be nice to have an override. But, just, you know, manually install the updates before it forces you to? They are usually out for a week or two before the strong-arm deadline rolls around. It’s really not that big of a deal.

      In comparison, running Linux always feels like trying to assemble a bio-diesel car from parts purchased on E-bay. Yeah, I know, you can use Ubuntu and just buy a model that someone else assembled from parts they purchased on E-bay. You still have to distill the bio-diesel yourself though, unless you can get some shipped in from Francis in Carlsville when he’s not… Sheesh. You know what? I’ll just remember to turn my headlights off.

      1. John says:

        You’ve been much more fortunate than I have with respect to Windows updates. I most recently had Windows 10 on a relatively low-spec laptop earlier this year. The hit to performance whenever Windows decided to download something was both obvious and painful and Windows never seemed to respect what I told it about when to check for and download updates. It did at least let me control when it installed the updates, which is more than I can say for how it has sometimes behaved on my wife’s computer. That’s my problem with Windows, really. Windows doesn’t respect users. Ever since Windows 8, using Windows has felt like signing control of my computer over to Microsoft and logging in has felt like asking Microsoft’s permission to use my own property. I consider myself very lucky that there isn’t any Windows-only software that I absolutely need to be able to run on my home PCs.

        In comparison, running Linux always feels like trying to assemble a bio-diesel car from parts purchased on E-bay. Yeah, I know, you can use Ubuntu and just buy a model that someone else assembled from parts they purchased on E-bay. You still have to distill the bio-diesel yourself though, unless you can get some shipped in from Francis in Carlsville when he’s not…

        Okay, I knew what I meant when I wrote my Bad Car Analogy, put parsing other people’s Bad Car Analogies is apparently tricky stuff. Is bio-diesel software here? Because installing and using, say Ubuntu–or Mint, or Manjaroo, or Zorin, or any of a host of others–really isn’t any different in principle or even in practice than installing and using Windows. An experienced, technically literate person like you should catch on very quickly. It’s only in the realm of acquiring and installing software that things can sometimes be a little different. I’ll note that games are not one of those times, however. Steam, GOG, and Humble all work exactly the same in Linux as they do in Windows.

        1. The Puzzler says:

          “Windows doesn’t respect users.”
          Should they, I wonder?

          It is statistically inevitable that a significant percentage of their users are idiots – or at least technically incompetent, the kind of people who delete random system files to free up space, or who refuse to install updates until their machine is part of a botnet.

          Then other users have to deal with the things Microsoft do while trying to protect idiots from themselves…

          1. Ninety-Three says:

            It’s not just idiots, tech-savvy users are likely to defer updates because they have a well-configured environment with a functional workflow and they don’t want anything to change. Big corporations are especially prone to this behaviour, for justifiable reasons. The problem is that this is miserable for Microsoft to deal with. Nevermind the security risks, there are a thousand tiny inconveniences that arise from having your userbase running six different variably-old versions of your code, especially when all the versions need to communicate with the same central servers. I know because I’ve worked in this role (not at Microsoft, but similar situation): the developer’s job would be so much easier if they could force the users to always be on latest. From a dev’s perspective, the ideal device wouldn’t even finish booting up without completing an update. From a user’s perspective that would be incredibly obnoxious so it isn’t done, but devs make the system as obnoxiously pushy as management will let them in order to minimize the number of users creating problems by being on old versions.

            TL;DR: They’re not just protecting you from yourself, they’re protecting themselves from you. You are inconvenient and they wish they could replace you all with a featureless grey blob.

          2. John says:

            If some users can’t be trusted to keep their anti-virus software up to date or to not click on phishing links, that’s not my fault. I would not blame Microsoft for, say, making Windows 10S (the Chrome OS-like version of Windows 10) the default OEM install for non-business PCs, but there ought to be an opt-in version of Windows for people who know what they’re doing, are willing to assume more risk, and want to be able to configure their PCs in the manner that suits them best. Windows 10 Home doesn’t cut it, and I have my doubts about Windows 10 Pro as well.

            1. Ninety-Three says:

              I pointed at this in my comment above, but for every story you have of users pulling out their hair over user-unfriendly OS practices, there’s a story of developers pulling out their hair over the additional work required to be user-friendly. It’s something I never appreciated until my day job had me looking over a list of analytics data thinking “God damnit, why is that guy still on version 46? We should just force everyone to update every patch.”

              I don’t just mean that the developer’s job is hard and you should have sympathy for them, the important part here is that user-friendliness takes work, which means it’s not free. They could make a power-user version of Windows, but to do it they’d either have to redirect resources from elsewhere, or hire additional devs and increase the price to pay for it. If Microsoft could wave a magic wand and give you the product you want, they’d love to, but there might not be enough of a market for it when they have to build that product out of expensive human labour instead of fairy dust.

              1. John says:

                I don’t want a version of Windows that does more. I want a version of Windows that does less. I don’t want a built-in Windows store. I don’t want a Windows gaming service or XBox compatibility. I don’t want bundled applications that I didn’t ask for. I don’t want advertisements in my start menu. I don’t want Windows to check my e-mail accounts for me automatically. There are just so, so many things that Windows does that I don’t need, that I don’t want, that I can’t trust Windows to do properly anyway, and that Windows won’t let me kill, disable, or uninstall. I am not a software developer, but it seems to me that, with proper planning, it should be fairly straightforward to make the version that I want in the process of making the other version. Step 1: Make the version that I want. Step 2: Add cruft.

                To be fair, I do acknowledge the increased cost of supporting an additional version of Windows. Of course, Microsoft is already supporting half a dozen or so versions of Windows, so the only compelling business reason that I can think of that Windows 10 John doesn’t already exist is that Microsoft doesn’t think that there are enough people like me to make it worthwhile–which is very probably true, more’s the pity.

                1. Hector says:


                  This is what I want. I loved Microsoft back when its products were clunky and didn’t insult me b trying to control everything and integrate a billion useless “features”. Also,l I find it intrinsically irritating that they turned my Programs into “Apps,” because Microsoft is chasing fake trendy stuff in a pathetic effort to be cool.

                  Also, how is the company this bad about updates? I know of no other software ever made that takes this long to update, quite often for tiny updates too. Even server patching is generally going to be smoother than literally every Windows update unless you’re trying to do something like a complete reinstall.

                2. Asdasd says:

                  The good news is there’s already a version of Windows that does (or rather, doesn’t do) 95%+ of what you’re asking for here.

                  The bad news is they’re ending support for it next year.

      2. Steve C says:

        Paul, updates out of your control is that big of a deal when you are on a metered internet connection. Where an update downloading caps out your month or hits you with roaming charges. It’s also a big deal if you have a meeting and can’t because your computer decides it is busy.

        I remember one day I spent coordinating a time I could play D&D with a friend long distance. The day the stars finally aligned was also when his computer decided that was the proper time to start updating. Can’t have the video call with support programs. There was a multiple hours wasted and a bunch of problems from that as drivers and versions broke. Thanks Windows! Ended up having to use a speaker phone.

        I remember back when WoW could be played on dial-up. Some people were using very expensive data connections. It used so little bandwidth that it was fine. Then Blizzard rolled out an update that downloaded in the background without telling anyone. People got hit with multiple thousand dollar phone bills.

        It’s bullshit like this that makes updates you cannot control be unacceptable to some users.

  12. Chris says:

    I wish microsoft would just release 2 windows versions. Windows 1 which is the windows for dummies. It has everything special locked behind permissions and automatically updates and does all that other stuff. And windows 2 which is for experienced users. It doesn;t connect to the internet unless you want to, it doesnt update unless you want to, it doesnt even give an update popup unless you allow it to, and it lets you ravage the insides to your hearts content, or until it breaks the system, whatever comes first. Then i can load up settings and pretend i live in the windows XP era, while granny can just open word and download a pdf without getting into trouble.

    1. The Puzzler says:

      They’ve got Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 10 IoT Core (which appears to have a target market of ‘robots’)…. I don’t think if any of them are quite what you’re looking for though.

    2. Moridin says:

      There’s LTSC version, which is sort of what you want from what I hear. Of course, I’m fairly certain it isn’t sold to consumers, so if you want to use it you’ll have to pirate it.

  13. Darker says:

    For file operations in Windows may I suggest you try something like Total Commander? It blows Explorer out of the water (e.g. you can trivially mass rename files with certain extension to another extension among other things). And if you ever used Norton Commander during the DOS days you will feel right at home…

  14. RFS-81 says:

    I probably said this before already, but I bought Windows 8 when I bought my last gaming PC 3 years ago or so to avoid the end of support for Windows 7 and the data-harvesting in Windows 10. (There’s some telemetry stuff in optional updates for Windows 7/8 though…)

    The start menu is as bad as everybody says. Then again, I start all the games from the desktop anyway. I’ve placed a shortcut to the control panel on the task bar because it always takes a bit of digging to get to it otherwise. You first have to go through some stupid “Settings” menu that doesn’t let you do anything. I just don’t know what they were thinking with that one.

  15. tmtvl says:

    That cyberpunk city in Minecraft sounds interesting. If you’re gonna make a video walking around in it with Raytracing, I’m definitely gonna watch that.

    EDIT: did you forget to put the video of it being created in the show notes?

    1. Shamus says:

      Whoops. I did. Fixed.

  16. RFS-81 says:

    About the Epic store, I really don’t get where they’re going with it. I see no reason why I would get anything on it unless it’s either free or exclusive. Throwing some money around to attract people can be a good strategy, but if you’re not giving them a reason to stick around, then what’s the point?

    So far, the only time when the Epic store made me spend money was when I bought Celeste on the Switch after getting their free version on the PC, so I could play it on the train, and show my appreciation to the developers.

    I do want to try Satisfactory some time, though!

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I’ve been wondering about this for a while, what will Epic do now that their year long giveaway spree is, far as I know, coming to an end. I’m pretty sure the idea was as much to have people make an Epic account as it was for us to “keep the client open” when thinking about playing and, more importantly, buying games* but I don’t think they’ve managed to build a critical weight to my library, much less to the store. Like, I might go for Epic for a choice exclusive or if they’re going to give me a really, really good deal but I have to make a conscious effort to remember that if I buy Ubisoft games through Steam I’m giving Valve their tax for next to nothing**, or that GOG exists despite them offering me a much better option in terms of my customer rights… What I’m saying is that while I’m not one of the people who actively detest Epic I can’t imagine their store just spontaneously springing to my mind when I think about going videogame shopping.

      *GOG is doing a similar thing in their own way, first with GOG Connect and now with the Galaxy 2 client.
      **I still have to interact with Uplay, if I could avoid that we could start talking.

    2. Decius says:

      As a player of Satisfactory, wait until it’s finished before starting it. Not because of the bugs, but because taking a few months off means that you will lose your ability to remember what everything does and how it is laid out.

      It might be out on Steam before then.

  17. evilmrhenry says:

    Hearing you talk about Crash Team Racing was an interesting experience.

    For reference, this is from the Crash Bandicoot series, and is a remaster of the PS1 game, back when you could have a kart racing spinoff from your platforming mascot.

  18. droid says:

    Have you tried Reciever? I played it and remember trying to load my revolver after expending a few bullets. I dumped everything onto the floor and picked up the bullets that still had bullet left, then loaded them one by one into the gun.

    1. Decius says:

      That is, indeed, how one reloads a revolver.

      Receiver spent a lot of work getting their firearms operations right.

  19. Steve C says:

    Shamus wrote: So then the record label copyright claims the video and gets 100% of the revenue because they own 0.27% of the audio. […]
    But according to the law, the label might have a case.

    They don’t because what Youtube is doing is not the law. It is some bastardization that Youtube themselves came up with. There’s no law that supports having revenue transfers from a video because someone else own 0.27% of the audio. This vlogbrothers video has a couple of segments (@7min to 8min and @10min to11min) that has relevance. (Note that I do not like nor recommend that video. It has issues.)

  20. Sleeping Dragon says:

    I find the city question interesting because it gives me pause. My initial thought was to say that Watch Dogs had good NPCs and Yakuza’s Kamurocho has a lot of character but when thinking about it I come to a conclusion that I’m struggling to name a game that actually features a city and its exploration as its core immersive experience. Ostensibly AC sometimes claims to do that but it’s really much more of a “look! a landmark! you know it from movies and history books!” while you’re running around killing people and grabbing collectables. Maybe that tourist mode they started adding has a more immersive feel since I do remember reading about some people who visited Venice playing AC2 to revisit some of the landmarks.

    Connor Sherlock does this thing called Walking Simulator a Month Club that you can buy in bundles on Itch, it’s all about exploring spaces usually without getting a context for them and a few of those have a city-like atmosphere where you’re walking around canyons of towering structures with an obvious feel of artificiality and purpose to them. But his worlds are painted with broad strokes, his “buildings” are limited variations of crude blocks stretching out into the horizon, it elicits the emotional response it aims for but for me thiese are short trips because I know there isn’t really a lot to discover once I’ve scaled one of those structures and looked towards the horizon. Even though I know it’s impossible, I’d love for someone to be able to craft a detailed space like this, a sort of Gone Home exploration style thing the size of an actual city…

  21. Mikko Lukkarinen says:

    There’s a lot wrong with tech these days

    Oh, man…

    A couple of weeks ago I was visiting a friend and asked him what he’s been up to recently, so he shows me this programming project that he’s been working on. It’s a simple command line interface for a work hour tracker web app thingy that they use at work, a commercial product by some multinational, billion-dollar company.

    Why is he making a command line interface for an app that’s already got a proper user interface? Well!

    You know how in Excel or Google Sheets etc., when you want to change the width of a column, you just take your cursor to the edge of the column and drag? In this monster, you can’t do that. Instead, you have a slider in the upper right corner of the UI that, when dragged, changes the widths of all the columns.

    Want to check how much you worked in November? You might think it’d be as simple as “Start date: 1.11.2019, End date: 30.11.2019, Search.” Nope. You put 1.11.2019 as both the start and end date, then click this checkbox that says “include the whole month” and then search.

    The app is also slow. Why? Well, after tracking what his browser was sending and receiving, and working on this project for a while, it turned out that the app’s server sends anywhere from 2000-100,000 lines of json to even the simplest of requests, which in the worst case translates to about 6 MB of traffic (iirc). 20-40% of that is just null, even more of it is unchanged default values. Want to log in? Send 3 values, receive 10,000 in response, only 3 of those are necessary to update your work hours. That >100,000 line monster? That was the server’s response when my friend tried to ask for his work hour table’s ID. Also, it doesn’t do caching.

    Apparently it’s got a bunch of other issues too (lots of feature requests from coworkers), but those were the only ones he showed me. I also don’t know if this was the latest version of the app, but still. And maybe there’s some logical reason for having the server throw everything and the kitchen sink at the user, but I can’t see it.

    So if anyone’s ever worried about their programming skills, just remember: a large tech company sold this to a paying customer, another tech company, as a finished product. You can do better.

  22. Duoae says:

    Since I never played the original System Shock, I had no idea what to expect from this remake. I liked the modern lighting, textures and models but kinda disliked the way the level was designed – it didn’t feel like a lived-in space… which is what I like about modern games (see: Prey’s space station for comparison).

    I also struggled with being able to reload weapons – I struggled to see how much ammo I had (I couldn’t see a counter… I think there was one on the side of the weapon but I couldn’t read it) and the weapon that drains your energy reserves confused me because I didn’t see it was removing energy when I fired. >_<*

    My one big take away is that the game seems at a mid-alpha stage of development – the whole med-bay apparatus operation was really weird. Performance was particularly terrible on my system – I don't know what other people experienced but I was dropping frames or stuttering all the time. Granted, my 4 core system is basically 10 years old now and my CPU utilisation was around 90% (which was kinda cool) but I have no idea what the game was doing with that 90% utilisation when my RAM was sitting at around 3 GB used and the GPU was barely even tasked with running. It's not as if the game has huge geometries to render, complex AI (seriously, the AI was in a very basic stage), or a huge world.

    I wonder what it was doing…. still, my screenshots look really pretty,

    RE: erasing a memory of a game? I don't think I would erase my memory of any game. I don't think I could re-experience the game as I had in that original moment of discovery. Similar to what Shamus said, most of my fond memories of games are tied to the era, my then-current age and the environment the experience occurred within.

    For example: I first played through Majora's Mask one Christmas when I was living away from home and had to work Christmas day. I spent an entire week playing that game, 100%-ing it to get all the masks. I cooked up a super tasty (never-to-be-repeated) lamb stew and had that for breakfast, lunch and dinner for around 3-4 days. I was warm (it was very cold outside) and all the other students I lived with had gone home for Christmas so I had zero distractions and zero commitments. I must have played 8-10 hours every day (on days I wasn't working).

    Same goes for The Sands of Time. I played that at a time (again, I think in the Christmas holidays) that can't be repeated. I just wouldn't get that focus, maybe I'd hate the combat… Also, I've noticed that the re-releases/remasters do not have as good a sound quality that the original release had and I'd probably be playing one of those.

  23. Behemoth says:

    In regards to dragging and dropping in Windows Explorer, I find if I ever do that now-days (usually am a fan of keyboard shortcuts), I always right-click drag and drop. This brings up a menu at your destination, giving you options to copy file here, move it here, make a zip file of it here (depending on programs installed) or just plain change your mind and cancel. It is crazy to me that this is not the default left-click drag and drop behavior.

  24. Marc Forrester says:

    So the System Shock demo existed for a hot 48 hours and then vanished forever. They’ve pulled this before with the pre-bizarre-AAA-diversion demo, so it doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence.

    I’m guessing finding a version of this hacked free of Steam’s time vault is technically possible but highly unlikely, so does anyone have a representative let’s play to offer?

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