Diecast #329: Survivor Mailbag

By Shamus Posted Monday Jan 11, 2021

Filed under: Diecast 44 comments

The good news is that I’ve survived another week. The bad news is that the weeks aren’t really improving in terms of quality. Oh well. At least it gives us something to complain about.



Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.
Diecast329


Link (YouTube)

Show notes:
00:00 We are both (probably) not dying of COVID-19.

We both got the flu after being (seemingly) exposed to COVID-19?

Whatever. Nothing surprises me anymore. If this was a book I’d have stopped reading ages ago on account of all the inconsistencies, plot holes, and nonsense behavior on the part of the characters.

06:08 Oculus Quest vs. Valve Index


Link (YouTube)

In this section I said “HTC Vive”, but I meant Valve Index.

10:45 Mailbag: Remasters

Dear Avada Kedavra wizards,

I picked up the Age of Empires Definitive Edition bundle during the Steam Sale only to discover that Age of Empires 3 DE had not only improved the graphics and sound but also changed units, factions, and even removed and replaced sections of the campaign. What’s your thoughts on what remasters should be? Should it remain faithful to the original game or should a remaster make sweeping changes where they see fit in order to appeal to current sensibilities? Generally in terms of art changing the original is frowned upon however it’s not uncommon when talking about movies or tv shows. George Lucas and his infamous additions come to mind but there are also director’s cut versions of movies which can create a situation where multiple versions may exist in the wild and over time particular versions become next to impossible to find.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Grimwear

17:57 Mailbag: Anti-Aliasing

Dear Diecast,

one of the things that drew me to Twenty Sided was Shamus’ Pixel City project, and I’ve long been a fan of the programming series. So when I found an article talking about video game graphics by a guy who worked on AssCreed4 and Witcher 2 (link in the postscript).

He mentions that he wanted to create a glittering snow effect, but that anti-aliasing messed it up, which made me wonder: given that 4k gaming is starting to become A Thing(TM), are these kind of
blurring/anti-aliasing techs going to become more of a hindrance than a help in graphics?

I’m looking forward to your thoughts as well as another year of Diecasts.

Vale,
-Tim

P.S.
https://bartwronski.com/2020/12/27/why-are-video-games-graphics-still-a-challenge-productionizing-rendering-algorithms/

35:27 Mailbag: PnP Games in 2021

Will PnP and tabletop games survive 2021?

I know that in my world, my weekend tabletop outings came to a sudden halt in March when our region started their lockdowns. We moved to online systems like Roll-20, Tabletop Simulator, and Board Game Arena, but none of these ever had that same feel of going over to a friend’s place, arguing over a communal map, or haggling face to face and exchanging tokens by hand.

What systems are you using to run your distanced tabletop games? Have you rediscovered the ‘family board-game night?’ Will 2021 be the year of the PnP throwback videogame? Is Among Us really just Mafia for politicians and streamers?

P.S: I definitely was at least one of the hundred and fifteen people who listened to last-week’s podcast. I hope this question gets your 2021 off to a roll.

“Brad”

44:24 Mailbag: Unity Doesn’t Turn a profit?

Dear Diecast,

I hope this question finds you well! I’m a bit late to the party with this question, but as you may know, in August 2020 Unity started trading as a public company on the NY Stock Exchange. What I found very interesting is that to this day they have yet to turn a profit!

Now, I know that this is something normal for companies these days (especially tech startups), but Unity?! I mean c’mon, this is one of the most popular game engines! How long do they need in order to get into the black? And in that same vein, do you think they might decide to extract money from their free users in order to prop up their bottom line? If you were Unity, how would you go about making the company profitable? Also, are you worried that they may harm their product by chasing pointless trends in the name of short-term profits?

I’d love to hear your opinion on this! And although it is a bit outdated, I think this article gives a good overview of Unity’s business model, and the general direction the types of projects they’re interested in – https://techcrunch.com/2020/09/10/how-unity-built-a-gaming-engine-for-the-future/

Keep Being Awesome,

Lino

56:15 Mailbag: The End of Flash

Dear Diecast

The end of flash is nigh!

Will this spell doom for a massive slice of web history? Or will it be easily bypassed with browser plugins? Is it a necessary upgrade to the webs security, or just more big-company shenanigans? I would be very interested to hear your thoughts about this.

Best Regards, Henry Chadban

Here is the site I mentioned during this segment: Neocities.

 


From The Archives:
 

44 thoughts on “Diecast #329: Survivor Mailbag

  1. MerryWeathers says:

    Ah Superbunnyhop, still hoping he’ll do a Cyberpunk 2077 review although in his Super Dad & Sons podcast, he says he hadn’t played it and seemed pretty skeptical towards the game from hearing what his friends had to say about it.

    I would recommend waiting until the inevitable Cyberpunk 2077 “Game of the Year” edition is out where it’ll probably be completely patched of bugs, come packaged with all the DLC, and will probably be your best experience in playing the game. I am worried that all the controversy has sent CD Projekt Red scrambling to the point that they aren’t able to do anything productive like fixing the game’s bugs and working on the DLC.

    1. The Nick says:

      What would they be doing instead of dealing with Cyberpunk 2077?

      Part of me says this would be their absolute highest priority.

      On the other hand, they spent a decade creating the biggest bungle in modern day history yet still made monumental record-breaking numbers, including instantly getting their money back. So maybe they won’t do anything.

      But what would they be doing instead right now?

      1. MerryWeathers says:

        Well there’s that investors lawsuit which CDPR admitted that they would “defend against vigorously” so that will take up a lot of their time. Also apparently the polish government is “monitoring the progress of work on patches” and if CDPR fails then they get fined 10% of their income so there’s that.

        Part of me says this would be their absolute highest priority

        That’s why I’m worried, all this pressure to do everything at once (fix all the bugs, improve the game’s systems, DLC) might end up making them fuck it up.

        I do have faith that they’ll pull through and everyone will be satisfied with the game in two years, it’s possible as seemingly more irreparable games like No Man’s Sky and EA Battlefront 2 have actually managed to gain fans by improving and adding content over the years instead of just giving up.

        1. John says:

          Well there’s that investors lawsuit which CDPR admitted that they would “defend against vigorously” so that will take up a lot of their time.

          Yes, but that’s going to take up executive time or possibly general counsel time. It shouldn’t take up much in the way of developer time.

          That’s why I’m worried, all this pressure to do everything at once (fix all the bugs, improve the game’s systems, DLC) might end up making them fuck it up.

          I’m pretty sure that’s already happened.

      2. Biggus Rickus says:

        Well, we have no idea how the refunds and whatever deal they worked out with Sony affected that. They also took a huge stock price hit, and they’ll need to at least get the game to a state where it can be played on the PS4 and XBox One. I expect they want to try to get back in the good graces of their consumers, too, but who knows?.

      3. Ninety-Three says:

        On the other hand, they spent a decade creating the biggest bungle in modern day history

        Let’s not exaggerate, we’re barely two years out from the release of Fallout 76.

        1. Nimrandir says:

          And before that we had Battlefront II, and before that we had No Man’s Sky. Before that was Assassin’s Creed Unity. Heck, we still have Star Citizen in progress!

          Remember Aliens: Colonial Marines? The PSN security breach? The Red Ring of Death? Games for Windows Live? This stuff is all within the lifetimes of my first-year college students.

          We’re pretty much always dealing with the biggest bungle in modern history, because we seem to have a really hard time remembering the last biggest bungle in modern history.

  2. tmtvl says:

    Note to self: proofread your Diecast e-mails before sending, you won’t accidentally.

  3. Joe says:

    I never had much chance to play TTRPGs. I’d like to, it just never quite materialised. However, I realise these days if I want to be an elf wizard adventuring with a bunch of other random hero types, I can write a story about it. I’m not subjected to other people’s ideas or accents. However, that *does* mean I have to do the whole thing myself, no outsourcing. There are pros and cons.

    As for past website technology, I won’t miss flash. It was janky at the best of times. However, its death won’t stop official sites from loading the latest whizzbang gizmos onto their sites, making them slow loading and almost completely non-functional. I just value function over form, you see. If it looks pretty but doesn’t give me the information I want, then it’s completely useless.

  4. Chris says:

    I watched starwars despecialized. Looked pretty good. I saw the edited ones first, and always thought the giant CGI animals in the town they visit looked weird. Although i can see why some things were altered. In a new hope (just called starwars in the despecialized version ofc) the lightsabers look a bit thin, and there is a hard cut between them being “sheathed” and being activated. The frame just freezes while you hear the sound of it extending and then it snaps to luke holding a full length lightsaber. I wouldnt mind it if they changed that to match the empire strikes back with a smooth lightsaber activation.

    Also i realized how weird the monster in the trash compactor is. Why is it there, what does it do, why did the empire let it in on their (otherwise) clean ship. The wookiepedia also seems to struggle to report on it.

    1. Joe says:

      “Also i realized how weird the monster in the trash compactor is. Why is it there, what does it do, why did the empire let it in on their (otherwise) clean ship. The wookiepedia also seems to struggle to report on it.”

      Sometimes you just want a random monster. Sometimes you just want to sit back and enjoy the ride. Star Wars has been subjected to more analysis and scrutiny than it can handle. I’m not calling you out, I’m guilty of over-analysis myself. :)

      1. Geebs says:

        I’m somewhat amazed to discover that the trash compactor monster doesn’t have at least three novels worth of backstory and also become a Jedi at some later point.

        1. John says:

          I don’t know about novels, but I’d bet real money that there’s a short story or three.

          1. Thomas says:

            Wookiepedia lists well over 20 stories games and short stories it appears in, and even more where it’s mentioned.

            The Wookiepedia article seems decently over thorough to me – planet of origin, ability to change colour by digesting it’s food, history of being dispersed through the galaxy in a larvae form inside garbage ships – self-fertilising hermaphrodites. Run ibs with multiple star Wars protagonists (Kyle Katarn) and even an explanation that it survived the compacting process.

            Wookiepedia rarely disappoints, at least as far as expansiveness goes

            1. Chris says:

              Alright, it must be me being stupid or i accidentally found some other starwars fan wiki that pretends to be wookiepedia, because for the life of me i remember the page almost being barren.

        2. MerryWeathers says:

          Funny you say that because the trash compactor monster is given a tragic backstory in one of the books and it’s revealed to be force sensitive too.

          Same thing with the yeti from ESB.

      2. Echo Tango says:

        I always just assumed it was an unfortunate accident, like the Mynocks that Han Solo has to clean off of his ship. There’s some animal that eats or lives in trash, so it eventually ended up living in the trash system of a ship.

      3. Dalisclock says:

        I always just assumed it was a parasite that got in there at some point and kept growing off the shit being flushed. Reptiles presumably can grow as long as they have enough food and space so maybe it’s something like that?

        I mean, let’s face it, the Empire also has narrow walkways without guardrails over bottomless pits(and the dudes firing the Death star laser were RIGHT NEXT TO IT!) so I guess worker safety isn’t a big priority for the Space Nazis.

      4. Chris says:

        Well I will be the last to overanalyze starwars. It was just in rewatching it that i felt it was a really random moment. Like, you can cut it out and it doesnt change the movie at all. They sit in the garbage, suddenly they get attacked, are scared and shoot for a bit, and then its over. At first i thought it was some setup for when the trash compactor would activate. That they would figure out they could hide underwater since the monster had to survive the process in some way too. But no, they get the golden robot on the line and r2d2 pops open the door.

    2. ElementalAlchemist says:

      The frame just freezes while you hear the sound of it extending and then it snaps to luke holding a full length lightsaber.

      That’s because that is literally how they filmed it. Have the actor hold up the hilt, call cut, run a stage hand in to plug in the blade, start filming again. The first film relied on reflective tape wrapped around a shaft that was rotated by a motor in the hilt. As the blade rotated, it reflected light back to the camera. If you look carefully you’ll see the wires for it running up Alec Guinness’s sleeve in certain shots during the Vader duel. It wasn’t until later that they started doing rotoscoping in post-production to produce the blade effect we know today.

      1. Chris says:

        I know, but what i say is that i think it would be reasonable to edit that so its smooth. There are things that can be adjusted without putting in a bunch of CGI monsters

  5. Geebs says:

    There’s honestly not much difference between an Index and an OG Vive, except for racing games. Actually being able to see what’s happening in the middle distance turns out to be a game changer, there. There are some neat moments in Alyx that really benefit from the Knuckles controllers but barely any other games have been updated for the hardware.

    I imagine a Quest 2 is pretty similar apart from a smaller FOV and slightly worse controller tracking. Not having to deal with the rather fragile Lighthouses is a significant bonus.

    If various world governments manage to anti-trust Facebook into making the Oculus TOS slightly less evil, I might even pick up a Quest 2 for “big screen” gaming when a TV isn’t available.

  6. lucky7 says:

    Truth be told, 2020 was actually a REALLY good year for me and tabletop gaming. I ended up getting cabin fever, found a few groups online, and have really branched out from Pathfinder/Dungeons and Dragons. Over the year I played Scum and Villainy (a sci-fi game about doing crimes), ran two games of FATE, an amazing campaign of Monster of the Week, and just started up a game of City of Mist.

    That last one especially benefits from the infinite canvas of roll20, because I managed to set up a conspiracy-style corkboard for the players to write stuff on, shuffle things around, and fiddle with in a way that wouldn’t really be possible (or I would be too lazy to do) in the physical space.

  7. Lino says:

    Thank you for answering my question! It’ll definitely be interesting to see what Unity does in the next couple of years. Because the pressure is definitely on.

    Regarding board games, I really like playing board games, and I really miss the board game nights we ocasionally had at the office. With board games in particular, one of my favourite parts is the sheer tactility of the experience. And you can’t really get that online. On the bright side, I recently started playing Go (a.k.a. Weiqi and Baduk, depending on where you’re from) on a couple of online servers. And even though I miss the tactility and inter-personal interactions of face-to-face play, I’ve found a big advantage to playing online. Playing online overcomes the biggest difficulty in the game of Go – which is finding people who play the game of Go :D

    When it comes to TTRPG’s, I’ve always enjoyed reading about them. Shamus’ RPG Campaign posts are what ultimately won me as a regular reader here. Ever since then, I’ve loved reading about people’s campaigns, and watching videos that talk about anything to do with TTRPG design – GM tips, player tips, you name it. A couple of years ago I even played a real TTRPG game (as opposed to the “TTRPG’s” I ran as a kid; long story).

    But I found that I like reading about TTRPG campaigns much, much more than I like playing them. It could have been the particular group I played with, but I guess the ultimate problem was that I’m just very particular about what I want from my fiction. And that’s not very compatible with what most other people want (and hence, most TTRPG’s).

    But be that as it may, I think TTRPG’s suffer a lot less when played online. Unlike board games, they don’t rely as much on tactility, and if anything, playing online could make some people more comfortable role playing, since they’re in the comfort of their own home, and don’t feel as awkward when there are other people in the same room. But then again, most of the folks who seem to have problems with the online transition are people who’ve been role playing for years. So who am I to talk :D

    1. Daimbert says:

      Regarding board games, I really like playing board games, and I really miss the board game nights we ocasionally had at the office. With board games in particular, one of my favourite parts is the sheer tactility of the experience. And you can’t really get that online.

      If you aren’t attached to the social aspects that much, there are a number of games that have solo variants or at least can be played solo without losing too much. Most co-operative games, for example, work pretty well for that (Legendary, Arkham Horror, A Touch of Evil, etc, etc).

      If I’m not Playing By Forum, I’m playing Solo, although not all of the games that I play solo are games that you SHOULD play solo. But I’ve never been overly concerned by that.

      In fact, the downside of TTGs and why I haven’t played games with them for years is because I absolutely CAN’T play them solo, unlike strategy or more narratively driven games.

  8. jumbalia says:

    Quest 1 owner here. You should definitely look up Virtual Desktop on both the Quest Store and Sidequest. It makes the Quest or Quest 2 into a proper wireless and untethered headset. If you have a decent router it is a major upgrade on the Oculus Link. It does add another layer of complexity but it is totally worth it imo.
    Oculus Store: https://www.oculus.com/experiences/quest/2017050365004772/?ranking_trace=102059884831214_2017050365004772_SKYLINEWEBQUESTSEARCH_S38vJfDr7iJQXcuLE
    SideQuest: https://sidequestvr.com/app/16/virtual-desktop-vr-patch

    1. Lanthanide says:

      Came here to post this. Personally I found this to make it much easier to play Steam VR games on my Quest 2, just go into Virtual Desktop and select your game and it starts Steam VR and does everything else for you, easy. Don’t have to futz around with the Rift S home screen (although I think they were planning to remove that from the Quest 2 Link, if they haven’t already?).

      You need Wifi 5 (802.11AC) on 5Ghz for this to really work, you get 23-26ms which is perfectly playable and not nausea inducing at all. You don’t need Wifi 6 and tests have shown that it doesn’t give any advantage for latency, so don’t worry about that. Wifi 6E would likely improve things, but the Quest 2 doesn’t support 6E so that’s moot (and you almost certainly don’t have a Wifi 6E router at this point since they hardly exist).

      I used this to play Half Life Alyx from start to finish last week on my Quest 2 at Medium graphical fidelity running on GTX 1660 Super wirelessly with no cable. There was only one brief corridor (that you simply move through) near the very end of the game that had a bunch of fog in it where the frame rate dropped perceptibly (enough for me to notice), but aside from that had no performance problems whatsoever.

      Alyx was a lot more fun on my 2nd play through not having to worry about a cable or getting too far from my PC.

      There is one drawback however – when you don’t have a USB cable, you’ve got to rely on the Quest 2’s battery, which is frankly pathetic and probably drains even faster if you’re trying to use Virtual Desktop since now it’s doing constant wifi traffic and decoding of the video stream as well.

      So you’ll need an external battery bank. I’d recommend a 10,000 mah one that is capable of outputting 5V at 3A over a USB C port, which is likely to be called Quick Charge. One that can do 5V at 2.4A would be ok though, but I don’t think you want to go much lower than that (2.1A and 2.0A will be common and mostly found on cheap battery banks). You’ll then need a short USB C to USB C cable and some way of attaching the battery to your head strap. If you’ve got an elite head strap then that would be easier to attach to the back of, then if you’re still using the stock elastic head strap.

  9. webternet rando says:

    Just going to throw this out there, but if anyone wants to see a mockup of Shamus’s site as a Geocities page, there’s a site that can do that.

    https://www.wonder-tonic.com/geocitiesizer/

    1. Echo Tango says:

      Gross. They assume everyone would use lossy picture compression, like JPEGs, but GIFs existed back in the time of Geocities. I’m pretty sure his background would have a small enough file size, if it was a hand-crafted image with a small color-palette. I mean sure, a lot of people made totally gross websites back in the day, but Shamus’ site would be a lot closer to what it is right now, just with lower resolution. There were people who made non-gaudy websites on Geocities – they’re just not as remembered as all of the eye-sores, because they were functional, work-a-day websites. :)

  10. Echo Tango says:

    Re: screen filters
    It seems to me like some objects in the scene should be able to override some of the screen filters. Maybe they all have some numbers, that describe how much they’re affected by anti-aliasing, temporal-sampling, etc, just like they’ve got numbers for specular reflectivity, etc. You don’t want your UI getting anti-aliased, since that’s effectively painted on your eyeballs, not a scene in this open world where the super fine details can get blurred a bit. Sparkly snow should be less affected by this stuff, but a field of boring grass definitely should be anti-aliased.

    The example given, of shiny leaves in a jungle scene, or the rivets in some metal ship, where all the little points had too-high specular reflection – that actually would be harder to deal with, since it’s not as much of a “technology” problem, but a decision about how to model the lighting, camera, etc for some scene. In the real world, you definitely have situations like this – those rivets and leaves could well be very shiny and annoying, the same way that waves in a body of water can shine directly into your eyes. Are we modelling a person or camera that’s got some protection from these specular highlights? Sunglasses with polarized lenses help mute this, because specular-ish reflections in the real world all end up polarized. Are we trying to make a scene where the player character is dazzled by the lighting? If they’re walking from a dark tunnel into a shiny seascape, maybe all the specular reflections stay as-is, until a few seconds of their eyes adjusting.

    1. Geebs says:

      The problem isn’t the dazzle so much as the temporal instability; i.e. sampling artefacts* make small, bright areas of the image flicker in and out in an irritating fashion.

      (* because the thing you’re trying to draw is a small component of a texture at an angle to the viewport and is close to the size of a pixel)

  11. Mr. Wolf says:

    I’d love to get back into tabletop gaming. I asked my housemates if they were up for some D&D, even offered to DM, but they wouldn’t commit despite not having reason to leave the house for most of the year. I think I’m cursed: even when people are literally trapped in the same house as me, I cannot organise a game.

    1. Fizban says:

      On the one hand, with “everyone” “stuck at home,” this would have been the perfect year to actually try and start a game. On the other hand, I’d have to pick some sort of online game tool, and some sort of voice tool, and I already know most of them offend me on some level, and get the people I want to play with to also use them. Some of whom work at the same place I do and thus obviously don’t actually have any more time. The others having kids, which means if anything they have less time.

  12. Gautsu says:

    We have kept playing in person being as safe as we can, since we aren’t in a complete lockdown and we all have jobs that force us to continue working (infrastructure). That said we have had 2 covid breaks where infections caused us to go to roll20. I would love to continue this but like in last weeks posts half of our group have shitty internet. So I play 4 player Gloomhaven solo on the weeks when real life safety forces us to stay home

  13. Fizban says:

    I have a 16×10 monitor, and identify greatly with the problems of many games refusing to understand it. I also don’t give 16×10 any shit for being weird, because it’s an objectively better aspect ratio, boom. 16:9 comes from widescreen movie crap, but monitors display more than just movies, and 16:10 is plenty wide enough without shrinking the vertical.

    1. Asdasd says:

      I will go to my grave insisting that the universe is wrong and that 16:10 is the superior aspect ratio. I had to switch to 16:9 when the market moved on and I still hate it. It’s like looking through a damn letterbox.

  14. Steve C says:

    I consider engines like Unity and any middleware to be tools. Should wordpress get a cut of blog income? Or the company that makes CNC machines a cut of your profit? Or Google a cut of all the email deals they facilitate? Or Microsoft a cut for that novel written in word? Or DEWALT for manufacturing the tools that built the office space that Unity was coded in?
    Obviously I don’t think so.

    1. Thomas says:

      I mean all those tools do get money that fundamentally comes out of your profit.

      1. Lino says:

        Or out of your personal data, in Google’s case.

  15. Moridin says:

    Remastering: To be fair, Age of Empires 2 has an active multiplayer community(AoE 3 less so, but since they released the definite edition MS may be hoping to change that), so balance tweaks are something they’re kind of supposed to do anyway, just like Blizzard still supplies balance tweaks to Starcraft 2 despite it being a decade old game(although, to be fair, the balance changes in SC2 don’t apply to the single-player campaigns).

    As for Flash, Newgrounds has its own version of flash player(sadly Windows only) and there are several archival projects like Flashpoint(https://bluemaxima.org/flashpoint/). I really think you’re underestimating the importance of all the flash games, though.

    And finding things on the internet… Google is fine if you know what you’re looking for and are looking for something specific, but I have no idea how you’d use it to find good webcomics(unless you’re a fan of top ten lists). It’s the same problem youtube has: Finding established creators is easy, finding something very specific is easy, but if you’re looking for something you might like(as opposed to something specific), the algorithm isn’t really helpful unless you like the most popular things. I read quite a few webcomics, and I’ve found almost all of them by following links from other webcomics.

    1. Grimwear says:

      I personally don’t mind balance changes, they’re very common, but I personally disliked how in aoe2 they redid all the voice lines. I miss the original ones. Honestly I wish they made it like the Halo Collection Remaster where (at least for Halo 1) you could press tab at any time to switch between the original version and the remaster.

      Aoe3 is where I really have problems. I own the original box copy but at the time my computer wasn’t good enough to run it so I never got the expansion. So I got the bundle definitive editions with all 3 games for 26 CAD so each game cost me just under 9 dollars. But because the new DE edition is out, the original edition (which is also on steam) is now never on sale meaning if I were to purchase it, it would cost me 44 CAD. Meaning that they are purposefully pushing people to buy the DE edition by making the original cost 5x more.

      And for the most part with the changes I’m fine, though confused. For example they renamed the Sioux and the Iroquois to their original tribe names of Lakota and…Haudesaunee? I may have spelled that wrong. Which ok but why not do it for every race then? Rename Japan Nihon and Germany Deutschland. Or the fact that they renamed the Discovery Age and the Colonial Age. Like ok colonialism isn’t necessarily a good thing but we can’t even call something what it is? Renaming it Commerce Age doesn’t change the fact of what happened.

      My biggest problem though is that they have removed and changed the campaign. They removed Crazy Horse and brought in some made up (I believe) character to replace him. I was curious and googled him and turns out Crazy Horse was actually a rather prominent person for US history. I can only imagine they removed him because “crazy” has negative connotations? But that was his name. So it’s now better to remove important people in Native American history rather than leave in a name? And the best part is that the devs stated they made these changes in the name of “historical accuracy”. So you remove a real person and replace him with a fake in the name of historical accuracy? Makes sense. Even better they changed how the Native American races play by removing their ability to mine (since they didn’t mine) but a cursory google search shows that’s a lie and they did!

      And even with all that they’re lazy. Aoe2 redid all the voice lines. Aoe3 didn’t. So rather than having dialogue now say Lakota rather than Sioux they just went in and chopped the voice line so it cuts off abruptly. So they made the actual play experience worse, changed the campaign, but couldn’t even be bothered to spend the resources fixing the voice lines. It’s the worst of all worlds.

      1. Philadelphus says:

        Agreed about the voice lines in AoE II, some of them could’ve stood to be redone (the campaigns in The Forgotten expansion didn’t even have voicing as they were originally community-created), but in a side-by-side comparison the original Scotch narrator of the William Wallace campaign wins, hands down.

        Having read some of stuff the developers in charge of the remaster of AoE III wrote about why they made some of the changes they did, a lot of it was because they felt the stuff portraying Native Americans was historically accurate or perpetuating negative tropes about Native Americans (and apparently they brought in some actual members of those tribes to consult on the changes).

        That’s why the campaigns from the first expansion were changed; the one about the Haudenosaunee has a European/early American PoV character who’s been adopted into the tribe, rather than being about an actual native person. I don’t know about the Crazy Horse example as I don’t remember reading about that specifically, but if I had to hazard a guess I’d say that just because a campaign features a historical person doesn’t mean it’s historically accurate. Maybe the Lakota people they consulted with felt it was better to remove him?

        I was curious about the mining thing you mentioned, and from a brief perusal of the “Metallurgy in pre-Colombian America” Wikipedia page it looks like, although there was some mining of copper in North America, it seems rather limited both in time and space (due to abundant deposits of natural copper being more easily available). More importantly, it doesn’t seem to have happened in the geographic regions of the Haudenosaunee or Lakota, so it makes sense that they wouldn’t do it, instead engaging in trade (as the changed flavor says). There’s some evidence that the Aztecs were doing some mining (for gold if nothing else), but I think the change is defensible for the more northerly two tribes. (And I’m not actually sure if the Aztecs were changed. I picked up AoE III DE over Christmas but have only played two games as the Japanese and Swedish so far.)

        1. Grimwear says:

          I can understand why they did it, I just personally don’t agree with it. In regards to Crazy Horse one of the Native Consultants stated that he was only there to “spice up the storyline” and that it “trivialises who he really was”. Except now no one will ever see who he was because he was removed entirely. I also really dislike his reasoning that if they want to add him to the game they should reach out and talk to his family for permission. Does that mean we need to do that for all historical figures? On paper it sounds nice, ask permission if you want to use someone but in reality I do not approve. It’s just a game now but what if you want to portray someone in a potentially negative light, even if it’s true? Can you not do it then without asking a family member first?

          Also in regards to mining the consultant stated that Native Americans, not his tribe, did not engage in mining since it defiles the land. Which again isn’t true at all. I was able to find on the government of Canada’s military history site that the Mi’kmaq were well known for their copper mining and also had contact with the Iroquois. I would reason then that the Iroquois did have contact with mining though may not have engaged with it if there was a lack of easily acceptable deposits? Though while the Iroquois were more sedentary, the Mi’kmaq were nomadic so if they could consistently find copper I’m sure the Iroquois could as well. But the amount of information on that subject is a bit difficult to find.

          Honestly it seems to me that they changed the game in order to make the Native Americans seem more…I don’t think I have a good word here. Most can be misconstrued in their vagueness. Maybe perfect? Comparable to the European civilizations? Which is fair, they certainly weren’t treated properly during the 1600s and beyond. But at the same time they’re now using a game which lets be honest isn’t really super historically accurate and changing it from what was intended. For example the fire pit building was seen as racist because the natives danced around a fire in order to research technology which was seen as them being less civilized by the consultants since the Europeans use regular research buildings so it was removed and replaced. It’s crude I admit but I’m sure it’s one of the few ways the developers were attempting to integrate their spirituality into the game. And maybe it failed. But at the end of the day when I buy a remaster I want the original experience, WITH all the faults. Hiding or removing problems from old works just makes it harder to learn where we came from. Which is what they’re doing. Again we can’t call this age the colonial age because colonialism was bad. Just call it the commerce age. How disingenuous is that? Like if I made a game in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide but didn’t want to call it that since genocide is bad so instead I called it the Rwandan War. That’s gross. We can only progress as a society by acknowledging our faults and mistakes and changing their names due to their stigma only makes things worse in the long run. Also I openly admit I took an extreme example here but I just see them renaming this stuff to be more kind to other civilizations as slighting and erasing the crimes that were committed against them. “The colonial era can’t be that bad! After all it’s called the commerce age. And commerce is known to be beneficial to both parties so everyone got to benefit”.

  16. evilmrhenry says:

    With regards to profit and Unity, the usual calculation is between profit and growth. Basically, if a startup makes one million dollars of raw profit, (in this case license fees – salaries) they can either call that profit, or they can spend it on expanding their market share. (Say, buying ads, or improving their tech.) This is why Amazon didn’t really make a profit for years. Even though all their individual bits were making money, they redirected that profit into expanding their market.

    Looking at this document: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1810806/000119312520227862/d908875ds1.htm
    the very first thing they note, with a VERY LARGE FONT, is their market share.

    So, what is Unity (probably) doing? They’re trying to make Unity the default platform for indie game development, with indie defined as anything not a AAA game. This is why they’re giving it away to hobbyists. Check back in 5-10 years, and some of those indie devs have moved on to bigger companies, or have finally released a successful indie game, and at least some of them stuck with Unity because that’s what they have experience with. That creates a market base that can actually pay Unity. Unfortunately this is the kind of plan that takes a decade to work.

    So, is Unity in trouble? Not really. Looking at their profit/loss, they’ll probably hit profitability in a few years. They made half a billion dollars in revenue in 2019. (2020 was probably bad, but I feel the game industry wasn’t hit that badly.) The product they’re selling is good. Their market share is good. It’s fine.

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