Diecast #330: Big Tech Rants, Mailbag

By Shamus Posted Monday Jan 18, 2021

Filed under: Diecast 84 comments

At the top of the show we joked that this is the “second or third” time Paul has been on the show. I just looked it up, and we’ve done 130+ episodes together. Time flies.



Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.
Diecast330


Link (YouTube)

Show notes:
00:00 Auto-login, Paypal and Microsoft.

Tech company: You must choose a password that uses uppercase, lowercase, punctuation, numerals, special characters, Kanji, and emoji. It must be longer than a phone number, difficult to remember, and physically impossible to type on a mobile device.

Same tech company: Typing passwords sure is a pain, huh? Want us to have you automatically logged in everywhere on all devices you use?

Come on, guys. Is security important or not?

06:24 Windows Update

You might remember that back in early September I decided I was done running Windows Update on my machine, because the danger of a destructive update was far more serious than the danger posed by not having the latest updates. It wasn’t even close. The biggest threat to my machine is the company that sells me my operating system.

Well, I made it four months. I’d already done everything I could to delay and forestall WU, but it managed to ambush me anyway during a reboot and I couldn’t stop it. It didn’t break anything serious (this time) but it did cause some small problems and annoyances.

I’m actually getting irritated at how much attention Facebook and Twitter get these days. “Oh no! This optional free service is harvesting my data and selling it. How evil!” Which, sure. That sucks. But meanwhile I’ve got this software that I NEED to do my job, I paid for it, and the company behind it regularly cripples my machine and casually circumvents my efforts to protect myself. I never have any recourse beyond “LOL use a Mac” and “Linux is nearly viable just give it another few years!”.

Arg.

What a nightmare.

And speaking of nightmares…

13:32 Mailbag: Shalebridge Cradle

Dear diecast,

When talking horror videogames I feel shalebridge cradle is fading away from public memory. Before i often saw it mentioned, but lately not. Now i do think this isnt all bad because part of what makes it so scary is that you dont expect it. By the time you realize you’re in a horror level, the door already locked behind you (literally, the activating the generator closes the door you came in from) and youre about to experience some high octane terror. So my question is, how do you talk a horror fan into playing thief deadly shadows without spoiling the surprise?

And related to that, Shamus has mentioned his displeasure about DX invisible war, so i wonder how he felt about the consolification of thief deadly shadows.

With kind regards,
Chris

20:51 Mailbag: Founder

Dear Shamus

In your Happy New Years post, you mentioned that you considered The Founder to be one of your favorite action movies of the 2010s. I was wondering if you could go into more detail about your thoughts on the film and how you felt about the events in it. I admit I’m asking you this question because I find biographical stories where people screw over each other to be very compelling and I was interested in hearing your thoughts about one of these kinds of stories.

Best regards, I C U P

29:18 Mailbag: ARPGs

Hi Shamus & Paul!

Hopefully it has been a good and Virus-free week for you two.

My question concerns ARPGs and related topics. Personally I have enjoyed various titles in the genre, but I have been getting more and more annoyed at how certain mechanics seem to be included in these games by default. Especially tacked-on linear difficulty progression and random loot systems are two pet peeves of mine. Both seem like bad design to me. Shadow Warrior 2 especially has recently provided me with a good example why random loot can be bad. While the system offers much customization potential it’s also incredibly time-consuming. Other loot systems often present the player with unique items that are of absolutely no use to their character and shared chests are merely gamey bandaids for that problem.

Long story short: Random loot is rarely exciting, often annoying to constantly micromanage and it wastes the player’s time.

What’s your position on random loot? Have you seen any systems that do not suffer from the issues I have mentioned?

Greetings,

WaveofKittens

P.S.: For Paul: If “Star Citizen” is too much of a “millionaire’s space game” then how about “Reassembly”? It’s a top-down space action game with strategy elements and a powerful ship builder. People are constantly uploading their fleets via integrated wormholes and other players can then meet these so-called “Agents” within the game. It’s still very active:

https://www.anisopteragames.com/sync/latest.html

36:28 KSP Update!

38:16 Mailbag: Converging Design

Dear Diecast,

When you look at a studio’s output, it sometimes seems like they are iterating towards a particular type of game. Over the last decade or so, Bioware has moved further and further towards the open world collectathon, FromSoftware have pushed their games to be more focused on fast dodge/parry play over the choose-your-own playstyle of their early games, and World of Warcraft (if you think of each expansion as a new game) is widely criticized for its theme-parkification.

What do you think drives these kinds of shifts, and can you think of any other developers where you can describe a clear direction their games are moving in?

Ninety-Three

44:34 Mailbag: Smoother Frames

Dear Diecast,

I pull in the latest updates for my system twice a week and about a week ago it included an up-to-date kernel and graphics drivers. As I am a fan of new things I immediately rebooted and I was astounded at how snappy and responsive my system was.

Fast-forward to the weekend and I booted up a game. Now, up until that point I had only ever really experienced it at 30FPS and I was very disoriented when it ran in a nice smooth 60 FPS. As I wasn’t used to this kind of buttery smooth performance the game felt really weird to play. So I started to wonder…

Have you guys experienced something like this? Going from 30 to 60 or from 60 to 144 FPS and being a bit weirded out by how silky smooth the experience is? This could be either from a system update or from a game being patched. Looking forward to your response.

Vale,

-Tim

 


From The Archives:
 

84 thoughts on “Diecast #330: Big Tech Rants, Mailbag

  1. Joe says:

    I appreciate the power of my new PC, but so far W10 has exactly no new features I feel improve upon W7. In may ways it feels like a downgrade. I’ve complained before how new iterations of an existing feature often seem to go backwards, and that’s still true.

    In-game loot is a funny thing. It depends on what game I’m playing if I stop looting. In Diablo 3, I don’t even know how much money I have. But enough that I ignore anything not unique/set. I’d only have to go and sell it, and in one particular hub the nearest vendor is further than it should be. In say, Witcher 3, I look at everything, but don’t bother picking it up. In CP2077, I alternate between just looking, and rendering everything into crafting supplies. Good source of XP, if you can be bothered with it.

    But in Torchlight 2, I get my pet to pick up most loot, but I never stop looting. There will always be something new and shiny eventually.

    As for performance jumps, when I got my first 3D card. I’d been playing Quake 2 with some fun OP weapons mod. BFG grenades turned it into a slideshow, but I liked it. Suddenly they were over in a literal flash. I almost missed the old version.

    1. Exactly no new features? Like, the fact that you can’t really get any use out of memory addresses above 8 GB because it’s still limited to 32 bit architecture? I just imagined that whole 64 bit architecture changeover that radically altered every application I use, most of them for the better?

      Yeah, on the surface Windows 10 isn’t that different because the biggest difference is a huge quantity of backend architecture stuff that made it possible to drop some horrible old outdated features to make way for the new, improved stuff to work. And, yes, sadly this meant that a TON of device drivers and some other old stuff simply didn’t make the cut.

      1. Echo Tango says:

        Windows 7 had 64 bit compatibility; I used it before I switched full-time to Linux. A quick googling shows that 64-bit Windows 7 allowed up to 192 GB of RAM.

        1. modus0 says:

          Windows 7 Enterprise and Professional allowed up to 192 GB, Home Premium was limited to 16 and Home Basic 8.

          In contrast, Windows 10 Home has a 128 GB limit, Windows 10 Pro and Education are 2 TB, 10 Pro for Workstations and Enterprise are 6 TB.

          For PC gamers, you might be able to get by with Windows 7 Home Premium’s ram cap (for minimum specs), but if you want some ram headroom for recommended specs, you’d either have to have shelled out money for Windows 7 Pro, or switched over to Windows 10 Home (both of which have ram limits far above what the average user will need for the near future).

          1. Rho says:

            Was that not an arbitrary limit imposed by Microsoft itself, however?

            1. pseudonym says:

              Yes. 32 bit machines can only address 4 gb of ram. This is further limited to 2GB per application, to ensure the system always has memory. Even windows xp had a 64-bit version by the way.

    2. Algeh says:

      I didn’t deeply use most versions of Windows between Windows 98 (the last one I personally purchased) and Windows 7 (which I used for several years in my current job before they upgraded us to Windows 10), so it’s possible that I don’t know when a given feature was introduced. (The jobs I held in the post Win 98-pre Win 7 era were not ones where I had motivation to learn much about the advanced features or inner workings of the OS of a work computer, and I ran Linux at home at the time. I’m now a hybrid Linux/Mac household for personal use since I realized I had a big Mac-shaped blindspot that made it difficult for me to troubleshoot for my students and I also had a day when I needed to buy a new computer at a physical store, so I picked up a Mac laptop to complement the assorted Linux machines.)

      Anyway, there are a couple of major quality of life improvements that I’ve appreciated on my Windows 10 work machine (but may have been introduced earlier for all I know):

      Win . brings up the “emoji keyboard”, which means I no longer have to look up Unicode for weird math symbols or other such things when I want to type them in. This is particularly useful if I’m using a laptop keyboard without a numpad and would thus have to otherwise copy and paste individual characters.

      Win v brings up a clipboard with all of my recently copied stuff, plus anything I’ve pinned to save long term. As a teacher who gives the same 5-ish comments over and over again on most assignments (as well as a few more general RTFM-type comments that never die), this has saved me so much time and effort.

      No opinions on Windows 10 gaming, since I don’t do that on my work computer in any meaningful sense.

  2. Smosh says:

    “Just use a Mac” is the worst excuse. MacOS regularly destroys computers during updates, anecdotally significantly more often than Windows manages to.

    1. AdamS says:

      Tom Scott has a great video on how Windows still refuses to allow certain file names to allow for certain extremely rare edge cases where very old hardware needs to work with modern software, meanwhile past a certain point old apps just do. Not. Work. on modern macs.

      1. Smosh says:

        And it’s not just ancient apps either. Apple breaks backwards compatibility with some things every few years. If I buy a CAD tool for $2500 today, then I kinda expect it to work at least 3 years. Guess whose relative called me recently and asked me if there’s anything I can do about that?

  3. tmtvl says:

    Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle, I really didn’t mean to brag about great updates the same week as an update annoyed you.

    Also I thought GNU/Linux has been viable since like 2016, but I’ve been a full-time penguin since 2012, so maybe it’s just Stockholm Syndrome.
    I did use a Mac (Yosemite) at work for nearly all of 2015 though. It was really bad.

    1. John says:

      It depends on what you mean by viable. If you just want to do some general-purpose computing–web browsing, e-mailing, word processing, etc.–Linux is perfectly viable and has been for years. If, on the other hand, you run a video game blog and want or need to play a whole bunch of AAA games, then, no, Linux is not viable. There are a surprising number of native Linux games and compatibility layers have come a long way. Linux gaming is probably better now than it’s ever been, but you’re still going to have a hard time getting the latest big releases running well on a Linux machine–assuming, that is, that they’ll run at all. Many of them won’t.

      1. Philadelphus says:

        Yeah, Linux is perfectly viable for most things other than Shamus’ exact use case*. Like, if I wanted to set up my own knockoff blog doing exactly the same stuff but just ignoring AAA games, it’d be fine. (I’ve gotten to the point recently where I actually forget to check ProtonDB before buying games sometimes, because the ones I like almost always Just Work™ even if they don’t have a Linux version.)

        *And maybe some creative stuff; personally, I know video editing support is still a bit behind. I tried installing Davinci Resolve the other day (which, props to them, does have a Linux version), but it would’ve required downgrading my graphics drivers several versions, which is a non-starter for my gaming rig. Since video editing is my hobby and not my day job I can live with Kdenlive, but I’d love to see better video editing capabilities become available.

        1. Echo Tango says:

          Yeah, the smaller-scale and/or older games all pretty much Just Work™ through Steam. Now that CD Projekt has shown they’re just as much a soulless corp as Valve, I’m less likely to purchase through them. If the game has a native Linux version, I’ll still get it because it’s DRM-free, but Valve’s got pretty good compatibility for Windows games on Linux, which GOG does not have. :)

          1. John says:

            There’s no question that Steam is more convenient for Linux than GOG now. I was deeply confused when my GOG copy of Battletech wouldn’t run. It turned out I was missing some dependencies. That had never happened in all my previous GOG-Linux experience. It’s happened repeatedly since then, especially when I’ve gone back and tried to play older Linux games for which GOG does not provide 64-bit executables. Things that used to Just Work (TM) suddenly didn’t work at all. I’ve learned to cope–“ldd” is my new best friend–but it’s still annoying. I’ve never had a similar problem with a native Linux game on Steam.

  4. Joshua says:

    You forgot about the part where you have to update your password every 30-90 days or so.

    As far as Windows updates, I think I wrote here about how I started having problems at the end of the Summer where some update was breaking my machine by not only requiring me to type a password to log in (I didn’t have a password previously), but also eliminating the password field so there was no ability to type it in anyway. Even having “” as my password (which would work in other areas, but not when trying to log in to the machine. Upon start-up, my only option is to look at the Windows prompt to select “Ok”, which will tell me my password was incorrect.

    I rolled back the updates for a couple of months, but eventually it stopped allowing me to do that. “No, you absolutely NEED to have this update for security reasons, so we will not allow you to put it off any longer, even though it will brick your machine.

    I finally had to just back up all of my data and do a full restoration to factory settings to fix the issue.

    1. Chris says:

      I have no idea how but people just love to torture with passwords.
      -website 1:please input password
      -alright ill use “twenty” because it reminds me of my favorite blog
      -website 2: please input password
      -lets use twenty again or i wont keep them apart
      -its too short
      -alright lets use twentysided
      -…
      -website 3: “twentysided is invalid, you need a capital letter”
      -website 4: “Twentysided is invalid, you need a number”
      -website 5: “20Twentysided is invalid, you need a unique character”
      -website 1: “20!Twentysided is the wrong password, a new password has been sent to your email “2sd9GHW4”
      And then at your work you have to have a different password every month but it remembers old passwords so you keep adding a number to it.

      1. Echo Tango says:

        Password managers solve this problem, so you don’t need to deal with it anymore. Minimum length? Needs symbols? Can’t be uppercase? Needs uppercase? Just dump all that into your password-manager’s thing, and let it pick something that satisfies all of those.

        1. Asdasd says:

          but doesn’t a password manager introduce a single point of failure to your access for every and any site you want to visit? It would be a chore to have to reset every password for every site because some bad update got pushed to your browser plugin.

          1. Echo Tango says:

            A show-stopping bug is extremely unlikely to happen. Their whole business model revolves around you having access to your passwords. You can also export your passwords and print them off[1] or just dump them into a text file, and put it behind a password-protected .zip in case of some rare case like this.

            [1] Assuming you trust your printer, LAN, etc.

        2. Sleeping Dragon says:

          I have a sort of system for creating distinct passwords for various services but I’ve been considering going full random and so I’ve been thinking of looking for a good password manager, not sure if anyone will check these comments two days after the post but suggestions would be welcome.

          1. pseudonym says:

            KeepassXC. Open source, works on Windows, mac and linux. There is also a keepassDX app that uses the same format for storage.

            It does not save your passwords in the cloud. This can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on your position. Personally I use one computer for all the passwords and make a regular offsite backup of the database.

            1. Sleeping Dragon says:

              Thanks, I’ll take a closer look.

    2. tmtvl says:

      Password managers have never been more helpful.

    3. Geebs says:

      The inability to remember my damn password between logins is my main remaining issue* with the Epic Games Store. All of my other game launchers can do it, even Uplay for crying out loud **.

      I guess “remember login” must be somewhere below “shopping cart” on their roadmap.

      * It’s not as if I like it or anything; I just re-bought everything on Steam or GOG for peanuts. It’s hard to hate things I don’t actually use.
      ** Origin’s pretty touch and go, but at least it sometimes remembers me.

  5. Narkis says:

    I’m still pretty happy with my Windows 7. After hearing all the stuff like your update nightmares, I don’t think I’ll upgrade my system before I’m physically forced to.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      It’s no longer receiving security updates, so it would be when you get some virus that takes over your computer or related accounts. Nobody’s patrolling the computers of the world, to make people install newer software.

      1. Lino says:

        Really? I’m still on 7, and I get security updates every other day.

        1. Echo Tango says:

          Well…they _said_ they were stopping support. /shrug

          1. Lino says:

            But I haven’t bought extended support. It’s probably just Microsoft being Microsoft.

            1. John says:

              I had a similar experience with Windows XP. I kept getting system updates even after support officially ended. When I paid attention to the updates, however, I learned that most and possibly all–I honestly can’t remember–of them were for various Microsoft applications, such as Windows Defender, rather than the OS. I imagine that something similar is going on with your Windows 7.

  6. Steve C says:

    Shamus I suggest looking up guides to disable windows update. And I mean finding one that really gets into the weeds of registry entries etc. The ones that say to just use services.msc are not correct. The ones that claim it’s not possible are also incorrect. (And are moronic. Because *of course* it is possible to block and change the software of a computer you have physical access to. A properly configured firewall or router would be enough.)

    It’s just a case of going into the weeds once and making really really sure. Then manually applying updates (with full human supervision) in the future.

  7. Ninety-Three says:

    All games are action RPGs now!

    A distinction I find helpful is that RPGs are the games where a toddler could beat it if you gave them a max-level character, while “action game with RPG elements” is something where you can beat the final boss with the starting character if you’re just good enough at the action. There’s always grey area, but I feel there’s generally a line between “you are killing dudes with your numbers” and “you are killing dudes, and also you have numbers to make it go faster”.

    1. John says:

      That’s probably just hyperbole, but I’m afraid that I’m going to have to dispute your characterization of RPGs. I think what you are saying is true for most RPGs that allow level-grinding but not true for RPGs more generally. Some RPGs are explicitly designed so that the final boss is challenging even for characters who have reached the level cap. Knights of the Old Republic is a good example. By the time the player reaches the final boss, the player character will have almost certainly reached the level cap. (Actually, I’m not sure that it’s possible to not reach the level cap.) The difficulty of the final boss fight therefore depends on the player character’s build and equipment rather than his level, and even with a min-maxed build and good equipment the final boss fight requires active player participation–or at least that’s always been my experience. Otherwise, I agree with you.

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        Valid pedantry, I didn’t bother clarifying because I wanted to keep the comment concise but some (mostly western, it seems) RPGs are designed for you to be at or near the level cap by the end and “can a max-level character trivially beat the final boss” is obviously a poor test there, pretend we’re talking about the first boss (unless there’s level scaling, in which case screw it, you know what I mean).

        I can’t imagine ever playing this way, but surely you can beat KOTOR below level cap just by skipping all the sidequests.

        1. John says:

          I can’t imagine ever playing this way, but surely you can beat KOTOR below level cap just by skipping all the sidequests.

          Yeah, neither can I, so I never do. That said, I have played the game enough to notice that I don’t always hit the level cap at the same time. Usually it happens on the Rakata homeworld, but occasionally it happens on the Star Forge. I suspect that if you were to skip all of the side quests you might not hit the level cap, but my guess is that even in that case you’d still be Level 18 or more likely Level 19.

          I am now perversely tempted to try it.

    2. Asdasd says:

      It’s a taxonomy challenge for sure. While I agree with Shamus that randomised loot hoovering is common to many of the most prominent ARPGs, I’ve never thought of it being definitional necessity. I would have gone with something like ‘the difference between an ARPG and a standard RPG is the introduction of an element of player skill to combat, especially concerning reactions and timing of inputs’. However some games like the Mario RPG series introduced timing- and reaction-based challenges in their otherwise traditional turn based combat, and I’d be reluctant to classify those as ARPGs.

  8. Vertette says:

    Maybe Windows 10 AME or LTSC are good alternatives? Neither of those are plagued with the horror that is Windows Update.

  9. Lino says:

    I just don’t get why all of you are so angry with Microsoft. They’re a delightful company! Take the mobile version of Outlook, for example. It’s the epitome of convenience and respect for the end user. Don’t believe me? Let me tell you a little story:

    Ever since I’ve had a smartphone, I’ve used a pattern to unlock my phone. I’m so used to it that it’s become second nature to me. I admit, it’s not the most secure thing in the world, but I wipe my screen regularly, and quite frankly, how I unlock my phone is my business and my business alone. I’ve paid for it, and I have sufficient security measures in case I lose my phone.

    So imagine my delight when I needed to check my work email on my phone, and tried to log into the mobile version of Outlook. I was met with the following message (edited for brevity):

    Set Device Password.
    Set a password that meets one of these security requirements:
    – PIN with no repeating (4444) or ordered sequences (1234)
    – Password, length at least 4
    If you don’t set a new password, your email will be removed from Outlook

    Followed by two buttons – “Set Password” and “Remove Account(s)”. With “Set Password” taking you to your phone’s Unlock Settings.

    The livid rage I felt at that moment was enough to melt planets. Their mobile Teams app makes you do the same thing, but at least it has the decency to allow you to turn that option off in the settings. Outlook doesn’t have that. All it has is annoyance, depression, and my ever-living scorching hatred for all things Microsoft has ever touched.

    1. Geebs says:

      IIRC that password requirement is a server option which has been configured by your work IT team. It’s not all Microsoft’s fault.

      1. Lino says:

        Oh, well, then my anger has been misplaced! Alright, Uncle Microsoft, you’re off the hook for now. But I’m still cross about the time you forced an update on me that froze up my machine, then required a reboot, only for me to find out the entire purpose of the update was to install Microsoft Edge on my computer!

    2. Joshua says:

      Ha! Totally with you. I just use the browser version these days (buggy, fewer features, but contained). Same with Teams (though you need to request the desktop site)…

    3. Asdasd says:

      I just really hate that fucking Windows Hello splash screen that Paul was talking about. It even invites you to go to the settings screen and alter the notifications; none of them will disable the splash screen itself.

      I also resent that in 6 years of updates my surface still can’t connect to my router’s 5GHz network on boot without needing to be switched to the 2.4 and then back to actually work.

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        Oh, yeah, and there’s always a handful of “Windows Tablet PC” processes running in the background, even though none of my computers are, never have been, and can not possibly be converted into, anything resembling a tablet PC.

  10. John says:

    Ah, Windows 10. How I hate it.

    My wife has an old laptop which originally shipped with some flavor of Windows 8 and now runs Windows 10. It has . . . problems. Some of them are almost certainly hardware related–I can’t imagine that the battery’s failure to charge is Windows’ fault–but Windows sure doesn’t help any. USB devices work only intermittently. When I was using the machine last week it took Windows about a minute to detect and enable a USB mouse. When my wife used it last night, it wouldn’t detect the mouse at all. By contrast, when I booted the machine from a Linux live USB stick it detected and enabled the mouse instantly. Now that could just be the difference between an aged, mangled OS install and a new, clean one rather than the difference between Windows and Linux, but if this weren’t the last computer in the house that works with our aged flatbed scanner I would kill that Windows 10 install and replace it with, say, Xubuntu in a heartbeat.

  11. Henson says:

    Paul: “Don’t bother me with security. I want to keep these things air-tight.”

    The modern age, eh?

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Yeah. To be fair to Microsoft, most of their users are daunted by the prospect of transitioning from Skype to Teams, so the simplification is welcome. But I use unique passwords for all of my accounts and logins, so I don’t want my computer login (which I share with my family) to be the same as my outlook e-mail login. That’s what I meant by airtight.

      The event I’m referring to was four years ago. I had just built a new computer, and installed Windows 10, and left the password blank because I want my kids to be able to use the computer without typing in a password. So then Windows is like “Hey, want to use the built-in mail app?” and I was like, “Sure, I’ll give you the chance to impress me. The worst that could happen is I have to reinstall windows! Ha ha ha!” So I log in to my hotmail account and everything works great, until I restart the computer and it asks me for my hotmail password to unlock the computer. So I logged out of my hotmail account. Password was still there. I tried to remove the password, but nope, Microsoft was looking out for my security! There was no way to get back to having no password short of the worst case scenario which I wasn’t laughing about at all any more.
      I’ve since been informed that Microsoft has fixed this particular issue, but I’ve never given them the opportunity to redeem themselves. Maybe the next time I build a new computer and feel like installing Windows twice.

      1. Echo Tango says:

        Would it work, for you to have your own Windows account separate from the family / childrens’ account? Then you could have no password on their account, but keep yours locked down. If your games are through Steam, you should be able to set up a Steam account for them, that uses the “family share” feature, to let them have games from your Steam account. Then that account wouldn’t have a credit card attached to it. It would be a bit more work for each game you want to get for the kids, but if you’re already the gatekeeper keeping these things within limits, I don’t think it would be much different from how you’re currently getting games. :)

        1. Paul Spooner says:

          Well, I don’t want to have to type a password to get into my computer at all. If an attacker has hardware access, no password is going to keep them out, so why inconvenience myself?

          1. Echo Tango says:

            The password would be for your kids, not people stealing your laptop, but I didn’t really think it through – logging on to your computer would happen a lot more often than purchasing games. ^^;

  12. jurgenaut says:

    Never upgrade your Windows install (I mean between major versions like Vista, 7, 8, 10). Buy a new SSD and do a clean install of the new version.

  13. Moridin says:

    Re: Using Linux
    If you really want to use Windows as little as possible, you could always set up a virtual machine with GPU passthrough. That way you can run games on the VM with near-native performance and do everything else in Linux without having to reboot in-between. The two systems can even have a shared clipboard and everything.(I’m only half-serious. I’ve not tried it myself having no integrated or secondary GPU(although… hmm. I suppose I could try it now since my old GPU still works, I think. Though it wouldn’t necessarily help you, since both of my GPUs are AMD), but from what I hear setting GPU passthrough can be problematic)

    1. Geebs says:

      Honestly, in every single one of these scenarios it’s both easier and more cost-effective* just to buy two computers.

      These days they make cases which can accommodate two entirely separate mobos and CPUs, so you can even put all that hardware into the one box.

      * in terms of time wasted on troubleshooting, that could have been spent just earning some more money.

      1. Moridin says:

        Shamus specifically mentioned wanting things like being able to seamlessly copy screenshots over to his work while playing games, which is why a second physical computer or dualbooting wouldn’t be a good solution.

        Also, this is Shamus we’re talking about, not a productive(as in, working a regular job) member of the society. If he has to waste a bunch of time troubleshooting, there’s a good chance he’ll be able to turn it into a blog post.

    2. Echo Tango says:

      I feel like anything short of “actually native performance” isn’t going to cut it for Shamus, since he plays AAA games, and puts shiny screenshots from those games onto his blog. Degraded performance won’t work, since he often reviews and critiques games, and can’t be adding his own slowness to the game. Degraded visuals means his blogs are less appealing to some people, which could hurt his traffic.

      1. Moridin says:

        By near-native performance, I mean he’d lose about 1% of CPU performance(or possibly even less, since his CPU is pretty close to top-of-the-line). We’re talking about totally insignificant difference(at least, in theory. As I mentioned, I’ve not tried doing this myself).

  14. Syal says:

    The Founder didn’t give me as bad an impression of Ray Kroc as Shamus took from it. Despite the clear selfishness, and petty vindictiveness, he’s dragging a good idea into public awareness that wouldn’t have gotten there otherwise. He could have set up his own restaurant, but then the McDonalds brothers wouldn’t have gotten anything at all for their idea.

  15. ElementalAlchemist says:

    There are a few ways you can disable the forced/automated reboots. For example – https://superuser.com/questions/957267/how-to-disable-automatic-reboots-in-windows-10/1146703#1146703

    As far as the “feature” updates, as I said last time the subject came up the only way to avoid that entirely is to use LTSB/LTSC.

    1. TFrengler says:

      Someone showed me ShutUp10 long ago, and I’ve used it ever since. Not only does the Recommended setting disable of lot of the jank, but it also allows you to disable the automatic updates.

      1. ElementalAlchemist says:

        The thing is the average person shouldn’t be disabling updates. The reason they are forced in the first place is because most people will pretty much never update manually.

        1. Moridin says:

          Which would be fine, if it only applies to bug-fixes and security updates. But it applies to everything, including feature upgrades, which causes the average user to want to disable updates.

          1. Sleeping Dragon says:

            This. There is a very fine line with “trust us with what’s under the hood” and “let us install, change or remove all the services that we or our partners may want you to have or not have”.

  16. Steve C says:

    Since this is a little related (and rip forums)… what’s a free email account service (that isn’t Google) that is extremely easy to use?

    My mother is having problems with her Gmail account due to the ever increasing complexity and google’s notorious ridiculous security measures. Doubly so because she uses a chromebook. She is extremely terrible with computers and scared of them. She would be best served by a feature poor, easy to use email service. Anyone have any suggestions? Google decided the best thing for her was to lock her out of her entire computer because she tried to log in using a different wifi.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      I don’t know of any email services with fewer features – maybe your ISP provides something like that? My own mother gets her email through her ISP, although it’s got almost as many menus and settings as Gmail.

      As for logging in, would you be able to set up something like a Yubikey, to auto-type her password when she plugs it into the Chromebook, or if she’s logging into the email service on a different machine? Last time I checked, it was a bit of a hassle to get a password loaded onto it, to have the key type it in automatically, when it detects the right programs or websites requesting a password. But it could be easier now. Plugging in a Yubikey is like inserting a key into a door-lock, especially since she wouldn’t need to remember any password – it should be just a thing you insert, and get access. (Barring any weirdness with popup windows or something. I haven’t looked at this in over a year.)

    2. tmtvl says:

      I dunno, my father uses Thunderbird and it seems to be Good Enough (TM).

  17. ColeusRattus says:

    130 episodes? Man time does fly indeed.
    And while I do appreciate Paul for his softspokenness and knowledgability, I do miss Rutskarn, Chris, Josh and mumbles.
    And yes, I know they’re still active as spoilerwarning.

    1. Nimrandir says:

      Mumbles isn’t with them, but yeah.

      For what it’s worth, I’ve found their recent tomfoolery in Sea of Thieves to be their most enjoyable stuff since the split.

    2. Grimwear says:

      I will say the one thing I miss is the breadth of content that used to be covered, which is much easier to get with more hosts. It probably also helped that they were younger and had no big family responsibilities. I miss them talking about what book they read, or what obscure game one of them tried out, even if it was just to have a 2 minute segment where they all put in a comment. With 2 hosts it’s generally 1 person talking about what they did, then the other listens, responds, much less bouncing of ideas. Of course 2 hosts also saves us from the “dreaded” sink stories and I’m sure is much easier to produce with less talking over each other.

      1. Echo Tango says:

        I miss Josh’s Plumbing Adventures™. :S

  18. RFS-81 says:

    I’ve always felt like Thief 1 was already kind of horror-adjacent. Maybe because I was way too young when I first played it. The zombies’ sounds just freak me out. Not so much the stereotypical zombie sounds when they chase you, but this horrible wheezing when they idle. Constantine’s mansion is not quite horror but it starts out like a normal break-in and then just takes a turn for the bizarre. Then you have the cathedral with the Hammerite Haunts and after it you find out who your client really is.

    In conclusion, JOIN USSS JOIN USSS NOW!

    1. Chris says:

      Thief 1 return to the cathedral was horror too. And it was often mentioned. Like “wow this is the scariest since the cathedral”. In deadly shadows you also already had a mission with zombies on a shipwreck. But cradle is a lot more horror than just supernatural or bizarre. For example in the first part you dont actualyl have any enemies, you just sneak around waiting for the other shoe to drop, then you open a massive metal door to the inner cradle, and you see something run past in the shadows up ahead. And then you see lights flicker with a monster standing under it.

  19. Draklaw says:

    “Linux is nearly viable just give it another few years!”

    It always annoys me to ear (or read) that. Not only it’s missing the point, it’s counterproductive.

    Linux in a totally viable system. The desktop experience might still have a few rough edges, but it’s not half as bad as people seems to think. In practice, new user will probably be more annoyed by the amount of choice than anything else. (Which distribution ? Gnome, KDE, Xfce ? Why is it so complicated ?)

    The problem is that Linux don’t run apps & games people are used to. But it’s not Linux fault ! Waiting a few years won’t change a thing. Compatibility tools might improve slightly, but they will always be less convenient to use than the real stuff, and convenience is the key. People want to use their computers, not spend time making them work.

    In truth, it’s a chicken and egg problem. Users don’t want to move to Linux if their apps don’t run on it, but devs don’t want to develop for Linux if they don’t have users on this platform. The whole “let’s wait until it’s viable enough” thing is not helping at all, it’s actually part of the problem.

    Game developers have made a lot of efforts in the recent years, including Valve with the builtin support of Proton. Playing under Linux is easier than ever. But things won’t move much in favor of Linux if players don’t join the effort. Yet convenience is still the main factor for users, and it won’t be achieved until the majority of games (and maybe apps) are available on Linux. And even in this case, Microsoft is a big enough actor to secure exclusives on Windows, bringing the worst of the console world to PC gaming. Yay.

    So in order for Linux to become a convenient alternative one day, someone needs to do some efforts and accept some inconvenience. At home, my girlfriend and I mostly use our own personal laptops under MacOs and Linux respectively, but we also have a shared desktop computer under Windows for the games that require it. That way I’m mostly playing under Linux, which counts in the statistics. This is a reasonably convenient setup that I recommend for people that want to do a smooth transition and can afford it.

    Anyway, claiming that “Linux is nearly viable just give it another few years!” is the best way to make sure it won’t happen anytime soon.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      It’s not helped by having quite a few game-bugs be upstream in the engines or even libraries that power those engines. (From what I’ve read from a few devs, who responded to forum threads, etc.) :S

      1. Draklaw says:

        Sure enough, but it’s actually the same issue. Only 0.78% of Steam users run Linux according to their stats. If only a fraction of these players encounters a bug, why would the devs spend time fixing it ? They have likely more important bugs to work on. And for engine developers, it is likely a better move to work on a new feature. Same problem with performance issues : it’s not that Linux is slow, it’s devs that don’t spend much time optimizing for Linux.

        If Linux had more market shares, it would start to make sense for devs to spend time polishing the Linux version, but we are not there yet. That’s why I say its pointless to wait for it to improve : Linux is not the problem, it’s the environment.

        This is made worst by the fact that devs are probably not working under Linux : when I joined my previous job, my boss told me “it’s cool, you will be able to fix a bunch of long-standing Linux bugs”. Despite being a supported platform for years, no devs where working on Linux. Fun fact : Unity editor is not available for Linux.

        Now, to be honest, there is one big issue with Linux that makes thing complicated for devs : there are a lot of distributions, window managers, X servers and so on. This is a QA nightmare. You can’t make sure your app will work on all possible combination. This makes Linux a somewhat hostile environment for closed source software. But it’s due to the way the Linux ecosystem works, and it’s not going to change anytime soon. The solution would be to use FOSS game engines and let the community fix platform-specific bugs, but the industry is not ready for that it seems.

  20. Chad Miller says:

    Re: Loot, not only do I not usually like it all that much, I’m actually averse to most loot grinds and I especially dislike being expected to sort the stuff.

    In many games I’ve adopted a strategy of literally never paying attention to new loot until I have a specific reason, such as hitting the encumbrance limit. This often means that I frequently get killed, look up my inventory after loading a save and get a huge upgrade from all the stuff I’ve been ignoring.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      Yeah, loot grind kills a lot of games for me. I’d much rather play a game with a smaller number of meaningful items or upgrades. Slay The Spire has at most, like a hundred cards you’ll deal with on any given run? Plus, they’re all visually distinct, and you have easy buttons to grab cards, or to ignore all of them. Enter The Gungeon, Spelunky, and Spelunky 2 similarly, had a small number of items in any given run. The Paper Mario games were examples from consoles. :)

      1. Syal says:

        I prefer set drops normally, but I think random drops work well in games with Way Too Many Enemies. A game like Diablo that has tons of enemies on screen, every screen, benefits from those enemies dropping random stuff, just to add some mix-up to the fights.

    2. CloverMan-88 says:

      Yup, this was exacly the reason I dropped Ni-Oh. I don’t want to stop enjoying my action game to sort out if my bag full or garbage has a miniscule upgrade to my stats.

    3. Gordon says:

      This is me exactly, I really enjoyed Borderlands and Cyberpunk and HZ:D (my no contest game of the year). But in all of them the loot is the worst bit.

      I wouldn’t even notice if something dropped an orange. To me loot is the chore of vacuuming it all up, which often distracts from the moment to moment gameplay. And then when inventory gets full the chore of going to the vending machine and sorting it all (that’s when I find the orange stuff).

      Cyberpunk would be substantially better for me if there was no random loot at all and you had to buy your stuff at the shops. It would actually make me care more about the gear.

      From 100 hours of Cyberpunk I remember exactly 2 random drop guns. My first 50 cal (aka The Clap cause it sounded like a thunderclap) and a particularly OP shotgun (aka Boomstick).
      Then there’s maybe 20 things I got as quest / dialog items which are all significant to me.
      In my current kit there are 2 random drop items, my current generic assault rifle, and a headband that is my lil rebellion against Johnny’s wardrobe. Everything else is a quest / dialog item.
      And my cars, each of which I had to save for and had a particular reason for buying (when they weren’t quest ones) which gives them a story. You touch my Coyote and my CT-3X over my dead body.
      Oh and the Cyberware again mostly purchased, especially the deck.

      Loot sucks. IMHO

      P.S. I get what it’s referencing but “Press the button Gordon” was weird.

  21. bubba0077 says:

    For Win10 and passwords, it now has this Windows Hello thing where you set a local-only PIN after connecting your MS account to your local account (in fact, it is kinda annoying about it). You can even change it so that it allows alphanumeric instead of just numbers so it is basically just a normal password.

    Doesn’t solve the problem of unwanted updates, but does solve the password/account issue Shamus mentioned.

  22. WaveofKittens says:

    All kinds of other things happening, so I forgot about the Diecast, but just to quickly add some clarification to the Mail I sent:

    Ad ARPG (or Hack & Slash, Looter, Diablo-clone or whatever the preferred term is):

    Randomized loot is obviously not always implemented in the same way, so my reaction isn’t always the same. With Shadow Warrior 2 there were just way too many of these rune-like items and no good sorting mechanism, so looking through it to be able to decide what to do with it (Crafting, Selling, using them) was very time-consuming and it was always hard to find whatever I was looking for.

    With Grim Dawn they went a bit overboard with how many modifiers there are on many of the items, so quickly analysing them in relation to my build was often out of the question.

    With ARPGs in general it’s the odd position of unique items in the random loot table that I find annoying. It’s similar with items with skill bonuses that apply to character-specific skills. In both cases I end up with an item which might look nice aesthetically and so on, but it will probably not be useful for the character I’m currently playing. Shared chests are at best a gamey band-aid. I would rather have the unique items integrated into the world. As something that is used by some boss, got stolen from some trader, is on sale at a specific trader or in possession of some NPC in a god-forsaken corner of some map… One would need a relatively open map for that and the game would have to be somewhat non-linear I think. Getting unique items could then be part of various quests and it would also provide narrative context, possibly some lore on the item and so on. On a first playthrough a player would still not know which of these items s/he actually wants, but at least they would be in fixed places. Getting there would be more meaningful if some of the better items would accordingly be placed in more dangerous areas. There could also be class-specific quests that would only be available to particular character classes, which would allow for appropriate loot.

    Ad Reassembly:

    Hmm, well the ship-builder basically forces you to build everything from scratch with the blocks that are available to whichever faction you are currently playing. I’m not quite sure what Paul specifically meant when he said “interconnectedness”, but I’ll try to explain how it works:

    Each ship or station is built around a command module which has to be destroyed to kill a ship, so positioning is important. Then there’s various hull pieces, which have a certain mass and armor, which influences how resistant the ship is and how it maneuvers. Though you obviously also need to put thrusters on the different sides of the ship to be able to maneuver ;) Various weapons also have mass and a certain resistance to damage. Some weapons have more recoil than others. Some are seeking, others just fire projectiles and some are lasers with little delay and pin-point accuracy. You can put a factory on your ship and pump out your designs however you see fit. The AI will also build these designs. Basically, the player only controls the flagship and ships that he builds or recruits with currency. Otherwise the player faction will do whatever it wants.

  23. dnd01 says:

    With regards to a Windows source code leak helping out compatibility, Wine, Linux’s windows emulator, has a specific policy of not looking at Windows source code specifically because Microsoft could try to shut down the project on the basis of copyright claims.

    That said I’ve had pretty good luck at running Windows games on Linux. There are only a handful that I haven’t had luck with, though it is very much YMMV and some require more tweaking than others. But I seem to recall an article about how certain Windows games ran better on Wine/Linux than Windows.
    As a matter of fact on one website for older games that I frequent, quite a few people would like Wine for Windows because it does a better job of running older Windows games.

    That said, it usually takes a bit of time for support for newer games to be implemented so it probably wouldn’t be of much use for a game reviewer.

  24. Confanity says:

    One of the things I look forward to every time is the Good Robot music used as an outro. My question is, is there some way I can listen to this music for more than the minute or so from the episode end, outside of booting up the actual game? I’ve looked around on Youtube and Bandcamp (no Spotify account, thank you), but if there’s a place I can get my ears on that music without needing to give my contact information to yet another soulless tech corporation, that’d be really nice.

    Thanks in advance for any information or tips!

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *