I hope you remembered to set your clocks ahead on Saturday night. Unless you’re in the southern hemisphere, in which case you need to move them back. Or maybe you’re in one of the countries that won’t move for a few more weeks. Or maybe you’re in a country that did it a few weeks ago. Or maybe you’re from a sane country that doesn’t feel the need to fiddle with the clocks twice a year.
Oh well. Have fun coordinating your remote meetings / raid / Skype call / project updates with people around the world! Remember, this chaos and loss of sleep is all for the public good in ways that can’t be proven or measured.
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Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.
00:00 Daylight Savings
As I’ve whined in the past: This is a dumb, disruptive hardship that causes lots of confusion and features some dubious and difficult-to-measure benefits. I hate it and I wish we could collectively stop doing this to ourselves.
Also, as someone with sleep pattern troubles, this sort of nonsense is the last thing I need. (Although it’s less miserable these days since I set my own hours.)
00:06 No Merch
Based on your feedback, I’m going to give the Patreon reward merch a miss. I’m not in a hurry to mess with merchandise. It doesn’t sound like there’s a lot of demand and there’s probably better ways to spend my time. Having said that, if I get a brilliant idea or if the mood takes me, then I might set up some small merch on one of the print-on-demand services at some point in the future.
This means we have once again returned to status quo. That’s my favorite kind of quo.
06:34 GeForce NOW
Here’s an overview of the story.
20:37 The Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Sucks
Two years ago, I said the game wasn’t a lot of fun. At the time, I assumed the game felt terrible to play because I was playing on a potato computer. But revisiting the game here in 2020, I can see I was being far too generous. I have a really strong PC now and I can play the game in its full 60FPS, everything-set-to-ultra glory. And now I can say definitively that this game is a mess. The shooting feels floaty. The level flow is atrocious. The kinaesthetics are worse. The animations are boring. The stealth makes no sense and feels like it was designed by someone who has never played a stealth game before. The environments are generic and repetitive.
It’s just bad. Shockingly bad.
25:36 The Death of E3?
Most of the key individuals and companies have pulled out. Nobody wants to go due to COVID-19 outbreak fears. If the big companies all skip E3 and discover they saved millions of dollars with no downside, then they’re probably going to wonder why they should come back next year.
30:45 PAX East
I keep telling myself: I’m going to go back one of these years. We’ll see.
35:23 Mailbag: Ending Endless Games
With linear games, you beat the campaign, maybe get all the collectibles, and you know you’ve finished. There’s no clear stopping point in games designed for endless replayability. I keep finding a game I love, playing it until I get bored, and walking away vaguely dissatisfied because even though I had a hundred hours of enjoyment, the most memorable part is that I quit on hour 101 when I wasn’t having any more fun.
How do you decide when to stop playing a game you could play forever, and how do you evaluate it when the game doesn’t change over time but your experience of it does?
41:02 Mailbag: Gaming as a new Parent
My wife and I brought home our first baby last month, and I’m curious to hear your experience with balancing a growing family and also relaxing to a videogame.
How did you balance gaming with watching a newborn, work out when one parent would watch the kids so the other could rest, and are there any good “up late with the baby” gaming activities you used? (For reference, several friends became Netflix fiends because they could watch Netflix while rocking -anything similar for gamers?)
47:41 Mailbag: What Have You Been Playing?
Dear Twenty Sided
I enjoyed the “What have you been playing?” thread that went up a few weeks ago. If you don’t get around to setting up forums/Discord/whatever, can we have more of those threads as a semi-regular feature of the blog?
50:43 Mailbag: Rust Language and OOP
I was watching a talk by Catherine West (aka Kyren from Chucklefish) where she was talking about how various programming paradigms work (and break) when developing video games. I’ll put the link in the postscript. When Shamus was writing his series on Jai he also discussed the topic, so I thought it would be of interest to you.
In question form: do you think Object Oriented Programming is a bad fit for video game development?
Here is the talk in question:
Here here is Jon Blow’s counter-argument:
Like I said on the show, I don’t really know enough about Rust to get involved in this discussion.
Could Have Been Great
Here are four games that could have been much better with just a little more work.
Quakecon Keynote 2013 Annotated
An interesting but technically dense talk about gaming technology. I translate it for the non-coders.
Are Lootboxes Gambling?
Obviously they are. Right? Actually, is this another one of those sneaky hard-to-define things?
The Best of 2016
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2016.
Revisiting a Dead Engine
I wanted to take the file format of a late 90s shooter and read it in modern-day Unity. This is the result.
127 thoughts on “Diecast #292: Geforce NOW, Wolfenstein Revisited, Mailbag”
I like daylight savings! Without it we’d have dawn at 4 in the morning, with it I get more time at home with the kids before it gets dark.
That issue is orthogonal to the problems of daylight savings. DLS is the time change twice a year. IE the ?.
I have the same issue where I live; There’s not enough light in the pm, and too much in the am. The better solution is to set the local timezone so it is not dawn at 4am in the morning in March. Then simply leaving the time alone. The clock does not need to be changed year after year for that to occur.
In other words the problem you describe is being caused by setting the clocks *back* in Fall. Rather than a problem solved by DLS, it is masking a problem with a temporary solution that has no need to be temporary.
Well, depending on where you live it may be pointless to have the total amount of daylight you get in winter centered around noon, and it may be better to have dawn early or dusk late so people have light when they need to be out and about.
Ok? I did not claim otherwise. You seem to be arguing against a point I did not make.
Sorry, I read too much into it. I guess sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
Sure. But I fear that when there is a push to abolish daylight saving time then the most likely outcome is that daylight saving time gets abolished – not that winter losing time (??) is instead abolished. So we would end up on winter time all the time which would suck in summer where I live.
If there was a referendum which lists the option of moving completely to summer time then I would consider it but I haven’t heard a politician talk of such a thing where I live.
It’s it though? Whilst ADST is great in summer, in winter it would mean sunrise at 8:00 am!
Sunrise moves by around 2 and a half hours here through the year, one timezone can’t accommodate that.
I hate daylight savings. The Netherlands are in GMT by geography, but instead we keep German time (GMT + 1 ). This means that in winter we have the sun at its apex on 12:45. With daylight savings this becomes 13:45. Crazy! It means the sun will only go down at 23:00 in June. This is very bad. Ever tried to sleep while the sun was still up? That is my experience every. single. day. during some parts of summer. And not only me, every school kid and every person with a job suffers from this. It would be sufferable, if not for the constant barbecueing outside where people talk way too loudly because they have had alcohol. And I understand that too: everyone is constantly suffering from DST so once in a while they want to reap the benefits being able to barbecue until 23.30.
DST should be named SDT. Sleep Deprivation Time.
I apologize for my crazy fellow Germans who, during the survey about keeping or abolishing DST, actually voted for, I kid you not, staying permanently in DST, i.e. UT 0200 all year round…
Well luckily our prime minister has stated that the Netherlands should coordinate with the Benelux, so hopefully the German preference will not affect us.
No need to apologize for your fellow Germans. I mean, you are not mind-controlling them, right? And they are entitled to their opinion. My opinion just happens to differ, also because it is specific for the Dutch situation.
We don’t do daylight savings in my part of the world. It was tried. The political party that tried it twice got voted out both times. Pretty definitive, IMO. But I read a comment about DST the other day, so I had the feeling this would be up early for me.
In addition to the signal-to-noise of E3, and chances of infection, last year they also had that big security balls-up. If I was considering going, I’d be strongly considering against it. Still, it’s fun to watch from afar.
With any kind of game in general, I play until I get bored. No point in hoping it’ll suddenly get fun again. Skyrim is my favourite game of all time. I have over 3,000 hours in it, somehow. But I haven’t touched it this year. Maybe I just burned out.
Saskatchewan does not use daylight savings time, despite the rest of the country using it. I would hope nobody is foolish enough to try introducing it, because:
– In the height of summer, we have something like 18 hours of daylight. One extra or less hour in the afternoon is pretty pointless.
– In the dead of winter, we have around 6 hours of daylight, and it’s usually overcast. This also isn’t going to be helped by one hour moving around.
 This seems especially weird, since the northern territories have even more skewed daylight / darkness, where entire days will have 0 or 24 hours of sunlight.
I brought home my third baby last month, so I do feel like I can share a bit of perspective on this one.
Unfortunately, I’m afraid the main advice here is “Your priorities are going to adjust and you’re just going to have to live with it.”
In the early stages, you can certainly find time to sit down for video games again. Babies sleep a lot, so it’s not impossible to find some time of the day when the chores are all finished and the baby is sleeping and one of you can be doing something else. But keep in mind the video games (or whatever you do to relax) comes at the cost of the thousand and one new chores you have (not to mention the ones that you had before the baby.)
As you said, there’s definitely times when you and your spouse have to trade off on taking breaks. You just have to be vigilant about sharing those well. You’re both going to be sleep deprived and on edge, and it’s pretty easy to get annoyed at your spouse for not doing his/her fair share. Whether that feeling is legitimate or not is beside the point; you’re both going to be stressed and needing to support one another, and that may mean putting gaming on the backburner for a while.
The good news is that this doesn’t last forever. Eventually, your kids are not so high maintenance, sleep through the night, and take regular naps that provide a defined window for pursuing non-child related interests. You just have to be patient about getting there.
As for “baby compatible” activities, TV is certainly there because you don’t have to do anything in particular. You’ll get a lot of mileage out of tablet/mobile games right now, too, because you can generally play those with one hand. I’d suggest checking out the offerings from Handelabra, whose schtick is making digital versions of board/card games. I’ve really enjoyed Sentinels of the Multiverse and One Deck Dungeon.
Congratulations, and good luck!
Two kids here – yes, your priorities have to adjust. My kids get way too worked up over my games in ways I don’t like (mostly fighting), so I can’t play when they’re around at all. Since neither of them sleeps much, that means I don’t play much because I prioritize sleep.
For balancing with your spouse, there’s no such thing as a fair split of chores because there are just too many factors. (I generally do all the dusting because dusting triggers my husband’s asthma. Unfair that I do 100% of dusting? I guess, but asthma attacks are also unfair. Meanwhile, cleaning the toilets takes 30 seconds, but I hate doing it so much it’s worth it to me to do a longer chore in exchange. Then there are other chores, such as making the bed, that I ask my husband to do/help with because he can do them 10x faster than I can due to more strength and significantly longer arms.) My recommendation is for your goal to be to have equal amounts of leisure time. If one of you is taking classes or has a much longer commute, the other has to pick up more of the work – but each of you should still get roughly the same amount of time to pursue their own interests. But note that with multiple very young kids and demanding jobs, said amount of time may be 1-2 hours a week and may not increase much until the kids get quite a bit older.
Being a life-long pessimist, I’m going to second this advice with a bit of an anecdote. One of the things a family councilor told my Mom (or therapist? I don’t know the proper English equivalent, but the lady was a psychologist who specialized in family counseling) was that having a new baby is the biggest test a family can have. Even bigger than a death in the family. I saw that when my sister was born three years ago, which coincided with the death of my Grandma, who passed away two months before my sister was born.
Seeing both changes happen so closely together, I have to say that a newborn really does leave a much bigger impact – not only in the short term, but in the long term, as well. This is why there are many couples who split up/have a divorce shortly after they have a child. I’ve always thought of this as something very irresponsible, especially when the child is very young. But having a kid really does make you realign your priorities, in ways you’d never expect, and sometimes that can end up in a not very pretty outcome.
Of course, it could have the opposite effect, as well – in our case, for instance, we’ve never felt closer together. But that’s the thing – the impact a tiny, new human being has is so huge that I wonder if it’s even possible for things to ever be the same.
As for my experience, while I’ve never had kids, I do feel like I have some parental experience, since I was very active in takng care of my sister when she was an infant, and still do so from time to time. In terms of gaming and movie-watching, I fell pretty far behind, although watching Let’s Plays propped up the gaming front quite well.
What I found really surprising, however, is how long it took me to realize I had been missing out, and how little I cared about it. It wasn’t until one year ago that I realized “Hey, wait a minute, there are A LOT of new movies and games I haven’t watched/played! And when was the last time I went to the cinema? Oh yeah, it was three millenia ago, when we realigned our schedules so my Mom and I could watch Endgame. Oh, well, maybe I could…. OMG, LOOK AT THAT! My sister’s learned a new song, and wants to sing it to me!!!!!!'”
So, yes, your priorities will change, but it might take you some time to notice, and an even longer time for you to start caring about it (if you start caring about it at all). Even though I’ve lived for 23 years before my sister was born, it feels extremely weird thinking back to the years prior to her entering our lives. Everything before that time just feels so superfluous…
Strong agree on the priority adjustment.
As far as games and media that are baby-compatible: single-player games which can be easily interrupted seemed to work best. Books are also great. Anything requiring a large, uninterrupted time commitment tends to be a little more difficult; movies fall into this category in my mind. With each successive baby, movie watching and personal game-playing has dwindled for me. I’ve also become much more deliberate in how I spend my time overall, though, which has really reduced the priority of a lot of media (including games).
The amount that I read about games seems to be inversely proportional to the amount I play. So reading this blog should also be added to the list of baby-friendly activities.
That said, kids get older. I watch plenty of (Disney) movies now and my older kids have a lot of fun playing Kerbal.
Shamus, I appreciate your “It’s consumer rights” take on GeForce Now. The coverage I’ve seen of it everywhere has been conspicuously neutral: they often don’t even describe the service in enough detail for you to notice that it’s a consumer rights issue, and in the place where a rant would normally go, there’s nothing. I wonder if the journalists haven’t noticed that it’s a consumer rights issue, and so are just covering it as another press release to mindlessly parrot in order to generate a few clicks.
Actually, thank you for bringing up a related issue: the quality of gaming journalism is a disaster.
I am not talking about reviews here. Rather, gaming game sites are basically rock bottom in terms of investigation, analysis of trends, or even actual reporting. These seem to be almost entirely foreign concepts. Mist of them run on clickbait and some questionable ethics, though I get the financial challenges involved.
Oh yeah, gaming “journalism” is unworthy of the name, not because of ethics or anything but because they are three parts parroting press releases to one part consumer product reviews to zero parts actual journalism. To be fair I mostly don’t think they’re trying to inflate their status or anything, it’s just that we don’t have a good word for “press releases and product reviews” so journalism got picked up for lack of a better description.
In the same vein as “What have you been playing lately?” I think it could be very informative to ask Twenty-sided “Where do you get your gaming news?” It’d be useful to go into detail with stuff like “I follow JoeBobGaming’s Youtube Channel and he’s kind of a Nintendo fanboy but he has really good coverage of leaks, RockPaperShotgun is my feed for hearing about neat indie games and I read everything by Jason Schreier because he is the one investigative journalist in the industry”.
I bet more people click on a trailer for The Last of Us 2, than a month’s long research piece on working conditions. If anything Kotaku and Polygon garnered quite a lot of hate from Reddit for reporting on Red Dead Redemption crunch, because that’s ‘political’
Even if the clicks work out, it takes dozens, sometimes hundreds of times more effort to do real journalism than to write up the couple hundred words of padding necessary to justify an article saying “There’s a trailer, go watch it”. I don’t blame anyone for not doing real journalism on an ad-revenue model, the economics just don’t work out. Stuff like Buzzfeed’s serious journalism wing (which is surprisingly not at all “Buzzfeedy”) is basically a vanity project and the owners often admit as much, though not in quite those words.
Yeah, Kotaku has by far the MOST investigative gaming journalism published… and they’re also possibly the most hated by the general “gamer” population for frankly laughable reasons. It’s not a shock that most outlets stray from doing hard, expensive work that could both lose them access with high powered devs AND make the morons in their audience hate them.
This is conflating investigation and editorializing. Kotaku gets a lot of flak for various political stances, but it is demonstrably possible to, for instance, report on working conditions at Bioware without adding commentary on unions or feminism or whatever the internet’s mad about this week. There’s no telling whether a no-politics version would attract a larger or smaller audience (you’d get more of the currently alienated anti-Kotaku people, and less engagement from those who enthusiastically agree with Kotaku), but it doesn’t really matter because serious videogame journalism isn’t about turning a profit anyway: if it were going to respond to market forces it would just shut down.
Kotaku is not hated for their investigative journalism, but their op-ed content and pervasive framing of narratives that always seem to go one way, all the time, for whatever reason. Narratives that have wings outside of the Kingdom of Gamers and become unexamined assumptions in the wider mainstream culture due to the nature of clickbait and sensationalism.
The irony here is that an investigation into Rockstar’s crunch strategies IS more substantial than most of what passes for game journalism these days. Unfortunately, nobody outside of (or even within) gaming really cares. That’s not a story that floats up to the interest of mainstream media organizations and a wider audience (you can probably guess from the last half decade which stories DO). That’s not where Kotaku gets the butter for their bread. And many people are not yet ready to give a pass to a history of Culture War antagonism from that outlet just because Jason Schreier can pump out a good article here and there, because so much of the remainder of Kotaku’s output is perceived as toxic and harmful.
Quite frankly, I’m not sure there’s much hunger for “investigative journalism” in gaming any more than there is for it in film. There have been demands for analysis and product evaluations, but few people care about the internal workings of EA, Blizzard, Rockstar, CDPR, or anybody else beyond a novelty interest. So to throw out “Kotaku is giving you what you say you want, morons” is disingenuous. You may disagree with them, but there are reasons for people give Kotaku the side-eye beyond being dumb and hateful.
PS. This is not an anti-Kotaku post, and I don’t want this conversation to veer into anything Shamus feels compelled to moderate. Just a reminder that – like, man, people have reasons, dude.
I agree with you on the investigative journalism part. I think a lot more people say they want it than actually do. And criticising outlets for their lack of ‘journalism’ is really misplaced criticism for people disagreeing with the opinions they put out (cultural opinions or reviews).
Ultimately gaming is a hobby, it’s not work and gaming media is that even more so. It’s not unique to gaming. Arts magazines, car magazines, literary sections of newspapers, sports media – they all off-branches of entertainment and people mostly read them as part of engaging with their hobbies.
Unfortunately ‘investigative journalism’ is something that generally is not ‘popular’ and finds it hard to sustain itself. As far as I can tell, ‘videogames’ is just not another genre where this is true, but it applies much wider across culture. And in this broader sense it worries me, as even just knowing there’s a bunch of experienced and thorough investigators out there serves as a check on all kinds of power and corruption. Western society at large is more and more lacking that.
There’s one customer group whose needs you forget about – people who work in game development. There is very little “insider” journalism, so the hobbist press have to work double-time.
Outlets aimed at game developers are filled with people flaunting their successes, selling middleware/business solutions, or sharing their academic findings that are often unsubstantiated. GDC talks are incredibly useful, but they mostly cover the technical and artistic side of things. The only people openly talking about project management, marketing and many other important aspects of video game development are Indies – But their advice are often coloured by survivor’s bias or based on incorrect conclusions.
That’s why Jason Schreier’s articles (and books) are so impactful. They help spread the lessons the big developers learned, but are unwilling to share. They help people understand the importance of scheduling, marketing, people retention, workforce needs, changing trends, new markers etc.
I wonder what you call “laughable reasons”. As far as I know, people hate Kotaku for their tendency to get overtly political, blaming gamers while protecting developers and publishers (whether they have an actual, valid point or not) and generally ban people merely for having the opposite opinion, regardless of how civil they are.
Perhaps you take a look at Kotaku’s comments sections and believe you’re looking at the bulk of opinions against the website there. No, those comments sections are severely policed in order to give the audience the illusion that every complaint against them is silly, by removing legitimate complaints and leaving all the insane ones, so to a passerby it looks like only lunatics dislike the place.
In fact, I would hesitate to call what they do “journalism”. Journalism is supposed to be unbiased, to only present the facts and let people form their own opinions. Kotaku blasts their audience with their own biased opinions and refuse to accept any opposite ones. A “Either you’re with us or you’re banned” mantra is hardly a “laughable” reason to dislike a group.
Shoeboxjeddy’s comment was provocative, it’s rarely ever good to call a wide group of people morons, but I am always surprised by the level of kotaku hate. It feels way out of proportion for what they do, which is basically expressing opinions in a way people find unfavorable on the internet.
EDIT: No, maybe I do understand. I do get very frustrated at MovieBob, and what Bob does is no more serious.
“As far as I know, people hate Kotaku for their tendency to get overtly political, blaming gamers while protecting developers and publishers (whether they have an actual, valid point or not) and generally ban people merely for having the opposite opinion, regardless of how civil they are.”
This would be a good example of what I’m talking about, actually. Kotaku is HATED by devs and publishers for refusing to act as a mere outlet for the publishing of press releases. They have been banned by various developers/publishers, including Ubisoft and Bethesda for releasing news scoops instead of holding verified information to… preserve those company’s marketing plans (what a shock that a news outlet chooses to publish news). They have published very critical articles diagnosing industrial problems at Bioware/EA, Rockstar, and CD Projekt Red. And for all this work, people see them as an anti-consumer, pro-dev shill because… they also have an openly progressive political agenda? That proves to me that a certain subset of the consumers are beyond help.
Nothing you said contradicts his complaint. He never said Kotaku were corporate shills and you’re the one who introduced “anti-consumer”. The phrase that triggered your projection, “while protecting developers” is critically attached to “blaming gamers”. A lot of people hate Kotaku because when there’s a political fight between gamers and developers, Kotaku is more likely than say, IGN.com to write that the developers are doing God’s work while the gamers are being entitled babies. Gamers, like everyone else, don’t like to be told they’re wrong and hate to hear that the thing they’re mad about is not in fact terrible.
From my experiences, Polygon and The Escapist (editorial) were more fond of writing pro-dev screeds than Kotaku. The worst might have been Penny Arcade News, which is unsurprising when some of the staff from that was hired up by Polygon after they ended it. Not that it’s unwarranted to write pro-developer articles, sometimes that viewpoint is fair to say. I just don’t see a lot of notable or infamous examples coming from Kotaku.
Without getting political at all, the people who think in the following way are indescribably silly. “I can’t believe that the organization I’m trying to convince everyone is Satan (gaming journalism) continuously describes me and my activist friends as negative and hateful! Why can’t they provide the balanced view that they are huge biased liars? That just proves what I’ve been saying about them all along!”
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Kotaku-haters are not exactly fond of Polygon either. If your point is that Kotaku shouldn’t be villain #1, maybe you’re right, but EA probably shouldn’t be the poster child for microtransactions when Zynga exists: the internet is pretty capricious in how it vents its frustration.
As for your analogy: “I can’t believe that the organization I’m trying to convince everyone is Satan (North Korea) continuously describes me and my activist friends as negative and hateful! Why can’t they admit to all the atrocities they’ve committed? That just proves what I’ve been saying about them all along!” I’m not saying Kotaku is North Korea, but if this example is valid then you can’t just issue a blanket dismissal to such arguments, you need to actually consider their claims. And we shouldn’t do that here, since that’d be getting into politics, and also just be a boring rehash of an old internet fight that’s been had a million times before.
Wait, did the chicken come before the egg, or the egg before the chicken?
Right now, journalism as a whole is a financial mess. The gaming branch was just *always* a mess.
It might be a good video idea for you Shamus? Big companies like Blizzard have pulled out too, and I haven’t heard anyone talk about it from a consumer rights angle.
Looks like Penny Arcade arrived at that take too. They echo my complaint about the coverage, how reporting made it sound like this was a Stadia clone, and how indefensibly entitled it is of the developers to prevent you playing your games on the wrong sort of computer.
Don’t forget the countries where some parts observe daylight savings, but other parts (in the same time zone) do not. That’s like bonus fun. Especially if you live right on the border between the two regions.
The USA is one of those countries. If you’ve ever seen “Arizona” listed as a Time Zone in software, it’s because that particular state doesn’t observe DST.
It’s even better than that. Below is explained the Daylight Saving Donut.
I find it weird that you listed Factorio and Minecraft as procedural content games. Yeah technically the world of Factorio is procgen, but it’s so sparse that it barely qualifies as content. Like, if instead of being procedural, Factorio just threw down one patch of iron ore every 500 meters on a grid repeating out forever, would that appreciably change the experience of the game? I think it wouldn’t, because the game of Factorio is the factory building mechanics, and the only effect that world generation has on that is determining exactly how many belts you have to throw down to carry coal over to your iron smelters. Factorio’s procgen feels almost cosmetic, and the fact that you can play it forever is due to the fact that it’s an infinite blank canvas rather than a world of endless content.
I think procedural generation adds more to games like Factorio than you give them credit for. It might not seem like it the FIRST time you start a new game, but what about the second and third times? I haven’t actually played Factorio, but I imagine starting a new game would be much less appealing if you completely removed the exploration aspect.
Yeah, I think it would. It wouldn’t completely change the game – featureless plane Factorio would still be Factorio – but significant aspects of the game are driven by the procgen:
Your base design is constrained by how the world generates: lakes, forests, and cliffs are all obstacles that need to be worked around or avoided; and of course where the deposits are has a major impact on where and how you layout your base.
And other aspects of the game are driven by procgen: how dense resources and how abundant enemies are have a big affect as well. For example I like setting the procgen to “rail world” which makes large but spread out deposits, which strongly encourages an extensive rail system, which noticeably affects how the game plays.
Kind of funny that you casually mention people getting out their pitchforks if it was Activision when it was Activision (or at least the Blizzard part of it) that was the first one to pull their games off Geforce Now. Also Bethesda.
You should move over to the other coast of the Atlantic. The EU has decided for DST to end and next year will be the last that we have to change our clocks. Finally.
Except that pretty much no country has decided which one to adapt permanently yet, and we’re risk ending up with completely arbitrary time zones. It’s a mess.
Disclosure: I’m in favor of switching around twice a year.
Timezones ARE arbitrary, Around here we’ve been told that “next year change is going to be the last one” for a long time, there’s always been something that caused it to delay. For the last couple of years the reason was that the entire EU needs to stop switching time in sync (which to be fair is a pretty good one) but there have been other reasons in the past and it’s honestly been a fairly low priority it seems.
If we’re keeping score I’m in favour of sticking to one time.
There are also timezones with +30 and +45 minute offsets, like India (UTC +5:30) or Australia (AWST is UTC+8, ACWST is UTC+8:45, and several others, including some locations with different timezones than their enclosing land).
Then on the other hand, China (which is really a quite wide country) now runs on a single timezone.
If we could just get everyone on the planet to stop these shenanigans, we’d have less hassle and heart-attacks every year. :)
 OK, technically it just shifts the heart-attack distribution earlier in the week, but it’s still adding peak-load to hospitals, instead of having it more spread out. That still means hospitals need to increase staff, at least for shifts on those weeks.
Unfortunately here in the UK we will probably keep DST just to be different from Europe, it’ll probably become a point of f-ing patriotic pride.
It already is. David Cameron wanted to switch to +1, but it was unpopular, partly because the UK being GMT 0 is a reminder of our old power.
There’s been talk of switching to permanent +1 for quite some time now – certainly before Cameron – but the main objection actually comes from the Scots, who argue with some justification that it would give them less daylight than the South. Of course, it would be possible for them to have their own timezone – the US has several, after all. OTOH, the government might worry that this would give more fuel to the Scottish independence movement. It’s a little more complicated than just ‘patriotic pride’.
I respect the Scottish argument, but I suspect that’s not the main reason because the English public are normally quite happy to ignore Scottish concerns if it suits them…
To the uninitiated, who is Chris Ceserrano (you mention him at around this point). I tried several different spellings, but Uncle Google isn’t in a helpful mood today…
I’m not an expert, but I think first part of his last name should be pronounced the same way as in the name Cesare.
Oh, sorry, I misread your comment, never mind me.
Chris Cesarano is a correct spelling. i think. I’ve googled something game-related stuff with this spelling, like Steve Podcast and Gamasutra blog.
Ahaaa! It’s this guy! Now I remember! Thanks!
One thing I never got around to saying afaik was how disappointed I was in how little the new Wolfenstein games had to say about evil, totalitarianism, or the nature of Fascism. I know those sound like weighty topics, and it’s not like the old games did, either. But given their budgets, cutscenes, and writing, the new Wolfenstein series looked as though it might actually be doing this but they always fell short. Their version of Nazis were somehow incredibly powerful and unstoppable while also being, well, stoppable.
What I would have liked to see, even in a small way, was something to show how they got their soldiers, how ordinary people were bent or forced to serve evil even if they hated it, how tyrannical governments can shove very ugly choices on people. For that matter, it would be interesting to see if the villainous ideology changed once they needed soldiers and there weren’t enough warm bodies that met their nasty racist standards. In other words, there’s a lot of room between “utterly evil supervillain” and “blindingly good hero”, and there was a cool, missed opportunity to show that king of story. Instead its nithing more that shooting bad guys in different environments.
Eeeeeh, honestly I can see how they’d rather not humanize they’d rather not humanize their mooks in any way and the topic is a real minefield that I’d trust very few authors with.
There is a huge difference between undetstanding Evil and excusing it. And I am somewhat concerned that video games, if anything, trivialize truly awful subjects by making them obvious Manichean good/evil dichotomies.
I do not suggest making Evil look less bad than it really is. I am suggesting that the writers could have looked at all sides of the monster to show just how horrible it is.
Just to be clear I agree with you in principle, to the point where I do think this is slightly problematic in that by accepting the “Nazism is evil” axiom we tend to, particularly in popculture, treat it with a reductive “evil does not need to be explained” approach. Which blinds us to many issues, such as “how could large groups of seemingly sane people find this not just acceptable but perhaps appealing”.
On the other hand I do understand the desire for coherent, simple narrative in our entertainment, and my point was more that Wolfenstein wouldn’t really be my first choice of franchise if I was looking for a nuanced dissertation on the nature of man’s inhumanity to man.
Quoted: “my first choice of franchise if I was looking for a nuanced dissertation on the nature of man’s inhumanity to man.”
Oddly enough, that’s exactly why I picked that idea out. Figure it would hit the audience much harder.
…honestly I have no idea if The Man In The High Castle actually does any of that, and I didn’t much like it, but I’ll remind people it exists.
I felt like it went out of its way to make its Nazis extra gratuitously evil. Like one of the protagonists is driving through the Bible Belt and it starts snowing, he realizes it’s not snow but ash, and a conveniently nearby state trooper casually explains that the local hospital incinerates undesirables every Thursday. But the Nazis have occupied America for two decades at that point: how can there be any undesirables left? This is a huge cloud of ash far from the hospital, it’s not just the weekly haul of one or two communists you might still be rooting out.
The whole scene isn’t relevant to any plot, it’s just there for flavour before the protagonist leaves town. Little things like that are where the writer makes his priorities clear: it’s more important to heap extra villainy on the bad guys than it is to have a world that makes sense.
Speaking bluntly, the Holocaust in Europe took MUCH longer than 2 years to carry out and was not every group they hated done all at once. They increased the scope of what they were doing over time. Presumably a similar activity carried out in another location would follow a similar pattern.
Two years is not two decades, and in the world of The Man In The High Castle, they aren’t busy fighting a war and they’re helped by having seemingly open borders with the ungoverned middle of America (it doesn’t make a lot of sense) that any sane undesirable would’ve fled to 19.99 years ago.
From what I’ve been told here, Wolfenstein appeared irredeemably stupid. I’d recommend reading a book on the topic instead.
I can’t really say anything more on Geforce Now than i did two podcasts ago.
The concept at issue with GeForce Now discussions is the first-sale doctrine. It is also known as the “right of first sale” “first sale rule” and “exhaustion rule.” This concept is fairly universal and codified into the various copyright laws around the world.
@9min you mention that if someone put your game up on their store that you would be upset if you did not give authorization. Except if it is a resale, then you have no right to complain. Well you could complain, but you can and should be ignored.
I’m not sure how first-sale would even apply here given no physical object is involved; one reason why copyright holders love digital sales so much is because of how neatly it erodes first-sale rights.
Physicality is inconsequential when talking about intangible goods.
From your own link:
Which is specific to the USA. The concept itself is not specific to the USA. I linked to a page explaining the concept rather than a law. From the very next paragraph about Europe:
So, the same case is “Copyright Infringement” in the US, but “Consumer Rights’ Protection” in the EU? Oh boy…
This seems to be heavily interlinked with the case in France where the High Court of Paris decided on behalf of a consumer rights group UFC-Que Choisir, that customers own the games they have bought on Steam and, therefore, have a right, and should have a capability, to resell them.
There’s no resale here, so the first-sale doctrine isn’t applicable. The customer is paying someone else to use their purchased-good on their behalf. As far as I know, that should still be legal, but your argument doesn’t lead to that conclusion.
OK, I just thought of this. As I understand how EULAs are written and enforced right now in the USA, it wouldn’t be allowed, since digital sales are not an ownership of a good, but ownership of a non-transferable license to use some software. So, NVIDIA playing the game on the gamer’s behalf would be a transfer of that license, and not allowed.
Or the license, even if it were transferable for that one (1) copy of the game alongside a mandatory renewal of the EULA, might be a “personal, non-commercial license”, meaning that, as soon as Nvidia charges money for the Geforce NOW service, they break the contract (assuming Nvidia bought the game as a regular consumer, but, based on the fact most developers don’t know that their product is on Geforce NOW, they must have – otherwise they could only acquire a copy by flat-out pirating the game, which would be obviously illegal). I can’t find the specific EULA The Long Dark uses, but other EULAs have such a provision – the Final Fantasy VII Remake EULA, for example, specifically prohibits the customer to “use the software for commercial software hosting services.”.
I don’t see how first sale doctrine even enters the conversation – nothing is even being resold. Therefore, this cannot possibly be an issue.
Regarding Wolfenstein 2, I gave up about half way through and the poor level design was definitely part of the reason. I could have tolerated the story if the level design was better but combining irritating level designs with a lackluster story was to much for me.
It really surprised me, both New Order and Old Blood had generally good level design (with a few exceptions) but New Colossus really dropped the ball there.
Re: GeForce Now, the comparison I keep bringing up is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aereo
Aereo was a recording service for local TV channels. The business model was that customers would lease an antenna on Aereo’s property, and Aereo would record programming received on that antenna and stream it back to the customer. Keep in mind that these are local channels which were already broadcast over the air for free, and they were still sued into bankruptcy. The Supreme Court itself ruled that their model was “public performance” and therefore required permission of copyright holders.
I’m not saying that I like that outcome, but it does seem to my non-lawyer self that at minimum GeForce would need to overturn Supreme Court precedent in order to offer games on their service without permission. It’s understandable why they wouldn’t want to go that route.
Though I am not a lawyer, I would seriously question the application of the Aereo decision to GeForceNow. Legally, there are very distinct issues involved if I understand right.
And yet I haven’t really seen those distinctions mentioned in these discussions; it feels like all the discussion I’ve seen is people grumbling about how they think copyright law should work and not how it actually works. Which is a perfectly fine thing to grumble about, as long as you realize that’s what you’re doing.
I’m not sure you’ve said anything that suggests you understand it, either. As far as I can determine, no legal threat has been implied at this time against GeForce, and copyright was not raised as an issue.
I can see a *hypothetical argument* along those lines against GeForce, but I also see strong arguments against it.
The very fact that game companies are “pulling” their games strongly implies that they think they have the weight of copyright law behind them, unless there’s some other threat they’re leveraging against GeForce (I’ll admit I’m not sure if that would make it better or worse)
I specifically laid out several points about the Aereo case that are parallels to some of the arguments being made here. The one I’m most concerned about is the “public performance” angle given the games are running on NVidia’s servers unless I’m massively misunderstanding what cloud gaming servers means.
Technically the companies aren’t removing their games from the service, they’re sending GeForce nasty letters saying “Pull our games or we’ll sue you” and GeForce is taking the safe route. If GeForce thinks there’s an 80% chance the courts would rule in their favour, then they’ll still probably comply because the remaining 20% carries some pretty ruinous penalties. Even if they were 100% certain they could win the case, for an issue this complicated they’d still probably have to spend years and piles of legal fees fighting it out, so they might decide to bend to pressure because it’s better for their bottom line than a Pyrrhic victory in court.
I mentioned this some time ago as well: Nvidia has a tight relationship to most if the top gaming companies as it helps them develop and implement graphics. This in turn gives Nvidia an slight but crucial edge in technology compared to Radeon. Damaging that relationship risks the company as a whole, so Nvidia will never deliberately choose that over an entirely new and unproven line of business.
I say we abolish time zones entirely. It’s 5 AM everywhere in the world all at once: in some countries that means dawn, elsewhere it’s the middle of the day and elsewhere still it’s dusk. I know this would create some linguistic awkwardness by forcing most of the world to decouple the concept of “yesterday” from either what the clocks say or where the sun is, but if you’ve ever worked as a programmer you know that it’s worth it to have computers that process time in a straightforward manner.
We already have Zulu time (GMT±0) which airplane pilots use. I say we go all the way in the other direction, and use local solar which is adjusted based on solar noon at your Lat Lon coordinates.
Wouldn’t that effectively be the same as +-timezone, but with higher precision? As far as I know, the time of local noon is the same in the summer and winter, but the height of the sun in the sky is lower or higher. So that should be the same as just abolishing daylight savings time, but also introducing decimals on the timezone-number.
Well, we already use decimals in several timezones, so that shouldn’t be much of an obstacle.
It would have the benefit of reducing the “pick your timezone” UIs from lists of citys/numbers, down to just a -12:00 to +12:00 number-picker. :)
Everyone on local solar time! Paul Spooner for president!*
*I am aware this technically violates the no-politics rule.
Thanks for your vote! … But there are very good reasons why I will never be president.
I mean, everybody knows the day becomes “yesterday” when I go to sleep regardless of what hour the clock might be showing (further complicated by the fact that I work shifts so about 2-3 times a week I got bed at 9am once I’m back from work).
All times should be given in seconds since epoch.
In nanos since Big Bang. …how much is 13.8 billion years in nanos?
EDIT: about 49*10e729?
Surely it should be Planck times?
There’s a milliard nanoseconds in a second, less than a milliard seconds in a year, that times 13.8 milliard… You’re off by more than 700 orders of magnitude.
I may have multiplied the seconds in a Gregorian century with something I shouldn’t have multiplied it with…
Shamus, you probably should keep lots of different save game files. It sounds like you could benefit greatly by having a local saves. I’d recommend saving to a separate file every hour given what you’ve said about how you generate video and screenshots. That way you only ever have to replay a game for a max of 1 hour before you find the section that you need to generate a screenshot for. There are workarounds for limited save slots and other systems that replace save files by default. Like a 20 hour game generating 20 files would be much easier to store long term than 20hours of footage.
Still wouldn’t prevent the alternate companion problem from Mass Effect, but yeah, keeping a save-game log is good.
That is correct. However games that have multiple paths like Mass Effect tend to have other people with the same issue. Then a community forms around sharing saves. Which is still no guarantee of getting what is needed to generate screenshots, yet is pretty good odds given the potential time saving.
Man, remember when GFWL encoded save files in such a way that not only you couldn’t share them with others, you couldn’t even back them up to use yourself later in other PCs (or, ocassionally, even the same one)? What a massive piece of sh*t that software was. I’m glad it died, but it really should have died way sooner.
Also there are saved game editors for mass effect 2 and 3. They can solve the problem quote smoothly. I.e. you can get a save from before the suicide mission, edit to say you saved Kaidan, load it and problem solved.
Yeah. That is true of similar games with branching paths. The more major branching save states a game has, the easier it is to find a save game file on the internet. I’d focus on saves rather than video footage for long term archival.
Huh. I liked Jon Blow’s rant more than I thought I would when I started watching the video.
Like, in this rant he’s making a very general, very abstract point, so it’s hard to strongly disagree with him, but the way he explains it is pretty insightful and well-structured.
Maybe I’ll start watching his videos after all.
He definitely seems to have good technical knowledge!
Thank God my country stopped using DST years ago. It drove me insane. Even when a few people desperately tried to pretend it was useful, I could never get past the fact that no, it absolutely f**king wasn’t. Unfortunately, it took electronic devices a while to catch up with the removal, because phones and computers used to be set to automatically change the time, which made me arrive an hour late or an hour earlier to some places twice a year. Nowadays these devices have the DST turned off by default, which is great.
Anyway, yes. The whole GeForce Now debacle is a mess. I don’t use the service (my internet is ass), but it clearly is the superior option to Stadia, and quite useful to those who want the option. I’m now adding to my list a bunch more developers I’ll never do business with again. Well, not a bunch, a few were already on my list, of course. When they deliberately choose to take an anti-consumer route they’re basically saying they want more of my money, but all I hear is that they don’t want any more. This is the whole “activation limit” DRM all over again. These assholes want us to pay twice for the exact same thing, and they’ll stop at nothing to make us do it.
Hey, anything that gets me to save money is welcome.
Saskatchewan has as far as I know, never changed the clocks, at any point in history. Despite this, I will occasionally have to report bugs to software companies, explaining that our location does not actually change the clocks, and that they’re causing us hassles.
Back in the 50’s they used to change clocks. 1959 was the last year we switched.
But…that means all modern libraries / software were still developed after we switched, right? :|
Yep, so there’s no excuse for anyone NOT to support a Saskatchewan/Regina timezone… and yet there’s still Android phones and other devices out there that lack it… /infuriated.
I’ve got one idea for a merchandise-ish thing, a book (ebook, maybe also print-on-demand) with a best-of of your blog posts. Bruche Schneier does that sort of thing regularly, though his blog is more popular so that’s maybe not a good comparison…
The Other Kind Of Life probably was discouraging, but this would be only a fraction of the work. I think having something to sell would be good for you if it’s not too much effort to make. Personally, I’m very reluctant to back someone on Patreon because I know that I’ll feel terrible when I lose interest and cancel. In fact, so far you’re the only person I’ve … uh … patronized? I’m much more likely to just buy a thing.
Then again, I don’t know how many people are like me, and maybe I’m drastically underestimating the effort to turn a bunch of blog posts into a book.
This sounds like a pretty good idea.
I’ll concur with a display of interest
I’m extremely surprised why Shamus hasn’t made a book out of his Autoblography yet. There are a huge amount of people who have/have kids with learning patterns that stray from the norm, and they’re always looking for information on what effects this has on later development. All he needs to do is consult a professional so that he at least has an idea of what his condition was/was similar to, and he could even post the story verbatim. I can definitely see a market for it, and it could even drive some traffic to the blog.
And also turn it the other way round: post a book page regularly on the blog, with a link to the book purchase below it. At some point people will want to stop waiting for the next page and just buy the book. Plus, the book is a known quantity by that point. They know they want to read it.
You have many books published already, they are merchandise as well, though they are not heavily marketed on this site.
I think you mean “they are barely marketed at all on this site”.
He did. It’s called How I Learned and it’s available on Kindle and other formats. I bought it and you should too!
Obligatory link to Shamus’ author page: https://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?page_id=16523
Where you can buy the “Autoblography” on either Smashwords or Amazon.
Thanks Paul! I didn’t know that page existed! The author link in Shamus’ goes directly to Amazon. I will take a look at smashwords (I don’t like amazon).
Also thank you Cilba for pointing out that Shamus is already doing this.
Shamus, your book page is only accessible via your about page. (At least on mobile). How many people that are interested in your work will look at your about page? At phoronix.com every article and news item ends with a call for support and it’s not annoying or obnoxious in the slightest. You already do it at the youtube channel. It could also be done on the blog. With a link to aforementioned book page. Maybe it will help to get more supporters.
“In fact, so far you’re the only person I’ve … uh … patronized?”
I believe the correct usage is “providing/ giving patronage”. I.e. ‘In fact, so far you’re the only person to whom I’ve given patronage.’
“Rendered patronage” may be even more posh.
Game, set and match! Plus, it has the added bonus of sounding like a step used in blender or on one of those cutesy loading screens on games like KSP and Banished. :)
I like the idea of GeForceNow, because it means I don’t have to purchase the games AGAIN. Although since it lets you log into Steam inside the app, I wish there was a way to just load up any of my Steam games. So I have to have them installed locally first, THEN I install them on the NVidia VM, THEN I can uninstall them from my local box and play them online?
Thinking more about Shamus’ comment that E3 is a terrible way of learning about games, I wonder if that’s by design. If every trailer is a precious experience that requires half an hour of waiting in line and offers a brief respite from the sensory deluge of the show floor, maybe that makes people view the trailer more positively than if they were calmly watching it on Youtube from the comfort of their own home.
When you fly a bunch of journalists out to your studio to give them a special tour and swag bags, it’s hard for that not to look like you’re buying their approval, but if there’s some kind of central event the journalists fly to where all the developers give them swag bags, that lets you get the same nebulous benefits of gladhanding someone without it seeming so unsavoury.
All that said, I was never a big fan of the efficient market hypothesis of E3, where all the companies are doing it so it must be a good idea. It’s a longstanding joke in marketing that half your advertising dollars are wasted and you can’t know which half, it always seemed plausible to me that E3 was one of those just-in-case things where no one really knew if it was worthwhile. But it’s the status quo, so it’s hard for anyone to say they shouldn’t go to E3, because if Bob Manager cancels their E3 appearance and then the game flops, everyone’s going to blame him even though E3 probably wouldn’t have made a difference.
There’s lots of other stuff though. Sneak peeks and full demos, plus companies are able to do some wild marketing that’s simply not an option on Youtube. E3 is aimed at the gaming press for a reason. Shamus is confusing the purpose of E3. Yes, they allow a limited public audience, but this is about connecting publishrr/developer to journalist, not marketing to the public. That’s the side benefit.
Additionally, it’s true that some majors are trying to pull away from E3 but it’s mostly because they don’t want to share space with each other. They’re walking away from one convention to just invent their own trade show in-house. This may be bad for E3 (though thats not a certainty) but it doesn’t mean that trade shows aren’t working.
Talking about DMotR merch, I would absolutely buy a “very specific level of tired” coffee mug.
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