Diecast #309: Hue, Townscaper

By Shamus Posted Monday Jul 20, 2020

Filed under: Diecast 19 comments

Remember that next week I’m having SoldierHawke on the show. She does blind play-throughs of iconic games on her YouTube channel. Currently she’s playing Jedi: Fallen Order, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and the Half-Life remake Black Mesa. If you’ve got a question for either of us, then the email is in the header image.

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Link (YouTube)

00:00 No Man’s Sky is still a disaster

Whelp, that didn’t work out. I guess I’ll come back in 2021 and see if things are any better.

Someone out there really needs to make a non-broken, non-horrible version of this game.

09:22 LOTRO

It sounds like Paul is still having fun?

12:35 Hue

This game came out in 2016, but I’m just discovering it now. It’s a lot more interesting than I would have guessed based on the premise.

Link (YouTube)

19:26 Townscaper

As others have done, Paul decided to make some tools in Python to edit the save files of Townscaper. You can have a look at his code if you like.

Link (YouTube)

41:28 Circuit boards

I made fun of Paul’s employer for having a special setup that nobody understands, but this entire website suffers from a bad case of exactly the same thing. If I ever dieMy doctor assures me this could happen, but he’s been wrong about it so far., this site would be one good automatic WordPress update from obliteration. There are so many special systems and bits of custom code, I’m not sure anyone would have the time to figure it all out.

55:24 Mailbag: Games for our Kids

My daughter, age 11, recently purchased Minecraft. It’s the first video game she’s ever bought and the first (commercial) game she’s ever played that I haven’t played first. What games do your kids play that you’ve never touched? How do your kids learn about new games?




[1] My doctor assures me this could happen, but he’s been wrong about it so far.

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19 thoughts on “Diecast #309: Hue, Townscaper

  1. Ninety-Three says:

    Paul’s tech talk is fun, I was right there with Shamus on saying “Of course you did” to the mention of Python scripting. Fun fact: “grognard” is a French word pronounced gron-yar (I know, surprising given how perfectly grog-nard feels like an English word for the thing it’s describing).

    1. Retsam says:

      Trying to pronounce french loan words with french pronunciations is something of a lost cause. Like, I accidentally made my professor laugh in college when I didn’t realize the word “cache” wasn’t pronounced “ca-shay”, as it would be in french.

      1. Thomas says:

        Cache is still ca-shay in the UK, and niche is still neesh.

        But now I wonder how we pronounce cache in the UK tech sector when referring to the tech term. Perhaps the pronunciation has split across the meanings.

        EDIT: I’m wrong ‘cache’ is never pronounced ‘cachet’ in the UK either. To be honest I never realised they were different words. In my head ‘cachet’ was someone having a large ‘store’ of prestige.

        1. CJK says:

          Here in Australia we’ve landed on “caysh” for both the tech and the stash-of-stuff senses of the word, thereby annoying both the “ca-shay” and “cash” crowds.

      2. Ninety-Three says:

        No, “cache” is pronounced “cash” in French too, “e”s tend to be silent. It’d be “ca-shay” if it were written cachĂ©.

  2. tmtvl says:

    Okay everyone, you heard it, time to start backing up all of Twenty Sided. I’m sure the servers can handle it if we start downloading all the content all at once.
    Being serious for a moment, I’m sure it’ll be fine, the Internet Archive does a good job of backing everything up, so as long as we keep supporting them I think it’ll be fine.

    1. eaglewingz says:

      Or, we could start a crash program to investigate some form of vampirism/immortality.

      1. Lino says:

        Shamus is pretty much halfway to being a vampire – he already sleeps during the day and spends his nights in a dimly-lit room.

        All we he needs now is a thirst for human blood, and a bit of angsty melodrama. Oh, and some glitter, so he can stay hip with the kids and their Twilights!

        1. tmtvl says:

          We just need to give him a stone mask from one of the pillar men.

    2. Dev Null says:

      We could write a Python script to re-create it.

  3. Joshua says:

    In LOTRO, I don’t believe that you can “leave” the starting town(s) until you complete the quests there, which will get you to level 6 or 7.

    Apparently, there used to be a way you could skip it, but doesn’t seem to be around any longer.

  4. Retsam says:

    Honestly, I don’t think the idea of a “circuit board social media” is as ridiculous as Paul and Shamus suggest. Like Paul says:

    When you think about the kind of person who designs their own circuit-board, you aren’t thinking of the cocktail-wielding socialite: these are grognards, a grognard doesn’t want to log into their design tool and see a social media feed of other people’s designs; that’s nowhere on his list of priorities.

    But honestly, I think this is rather out-of-date, and I feel Paul and Shamus may have missed the point of this tool.

    Paul mentioned the maker community, at one point, and this tool sounds like exactly the sort of thing that the maker community would be looking for. There’s absolutely a social aspect of the maker community, being able to show off your designs, seeing what sort of things other people have made, and designing things other people might want to use is very on-brand for the maker community, as I understand it. Particularly given the maker community’s emphasis on learning: being able to see what other people have made is really helpful for that aspect as well.

    The social network aspect just made it sound like a circuit board version of Thingiverse, a highly popular social network for 3D printing.

    Yeah, if you’re a professional circuit-board designer who just wants to get circuit-board work done, this might not be the tool for you, but perhaps it wasn’t meant to be.

    1. ElementalAlchemist says:

      That’s the first time I have ever heard Thingiverse referred to as a social network

      1. Retsam says:

        Yeah, I did a little digging, and of course there’s no consensus, but I saw that some people would distinguish “social media” and “social network”, and that some would call something like Thingiverse “social media” but not a “social network” which seems like a reasonable split to me.

    2. Paul Spooner says:

      Yeah. It does look a lot like Thingiverse now that I think about it.
      The difference is that Thingiverse isn’t a social network AND a 3d modeling tool, it’s just the model sharing site. I never got far enough into CircuitMaker to evaluate it’s effort as a circuit design tool, but the kludgyness wasn’t giving me high hopes, and gluing those two features together didn’t seem like a good idea in the first place.
      You’re point is well taken though. Being “The Thingiverse of circuit board design” would actually be a useful service. I just don’t want Thingiverse to come up when all I’m trying to do is use Blender.

  5. Hal says:

    I played Hue! It’s rare that I’ve played any of the games that get discussed around here any more. It helped that Hue was one of the free PSPlus games a while back.

    Never finished it, though.

  6. John says:

    Funnily enough, Hue sounds a lot like various amateur, non-commercial platformers my 11-year-old has either played or made on Scratch, though I’m sure it’s both more complex and prettier. I don’t know the finer details, but one of the ways to make a platformer using Scratch is to define certain colors as “the ground” and one or more other colors as “instant death”. You design a level by coloring it in. You make sure that (the tops of) platforms are one of the colors you specified for the ground and that fatal obstacles are one of the colors you specified as deadly. You can of course change the colors in each set dynamically. After watching me switch between the Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead in Gaucamelee, my daughter used this technique to make a sort of a maze-like platformer where gaps in the maze walls would appear or disappear as the user switched back and forth between two background colors.

  7. Grimwear says:

    I don’t have kids but I did grow up getting games and my mom needing to figure this stuff out. On the whole it wasn’t that bad for her since our first console was an N64 that my grandparents bought my sister and I for Christmas and most Nintendo games were kids safe. My mom would take us to Wal-Mart and have us agree on a game together, which she’d then glance at and give a pass. My sister was also heavily into Gymnastics at a relatively high level which meant during competition season every weekend was a road trip with me sitting in a gym club for 10 hours a day meaning I had a Gameboy with a lot of games. Once again also safe because Nintendo. I feel this may have lulled my mom into a false sense of security because when I hit grade 6 personal computers were becoming a big household thing and our school computer teacher was very much a Mac man so that’s what my mom bought. And obviously I wanted games for it. Unfortunately Macs weren’t great game wise and while we managed to find stuff like Mario’s Fundamentals and the Animaniacs game eventually we had to look a little harder and we ended up finding Diablo. This was my first grown up game and I was enthralled. My mom had no idea what it was or else I sincerely doubt that she would have bought it for me. She just figured “O a game my son can play” and continued on.

    From there it spiraled into me wanting an original xbox which I got and I just spent my time in the basement playing shooters and my mom never came down to see what I was playing, plus I was around 12 years old at this point and it’s not like I was heavily affected by what I was playing or anything. Unfortunately by the time of the 360 my mom got more involved in gaming which is the equivalent of seeing scare tactics about games on the news and had a conversation about how she had heard about a game where you can go out and shoot police officers in a game (GTA) and she never wanted me to play it. I said ok but unbeknownst to her she had actually bought me the GTA3 collection for Christmas. She also bought me Gun which was a horrible game but she came downstairs while I was playing it and I distinctly remember the game wanted me to slide while riding a horse in order to kill animals so I could collect their pelts and my mom looked at me and said “Do you enjoy killing things?” There’s not really a good answer that a 14 year old kid can respond to that but regardless she just went back upstairs.

    For me personally when I do have kids I’ll try my best to evaluate and at least google what games my kids play but for my single mother, with the internet just becoming a thing, there was no good way for her to get that information and being busy a lot of the time with work she just didn’t have time to check this stuff. I’ve never asked but I assume she figured games were very much like tv shows with the content that was found on them and didn’t want to delve too deeply into something that didn’t interest her.

  8. Sorrytobecritical says:

    How many times are you going to return to the well of “OMG No Man’s Sky is the WORST!!”? This time especially it did not sound like you were prepared to give it a fair shake and instead happily Alt-F4’d because that fit your narrative that it’s a broken mess. Also, stories about troubleshooting software are not interesting.

    Hue sounds fun, though. :P

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