So once again, my audio is severely over-boosted. It sounds perfect during recording, and then the resulting saved audio sounds like I’m talking through a megaphone. The same thing happened a few episodes ago. Afterward, I went in and balanced all the levels to stop it from happening. And then I was VERY careful to not touch any volume levels. And yet here we are again.
I’ve been doing this show since 2013, and this has never been a problem before. Now for no reason my recording volume is being randomized every week. I can only speculate what sort of nonsense is going on under the hood. The one clue here is that this began happening right after the latest Windows update. I wonder if they added some horrific new “smart” volume system that tries to do your thinking for you.
I guess I need to stop and make a test recording every week, just to make sure I haven’t been sabotaged again. If this was really triggered by a Windows Update, it means this supposedly “helpful” undocumented invisible feature is adding friction and complexity to my workflow.
Oh, and there’s another Windows update waiting for me. I’ve been delaying it every time it pops up, but I know it won’t let me do that forever.
Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.
00:00 The Irony of my Next Video
I think I’ve decided against pushing to get the video done for tomorrow. I spent most of Sunday polishing it, and made many solid improvements. Like I keep telling the big publishers, “Save time for polish.” Usually a project reaches a point where a little more time will result in a significant improvement in quality, and I think that’s where I am right now.
03:44 Noita V1.0
10:31 Teardown is finally coming out! (But I’m not getting it.)
Yeah, I know you’re tired of hearing my whine about my first-world problems. But in case you missed my bellyaching last week: The first 9 months of the year had just two games that I cared about, and now there are FOUR games just in the last two weeks of October.
12:45 Introversion’s Subversion City Generator
14:49 Halloween Decorations
Like I said on the show: When I was a kid, Christmas was the big national cultural event, and Halloween was a distant second. But in the last 20 years it feels like Halloween has made huge strides. I wonder why?
Here is my incredibly American-centric analysis:
- Maybe this is because of the internet? It’s easier to share and get people excited for costumes than, say, your Christmas tree. (I dunno. I see lots of Christmas light displays that get a lot of attention.)
- Maybe this is because of the shift in the way we think of Halloween? When I was a kid, both holidays were more or less “for kids”. Christmas has retained its focus on Children, but Halloween seems more able to capture the attention of adults. (Hm. I dunno. SOMEONE is hanging all those dang Christmas lights, and it’s not the kids.)
- Maybe this is a reflection of a general shift away from religion? (Maybe, but Christmas has always enjoyed a great deal of secular appeal.)
- Maybe this is a result of simple economics? Christmas is traditionally much more expensive than Halloween. If you’re looking to “go big” on a holiday, then it’s a lot easier to scale up your Halloween spending than to increase what you already spend on Christmas. Also, the expectation of giving is hard on people with limited income. The stigma against giving cheap gifts is a lot stronger than the shame you’d get from handing out cheap candy or having a lousy costume.
- Maybe this is the result of demographics? Boomers are THE Christmas generation, and most of what we call “Christmas tradition” is stuff we inherited from them. But Boomers aren’t really driving the cultural zeitgeist like they used to, so perhaps this shift is simply the expression of preferences that have always been there, but were drowned out by the values of the baby boomers.
(While my family isn’t really big on either holidayWe don’t go for full-yard displays or big spending., there was a point in my 30s where my wife and I both came to the conclusion that Christmas is a really weird holiday. Like, doesn’t it feel really strange to bring a tiny pine tree into your house and hang shiny things on it? The Santa mythos is a bit goofy-pants as well. Every Santa Claus movie has a different plot because there isn’t a single strong story to support the character. I have a few additional criticisms of the holiday from a religious standpoint, but I really don’t want to offend anyone or make people feel like I’m judging them, their parenting, or their love of the holiday. I’m just saying it’s not for me. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to celebrate, we just like to keep it low-key.)
So, how does the Halloween vs. Christmas thing stack up in your part of the world?
29:09 Forced to use UbiStore
If nothing else, buying Watch Dogs Legion from Ubisoft’s pathetic late-90s digital storefront should yield at least one good rant.
34:57 Mailbag: First PC Build?
My beloved decade-old laptop has finally given up the ghost and I figured it was high time to build my first pc. It went much smoother than I thought it would as someone who isn’t particularly tech savvy. The only problems I encounter was with installing Windows 10. The problems I encounter with it are too numerous to list here but it basically came down to it making me reinstall windows everytime I booted up my computer. What did you find hardest, most frustrating or most surprising the first time you built a pc and what were the specs?
Here is the machine I talked about on the show.
41:26 Mailbag: Half-Life: Alyx
Now that there’s been some distance between the release of Half-Life: Alyx and a promised revitalization of the franchise, I’m curious if you had any thoughts on the potential narrative directions the series could take, and if the developments in HLA met your approval or critique. I know Shamus’ love of the Half-Life series is well documented at this point, but I don’t recall hearing any takes from Paul. His input is nonetheless appreciated if he has any. Hell, maybe reach out and get a quote from Soldierhawk too, if she’s available!
Like Shamus, I am both: 1) A massive fan of all things Half-Life, and 2) Lacking a VR setup. Setting aside the cost, I couldn’t justify the purchase of a headset since I was unsure how much mileage I’d be able to get out of it without an expansive and varied game library. The announcement of HLA left me fighting myself real hard on whether or not to dump a few hundred bucks on a Vive just to play that game, but I think I made the right choice in the end. Since I couldn’t play the game, but refused to torture myself with avoiding spoilers in the long-term, I went ahead and watched a compilation of all the cutscenes, dialogue, and narrative beats of the game. This is an admittedly incomplete experience that skips over all the moment-to-moment gameplay sections, but I trust it’s sufficient enough if we’re just evaluating the story, and nothing major is being lost in a truncated highlight video.
For reference, this was the video I watched: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57NPnGvhzvE
 We don’t go for full-yard displays or big spending.
The Biggest Game Ever
Just how big IS No Man's Sky? What if you made a map of all of its landmass? How big would it be?
Bethesda NEVER Understood Fallout
Let's count up the ways in which Bethesda has misunderstood and misused the Fallout property.
Are Lootboxes Gambling?
Obviously they are. Right? Actually, is this another one of those sneaky hard-to-define things?
Silent Hill Turbo HD II
I was trying to make fun of how Silent Hill had lost its way but I ended up making fun of fighting games. Whatever.
The Terrible New Thing
Fidget spinners are ruining education! We need to... oh, never mind the fad is over. This is not the first time we've had a dumb moral panic.